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Monday, July 28, 2014

Preppers..Did You Think About This?

    So you have all your firewood cut, buckets of dehydrated food stacked, and your barrels of Mylar sealed rice, beans, and everyday staples are prepped and ready to go. Yes!, you are ahead of the game. No disaster can stop you now. As you go over your checklist for the ump..teenth time, did you ever think about mobility?

Of course you did. You are a prepper and you are always thinking ahead.

When people talk about mobility they think about long distances. A truck, a RV, a boat, a four wheeler, or a bicycle. Did you ever think about short distances?

Just in case you overlooked this one, i would like to bring it to your attention.

Most people in the states call them a dolly but the real name is a two wheeled hand cart. They are made of  steel tubing or extruded aluminum and you can purchase a dolly with solid rubber or pneumatic wheels. Some dollies have an attachment on the backside to help in stair climbing and others have a tie-down strap to help with large objects.

 So why do i need one and which one should I buy?

Here is a partial list of uses:

Material hauler: Whether it is prepped food or firewood, the dolly will make your tasks quicker while using less energy.

Person hauler:  In an extreme emergency, carrying a 170 lb loved one is not a simple task. a good dolly can easily move a injured person to a near by medical facility.

Big Game hauler:  When SHTF and you are all alone trying to feed your family, how are you going to get that much needed fresh kill home?

Drunk Ass hauler:  We all have friends that say "watch this". Go to your local hill and dare them to take a ride. After a good laugh and a possible Youtube video, count the broken bones and ask the next guy if he can do it better.


Buying Guide:

Steel vs aluminum:  If you are buying a dolly to carry a lot of weight, steel is the best choice. If you have to repair your dolly, steel is the easiest. The only advantage of aluminum is it is slighty lighter and less prone to corrosion. Steel is without a doubt the best way to go.

 Hard rubber vs Pneumatic tires:  Spend a day using the small hard rubber tires and you will never want to use them again. Walk across our front yard with both tire options and you will quickly understand. Buy yourself a dolly with the biggest pneumatic tire you can find, a $5 patch kit, and a hand operated air pump. Trust me.

Handles:  Do not miss this one. Some dollies are made for 2 handed operation only. RED FLAG. SKIP IT. MOVE ON. a good dolly has a handle that can be used with one hand or two. 
 I have been in many situations that a two handed only dolly just won't work. In fact, I think they are of poor quality and the person who designed it, never used it once. NEVER. Keep your eye out for D handle dollies. Two thumbs up from me.

We are all unique individuals and have different likes. I hope this article gives you some thought and direction on your next purchase.

   I would like to recommend my Amazon store, but Harbor Freight is better on this one.

       It's Easier to Survive When Your Gear Survives

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Cheap Paracord....DO NOT BUY

   I really enjoy writing posts about topics that I have plenty of personal experience. This one I do NOT.

   550 Paracord has become the mainstream cord for the masses. If you are a survivalist, prepper or a weekend camper, I'm sure you have heard of it.

   This whole post will mostly contain information and a video copied from other people. I value their opinions and I believe you should too.

                                                        Types of Paracord
TypeMinimum strengthMinimum elongationMinimum length per poundCore yarnsSheath structure
I95 lb (43 kg)30%950 ft (290 m; max. 1.57 g/m)116/1
IA100 lb (45 kg)30%1050 ft (320 m; max. 1.42 g/m)<no core>16/1
II400 lb (181 kg)30%265 ft (81 m; max. 5.62 g/m)4 to 732/1 or 36/1
IIA225 lb (102 kg)30%495 ft (151 m; max. 3.00 g/m)<no core>32/1 or 36/1
III550 lb (249 kg)30%225 ft (69 m; max. 6.61 g/m)7 to 932/1 or 36/1
IV750 lb (340 kg)30%165 ft (50 m; max. 9.02 g/m)1132/1, 36/1, or 44/1
source: wikipedia

The military has used 550 parachute cord from several different suppliers over the years. The current supplier is a company in Marathon, NY, by the name of E.L. Wood Braiding Co. They wont sell to you unless you are a distributor and purchasing great quantities. 
Now the difference: this cord from the E.L Wood Braiding Co. (which I will now refer to as "true" paracord) has the traditional 7 strands in a finely braided sheath. However, each strand is made up of 3 small strands, not 2 (like some of the knock-offs I have purchased). E.L. Wood makes their cord distinguishable by having one of the seven strands made up of some black fibers (as some knock-offs do), AND some yellow fibers (none of the knock-offs I bought have yellow). The description for true paracord is Mil-C-5040H TYPE III. A cheaper cord will say something like Mil-spec, or Military Grade. Don't be fooled. source:BackwoodsBum


   So it is best to do your research before trusting your life on any type of safety gear. If you are looking for some cheap nylon rope to string up a tarp or make a bracelet, then why not give it a try.

  Looking to buy?  Click <Here>

       It's Easier To Survive, When Your Gear Survives


What Is The Best Camping Soap?

 Named after a region in Spain, Castile soap is not a brand, it is style of soap making.

   Theses soaps use Olive Oil which makes it one of the first non-animal-based oil soaps every produced. All Castile soaps are organic, bio-degradable, and safe for the environment. Most of the soaps are also vegan and allergy-free.

   The soaps history can be tracked back hundreds of years, but sometime in the 1880/1890 's the first liquid Castile soap was produced by the Heilbronn company. Today the soap brand is called Dr. Bronner's.

   I highly recommend this product. It can be used for personal hygiene, dish washing, pet shampoo, and even washing the dirt off your car.

 Dr. Bronner's is an excellent product and the company is very much involved with creating the safest product for the environment. 

   If you have any interest in their products, I encourage you to check out their website. Dr. Bronner's 

   You can order it in my store <here>

Wild Blackberries

    Put your shoes on because it's that time of the year. July usually brings high temperatures and plenty of mosquitoes but it also brings a refreshing treat. So when you're done picking through your garden for the first tomato or pepper, don't forget about the garden nature planted.

   The Blackberry: A tasty sweet fruit that looks like a raspberry. It is usually found in sunny locations along the roadside or hiking trails. The bushes that they grow on may be up to 8-10 feet tall and are loaded with thorns. The most common uses for the berries is cobblers, jams, salad toppings, and brandy (my favorite).

   Do you remember this past spring when colorful blossoms were everywhere you looked? Did you happen to notice these?

   Before I start to sound like a Wikipedia article, I'm going to stop right here.

   Get outside! You can even bring your cell phone with you and have a good time. 

   There are plenty of App makers out there that will help you identify bird calls or wild berries. How fun is that?

 Imagine getting away from the daily grind and rekindling yourself with the nature you have so long forgotten

 When was the last time you took a walk and actually slowed your pace to enjoy the beauty around you?   Did you gather any special treats to bring back home? And no!, I am not referring to your dogs poop.

  So keep a look out. Berries are plentiful  in mid summer but there is also spring Asparagus and Morel mushrooms. Wild onions can pop up almost any time and do not forget about fruit bearing trees later in the season.

   Do yourself a favor and get outside. Pass your new found knowledge onto someone you care about (or not). You can still bring the smartphone with you as a security blanket. If you  happen to see Yogi Bear along the way, tell him I sent you.



Friday, July 18, 2014

A Pelican Box Or An Otter Box, What Do You Choose?

   It seems like everyone owns a smartphone. If you don't, I'm sure you own a wallet or keys. Keeping those precious belongings safe is a priority and there is no better way to do it than with the help of a few animals.

   Let me introduce you to the Pelican and the Otter Box. Both are manufacturers of the best dry boxes available on the market today.

So what is a dry box?
  A dry box is a storage container in which the interior is kept at a low level of humidity. It may be as simple as an airtight and watertight enclosure, or it may use active means to remove water vapor from the air trapped inside. These waterproof cases will keep your iPod, wallet, keys, ID and more safe and dry. Not only are they waterproof, they also can hold up to a good beating.

The Pelican: The Pelican company puts out a top-notch product. They offer a wide range of products.
   Pelican Products, Inc. is the global leader in design and manufacture of both high-performance case solutions and advanced portable lighting systems. Our products are used by professionals in the most demanding markets including firefighters, police, defense/military, aerospace, entertainment, industrial and consumer. Pelican products are designed and built to last a lifetime.

The Otter Box:  This one is my personal favorites. I currently own 3 of these. The smallest one i have is the perfect size for my smartphone and the largest box will hold my wallet, phone, keys, cigarettes, lighter and my fishing license. The price of an Otter Box is sightly less than the Pelican but it is equal in quality and performance.

   I encourage you to check out both brands before you purchase. Pelican offers a larger variety of specialty cases (e.g. GoPro, backpacks, flashlights). Otter Box is a great value and carries a huge selection of boxes designed for your exact type of smartphone.

   Let me know in the comment section if you have any experience with these brands or if you suggest a different company.

         It's easier to survive when your gear survives


Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Carabiner...Say Hello to My Little Friend....

   The next time time you decide to jump off a cliff, lets hope you have your little friend with you.


    Life just wouldn't be the same if you didn't. However, they just aren't for rock climbing and repelling.

    These wonderful hooks have an unlimited amount of uses. They come in a variety of sizes, colors, and shapes. Some are locking and some are double ended. Lets take a look at the different types and explore what they can do.

   Small Carabiner:  The most common uses for this is keys. It makes one of the best key chains around. You can easily attach it to any belt loop in an instant. Connect one to any mini flashlight, pocket knife or carry pouch. Of course you could also teach your put hamster how to repel.

   Double Sided: The first thing that comes to mind is that it would be great for my tent guide lines. Just like the small carabiner, this one makes life a bit easier to attach small things to yourself or your backpack. I personally own about a half dozen.

   Multi-Function: There are a few clever company's out there that have integrated tools into their carabiners. You can get one with a knife, flashlight, compass or even a screwdriver set. I do have one with a flashlight that attaches my dry box to my backpack and i just love it. There are times when I'm fishing a little to late and the walk back to the car would be almost impossible without the help of my little carabiner flashlight friend.

   In fact, there is so many types and sizes of carabiners to choose. I just don't feel like writing a novel about them. Do yourself a favor and research all the possibilities. You have a wonder mind, so put it to use.

People love to use them and you will too!

Be careful of the load rating if you plan on using it for anything heavy. You don't want to have an accident when you are teaching your pet gorilla to rock climb.

                        It's easier to survive when your gear survives


Sunday, July 13, 2014

Survival Whistle...How Loud Can You Yell?

  We have all been in a crowded  place. It may of been a concert, sporting event, or a festival. One thing is for sure, it's loud. Then you try to talk with the person next to you and you get a "what?" or a nod and smile. Definitely not the place for a first date.
  Can you think of a few sounds that can over power such loud noises? A police siren usually comes to mind. A big boom sound or maybe a scream. What I would like to talk about is the All Mighty whistle, yes whistle. It can be a lifesaver.

  The whistle has been used for many years. You may recognize the sound to signal a foul during a sporting event, a lunch break, a police warning, or some random person trying to get your attention. No matter how it is used, it will make you turn your head and pay attention. Heck, dogs can't even resist.


  When you're out hiking the backwoods or just playing in the urban jungle, there is no cheaper and more effective way to call attention to yourself than a whistle. There is a lot of different types of whistles manufactured today so I'm going to cover the basic types used for personal safety.

       BASIC WHISTLE : The one you see above is the most common type. It is made from metal or plastic and can easily be attached to a lanyard or a key chain.

       SURVIVAL WHISTLE : This whistle is usually flat and compact and sometime is designed into a multi function product (whistle/compass/matches container)

        CREDIT CARD WHISTLE : It may be an effective whistle, but getting access to it in an emergency situation may be difficult. The best part of the whistle is that it comes in a multi-purpose package. This one is on my " I Want One" list.

         THE AIR HORN :  I know its not a whistle, but if you are going to be out on the water it can save your life. We have all seen people being scared by the incredibly loud noise it makes. This will for sure get someones attention.

   There are so many affordable and unique types of whistles available that there is no reason for not owning at least one. Have one on your person, in your BOB, car, home, and/or boat. The small investment will be worth millions the first time you need to use it.

   Check out the "Great Plains Recommended" page under "Fun and Unique" for a link to the credit card whistle

                              It's easier to survive  when your gear survives

Saturday, July 12, 2014

The Cast Iron Pan That Nobody Buys

  It was about a year ago when my life started crashing down all around me. My work wasn't going anywhere and even worse, my relationship was struggling too. I knew I had to make a change for the better. Luckily for me, I was in contact with an old friend on Facebook. Even though I haven't seen him in 25 years, he told me to pack my stuff up and move 1700 miles and when I get there I'll have a place to live until I rebuild my life. What a guy!! So this is where the cast iron comes into the story. It turns out that my buddy had recently went through some hard times himself. Not being much of a cook, and after losing a lot of his kitchenwares, he was in need of a few things. He explained to me that he suffers from an allergy he contracted through a tick called Alpha Gal. This means he can no longer eat any red meats. Isn't that about the shittiest thing ever? When my friend eats anything, he has to consider what it was cooked on. No more chicken on the grill at parties if someone was cooking burgers too. Well I decided to get him a pan of his own. I know he loves pancakes so here is the  pan I bought him.

  First of all, I'm a truly impressed the quality and feel of this griddle.It measures 10 1/2 inches across with a 1/2 side. It is perfect for his pancakes and can be used for many other foods. If only I bought a second one for myself, I could see cooking a whole variety of foods for example: eggs, bacon, quesadillas, burgers, grilled cheese, and just about anything you would put into a chemical filled non-stick pan at home. Whatmost people do not realize about cast iron is you can put it in an oven. This pan would work good as a cookie sheet also. I can smell the biscuits cooking away. If you preheat the griddle, try cooking a homemade pizza on it or sear a piece of beef.

  Coming in at just under 5 pounds, it's not a pan you will want to hike all day with. It is perfect for car camping or the home. The griddle comes pre-seasoned and it is made in the USA. Keep in mind that it is not intended for a family of 4. Perfect for one person and a bit crowded with 2 people. The price of about $15 USD will provide you with a griddle that you will have for the rest of your life. Pretty good deal. When your friends see it, they will love it too. Now you know what to get them for a gift.  $15 and it lasts for a lifetime.
Time to get my own griddle.

To find out more about the Lodge 10 1/2 Griddle click on the "Great Plains Recommended" page, then on "On The Cheap But Good"

                      It is easier to survive when your gears survives

Friday, July 11, 2014

What is a keyhole fire pit?

  I first heard of a key hole fire pit only a few years ago. I don't know how I missed out on this one, but I did. So what is it? Well it is one of the easiest, safest, and most logical way to cook your food or heat water using natural wood coals.

  There is three things you will need to make your fire pit:

    1)  Enough rocks to form a circular fire pit plus a few extra
    2)  A metal grate to cook on or to hold pots and pans (you can use your
         BBQ grill grate or a shelf  form your oven will work)
    3)  Dry fire wood

  Here's a picture on how to set up the rocks and where to put the grate and fire wood.

  Once your fire burns down and produces plenty of coals, carefully move the coals to the area where your grate is located. Make sure to use plenty of coals so the heat lasts for a long time. Of course you can always add more as needed. That's it! It just can't get any easier. I'm sure you will love the fresh campfire taste. If you would like to add some extra yummy flavor, experiment with different types of wood. (cherry, apple, sassafras)

  I would like to hear about other fire pit designs and your favorite wood to burn. Please leave a message in the comment section below.

Just a little joke for you all. If anyone finds it offensive or not appropriate, let me know
A husband and his wife who have been married 20 years were doing some yard work. The man was working hard cleaning the BBQ grill while his wife was bending over, weeding flowers from the flower bed. So the man says to his wife "Your rear end is almost as wide as this grill" She ignores the remark. A little later, the husband takes his measuring tape and measures the grill, then he goes over to his wife while she is bending over, measures her rear end and gasps, "Geez, it really IS as wide as the grill!" She ignores this remark as well. Later that night while in bed, her husband starts to feel frisky. The wife calmly responds, "If you think I'm gonna fire up the grill for one little wiener, you are sadly mistaken."


Thursday, July 10, 2014

Mora knives......Light My Fire Review

  Impressive but  not perfected. I just received the Light My Fire knife from the Swedish company Mora. To my surprise, it came with a free spork to match my red knife. Mora offers 5 different colors: black, red, green, blue and orange. I chose red because if  I set down my knife in some leaves or brush, I sure would like to find it easily.
  One thing for certain is that the knife was delivered very sharp. I quickly whittled up some dry Sycamore without a problem. Then I found some 3 inch wide pieces of wood and batoned them into kindling quite easily. After a hour of some rough abuse the knife remained very sharp. I was definitely impressed so far.
  The knife has only a 3/4 tang. Meaning the steel part of the blade goes 3/4 of the way through the handle. The knife was made this way to conceal a small but useful ferro rod. At the end of the handle is a piece that when twisted and pulled reveals this handy fire starter. When striking the ferro rod with the backside of the knife, you will notice that it produces a large and hot spark. I gathered some dry field grass from the edge of my property and made it into a birds nest (tinder bundle). To my surprise, I was able to light it on my first strike.

  Now comes the bad news. The knife does come with a plastic sheath. It is sturdy and keeps the knife very secure. The back side of the sheath has a strong locking clip that will easily attach to most belts. Easy on, easy off. The down side to this is how the knife and sheath is designed. Please understand that I'm one of those "oddball" people born left-handed. For me to easily get the knife removed from the snug fitting sheath, I must wear it on my right side and take my left hand across my body to access it. It is kind of a pain to do, but not a deal breaker for me.
   So there you have it. At $34 USD, which included shipping and a free spork, it is truly a knife to consider. It is lightweight, can start a fire, very sharp, colorful, and well made. Another great knife from Mora.

Remember that it is
Easier to survive when your gear survives