Special thanks to the folks at Fix.com for letting us share this cool infographic.
Category Archives: Advice
Here is a link to a blog post on seattlepi.com that shows a few cool apps you should at least check out. I used to live in earthquake country and know first hand the importance of early warning tracking and being prepared. You should have a years supply of food on hand. If you don’t we can show you how – here.
It’s that time of year and as all good Prepper’s do we start spring cleaning! Being prepared is about vigilance. Having the right items ready when you need them. Here is a short checklist for you to use as a reminder. The list is short but some items might take a little time to complete, so print this list out and keep it handy.
Spring Cleaning Checklist
- This is typical spring cleanup. But all you preppers tend to hoard stuff. Note I said “you preppers.” We are sizing down and getting ready to live the RV life so I know it can be done. Be ruthless!
- You’re already onto your garden – great! Now is the time to buy your replacement seeds. Learn how to store them properly.
- Change out or clean any water filters around the house. Especially the refrigerator!
- Check all your fire extinguishers. Replace any with a low charge. (also an RV item)
- Test all CO2 and smoke alarms. (also an RV item)
- Check the cords on your portable electronics. Are your USB cords in good repair? Replace any that are torn or frayed.
- Replace your pillows. We wrote a great article on why, here.
- Ensure all flashlights work and are bright. If dim, then replace them. Always have extra on hand of all sizes. Don’t forget the odd size batteries you need for things like a camera or hearing aid. Here is a guide if you are travelling with batteries.
Items specific to your RV
- Check the roof. Keeping your RV leak free will pay dividends in the future.
- Check around windows, doors, and vents for leaks. Seal them as needed.
- Check all the inside and outside lights. Replace any not working and make sure you have spare bulbs on hand.
- Check around shower/toilet area for mold, mildew, and leaks
- Are the tanks full or empty? This is a personal choice and dependent on weather in your specific area.
- They should be full and ready to roll! Don’t forget to check the spare.
Well, I think that’s enough to keep you busy well into June. Start today and keep at it, I better get started myself.
(Article 3 of 6 in the Survivor Series)
Warmth is the other half of the Shelter issue: getting warm and keeping warm is the whole point of building a shelter. The danger in Exposure is losing body heat. Unless you are lost by a volcano or in a hot springs area, you’ll probably need fire. This article will cover collecting materials, building a fire, maintaining it, taking its warmth into your shelter, and using it to cook and signal rescue.
Fire-building is an art form. You’ll get warmth from a poorly constructed fire, but taking the time to select, gather, and structure your materials results in a brighter, hotter, longer-lasting fire that will produce good coals.
Know your materials. A little study now will make identifying much easier later.
- Softwoods (most trees with needles) burn quickly, generating a lot of heat and light for a short period of time, but do not produce adequate coals for cooking.
- Medium hardwoods (like cottonwood, poplar, aspen, willow) burn slower than softwoods.
- Hardwoods (like oak, maple, hickory) burn slowly, providing low heat and low light. They produce solid, long-lasting coals – great for baking and slow-roasting.
- Softwoods and medium hardwoods are great for starting fires, while hardwoods are great for maintaining them.
- If you can’t tell by touch whether or not wood is dry, touch the wood to your lips.
- If a piece of wood or a stick snaps with a sharp crack, it is probably a good piece of firewood.
- Long-dead branches still attached to the tree are usually very dry wood.
- Remove all bark as much as you can and set it aside for your signal fire. It doesn’t burn well and it smokes a lot, exactly what you want for that purpose.
- Try to keep your fire materials dry by not laying them directly on snow or bare ground. Pile them on rock, under shelter, if possible. Or use two sticks to raise it. Keep your extra tinder, at least, inside your shelter in case of rain.
You’ll need four types of fuel: tinder, kindling, primary wood, and final wood.
- Tinder: anything dry and airy. Tinder must be collected away from the ground to ensure its dryness. The paper-like bark from birch or cherry trees works well, as does the inner bark of dead trees that is stringy or fibrous. It can be torn off in strips and fluffed between the palms or beaten with a rock, providing excellent tinder.
- Kindling: dry twigs or slivers of wood ranging from the thickness of a needle to the thickness of a pencil. Best placed in a tipi fashion over the tinder. You can make kindling from branches the size of your thumb by placing one on a rock and hitting the end with another rock. Peel the splintered stick into smaller pieces.
- Primary wood: ranges from the thickness of your pinky to that of your wrist. Light to medium hardwoods (like cottonwood or aspen) are best.
- Final wood: generally, wood too thick to break. It should only be placed on the fire when it is roaring. Damp wood will work, but dry is best, of course.
- Don’t jump on wood or slam it against a tree in order to break it as these are both rather risky actions. Instead, burn it in half or place it in the notch of a tree and lever it in half.
- Any wood that is in contact with the ground should be considered wet. It can still be used as fuel on a well-established fire, particularly if you want smoke for a signal.
- Place damp wood around your fire-pit (raised on small stones for air flow) where the heat from the fire can help dry it out. It won’t happen immediately, but if you’re stuck for multiple days, it can make a significant difference.
- If you can’t find any dry tinder, check your pockets for lint/fluff, or any paper, like receipts. You can fray some fabric. If you have chapstick or any petroleum or alcohol-based items like hand sanitizer, they are very effective. Even snack chips, or your actual pocket lining.