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Winter Survival Kit for Your Vehicle

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Winter Survival Kit for Your Vehicle

You should always keep a supply of necessary gear in your car. That goes double during the winter. I suppose that the high heat of summer is a close second, but the extreme chills of the frozen season can kill you if you’re not prepared. (Okay, where I live and points even further south, it might be the heat. But, for most of you, don’t let Jack Frost carjack your winter motoring.

It’s a sensible video from Sensible Prepper! Sootch and SP run down some of the must-have items for keeping your auto survival kit winter-worthy. Let’s see what’s in store.

The Joys of the Road…

(All pics from video).

Look at all that fun! It makes me want to jump in the battlewagon and head to the nearest megalopolis. Not! 

Yeah, okay, that’s bad and all. But it could always get worse.

Yikes! Now, imagine that it’s just you, run off the icy road, and those friendly first responders are nowhere to be seen. Imagine you’re all alone and your survival depends on you and the supplies you have on hand. Today’s video was inspired by the harrowing experience of a Nevada family, stranded far from help and in the grips of winter. Sootch goes into how that family survived.

You can make it out of a similar scenario. But, you’ll need your wits and some expertise. You need a winter car kit!

Buy It, Build It, Just Have It

It’s not a huge kit, but it covers all of the basics. The presentation runs quickly through the gear, taking it by groups rather than purely by individual items. You can see much of what’s in it from that picture. Or, from this one:

We may take some of this slightly out of order. And, by the way, at approximately 3:51 in, there’s a cautionary image about what NOT to do, but for the life of me, I can’t see anything wrong with it… You?

Here goes!

GEAR

Clothing

Obviously, you’ll be wearing something when you leave the house, hopefully, something warmer than the girl at 3:51. But, additionally, you might want to have some backups just in case. Boots and maybe another pair of socks will come in handy if you have to trek about in the snow. 

A hat or two wouldn’t hurt either, something like a stocking cap to keep the old noggin warm while you’re planning your escape or camp. Waterproof and insulated gloves are a must as well. If you’re not sure you’ll have an adequate coat literally on you, then consider throwing an older model in the kit. 

Here, a note: if it’s you AND the family, then prepare a little something for everyone.

Food and Water

This is critical in any season, with or without a car. No food, no making it past a few weeks – and most of that time will be sluggish and miserable. No water, and no nothing after a few days. Always keep clean water, or the ability to pump and purify clean water, along with at least a minimal amount of high-energy foods on hand.

Next…

Okay, I’ll level with you. 3:51 is this: don’t do this:

(Sootch, Sootch, Sootch…)

DO NOT go driving around with an “Ontario” plate frame for Pete’s sake, okay!

Other Items

One blade may not be enough. Carry two. The same may (or may not) go for the following:

Prybar;

Tarp;

Thermal blanket;

Flashlight;

Firestarter(s);

First Aid; and,

Signaling equipment.

Glow sticks are great, but a flare gun is brighter and higher. Also consider another kind of gun – just in case, you know. There’s much more, so now, please,

Watch the Video:

Sensible Prepper / YouTube.

Give it a “like” and a share. And, heed the advice if your car is lacking any of the covered items.

Sensible Prepper Channel. 

654,000 preppers can’t be wrong. Help them jump up to 700K. For the assistance, you’ll get video after video about nearly everything known about prepping and survivalism. If you’re on, then check some of those social channels as well. Spread the word, friends.

And come on back, here, for more on our Winter 2020 Prep Series and more! As always, thanks and we’ll see you next time!

Writes​​ ​​about​​ ​​freedom ​​and​​ ​​more​​ ​​​​at www.perrinlovett.me​​​​.​​ ​​His weekly National Affairs Column - never a dull read - appears at The Piedmont Chronicles​​​​. THE SUBSTITUTE​​ is his first Novel. He​​ ​​is​​ ​​still none​​ ​​too​​ ​​fond​​ ​​of​​ ​​government​​ ​​meddling.

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11 Things to Do Immediately Following a Blackout

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The average person thinks about their career, daily routine, personal relationships, and even their vehicle, but how many of us contemplate the implications of a blackout? In some parts of the world, it is not uncommon to hear about blackouts. In fact, they occur regularly in the summer in parts of New Zealand and Australia. A blackout can happen any time. What causes a blackout?

During periods of high power use, the demand for electricity increases more than what’s available. This may cause power failures. Also called load shedding, energy providers may switch off the power for a short duration to cope. Sometimes blackouts happen due to natural disasters like bushfires, flash flooding, earthquakes, etc. 

If you live in an area that is prone to frequent environmental fluctuations, it helps to prep for a blackout.. Unfortunately, most people fail to follow this safety measure. Nevertheless, if you ever find yourself in a blackout situation, here are some things you should do immediately:

1. Evaluate your surroundings.

The power can go out for many reasons, but the best place to start is in your own home. Check to see if a defective appliance or a blown out light bulb is behind the fault. Then look outside your home into your surrounding area. If the neighbors’ homes are still receiving power, then perhaps the safety switch in your house has tripped. 

If all the neighbors’ homes are also cloaked in darkness, then check to see if the cause of the outage is visible within your area only. A power line or tree might be the culprit. If so, report it immediately to your electricity supplier. Try to stay put indoors.

2. Look for sources of lighting.

You need to be able to move around your home and property in a safe manner with another source of light. What would you use? Candles are a good and affordable option. They cast a nice glow. If you plan on using candles, beware of fire hazards. Avoid placing the candles near flammable materials. Torches with LED lights are an excellent choice because this won’t drain the batteries. Both candles and torches offer excellent nighttime visibility. Avoid using the phone torch as it may use up too much of the battery power. Since you don’t know how long the power will be gone, it’s best to save your phone battery power. Fuel-based lamps are useful during camping excursions and in blackout situations as well. If you’re facing one, now’s the best time to pull these out.

3. Practice food safety.

Many food items can quickly spoil if they’re not cooled sufficiently During the blackout, try to make sure the frozen or refrigerated food is kept cool. As a rule, if the food item is cold, then eat it. If some foods can be shifted to the freezer, then it will stay colder for a longer time. Try to keep the fridge door shut for as long as you can. This minimizes the cool air from escaping. You might consider following the 2 to 4-hour rule established by the Australian Institute of Food Safety. It recommends the following:

  • If the blackout lasts less than 2 hours, then it is safe to refrigerate and or eat the food item.
  • If the blackout lasts between 2 and 4 hours, you may still eat the food but avoid placing it back into the refrigerator.
  • If the blackout lasts for more than four hours, then throw away the food item.

In case you have doubts about eating or storing certain foods when the power is restored, then it’s best to throw the item out. Eating the food item can make your sick. Check your refrigerator’s settings to ensure that the temperature is set to low. This helps ensure the food will stay fresh for some time. In addition, there are some medications that require refrigeration. Check with your pharmacy if it is safe to take medications that aren’t refrigerated for some time.

4. Turn off all appliances.

In the event of a complete power outage, walk around your home and turn off all the appliances switches. The power may come back unexpectedly. A sudden power surge can cause significant damage to the hardware in your television, computer, laptop, etc. 

5. Use your phone cautiously.

Turn on your cell phone’s data connection to receive updates from your power supplier. Visit the supplier’s website for updates. Local news channels will likely provide information about the blackout as well. To ensure your phone battery lasts for a long time, switch it to a low battery setting. Minimize the brightness and turn off the Bluetooth and WiFi. It helps to have a portable charge at the ready and charged at all times.

6. Help your neighbors.

Check to see if your neighbors are home and okay? In case they’re an elderly couple or people with special needs, try to visit their home. It is a polite gesture to offer your help. Check to make sure they have portable sources of power. Don’t forget to check in with them in periodically in case the blackout extends for some time.

7. Find ways to pass the time.

The blackout may last a few hours, so you will have to find ways to keep your mind occupied. One of the best activities is talking. Talk to your family members. If you live alone, step outside onto your porch and have a conversation with your neighbors.

Another excellent pass time is star gazing. If you live in a bustling city or densely populated suburban locale, then outside. This is perhaps the only time you might get to see a clear sky without light pollution. Try spotting the constellations! 

8. Keep medical supplies ready.

If you don’t have information about how long the blackout will last, it is extremely beneficial to keep your first aid kit ready and accessible. In case you’re taking regular medications, i.e. for diabetes or blood pressure, ensure you have enough on hand. It also helps to have certain over-the-counter medications on hand as well such as ibuprofen/acetamenophen, cough syrup, pain balm, bandages, etc.

9. Check your windows and doors.

If the blackout hits you at night, perform a routine check of all your windows and doors to make sure they are secure. Ensure nothing is kept open. Unfortunately, theft and robberies can occur at anytime! 

10. Check your pets.

If you have house pets, make sure you know where they are at all times. If they sleep in a different room from yours, it helps to keep them close during a blackout. Ensure they’re fed and hydrated well. 

11. Evaluate your food supply.

If the blackout looks like it may go on for some time, check your food supply. If it’s safe to do so, visit your nearest store. Stock up on non-perishable food items such as the following:

  • Canned vegetables and fruit
  • Dry pasta
  • Nuts 
  • Cereals
  • Bread
  • Snacks
  • fresh fruit
  • Juice boxes
  • Dry milk powder or HTC milk
  • Water bottles
  • Pet food
  • Infant formula

Some other essential items to stock up on are:

  • toilet paper
  • bathing soap or shampoo
  • laundry detergent
  • batteries
  • hand sanitizer
  • matches
  • candles
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Excellent Ideas from an Experienced Survivalist to Homestead in an Apartment

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After watching the 1999 romantic comedy, ‘Blast from the Past,’ I had always wondered about the genius of Dr. Calvin Webber who managed 35 years in an underground shelter. His wife gave birth to an only child Adam, who ventured out into the outside world for the first time in his 35th year. The point is the film convinced its viewers very realistically that it is possible to live isolated for at least 35 years if we make meticulous plans. 

History is overloaded with numerous examples of self-sufficient lifestyles. Many communes had developed their norms to survive and maintain law and order within their secluded lands. There are many anecdotes about people living their lives without interacting with the external world. The “Lena and Ole” compilations are based on Norwegians who chose the upper lands of the Midwest as their foster homes. Here is a one-liner, 

“Ole painted the barn in July and had put on two jackets because the user manual of the paint said- Put on two coats!”

This is an inadvertent simple joke that has no ill intentions. Will Rogers once said, “Everything is funny as long as it’s happening to someone else.” Homesteading is no easy task. At the same time, it is a style that has no substitute once you get used to it. 

The Age of Information

Our generation is blessed with information at our fingertips, I mean, literally. Today a shepherd boy living in a remote African village has more information on his smartphone than was available only to the President of the United States at a certain age. My point is that the film ‘Blast from the past’ could not be conceived today nor would Ole put on two jackets to paint the barn. Homesteading is fine for people who live on “land,” but what about the inhabitants of apartments? 

The Homesteading Lifestyle

What happens in a homestead that is independent of the outside society? The inhabitants have the necessities within the confines of their boundaries for a decent existence. Let us have a look at the methods used by homesteaders to live. First we need to define the term in simple language.

An individual, a family, or a whole society can live within the set geographical limits of a designated area. We are talking about homesteading in an apartment, so let us focus on an individual or a small family. 

Definition of Homesteading in an Apartment

A single-family existing within the household compound of an apartment building to live, work, and earn can be defined as homesteading. 

This layman’s definition will give rise to a lot of questions which we shall be attempting in the content that follows. 

OK, let us now get on with living our dream life homesteading in our apartments.

A Farm Inside the Apartment

I will begin by growing my food and advance on to sophisticated produce along the way. Start small by growing your salad bowl.

i. Get hold of enough grow bags or containers. Search the net for required sizes and DIY ideas.

ii. Prepare the soil by using proper potting mix.

iii. Tomato is a good option- cherry tomato would be my suggestion. 

iv. Other plants for our salad bowl should be lettuce and basil plants. 

v. Take care of the plants with good nursing practices. Place them on the balcony where there is enough sun.

vi. Carrots can be grown inside car battery covers in the interior of the apartment.

vii. You can make organic fertilizer at home. 

You are now the proud owner of an organic farm. 

Tip: Grow lights can substitute for the sun.

Other Items I Can Grow

Once you get the hang of interior farming, we can move on to other crops. 

Strawberries: They can be grown in containers or grow bags, but need a hydroponic watering system. We will discuss that later. 

Herbs: Mints, lavender, and rosemary are good choices. They will come in handy to prepare a good cup of hot tea. They can also be used to make soaps and oils. Herbs will add flavor to many dishes. 

Micro Greens: With some quality seeds you can begin. The first harvest will provide seeds for the next. 

Sprouts: With a jar and some cheesecloth or mess top we can grow our sprouts for a stir fry or sandwich. 

A Hydroponic System

Even if you are growing food using containers and potting soil, a hydroponic system will let you increase the quantity. It avoids a lot of mess as it advocates a system of soilless farming. They come in compact designs or vertical configurations. 

They can be bought or constructed by learning the numerous DIY strategies available online. 

Manufacture Manure at Home

Organic fertilizer can be made at home by the clever utilization of food waste. Get a container with a good lid. Put some gravel and soil at the bottom. Introduce worms for worm composting. Empty all bio-degradable garbage into the container. You will get enough environment-friendly fertilizer for the farm. This method frees you from the chore of taking out the garbage. 

Tip: Do not expose the manure cans to sunlight. It can cook worms. 

Grow Mushrooms

Did you know mushrooms are grown only indoors for industrial farming? Get an edible mushroom kit to begin your first batch in a dark corner of your apartment. 

Meat On The Table

Did you wonder for a moment what crazy idea I was going to put forth? Quails!

They are very silent birds that need only very little space. They give a lot of eggs and quail meat is way above chicken, beef, and pork in its health advantages. Quails being small birds, need only a little feed, and kitchen scraps go well with them. 

Mini Solar Power House

Did you know solar panels don’t require direct sunlight? They need good lighting and it is advised to install the panels at a good spot on the patio or balcony. 

Depending upon the capacity of the panels, you can increase the number of appliances that run on solar power. They can be used for grow lights and also for pumps used in the hydroponic system. 

A Self-Reliant Life

Once we have become self-sufficient in food matters, we can think about cutting out other purchases. This will also involve income creation. Do your homework to get as many DIY ideas as possible. We can begin the process by gaining ideas by:

i. Visiting other homesteaders or communes.

ii. Joining a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) venture.

iii. Visiting farmer’s markets.

We can enrich our homesteading experience within the confines of an apartment by progressing on to a more autonomous lifestyle by integrating the following activities:

i. Do own baking for bread and other items.

ii. Learn and engage in carpentry.

iii. Do your own electric and plumbing jobs.

iv. Learn to stitch to make your garments (trust me, it is far easier than you believed.)

Before Going Shopping

Whenever the need to buy something comes up, take a few moments to ponder whether it is something you can create using your potential. Not only will you be learning a new skill, but also it may help you earn. Remember, the Wright brothers had never flown an airplane till they became the first humans to become airborne on a machine. 

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14 Top Off-Grid Projects for Survival

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Whether you’re planning to move to the Alaskan frontiers or want to live in a cabin the Vermont mountains, these off-grid living conditions will disconnect you from water and power sources.

To live off the grid, you need to know how to generate your power, collect and filter water, and even live without a sewer or septic system.

The following off-grid projects are necessary for survival in the great outdoors:

1. Collect Rainwater

Collecting drinkable water is a vital survival skill. When living off the grid, this is one skill you must master very quickly. There are a few rainwater collection projects you can set up to gather drinking water. For instance, your collection system may include roof gutters, a large capacity stacked system, a rain barrel, or a large water tank that’s buried or above ground. The amount of rainwater you can collect will depend on the amount of rainfall in your area and the size of your roof.

2. Greywater Treatment System

A greywater treatment system can route wastewater to your yard and irrigate non-food plants. What are some sources of greywater? Greywater refers to any wastewater collected from washing machines, showers, tubs, and kitchen sinks. Most of this water will contain grease, food particles, dirt, some cleaning products, and hair. You can set up a grey water treatment in your yard to ‘treat’ these contaminants. There are several types of grey water systems. Generally, gravity-based systems that don’t require filters or pumps are easy to maintain and last the longest. In case you produce excess waste water than what is required for irrigation, set up an artificial wetlands on your property. This will absorb and filter the water naturally.

3. Root Cellar and Low-tech Fridge

A root cellar is an ancient way of conserving vegetables and fruits throughout the year. The earth has a stable temperature underneath the frost line which provides ‘natural refrigeration’. This temperature keeps items like onions, potatoes, and apples, fresh throughout the year. When you move off the grid, you can set up your own root cellar using reclaimed and recycled materials. Simply bury a trash can or chest freezer into the ground.

If you prefer to be without a fridge system altogether, consider zeer pots. These are also called pot-in-pot fridges. To build one, you need two basic terracotta pots, some water and sand. One pot must be smaller in size than the other. Contents placed inside a zeer pot are cooled by a damp sandy layer between two terracotta pots. As the moisture from the sand evaporates, the inner pot is cooled. You have to keep this sand moist at all times to keep the contents of the inner pot cool. This system can keep vegetables fresh for nearly a month. It’s also effective at deterring insects. You may also store cool water in a zeer pot.

4. Mini Wind Turbine

This off grid project may seem out of reach, but it’s actually not! A mini wind turbine is an effective solution when you want to supplement your solar power. With a mini wind turbine kit you can generate up to 250 watts of energy.

5. Solar & Outdoor wood-fired oven

In the summer, temperatures can soar when you’re living off the grid. It’s too hot and humid to cook indoors, so the best way to prevent extra heat build-up in your home by cooking outdoors. Although grills are superb, a solar cooker or a wood-fired oven will allow you to bake your favourite treats as well.

You can build your own solar cooker with a windshield sun reflector or some aluminium foil and a cardboard box. With a dash of sunlight, you can prepare your food. Cob ovens are another good outdoor cooking solution. These are built using straw and mud. They get very hot and are capable of churning out pizzas in three minutes.

6. Composting Toilets

Each day, billions of litres of drinkable water is flushed down the toilet. If properly maintained, a composting toilet can transform human waste water into healthy soil. Composting toilets are easier to care for that what you expect. When you move off the grid, you can easily purchase a commercial composting toilet. If you prefer to build one yourself, you need a bucket, some carbon-dense composting materials such as shredded oak leaves, cedar chips, and sawdust, and a toilet seat. This is emptied out into a special outdoor compost bin that’s separate from a regular compost bin which produces compost for your herb and vegetable gardens.

7. Solar-powered Gadgets and Appliances

There are several opportunities to separate from the grid. You may build your own solar charger or hand-cranked gadgets like blenders and gadget chargers. You can also build your mason jar solar lights, a solar food dryer, a parabolic hot water heater, and even a solar-powered Altoid tin.

8. Greenhouse

If you’re planning to live in a colder region where the winters can be long and harsh, it would help to have a greenhouse. This will provide you with food throughout the year. A greenhouse is a superb off-grid project because it can also generate power for your home. You can use this energy to power your drip irrigation unit or even heat your home.

9. Washing Machine

Washing clothes by hand is a tough job. There’s a lot of scrubbing, wringing, and soaking involved. If you plan to live off the grid, you’re going to have to build a washing machine to facilitate this task. You can easily build a washer with a net bag, a container, and a lever-driven shaft that’s held in position with a wooden frame. The net bag is the key component because it will squeeze, agitate, and hold the clothes. A DIY washing machine requires zero electricity and relies solely on hand-cranking. After your clothes are washed, simply wring them out and hang to dry.

10. Solar Power Charger

While living off the grid, you may face a situation where your home loses complete power. In such cases, it would help to have a solar power charger. You can easily build one using a solar panel and a rechargeable battery.

11. Portable Solar Generator

A moveable solar generator is a handy tool to have when you live off the grid. Not only is this a back source of energy, but you can use it anywhere on your property, i.e. the shed, garden, backyard, etc. To build a small scale portable solar generator, you need two, 8-watt panels, an inverter, and a marine deep cycle battery. The power generated by this simple system is enough to operate a television set, a few power tools, and even a laptop.

12. DIY Humidifier

When you’re living off the grid in a cool climate region, you can expect your home to feel dry. Over time, dry air will cause sore throats, coughs, and even the flu. You can also develop dry skin, teary eyes, and allergic reactions. This generally happens in the winter when temperatures drop below zero and you turn on the heat. Once the heat goes up, the moisture dries up.

To prevent this dryness, you need to introduce humidity. A humidifier is the best solution to add moisture. To do this, place numerous house plants in your home. You can also take a large car sponge and soak it. Put it in a large ziplock bag with holes. You can place this ziplock bag in any room. The sponge will release moisture into the room. You may also opt for a fish tank. The open fish tank will release humidity into the room and generate a cool atmosphere. In addition, you get a beautiful view not to mention adds character in your home.

13. Rooftop Garden

If you don’t have room to set up a garden on your lawn, consider a rooftop garden. The concept has been around for centuries, but it was popularized just a few decades ago in Germany. A rooftop garden is basically a living plant surface on a roof structure. In this garden, there is less than 1 foot of soil is applied to your roof along with some support structures. This will enable you to grow a variety of herbs, fruits, and vegetables on top of your garage, shed, or house.

14. Passive Window Solar Heater

This simple solar heater is an excellent source of heat during the cold winters. All you need to build this off-grid project is a few pieces of Styrofoam, a can of black spray paint, and some aluminum foil. You may cut the Styrofoam to fit the window or a bit smaller so that some light will still get through. The former option will give you more heat.

When the sun is shining, the black painted portion will absorb much of the sun’s heat. Hot air has a tendency of expanding and rising. Once the hot air rises, it will leave from the top vent of your heater. This prompts a vacuum action and pulls cold air into the bottom vent of the heater. The cooler air is warmed and continues to do so until sunset.

With these 14 off grid projects for survival, you can live comfortably in your new surroundings.

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