Hidden Gun Storage

Hidden WallsGun safes are very useful, and very practical. They do an excellent job of keeping your guns in, and keeping unwanted guests, kids, fire, etc., out. There are, however, a couple of problems with keeping all of your firearms in a safe. The first problem is that the unwanted guests that you are trying to keep your guns from now know where all your guns are. The second major issue with a safe is that your guns are (supposed to be) locked up. In case of an emergency situation, you have to make it to your safe, and get it unlocked before the threat reaches you or your loved ones.

Wouldn’t it be nice if there was a more convenient way to keep your firearms secure from others, but still make it reachable as if it was out in the open? What if you could keep your tactical guns and gear out in the open, but keep them hidden from everyone? There is a company down in Virginia by the name of Hidden Walls. They make wall inserts that you can put pictures or mirrors in front of, and they also do shelves that “fold down” to reveal your guns. Go check out their website at tacticalwalls.com, and see their different products that they offer.

Emergency Survival Shelter

I found this company online through a friend. This is for the prepper that has a little more money to prepare with…

 

Be Ready for the Cold

Cold weather sucksI dislike the winter. Its not that I personally have anything against the season, I just hate the cold. When I was younger, I remember getting bundled up and playing in the snow, but those days are long gone. When I was in the Navy, I spent the majority of my time in southern Georgia (Kings Bay), where there were no snow days or freezing rain. I would be out on the boat bass fishing on January 1st. Now, here I am in Ohio in the beginning of January, and its 7 degrees right now. Tonight its supposed to get down to a low of -9, and tomorrow is a high of +5 degrees. I guess it is my fault, though, I did choose to come back here when I got out of the military.

I guess its not just southeastern Ohio getting this cold blast right now. It looks like even quite a few southern states are feeling the effects of this “polar vortex.” (I don’t know if that term was made up for what we are experiencing now, but it sounds cool, regardless.) If you have to go out in this (yes, I have an outside job too) please keep in mind these few tips to battle the cold and to stay safe.

     Dress for the occasion

Compression ShirtMy uncle always told me to dress for success. For today and tomorrow, success equals not getting frostbite. Keeping the core of the body warm is easy. You want to dress in layers of dry clothing. Compression shirts are awesome, and work really well in the cold. Most people think of Under Armour, but there are less expensive options that can give you the same amount of protection.

Another thing that is recommended is that you remember your extremities, since that is the first place where frostbite will set in. It is easy to keep your core warm, but we don’t always think of everything else. Wear a hat. Preferably one that covers your ears, and maybe comes down to the top of your neck. Don’t forget about covering your neck also. When I work outside in this weather, I wear this balaclava, with this hat, and that keeps me warm for under 20 bucks.

Gloves are good, but mittens are better. I personally don’t like mittens, but I do have a pair that the in-laws got me a couple of years ago for Christmas. The “mitten” part folds back, exposing your fingers so that you can still have some dexterity when you need it. Also remember, especially you ladies, to wear shoes that are appropriate to the temperature.

     Mind your car battery

Recondition BatteryThe cold weather takes a toll on your car battery. Of course, parking your car inside a garage is the best defense, but not everyone has access to a garage. If your battery is newer than 3 years old, you should be ok. If it is older than that, you may want to keep an eye on it in case you have to go out in this. In some states, its a law that you have a spare battery in your car. Before you go out and drop 100 bucks or more on a new battery, there is another option.

All batteries can be reconditioned. In this guide, it covers the different types of batteries (batteries for your car, laptop, cordless power tools, rechargeables…), how to test batteries, and exactly how to recondition batteries. Of course, this guide isn’t free, but you can recoup your costs very quickly with this guide. I’m not only talking about the money that you will save yourself from buying a new battery, but you can charge a very small fee to family and friends and make a quick profit. There are people that use the information in this guide to make a very lucrative income from working at home.

     Take an extra blanket

emergency blanketNo matter the season, you should always have extra blankets with you when you travel. For some reason you may break down, your phone don’t work, and you just have to sleep in the car. Or whatever, create your own scenario. When the weather is colder like this, you should always carry one more blanket, per passenger, in your car in case of an emergency. You never know what may happen and how long it may take for help to arrive.

This is, of course, not an all-inclusive list. There are other things to remember when extreme cold weather strikes. As always, common sense prevails. Got a suggestion or a tip? Feel free to share it with me and others down below.

Is the Syrian civil war closer to home than we think?

It makes me sad. Everyday I turn on the news, there is more bloodshed over in Syria. The government security forces quietly killing activists. Then it escalates to innocent people getting kidnapped and killed, and eventually the military starts opening fire on protests. It was only a matter of time before civilians started fighting back.

Syria MapFrom there, all out civil war erupts. Civilians band together to form rebel groups. Volunteers from other countries side with the rebel forces to try to get democracy in Syria, and to get freedom from the oppressive dictatorship. Some of the volunteers fight with the Syrian rebels just because they like to fight.

The Syrian army goes from village to village, bombing towns, and destroying buildings wherever they go. Now they are being accused of using chemical weapons. That is a pure bullying tactic, being used to scare the civilians into submission.

Not everyone is fighting, though. There are a lot of innocent, peaceful civilians, caught in the crossfire. What are they to do? Are they safe to stay in their homes? Are they safer to leave, and go to a less populated area?

Do you know if you’re staying in or bugging out?

I am in no way predicting a civil war coming to this land. I definitely in no way want anything like this to happen in this great nation that I love. Even though I may not want it, I am not blind to the signs of what is going on.

Our privacy is getting less and less, in the name of national security. We are losing more and more Constitutional rights, in the name of homeland security. The right-wing, conservative America is more rapidly becoming the minority, and is under attack. Our religion and gun rights are being violated more and more every day. If we speak of the Bible, the Constitution, or the Bill of Rights, we are becoming the enemy to the government.

Do you have a plan?

So what if there is an uprising here in America? What are you going to do to protect your family? Are you going to stay put, or are you bugging out? Do you have a plan? Do you even know how to logically make a plan for you and your family?

A few weeks ago I got a copy of a report called The Family Survival System. This report is over 40 pages packed with survival planning, techniques, and practical checklists. Being a veteran, and a good ‘ole country boy, I figured that I had a pretty good handle on  what I would do when it hit the fan, but after reading this report, I found that there were several holes in my plan.

If you know the difference between what constitutes you staying in or leaving, then good for you. I would say that you are more prepared than 90% of everyone else. If you aren’t sure, though, there’s still time to act. Taking the time to make a plan is critical. A good plan can always be adjusted later to make it a great plan. Start to prepare now, while we still have the time and the freedom to.

Click here to get your copy of The Family Survival System.

Already have the report? Let me know what you think about it below.

Prepper Skills vs Knowledge: What’s the Difference?

eval exampleWhen I was in the Navy, my semi-annual evaluations were based off of different performance traits. The first one on the list was “Professional Knowledge.” On those evals, knowledge and skills were paired together, although they are definitely not the same thing. Even the evals made a point of establishing that if a given person had technical knowledge, were they able to put that knowledge to use, and make a skill out of it?

Knowledge

Knowledge is, simply put, things that you have researched but have never performed the task to make a skill out of it. Anything that you have any kind of interest in, there is some kind of documentation covering it somewhere, and more than likely it is online. YouTube, Wiki’s, Google, the possibilities are endless. Knowledge is awesome, but its even more awesome to have practiced that knowledge and acquired a new skill.

Skill

A skill is “a process that you can successfully perform that will produce a positive result.” Unless you are some kind of prodigy, you usually need to perform a task more than once to become proficient at it. Some examples of skills may include:

  • Starting a fire
  • Cleaning your firearm
  • Putting up a tent
  • Reading a compass/map

Notice how these skills are very specific. Being able to read a compass is different than being “good with directions.” In order not to fool yourself or others, you should be honest and specific when listing out your skills.

Fully understanding the difference between skills and knowledge is just part of The Prepper Triangle. A man by the name of Frank Mitchell wrote a short book on this, and other must-have skills in the Family Survival System.

Click here to find out more on the Family Survival System.

This book is over 40 pages crammed full of useful information. Frank Mitchell is a member of the Armed Forces, and has been through multiple disaster and survival courses.The information in this book is solid, and is a must have for families and individuals alike. I personally have a copy of this book, and I was amazed at how much detailed information in this book. For anybody who feels like now is the time to start preparing for the coming times, this book is a must-read.

 

How to Make Your Own PVC Bow

I have been researching online for a while for some ideas to make my own bow. I don’t bow hunt. I have never been a hunter, but I really enjoy shooting my guns. Ever since I moved earlier this year, I am unable to walk out my front door and shoot at whatever I want, whenever I want. I do, however, have enough room to go in the backyard and throw some arrows at a target without hitting anyone.

At first, I was going to build a long bow out of wood. I had found plans for it, and actually started building one out of red oak. I had it completed up until the step to string it up. I was getting pretty excited about it, but then I started having second thoughts about it. I didn’t know if I trusted my wood working skills enough. I was prompted me to look for other plans, that is when I found the “BackyardBowyer” on YouTube. This guy (Nicholas Tomihama) has posted over 300 videos on YouTube, and has made a bunch of bows. He also has a few different books on Amazon for building bows.

I decided to try to build one of his bows. I wanted to find a simple bow to build for my first one. Most of his bows look pretty simple and straight forward, but this one looked really simple, and really cheap.

My PVC BowI watched this video, and decided this would be my first build of his to try. I got the supplies, and took my laptop to my workshop. I would watch his instruction, then would pause the video and do the work. The video is just over 18 minutes long, and it took me just over 40 minutes to complete my first PVC bow. I finished this bow late last night, and I haven’t had a chance to shoot it yet. I am not expecting the same results that I would from a professional bow, but I am just looking to build a reliable, consistent shooting bow.

Have you tried to build any of these bows, either from his videos, or his books? What are your thoughts on these bows? Let me know below.

Leatherman vs Gerber Multi-Plier

Leatherman New Wave Multi-Tool

Leatherman New Wave Multi-Tool

When most people think of a hip-mounted all-in-one tool, they think of Leatherman. I mean, honestly, even the multi-tools that aren’t Leatherman’s are still referred to as a Leatherman. That is probably because they were the first to produce the idea of a “Boy Scout knife with pliers.” That was back in 1983, and since then there have been plenty of other companies trying to make their own mark in the multi-tool arena. Some are competitive, but most can’t keep up with the legendary name and reputation of the Leatherman brand. There are, however, some decent competitors out there…

Gerber Multi-Plier

Gerber Multi-Plier

Gerber Multi-Plier

When I was in the navy, I was onboard a submarine. Almost everyone carried some kind of multi-tool on their hip. When we were out to sea, the uniform was just a pair of coveralls, a tee shirt, and a uniform belt. I had the Spec-Ops Belt, and I had my Gerber attached to it. For me, the Gerber was just a better feel. With the Leatherman, you have to open it with two hands. No big deal, unless you can’t let go of something and need your tool in a pinch. That was the main thing that I liked about my Gerber. I could take it out of my pouch, flick it, and the pliers would come out, all while not having to let go of what I had in my left hand. That may not seem like a big deal, but for me, it was the deal breaker. I put mine back in the pouch the same way every time, so when I took it out, I could also get to the knife with the one-handed operation too. Simplicity was kept in mind when the folks over at Gerber designed their multi-tools.

So what do you carry? What is your preference, and why? I would love to hear what you think in the comments below…

 

Bug Out Bag List

You have decided that you need some kind of emergency plan, and that plan should include a bug out bag. But what now? Do you buy a pre-assembled disaster kit? Do you just wing it, and hope for the best? The truth is, there is no such thing as a perfect, one size fits all bug out bag list. My bug out bag is going to contain different items as the next guy’s bag. Everyone is different. You have different needs and wants than your neighbor. You may have a lot of similar items since you live in the same part of the world, but your bug out bag list will still differ from his.

Please note that this is my bug out bag list. What works for me may not work for you. Along with the research that you are doing right now, think about the different needs and wants that you have for your own bug out bag.

Bug Out Bag List – What Are Your Needs?

Regardless of how long you are “buggin out,” your primary need will be the need for water. The average adult will need at least 1 liter of water per day. It is a good idea to carry at least 3 liters in bottles, then have some kind of emergency water purification, as a backup.

Next, you are going to need some kind of food. I pack some energy bars, beef jerky, and some oatmeal. Another food item that some like to pack is rice. I personally don’t care for rice, but that’s just me.

Belt for your bug out bag list

5.11 TDU 1.5-Inch Belt

The next few items on my bug out bag list is different articles of clothing. In my bag, I have two extra pairs of underwear and two extra pairs of socks. Since I also have to worry about cold winters, I also pack a couple of extra pairs of long underwear. I have clothing sitting on top of my bug out bag so if I need to grab it in a hurry, I can get changed in no time. I like to keep a pair of cargo pants with a couple of short sleeved shirts and one long sleeved shirt sitting on top of my bag, along with my jacket. I always have a nylon belt, like the one pictured. Not only does my belt keep my pants up, but I also have a holster on that belt. I prefer this type of belt to a traditional belt because its always the right fit, I don’t have to worry about “fitting” in between belt holes. I also have my boonie hat sitting on top of my bag, I will be wearing it too. I will also have my sunglasses on my head, regardless of what season it is.

The next item on my bug out bag list is my first aid kit. You can buy a prepackaged kit, but its better if you make your own, for a couple of reasons. The first reason is that the 200 piece kits usually consist of 180 bandages, and a couple of other first aid items. The second reason why its better to make your own kit is so you can customize it, and you know what everything is used for. Depending on where you live, you may need items for snake bites. Also, if you are allergic to bee stings, that is something else that you need to keep in mind.

Bug Out Bag Multitool

Leatherman 830160 Surge Pocket Multitool

The next category is survival items. My first item on my list would be flashlights. I keep more than one bug out bag flashlight in and on my bug out bag. You are probably most vulnerable at night, and you don’t want to be totally blind. The next survival item that I’ll mention is my multitool. There are so many versions with so many different options, it is up to you whatever your needs are. The only thing that I would suggest is that you go with needle-nose pliers, instead of more of a “blunt-tip” pliers. My first multitool that I bought didn’t have the needle-nose. Once I got my second tool with the needle-nose, it was a night and day difference. I would also recommend a compass. Don’t rely on the “compass app” on your phone, in case you can’t charge your phone. Some people prefer to carry a machete, but I choose to carry a hatchet instead. I also carry water proof matches and hand warmers in my bug out bag.

My next category on my list is shelter. Some people may say that you can carry a tarp to sleep under, but how good is your sleep going to be under a tarp in the pouring down rain? I believe that you need a good bug out bag tent. If you are going to be on your feet walking all day, you need to be able to get a good night’s sleep. Also, if you are nowhere around a tree, what are you going to put the tarp on? Along with the tent, you are going to want a good bug out bag sleeping bag. You are going to want to get a bag that is large enough for you, and one that is rated to at least -10 degrees. Some say that you want a mummy style bag, but if it isn’t big enough, then it won’t do you any good.

Bug Out Bag 2-way Radios

Motorola MJ270R Talkabout Two-Way Radios

The next category on my bug out bag list is communication. My flashlight is a form of communication. If its daytime, and the sun is shining bright, a flashlight won’t do you much good. A signaling mirror would be a better choice to attract attention. If, for whatever reason, you are unable to yell for help, a whistle is always a good choice to call for help. A whistle is also helpful to scare away unwanted animals that may do you harm. If you are going to be travelling with a loved one, you may also want to consider some kind of 2-way radio. If you are going to get a set of these, consider a set with a weather and emergency channel. The set pictured have an emergency siren, an LED flashlight, and access to seven National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) channels.

Bug Out Bag List – Can I pack some optional items?

Of course, the answer is yes. I encourage you to think about it, talk about it with your wife/husband, and take some notes down. Some people like to pack cooking tools, along with hot sauce. The hot sauce makes anything a little more edible. Some also prefer bug repellent and sunblock. Some people prefer baby wipes to soap. Many people prefer to pack a roll of duct tape, because you just never know what you’ll need it for.

Whatever you choose to pack in your bug out bag, be sure to test it out a couple of times on a long weekend. This will tell you what you are missing, and what extra weight that you don’t need to pack. Remember, there is no right or wrong bug out bag list. Its all about your survival, so don’t take it lightly.

Bug Out Bag Flashlight

When disaster strikes, in whatever form, it usually won’t happen at 9:00 am on a Saturday morning when the weather is perfect and you have no plans for the day. Unfortunately, when the time comes that you need to grab your bug out bag and go, the circumstances probably won’t be ideal for traveling. The weather may be bad, it could be storming or snowing, depending on where you live. It may also be nighttime, and you may not be able to use your vehicle. In this case you will want to make sure that you have a dependable bug out bag flashlight with somewhat fresh batteries.

What You Don’t Want In A Bug Out Bag Flashlight

There are hundreds of different brands and hundreds of different designs of flashlights. That being said, obviously there is no “one, perfect bug out bag flashlight.” However, there are some flashlights that you will want to try to avoid. A rechargeable flashlight is one that you will not want in your bug out bag. If you do have one, that means that you will also have to pack the charger, which is added weight and space. Not to mention, if you are buggin’ out, where do you intend to plug it in and recharge it?

Streamlight LED Flashlight

“Lantern” Style Streamlight LED Flashlight

Another type of flashlight that you want to avoid is the “lantern style” flashlights. These are the types of lights with handles on them. The lantern style flashlight is the kind that is usually found on fire trucks and other emergency response vehicles. In most cases, these are normally rechargeable style flashlights too. You can find them powered by alkaline battery, although their light output is not as strong. They have big ergonomic handles that make holding them easy, even for a firefighter who is wearing thick gloves. Even with a convenient handle, they still get heavy after just a few minutes. Although their light output is awesome, and it seems like the beam can reach the moon, these too are also big and bulky. These kinds of lights do not make a good bug out bag flashlight.

What Is A Good Bug Out Bag Flashlight?

As I mentioned before, there is no such thing as the “one, perfect bug out bag flashlight.” There are always different situations where you will need different solutions. Personally, I stick with only one brand of flashlight. I will only buy a Streamlight LED flashlight. I was a volunteer fireman for a few years, and had one mounted on my helmet. That light never failed me. The worst thing that happened to it was some of the rubber around the lens melted, and some of the plastic lens also melted, but that is because it got a little warm in a few houses I was in. My first Streamlight LED flashlight is still with me. Additionally, the Streamlight company stands behind their products, which is hard to find these days.

Bug Out Bag Flashlight

Bug Out Bag Flashlight by Streamlight

One of my favorite flashlights, which is also my main bug out bag flashlight, is the Streamlight 2AA ProPolymer LED flashlight. This flashlight is small, its just a little over 6 inches long. It also has a little belt clip to it so when you are not using it you can just clip it on your belt, or I like to slip mine in my pocket. Its small enough that you hardly even notice that its in there. This Streamlight LED flashlight also has the rubber coating around the lens to make it shock and impact resistant. I have owned the Mini Mag Lights with the LED bulb in the past, and have dropped them before, and had to get a new light because it couldn’t be dropped. I have dropped this flashlight numerous times, and it has never hurt it a bit. Another thing that I really like about these flashlights is that the on/off switch is in the tail cap. This makes signaling very easy. If you need to flash your light quickly to get someone’s attention, this feature makes signaling easy. The specs on this light from Streamlight says that this light on 2 “AA” batteries is rated for 18 continuous hours. You should not need to pack spare batteries for this bug out bag flashlight.

Is There Any Other Kinds of Bug Out Bag Flashlight I Should Consider?

Bug Out Bag Flashlight

Bug Out Bag Flashlight Headlamp

I believe that you can never have too many flashlights. I was stationed on a submarine when I was in the Navy, and when there are no lights, it is really dark since there are no windows. Since then, I almost always carry a flashlight with me, and I like to have a spare close by. One of my spares that I carry in my bug out bag is a headlamp type flashlight. The one that I have is the Streamlight Argo HP C4 LED headmount flashlight. It is nice to have a light mounted on my head so that I can have both of my hands free. I have not needed to use it in an emergency situation, such as starting a fire, but I have used it before while working on my car at night. The guys over at Streamlight have made these “C4” LED flashlights so that they have the battery usage of an LED light, but have the range and brightness of a xenon bulb. These flashlights also last up to 30 hours on low mode, which is about 25% output, for 30 hours. No need to pack spare batteries for this light either.

Streamlight LED Flashlight

Streamlight LED Flashlight KeyMate

I also have one other redundancy on my bug out bag. Notice I said on, and not in. I keep three of these little Streamlight KeyMates on the zippers of my bug out bag. They are small, just over 2 inches long, and they are lightweight. I like these because they have the little keychain lanyard attached to the tail of them. They are small enough that they never get in the way, but I have an extra light or two if I need them in a pinch. The ones that I have also came with red and green light filters that I can put on them. I don’t use the green filter, but I do like the red filter at night so that my eyes don’t have to readjust to the dark after looking at something through the red lens. The reason that I can carry these lights on the outside of my bug out bag is that they are designed to withstand the weather. Although they are small, these lights are o-ring sealed so that it keeps any water out. The batteries for these little 1 ounce lights are rated for up to 96 hours run time, so you should not need to pack spare batteries for these lights either.

There are many options in selecting your bug out bag flashlight. Ultimately, you will have to decide what is right for you as far as size, weight, and dependability. I choose Streamlight because the company stands behind their product, 100%. I also choose Streamlight because the prices on their products are not outrageous. There are many flashlights, in my opinion, that are lower quality, but cost more than Streamlight flashlights.

Bug Out Bag Tent

The need for shelter is a basic human need. When some kind of disaster strikes and you have to pick up your bug out bag and go, you are going to want some kind of shelter from the elements. I enjoy camping out on the weekends in my tent, but I tend to pick the weekends where the weather forecast is somewhat agreeable. In an emergency situation, you will more than likely not have that luxury. Some people may say that all you really need is a tarp to throw over a branch. That may work for some, provided they have a branch to throw a tarp over when it starts raining. I would prefer to have a bug out bag tent already packed and ready to go.

Your Bug Out Bag Tent Isn’t Always the “Best Cheap Tent”

Bug Out Bag Tent

Bug Out Bag Tent by Eureka!

When I go on my camping trips, I don’t usually take my bug out bag tent. My wife says that there is no fun in staying in a tent that small. There is limited space in my bug out bag, and I don’t want my tent to take up half the space in there. Some may think that they can just buy the “best cheap tent,” and that will suffice for what they need. Maybe so, but probably not. Tents, like anything else is, you get what you pay for (for the most part). You can spend over $400 on a two man tent, but that doesn’t necessarily make it the best tent for you. For the most part, the more expensive tents are sealed better, have better rain protection, they have better zippers, they are lighter, and they take up less space when packed up. That doesn’t mean that you can’t find a quality tent for about $300 less. For example, this Eureka! Apex 2XT pictured is a great bug out bag tent, for a very reasonable price. It all just depends on what your needs are, and how much you want to spend.

Is There A Camping Tent Accessory That I Need To Consider For My Bug Out Bag Tent?

Bug Out Bag Sleeping Bag

Bug Out Bag Sleeping Bag by TETON

There is more than just one camping tent accessory that you will need. After you find a good tent, you are going to want to find a good bug out bag sleeping bag. Although you may think that one is just as good as the other, just remember that space is always an issue. You have also got to keep in mind how much space you need. The reason that I say that is because I am not a small guy. I weigh about 260 lbs, so I will not fit comfortably in all sleeping bags. You also want to keep in mind that whenever you have to grab your bug out bag and go, it may not always be on that perfect August or September night. Your bug out bag sleeping bag also has to keep you warm, regardless of the temperature outside. For these reasons mentioned, I go with the TETON Sports Celsius XXL. Its a little bigger, because I’m a little bigger, and its rated to 0 degrees F.

Bug Out Bag Tent Footprint

Bug Out Bag Tent Footprint by Eureka!

Another camping tent accessory that you will want to have is some kind of tarp to put under the tent. These are also referred to as tent “footprints.” These footprints will help prevent water from the ground seeping up through the tent floor, and making your sleeping experience quite unpleasant. With the conventional square or rectangle tents, you could just use any tarp and that would work just fine. A tarp would still work fine, but the shapes of tents and their rain hoods these days are not exactly square, and most have footprints that you can purchase that will be an exact fit to the shape of the tent and rain hood. If you do not have some kind of moisture barrier, you will more than likely get wet, your tent will get wet, and then it will stink.

So What Is The Best Bug Out Bag Tent?

These are my opinions, and are based on my personal preferences and experiences. What will work for you may be different. Research different options, and read customer reviews. If any of your friends have a bug out bag tent, ask them why they chose that one. Ask them what the pros and cons are of their decision. Just remember, your bug out bag tent won’t be a 3 room, 14 person tent. You will be carrying this on your back, so keep the size and weight in mind.