How to Make a Survival Shelter: Ultimate Guide

How to Make a Survival Shelter: Ultimate Guide

How to Make a Survival Shelter: Ultimate Guide was first posted on the Authorized Boots blog. With so many people venturing into the wilderness we thougt it a good time to repost it here.

How to Make a Survival Shelter: Ultimate GuideThe wilderness is a truly wonderful thing. Inspiring artists, musicians and writers since the dawn of civilization; being in the backcountry can be liberating, exhilarating and energizing. Of course, you’re not truly “one with nature” until you can live comfortably in it. Food and water are essential, of course, but nothing beats a good nights sleep. And what’s the best way to ensure that? Having somewhere warm, comfy and safe to sleep.

As simple as pitching a tent or as complicated as building a walled enclosure, fire reflector and raised bed your shelter has one primary function: to protect you from the elements. In this article, I’ll run through a variety of shelter types, when to use them and I’ll provide links to videos that will show you how to build them yourself.

And remember, reading isn’t the same as doing. Go on a training course, self-teach and practice, practice practice. Things do go wrong. If you get into an emergency you don’t want to have to get your notes out and slowly and laboriously tick off each point. Being able to quickly and efficiently build a shelter could make the difference between life or death.

Types of shelter

The simplest way to divide the various shelters is by type, as separating them by environment would be a task in the impossible. I’ve broken them down into five distinct categories, with a “bonus” chucked in at the end (it didn’t fit in the other categories and I thought it should be included).

• Modern                                                   • Debris

• Natural                                                   • Snow

• Sand                                                        • (bonus) Shell-scrape or scout pit

Modern Shelters

An umbrella term for any shelter (emergency or not) comprised of man-made materials. It could be a tarp, poncho, bivouac/“bivvy” bag, emergency blanket, group shelter, tent or even a trash bag. Each item has their pros and cons; you should understand the nuances of them before you make a decision on what to carry:

Tarp & Poncho

Pros

• Small & lightweight.

• Flexible.

• Easy to make.

• Inexpensive.

• Some set-ups are very quick and   easy to build.

• Can cook underneath it.

• Poncho’s can also be worn.

Cons

• Requires buying & carrying extra equipment (walking pole, paracord & pegs)

• Sometimes reliant on other factors (nearby trees)

• Requires a good knowledge of the environment (prevailing winds & rain).

• More exposed to the elements.

• Some complicated set-ups.

• More comfortable when used with a bivvy bag.

Bivvy bag

Pros

• Small & lightweight.

• Covers a wide range of budgets. From super cheap, bulky (but incredibly hard wearing) ex-military bags to ultra light, ultra expensive ones.

• Low-impact – can make you feel like you’re a part of nature.

Cons

• When used by itself it can leave you exposed to the elements.

• Best combined with a “roof”.

Emergency blanket

Pros

• Cheap

• Incredibly small & lightweight

• Can be used as signalling device by reflecting the sun’s rays.

Cons

• Provides very little protection

• Always feel a little too small – and I’m short at 5′ 7”!

• Will require additional shelter to be comfortable.

Group shelter

Pros

• Comes in a variety of shapes and sizes. From small 2-man shelters to 10+.

• Completely weatherproof

• Generally small and lightweight.

• Inexpensive.

• Cosy

Cons

• You’re in a large, unstructured bag. It will feel claustrophobic.

• Uncomfortable for long periods of time.

Tent

Pros

• Weatherproof – high quality tents are able to resist huge storms.

• Cosy

• Good for spending long periods of time in.

• Covers a wide-range of budgets.

• Can be lightweight.

• Can cook in the porch.

• Space to stash gear inside.

Cons

• Higher-end tents are expensive.

• Pegs can be lost, poles can be broken.

• Can be heavy and bulky.

• Removes you from nature.

• Confining

Trash bag

Pros

• A 50-pack can be bought for a few dollars.

• Small and lightweight.

• You can do your bit for the planet and remove any rubbish you find.

Cons

• It’s a trash bag.

• Tear easily.

• They don’t breath. Condensation will build-up inside it.

Here’s a video on how to build a trash bag shelter.

 

How to make a survival shelter

Deciding which shelter to take is tricky. Going into woodland and want to be in touch with nature? Take a tarp and bivvy. Going on an expedition? Bring a tent and possibly a group shelter, depending on the activity. Want to have a “just in case”. The emergency blanket is made for that very reason.

For anything other than an unplanned bivvy (read: the sh*t has hit the fan), you’ll also want to supplement your shelter with a sleeping bag and pad. How hot or cold you run, the environment and the time of year will decide the weight of the sleeping bag and the thickness of the pad.

Your tent comes with instructions, the group shelter and emergency blanket are self-explanatory and you just climb into a bivvy bag or trash bag. The tarp, though, will require a bit of research. When properly set-up and combined with a bivvy bag, it can provide the perfect cocoon against the elements. Weathering a bad storm in one is exciting, lying there on a cloudless night in one is beautiful and each and every time is memorable. Have you guessed that it’s my favorite option?

The most common ways of setting up a tarp are:

• The A-Frame

• The Lean-to

• The Wedge

It may look like origami on a grand scale, but with a bit of practice in your backyard you should be able to get one set-up in a few minutes – which is a handy skill to have if you want some cover whilst you cook. You may have also noticed that the set-ups all require additional items such as paracord, pegs or a walking-pole. It’s simple enough to fashion walking-pole and peg replacements out of wood; however it’s worth carrying some cord with you, as creating it from natural materials is an unnecessary faff.

If you get caught-out without a sleeping bag and roll-mat, don’t be tempted to just lie directly on the floor. I’m not sure if you remember conduction and convection, back in the days of high school physics? Either way, you’ll get to fully experience them as you slowly shiver your way through the night. Place some branches in a bed-shape on the ground, lay a stack of pine boughs/leaves/grass/whatever-you-can-find on top of them, put every scrap of clothing you have on, pile more dry material on top and inside your bivvy bag or emergency blanket and you’ll be good to go. You may find it prickly, itchy and uncomfortable but it beats freezing to death.

When going with any of these options, you’ll find it handy to carry around a survival knife to navigate nature to get all the things you need to make your survival shelter. Fortunately, we have already done most of the heavy lifting research for you and boiled down our favorite knives in our guide best survival knife.

How to make a Debris Shelter

A couple of sticks, a few boughs, a scattering of leaves and ta-dah. Something you can weather the apocalypse in. Well, almost.

The debris shelter is a beautiful thing. Easily and quickly built, a well made one can keep you warm, dry and feeling immensely smug with yourself. Everybody has their own reasons for wanting to be able to build one. My ones are:

• I wanted to lighten my pack.

• I want to be more self-sufficient.

• I like their aesthetic.

• Bragging rights.

I’m going to go out on a limb and say that you agree with at least one or two of the points on that list. If you’re just getting started the two most useful shelters are the:

• Lean-to

• A-frame or double lean-to

Here’s a video that starts with a lean-to how-to and transitions into an A-frame.

Considering that the A-frame is quite literally two lean-to’s built against each other, you can learn something incredibly simple that has a huge amount of impact; both in your routine excursions into the outdoors and (far more importantly) if you ever get into an emergency situation and have to build one “for real”. Whenever you decide to build a debris shelter, I thoroughly recommend getting started as early as possible. The better it is, the happier you’ll be.

The fire reflector

A useful addition to either your tarp shelter or your debris shelter the fire reflectorcontains that “lost heat” from the other side of the fire and throws it back at you. A semi-circular wall built out of wood, stone or mud that encircles the opposite side of the fire; it may take a bit of time, effort and extra-resources to make, but it saves you from collecting even more firewood, makes your shelter warmer and is particularly useful when starting a fire as it helps block wind.

Here’s a video on how to build a fire heat reflector.

Using Natural Shelters

Caves, overhangs and rocky formations have been used as shelter by homo sapiens for tens of millennia. Providing protection from the elements, dangerous animals and each other, our ancestors realized the importance of working with nature rather than against it. Whilst out hunting for the perfect camping spot, make note of any natural formations and features that you think could be useful, whilst still being aware of the 5 W’s. Rocky overhangs, fallen trees and natural dips and depressions all make excellent starting points for your shelter.

With the exception of caves, you’ll almost certainly want to build a structure against whichever tree, overhang or cliff you’ve found. I’ve found that the most efficient is the modified lean-to. With it’s “back” to the prevailing wind, the other side built parallel to the shelter and using the natural feature as a fire reflector, you’ll have yourself an incredibly snug shelter. If you’re using a fallen tree as the “base” to your camp, you must keep the fire small and controlled. Bear in mind that you’re inside a giant tinderbox and it’s just desperate to go up in flames. Unless you’re a wannabe arsonist, you should also ensure that fire is fully out when you leave your camp. The test: Can you scatter the ashes with your bare hands? Yes? You’re good to go. No? Keep smothering the fire with water, sand, earth or whatever else you have to hand until you can.

Please note that if you’re in a cave, or enclosed area, you should make an effort to clear out the various flora and fauna – unless you like the idea of sharing a small space with them, of course. A small fire in the entrance should do the trick; smoking out any unwanted critters. Also, please be aware that snakes and scorpions are mostly nocturnal. As day breaks they will try and find shelter and warmth; whether that’s you, your bag or your shoes. Top tip: hang your bag up, leave your boots upside down on a couple of poles overnight and give them a good shake out in the morning.

Making Snow Shelters

In winter you’ll sometimes find that a tarp or debris shelter just isn’t enough. Whether it’s because you can’t find enough dry material under the snow, you’re too cold or there’s a storm coming in and you want to completely remove yourself from it, a snow shelter is your best bet. Your two best options are either the quinzhee – a close relative of the igloo – and the snow cave. Which one you build depends on your situation. On a hill or mountain side and can find deep enough snow drifts? Build a snow cave. They’re less time consuming and simpler. In woodland, grassland or can’t find deep enough drifts? Better start mounding up some snow, you’re building a quinzhee.

You may wonder why I haven’t bothered mentioning the igloo as a survival shelter; they’ve kept the Inuits alive for millenia, after all. The problem is is that they require incredibly specific conditions, which you’re unlikely to find outside of the Arctic Circle. “Normal”, loose, powdery snow isn’t enough. The snow required to build an igloo is so compact it’s like styrofoam.

Snow, surprisingly, is great at keeping you warm. You can expect the inside of your shelter to hover around 0°C (32°F) even if it’s down to -17.7°C (0°F) outside. By adding a cold well/trench, pine boughs to sit on and a small candle, you can make the shelter even more comfortable. I really must re-iterate the importance of having a couple of small airholes poked into the roof of your shelter. If you don’t do make them – under the assumption that they make you colder – you will end up suffocating.

How to make a sand shelter

Building a shelter in the desert or beach brings it’s own unique set of challenges. It has to keep you cool in the day, warm at night and I’m sure you’ve built enough sand-castles in your life to realize how terrible sand is to build with.

Unfortunately that does mean you’re reliant on having brought a shelter with you. Whether it’s a tarp, some canvas or a sheet woven from goats hair (the material Bedouin’s use to make their tents), you can use a few poles and create a double-layered roof. If you don’t have any poles and can’t find any sticks, you’ll be stuck with the sand pit.

How to make a Shellscrape Shelter (A.K.A The Scout Pit)

A perennial favorite of the Armed Forces, the shellscrape is a hole dug into the ground which is then covered with either branches and earth or a tarp. A desperate solution, and only one I can recommend if you have a chance of taking enemy fire, they apparently they keep you warmer in winter and cooler in summer. However I’ve only ever experienced abject misery in them, as they always seem to fill up with rain water.

Here’s a video on how to build a basic scout pit.

A few useful tips:

• Orientate yourself. If you discover, in the middle of the night, that there’s a disparity between how much wood you’ve collected and how much you’re going to need, you’ll have to leave your shelter and collect some more. You DO NOT want to get lost, tangled or hurt. Before it gets dark take note of your surroundings, remove any easily-removed hazards and be aware of the rest.

• Be efficient. Carry as much as you can, don’t do things in dribs and drabs and don’t get distracted.

 Set a timer. Related to the previous point; in a real-life situation time is valuable. Don’t spend six hours building a shelter, one should be fine for something basic. Got a few fishing hooks or traps? Set them out immediately. Anything you can do to make your time go further should be done.

• Be flexible. Just because you learnt something in X-way doesn’t mean it will suit Y-situation. Make best use of your environment, it won’t change for you.

• Practice makes perfect. You heard it here first, folks. It’s ok to discover that your new super-shelter leaks like a sieve in your backyard. Discovering that in the middle of a storm in the backcountry? Pass.

• Never stop learning. Does what it says on the tin. If Les Hiddins, Mors Kochanski and Ray Mears are still discovering new (or very, very old in some cases) things, so should you be.

• Layer your clothing. Plan, experiment and understand what the best clothing system is for you. What you wear will change with the season (sorry for being patronizing), even so it’s always good to be prepared and have a few emergency items with you. I nearly always carry a woolly hat, some gloves, a lightweight down jacket and a shell jacket.

• Carry a notebook. They’re just darned useful. Write down a few essential notes (the “Rule of 3” and the “5W’s” springs to mind”), have your route-plan in it, sketch a bit. You get the idea.

• Tell friends or family where you’re going. It’s good to know that if something bad happens and you miss your return date, your friends and family will notify the appropriate authorities and send people out to look for you.

Would you be able to survive?

The majesty of nature is undeniable, but you mustn’t get complacent. As soon as you do you’ll be bitten in the bum. Always be aware of yourself, take note of your surroundings and – most importantly – be prepared.

The Rule of 3

Before we get started you may want to (re)familiarize yourself with the “Rule of 3”. A useful generalization, it helps you prioritize your time and resources in a survival situation. It states that you won’t last:

• 3 seconds without the right attitude

• 3 minutes without oxygen

• 3 hours without shelter (maintaining your core body temperature)

• 3 days without water

• 3 weeks without food

Morbid, I know. Yet it really drives home how important shelter is – it’s second only to breathing! It may be tough to push water and food (in that order) to the back of the queue, but without some form of shelter, hypothermia (being too cold) or hyperthermia (being too hot) will be very real dangers.

Your home away from home

The perfect shelter should:

• Suit the environment and the materials you have available.

• Be (reasonably) simple to build.

• Be weatherproof.

• Be tough.

It may sound easy, and it is, but building the perfect shelter requires a certain amount of nuance and skill. Your first few will most likely resemble a cross between a crows nest and a compost heap.

First things first; where to start building:

The 5 W’s of shelter building

Like all real-estate, it’s all “location, location, location”. Choosing the site of your shelter is as important – if not more so – as the actual building of it. Choose well and you’ll plenty of materials close to hand, you’ll be protected from the elements and you’ll be comfortable. Choose poorly and at best you’ll have a lot of walking to do. At worst you could be killed by falling debris or caught out by a flash flood.

The 5W’s” is an easy way to remember what to look for:

1. Wood – An all encompassing term that covers wood, leaves, pine boughs and other natural materials. Necessary if you don’t have a modern shelter and useful even if you do. Wood can be used to build the foundations and structure of your shelter, and the other natural materials can used as insulation and bedding.

2. Water – More important than food (remember the Rule of Three?), you need to stay hydrated. Build your shelter close to running water, not next to it, as you don’t want to be drained dry by mozzies or find a herd of moose wandering through your camp. Even if you think the water is clean, sterilize it anyway. Boil it, use chlorine/iodine or have a filter. My personal favorite is the Life Straw. Light, cheap and easy to use, there’s no reason not to have one stuffed into your bag.

3. Weather – Be aware of prevailing winds, the altitude and the chance of rising water or flash flooding.

4. Wigglies – If I had a cent for every time I’ve been woken up in the middle of the night, thinking I’m about to be dragged to Hell by a 37-headed giraffe and discovering it’s a badger… Well I’d almost be able to buy a single Slim Jim. In all seriousness, if you have an inkling you’ll disturb any sort of insect, mammal or reptile avoid building your shelter there. Remember that herd of moose looking to get to their beloved drinking spot? They won’t stop for your pile of sticks and leaves to get there and mommy-moose will be very angry if she thinks you’re a threat to her baby.

5. Widowmakers – Make sure you don’t build your shelter under or near anything that could fall and crush you (rock fall, tree branches, etc). Some trees can be dead standing – likely to fall at the merest hint of a gale. Generally, dead trees will have mushrooms and other fungi on them, making them easy to identify. If you still aren’t sure, give it a tap with the back of your axe or with a hefty stick; the difference in sound between a live tree and dead one is quite noticeable. Also be aware that certain trees will still shed their very large, very heavy branches even when healthy (e.g. beech trees).

Ultimately there will be some compromises. It’s better to choose an OK area earlier on in the day, and get settled, than it is to search for the perfect campsite well into the evening. You’ll end up building a ramshackle shelter, you’re more likely to hurt yourself and you’ll end-up stressed and in the wrong mindset.

Do you have any items you don’t leave the house without? Got any questions about any themes covered in this article? Where’s your favorite place to get away from it all? Let us know in the comments below.

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The Lost Ways – A Book Review

 The Lost Ways

The Lost Ways

When I first ordered The Lost Ways book I wasn’t sure what I could learn from it. I was raised on a Montana cattle ranch by grandparents who still did things the old school way. So to be honest I was a little skeptical. However, I felt it was something I needed to read if I was going to put a link on our site.

The Lost Ways Arrives

The book arrived on a Monday this was a busy time here on the homestead we were expecting the first real snow of the winter to hit this week so we were busy preparing for it. When the snow arrived we were ready for a break. Firewood has been cut and stacked, repairs made to the chicken coop and the goat shed.  There is constant work to be done on a homestead but it isn’t until the weather threatens that you realize how much you still have to get done.

Back to the book. So it was Friday evening when I set down to browse The Lost Ways. You can check the table of contents and pick out the things you are most interested in. I began this way but later read the entire book cover to cover.

Much of the material I had learned growing up but had forgotten over the years. Memories of my childhood flooded back my grandmother’s kitchen, making and learning to use snowshoes with my grandfather. What good times those were. We use many of the suggestions in The Lost Ways book on the homestead today. I wish I had this book 20 years ago when we started building our off-grid life would have saved a lot of time and resources. You will find everything from cooking with cast iron to making snowshoes and water wheels. You will learn about tanning hides and, beer making. How to build a smokehouse to navigating using the stars and so much more

How would I rate The Lost Ways

On a scale of 1 to 10, it is an 11. This book belongs in any homesteaders or preppers library. If you are new to homesteading or prepping this book is invaluable. For the experienced, you may learn something new I did.

click on the picture below to watch the video or to purchase The Lost Ways Today

The Lost WaysThe Lost Ways 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Must Have Bug Out Bag Essentials

must have bug out bag essentials

 

This post Must Have Bug Out Bag Essentials originally started out as a checklist for our website. But as it grew I knew I would end up turning it into a post so here it is hope you enjoy.

Must Have Bug Out Bag Essentials

We will list the Must Have Bug Out Bag Essentials first on our list and then what we feel are important items to add.

First of all, you will want a way to carry your must have bug out bag essentials in either a bag or pack. You want your pack to be sturdy, durable and preferably with an internal frame. Choose a pack that is of neutral color Black, brown, do not choose a bright color pack or bag.  Look at the packs listed here one of our favorites is the  Monkey Paks Tactical Backpack with Hydration Water Bladder.

Also, check these packs and bags.

small-tachtacle, Bug Out Bag Essentials, Must Have Bug Out Bag Essentials

Bug Out Bag Essentials, Must Have Bug Out Bag Essentials

Bug Out Bag Essentials, Must Have Bug Out Bag Essentials

Must Have Bug Out Bag Essentials

Water

Staying hydrated is an essential part of survival. You will need at minimum one liter a day for each person in your group. Water can be carried with water bottles or canteens. Collapsible water bottles will save space in your pack. If you choose a pack with a hydration system your one step ahead. You will also need water filters or another way to purify your water. Find water bottles, filters, and purification supplies in addition to other hydration needs.

Water Bottles, Filters and Purification 

Shelter

While water is first on our list shelter is one of the most important must have bug out bag essentials.  For shelter, you will want something to protect you from the weather rain, snow, the wind and the sun. While shelter can be anything from a garbage bag or a cabin in the woods. A shelter is also clothing, sleeping bags and or blankets. Tarps make great temporary shelters drape it over a rope or tree limb and you have a quick shelter.

Look at this article in Boy’s Life Magazine on building shelters.   You want to consider lightweight backpacking tents also emergency shelters like tube tents.   Finally look at lightweight backpacking sleeping bags as part of your shelter needs.

Heat and Fire Starting

A heat source will be necessary for not only keeping you warm but for cooking and purifying water. You will need at least 3 ways to start a fire. Rubbing two sticks together is a great skill to have but not always practical. Bic lighters, magnesium fire starters, and waterproof strike anywhere matches are all great choices. Add a few of these fire starters to your Bug Out Bag Essentials.

You will also want to consider body warmer pads these pads will give sustainable heat for up to 24 hours. You can use these pads with a lightweight sleeping bag or wool blanket and sleep warm all night. Body Warmer Pads

Food

This would be obvious right? Guess how many people don’t think of it? Because the bug out bag is normally designed for 72 hours some people don’t think of food as a necessity. We’re here to tell you food is necessary for a survival situation. You’re burning calories and energy so you will need to replace those. Many members of our team only carry some beef jerky and food bars.  This is fine for one or two people but traveling with children you will want something more substantial. Try these freeze-dried foods for great taste and nutrition. You will also find a wide selection at your local outdoors store or Wal-mart.

First Aid 

This is where we are not medical professionals and that you should take a basic first aid course. Contact the American Red Cross or your local Red Cross chapter for more information. Also, make sure you have all the prescribed medications you or your family may need in your bag.

After you have taken the basic first aid course make sure you have a good First Aid Kit. You will also want a good first aid manual to refer to.  Recommended First Aid Manual.  Also Recommended First Aid Kits. Also, see this post-Basic Medical Kit For Your Bug Out Bag

Protection, Security and the Proper Mindset

This is a very personal thing and you need to consider it carefully. No matter what weapon you choose, get to know it well Your life could depend on it. If you choose a firearm, get training on how it works, how to clean it, and how to use it properly.

Keep in mind that any weapon is there to protect you and members of your group so choose well. And most noteworthy of all is the proper mindset. If you don’t feel you can take another life to protect yourself or family you won’t last long post SHTF.

Survival Tools

Survival tools include Knives, machete, ax or hatchet, and of course the ever popular multi-tool. Check out Northwest Survival Supply for all your survival gear needs

Light

A good LED flashlight comes in real handy and might just save your life or someone close to you. Always have extra light sources and batteries ready for when one fails. Everyone on our team carries a headlamp for hands-free operation and at least two other light sources.

Suggestions would be Miniature flashlights, Keychain lights, and as already mentioned headlamps.

Clothes

Include in this section hats, wool socks, rain gear or poncho, underwear. Also short and long sleeve shirts, extra pants preferably not jeans. Layers work best so that you can add or subtract as needed.

Hygiene

especially relevant here is you are in a crisis SHTF situation and hygiene practices are important. In this type of situation, diseases can be spread  and  staying healthy is of the up most importance.

Hygiene items to include are hand sanitizer, toilet paper, soap, wet naps, and don’t forget sanitary needs for women in your group. Also, include a toothbrush and toothpaste, and any other items you might think of.

Communication

In any survival situation, you can’t always count on your cell phone to be working so you will need someway get news and communicate with your group.

Because you will want to keep in touch and know what is happening we recommend the following communication gear.

KAITO KA500 VOYAGER SOLAR RADIO. Operate on 3 AA batteries, hand crank or solar and weighs in at less than 3 pounds.

KAITO KA350 VOYAGER TREK SOLAR/CRANK AM/FM/SW NOAA WEATHER RADIO FLASHLIGHT.One of the best parts about this radio is it can be charged 3 different ways. You can charge it with the simple dynamo hand-crank. Or set out in the sun and the solar panel will charge the built-in battery. You can even plug it in and charge it via USB. Plus the built-in lithium rechargeable battery will even help you charge other USB powered devices (like cellphones) with ease, meaning you’ll never be without the ability to use your favorite portable electronics.

Another communication tool you will need is communication within your group. So we suggest high-powered handheld radios like the ones here.

Those were all the must have bug out bag essentials we keep in our bug out bags. the heaviest bag in our group weighs in at 38.5 Lbs. and includes a few extra items. Below you will find a few miscellaneous item you will also want to include in your own bag.

Other Must Have Bug Out Bag Essentials

Miscellaneous

  • Compass
  • Maps of the area
  • Very loud whistle (especially for children)
  • Paracord
  • Duct tape
  • Fishing line and assorted hooks
  • Extra batteries
  • Wire for making snares
  • Sewing kit
  • Sun Glasses
  • Reading Glasses
  • Insect repellant

Consequently, this is not a comprehensive list you will add or subtract items as needed and let us know if you would like to see something added to the list.

Affiliate Compensation Disclosure. From time to time, we promote, endorse, or suggest products or services of others. In most cases, we will receive compensation – either as an affiliate with a commission based on sales or with a free product to review or use. Our recommendations are always based on (i) our personal belief in the high quality and value of the product or service, and (ii) our review of the product or service, or a prior relationship or positive experience with the sponsoring person or organization

Emergency Planning Made Easy One Month at a Time

Emergency Planning Made Easy

Emergency Planning Made Easy One Month at a Time

By Phil Cox, CEO, Legacy Food Storage

Emergency Planning Made Easy

Disaster can strike at any time, and when it does, you’ll be glad you took time to prepare for potentially challenging events. Survival experts and the Federal Emergency Management Association recommend planning for emergency situations, but knowing how to get started without exhausting your budget can be overwhelming—often so much so that you don’t even begin.

One way to start is to outline a food item or emergency supply each month in 2016, and then divide your emergency budget appropriately. By the end of the year, you’ll have a solid set of supplies to provide for your family in case of a natural disaster or even a job loss. “Which products should I start with?” you might ask. While the final order is up to you, consider following this month-by-month guide to ensure a safe 2016 and beyond…no matter what may happen.

January — Basic Nourishment. While the month is halfway over, you still have plenty of time to start with an essential supply of food and water to get you through any immediate need. Depending on the situation—severe snowstorm, electrical outage, or natural disaster—help may not be available for several days. Storing basic supplies will help make any potential emergency situation more comfortable…and potentially life saving. An easy way to obtain a several day supply of meals is a non-perishable emergency food kit with enough servings for each member of your family. Start with enough for at least three days per person, and with FEMA’s recommendations of storing one gallon of water per person per day to last at least several days.

February — Equipment. With the basics covered, now you can focus on things such as blankets, a first aid kit, flashlights, a radio, and extra batteries. You’ll also be glad you stored games, puzzles and books to keep children entertained…and their parents sane.

March — Young Children and Pets. If you have babies, young children and/or pets, you’ll want to make sure you have food specifically designed for them (such as infant formula or baby foods) and tasty enough that they will actually eat it, as well as diapers, extra clothes, etc. Stock up on extra dog, cat or even hamster food, as needed.

April — Seeds. Adding survival seeds to your food storage is an added layer of protection in your emergency preparations. As the spring planting season approaches, a seed kit will make it easy for you and your family to produce various food items for both long-term storage and use during emergency situations such as natural disasters or job loss. A quality kit includes thousands of seeds for vegetables, fruits and herbs. Be sure to buy an emergency seed kit with seeds specially stored in a way that helps them last for years with a high germination rate. Also look for kits that enable seeds to be planted indoors at any time of the year.

May — Long-term Water Needs. While you likely stored water a few months back as part of your basic nourishment purchases, plan to add even more for long-term emergency storage. While FEMA recommends one gallon per day per person for drinking and sanitation, it really isn’t enough for cooking, brushing teeth, watering seeds/plants, flushing toilets, etc. Two gallons per person per day will make emergency situations much easier. Consider purchasing food-grade water supply boxes, which will enable you to utilize your storage space efficiently, and water purification packets so you can keep your water safe to drink.

May — More Food. It’s time to purchase more food for longer needs, so add enough to feed your family for 10 days or even a month, depending on your budget. And don’t forget family members with special dietary needs. If you are vegetarian or one of your children needs to eat gluten-free because of a celiac disease diagnosis, make sure the food you purchase meets these requirements. Purchasing emergency food for a range of needs will ensure everyone in your home—family, friends and neighbors alike—can eat well during the challenging situation outside.

June — Stove and Fuel. Part of disaster preparation is having the tools necessary to prepare meals. You’ll want the option of enjoying a hot drink or the ability to boil water for freeze-dried emergency foods that need hot water. Consider a multi-fuel stove that is easy to set up and can quickly be folded flat so it can be stored in small places. Don’t forget a lighter or matches. There are also inexpensive heat sources such as diethylene glycol fuel cans that provide instant heat and burn cleanly, smoke-free and without odor for up to four hours.

July — Hurricane, Earthquake or Cold Weather Kits. As hurricane and storm season approaches, depending on your location, consider purchasing an emergency kit that you can take with you depending on your situation. A hurricane “bug-out” kit, for example, may include a basic first aid kit, hygiene kit, 2-man tent, food and water purification tablets in a heavy-duty backpack while a cold weather kit may add fire-starters, a stove, reflective blankets and hand warmers. Just grab them and go.

August — School Essentials. Consider stocking up on school supplies with the school year approaching. While they might not seem like emergency essentials, they will be when school starts later this month, and you can add pencils, crayons and paper to your emergency kits so your children will always have them available, even in an emergency.

September — Practice a Plan. In the U.S., September is National Preparedness Month, so what better time for you and your family to review disaster planning and drills for various challenging situations. Check that you have needed supplies stored and that each family member knows what to do in events such as flooding, tornadoes, extreme winter storms, extreme heat, wildfires or civil unrest. You may wish to discuss as a family which type of disasters are most likely to occur in your area. Also, plan to rotate your water, which is recommended every six months.

October — Vehicle Safety. With winter approaching, make Halloween your deadline for placing emergency supplies in your car in case of upcoming snowstorms or even a breakdown in a rural area. Be sure to keep your car stocked with some long-term emergency food, water and blankets. These supplies will help keep you and your passengers more comfortable should you be stranded in the cold. If you want to be even more prepared, stock your car with a first aid kit, flares and jumper cables. Other auto tips: keep your car as full of gas as possible at all times so you don’t have to fill up during an emergency, when lines might be long, or if stranded in the cold, so you can keep your heater running for longer.

November — Auto Kits. If you feel vulnerable while stranded after engine trouble or a tire blowout, an auto safety kit in your car can provide protective gear against a potential attacker. A kit from an emergency supplier will contain easy-to-use, non-lethal protection solutions.

December — Review. You’ve made a list throughout the year, so now is the time to check it twice. What might you be missing that you would need or simply want during a disaster survival situation? Then plan out how you will add to your supplies throughout the next year.

Getting started with emergency planning can be the hardest part, so following some sort of schedule that helps you stay organized and on budget will go a long way in helping make any emergency situation as comfortable as possible.

Stay safe. Happy planning.

Planning Pays Off

planning pays off

Planning Pays Off

In this post, we will explain how and why planning pays off.

In early January our area got hit with a massive dumping of snow we were totally isolated for about 10 days until we could dig out. Luckily for us, we were prepared.  We have prepared for just about any type of emergency this is one time we are glad we did. Yes, that is our house in the photo can you imagine what it would have been like if we hadn’t been prepared? Our driveway is over a mile long we had to walk out if we were going anywhere. One of the neighbors finally got the drive open using his D5 dozer.

Food, Water, and Power

The satellite and solar panels were buried lucky for us the wind generator and our backup propane generator was working. We have approximately a 2 year supply of food storage and water is stored in two 500 gallon storage tanks. Also, we have run off storage I think those tanks will be full when this stuff begins melting.

We are still pretty deep but thanks to our little community of friends, family and our own planning we have survived the worst winter we have had in the 24 years we have lived up here we are warm and comfortable. Now if summer would just get here.

The first thing I tell anyone who asks how to prepare is to have a plan. Planning pays off when the SHTF or you just caught in a snowstorm.

Visit one of the preparedness shows we list on our show and expo page and learn more about how to prepare for your next emergency.

For your survival gear needs visit Northwest Survival Supply

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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