Gear

Project Prepper, Part 26: The Everyday Carry (EDC) Bag

In last week’s “Project Prepper” post, I talked about security landscaping at the “new” house. I’ll be working on this project more over the next several days, and share with readers what I’ve come up with shortly.

In the meantime, I want to discuss the Everyday Carry bag, or EDC bag, this week.

What is an Everyday Carry bag?

The TEOTWAWKI Blog has a pretty good explanation of what an EDC bag is (Alexander Wolf usually does for variety of prepper/survivalist-related terms). From a March 31, 2010, post:

Your everyday carry (EDC) bag is one of your most important preparations. It is lightweight bag of gear to backup, support and compliment your on-person EDC. Pockets have limited space–this bag catches the overflow. It should be able to keep you going for a day or two in case you need to pick up and go, if you get stuck at work, or if disaster strikes and you need to bug out for home…

Now, I’ve had something along the lines of an EDC bag in my possession since the mid-nineties. During my winter break from college in 1994, I picked up a nylon messenger bag at the Eddie Bauer Outlet store in Kenosha, Wisconsin, to carry not only my books, but other items I’d use on a daily basis. The “murse” (short for “man purse”)- as my friends and sometimes even complete strangers who thought they were funny would call it- finally bit the dust around 2008 after a lifetime of regular abuse.

Replacing the Eddie Bauer bag was a canvas FOX Outdoor Courier bag I picked up through The Sportsman’s Guide. This has been a good bag. With plenty of compartments and pockets, I’ve not only been able to carry day-to-day items in it, but a few more things I thought might be handy in an emergency as well, such as a tactical light, a wind-up LED headlamp, an emergency blanket, a multi-tool, etcetera.

Funny how often these “emergency items” ended up being used for everyday tasks.

Even funnier is the color of the olive drab bag now- yellow-green- after it got left sitting in a sun-drenched area of my old apartment for a period of time.

While the Fox Outdoor bag has also served me well for six years, I decided in 2013 that I wanted to put together a real Everyday Carry bag- something that “should be able to keep you going for a day or two in case you need to pick up and go, if you get stuck at work, or if disaster strikes and you need to bug out for home.” I did my research and decided the EDC bag I wanted should be:

-Quality. I’m big on reading user reviews before I purchase a product. And if I can inspect the item in-person before buying it- even better.

-Inconspicuous. No military look wanted this time around to draw attention to myself, my bag, and its contents. Although that look is becoming more mainstream around these parts.

-Comfortable to carry. Ever had unpadded straps seriously dig into your shoulders from carrying an overloaded bag for a considerable distance and length of time? I’m sure many of you have, and it kind of sucks, right?

-Water-resistant. Weather in the Chicagoland area is notoriously unpredictable, and I’ve had bags and their contents soaked before.

-Large. Big enough to hold everything (day-to-day and EDC items) I’m planning to keep in it

On that last point, while I really would have preferred to research and obtain EDC items first before acquiring the bag, the opportunity to obtain the bag as a birthday present arose, and I seized it.

Enter the Patagonia Half Mass Bag in Classic Tan.

Patagonia Half Mass Front

Unfortunately, this particular bag has already been discontinued by Ventura, California-based Patagonia (there’s another one out there by the same name these days but it’s different- smaller too). However, I did manage to dig up this description of my new EDC bag out in cyberspace:

For every propelling tailwind, there’s a wicked downpour, a week of flats and a morning full of distracted drivers. We designed the Half Mass messenger bag to get you through the highs and lows of daily commuting. Perfectly sized for a day’s worth of gear, the Half Mass has padding on the back and along the contoured base to protect the contents and provide structure. Inside, a padded computer sleeve accommodates most 15-inch laptops. The main compartment features a drop pocket that secures with a hook-and-loop tab, a mesh pocket, a padded electronics pocket and pen sleeves. The cover flap overlaps the sides of the bag to block rain; its pocket closes with a water-resistant zipper. The external side pocket stows a cell phone, power cords or water bottle. The bag’s no-slip shoulder strap is fully adjustable, and the waist strap stows away. With a topside carrying handle, a reflective panel for visibility at night and a bike-light mount. Made of 8.4-oz 600-denier 100% recycled polyester with a polyurethane coating and a Deluge? DWR (durable water repellent) finish. Details: Main flap opens to largest compartment housing one drop pocket, one mesh pocket, one padded electronics pocket, and three slots for pens; exterior, zippered pocket on flap has moisture-shedding reverse coil zipper Interior padded computer sleeve raised off the ground cradles most 15? laptops and secures with a buckle and strap Front flap has reflective panel and a webbing bike-light mount Side-mounted water-bottle pocket Interior drop pocket secures with hook-and-loop tab for quick access to boarding passes, magazines or newspapers Fully adjustable shoulder strap with floating pad, three-point adjustable stability strap and top-side carrying handle Fabric: Body: 8.4-oz 600-denier 100% recycled polyester. Lining: 3.3-oz 200-denier polyester. Both with a polyurethane coating Weight: 822 g (1 lb 13 oz) Made in Vietnam.

Upon receiving the bag from Salt Lake City, Utah-based Backcountry.com at a cost (to my sister) of only $62.30 shipped, I went ahead and sprayed it with additional water repellant.

The Half Mass measures 19.6 x 13.8 x 3.2 inches with 28 L (1,709 cubic inches) of capacity, and has a lot of space. A great feature is a zipper that runs along the bottom of the bag. When unzipped, the bag expands, providing more storage space.

Some other terrific features of this Patagonia product include reflective material on the cover flap and padded area of the shoulder strap, a waist strap for when I need to haul ass, and last but not least, a neon yellow-green compartment interior.

I just can’t seem to get away from that odd color combination.

Truth be told, I think it will work out great with this messenger bag, as I suspect the light color and contrast formed between the interior and stored items will help me identify and acquire what I need faster than with the previous bag.

Patagonia Half Mass Interior

Tomorrow, I’m going to start transferring items from my old bag to the Patagonia Half Mass. In a future post I’ll blog about Everyday Carry items going into the bag.

Readers: Do any of you have EDC bags? Care to talk about why you picked the one your using? Has the bag and its contents gotten you out of a jam yet?

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

Source:

Wolf, Alexander. “The EDC Bag.” TEOTWAWKI Blog. 31 Mar. 2014. (http://www.teotwawki-blog.com/2010/03/edc-bag.html). 15 Apr. 2014.

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Wednesday, April 16th, 2014 Emergencies, Gear, Preparedness, Project Prepper No Comments

Food Insurance Having Buy One, Get One 60% Off Bug-Out Essentials Sale

This afternoon, I received an e-mail about a special sale from one of the affiliate advertising partners of Survival And Prosperity, Food Insurance (reviewed here):

Bug-Out Essentials: One key aspect of emergency preparedness is having the tools and supplies to be ready to leave at a moments notice. Recent tornadoes, hurricanes, fires, earthquakes and severe winter storms, have awakened many American’s to the reality that sometimes hunkering down isn’t the best option. Even those with the most basic preparedness supplies should have a Bug-Out-Bag for each family member. Food Insurance® wants to help you and your family become prepared for any situation by offering buy one get the second 60% off on our most popular Bug-Out Supplies, including:

-all of our bug-out-bags
-water bottle filters
-2-week food kit
-stove-in-a-can
-and much more!

There is no limit to how many you can buy, but time and quantities are limited…

The e-mail also states, “All with free shipping on your entire order*

Interested in any of these bug-out essentials? Head over to the Food Insurance website today as soon as possible- remember, time and quantities are limited- by clicking on the following banner ad. Please note that by clicking on the ad and purchasing a product, I receive a commission from the sale.


By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

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Resource Of The Week: PrepperShowsUSA

One last thing about prepper conventions/expos before I call it a week.

What’s a good way of finding one?

I spotted a comprehensive, regularly-updated list of them on a website entitled PrepperShowsUSA (PrepperShowsUSA.com), “Your Headquarters for Prepper, Survivalist and Self-Reliance Shows.”

From that website’s home page:

PrepperShowsUSA is the #1 resource for survivalist shows, self-reliance shows, and prepper shows across the United States. Find complete and accurate information about 2014 prepper show dates/schedules, show locations, venues, ticket pricing, promoter and exhibitor information and much more…

The site does provide a good deal of information for each event. For example, when one brings up the P4P Expo scheduled to take place in Pomona, California, from June 21 to 22, viewers are given a description of the exposition:

At the P4P Expo, families can explore self-reliance, enjoy numerous seminars and demonstrations, learn survival skills, and find the newest products, supplies and resources needed to sustain and protect your family in the event of a natural or man-made disaster…

Along with a website address and plenty of contact information.

For those not wanting to keep checking the website for new events, there’s a “Newsletter & Alerts” section where one can sign up and be sent updates on upcoming shows.

(Editor’s note: I tried the sign-up feature earlier today, but don’t think I was successfully registered. Truth be told, my laptop has been incredibly batty this week and it could just be me.)

For those putting together one of these events, PrepperShowsUSA will allow organizers to submit and list them for free.

Been wanting to attend a prepper/survivalist convention or expo? Find one that appeals to you over at the PrepperShowsUSA website here.

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

(Editor’s note: Link added to “Resources” page)

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Smoky Mountain Knife Works Has ‘Tax Relief Weekend,’ Pyramid Air Extends Sale Through Tonight

I received an e-mail today from affiliate marketing partner Smoky Mountain Knife Works- reviewed here- concerning their big “Tax Relief Weekend” event going on until Monday. From the Sevierville, Tennessee-based company:

Tax Relief Weekend

Save 10% On Orders Over $100
Save 15% On Orders Over $150
Plus $5.00 Flat Rate Shipping On All Orders!

Use Code:
TAX14

Ends @ 11:59 PM EST
4/14/14

Web only! Not valid with other offers. Shipping discount valid for domestics order only. Gift card purchases and knife for a soldier donations are not valid with this offer.


Plus, I also received a message from another partner- Pyramid Air (reviewed here)- that their deal is extended until tonight:

10% off and free shipping on orders $150 or more

Enter Code: Refund-14

Expires 4/11/14 11:59 PM

Some items excluded. Can be combined with free ground shipping on orders $150+ to the lower 48 states only.


By clicking on those banner ads, you will be taken to the respective websites, where you can find the deals if they’re still being offered. Please note that by clicking on the banner ads and purchasing a product (don’t forget the coupon codes!) on the site, I receive a commission from the sale.

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

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National Geographic Channel’s ‘Selling Survival’ Web Series

I’m about two weeks away from reintroducing the “In Print” series of posts on Survival And Prosperity. In the meantime, other material will be substituted in its place.

Today, I’ll be blogging about a National Geographic Channel web series that’s related to their highly-rated Doomsday Preppers TV show and which a number of readers may be interested in watching- particularly if they’re curious about prepper/survivalist expos like me and/or the latest innovations.

Enter Selling Survival.

From its web page on the Nat Geo Channel website:

Join Doomsday Preppers casting director Brooklyn Bagwell as she travels to some of the biggest prepper events in the country. Meet preppers, inventors, survivalists, and specialists as they showcase their must-have doomsday products and gear. From martial arts training to firing her first gun (an AR-15!), driving a bonafide bug-out-vehicle, and everything in between, she’s experiencing it all. And each week, she’ll be sharing her journey first-hand for anyone curious enough to wonder what goes on inside the world of prepper expos.


“Meet Brooklyn Bagwell”
YouTube Video

There are 15 short episodes of a couple minutes each uploaded on the National Geographic Channel website. I saw the first 11 episodes shortly after the series debuted- and finished up watching the remaining 4 installments this afternoon.

The content of Selling Survival was interesting, particularly as I’ve never gone to one of these conventions. The innovative gear and products that were introduced blew my mind at times- so much so I’ve jotted down some of them for further research. And Ms. Bagwell was a stellar pick by Nat Geo to host the series. Why? She’s pretty much a “newbie” to all this preparedness stuff, leading to concepts and function being explained more carefully and clearly (to the benefit of series viewers).

Still, there’s only so much you can fit into a couple of a minutes. I really wish episodes were quite a bit longer.

Overall, the web series was interesting (several times I thought to myself “now that is cool”), somewhat brainless viewing (don’t expect to be imparted with any “meaningful” knowledge watching this- although a couple of ideas did pop into my head). Yet fun, which Brooklyn Bagwell brought to the table.

For more information on Selling Survival- and to watch the 15 episodes- go to its area on the National Geographic Channel website here.

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

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Latest New York Times Article On Preppers

“It would be easy to assume that a prepper convention would be peopled with right-wing zealots with a taste for guns and gold, or what survivalists like to call ‘the bullet-and-bullion set.’ But while there was one man standing at a booth handing out business cards for Operation American Spring, a movement to impeach President Obama, there was also a countervailing element of organic gardeners, homeopathic healers and publishers selling books on the commercial uses of hemp…”

-Alan Feuer, The New York Times website, April 6, 2014

Yesterday I came across an article about the third annual National Preppers and Survivalists Expo- a 2-day event focusing on the preparedness, self reliance, supplies and survival skills that are crucial when a catastrophe strikes- on the website of The New York Times.

It was an interesting piece by Alan Feuer, who also wrote “The Preppers Next Door” for the Times back in January 2013.

I blogged back on January 31 of last year:

I was all prepared to read a hack job about modern survivalism, but came away impressed by Alan Feuer’s effort.

This could have something to do with the fact that Feuer himself is a prepper…

“Capitalism of Catastrophe” also seemed to be quite fair.

Which may be surprising to some.

As I mentioned in that January 31 post:

Articles by mainstream journalists in which preppers aren’t portrayed as somewhat to full-blown kooky are few-and-far-between…

You can read Feuer’s April 6 article here on the Times’ website.

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

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DayZ Standalone: A Survival Video Game For Preppers?

Back in the 1980s, I used to play computer games. A lot. I’m not much of a “gamer” anymore. First, I don’t really have the time these days. Second, if I’m going to play a video game, particularly a simulation-type game, I want it to be related to something I’m interested in and to be as realistic as possible. Even though game development has advanced by leaps and bounds since the days I toiled trying to break the glass backboard on One on One: Dr. J vs. Larry Bird, realism is still a tall order.

Enter DayZ.

From Wikipedia:

DayZ is a multiplayer open world survival horror video game in development by Bohemia Interactive and the stand-alone version of the award-winning mod of the same name. The game was test-released on December 16, 2013 on PC for Microsoft Windows via digital distribution platform Steam, and is currently in early alpha testing.

The game places the player in the fictional post-Soviet state of Chernarus, where an unknown virus has turned most of the population into violent zombies. As a survivor, the player must scavenge the world for food, water, weapons, and medicine, while killing or avoiding zombies, and killing, avoiding or co-opting other players in an effort to survive the zombie apocalypse…


“DayZ Early Access Launch Trailer”
(Warning! Graphic Violence)
YouTube Video

I know what some of you might be thinking.

“Oh great. Another violent, shoot-the-zombies-up time waster.”

Now, I’ve been following the development of DayZ into its current stand-alone version for several months now, and I don’t think those who’ve played the game would classify it simply as a zombie-killing production. It’s the somewhat realistic survival aspect of it that keeps gamers coming back for more. Again from Wikipedia:

The goal of DayZ is to stay alive during the conditions of the zombie apocalypse that has befallen the in-game world. The player begins on the coast of the map equipped with only simple clothes and a flashlight, and must begin exploring the large 225 km landscape to investigate locations such as houses, barns, and apartments to scavenge supplies. These supplies include food and water, which are basic keys to prolonging the players life. Beyond the bare bones of survival, players can find various forms of clothing, which not only allows the player to customise their character, but can bring the benefit of extra storage space for supplies. Also scattered around the map are a variety of weapons, allowing players to protect themselves from zombies or other players if necessary. Currently these are largely focused on a range of melee weapons, but a small number of firearms (more are to be implemented with future updates) are present, as well as various attachments such as bipods and telescopic sights.

Whilst travelling around the game players can also find various medical supplies, as the environment poses a range of threats to their character. This includes diseases such as cholera, dysentery and hepatitis, which can be caught by ingesting dirty water or rotten food and must be cured with the appropriate medicine. If a player is shot or otherwise hurt, items on their person may be damaged. The player may also start bleeding and must be bandaged quickly to minimise blood loss; excessive damage or blood loss will result in serious deterioration of vision for the player and can render them unconscious…

Planned features include being able to build bases in the world in which players can keep their items safe, with the possibility of security systems and programmable computers having been considered. The standalone game will build on the text and close range voice chat of the mod version by including a new whisper channel, which will allow players to communicate over a very short distance without players nearby hearing, as well as radios (based off the “ACRE” mod for ARMA 2), which will allow longer range communication, including the possibility of encrypted two-way radios and player run radio stations. A number of features which are not currently available but will be added in a patch some time during the alpha have been confirmed including vehicles, more zombies, animals and hunting, and cooking.

I’ve been watching a variety of YouTube videos made of people playing DayZ Stand-Alone, and I have to say I’m real impressed with what I’ve seen:


“DayZ Standalone – I Saved Someone’s Life!”
(Warning! Graphic Violence, Language)
YouTube Video

I can envision myself trying out DayZ. As to it’s worth as a survival simulator? Let’s be honest, folks. No computer game at this point in time could possibly hope to replicate the real thing. But consider what “Selco” over at the SHTF School blog wrote about an earlier version of the project:

So overall I can say it is nice try to give people feeling of how survival like this feels. You often feel desperate and have to be careful all the time. It is far from perfect but creates clearer picture of what survival is about than any movie I saw in the past…

Selco would know, being a survivor of the Yugoslav Wars of the 1990s.

For more information on DayZ and how to buy it, head over to the game’s website here. As I type this, it’s €23.99- or $32.66 in U.S. dollars- to join in on the fun.

Just remember DayZ is still in “alpha testing”- where the bugs are in the process of being worked out.

Even though that’s the case, over 1 million copies have already been sold since its December release.

Not bad. And as word gets out about this latest version, I wonder if preppers won’t be tempted to get their gaming on?

Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

Source:

Selco. “Dayz – the first real survival game?” SHTF School. 4 Aug. 2012. (http://shtfschool.com/general/dayz-the-first-real-survival-game/). 16 Jan. 2014.

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Food Insurance™ Having Warehouse Sale, Save 20 To 85 Percent Off Select Food, Preparedness Items

Speaking of food, I received the following e-mail yesterday from one of my affiliate marketing partners- Food Insurance™ (reviewed here). The emergency food supply company is having a giant Warehouse Sale, where the public can save up to 20 to 85 percent off select food and preparedness items. Over 85 products are on sale! From their e-mail:

Warehouse Sale:

Happy New Year from your friends at Food Insurance™! At the start of the new year, we consolidated our smaller warehouses into one large warehouse with over 95,000 square feet for products. With this new space and capabilities, we are very excited to introduce some new items in 2014. But, the boss won’t allow us to introduce any new items, new events, or new promotions until we make some space at the warehouse.

What better way to make space than to discount our products with savings up to 85% on our top selling gourmet freeze-dried food, emergency supplies, and tools? Over 65% of our inventory is on sale, but quantities are limited. Plus, we don’t know how long we can offer these discounts before the Boss notices… after all, he did say we need to make space!

I understand the discounted prices are only valid while supplies last.

Also in the e-mail:

Watch for the Deal of the Day now through January 31st. Don’t hesitate or you’ll miss out on these unheard-of savings.

Click on the banner ad below and you’ll be taken to the Food Insurance™ website where you can find out more information about the Warehouse Sale. Please note that by clicking on the ad and purchasing a product, I receive a commission from the sale.


By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

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Greetings From Chiberia!

Record-breaking cold grips Chicago area

The Chicago area has already set a new record low today, with temps hitting minus 16…”

-Chicago Tribune website, January 6, 2014

When it comes to preparing for emergencies/disasters, as much as getting ready for some zombie apocalypse or other low-probability event might be more interesting, it’s the routine stuff that really shouldn’t be overlooked.

Case in point, severe weather.

I’ve lived in the Chicagoland area for most of my life. And I’ve seen my share of extreme weather. But all the recent snow and arctic temps have already made the winter of 2013-2014 a memorable one.

It’s so cold and snowy outside, last night the banner of the Chicago Sun-Times website read “Chicago Sun-Times.com, Cloudy, 2, Horror.”

As I type this Monday morning, it’s now been updated to read “Chicago Sun-Times.com, Cloudy, -14, HOTH.”

That’s 14 degrees Fahrenheit below zero. Not factoring in wind chill.

As for “HOTH,” at first I was like, “What’s that an acronym for?” And then I remembered…


“Stars Wars Empire Strikes Back Battle of Hoth (Full)”
YouTube Video

Funny guys over at the Sun-Times.

Speaking of the rebels’ main generators on planet Hoth, by Sunday evening, I had kept up on the shoveling and snowblowing throughout the weekend and the house was pretty much buttoned-up for the “polar vortex.”

And then we lost power.

I thought to myself, “I knew I should have picked up a portable gas-powered generator when they went on sale in the fall.” I told my girlfriend, “God forbid the power is off for an extended period of time. With those falling temps outside and now inside, I’m worried about the pipes freezing up.”

When I called the electric company, I was told there were 1,500-plus other customers in our area who were in the same boat. Cause being investigated. Expected restoration time? About two hours.

Thankfully, the electricity came back on after fifteen minutes. By that time, I had already busted out a battery-powered lantern and some other items.

It’s been a crazy couple of days. Saturday morning I was up at my family’s place in Wisconsin checking on things and turning the thermostat up a few notches in anticipation of more snow and the deep freeze. While driving there on a Wisconsin highway, I came across two car accidents. The first involved a car that was sitting in the grassy median with the roof partially crushed and the windshield and other windows broken. A sheriff’s deputy was already on scene. The second was a pickup truck that was resting on its side in a ditch adjacent to the opposite lanes of traffic. Again, the police were already there. Funny thing was, the weather wasn’t bad (30 degrees Fahrenheit, no snow, highway plowed nice and clean), yet there was still all this carnage. On the way back to Chicagoland, I got caught by a snow storm. Driving became really tricky real fast, so much so I witnessed in my rear-view mirror a semi-trailer truck almost jackknife a few car lengths back after getting cut off by a sedan. The semi-trailer heaved to the left, then to the right, before the driver managed to regain control.

At which point the truck driver looked like he was trying to sideswipe the sedan before its driver escaped via an exit ramp.

Like I said- crazy.

Watching the local news this morning they said this was the coldest the region has seen in twenty years. Hearing that took me back to the winter of 1993-1994, when I was an undergrad at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. I remember temperatures being just as cold, and having to attend a certain class. Go figure, this stupid college kid didn’t have any winter clothes down at school with him except for a coat. No hat, no scarf, no gloves. Plenty of baseball caps though. I ended up taking the blanket off my bed, wrapping it over my head, around my face, and stuffing it inside my coat before walking out the door to class. My classmates must have thought I looked pretty funny wearing that thing in my seat. Then again, considering the circumstances, they might have been envious. When I returned home, I noticed my ears were incredibly red. Turns out, I still got frostbite on the extremities of my ears despite wearing a comforter.

Twenty years later, the weather outside is eerily similar. But this time, I’m much better prepared for the frigid temps- multiple winter coats, gloves, hats, etcetera. No need to bust out a bed comforter this time around.

Stay warm. Stay safe. And as much fun as it may be buying that bio-hazard themed katana sword to fight the zombie hordes, you might be better off picking up a quality shovel, a portable generator, even just a winter hat, to successfully deal with the severe weather at this time of year.

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

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Project Prepper, Part 23: Removing That Military Surplus Smell

“I’m sorry! I thought the vinegar would get rid of the smell!”

I was saying this only a short while ago this evening to my girlfriend, who fled the lower part of our house for the less-smelly refuge offered by the second floor master bedroom.

You see, she just got a whiff of two vintage East German military laundry bags after coming out of the washing machine.

It wreaked pretty bad. Even after I took steps to get rid of the smell.

I’ve been buying military surplus for a number of years now. It’s been my experience that items from former Eastern Bloc countries are incredibly “fragrant.” Czechoslovakia and East Germany readily come to mind here.

In anticipation of those two laundry bags from the former Communist state arriving, I conducted a little research into eliminating, or at least minimizing, that military surplus smell. In the past, I just ran the surplus items through the wash a couple of times. That helped a little. After moving to the new house, I did this plus aired the items out in the detached garage for a couple of months. More improvement.

This time around, I gathered a number of suggestions for combating the stench from the Internet. Ammonia, baking soda, vinegar, Febreze, OdoBan, OxiClean, and even airing out the offending items in the garage for up to a year were some remedies suggested.

I went with adding a cup of distilled vinegar to the wash since I knew we had a gallon of the stuff tucked away somewhere around here.

This afternoon, the bags went into the laundry machine with detergent, color-safe bleach, and a cup of distilled vinegar added when the rinse cycle began, as this was recommended by a few different people out in cyberspace.

Pulling them out of the washing machine, I noticed the military surplus stench was not only still there, but more intense. I headed upstairs from the basement utility room, at which point my girlfriend’s nostrils got a full blast of good old-fashioned Cold War Communism.

As the post intro suggests, she’s not too pleased with me. I feel bad.

After the unprovoked East German assault, I threw the bags back into the washing machine and drowned them with only a cup of distilled vinegar. I added another one at the rinse cycle for good measure. I just got the bags out a short time ago to air dry, and while the smell is still there, it doesn’t seem to be as bad as before. Proponents of the vinegar method claim there might be a vinegar smell (there is- slightly) until the item dries out.

Judging by the intensity of the fragrance, I’m not going to hold my breath concerning vinegar successfully eliminating the odor.

Actually, I probably will.

I’ll update the post later and let you know of the final results. In the meantime, any reader suggestions on dealing with that intense military surplus smell?

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Wednesday, December 11th, 2013 Clothing, Europe, Gear, How To, Military, Project Prepper 2 Comments

Chicago-Area Winter Survival Training Camp Planned For This Weekend

Brrr. It’s been cold here in Chicagoland. But that’s what I love above this part of the country- the four seasons. And it’s only fitting that with a couple of inches of snow on the ground already (with more expected tomorrow) that I’d spot the following scheduled winter activity on the American Preppers Network website tonight. From the section entitled “Prepper Expos And Events”:

Saturday December 14th, 10AM Saturday till 10:00 AM Sunday. Goodenow Grove, Will County IL: Winter Survival Training Camp, Sponsored by Southwest Chicago Live Free USA, Camping optional, preregistration required. Planned activities: fire craft, cooking, winter survival skills, snowshoes, sleds, skies, Equipment testing, more. Contact: dancingstick13@aol.com

Sounds interesting. Reading this reminded me of when I attended a “Klondike derby” in the Chicago-area forest preserves as a Boy Scout many years ago. I learned quite a bit from the different “stations” that frigid winter day. I’d be willing to bet I’d learn a good deal more from this planned gathering.

Contact that e-mail address above to see if the event is still a go and/or to find out more information. As for the Live Free USA program, you can find out more about them here.

Stay warm…

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

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Tuesday, December 10th, 2013 Education, Emergencies, Gear, Preparedness, Training, Weather No Comments

Resource Of The Week: Slickguns.com

Any readers looking to buy a firearm, ammunition, or related product during the holiday season? Sometime in the near future perhaps?

This Friday’s “Resource Of The Week” is Slickguns.com, “Best deals on guns and ammo posted by users.” From their website:

This is an index of best deals on guns and ammo posted by users like you. We do not sell any of the products listed on our website. Deals are posted by us and our visitors throughout the day.


“Slickguns Discovery”
YouTube Video

Categories of deals are listed across the top of the home page and include:

-All Deals
-Black Friday (at least for now)
-CA Legal
-Handguns
-Rifles
-Shotguns
-Ammo
-Reloading
-Knives
-Accessories

Additionally, there’s a Coupons, News, and Forum section, as well as a query tool if you’re looking to score a discount on a particular item you have in mind.

Slickguns.com is incredibly easy to use. Click on a deal and you are taken to the Slickguns description page for the item(s), which includes information, photos, price comparisons, comments, and the all-important “Go To Store” button.

That’s it!

Best of luck finding a great deal on that gun-related item you’ve been looking to purchase.

Slickguns.com

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

(Editor’s note: Link added to “Resources” page)

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Cyber Monday Sale Continues At Nitro-Pak Preparedness Center

I got an e-mail this afternoon from the folks over at Nitro-Pak Preparedness Center (reviewed here).

The largest mail-order company in the nation specializing in freeze-dried food and emergency preparedness supplies is extending their Cyber Monday sale.

(Editor’s note: As of early Tuesday, the sale prices are still valid)

Highlighted savings in that e-mail include:

-Up to 40% off all Mountain House foods
-Up to 30% off all Backpacker’s Pantry foods
-20% off AlpineAire Foods and Rocky Mountain Food Reserves
-Save 15% off all Katadyn water purificiation products
-10% off medical kits
-Holiday special! SteriPen Classic Water Purification System $59.99

Click on the banner ad below and see what Nitro-Pak can do for you. Please note that by clicking on the ad and purchasing a product, I receive a commission from the sale.


Nitro-Pak Preparedness Center

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

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In Print: SAS Survival Handbook

I can’t believe it’s been almost two-and-a-half years since I last published a book review post.

Where does the time go, right?

Now, I recently got the chance to read John “Lofty” Wiseman’s SAS Survival Handbook. I picked this book to restart my “In Print” series because I’m in the process of adding survival-related texts to my home library. Prior to this purchase, the closest thing I had to it subject-wise was my trusty old Official Boy Scout Handbook from 1983.

There are a number of survival manuals out there, including the U.S. Army Survival Handbook, the U.S. Air Force Survival Handbook, and others. There were some pretty impressive reviews floating around out there on this SAS book, so I decided to pick up the 2009 revised edition of the text. From the back cover:

FOR ANY CLIMATE, IN ANY SITUATION

Newly updated to reflect the latest in survival knowledge and technology, the internationally bestselling SAS Survival Handbook is the definitive resource for all campers, hikers, and outdoor adventurers. From basic campcraft and navigation to fear management and strategies for coping with any type of disaster, this complete course includes:

BEING PREPARED: Understanding basic survival needs and preparing essentials, such as a pocket survival kit.

MAKING CAMP: Finding the best location, constructing the appropriate shelter, organizing camp, and creating tools.

FOOD: What to eat, what to avoid, where to find it, and how to prepare it.

FIRST AID: A comprehensive course in emergency/wilderness medicine, including how to maximize survival in any climate or when injured.

DISASTER SURVIVAL: How to react in the face of increasingly frequent natural disasters and hostile situations—and how to survive at home if all services and supplies are cut off.

So who is John “Lofty” Wiseman? According to the back cover:

Wiseman served in the British Special Air Service (SAS) for twenty-six years. The SAS Survival Handbook is based on the training techniques of this world-famous elite fighting force.

A clearer picture of who the author is and what kind of survival knowledge he brings to the table with him in this handbook is found on the website of the Trueways Survival School, with whom Wiseman is an instructor. From that site:

John “Lofty” Wiseman joined the Parachute Regiment in 1958. He applied for service with the Special Air Service Regiment in 1959 and set a record as the youngest person ever to pass selection at the age of 18. John served with 22 SAS for 26 years (and, as he likes to point out, 55 days)! He saw active service worldwide, in every theatre of operations and special operations required of the British Army between 1959 and 1985. Amongst other things, John was Sergeant Major, B Squadron (Sabre Sqn) 22 SAS, Sergeant Major 22 SAS Training Wing, Head of Operational Research 22 SAS, set up the SP Team (Counter Hi-Jack), set up the SAS Counter-Terrorist Team (you know…those chaps who ended the Iranian Embassy siege) and trained the first members of the US Green Berets to return to the USA to form the famous Delta Force (US Special Forces). John also ran the famed SAS Selection Course, deciding who was fit to join the Regiment. By the time he retired from active service in 1985, he was held in such high esteem that it could be said of him, to directly quote the Commanding Officer of 22 SAS at the time, “Lofty is a legend in this Regiment”.

In addition, John ran the Survival Training School for 22 SAS at Hereford, specialising in all aspects of survival training (land, sea, jungle, desert, arctic, mountains – wherever a special forces soldier or civilian might find themselves). After retiring from 22 Special Air Service Regiment, John set up the Survival School at Hereford. John has trained survival instructors and consultants, expedition members, overseas survival training specialists, military and civilian.

Really impressive stuff.

Onto the 576-page book. It’s broken down into the following chapters:

Introduction
1. Essentials
2. Strategy
3. Climate & Terrain
4. Food
5. Camp Craft
6. Reading The Signs
7. On The Move
8. Health
9. Survival At Sea
10. Rescue
11. Disasters
Postscript
Index

In the introduction, Wiseman lays out a solid foundation for understanding survival from which readers are to work from. He says:

Survival depends upon applying basic principles and adapting them to the circumstances. These basic principles form an essential pyramid of learning for the survivor.

Think of a pyramid divided into three layers (largest one being the base, smallest being the tip), where the bottom-most layer is the “Will to live,” the middle being “Knowledge,” and the top-most layer is “Kit.”

In the next chapter, entitled “Essentials,” the former SAS survival instructor points out:

Survival is the art of staying alive. Any equipment you have must be considered a bonus.

Wiseman adds:

The main elements of survival are Food, Fire, Shelter, Water, Navigation and Medicine. To put these in order of priority we use the acronym PLAN. No matter where you are in the world this will never change be it in the Arctic, desert, jungle, sea or seashore.

PLAN stands for (P)rotection from further danger/elements, (L)ocation in terms of alerting rescuers to your position, (A)cquisition of food and water while waiting to be rescued, and (N)avigation where “good navigation will keep you en route and will often avert a survival situation.”

I just love when someone with so much knowledge about a subject can break things down and keep it simple for the rest of us.

The chapter goes on to talk about the “essentials” for survival- being prepared, research, planning, equipment, and the unexpected. It also goes into great detail about survival kits (“a few key items” stored in a tin), the “survival pouch” (“too large to carry in your pocket like your survival tin but kept where it can be grabbed quickly in an emergency”), and knives, before finishing up with a discussion about facing disaster, water, and salt.

The Intro and “Essentials” chapters serve as the launching point for the rest of the handbook, so readers are best served understanding what Wiseman is trying to get across in this section, practicing it, and putting together/acquiring the items he prescribes, especially if the text is being used as a “complete course” as mentioned on the back cover.

The remainder of the SAS Survival Handbook is chock-full of “how-to” information covering those topics broken down above. The accompanying illustrations are both color and black-and-white, and are detailed adequately enough.

I found Chapter 11, “Disasters,” particularly interesting. Drought, fire, chemical and biological warfare, gases and chemicals, flood, hurricane, tornado, lightning, earthquake, volcano, and nuclear explosion are covered, in addition to something called “Home Front.” Wiseman writes in the chapter intro:

Home front faces the problems of coping with survival on your own doorstep if the services and supplies on which we normally depend are cut off.

Wiseman reminds us:

You do not have to be miles away from civilization to be caught in a survival situation. Natural disaster, civil disturbance or military action could cut you off from all the usual services and food supplies. Until they can be re-established, you would be left to manage on your own resources and skills.

The former SAS survival instructor goes on to talk about food stores, priorities, water, fire, food, shelter, and hygiene in such a scenario.

In summary, I really liked this latest edition of the SAS Survival Handbook. Granted, I’m not a survival expert whose knowledgeable enough to point out any shortfalls tucked away in the nearly 600 pages of text and illustrations, nor do I really have anything else to compare it to (unless you count that Official Boy Scout Handbook, in which case, it’s the BSA handbook on steroids). But I do know this. The SAS book has tons and tons of information that I, personally, would want on-tap in case TSHTF. Not only is John “Lofty” Wiseman’s survival reference book a welcome addition to my home library, but I’m thinking about getting the 384-page pocket-size SAS Survival Guide by Wiseman to review as well with an eye towards throwing it in my future bug-out bag that I’ll be putting together down the road as part of my “Project Prepper” series of posts.

The SAS Survival Handbook is available for purchase on the Barnes & Noble website hereicon (all orders for eligible items amounting to $25 or more still qualify for free shipping within the U.S.). Please note by clicking on the link and making a purchase I receive a commission on the sale.

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

(Editor’s note: Title added to “Resources” page)

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Project Prepper, Part 21: Progress Report

Late August was when I last published a “Project Prepper” post. Because it’s been a few months, I want to take some time tonight to put together a “progress report” on how far I’ve come with my “preps” to date.

Back on February 27, I blogged that my preparedness activities as part of the “Project Prepper” series of posts would focus on the following 6 “innate survival needs.” In order of the priority I assigned to them:

• Security
• Water
• Food
• Shelter
• Sanitation and Health
• Energy

And why was it I made “Security” priority number one? I wrote in February:

Still, my gut feeling tells me right now I should be focusing on “Security” before other needs. Why’s that? Because this latest push for more gun “control” that’s going on in America right now could end up limiting my access to a number of tools and other accessories that I could use to construct an effective security setup.

I added later in the post:

Also, I’d feel more comfortable getting a jump on Water and Food (with water being more of a priority as a person can only last around three days without it, as opposed to around three weeks without food).

As for Shelter? Well, I’ve already done some work in this area as a number of readers already know, making plans to move out of the City of Chicago to the Northwest suburbs in late spring, with hopes of eventually acquiring a homestead in Southeast Wisconsin in a few years.

Finally, not much will probably be done regarding Energy and Sanitation/Health until after the move to the suburbs. But I do plan on getting some American Red Cross First Aid/CPR/AED instruction as soon as I can.

So, how am I doing with my preps?

Breaking them down:

Security- Truth be told, I had already been working on this area since 2009 when it became all too clear to me that wealth doesn’t do one much good when it can’t be protected. Subsequently, I have a number of different personal safety tools at my disposal now. I’m planning on adding more tools, related accessories, and lots of training as funds permit down the road. No time to rest on my laurels here (push for gun and other “control” relentless).

Water- Regular readers of Survival And Prosperity know that I’ve made quite a bit of headway in this area as well. For starters, I wanted to make sure my girlfriend and I had at least a two-week emergency supply of water for each of us. To achieve this, I acquired some new storage containers and purchased cases of commercially-bottled mineral water. As it stands right now, I have the capability of storing 25.11 gallons of emergency water in the containers, giving me and my girlfriend a 12.56 day supply of water each for drinking and sanitation if following Ready.gov’s calculations (at least one gallon of water per person per day). With the bottled water, we’re easily at that two-week mark.

Still, I plan on acquiring even more emergency water and storing it in used 2-liter bottles that have been thoroughly cleaned out, in addition to occasionally purchasing more cases of commercially-bottled mineral water when they’re on sale every once in a while.

Food- Haven’t made much progress in this area yet. Making a priority in the coming weeks.

Shelter- A lot’s been done in this area over the last several months. The plan to move out of the city of Chicago to the Northwest suburbs in late spring was realized, with the urban apartment exchanged for a single-family house in the suburbs. The acquisition of a homestead in Wisconsin still remains the goal. In the meantime, the house in the ‘burbs will serve as my “Project Prepper Lab.”

Sanitation and Health- Not much progress yet. Looking to book a American Red Cross First Aid/CPR/AED class in the coming weeks.

Energy- Not much progress yet.

That’s it for my preparedness “progress report.” While I’m pleased with the progress made so far in the areas of Security, Shelter, and Water, I’ve barely touched Food, Sanitation/Health, and Energy.

Lots more work to do to satisfy these “innate survival needs.”

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

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Christopher E. Hill, Editor
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