In my opinion, these are the best of the best of survival and preparedness articles gleaned from the 'net.

Please visit the originating sites to see more like them.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Product of the Day

Coco Bolo Wooden Fire Piston With O-Ring

Product Description
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How to Choose a Survival Knife


A Survival Knife is the most important single item of your survival gear

You need the best survival knife. Choosing the right survival knife is more than an exercise in individuality – your very life may hinge upon its proper selection.

Anyone who has ever spent quality time in the outdoors will vouch for the usefulness of a good knife but to the survival expert his knife is one of his best friends and the most closely guarded of his survival gear. Like a good friend, his survival knife should never let him down.

Every Man Had a Knife

Time was when nearly all men carried knives, if only a small pocket knife while in town. Whenever one went into the wilds his hunting knife, as they were then called, was always close at hand.

The survival knife is the most important item of your survival gear
full tang knive
Full Tang Knife

Today many people have forgotten the necessity of always carrying a knife. Indeed it has become commonplace to meet people who are afraid of knives and question those who carry them. It is a sad fact that the majority of modern day people have no idea about the many uses of a good knife.

Often while out on the trail I will meet people who ask me what the knife hanging from the shoulder strap of my pack is for. “You don’t know what a knife is for?”, is my usual reply. And they think they do. But I know better, for else they would not have asked such a clueless question.

Survival Knives are Required Gear

A good survival knife is the most important item of your survival gear and is one of the 15 essentials that all survivors should have with them. With a good knife you can make or obtain just about anything you need to live and even prosper in the outdoors. With this in mind, your selection of the best survival knife for your needs must be based on solid construction, proper materials, workmanship, and functionality.

Survival Knives to Avoid

Narrow Knife Tang
Narrow Tang

To the inexperienced, survival knives often conjure up images of the huge Rambo type knives as glorified in Hollywood movies. Though they look like potent weapons that can take on the world, these oversized knives are a far cry from the best of knives used by survival experts. The big knives suffer from being difficult to control as they are overly heavy and bulky. Many needs of the survivor require finer detail work than can readily be accomplished with this kind of blade.

Double edged knives are used mostly for thrusting. Because their tips are relatively weak they are prone to breaking. In addition, the second edge is an unneeded edge that can lead to injury.

Many survival knives are sold that have hollow handles, the idea being you can store survival essentials like matches and compass inside the water tight handle. One problem hollow handled survival knives have is that they are prone to being weaker than the solid handle variety. There are exceptions, but generally you are better off storing your survival gear elsewhere. One advantage to this is that should you loose your knife you will still have the remainder of your survival gear to rely upon.

The best outdoor survival knives are actually quite unassuming. Inexperienced outdoorsmen and survivalists will often pass them over to select blades that will mark them as survival neophytes to those who are in the know,

Optimum Blade Length of a Survival Knife

The best survival knives neet to be versatile in the number of things they can be called upon to do. At the same time bulk and weight are important considerations as with any survival gear.

It has been my experience that the ideal survival knife blade length is somewhere between four and six inches. This size blade offers good mix of size and control. Any blade larger than that is overkill and merely adds to the weight and bulk of the survival gear I am carrying.

If a larger survival blade is needed then you would probably be better off packing a machete, axe, hatchet, tomahawk, or kuris. In any case, you would still do well to also have on your person a regular sized survival knife.

In addition to a survival knife with about a 5-inch blade, I like to carry a multi-tool that has a smaller folding blade. This blade comes in handy for finer detail work that would be too cumbersome for the large knife.

Knife Tang

The best survival knife is constructed of one piece of metal, to which there may be slabs of material attached to form a comfortable handle. This kind of construction is known in the knife world as “full tang” or “narrow tang”.

  • Full tang survival knives are made so that the blade merges into the handle. Often two slabs of material are attached to either side of the metal to make a comfortable handle. In order to economize on weight and bulk some knives eschew the addition of handles and the metal is left bare.
  • Narrow tang survival knives reduce the size of the blade material as it enters the handle of the knife. A handle is then attached over the narrower piece of the knife. Often the knife handle is composed of leather disks, the placement of which is a skill in and of itself. Narrow tang knives sometimes have a pommel attached to the handle end of the tang.

Cheap survival knives are often made so that the metal blade is separate from the handle. The weak point on these badly made knives is where the blade and handle are bolted and glued together. You would do well to avoid such a cheap knife in favor of the superior full tang or narrow tang models.

Types of Knife Blades

There are two main types of knife blades that the survivor need concern himself with, namely smooth and serrated. Serrated survival knife blades do well at cutting synthetic materials, clothing, and flesh. For self defense and paramedics, etc, serrated edges are a good choice.

A drawback to serrated cutting edges is that they are difficult to sharpen properly in the field. This is certainly a major drawback in a survival situation where maintaining a keen edge during hard use is vitally important. In addition, serrated knives do not have an efficient blade for carving and chopping.

A plain smooth edged blade is the blade of choice for most survival situations. Such a blade is useful for carving, chopping, and cutting. Though it may not slice through nylon webbing, clothing, or flesh as efficiently as a serrated blade, the straight bladed knives will still make short work of these materials.

The added advantage of the regular blade is that you can sharpen your survival knife on a rock or piece of concrete should you not have a regular sharpening stone handy whereas the serrated blade generally needs a special sharpening device and technique.

On the back of many survival knives are a saw meant for sawing through metal or wood. In too many cases, as in the Rambo type knives, these saws only do a poor job at best. If you require a small saw in your survival gear you would do well to add a tool specifically designed for this rather than use your knife for this purpose.

Knife Blade Thickness

The best survival knife will generally have a blade thickness of between 5/32 and 8/32 of an inch. Any thinner and the blade becomes too flexible and thicker blades lack the finesse for the finer work that knives for survival are often called upon to do.

It is important that the tip of the knife maintains its strength, as this is a likely area the knife is likely to fail.

Knife Blade Materials

There are two main types of steel used in making high quality survival knives:

  • Stainless Steel knife blades are rust resistant and work especially well in wet environments. They require less care than the carbon steel knives. Drawbacks to using stainless steel in knives is that they tend to be more expensive, are more difficult to sharpen, and may not hold an edge as well.
  • Carbon Steel knife blades will rust if not used regularly or coated. Many feel carbon bladed knives hold an edge better than their stainless steel counterparts.

Some of the Best Survival Knives

In future Survival Topics I will explore a few of the proven survival knives that would serve you well. I welcome any input from Survival Topics readers about knives and their personal choices for the best survival knife.

Some of the best survival knives that come highly recommended include Becker Knives, Fallkniven, and SOGs:

When choosing the best survival knife for your needs you make certain you do not skimp. Get the best survival knife for your needs and it will serve you well for years to come. And, it may just save your life!


Original: http://www.survivaltopics.com/survival/how-to-choose-a-survival-knife/

Link of the Day

Disaster Survival Recipes


http://homecooking.about.com/library/archive/blmisc67.htm

Quote of the Day

We shall draw from the heart of suffering itself the means of inspiration and survival. Winston Churchill

ALTERNATE RETIREMENT

If things manage to limp along and a crash doesn’t happen, or even if a crash does occur and the government stays in power, you will need to think about a conventional retirement. The chances that the whole system will collapse is a lot smaller than things staying the same but getting worse every year. In other words, all your resources can’t go into beans and bullets. You will need to devote some time and money to supplementing Social Security.

As things stand now Social Security, Medicare and the Free Drug program is going to cripple the economy in a few short years. About 2012 a huge wave, and it’s only the first one, of Baby Boomers are going to retire. No need to panic, this does not coincide with the Mayan calendar ending ( most likely caused by the collapsing society around them being unable to support non-farmers rather than the end of time predictions ). The first wave will panic the politicians in public. In private I’m sure all but the idiots are aware of the problem now. The rates will raise again, probably a few percentage points every few years. Means testing will be introduced where double and triple dipping not allowed.

But mainly we will see more of the same. What is already taking place. The true rate of inflation is being hidden and the cost of living allowances are based on the much reduced official figure. Expect in the future to get screwed over if you are receiving benefits adjusted to inflation. Right now inflation is running about ten percent a year. The government is admitting to about 3%. Remember, inflation is nothing more than an increase in the money supply ( traditionally currency, now mostly credit ). It has nothing to do with anything else. The housing bubble was supply and demand but only after the banks artificially lowered the interest rate to stimulate that market.

So while you will in fact receive your promised Social Security, it will buy a lot less than it does now. Every year it will be harder to make ends meet. Your health care and drugs will be free ( anyone see a push for socialized medicine again after the costs go even higher? ) and unless you are totally without luck you will have some kind of shelter paid off. But expect every other aspect of living to be difficult. Food. Utilities. Transportation. It might get the point where you will be penalized by the lose of Social Security if you apply for Food Stamps or utility payments or a city bus pass because your monthly gross went too high. They will be sure to delay keeping up with inflation on those calculations.

So you are going to have to figure out some kind of supplemental income. Hopefully without working. You don’t want to be a Wal-Mart door greeter. It used to be, back in the day when they actually bought American products, the door greeter was some friendly Granpa type who just greeted you. “Hi, welcome To Wally World! My name is George and if I die while greeting you since I’m 104 years old please notify a superior!” Now, they have that same kindly door greeter but they have gotten younger. Their primary role now is to act as the shoplifting police. When the alarm goes off they all shuffle forward in a swarm and check your receipt. In the future as the economy gets worse expect a lot more shoplifters that are a lot meaner, potentially even dangerous. Not the third career path to get into after your arthritis starts to act up.

My two suggestions for supplemental income are as a room boarder and a trailer park owner. The first one, renting out rooms in your house, involves no extra money invested but also a small return. The second requires some kind of investment but surely not much more than an overpriced home on the coast if you do it cheap. Then the return can be high. Renting out your rooms only requires that your mortgage is paid. It used to be quite common as widows were left a debt free home and the only way to get income was to sell room and board to single men. The arrangement worked well. The widow was comfortable and secure and the work involved was little different than being a homemaker. The men received cheap and affordable lodging. Of course nowadays the arrangement is for kitchen privileges as few of us can cook anymore for ourselves, let alone for others.

A travel trailer park can be as cheap or expensive as you wish. You can make it fancy and charge a lot ( and have large payments ) or have folks rough it and charge little. You just need a piece of land with a road to it. You could be as cheap as having electric only and just one sewer dumping station and one water hook up. After the economy gets bad enough people will stop being so picky and not insist on luxuries. People will be unable to afford apartments and start living out of trailers. Instead of like now where only the retired tourists do. A side business might be buying up cheap trailers now ( once the economy goes bad no one will sell, just live in them ) and fixing them up enough and then renting out both the trailer and the lot. Give a handyman free rent and a low wages under the table for maintenance.

A relatively stress free way of supplementing your retirement income.

Original: http://bisonsurvivalblog.blogspot.com/2006/11/retirement.html

DOING WITHOUT REFRIGERATION

Doing without refrigeration for any length of time is going to be near impossible. For now in normal times we can rely on propane powered machines. Or even blocks of regular or dry ice if you are drydocking in an RV. But this assumes a continuing supply from civilization. In any social breakdown scenario that lasts any length of time we can assume refrigeration is going to be a distant memory. Aside from salt we need to plan for long term replacements of refrigeration. Not that it is vital. It is merely a much better way of doing things. Meat won’t be able to be shipped already slaughtered. Households won’t have a ready means of keeping dairy and vegetables as they do now ( not without a lot more trouble than it is now- although it will be cheaper in the long run ).

Canning is only a long term strategy if you can replace jars and lids. Natural rubber ( there won’t be any synthetic without petroleum ) will need to be shipped overseas or up from South America. Glass manufacturing is ancient but whether an industry springs up to provide the jars is another story. As with lids. We take metal for granted but there is a lot of material that is imported to mix with iron or steel to make the alloys we are used to. Will we be able to duplicate them after a major crash? If not this leaves drying or salting or smoking and root cellars as the main preservative methods. We can easily do these things but make sure that you plan ahead for them.

A root cellar can be built with a minimum of material and might even cost less than a new refrigerator ( assuming no flooding problems ). You can leave a dirt floor in one section for vegetables and cement in another for preserving dairy and meats ( protecting against rodents ). Regular maintenance to it will never run you a bill as expensive as the electric bill for a machine. Let alone a replacement. If you still wanted to can I would save that mostly for meats because of the difficulty of replacement containers. For winter vegetables I would sprout and have a few window grow boxes. Why can veggies if you can grow them year round?

For dairy a root cellar is going to extend the life compared to storing them in the house. Milk can be turned into cheese. Cheese can be wrapped in cheese cloth that has been lightly wetted with vinegar. Butter can be stored in a butter crock. Myself, I had always assumed butter was made as needed. I had never heard of a butter crock until I saw it in Leeman’s catalog. A subscriber from Bison set me straight and was kind enough not to laugh. You can store butter up to two weeks safely at room temperature using a crock. Get one container and fill with butter. Turn it upside down and immerse it in a larger container filled with water. The water keeps air from getting in which keeps the butter from spoiling. Wash both containers well before using again. The catalog items were $10 each and small ( you would need four to store a pound of butter ). I was told to just use a bigger and smaller glass jar to save the money. In times to come without glass you can use a ceramic one.

You might want to look into sausage making. This is an ancient method of preserving meat. I love drying, living in a desert with plenty of sun, but any fatty meats will spoil if dried. This is where sausage making comes into play. Just make sure to research the old ways. If your mail order supplier of edible plastic tubing goes up in a nuclear flash you will need to know how to turn intestines into tubing. The same with spices and seasonings. Make sure you aren’t reliant on soon to be irreplaceable items. Isn’t this the whole point of doing away with the refrigerator? So while it is true you can make your own blocks ( for an old fashion ice box ) of ice with a solar panel, a battery and an old compressor and some salt water in an insulated box, eventually a critical component is going to fail and become unavailable. Well, so will .22 ammo and well made factory shoes and eyeglasses and a depressingly long list of other items. At least with refrigeration you can easily revert back to traditional means. Heck, there might even be an ice business set up where someone stores ice over the summer for customers use. You could even do it yourself if you were so inclined but it seems more of a bother than doing without leftovers and condiments.

Another area to look into would be tin cans. Could they be duplicated easily? Canning itself is easy. They have manual machines that look like big can openers that seal a metal can closed. But could one duplicate the cans? Obviously as a future business, it would be pointless on a household level. One problem with duplicating technology from one hundred to one hundred fifty years ago. It looks easy. But at the time we were at the height of our industrial revolution in this country. There was a fabulous infrastructure set up to supply those wishing to start an industry. Sam Colt didn’t need to mine his own ore and smelt it. He just needed to tell others how to build his new kind of revolver. We won’t be so lucky after our technological society reverts back several hundred years. You need to see past protecting your petty kingdom. Trade is absolutely essential to living above a primitive level.

Original: http://bisonsurvivalblog.blogspot.com/2006/11/refrigeration.html

FRUGAL LIVING

One relatively painless way to free up money for survival preps is to live frugally. Now, obviously, there are a lot of obstacles in your way. Your spouse lives as if the next paycheck is almost here and it will never stop. The house has another fifteen years to pay on. The car is new and has another five and a half years of debt on it. Gas and food are hard to substitute. If you are a hen pecked husband that doesn’t have the inclination to dictate how your money is spent, you can stop reading right now. No amount of begging will change your wife’s mind that her house ( you just pay the mortgage, it’s still hers ) will have any used furniture in it. I’m not judging too harshly. I was there before myself. Just ask yourself how important preparations are. Important enough to risk ending a relationship over? If you don’t mean the threat then your bluff will be called.

You don’t need to live in your vehicle. You don’t need to get that frugal. But so many things can be substituted with cheaper items. You can live off discards almost exclusively if you so desire. Lets start your frugal living ideas out with your most expensive bill. Your mortgage. If you want to stay where you are you won’t sell and buy cheaper elsewhere. So turn your house from an expense to an investment. Rent out a room. If those are all taken then convert the garage. If you have some property rent out a pasture to a horse owner. Cheap housing is hard to find. You will find a boarder.

Your car can be repossessed but most folks are scared of a bad credit rating. So they keep making car payments. And you don’t want to deliver pizza to pay off your car. The next purchase, buy a used car. New is over priced and going to bail out Detroit, not purchase increased quality. If you are fortunate enough to not have a car payment, keep it that way. Its only a money pit. Buy used where the value is closer to reality after depreciation. If you refuse to get rid of a car, how about moving closer to work or getting another job closer to home? Otherwise it’s the price of living in the suburbs.

You should never buy a new piece of furniture. There are oodles of used ones out there. Most furniture manufacturing is moving to China. Yet it is still expensive. Most of the markup goes to inflated overhead. And paying for idiotic schemes such as “make no payments for three years” advertising. It is cheaper to throw away your used furniture and buying more used pieces after you arrive at your new home if you are moving. U-Haul is expensive and the trucks get three to five miles to the gallon full. The same with kitchen goods and perhaps even clothing.

You shouldn’t buy new clothing other than underwear and socks. And footwear if you are worried about foot fungus. The thrift stores are full of used clothes. Slacks are three bucks each. Polo type shirts $2. Jackets are under five bucks. I spent $3.50 for my last two wool sweaters. And several polo shirts at a buck each ( going at half price days ).

Then use your wool sweaters to wear as you turn down the thermostat. Put solar troughs out at each south window to get free winter heat ( an insulated black trough covered in glass going from ground to window with the window open to let the air in-close at night to avoid losing the house heat ). If you are lazy or the Zoning Cops will get you, place a piece of black plastic in each south window, a few inches away from the glass ( hanging from the curtain rod ). The sunlight will hit the plastic and rise up into the room. If wood is cheap in your area, at least supplement your gas with a wood stove if not replace it altogether.

For entertainment, never buy new. The $26 hardback they sell today will be a buck in a year. The newest video will go down in price. The newest game system coming out drives down the cost of the older systems- get one of those ( I can’t see one of my readers buying the new PlayStation Three for $1200 on E-bay due to the shortages- wait a little and the PS2 will go under $100 and you can use it to bypass normal scrambling to copy DVD’s ).

For food, just buy all unprocessed foods. You will save lots of money, eat healthier and put the wife to work in the kitchen since she’s gotten really lazy with prepared foods and a microwave oven. Don’t buy instant mashed potatoes, always use fresh. I prepare with the skins for the vitamins and it saves skinning them ( or do peel them and then fry up the skins-yum ). For meat if I want beef I buy the brisket. $1.60 a pound, about $2 a pound after you trim the fat. Great in the crock pot but also surprisingly tasty just grilled. It is marbled with fat for a good flavor. You just need to buy it at ten or fifteen pounds at a time. Buy butter when on sale and freeze it. Margarine is foul and unhealthy. And butter is protein. If vegetables get too expensive, grow sprouts. If you can’t stand the taste just pour some tomato juice in the blender along with the sprouts. Puree. No expensive juicer to buy, no expensive vegetables to buy. And the most nutritious vegetables there are.

Make your own wine, roll your own cigarettes. Cut your own hair. Color your own hair. Perm it yourself, etc. Remove the service element from your purchases and you will save a bundle. Remember, China supplies cheap goods. We supply expensive services. Take out our services when possible to save.

Original: http://bisonsurvivalblog.blogspot.com/2006/11/frugal-living.html

On the importance of Survival Kits during Blackouts

By Joseph Parish

As soon as any sort of emergency situation is over the people involved usually vow that they will be well prepared should the same thing happen to them in the future. The problem is that when disaster strikes again they are generally no better prepared the second time then they were the first.

In all reality few homes have the necessary emergency supplies that would be required. As an example, something as simple as candles. If you were hit by a major power outage would you have candles readily available or would you find that you are stumbling around in the dark desperately searching for candles or flashlight batteries?

Usually people who are unprepared use the excuse that they do not have the necessary funds to create an emergency kit however, it does not take a considerable amount of money nor does it involve considerable efforts towards putting together a sufficient emergency survival package.

The first necessity that you will need during a potential blackout will be light. It is generally good logic to maintain a small stash of closely flashlights and batteries. I myself try to maintain one flashlight in each room. The batteries are generally situated in one central location. You can now purchase the LED flashlights which use very little battery power and provide a decent light level that is useable in any sort of emergency.

Another beneficial idea would be to keep several camping lanterns nearby. I keep a wind up - LED lantern hidden in my living room. It is actually bright enough that if I had to I could do a bit of reading with it. If you use regular lanterns don’t forget that you must stock up on the necessary batteries that it may use.

There are on the market today several emergency radios which do not use batteries - I have one such radio in my home. All you merely have to do is wind it up for a few minutes and it is good to go. These types of radios usually are of the AM-FM variety while a few may have a shortwave band included.

During any emergency it is important that you keep plenty of bottled water readily available for drinking, washing and for brushing your teeth I would like to make an important note here concerning containers of water. The 16 to 20 ounce plastic bottles are generally better then the gallon bottles of water as the gallon containers tend to deteriorate much faster then the smaller bottles. They are much easier to transport also. I keep a case of the 16 oz in my car for emergencies.

Another product that I would recommend for emergencies is a small portable stove of some sort in which you could make food to eat. Oh by the way since most of us have the electric can openers do not forget to obtain one of the manual can openers for emergencies.

Copyright @2008 Joseph Parish


Original: http://www.survival-training.info/articles6/OntheimportanceofSurvivalKitsduringBlackouts.htm

Canned Deer Meat


Ingredients

1 quart jars
deer meat
table salt

Procedure


Prepare jars in a boiling water bath. Cut meat into stew size pieces. Fill jars to inch from the top. Add 1 teaspoon of salt. Put the lids on the top and cook in a boiling water bath for 3 hrs. Meat will make its own juices. Remove and let set till cool and lids have sealed. Makes great bar-b-que and stew.

Original at: Unknown

Dealing with Bears in the Wild


The following List of tips can help you when encountering a bear in the wild.

Always keep your distance from bears, you should never try to seek out a bear in the wild doing so could prove deadly.


Make noise when hiking can help you to avoid accidentally sneaking up on a bear. Make noise, sing, talk loudly, or wear a bell when hiking in bear country.

If you spot a bear and the bear is unaware of you, back away slowly and quietly and get the heck out of there.

If you see a bear when hiking and it has noticed you shouting is usually enough to scare it away. If shouting fails to scare it off, back away slowly. NEVER turn your back to a bear, doing so can kick in the bears natural predator instincts. Bears run faster than 30 mph, you have no chance of outrunning one.

Bears have an awesome sense of smell! When camping, use bear resistant containers and make sure you store food away from your campsite. Never leave food in your tent, doing so could attract an unwanted visitor when you are most vulnerable

Never come in between a cub and it’s a mother.

Carrying pepper spray is a good idea when walking through bear country.

Wearing a pack, even when day hiking, can provide some space between you and a bear. (Keep in mind I said space NOT PROTECTION)

Throw something onto the ground if the bear pursues you, it may be distracted by what you threw and allow you to escape.

Do not cook or store food in or near your tent.

Check with the area Ranger Station for current bear sightings, locations, and any tips that they have.

Bears are Wild Animals, They can be unpredictable and even the best tips may fail when it comes to dealing with a wild animal. In Bear Country (of course if the law allows) Carrying a Gun may also be a wise option.

These are tips And meant to be treated as that, remember Bears are wild animals and capable of doing serious harm to you, don’t ever go out looking for bears!

Original at: http://offgridsurvival.com/dealing-with-bears-in-the-wild/

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