Gear

Project Prepper, Part 28: Buying My Parents Some Emergency Preps

A couple of years ago, my parents in the Chicago suburbs lost electricity for an extended period of time after severe weather pummeled the area. I heard from them the morning after the event, and they weren’t doing so well. Without power on an extremely hot and humid night, the two of them fumbled around in the dark and hardly got any sleep. My Mom informed me that it was especially brutal on my Dad, who is an octogenarian with all sorts of health issues- mobility being one of them. During that conversation, my mother told let me that I should be prepared to evacuate him if the electricity didn’t come back on that evening.

Evacuate meaning carrying him down from their fourth floor condo unit in a building without working elevators.

He’s kind of heavy (225 pounds), so I wasn’t really looking forward to this task. Thankfully, the electric company got the power restored to their building before I had to attempt this.

Shortly after this incident, I asked my parents if they wanted me to help them prepare for the next time this happened. Shockingly, they were actually receptive to this.

Alas, I wasn’t able to assist them right away. So the next time I brought the subject up, Mom and Dad weren’t interested.

I guess this is pretty common according to the emergency management pros. An emergency/disaster strikes, and those affected initially talk about being prepared for the next major crisis. But then they never follow through. And the next emergency/disaster happens.

Seeing that the Chicago area just wrapped up its winter of 2013-14 a couple of weeks ago (there was an unmelted snow pile still on the ground two suburbs over in early May!), and severe weather often rolls through during the transition from winter to summer, I recently purchased some basic emergency preparedness gear from Amazon.com for my parents anyway (I didn’t want them to go through another hellish night like the one they experienced a couple of years ago). This included:

Coleman Twin LED Lantern

This lantern would be their main source of emergency lighting in a blackout. From the Coleman website:

Light the night your way with the Coleman Twin LED Lantern. Extra-bright at up to 390 lumens, this lantern lets you see far and wide while four Cree LEDs, which never need to be replaced, provide effective, efficient, energy-saving light when you need it. The rotating dial offers customizable light settings from low to high. Long runtimes—299 hours on ultra-low and 85 hours on high—will have you back home before you need fresh batteries. Its weather-resistant construction delivers reliable output, even in wet and windy conditions, and its base unscrews for quick access to the battery chamber so you can change them virtually anywhere, anytime. Powered by 8 D-cell batteries, come out of the dark with the Coleman Twin LED Lantern.

The twin LED lantern costs $36.44 on Amazon.com as I type this.

Coleman 4D XPS Classic Personal Size LED Lantern

For when either of my parents go to a different room from where that twin LED lantern is situated. From Amazon.com:

The Coleman 4D XPS Classic Personal Size LED Lantern sheds 190 lumens of light, thanks to the super-bright Cree XLamp XR-E LED. The Lantern is Coleman XPS-compatible; it will run for up to 60 hours on High, 25 hours on Low, on 4 D-cell batteries — or use the optional 6V rechargeable battery pack (both sold separately). A diffuser tube provides a perfect beam pattern. The Lantern is weather-resistant to withstand the elements, so it’s great for camping and other outdoor use.

The personal LED lantern costs $19.98 on Amazon.com as I type this.

O2COOL NEW 10″ Battery Operated Fan with Adapter

I bought two of these (one for each parent). From the Chicago, Illinois-based O2COOL website:

Features Include:

• Dual Power sources: Plug-in with the AC adapter (included) or use 8 D-Cell batteries (not included).
• Powerful 2 speed 10-inch blade.
• Convenient built-in handle.
• Stable horseshoe base.
• Tilts for directional air flow.
• Compact folding design makes it great for travel; easy to carry and store.
• Perfect for camping and outdoor activities.
• Up to 40 hours of battery life.

Each portable dual power fan costs $26.85 on Amazon.com as I type this.

Yeah, I know these devices require a bunch of “D” batteries (which I already picked up and installed a couple of weeks ago). But my parents won’t use these lanterns or portable fans if they’re too “complicated” to power and operate.

I also picked up two 3.5-gallon WaterBrick water containers (discussed here) for my parents as well from a different vendor. I figured in addition to helping my parents cope with a blackout, I could help them deal with a boil-water advisory like the one that hit nearby Deerfield, Illinois, last summer.

A single WaterBrick costs $20.02 on Amazon.com as I type this.

Finally, my parents had some existing preps at their condo. Besides a variety of flashlights, I bought them a black Princeton Tec Fuel Headlamp similar to the one I own and use (discussed here, $19.38 on Amazon.com).

And while not an emergency radio, my Mom picked my Dad up a Sony ICF-S10MK2 Pocket AM/FM Radio. It’s handy and I can think of a ton of uses for it- besides getting information in an emergency. Plus, the price is definitely right ($12.97 on Amazon.com).


“Sony ICF-S10MK2 Pocket AM/FM Radio”
YouTube Video

I’ll still be sending them over a “real” emergency radio soon.

So a little bit of a detour in my “Project Prepper” series of posts. But definitely worthwhile.

Once I get back to my parents I’ll take some photos of these preps and share them with readers.

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

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Jim Rogers: ‘We’re All Going To Pay A Terrible Price’ When ‘Artificial Ocean Of Liquidity’ Ends

Tonight, I want to talk about well-known investor, author, and financial commentator Jim Rogers. The former investing partner of George Soros- who I recently heard is worth approximately $300 million (Soros $23 billion)- recently shared his thoughts about the global financial system and potential investment opportunities.

On May 27, Nina Xiang of the China Money Network contributed the following on the Forbes website:

Legendary investor Jim Rogers has been warning about “the ocean of artificial liquidity” as a result of the unprecedented money printing by central banks around the world for quite some time now.

But with the U.S. stock market at an all-time high, his cautionary words seem to have hardly been heeded…

“When it ends, we will all pay a terrible price,” says Rogers…

Read it as an advocacy for an alternative attitude that is unpopular at the moment: the attitude of awareness that we are in this “artificial period” and it will end one day; the attitude of fearfulness that there will be more turmoil in the next ten years; the attitude of preparedness, that includes stocking up some extra food, a spare flashlight, and gold coins — instead of gold bars — for when the time of emergency comes…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)


“Jim Rogers: We Will All Pay A Terrible Price For Today’s Artificial Liquidity”
YouTube Video

Note that in the Chinese Money Podcast that was uploaded onto YouTube the same day as that Forbes piece, Xiang and Rogers talked about regional conflicts and the Singapore-based investor predicted:

I would suspect that sometime in the next ten years, the world’s going to have a bigger conflict.

On May 26, the text of another interview with Jim Rogers was published on the website of The Economic Times (India). Rogers, who correctly predicted the commodities rally that started in 1999, talked about the following investment opportunities:

• Gold and silver- “If it goes down, I assure you I will be buying more gold and more silver.”
• Crude oil- “Remember, all the other known reserves in the world are in decline, even if the supply from the US is rising. Everywhere else, there has been declining reserves, because there have been no great oilfield discoveries in over 40 years.”
• Sugar- “I am bullish on sugar.”
• U.S. dollar- “I own the US dollar and have not sold any. In fact, probably I would have bought some more, if I weren’t talking to you.”

Rogers concluded this discussion by sharing that:

I am still trying to find some more things to buy in Russia, maybe some Chinese shares and maybe some more Japanese shares…

Nice job by The Economic Times getting this information from Rogers.

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

(Editor’s notes: Info added to “Crash Prophets” page; I am not responsible for any personal liability, loss, or risk incurred as a consequence of the use and application, either directly or indirectly, of any information presented herein.)

Sources:

Xiang, Nina. “Why We Should All Take A Moment To Listen To Jim Rogers.” Forbes. 27 May 2014. (http://www.forbes.com/sites/ninaxiang/2014/05/27/why-we-should-all-take-a-moment-to-listen-to-jim-rogers/). 29 May 2014.

“Will be excited about investing in India if Narendra Modi delivers: Jim Rogers.” The Economic Times. 26 May 2014. (http://articles.economictimes.indiatimes.com/2014-05-26/news/50098911_1_jim-rogers-commodity-space-gold-imports). 29 May 2014.

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Union Grove Gun Show Next Week

Local readers of Survival And Prosperity may be interested in knowing of a nearby gun show taking place next week in Union Grove, Wisconsin. From the Bob and Rocco Gun Shows website:

May 16, 17 & 18
Union Grove Gun Show @ Racine County Fairgrounds

Friday 3-8 Saturday 9-5 Sunday 9-3 Admission $6 ~ Vendor Fee $40/8′ Table – (250 Tables)
19805 Durard Ave, Union Grove, WI 53182

You can visit the website here for more information on the event.

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

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Project Prepper, Part 27: Transferring Pre-Owned Gear, Supplies To The New Everyday Carry Bag

In my last “Project Prepper” post, I blogged about the Everyday Carry bag and putting one together for myself after two decades of carrying something along the lines of one.

Today, I’ll be talking more about transferring pre-owned gear and supplies to the new EDC bag.

Last Wednesday I wrote:

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.

Well, that transfer is done, and the canvas FOX Outdoor Courier bag has been retired from front-line service after a good six years or so for the Patagonia Half Mass that’s been designated to be my new EDC bag.

This morning, I busted out another old bag of mine which I purchased about a decade ago. The yellow Eddie Bauer gym bag- which is usually kept in my vehicle- contains not only items for a roadside emergency, but emergency preparedness gear and supplies which I started accumulating post-9/11. When added to the case of bottled water, old sleeping bag, and extra clothing/boots I would store in my car’s trunk (not at the moment however as I change things up for this series of posts), I’d have the tools, gear, and supplies to tackle a number of emergencies- possibly for a couple of days if required.

The last time I really went through the bag- adding items and replacing expired supplies- was back in 2010.

Until today- when I started pulling a 3-day supply of emergency food and a disposable rain poncho from it for the new EDC bag,

I also added items to the new bag which I’ve recently acquired and set aside until now, such as a foldable water-resistant baseball cap, portable unisex urinal bags, and a LifeStraw personal water filter.

Now, I still need to do some thorough research and put together a comprehensive list of Everyday Carry items I think should go into this bag. But based on what’s been transferred from these two older bags, I think I have a pretty good foundation on which to build on.

EDC Bag Tranfer

Note the Doomsday Preppers toilet paper on top of the old Eddie Bauer bag

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

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Go-To Gear For When The Lights Go Out

Last Friday night, my girlfriend and I lost power at our place in the Chicago suburbs.

It’s not like there was a storm going on. Not even a breeze from what I could tell. The electricty just went sayonara without any warning.

Rather than freak out- this subdivision sure is dark without any lights (the same holds true even with light )- I did what I usually do when an event like this happens nowadays:

Bust out some emergency gear.

I recently realized that I’ve never really gone into detail about the items I use when the lights go out. So, I’ll talk about them this afternoon, assuming a scenario where I lose power at night.

The first item I grab in such a situation is my Princeton Tec Fuel Headlamp, Black, which I picked up from the local Cabelas a few years back. From the Princeton Tec website:

When applied well, technology should be simple. Such is the case with the innovative Fuel headlamp – designed to meet the widest range of applications while remaining small, lightweight and robust. With all of the touch points of the product being considered, the Fuel’s smart design fulfills technology’s promise of actually making our lives easier.

What could be better than a light that weighs only 78g with 70 lumens of brightness and 146 hours of burn time? A light that also has an asymmetrical single arm bracket that makes directing the light effortless and reliable; a large, easy to find push button switch and a virtually bulletproof, easy access battery door that protects the 3AAAs and its electronics. Yea.. that’s pretty much it.

Simple. Perfect. Fuel.

I never owned a headlamp until I learned how handy it was for Fernando “FerFAL” Aguirre during the economic collapse in Argentina. I love it. I even bought one for my Dad and the “super” at my old apartment building before I moved ($20.16 @ Amazon.com as I type this).

As soon as I get my hands on the headlamp, I grab two more “essentials” right away- a battery-powered LED lantern and dual-power (AC/batteries) portable fan.

The Coleman Twin High Power LED Lantern was another Cabelas purchase from a couple of years ago. From the Coleman website:

Enjoy the outdoors in full, bright light with the Coleman® Twin High Performance LED Lantern. Ultra-bright at 580 lumens, this lantern lets you see far and wide while four Cree® LEDs, which never need to be replaced, provide effective, efficient, energy-saving light when you need it. With seven brightness settings that range from high to ultra-low, you’ll have just the right amount of light. A long runtime—100 hours on ultra-low and 10 hours on high—will have you back home before you need fresh batteries. Its water-resistant construction delivers reliable output, even in wet and windy conditions, and its base unscrews for quick access to the battery chamber so you can change them virtually anywhere, anytime. Powered by 8 D-cell batteries, come out of the dark with the Coleman® Twin High Performance LED Lantern.

-Eight brightness settings ranging from high to ultra-low
-580 incredibly bright lumens on high
-52-ft. (15.85 m) beam distance on high
-Up to 10 hours runtime on high setting
-Up to 100 hours runtime on low setting
-Powered by eight D-cell batteries (sold separately)
-Four lifetime Cree® LEDs never needs replacing
-Stays cool while running
-Water resistant against rain and splashing water
-5-year limited warranty

Boy is this thing bright- even on lower settings! I had it lit in the master bedroom Friday and anyone passing by might have easily thought we didn’t lose power. I’ve run this lantern several times since it was purchased for short durations, and the “D” batteries that I installed a couple of years ago are still going strong (had to check for battery leakage as soon as I typed that- I’m good). I like it so much I’m planning on buying one for my parents ($56.99 @ Amazon.com as I type this).

Blackout Gear

“Essential”:O2COOL Portable Fan and Coleman LED Lantern

The other “essential” I grab is a dual-power (AC/batteries) portable fan from Chicago-based O2COOL. The model I picked up from a local Kmart a couple of years ago (#1071) looks to be discontinued. However, its successor, O2COOL NEW 10″ Battery Operated Fan with Adapter (Model# FD10002A), certainly looks just as capable judging by Amazon.com reviews. From the O2COOL website:

Features Include:

Dual Power sources: Plug-in with the AC adapter (included) or use 6 D-Cell batteries (not included)
Powerful 2 speed 10-inch blade.
Convenient built-in handle.
Compact design makes it great for travel; easy to carry and store.
Perfect for office and home.
Up to 40 hours of battery life.

The portable fan does a great job of cooling off an individual and circulating air around a small room for its compact size. The O2COOL comes out every time the lantern does. And like the Coleman, I’ve used it several times for short durations since its purchase, with the original 4 “D” batteries I put in it still working strong. I plan on buying more O2COOL dual-power portable fans, as Chicago summers can be brutal ($20.99 @ Amazon.com as I type this).

I usually bust out other items, like an emergency weather radio or portable DVD player- but not before that other gear.

While my girlfriend and I have managed to get by with the above, I am looking at acquiring more items for when the lights go out, such as additional emergency lighting, an emergency weather radio with more capabilities, and another portable dual-power fan. More about that in a future “Project Prepper” post though.

In the meantime, readers- care to share the “essential” gear you like to use when the lights go out?

I, for one, would love to hear what your go-to items are.

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

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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


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