Tag Archives: preparedness

How To Create An Emergency Ammo Can First Aid Kit

How-to-Create-an-Ammo-Can-First-Aid-Kit-500x500

When it comes to having a well-stocked first aid kit, I want to be prepared.  I truly do.  Having spent weeks at a time on a boat in the remote waters of British Columbia, I have always understood that a drugstore and medical doctor may not be accessible.  If sick or wounded, I would be on my own.

So why then, were my first aid supplies in such a disorderly mess?

In hindsight, I believe that in spite of having good intentions, it was a lot easier to keep purchasing supplies then to organize them.  It was easy to get something on Amazon then toss it in a drawer or into the  large “first aid” bin I keep in the garage.  The problem with this method is that I never really had a good handle on what I had and what I really would need in an emergency.  I simply kept buying and tossing, buying and tossing.  Sound familiar?

I recently decided to do something about it.  As I sorted everything out on the floor of my great room, it became apparent that my first aid supplies needed to be broken up into separate kits: routine first aid, trauma, sick room, pandemic, and the all important portable kit that I could grab in the event of a disaster or carry with me on a road trip.  It was an epiphany!

Kit #1: A Portable Kit with the Just the Basics

The first kit I put together is a portable kit with just the basics.  Before starting, I laid down a few requirements.

1.  The portable first aid kit had to include the items that I felt were most likely to be needed during bouts of routine illness and day to day injuries.

2.  The kit needed to do double duty as my in-home basic first aid kit as well as a transportable kit that I could use on road trips or during an evacuation.

3.  The kit, in total, could weigh no more than 10 pounds.

This was not as easy as I thought it would be given that the weight and space requirement would require some tough choices, not the least of which, was the container itself.  My choice?  An ammo can!

The “Ammo Can First Aid Kit” was born!

A Portable First Aid Kit in an Ammo Can

Ammo-Can-Emergency-First-Aid-Kit-BDS

After much trial and error, here are the items I settled upon and included in my ammo can first aid kit.

Bandages and Wound Control:

Bandages in a large variety of types and sizes, including waterproof
Stretch Wrap Bandages aka “Vet Wrap”
Sterile Gauze Pads and Sponges in a variety of sizes
New-Skin Liquid Bandage
Israeli Battle Dressing
Quikclot Clotting Sponge
Ace Bandage
Sanitary Napkin
Tincture of Benzoin Compound, to hold bandages in place

Remedies and Medications:

OTC pain killers, including Tylenol, Aleve, Motrin and plain old aspirin
Benadryl
Anti-diarrheal
Potassium Iodide
Cipro, an emergency antibiotic prescribed by my physician
Hydrocortisone Cream
Antibiotic Ointment

Natural Remedies:

Spark Naturals Health & Wellness Kit
DIY Simple Salve
DIY Anti Viral Spray

Tools:

Swiss Army Knife
Surgical scissors
Nail Clippers
Flashlight, both for digging around in the kit at night and for close work
Tweezers for splinter removal
Disposable Razor
Digital Thermometer

Antiseptics & Sanitizers:

Betadine Solution, to disinfect cuts, scrape and wounds
91% Isopropyl Alcohol
Hand Sanitizer Foam

Misc:

First Aid Manual
Bandana (See How to Use a Bandana to Save the Day)
100% Cotton Towel
Irrigation Syringe
Cotton Swabs
Nitrile Gloves
Surgical Masks
No Rinse Bath Wipes
Facial tissues
Small hank of Paracord
Bag for waste

Holding it all:

MTM Ammo Can
Emergency First Aid Kit Sticker/Decal

Final Weight:

Nine pounds, four ounces

Have you ever found yourself rummaging around for first aid items? Take a look at this portable ammo can first aid kit and create one of your own. Portable and perfect for emergencies.Click To Tweet

Other First Aid Items: What is Missing?

As I mentioned, I did have to make some decisions in order to maintain portability and stay within my 10 pound weight restriction.

Suture kit, yes or no?  I chose no because in many cases, leaving a wound open will promote healing. You can read more about that in this article: How to Deal With Open Wounds When Help is Not on the Way.

I also left out splints, instant hot/cold compresses, and items more suited to the sick room such as N95 masks, goggles, and coveralls.  Also missing are a number of ointments and creams you may find useful but given my penchant for essential oils, I left them out and chose to use natural remedies instead.   

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The Final Word

It has taken me three months to put this kit together.  I would add things, remove them, then put them back again.  One night, while rummaging around in the dark, I realized I needed a flashlight so in it went.  Another time, I was dealing with a bloody scrape on my leg and had no where to dispose of the soiled gauze.  In went a bag for waste.

And so it will go with your own kit.

Although I have included a lot of reference links, the kit you build should be your own.  Personalize it, then make sure you can lift it easily and move it around.  Start to use it day to day and before you know it, you too will have the perfect portable first aid kit.

Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!


Gaye Levy, also known as the Survival Woman, grew up and attended school in the Greater Seattle area. After spending many years as an executive in the software industry, she started a specialized accounting practice offering contract CFO work to emerging high tech and service industries. She has now abandoned city life and has moved to a serenely beautiful rural area on an island in NW Washington State. She lives and teaches the principles of a sustainable and self-reliant lifestyle through her website at BackdoorSurvival.com. At Backdoor Survival, Gaye speaks her mind and delivers her message of prepping with optimism and grace, regardless of the uncertain times and mayhem swirling around us.

Healthy Emergency Food List For Beginning Preppers

Healthy-Emergency-Food-List-for-Beginning-Preppers

In this day of paychecks that are stretched to the limit, it can be difficult to imagine taking on anything else that will cost money.   Despite that, if you are interested in preparedness, you know that it’s wise to have a food supply on hand that will see you through a basic emergency.

I always recommend that you get started by planning for a two-week emergency.  What kind of emergency, you may be asking?

Well, the best kind of prepping will be so versatile that it will see you through a personal financial issue, an extended power outage, or being confined to your home for a period of time due to a blizzard or civil unrest.  None of these things makes you a “doomsday prepper” of the National Geographic variety. I’m not asking you to filter your pee and drink it. Just have the basics on hand to ride out a variety of situations in comfort.

One of the most frequent requests I get is for specific recommendations, so here’s a healthy emergency food list for beginning preppers.

Shopping Tips

Shopping for an emergency food supply isn’t like regular grocery shopping. Here are a few things to think about when planning your emergency food list.

Buy good quality food. While it’s easy to get sucked into the “something cheap is better than nothing” mentality, that’s not 100% true.  It’s very important that you nourish yourself well during a crisis. This provides you with the energy you need to get through the emergency and it keeps you healthy. What could add more insult to injury than a lowered immune system allowing you to become sick during some sort of crisis?  Focus on getting the best quality of food that you can afford.

Think about how you’ll prepare it.  Some people have numerous off-grid ways to cook. Perhaps their propane kitchen stove works when the power is out. Maybe they plan to use the outdoor grill or the fireplace.  Maybe none of these is an option.  Base your food list on the resources you currently have available, not the ones you hope to have one of these days.  There’s a lot you can do with boiling water, so consider adding a rocket stove to your supply list. (The Kelly Kettle is amazing and worth every penny. Another great option is the Volcano 3 in 1, which will burn just about anything for fuel.)

Think about the special needs of your family. Maybe you have a person with a severe peanut allergy – scratch peanut butter off the list. Maybe someone is gluten intolerant or has extremely high blood pressure. Perhaps your children are extremely picky eaters. Whatever the case, try to create a food supply that will be similar to your everyday fare. No one needs added stress in the midst of an emergency.  (This article has more information on prepping for those with dietary restrictions.)

Plan ahead.  Don’t just run to the store and buy a whole bunch of stuff and consider yourself prepped.  You need to break this down and analyze it. Otherwise you’ll leave out something very important or you’ll blow your budget without getting all you need. Trust me.

Hide your stash.  If your house is anything like mine, your family will hoover up the easy pickings. Since we rarely have any type of prepared food sitting around the house, things like granola bars are novelty items that will be eaten right away, leaving you without emergency food supplies.

The List

Let me preface this list by saying that it’s really more of a guideline. If you are following the suggestions above, you understand that there isn’t a one-size-fits-all way to do this.  The links are to Amazon, so that you can order it in your desired quantities and forget it if these exact foods work for you. The list assumes that you have the ability to boil water during an emergency.

This list totals about $275 and would feed a family of 3-4 for a couple of weeks, give or take a little. Keep in mind that the items I chose were very high quality. You may be able to duplicate the list at your grocery store.  As well, if you choose non-organic items the emergency list will cost less money.  Adjust the quantities and items based on your budget, your family’s preferences, and the number of people you’ll be feeding.

Another emergency food option is freeze-dried buckets. Here’s an article about building a 30-day food supply with freeze dried foods.

For the long-term…

Of course, the emergency food list above is the bare minimum you should have on hand for those unexpected emergencies that could happen to anyone.  I really want to see people get started so they can handle those short-term crises with aplomb.

A far more budget friendly way to deal with potential emergencies is to build a pantry stockpile of high-quality food over a period of time. If you’d like to learn more about that, please check out my book, The Pantry Primer.

However you opt to get started, I urge you not to wait. Winter storm season is just around the corner, the economy is shaky, and there’s always the potential for something unexpected. Build a pantry that gives you one less thing to be concerned about.


Daisy Luther is a freelance writer and editor who lives in a small village in the Pacific Northwestern area of the United States. She is the author ofThe Pantry Primer: How to Build a One Year Food Supply in Three Months. On her website, The Organic Prepper, Daisy writes about healthy prepping, homesteading adventures, and the pursuit of liberty and food freedom. Daisy is a co-founder of the website Nutritional Anarchy, which focuses on resistance through food self-sufficiency. Daisy’s articles are widely republished throughout alternative media. You can follow her on Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter, and you can email her at [email protected]

A Glimpse At Everyday Life Without Running Water

Everyday-Life-Without-Running-Water

Something I have learned over the years is that my own experience coupled with the anecdotal experience of my peers will always trump the theoretical.  Most assuredly, this also applies to coping skills learned in a disaster or what I like to call a “Disruptive Event”.

Some of you might recall that due to a break at the water meter coming into my home, I was without running water for 12 days.  Because I was prepared, the lack of running water was at most an inconvenience. You might even say that it was a grand adventure as I experienced a real life test of both my water preps and coping skills.

Today I have another real-life experience to share.  This time, Daisy Luther, the author of The Prepper’s Water Survival Guide, shares a chapter from her book that describers her own first hand experience living life without running water during a power outage.  Talk about a double whammy:  no water AND no power!

Included in this chapter are are seven solutions to help you survive for the short term when the tap is running dry and the pump to the well (if you have one) is no longer working.

A Glimpse at Everyday Life without Running Water

I had been a prepper for several years before the importance of water storage truly resonated. As with most lessons, I had to learn it the hard way (fortunately, for us, it was not quite as hard a lesson as those in Chapter One).

My youngest daughter and I spent a year living in a cabin in the woods in North Central Ontario. We lived in secluded splendor on the banks of a huge lake and on the edge of an enormous national forest.

We moved there straight from the city, so our “initiations” were many. In this breathtaking setting, we learned to provide our own heat and live without electricity and running water.

You know how it goes with the most important things you learn: we were thrown right into it and the choices were to either sink (by packing up our belongings and scurrying back to the city with our tails between our legs) or swim (by learning what we needed to in order to thrive in this drastically different environment).

The little cabin we moved to had electricity and running water supplied by a well 30 feet from our back door. Don’t let these amenities fool you, though. Just because these things were present doesn’t mean they were always available for our use. Try getting a heavy concrete well lid off when it’s buried under 3 feet of snow, then get back to me about the ease of availability of the water within.

The first challenge came in the late fall when our well dropped to dizzyingly low levels. The drought that had been going on for years was not limited to the West Coast—even lush, green Ontario suffered from low water tables.

Everything that came out of the taps was cloudy and murky, with bits of sediment from the bottom of the well floating through it. This was certainly not acceptable for drinking, washing dishes, or cooking. We had a bit of water, but not enough to do a load of laundry, and even if we had enough, our clothes were unlikely to get very clean from that muddy-looking water.

This broke us in gently, since we could still flush and take a quick, if not particularly thorough, shower. This predicament inspired me to invest in a water dispenser for the kitchen and enough 5-gallon jugs to keep us supplied with drinking water for a month. We used this for drinking, cooking, and making ice.

Kitchen sanitation was difficult and with snow impending that would leave us stranded at the cabin, I was hesitant to use our newly acquired drinking water for cleaning purposes. Here are some of the solutions we came up with.

We dirtied as few dishes as possible. I cooked in the oven and lined the cast iron with tin foil, which could easily be dis- posed of. Then the cookware required only a quick wipe. We also ate from paper plates and used the same drinking glasses throughout the day.

I set up a reusable water filtration system for dishwashing. I didn’t want to use my good Berkey filters for all of this sediment and gunk, so I rigged up a device for my faucet. I used a mesh sieve lined with a piece of fabric. (Flour sack towels work well for this, as do coffee filters for a disposable option.) I tied this little contraption to my faucet with a piece of garden twine and ran water through it slowly. It caught the greater part of the sediment. I put a splash of bleach and dish soap into the water. For rinsing, I used lake water that had been filtered through the Berkey, boiled, then seasoned with a little splash of bleach.

We cleaned with kitchen wipes. For wiping down counters, stoves, and food prep areas, we used antibacterial kitchen wipes. It seemed really silly to “clean” with dirty water. If it wasn’t too dirty from the dishes, we used the dishwater for cleaning, too.

The issue with our well lasted for about three weeks before the rain began to fall. Water table levels rose, and with them, our well water levels. Soon the water was sweet and clear again and we felt we were over the hurdle of water shortages. Little did we realize that all of this was merely a warm-up for the big event that would soon be coming our way. It would give a whole new meaning to power outages.

We hadn’t been there long when we had our first power outage. Being straight off the bus from the city, I thought that with a well and septic system, life would be easy in a situation without electricity. I was prepared for life without lights, appliances, or the Internet. But what I hadn’t thought of was life without running water. Not even dirty running water. No. Water. At. All.

In the city, despite our other inconveniences, when the lights went out, the water still flowed from the taps and the toilets still flushed. Not so when you have a well run by an electric pump. I discovered this when I got a panicked cry from the bathroom.

“Moooooom! The toilet won’t flush!” Rosie called.

I went in to see what was going on. “Wash your hands and I’ll get it working again.”

Rosie turned the taps to no avail. Uh oh. Then it dawned on me. The pump.

I sent my daughter down to the lake with a bucket to get water for flushing. We left the lid off the tank throughout the lights-out episode for the sake of ease.

Life without clean running water posed some problems, but it was nothing compared to life with NO running water at all. We rallied quickly. We had our 5-gallon jugs of drinking and cooking water. The lake had not yet frozen over, so we were able to haul up buckets of water for our other needs. But I was determined not to be stuck in this position later, when a foot of ice would cover the water of the lake.

I took notes throughout the outage, which was mercifully short, and came up with solutions to ease future electrical out- ages and their subsequent effects on water. More details on the nuts and bolts of water storage methods follow in Chapter Six.

Store tap water for sanitation. We added to our water storage supplies by purchasing 1-gallon bottles of drinking water. After we consumed the drinking water from these, we refilled them with tap water. Many of these were stored near the bathroom.

Fill the bathtub as soon as the weather gets bad. Because we lost power frequently, we began to immediately fill the tub the second the sky darkened and the wind began to howl. A full bathtub can provide a lot of flushes and washing-up water.

Place an old-fashioned pitcher and bowl on a stand to use for hand-washing. For many solutions, you need only look as far as an antique shop to see what our ancestors did. We set up cups near the pitcher and bowl to use for brushing our teeth.

Order extra filters and parts for your water- filtration system. Living in such a secluded area, the snow removal was not always dependable. With the filtration system, we never had to risk running out of potable water.

Use basins for dishwashing. Instead of using the sink to wash our dishes, we used basins. This way the water could be reused for flushing after the dishes were washed.

Stock up on baby wipes. When the power is out, you still want to keep clean. Baby wipes are a good way to take a quick sponge bath without using freezing cold water or using up your precious supplies. They can also be used for hand-washing and minor cleanups.

Keep a kettle on the woodstove. Actually, keep a couple of them. This added moisture to the dry air in the cabin and had the benefit of hot water on demand for tea, cocoa, or for adding to the basin to wash up with.

By the time the next power outage rolled around, we had become pros, and it was barely a blip on our radar.

The real moral of this chapter is not what we did or how we did it, though. It is that you can’t know what difficulties you will face without a practice run.

We’re pretty good at living without running water now, because we have had a lot of practice. It’s less convenient but it hardly feels like “roughing it” because we learned to resolve our issues. We discovered what we needed to make our lives more comfortable and we were able to stock up on those things at our leisure. Trust me, you don’t want to discover you need something only to find that everyone else in your town has just discovered the same thing.

Leave No Water Source Untapped

The “Rule of Three” states that you can survive three minutes without air, three days without water, and three weeks without food.  That said, for most of us, the practical concern following a disaster will be water, plain and simple.

To quote Daisy, “There is nothing you can store that is more valuable than water or a way to purify water.”

I totally agree and because of that, I am promoting the sharing of as much free information as I can to help you plan ahead for both long and short term catastrophes that may impact you water supply.  Having said that, if you have a few extra dollars to spare, I encourage you to check out the book, The Prepper’s Water Survival Guide: Harvest, Treat, and Store Your Most Vital Resource.  Other than your book on Survival Medicine, it may become the most important book in your library.  

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The Final Word

It was late July when I first conceived of “Water Month” on Backdoor Survival.  At the time, I failed to consider the calendar and how it would be impossible to cram everything I wanted to do into a single month.  As a result, you are going to find that “Water Month” may actually spill over into September.

What is coming up?

Answers to the questions you asked in the Prepper Book Festival giveaway, a round-up of some of the best water-related articles on the web, and finally, a fantastic review and giveaway for a an off-grid water purification system.  All free, all for you.

Whew!  I don’t know about you but I am enjoying having a “theme” month.  So much so I may just do it again.  Food Storage anyone?

Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!


Gaye Levy, also known as the Survival Woman, grew up and attended school in the Greater Seattle area. After spending many years as an executive in the software industry, she started a specialized accounting practice offering contract CFO work to emerging high tech and service industries. She has now abandoned city life and has moved to a serenely beautiful rural area on an island in NW Washington State. She lives and teaches the principles of a sustainable and self-reliant lifestyle through her website at BackdoorSurvival.com. At Backdoor Survival, Gaye speaks her mind and delivers her message of prepping with optimism and grace, regardless of the uncertain times and mayhem swirling around us.

5 Best Comebacks To Win Every Argument Against Prepping

5-Best-Comebacks-To-Win-Every-Argument-Against-Prepping

Let’s face reality.  As much as we believe in family preparedness and prepping, the majority of our peers think we are nuts.  Although we would never tell them that they are the one’s that are nuts, we might possibly put up a good argument in favor of prepping.

Prepping is insurance, right?  You know it and I know it but the rest of the world?  Not so much.

When it comes to discussing prepping with non-preppers, the conversation can get quite heated.  Been there, done that.

I have recently had the pleasure to of discussing this topic with blogging colleague, Dan Sullivan.  For those of you that are not familiar with Dan, his website is Survival Sullivan and even though it is fairly new, it is one I believe you will enjoy.

Next time, instead of getting upset, angry, and irate, consider these five comebacks that Dan is sharing exclusively with Backdoor Survival.  They just might help you win every argument against prepping.

These 5 Comebacks Will Win You Every Argument against Non-Preppers

The fights, arguments, and mockery between us, preppers, and the rest of the world are never-ending. Every once in a while I read an article that makes us look bad for doing something to protect ourselves and our families… and I find that a little bit offensive.

In a world where people kill each-other, steal from each-other and are just cruel to each other every single day, I find it somewhat annoying that those who choose to prepare are considered crazy. Of course, the fact that some survivalists make the news by doing something stupid every now and then, that propagates the wrong ideas about preppers (who are often mistaken for survivalists) and… it’s annoying to say the least running into people who have no idea what they’re talking about.

Still, if you’re going to prepare, you’re gonna run into these types of conversations whether you like it or not so… the comebacks below might help. Just don’t be afraid to use them.

#1. Tell them about small-scale disasters and emergencies

Ask anyone what they think about prepping and words like “Doomsday” and “zombies” immediately come up. Obviously, this couldn’t be further from the truth as there’s a huge number of smaller-scale disasters for which everyone should prep. Just by enumerating some of them and you can win the argument:

· assaults
· rapes
· electric shocks
· being stung by a bee
· getting bit by a dog
· carbon monoxide intoxications
· faints and other medical emergencies
· escape a sinking car
· bike accidents
· escaping hail storms

…and on and on.

If we do the math (which I haven’t, not yet, at least), we can safely assume hundreds of Americans die every single day from these things! 50,000 U.S. citizens die in car crashes every year, that’s 136 souls a day. 1 in 36 Americans end up in the ER each year. These two stats alone show us just how many people put their own lives in danger and it is staggering.

#2. “Why do you pay insurance on your car?”

In some cases, you can ask them the same thing about their house. Why do they pay insurance? Is it because they have to or do they really expect their house to catch fire and their car to crash? Even if they do say they’re paying because they have to, ask them how come they don’t think it’s crazy that literally everyone is paying car insurance and have no problem with it.

You can then go ahead and tell them that prepping is also a kind of insurance, one that you get because you know you have to, without anyone forcing you to do so by law. To really nail it, you can finish off by telling them that you shouldn’t take precaution measures just because the authorities tell you to, you have to be responsible and assess your own risks, then prepare accordingly.

When discussing prepping with non-preppers, the conversation can get quite heated. Instead of getting angry and upset, consider one of these comebacks.Click To Tweet

#3. Dig up old stories in your town or neighborhood

Do you know some of your online local news websites? Great. Here’s what I want you to do… Go to Google (or your favorite search engine) and type the following:

site: MyLocalNewsWebsite.com dies OR accident OR horrible

…where MyLocalNewsWebsite.com is the address of your chosen website. You can perform several searches for each of these news websites.

You’re gonna find a huge number of stories of accidents that happened near your home. This just builds on the argument #1 when I suggested you talk with them about small-scale disasters. The difference is you actually dig up those critical events that happened close to you and, if possible, they are also recent. Surely you will find plenty.

For example, during the 12 years I’ve been living at my current location, I’ve seen two house fires (one of them killed a person). Plus, one little old lady across the street from me got robbed in the middle of the afternoon by some guy who simply jumped her fence. To these I might also add the various things that happened to my relatives and friends. Surely you can remember a lot of such stories too, you just need to take your time to think.

The key is to bring the others into your reality and to talk with faith, passion or whatever you want to call it in a way which gets them sucked into your frame of mind.

#4. “The rich are doing it!”

Well, they are. And they’re spending millions of dollars too. If they don’t believe you, point them to this article, for example (there are lots of others, of course).

Obviously, they’re doing it wrong and paying huge amounts of money to screw up, but the fact that they’re well connected and still scared of what’s to come shows that they know something we don’t and that works in your favor.

#5. Don’t say anything

Sometimes it’s just better to not engage in any arguments and leave them thinking whatever they want about you. If they prefer to cling to their own beliefs, that’s their problem. Silence is, sometimes, the best argument you can have.

Ok, those were it. I tried my best to bring you my best arguments but, in addition to them, you can still use these:

· talk about hurricanes Katrina and Sandy
· tell them about the Ferguson and Baltimore riots
· and don’t forget to mention those mass shootings that make the news and give us goose bumps every once in a while

The bottom line is you have to talk in an assertive manner: confident tone of voice, clarity and self-assurance but without sounding aggressive. Otherwise, you’d just be fitting into their stereotypes.

See, I stopped caring what others think of me a few years back and I couldn’t be happier… because instead of worrying and being in a constant state of frustration, I finally got the peace of mind which allowed me to focus on what’s important to me as opposed to what’s important to others.

About Dan and Survival Sullivan

Growing up in a small 2nd world country, Dan learned from a young age to love nature, animals, to live frugally and to appreciate the little things in life. He started writing about survival when he got tired by the lack of quality information and realized people just need the facts.

Dan has declared war on fluff and is winning battle after battle with each article he writes on SurvivalSullivan.com.  In addition to his website, you can find Dan on Facebook and Twitter.  

The Final Word

Before closing, I want to say that I too want to fight the battle against fluff!  I can’t remember if I have said that publicly before or not, but one of my peeves is the proliferation of prepper websites that are either a rehash of government documents or worse, content that has been spun from other sites without attribution.

As I mentioned at the first of the year, I strongly feel that my role as a responsible blogger requires me to share not only my own material, but selected articles from other, lesser-known authors that bring value to our niche.

No one person knows 100% about everything and many so-called experts are not experts at all.  As far as I am concerned, each of you, as readers, brings something of value to the table and are an expert in your own right.

Please do not be shy!  Share your tips in the comments section of each article and know that the world values your input.

Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!


Gaye Levy, also known as the Survival Woman, grew up and attended school in the Greater Seattle area. After spending many years as an executive in the software industry, she started a specialized accounting practice offering contract CFO work to emerging high tech and service industries. She has now abandoned city life and has moved to a serenely beautiful rural area on an island in NW Washington State. She lives and teaches the principles of a sustainable and self-reliant lifestyle through her website at BackdoorSurvival.com. At Backdoor Survival, Gaye speaks her mind and delivers her message of prepping with optimism and grace, regardless of the uncertain times and mayhem swirling around us.

What Is The Baseline Of Prepper Fitness?

What-is-the-Prepper-Fitness

Of the myriad of preparedness topics, one that is often shunned is that of prepper fitness.  It is easy to see why.  Fitness is hard work and with busy lives that border on frantic, we barely have time to go to work, do our chores, spend time with our families, then crash as our head hits the pillow each night.  Physical fitness?  What’s that?  And why is that important?

In the latest think piece from contributor Richard Broome, we ask that question within the context of a disruptive event and SHTF.  Going beyond that, we ask a few questions in our quest to establish a baseline of fitness.

All you have to do is hike ten miles with a twenty or thirty pack on your back to realize that fitness is indeed an important part of prepping.  This article is going to make you ponder, no doubt, but beyond that it just might trigger some positive action to set you on the path of prepper fitness, or, what Richard has call “PrepperFit”.

Enjoy this latest think piece and note the special bonus at the end.  Richard is giving away an autographed copy of his book Good Crazy, to one Backdoor Survival reader.  You are not going to want to miss it.

PrepperFit ©

“If you wish to be out front, then act as if you were behind.” ― Lao Tzu, Chinese philosopher

I have been out of town for the last week spending time with my wife, my four children and their spouses, and four grandchildren at a resort in Florida. I know. I know. Seriously? Florida in July? Yet…it was a great family time renewing our connections before we scattered all over the country at the end of the vacation and tended to our very busy lives. We will not be together again until my youngest son gets married during the holidays this winter.

As I spent time sitting in the shade of a large umbrella, watching my family splash about in a pool, I took note of the other people at the resort and was taken aback some by the fairly rotund people around me. Montana’s lifestyle requires a certain level of fitness. Admittedly there are plenty of people in Montana who could stand to lose a pound or two or more (and, I reluctantly, but honestly must count me in this group). Most Montanans I know here like to hunt, fish, hike, bike, ski and have the physical fitness level to do this.

So, back to that pool in Florida. As we age, it is clear to me that with our intense lifestyles and demanding careers, many of us are not as fit or lean as we would like. Small wonder. Exercise falls to the bottom of the priority list when all you can do is just cope with each stressful, hectic day.

For me, retired from both the military and the business world, and now teaching at a university, I do have more time each day to try to stay fit. I walk at least a couple of miles every morning with my golden retriever, Molly, and then go to the gym on most days to lift weights and generally workout. But, admittedly, I am very far from that peak level of fitness I had at age eighteen as a high school athlete.

I went into the Army about that age feeling very confident about my physical abilities. No problem, I thought. However, pretty early in boot camp they required us to learn to do the things we were expected to be able to do as soldiers.

The first time we were told to drop to the ground with our rifles cradled in our arms, and then low crawl on our stomachs using only our arms and legs (no getting up on our knees, hands or elbows and crawling like a baby) and move for 50 yards as fast as we could go. I was shocked at the effort this took. It was exhausting.

The drill sergeants did help us though. Every time we tried to rise up and crawl on our knees and elbows, (which would expose us to enemy fire if we ever got that high off of the ground) they kicked us in our rumps to encourage us to learn how to do the low crawl correctly. The second time they had to kick you in the rump, they were also nice enough to have you start over at the beginning of the 50 yards, so you could be really sure you understood how to do it right. It was an early, painful, but necessary lesson as we went through the rites of passage from civilian to soldier.

It got better. As a former football player, a big guy at 6’4”, I was assigned the job of carrying my platoon’s machine gun. Just try walking twelve hours in 100-degree Texas heat carrying a heavy machine gun with its belts of ammunition also draped around your neck. Your shoulders ache. Your arms become rubber.

On the move, there was no place to put the machine gun down. Every time the platoon finally stopped to take a quick break and drink some water out of our canteens, I was grateful to rest the machine gun on the ground for a few moments. By the end of the day, I was so spent I could barely move.

But at the end of the day and getting ready to settle in for the night, the drill sergeants then told me to dig a foxhole that I could shoot the machine gun from. I also had to fill up several sand bags with dirt to surround the foxhole. I could not stop until the drill sergeants were satisfied I had built a good fighting position. I thought I was in great physical shape, but was staggering with exhaustion when I finally finished all of this. It was a level of physical stress and endurance I had never imagined.

So, as we begin to have a conversation on Backdoor Survival about what standards we need to have as preppers, it occurred to me while sitting comfortably in the shade by the pool at that very nice resort in Florida looking at some less than physically fit people, that while preppers may well be ready with the material items they need to gather, will our bodies fail us?

On the long plane ride back from Florida to Montana, I was on one of those airlines that had a TV embedded in the seat back facing you. There are moments when you have read as much as you possibly can, so you are grateful for anything that is on TV on an airplane to help pass the time. I know I was.

I flipped channels until I came across the CrossFit games. Men and women competitors were doing feats of strength and endurance such as picking up a 50 pound bag, running the length of a football field with it, then dropping it and running back to fetch another 50 pound bag until they had several bags moved from one end of the football field to the other. They were doing this as fast as they could to win the event. This struck me as a pretty tough challenge that required peak fitness.

So, in that vein, here are some challenging PrepperFit questions:

–Can you walk for twelve hours carrying a rifle, ammunition, food and water hunting for game, then shoot something and carry a heavy load of meat back for several miles to your shelter?

–If the SHTF and we are all surviving, do you think you could carry in each hand a 2-½ gallon can down to a stream three miles away, fill it with water and then carry it back?

–How long during a day can you chop, split, carry and stack firewood?

–Can you build enough of a woodpile over time to keep from freezing during the winter?

–If you had to run and hide, how much can you carry? How fast can you move?

And…how do you even prepare for something like this without your neighbors thinking you have gone completely bonkers?

Can you walk for twelve hours carrying a rifle, ammunition, food and water hunting for game, then shoot something and carry a heavy load of meat back for several miles to your shelter?Click To Tweet

Here is the bottom line. My guess is for every 1000 people who read this article about prepper fitness on Backdoor Survival, maybe 25 of you have this level of fitness now and 975 don’t. Just a guess and I am definitely in the 975. I also believe that most of us in the 975 are doing as well as we can, but have no real hope of ever getting into the top 25. Something keeps getting in the way. It is called “Life.” We are who we are. We live how we live. We do what we can do. There is a term for people like us. The term is: “Normal.”

Given my suspicion that most of us will likely be physically challenged if the SHTF, how do you prepare for a sudden increased level of physical demand? I think the most honest approach is to know that you are going to be, as the Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu says, behind before you are out front.

I was able to get through my first weeks of Army boot camp because I had a baseline of high school athletic physical fitness to start with. I was sore and tired each day and would fall into my bunk as soon as our drill instructors turned the lights out in our barracks. I fell asleep as soon as my head hit the pillow and was always startled when the bugle sounded reveille early the next morning and the drill instructors ran through the barracks yelling at us to get out of our racks. Each day I just kept on, keeping on until my muscles grew stronger and my endurance improved. This experience made a deep impression on me.

If the SHTF I do not feel life will be much different than this for most of us. But…for all of us, the key factor is going to be where you start from on the fitness scale and it cannot be grossly obese and seriously out of physical condition. You may die from the physical shock no matter how materially well prepared you are. As well, if you think a good lunch is a bag of Cheetos chased down by a can of Mountain Dew, I am going to suggest you rethink this lifestyle too.

In short, at whatever age or state of life you are presently in, a healthy lifestyle with good nutrition and routine exercise needs to be a baseline for all preppers. There is no way around this.

So, as our starting point to developing a PrepperFit standard, suspecting most of us will only be moderately physically ready for the SHTF moment, here are some questions for all of you.

If asked for your opinion today, before the SHTF, what would your answers be to the following questions?

–How far should a prepper be able to walk in a day right now?

–How far should a prepper be able to swim?

–How far should a prepper be able to carry 30 pounds of dead weight in each hand?

–How far should a pepper be able to carry a 150-pound person on their back?

–How much weight should a prepper be able to lift over their head?

–What other PrepperFit physical standards would you add?

But, most important, how far behind do you think you are right now, before you will be able to get out front?

Richard Earl Broome –  Copyright. All Rights Reserved – July 27, 2015

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Richard Earl Broome is a contributing author and friend to Backdoor Survival. He has lived an extraordinary life rising from an Army private to an Army colonel who served on the White House staff for two Presidents of the United States as a member of their National Security Council staff.

He is considered a national expert on the subjects of preparedness, disaster recovery and survival. He is a frequent contributor of articles about the many threats facing our society, appearing frequently on shows to discuss issues such as pandemics, ISIS, and the cyber threat and how we need to meet the new threat realities facing all of us.

Now living in a small community in Montana, he is a member of the faculty at Montana State University where he teaches leadership. For more about Richard, visit the About Richard page.

Also, note that his two books, Leaving The Trees and Good Crazy (Leaving The Trees Journey) (Volume 2), can be found on Amazon.  His next novel, Final Reckoning Day, will be out in the fall of 2015.

The Final Word

On more than one occasion I ask myself why I post articles on the less popular aspects of prepping fitness, for example.  After all, traffic, or eyeballs in website-speak, attract advertising which is how most site owners support their efforts.  So if a topic is not popular or even uncomfortable, my answer is the same one I used way back when during my years on the corporate world.

“If no one asks the tough questions then nothing will get resolved and this meeting is a waste.”

So there you have it.  As proponents of preparedness, we must both ask and answer the tough questions as they relate to our personal situation.  And for now, that is all I am going to say about that.

For additional reading, visit Prepper Preparedness: Personal Fitness and Health.

Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!


Gaye Levy, also known as the Survival Woman, grew up and attended school in the Greater Seattle area. After spending many years as an executive in the software industry, she started a specialized accounting practice offering contract CFO work to emerging high tech and service industries. She has now abandoned city life and has moved to a serenely beautiful rural area on an island in NW Washington State. She lives and teaches the principles of a sustainable and self-reliant lifestyle through her website at BackdoorSurvival.com. At Backdoor Survival, Gaye speaks her mind and delivers her message of prepping with optimism and grace, regardless of the uncertain times and mayhem swirling around us.

Make Your Own Natural QuikClot (VIDEO)

quikclot

In a post-disaster environment, paramedics and medical response teams are inundated with emergency calls and assign degrees of urgency to emergency calls. If your call is not on the list of priority medical issues, then you will have to wait. Those who understand this know that in these times of crisis, we must become our own medics and know how to treat medical emergencies during disaster events.

Stopping a critical life threatening bleed is paramount in an emergency situation and, in some cases, takes precedence over airways and breathing.  This is one of those medical issues that you need to know how to care for. One product that preppers like to have on hand are the Celox or QuikClot like bandages that help stop this type of excessive bleeding. These wound dressings contain a hemostatic agent in powder or granule form that is applied directly to a wound to help stop bleeding. These dressings are usually reserved for when a major artery has been severed and bleeding out is a concern.

A downside to this type of emergency wound dressing is it is extremely difficult to debride or clean out of a wound. As well, because you are introducing a foreign object into the body, it has the capacity of cause further irritation and possible infection. In fact, many complain that when they used QuikClot, it caused heat in the wound from the chemicals used. This can cause a lot of pain! Moreover, many turn to QuikClot wound dressings prematurely when applying direct pressure may have been the best approach.

Remember: If you have not severed an artery, apply direct pressure to the wound and see if your body creates a natural clot.

Cayenne: A Natural Wound Dressing

If you find yourself in a situation where you have to attend to a bleeding wound, take comfort in the fact that everything you need is sitting in your kitchen pantry. Many have found that cayenne pepper is an effective alternative and natural version of QuikClot. Cayenne pepper contains an active ingredient, called capsaicin, which has analgesic (pain relieving) properties and various other medicinal uses.

Why is cayenne pepper so effective for bleeding wounds?

  • Equalizes the blood pressure and allows cuts—even deep cuts—to clot quickly.
  • Possesses antifungal and antibacterial capabilities, it naturally disinfects the wound
  • Naturally promotes healing in tissues
  • Is a natural pain killer

Cayenne pepper is a great survival plant and also works to improve blood circulation, assist digestion, stimulate perspiration and saliva, and lessen pain from swollen or arthritic joints and limbs.

Cayenne powder can be applied directly to the open wound to stop bleeding. Simply sprinkle a generous amount of pepper to the wound and cover with a gauze pad to apply direct pressure to wound. Apply pressure for up to 10 minutes or make your own cayenne pepper gauze pads.

To Use Cayenne Pepper Gauze

  1. Remove debris and flush wound thoroughly.
  2. Place cayenne-coated gauze on wound and add additional gauze pads to apply pressure.
  3. Apply direct  pressure for up to 10 minutes.
  4. Remove gauze pad and wrap with clean bandage.
  5. If bleeding does not stop, the wound may need stitches.

Additionally, you can make your own bandages using chitosan

Nature always seem to provide us with everything we need to get by. Chances are, many of you have some cayenne pepper laying around, so keep it safe. You never know, you may need it during an emergency.


Tess Pennington is the editor for ReadyNutrition.com. After joining the Dallas chapter of the American Red Cross in 1999, Tess worked as an Armed Forces Emergency Services Center specialist and is well versed in emergency and disaster management and response. Tess is the author of The Prepper’s Cookbook: 300 Recipes to Turn Your Emergency Food into Nutritious, Delicious, Life-Saving Meals. When a catastrophic collapse cripples society, grocery store shelves will empty within days. But by following Tess’s tips for stocking, organizing, and maintaining a proper emergency food supply, your family will have plenty to eat for weeks, months, or even years.

Survival Basics: 16 Ways To Conserve Water In Your Home

16-Ways-to-Conserve-Water-in-Your-Home

With the recent proliferation of water shortages caused by wonky weather patterns, finding ways to maximize the water we do have has become a focus of preppers near and far.  That said, in addition to knowing how to find, harvest, purify, and store water, it is important to develop a lifelong habit of conserving water.

The bottom line is that careful water conservation methods will allow you to make the most of limited supplies not only following a disruptive event but also day to day as you learn to make do with what you have during a drought.

Today I share 16 ways to conserve water in in your home.  We’ll begin in the bathroom since interestingly enough, that is where 75% of all household water is used.

16 Tips to Help You Conserve Water

1.  Do not keep the bathroom faucet running.

The faucet at the bathroom sink does not need to be running continuously while you brush your teeth, wash your face, or shave.  You will save between three and five gallons of water each minute your faucet is turned off.  That is a lot of water! Instead, use the stopper on the sink and drain the basin when you are done.

2.  Only flush when needed.

The toilet is not a wastepaper basket for tissues, cotton balls, or other bits of trash.  Even better, flush the solids every single time but alternate flushing the liquids.

The prepper’s motto is ‘yellow, let it mellow’, ‘brown, flush it down’.

3.  Flush using less water.

Most toilets installed before 1980 use 5 to 7 gallons of water per flush. Toilets installed between 1980 and 1993 use 3.5 gallons per flush. Toilets installed since 1994 use 1.6 gallons.

If you happen to have an older toilet, consider filling a used soda bottle or jar with water and small pebbles or marbles and place it upright in the tank.  This will cut down on the amount of water that flows through the tank with each flush.  Just be careful not to place the bottle where it will jam the flushing mechanism.  Also, make sure you don’t displace so much water that you have to double-flush.

Double flushing wastes more water than you would save.

4.  Check for leaky faucets and toilets.

It is easy to replace worn washers and since a small leak can waste many gallons of water a day, it is well worth the effort to test for leaks now.

The way to test for toilet leaks is to put a few drops of food coloring in the tank to see if the colored water appears in the bowl.  This takes about 10 minutes.  If the water color changes, you have a leak.  Not to worry, though.  Most leaks can be repaired with a kit that you can pick up at your local hardware store or on Amazon.

You can find a lot of information on toilets and toilet repairs at the Toiletology 101 website, including a free course on toilet repairs.

Keep in mind that little leaks can add up quickly.  A faucet drip or invisible toilet leak that totals only two tablespoons a minute comes to 15 gallons a day. That’s 105 gallons a week or 5,460 wasted gallons of water a year.

Are you wondering how long the parts in your toilet tank should last?  The answer is: it depends.  Replaceable parts such as flappers and washers or seals inside the refill valve may last several years. However factors such as water treatment processes, toilet bowl cleaners, and high water pressure can cause parts to disintegrate much sooner. If you touch the flapper and get black “goo” on your hands, the flapper needs to be replaced.

5.  Check for hidden water leaks.

Check for hidden water leaks elsewhere in your home by reading your water meter.  What you do is read the house water meter before and after a two-hour period when no water is being used. If the meter does not read exactly the same, there is a leak.

6.  Take short showers.

Bathing and showering consume huge amounts of water.  One good way to conserve is to turn the water off while you soap up.  I get too cold doing that so instead, I have installed a water saving shower head. Another option is to limit the length of your shower to 5 minutes or less. Reducing your shower time by only 1 minute can save up to 1,000 gallons of water a year.

7.  When you take a bath, use lots of bubble bath.

I kid you not.  Stop up the tub, add a copious amount of bubble bath and add just a few inches of water.  It is totally an illusion but it will seem as though the water is higher than it really is.  In addition, remember to plug the tub before turning on water; that initial burst of cold water will be warmed later by adding hot water.

8.  Refrigerate drinking water to keep it cold.

Like your drinking water cold?  Keep a bottle or carafe of drinking water in the refrigerator so that you do not have to leave the faucet running while getting a cold drink.  Personally, I prefer my drinking water a room temperature.

9.  Use kitchen water wisely.

In the kitchen, don’t let the faucet run when you scrub vegetables or prepare other foods. Put a stopper in the sink instead.  Likewise, do not use running water to thaw meat or other frozen foods. Defrost food overnight in the refrigerator or place it in a bowl of hot water instead.

The bottom line is that careful water conservation methods will allow you to make the most of limited supplies not only following a disruptive event but also day to day as you learn to make do with what you have during a drought.Click To Tweet

10.  Compost food scraps.

Instead of using a garbage disposal that requires running water to operate, start and use a compost pile.  Your garden will love you for it. Here are 80 things you can compost that might surprise you.

11.  Be prudent when preserving pipes in freezing weather.

Most people know that you can leave some water running in order to prevent pipes from freezing in cold weather.  Except for the most extreme of situations, all you need is a very thin trickle of water running to accomplish that goal.

12.  Use your washer and dishwasher for full loads only.

When doing  laundry in a washing machine, run full loads only.  The same applies to dishes in a dishwasher.

Hint:  Instead of pre-washing dishes before putting them in the dishwasher, spray them with a mixture of Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soap and water (3 tablespoons per quart of water).  Sponge or brush off the excess food, perhaps using a bit more of your spray.  No additional water is needed.

Want to save some money?  Make up a batch of DIY Liquid Castile Soap and use that instead.

13.  Install inexpensive faucet aerators in your bathroom and kitchen.

If you can bathe your whole body with a showerhead that uses less than 2.5 gallons per minute, why use up to 7 gallons just to wash your hands in the sink?

An inexpensive faucet aerator that supplies 2.5 gallons per minute should be fine in the kitchen. In the bathroom, a 1-gallon-per-minute aerator will provide plenty of water to brush your teeth, wash your hands.

14.  Water plants deeply but less frequently.

When watering your plants, deep soak each time you water. Many people water lightly and frequently, causing a shallow root system.

Watering deeply and infrequently creates a healthy root system that is better equipped to withstand heat and drought.  Also, use watering cans, whenever possible, especially when watering just a few patio plants. Watering with a hose may actually put more water on the patio than in the containers as you move from plant to plant.

Even better, If you must use water on your outdoor plantings, consider using rain water or a grey water system.

15.  Use buckets of water instead of a hose.

Use buckets when washing your car instead of letting the water from the hose run continuously.  Your vehicle will become just as clean and when you are done, a quick rinse will whisk away the final remnants of dirt.

This same process works with washing outdoor furniture, patios, and just about everything else.

16.  Repurpose shower water.

This last tip came from a Backdoor Survival reader.  Here is what he said.

Living in Texas, during this drought, I heard an excellent idea to conserve water. While taking your shower, place a 5-gallon bucket (readily available at any home improvement store) in the tub with you, right by the drain. As you shower, some of the water will end up in the bucket, instead of going down the drain.

The Home Water Audit

Curious to see how you are doing when it comes to water conservation? I found this nifty home water audit online at the Water Use It Wisely website>  It only takes a moment to complete and you might be surprised at the results.  I actually scored 31 out of 36 but then again, where I live the water cost is about a dollar a flush so I am extra careful when it comes to water.

The Final Word

Like so many things in life, the use of water can be a mindless process mired in habit.  However, many places in the US, particularly the state of California, are undergoing an epic drought.  Heck, even my home in lush, green, Washington State is in a state of drought.

This is not only affecting the availability of drinking water, but also the much needed supply of water to support agriculture.  Whether you live is a drought state or not, the lack of water is going to seriously affect the cost of food for a long time.

Right now, when you turn on the faucet, there it is: fresh, clear water.  But after a disruptive event?  Not so much.  If you are lucky, you will at least have some water and if not, let us hope that you will have plenty of water stored away and that you will have learned in advance to be miserly in its use.

In closing, most of the tips outlined today apply to a “situation normal”. After all, a bubble bath would be out of the question following a disaster.  On the other hand, the habits you develop during normal times will carry you forward with the proper mindset when faced with a survival “do or die” situation. During those times, your supply of water will be limited to the amount that you’ve been able to store. Plus, if your are acquiring the water yourself, it is a lot of work, carrying in buckets of water and then purifying them.

Either way, normal times or not, you do not want to waste a drop.

Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!


Gaye Levy, also known as the Survival Woman, grew up and attended school in the Greater Seattle area. After spending many years as an executive in the software industry, she started a specialized accounting practice offering contract CFO work to emerging high tech and service industries. She has now abandoned city life and has moved to a serenely beautiful rural area on an island in NW Washington State. She lives and teaches the principles of a sustainable and self-reliant lifestyle through her website at BackdoorSurvival.com. At Backdoor Survival, Gaye speaks her mind and delivers her message of prepping with optimism and grace, regardless of the uncertain times and mayhem swirling around us.

50 Reasons Why Preppers Need Vinegar In Their Stockpiles

Glass Bottles

As preppers, if we stored a different product for each of our cleaning needs, we’d need a storage room the size of Costco to put it all in. That’s why I love vinegar.

Vinegar is multi-purpose, non-toxic and inexpensive.  With the addition of a few drops of essential oil, it even smells good. There are about a million different ways to use it, and that’s before you even get into the use of vinegar in some of your recipes.

My favorite use?  Easy. Vinegar is the key component in my all purpose DIY cleaner aptly named, Peppermint Juice.  More about that later.

Every self-respecting prepper should have lots of vinegar stashed away. Here are 50 reasons why. (Many of them were graciously contributed by my friend Joe Marshall at Survival Life.)

Why Preppers Need Vinegar In Their Stockpiles

1. Disinfect wood cutting boards.

2. Soothe a sore throat; use 1 tsp. of vinegar per glass of water, then gargle.

3. Fight dandruff; after shampooing, rinse hair with vinegar and 2 cups of warm water.

4. Remove warts; apply daily a 50/50 solution of cider vinegar and glycerin until they’re gone.

5. Cure an upset stomach; drink 2 tsp. apple cider vinegar in one cup of water.

6. Polish chrome.

7. Keep boiled eggs from cracking; add 2 tbsp to water before boiling.

8. Clean deposits from fish tanks.

9. Remove urine stains from carpet.

10. Keep fleas off dogs; add a little vinegar to the dog’s drinking water.

11. Keep car windows from frosting up; use a solution of 3 oz. vinegar to 1 oz. water.

12. Clean dentures; soak overnight in vinegar and then brush.

13. Get rid of lint in clothes; add 0.5 cup vinegar to rinse cycle.

14. Remove grease from suede.

15. Kill grass on sidewalks and driveways.

16. Make wool blankets softer; add 2 cups distilled vinegar to rinse cycle.

17. Remove skunk odor from a dog; rub fur with full strength vinegar and rinse.

18. Freshen wilted vegetables; soak them in 1 tbsp vinegar and a cup of cold water.

19. Dissolve mineral deposits in drip coffee makers.

20. Deodorize drains; pour a cup down the drain once a week, let sit for 30 minutes, then rinse.

21. Use as a replacement for a lemon; 0.25 tsp.. vinegar substitutes for 1 tsp. of lemon juice.

22. Make rice fluffier; add 1 tsp. of vinegar to water when it boils.

23. Prevent grease build-up in ovens; wipe oven with cleaning rag soaked in distilled vinegar and water.

24. Kill germs; mix a 50-50 solution of vinegar and water in a spray bottle.

25. Clean a clogged shower head.; pour vinegar into a zip-lock bag and gang it around the shower head. let it soak overnight to remove any mineral deposits.

26. Shine patent leather.

27. Remove the smell from laundry that has been left in the washer too long; pour 1 cup of vinegar in with the load and rewash it.

28. Make propane lantern wicks burn longer/brighter; soak them in vinegar for 3 hours, let dry.

29. Act as an an air freshener.

30. Soften paint brushes; soak in hot vinegar then rinse with soapy water.

31. Remove bumper stickers and decals; simply cover them with vinegar-soaked cloth for several minutes.

32. Prolong the life of fresh-cut flowers; use 2 tbsp of vinegar and 3 tbsp of sugar per quart of warm water

33. Prevent Mildew; Wipe down shower walls with a vinegar solution.

34. Soften calloused feet;  soak your feet in a mixture 50/50 mixture of vinegar and water for 30 minutes then scrub them with a pumice stone. The dead skin should slough off easily.

35. Treat Acne;  start with a solution of organic apple cider vinegar and water at a ration of 1:8, apply the toner to blemishes and  leave on a minimum of 2 minutes.

36. Preserve food; many vegetables that would otherwise require pressure canning may be waterbath canned if you pickle them in vinegar.

37. Remove stains from white counter tops; mix a paste of baking soda and vinegar, apply it to the stain overnight, then scrub it clean in the morning.

38. Remove cooking spray build-up; vinegar cuts grease on baking sheets when spritzed on from a spray bottle, then washed as usual.

39. Control blood sugar; drink high quality apple cider vinegar 4 times per day to keep blood sugar under control.

40. Keep psoriasis under control; wash the affected area with plain white vinegar several times per week.

41. Kill moss; spray it, undiluted, on moss.

42. Penetrating fluid for rusty items; soak metal items that are rusted together in vinegar overnight. If you begin to get some movement, replace the vinegar with fresh vinegar and soak for one more day. The items should become freed up.

43. Use in place of commercial fabric softener; add it to the last cycle in your washing machine. (Don’t worry, the water will rinse out any vinegar smell)

44. Remove pesticide from produce; soak produce in a sink full of water with 1 cup of vinegar and half a cup of baking soda

45. Remove ball point pen marks from walls; dab full strength vinegar on the spot with a cloth. Repeat until the mark is gone. (Don’t scrub, though, or you’ll just smear the mark all over the wall.)

46. Remove sticky residue from scissors; dip them in a cup of full strength vinegar. Then use that vinegar for other cleaning purposes.

47. Remove candle wax; if you get candle wax on your wood table, soften the candle wax with the heat of a blow dryer. Dip a cloth into equal parts vinegar and water, then gently scrub away the rest of the wax.

48. Get rid of the smell of smoke; if you burn dinner (or have a smoker in your home), you can get rid of the smell by sitting a bowl of pure vinegar out in the area where the smell is.

49. Make a trap for fruit flies (gnats); put apple cider vinegar in a Mason jar.  Poke some holes in the lid large enough for them to get in. They’ll be drawn to the smell, then die in the jar.

50. Kill weeds in the cracks of your sidewalk; forget about using toxic Round-up on weeds. Spray full strength white vinegar on the plant at the roots. (10% is best if you have a real issue, not the kitchen kind).

Every respectable prepper needs vinegar in their stockpile! Here are 50 reasons why!Click To Tweet

How to Make ‘Peppermint Juice’

One of my favorite uses of vinegar is as an all-purpose cleaner.  And while 1/4 cup added to water in a spray bottle while do the job just fine, it is a lot more fun to make Peppermint Juice.  You will find the original recipe in the article Prepper Checklist: DIY Cleaning Supplies but I’ll repeat it here for you as well.

Window, Floor, General Surface Cleaner aka Peppermint Juice

1/2 cup white vinegar
32 oz. (1 quart) cups water
1/4 tsp. to 1/2 tsp. peppermint essential oil

Make up a batch of Peppermint Magic in a re-purposed juice jug.  Fill your spray bottles from this master supply.  Using different essential oils, you can make Tea Tree Juice, Lemon Juice or some other scent.  I prefer peppermint oil or tea tree oil for their antibacterial and antiseptic qualities.

The Final Word

Vinegar is just one of the many inexpensive super-items that are useful in the survival cupboard.  Some of the others include baking soda, salt, duct tape, aluminum foil, coffee filters, and honey.

With limited storage space and a limited budget, it is good to know that there a multi-use items out there that can do the job and perform a number of functions around the home, the garden in the great outdoors.

Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!


Gaye Levy, also known as the Survival Woman, grew up and attended school in the Greater Seattle area. After spending many years as an executive in the software industry, she started a specialized accounting practice offering contract CFO work to emerging high tech and service industries. She has now abandoned city life and has moved to a serenely beautiful rural area on an island in NW Washington State. She lives and teaches the principles of a sustainable and self-reliant lifestyle through her website at BackdoorSurvival.com. At Backdoor Survival, Gaye speaks her mind and delivers her message of prepping with optimism and grace, regardless of the uncertain times and mayhem swirling around us.

Propaganda Alert: Feds Arrest And Charge Three Men “Accused Of Prepping For Martial Law”

martial law

By: Melissa Dykes | Truthstream Media –

As reported by SHTF Plan, three men have been arrested on federal conspiracy charges for buying guns, stocking up on ammunition, and attempting to build explosives. We will get to the actual details of those arrests in a moment.

Look at the headline of this story. Feds charging people for prepping for martial law? This is how these arrests have been portrayed in the mainstream media.

That’s what the headline says over at Associated Press, the outlet which supplies much of the mainstream media with its news/talking points:

apfedschargemartiallaw2

This headline obviously makes it sound as if prepping for martial law is now a federal crime.

AP’s article has now been splashed all over the mainstream media from ABC News to the Washington Post and back. New York Magazine spelled it out a bit more:

nymagpreppingmartiallaw

Some outlets, like this one from Officer.com, took it a bit further:

officerchargediwthprepping
This time it straight up says these men were “charged with prepping for martial law.”

Since when did prepping for martial law become something the FBI can arrest you for?

These men were reportedly stockpiling food and weapons, at least in part in response to Jade Helm, as many people across the country have been.

Here are the details of what actually went down straight from the Justice Department news release:

Beginning on or about June 18, 2015, law enforcement received information that Litteral and Barker were attempting manufacture explosive or destructive devices.  On or about July 22, 2015, law enforcement received information that Campbell was reconstructing live grenades from “dummy grenades” sold legally as military artifacts.  Litteral, Campbell and others believed that the United States government intended to use the armed forces to impose martial law, which they planned to resist with violent force.  Litterral had been purchasing numerous military equipment in preparation for the alleged attack, including ammunition for a .338 caliber rifle, handheld radios with throat microphones for communication, military issue Kevlar helmets, body armor vests and balaclavas (a form of cloth headgear designed to expose only parts of the face).

The FBI became aware that Litteral and Campbell wanted to manufacture destructive devices such as pipe bombs and grenades and possessed some of the needed components.  According to the investigation, Barker provided Litteral with pipe fittings, which are needed to manufacture pipe bombs.  Litteral also discussed testing the destructive devices in Shelby, N.C., with Barker present for the testing.  Making reference to the explosion, court records indicate that Litteral said, “it is going to be great.”

In addition to purchasing the military supplies, Litteral also tried to purchase a firearm and ammunition for Barker.  According to court records, Litteral filled out the required form with his own information, even though the gun was intended for Barker.  Using his own debit card, Barker purchased ammunition and a large capacity magazine for the gun.  Barker’s prior criminal felony convictions prohibit him from purchasing or possessing a firearm or ammunition.

Agree or disagree with the government’s case here or that these men should or should not be charged with conspiracy to violate federal laws governing firearms and explosive devices, it’s still just a bit different from three men being charged with federal crimes for “prepping for martial law,” isn’t it?

What the Associated Press spin on this story did was further push the government agenda to paint anyone who would prepare for martial law in times like those we are living in as not just crazy conspiracy theorists, but as federal criminals or terrorists, further stoking fear in the public that it is preppers the public at large should really be afraid of.

The saddest part is that so many people still watch and read the mainstream news and believe what they are told in headlines or a couple of minutes of a reporter’s teleprompter reading without one iota of critical thought on the matter.

Further Resources

The Prepper’s Blueprint: A Step-By-Step Guide To Prepare For Any Disaster

Prepper Sentenced to 21 Months In Prison For Stockpiling “Destructive Devices” After Insider Rats Him Out

Video Proof: Feds Post Letters Identifying Preppers As Potential Terrorists: “Individuals or groups making bulk purchases…”

OPSEC and the Dangers of People You Thought Were Like-Minded

Do You Qualify as a Domestic Terrorist?


Melissa Dykes is a writer, researcher, and analyst for The Daily Sheeple and a co-creator of Truthstream Media with Aaron Dykes, a site that offers teleprompter-free, unscripted analysis of The Matrix we find ourselves living in. Melissa also co-founded Nutritional Anarchy with Daisy Luther of The Organic Prepper, a site focused on resistance through food self-sufficiency. Wake the flock up!

Surviving The Drought: 25 Easy Ways To Conserve Water

Surviving-the-Drought

If you aren’t already storing and conserving water, it is absolutely your top preparedness priority as our country suffers from the drought that has now reached epic proportions. Forget, for now, about the beans and rice – how are you going to cook them without any water?

From a survival aspect, you absolutely must focus on a long-term source of water.  All of your best-laid plans will be for naught if you don’t have water rights on your property, a collection system for rainfall, and second and third sources to rely on, as well as reliable purification systems.  Safe municipal water (although with the inclusion of all the toxic additives ‘safe’ is debatable) could soon be a thing of the past.

It’s beyond dispute that the United States is facing a water crisis. On the West Coast, where much of our produce is raised, California Governor Jerry Brown declared a State of Emergency and ordered statewide restrictions on water use. On the East Coast, the water is plentiful but is polluted by chemical spills, as seen in West Virginia and radioactive leaks, as seen in South Carolina. In Detroit, thousands of people who couldn’t afford to pay their bills no longer have running water in their homes.

Three years ago, Michael Snyder wrote about the endless drought of 2012, calling it the largest natural disaster in American history.  He predicted a water shortage that will change the lives of every person on the planet.

It’s certainly beginning to look like he was right.

How much water are you using?

One thing that people don’t always stop to consider is exactly how much water they use each day.  Everyone in the preparedness realm knows the adage about 1 gallon per person per day, but that is only the tip of the iceberg. It doesn’t include the vast amount of water we customarily use for hygiene purposes.  This video shows how easily the average American goes through at least 100 gallons of water per day.

Clearly, in an off-grid scenario, many of the activities in that video won’t be possible.  But what if it is a slightly different situation – perhaps your water supply is rationed and limited by the public utility companies? (That’s actually happening right now in a small town in California – households are beings strictly limited to 50 gallons per person, per day.)  Regardless of restrictions, you’re still going to want clean clothes, clean dishes, and a clean body.  You’ll want to be able to flush your toilet without using half of your day’s “ration” of water.

Tips for conserving water

Here are a few suggestions for reducing the amount of water you use on a daily basis. These and many more can be found in my new book, The Prepper’s Water Survival Guide. The list is by no means comprehensive, and not all of these solutions will work for everyone’s situation.

First, take notes from those who live without running water. Just think: If you had to physically acquire every drop of water used in your home, whether by pumping it by hand from a well or lugging it from a water source, you’d already be taking many of these lower-tech steps.

  • Reuse cooking water – if you have boiled pasta or vegetables, use this water for making soup. You will have retained some of the nutrients and flavor from the first thing you cooked in the water.
  • Landscape with plants that grow naturally in your area.  They should require little in the way of additional watering. Your county extension office can often help with this. You can also take a hike and find many lovely plants that thrive whatever you climate happens to be.
  • Grow organic. Chemical fertilizers can increase a plant’s need for water. (This book has some amazing tips for organic drought gardening.)
  • Wash some clothing by hand – it will use far less water than your washing machine.   Be sure and save the water for other uses.
  • When shaving, rinse your razor in a cup instead of under running water.
  • Skip the dishwasher and do the dishes by hand.
  • Instead of running water over each dish to rinse, fill one side of the sink or a basin with rinse water containing a splash of white vinegar. Running water uses up to 4 gallons per minute. If you use a basin, you can use your rinse water for other purposes.
  • Use a glass of water to brush your teeth instead of running the tap the entire time.
  • Use an organic mulch in your garden to help retain moisture.
  • Wash produce in a basin of water instead of under running water.
  • When you clean out your fish tank, reserve the water for your garden. Your veggies will love the nutrient boost!
  • Harvest rainwater for your garden. (In some places, where the government believes they own the water falling from the sky, subtlety may be in order.) This one looks like an attractive planter that can be discreetly placed at the downspouts of your house.

These next options assume that running water is not an issue, but that you still wish to conserve.

  • Add an inexpensive displacement bag to fill space in the back of the toilet tank. This reduces the amount of water used in each flush. You can also use a brick, but I like that the bags are more flexible.
  • Speaking of flushing, you may have heard the rhyme, “If it’s yellow, let it mellow. If it’s brown, flush it down.”
  • Devise a gray water catchment system for your shower, your washing machine, and your kitchen.  This water can be used for flushing, watering plants, and for cleaning. Do keep in mind that some counties do not allow gray water to be reused, even in the midst of an epic drought. Do what you will with this information.
  • Take shorter showers – try to reduce them to 5 minutes – this can save up to 1000 gallons per month! If you can’t handle a 5-minute shower, every 2 minutes you shorten your shower time by can save approximately 150-200 gallons per month.
  • Install a water-saving shower head.
  • When you have a shower, plug the tub. Use the water you collect for handwashing laundry or for watering plants. If you aren’t absolutely filthy when you get in the shower, this shouldn’t be a problem.
  • If you do use a dishwasher, run it only when it’s completely full – this can save you 1000 gallons per month.
  • If you drop a tray of ice cubes, pop them into a pet dish or into your potted plants.
  • When washing your hands, dip them in a basin of water, lather up, then rinse under running water. Running water uses up to 4 gallons per minute.
  • Upgrade your faucets with inexpensive (and very simple to install) aerators with flow restrictors.
  • Use a nozzle on your hose so that you are only putting water where you want it, not spraying it uselessly as you walk to the garden.
  • Repair leaks. At the rate of one drip per second, that adds up to 5 gallons per day…literally down the drain.
  • If you are buying new items for your home, opt for those which use water more efficiently, like front-loading washing machines and low flush toilets.

This is not about compliance

I dislike rules, limitations on natural resources, and mandatory restrictions as much as the next person, but this is not about complying to government-issued mandates. It’s not about bowing to the restrictions of Agenda 21.  This is about adapting to survive in a world where resources may one day not be as readily available as they are today.

What methods do you use to conserve water?  Have you considered how to make limited water meet all of your needs if the current crisis continues?


Daisy Luther is a freelance writer and editor who lives in a small village in the Pacific Northwestern area of the United States. She is the author ofThe Pantry Primer: How to Build a One Year Food Supply in Three Months. On her website, The Organic Prepper, Daisy writes about healthy prepping, homesteading adventures, and the pursuit of liberty and food freedom. Daisy is a co-founder of the website Nutritional Anarchy, which focuses on resistance through food self-sufficiency. Daisy’s articles are widely republished throughout alternative media. You can follow her on Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter, and you can email her at [email protected]

An Open Letter To Preppers: How To Conquer Self-Doubt

open-letter-to-preppers

There you are, going about your business, when it strikes.

The cashier rings up your purchase of sale items and you realize you just spent the equivalent of a car payment on canned food.  Or you realize you have more net worth in beans and silver coins than you do money in the bank. Or, after you spent all of this time, energy, and money prepping…and nothing happens.

Sometimes you start to think, “Maybe I’m crazy.”  You might begin to feel like you’re wasting your time.  The crippling self-doubt creeps in, and you begin to feel completely alone.

The other day I received an email from a person who is a new prepper, and it really got me thinking about this. The letter reads:

I began prepping a few months ago, buying books, silver coins, and extra canned food and have just moved on to our BOB’s, I am starting to doubt myself wondering if I am being silly and wasting money prepping. Is this a normal reaction?

This isn’t the first such message I have received, not by a long shot. I believe it’s a perfectly normal reaction. So much so that I want to respond to this message publicly because I’m sure that there are many out there who feel this way but never ask the question.

Here are some strategies on how to conquer self-doubt and get on with the business of life.

Dear Friends Who Are Doubting Themselves:

First of all, let me tell you that you are not alone!

Even people like me, who have been at this for a long time, sometimes stop, look around at all of the stuff they’ve amassed, and wonder if they’ve gone off the deep-end.

Not only has there been an investment in money, but also of time and storage space. It is never ending, or so it seems.

Your reaction, to wonder if you’re being silly and wasting your resources, is quite normal.  It is tied to what I like to call “What If Nothing Ever Happens Syndrome.” And it can be contagious, creeping in and spreading across everything you are trying to accomplish.

Here are a few strategies to help you conquer self-doubt so that you can get back to the business of preparing.

1. ) Look at the other ways you protect yourself. There are all sorts of ways we look after ourselves that are about “what if” and they only make good sense. For example, you spend hundreds if not thousands per year on car insurance but probably rarely if ever use it.  However, if you got into an accident and totaled your new, paid-for truck, you would certainly be glad you had spent the money on premiums each month. Prepping is much the same. You have your preps stashed away, but hope you will not have to use them.

2.) Most of your preps can be used for other purposes besides disaster. If nothing bad ever happens, you can still eat the food your store, go camping and enjoy the equipment, and have fun with some of the gear. So, unlike car insurance, you are not sending money down a rat hole.

3.) Remember that you aren’t only prepping for the end of the world.  Lots of folks think about disaster only in the most epic of terms: an earthquake that is off the charts, a hurricane that wipes out part of a city, a financial collapse that results in riots in the street, or some other event worthy of a movie with dramatic special effects. But the truth is, a disaster that causes your preps to come in handy can be as simple as a power outage that lasts a few days, a winter storm that makes travel unsafe, or a water main break that leaves you without running water for a few days. It can be as individual as a job loss or an unexpected large expense that makes shopping for groceries and necessities unaffordable.  Those kinds of things can happen to anyone, anytime, and none of the scenarios is at all far-fetched.

4.) Do something fun. It’s a sad fact that some preppers don’t realize the value of fun. Don’t be one of them. Sometimes you need to get out and spend the afternoon doing something enjoyable with friends or family. Go camping, go to the movies, have a picnic, go for a hike. Forget about prepping and disasters and just focus on the present.

5.) Hang out with like-minded people. It can be very refreshing to spend time with some people who don’t think you’re nuts.  Get your mojo back by doing some preparedness activities with people who are equally enthusiastic. Take a trip to the LDS cannery, repackage food together, go hiking, or have a prepper movie night. even sitting down for a cup of tea and chatting with somebody who is on-board can give you a much-needed feeling of kinship. If you don’t have any friends locally who are on the same page, visit a forum or Facebook group for a healthy dose of like-mindedness.

6.)  Read some books. You might find inspiration in learning more about a preparedness topic.  There are some excellent guides on the market, like The Prepper’s Blueprint, that walk you through preparedness from the point at which you are just starting out all the way through total self-reliance.  You might prefer something more topic-specific, like a book on gardening or food storage. Even prepper fiction can be motivating. No one can read a classic like One Second After without feeling compelled to get ready for an EMP.

7.) Sometimes you just need a longer break. Finally, when you become overwhelmed, realize that you may need to get away from it for a period of time. Even someone experienced like me can become weary.  On occasion, I take a prepping break during which I follow these rules:

  • I don’t add to my supplies
  • I don’t read prepping sites or books
  • I only give the news a cursory glance
  • I get away if I can, even for a weekend trip

You’re not alone.

So, please remember that you are not alone. No matter how long we’ve been at this, we all have moments of self-doubt, where we wonder if we are actually nuts or if we are doing the right thing.  Remind yourself of the benefits of what you are doing, but don’t be afraid to give yourself a little break to rejuvenate yourself.

Hang in there! You will be fine!

Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!


Gaye Levy, also known as the Survival Woman, grew up and attended school in the Greater Seattle area. After spending many years as an executive in the software industry, she started a specialized accounting practice offering contract CFO work to emerging high tech and service industries. She has now abandoned city life and has moved to a serenely beautiful rural area on an island in NW Washington State. She lives and teaches the principles of a sustainable and self-reliant lifestyle through her website at BackdoorSurvival.com. At Backdoor Survival, Gaye speaks her mind and delivers her message of prepping with optimism and grace, regardless of the uncertain times and mayhem swirling around us.

Living Life The Old Fashioned Way

oldfashioned

There is a tendency in all of us to compare the old to the new.  This is especially true in the preparedness community where in anticipation of hard times ahead, we look to our parents and grandparents for ideas for living a self-reliant and sustainable life.

I have been thinking about that a lot lately; even to the extent that I have considered sewing up some long skirts and pioneer-style aprons that will hold up to a week or two of wear without laundering.  Seriously.

Anyway, the following piece has been circulating the web for awhile.  I thought it was worth bringing back since it describes a not-so-long ago time when the term “green” referred to the color of your grass or the money in your pocket (green stuff).

As I was reading this, it occurred to me that many of these old fangled ways of doing things fall right in line with what each of us would be required to do in a crisis or emergency with limited sources of power, few goods available on the shelves, and a cost of living so high that there was little left for discretionary spending.

Perhaps it is time to redefine “green” in old-fashioned terms.

The Old-fashioned, Old Fogey Rules of Sustainability

In the line at the store, the cashier told the older woman that she should bring her own grocery bag because plastic bags weren’t good for the environment. The woman apologized to him and explained, “We didn’t have the green thing back in my day.”

The clerk responded, “That’s our problem today. The former generation did not care enough to save our environment.”

He was right, that generation didn’t have the green thing in its day. Back then, they returned their milk bottles, soda bottles and beer bottles to the store. The store sent them back to the plant to be washed and sterilized and refilled, so it could use the same bottles over and over. So they really were recycled.

But they didn’t have the green thing back in that customer’s day. In her day, they walked up stairs, because they didn’t have an escalator in every store and office building. They walked to the grocery store and didn’t climb into a 300-horsepower machine every time they had to go two blocks.

But she was right. They didn’t have the green thing in her day.

Back then, they washed the baby’s diapers because they didn’t have the throw-away kind. They dried clothes on a line, not in an energy gobbling machine burning up 220 volts – wind and solar power really did dry the clothes. Kids got hand-me-down clothes from their brothers or sisters, not always brand-new clothing. But that old lady is right; they didn’t have the green thing back in her day.

Back then, they had one TV, or radio, in the house – not a TV in every room. And the TV had a small screen the size of a handkerchief, not a screen the size of the state of Montana. In the kitchen, they blended and stirred by hand because they didn’t have electric machines to do everything for them.

In summer, they slept with the windows open, perhaps even out on sleeping porches, because most homes and apartments lacked air conditioning. Some people still live in those archeological relics in most cities today.  When they packaged a fragile item to send in the mail, they used a wadded up old newspaper to cushion it, not Styrofoam or plastic bubble wrap.

Back then, they didn’t fire up an engine and burn gasoline just to cut the lawn. They used a push mower that ran on human power. They exercised by working so they didn’t need to go to a health club to run on treadmills that operate on electricity.  But she’s right; they didn’t have the green thing back then.

They drank from a fountain when they were thirsty instead of using a cup or a plastic bottle every time they had a drink of water. They refilled their writing pens with ink  instead of buying a new pen, and they replaced the razor blades in a razor instead of throwing away the whole razor just because the blade got dull. But they didn’t have the green thing back then.

Back then, people took the streetcar or a bus and kids rode their bikes to school or rode the school bus instead of turning their moms into a 24-hour taxi service. They had one electrical outlet in a room, not an entire bank of sockets to power a dozen appliances. And they didn’t need a computerized gadget to receive a signal beamed from satellites 2,000 miles out in space in order to find the nearest pizza joint.

But isn’t it sad the current generation laments how wasteful the old folks were just because they didn’t have the green thing back then?

The Final Word

To use a cliché, there is some serious stuff going down.  My tin foil hat is rattling itself as it sits on the shelf, and I am at full-time alert waiting for the next shoe to drop.  Because of that, I chose to lighten things up today.  Stay tuned for more of our regular  programming on Wednesday!

Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!


Gaye Levy, also known as the Survival Woman, grew up and attended school in the Greater Seattle area. After spending many years as an executive in the software industry, she started a specialized accounting practice offering contract CFO work to emerging high tech and service industries. She has now abandoned city life and has moved to a serenely beautiful rural area on an island in NW Washington State. She lives and teaches the principles of a sustainable and self-reliant lifestyle through her website at BackdoorSurvival.com. At Backdoor Survival, Gaye speaks her mind and delivers her message of prepping with optimism and grace, regardless of the uncertain times and mayhem swirling around us.

The Pros And Cons Of Being A Suburban Prepper

The-Pros-and-Cons-of-Being-a-Suburban-Prepper

“Everyone who lives in the city is going to die when the SHTF.”

Have you ever been on a preparedness website and read that? It makes my blood boil, and not just because it’s a negative and discouraging thing to say. I am also not convinced that it’s correct.  Wherever you live, there are pros and cons, and your job as a prepper is to maximize the positive aspects of your location while taking steps to minimize the negative aspects.

This is especially true when it comes to the suburban prepper.

Although the mindset of those living in a rural community is, by necessity, more oriented toward self-reliance, living in the cities or suburbs is a fact of life for many.  Those sites or commenters which blithely tell people to pack up and head for the country are completely unrealistic.

There are many reasons that relocating is impractical for lots of folks who live in urban areas. Here are a few:

  • Elderly family members they care for who won’t relocate
  • Kids in school
  • Health concerns/medical care
  • Jobs – in this economy it is a bold move to let go of a sure thing
  • Owing more on a mortgage than you can sell your house for
  • Custody orders for minor children
  • The expense of a major relocation

So while the internet may act as though “moving” is an easy solution, there’s a lot more to it.

Because you don’t know the circumstances of others, it’s never a good idea to disparage where they live. While you may be very happy with your current location, that doesn’t actually mean it’s better than other locations. Each setting has its own benefits, and often you don’t realize what they are unless you’ve lived there. Comprehensive preparedness planning can make a home in the suburbs or city safe and well-stocked.

So, whether you live in a place with authoritarian laws, high population density, not enough space for self-reliance activities, or unfortunate weather conditions, the fact remains: you need to make the best of where you are. Every place on the planet has pros and cons.

In her recent article, “Bloom Where You’re Planted: Prepping to Survive Where You Are Right Now,” my friend Daisy Luther wrote:

While your current situation may be less than ideal, you have to remember that very few locations are actually perfect for prepping. Nearly anywhere you live will be subject to some type of extreme weather, be it crippling cold, blazing heat, drought, tornadoes, or hurricanes. Chemical spills can taint water supplies anywhere. Riots and civil unrest can occur outside of the big city.

The point is, to borrow an old saying, you just have to bloom where you’re planted.

There are many things you can do to create a viable preparedness plan wherever you happen to live.  Apartment dwellers at the top of a city high rise, folks in the middle of the desert, those in a beachfront condo, and people in HOA-ruled suburban lots all have to examine their situations, figure out their pros and cons, and work towards resolving what they can.  With some pre-planning, there is a lot you can overcome if you have the right mindset.  I suspect there are just as many (and probably far more) preppers living in the ‘burbs than there are living in perfect rural locations, with a lake, 10 acres of cultivated farmland, and an off-grid house.

Stop waiting until you move to the perfect location. Make preparations for the situation you have, not the situation you want.

The Pros of Living in an Urban Location

Urban locations are not without their benefits.  Here are a few pros for areas with higher populations.

1. There is ease of availability for supplies.

If you live out in the middle of Timbuktu, a stock-up trip takes a lot of planning.  I live on an island that requires a ferry ride to get to the mainland for shopping. If we needed to purchase last minute supplies, it would be a lot more difficult than just making a quick dash to the store.

For others who live remotely, “going to the store” can mean several hours in the car for the round trip, making it impractical to hit a good sale unless you have an outing planned during that time anyway. For those who are nearby, running across town to save some money is much more realistic.

2. A higher population means that you are less likely to have to go it alone.

Good neighbors can be a blessing. Do you have a friendly neighbor who would take responsibility for your kids if a disaster struck? In the event of civil unrest, your community can band together to combine skills and keep the neighborhood safe.

Ferfal, who wrote about surviving the Argentinian economic collapse, said that living in the country was absolutely not a guarantee of safety, because the isolation made families easier targets for home invasions.

3. In the event of an all-out disaster scenario, there are more resources for scavenging.

I’m not talking about a short-term incident of civil unrest with people looting televisions. But once you realize a situation has become long-term and that the way we lived before has ended, you may decide that it’s time to make a supply run to places which have been abandoned.

Scavenging is very different from looting! This will be easier, not to mention safer, if it’s closer to home.

4. Smaller spaces are easier to protect.

If it came down to just you and your family, do you feel like you could properly defend multiple acres from the unprepared? It takes a lot of manpower to cover fences and access points for that much land. However, a well-fenced suburban lot can be adequately guarded by only 1 or 2 people. With some creative planning,  you can be far more self-reliant than you would imagine in small spaces.

5. Urban areas are less likely to deal with specific scenarios.

Things like wildfires rarely threaten urban areas, but those living out in the secluded forest are far more at risk. As well, there are a number of predators the further you get from civilization. If you were to encounter a medical emergency, it takes someone in the country substantially longer to get help than it does someone in the city.

The Cons of an Urban Environment

Even with the benefits mentioned above, of course, there are also valid reasons that so many preppers strive to avoid living in the city. To be absolutely clear, while I don’t think everyone has to live in the boondocks, I do feel like the suburbs are somewhat safer than being right downtown.

Here are a few negative points to urban living:

1. When you live in the city, you’re more easily contained and controlled.

In the event of a martial law scenario, you will be far easier to corral if you are one of the people densely packed in an area that can be road blocked and guarded. Door-to-door searches for supplies or weapons can be much more efficiently undertaken in the city than they would be in a place where the homes are several miles apart.

2. Large population density means more competition for potentially limited resources.

While there are more resources to be had in an urban area, there are also more people looking for those resources. This means that if you are in competition for those resources, you either have to be early and get them before someone else does, or you must be more forceful than the other people going after those supplies.

3. The mob mentality can be very dangerous.

A mob mentality can be contagious. When swept up in an angry group, people will do things they’d never ordinarily do, and this can mean great peril. Think about the Black Friday shopping sprees where folks trample others just to get the deal on a bigger TV. Now imagine those people are hungry and they know you have food you aren’t sharing. You get the idea.

4. If you live in a high rise without direct access to the outdoors, it can be difficult to be self-reliant.

If you have a balcony, you can manage to grow some food for yourself. However, if you live in an apartment without any outdoor space at all, things get a lot trickier. That means you are unable to have micro livestock for protein, you probably have limited storage space for food and water, and growing vegetables will be difficult.  Without outdoor space, sanitation becomes more difficult as well.

5. City life is expensive.

Generally speaking, living in the city is a lot pricier than living in the country. Because of access to jobs, cultural activities, and educational facilities, places in town are in much higher demand. When you are spending double the amount on rent or mortgage, it can be harder to set aside money for prepping.   

The Final Word

The fact is, we live where we live. There are many more people in our country living in suburban and urban areas, and lots of them are preppers. Disparaging the place where another chooses to live is short-sighted. Most of us weren’t born preppers, and we when we wake up and see the light, we can’t change our entire lives overnight. Besides that, there are numerous issues that can keep us in a location regardless of whether or not it’s ideal.

Before looking down on a person who lives in a place that you might consider undesirable, stop and think of all the reasons it may be necessary for them to remain there. And remember, country homesteads are not immune to disaster, either.

Wherever you live, take steps now to make the best of it. Find resources, build your stockpile, and prepare. No place is perfect and we can all improve our chances, regardless of where we live.

Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!


Gaye Levy, also known as the Survival Woman, grew up and attended school in the Greater Seattle area. After spending many years as an executive in the software industry, she started a specialized accounting practice offering contract CFO work to emerging high tech and service industries. She has now abandoned city life and has moved to a serenely beautiful rural area on an island in NW Washington State. She lives and teaches the principles of a sustainable and self-reliant lifestyle through her website at BackdoorSurvival.com. At Backdoor Survival, Gaye speaks her mind and delivers her message of prepping with optimism and grace, regardless of the uncertain times and mayhem swirling around us.

The World Is A Mess: A Quick Primer For Beginner Preppers

(Credit: discpicture via Shutterstock)

(Credit: discpicture via Shutterstock)

For seven years, my family and I have been preparing ourselves for a long-term economic depression to occur. I have watched events occur that affected our food supply and our transportation. I have seen diseases and illness that were considered eradicated in this country make a come back and threaten our wellbeing. I held my breath hoping this wouldn’t be the triggering event that would cause our great country to go under and used those catastrophes to see holes in my preps and filled them the best I could. I knew the only control I had was to prepare for them; so I kept my head down and pressed on. I am writing this today because I feel that we are quickly approaching a time when action must be taken. Sadly, a vast majority of the population refuses to see the economic storm approaching and many will be ill-equipped to survive such an ordeal.

Admit to yourself that in the past five years, our country has drastically changed. Localized events are now increasing with more and more volatility. Former secretary of state, Madeleine Albright said it best, “The world is a mess.” Quite literally, the world as we know is being altered from the once easygoing lifestyles we have grown accustomed to into a unstable mercurial powder keg ready to explode. At the forefront of these issues is the economic disasters playing out in Greece and China causing many to wonder whether or not the dominoes will finally drop. In the U.S., many believe the Federal Reserve hasn’t done enough to prepare the markets for this type of instability. Food prices are inflating because many of the food staples we have grown accustomed to have reached their peak. Increased government taxation will also cause a slow degradation to our once flourishing nation. Additionally, due to the continued dissonance amongst races, we have watched our cities become battle grounds. And, perhaps the most heart-breaking of all is how quickly the once “land of the free” is showing clear signs of becoming a police state.

How can a new prepper prepare?

I realize that the preparations new preppers are looking at are daunting and may seem overwhelming. While many seasoned preppers were able to collect their preps over a longer period of time, new preppers are scrambling to catch up. First things first, breathe and focus on what your goal is. When I wrote The Prepper’s Blueprint: The Step-By-Step Guide To Help You Through Any Disaster, I emphasized the importance of breaking down your preparedness endeavors into short-term and long-term emergency scenarios. Organizing it in this manner, takes some of the stress off and helps you stay more focused with your preparedness goals.

Shift your perspective. To live long term in a economic depression-like event, you need to look at things differently and stop allowing consumer marketing companies to tell you what to buy. Secondly, make the realization that planned obsolescence is wasting your hard earned money. Planned obsolescence is when businesses design a product with a limited useful life, so it will become obsolete, that is, unfashionable or no longer functional after a certain period of time. An example of this would be the cellular phone fads. The rationale behind the strategy is to generate short-term sales volume by reducing the time between repeat purchases until customers catch on and move to another product platform. Many companies are doing this, and recognizing you are being deceived is the first step in stopping it.

Learn to be more sustainable. The next step is to find a more sustainable approach to living your life and investing in products. You need to focus on sustainable ways to make the most of what you have. The adage, “Use it up, wear it out, make do, or do without,” needs to be your motto from here on out. Here are 50 ways to make the most of items you have around the house.

What’s your plan? Waiting for this ticking time bomb to detonate is a horrible way to spend precious time. You can start making a plan. According to this article, here are nine steps to take to prepare for an economic depression are:

  1. Hold no debt (for most people this means renting)
  2. Hold cash and cash equivalents (short term treasuries) under your own control.
  3. Don’t trust the banking system, deposit insurance or no deposit insurance
  4. Sell equities, real estate, most bonds, commodities, collectibles (or short if you can afford to gamble)
  5.  Gain some control over the necessities of your own existence if you can afford it
  6.  Be prepared to work with others through bartering networks as that will give you far greater scope for resilience and security
  7.  If you have done all that and still have spare resources, consider precious metals as an insurance policy
  8.  Be worth more to your employer than he is paying you
  9.  Look after your health!

Take action. Rather than paying for luxury items like cable television, and those morning coffee runs, use your money for wisely and invest in long term items like shelf stable foods, food preservation tools. As well, if your job dictates that you live in the city, talk to country cousins and make plans to live there if times get unbearable. Sending money to set up long-term food stores, off grid tools, etc., would be very beneficial and you will have peace of mind knowing your family has a place to go if you have to leave the city. Here’s an article on how to get started with the basics of prepping. As well, check out this food calculator to see how much food your family needs. Also, consider these eight prepper items to help you through a disaster. In addition, our health system is becoming unsustainable. Recently, an article exposed the unfeasible $153,000 hospital bill to care for a rattlesnake bite. Who can afford this? Start looking at natural alternatives to care for certain ailments. Medical conditions that can be cured with natural medicine such as herbs and tinctures can save you a fortune.

Our world is changing, and in order to survive, you must adapt to the changes or pay the price. World economic events are beginning to increase the possibility of a world-wide depression. If you haven’t begun to prepare, now is the time to make plans. I urge all of you to begin actively putting survival items away. Mark my words, you cannot hide from what is about to go down. There are two choices: 1. Ignore the signs and hope the event changes course, or, 2. Acknowledge there are economic storms in the future and prepare for them the best you can. The bottom line is, there is no safety net to fall into when an economic emergency occurs. How easily you land depends on how insulated you were from the disaster to begin with.


Tess Pennington is the editor for ReadyNutrition.com. After joining the Dallas chapter of the American Red Cross in 1999, Tess worked as an Armed Forces Emergency Services Center specialist and is well versed in emergency and disaster management and response. Tess is the author of The Prepper’s Cookbook: 300 Recipes to Turn Your Emergency Food into Nutritious, Delicious, Life-Saving Meals. When a catastrophic collapse cripples society, grocery store shelves will empty within days. But by following Tess’s tips for stocking, organizing, and maintaining a proper emergency food supply, your family will have plenty to eat for weeks, months, or even years.

Survival Food: How To Catch A Fish Without A Hook (VIDEO)

Capture

In a survival situation, your energy output will play a big part in how successful you are at living in a primitive setting. As well, your ability to adapt to the situation at hand is also a necessary mindset to have when left to your own devices. Your first concern in surviving outdoors is shelter and finding water. Many try to find rivers or streams to camp next to as this is the best area to find resources for food, shelter and water.

If you find yourself without your fishing rod, there are primitive traps you can make to catch small fish, crawfish and crab using resources found in nature. Sigma 3 Survival School has shared a great video on how to create a fishing trap in order to thrive in a primitive setting. They claim this fish trap made from sticks, vines and cordage or paracord is by far the single best method for catching fish.

Making a Primitive Basket Fish Trap

Making this fish trap is time intensive, but is a self-sustaining trap that can be used over and over again. The following video will demonstrate how to wrap the vines around the sticks to create a funnel to effectively trap the fish. The fish are enticed to swim into the fish trap by adding small bits of bait. The size of the trap can vary depending on what size fish you plan on catching.

As well, using inedible parts of the caught fish such as intestines or organs can be used as bait for the next time the trap is set. Adding a stone will help the trap sink more in the water and lure the fish easier.

Learn how to set this fishing trap here.

To learn more about primitive living, check this article out on six primitive traps for catching food in the wild.


Tess Pennington is the editor for ReadyNutrition.com. After joining the Dallas chapter of the American Red Cross in 1999, Tess worked as an Armed Forces Emergency Services Center specialist and is well versed in emergency and disaster management and response. Tess is the author of The Prepper’s Cookbook: 300 Recipes to Turn Your Emergency Food into Nutritious, Delicious, Life-Saving Meals. When a catastrophic collapse cripples society, grocery store shelves will empty within days. But by following Tess’s tips for stocking, organizing, and maintaining a proper emergency food supply, your family will have plenty to eat for weeks, months, or even years.

Get Some Sleep! 7 Reasons The Well-Rested Prepper Will Prevail

7-Reasons-the-Well-Rested-Prepper-Will-Prevail

According to the CDC, there’s a public health epidemic you need to be on the lookout for. It’s not contagious, but has spread due to the North American lifestyle. You may have suffered from it yourself, without even realizing you were part of the population at risk.

That epidemic is insufficient sleep.

Blamed for automotive accidents, industrial disasters and occupational errors (including ones by those chronically sleep deprived health care workers) lack of sleep effects more than 35% of adults in our country each day. Each year, according to the National Department of Transportation, drowsy driving is responsible for 1,550 deaths and 40,000 injuries in the United States.

The trouble is, most of us push sleep to the back burner. We have so many things to do. Just getting through the demands of work, family life, chores, and a bit of leisure leaves little time for much else, sleep seems to draw the short straw.  Add prepping to the equation and well, you get the drift:  burning the candle at both ends becomes the norm rather than the exception.

But, out of all of your obligations, sleep is not the thing you should skimp on.

“Sleep is not a luxury – it is a biological necessity.”

I am not sure who said that first, but I do know that it is true.  I merely have to reflect back upon my own life to know that the lack of sleep will result in diminished mental acuity, crankiness and even reduced physical strength and mobility.

Because of this lowered capacity when you’re deprived of Zzzsss, I would like to suggest that we add sleep to our set of survival skills.

Why?  Well, under ordinary circumstances sleep has restorative and rejuvenating benefits.  Add a dash of stress to the mix (and what could be more stressful than a natural or man-made disaster or crisis?) and we will need all of the strength we can muster just to get by.

What are the benefits of sleep?

I could fill volumes with the various benefits of sleep but for now, let me touch upon the highlights.

1.  Sleep restores the body.  Every part of the body benefits from sleep.  Our body’s ability to rebuild itself at the cellular level depends on the quiet period commonly known as deep sleep (or non-REM sleep) to restore itself from the effects of stress, toxins, contaminated air, physical activity, and other maladies we are exposed to on a daily basis.

2.  Sleep reduces stress.  Have you ever gone to bed a bundle of knots, unable to talk to someone without barking, and unable to think clearly because you are worried about this or that?  And then voila!  You wake up the next day with a clear mind and gentle demeanor ready to face the day in a positive manner.  What you have experienced is the release of calming hormones (serotonin and melatonin) that help us relax and overcome the stress hormones that have accumulated in our bodies during the course of the day.

3.  Sleep reduces illness. During the sleep cycle, our bodies are in rest mode with not much to do at a physical level.  During this rest mode, our immune system goes into high gear, fighting off the germs and bacteria that can lead to illness and disease. According to WebMD, a chronic lack of sleep has been associated with colds, influenza, diabetes, heart disease, mental health concerns, and obesity.

4.  Sleep improves memory.  Like magic, our brain keeps functioning during sleep, sorting out the events of the day and categorizing them into slots that can be retrieved later.  Have you ever felt there was so much going on in your head that you could not think?  Abstract, I know, but what has happened is that current events have not yet been stored as links in the memory portion of your brain.  Luckily, sleeping will process these events and store them as bits of information that can later be recalled when needed.

5.  Sleep increases physical and mental acuity and increases reflex response.  A well-rested body has the ability to respond to hazards with maximum physical strength and accuracy.  But even more important, having a rested body allows us to perform daily tasks in a more safe manner.

Case in point:  have you ever driven a car while sleepy only to find yourself weaving in the roadway?  Your concentration was diminished, right?  Even worse, your ability to react to road hazards was greatly reduced.  Now put yourself in a survival situation where you must defend your homestead and your family from intruders that are after your stuff.  You will need all of your wits about you since failure to react may jeopardize not only your belongings, but your life.  For the prepper, this should be of utmost concern.

6.  Sleep helps you maintain a positive outlook.  As bad as things may be, they are always better after getting a good night’s rest.  Adequate sleep helps circumvent depression and gives you the energy to get up and go even when all motivation has “got up and went”.  Decision-making becomes easier, as does thinking and problem solving in an imaginative and productive manner.  These are skills that are lifesaving when dealing with survival in normal times, let alone times of crisis.

7.  Sleep is the great healer.  If you do become ill or injured, sleep becomes even more imperative. As I mentioned above, our cells regenerate during the deepest stages of sleep, and while our bodies are at rest, our immune system is at its busiest. The best thing a sick or injured person can do is sleep as much as possible to allow his body to heal and restore itself.

How much sleep is enough to become a well-rested prepper?

Good question and there’s no single answer.

The recommended average is between 7 and 9 hours per night.  But my experience is that this number can vary, depending on the particular way your body is wired as well as the circumstances in your life at any given moment in time.  For example, it is not unusual to need 10 or more hours of sleep when you are sick or under high levels of stress.  On the other hand, some perfectly healthy people may need upwards of 9 hours of sleep each day, while others require as little as 6 hours of sleep.  Add stress to the mix and, well, like I said, the perfect amount of sleep becomes elusive to predict.

I think the best thing to do is to experiment for awhile by going to bed when tired – not when the TV show is over, the last bill has been paid, or when your partner or spouse chooses to snooze.  Then, if you can, eliminate the alarm clock and wake up naturally.  Do this for awhile and soon you will learn what works best for you.  If you wake up feeling refreshed, you have rested the proper amount of time.  Groggy and foggy in the head?  That can be a sign of both too much or too little sleep.

By experimenting with your bedtimes and wake-up times, you will learn what constitutes the right amount of sleep for you – the amount that leaves you feeling well rested and energized to face the day with enthusiasm and gusto.

How can you improve your sleep?

Sometimes it can be hard to turn your brain off at night. You mull through the events of the day, you remember the dishes in the sink, you worry about the kids, or you think about the bills. There are many natural ways to improve both the quality and quantity of your sleep. Lisa Egan, of Ready Nutrition, supplied the following tips in an article:

Establish consistent sleep and wake times – even on the weekends

Create a comfortable and inviting sleep environment – your bedroom should be calming, cool (65 degrees is optimal, but no warmer than 75 degrees), and dark

Create a bedtime routine – turn off electronic devices, take a relaxing bath or read a book (not IN bed), or listen to soothing music

Avoid using your computer or watching TV while in bed

Finish eating 2-3 hours before you go to bed

Exercise regularly (but not for a few hours before bed – it may keep you awake if done too close to bedtime)

Avoid caffeine too close to bedtime

She continues to suggest that if you have lain there for 30 minutes without being able to fall asleep, you should get up and do something in another room for a while before trying further to sleep. This prevents the anxiety that will make sleep even more elusive.

Egan also lists the following foods that may help you to get a good night’s sleep:

  • Kiwi
  • Dark leafy greens
  • Bananas
  • Nuts
  • Seeds
  • Citrus fruit
  • Tomatoes
  • Whole Grains
  • Dairy products

As well, certain herbal teas are recommended to reduce stress and aid in sleep.

When asked which herbs should be included in your prepper’s medical kit, Cat Ellis of HerbalPrepper.com and the author of Prepper’s Natural Medicine (a #1 new release a part of the newest Prepper Book Festival) said:

“Herbal remedies for sleep can be as varied as the reasons you are up at night. However, some of my favorites include: valerian root for general sleeplessness, skullcap for trouble sleeping due to irritability or stress, lemon balm and chamomile which are child-safe options. Passion flower can help when you just can’t get drowsy.”   

The Final Word

The many benefits of sleep should not be lost on the prepper.  As a skill – and as a way of life – adequate sleep should be embraced and practiced now while times are stable.

And for those who use lack of sleep as proof that they are so very important that they have no time to get adequate ZZZ’s?

I say phooey on them.  When the SHTF, the well-rested prepper will prevail.

Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!


Gaye Levy, also known as the Survival Woman, grew up and attended school in the Greater Seattle area. After spending many years as an executive in the software industry, she started a specialized accounting practice offering contract CFO work to emerging high tech and service industries. She has now abandoned city life and has moved to a serenely beautiful rural area on an island in NW Washington State. She lives and teaches the principles of a sustainable and self-reliant lifestyle through her website at BackdoorSurvival.com. At Backdoor Survival, Gaye speaks her mind and delivers her message of prepping with optimism and grace, regardless of the uncertain times and mayhem swirling around us.

How To Prepare For A Cyber Attack

There is a lot of debate on whether Wednesday’s computer issues that shut down the New York Stock Exchange, the Wall Street Journal, and United Airlines were just a very strange coincidence (very strange) or a deliberate cyber attack.

This isn’t the first possible cyber attack on the United States this year. Heck, it’s not even the first one this summer. On June 5, Reuters reported a breach occurred that comprimised the personal information of millions of federal employees, both current and former. This breach was traced back to a “foreign entity or government.”

Regardless of the origin of the so-called computer”glitches” that shut down Wall Street and a major airline, the events of Wednesday gave us just a tiny glimpse at how serious a cyber attack could be.

What exactly is a cyber attack?

A cyber attack is more than just shutting down the computer systems of a specified entity. It is defined as “deliberate exploitation of computer systems, technology-dependent enterprises and networks. Cyberattacks use malicious code to alter computer code, logic or data, resulting in disruptive consequences that can compromise data and lead to cybercrimes, such as information and identity theft.”

Technopedia lists the following consequences of a cyber attack:

  • Identity theft, fraud, extortion
  • Malware, pharming, phishing, spamming, spoofing, spyware, Trojans and viruses
  • Stolen hardware, such as laptops or mobile devices
  • Denial-of-service and distributed denial-of-service attacks
  • Breach of access
  • Password sniffing
  • System infiltration
  • Website defacement
  • Private and public Web browser exploits
  • Instant messaging abuse
  • Intellectual property (IP) theft or unauthorized access

Cyber attacks happen far more frequently than you might think. Check out this real-time map for a look at the almost constant seige.

How does a cyber attack affect you?

You may think that if you don’t spend your day working online, that an attack on our computer infrastructure isn’t that big of a deal. You may feel like it wouldn’t affect you at all.

Unfortunately, there are very few people in the country that would remain completely unaffected in the event of a major cyber attack. Our economy, our utility grids, and our transportation systems are all heavily reliant upon computers. This makes us very vulnerable to such an attack.

And by vulnerable, I mean that if it was done on a big enough scale, it could essentially paralyze the entire country.

Here are some of the systems that are reliant on computers.

In the event of a widespread cyber attack, the following could be either completely inoperable or breached. Keep in mind that a domino effect could occur that effects systems beyond the original target.

  • Gas stations (most of the pumps are now digital and connect right to your bank)
  • Banks (all of the records are online) would not be able to process electronic transactions. ATM machines would not function to allow customers access to cash.
  • Utility systems (most power stations are run by computers)
  • Water treatment facilities (these are automated too)
  • Protection of personal information, including data about your finances, medical records, physical location, and academic records – everything a person would need to steal your identity
  • Government operations, including dangerous identifying information about federal employees or members of the military
  • Transportation systems (trains, subways, and planes are heavily reliant upon computers)
  • Traffic management systems like stoplights, crosswalks, etc.
  • Air traffic control
  • Everyday trade – most business have a computerized cash register that communicates directly with banks. Many business are also reliant on scanning bar codes for inventory control and pricing. Point-of-sale systems would be down and people would not be able to pay using credit or debit cards.
  • Telecommunications systems can be affected if cell towers are disabled or if the landline system were directly attacked. As more people rely on VOIP, taking down internet service would serve a dual purpose.
  • SMART systems could be shut down or manipulated. All of those gadgets that automate climate control, use of utilities, or appliances through SMART technology are vulnerable.

Here’s a video from NATO that explains a little bit more about the dangers of cyber attacks.

Prepping to survive a cyber attack

Prepping for a cyber attack is not that different from prepping for other types of disasters that affect the grid. You want to be able to operate independently of  public utilities, stores, or public transportation.

Click each item to learn more details.

  1. Have a supply of water stored in case municipal supplies are tainted or shut down
  2. Be prepared for an extended power outage.
  3. Have a food supply on hand, as well as a way to prepare your food without the grid.
  4. Keep cash in small denominations on hand in the event that credit cars, debit cards, and ATMs are inoperable.
  5. Keep vehicles above half way full of fuel, and store extra gasoline.
  6. Be prepared for off-grid sanitation needs.
  7. Invest in some communications devices like ham radio or one of these other options.
  8. Be ready to hunker down at home to avoid the chaos that could come in the aftermath of a massive cyber attack. Be prepared to defend your home if necessary.
  9. Remember that your prepper supplies and skills will see you through this disaster
    just like any other.
  10. Protect your identity with a service like LifeLock (which will alert you to suspicious activity once things return to normal). Use some of these tips to keep your information locked down.

What do you think?

So, let’s hear from the “hive mind” of the preparedness community. How likely do you think it is that we’ll be hit by a massive cyber attack? Was the event on Wednesday just a coincidence or some kind of test run? What other effects do you think a massive cyber attack might have? Do you have any additional preparedness tips for such an event? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.


Daisy Luther is a freelance writer and editor who lives in a small village in the Pacific Northwestern area of the United States. She is the author of The Pantry Primer: How to Build a One Year Food Supply in Three Months. On her website, The Organic Prepper, Daisy writes about healthy prepping, homesteading adventures, and the pursuit of liberty and food freedom. Daisy is a co-founder of the website Nutritional Anarchy, which focuses on resistance through food self-sufficiency. Daisy’s articles are widely republished throughout alternative media. You can follow her on Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter, and you can email her at [email protected]