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Bug Out Bag Checklist (Part 4)

20 May

There’s one item we haven’t covered: The bag itself. How are we going to carry all this crap?

When it comes to packing you’ll have two issues. Weight and bulk. Keep the weight as close to your back as possible and below shoulder height. Keep the load evenly balanced. Bulk can be carried anywhere. It looks oppressive, but a huge sleeping pad rolled up can sit at the top or strapped to the back of the pack. Heavier bulky items, tent, should be lower or closer to your body.

You’ll look like a beast of burden, but you can strap a duffel bag to the back of your pack as long as it contains relatively light weight clothing. You won’t be shimmying between rocks in a cave and you could get blown off a real mountain with such a contraption. On a typical road, you’ll be fine.

I recommend owning a good quality backpack. If you have cold weather survival clothing, I recommend you keep it in a large duffel bag. If forced to flee your home, you can grab your pack and your duffel and change into your best clothing at some point. Boots can be in your duffel, if you want.

As I recommend in the book, you can assemble another duffel bag with heavy-duty camping gear. You’d never carry this on your back, but if you bug out by vehicle and it is a the-world-is-totally-ending-and-I’m-out-of-here-and-never-coming-back scenario, you’d have a collection of some of the best equipment in the world to survive in the wild. Carry it as far as you can by vehicle, stash it, and hope you can recover it later. If you have a BOL with shelter, you’d keep this stuff there.

Some stuff to consider for this end-of-the-world duffel/BOL:

Heavy Cooking Grill
Dutch Oven
Heavy Duty Cook Set
Rope
Snare Wire
Fishing Gear
Ax
Loppers
Bow Saw & Blades
Rifle & Extra Ammo

In another duffel, you could keep a larger tent. Alaskatent.com. You could live in it until you were able to build a better home. Not carried on your back.

I violate a rule of BOBs that says everything must be packed at ready to go. I keep sleeping bags hanging in a closet. I think they keep loft better this way than being all munched up. I’d need to grab the right ones for the right season on my way out the door and pack them quickly. Yes, if my home burned down before I got to them I’d be SOL.

The best backpacks today are internal framed expedition packs. They have solid belts to secure the pack about the hip. An external framed pack can work too. Some preppers like to stick with surplus military gear. The only downside to expedition packs is the expense.

Three good places to search for packs & sleeping bags and other stuff:

TheNorthFace.com
EMS.com
REI.com

You can order packs over the Internet but it’s much better if you have a local store to try them on. You want one that fits and is comfortable for you.

The trend today is to carry water in hydration bladders. They provide the lightest weight container for the most water. I don’t like and trust bladders. A cheap and workable alternative is two 2 Liter bottles to supplement your regular water bottle. Used Pepsi bottles work fine. They seal tightly and won’t leak.

Most bug outs won’t last forever. The final class of items to add are your important records and papers. Information identifying who you are, your insurance information, checkbook, important records.

Learning More:

For learning more about outdoor survival, two books I like are How To Stay Alive In The Woods By Bradford Angier and Survival With Style by Angier. I’d guess there are better books today but I’m not familiar with them. I’d suggest you get some books about backpacking. They can provide you with a ton of information. Get out and go hiking!

Charlie Palmer -author The Prepper Next Door

***
What Are Your Top 3 Prepping Items?

My answer: 1) Water; 2) Food; 3) Gun & Ammo; 4) Good Warm Clothing
Outdoor answer: 1) Knife; 2) Cook kit; 3) Good Warm Clothing; 4) Fire starter

Can you live without a refrigerator?  (My answer: No! Little known fact: Even cavemen had fridges …without refrigeration we all die immediately!)

I like the point about looking to RVers and self-sufficient sailors. They have great information.

One tip: Cold air sinks. Most fridges open and the cold air pours out. Small boats have boxes which open at the top. The cold air stays in when it’s opened.

Refrigeration is a pain because of how much energy it takes.

**
Good article about what goes through your mind if your home is in the path of a raging fire.
“I arrived at our house, the evacuation order was already in place, and I had about an hour to pack up the essentials. ”

 

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Bug Out Bag Checklist (Part 3)

5 May

In the last part of this ongoing saga post about bug out bags, we added the ten backpacking essentials to our bug out bag. You’re now very well prepared to survive for three days. You have adequate clothing, shelter, food, water, and a few key supplies.

Every bug out bag has a small repair kit. Simple things like a couple of needles and thread for repairing clothing. A tiny bit of wire. Maybe some repair tape. These things are light and can fix faulty equipment.

Your equipment should be in top notch condition. If the shoestring on your boots is old and frayed, it’s more likely to break. A spare shoestring could repair it in the field, but why not take care of problems now? This applies to your bug out vehicle. The better maintained, the less likely it’ll give you trouble during a real bug out.

Anything that’s really light weight and absolutely essential should have a backup. Some preppers like the saying “one is zero, two is one.” The idea being that if you have one of something and it fails you don’t have it. You’re down to zero.

Many essentials can’t be carried in the twos. Heavy sleeping bag, tent, rifle. No way. Too heavy. If you wear glasses, have an extra pair. I always carry two compasses and a second small knife and two flashlights.

If you travel with a group, you can mooch your backup off your buddy. If you drop your knife in a gully, he still has his. Your group isn’t totally knifeless.

Having a second applies to vehicles in extremely harsh environments. If you drive across the Sahara Desert, don’t take one truck. Take two. No matter how great a mechanic you are and how well stocked your repair items, something unfixable on the road can fail. In a lawless world, expect an immobilized and abandoned vehicle will be stripped of anything of value.

The same applies to snowmobiles driven far from others. Two people can ride on one, but two is better and safer. Some outdoorsman say you should never travel in the far north or other wilderness alone for the same reason. If something happens to one person, there’s another person who can help. I won’t go this far because too many guys like hiking, hunting, or fishing alone. A second person adds safety, but that’s a personal call.

Here are some items to consider:

a) A small radio. This is for getting local news. If an disaster is widespread there should be some news coverage. My current radio is a small Eton Mini 300PE. It’s not particularly rugged or good, but it gives you a chance to receive news. It has AM/FM/Some Shortwave.

In the book in the BOV chapter, one item I recommend for those traveling in remote areas is a PLB or a personal locator beacon. In a bug out, I’m assuming you’re fleeing the situation and aren’t expecting to be rescued. The assumption: You’re on your own. The radio above is for reception only.

b) A water purification device. I’m a big fan of Katadyn water filters. They’re expensive, but pretty much the standard used by relief organizations worldwide. If you can stomach it, resublimated iodine crystals work.

There are other options:

-Katadyn Micropur tablets.

-Chlor Floc. We can’t really use my favorite PUR product because it’s designed for use with larger containers, but as any prepper who’s read my book or past blog posts knows, I’m a huge, huge fan of the particle binder purification devices. If you have crap like DDT, heavy metals, etc, in your water this is the way to go.

– I don’t fully trust UV treatment of water, but some hikers swear by their Steripen UV lights. I don’t like relying on a battery operated device for water purification either.

-Survival filter straws. Some preppers like them.

– You have a metal cup so you can always boil water to kill bacteria.

– Coffee filters to prefilter your water. Kept in a ziplock bag.

I want to re-emphasize something from the first post. Water is absolutely essential to life and by five days without it, only the most advanced medical treatment in the world can save you. Three days without it is considered critical. Carrying two liters a day x 3 days is very heavy and bulky. But in a disaster you might not want to restrict your route to where water can be procured. You can’t sit around waiting for rain. Good news: With each passing day of hiking, you’ll have less water to carry. Bad news: Without a source of resupply, you’re getting closer to death.

Weight

Bug Out Bag weight is something that should be addressed. I watched a video where a guy said the weight of a bug out bag doesn’t matter. Toss in what you need. That’s OK if you’re super fit or if your bag sits in a vehicle. Most of us will need to balance what we carry with our ability to carry it.

If you’ve ever fallen down a hill with a heavy backpack, you’ll know the weight of the pack is directly related to your likely injuries. It’s bad enough to sprain an ankle when carrying no weight. But if you have a 60 pound pack, the injury will likely be greater. Carrying too much weight isn’t only exhausting and slowing. It puts you at more risk in rugged terrain.

The most serious backpackers today are going “ultralight” and will brag for hours how they reduced the weight of their cook kit by 2 oz. Ultralight equipment isn’t as durable as heavier stuff. Put a GI military surplus rain poncho next to a commercial “survival” poncho and you’ll see what I’m talking about. Some preppers accept light duty equipment for a three-day survival kit. I like robust gear.

Each prepper needs to decide how much weight is acceptable in his own pack. My advice: Go hiking with your BOB. Can you comfortably trek 10 miles? Can you climb a hill? How far do you plan to travel?

Another tip: After your outdoor adventures do you have stuff in your pack you never needed? I’m not talking about a first aid kit, but about tools and equipment that you previously thought were essential.

Little Light Weight Stuff That’s Difficult To Fabricate

Years ago I was big into fishing. Not only go fishing, but I’d read books on fishing. Through The Fish’s Eye, Fishing Top To Bottom, Secrets of A Muskie Guide. That sort of book. I haven’t fished in years and gave away most of my tackle. That was dumb.

In the wild, fishing can provide protein. There are many ways to catch fish but most common is the good old hook and line. Modern fishing line and metal hooks are light weight and far better than anything you’ll fabricate in the wild. You can keep a few hooks, sinkers, bobbers and line in your pack and not notice the weight.

A fishing kit isn’t absolutely essential for a three day bag. It’s more of an outdoor survival item. You can carry the same concept to other items. If you want to fabricate a bow in the wild, carry a bow string and some arrowheads. The plastic nocks are handy. Add a little fletching and epoxy. By no means do you have a bow ready, but if you needed to make one you’d have some of the most valuable parts which are really difficult to make.

To be continued…

Charlie Palmer -author The Prepper Next Door

Bug Out Bag Checklist (Part 2)

3 May

Continued from the last post…

9) Basic survival tools.

Last time, we added some fire starting items to our BOB. To get a good fire going, we’ll need firewood. Much of the time, you can find old branches. You can break most of them up with your hands or a kick. There’s no reason to attack healthy trees for firewood. Old dead branches are better. You won’t need an axe, hatchet, saw, or knife to get a simple fire going in most cases.

In some areas you can’t legally start a fire. In a life-or-death survival situation, I won’t worry about following that. We’re not talking about backpacking for pleasure, but survival under extreme conditions. If firewood isn’t plentiful in your area, you could carry a small backpacker’s stove.

If you have the items in part 1 of this post, you could survive for three days. Your clothing keeps you warm and dry. Your sleeping bag and shelter lets you get some rest. You have water. You have some food.

What you lack is the ability to do anything other than sit around or walk out of the disaster. You have no tools. Tools give you options. In the book at this point in our discussion of bug out bags, I distinguish between two very different types of bug out bags. There are 72 hour bags designed to help you evacuate and survive for three days. Then there are more hardcore bags designed to give you some chance of surviving in the wilderness on your own for a longer time. What you’d carry in each type of bag differs.

What if you’re trying to survive for a longer time in the North woods? Pioneers put away enough firewood to see them through winters. A good bow saw and a modest ax would be worth their weight in gold to survive long term. You’d want a sharpening stone to keep the ax in top condition. These tools let you build a more substantial shelter.

In some locations a machete is more practical than an axe. The supplies in your BOB should match your environment. What you carry in the North differs from what you carry in a jungle or the desert. Winter to somebody living in Georgia is different to Winter for somebody living in Minnesota.

Because we’ve broached the topic of long term survival in the North, one other tool is worthy of mention: A reliable rifle capable of taking deer sized game. If you’re in a wooded area where long shots aren’t common, one to look into is the TC contender carbine in 30-30. To make packing easier, you could have a gunsmith shorten the barrel to 18.5 inches. A very low power scope is good to add if your eyes demand it. Your time is better invested hunting large animals than seeking to bag smaller game. Shot placement will usually be much better with a carbine than a handgun. Smaller game is easily trapped.

Another choice would be a reliable bolt action in 30-06, 270 Winchester, or 308 Winchester.

You can’t carry a chainsaw or a full splitting maul in your BOB and for three days you won’t need to secure any large animals for food. If you have a bug out location in the far woods, you could add those items to your bug out retreat. This series of posts looks at a 72 hour bag only. With that in mind, I recommend these tools:

a) Knife & Sheath
b) Small folding saw
c) Needle nose pliers or a multi-tool

d) A small shovel

Your knife should have a fixed blade. Many preppers insist on a full tang knife. That’s a knife with the metal of the knife running the full length and height of the handle. You can see the same metal as the blade all around the handle. Some call this a full-full tang. The blade should be about 5″ or 6″ long. A longer Ka-bar is good if you want a larger blade, although it’s not a full-full tang.

It’s not a full-full tang, but my current knife of choice is a 5″ Buck Pathfinder. It’s light and does everything a knife should reasonably be expected to do. No. I don’t “batton” wood with it.

The shovel deserves a few words. For summer, a small one-handed gardening trowel lets you uproot things in the ground or do any digging. It’s much better than trying to dig with a stick. In winter, I like a slightly larger camping shovel. It’s useful for moving and packing snow. If you plan to build a shelter from snow, it’s a good item to have.

With the exception of the knife, I’d rate the other tools as optional. You can survive three days without them. A tight fitting pair of mechanics gloves will protect your hands if you undertake any projects and give you great control over tools. A pair of safety glasses is light and worthy of being carried in my opinion if you don’t regularly wear other glasses.

10) Cord. 550 paracord is an option. I’m tempted to lump cord with tools above, but I gave it its own topic. Cord or rope is extremely useful in the outdoors. It’s use to set up a tarp. It’s used to suspend things from a tree branch. It’s used to tie wood together when building something, from a shelter to a raft. It’s used to tie things down.

Many experienced outdoors people carry a lot of cord. It’s difficult to improvise rope or cord in the wild. If you want to try this, get a copy of Bushcraft by Richard Graves. The best way to learn to appreciate cord is to try to make your own!

11) Flashlight. This is another modern item that’s impossible to make in the wild. A small flashlight will let you see in the dark. Your light should use LEDs. Those lights consume far less battery energy than the older incandescent lights. Flashlights are safer than burning torches or candles.

12) First aid kit. If you get injured, you’ll need to be able to treat your wounds and keep them clean. Don’t overlook a tweezers and magnifying glass for removing slivers. Always carry a small mirror which lets you see if something is in your eye.

Some items could be in a first aid kit or the hygiene kit below.

13) Hygiene kit. Toilet paper, a bar of soap, handwipes for when water isn’t available. Plastic comb, toothbrush, toothpaste, dental floss (small), a small can of Tinactin antifungal foot spray. Insect repellant.

I keep small bandages, Spenco 2nd Skin Blister Pads, moleskin, and other first aid items in this kit too.

Many of the hygiene items aren’t absolutely essential to survive for three days, but they’re relatively lightweight and will make you feel much more human. A small bottle of deodorant is nice.

14) Because of their lightweight and all around survival value, we should add in the rest of the top ten backpacker’s list.

a) Map of the area and compass. One bug-out book recommends marking the route to your bug out location on your map. You should know the route by heart. If somebody finds your pack or takes if from you, they’ll realize you have great stuff. It could make them wonder what goodies are at the end of the treasure map.

b) Reliable watch, notepad, and pen. A watch can help you estimate distance traveled by knowing your travel time. A notepad and pen are always useful.

c) To aid in signaling, the mirror from your first aid kit could be used. A small plastic whistle can be used to draw people to you if lost.

To be continued…

Charlie Palmer -author The Prepper Next Door

Bug Out Bag Checklist (Part 1)

1 May

This post is for new preppers. Ah, the good old bug out bag. This is a topic that’s been beaten to death. I wrote about it in my book. It’s covered on nearly every survivalist/prepper blog. You can search “Bug out bag” on youtube and get several excellent presentations. There’s even entire books devoted to the topic.

Here are my thoughts on bug out bags. Put these things on your bug out bag list.

1) Cash. In one review of a popular book about bug out bags, a guy gave the book one star because the author recommended carrying cash. The reviewer said cash would be useless. In some situations that could be true. In many other situations, cash will have great value. If you’re fleeing a gas leak in your neighborhood and forced to evacuate, cash will let you get a hotel room. Buy your wife dinner.

In the deep woods cash has no value. On many journeys, it’s priceless.

2) Good, rugged, survival clothing. I’ve written other posts about extreme cold weather gear. The scenario is again you’re forced to flee your home. You wait outside in freezing or rainy weather. You aren’t going to build a fire with your metal match. You aren’t going to construct a tarp shelter. You’ll mull around like everybody else getting rained or snowed on.

In the harshest physical environments on earth, building a fire isn’t always possible. Clothing keeps people warm in the Arctic. The rule of three says you can only survive three hours without proper shelter or clothing in the harshest environments. Your clothing will meet this need.

What you need depends on your environment. Here are some suggestions:

a) Warm Windproof Jacket. If necessary, a Parka

b) Rain Poncho

c) Warm Hat and/or Facemask

d) Windproof Pants, Insulated Pants

e) Two Extra Pair Warm Socks

f) Neck Gator

g) Long Underwear

h) Gloves. In cold weather, Bear Paw Mittens

i) Hiking Boots. Rubber Overboots

j) Sunglasses. Snow goggles if needed.

The shirt and pants you wear should be rugged. The best way to find your ideal bug out wardrobe is to go camping or backpacking. Go in all seasons. You’ll learn to appreciate great clothing.

3) Water. For whatever reason, you can’t go home. For whatever reason, your cash is useless. Your clothing keeps you relatively warm and dry. You have good footwear. You can travel. You can easily survive three hours without building a shelter or starting a fire.

Bug out bags are called 72 hour bags because they should allow us to survive three days. You can’t go three days without water. Water is heavy. Why not just purify or filter water you find? Lots of reasons. Most importantly, you don’t want to be forced into taking a particular route by a river or lake. For whatever reason, tap water isn’t running.

With adequate water and warm clothing, you should be able to survive for three days. Unless….

4) Defensive handgun. If you’re fleeing most disasters, you won’t need any weapons. What if the disaster is extreme and there is a breakdown of law and order? Gangs attack people. General lawlessness. A firearm gives you a measure of protection. Some preppers would take a shotgun. Others their AR-15. Others a 22 LR rifle like their Ruger 10/22.

Whatever weapon you choose, you should know how to use it well.

Add in the accessories necessary to carry and use your weapon effectively. A good holster for your handgun. A few extra magazines for an autoloading pistol. A sling for a rifle or shotgun. Something to protect your long gun from the elements.

5) Sleeping bag and pad. A backpacker’s tent or a tarp. Maybe a sleeping bag bivvy instead of a tent. Your clothing is adequate. You could sleep in them. You have adequate hydration, at least for now. A few shots scared away the gang that went off in search of an easier target.

You feel strung out. You’ve been walking for hours. You’ve been awake for over 24 hours. You’re hungry. You can’t eat because we haven’t added food to our list yet! No matter. You know you could go several days without food.

You need rest. Without adequate sleep you won’t function well. You’ll make bad decisions and be at a higher risk of injury. Your sleeping bag and pad will give you a chance to recover. In a survival situation, the importance of sleep can’t be overemphasized. The greatest survivors will be able to catch some zzz’s. Under stress, that’s not easy to do. You’ll be exhausted and unable to sleep at the same time.

Some old-school campers like down for a sleeping bag fill material. Wet down is useless. I’d go with Polarguard. To keep your sleeping bag dry, get a dry stuff sack. Some backpackers use contractor garbage bags. If you’re in a canoe and it tips, a contractor bag isn’t as good as a proper dry sack.

If you don’t have a good tent or a bag bivvy, a section of plastic to protect your sleeping bag from the ground is good to have.

Think of your tent as your home and your sleeping bag as your bed. Two of the greatest things ever invented.

6) Food. You’ve earned a good meal! Most of us can’t function well without food. You have lots of options: MREs, freeze dried foods, raisons and nuts, granola bars. Some foods don’t take any preparation. Those are handy. Warm foods provide more comfort. Have both options.

7) You’ll need several things to prepare your warm meals. At a minimum you need a way to boil water. One option is a metal canteen cup that fits over your canteen. You can find these cups for both military style canteens and for other water bottles.

a) Metal Canteen Cup
b) Spoon

There are many other cooking options you could add. Go outside and make your warm meals. You’ll see what need to get by. A small cooking grate, fork, and a small cookset is nice to have if you prepare more outdoor meals besides just reconstituting freeze dried foods or heating up MREs. You can find or make little stands to hold your canteen cup above a small fire.

8) Fire Starting Kit. This is the first thing many preppers add to their bug out bag. Fires can help keep you warm, dry you out, boil water to kill germs, cook food. Smoky fires can be used to signal aircraft if you’re lost in the woods. If not careful fires can alert marauders to your position.

In the old days, backpackers talked of the ten essentials you should carry with you in the wilderness. People now think in terms of kits or collections of things. What things should you have to start a fire?

a) Wooden Matches. You can purchase rainproof, windproof matches capable of being submerged in water. They come out of the water burning. Pretty neat. You can purchase boxes of kitchen matches and store them in a couple of ziplock bags. You can purchase little round containers in metal or plastic which keep a few matches waterproof. Keep a fresh striker for lighting them.

Some will tell you how to waterproof your own matches using wax or nail polish. If you try this test your matches to be sure they work.

b) Bic lighter. For three days, matches should be all you need to get a fire started. Other options can make lighting a fire easier. A small lighter is really handy and weighs little.

c) Metal match. These are used to create a spark to start a fire. These are most useful if you plan on remaining in the wilderness for an extended time. When your lighter and matches are exhausted, this is your go-to option.

d) Tinder material. With a small flame or spark, you must now transfer that to a pile of combustible wood. Tinder is used to grow a spark or small flame into a larger flame capable of igniting wood.

Cotton balls, dryer lint, tinder in a tube products are options. Steel wool holds sparks. In extreme conditions, I like to carry a small can of Sterno. Toss a match in it and use it as your tinder.

9) Basic survival tools.

We’ll continue with basic survival tools in the next post.

Charlie Palmer -author The Prepper Next Door

Bug Out Underwear

4 Sep

I spent a little time on Youtube watching some prepper videos. One I recommend is Demcad about the importance of building relationships.
This is especially true for older preppers. He’s correct that this is a neglected topic. Guns get all the attention. It got me to thinking: What’s the most neglected prepper topic?

Several preppers showed off their new bug-out-bag equipment. Guns, knives, fire starters, cooksets. Cool stuff. When I see a prepper pull out a shiny new tube tent in its packaging, I wonder how he’ll really do in a real bug out. You need to test your outdoor equipment. From what I recall of shiny emergency blankets and cheap tube tents is that they won’t hold up to real use. Give me a military poncho instead.

We all must test our preps. But we all neglect some. The other day our land line phone stopped working. No problem. I dug out an extra I had purchased a few years ago. I plugged it in. DOA. Cheap Chinese crap. Too late to return it. Shoot. If I was smart, I would have tested it when I purchased it. I’m only out a few bucks. With outdoor survival equipment, you could be out your life.

With all the bug-out-bag videos on Youtube, I didn’t find one that discussed bug out underwear. No. I’m not kidding. Maybe all these preppers live in moderate climates and their clothing doesn’t really matter. But if you’ve spent time outdoors in harsh environments, your clothing is important.

One of the best groups to learn about underwear from is backpackers. Because nobody wants to talk about underwear, they call this their “base layer.” That sounds cooler than talking about underwear.

Here’s a nice discussion about your “base layer” from REI.com. They explain the situation very well. I won’t repeat the same information here. The problem with comfortable cotton is that it retains moisture. It’s even been called “death cloth” because wet cotton takes more energy for you to stay warm. If you take some expeditions in Alaska and other cold areas, they’ll tell you not to wear cotton. You’ll need to smuggle in a few contraband pairs of your cotton shorts.

With your “base layer,” you have three basic choices. Cotton. Comfortable, but if you sweat and it gets wet, it’ll stay wet. You’ll stay cold. We won’t even go into the other issues of wearing wet underwear for days on end. We’ll call this your wet option.

The other option is synthetic. This is the stinky option. For some reason, most synthetic materials that are good at wicking away moisture stink.

The third option is wool. Many of us just can’t wear wool. It’s itchy. Some like Merino wool, but it can wear out quickly. This is the scratchy option.

Talking about wet, stinky, or itchy underwear, I mean base layer, just isn’t that much fun. But if you’re forced to survive in a harsh environment, this stuff matters. Being properly dressed can be the difference between life and death.

Once you’ve purchased and tested base layers, you can look into the other clothing layers. Insulating layers provide warmth. In most environments, you’ll want a waterproof outer layer. You want to keep warm, but not sweat too much. Your clothing layers let you regulate your body temperature and control sweat build up as your level of activity and the outside temperature changes.

Preppers assembling bug out bags can learn a lot from backpackers. Youtube preppers should show off their bug out underwear. OK. Bad idea. Never mind.

What do you think is the most neglected prepper topic?

***
This is a neat collection of articles about backpacking.
http://seattlebackpackersmagazine.com/category/skills/

Homemade cotton ball fire starters.

Compact fishing kit.

More about skin irritation and hiking.

The ten essentials for hiking.

http://www.mountainphotographer.com/my-backpacking-gear/
It’s interesting to see what other backpackers carry.

For those interested in metalwork (casting), here’s a good book review of an older Navy manual.
http://www.tngun.com/united-states-navy-foundry-manual/

Apartment Prepper has a great write up about experimenting with a sourdough starter mix.

U.S. Marshals on use of the expandable baton:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gvnM7CLrvNc