Prepping with Glasses

glasses photo

Personally, I’m not a big fan of corrective lenses of any kind, but since my vision is fairly horrid without them, I’m stuck with a few options:

  1. Glasses – My default now. They work well, and my prescription hasn’t changed much in the last few years so I have an extra pair or two sitting around.
  2. Soft Contacts – I’ve worn contacts off and on in the past, but haven’t purchased any in well over a year even though I have a valid prescription. They’re very high maintenance, and I can’t imagine having to deal with them in a collapse scenario of any kind – even a partial collapse.
  3. Lasik Surgery – I’m not sure what to think about this yet. I continually battle in my mind with this, but generally end up on the side of “I would prefer not to accidentally go blind.”

Of the three choices, I’ve ended up pretty much settling on glasses, but that brings it’s own set of limitations. Glasses break, they get scratched, your prescription changes over time, etc. Luckily, the only thing that I can’t do much about is the prescription, which leaves me with “What’s the best way to have redundant sets of glasses?” as my main issue here. [Read more…]

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Mylar Packed White Rice, 16 Months Later

A while ago I posted an article on Food Storage in Buckets with Mylar Bags, and since I ended up opening one for the first time the other night I figured I should share the results.
A little background first though; while I keep long term food storage in Mylar bags stored in five gallon buckets, we also keep a number of buckets with gamma lids in our pantry for daily usage. Recently, we managed to burn through 25 pounds of white rice and my lovely wife asked me to get some more from longer term storage. I’m not going to lie about it, I was a little excited at the prospect of seeing how my long term food storage is doing. So, I wandered out to find the bucket of white rice and snagged the one on top.

This is not my handwriting, but rather the work of a twelve year old girl. =)

This is not my handwriting, but rather the work of a twelve year old girl. =)

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Planning Food Storage

When I first started out on the path to building a food storage plan, my initial thoughts were along the lines of “Oh, I’ll buy lots of canned vegetables, some MREs, and some freeze dried food. Then I’ll be good.” I also only was planning for two weeks of food storage, everything fit in our kitchen pantry, I had no idea of how many calories I had on hand, I didn’t know how to calculate daily caloric needs for our family of five, and in general I didn’t even know how much I didn’t know.

That was three years ago. Today, we have around six months of food storage at any given time. It’s all inventoried, shelved, organized, and in a dedicated store room that’s kept relatively cool to increase the shelf life as much as possible. The kids actually joke about it, occasionally asking if they can “go to the store” to grab a can of fruit for dessert. 🙂

I’ve made a number of mistakes along the way, but I feel that I’ve learned enough to put my knowledge out there in the hope that someone else can avoid some of the mistakes I’ve made. Before I talk about suggestions, let’s get the mistakes out of the way…

[Read more…]

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Top Rated Water Filters

I’ve heard a lot about Sawyer Mini water filters recently, which at first glance appear far superior to the Aquamira Frontier filters I’ve been a fan of for quite some time now. Since I like to research and review new things, I decided to see what I could find online about the various options. So, me being me, I started out by heading to the Water Filters Department at Amazon.com, where I then sorted by Avg Customer Review, and then skimmed through to find the top five bug out bag or get home bag sized water filters, as reviewed by customers. There was one in the top five from a manufacturer I’d never heard of, with nothing but 5 star reviews, which seemed just fishy enough for me to remove it from consideration. If you’re interested, that one can be found here. I’d be curious to hear from a real person what they thought of it.

Without further ado, here is what I found on the top rated water filters on Amazon. [Read more…]

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Winter Preps Tune Up Time

winter photo

With the possibility of a major storm headed towards the Pacific Northwest, combined with the knowledge of a multi-week power outage that occurred in the area I live in December of 2006, I decided today is a proper time to make sure my winter preps are all tuned up and ready to go. Luckily after thinking it through, there really isn’t much I need to do as I’m pretty solid on preps at the moment. Here’s my list of things to take care of tonight:

  1. Change the spark plug on the generator. It’s definitely time as it’s never been done before while I’ve owned it. Yes, I know. Bad Prepper.
  2. Top off the gas storage for the generator. I have enough on hand right now to run it for a couple days, but that’s it. I’ve been meaning to add to my gas storage for quite some time now, so we’ll top off the 14 Gallon Fuel Caddy I picked up last year, and treat it with Sta-Bil so it stays fresh in case we don’t need to use it immediately.
  3. Make sure the propane tanks are topped off for use with the Mr. Heater Portable Buddy. It’s indoor safe and on high it warms up the entire living room and surrounding rooms nicely.

My winter preps are likely lighter than most as it doesn’t get too cold here, so with all this I’ll be set for an extended power outage. What do you have to top off for winter?

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Prepping On The Road

flights

I used to fly a lot.

Since I’m in Phoenix this week on business travel, the idea for this post popped into my head. It’s something I’ve been thinking about for years now because until July of 2014 I traveled for business almost every week, at least 40 weeks a year. The map above is a fraction of my overall flights since 2005, and it covers 411,278 air miles.

One thing I discovered is that it is really quite difficult to be prepared while on the road, mostly thanks to our friends at the TSA, but also due to the fact that I just couldn’t carry as much because I had to carry everything else needed – toiletries, clothes, and the like – in addition to what I would normally carry with me on a daily basis while at home. I’ve got it down to a bare minimum of items that I carry with me which I’ll go over below, but first I’d like to cover a few thoughts I have about on Prepping On The Road. [Read more…]

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What’s In Your Bag? Part 7 – Light

Welcome to the last episode of What’s In Your Bag?, where we’ll talk about light. Specifically, my EDC combined with what’s in my bag and how they work together.

Humans have an innate fear of the dark, likely due to the fact that we used to be nomadic hunter gatherers combined with the fact that there are scary things in the dark. Personally, I’m not too afraid of anything on four legs in the area I’m in, but I do like to avoid walking into things and two legged predators give me a certain pause. While I live in a relatively safe area, home invasions do occur and I can’t see them going away after any kind of collapse. So, I carry a single AA flashlight with my everywhere I go and I also carry a couple other light sources in my BOB.

WhatsInYourBag-42 [Read more…]

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What’s In Your Bag? Part 6 – Food & Cooking

Welcome to Part 6 of What’s In Your Bag?

Today, I’m covering Food & Cooking. Everyone seems to have different opinions on what is best, but this is what I stock in my bag.

WhatsInYourBag-14

The first food item I carry in my bag is three field stripped MREs. I’m not sure which flavors these are but it doesn’t really matter to me. Even though cooking is a hobby of mine, there are very few things I care about when eating. Since I can’t carry a medium rare ribeye steak in my bag, MREs will do. If you’ve never heard of field stripped MREs, definitely look into it as it significantly reduces the weight. I was shocked to find that the packaging of MREs is almost 25% of the total weight! [Read more…]

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What’s In Your Bag? Part 5 – Health & First Aid

Welcome to Part 5 of What’s In Your Bag?

Today, I’m going to cover Health & First Aid, which is pretty damn important. I’ve also covered thoughts on medical supplies for home in the past if you’re interested.

Primarily, I have an Individual First Aid Kit from Skinny Medic aka Medical Gear Outfitters, LLC. At least it was originally called an Individual First Aid Kit if I remember correctly. It’s now called “First Aid Kit Medical MOLLE Pouch“, which makes me curious if they hired someone from Microsoft to help with product names. Regardless, it is a very nice kit that I’ve only augmented slightly.

WhatsInYourBag-36 [Read more…]

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What’s In Your Bag? Part 4 – Shelter

Welcome to the 4th installment of What’s In Your Bag?, in which I’m examining the contents of my Bug Out Bag.

To me, shelter is important but not crucial. In the worst case scenario, I do know how to build a shelter with nothing but a pocket knife. That is painful (literally) and time consuming though, so I wanted something lightweight that is easy to setup to carry in my BOB. For that reason I carry an Equinox 6’x8′ Egret Tarp, six MSR Mini Groundhog Tent Stakes, and 100′ of Paracord. Together, these serve to make a more than adequate shelter.

To be honest, I’d never given much real consideration until two of my kids went through Rite of Passage Journeys (a great program by the way, check it out!) and came back to explain that they had successfully used nothing but tarps on their trips. Considering their trips were week plus hikes through the North Cascades and Olympic National Park in Washington, this spurred me to give further thought to tarp tents. I’d been aware of them for years, but scoffed at them and considered them not up to snuff for my needs. Boy was I wrong. [Read more…]

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