10 Ways to Fortify Your Home for Survival

10 Ways to Fortify Your Home for Survival

Even when insurance covers the financial loss, victims of natural disasters or home invasions often report that mental angst is the longest-standing scar that heals very slowly. The most enlightened among us, may contend that a house and the possessions inside are just things – made of bricks, wood, steel, and glass – that can be replaced.  

Although such a statement may be true, our home represents our safety, security, and even our identity. The loss, damage, or threat to your home can be devastating and taking steps to reduce the probability of such an occurrence is wise.  

In survival events, whether it’s major civil unrest or a weather situation, you need to have peace of mind that your house is secure from a threat. That means you take precautions to fortify your entryways and implement extra security measures a typical homeowner may not have.

Whether it serves as a simple deterrent to keep people or natural harm from happening, or it ends up preventing a devastating situation by blocking access or harm to your home and family, these are steps that can’t be taken soon enough.

Get Doors That Can’t Be Compromised


Keeping unwanted guests out of your home starts at the most obvious entrance points – the doors.  The most relevant criterion to consider is strength. You want a door that someone with ill intentions cannot kick down easily.

When selecting a door, the most common materials are steel, wood, and fiberglass. Of the three, steel offers the most secure option. In addition to be unchanged by temperatures and therefore, free from cracking and warping, a steel door requires no reinforcement.  

A steel door is nearly impossible to break down, regardless of the force used. They may dent with extreme force, but they won’t cave. Fiberglass is the second most secure option and is selected when security and strength are a priority, but the budget can’t handle a steel option.

Wood is the most common door type and often selected for its aesthetics.  However, wood can warp and crack in extreme temperatures and requires metal reinforcement to optimize the security of the door.  

Wood is the least effective in terms of strength and security. It can easily be hacked into, burned or kicked in, so if you go this route, make sure you choose the best wood available for longevity and sturdiness.

Make Sure Your Windows Are Secure


Aside from doors, windows are the next penetration into your home that need to be considered when discussing the fortification of your house. There are several elements of your windows that need to be analyzed.  

There are several shatterproof options on the marketplace. It’s important to first understand that shatterproof does not mean unbreakable. The term shatterproof is descriptive of the manner in which the glass breaks, not that it doesn’t break.

Specifically, shatterproof glass is typically composed of a thin piece of transparent film that is placed between two pieces of glass. This prevents glass shards from shattering inwards by holding them in place even after they have broken.  

This makes “shatterproof” glass a great protection against weather and moderately effective against intruders. A persistent intruder will be slowed down by shatterproof glass, but not thwarted.  

A stronger alternative to shatterproof glass is polycarbonate panels. Polycarbonate panels are made from a combination of acrylics, polycarbonate, and plastics. The resulting product is visually indistinguishable from glass, but much more flexible and of higher strength.

Unlike shatterproof glass, these windows are designed to be nearly unbreakable.  They have been designed to be impervious to very high forces up to and include bombs and firearms.  They are nearly impenetrable.  

Put Extra Security Measures on Entryways


In addition to selecting the appropriate doors and windows, inventory all of the penetrations in your home. This will include all doors, windows, garage entries, and even pet doors. For each penetration point, you must decide if you are interested in fortifying these openings above and beyond the strength of the penetration and its locking mechanism.  

When evaluating the strength of your doors, in addition to the material of the door itself, consider the following extra security measures:

* A deadbolt lock can be purchased and installed for between $50 – $300. Deadbolt locks add physical strength to the door, in addition to providing a psychological deterrent to a would-be intruder.

* A strike plate attaches to the door jam and works in tandem with a deadbolt lock to resist door kick-ins by providing an anchor point for the deadbolt lock. Avoid reinforced plastic strike plates and opt for a metal one instead. Use screws that are at least 3” in length.

* Installing a smart lock is wise, too. Of the 1.1 million reported home break-ins in 2019, one-third of them were classified as break-ins of opportunity.  This means that one-third of home invasions occurred with unlocked doors. While smart locks may not provide additional strength, it does provide homeowners with reminders and alerts for unlocked doors.

Never rely solely on smart technology to protect your home. You never know if these can be compromised (hacked into) or if you’ll be protected if the grid goes down for a significant amount of time.

Install Security Cameras Inside and Outside of Your Home


Security cameras provide no physical barrier to a home intruder. However, they do provide the homeowner security benefits as a deterrent and a recovery tool. Your security cameras should be very visible.  

There is no sense in hiding them because the number one benefit of security cameras is the deterrent that they provide. A would-be intruder is likely to simply move along to the next house without a security camera.  

Additionally, without a security camera, the chances of catching a home intruder once they make their getaway is near zero. Having a security camera increases your chances that the police will catch the thieves.  

Some home insurance providers will reward you with a lower rate on your premium if you have indoor or outdoor security cameras installed.  You should consider some important things before installing cameras.

The price can be expensive for a deterrent.  Although prices vary, if you are hoping to provide full-coverage of your property with a high-quality system, you will be investing several hundred to several thousand dollars.

Some homeowners on a budget purchase fake cameras to place strategically outside to act as a deterrent. While this won’t provide you with any evidence, it could keep someone from invading your property.

The video quality will significantly impact price and storage size of the video stream. If you desire to have a system with quality that can enable you to identify license plates and facial features, it’s recommended that you invest an ultra-high definition system of at least 2K or 4K.  

A standard high definition system will suffice for general surveillance, but will fall short of providing details that will assist with recovery, especially at night. You may want to get cameras with night vision capabilities for a clear, crisp video.

Consider connecting your camera system to a security system for maximum benefit.  Because of storage and power concerns, it’s unlikely that you will have a camera system that is recording constantly.  

Some can be set for certain times to begin recording, or motion activated. If you connect your camera system to your security system, the cameras can be programmed to turn on in response to a forced entry through a door or window, noise, or motion.

Have Motion-Activated Lights for Your Property


Motion-activated lights will neither physically prevent a home break-in nor will they aid in gathering evidence for the authorities in the event of a theft. However, motion-activated lights can be a nice add-on for your other home security measures.  

For example, motion-activated lights can spook a would-be home invader and have them fleeing your property when activated. If you have a camera system, the motion-activated lights will significantly improve the quality of your video feed by providing light.

Motion-activated lights can serve to provide you with peace of mind. You can be relatively sure that the noise you thought you heard in the backyard was just the wind, if the noise is not accompanied by the lights activating.  

Build a Safe Room in Your Home


This is a security-measure for those who truly want the maximum amount of protection for themselves and their family. Your exposure to the idea of a safe room might be limited to movies.  

In fact, there is a 2002 movie called “Panic Room” starring Jodie Foster where the entire plot centers around Jodie Foster’s character using a safe room in response to a home invasion.  

Although the concept of a safe room makes an interesting dynamic for Hollywood, they also provide an option for those who are most concerned about their safety. If you aren’t familiar with concept of a safe room, it’s room in your house that you can escape to in the event of a home intrusion.  

Safe room are locked from the inside and are heavily fortified to prevent entrance from the outside of the room. Safe rooms can be equipped with phone lines, surveillance monitors for your camera or security system, and provisions such as food and water.  

Safe rooms can also be used as a place to safely hide in the event of a natural disaster such a hurricane or tornado.  Safe rooms will typically have no windows and be made of thick steel walls, making them a safe place to hunker down until the threat passes.

Plant Landscaping That Deters Intruders


Before the technology of security cameras and security systems, homeowners routinely used trees and plants to keep intruders away. Today, homeowners still use hedges to increase privacy, but it’s uncommon to use plants as a barrier to a home break-in.  

However, just because it isn’t used often, doesn’t mean that they aren’t effective. Most cat burglars are lazy. They’re looking for the biggest takeaway with the least amount of work.  

A strategically placed plant – such as a cactus – can create way more work and discomfort than the typical home intruder is likely to tolerate. Here some plant types to consider: Bougainvillea, Mediterranean Fan Palms, Rose Bushes, Cacti, Agaves and Yucca.  

All of these plants have prickly thorns that, when strategically placed near windows can make a burglar’s prospective break-in inconvenient and painful. You don’t want to use thornless hedges because then it gives intruders a place to hide.

Secure the Perimeter with a Fence


Establishing a perimeter around your property may be a necessity, depending upon your location, your property size, and your comfort level. If you’re contemplating installing a fence, here are some items to consider:

Although it may be tempting to install a tall wooden fence for privacy and security, the significant downside to a wooden fence is that it allows burglars a place to hide – on the side facing away from your home.  

The ideal security fence gives burglars nowhere to hide. Therefore, if they choose to climb the fence, they will have to do it in plain sight of you and your camera system and put themselves at risk.

In addition to material considerations, there are design variables that should be considered to make your fence more secure. Examples include:

* If you use a chain link fence, the space within the cutouts should be not more than 1 ¾”.  This specification will make climbing very difficult.

* If you choose to you use a wooden fence, select a design with pickets that have a point or spear at the top.  

* Your security fence should be at least 54 inches in height with a recommended height of 8 feet (96 inches). However, be sure to check your local ordinances and home owners’ association for additional guidelines.

* Avoid designs that include horizontal rails, if possible.  Horizontal rails can be used by an intruder to scale the fence.

Be a good neighbor. Although there is an expression that “good fences make good neighbors,” you will want to make sure you have an open and honest discussion with your neighbor about your intentions to build a fence.  

Even if you are not required to get their permission, a pre-construction conversation will go a long way to building a good rapport with your neighbor – and you may need them in the event of a survival situation.

Having a neighbor on your side can pay dividends when it comes to the security of your home, above and beyond that of a fence. Some may be willing to split the cost with you for the fence portion running between your two properties, too.
 

Keep Prying Eyes at Bay


There are multiple solutions for increasing your privacy (and security) as it relates to the transparency of glass panes on your windows and doors. The most common methodologies are window coverings, frost, and film.

Curtains, blinds, or shades are the most common and often, most cost effective, solution to keeping prying eyes at bay. In addition to the fact there are endless design options, installation costs are minimal, and you can change the design seasonally.

You can also open and close them to match your privacy and security needs at the moment. This is probably the greatest advantage to this solution and the most affordable for those securing their home on a budget.

Frosting the glass is the most permanent solution listed. Unfortunately, unlike curtains, you are stuck with the consequences of the increased privacy for good and bad. On the plus side, you don’t need to remember to draw your curtains to get your privacy.  

Additionally, frosted glass allows natural light into your home while still providing privacy. On the negative side, your view outside of your window is permanently and significantly distorted.

Plus, the person can see a slight outline of someone on the inside, so while it doesn’t let them see details, it does let them know whether the home is empty. Still, it’s a good choice for front doors and bathroom windows if you don’t have other coverings.
 
Apply a privacy film to your windows. The security impact of privacy film is very similar to frosted glass. However, it tends to be less expensive and DIY options exist as well. Further, privacy films with decorative designs are available to enhance their aesthetic appeal.  

Unlike frosting, if you change your mind, it’s much easier to remove a privacy film than frosted glass. They have film that provides minimal security and others that are darker and provide more.

Don’t Underestimate the Power of a Simple Sign


The number one goal of any and all security measures is prevention. The number one cause of prevention is deterrence. In all but the most unlikely circumstances, an intruder is not targeting your home – they are targeting a home.

Their selection criteria may vary depending upon their objectives, but if they can avoid complications by moving on to a less secure house, they will. Therefore, sometimes a “Beware of Dog” sign is just as effective as an actual dog.  

In fact, it has been rumored, although not substantiated by research, that the threat of a dog is the most effective deterrent to a thief. Related to the “Beware of Dog” sign are the security signs that accompany security and camera systems.

The signs are typically in the form of “This property is surveilled and protected by Company X.”  Again, that sign may be just as effective as a deterrent as the actual system itself.

However, there is one sign that may be intended to serve as a deterrent which might actually have the reverse effect. Specifically, signs related to guns such as “NRA member” or “Homeowner is armed and dangerous,” may actually provide burglars with an incentive to select your home because guns can be valuable on the black market.  

Therefore, as long as the burglar can confirm that you are not home, he may actually prefer to target your home in the hopes of stealing your gun collection. Be careful about what you put on display.

Bonus Tip: Minimize the Possibility of an Inside Job


As mentioned earlier, there are approximately one million home invasions each year. It’s estimated that a staggeringly high percentage, upwards of 65 percent, of these home invasions are performed by someone that the homeowner knows.  

Therefore, it’s prudent to be aware of some actions that you can take to avoid an inside job – which is especially possible in the event of a survival situation where you or others in your family have bragged about the supplies you’ve accumulated.

You can prevent people from being tempted in several ways. After purchasing or renting a home, have all of the locks replaced because you have no knowledge of how many copies of the keys are out in the world.

Be very careful about inviting contractors into your home to provide a cost estimate of work to be done. Of course, there are times when you will choose to do so, which is why having positive references or a connection with the contractor can be wise instead of calling the first company that pops up on a Google search.

If you have to share the location of your hidden key with someone outside of the immediate family such as a babysitter, dog walker, or a contractor, move the location of that hidden key after it has been used.

Home security is no laughing matter – especially when you’re talking about an extreme SHTF situation. As any victim of a home intrusion can tell you, that emotional violation, above and beyond financial loss, can have long lasting negative psychological effects.  

A little bit of preparation can go a long way in minimizing the probability of you having to attest to this consequence first-hand. You want to protect your family, your belongings and your survival supplies and fortifying your home is the first step in ensuring their safety from those who want to take what you have for their own use.

Supplies You Need for a Wilderness Survival Bug Out Bag


Few of us have experienced having to flee our homes in the middle of the night and wandering into the wilderness because of an invading army, a natural disaster, or civil unrest.

However, no one is immune to catastrophic events – we’ve simply been lucky enough to live in a period of world history that has been relatively innocuous. If you had to flee your home at a moment’s notice, what would you take with you?  

If you don’t have a bug out bag, then you might grab a gym bag, throw in a few clothes, a few toiletry items, perhaps some food from the pantry, and then be out the door with a mishmash of items.

You would direct your family to do something similar. Once you left the house, how long could you survive with a few t-shirts, toothpaste, and a couple of nutrition bars?  Where would you sleep?  

What would you drink?  What would you eat? How would you stay warm? How would you get your news about the events that caused you to flee?  The more you think about it, the more you may realize that you would be wholly unprepared to support and protect yourself and your family as soon as you left the comfort of your home.

This is a scary thought. What’s the solution?  Preparing a wilderness “bug out bag” (a bag that is pre-packed with survival supplies that you could grab and go when events required you to leave suddenly) would be a pretty good start.

Start with a Durable Bug Out Bag That Can Handle the Elements


So where do you get a bug out bag and what makes one better than another? A search for a “bug out bag” on Amazon gives some immediate options ranging in price from $40 to $700.

So how do you know what makes one bug out bag better than another and which is best for the wilderness over an urban bug out bag? Let’s start with the bag itself. The bag must be hardy, durable, and weatherproof.

It wouldn’t make much sense to have a bag that was going to rip the first time it got caught on a tree branch. Additionally, if the bag isn’t weatherproof, the contents of your bag may be damaged and rendered useless if you encounter rain or snow.

You should have a bag for each family member, which is properly sized. You wouldn’t want to ask your ten-year daughter to lug around the same sized bag as yours. Comfort matters.

Ask an infantry service member, if you have to carry around a bag of your supplies for days on end, the last thing you want is a bag that sits uncomfortably on your shoulders. Forty pounds will quickly feel like 80 pounds with an improperly sized or designed bag.

Above all, don’t skimp on the quality of the bag. The last thing that you want is to be stuck with a bag where the zipper sticks, the straps break, or the bottom tears. At the risk of sounding too dramatic, it’s recommended that you select a dark color, such as black or dark green, in the event, that you desire not to be seen as you are bugging out.

The Ability to Purify Water


A bug out bag is a survival bag. Think about that. The purpose of this bag is to keep you breathing in a scenario that may threaten your life. The bug out bag is not designed for you to pack with your family photos, your lucky t-shirt from high school, or your favorite books.

The contents of this bag are all about protecting your life. The very first thing that you should be thinking about is water. The lack of clean drinking water in the wilderness will threaten your survival in a matter of days.

Surviving the ordeal that you have found yourself in will require a clear mind and a strong body – neither of which is possible if you’re dehydrated. Unfortunately and obviously, water is heavy.

How much water do you need?  A common estimate is one gallon per person per day. One-half gallon for drinking and the other half gallon for cooking and sanitation. At a minimum, you will need one liter a day just to replace the liquid that is lost through urination, perspiration, and exhaling.

Let’s assume you are a family of five, and let us further assume that you want to ensure you have enough water for one week. At one gallon per day per person, that’s 35 gallons of water.

A gallon of water weighs 8.3 pounds, so 35 gallons of water weighs 290.5 pounds. This isn’t feasible to carry as you evacuate your house under the cover of darkness at two o’clock in the morning and head for the wilderness.

Therefore, your bug out bag must contain the tools required for you to purify water that you find in creeks, ponds, lakes, or even puddles. Don’t let the pristine appearance of water found in the wild deceive you.

Non-treated water contains microscopic pathogens that can cause illness, diarrhea, or stomachaches. Your bug out bag must contain a solution to the problem of purifying water.

You have three options. The first is boiling water, but that requires starting and maintaining a fire. Although doing so isn’t rocket science, it is time consuming or potentially challenging and complex – and the existence of a fire and smoke may even put you in danger, depending on what it is you’re bugging out from.

The other two options are filtration and purification tabs. Filters generally come in one of two forms – a straw or a squeezable filter. The benefit of the straw filter is its simplicity – you literally drink through the straw.

The disadvantage is that its lifespan is significantly less than the squeezable filter. Another option is the use of purification tablets, which most commonly contain chlorine dioxide.

If you have the ability to purify water, you will be hydrated. This is a great step towards ensuring your survival.

Readymade, Easy to Cook and the Ability to Source Food


Your second wilderness bug out bag focus will be food. The good news is that the human body can survive for quite some time without food. Although it is obviously unethical to experiment on humans to see how long they can survive without food, most experts agree that a hydrated individual can go greater than two weeks without food.

This is based on the observations of hunger strike participants. However, hunger strike participants are typically not exerting themselves by traveling in the wild in the face of existential danger.

Therefore, food is required to keep your energy levels high and your mental acuity sharp. You have three options: ready-made food, easy-to-cook food, and sourcing your own food from the wild.

In all likelihood, your bug out journey will not be measured in weeks or months, but rather days. Therefore, your objective is to keep moving as much as possible so you can get from point A (danger) to point B (safety) in the shortest period of time.

Therefore, it is advisable to equip your bug out bag with readymade food to minimize the amount of time you are preparing foods. You have some viable options in the readymade food department.

Freeze-dried or dehydrated pouches make a good addition to your bug out bag. However, some people have undesired intestinal effects from these. It’s recommended that you try a pouch or two from the comfort of your home prior to packing your bug out bag.

If you are going to have stomach problems, you want to know so that you can try a different brand or type. Military MREs and Cliff Bars are another option. They won’t win any gourmet food awards, but they are calorie-dense, physically small, and easy to pack.

Lastly, you could always pack items that are readily available in your home – such as peanut butter, canned meats, and nuts. If you opt to cook food, your bug out bag should contain food that is calorically dense, easy to pack, and easy to cook.

Pasta, rice, and ramen noodles are the fail-safe options using these criteria. Keep in mind that this option will require that you pack something to cook the food in. Ensure that your bug out bag includes a pot or pan.  

The bigger the better, as you don’t really sacrifice space in your bag because you can fill the pot with other supplies. Most bug out bags contain enough readymade or easy-to-cook food to last three days.  

Therefore, you will want to ensure that you have at least 10 meals per person per bag.  The more, the better, but 10 meals should be the minimum in your bug out bag. On the off-chance that your journey outpaces your food supply, you will have to source your food from the wild.

You all need to know how to hunt and gather food. You would be wise to ensure that your bug out bag includes a fishing tackle, paracord, and a pistol or knife. If you have access to a pond or a lake, fishing is likely your best option for sourcing food.

If you are forced to hunt, not only do you have to be a really good shot, but you will also have to have the stomach to dress, prepare, and eat small animals such as squirrels and rabbits.

Gathering berries and plants sounds like an option because of their ease and availability, depending on the time of year in colder climates. However, unless you are a survivalist expert, the chances of you knowing which berries are edible and which are poisonous are slim.

You don’t want to experiment to find out. If you think you could not bring yourself to fish or hunt, consider packing a small book that classifies berries and plants in your location for edibility and nutritional value.

Fire Building and Cooking Gear


Your bug out bag must include gear that allows you to build a fire. Boiling water can be done for drinking water and cooking, but you may also need a fire to keep you warm. To build a fire, you need a flame and something to burn.

For the flame, keep it simple – lighters and matches are a good place to start. However, they may not serve you well in inclement weather (although you can find stormproof matches), so it’s recommended that you have a Ferro rod striker.

The Ferro rod is challenging to use, but it lasts forever. Additionally, you can include a solar-powered spark lighter, which can be easily obtained online and packed into your wilderness bug out bag.

As for fuel, you will be surrounded by fuel in the form of sticks and logs. However, it can be difficult to get these sources to catch fire, and attempting to do so can burn through a lot of matches and fuel in your lighter.

Therefore, you will need some tinder. An old survivalist trick is to pack cotton balls coated in Vaseline, which makes for excellent tinder. Alternatively, you can use a tinder cloth, dryer lint, or waterproof fire sticks.

You’ll want some cooking gear to use with your fire. While a stainless steel pot or pan can be used, if you’re not on foot, and instead using a 4-wheeler or other vehicle, you might be able to take something more formidable, like cast iron pots to use over the fire.

You want to make sure you remember to pack a spoon to stir with, a spatula, knife, and other things you’d normally use for cooking. Don’t forget to pack a camping messware kit that has a plate, cup and utensils for everyone to use when it’s time to eat.

You may also want to consider investing in a foldable solar cooker for the times when a fire is not a possibility. These come in a variety of sizes, or you can learn how to make one yourself.

Shelter Options for Extreme Heat or Cold


Keeping yourself protected from the elements will serve not only to keep you comfortable, but can also be necessary to keep you alive. Exposure to extreme temperatures can be life-threatening, so you must ensure that you have a plan for sheltering and sleeping.

When preparing your wilderness bug out bag with shelter supplies, your efforts should focus on warmth, protection from the elements, and comfort. Unfortunately, bedding and shelter supplies tend to take up a lot of space and space is a precious commodity when preparing a bug out bag.

You must be wise in selecting your bedding shelter supplies. In regards to warmth, look for a blanket or sleeping bag that breathes, retains heat but not moisture. However, most that are on the market will only protect you down to a temperature of 40-50 degrees Fahrenheit.

Therefore, it’s recommended that you supplement your primary blanket or sleeping bag with a pack of Mylar blankets also called emergency or survival blankets. These disposal blankets are very thin, but allow you to retain 90 percent of your body heat, which will ward off hypothermia and frostbite in extremely cold conditions.

Additionally, they reflect heat to prevent you from heatstroke in extremely hot environments. Lastly, it’s recommended that you also pack a wool blanket. The wool blanket can be used as a bottom layer of bedding, another layer of warmth, a makeshift tent, or a cape or poncho.

Most survivalists don’t recommend including a tent in your bug out bag due to their size, but again – if you’re using a vehicle or capable of attaching it and carrying it using MOLLE, you can do that.      

First Aid and Communication Supplies


Although you might hope that your situation is not made worse by an injury, hope is not a plan. Include a first aid supply kit in your bug out bag to assist you in responding to insect or animal bites, cuts, burns, wounds, or sickness.  

Although there are many readymade kits on the market, you should take care to ensure that your kit contains items to prevent or treat the most likely situations and ailments you may encounter.

Consider supplying your kit with OTC medications such ibuprofen/aspirin for general pain relief, antihistamine in the case of an allergic reaction, and Pepto Bismal to combat diarrhea in the case of drinking contaminated water, or a bad reaction to your modified diet.

Don’t forget to include any medicines that you are prescribed. Your wilderness bug out journey is not the time for a preventative medical emergency or withdrawal symptoms. Equip your bag with bandages of various sizes, disinfectants such as rubbing alcohol, cotton swabs, adhesive tape, gauze rolls for potential burns or cuts, ace bandages, a suture kit, and antibiotic ointment to allow you to respond to cuts and injuries.

Don’t forget to include small tools that may be necessary to support your first-aid efforts – such as scissors, a magnifying glass, tweezers for splinters, splints, headlamps, thermometers, and tourniquets.
 
Lastly, you should ensure that your bug out bag includes resources to allow you to communicate or at least receive information from the outside world during your transit to a safe location.

A solar-powered charger will help to ensure that you have the use of your cell phone for the duration of your transit. Unfortunately, there is no guarantee that you will have cell phone service – even with a fully charged phone.

Therefore, an emergency hand crank radio may prove essential to receive information such as weather and news. If you really want to be prepared, consider including a HAM radio.

Whereas a typical radio only receives AM/FM frequencies, a HAM radio allows you to receive and transmit on virtually every frequency such as CB (Citizens’ Band) and VHF, which may prove useful in communicating with other individuals bugging out in the area.

This guidance is not all-inclusive. You must take into account your home’s location, which will determine the variables that are most likely to impact you in a forced emergency and determine what situations, climates, and terrain you should prepare for.

Although no one can prepare for every possible scenario, a properly prepared wilderness bug out bag can significantly increase your chances of survival should the worst-case scenario unexpectedly force you out of your home without the luxury of ample preparation time.


17 Homestead Tips for Living Off the Grid

Living off the grid means you’re using your own resources to give you what you need such as food, water, shelter, warmth and electricity. You’re don’t rely on the local power company to keep the lights on.

This is important for a variety of SHTF situations, from mild and temporary weather grid closures to major catastrophes we all hope to avoid. Once you’re ready to make the move to so that you can live off the grid, then it’s time to put that daily life into practice on a homestead that can be self-sufficient.
 

1. Pick the Right Location for Off-Grid Living


Where you plan to live off the grid matters a great deal. You need to have a place that can easily sustain your way of life. That means you’ll need enough land to support livestock if you’re going to raise animals such as chickens, cows, horses, etc.

You don’t have to have a lot of land but if you want to be completely self-sufficient, you might want to find plots that have at least 2-3 acres. You’ll ideally want one with its own water source as well as proper placement so you can use wind or solar energy options.

You also have to consider unexpected things when choosing a location. For example, if you have a family member in ill health, you’ll need faster access to medical care than someone who’s healthy would.

Once you have your location, you’ll need to build a shelter if there isn’t one already on the land. You can have a solar-optimized house built and one that has many green alternative customizations that assist you with off-grid living.

2. Take Waste Removal Into Consideration


When you’re living off the grid, you have to think about two types of waste – household garbage and personal needs. When you’re living on the grid, you can use the bathroom, flush and never think twice about the waste – unless of course there’s a problem with your toilet or sewer system.

But once you’re living off the grid, you have to plan for the waste removal yourself since you won’t be tied into any city services. There are various options you can choose.
One thing that’s popular when homesteading is to use a composting toilet.

You can also install your own septic system. For household garbage, you have to make sure that you don’t have a lot of it. That means recycling and not using plastic. Compost your kitchen food scraps.

This is great for adding rich nutrients to your garden, which will also come in handy in the event that the grid goes down and grocery stores have limited, if any, food sources for consumers.

3. Don’t Rely on One Power Source


If the power grid goes down, people who don’t live off the grid won’t be able to use any of their electrical appliances or gadgets. They’ve relied solely on one power source and when it’s gone, they’re at the mercy of the situation.

Don’t be like that. Some people decide to homestead and then choose a natural power source such as solar power. This is a great energy source, but it’s not infallible. There are factors that can impact the amount of solar power you have.

That’s why you need a backup plan in case that source of power isn’t working for you or you end up having a need for more power use. One of the backup sources that you can use is a wind power system.

This can be used to produce the electric needs for your homestead in addition to solar power. Living off the grid means that you rely on yourself when there’s an issue with power, so you want to make sure you have that covered.

Think about your heat source, too. Many people who live off the grid use a wood furnace to heat their homes. Take a look at your current power usage and figure out alternatives for each one.

It might be a solar cooker, a generator (solar or gas, although that might be limited at any given time), wind or natural irrigation for your garden, and more. It takes a bit of planning, but in the end, you won’t be reliant on an electric company for your survival.

4. Consider Your Communication Methods


When you’re considering communication methods that don’t rely on the grid, you’ll want to look at the cost, how durable the method is and how well it performs. You don’t want to have a situation where you need to communicate with someone on or off your land and not be able to.

Have a satellite phone if you’ve chosen not to use cell phones. You can use walkie-talkies for communicating with family members if you’re spread out across your land. You can also use a ham radio as a communication tool.

You can also use a CB radio for communication needs. If you just need to be able to listen to important survival news, you can use solar or hand crank radios that allow you to do that.

5. Have a Good Water Source


Many people are at the mercy of their electric company to receive water in their homes. But if you want to be independent of that, it might mean that you need to dig a well on your property.

Since pumps need electricity to work, you’ll need a source to power it if you have a pump – or you can use something like a sleeve bucket. You can also draw water from a source such as a stream – or, if you live on land that has mountainous areas with a small waterfall, you can use that.

You just have to make sure you decontaminate the water. Collecting rainwater is another tip you’ll want to stick with when living off the grid. You can collect rainwater in rain barrels or other containers.

This water can be used for watering livestock, watering a garden, bathing, washing clothes, and if decontaminated, it can be used for drinking and cooking. You can easily stockpile products to cleanse the water you need that won’t take up a lot of space.

6. Grow or Produce Your Own Fruits and Vegetable


Shopping at the grocery store is convenient, but it’s also expensive and the quality of the food items that you get are not always the best. Aside from those evergreen issues, if the grid goes down, you’re in very real danger of losing the convenience of grocery store food supplies anyway.

It’s better to make sure that you manage your food supply yourself. You can eat cheaper and healthier by living off the grid and growing or producing your own food. You won’t get all those unnatural ingredients or foods with GMO.

This allows you to be self-sufficient so that in the event the grocery stores can’t keep up with the demand for food, you don’t have to worry about feeding yourself or your family.
Grow things like beans and potatoes, corn, carrots, tomatoes, squash and fruits.

But you’ll also want to grow your herbs for flavoring and health – like parsley, basil, thyme, rosemary, oregano and more. If you don’t already know how to can food items or dry herbs so that they last longer, then you’ll want to learn how to do that so you can stock up your pantry.

7. Create a Plan for Winter Food Storage


Obviously, you won’t be able to grow certain foods in your garden during the winter months. But since you still want to make sure that you’re self-sufficient, you’ll need a way to supply food.

The best way to do that is to put aside the food that you’re going to need to eat when you’re unable to grow it. Create a plan for how much food it’s going to take to get through the winter.

You’ll need to count every member of your family and then add a little more in the event that you need something extra. With a grid-down event, you may want some meals that have self-heating elements, such as MREs (meals ready to eat).

Make sure you also have ample supplies to cook and warm up foods you’ve stockpiled – including wood, charcoal, and other cooking measures. Having warm meals will not only satisfy your hunger, but also provide comfort during a SHTF event.

8. Have the Correct Resources for Food Prep


One thing that many people who live off the grid do is they become minimalists. While that’s a good thing not to be weighed down by having so many things, there are some resources you do need to make sure you have.

You can’t prepare or put away the food supply you’re going to need if you don’t have the proper means to do so. You’ll need things to use during the fermentation process. You’ll need to have larger pots than you would use during your normal everyday cooking – preferably cast iron so that you can cook over an open flame.

You need to have a way to freeze dry or can the food items. If you want to make dried food items, then you’ll need a way to dehydrate the foods naturally without an electronic gadget.  

It’s not enough to prepare early on before you go off the grid. These are things you have to learn how to do for years to come with an off-grid homestead. You want to be able to prepare food for long-term storage safely and that includes the utensils and cooking elements as well as the packaging to keep it safe from rodents or bacteria.

9. Discover Natural Plant Life


When you’re living off the grid, you need to be able to identify the plants around your homestead. There are many plants growing wild that can be used for food or as herbal remedies for health ailments.

You don’t just want to wing it, though – since many plants have nasty side effects when ingested or can even be deadly. Before you use anything, learn what it is and how it can be used.

There are books, and classes offered that can teach you what you need to know. You can even hire a guide in the area where your homestead will be located and have them teach you what’s edible or what can be used for health purposes.

You can even grow these items on your property under the guise of a survival garden that is camouflaged from prying eyes. To them, it will simply appear to be wild plant life – but you and your family will know it’s a rich source of nutrition and health.

10. Raise Livestock


When you have a garden, you can grow plenty of fruits and vegetables. You can grow some that give you protein, but when it comes to your meat supply, you’re going to want to either hunt meat or raise livestock.

Hunting can be a hit or miss situation. Sometimes, you might be able to bring in the meat – but if you don’t, then you do without if you don’t already have a supply. That’s why it’s a good thing to raise the meat yourself.

You can raise pigs for meat, and you can also raise cows. From cows, you can also get your fresh milk supply. Chickens can be used for their eggs as well as for the meat. If you raise goats, you can get meat or milk.

Turkeys can be raised and used for meat throughout the year and not just on Thanksgiving or Christmas. Some people who live off the grid also raise ducks and sheep or rabbits for meat.

Make sure when raising animals that you educate yourself about how to properly take care of them. They need plenty of room and fresh supplies, and you want to be able to ensure they are healthy.

11. Go Natural with Your Cleaning Supplies


When you’re going off the grid, you want to switch the items that you use every day for more natural items. That means that you shouldn’t buy detergent, dishwashing liquid, and cleaning supplies like you did before you decided to live off the grid.

You want to be self-sustaining, which means you need to be able to produce your own cleaning resources. There are a lot of things that are natural and can be used to clean just as well as the options you can buy at the grocery store.

For example, you can grow and use lemons to clean many different things. This fruit can be used to clean soap scum out of a bathtub. But it can also be used to clean mirrors.

You can clean your entire bathroom with lemon – even your toilet. Lemon juice has antibacterial properties that effectively kill certain germs and inhibit bacterial growth. If you use lemons to clean your kitchen countertops, it can whiten stains.

Baking soda can be used to clean, freshen and whiten clothes. It can also be used to clean the shower, and even your outdoor grill. Plus, baking soda can also be used to brush your teeth.

Many people also employ the use of vinegar for cleaning agents. When living off the grid, you can learn how to use lye to make your own soaps and even scent them with naturally grown plants like lavender.

12. Put Money Aside in Savings


This might sound like a strange tip when it comes to homesteading, but it’s a mistake not to save money when you’re living off the grid. Before you started homesteading, you had expenses for your lifestyle.

Once you move off grid, those expenses can be higher than you think if you have to repair something. For example, repairing a septic system can be very costly. The amount of firewood you may need to use if you rely on a woodstove or wood furnace can be more costly than you realize.

If you’re raising livestock, there will be the cost of veterinarian care – and when it comes time to use the livestock for meat, there will be the cost of the butcher if you don’t do it yourself.

It can cost a few hundred dollars to have a cow prepped for your meat supply. If you’re using equipment such as a tractor and it breaks down, it can be expensive to repair or replace.

So the money you’re saving paying for your electric, water and sewer can go toward saving for these issues instead. Make sure you have multiple reliable contacts for these problems, too so that you’re not stuck during an emergency.

13. Get and Stay Physically Fit


Life off the grid is more physical than life on the grid. You won’t have the same conveniences that you have now. Plus, you’ll have to do chores you’re not used to.
For example, you may be hauling wood in and out of the cabin.

You might be wringing out laundry and hanging it on a line. You might be milking a cow, gathering eggs and tending to pigs. If you’re not physically fit, you run the risk of developing an injury – not to mention being exhausted in the beginning.

For example, people who aren’t physically fit tend to struggle with arm and back strength, both of which are needed for life off the grid. You may want to begin strength training and embracing a lifestyle of regular cardio before you make the final move to an off-grid homestead.

14. Learn Before You Leap


If you don’t know how to do something, learn about it first so that you avoid common mistakes that can be expensive. For example, some people build a chicken coop without knowing how large it should be.

They don’t know how to build it to protect the chickens from predators and end up losing some of their flock. If you’re going to do any project on your homestead, make sure you know what’s involved before you jump into it.

It’s better to spend some time up front learning than trying to fix mistakes afterward. Instead of focusing only on saving money or buying materials quick, make sure you take durability into consideration first and foremost because these items should be lasting you a long time.

15. Knowing First Aid Is Imperative


Living off the grid may put you too far away from medical care. You need to know the basics of first aid training. This means that you should know how to splint a broken bone, how to treat someone for minor injuries as well as injuries.

In the event that there’s a big emergency, you need to know how to handle lifesaving measures such as CPR. You’ll want to be well-stocked with supplies for everything from a minor cut to a major surgical situation.

Spend time learning these procedures for survival situations and invest in books you can learn from and have on hand in case the gird goes down and hospitals and doctors’ offices are unable to see patients.

Make sure your entire family learns these first aid measures for off-grid living. It may be you who is suffering and in need of someone to help, and if you’re out in the field tending to a fence or cow, your teenaged child might be the only one who can help you.

16. Keep the Right Tools on Hand


You’ll want to keep commonly used tools on hand around your homestead. This includes items such as an axe for cutting down small trees or cutting up firewood. You’ll also want to make sure you have shovels, hammers, pliers, a handsaw or two, hoes, a wheelbarrow, a post hole digger, screw drivers, wrenches, a multipurpose knife, and supplies for repairing fencing.

You’ll want to replace any of your electric tools, such as drills – with those that have to be done by hand. Learn how to safely use them, too. Don’t forget things that will help sustain the life of the tools, such as sharpeners or oils to keep them in good shape.

17. Join a Local Homestead Support Group


Having people that you can turn to for answers to questions can an invaluable resource. You might want to know how to get started with a beekeeping project on your homestead and be able to connect with someone who knows exactly how to set it up.

But having a homestead support group can also be a great way to swap – not just ideas and information – but supplies as well. For example, you might not need all the eggs that your hens lay and can trade them for something you need from another homesteader.

Many homesteaders form communities and buy property next door to one another so that there is safety in numbers and resources to rely on. You can also trade knowledge with one another.

How to Raise a Family of Survival Preppers

If you are practicing the strategy of survival prepping, it’s important that you understand this is not a one person tactic. If you have a spouse and children, this is something you need the entire family in on.

Not only does it help you achieve your goals of prepping faster when everyone is on board, but it also delivers peace of mind and greater effectiveness when your children are raised to understand how survival works.

Nothing is more jarring than having a major survival event occur and being the only one in the room who knows what to do, or how. By raising your family to be involved in your survival prepper plans, you will be arming them with the knowledge they need to whether any terrible situation in a worst case scenario.

There are 10 things you can do to cultivate a survival mindset among your entire family. These are done without using fear. Instead, you will be teaching your loved ones these lessons by using an empowering tone and action plan.

Begin Teaching Your Kids Survival Fundamentals


One of the most basic things you will need to do in order to prepare your family for survival situations is begin teaching the most fundamental skills they will need to survive.

You never know if you will be there to help them, so it’s imperative that you help them learn how to do this on their own. Because it is the most important resource, you will want to start by teaching your children and spouse how to find or create clean water from and unclean source.

For example, you will want to teach them the difference between a running water source and a stagnant one, and explain to them the dangers that they cannot see. Show them how to use water purifying products and also how to boil water to disinfect it.

You will also want to teach your family how to find food if they are without the proper resources that you have been storing over time. There may be an instance where they have to bug out of the area and our unable to take their bug out bag with them.

They need to know how to forage off of the land as well as how to trap small animals or gather other food to keep them alive. If there is a possibility that they will not be in your local area, then you want to teach them how to source plants, and that’s that are edible in whatever location they may be in.

After you teach them about food and water, you will want to go over the basics of setting up a shelter using both the products that you have purchased, such as a tent, and also creating one from what is found in nature.

Buy Survival Products That Are Right for Their Age and Size


If you are getting your family involved in the survival process, it’s important that you shop smart when you are stocking up on supplies and choose items that are a good fit for their age and size.

Younger children may not be able to carry the same kind of load than an older child or adult can. They may have less energy then you, and will be unable to carry as much weight.

When you are packing their bug out bag, make sure you are including age appropriate items that will help them with both their physical and mental needs. For example, if your child has a small stuffed animal that is extremely important to them, it may be something you can fit in the bag to offer support in a stressful situation.

You want to put items in their bug out bag that they will know how to use on their own. Again, there is always a possibility that you will not be with them at some point. They need the essentials as well as items that will make survival easy on them.

Create Plans and Practice Implementing Them


One thing you want to do with your family in order to give them peace of mind with all survival situations is to create plans for each possible event. You have to practice what to do, and not just talk about it.

Make sure that you have a plan for everyone to meet at a certain spot. Make a contingency plan in case the family is unable to meet at home. This is especially important if you have teenagers who are driving and may not be with the family when an event unfolds.

You want to teach your family how to analyze whether or not an area is safe to enter. Have several different backup plans and make sure everyone knows in which order they are to adhere to them.

Practicing these plans is something that should be done periodically, but not on a regular basis. For example, you don’t want to teach then what to do in the event of a wildfire every single weekend.

A better way to schedule the practice of your survival plans is to look for news that discusses the possibility of something happening, such as a hurricane forming off the coast.

Try to make the experience exciting and fun for your family, and don’t base it on fear or get angry and lecture them if they forget a step. They are more likely to remember it if it is an enjoyable situation, even if you are discussing something serious.

Get Them in Physical Shape for Survival


It’s important that you help your family get in physical shape for survival situations. This is not something where you need to harp on a young teenager to lose weight, and destroy their self-confidence.

Instead, make it about the physical tasks that they will be required to do in the event of an emergency, such as having to walk from one place to another if there is no possibility to fill the car with gas.

You can get your family on a regular walking schedule, which is even more effective if you do it outdoors in case of a bug out situation. You can also help them learn how to hike in other settings, such as the wilderness, and you can start them on a strength training regimen.

Prepare Their Mind for Survival


Besides helping your family prepare their body for survival, you also want to help them ready their mindset. The stress of a survival situation unfolding can be a heavy burden on all ages, but especially on children who feel very vulnerable.

It’s important that you talk to your kids and let them know that just because you are preparing for certain situations, doesn’t mean that they are inevitable. You want them to feel empowered and brave, rather than terrified and shy of confronting the situation.

Your children will likely pick up on your attitude about survival preparations. Make sure that you are not ranting about what’s in the news and instilling fear in their mind. You may be blowing off steam, but to your child, it will seem like the end of the world.

Teach Them How to Use First Aid Products and Strategies


Every survival prepper needs to know how to use a variety of first aid products. It may end up being you that is hurt, and you will need your family to help treat your medical issues.

Again, there also may be a situation where your loved ones are separated from you and they will need to know how to use the first aid kit that is in their bug out bag. Take time to go through it and teach them how to use each item in it.

They will need to know things like how to dress wounds so that they don’t get infected, how to deal with rashes or pain from the sting of an insect, and even more serious things such as how to perform CPR and save a life.

Take Them to Different Survival Settings


To prepare your family for survival, you have to understand that it won’t always take place within the four walls of your home. It may occur elsewhere, such as if your house is destroyed or the area is uninhabitable.

If you have to bug out to another location, you don’t want it to be an unfamiliar and stressful situation for your family. You need to get them familiar with how to live in nature, or at least survive in it temporarily.

This will include things like learning how to forage for food, teaching them about wild animals that they may encounter (as well as how to protect themselves from them), and how to safely start a fire for both warmth and cooking purposes.

You can go on simple camping trips to various locations so that they can begin to see what it would be like to sleep in a tent or under a tarp. They need to be familiar with what it sounds like to sleep under the stars, and how it feels when you do not have the convenience of a heater or air conditioner to regulate your body temperature.

Get Your Children Trained in Self Defense


In a survival situation, you will often encounter many unsavory characters. Whether they are trying to steal your supplies, or simply bringing chaos to the community, you want your children and spouse to know how to protect themselves.

There are many different forms of self-defense that you can teach children from a young age. There are also martial arts that are great self-defense classes for women. Make sure everyone is trained to the best of their ability, but also teach them what to do in the event of an attack.

It’s always best to evacuate a situation as opposed to standing your ground and fighting someone about something. But you also have some inevitable situations where fighting is your only option, so they need to know what to do if faced with that situation.

For example, if a dangerous situation occurs, you don’t want to have to tell your family what to do in front of the attacker. It should already be decided that the children stand back out of the way, but the entire family should gang up on the individual if necessary.

Let Kids Know How to Alleviate Stress in Survival Situations


Because of the stress of a survival situation, even if it’s simply the grid going down temporarily, you want to teach your kids how to combat stress on their own. There are many ways for children to learn how to self soothe that are healthy.

First, it helps for children to keep their mind occupied by doing tasks rather than sitting there fretting about an event. You can keep them involved in helping around the house or campsite so that they feel useful.

Another thing you can do to help teach your child how to alleviate stress is to make sure that you have some age appropriate books that they would enjoy. A book is a great way to become immersed in a different storyline than the one they are currently living.

If they are unable to read, then you can read to them. You can also become adept at having them learn how to make up stories of their own to keep themselves entertained and keep their mind on something else.

It’s important that you pack some sort of entertainment in the bug out bag for your children to keep stress at bay. The toys don’t have to be large or heavy, but they can go a long way in helping your child stay calm in the midst of chaos.

There are so many different games your family can play that do not require you carrying any type of supplies or toys. For example, you can tell your child a Riddle that they have to figure out, or play I Spy with them.

Have Your Kids Tested for Allergies in Case of a Bug Out Scenario


In the event of a survival situation, you may have to bug out in the outdoors, which can often cause certain family members to feel as if they are becoming sick. The reality is, they are allergic to some of the local plant life.

Because you will be consuming nuts, or possibly having to be around insects such as bees, you want to make sure that the allergy issue is not serious enough for you to have to carry an Epi pen for them.

If your child is found to have certain local allergies to plant life, it may be helpful for you to invest in a supply of local, pure honey. Have your child begin taking one tablespoon of this per day, and it should help their body acclimate to the local levels of pollen and other irritants.

Raising a family of preppers it can be both a fun and rewarding journey. When everyone is involved, you will see more getting done towards your goal of being fully prepared for any and all survival situations.

Get them involved in every decision, both small and large. If you’re shopping and want to pick up a couple of extra items for the food storage, have them help pick them out using you for extra guidance.

Even if you are shopping for a plot of land for a homestead, take them with you and let them voice their opinion about the land, even if you are the final decision maker. They need to feel empowered about this issue, and having a voice will do that.

Disaster Preparedness On A Budget

Disaster doesn’t make an advance appointment, but you can rest assured that your home and family could be penciled in at any time. Disaster planning and emergency preparation is very important, but so often families put it off because of budget constraints. Here are a few tips that I have used to prepare my home and family for a potential disaster

A Little at a Time

Because there isn’t a lot of extra room in my budget, I have to buy emergency supplies a little at a time. This is the best money-saving option for my family. I make a habit of picking up an extra item or two when I can and add to my supplies slowly. I know it’s not ideal, but for a family with a tight budget, it is the best option.

Shop Used

Some items to be added to the emergency supplies can be bought used at a fraction of the new price. Check yard sales and thrift stores for extra flashlights, candles, battery operated lamps or radios, backpacks and other needed supplies. I have found such items priced at 25 and 50 cents before and they work perfectly.

Check Your Storage

Most of us have a lot of stuff stored away in corners, under beds, in basements, in garages and the like. Take a look through what you have in storage and you might be surprised at what you already have that can be added to your emergency supplies. Extra tarps, forgotten first aid kits, storage containers and other items can all be dragged out of storage and added to your disaster supplies. Because I have a number of things in storage from moving a year ago and combining two households, it seems as though we are always finding “new” treasures that we had forgotten about.

Compare Prices

Compare prices by making a list of items you want to buy then browse through various stores to write down prices and quantities for items. Use a small notebook to write down all pertinent information and keep it handy. This will be a great price reference book to help you know where to get the cheapest prices on items. Be sure to check your local dollar stores as those stores usually have great prices on a wide variety of items.

Don’t forget about sales at local stores. Many stores will advertise great sale prices in the Sunday newspaper so it’s worth your time to peruse the weekly circulars. I write down the regular everyday prices on items at the various stores I shop at (along with the size and quantity of the items) and use this master list to help me know which store offers the best deals on the items I need. This price list is a time and money saver.

11 Ways to Shop Smart for Survival Supplies

Being strategic and stocking up on all of your survival supplies ahead of time is a wise thing to do. But if you are simply buying things on a whim, you may be wasting a lot of money that can be put toward even more supplies for yourself and your family.


There are eleven different ways that you can be strategic in your shopping so that you are saving yourself money and making sure that you are purchasing the correct items, rather than those that might fail you when you need them most.

Once you are aware of these cost saving and strategic methods, you will be able to get good deals on the food, gear, defense, and other supplies that you need on a regular basis.

You may discover that you have already made mistakes along the way with preparations you’ve made so far, but that’s okay as long as you change what you’re doing from this point forward and begin shopping smart.

Learn Which Stores Have the Supplies You Need

You need to make a list of the types of supplies that you want to buy. This includes things like survival meals that are shelf stable for 25+ years, defense tools, water purification and storage items, shelter materials such as a tent, bug out bags, fire starting gear, first aid items, and more.

Once you know exactly which categories you will be buying for, you need to make a list of the different stores both online and offline that you can purchase these types of items at.

Don’t just look at specialty stores, such as a sporting goods store for a tent. You can also buy a tent at Walmart or Amazon at a discount if your budget requires it. You want to consider big brand-name stores as well as smaller stores that may frequently run sales in an effort to unload inventory or boost their bottom line.

You may also be able to find some things at secondhand stores if they are in good shape, such as a thick coat for layering if the grid goes down in cold weather. You can also make a note about what kinds of supplies are sold at discount stores, such as a dollar store.

You can often find survival supplies there and on a very big discount, which would be a great time for you to stock up. For example, you might find an entire pack of lighters for starting a fire for just one dollar, but the same pack may cost eight dollars or more on Amazon or elsewhere.

Another place you may want to shop is your local military surplus store. Many bigger cities have these, and you’ll be able to find survival gear that will keep you and your loved ones safe in almost any weather condition or situation.

You can find paracords, blankets, first aid kits, gas masks, and more. They have camouflage clothing, combat boots, and other tactical gear – and it’s authentic – the same as what the military uses.

Buy in Bulk Whenever Possible

One thing many consumers forget, when they are wrapped up in the process of purchasing survival supplies, is that you can often save money if you will purchase more of the item all at once.

Instead of buying individual products, many manufacturers will bundle them up into larger packs where you will spend more, so they will give a slight discount to help you save money and entice you.

For example, you might find some MREs that are being sold individually at a higher price than if you bought a pack of one dozen. Sometimes it does take a little longer to save up the money that you need to buy in bulk, but in the long run, you’ll save more and be able to purchase more supplies for you and your family.

You also want to buy in bulk because it’s easier to take inventory and find space for it in your home. Sometimes, having a bunch of Individual packages of something means they get lost easier, or they’re harder to organize in a set space.

Stores that sell things in bulk, such as Costco and Sam’s, often have good deals on supplies that you may need in a future survival situation. They do this for things like food, toiletries, batteries, etc.

Learn How to Use Coupons Strategically

There was a point in time when couponing had its own show on television. Some stores did not like the fact that people were able to reduce their bill to almost zero dollars, if not get cash back for a large cart full of items they paid nothing for.

So they eliminated some of the loopholes. But that doesn’t mean you can’t still save with coupons and discount cards. You need to keep an eye out for your weekly circulars and find out what items are expected to go on sale for the upcoming week.

Usually, these circulators will come in your mailbox, but you may have to go to the store and pick one up yourself. Another thing you can do is join or look for printable coupons or even digital coupons that you can use in store or online.

Even on Amazon, if you are shopping for something, make sure you look for the opportunity to check the area where it says something like, “Save an extra 10%.” Another thing you want to do is look for the deals where you can buy a certain number of items and get one free.

Sometimes this will be done on food, but other times it will be done on things like toiletries, and other items. The stores may have a limit as to how many can be purchased, so you’ll need to be aware of that before you have an expectation to stock up on something.

Plan for What You Can Afford

One thing you want to do when shopping smart for your survival supplies is make sure that it doesn’t dip into the monetary needs in other areas of your life. Make sure you have a good handle on your upcoming bills, needs for the children’s school supplies, gas, etc.

The last thing you want to do is make an impulse survival buy for a large stock of something that you saw go on sale, only to be left unable to pay the mortgage or whatever other item you need for your family in that moment.

It’s better to set aside a percentage of your paychecks each week so that you can shop the following week or month and buy what you need without experiencing the pressure from your finances.

Always remember that you can level up with the items that you buy at a later date. For example, you may only be able to afford a solar phone charger right now that costs under $30.

You would really like a whole home generator, but it’s not in your budget at that moment. You can go ahead and get the smaller priced item because you never know if that emergency will hit before you are able to afford the higher ticket product. It’s always good to have back up an additional supplies anyway, so it won’t go to waste in the future.

Buy According to the Space You Have

Before you start shopping, you want to make sure that you have room for all of the supplies that you will be purchasing. You don’t want to get everything home, only to discover you have nowhere to put it, so it goes to waste.

If possible, set aside one room of your house as a supply storage room. If you don’t have that type of room, then make a plan for each room of your house to see where you could store certain supplies, such as under the bed or in a closet or cabinet.

Don’t forget you may have an attic space or an outdoor shed where certain things could be stored as well. Just make sure that wherever you store things, the supplies are being kept at the correct temperature.

For example, some items may need to stay in a cool and dry place as opposed to an outdoor, hot or cold weather situation. Some people like to shop for their survival supplies with the intention of renting a storage facility.

Keep in mind that in a severe and chaotic survival situation, those places may be raided by looters who are after valuables that they can used to trade with others. Not only that, but it may be unsafe for you to leave your homestead and travel to another location to get your supplies, so it’s always better to have them on hand.

Be Ready to Buy at the First Sign of Impending Disaster

Stocking up on survival supplies is a long-term process. For most people, there’s no way you can go out today and purchase everything you and your family will need for the next year.

Therefore, you have to stay aware and know when it’s crucial for you to head to the store immediately and purchase certain supplies that you will need. When the pandemic hit, other areas of the world as well as the coastal cities were posting videos on social media about store shelves being empty, in particular food and toilet paper as well as Lysol.

If you were paying attention to social media and news sites, you will have seen the chaos unfolding and then be able to head to the store immediately before the masses knew that it was hitting in your area.

You want to shop for supplies you may need – whether it is a pandemic situation, war, or even a weather event. You usually have ample notice about a hurricane or tornado, and you can go to the store and make sure that you have your immediate supplies to survive the coming days and weeks.

Make sure that you only allow yourself to buy these last-minute supplies that can be purchased locally. You don’t want to have to order something that may take a week or longer to arrive if you may need it the next day or several hours later. For things you’ll need to send away for, make sure you shop for those early.

Bring a List of Current Inventory and Needs

If you are prepping seriously, and not just randomly hoarding things whenever you think about it, you will have an inventory of all of your survival supplies, down to the date it was purchased and the date it expires.

This can be done digitally, but it’s also a good idea to have a paper account of your supplies so that you can take it on the go with you when you go shopping. That way, if you see an advertised sale in front of you, you can quickly glance at your spreadsheet or list and see if the item is something you have plenty of, if the product is about to expire, and if you need more.

It’s also a good idea to prioritize the things you want to buy. For example, if winter is coming up, you may want to prioritize certain supplies that have to do with heating food or staying warm over things like remedies for mosquito bites, or anything that might happen in the spring or summer months.

You can do the same when you are shopping online. Make sure you have your spreadsheet open so that you can adequately track what you are purchasing, the date, and any other pertinent information – such as the count of items if it is in bulk, as well as the size in ounces or pounds for example.

This way, you won’t be guessing about what stock is back home or in another room on the shelves while you’re shopping. You’ll have all of that information at your fingertips and you can shop smart.

Know When Seasonal Supplies Go on Sale

After the Christmas season ends, or Halloween – or any holiday where there are decorations and candy for that matter, you have probably seen stores discount the items that remain on their shelves significantly, such as 75 to 90% off.

This is a great time for you to stock up on certain supplies, whether it’s food or weather related seasonal items. For example, right before the strong winter weather, you may find that generators are more expensive due to the likelihood of the grid shutting down during a blizzard than they are during the spring and summer, when the threat has subsided.

Clothing is another area where you can find steep discounts on the supplies that you need. For example if you want to stock up on sizes for the future as your children are growing, or clothes that you can layer in the event of cold weather where there is no electricity, the best time to buy this is when the new spring line has arrived at stores, and they are trying to sell everything and make space for new product.

Buy Off Brand to Get More

In today’s world, brand names mean a lot to many different people. Whether it’s the clothes on their back or the food items on their shelves or in the refrigerator. However, when it comes to a survival situation, you won’t care whether or not the brand has any significant prestige, except when it comes to its quality and safety.

For example, if you know that there is a certain brand of designer jeans that you prefer to wear in current times, but they are far more expensive than a durable, cheaper brand, you’ll want to go with the cheaper brand if you’re on a budget and need to stock up for a survival situation.

The store brands are often every bit as good as top labels – and in fact some are made in the same factory, only to have a different label put on them. So when you are stocking up on things like canned vegetables and fruits, Q-tips, etc., don’t be afraid to go with the off label brand so that you get more for your money and have the peace of mind knowing that you have the stock on hand.

Read Consumer Reviews Before You Spend Money

When you’re buying a can of mixed fruit, you’re probably not going to see any consumer reviews about that particular item. But when you are buying some things such as a bug out bag on Amazon, you will see a number of ratings and reviews that you can use to gauge whether or not this is a smart buying decision.

It’s true that you can’t always trust every single review. But you can see whether or not a review is made from a verified purchase, and then make a decision based on the thoroughness of the comment they leave about the product so that you can determine whether or not it is a real or fake review.

You can also turn to things like Consumer Reports if you are making a larger purchase on something such as a technical item, like a generator or storm shelter. They will frequently test and thoroughly review products, pointing out all of the benefits, features, and faults of an item so that you can see whether or not it would be a good purchase for you and your family.

You can also simply Google the name of the product and see who has been blogging about and reviewing certain products. You can even search by specific criteria, such as a camping tent for four or two people, or a sleeping bag for a certain degree of weather, like those below freezing.

Add Supplies with Incremental Purchases

If your budget is severely limited, and you know you need to stock up on things as you go, then you’ll want to just buy one or two extra items every time you go to the store. For example, if you know you need two cans of green beans that are $.50 each, go ahead and buy an additional one or two in that moment.

If you are shopping on Amazon and you have a total of $16 in your cart, knowing you could get free shipping with $25 purchase, go ahead and find something for your survival supplies worth nine dollars so that you can bump it up to the free shipping level.

This way you’re saving the shipping money, but you’re also getting something in return for it. Another thing you may end up doing when you are making smaller build up purchases of supplies like this is taking into consideration what kind of trade-offs you can make.

For example, you may want to forgo an extra bag of chips so that you can get a canned good that will last longer. When you’re making incremental purchases, it may not seem like a lot in that moment, but over the coming weeks and months, you’ll be amazed to see how fast your supplies have grown.

Shopping for survival supplies can either be a daunting or empowering process. It takes awhile to build up a formidable stash of goods, but you should be able to quickly and easily prepare for a 72 hour ordeal without much of a problem.

10 Survival Skills You’ll Wish You Had When the SHTF

When it comes to survival, ordinary men and women who are just now immersing themselves into the prepper world are more concerned about hoarding supplies than they are learning the skills they need for survival purposes.

Unfortunately, there are many situations where you will be unable to take most of your supplies with you. In truly dire circumstances, you will have to know how to do everything on your own, without the convenience of having readymade gadgets and tools with you.

The best thing you can do to protect the lives of yourself and your family is to learn what you need to know ahead of time, gain those skills, and practice them over time. You also need to teach your family what to do in these situations, in case they are separated from you or you are no longer around.

Multiple Ways to Filter Water and Stay Hydrated

The first thing many people understand in terms of survival is that water is the most important thing your body will need to make it through an awful situation. You may have many gallons or bottles of water saved up in your household.

However, this will not help you if you and your loved ones have to bug out to another location. Even if you were able to fill your car with as many gallons as possible, it may not last you for the entire duration of the survival event.

The same goes for supplies that help you purify water, such as bleach or water purifying tablets. You may not have the convenience of filter straws or a filtering machine to help you clean the water that you need to drink.

If you find yourself in a situation where you do not have the convenience of a water purifying system, you can always start by boiling the water that you need. Of course, this requires you to start a fire and if you are drinking the water, you will need to wait until it cools down enough to consume safely.

If you are unable to boil the water, then you want to filter it as much as possible using whatever you have on hand. For example, you can run the water through different layers – such as a bandana, coffee filters that are in your backpack, or other fabrics that will separate the particles from the water.

You can also create a homemade filter by using things such as a bottle, sand or gravel, cotton balls, etc. Try to make sure you have some activated carbon with you in your bug out bag.

Another thing you might be able to use is the sun. There is a solar water disinfection process that takes up to 48 hours, but it can help kill off some of the harmful things in your water supply.

Start a Fire Without Matches or Lighters

Many people rely on the convenience of having matches or lighters to start a fire. Survival preppers often have flint and steel to do the job. But you may not have either of those.

You can still start a fire without these tools on hand and use it to boil water, cook your food, wash up, etc. The most common method of starting a fire without matches that just about everyone knows is to cause friction between two sticks.

If you’ve ever watched the show, Survivor, you will know that this is not as easy as it sounds. It takes a lot of work and skill in allowing the spark to breathe and catch the kindling on fire.

There are also ways that you can start a fire using hard materials such as rocks to create a spark, using the sun in a concentrated effort, such as through a magnifying glass, etc.

You should learn and teach your loved ones how to gather the proper tinder that will easily ignite and help in starting a fire that will last. You also need to teach them what kind of kindling well best work for catching fire to then fuel larger pieces of wood.

Forage for Food in a Bug Out Situation

Foraging for food is another skill you will want to learn far ahead of a true emergency situation. You’ll need to have books on hand and you may need to access the Internet while it’s still working to ask questions or find information.

You’ll want to know how to forage for berries and plants as well as nuts in your area. But you also need to learn how to find those same items in other areas that you may have to bug out to in the event that you have to leave your local area.

Come up with a list of everywhere you might end up having to go, and learn how to forage for food in those locations. Then, put your skills to the test and carefully forage for food without putting yourself or your family in danger.

If you learn the skill early enough, you will be able to ask for feedback on whether or not you have correctly identified the plants that you have gathered. You may also be able to find a local class or expert who can guide you in foraging for food. Just look for an herbalist or wilderness expert who can teach you the ropes.

Navigate Outdoors without Maps or Roadways

In today’s modern world, if you need to get from point A to point B, you may turn on an app such as Waze to guide you to the location. Or, you may have a GPS product that simply tells you which turn to take on which street.

In a survival situation, you may not have access to such luxuries. In fact, you may not even have a map on hand. You may not be able to travel by a major roadway if it is dangerous, and therefore will not have any signs at your disposal telling you which direction is the correct one.

You need to know how to navigate the outdoors using a simple, small compass that you will keep in your bug out bag. But even then, you may not have access to a compass, so you will have to learn how to navigate according to the sun’s location as well as the constellations in the night sky.

Build a Shelter from Your Surroundings

Building a shelter will be one of the most important things you’ll need to know ahead of time. While you may think you can simply set up a tent anywhere in an emergency situation, that may not be possible.

You might be out in the wilderness without any tools, tents or tarps. You need to learn how to build a shelter from what’s around you – the wood, leaves, moss, mud and other materials provided by Mother Nature.

You need to be able to build shelter for different weather situations, including extreme heat and cold, wind, snow and rain. You also want to be able to build a shelter that camouflages you from detection from other individuals.

There will be some situations where you may have tools at your disposal. It’s a good idea to learn certain carpentry fundamentals so that if you have to build a homestead off the grid and without any professional services, you’ll be able to.

First Aid Training for Minor and Major Injuries

There will be many instances when you are in a survival situation, where first aid is required. From simple sprains to major wounds, you will want to be able to understand how to treat someone without the benefit of a first aid kit.

Even if you do have a first aid kit on hand, many people don’t know how to use the supplies that are inside. So you want to educate yourself about how to use a first aid kit, and how to treat someone without one.

For example, you may need to know how to treat a wound by using nothing more than water and compression. You may need to know how to locate an aloe vera plant or other natural growing plant that can help you administer first aid to someone.

You want to gradually educate yourself on many different first aid situations, including how to recognize when someone is having a stroke or heart attack – and what to do about it if you are unable to take them to a hospital, how to administer CPR, etc.

Self Defense Measures to Keep Your Family Safe

Self-defense is another thing you want to learn prior to a SHTF situation. This is something that can help protect you from unsavory individuals who may want to attack you or take your supplies.

It may also help you in protecting yourself and your family from wild animals if you have to bug out in an area where there are large wild cats, bears, coyotes, feral pigs, and more.

There are many different measures that you can take for self-defense. Some people prefer to learn how to use weapons, such as being armed with a gun or knife. If you are choosing to go this route, you need to make sure that you are well versed in how to use both of these for self-defense.

You also need to know some self-defense tactics if you are caught without your weapon of choice. For example, you may want to learn karate or how to box so that you can eliminate the threat to your family in a safe manner.

This is something that you will need to make sure your family is educated in as well. You don’t want someone who is smaller or weaker to get caught off guard by an attacker and be unable to protect themselves.

Growing Your Own Food from Seed to Table

While foraging for food is a great skill to have, as well as being able to stock supplies, it may not be enough. There will be some long term survival situations where you need to be able to grow your own food from a seed and provide for your family this way.

Some people fail at gardening, not understanding how to keep pests away from their garden plants, not realizing how much sun the plants need, not being able to evaluate the soil, or know when to harvest.

You want to find out what zone you currently live in, or where your future homestead is located, and learn what types of plants you can grow for food, and in what season. Make sure you have plenty of heirloom seeds on hand for this purpose, and store them properly.

Keep in mind that you can’t speed up the growing process, so if you are panicking for food, a garden may not provide you the comfort you are seeking. There are certain plants that grow faster than others, and in addition to these, you will also need to stock up on seeds of plants that provide the most nutritional value.

Hunting and Fishing to Stave Off Hunger and Fill Up on Protein

Foraging for food and growing your own are great ways to take away the hunger you feel in a survival situation. But for energy purposes, you will need to know how to find the protein that will serve your body well.

Hunting and fishing are two skills that you will need to learn before a major event takes place. Even if you are not currently a hunter, you need to learn the skills it takes to trap small animals, clean them, and cook them in a safe manner.

You also want to learn how to fish with and without supplies, depending on what type of situation you are in. While supplies are great, not everyone has access to them in a survival situation, which means they have to rely on the process of noodling or fashioning equipment out of natural items.

Cooking Outdoors Off the Grid

Many people have been camping, and use the convenience of a propane stove to cook the food they need while living in the outdoors temporarily. However, there may be times when you need to cook outdoors on a larger scale, for a longer time.

You may not have the luxury of propane or charcoal to help you build a fire and cook the food for your family. You need to know what types of gear to buy, such as cast iron pots and pans.

These are too heavy and bulky for you to carry with you if you have to bug out. They may be fine for a homestead outdoor cooking purpose, though. If you have to bug out and can’t take your supplies with you, you need to learn how to use things like rocks over a fire or foil pouches to bake your dinner in a fire pit.

The last thing you want to do is become frustrated and feel hopeless trying to cook dinner without access to pots and pans, grills and ovens while you or your loved ones are starving and miserable.

Learning all of these skills ahead of time will give you the peace of mind to know that your family will be taken care of in the event of a major survival situation. Over time, you will want to practice these skills and perfect your own style so that you can quickly and easily implement them whenever the need arises.

10 Survival Skills to Learn to Keep You Alive When You Bug Out

No matter how prepared you are for a survival situation at home, if an event occurs that requires you to leave your home to bug out in the outdoors, you will be put under a different kind of pressure.

Survival in the elements is very different than that of being in a familiar place, sheltered from the wind, rain, cold or heat. Outdoors, you’ll become both predator and prey. You will have to fight for your survival more than if you were holed up at your home with a room full of supplies.

It’s important that you prepare yourself for survival skills that require you to bug out in the wilderness, forest, desert, or elsewhere. There are certain skills you will need to work on and master ahead of time so that you’re not struggling in a harsh environment.

There are ten very common survival skills required for bug out situations. Not only will you want to learn these things for yourself, but you’ll want to teach your loved ones the same lessons in case they become separated from you or you become incapacitated.

Staying Hidden or Signaling for Help

Depending on the situation that you are in, you may need to stay hidden in a bug out situation. For example, if there is civil unrest or an invasion of some sort, you won’t want to advertise your whereabouts.

The most important thing you’ll want to remember is to blend in to the background. You will want some sort of camouflage attire as well as the gear that you carry that will match your environment and keep you hidden in plain sight.

If you are on the go, make sure that you are traveling at night when you are less likely to be seen. Teach your family how to move and stay quiet so that a target is not put on your back.

The opposite may also be true. You may need to signal for help in a survival situation. Just as certain colors can help you stay hidden, other colors, such as bright orange, can help you be found by rescuers.

You also want to make sure that you are carrying certain types of gear that will help signal that you are in some type of distress. For example, a whistle is easy and effective for both children and adults to use.

You can also use a mirror or a small fire as well as any other sort of sound to alert the authorities to your location so that you can receive the help that you and your family need in that moment.

Navigating an Environment without Road Signs or Maps

The most effective thing that you can do for navigation means, when you don’t have a map or any road signs to work off of, is to use a compass. These are small and lightweight, and can come in handy when you are bugging out in the outdoors.

If you don’t have a compass, you can always use the sun and the stars to find your way around a location. For example, you can always find north just by looking at the location of the sun.

The sun rises in the east and sets in the west. The only time this will be more difficult is in the middle of the day when the sun is directly above you. But you should be able to quickly watch the direction it travels to determine which path you are on or need to go.

Because it’s safer to travel at night, you may want to use the stars instead of the sun. You want to locate and also teach your family how to locate the Big Dipper or Little Dipper constellations.

The north star lines up with the Big Dipper, which will help you find the direction you need to go. Many people like to learn how to find a variety of constellations so that they can navigate their way outdoors at night.

Finding Food to Keep Your Energy Levels Up

Even if you are able to take supplies with you in a bug out bag, there’s only so much food you can take on the go. If it lasts more than 72 hours, chances are good that you will have to forage or hunt for food on your own.

You need to spend time ahead of time learning about the safe foods that you can find in your area, or whatever area you plan to go to. You don’t want to accidentally be eating berries o plants that are toxic or poisonous.

Sometimes, there are plants that look almost identical to those that are safe to eat, but which are poisonous, so make sure you know the difference before a bad situation occurs.

There are many foods that you may not know you can eat. For example, while dandelions are a weed that many people try to get rid of in their yard, they are edible and can help keep you alive in a survival situation.

You will also want to learn how to create traps and snares so that you can catch small game to cook over a campsite fire. If there is water nearby, you can also take fishing gear and catch your dinner that way.

Sourcing Safe Water to Keep You Alive

Water is the number one most important supply that you will need in a bug out situation. You will only be able to carry so much with you when you leave your homestead, so it’s important that you know where to locate water ahead of time.

Make sure you take water purification tablets or other gadgets with you so that you can drink from any source that you find. There are harmful parasites, microorganisms, and bacteria present in most water sources in the wild that you want to avoid.

Keep in mind that in a major survival situation, even finding a faucet may not guarantee that you have sourced clean water. If the grid goes down and the water purification plant cannot function properly, then you will have to boil and purify the water that comes out of the tap.

If possible, try to capture rainwater without it being contaminated by anything it touches. If you are unable to purify water or accumulate rainwater, look for a fast flowing water source, such as a stream, where other animals are drinking from the source and surviving.

Common First Aid You Might Need Outdoors

When you are forced to bug out in the wilderness or elsewhere, you may have first aid needs that you wouldn’t necessarily have within your homestead quite as often. For example, bug bites or stings may be prevalent when you are forced to hike and sleep outside.

Ideally, you will have a first aid kit that can help you address these issues. But if not, you may need to learn how to deal with them without things like Benadryl, tweezers, or ointment.

Another thing that may occur is a broken bone or sprain, such as if you step the wrong way while hiking and sprain your ankle. You may also find that you suffer from things such as splinters when building shelter or gathering wood for a fire.

Having to cook your own food, or start a fire for warmth, you may have someone who suffers from a minor burn. And of course, stress is increased in bug out situations, so something more harrowing may occur, such as strain on the heart.

Surviving Extreme Weather When Bugging Out

If you are bugging out for a short amount of time, chances are you can easily prepare for the supplies you will need to handle a little bit of rain, cold, or heat. The problem arises when 72 hours grows into weeks, if not months or even years.
 You will need to know how to survive the weather events in your area. You may have extreme shifts in weather, such as in Texas where it can be 80 degrees during the day, yet dip down into the 40s or 50s at night.

Make sure that you and your loved ones have layers of clothing that can adjust for any type of weather temperature. You want to ensure that no one suffers from heatstroke or frostbite.

Know how to build a shelter in different kinds of weather, including snow and rain. Learn how to keep your supplies dry and waterproof so that you can continue to make fire to keep warm and cook with.

Keep in mind that sometimes the temperature may not seem very harrowing. However, when you factor in the wind gusts, it can make it seem much colder than it really is. Certain materials will stand up against the wind better than others, so prepare for that if you are in a windy area.

Making Fire to Cook and Keep Warm

It is imperative that you take some sort of fire-starting equipment with you if you are going to be bugging out for any amount of time. However, things happen sometimes, and you may be forced to leave without your bug out bag or your fire-starting equipment may end up lost or misplaced.

If this happens, you need to know how to start a fire using wood and nothing more than determination. You will have to know how to gather some tinder to start the fire with, how to cut a notch in your fireboard, and how to spin the wood to start a fire using friction alone.

You want to make sure that yourself and every member of your family are aware of all of the fire safety rules so that the fire does not grow out of control and end up catching your surroundings on fire.

Make sure you know all of the little tips about keeping a fire thriving, such as making sure it has plenty of oxygen, knowing when to put more wood on the fire, which type of wood will burn longer, and more.

Keeping Your Mindset Strong in Survival Situations

When you are in a survival bug out situation, your mental state will be tested time and time again. Whether you are dealing with your own emotions, or trying to handle the tears of your children who are breaking down over the situation, you have to be strong enough to get through it.

There will be some people who encounter major situations like this and simply want to give up. But you want to have a strong mindset that contributes to your will to live. Remind yourself that people have been through this and worse and emerged through it all to find a normal life again.

Be sure and celebrate the little wins that you have during this uphill battle. You want to toughen your mental state, but also visualize a future that you’ll want to work towards. You will need to have a handle on all of your emotions, whether it is fear, anger, or something else.

Building Shelter Outside

You have to know how to build shelter for your survival. Not only can this protect you from the natural elements, such as cold or hot weather, rain or wind, but it can also keep you safe from bugs, insects, rodents, and larger predators.

It’s always best to have something on hand, such as a tent or tarp that you can use as your shelter. But again, there are times when you will not be able to take that with you, and you will have to build shelter from scratch.

Learn how to build shelter in your area based off of the common trees, leaves, and other items you find locally. You want to know how to build a floor to trap in warmth, and walls that will keep out the elements and predators.

Your shelter should also provide some sort of camouflage for you to stay hidden in a chaotic survival situation. If you are in extreme cold and snow, you can still build an outdoor survival shelter that will keep you warm.

Self Defense from Predators

Shelter alone is not going to be enough to protect you from some predators. For example, if you are in an area that has large wild cats or bears, or even destructive pigs, you may be in danger regardless of whether or not you are inside of a tent.

You need to make sure that you have some sort of self-defense measures on hand to protect yourself from both people and animals that may intend to do you harm. Ideally, you will be able to carry a firearm or knife, but if not, you need to learn self-defense measures ahead of time that will help you protect yourself and your family.

You can use a large tree branch as a weapon if you need it. A rock can also be thrown or used to strike a predator. You can set traps that are not used for food purposes, but instead to alert you whenever something or someone is drawing near to your campsite.

How To Have A Stress Free Family Thanksgiving Dinner

It’s that time of the year again. Time to be grateful and give thanks for all the blessings God has bestowed upon you. It’s Thanksgiving! And we all want to celebrate it with the least amount of stress possible.

First stop and think about of the preparations you would like to do yourself, or should I say, feel up to doing yourself. Don’t plan to over exert yourself, by having to cook for a huge crowd.

By anticipating how you will feel, will help you determine how many people to invite. We know that we are expected to invite family, so do so. But also know that not all of your family will show up. Some of them, who might be married, or engaged or whatever, may be having Thanksgiving with their inlaws or friends.

Be understanding, and wish them a Happy Thanksgiving, and besides it makes less work for you. The less work, the less stress. Now make a list of those who are coming, and let’s move on.

Now you want to decide on the menu. Do you want to do a traditional Thanksgiving dinner, or something totally different? I suggest doing a traditional dinner. It would be a lot less stressful. Now don’t plan on doing the entire meal yourself, by all means get some help.

By that I mean, do a pot luck. Let the family know that you will be taking care of the turkey and dressing, cranberry sauce and the mac and cheese. Ask them to bring something, and you should give them suggestions, so they don’t all bring the same thing.

This will eliminate some of the pressure off you. They can bring a salad, some desert, beverages, even some paper plates and utensils. That’s right, I said paper plates, it’s family, they won’t mind. And it will make clean up so much easier for you. Now that’s a stress buster in itself.

Don’t leave out your husband and kids, they should help too. Since you are doing the preparations of food, have one of them, set the table for you. Maybe your husband should do that, if the kids are small.

Let kids help you with clean up. If you used paper plates, they can gather the trash together and take it out for you. They can clean the table off for you, husband can mop floor if needed and the work is done quick and easy. And if family volunteers to help, by all means say yes.

Now that dinner has gone well, and everyone is happy, before family leaves, say a prayer together. Thank God for allowing you all to assemble together once again, and pray that everyone makes it home safely. After they leave, put your feet up and enjoy the rest of your holiday relaxing, no stress.

Gardening For Health

Around the world, people are discovering the physical and mental health benefits of digging in the dirt.

New findings from The Impact of Home and Community Gardening in America, a survey from the National Gardening Association, indicate that gardens in America are more popular than ever before. An estimated 7 million households in the United States will grow their own fruit, vegetables, herbs, and plants this year, a 19 percent increase.

The growing desire to grow is thought to be part of the economic turn in the country; gardeners are discovering that their gardens can produce higher-quality, lower-cost produce. Whether they realize it or not, the simple act of planting, tending, and harvesting has significant health benefits.

Stop and Smell the Roses

Gardening has been a go-to for achieving mental well-being for decades. The non-profit U.K. gardening organization, Thrive last year published independent research that says gardening can not only help a person’s overall well-being but can improve the health of those suffering from a disability or mental illness.

Thrive reports that 31 percent of the disabled people surveyed believed gardening helped their overall health, and one in five say it helped during a period of mental or physical illness. Studies have also shown health improvements for patients with dementia, schizophrenia, and depression.

Health Benefits for Young and Old

In recent years, school gardening projects have been increasing in popularity, in which a school or class maintains a garden as an academic activity. A report published in the edition of The Journal of Environmental Education surveyed the literature on U.S. school gardens. The results found that school gardening can improve students’ test scores and school behavior and assist teachers in academic instruction.

A study published in HortScience discussed older adults in Kansas that found gardening improved their health in areas like hand strength and self-esteem. Such recent gardening research details that gardening can be used to meet the Centers For Disease Control’s requirements for physical activity.

For older adults, this can include 2 ½ hours of moderate activity per week, along with muscle-strength training activities two or more days per week, or alternate equivalents. The CDC also offers recommendations in weekly activity levels for both adults and children.

The importance of gardening for older adults is that it is an exercise regime that they can keep up consistently. Gardening offers a variety of tasks and activities that change depending on climate and seasons. Older adults can lead a more sedentary lifestyle, and tending to a garden can offer exercises such as digging holes, pulling weeds, carrying soil, or even pushing a lawnmower.

Getting Started

Organizations like Thrive suggest that potential gardeners start with what type of garden would benefit their situation, environment, or climate. Houseplants are a suggestion for the novice, while those looking for more involvement should consider volunteering at a local community garden.