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Outdoor Survival Skills

A Power Outage During The Winter Months Can Be Deadly




We don’t often think of a power outage as a deadly event. It’s more of an annoyance than anything. However, a power outage absolutely can kill. Look no further than the huge blackout in Texas just a couple of years ago that killed over 200 people… and that only lasted a few days.

Now think about what could happen if the power went out for two weeks, or two months… or for good.

The bottom line is that you need to be prepared for a long-term power outage. Be it an EMP, a sophisticated cyber attack, or our nation’s rickety power grid finally reaching its breaking point, a long-term, wide-scale power blackout is absolutely a possibility you need to prepare for. 

The Potentially Deadly Power Outage Predicament

Something as simple as a fallen branch can cause a short-term, localized blackout. There are more nefarious actors in the world, however, that can have you and your family in the freezing cold at any given moment. That’s going to have you thinking seriously about questions of basic survival – and at that point, it’s too late. 

  • Heating and Warmth: Staying warm is absolutely necessary for survival. Exposure to frigid temperatures can easily be life-threatening, or, at the very least, incapacitating.
  • Food and Water: When the power goes down due to inclement weather you’re going to need a way to keep your family fed and hydrated. Stockpiling, growing or long-term storing food is a must.
  • Communication: It’s hard to stay connected when the power goes down, so consider alternative communication methods to ensure that you can stay in touch with your family and your survival community.
  • Health and Safety: Have a backup plan for sanitation and life-saving medical equipment in the event that the power grid goes down, be it for a week, a month, a year, or forever.

Constructing a Winter Storm Survival Kit

Emergency Kit

When winter storms threaten power outages, a basic survival kit will become your lifeline. At the absolute minimum, a survival kit, preferably kept in your car so that it’s wherever you find yourself, should contain:

  • Warmth: Sleeping bags, warm clothes, and blankets, as well as a means to start a fire if need be, such as waterproof matches or firestarters.
  • Light: Flashlights are good, but headlamps are better because they keep your hands free while providing you with the light you need to see.
  • Food and Water: You should have at least a three-day supply of food and water for emergencies, but hopefully a supply that’s going to last a lot longer than that in the event of a prolonged power outage.
  • Medical Supplies: Medical supplies include a First Aid kit and any necessary medications as well as sanitation products.
  • Communication: Keep crucial contact information on a piece of paper rather than on your phone. Make sure you have lots of backup power for your communication devices and invest in a solar or hand-crank radio for public announcements.

Heating Sources for Survival

Maintaining a comfortable temperature is paramount during a winter storm power outage. Explore alternative heating sources to keep the chill at bay:

  • Wood-Burning Stoves: Wood-burning stoves are one of the best sources of alternative heat because they allow you to easily cook food in the same place that you generate heat from.
  • Portable Heaters: Battery- and propane-powered space heaters have come down considerably in price and are much safer than in years past. You still need to exercise caution, however.
  • Emergency Blankets: Reflective, heat-insulating blankets are particularly good for making sure that you keep all the heat on the inside if you find yourself caught out in a winter storm or have to make a run for it over a long distance.

Communication Lines Are Lifelines During An Emergency

It doesn’t matter if it’s a minor winter storm or the end of the world as we know it. Communication is essential to making sure you and your family stay alive during any emergency So it’s necessary to develop an emergency communication plan for any disaster scenario:

  • Emergency Contacts: Keep a list of emergency contacts – written on paper, not your phone – so that you can reach out any way you can when disaster strikes.
  • Alert Systems: Signing up for emergency alerts and notifications from local authorities can give you advance warning of a disaster before it strikes.
  • Portable Charging: You can never have enough power sources and backup energy. Stockpiling chargers can be as valuable as stockpiling food.

Emergency Lighting For Survival And Rescue

Illumination is not only comforting but crucial for safety. Equip yourself with reliable lighting sources:

  • LED Flashlights: LED flashlights are energy-efficient, allowing them to provide long-lasting, bright illumination in the darkest of times.
  • Candles and Lanterns: Candles (used safely) and battery-powered lanterns can light up a space if you can’t charge up your LED flashlights.
  • Glow Sticks: Glow sticks can provide light both for vision and for signaling and are especially safe for children.

Save Your Life With Generators and Fuel

Usage of gasoline portable outdoor generator, home power generator to backup the house during blackouts

For extended outages of the kind you’re likely to be preparing for, a backup generator is an absolute must. Still, generators come with their own challenges and not all are created equally. Before you buy a backup generator for a grid down scenario or even just a winter storm there are some things to keep in mind:

  • Generator Type: Choose the right generator for your family’s power needs, including wattage and fuel supply.
  • Fuel Supply: Without adequate fuel, your generator is little more than a glorified paperweight. So stockpile the fuel you need to keep your generator running in case of an emergency.

When Your Home Is No Longer Safe: Evacuation Plan


Your home is your castle and you want it to be the safest place for your family… but that might not be the case. In the event that your home is no longer safe, the sooner you leave the better. Still, you’re going to need a plan for getting out of dodge.

That means having a safe destination in mind, as well as the means and knowledge to get there. Physical, paper maps of your local area are a must for any prepper. You also need a vehicle that’s ready to traverse anything, including snow and ice. If your generator runs off of regular gas, it can act as a backup fuel supply for your bugout vehicle in the event you have to abandon ship as it were. 

You need to be prepared for the worst no matter what the weather is like. Having a bugout plan that ceases to work the second the temperature drops below 40F is a plan for death for you and your entire family. Following the steps above, however, ensures that you are going to be able to survive and thrive no matter what mother nature, malicious state actors, or sophisticated cyber-criminals throw your way. 

Are you ready for a “grid down” scenario? What are you doing to prepare? Share your prepping efforts in the comments below.

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Outdoor Survival Skills

Building a Survival Garden: A Beginner’s Guide for Urban and Suburban Families



In times of uncertainty, having a reliable source of fresh food can provide a sense of security and self-sufficiency. For urban and suburban families interested in preparedness, growing a survival garden is an excellent way to ensure access to nutritious food. This guide will explain why you should consider growing a survival garden and provide step-by-step instructions to help even those with no gardening experience get started.

Why Grow a Survival Garden?


Food Security

One of the primary reasons to grow a survival garden is to ensure food security. In the event of supply chain disruptions, natural disasters, or other emergencies, having a garden can provide a steady supply of fresh vegetables and herbs. This reduces reliance on grocery stores and external sources.

Health and Nutrition

Homegrown produce is often more nutritious and flavorful than store-bought options. You have control over the growing conditions and can avoid harmful pesticides and chemicals. This results in healthier, organic produce that supports your family’s well-being.

Cost Savings

Growing your own food can significantly reduce your grocery bill. While there are initial setup costs, a well-maintained garden can produce an abundance of food for a fraction of the cost of buying it.

Environmental Benefits

Gardening is an eco-friendly activity. It reduces your carbon footprint by decreasing the need for transportation and packaging associated with store-bought produce. Additionally, plants help improve air quality and can provide habitats for beneficial insects and birds.

Steps to Start Your Survival Garden

Step 1: Plan Your Garden

The first step in creating a survival garden is planning. Consider the following factors:

  • Location: Choose a spot that receives at least six hours of sunlight daily. For urban settings with limited space, consider container gardening or vertical gardening.
  • Space: Assess the available space and decide on the garden size. Even a small balcony or patio can accommodate a container garden.
  • Climate: Research the local climate and growing seasons. Select plants that thrive in your region.
  • Water Source: Ensure easy access to water. Gardens require regular watering, especially during hot, dry periods.

Step 2: Gather Supplies

Once you have a plan, gather the necessary supplies. Basic gardening supplies include:

  • Containers or Raised Beds: Containers, pots, or raised beds are ideal for urban and suburban gardens. They are easier to manage and can be placed on patios, balconies, or rooftops.
  • Soil: Use high-quality, nutrient-rich soil. You can purchase potting soil or create your own compost.
  • Seeds or Seedlings: Start with easy-to-grow vegetables and herbs such as tomatoes, lettuce, carrots, and basil. Seedlings are often easier for beginners than starting from seeds.
  • Watering Can or Hose: Ensure you have a reliable method for watering your garden.
  • Gardening Tools: Basic tools include a trowel, pruners, gloves, and a hand rake.

Step 3: Prepare the Soil

Healthy soil is crucial for a thriving garden. Follow these steps to prepare your soil:

  • Test the Soil: Use a soil testing kit to check the pH and nutrient levels. Most vegetables prefer slightly acidic to neutral soil (pH 6.0-7.0).
  • Amend the Soil: Based on the test results, amend the soil with compost, manure, or other organic matter to improve fertility and drainage.
  • Fill Containers or Beds: If using containers or raised beds, fill them with the prepared soil mix.

Step 4: Plant Your Garden

With the soil ready, it’s time to plant your seeds or seedlings:

  • Follow Planting Guidelines: Each plant has specific planting depth and spacing requirements. Follow the instructions on the seed packets or seedling tags.
  • Water Thoroughly: After planting, water the soil thoroughly to help the plants establish roots.
  • Label Plants: Label each plant to keep track of what you’ve planted and where.

Step 5: Maintain Your Garden

Consistent care is essential for a successful garden. Here are some maintenance tips:

  • Water Regularly: Water your plants regularly, especially during dry spells. Ensure the soil stays moist but not waterlogged.
  • Weed Control: Remove weeds regularly to prevent them from competing with your plants for nutrients and water.
  • Mulch: Apply mulch around the plants to retain moisture, regulate soil temperature, and reduce weeds.
  • Fertilize: Use organic fertilizers to provide essential nutrients. Follow the recommended application rates.
  • Prune and Harvest: Prune plants to encourage healthy growth and remove dead or diseased parts. Harvest vegetables and herbs when they are ripe to enjoy fresh produce and encourage more growth.

Step 6: Protect Your Garden

Protecting your garden from pests and diseases is crucial:

  • Pest Control: Use natural pest control methods such as neem oil, insecticidal soap, or introducing beneficial insects like ladybugs.
  • Disease Prevention: Keep an eye out for signs of disease and take action promptly. Remove infected plants to prevent the spread of disease.
  • Physical Barriers: Use netting or fencing to protect your garden from animals and birds.

Starting a survival garden can seem daunting, especially for those with no prior gardening experience. However, with careful planning, the right supplies, and consistent care, anyone can create a thriving garden that provides fresh, nutritious food for their family. The benefits of growing your own food extend beyond the tangible produce; it offers a sense of security, promotes health, and fosters a connection with nature. As you embark on this gardening journey, remember that patience and perseverance are key. Happy gardening!

Do you and your family have a “survival garden?” Leave your tips in the comments below. 


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Now More Than Ever: You Need a Fallout Shelter




In today’s increasingly uncertain world, the threat of nuclear war looms larger than it has in decades. Escalating tensions globally, particularly in regions like Israel and Ukraine, have heightened concerns about the potential for catastrophic conflict. As families seek to prepare for worst-case scenarios, building a fallout shelter in your basement can provide a crucial layer of protection. This guide will walk you through the steps to create a safe and effective fallout shelter in your home, ensuring that you and your loved ones are prepared for any eventuality.

Why Build a Fallout Shelter?

The primary purpose of a fallout shelter is to protect you and your family from the immediate dangers of a nuclear explosion and the subsequent radioactive fallout. A well-constructed shelter can significantly reduce your exposure to radiation, provide a safe space for survival, and give you peace of mind during these tumultuous times.

Assessing Your Basement

Before you start building your fallout shelter, you need to evaluate your basement to determine its suitability for conversion. Here are the key factors to consider:

Structural Integrity

Ensure your basement is structurally sound and free of leaks. Cracks in the foundation or walls can compromise the shelter’s integrity and allow radiation to penetrate.

Space Availability

Choose a location within your basement that offers enough space for your family and essential supplies. A minimum of 10 square feet per person is recommended for comfort and survival needs.


Ensure that the chosen area is easily accessible and can be quickly reached in an emergency. The entrance should also be securable to protect against external threats.

Designing Your Shelter

Radiation Shielding

The key to effective fallout protection is adequate shielding. Materials such as concrete, bricks, and earth are excellent for blocking radiation. Aim for walls that are at least 12 inches thick with concrete or 24 inches thick with packed earth.


Proper ventilation is crucial to prevent suffocation and ensure a fresh air supply. Install an air filtration system capable of removing radioactive particles. Consider manual ventilation options in case of power outages.

Water and Food Supply

Stock your shelter with a sufficient supply of water and non-perishable food. Aim for a minimum of one gallon of water per person per day and a two-week supply of food. Include a water filtration system for long-term sustainability.


Prepare for sanitation needs by including portable toilets, waste bags, and sanitation chemicals. Proper waste management is crucial to prevent disease and maintain hygiene.

Emergency Supplies

Equip your shelter with essential emergency supplies, including:

  • First aid kits
  • Flashlights and batteries
  • Radios (preferably hand-cranked or battery-powered)
  • Blankets and warm clothing
  • Fire extinguishers
  • Tools for emergency repairs
  • Building the Shelter

Wall Construction

Begin by constructing the walls using your chosen materials. Concrete blocks are highly effective and can be reinforced with rebar for added strength. Ensure the walls are thick enough to provide adequate radiation shielding.

Ceiling and Floor

The ceiling should be as heavily shielded as the walls. If your basement ceiling isn’t suitable, add a layer of concrete or earth above it. The floor should be solid and free from cracks; consider adding a layer of protective material if necessary.

Entrance Protection

Install a sturdy, sealed door that can withstand blasts and radiation. Metal doors with rubber gaskets are effective. Ensure the door can be securely locked from the inside.

Ventilation System

Install your ventilation system, ensuring it can filter out radioactive particles. Include manual ventilation options, such as hand-cranked fans, in case of power failure.

Interior Setup

Arrange the interior for maximum comfort and efficiency. Place cots or sleeping mats along the walls, leaving the central area free for movement. Store supplies in an organized manner to make them easily accessible.

Testing and Maintenance

Regular Inspections

Regularly inspect your shelter for any signs of damage or wear. Check the integrity of the walls, ceiling, and floor, and ensure the ventilation system is functioning correctly.

Supply Rotation

Periodically rotate your food and water supplies to ensure they remain fresh and usable. Replace expired items promptly.

Emergency Drills

Conduct regular emergency drills with your family to ensure everyone knows how to quickly and safely access the shelter.

Building a fallout shelter in your basement is a proactive step towards ensuring your family’s safety in the face of nuclear threats. By carefully assessing your space, designing for maximum protection, and maintaining your shelter, you can create a secure environment to weather any storm. In these uncertain times, being prepared is not just a precaution; it’s a necessity.

Do you have any tips on building a fallout shelter in your basement? Leave them in the comments below. 

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Outdoor Survival Skills

A Quick Way To Estimate Remaining Daylight That Can Save Your Life




Navigating the great outdoors can be a thrilling adventure, whether you’re out for a leisurely hike, an invigorating run, or simply enjoying the beauty of nature. But as the day wears on and the sun begins its descent towards the horizon, it’s essential to keep track of how much daylight you have left. 

While smartphones have become indispensable tools for many aspects of life, they’re not always reliable in remote areas or during outdoor activities. So, what do you do when you need to know how much daylight remains, but you don’t have access to your phone or any other timekeeping device? Fear not, for there’s a handy trick that has been passed down through generations – using nothing more than your hands and a bit of observation.

In an era where technology reigns supreme, it’s easy to overlook the simplicity and practicality of age-old techniques. Yet, sometimes, the simplest methods are the most effective. This is certainly true when it comes to estimating daylight using just your hands.

Now, before we delve into the intricacies of this method, it’s important to note that it’s not an exact science. Factors such as geographical location, terrain, and weather conditions can all impact its accuracy. However, it provides a rough estimate that can be surprisingly reliable in many situations.

So, how does it work? Let’s break it down step by step.

First, find a clear view of the horizon – a flat, unobstructed area where you can see the sun’s path as it moves across the sky. Ideally, you’ll want to be in an open space without tall buildings, trees, or mountains blocking your view.

Next, extend your arm straight out in front of you, with your palm facing towards you. Your arm should be fully extended and parallel to the ground, creating a straight line from your shoulder to your fingertips.

Now, focus on the position of the sun relative to the horizon. Place the bottom of your pinky finger on the horizon line, with your fingers together and pointing upwards. This creates a makeshift measuring tool that you’ll use to gauge the remaining daylight.

Observe how many fingers can fit between the horizon and the bottom of the sun. Each finger represents roughly 15 minutes of daylight, with four fingers equaling one hour. If there’s more space than one hand can cover, you can use your other hand to continue counting. And if the space exceeds the width of two hands, you can stack them on top of each other to measure accordingly.

By using this method, you can quickly estimate how much daylight you have left without the need for any external devices. It’s a simple yet effective way to stay informed and plan your outdoor activities accordingly.

Of course, it’s important to remember that this method is not foolproof. Variations in terrain, weather conditions, and other factors can affect the accuracy of your estimate. Additionally, it’s always a good idea to carry a backup timekeeping device, such as a watch or a smartphone, especially if you’re venturing into remote or unfamiliar areas.

Despite its limitations, the hand method can be a valuable tool for outdoor enthusiasts, hikers, runners, and anyone else who spends time outside. It’s a testament to the ingenuity of humans and our ability to adapt and thrive in any environment.

In conclusion, knowing how to estimate daylight using just your hands is a useful skill that can come in handy when you least expect it. So, the next time you find yourself outdoors and in need of a quick time check, remember this simple yet effective method. Happy exploring!


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