Category Archives: Preparedness

Start Prepping by Tim Young – Book Review

Start Prepping

Start Prepping: Get Prepared – For Life

by Tim Young – Book Review

Naturally, as a blogger within the survival and preparedness niche, I have a keen interest in all things related to it. This often means reading books related to the field and having read quite a few so far, I have seen all kinds (good, bad, and indifferent).

One of the things that I often struggle with when reading preparedness related books is the fact that some seem to be aimed toward the beginner or veteran but to a fault.

What I mean by this is that prepping books aimed at beginning preppers can be so simplified that you don’t get much out of them and vice versa, the book for the prepping veteran can be so advanced that if you don’t have an engineering degree, you won’t be able to accomplish any of the projects discussed.

Having said all of that, the latest book that I read, Start Prepping!: Get Prepared – For Life, the newest of several books from Tim Young of the website, selfsufficientman.com. It is a great book that I feel everyone can get something out of. I can honestly say that I was impressed as soon as I got through the introduction because it created buy-in on the part of the reader right away.

Instead of telling me why I should like the book, the introduction demonstrated to me why the information in the book is important to me and made me believe that prepping was indeed in my best interest.

Tim takes the time to educate his readers. I appreciate the fact that he spends time pointing out that preparedness is not an activity that only on the fringe lunatics participate in, almost everyone is a prepper! Tim outlines that you might be a prepper if you:

  • Carry a spare tire in your car.
  • Have a life insurance policy.
  • Ever practiced an emergency drill (fire, earthquake, etc.).
  • Take a diaper bag with you when you go out with a baby.

That last one really does drive home the fact that being prepared is not only a normal activity, it is one that we should all do. After all, if you have a baby that you are responsible for, you know that not every time you leave the house that the baby is going to need a bottle or pacifier…but you darn well better bring it because you know there is a chance you will need it and you want to be ready if you do. Why? Because it is really painful to navigate life with a crying baby and no way to calm them down.

So it can be said for navigating a natural disaster and not having water, food, a safe place to stay, and so on and so on. Yes, there are people on TV who are “preppers” that do outrageous things but that is for ratings and certainly does not reflect the prudence that people exercise when making sure that they have an option other than relying on the government or certain death when facing a disaster.

The guiding principle throughout Start Prepping! is that of the 10-Step Path to Preparedness which lays out 10 steps that can be combined together that will result in a very solid foundation for any prepper. From water storage to obtaining additional skills, Start Prepping! covers everything that the veteran or novice prepper needs to ensure their plan is complete.

A definite selling point for me is the fact that each chapter stands alone from the others. Because of the 10-Step approach, you can read the chapter on food storage and get a wealth of information on that specific topic that you can use without having to have read the chapter on water.

Another great thing that I liked about Start Prepping! is the fact that Tim does not just write a chapter about a subject and leave it at that. Integrated into each chapter there is a ‘Checkpoint’ or ‘Challenge’ where Tim has a couple of questions to ponder or points to help you take the information and move forward with it.

Start Prepping! is not only relevant, it is well put together. I told you that the introduction alone has me sold on reading the book but it is also so logical in how Tim put it together. I can tell that this is not the first book he has written, that much is true. I enjoyed that, while I can read the book out of order, if reading from the beginning the reader will gain a great understanding of why to prep, the threats that make prepping relevant (there are more than you would imagine), and the steps that every prepper should take to get prepared.

This book is great for new preppers or those who are thinking about getting into prepping. It would be a great gift for a friend or family member who you know is not prepared or needs a plan to help get them on the right track.

I probably need to make the best point of all…isn’t a few dollars spent on this book worth far more if the information in it results in you, your loved ones, and friends being the best prepared they can be for a disaster? It’s a great return on your investment and I am confident that you will not be disappointed with Start Prepping!.

Lastly, the listed resources that Tim has included with his book are so valuable that it is worth the price of admission without including the numerous tips, tricks, and pointers sprinkled throughout the book. Don’t miss the prepper challenges and lists at the end of the book!

There really is no way to outline how much help this book will help actually you in just a blog post, but I know that it will be worth your time and money.

You can view every title by Tim Young on Amazon or his website.

Cooking With The Sun After TEOTWAWKI

Cooking With The Sun After TEOTWAWKI

One of the greatest concerns in any sort of disaster is how you will be able to feed yourself and your loved ones. Depending on the scenario, the challenge of feeding yourself can fall along a wide spectrum when considering the degree of difficulty involved.

In a post-collapse scenario there a few concerns:

If you have read any type of post-apoctalyptic fiction (my favorites are the Survivalist Series by A. American and The New World Series by G. Michael Hopf), you are probably familiar with the concern of starting a fire because of the smell and smoke that it generates that some of these characters experienced.

There is also the concern of fuel for your cooking source. Whether it is a stove, grill, or open fire; you need fuel and that can often be a finite resource.

Even if the scenario is not as extreme as a total collapse, like something more mild such as a power outage or very localized natural disaster, there is a need to be able to provide food for you and your loved ones.

Sun

I was previously familiar with the idea of cooking with a solar or sun oven, but I was not entirely aware of the actual possibilities that are available with a sun oven. At least that was the case until last week. Last Thursday I had the privilege of hosting a webinar with Paul Munsen, the owner of the All American Sun Oven company. With 28 years behind the design, manufacture, and use of these sun ovens, Paul taught me a lot about what the sun can do for us in preparing food and a whole lot more.

Some of the things that Paul spoke about include:

  • How to use the Sun Oven to:
    1. Cook all types of food from 21 pound turkeys to awesome baked beans, bread, and more.
    2. Naturally dehydrate fruits, vegetables, and meats.
    3. Boil or pasteurize water.
    4. Brew sun tea.
    5. Kill infestations in grains or dried foods.
    6. Heat water for hygiene and sanitation.
    7. Sterilize medical instruments.
    8. Dry firewood.
    9. Enhance winter sprouting.
  • What makes the design and manufacturing of the All American Sun Oven a higher quality than hand made or other solar cookers.
  • The broad spectrum of locations and conditions that the Sun Oven can be used in.
  • Potential utility and energy savings that can be gained from using a Sun Oven.
  • How easy the Sun Oven is use and maintain.
  • The role that the Sun Oven plays around the world, especially in disaster ravaged areas and third world countries.
  • With regular maintenance, the Sun Oven will last for decades.
  • And a whole lot more!

It was a knowledge packed webinar and left me with plenty of food for thought (pun intended). I love the idea that the Sun Oven is not only a great option to have if things go south, it is a great cooking option now for a myriad of reasons.

In addition to the wealth of knowledge that Paul shared, he has graciously put together a Sun Oven package valued at $448 that is specially priced for Prepared Ninja readers at only $315, a savings of 30%! This package includes:

  • 1 – All American Sun Oven
  • Set of 3 – Dehydrating & Baking Rack Set
  • 2 – Easy Stack Pots
  • 1 – Multi-Fuel Water Pastuerizing Indicator
  • 2 – Loaf Pans
  • 1 – Cloudy Day Cube Stove w/ 12 Fuel Disks/Fire Starters
  • 1 – Sun Oven eCookbook & Emergency Preparedness CD w/ 600 recipes, hundreds of pictures, video clips, and much more!
  • FREE Shipping!

You just have to use the coupon code ‘PreparedNinjaWebinar’ when you checkout.

If you did miss the Sun Oven webinar, or made it but would like to listen to it again, Paul has selflessly provided a replay of the Sun Oven Essentials Cooking Class, but the replay is only available for the next couple of days.

Watch the replay while it is still available!

Once Monday, July 27th hits, the webinar replay will be taken down and the HUGE savings will disappear.

 

photo credit: Your Sun Now [HD Video] via photopin (license)

Now Is The Time To Set Cash Aside If You Haven’t Already

Now Is The Time To Set Cash Aside If You Haven’t Already

A guiding principle of preparedness is to have some cash on hand in the event there is a disaster and the typical currency exchange mechanisms (debit/credit card processing, ATM’s, etc.) are not functioning. The types of disasters that come to mind where this would be most useful are situations where you might have to evacuate (flood, hurricane, etc.) or a long term power outage. A little bit of cash might get you the fuel or supplies you need to flee the immediate area and get to a point where you can return to using your cards to pay for things.

Also, having some cash on hand can be useful for a personal disaster like the loss of a job or a cut back in hours at work. This money can then be used to help bridge the gap until a remedy can be found.

Cash

With the use of cash seemingly becoming extinct to a point, it is even more important to have some set aside in a safe place at home because it is even less likely that you will have any on your person as a result of relying on cards and their associated processing systems to make purchases.

Banking Institutions

Let me throw out another reason to hold on to your money in cash in a location that you control…Banking Institutions. The world is plagued with financial troubles and while the news will tell you that the United States is just fine because the DOW Jones Industrial Average hovering just under 18,000 points and Google’s shares are over $520, how could anything be wrong? We are not as well off as the talking heads would like you to believe.

We as a country have historically had monetary issues. The best example that comes to mind is the Great Depression but even as recently as 2008 there was a terrible financial collapse in the housing market that greatly impacted the nation. The effects of the 2008 crisis have been felt across the board and even seven years later, we continue to feel the impact in the housing market, credit market, unemployment, and a lack of funding in government at all levels.

Greece

With the push toward globalization, we are even more threatened. Look at Greece as a glaring example. Today happens to be significant timing because recently Greece formally defaulted on somewhere around $1.8 Billion dollars that they owed to the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The lead up to default included banking holidays and limits on how much account holders could withdraw from their accounts. The lines at the ATM were hours long and citizens scrambled to get the basic necessities together as they saw the writing on the wall.

“Self-preservation is kicking in. People are hoarding gasoline and groceries. I’m mocked all the time for saying to prepare. … But look how quickly things go down the moment you lose access to all the conveniences you assumed you were always going to have access to. Let me ask you a question: do you think we’ll be any different when our economic day of reckoning comes?”

~Glenn Beck

In fact, things were so bad that the ATM limit was $66 and while Greeks were able to pay bills online, they were prohibited from moving their money out of the country.

How about the U.S.?

Could the United States end up in this position? I am certain that this could happen in America and while it might not look the same; the results would be similar. The only difference between us and Greece is that the Greeks have experienced this recently. Americans would lose their minds!

Over the last several years we have seen several times where the United States was staring down the barrel of default ourselves and while that was not comfortable, Congress and the president always pulled something together in the end because they knew the potential impact that default could have on the country.

Even with the threat of default, there were political moves to suspend the pay of the military. I can tell you that this move probably would have not worked very well, especially if it were long term. It may have led to the first military coup in the history of our country.

The current U.S. debt is over $18 Trillion dollars of which over one third is held by foreign interests (mainly China and Japan). We even owe somewhere around $66 Billion dollars to our beloved friends in Russia.

With China already not happy with us because of our current economic instability, could you imagine what would happen if they decided to demand payment in full of their debt? It would not go well and if I had to guess, it would lead to several other countries feeling insecure and demanding payment as well.

On top of everything else, are we really getting anywhere by continuing to take on more and more debt that we all know we will never be able to realistically pay back? I doubt it. While we may live to see another day from a debt ceiling perspective, all we are doing is passing the buck to our children and future generations. Even if stocks continue to go up and we have this false sense of security, the day will come when no one will lend us any money and then what will happen? Our house of cards will come crashing down.

A collapse in the United States may not happen all at once. It is reasonable to expect that things could get started by the fall of a few cities that serve as the first few dominoes along the chain of events that lead up to a financial collapse in the United States.

The first domino could be almost anywhere:

  • Detroit, Michigan
  • Stockton, California
  • Jefferson County, Alabama
  • San Bernadino, California

My apologies, these are not random cities. Those are a few of the cities that have already filed bankruptcy over the last few years.

The Weimar Republic

There is a scary parallel between what is happening in Greece and the United States today and the economic disaster that happened in the Weimar Republic. Following World War I, the government in the Weimar Republic had massive debt, tried to hyper inflate their currency as a way to repay those debts, and ultimately saw a collapse in the currency.

In the wake of currency collapse; there was high unemployment (almost 10% which we saw in the U.S. from 2009-2011 “officially”) as well as terrible food and energy shortages.

If a lack of resources wasn’t good enough, the Weimar government forced citizens to register their guns. Later, this registry provided the information necessary to confiscate all firearms in the Republic.

The decision was also made to legalize drugs and a downward slide in the morals and values of the country was well underway. In the end, the result was disastrous.

For those who don’t know; high unemployment and the devaluation leading to the collapse of the currency in the Weimar Republic gave a way for Hitler to rise to power. We all know how that worked out, right?

Massive debt? Check.

High Unemployment? Check.

Energy and food shortages? Check.

Restrictive gun laws? Check.

Legalized drugs? Check.

It sure seems like we are in great shape as a country based on what history has to tell us.

Puerto Rico?

If all of that is not enough, our friends in Puerto Rico (who we have given territory status to) have also decided that they are not going to be able to pay their debts either. According to the governor of Puerto Rico, Alejandro Garcia Padilla, “The debt is not payable. There is no other option. I would love to have an easier option. This is not politics, this is math.”

Can you imagine how scary it might be if the United States started doing math at the federal level?

So what can you do to ensure that you are not standing in line at the ATM when things go south?

The best way to stay out of the ATM line is to already have what you would get with what you pull out of the ATM: Cash and Supplies.

Key takeaways from the situation in Greece include:

  • By setting aside cash now, you will not find yourself in a struggle to try to get some together at the last minute if things hit the fan.
  • Having a basic stock of extra supplies on hand can alleviate the need to panic buy at the last minute. There are several potential things that happen when panic buying ensues:
    1. You will buy things that you are not familiar with and therefore may or may not use.
    2. You will buy things that you will not use but get them because you are in panic mode.
    3. Prices may be jacked up on needed items because there is a limited supply.
    4. You put yourself at greater risk of injury or death while also being away from family and loved ones because of the need to hurry up and make key purchases.
    5. You will lose time trying to navigate through stores and waiting in long lines. This is time that could be spent doing other tasks or moving away from the impacted/problem area.

How much cash is enough?

The saying that comes to mind here is the more, the merrier. Obviously, having a huge stack of cash sitting around the house is not very realistic for anyone but the very wealthy. A realistic amount of cash to have on hand will vary from person to person and family to family but a good goal would a minimum of one month of the minimum required expenses.

Most individuals and families should try to have cash on hand for:

Shelter – Rent or Mortgage, Utilities

Food & Beverage – Human, Pet

Insurance – Homeowner or Renter, Vehicle, Life, Medical/Dental

Transportation – Car Payment, Public Transportation, Fuel

While potential areas where cash could prove useful are numerous, you will need to make a decision on what your priorities are. I would suggest food, water, and safety/security be your main priority.

Regardless of how much cash you end up with or what you decide that it should be set aside for, the single most important factor is to get started and set some cash in the rainy day fund.

photo credit: Pile of Cash via photopin (license)

Selecting The Best Tactical Vest

What To Look For When Selecting The Best Tactical Vest?

Summary

Tactical gear should be focused on maintaining a balance between protection, mobility, and comfort. Tactical gear, like a tactical vest, is usually used in perilous circumstances by the police and/or military personnel to protect them and keep equipment at the ready at all times.

In addition to their functionality and organization, the usability of a tactical vest is also very important. There are a few necessary elements to consider by buyers when looking to purchase the right tactical vest.

Tactical Vest

Introduction

Self-protection is an inevitable need for police, military, and preparedness minded personnel. As such, you need to consider a few important things when buying a tactical vest, whether it is for protection, organizing gear, or both. Have a look…

Elements to Consider for an Efficient Tactical Vest

Almost all tactical gear, including the tactical vest, should be evaluated for the three basic functions of usability, mobility, and protection. When looking at these functions in a tactical vest, start by trying to understand the key essentials listed below and how these elements come together to serve as an efficient tactical vest. This understanding will simplify your buying process.

Molle or Not to Molle?

The first question that arises when it comes to buying your tactical vest is whether to MOLLE or not to MOLLE?

The pre-configured tactical vest has a lower initial cost and is typically lightweight. MOLLE vests are primarily known for their versatility and easy customization. Choosing a pre-configured vest is suitable if you are required, or choose, to carry a single weapon like and AR or AK rifle and your pistol. If your requirements dictate that you need to carry multiple weapon systems, or a more exotic weapon system, a MOLLE vest with interchangeable pouches will be the best option.

In addition to being capable of being configured for specific weapon systems, another advantage of the MOLLE tactical vest is the ability to customize your vest for additional capabilities such as communications equipment, a first aid kit, etc.

Sizing

Although some tactical vests come in one size only, most are available in multiple sizes or are adjustable in order to fit easily and allow maximum flexibility. For the tactical vest that is sized, you can get various sizes including small (chest size 34-35), medium (38-40), large (42-44), etc. An important consideration when selecting the size of your tactical vest is to keep in mind what you will be wearing your vest over. If you need additional room for clothing and/or equipment under your tactical vest, ensure that you keep this in mind when selecting your size.

Durability

When buying the right tactical vest, one should consider the environment and location where they are required to wear their vest. For those who need it frequently to crawl around, a durable vest is the best fit. Frequent usage requires a vest which is able to endure all the elements, along with the extreme wear and tear by the wearer. Whether you plan on frequent use of your tactical vest or not, choosing a vest that is durable will serve you best in the long run.

Duration of Use

Another important consideration is how long the wearer will wear their vest. Short duration or wearing the vest for only a few hours will decide how much load-bearing gear you can carry with you for  the entire day. This short wear test can tell you plenty about your vest and if it is truly the best match for your needs. If you can’t wear your vest for a few hours, you definitely won’t be able to wear it over the course of several days.

Long periods of use also may reinforce the practicality of a MOLLE tactical vest which allows the user to customize the configuration to facilitate even weight and maximum comfort.

Role on the Field

Often, most of tactical vest owners are required to act at least partially as a rifleman when out in the field, meaning they will be carrying a rifle as their primary and a pistol as their secondary weapon. In such cases, lightweight vests will help to provide the enhanced usability and mobility required for these duties. The flexibility of a MOLLE vest will also enhance an individuals ability to serve in multiple capacities.

Type of Gear on the Vest

It is important for buyers to consider the type of gear they will be carrying on their tactical vest. A hydration carrier will be an essential addition when outside for longer periods of time or in hot weather. Utility pouches also provide a way for important items to be kept close at hand. If using a weapon system, magazine pouches are vital for keeping additional ammunition at the ready.

While searching for the right tactical vest, don’t forget that what works for others might not necessarily work for you. Try different systems out to see for yourself what is the best fit for your needs. Good luck.

About the Author:  This article was a guest submission from 911Gear.ca, a premium dealer of tactical equipment in Ontario, Canada. Located online, 911Gear.ca offers shipping to both Canada and the United States. Don’t miss out on their extensive selection of tactical equipment for law enforcement, military, EMS, security professionals, corrections officers, and preppers.

Survival Sunday – 6/21/2015

In this weeks edition of Survival Sunday: Happy Father’s Day!, Gun Violence, Always Be Armed, Adapt or Die, Post-Collapse Barter, Draft Dodging and four more.

Survival Sunday

First things first, Happy Father’s Day to all of my fellow dad’s out there. I would especially wish my own dad a happy  who has helped me become the dad that I am today by sharing with me what to do (and sometimes what not to do) to succeed at fatherhood. To make it even more special, I get to spend some time with my Dad today which is something that I have not done on Father’s Day in a few years. Just to make it even better, we had authentic Texas BBQ for lunch. It was good. I should have taken a picture of it but by the time I thought of it, my plate was empty! Did I mention it was good?

As far as how my week was…I spent a few days getting some work done and a few days traveling this last week. Neither option I am really fond of but I dislike traveling so much that I might actually choose to work if I was given a choice. With the rest of my time I hung out with family, did some swimming, and that’s pretty much what I can remember.

There was a great tragedy this week when a single man excuse for a human being shot up a church in South Carolina. What happened is absolutely tragic and I despise the fact that there are people who are using the event to push their agenda (insert talking head on TV here). While tragic, this is another case where the gun is not the cause of the problem, just a tool which was used in the commission of a crime. If guns were illegal (of course they would all disappear because that it what has happened with meth and heroin, right?) they would just be replaced with something else.

When we look at history, there are some common things that can be discovered about events that have been classified massacres:

  1. Many of them have been committed by governments against citizens.
  2. Several have been for political or religious reasons.
  3. In the U.S., “gun free zones” seem to be the only real locations that are selected for massacres.

If that is not enough, even in countries that have enacted strict gun control laws, criminals often use other tools to kill large numbers of people. Even if guns are legal, there are plenty of examples where massacres happen regardless:

  • An attack in a Chinese train station on March 2, 2014 by ten men with knives that killed 29 and injured 130 more.
  • The bombing attack on the Boston Marathon by a pair of radicalized brothers that killed three people and injured more than 260 others using two bombs in pressure cookers.
  • A massacre in Houla, Syria where 108 people were killed with knives on May 25, 2012.
  • The April 30, 2009 attack on the Dutch Royal Family in Apeldoorn, Netherlands where Karst Tates drove his car into a parade, killing seven people and himself.
  • An attack on the Gulbarg Society in Ahmedabad, India where an estimated 69 people were burnt to death in their homes.

These are only a few of the documented attacks over the last decade and a half and NONE of them used guns.

The most deadly school attack in the history of the United States was the Bath School Massacre in 1927 using explosives. To  put this into perspective, this was a point in time where almost anyone could order a Thompson Sub-Machine gun through the mail.

Let us not forget that on September 11, 2001; several terrorists with box cutters took over airplanes with hundreds of people on them and committed the worst terrorist attack on American soil in our history.

It’s possible that guns alone are not the problem.

Here are the highlights of what I found this week:

A Green Beret’s Guide To Planning Your Personal Posture: “First Things First: Always Be Armed” – One of the most important areas of preparedness is what you have with you at all times. I couldn’t agree more with J.J. when he says to always be armed…unless you live in a God forsaken place where protecting yourself is illegal.

Adapt or Die: Why You Need More Skills & Less Stuff – I will not argue with the information contained here at all. Graywolf hits the nail on the head. While there is a place for “stuff,” we all need the skills more.

Bartering In A Post-Collapse Society – A unique look at the practice of bartering, retired Green Beret JJ talks barter from a different angle; including how to forecast, hustle, and conceal.

Draft Dodging 101: How To Preserve Your Freedom In A Time Of Crisis – I don’t advocate running from military service. In fact I don’t have much respect for those that don’t at least support our men and women in uniform. My time in the Army wasn’t easy and it hurt my family but I did it because it was the right thing to do and I gave my word that I would.

With all that said, I don’t know how I would feel about my children being forced into service for no reason other than money, resources, or a vendetta. This information could prove useful in the future if things keep going the way they have been. It could at least be a survival strategy.

Defeating Drones: How To Build A Thermal Evasion Suit – This is an interesting article (with video) about one potential way to evade detection by a drone.

Military Movements On The Northern Border – For those interested in Jade Helm, its associated military movements, and accompanying conspiracy theories, here is a piece about some major military action going on in Montana. There is also an update about military movements.

This last article is not necessarily preparedness related but I appreciated it and found it to ring quite true.

The Last Rebels: 25 Things We Did As Kids That Would Get Someone Arrested Today – Read it and see if it isn’t true!

That’s it for me this week. I hope that you all have had a great week and keep getting ready for tough times. If you found something that you would like to share with the group or have any questions, don’t hesitate to email me at tom@thepreparedninja.com.

Come back next week for another edition of Survival Sunday.

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