Monday, July 3, 2017

Do You Need A Bug Out Bag?

If you don't know what a bug out bag is, you will probably want to find out. Especially if you are serious about prepping for emergency situations. It can often be the determining factor between success or failure, when safety comes into play after an emergency.

In this article, I'm going to explain what a bug out bag is, why you need one, and what to include in the contents.

What Is It?

A bug out bag is any sort of pack that you have ready for emergency situations. It can be a backpack, duffel bag, military pack or anything big enough to hold a good about of items.

It's best to purchase one that has several inner and outer pockets, so that you can divide items up. Keeping some items close at hand will be important in an emergency situation, such as a flashlight, fire starting kit, weather radio, two-way radio and more. 

There are many different kinds of bags for just this purpose. Doing a search on Amazon will give you plenty of ideas, as you'll see from the screen shots below. However, I will say that you can often pick these bags up cheaper at military supply stores and some online auction or classified sites.

It's always best to shop around before setting your mind of a specific bag. While the bag itself is very important, the contents are more so. 

Why Do I Need One?

If you truly want to be prepared in an emergency situation, a bug out bag is a very important factor to you plan. For example, if something catastrophic happens, there won't be time to phone family members, shop for supplies, plan a route to a safe place or decide many other factors for safety and survival.

A bug out bag is that little bit of insurance that will keep you prepared, each and every day. As the old saying goes, it's better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it! Suppose the electric grid goes down, or your city is under attack. At a time like this, you simply need to go. A bug out bag, either placed in an easy to reach spot or stored in the vehicle, is the peace of mind you need to be able to do so.

Lots of people say, "I'll get around to that," or "I'll do that later," but this kind of thinking can leave you stranded if things go south quickly. You simply never know if or when it will, and preparedness is so very important.

Factors That Will Determine Bug Out Bag Content

In deciding what needs to go in YOUR bug out bag, you need to think about a few things. These things will be specific to your own situation, and can include:

  • How many people will be in your party and how old they are
  • How far you'll have to travel to reach your safe place
  • Your geographic location (are you in an urban setting, mountains, desert, wilderness, etc?)
  • What the overall societal climate is like (are people calm, in a panic, scavenging for supplies, etc?)
The number of people in your party will determine the amounts of specific items such as food, water, medicinal supplies and so forth. The more people you have, of course, the more you will need.

Knowing how far you have to go to reach your "safe place", which should be predetermined, is important in deciding all the above factors. You will also have to think about stops to be made along the way, and what that will entail in an emergency.

Knowing the ins and outs of your geographic location is one of the most important factors. Surviving in the mountains is much different than surviving in the desert, for example. The predators will be different, as will the weather, opportunity for gathering wild foods and hunting opportunities.

The societal climate will dictate whether or not you need to be prepared for confrontation. If you have supplies, you will become a target, there's simply no way around that fact. For this reason, you will need to be armed if you intend to keep what you have. Taking in strangers and helping others is certainly an option. However, emergencies, especially large scale, can create panic in everyone.

The Contents of the Bug Out Bag

There are some things that will need to be in your bug out bag for general purposes. These include:
  • A medical kit. Remember prescription medications for anyone in your party and medicines specific to the age of those people. Babies will need teething medication, fever reducer and rash ointment more so than others might. Elderly people and those on certain medication will need sun block. 
  • A weather radio. In shopping for one of these, if you haven't already got one, be sure to look for one that has emergency broadcasting stations, to stay up to date on the current state of affairs around you. For the sake of space, the smaller the better.
  • Fire starting material. This can be lighters, matches or a flint kit. Take into consideration the likelihood of those materials getting wet and plan accordingly.
  • Water purification tablets. This is especially important if you have not already acquired the knowledge of how to put together a DIY water purification system. It's worth the effort to learn, if you have the time. Without water, survival becomes almost impossible.
  • A good flashlight. Don't leave things to chance with a cheapie in this situation. A good flashlight will be worth it's weight in gold and a good one serves other purposes as well. Spend a few extra bucks, because even if an emergency situation never happens, it will still come in handy.
If you have enough room in your bug out bag, you will want to add some other items as well. A mess kit for cooking and eating, a camp stove, a sleeping bag or even a tent, a foldable shovel, 
links of rope, a hatchet and a good utility knife, just to name a few.

In Closing

A bug out bag is personal. And the contents are even more personal. If you plan yours out carefully, taking into consideration everything that could possibly happen, the better off you'll be.

Do you have a bug out bag already? If so, share some of your contents and why they're important. 

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Nomadic Prepper Strategy

Nomadic Prepper Strategy

By-J. Ray-Prepper Handbook Blog

In ancient times when this fortress was built in Wales, you could survive a hostile attack for years with ample food and a good supply of arrows. But being out in the open, on the move could quickly prove fatal.

Today, a few artillery rounds or an Apache attack helicopter could easily destroy even a fine castle like this.  Being stationary can be fatal in modern times.

So our fall back Prepper strategy to address this concern takes us back to our roots of being hunter/gathers.  Wandering around bodies of water and rivers while fishing or hunting the animals that depended on it was our way of life.  Planting some wheat seeds for a primitive garden or having a herd of goats began about 9,000 BC, allowing larger groups to survive in an area longer before exhausting the food supply and having to move on.

So envision having a small herd of goats, each with a backpack carrying supplies, and a good herding dog to help protect them and provide security for you. In the Prepper Handbook ($4.99 on Amazon), we talk about how many goats, and other food sources, are needed to be a sustainable food supply.  Here is an excerpt from the Prepper Handbook.

Seventy percent of the red meat consumed in the world is goat and they can provide wholesome milk for a family. Goats can forage for food better than any other livestock and can reproduce every 6 to 12 months. For this reason, they are highly recommended as the best sustainable food supply source. They are also very mobile and can browse on the move if you are traveling, bugging out on foot, or living a nomadic lifestyle.

It takes about 3 – 8 months after birth for the kid (baby goat) to be ready for butchering. The gestation period is 150 days or 5 months. Under ideal conditions, healthy young does produce one, occasionally 2 kids per year. Older does produce 2 – 3 kids per year. A doe will continue to produce until about 10 – 12 years old. So if you want to eat one young goat per month, then you need no more than 12 does in theory, possibly as few as 6, but have a few extras to be safe.

A goat will dress out at about 50% of their live weight. For example, a 100lb live goat will yield about 50 pounds of meat. With three does and a buck to breed them, you can raise about 3.3 pounds of meat per week against the 3.9-pound target below. 

This is one of many Prepper Handbook tables to prepare a sustainable meal plan

An alternative plan below is to raise Nigerian Dwarf goats. Instead of having 12 large 120 pound Boer goats, have 32 small ones (70 lbs). This will provide a stable monthly supply of meat and require minimum canning, drying, or freezing when compared to the other alternative above. If you loose one of your does to “predators,” you will still have 31 or 96.8% of your herd. In the prior case, losing one would be 8% of your herd. Nigerian Dwarf goats make good “pets” (smile) if you live in the city. Note some cities prohibit livestock, but allow “pets” that are named.

Most meat breeds like Boers (most common US goat), Spanish, Fainting, and Pygmies and occasionally Nubians (most popular dairy goat) will breed all year around. In this case, you can breed one doe each month to have a regular supply of kids to eat. They can be bred at 6-8 months of age when they reach a typical adult weight. Boer, Nubian & Nigerian Dwarfs are known to have multiple births, i.e. 2 kids at a time. Spanish goats and a New Zealand breed called Kiko are the hardiest, lowest maintenance & best foragers. These Kiko goats are what I would want if I could only have one type animal and were on the move (nomadic).

Pygmy goats are small and good to eat. Nigerian Dwarf goats are small and good milk producers. After a few laying hens, this is what I would get if I lived in the city.

Goats consume about 4.5 pounds of grass or hay per day per 100 pounds of body weight. For example, a 100 lb goat would eat 4.5 lbs of hay or grass, and a 50 lb goat would eat 2.25 lbs (4.5÷2) per day. In addition to hay, goats also need to eat some brush and feeding a little grain is good. Ideally, you should feed one pound of grain per day per goat. Keeping six goats on three acres of land should be sustainable, but they should be rotated to different one (of 3) acre pasture every 30 days.

If your only buck is lost, you are in serious trouble, so having extras is a good idea. Half of your kids born should be bucks, so save a few of them and then eat the rest.  Since one buck can breed about 25 does, you should keep more does than bucks. Bred does are a highly valuable asset for barter, but better yet, loan a few to a friend to raise some kids as this helps secure your herd having some in a different location.
Horses for travel are also a huge asset in a nomadic life style.  They allow you to travel quickly, to carry heavier loads and they can live on grass as goats do. Having a mountain bike with a cart might be a good modern alternative.

Adapting your cart to be a pen for chickens would add a food source of eggs and meat. In addition, having a supply of seeds to plant along your route could provide future food when you return this way. Migrating south for the winter, like the birds, would likely be part of a nomadic lifestyle.

You also need a strategic method of travel, using a V or diamond formation, with a scout on point ahead of the herd and others on the sides.  Each member of the group should have a survival pack and any scouts moving ahead of the herd should have a scout pack with more defensive contents.  After this, it is critical that you have a survival plan.  But that is a topic that would be unique for a nomadic lifestyle, that would only be feasible if the populations were lower even than when the Native American Indians ruled the US which was estimated to be only a few million.
For additional information see the following links:

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Don't get burnt

By: Sebastian Berry

I do not claim credit to any of the images used unless specifically indicated. All rights and credits remain with the original owners.

DISCLAIMER: Instructions and information here is not a substitute for professional medical care and treatment. If you are having a medical emergency call 911 or your local emergency number for assistance.

Ladies and Gentlemen, as we celebrate the birth and independence of our great nation with campouts, cookouts, and decorative explosions, someone reading this will make an ER visit because they burned themselves.

Burns are all avoidable injuries. Whether it comes from the grill or that sparkler you thought had cooled off, all burns can be avoided. Given the upcoming holiday weekend, below is a list of things I think are most likely to burn you.

* Campfire
* Grill and grill tools
* Fireworks

And obviously...

*The friggin' sun

The below infographic gives a little insight on how hot things can get.

Most commonly we think of burns as thermal burns like what was mentioned above. Any degree of burn can also be caused by cold injury as well. For the sake of this article we will stick with thermal burns.

Burns are classified by first, second, and third degree. The following link presents a slideshow of what each degree can look like. Degrees of Burns

Generally speaking first degree burns are manageable at home. Typically the skin becomes red, irritated and inflamed, tender to touch, and itches like crazy. For those of us that don't use a whole lot of sunscreen, these symptoms are really familiar.

Sunburn/First degree burn
The treatment for any burn of any degree is to first stop the burning. This is accomplished by removing the source of burn and then cooling the burn with cool running water. As a throwback to my post about not bleeding to death, stop the burning and start the cooling. The other immediate treatment is re-hydration, achieved by increasing fluid intake (primarily water)

The disclaimer for cooling is to not use ice. Placing ice on skin that has been damaged by a burn can create a secondary burn with frostbite. Then we go from one end to the other and create another set of problems to deal with, but I digress.

I personally recommend one product for use after sunburn and other first degree/superficial burns. It's called Solarcaine Aloe Gel and can be found here. Like the name indicates it contains aloe and lidocaine. You can achieve better short-term relief with it by keeping it in the fridge so that it is cooler when applied. The other at-home pain control options include Tylenol and Ibuprofen. Just remember that Ibuprofen can dehydrate you more than you already might be from the burn. Like was mentioned earlier, you have to drink more water after having any burn.


Second degree burns become more difficult to manage and can indicate a trip to your local urgent care or emergency room. The initial treatment remains the same-remove the source of the burn and start cooling the burn with running water. Whatever you do, do not open blisters. Open blisters are a prime site for infection, even though you think you might get relief from opening a blister you only open yourself up for infection.

The other treatment is a dry, sterile dressing without adhesives. The debate among medical professionals about wet or dry dressings will rage on time immemorial. For this audience, the easiest thing to remember is to use a dry and sterile dressing. Let the ER doctor or burn specialist decide to use something else.

Second degree burns are probably the most painful because they irritate the most nerve endings simply due to burning deeper. Many of these types of burns are managed with narcotic pain medications in the field by EMS and hospitals. Notice how we just went from topical treatments with first-degree to narcotic pain meds with second? These burns can become serious business quickly.

Second degree burns can become circumferential burns, meaning they wrap around the entirety of a part of the body and have the potential to restrict circulation-similar to a tourniquet.

Mechanics ring that made contact with a battery.
Case report

These types of burns are true emergencies that need emergency management and burn center care.

Where I live in Utah, the closest burn center is located at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City. Almost everyone that comes in to my emergency room with second degree burns will, at a minimum, get a referral to the burn center. This is their website.

Depending on the consult that the emergency doc gets, these burns have the potential to be flown by medical helicopter to the burn center. Think about it, not only have we just surpassed topical and then narcotic treatment, now you might have to be flown to a burn center for care. Again, burns can become very serious very fast.


When anyone thinks of third degree burns they tend to think of people that have been burned in a house fire or industrial accident. I will not post pictures of third degree burns because of how graphic they can be. You are welcome to conduct your own search.

These kind of burns typically do not hurt, because the nerves have been burned and are no longer able to send pain impulses. Surrounding burns and tissues may still hurt, but the third degree burn itself does not hurt. 

Usually these burns require extensive treatment, surgery, and follow-on care. These burns are life changers. They can appear as black char, fully white, or can expose tendon, muscle, and bone. These are always emergencies that require immediate medical intervention.

I would be remiss if I did not include inhalation burns with these types of burns. The respiratory tract is incredibly sensitive. If inhalation injury is suspected or the mechanism of injury, i.e. explosion or steam, indicates possible respiratory involvement do not delay seeking professional medical care. Victims with respiratory involvement have a very small window of treatment before airway compromise.


The rule of nines is a quick way to estimate percentage of body surface area affected by a burn.

Anything circumferential or covers an entire side of a body part needs emergency medical treatment. As a parent, if my children have anything that I even suspect is second degree, they will get seen at urgent care or the emergency room.


If you remember anything from this it should be

* All burns are avoidable
* Stop the burn start the cool
* Dry and sterile dressings
* Burns can become true emergencies very fast

Please be careful this holiday weekend. Use your sunscreen and some good sense. I hope none of you have to make a trip to the emergency room because you got burned.