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Archive for the ‘Disaster Preparedness’ Category

PostHeaderIcon Affordable Ultra Light & Compact Survival Wood Cook Stove

TomTop has given me this awesome folding camp stove. This stove uses wood or alcohol to cook out in the woods. The stove is made of stainless steel and folds down flat for transportation making it perfect for hiking, camping, fishing and survival.

This is a very affordable stove considering its quality and usefulness in the field. It stays in my bug out bag with my food and cooking gear now. I have used it extensively on survival and hiking trips as the main stove for cooking meals and sterilizing water for drinking.

The stove is very easy to get going and burns just about anything that you can throw at it. You can cook with pine cones, sticks, grasses, paper and any other flammable type of fuel source. It also comes with an alcohol tray so you can pour in some alcohol and cook your meals. This is perfect for no burn zones or where open flames are forbidden but camp stoves are still allowed.

The wood camp stove measures about 5 inches square when set up and about 6.4 inches high. It weighs a mere 12 ounces making it one of the lightest cooking stoves you can get because you do not have to carry fuel with you. This is one of the reasons I love this folding survival wood stove. This folding wood cook stove is made of stainless steel to give it a long life and durability.

You can set up this folding wood cooking stove in seconds. Just open it up, insert the bottom tray and slide the two side tabs together. Finished.

Getting a fire started in this wood cook stove is just about as fast. You build a fire as you would with any normal fire. Tinder on the bottom, followed by tiny twigs or other flammable fuel. Then followed by larger sticks or other fuel source. This is very easy to light with a cigarette lighter, matches or even a magnesium and ferro fire starter. We have tried all of these methods with this ultra light folding camp stove.

Ultralight Folding Wood Cook Stove

The folding survival wood cooking stove comes with a convenient carrying case as well which makes it nice because your gear does not get dirty when you pack it away.

This is also one of the fastest stoves I have ever used since it uses real wood as fuel. Once you get the fire burning you toss on a pot and start cooking immediately. I have brought 2 quarts of water to a boil in mere minutes from the time I pulled out the camp stove from my survival bug out bag.

There is a larger opening in the front of the stove for feeding in fuel as you cook. This makes it good if you have to cook larger meals or a whole lot of water and need to keep the fire going for a while. I have used longer sticks for this and just keep feeding them into the stove as they burn down.

You can get your folding survival wood stove here: TomTop Ultralight Folding Camp Wood Cook Stove

Watch my full video review here: Very AFFORDABLE Stainless Steel Folding Camp Wood Stove

While you are over there please subscribe to my YouTube channel and follow my survival videos, product reviews and outdoor gear field testing.

PostHeaderIcon Testing The New BioLite PowerLight Mini LED Lantern

BioLite sent me a pre-release LED lantern to try out. This is a small sized lantern with amazingly powerful light output. It is actually one of the most powerful lanterns, even beating lights much larger for brightness and battery life.

BioLite PowerLight Mini
BioLite PowerLight Mini

When I first opened the package I was surprised to find that there is a bicycle mount included. It is unusual and rare these days to get anything extra in the package. Plus there is a cloth braided USB charging cable, an owners manual, brochure and a warranty card.

BioLite PowerLight Mini Review
BioLite PowerLight Mini Review

The BioLite PowerLight Mini is packed in a stainless steel case to keep it thin and light weight. It weighs in at only 2.8 ounces (80 g) and measures only 3.35 x 2.01 x 0.59 inches in size. But although it is rated at 135 Lumens, it blows away most LED lights much larger with higher output ratings. I am truly impressed with this little light. The case also doubles as a heat sink, which allows the manufacturer to keep the light slim.

Stainless BioLite PowerLight Mini
Stainless Steel Case BioLite PowerLight Mini

Now I do not have to feel guilty when carrying a lantern out in the mountains, backpacking and on survival training missions. This handy light weighs very little and takes up hardly any space in your pack.

Plus it doubles as a cell phone charger and battery pack for USB powered devices. With its 1350 mAh Li-on battery pack it can keep your small electronics topped off in an emergency. Now there is no need to carry a light and a backup battery pack. This unit does it all. I love multi purpose devices.

I charged up the LED light the first evening and came back to it later on.

I ran it one evening until the light went out to see how long it would last. I was surprised to have it last 4 and a half hours before the light went into the dim setting and then ran another 15 minutes with the charge status indicator blinking to warn me that the light would go out soon. I love this feature. Rather than having the light suddenly go out in the night leaving you blind and lost – it goes dim and allows you to seek an alternative. Thank you BioLite!!!

This light also has multiple modes of operation. It has a normal light mode which I will get back to in a minute. It has a bright mode. It has a red light mode which I love for emergency or survival situations. For stealth red light is better in the night because it can not be seen as far away as white light. It has a flashing red light mode and a white flashing light mode.

The white light mode is amazing and super bright. My tiny house on wheels measures 10 x 24 feet. I can easily read a book at night with the lantern on one wall and I am sitting on the opposite wall. I have done this already with no problem. No other light I have tested was this good. You could also read across the other end of the tiny house if you want.

There is a stand built into the PowerLight Mini which doubles as a shirt clip. You can slip it onto your shirt pocket for hands free operation. You can also fold out the stand and leave it sitting up for a room or camp light. Or you can hang it from its clip as an overhead light. The bike mount is a plus as well.

For ultra light hikers, sports enthusiasts and serious survivalists this light is a must.

You can get one here:

Check out my full YouTube video review here: Video Review: BioLite PowerLight Mini ~ My New Favorite Lantern

While you are over there please subscribe and follow my daily videos as I strive to become self sufficient on the off grid homestead.

PostHeaderIcon Valley Food Storage Is Natural Survival Food At A Good Price

I have been trying a lot of different freeze dried foods in the last couple years trying to find the best long term shelf life food for emergency and survival. What I have learned for one thing is that there is a lot of confusion out there about what is the best food and who has the best deal out there.

I have found that Valley Food Storage has natural food with no GMO ingredients, no preservatives, and no chemicals or fillers. They even use sea salt in their food instead of the cheap stuff. Their food has nothing but food in the packages. I am happy and impressed with this. I have always had a bad feeling about eating all the chemical filled junk out there that is packaged as shelf stable survival food.

Valley Food Storage

One more thing I like about the company is that they have a monthly food plan. You select either $50 or $99 a month and each month they send you a package of shelf stable but natural food for you to put away for emergency. There is no thinking involved and you never forget to get your monthly rations. I am strongly considering going on the $50 monthly food plan myself in order to stock up on survival foods for the future.

Stocking up is like an insurance plan for your family. Most families have home owners insurance, car insurance, life insurance, health insurance and many other forms of insurance. But not many people consider protection for their family in case of loss of home, natural disaster or loss of income. Having lost my job a few times through the years, I am happy that I always had food put away for the hard times.

Going through a couple hurricanes and being snowed in during multiple blizzards each year also teaches one to be prepared for anything at any time. If you ever go through one of these situations, you will certainly consider stocking up for the future. Each time there is a blizzard, I enjoy getting out just to see the people swamping the stores and stripping the shelves bare just before the storm hits.

Store shelves gutted before a storm

The meals from Valley Food Storage are not only healthy in comparison to most freeze dried shelf stable meals but they also taste good. I have been sampling their products for a while now in order to get a good idea about the quality of the food. I have to say that I also feel good about eating their food. I do not get that guilty feeling when eating one of their meals because there are no chemicals in them.

Valley Food Storage Meals

I will be fully reviewing their products in detail soon but I wanted to get the word out there for now. Winter is upon us and the blizzard season is here. Storms hit and disaster can strike. I hope to spread the word and see that people are stocking up on food and being prepared for emergency.

You can watch the video here: Insurance For Your Family ~ Healthy Long Term Food Storage

While you are over there please subscribe and follow my daily videos on YouTube

PostHeaderIcon Survival Bug Out Jeep Maintenance ~ New Battery ~ Tires ~ Roof Rack

We had a rare, warm and sunny day in December so I used the nice weather to work on my survival bug out Jeep. I plan to have this Jeep fully loaded and ready to hit the road in a hurry if I ever have to bug out one day. I put new tires and a luggage rack on the Jeep today.

Many people ask me what scenario I am planning and preparing for. The answer is not that simple. Many people have a bug out plan for a specific scenario. But my plan is more general because of my experiences.

I have seen two devastating hurricanes, multiple blizzards, loss of income, wild fire and much more. Many of these situations caused me to have to be prepared to leave my home at a moments notice. Due to these experiences I am a strong believer in having a bug out bag on hand at all times. Even better is to have a bug out vehicle ready and waiting.

A bug out vehicle is a shelter and transportation all in one. You can also carry a whole lot more gear with you. This means food, water, animals, guns and ammo, shelter and comfort items. When the SHTF, you have to be prepared to leave your home with only minutes or hours notice.

A hurricane, tornado, forest fire or any other natural disaster can leave you homeless in a hurry. War or riots can also cause you to leave your home in a hurry. Just this spring there was a wild fire nearby, five miles away, which caused an entire town to be evacuated. Most of those people did not have a bug out plan or anything packed beforehand. Many were left in hotels with just the clothes on their backs.

I was prepared to leave my home if needed. But I would have had my bug out bag and comfort items with me.

I started putting the newer tires on the Jeep and checking brakes and suspension while I was at it. The front tire went on with ease. The brakes are good but the sway bar bushings are shot and need to be replaced.

Putting New Tires on the Jeep

The back drivers side wheel gave me a problem though. The lug nut is broken off flush with the bolt. The tapered part of the nut is still in place but the part that fits into a socket is broken clean off. There is nothing to grip on to. I have to study online how to remove this wheel. So I just swapped out the front tires and left the back ones matching for now.

I put on my new luggage rack as well. I bought this on sale when I got the Jeep and never opened the box until now. It was a perfect day for the job.

Mounting Luggage Rack on Jeep

I will most likely put a Reese hitch mount on the back of the Jeep as well to expand my storage options.

I hope to get a rear mount spare tire rack too one day.

The Jeep will be fully coated in, out and all around with truck bed coating and rubberized undercoating for protection from the elements. I plan to paint it OD Green with black trim.

Watch the full video of my work here: Survival Bug Out Jeep Maintenance ~ New Battery ~ Tires ~ Roof Rack

While you are over there, please subscribe and follow my daily videos.

PostHeaderIcon Life In The Mountains After A Bug Out Scenario

Our second day in the mountains after bugging out. A friend and I went deep into the Catskill Mountains for a weekend bug out scenario. This was a training run to learn from our successes and mistakes. We did learn a lot during our stay.

Bugging out is often a necessity due to natural disaster, economic collapse or war. Having lived through two hurricanes within a 12 month period in New York I can attest to the importance of being prepared for any type of disaster. Hurricane Irene destroyed my antique shop and ruined the house I was living in. I lost literally everything, my source of income, home and even my furniture. The only thing I saved was my emergency bug out camper and truck. My preps were neatly and safely tucked away inside the survival truck camper where I slept during the hurricane.

This bug out training run was meant to teach us to be prepared to bug out at any time. And to learn what added survival items we may need for long term survival in the mountains. When you buy preps or stock up on food and leave it sitting in the attic or closet to collect dust and mildew you might be surprised when you grab it one day to head for the hills. Insects, rodents and mildew cause a lot of damage to your food and equipment.

With no practice or bug out training you may forget important equipment. Being prepared means not only to stock up but also to be trained, to practice.

Survival Camp In The Mountains

I had some solar path lights with me that I wanted to try out on this bug out trip. These are standard solar LED garden lights. I got mine on sale for only $1.99 each. These lights are particularly interesting because they have a removable battery door inside so you can just flip a tab and remove the AA battery inside. This allows you to not only swap out the original batteries when the go bad but also to use these solar path lights as a simple stand alone solar battery charger. I now have a solar battery charger which can charge any standard AA rechargeable batteries.

These path lights can be used to help light up your campsite at night. You can use them in your tent or shelter for night reading or work. Simply remove the top light from the stand, leaving the stand in place outside in the ground and bring the light inside at night for LED lighting. In the morning take the light back outside and stick it back on the stand to recharge.

To charge a standard AA rechargeable battery just swap out the battery to be charged with the one inside the LED light and leave it out in the sun to charge. A solar battery charger costs about $20 on average. So this is a huge savings tip.

This day we went on a “scavenging” trip into town to find some wood. During a true grid down situation you will sometimes need to head out into supplies for your camp. Since this was a simulated survival trip so we had to purchase our wood. We picked up some boards to build the foundation for my friend’s new cabin in the woods. When we got back to camp the two of us started to build his dream cabin.

I learned another important lesson this day when we returned from our trip and I found my bed had shifted across the back of the truck and pulled out the two truck batteries I installed to power my lights and accessories. The wires had been ripped out and I had quite a mess on my hands. It had been nicely secured when I put it all together but I had not planned to drive all over the place without having the truck fully packed when I designed the truck camper. The bed was made to be removed in a hurry so it was not bolted down to the truck bed.

I am happy that I always take extra tools and repair equipment with me wherever I go. I was able to repair the damage and carry on with the day. In the future I will set up a board to wedge across the side of the truck bed in case I need to drive away in a hurry. This will keep everything in its place on the road.

We had some 2 x 8 x 10 boards so we finally decided to build a 10 x 10 cabin. I helped my friend Erick to frame the flooring in. Afterwards we set up some plywood boards on the frame and set up some chairs. We sat down to have a chat about our work. It felt good to sit there on the floor of our new “cabin” in the woods. We had no walls or roof but it felt good to finally have it started.

Lunch was cooked on the SilverFire Hunter biomass stove and consisted of some rice and an Indian dish. I love these Indian meals because they are 100% natural, are shelf stable and are packaged in a pouch just like and MRE. They make perfect camp meals.

I have a homemade kitchen sink with running water which slides into the truck bed for travel and can be slipped right out and used at camp. It uses a 12 volt car windshield washer pump to push water through the lines. I flip a switch and have water pouring out the faucet, just like at home. A small battery powers the water pump and a solar panel keeps the battery topped off. The sink is made so I can sit on a camp chair and wash dishes in comfort. I put this sink to good use during our trip.

Sadly we still live in the real world and our trip was cut short by an important phone call to Erick so we had to pack it all up and head home. This too was a good training exercise. I whipped up a nice meal on the biomass stove and then we packed up camp to leave. This situation was a good simulation of the need to move your camp quickly and bug out again in case you are about to be overrun. Within an hour we had the truck fully packed and left hardly a trace of our presence behind.

Watch the video of our trip:

A Bug Out Scenario And Survival Training