Homesteading and Survivalism

Living a simple life

Tag: survival gear

FR-1 Survival Pouch Review

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Thank you sootch00 for posting this video review of the Maxpedition FR-1 Survival Pouch.

Product Features

  • Main: 7″ x 5″ x 3″ with full zipper opening
  • Carry handle: Yes
  • Modular webbing (front): 2 rows, 2 x 2.5″ wide channels
  • Modular webbing (sides): 2 rows, 1 channel
  • Shoulder strap (Optional accessory): Equipped with D-rings for a #9501 1.5″Â or a #9502 2″ shoulder strap, depending on your preference

When I saw this video the very first thing I though about was putting on of these FR-1 survival pouch on the outside of my Maxpedition Vulture II.   The FR-1 survival pouch looks like its large enough for topo map, GPS, compass, flashlight, cel phone and a few other odds and ends

Coleman PerfectFlow Grill review

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Coleman perfectflow stoveThis article is a review of the Coleman PerfectFlow Insta Start Grill Stove. The unit has 2 names – “grill stove”, because there are 2 burners, 1 with a stove top and the other burner has a griddle.

Last christmas I added a Coleman instant start grill to my wishlist, and sure enough someone got it for me.

The reason why I picked the grill was because of the built in griddle. That way I did not have to worry about cleaning any pots and pans, just wipe the griddle down and the stove was cleaned up.

I liked the idea of using the griddle to cook more food then can fit in a typical skillet.  With a cooking surface of 12 inches by 10 3/4 inches, a lot of bacon and/or sausage can fit on there.  The plan was to use the stove top with a small skillet to cook eggs or make toast, and use the griddle to cook bacon, boudain or sausage.


The whole purpose of buying the stove was to have a propane stove that my family can bring on camping trip to the local parks.  For camping on the river I have a small single burner stove, but the Coleman Perfectflow stove could also be brought out to the river on camping trips.

My wife and I keep a large plastic tote box filled with camping supplies.  Instead of packing liquid fuel that can spill, we decided to get a propane stove.

But that is not the way things worked out.


*Grill stove with two 10,000 BTU burners and PerfectFlow pressure control system
*1 nickel-chrome stove grate and 1 removable die-cast aluminum grill grate
*Regulates pressure of propane to provide consistent cooking performance
*Windblock side panels double as side trays when folded down
*Matchless InstaStart technology
*Grease management system with removable tray
*5-year warranty
*Dimensions: 23.5 x 15 x 6 inches

Using the Stove:

The stove has 2 burners and runs off of a 1 pound bottle of propane. On the propane adapter there is no on or off valve, and no adjustment, just connect the bottle of propane and you’re ready to go.

The Coleman instant start gill has a wind shield on each side of the burners that hold out and snap into place.

To light the stove, slightly turn on the burners and then press the light button located in the front of the stove. It took 1 – 2 presses of the light button to ignite the grills.

Standing at the stove, the griddle is to the right and the stove top is to the left. The stove is far enough from the wind shield to fit a small pan on the burner.

The griddle measures about 12 inches by 10 3/4 inches, which means you can cook a lot of hot dogs on it.

As the meat cooks, the grease drains into a grease trap located under the stove. The bad thing, the grease trap is rather small. Cooking a few pieces of sausage on the griddle almost filled up the grease trap.

After cooking on the griddle I noticed that amounts of grease had become trapped on the risers of the griddle.

Coleman PerfectFlow Insta Start Grill Stove Final thoughts:

In my opinion, I think a hot plate would have been better then a griddle, mainly due to the clean up.

Cooking on the grill was a breeze. Some of these types of gas grills have 2 adjustments – wide open or off. While cooking eggs and making toast, the grill was turned down so that it did not burn what was being cooked.

I will start looking for a hotplate to go on my Coleman instant start gill, because I do not like how the griddle is working out. If I can not find a hot plate to fit the griddle, I will probably use a skittle to cook with.

If I were going to buy this stove again, I would probably just buy a unit with 2 burners, instead of a burner and a griddle.

Post your comments in this forum thread about the Coleman instant start grill.

Calm before the panic buying

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Calm before the SHTF panic stormThere is enough fear mongering these days without my help.  With that in mind, please remember that this article is just my personal opinion and it not meant to interpreted as fact.

I feel that we are in a calm before the storm. Not necessarily a SHTF storm, but a panic buying storm.

From August 2011 until the first part of 2012:

August and September:  Kids are starting back to school in the next few days, parents are having to buy back to school supplies, clothes, meet the teachers and get their kids shots caught up. Right “now” parents have a lot to think about and worry about besides prepping.

Labor day: is right around the corner.

October:  Halloween in October.

October and November: Hunting season starts.

November – thanksgiving.

December – Christmas and then New Years.

People have stuff to keep their minds occupied until the first part of 2012. After the turn of the year, I look for people attention to turn towards world events and the direction this nation is going.

After new years I think is when the panic buying mode is going to kick in – and especially after people start getting their income taxes back.

2012 – As 2012 progresses and the election season turns hostile, there is going to be a lot of propaganda on TV and the internet about the various people running for office. I look for this propaganda to have a side effect on the voters, and that is spreading fear through the general public.

I look for the debt talks to resume again, and I look for tension between the USA and the rest of the world (especially China) to increase.

Around April and May 2012 – is when I look for the panic buying to pick up, especially with the poor and low middle classes.  This is when people will start getting their income tax returns.  Instead of buying TVs, and other toys, people might turn to buying firearms, ammo and food.

Over the next few months (August – December 2011) people are going to be forking out money on school supplies, clothes, labor day, holidays, Christmas, new years,,,,,,,.   This is why I look for the “real” panic buying to kick in after people start getting their income taxes back in early – mid 2012.  Having to buy school supplies and getting ready for the holidays does not leave a lot of money for prepping.

My personal plan, and I am not suggesting that people do this, but buy whatever long term food supplies you can afford. If you have been thinking about buying #10 cans of freeze dried foods, please do so.

One of the issues with buying SHTF survival gear, it leaves less money for other stuff. Do not overspend on preps. Whenever possible, put money into a rainy day fund. If the federal government shuts the banks down, you want enough cash on hand for food and fuel.

When people start getting their income tax returns back, and have some extra money, that is when people might start buying in bulk.

Over the past few months I have been stockpiling fishing supplies like crazy. Everytime my wife and I went to the local sporting goods store I would grab some hooks, trotline string, artificial worms, extra monofilament line, new fishing pole and reel,,,,,.

On top of the fishing supplies I have been stocking up on food in mylar bags, canned goods and #10 cans.

Do I expect some kind of civil unrest, no,, or rather I hope not. With the extreme drought in Texas, crops are dying in the fields, and people are having to sell off their livestock, what kind of impact on food prices can we expect due to the failed crops, I do not know.

I want to be as honest as possible, and say right up front, I do not know what the future holds. I suspect food prices will go up, but only time will tell.

Over the next few months my preps will focus on food – and that means everything from mylar bags, to canned goods, to #10 cans of freeze dried foods.

In Short:
Save as money as possible
Buy as much food as your family can afford
Get caught up on your bills
Do not have any outstanding credit card bills
Do not have any high interest loans
Secure your possessions and your property
Communicate with your family about your plans

Post your comments in this forum thread about the calm before the storm.

Uses for trotline string

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When people hear the word “trotline”, most may think of stringing a line across a river or a slew to catch some catfish. While its true that trotline is mainly used to catch catfish, it has lots of other uses.

Jug lines – this is where some type of float is used and the trotline is tied to the float. The float floats with the current of the river or stream, and goes where nature takes it.  For most jug lines, people use 1 gallon beach bottles, noodles, or just about anything that floats and a line can be tied to it.

Braided cord – in a pinch, trotline string can be braided to make a cord. While on a camping trip back in 2008 with my kids, we brought some new hammocks with us, and the new hammocks did not have cord included to attach the hammock to a tree. Well, there we were with hammocks and no way to hang them up. So what did we do? I got a spool to trotline string out, then my kids and I took turns braiding the string into a heavier cord. we got the hammocks strung up and everything was fine.

Tie down line – Some trotline string has a rating in the 300+ pound range. A spool or two can come in handy when you need to tie down a load in the back of a truck.

Tent guide lines – left your guidelines at home, or need some longer cord, use some trotline string.

Boot laces.
Cord to hang your food bag from a tree limb.
Extra cord for the bug out location.

Barter material – lets say that some kind of long term SHTF situation happens, like the return of a plague, massive climate change,,,,,, fishing supplies could make for a good barter material.  Instead of trading for the whole spool of string, trade for 100 feet at a time.  Lets say something like 50 snap bean seed for 100 feet of line, 25 cucumber seed for 50 feet of line, 50 squash seed for 50 feet of line,,,,, and the list goes on and on.  When each spool has 300 – 600 feet of line, that gives you a lot to play with.

Rifle sling.
Knife lanyard.
Pistol lanyard.
Attaching pouches to the outside of a bug out bag.
Makeshift anchor line.
Bowline for the boat (light duty).
Tying gear to an ATV rack.
Securing game animals to the ATV.
Secure a tarp over a boat.
Securing luggage to the top of a car or SUV.

Now for a video about making jug lines with trotline string.

Cleaning up the bug out location

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survivalist camp bug out locationToday started out around 8 am with a shower, breakfast bar, and a monster energy drink.  From there my wife and I went to the local wal-mart, step daughters house, rented a carpet cleaner, sonic for a cheese burger, and the local feed and fertilizer store.

From the feed store, we went to the camp to meet up with my parents and some other family members.  After arriving at the camp, we cleaned out a spot for my uncles RV.  My uncle and my aunt got on the hunting lease with my family, so their going to be parking their RV at my parents place.  We had one person on a Craftsman chainsaw, one person on a pole saw, and 3 people pulling limbs out of the way.

Some of my observations:

The soap dispensers that I brought to the camp worked well.  We have 2 dispensers at the kitchen sink and master bedroom sink.

We need some more had tools.  My dad was working on the lawnmower and needed some tools.  We had enough to get the job done, but some extras would not hurt.

My mom found an LED flashlight that had been left outside.  Someone used the light to turn on the propane tank, and left the light outside.  One good thing, even after being left outside in the rain, the light still worked.  I have no idea how long the ;light had been outside, but it still worked.

I will probably buy a couple more

We need more hand tools, such as machetes, axes, shovels,,,, stuff like that.  Lets say that some kind of long term SHTF situation happens, we will need hand tools to work the fields.  What good does seed do, if you have no way to work the ground.

The ammunition stockpile looks good – we have several boxes of 223, 7.62×39, 30-30, 308, 30-06, 270, 280 and 22 long rifle.

Pistol ammo, I would like to have some more of are 9mm, 45 acp and 40S&W.

Rifle ammo, I would like to have some more 30-30, 9mm and 308, but that is just something I am going to have to work on.

Shotgun ammo, we could probably use some more #4 shot and some 00 buckshot.

But over all, if my family had to bug out to the camp, ammunition should not be an issue.  Ammunition is one of those things that you can not have enough of.

Now for a random video about survival gear:

On the topic of the ammunition stockpile, I would like to buy a set of shelves and move all of the ammo together in one location. Right now there are boxes spread out through 3 different rooms. The ammo needs to be centralized in one location.

While at the camp I thought about stockpiling diesel for the tractor. There are certain issues with stockpiling diesel, but having diesel for the tractor could really help kick start a garden. Instead of having to work the first garden by hand, we could use the tractor to work up 2 or 3 acres. Having 2 or 3 acres of land that has been worked up by a tractor could really help out in a long term SHTF situation. As for stockpiling diesel at a bug out location, I do not have an answer.

One of my big concerns is safe drinking water.  Even though I have a Royal Berkey that I keep at the camp, I do not think that a 2 filter unit could keep up during the summer time.  I might have to buy a couple more filters, so that the Royal Berkey is filtering though 4 filters.

We have a water well, but the well is not used enough to keep the water clean.

Our other water source is a nearby stream.  The issue is that people living up steam have livestock.  The run off from the livestock could introduce waterborne infections like Cryptosporidium and E. Coli.

While I was at the camp I made sure to water the oak trees that I am trying to grow.  The oak trees are part of my long term survival plans, as I want a natural setting that draws wild hogs and deer into a certain area of a field.  The field is overlooked by a deer stand, so anything that crosses the field should be easy pickings.

We had a slight injury Saturday, when some ran into a leveling blade that was attached to the tractor.  The first aid kit was used, and a bandage was applied.

Overall, it was nice visiting with my uncles and aunts. Hopefully I can learn from this trip to the bug out location and can improve on the essentials that we may need to survive a long term SHTF situation.


How to organize a tackle box

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How to organize a tackle box survival fishing supplies Last night I was going through my tackle box trying to get it a little better organized. The problem was that I had hooks and weights spread out over different section of the tackle box. The top of the box is mostly lures and a few weights and hooks. With the bottom of the box being an assortment of different hooks, weights and other supplies.

Some of the lures in the top of the tackle box include rattle traps, crank baits, beetle spins, and a couple of tiny torpedoes.

After looking through my tackle for a little while, I realized that I fish for about 3 different types of fish – perch, bass and catfish.

For perch I use split weight and small hooks.  To organize my tackle box for perch fishing gear, I bought a small double sided container.  On one side of the container goes hooks, on the other side goes split weights.

Since perch stay in shallow water, I try to keep a small stock of bobbers (corks).

For bass fishing I use artificial bait, like worms and lizards.  A bottom section of the tackle box is dedicated to artificial worms, on top of the worms is a small double sided container like what I keep the perch fishing stuff in.  In this container hooks go on one side and weights go on the other side.

Unlike the round split weights for perch fishing, the weights used for bass fishing are oblong split weights used for making a Texas rig so the bait does not get hung up in the weeds.

For catfish I use a little bit larger hooks then perch fishing and some teardrop weights.  A loop is tied in the fishing line, the end of the loop is inserted through the wire on the weight, then wrapper around the end of the weight.  This makes the weight easy to take on and off the line.

The bottom of the tackle box is where most of the supplies are stored. The lid is mostly for lures, and items that are used a lot, such as finger nail clippers for cutting monofilament line fishing line. When I am using a weedless Texas rig for bass, and its cut off the line, the hook, weight and worm are usually thrown in the lid until the individual parts can be put into their storage compartments.

Extra monofilament line, I like to keep a couple extra spools of monofilament line in the bottom of the tackle box. The spools include:

1 spool 12# test
1 spool 20# test
1 spool 30# test

The 12# is for perch and bass fishing.
The 20# is for drop lines / jug lines / noodles.
The 30# is for one of my heavy fishing poles that I use for catfish or light saltwater use.

Fillet glove – one of the items that I like to keep in a tackle box is a fillet glove. Its not really for filleting fish, but for handling fish that have teeth – like saltwater fish. And, the glove can come in handy when its time to fillet the fish.

Leader material – one of the things that I like to do is to make homemade leaders.

To make homemade leaders you will need:

Cable or monofilament line (think 20# or 30# monofilament line).
Crimp tool

All of those supplies are stored in the bottom of that tackle box.

survival fishing gear homemade leader

How to make a homemade leader:

Cut a section of cable about 16 – 18 inches long.
Slip a barrel over each end of the cable.
Insert one end of the cable through the eye of a hook.
Loop the cable back and insert the cable into the barrel.
Thread the cable through the barrel until about 1/8 in is sticking out the other end.
Use the crimping tool to crimp the barrel.
Repeat to the other end of the cable, but use a swivel.

Use a hook and swivel matching the size of fish you want to catch.

To add a weight to the leader, repeat the process, but attach a teardrop weight to the end of the cable.

Homemade fishing leader with teardrop weight

If you want to be able to change the weight or hook out, attach a snap at the end of the cable. Make sure you use the type of snap that has a curved end so that the snap can not pull up easily. I made the mistake of buying some snaps where the retaining wire does not have a curl on it. If enough pressure is applied to the snap, it will pull open. For those types of snaps, I will only be attaching weights and not hooks.

Do you have a suggestion on how to make homemade leaders?   If so, post your comments in this forum thread about homemade leaders.

Lets get back on the topic of organizing a tackle box.

A couple of things that I would like to add to the tackle box are a small multi-tool and knife.  A local auto-parts store sells a small multi-tool for about $10.  Its not going to be the same quality as say a Gerber, but at least its something.  And something is better then nothing.

Well, that is about it for organizing a tackle box.  Post your comments in this thread of the fishing forum.


Missing gear from bug out location

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survivalist camp bug out locationYou know what really sucks, is when your trying to stockpile survival gear at the bug out location, and stuff keeps coming up missing. Awhile back the liner of my parka went missing, pair of cold weather gloves, shotgun shells, and now some lithium batteries and a LED flashlight are missing.

Its not that someone is breaking into the location and stealing the stuff, I think its more along the lines of someone “borrowing” the supplies and not bringing it back or replacing it.

Over the past 15+ years, I have been making it a point to keep certain types of survival gear at the bug out location. Whether its blankets, flashlights, knives, ammo, first aid supplies, water filter, hand tools, eating utensils,,,,,, I like to keep a general stockpile of gear at the camp. I don’t know how much time and money has been invested over the past decade alone to make sure we have plenty of survival gear for some kind of SHTF situation.

This last couple of items that went missing were nothing more then an $18 led flashlight, and some energizer lithium batteries. In all, the 2 items cost about $30. Thirty dollars is nothing to really worry about, as long as “someone” is getting use out of them. Its the fact that I put the gear at the camp for a certain reason, and now the stuff is missing.

A few months ago 2 of my kids and I went to the camp and spent the night. Sometime around 9pm or so we decided to go for a walk around the property. It was at that point that I realized that I had forgotten a good flashlight. All I had was the tactical light on the front of my AR-15, and all the kids had were some hand crank flashlights. Hand crank are good for inside the house. When you need to light up a 10 acre field, hand crank lights just do not cut it.

Lesson learned, we needed some good led flashlights at the camp. So I bought one as a test with the intent of leaving it at the camp full time.

In 2010 the shed at the camp was broke into and some tools were stolen. Some of the missing items included a Stihl chainsaw, pipe wrench, and various hand tools. As financial times get tougher, petty crime, and crimes of opportunity goes up. What this means, if someone pulls into a gas station, leaves something on the front seat where its visible, the item is likely to be stolen. If you make it easy for criminals to steal stuff, its gonna get taken.

Lets go back to the missing gear at the bug out location / aka “camp”. Since several of my family members go to the camp, I might start putting stuff out of sight and out of mind. Instead of leaving the flashlights and batteries in the bar where they can be seen, I might set some shelves up in a bedroom closet and put my gear out of sight.

Now for a video about a bug out exercise on Labor Day of 2010. Labor day was used to test my families bug out plans.

Well rounded survival plans

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survivalistI think there is a tendency to focus more on preps, and less on being self-sufficient. Who “really” wants to check on the rabbits, goats, chickens and pigs after working 8 – 10 hours? In todays urban sprawl, finding land to have a small farm is rather difficult as well. For a survivalist to be self-sufficient, their not only going to need fruits and vegetables, their also going to need meats, protein, eggs and fat. The problem is, for most people living in the city, having farm animals is not an option. So its a win-lose situation – people move to the city to get a job, but have to leave their farm life behind.

Here in Texas, its estimated that the average people has been removed from farm life for at least 2 – 3 generations. If some kind of long term SHTF situation happens, people will have a lot of learning to do.  Those already living on a farm might adjust well, but those used to urban life and instant satisfaction might be a little disappointed.

In the rural areas where I live, its not uncommon to see rows of pecan trees from the first settlers. But now, we are more worried about planting pine trees to sell for timber, then planting fruit trees.

Its not enough to just buy preps, without developing a well rounded long term survival plan. Stockpiling rice, beans, pasta, powered milk and pancake mix in mylar bags is not a long term survival plan, its a temporary survival plan. Buying superpails, making homemade superpails, stockpiling MREs, storing food in mylar bags just prolongs the inevitable, and that is running out of food.

Even though the words “self-sufficient” sound nice, its impossible to be totally self-sufficient. Even people in ancient times had trade routes, with some of the routes spanning thousands of miles. Even though someone might have everything they need right now, sooner or later its going to run out.

True long term survival plans not only include being as self-sufficient as possible, but your neighbor being self-sufficient, and the two of you trading supplies. Where one person grows squash, and other person grows okra, another might grow spinach,,,,, and everyone trade for the items that they need.

As wonderful as “bugging out to the wilderness” sounds, its going to be a short lived dream. To test the bug out theory, just got camping for 3 or 4 days, try to find your food, find safe drinking water, preserve your food,,,,,,, your probably going to catch Shigella or E.Coli and die. Either that or your family is going to starve.

Last December a buddy of mine and I went camping for 3 days on the Angelina River, which is close to my house. We were there for 3 days, and I did not see a single hog or deer. There were plenty of tree rats and catfish, but your not going to live off of that very long.

Video from that 3 day camping trip:

Forum thread about the 3 day camping trip. Post comments about the video in that thread please.

The goal of a serious survivalist should be to develop well rounded plans:

Stockpiling survival gear is not a well rounded plan.
Buying #10 cans is not a well rounded survival plan
Buying superpails is not a well rounded plan
Stockpiling ammo is not a well rounded plan
Having a bug out bag is not a well rounded plan
Having a generator is not a well rounded plan
Having a garden is not a well rounded plan
Stockpiling seeds is not a well rounded plan
Having a bug out location is not a well rounded plan.
Having barter items is not a well rounded plan.
Having cache tubes is not a well rounded plan.
Knowing your evacuation route is not a well rounded plan.

Its when the pieces come together that a plan becomes well rounded. A well rounded plan is like a circle, with each part of your survival preps being a small part of the circle. The larger your circle, the more rounded your circle is, the better.

Lets talk about the sharp edges of a survival plan. This is when you have plenty of canned goods for 3 or 4 people, SHTF, and you have 10 friends and family members on your door step. Then whatcha gonna do? Another sharp edge might be when you have canned goods, and tons of garden seed, but nowhere to plant a garden. Plenty of food, but no source of safe drinking water. Plenty of dried beans and rice, but no stove to cook it and no water to boil it.

Post your comments in this forum thread about stockpiling survival gear.

Another weekend has passed away

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jasper texasHave you ever had a weekend that you never wanted to end? Well, that is the weekend that I had this weekend. Things kicked off Friday with getting ready for Relay for Life here in Jasper County. TJ went to Beaumont to pick up my kids from my ex-wife for the weekend, so that saved me a LOT of time. After lunch I washed my truck, hooked up the pit, loaded up some stuff, left home about 5pm, drove to the Jasper County court house square, and setup for the relay.

The thing that I spent a lot of time thinking about Friday was washing my truck. Because it was more then just washing off dirt, it was washing off memories. The majority of the dirt on my truck was from driving to the lease during hunting season. So the dirt had built up like memories, good memories. Like when my son got his deer for the 2010 – 2011 deer season. For the deer hunting story, visit this article – our first deer of the 2010- 2011 season.  As I was washing the layers of dirt off, I was also thinking about the memories built around the truck over the past few months.

Around 4pm my wife and my step-daughter show up and start loading stuff into the truck.  We loaded up the canopy, ice chest, tables,,,,, and other stuff.  they left a little before 5pm to go get ice.  I left for the court house around 5.

Got to the court house square, backed the pit into place, and started setting everything up. The event started at 7pm, and within minutes we had a line at our table. We were selling hotlinks – on a bun, stick, or flatbread.

In all, we raised a little over $600 Friday night, which was donated that night.

There did not seem to be as many people at this years relay as last year. The weather was great, so I dont know what the issue was.

Even though we were supposed to stay all night for the relay, I had made prior commitments for Saturday.   Somewhere around 2:15am we loaded up our stuff and headed home.  We had a good time at the relay, but I had promised to help a buddy Saturday.

Saturday morning rolled around, my buddy called and did not need my help after all.

Sunday evening we went to a birthday party at a bowling alley in Beaumont.  My wife and I rented a lane for my kids and a friend of theirs, and got them a pizza for lunch.  Everyone seemed to have a good time, at least I hope they had a good time.

We dropped the kids off with my ex-wife around 3:30.  From there my wife and I went to Kroger in Beaumont to look for long term food storage items.

Unfortunately we did not find what we were looking for (powdered eggs), so we went to HEB in Beaumont.  I could not find powered eggs their either, but we did find pinto beans in 20 pound bags for making up some 5 gallon bucket superpails. The 5 gallon mylar bags and oxygen absorbers were ordered last week and will hopefully be in Monday or Tuesday. When the mylar bags come in next week my wife and I are going to make up 5 – 5 gallon buckets; 1 – rice, 1 – pinto beans, 1 – bisquick, and that is all my wife and I have talked about. The last 2 buckets I am not real sure about yet.

I am pretty happy with my canned food stockpile, so now its time to move forward to stockpiling food in mylar bags.  The goal is to have a stockpile at my home, and at the camp.  Since breakfast is the most important meal of the day, that is where I am starting with my mylar bag project.  We need powered milk, powered eggs, powered milk, instant pancake mix,,,,, and a few other odds and ends.

I will post more about the mylar bag project later.

Want to win some survival gear

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survivalistPrizes include:

Brand new copy of “Dare To Prepare” hot of the press from author Holly Deyo
New – Two Princeton Tec lights clip on lights
New – Coleman Snap lights two packages, (4 snap lights total each a different color)
New – 30 foot roll of 30lb test Tyger Leader (Tie-able stainless steel leader wire, MANY uses)
New – Don Hume pepper spray belt leather holster
New – kershaw Fire Starter
3 new ball caps
Custom made paracord bracelet with a whistle buckle and wrist compass
Package of 5 ‘Glow-in-the-dark’ paracord ends to help ID gear.
A collapsible 3 liter Israeli Pilot’s Survival Flask that allows you to carry and boil water
Plus 100 feet of Black Type II Paracord.

See this thread in the forum on how to enter – Survival Gear Contest

Survival Gear Salt Flashlights and Seeds

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buying shtf survival gearA couple of weeks ago I posted a video on youtube talking about spreading your survival gear purchases out over time.  Instead of forking out $400, $500 or even $600 at a time, just spend $40, $50 or $60 at a time.   After a few trips to the store, your probably going to be surprised at the amount of gear that can be stockpiled.

A couple of weeks ago my kids and I went to the camp for 2 days.  While we were there we decided to walk around the property at night.  The following is what I like to call the “can opener” effect – its were you get so involved with the bigger things that you overlook the small stuff.

During the rush to get packed, all three of us forgot to grab a good flashlight.  After looking through the flashlights that we have stockpiled at the camp, I realized that we had several hand crank flashlights, but no good quality LED flashlights.  Hand crank lights are fine for inside the house, but when you need to secure the property, you need a good quality light.  The only good quality light my kids and I had was the Surefire 6PX Tactical on my AR-15.  My daughter and my son were able to find some cheap led lights that were barley bright enough to see the ground.  We walked around the property, looked at some stuff and then went back to the trailer.  While my kids and I were walking around in the middle of the night, I made up my mind that some good LED lights would be in my next purchase.

Purchases for March 6 2011 include:

6 – 1 pound 10 ounce containers of salt
100 rounds Winchester 9mm 115grain round nose
4 pack Energizer AAA Lithium batteries
1 – Coleman 90 lumen LED flashlight
1 pound regular pinto beans (for the garden)
1 pound yellow dent field corn (for the garden)
$1 worth giant noble spinach (for the garden)
20 pounds seed potatoes – hopefully to get planted next week


Weekend survival gear purchases

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Don’t have the money to buy $1,000 for survival gear at one time? Then spread it out and get a little bit at a time.

One thing that strikes me as odd, is when people start talking about stockpiling a few simple survival supplies, the conversation will sometimes turn towards money, and how much to cost to prepare. I have had people say “I don’t have $1,000 to drop on a food stockpile“, or something along those lines. The thing is, you don’t have to have $1,000 to get started, purchases can be made in small sections.

Purchases included:

Canned cheese
2 – 4 packs of ravioli
Several cans of soup

The soups are low sodium – my wife is on high blood pressure medicine. If some kind of disaster happens, we do not want foods with a lot of sodium driving up her blood pressure.

Some of that will probably go up to the camp, while some will stay at my house.

In another couple of weeks I’ll pick up some more food stocks, maybe some more dried rice or beans, maybe some more canned goods, or noodles.

In a few more weeks I’ll get some first aid supplies, seeds for my garden, and maybe even plant a couple of fruit trees. has some canned cheese that I’am interested in, that might just be included in some of my next purchases.

Post your comments in this forum thread about stockpiling a little bit at a time.

Shopping for survival supplies

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maxpedition vulture-iiWhen your walking around a store – any store – and your doing your shopping, how often do you think about your survival supplies? Is it something you make a list of and make a special trip to town? Or do you incorporate your survival supplies shopping into your everyday life?

Lets take last night as an example, my wife and I went shopping at the local super wal-mart. While we were walking through the store, I picked up a 2 pack of strike on box matches. At 250 matches per box, that is 500 matches.

The last time I was at the camp I took inventory of my matches, and it came to like 6 or 7 boxes of 250 matches per box. So that equals out to around 1,500 – 1,700 matches. But I needed some for my house, so I picked up another 500. I also got a box of Remington 30-30 ammo, 12 gauge #4 shot, and a box of 12 gauge rifled slugs.

When we got to the food section, we picked up our grocery list for this weekend and 2 jars of olives – 1 jar for this weekend and 1 jar to put up.

My wife picked up some corn bread mix for this weekend. While we were standing there in the isle, I was wondering “how well corn bread mix would store in mylar bags with oxygen absorbers? The mix has an expiration date of 2013. So what would the date be if the corn bread mix was re-packaged for long term storage?” That is the kind of stuff I think about when shopping.

In 1 trip to wal-mart I picked up:
20 rounds of Remington 30-30 150 grain ammo
25 rounds 12 gauge #4 shot – #4 is great for squirrel hunting
15 rounds 12 gauge slug – good for deer or wild hogs
1 extra jar of olives – I really like olives
500 strike on box matches

The ammo is going to be put in their boxes and stored, olives will be put up, and 500 matches will be stored.

I see survivalist that put a lot of time an effort into their preps. If I put a “lot” of time and effort into it, I would probably get burned out. So I try to take the slow and steady approach.

While we are on the topic, take a look at this forum thread about survivalist burn out.  I made 2 post on that page – scroll down to post #24 and #31.

One of the problems that I see, is that people put “too” much time and effort into survivalism.  Its like they jump in with both feet, take off running, get tired and drop out of the race.  Think like a turtle (slow and steady), or like a squirrel.  A squirrel buries 1 nut at a time.

Mixing and matching survival gear

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molle pack vs alice pack

MOLLE and ALICE pack on recent camping trip

I find it interesting that Taco Bell can create so many items on their menu by mixing and matching about eight different ingredients. There is the taco meat, sour cream, refried beans, tortilla shell, taco shell,,,,. But by the looks of the Taco Bell menu, it appears they have a thousand ingredients.

Its called utilizing available resources. And the same can be applied to survivalism.

On the flip side of the coin from Taco Bells minimalist approach, I find it interesting that survivalist stockpile so much gear. Certain survivalist think they have to have a special “bug out bag” that is separate from their standard camping / backpacking pack, that they need several rifles

Lets backup a few years, all the way to the early – mid 1980s. Back then I (Kevin), was in High School and was busy camping and exploring the marshes around the Bridge City, Texas area. My backpack at that time was about 14 inches tall, 12 – 14 inches wide, and maybe 6 inches wide. It could have easily been a school book bag, but it was OD green and made out of a canvas material. I had one backpack for all of my camping needs. At that time, that is all I needed. The pack was just big enough for a couple of cans of vienna sausage, or chili, can opener, small pot, matches, contact case, and maybe a spare shirt or socks.

By using a pack that could have doubled as a school backpack, the item was dual purpose. But I never took the pack to school, it was too militant looking, and the other kids in school thought I was strange enough without adding fuel to the fire.

The food that I brought on camping trips back in the early – mid 1980s was just regular canned goods – mainly because I did not know any better and because that is what my mom had in the pantry. So when it was time to go camping with my buddies, I just grabbed the food that was on hand at the time. Today, I have a few cases of MREs, and some Just in Case Meals from  Instead of the household food serving dual roles of camping food and family food, now I have 2 different types of food.


5 things survivalist should stockpile

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hurricane ike floodingThe other day I posted an article about stuff that survivalist should not stockpile. So in contrast, lets talk about stuff that survivalist should have on hand.

5.  Fuel – when SHTF, your going to need a way to get out of town.  Whether its a forest fire, hurricane, chemical spill,,,, keep enough gas in your tank to get away from the affected zone.

When a hurricane rolls trough the southern states, one of the first things to dry up is gasoline.  People start filling their tanks up, the lines get long, and gas stations run out of gas.

4. Non-spoilable foods – this is any kind of food that does not need to be kept frozen or cold. There are so many options out there, this list could be a mile long – mountain house foods, #10 cans, family sized cans, any type of can goods, peanut butter, honey, freeze dried foods, food stored in mylar bags, dehydrated foods.

The government recommends to have at least 3 days worth of food per person.  I suggest that families have more like 1 – 4 weeks worth of food stockpiled.

3.  Water – whether its to bug out with, or to drink when the city water goes off, having some kind of stockpiled water is nice to have.

People can live for 3 weeks without food, but only 3 days without water.  Its for this reason that water is listed before food.


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