Archive for the ‘Survival and Hiking’ Category
Unigear sent me their MOLLE medical first aid pouch to try out. This is a nice sized pouch with elastic straps which holds things in place. I put it on my Bug Out Bag and use it for my mobile kitchen.
The Unigear MOLLE EMT first aid pouch is shipped with a pair of surgical shears. I immediately put these into my first aid pouch on the back of my BOB.
Unigear MOLLE First Aid Pouch
I put my mobile kitchen into the Unigear pouch. With dimensions of 8 x 6 x 3 inches it is large enough to hold my entire mobile kitchen on the back of my bu out bag. The Unigear MOLLE pouch has elastic straps which hold things in place. I put two granola bars each in two of the straps. In a third I put my folding camp silverware. These items fit on the one side like the pouch was made for them.
On the other side I put a fast dry camp towel and a tea strainer. In the center I keep my folding cup and bowl. Plus I carry my Emberlit titanium folding camp stove in there now as well.
Unigear MOLLE First Aid Pouch Used For Mobile Kitchen
You can see in the image above that this pouch is large enough to hold my entire mobile kitchen with no problem. Compared to my hand in the image you can get an idea just how large this pouch from Unigear really is.
The PALS straps and snaps hold the pouch firmly in place. With cheaper pouches I have had trouble with the straps falling off while hiking. This could be disastrous if you lose your gear in a survival situation. With the Unigear pouch I have no fear because the snaps are tough and hold the pouch in place well. I have taken my backpack out on many trips since receiving the Unigear MOLLE pouch and it has served me well.
The outside of the Unigear medical first aid pouch is covered in MOLLE straps to allow you to attach more gear to it with no problem. This further increases your storage capabilities.
This pouch is made of 900D military grade nylon in black and tan colors and 1000D nylon in red and green colors. With silent pull zippers you will not give away your location when using this in the field. The pouch opens fully and folds flat open which is convenient for accessing your gear with ease.
Get your Unigear MOLLE first aid pouch here: Unigear Tactical First Aid Pouch
You can watch my full video unboxing and review on YouTube here: Hardcore Field Use Of Unigear First Aid Pouch On Bugout Bag
After having insulated the forklift battery the day before, I wanted to check on how it was managing. With the outside temperature at 11 degrees, coupled with about a 10mph wind, the battery bank was 39 degrees at 7:30 am. The previous evening, at last check, it had been 47 degrees, so it was pretty exciting to find it had only lost 7 degrees overnight. Hopefully, once it reaches a temperature of 50 to 60 degrees, it will make a difference on the standby voltage.
Since the day ended up getting rather blustery with winds gusting up to 30 mph, I decided it was a good day to get my eggs safely packaged into cartons and begin packing my day carry survival bag.
I have a bug out bag in my car complete with everything necessary for long-term survival but my truck is without one. I began to think about the “what ifs” regarding the possibility of something happening if I am on the road with the truck rather than the car. On the same token, in my good jeans, I always carry a Leatherman tool and tiny pocket Leatherman, but not so with my work pants. What if I were to run to town wearing my work pants? My solution was to put together a day carry bag which will go with me when I leave the Tiny House on Wheels, no matter what.
For this purpose, I use a Fieldlines pistol case with a removable padded pistol pouch in the middle that holds my tablet perfectly. It also has magazine pouches on both sides, making it a great organizer for survival gear. The bag is far from complete, but so far it contains . . .
A pocket fisherman and clip on reel
Pen and pencil
LED flashlight and a wind-up LED light for back up
First Aid kit
Lighter and matches, both strike anywhere and waterproof
Multi-tool and silverware kit with can opener, knife, fork and spoon
Hand warmers for being stranded in cold weather
A 10-pack of Coleman travel towels
Carabiner for adding water bottles when on the road
Survival bracelet that someone had sent me
Survival kit in a can
Ear plugs for aid in sleeping in louder environments
Key ring with thermometer, compass and wind chill indicator
As for the eggs, I had picked up five egg cartons labeled “Farm Fresh Eggs” from Tractor Supply at 49 cents each for what I estimated to be about 50 eggs. My chickens are still laying about four to five eggs a day. The last few days, unfortunately, I have lost about half to freezing due to the arctic chill temperatures. They lay their eggs in one coop and stay in another, so not being quick enough can result in frozen eggs. What I had already collected, however, turned out to be 48 in total (since I had eaten a couple for lunch earlier), and I hope to begin making a little pocket change from selling them. The average market price for organic eggs is $3.50 a dozen, an amount which does not allow for much profit when taking into consideration the cost of the cartons, feed, and other slight “overhead” costs. The best feeling is the one I get from knowing I have taken the first step on the path to self-sufficiency at the Off Grid homestead.
For the full video, including Analyzing status of battery banks: YouTube Video
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Day one after bugging out into the mountains on our grid down survival training scenario we woke up after a surprisingly warm night inside our homemade truck camper. With a smaller space just the heat of our bodies kept it warm inside. It also helps to have a lot of gear inside to fill up the air space.
After we got up though and the sun started to rise it started getting quite cold and we both had to bundle up for a couple hours until it warmed up again. After heating up some coffee on the SilverFire Hunter biomass stove we had some dry cereal and coffee for breakfast. After the system goes down there will be no more milk and dairy products unless you have a goat or cow of your own or have a farm nearby. We also had not refrigerator and had no cold foods anyway.
I learned that the SilverFire Hunter stove needs to have the top opening fully covered in order to work properly so I inverted a frying pan over the top of it. My little aluminum camp cookware I have is all too small to cook directly over the stove. This reduces efficiency a bit but it got the job done.
I had my laptop out and was uploading the previous day’s video using my homemade solar power generator. It works very well. Both my friend and I kept our cell phones charged up and I was able to use the internet way out in the Catskills.
Depending on the reason for you to bug out, you may still have cell phone access as well. In this case we both are still living in the real world and needed contact with the outside during our stay. In a full grid down situation there will be no more use for a cell phone unless you use it for playing games, which may help reduce the stress of loosing most of what you are familiar with in the real world. People can live without modern technology but it you do not have to, then why should you?
In a full collapse scenario I will still use my computer to play movies or music or even games. It will help ease the transition into the dark ages.
After breakfast we had a look around our new “home”. We had set up camp in full darkness and we did a surprisingly good job. With just the Mr Beams LED lantern and my Larry Light we got a shelter put up and unpacked the whole truck.
We took a ride into town on a “scavenging” expedition to see if we could get some wood to build a cottage for a more permanent shelter. My friend Erick has owned this land for about 15 years and has never had anything on the property until now. We had no luck and returned to camp empty handed on this day. Erick decided to chop down trees and build a cabin with nothing but an ax and a hand saw so he got to work chopping on a tree. About an hour later a tree was down. It was a tough job because after cutting the tree through, it did not budge. It just hung there stuck on the upper branches of the surrounding trees.
Lesson learned – cut from the outside in. Never cut in the middle of the forest. The tree would not come down. We had to drag the base of the tree outwards until the top of the tree fell down. What a job. That was dumb. But we learned. That is the reason for this trip. Learn now so we do not have to later in a true shtf situation.
I have some items with me that I had wanted to test out and review. I was at Walmart a couple weeks before and found a Coleman waterproof match set in a plastic carrying case for only a dollar. I bought all three that they had on the shelf. Today I opened one of them up to have a look at it. It comes in an orange water resistant case with 25 waterproof matches inside. Rolled up inside the tube is a striker sealed in plastic to protect it from the elements. On the bottom of the container is a ferrocerium rod for emergency fire starting. This is a sort of man made flint which emits a huge bright spark when struck with a knife edge. I am impressed with the deal you get here for a dollar and will be getting more in the future if I find any.
The Coleman Waterproof Match Kit
Testing Some Emergency Fire Starting Material
I also have a couple dollar store zippo type cigarette lighters. I figured for a dollar I can try them out so I got two of them. They do work but do not burn correctly. The flame is large but burns out the side a bit. But in a survival situation it can save your life for sure. Even the flint is a nice deal for that low price. You can get a bunch of dollar store replacement flints to carry around and just use the lighter as a flint and steel for emergency fire starting if the fuel runs out.
I also have a small package of Duraflame fire starter. This is normally sold to be used in starting a wood stove fire but I had the idea of using it in my emergency survival gear as a survival fire starter. When wood is wet you have a harder time finding dry tinder to start a fire with. The Duraflame burns hot and long, giving you the ability to start a fire in just about any condition. It only takes a small pinch to get a nice fire going. This is definitely going to be a part of my survival gear. One for my car, one for the truck and a couple for my bug out gear. At only 88 cents it is worth its weight in gold in a survival situation.
This is a training scenario so I am learning a lot of important points out here. One is that you must keep your survival gear fresh and use it from time to time. My bug out bag has not been touched in over two years since my friend got married. I have not been hiking since. So my sleeping bag and military poncho liner stunk from mildew. I had to hang them out to air out for the day.
Another thing I learned that is very important is to keep your food not only rotated, but inspected for insect damage. Our dinner was to be some gnocchi with tomato sauce and couscous on the side. This sadly had to be changed because moths had eaten into the couscous package and left a horrible ruined mess of the food inside. You must ensure that your survival food rations are protected from the elements, rodents and insects. This was actually in my food pantry at home and was not even that old.
Dinner was cooked over the SilverFire Hunter biomass stove. This stove is quite amazing in that it can cook for a whole hour with just a handful of twigs. Even a rocket stove needs constant feeding of fuel in order to boil even a pot of water. With the SilverFire Hunter, all you have to do is get it going and then cook like you would on a normal stove top. You can even control the temperature a little by varying the air intake on the bottom of the stove as needed.
Trying Out The SilverFire Hunter Biomass Stove
A large pack of coyotes brought an early end to our evening. We only had a bow for protection. I even forgot my large survival knives although I did have them in my hands when packing the truck. I am not sure what happened to them on the way to being packed for the trip. Anyway, left nearly defenseless we jumped into the homemade truck camper and called it a night. We had oil lamps for warmth on this chilly night. Two oil lamps took the chill off enough for us to sit comfortable as we talked before bedtime.
Overall I would call this trip a success in that I am learning a lot of useful things for a true survival situation. You will never be perfectly prepared unless you train – train – train. Even I forgot some important points and items on this trip.
Watch the video:
I have had a fiberglass camper top for the bed of my truck for about two years now and always wanted to make a camper out of it. Now with a survival trip into the mountains coming up and no shelter where I am staying the time has come. A couple friends and I made a fully loaded survival truck camper in just two days.
I started out with the camper top. I got this for free two years ago off the internet classifieds. I used it from time to time for hauling stuff in my truck on rainy days but its been sitting on blocks for the past year now. This camper shell has sliding glass windows and bug screens. It has access to the cab through another sliding glass window. There are many windows, a raised roof area so you can sit up and also skylights to allow more light to enter during the day.
The camper top has a standard RV light fixture on the ceiling and the wires were just hanging down from the side of the shell.
After mounting the camper top on the bed of my 1987 GMC High Sierra 2500 4×4 truck I sat inside and checked out the space I had to get an idea what I could fit inside my new camper. I wanted a bed and a shelf for sure. That was a given. So I got measuring and came up with the idea of a two piece bed that slides together and uses the wheel well for support on one side. A single screw holds the two pieces together during travel to prevent them from sliding all over. Big Joe gets most of the credit for building the bed.
Then I built a shelf that spans the whole front of the camper from one side to the other. This is a simple drop in shelf that I can move around or remove as needed.
But I did not stop there. I wanted to have my battery topped off at all times so I used an old solar charge controller I had laying around and connected it to the batteries with a 5 watt solar panel I also had left over from an old project. Now I have a solar charged water on demand camp sink. I love it.
So far the total cost of the survival truck camper equals two dollars for the silicone hose. The rest of the materials I got for free or had laying around.
The composting toilet uses the seat off my old camper toilet. I replaced the sink in the camper long ago with a composting toilet and this old RV toilet was sitting out back. I took off the seat and lid and the guys helped me build a frame for my new truck camper composting toilet. A 5 gallon bucket slides easily underneath to catch your business. The toilet slides into the back side of the truck bed underneath the shelf during transportation or stowage.
After sitting back and enjoying the progress of our labors I came up with the idea of a second bench on the other wheel well for a guest to sit at. Big Joe whipped that up while I worked on an electrical system for the survival bug out shelter. I wanted to have power on demand for running lights, cell phone or other devices while out in the woods. I am not a minimalist survivor and never claimed to be. I like my comforts. We live in the 21st century and I will not head back into the stone ages in a grid down or shtf situation.
I have two old truck batteries I used for the main source of power. After connecting them up in parallel I also connected a 20 amp solar charge controller I had extra. This is connected to a 40 watt solar panel I bought used for only $20. In the meantime Joe Guiver hooked up the overhead wiring so I would have light inside my new homemade camper.
Now, not counting the value of things I already had on hand, I spent about 22 dollars for some battery terminals and the silicone hoses. I will total up the value of everything later counting what I had spent for things I already had on hand. I will also compare with full retail price in case you do not have these items on hand.
To hold things all together neatly I used a piece of scrap wood for an electronic control panels. This holds my solar charge controller, fuse block, negative battery terminal strip and also I added a cigarette lighter socket to power any accessories. It was looking very good.
I was sitting in the new camper with Big Joe and we came up with the idea of a table. A folding table that sits in between the two benches and can fold away when not in use. To allow for leg room to get in and out of the camper the table only has tree legs. Two on the back side and one on the front. This allows us to easily slip into the bed of the truck and sit at the table. The table sits three men comfortably for playing a game of cards or a meal after a day in the woods.
Now I have a fully decked out survival truck camper for shtf or just for fun.
The total cost I paid during the project was only about $22. The rest of the materials I had on hand.
Here is a list of materials used.
Truck camper top – free
Scrap lumber – free
Bamper sink from a water damaged camper – free
2 silicone hoses from the dollar store – $2
Used windshield water pump from a dead vehicle – free
Toggle switch I had laying around – free
Old truck batteries – free
4 battery terminals $5 each – $20
Scrap automotive wiring – free
Old jumper cables for battery connections – free
Misc screws I had on hand – free
20 amp solar charge controller – $29
1 amp solar charge controller – $5
Fuse block – $5
Copper tubing bus bar – free
Cigarette lighter socket – $7
40 watt solar panel, used – $20
5 watt solar panel – $15
two 5 gallon buckets – free
two 5 gallon water tanks, used $2 each – $4
Two recycled hinges – free
My total cost is just over $100 to build a fully loaded survival truck camper. Your price will vary depending on what you may already have on hand. You can often find scrap wood at the lumber yard at a huge discount. I had most of the items laying around already but they originally came from ebay. The automotive battery terminals are from the local auto parts store.
You can ask at the local junk yard if you can get the windshield washer pump and hoses to save on your own costs.
The ManOfMany Thingz came over for a visit and a discussion about the need for being prepared. Not just for an end of the world scenario, but for any sort of disaster than can and does happen all the time. Hurricane, earthquake, tornado, flood, blizzard, fire, job loss, power outage and other things that can hit us and take way our homes or source of income.
People need to be prepared. Most people go through their daily lives without giving even a single thought to any sort of disaster plan. But, even in grade school we had tornado and fire drills all the time. Why do we so soon forget this early training?
People grow up, leave the home of their parents to start a family of their own. They get their own home but forget the training they had as a child. No fire or tornado drills and no emergency food supplies put away.
There are many preppers out there. Most of the prepper community has received a bad reputation as being some sort of doomsday freaks. You imaging a gun toting wild man ranting about the end of the world coming so you better be prepared.
But this should not turn you off from being prepared for emergency or disaster.
Every single family or household should have a disaster plan in place. Especially if you have children you should practice a fire drill and a tornado drill with your family regularly. You should also have fire alarms in place and make sure to check the batteries often. Every family should have at least two weeks worth of emergency food rations and water. According to FEMA, a government agency which provides emergency and disaster support, you should have two weeks worth of water and food for every single member of your household. If you take medications you should also keep extra meds on hand and keep them rotated. Women also have needs that should be stocked up.
Most people simply wait and think this will not happen to them. Windham, New York probably did not think that their town would be completely devastated by a hurricane. They are about 150 miles inland from the nearest ocean. But Hurricane Irene wiped out their town and many homes and businesses are still recovering today.
In 12 months time New York lived through two hurricanes. This is a rare occurrence but somehow we got hit with two of them in a short time. People were still recovering from the first hurricane when just a year later the second one hit.
The strange thing is that it seemed like people were not prepared for the second one after going through the first.
All drinking water, instant meals, gas cans, batteries, generators, kerosene, portable heaters, gasoline, camping supplies and more were totally stripped from the shelves of all stores within 100 miles of us here in Upstate New York after each hurricane.
It seems that people wait for the last minute to prepare for any emergency or coming disaster. Even with advance warning, people are flooding the stores on the day before the storm and for a week afterward trying to get needed supplies. In the mean time, preppers are sitting comfortably at home waiting it out.
Hurricane Irene destroyed my business and the home I was living in. My antique shop got flooded under 5 feet of water. It was a total loss. FEMA would not help me and insurance would not cover it because it was not located in a normal recognized flood zone. The beautiful old colonial home I shared with 4 other people at that time suffered intensive mold damage which drove me out of the place for health reasons. The place was not fixed up after the flooding and mold set in. The mold climbs up inside the walls and causes health problems plus damage to the house.
I was otherwise prepared well in advance of Hurricane Irene by having enough water, food, camp stove and fuel to survive an extended time without any utilities. I had actually planned to move into my survival truck camper if we lost power for a long time. My survival truck camper remains stocked up and ready to bug out at any time due to disaster, if needed. If I do not have to bug out, such as during the hurricane or a blizzard, I am all set for bugging into my truck camper to live in comfort until the utilities are restored.
Being a prepper I have lived through many power outages due to blizzard or ice storms in the past years. Often I remain in my truck camper in perfect comfort while others sadly suffer with no heat, food, water or power.
In the back of my car is a bug out bag. This is a bag packed with enough supplies to survive any foreseen emergency for three days. I have basic medical supplies, food, water purification methods and other survival needs. If you live in a colder climate you need warm clothes and a source of heat. My bug out bag is meant to keep me alive if I get stranded in winter or to get me home to my main bug out bag in case of emergency or disaster.
The ManOfMany Thingz has a bug out jeep which he calls the “SJ” which stands for Survival Jeep. His jeep is a self contained stealth bug out vehicle. He plans to bug in. This means that in the event of a disaster he will stay put at home. His jeep is decked out with everything he needs to get back home in the event of an emergency. It has tools, medical supplies, solar panel and batteries, AC power and much more. He can repair his jeep on the fly if something happens and get back home.
Be prepared! Get some water, food and other important supplies stocked up not to keep you and your loved ones safe in the event of an emergency. Practice a fire and tornado drill often if you have children. Make sure you have supplies on hand to survive loss of income, home or power.