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Battle of the Fire Starters: Waterproof Matches Versus Lighters



Fire is crucial in every survival situation. It provides warmth, cooks food, purifies water, signals rescuers, provides light, keeps wild animals at a distance, and offers comfort.

In short, it does wonders, which makes starting a fire an essential survival technique. Two of the most conventional fire starters are matches and lighters, each boasting unique features.

To help you decide which one to include in your fire starter kit, let’s look at the benefits of each fire starter:

5 Reasons Waterproof Matches Should Be Your Choice

They’re Designed to Work in a Wet Environment

Waterproof matches aren’t called waterproof for nothing.

Unexpected showers can be a problem when you’re stuck in the wild or bugging out on foot

If you don’t have a proper shelter, not only will you get drenched in the rain, but your SHTF gear will as well. Your precious fire starter kit won’t be spared. But if you keep a box of waterproof matches in there, you won’t have to worry about spending a cold night in the woods, freezing your butt off.

They’re Featherlight

You want to go as light as possible when packing your get home bag and bug out bag. So waterproof matches are the perfect fire starter to include in your list of survival supplies.

One or a few boxes barely weigh anything. Hell, you won’t even feel that they’re there, and we think that’s awesome.

They’re Compact

Since waterproof matches are small and neatly packed together, they’ll take up very little space in your survival kit. They’re also the kind of fire starter you can take anywhere. If you want to carry some every day, a small box will fit perfectly in your front pocket.

They’re Super Affordable

You can buy ‘em per piece or purchase in bulk, and these bad boys still won’t break the bank.

Waterproof matches are an excellent fire starter option to stock up on if your primary fire starting tool gets lost or somehow stops working.

Since seasoned preppers consider it wise to have at least one reliable alternative to essential survival tools for emergency preparedness, choose something cheap like waterproof matches.

They Won’t Leak

Matches don’t require any fuel, so obviously, you won’t have to worry about the possibility of fuel leakage. You also won’t have to constantly check your backpack or storage space to see if the fuel has contaminated your other survival supplies.

Fuel leakage is a potential safety hazard and can lead to a fire or, worse, an explosion, so you want to avoid that as much as possible.

5 Reasons Lighters Should Be Your Choice

They Last Long

Average lighters can ignite up to 3,000 times when used wisely during survival situations.

If you store a lighter appropriately and have a fuel source to refill it, it can last from 5 months to a year or even more. This means there’s no need to ration a lighter’s fuel when starting a fire.

They’re the Best Value for Money

Lighters are already a steal considering the number of lights you get from a single one. Most are reasonably priced with efficiency and effectiveness in mind, so you should automatically add them to your arsenal.

They’re Easy to Use and Handle

One of the things that makes lighters great is that you can operate them using a single hand. This feature is handy in an SHTF scenario where windy conditions could make starting a fire difficult. Since you just need one hand to ignite it, your other hand can shield the flame from wind or rain. Pretty convenient, huh?

They’re Lightweight

Another feature that makes lighters convenient? They’re almost weightless and are small enough to fit into any compartment, just like waterproof matches. You can pack one in your EDC or mini survival kit and won’t feel its weight.

They Provide Immediate Access

Lighters are durable enough not to be kept in protective containers and boxes, so they’re great for when there’s a sudden power outage and you have no other source of light on your person. 

Other than illuminating dark areas, you can also benefit from this fire starter in situations where you’re in the wild and a threat is present. You can use your lighter to build a fire to keep predators away quickly.

Waterproof Matches vs. Lighters

Now, let’s look at the differences between waterproof matches and lighters based on a couple of features. Here’s a table to quickly show which fire starter works best for your needs:

comparison table of waterproof matches and lighters

9 Quick Safety Tips for Matches and Lighters

Matches and lighters come in handy for emergencies and all, but they can also be sources of danger.

House fires, burns, and property damage caused by kids playing with matches are common occurrences, so have specific safety rules in place for everyone’s well-being.

Here are some measures every household should observe when handling these fire starters:

  • Store matches and lighters out of the reach and sight of children on high shelves or preferably in a locked cabinet.
  • Make your kids understand that matches and lighters aren’t toys by telling them the dangers of using them incorrectly.
  • Keep matches and lighters away from flammable liquids like gasoline to avoid burning someone.
  • Extinguish matches properly before disposing of them.
  • Inspect lighters for cracks, leaks, or other defects regularly.
  • Strike a match far from your body and hold it at arm’s length.
  • Refill your lighter only when you’re in an open space and away from naked flames.
  • Clean spilled lighter fluid thoroughly before lighting the flame.
  • Assist elderly folks or people with limited mobility when handling matches and lighters.

Final Thoughts

Matches and lighters each have advantages as fire starters, but the decision lies in your hands. At the end of the day, it’s still about personal preference and which one works best for your situation.

Now that you have an idea of what features in matches and lighters are helpful in an SHTF scenario, pick your weapon of choice and stock up on them before things get out of hand.

We think it’s wise to keep both in your stockpile, though, because backups and alternatives can save your life during a disaster.

What’s your pick—waterproof matches or BIC lighters? Sound off below!

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Getting More From Your Garden: Preserving Your Home Harvest




Home gardens are fun, but they can also be delicious if you’re growing things that you and your family can eat. Too many home gardeners, however, are content to have a ton of tomatoes that last a week and then give the rest away – or worse than that, throw them out when they go bad.

It doesn’t have to be this way. 

Homesteading Handbook

You can keep as much of your garden harvest as you like, give as much away as you like and throw out as much as you like. All you have to do is know how to prepare and store your harvest for long-term preservation. Once you learn how to do these, it’s going to make your harvest time much more satisfying. 

It’s Your Jam

If you’re growing fruit and not making jams, jellies and preserves out of it, you don’t know what you’re missing. Like a lot of other freshly grown foods, eating homemade jams and comparing them to what you’ve been eating from the supermarket is like you’re eating a completely different food. 

For those entrepreneurially minded, jams and jellies are great for selling at the local farmer’s market. So if you want to make a few bucks off of your home garden, this is a really easy way to start doing that.

Cure Your Vegetables

Your vegetables aren’t sick, but they might need a cure regardless. It’s not hard and doesn’t take it a lot of time, which makes it a very easy lift for someone who has a lot of veggies but not a lot of time. 

You have to wait until your vegetables are fully ripe before you cure them. Otherwise, they’re never going to get ripe. If you cure your vegetables properly they can last for weeks or months even if you don’t put them in the refrigerator. 

Homesteading Handbook

Dehydration Is Actually Your Friend

The main engine of vegetables going bad are fungus and bacteria. You can prevent this process by dehydrating your vegetables before they go bad. Some produce is much easier to dehydrate than others: If you want to dehydrate tomatoes, just slice them up, throw them on a sheet pan in the sun for a couple days, then store them.

For other fruits and vegetables you might need a dehydrator. Fortunately, these don’t cost much these days and can easily pay for themselves with all the produce that you save through the process. 

Can It Up

Canning is a great way to preserve just about every kind of food. You can can in either metal cans or in glass jars. The choice is yours, but the main thing you need to remember is that the main threat to canned food is botulism – and that can kill you or at least make you and your family extremely miserable. 

The good news about canning is that there are hundreds of centers across the country run by the Church of Latter-Day Saints where you can learn how to can without buying any equipment. Membership in their church is not required – all are welcome.

Ferment and Pickle Your Vegetables

One way to turn your veggies into something a little different is through fermenting and pickling. In the case of fermentation, there are also health benefits – fermented vegetables are great for your gut health. 

Unfortunately, however, fermented foods taste weird to some people. So pickles might be a better choice for you if you’re not into the taste of fermented foods. 

The Easy Way: Freezing

Of course, there’s always freezing your veggies. Your space might be limited here, however you probably already know how to freeze foods. You’ll want to prepare them specifically for the fruit or vegetables you plan on preserving. For example, some should be cooked, some should be chopped and others can just be thrown in the freezer. Look up whatever you’re looking to freeze before you freeze it.

Homesteading Handbook

There’s no reason for you to give away or waste your veggie garden when it’s time for harvest. With a combination of these methods, you can enjoy fresh-ish veggies all year long. 

What’s your favorite method for preserving your home garden for the long-term? What secrets have you picked up? Leave a comment below to help other homesteaders. 

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Lone Wolves Won’t Make It: How To Build A Survival Community



Forget an AR-15, an RPG or even a tank. The most powerful weapon you can have for a SHTF scenario is the community around you

In the event that the S does HTF, you’re not going to be able to rely on your contacts you made online. Maybe you can communicate with them with a ham radio, but they’re going to be too far away for them to offer much in the way of direct assistance at a time when you desperately need it.

This underscores the importance of making contacts in your immediate community and building a community of like-minded people who can immediately band together under dire circumstances. 

Lone Wolf? Why You Can’t Go It Alone

Too many in the survivalist and prepper communities think of themselves as “lone wolves.” This is fine if you’re building a homestead on your own during a time of relative peace, stability and plenty. 

Shockwave Mini

The issue comes in when the SHTF. This is when the rule of law will break down and it becomes every man for himself. No matter what you think about your ability to defend yourself and your family now, the simple fact is that you have a massive deterrent against crime in the form of a functioning criminal justice system and a supply chain that means there’s food down at the local grocery store.

What will happen when that all goes away? 

The short version is: absolute chaos. People will be doing absolutely anything they have to do to feed themselves and their families and obtain the other necessities of life. 

Now you might think you can take care of yourself… and maybe you can against one or two or even five attackers. The question is what your plan is for dealing with a gang of bikers 50 strong – or even eight guys with combat experience and knowledge of small squad tactics. In either of these situations, a lone wolf is about as good as dead. 

You need to connect with others, even if it’s a very small, tight-knit community that will have each others backs in the event the whole world goes sour. 

The Easy Way: Joining A Local Survivalist Community

Group of young people collects firewood together

Why build a community if there’s already one nearby?

Clearly, this isn’t the right option for everyone. However, if you live in an area with a survivalist community, there’s no need to reinvent the wheel.

Now we called this “the easy way,” but a better way of putting it might be “the easier way.” Breaking into a survival community isn’t the easiest thing in the world, especially if you’re new in town and don’t know anyone. Such communities are, understandably, close knit, closed off to outsiders and somewhat distrustful of new members.

With that said, once you earn the trust of a survival community, they can be not just a valuable asset with regard to your own personal survival. They can be an excellent source of support, camaraderie and even friendship that will last you your entire lifetime, whether the SHTF or not. 

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So how can you break into one of those existing communities?

The main thing is to make yourself capable and useful while also showing a willingness to learn and pitch in. These communities also highly value people with skill sets that do not yet exist in the community. It doesn’t matter if your skill set if graphic design and marketing – they can use that, especially if you’re willing to learn more “hands getting dirty” kinds of skills. 

Listen more than you speak. Be open to ideas even if they don’t quite make sense to you. If you can do that while being a valued contributor to the community, you can start making inroads in an already existing survival community.

The Hard Way: Building A Survival Community

The hard part about building a new survival community is finding the right people. They need to not just be like minded, but also have useful skills and, perhaps most importantly, be people whom you can trust in the event that the world turns into a massive game of dog-eat-dog and the devil take the hindmost. 

You can’t just go taking out ads in the local circular, nor can you put up a flier at the local supermarket.

The best way to find people is to get involved in communities with adjacent skills, or places where people might have interest in survivalism. Gun clubs can be a good place to start, as can political organizations, though it’s best to make your group non-political. Organic farming and other skills-based groups related to survivalism can likewise be good resources, such as the local DIY solar community. 

The main thing is to not go in, guns blazing as a loud and proud prepper. You need to cultivate contacts, gain people’s trust, be known as a normal guy and then just sort of casually bring up prepping topics and see who responds favorably.

A survival community can mean all the difference between life and death if the SHTF. In the meantime, it can act as a useful resource to pull from as you build out your prepper plan. It’s not easy and can take months or even years to accomplish. But you should absolutely be throwing your time, energy and resources at cultivating this kind of community.

Shockwave Mini

How have you built your local survivalist community? What “hacks” do you have for getting a community starter where there isn’t one?

Leave a comment below to help out other survivalists looking to build a community. 

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Preserving Food for Winter: Time-Tested Methods for Flavorful and Nutrient-Rich Pantry Staples




Winter is approaching, meaning the summer and fall harvests are just about done. Still, that doesn’t mean saying goodbye to fresh, delicious, and nutritious homegrown food until spring blooms anew. 

You can harness age-old techniques of food preservation, filling your pantry with flavorful, nutrient-rich staples to keep your winter meals healthy, hearty and satisfying. With food preservation techniques from smoking and canning to fermenting, you can savor the tastes of summer even in the coldest months.

Homesteading Handbook

Preserving Food For The Winter: The Art of Smoking

Smoking is a time-honored method for winter food preservation, infusing foods with rich, smoky flavors. Many people would smoke foods likemeats, fish, and cheese even if it didn’t keep them longer, just for the taste.

A quality smoker won’t cost you too much and it doesn’t really matter if it’s n offset smoker, electric smoker, or a traditional charcoal smoker. Choose your wood chips or chunks based on the type of flavor profile you want to infuse your food with.

You should also understand the difference between cold smoking and hot smoking. Cold smoking imparts flavor without cooking the food, making it the perfect choice for cheese and cured meats. On the other hand, hot smoking cooks the food while it flavors it.

Preserving Food For The Winter: Canning Your Food

You don’t have to rely on food canned from the grocery store. You can also can your own food at home. There are a number of different ways to do this for various kinds of food you’re looking to keep fresh for the winter season.

Homesteading Handbook

For example, water bath canning is the perfect choice for highly acidic  foods such as fruits, tomatoes, and pickles. On the other hand, pressure canning is the right choice for lower acidity foods like vegetables, meats, and poultry. 

You’ve probably never thought of it this way before, but pickling is also a form of canning. In this case, we will use vinegar or brine to preserve and flavor vegetables, fruits, and sometimes meats. You should experiment with various pickling recipes to create unique flavors for you and your family to enjoy. 

Preserving Food For Winter: Fermentation Of Foods

Fermentation is a natural process which can enhance the flavors and nutritional value of foods while also preserving them for long-term storage. Sauerkraut, kimchi, and sourdough bread are some of the more common kinds of fermented foods.

Beginners should invest in fermentation kits with airlocks. As you gain more experience, consider exploring more traditional methods, as well as the use of crocks and jars. Fermentation is both an art and a science. So you have to be patient while you experiment with different ingredients and techniques.

Preserving Food For Winter: Dehydration For Long-Term Storage

A food dehydrator is an excellent investment for removing moisture from fruits, vegetables, and herbs if you find that you enjoy those kinds of foods. However, you don’t need one to get started. You can also dehydrate foods right in the oven you already own or, in some cases, by air-drying.

If you want to dehydrate fruits and vegetables, slice your produce uniformly before arranging them on your dehydrator trays. Fruit leather can be made right at home by puréeing fruits and spreading the mixture thinly before drying.

It’s important to store dehydrated food properly. Store dehydrated foods should be stored in airtight containers or vacuum-sealed bags, which will prevent moisture from re-entering. Keep your dehydrated foods in a cool, dark place for the best preservation.

Preserving food for winter isn’t just about extending the shelf life of your favorite ingredients – though it is about that. However, it can also be a way to expand what you keep around by introducing new flavors into your pantry using the food preservation process. 

Homesteading Handbook

Smoking, canning, fermenting and dehydrating will offer you different options to ensure your pantry is stocked with a variety of food your family will want to eat. It can also be a fun hobby for the culinary master looking to break outside of just cooking on the stove – many of these are basically just “cold” cooking techniques. So, embrace the age-old wisdom of food preservation for winter and fill your pantry with unique tastes all winter long. 

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