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Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Hiking and Backpacking Tips: Lighten Your Load

The lighter you go the better you feel.

Reducing the load in your backpack by even just a pound can have a positive effect on your body and spirits. Your shoulders will benefit. Your hips will benefit. Your knees will benefit. And your feet especially will thank you for reducing the load that you make them to carry.


Here are some tips on how to take off that pound and many more:

1. Take only what is essential for your hike. This is not easy to follow through on. So, with every item that you consider putting into your backpack ask this question: What is the worst thing that could happen if I didn’t take this? If the answer does not include some terrible consequence, leave it out.

2. Make everything you can do double duty. If you are considering a plate and a bowl, leave out the plate. A bowl can be used for cereal, soup, drinks and anything else you might want to eat or drink. The same goes for a spoon. It can replace a fork. So leave the fork at home. But, you might say: “A fork is so light. It only weighs ounces. So, I’ll just throw it in.” Saving ounces on many items adds up quickly to saving pounds. So, goodbye fork.

Another multitask item is a candle. It can be used to produce light, help start a fire, and do some waterproofing. Beside that, it is much lighter than a lamp.

Parachute cord is one of the most versatile items that you can take. It can serve as a clothesline, a guy line for your tent or tarp, emergency shoelaces or a whole list of other things.

3. Buy light versions of items that you really need. Titanium cookware is lighter than stainless steel or even aluminum. Purchase light sleeping bags, backpacks and tents. Or consider using a tarp instead of a tent.

4. Benefit from the land. Cut down on the water that you carry by including purification tablets or a very light water filter. Of course, you must be sure that you can find water on your route.

5. Reduce the weight of containers. Reject anything that comes in a can. Take dehydrated meals.

6. Take along foods that are energy rich and have a high nutrition-to-weight ratio. Energy bars are a good example of this type of food.

Put emphasis on foods that provide longer-lasting energy. Sugary snacks will give you a burst of energy but will leave you hungry in a short time. Nuts, on the other hand provide energy over a much longer period of time. A mixture of nuts a dried fruit is ideal for energy.

Leave behind foods that are nutrition poor.


Be kind to your body parts. Lighten up while hiking and backpacking.

by Richard Davidian, Ph.D.


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Food Storage Recipes: 12 Bean Soup

It’s beginning to look a lot like CHRISTMAS around here! Winter time always makes me want to pull out all of my delicious soup recipes. Since a lot of good soups are made out of all shelf stable foods, we wanted to share a few with you this week. This is a favorite recipe of mine from my mother-in-law. And later this week (after we give you some info on split peas), Julie will be sharing her famous split pea soup recipe. Hope you enjoy!

12 Bean Soup Recipe:

2 c. 12-bean soup mix*
1 ham bone (optional)
4 T. bulls eye BBQ sauce
1 chopped onion
1 T. sugar
1 small clove garlic
3 stalks celery, diced (can use dehydrated)
¼ tsp. lemon pepper
2 carrots, diced (can use dehydrated)
2 T. ketchup
28 oz. can whole tomatoes
¼ tsp. salt and ginger
1 pinch red pepper flakes

*You can buy this as a mix or make your own with a variety of the legumes in your food storage

Wash 2 cups of bean mix. Soak in a large pot overnight. Drain. Add 8 cups water, ham bone, 1 tsp. salt, and ¼ tsp. ginger. Bring to a boil and cook until beans are tender (about 1 hour). Add remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil. Simmer 2 ½ to 3 hours. Stir and add water as needed. For more zest, double all spices.

For other food storage recipes check out:

Our Food Storage Recipes Page
Our sister site EverydayFoodStorage.NET
I Can’t Believe It’s Food Storage book
Country Beans book

Survival Transportation–Don't Forget to Winterize Your Car

Time for a personal confession. I’ve dreaded writing today’s post. Why? Because I think of the hundreds of times we’ve heard public service announcements about getting our cars ready for winter, and how many more hundreds of times we’ll hear the same old same old this year.

Then I remember the author of Deep Survival saying many accidents happen because people are over confident. They think they know what they’re doing and don’t take the time they do the things they really do know they need to do. Getting your car ready for winter truly is important.

From what I’ve been hearing, fewer people are flying this holiday season, which means more will be driving. It’s especially important to be prepared before you travel long distances. We get busy and assume everything’s all right, partly because cars don’t have the problems they used to in decades past.

My wife took her car in for service a few weeks back and was told she’d better get two new tires. That was no sales hype. She really needed them. The front tires were so worn the cords were beginning to show. She could have had a blowout. So she got the front tires replaced. The spare needed to be replaced as well.

With that in mind, I share the following tips about winter weather preparedness for your car.

The first thing to do is check the weather and anticipate storms or other inclement conditions. Plan for extra travel time. You may need to do this to accommodate traffic anyway.

To winterize your car, attend to the following:

* Battery and ignition system should be in top condition and battery terminals clean.

* Ensure antifreeze levels are sufficient to avoid freezing.

* Ensure the heater and defroster work properly.

* Check and repair windshield wiper equipment; ensure proper washer fluid level.

* Ensure the thermostat works properly.

* Check lights and flashing hazard lights for serviceability.

* Check for leaks and crimped pipes in the exhaust system; repair or replace as necessary. Carbon monoxide is deadly and usually gives no warning.

* Check breaks for wear and fluid levels.

* Check oil for level and weight. Heavier oils congeal more at low temperatures and do not lubricate as well.

* Consider snow tires, snow tires with studs, or chains. Install good winter tires. Make sure the tires have adequate tread. All-weather radials are usually adequate for most winter conditions. However, some jurisdictions require that to drive on their roads, vehicles must be equipped with chains or snow tires with studs.

* Replace fuel and air filters. Keep water out of the system by using additives and maintaining a full tank of gas. Maintain at least a half tank of gas during the winter season.

Carry a Winter Storm Survival Kit in your car, which should include:

* blankets/sleeping bags

* flashlight with extra batteries

* battery powered radio

* first-aid kit with Necessary medications included

* knife, such as a good pocket knife

* high-calorie, non-perishable food, including snack foods

* extra clothing to keep dry, including extra hats, socks and mittens

* a large empty can and plastic cover with tissues and paper towels for sanitary purposes.

* a smaller can and water-proof matches to melt snow for drinking water

* sack of sand (or cat litter)

* shovel

* windshield scraper and brush or small broom

* tool kit

* tow rope

* booster cables

* water container

* compass and road maps

* emergency flares

* fluorescent distress flag

Keep your gas tank near full to avoid ice in the tank and fuel lines.

Try not to travel alone. Let someone know your timetable and primary and alternate routes.

You can find this information and much more about winter preparedness in my “winter Storm Survival Basics” report. Click here and find out how to get yours today.

Whether you’re getting ready to travel over Thanksgiving or for activities in the next few weeks, be alert and stay safe. I hear the first part of December could get more wintry than what we’ve experienced so far this season. Don’t take chances you don’t have to. Be sure your car is ready for what winter has to dish out.