9 tips for Preppers looking to purchase a gas mask.


If you have been a prepper for any length of time now you have considered purchasing a gas mask as part of your preps. I think owning gasmasks for you and your family is a wise investment. There are plenty of low price surplus masks on the market today – however as we all know cheaper does not equal better and scrimping on something as important as a gas mask is a false economy.

Before we delve into the meat of this article keep in mind that many modern chemical warfare agents can enter the body via the pores in your skin, meaning that if you are worried about bio warfare then a full NBC suit will be more your suited to your needs. However with all that said a gas mask is still a worthwhile purchase for most of us, as it can be used to prevent smoke inhalation, tear gas, mustard gas etc.

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Conventional wisdom is that masks should last 5-8 hours of constant use. They are rated to be usable for up to 2 years, after you open the mask but the 5-8 hour caveat still applies. In general it’s particles clogging the filter media which will lead you to replace the filter when the effort to draw air in gets too difficult.

There are charts of filter life duration based on what the filter is exposed to. They don’t all agree with each other but a good rule of thumb is if the filter is exposed to an infectious agent it must be changed within a day, if wet or exposed to blood change it immediately. Otherwise replace the filters as needed. I purchased a couple dozen replacement filters  when I ordered mine.


Israel is one of the only countries to hand out millions of mask to their population which means that there are many available which are still well with in their expiration date. Even the ones that aren’t are still effective against all but the nastiest agents.

If you are buying a surplus mask make sure you are buying a brand new mask and the filters are also new and still in their original packaging. Do you really want to trust your life and the life of your family to something that may have been sitting in a crate since before the first gulf war?

The filters are your main concern with age and new ones are available. Ive never tested anything with mustard gas or nerve agents but the main concern with the mask is whether or not gas can seep through or past it. Is the rubber in good shape? Ive tried several and all are air tight. I’ve owned and tested a couple of the so called “obsolete” designs people have trashed online in the past and they did fine against things like pepper spray and smoke from burning plastic in an enclosed area.
Basically If the air and situation is unbreathable. Use your mask to get the heck out… then change the filter.

Check cheaperthandirt.com or centerfiresystems.com. They have a few available with extra filters to purchase at a low price.

I have to say I really like the Evolution 5000 Military gasmask which includes a drinking straw attachment, enabling you to have a drink with the mask on.A drinking tube is also a must. Filters are so much easier to change. Screw off, screw on.
I will also say that a one piece visor or at least teardrop shaped ones are a big plus. They make it much easier to aim a weapon and use peripheral vision.


Another option one of my buddies swears by  are the Swiss ones, they are popular also. Their filters are cheap. Centerfire was selling them so cheap they were hard to pass up. It was something like 3 for $25. All new filters too. Remember, new filters only.

My old M17A1 series I had in the military and a German one I got from a place like Cheaper than dirt. Both the same style and filters are almost the same. If this is the kind you’re used too then fine. For the M17 series to change filters the trick is a ball point pen to get them nubs through the holes. Put the pen in the hole and slip it over the nubby thingy.

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As I said above for modern biowarfare we’re all going to be screwed. Full suit and training is the only thing that’ll save you, we’re mainly talking about civilian tear gas and pepper sprays here.

Good luck and god bless.


A-1 Survival


The 9 Top States To Be A Prepper


I get asked this question all the time so I figured it would be fun to do a blog post about it.

To me the best states to be a prepper have quite a few criteria they must meet.

* Mild Winters (my choice – see below)
* Low Population density
* Cheap Cost of Living
* No water shortages
* Sane Gun laws
* Long growing cycles for your vegetable garden
* Available jobs


Before we go through my top 9 picks I’ll list a few that many of you favor that are not for me:

Alaska – I have some friends in the prepping world who swear by Alaska but for me it just doesn’t hit enough of my targets to be considered a smart move. Very cold, short growing cycles, the average cost of goods there ..right now (before any collapse) is excessively expensive compared to the lower 48. For me a big pass.

Hawaii – for a small group of islands Hawaii is very densely populated, cost of goods is extremely expensive as it is right now and I think the risks of flooding, Tsunamis etc is just too great for me to take seriously. Also unlike most of the US the risks of active volcanoes erupting is extremely high too, especially on the big island. Too bad as the weather would be perfect for me.

Maine  / Upper Peninsula Michigan – I like Maine for having low population density, affordable cost of living and sensible gun laws, however for me personally it is just way too cold. I did state above that some where with a mild winter is what I am personally looking for, I do understand and appreciate that many people are not big fans of a blazing hot summer so maybe its right for you. Same goes for the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, still plenty of affordable properties to be had, however the winters can be pretty brutal. My understanding is both areas are not the greatest for job opportunities
either. Another plus point for both states is you do have access to waterways if you did need to bug out to sea. From memory too Maine has over 2000 islands off its coast line. Making Maine of of the best choices if you insist on staying on the East Coast.

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Florida Everglades – I have a few friends who are set up in the everglades as their go to when the SHTF – like me they really don’t fancy toughing it out in cold weather, Florida does have decent weather (outside of Hurricane season) so long growth cycles for your veggies, land in some places is still very affordable (especially when you compare it to the North East), however it is pretty heavily populated in the most parts (Over 20 million people last time I checked) and if the science experts are to be believed then with global warming and rising ocean tides, a lot of the state could end up under
water. It also has the highest rate of Natural disasters in the Nation. Holding up in the everglades as well you would have to take into account the dangers of Alligators, snakes, poisonous spiders and even panthers (in some part of the state)

California – is a beautiful state but there are so many reasons why it doesn’t make sense for us preppers. Terrible gun laws, the most populated state in the country (30 million people) coastal state and on a major fault line. As a heavily taxed state many small companies have fled to more tax friendly states (such as Texas) although I am sure there are still many more job opportunities here versus some of the other states I have covered so far. If you had family ties here and were adverse to leaving the state I would think that some parts of the North East might be okay for setting up your compound or homestead.

The Carolinas – Long ago I learned that over two thirds of Americans live east of the Mississippi. The fact that most Eastern states are heavily populated (not to mention the majority of Nuclear Power plants in the eastern states) makes the majority of them a BIG NO. However I do think that out any of the eastern states that do fit the criteria of low population density, low cost of living, mild winters, good growing seasons and smart gun laws then parts of the Carolina’s (and even West Virginia) might work out for you.

The Majority of the Midwest – Outside of the threat of living in Tornado alley I used to think a lot of the midwest would be a safe bet to set up your Bug Out Location. Geologists for years have monitored California for the San Andreas fault line now believe that the New Madrid fault line running right through the mid west now appears to be an even bigger danger than the “big One” in California ever will be. The States that will be hit the hardest are  Illinois, Indiana, Missouri, Arkansas, Kentucky, Tennessee, Oklahoma and Mississippi.

Colorado – although west of the Mississippi Colorado has a lot of snow fall which rules it out for me (but possibly not you) Their winters are actually fairly warm, but keep in mind that there are a couple of significant military bases in CO. which makes it a sure missile target if WW3 ever kicks off. So for me and my family we ruled it out.


So now that we have covered the states that I believe would be prudent to avoid let’s look at my top favorites and why I think they make the most sense.

Arizona – warm weather cost of living still affordable excellent gun laws..down side..possible water shortages / drought in the future. Still one of the best choices if you want to continue to live in America’s South West

Wyoming – is a good choice with cheap land , smart gun laws and low population density – the only down side for me is the short growing cycles due to the cold weather and some say the soil there isn’t the greatest (for farming). I also do want to mention the very real threat of a super volcano eruption at Yellowstone park which is probably tantamount to living next door to a nuclear reactor. As devastation to the area would be fatal. So that counts out the Northern part of the state for sure.


South Dakota – Definitely one of the best states for us preppers, low crime rates, low population density, affordable farm land , decent growing cycles. Highly recommended.

North Dakota – not as ideal as South Dakota due to being much colder and therefore having shorter growing seasons.

Nebraska – is a good state to prep in , sane gun laws, low rates of unemployment, decent population density and still some affordable land to be had.  It does have some natural disasters, Tornadoes and flooding so choose your BOL wisely.

Iowa – is another great state to hunker down in, the soil quality for its farm land is some of the best in the country albeit a bit more pricey than some of the other states I have recommended in this blog post. Other than pricey land Iowa checks all the boxes with good gun laws, low population density and a low crime rate.

Montana – another good state for preppers, much like Wyoming has affordable land low crime rates and a low population density the only real downside being its fairly cold climate – which was something I was trying to avoid but like I mention above if that’s not an issue for you then yes go for it.

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Idaho – definitely one of the best states for preppers, weather is pretty decent , especially in the southern part of the state, land is still pretty much affordable, decent population density, good gun laws and relativity low rates of violent crime.

Oregon –  top pick for me ..as long as you are removed from any of its major cities. Moderate climate, affordable land, low crime rates (outside of the cities)

Let me know what states are your favorites in the comments section below, be curious to hear your feedback.


A1 Survival


6 Great Reasons to use Solar Power


Perhaps you are happy with the status quo of today. Perhaps you feel all is fine and you don’t feel the need to change a system that’s worked for over a century. If you do, consider a few of these benefits to solar power and you may just recognize its potential in a somewhat more responsible, yet selfish, light.


I don’t care about the environment?

Perhaps everything in the world is fine with your life. The last thing you care about are trees, fresh air and clean water. Heck, the water shows up every time you turn on a faucet, the heat comes on when it’s cold, the light switch brings you light. What’s there to worry about? Consider that this is just the problem. If you don’t care for the environment, the faucet may not bring you clean water, the heat may not go on and the car certainly will not start. If the environment is kept clean and left to do what it was intended to do, everything will continue to work fine. But get in its way and everything you thought was fine won’t be for long.

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One way to accomplish the goal of keeping all the comforts of home working properly is by using other sources of power generation like the sun, not generating nasty things that get in the way of the environment doing its job. Current sources of power come from dead things like old forests gone millennium ago. Environmentally responsible power, heat and transport come from living or energized things like water and oxygen molecules. Sun can be turned into electricity and used to power your car, heat your home and generate your light. But to make the process work, you need to be able to see the sun, which means caring for the environment and not getting in its way.

Cost savings

One of the best things about caring for the suns ability to do its job is that it saves you money in the long run. Once solar systems are purchased and installed, they cost little if anything to operate. In most instances, the government will even help to pay for the upfront costs of installing the system through tax incentives. Additionally, power companies in most regions are required to pay you for energy that you have generated and not used. Yes, you read correctly, the power company will pay you!



In most instances, 70% of the northern hemisphere can generate enough solar power to run and heat their homes with existing solar systems. This means that whatever is left over goes back to the power grid if you so choose. Just think of your power meter running backwards. The extra power you need for that cloudy day is stored in ever more efficient batteries. Most current users indicate that the use of solar systems only takes a little thought in power management.

Off the grid
Depending upon how you feel about the topic, one of the better reasons to use solar power is that you can take yourself off the “grid” so to speak. Many people don’t enjoy being a part of the social collective that is interconnectivity. Going solar takes you away from this one aspect of community and puts you closer to self reliance.


Even though the solar power generation systems of today have come a long way to providing power, heat and a host of other services there is a long way to go. This is not to indicate, however, that solar power is not currently versatile in form and function. Solar panels can currently be formed into thin sheets to for car top electric powered cars. They can cover suburban rooftops and not be noticed, unlike those 1970’s units. Costs are also coming down almost as fast as the flat screen TV’s of today. Flat screens that solar power can power up through the use of a process called photovoltaic’s.


Personal responsibility

Past the cost savings and environmental benefits that solar power brings you should consider using it because you are part of a larger social order that will procreate. The human species has not been around for all that long and is doing its best to end its run in one way or another. If you would like to give your children’s children a better shot at continuing the human species run on this planet solar power is one small contribution that you can make all by your little self.

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The 3 Best SHTF Bug out Vehicles


I got a letter today from a long time reader who was curious to see what I would recommend for a bug out vehicle. I am sure if you asked most preppers secretly they would prefer something like the battle truck out of Mad Max The Road Warrior but the harsh reality is plenty of us do not have the money to afford a “wish list” bug out vehicle.


So what sort of criteria is important for bug out transport?

I would say you need something with a bit of room say, seats 4 people plus ample storage space too. A motocross bike may come in handy to weave in and out of traffic jams and for traversing rough terrain but is next to impossible to accommodate grandma and your 4 yo daughter.

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Our bug out vehicle has to be able to handle rough conditions (so 4 wheel drive ideally) and be affordable. If we are factoring in the possibility of an EMP attack (or solar flare) then you may want to also own an older vehicle that doesn’t have all the on board computers that most modern day vehicles have. After an EMP a pre-computer vehicle has a much better chance of working – even if the starter system is fried you can always roll start it. If one can afford it, a spare alternator/generator, starter, dry battery and battery acid, would be nice to have, just in case

Considering that we are not planning on owning a Mad max battle truck it also make sense to purchase something we can use on a day to day basis too. All joking aside on Mad Max battle trucks but keep in mind in a SHTF bug out situation driving a vehicle like that may make you a prime target for looters and roaming gangs as they are going to think you have a lot of items of value on board. In this sense it might pay to be more “hidden in plain site” like an 80s style station wagon with a reinforced bumper than some tricked out $200,000 Hummer.


So what are some good affordable options?

My 3 main choices would have to be one of the following depending on your personal tastes and whats available in the local market near you

4wd Jeep – you can get some great used jeeps out in the marketplace now that seat 4 or more people and are 4 wheel drive versions, for those of us who are concerned about a long term societal collapse and the degradation of fuel quality there are diesel options available too.Keep in mind most recent year models you will be looking to spend over $25,000 so you may have to opt for a 1990s model.


Crew Cab truck – there are some great choices out there in the marketplace these days – just make sure you get a 4 wheel drive option. Invest in reinforced suspension and a cover for the flat bed and you are good to go.

SUVs – another smart choice for a bug out vehicle as they are everywhere and do not look too out of place. Again like pick up trucks make sure you get one with good four wheel drive.


Finally if you are still enamored by the idea of a Mad max Battle truck you could get a diesel school bus super cheap well maintained and very cheap to buy. They can roll over and you can survive and they can push things out of the way it’s like a big tank all steel bumpers etc.

Ultimately, a lot comes down to your personal choice but I think really any vehicle that is a reliable runner and you have fuel for can be your Bug Out Vehicle, heck even a solid mountain bike might get you out of dodge when all the gasoline goes bad. Stay Safe folks.

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Seven reasons to invest in a bomb shelter


I was talking to a friend of mine last night and he thought it was funny that people are still interested in bomb shelters. When he was growing up in the late 1950s most suburban families either had a bomb shelter or considered investing in one … I thought about it and came up with 7 reasons why it still makes a lot of sense. Here are my top seven reasons:

* Protect your family from Nuclear war or nuclear attacks. The cold war maybe over but in our current political climate we are only ever a few moves away from another world war, probably one with nuclear weapons. If not a world war then we must also accept the fact that political terrorists can now access the parts they need for a “dirty” bomb easier than ever on the black market. An underground shelter gives you and your loves ones the chance to survive through a nuclear attack. Of course anyone near the blast radius will be instantly vaporized but if your city was hit and you live in the suburbs, going underground until the fall out had cleared will definitely save lives.


* Outside of worrying about Nuclear attacks from either foreign countries or political terrorists, there is also the threat of a nuclear meltdown. Look at what happened in Fukushima Japan just a few years ago.An earthquake hit the area and caused a meltdown at the local power plant. Nuclear plant accidents are actually quite common, let’s also keep in mind that there are far many more nuclear plants these days compared to the Chernobyl  days.

* Natural disasters – even if there is never another nuclear war or melt down a bomb shelters makes a wise investment for those of us who live in Hurricane or Tornado zones. Surviving underground for a few weeks at a time is much preferable to camping out in the local high school gym until services are back up and running in your area.


* Biological attack.The black plague that killed over one third of all Europeans at the time was one of the earliest known cases of a biological attack. In the advent of one today, hunkering down underground until it was safe to come back up would be my choice of action.

* Civil Unrest. In the advent of a full economic collapse or even rioting confined to your town it may pay to wait it out in your bunker if you do not have the network of people needed to successfully fight off a mob. A well organized group of families may have the fire power and numbers to ward off rampaging thugs or looters but one may alone might not be able to. It may pay to retreat underground until law and order has been restored.

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* The cost of bomb shelters has come way down in price in the last 20 years. As awareness grows and conditions world wide get worse and worse more and bomb professional level underground shelter companies now exist, then a few decades ago. A basic shelter will now cost you around $20,000 with a decent quality prefabricated one costing you between $60,000- $80,000. 20 years ago you were looking to spend at least twice that if you could even find someone knowledgeable enough to do the work for you.


* During the 1950s and early 1960s (at the height of the cold war) most towns and cities has community bomb shelters, that were well maintained by municipal officials. These were well stocked and close enough so that most people had quick access to one. As the cold war de-escalated many folks let these shelters fall into disrepair. Many can still be seen if you walk around your town or neighborhood but even if you could access them I can guarantee you that they have no food or drinking water in them anymore. Yet another reason to invest in your own shelter. Oh and I can tell you places like China and Russia are still maintaining their community shelters, in fact they are building even more of them..why?

As always leave a comment below and let me know what you think.


5 reasons a shotgun is your best SHTF weapon


5 reasons a shotgun is your best SHTF weapon. If you are on a limited budget like most of us you may find yourself in a position where you can only afford one gun to protect you and your family. If that is your case then I would suggest that you look no further than the trusty shotgun.

Shotguns are affordable to most people, not everyone can afford the latest AR-15 build with laser sightings and all the add ons but $200 – $300 for a shotgun is definitely within the realms of most preppers budgets.

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Shotguns can use a wide variety of ammunition and if you were stuck scrounging for spare ammo as society unravels the chances of finding stores that still have shotgun shells for sale as opposed to rare and uncommon cartridge sizes is much greater. After all where are you going to find .338 Lapua in the post apocalyptic world? In fact outside of gun stores, hardware stores and places like fishing supply shops will carry shotgun shells and not much else in the way of ammo.


Every year certain legislators do their best to take more and more firearms off the market, Autos, semi automatics, assault rifles and more. I personally believe that even in the worst case scenarios shotguns will be one of the last weapons to be taken away from us. Even today in some major cities hand guns and rifles are banned but it is still legal to own a shotgun. Yet another reason they make perfect sense as a your primary SHTF weapon.

The amount of add ons and extras you can get for a shotgun are endless. From pistol grips to sights to different gauge barrels. Some of my friends have both tactical and hunting barrels in their arsenals for their shotguns.You can change out parts to reduce weight too – which comes in handy if your shotgun is also your bug out weapon and

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Easy to look after.
The skill level to maintain a shotgun versus the average semi automatic is far easier as they have less moving parts.You can clean a shotgun with a store bought kit or even an improvised kit.

Whats your favorite fire arm? Leave your thoughts and comments below!

Effects Of Clouds On Your Solar Panels

The Effects of Clouds on Solar Panels

Solar panels hold a wealth of benefits, both for individuals and for the world at large. Economically, solar panels promise to lower the cost of electrical power. Environmentally, solar panels can give us cleaner power, sustainable power that will not require further damage to the environment. Solar power can reach remote areas. It can carry education, or urgently needed medical information.


The effects of clouds on a solar panel, though, might diminish those and other promising benefits.

The effects of clouds on a solar panel might make it far less efficient in certain parts of the world and at certain seasons.

For that reason, people who are considering solar panels for their homes are often heard to ask: will clouds affect my solar panels?

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Will Clouds Affect My Solar Panels?

Clouds do affect solar panels. The amount of power your solar panels can produce is directly dependent on the level of light they receive.

In full, bright sunlight, solar panels receive maximum levels of light. During those “peak” sunlight hours, your solar panels will produce power at their maximum capacity.

When clouds cover the sun, light levels are reduced. This does not shut down power production, however. If there is enough light to cast a shadow, in spite of the clouds, your solar panels should operate at about half of their full capacity. Thicker cloud cover will reduce operations further. Eventually, with heavy cloud cover, solar panels will produce very little useful power.

The Good News!

The effects of clouds on a solar panel can be surprising good, however. Incredibly, your solar panels will put out their ultimate amount of peak power during cloudy weather!

As the sun moves into a hole between the clouds, your solar panels will see something wonderful. They will see full direct sunlight “plus” reflected light from the clouds! They will drink in more energy than they could on a cloudless day!

The effects of clouds on a solar panel could then produce peaks at or above 50 percent more than its direct-sun output!

Meeting the Challenge

There are ways to meet the cloud challenge.

1. If you often have clouds in the afternoon, but mornings are clear, aim your solar panels slightly toward the east.

2. Be sure you use a large enough battery system to maximize the amount of power stored for use when the clouds arrive.

3. Make sure your controller has plenty of headroom over the rated panel output power so that it can absorb the surges when the sun reflects off the clouds.

Those tricks and more are practiced in cloudy regions of the world where people have sprinted far ahead of the United States in their use of solar panel energy.


Effects of Clouds on a Solar Panel in Germany

Germany is typically a very cloudy country. Read about the climate of Germany, and you will find that it is “temperate and marine; cool, cloudy, wet winters and summers; occasional warm mountain (foehn) wind” according to Nation Master’s website.

In spite of its cloudy climate, though, Germany is by far the world’s biggest user of solar panels. If you lived in Germany, you could sell back to the main power grid all of the excess electricity produced by your solar panels. Why would I even care in such a cloudy climate? If clouds affect my solar panels too much, I would not worry about selling back to the main grid.

In 2006, Germany opened the largest solar park in the world. Germany also has Europe’s most modern solar housing project – a solar village of 50 solar houses that produce more energy than they use!

Will clouds affect my solar panels? Even if I lived in Germany, the effect would not be enough to forego solar power.

Tip: There are few places that are so consistently cloudy that solar power is out of the question. Improvements are being made constantly, and even solar panels small enough to fold into a briefcase can produce helpful amounts of power.

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11 Cold Weather Homesteading Tips


With Winter rapidly approaching I thought it might be useful to post my 11 favorite cold weather tips for your homestead. Feel free to add your favorites in the comments section below.

* In winter time I make sure I always open my heavy drapes when the sun is up – even when the sun is weak just having it come in all day does make a significant temperature difference. At the same time I am always sure to draw the curtains when the sun sets to trap any warmth that may have built up during the day as windows are one of the biggest temperature sucks in your house.

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* If you leave your oven door ajar after cooking the warm air helps heat your kitchen. In the pioneer days where families lived in simple one room cabins they would cook a stew over their wood powered stove for hours on end, which helped keep the cabin warm. By the same token I try to never use my stove in the summer months to help keep our kitchen cool. If you do have a wood stove for your homestead then make sure you do have more than enough wood to last the winter.


* Keep the doors closed to any unheated rooms in your homestead, I make a point of closing all the doors to the living room when me and my family are in there to help trap the warmth in there during the winter time.

* Make sure your generator is serviced and ready for the winter. As power outages lasting a few days or more are to be expected. Stock up on candles (even a few extra candles safely burning in your living room can increase the room temperature mid winter) and make sure you have enough fresh batteries for flashlights and digital devices. (cell phone chargers, handheld radios etc)


* Make sure you are well stocked up on food basics before any cold snaps. Most of us preppers have a 3 month or more supply of canned foods, meals ready to eat, powdered eggs and milk and drinking water. Its amazing in this day and age the amount of people that do not stock up until the TV news station is covering an impending storm. By then its usually too late and supermarket shelves have been picked clean.


* Be sure you have the following supplies for your car / vehicles before a cold snap: jumper cables, kitty litter for traction if you get stuck in snow, window washer fluid, keep the gas tank filled to at least half way at all times, snow chains for heavy snow, protein bars, warm blankets (in case you break down or get stuck) spare flash lights with fresh batteries.

* If you have an active use barn and plan to use heat lamps to keep your animals warm be sure to clear your barn before winter of dust and any cob webs as they are highly flammable and can easily lead to fires. It also pays to make sure any wires are kept out of reach as animals love to nibble and the last thing you want is one of your goats giving himself an electric shock. Tape them up if needed. If your heat lamps come with cages please make sure you have them installed and obviously do not position your heat lamps anywhere near your animals water supply or bedding.

* Ensure that all your animals have an ample supply of food stored and that their water troughs are free of ice during the winter months.


*If you do not have one already – consider getting a green house for your vegetable garden. Even unheated greens like celery, chard, parsley and some herbs do well in the winters months within the confines of a greenhouse. A fresh garden salad can do wonders mid January when your diet vegetable intake consists mainly of pickled foods.

* For your outdoor vegetable and plants do not forget to mulch the gardens before the cold sets in. The main reason behind this is to actually keep the cold in so that it prevents your plants from thawing as you do not want any new growth triggered in a warm spell mid winter. You know how it is sometimes you get a freakishly warm day in the middle of winter, this can trick the plants into thinking that spring is here and they start to grow new shoots and leaves. Many folks use a loose mix of shredded leaves to protect their plants but I also know people who swear by shredded newspapers!

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* For baby trees consider getting wore guards (either make your own or purchase some from your favorite home and garden store) to protect them from being gnawed on by varmits over the winter. For evergreen trees fencing them in with burlap sacks helps protect them from the harsh elements. Many people I know fill the space between the burlap and the trees with insulation made up of dry and shredded leaves.


To Bug In or Bug Out – that is the question



One question I get asked a lot is “What’s best? Should I bug out or prep to bug in?”

Well it’s a classic question and one with no really clear answer.

The short answer is “it depends”

Depends on what you ask? It depends on so many things. Off the top of my head I’ll go through the most common scenarios and what works best for each of them. Let’s tackle a long term SHTF situation and let’s say your group of survivors have varying degrees of experience from military experience all the way over to no experience at all.

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I think the general rule of thumb to most survival scenarios is there is not much point bugging out if you do not have a prepared and secured location to go to. I just groan at the thought of the average city dweller stumbling around one of our national forests trying to madly recall what survival tips they saw on one of those survivor man TV shows and making things much much worse for them and their family members.


Even with some members of your group having extensive training staying mobile on the long term is going to be difficult especially if you have young children and the elderly in your group. Shelter and supplies are a constant for us humans and being on the move limits what supplies you can take with you and also how secure each of your shelters will be. Giving up a secure shelter in extreme weather conditions (hot or cold) is not a wise move. There are just way too many variables for me to ever think that staying on the move is the right play.

Okay, so then what are some situations where it does make sense to pack up and get the heck out of dodge?

I think the general rule is if you can’t drink your water or breath the air – no matter how secure your Bug Out Location (BOL) is its time to move.

I think its probably common sense to most of us when it might be a good time to leave your secure compound and hit the road but just in case you are wondering what scenarios I think it would be worth leaving behind my land and supplies I would considering the following scenarios time to get out of dodge.

Nuclear War

The advent on nuclear war or a failed nuclear reactor anywhere near you. If you have done your research properly before buying a property I would like to think that none of us are down wind or down stream from any nuclear reactors. Just look at those poor folks near Fukishima Japan if you don’t believe me.

Of course in the advent of a nuclear war (or a terrorist dirty bomb) now one can tell for sure when the bombs will drop. However a safe rule of thumb would be near any one of the major cities , or near any well known military base or military target is a good place NOT TO set up your BOL.



Although a lot of my friends and associates believe that America will never be invaded, I would not rule out a scenario straight out of the 80s classic US invasion film “Red Dawn” happening some time in our future. As of writing (late August 2016) tensions between the US, China and Russia have not been this bad since the 80s. Anyways depending on your location just as in Red Dawn it would be wise to bug out if your home situation is in the path of any invading troops. The teens in Red Dawn managed to hold out by heading to the hills and using guerrilla tactics against their aggressors. That said if an invading force hit the west coast and you were based in say Maine, it wouldn’t make much sense to pack up and get the heck out of dodge.



I think on the whole most of us are aware of the well known Earthquake zones, at least in this country. Even as a young kid growing up in Australia I knew that both California and Japan were on fault lines and that the Japanese were very skilled in making houses out of wood to ensure their best chances of surviving a major quake. I also thought Californian’s were crazy for “knowing” that they lived on the San Andreas fault line and one day the “big one” was going to hit and yet they all took their chances. Of course now being an adult I fully acknowledge that some people are stuck where they have to work or perhaps you are unfortunate enough to be visiting somewhere either vacation or a business trip when the big one hits.

That said as preppers it would be wise if possible to make sure that you do not have a property anywhere close to a major fault line. I have also noticed that in recent years that there are quakes happening in places that are not known for them. For example I was still living in New York 5 weeks after 9-11 and I was lying in bed one morning when I felt an earthquake, most of the local residents thought it was another terrorist attack but I knew it was not. The news later reported that Astoria, New York was on a fault line (who knew?). I have also seen more recent research that states that the big one will happen either in the mid west OR further north of California, some where between Portland and Seattle, the scary thing is as far as I am aware buildings in those places are not made to the same earthquake codes as buildings in Northern or Southern California are. So the damage could be at lot worse if these scientists are right.

I guess to sum up this section it would not be wise to have your BOL anywhere near an earthquake zone but if you are caught on the coast when the big one hits your best bet would be to get as far out of the area as fast as possible, as if you are not quake in the direct blast you still run more risk of being caught in a Tsunami wave on the coast which can do much more damage to survivors than the initial quake. Just look at those poor folks in Indonesia after the quake of 2004.



Even if you are positioned a top of a hill OR say have an apartment that’s not the basement or ground floor during a flood there are still problems that can come after a flood esp with burst sewers and fresh drinking water. I would like to think that most of us as preppers are savvy enough not to live anywhere which is below sea level. (New Orleans anyone?) that said I was shocked a couple of years ago when parts of Australia that had gone through decades of drought got flooded – so who can say for sure.

So I think if you have advance warning of flooding and depending on your living situation bugging out will probably be advisable.


In a scenario where there is lots of illness – I think its probably best to bug in. Unless a Zombie virus hits us sometime soon ala. The Walking Dead, which I highly highly doubt staying in and hunkering down for a few weeks is the smart move.


EMP attack

An EMP attack is likely to fry electronics in most cars ..if you are faced with bugging out in this scenario it is going to mean doing it on foot. I think depending extra circumstances of this situation you are going to best served by bugging in.

To sum it all up , I think as I mentioned above most peoples fantasy’s of bugging out are just not based in reality. By bugging out to the National Forest (or whatever) are just going to find themselves in a far worse off situation if not out and out dangerous. If given a choice stay where your land and your supplies are. That said if your water is not safe to drink and your air not safe to breath it’s time to pack up and get the heck out of dodge.


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Solar Power for the RV



Everyone likes to get away for the weekend and when you get a chance to there is a lot of fun in taking a recreational vehicle, or RV, to go camping in. Your RV could be a pull behind camper or a camper that you can drive. What ever you use RV’s usually run off of electricity from another source or they have battery powered lights. When you use electric hook up in a camper you may want to consider turning your RV into a solar powered RV and never worry about electric hook ups again. Enjoy your vacation anywhere without restrictions.

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Once you hook up to a power source you are able to have the comforts of home by turning on and off the lights and using the bathroom. If you cannot access a power outlet you may use a generator to supply power to the camper. These generators are nice in a pinch but you have the problems of running out of fuel to keep it going not to mention the noise that it makes. If you want to turn your RV into a solar power RV it is simple to do and with little expense. There are a number of different products that you can buy to make camping fun and modern with little or no effort.

You can mount a solar panel to the RV camper in order to charge your energy in your RV. This is done by purchasing a solar panel mounting bracket that your solar panel will set on. You can buy RV solar panel kits that include both the mount and the panel. Once it is installed you can power your camper and batteries using the suns warmth that was already there and it doesn’t cost you an arm and a leg to do so. Run your solar panel wire to the battery compartment and you are ready to go. Each solar powered kit offers different wattages and sizes so you can select the right one for your RV size and what you will be using.

When you are out on a camping trip you can feel good knowing that you can go anywhere you need to go. Your solar panel on top of your RV will also withstand any type of weather and because a camper is so small it won’t take much solar power to operate the RV. Another hot solar powered item to buy for your RV is called the Solar Power Ventilator. This provides the perfect ventilation system for small quarters, such as RV’s. When it is hot in the summer or anytime that the sun is shining it doesn’t take long for the RV to heat up and become very uncomfortable. The solar power ventilator will run all the hot air out and circulate the air with clean fresh air.

When you take the RV out you want to enjoy your time in the great outdoors without giving up the fact that you have to rely on a power source or go without power completely. If you have to go without power you may find that it is inconvenient and hard to do, especially when you purchase an RV because of the way that it is convenient.

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