A Week Without Running Water

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This post is by Bernie Carr, apartmentprepper.com

We recently traveled to a camp site up in the mountains in New Mexico.  The website indicated the area would have potable water, but when we arrived, we found it did not actually have potable water.   Fortunately, we had brought a water filter “just in case”

Here are some lessons learned from spending a week without running water.

Refillable containers become really, really important

We brought a five gallon collapsible water container which held up very well.  In addition, empty water and bottles, pots and pans were also used in the process of filtering water.

First, we filled a large pot with the unfiltered water.  Then, we filtered the water into the five gallon water container until it got full.  We then filled several water bottles as well.

A good water purifier is essential

As mentioned, we did not expect to have to purify water, but were glad we had brought our First Need Purifier.  We have used this in several camping and backpacking trips and it has never failed.  What I like about it is it removes viruses, bacteria and protozoa, as well as organic and inorganic chemical and aesthetic contaminants.   It is a hand pump/gravity feed purifier.

You use more water than you think.

Clean water is needed not only for drinking, but for cooking, making coffee and other beverages and even brushing your teeth.  We were fine with using the non potable water for washing dishes, cleaning and sponge baths.

You’ll have to take turns collecting water and purifying it.

It takes a good chunk of time to collect water and purify it, and your hands get tired using the hand pump so it is best to take turns with this chore.

Camp showers are great to have

Not having access to a real shower, we used a camp shower which was a treat after days of sponge baths.

Water is heavy

Having to transport water from one place to another gets very tiring.  Each gallon of water weighs 8.34 pounds, plus the weight of the container.  So five gallons would weigh 41.7 pounds plus a couple of pounds for the container.

Having extra hand sanitizing gel is a blessing

When you have a finite amount of water on hand until you have to collect it again, you don’t want to use more than you need to.  Hands get very grimy at camp so I found myself reaching for the hand sanitizing gel when I needed to clean my hands.

You learn to appreciate safe tap water.

After a few days, you realize the tap water we all take for granted.  It it were to dry up for an extended period of time, we would all be in trouble so we really need to store more water.

© Apartment Prepper 2016




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Money Mondays: What’s It Like to Visit a Gold Dealer?

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Whats it like to visit a gold dealer

This post is by Bernie Carr, apartmentprepper.com

Many prepper sites recommend buying gold as part of your portfolio.  On the other hand, many other people have never thought about buying gold, and have never gone to a place that buys and sells gold. 

I had an opportunity to visit a gold dealer during my lunch hour a few days ago.  My co-worker, who is a coin collector, mentioned he was on his way to the gold dealer to check out a certain coin.  I figured it would be an interesting to tag along, and check things out for myself.

Jewelry Store-Like Atmosphere

We drove for about 15 minutes before arriving at this free-standing two-story building, with a marquee showing the price of gold for the day.  There was a police car parked out in the parking lot and only a few parking spaces were left.  It looked like a few other customers were using their lunch hour to visit the gold dealer.  We entered a set of double doors, and found another locked door inside.  A lady working behind a glass window looked us over then buzzed us in.  Inside we saw wood shelves with glass cases along each wall with various items on display.  There were various types of rings, pendants, necklaces and even Faberge eggs on display.  In short, the place looked a lot like a jewelry store, without all the emotional advertising to entice you to buy.  The dealers were very matter of fact about doing business, they were straightforward and did not seem to care one way or another if you made a purchase or not.   In the middle of the room were more glass cases and several customers were being helped with their transactions.  One lady was unwrapping various types of silverware-cups, gravy bowls, saucers etc. and appeared to be selling the pieces.  Another man had a bag full of gold jewelry and was getting a quote on selling them.

Selling and Buying Gold Coins

The person being helped ahead of us was selling gold coins.  They appeared to be American Eagles.  They checked the latest price of gold and quoted him $1,250 per ounce.  He seemed pleased with that and sold his coins.  He was paid in cash and the gold coins exchanged hands.  It looked amazingly easy to sell gold coins at this dealer.

My friend looked at various coins.  They had the Buffalo and Eagle coins in various sizes, 1 ounce, half ounce etc. The lowest denomination they had that day was the Chinese Panda coin at 1/20 ounces.  My friend was looking for Eagles at the low denomination but they only had Pandas.

I spoke with the lady behind the counter regarding pricing, and she explained that you get more gold for your money if you buy the higher denominations, such as the full ounce or even over one ounce, since the markup for these items is not as high as for the little 1/20 coins.  However, I was thinking if you were ever in a situation where you need to use the coins as currency or barter, the small denominations would still be good to have, as you would not want to have to cut the larger coins into pieces.   But that is just my prepper mind thinking through possible scenarios.

Apparently their inventory varies daily, it just depends on what people come in to sell that day.  One lady came in and sold her Krugerrands, and the coins were immediately set on display for the next buyer.

If you are curious about the current prices or metals, visit Kitco.com.

I asked my friend if he ever went to pawn shops to buy gold coins; he said he has checked out a few but he was convinced the places he went to were not giving him a fair deal so he preferred the gold dealers.   He had also tried calling some of those newer gold outfits that have sprung up in recent years (remember those gold parties a while back?), but he also did not have a lot of faith in them.  He asked me if I wanted to look at anything else, but my curiosity was satisfied so we left.  Neither of us bought anything but I was glad I went, as I now know where to go if I am ever in the market for gold.

Next time, we will discuss what to consider before buying precious metals such as gold or silver.

© Apartment Prepper 2016

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How to Think Like a Thief and Save Yourself

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How to think like a thief and save yourself

This post is by Bernie Carr, apartmentprepper.com

I’ve been receiving emails from the building manager regarding other tenants who have been robbed this past week.  We live in a gated community, in a quiet neighborhood, yet burglaries still happen.  I’ve written about this subject before, but the issue has surfaced yet again.  One tenant’s car was stolen right in the parking lot by our building, and another unit got broken into in the middle of the day.

Building management assured everyone that they will change all the entry codes,  but that really does not stop anyone.  I have observed other cars that wait until a tenant goes through the gate and enters the premises right behind them.  Same with foot traffic:  vendors and pizza delivery personnel simply wait until someone uses their security pass and simply walk right in.  We all need to be on guard and learn how to think like a thief.

Crime is everywhere

The quicker you accept this fact, the safer you will be.

A couple of weeks ago, there was a crime spree at a well known park not far from where I live. News reports started coming out that joggers had been mugged, and a female jogger was sexually assaulted before being robbed at one of the park’s restrooms. These incidents all happened during the day.

I was talking to my friend Jim (yes the same one who had a shooting in his building, but has since moved to another apartment) because he frequently runs in that same park. He said, “They won’t get much out of me, I only carry my keys and cell phone.”

A few days later, the two robbers were caught. And do you know why they were robbing people at the park? Because these thieves wanted cell phones! They said it was an easy and quick way to make some money. Even though cell phones may seem like “not much” to us, they were exactly what the thieves were looking for.

Normal people see things a certain way, but thieves see things differently.

How to Think Like a Thief

What attracts their attention

Even if you think your stuff is not valuable, there may be something that attracts their attention:

  • Your purse looks fat and heavy, therefore it must contain a lot of goodies
  • You have bags in the back seat of your car, therefore, you must have gone shopping. Nevermind that you might have bags full of containers for recycling back there; having someone break in your car will be mean expensive repairs whether or not you have something valuable.
  • If you have shiny jewelry, you may attract their attention. Yes, your jewelry might be fake, but surely you have a wedding ring or a nice watch that will have some value.

Opportunity – Don’t make it easy for them

  • I pay attention to people around me at the park, and the majority are not paying attention to their surroundings. Many joggers have their headphones on, talking on the phone or listening to music, oblivious to everything.
  • Thieves will take any opportunity presented.


  • Some thieves create a distraction to send your attention elsewhere. When I was 10 years old, I had $15 Christmas money burning a hole in my pocket. I was at a store, choosing the ice cream flavors, when someone dropped a bunch of coins. I looked over and helped out, and when I got done, I went to buy my ice cream. I reached into my pocket and found all my money was gone. Tough thing to happen to a kid, but it was a lesson learned.

Crime in the premises if often perpetrated by people known to tenants

  • Burglary is often committed by people who are familiar with the area, or even acquaintances of neighbors or tenants.  If they see an opportunity, they will take it.
  • Vary your habits or schedule if possible.
  • Never leave your car doors or front door unlocked. So many neighbors don’t bother to lock their doors, or secure their belongings such as bicycles until they get robbed.
  • Leave lights on, a TV or radio on to make the unit seem occupied.

Trust your gut and act on it

  • The first victim at the park felt he was being followed but did not look behind him. Before he could act the two thugs were already pointing a gun at him demanding his stuff
  • If you get that weird feeling something is not right, trust yourself and do something right away.

Thankfully the crime spree at the nice park is over, but the apartment thefts are still ongoing.  I have asked management to improve our locks or at least allow tenants to make door improvements but I have not heard any response.

Try to think like a thief and see what makes you vulnerable. Doing so may keep you from becoming a target.

© Apartment Prepper 2016



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ALPS Comfort Series Self-inflating Pad Review

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 ALPS Comfort Series Self-inflating Pad Review1

The review of the ALPS Comfort pad is a result of working with the team of 3Beds.com, a website that reviews airbeds and sleeping pads.

A word about ALPS Mountaineering

The Mountaineering is just one of the sub-brands of the ALPS company. It manufactures hiking and camping gear – anything from tents, chairs, tents to airbeds and sleeping pads.

It was started by Denis Brune in the early 1990s, a guy who run the Kelty backpack company before starting ALPS.

As their mission, they boldly put forth the idea of making high-performance gear at lower prices, but we are here to test if they came through on that with this sleeping pad from the Comfort Series.

A few basic facts from the sheet of the pad

The Comfort Series is one of the three main sleeping pads that represent the company in the arena, the other two being the ALPS Lightweight and the Featherlite.

The specs as listed:

  • Self-inflating – features JetStream Foam, open cell
  • The fabric of the bottom is dotted with PVC (anti-slip)
  • The valves are brass
  • Available sizes (Regular: 20x72x1.5 inches to XXL 30x77x4 inches)
  • Weight of the size regular: 3.2 lbs

My First Impressions

ALPS Comfort Series Self-inflating Pad Review2

The pad came well packaged.  It came with a stuff sack, straps to secure it and a repair kit.

ALPS Comfort Series Self-inflating Pad Review3

It is not a lightweight pad, and is not compact – I feel this would be better suited as a camping rather than a backpacking pad.  It can also be used to add comfort when sleeping on a cot or the floor.

Testing the ALPS Comfort Series Self-Inflating Pad

The instructions sounded straightforward enough.  I followed the directions: unroll the pad and open the valve.

ALPS Comfort Series Self-inflating Pad Review5

It was suppose to inflate on its own within 30 minutes.  After an hour, it had not inflated.  The directions said you can blow air into the valve if the pad is not inflated.  As I blew air into it, the sleeping pad developed a bubble in the middle.

ALPS Comfort Series Self-inflating Pad Review6


I called the 1-800 number on the instruction sheet and spoke with a customer service representative.  I told her what happened and she said they would send another one.   She asked me to email her a photo for their records.  Within two days I received a replacement.   Although I was disappointed about receiving a defective product, I was pleased with their service and promptness.

The second time around, I unrolled the pad and left it alone for an hour.  This time, the pad self-inflated.

ALPS Comfort Series Self-inflating Pad Review7

I added air into the pad using the valve until it reached the desired thickness, then tightened the valve.  The pad was comfortable and had a nice texture.  It also has a non-slip surface, which definitely helps keep a backpack in place.

I left the pad overnight to see if it would deflate just like other pads I have tried out.  I did find a small degree of deflation.

In conclusion:

The ALPS Comfort Series self-inflating pad is convenient and easy to use, but be aware it needs about an hour to self-inflate if you are using it for the first time.  On subsequent uses, the pad self-inflated within 30 minutes.  Test the pad at least a week before you take it out camping to make sure it works as described.   My first pad was defective, but customer service was prompt and efficient.   The pad is comfortable, with a suede-like fabric and non-slip surface.

Overall I would rate it a 3 out of 5.

Check out my review in the new Apartment Prepper You Tube channel here:  https://youtu.be/QSf6RLbWhtQ



Disclosure: This is a professional review site that sometimes receives free merchandise from the companies whose products we review and recommend. We are independently owned and the opinions expressed here are our own. Apartmentprepper.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com

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Money Mondays: Credit Scores and Prepping

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Credit Scores and Prepping

This post is by Bernie Carr, apartmentprepper.com

There are always a lot of prepper discussions about relocating to a safer area, or purchasing rural property, but there is one factor that is often left out:  actually qualifying to buy or lease that place.  Whether you are an apartment dweller or home owner who is trying to move, there is one thing, besides income, that will always be a requirement when you are ready to apply for a lease or buy property:  your credit score.

Why you should check it now:

  • Your credit score is a big factor in determining whether your application to rent a new apartment or qualify for a loan to buy a property is accepted.
  • Many potential employers also check credit scores during the hiring process, so the score could impact your chances of getting a job.  This does not seem fair but that the way it is.
  • Credit history is also considered for calculating auto, renter’s or homeowner’s insurance premiums.  I know.  When I found this out I was shocked.  Insurance companies seem to feel that persons with bad credit are more likely to file a claim.
  • Another good reason to check your credit score is to watch for any signs of identity theft.

How to get a free copy of your credit report

The Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act of 2003 (FACTA) entitles you to a free copy of your credit report each year.  Go to www.annualcreditreport.com  

Be careful if you are just searching online and try to get a free credit report from just any site- there are a lot of scams out there that try to lure you into ordering your report from them, but lock you into a paid subscription.  To be on the safe side, go the the Federal Trade Commission website for more information on getting your free credit report.

One free site that a friend recommended to get a quick look at your credit is creditkarma.com   They show what TransUnion, one of the big three credit reporting agencies reflects about you.  I gave it a try and I did not get any solicitations or suspicious tactics.

You won’t really be able to clean up your credit report completely, but you can point out any errors you find to the credit reporting agencies and they will research the items.  You can also have them add a explanation from you.   This process takes time, so ideally, if you haven’t checked already, you should do this 60-90 days before making a big purchase or moving.

What is a good credit score?  Generally a score above 700 portrays “good credit management” to a lender.

Money saving tip:

Every apartment or landlord will ask for an application and charge you a non-refundable fee to pull your credit.  The fee ranges from $25 to $40 (per person, so it’s double if you are applying with a spouse or partner)  and therefore can get pretty steep especially if you apply to several places.  If you get rejected, your application fee is not returned.  Before shelling out the money, try to find out the minimum score that they will accept.  Ask if they work with people that are below the cut-off, such as charge a higher rent, or if they reject them completely.  If yours is well below the cut-off, then you know you are likely to get turned down.  Save yourself the money and keep looking.

If you are buying a property or vehicle, some lenders work with people with less than stellar credit, but may do one or more of the following:  approve the loan at a higher interest rate, ask for a co-signer or a higher down payment.

Being prepared means identifying potential pitfalls that might trip you up.  Having a bad credit score could hurt your future chances for a job or a place to live.   That is why it is important for you to check it once a year.

© Apartment Prepper 2016

Updated from a previous post that was originally published on Feb 27, 2014

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Prepper’s Communication Handbook – Review and Giveaway

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Preppers Communication HandbookThis post is by Bernie Carr, apartmentprepper.com

Today we are looking at Prepper’s Communication Handbook by Jim Cobb.  Jim has been featured on Apartment Prepper a number of times, as he has written many books on preparedness: Prepper’s Survival Hacks: 50 DIY Projects for Lifesaving Gear, Gadgets and Kits.  Countdown to Preparedness, Prepper’s Long Term Survival Guide just to name a few.  You can also find him in SurvivalWeekly.com.

Prepper’s Communication Handbook deals with a subject that is often left out of many emergency plans, until you realize how important it is to be able to get in touch with loved ones in an emergency.

Here are a few more details about the book:  (excerpt from Amazon)

Exploring the best options for every disaster scenario, this hands-on guide features in-depth coverage on a wide variety of lifesaving emergency communication systems, including:

* Satellite Radio

* Shortwave

* NOAA Receiver

* GMRS and FRS Radios

* Citizen’s Band

* Ham Radio

* Radio Scanner

* MURS Radio

If you’re looking for a “take you by the hand” approach to learning how to set up a ham rig, look elsewhere.  The focus here is on providing an overview of all the different communication tools out there, allowing you to decide for yourself which ones are best suited for your needs,situation, and experience level.

I think the book gives solid information on this important subject.  I liked the sections on Amateur Radio as well as Codes and Ciphers.  The chapter on Putting It All Together with a sample plan made for a fictitious family nicely illustrates the steps to take.  I was not as keen on the Effective Communications chapter, or Conflict Resolution chapters however I can see how tips on resolving conflicts via communication can be helpful in times of high stress caused by a disaster.  Read the book: you’ll have a clearer picture of emergency communication options available and you can formulate a plan to suit your needs.

Now for the giveaway…

The publisher, Ulysses Press is offering a giveaway copy of Prepper’s Communication Handbook.  One lucky winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter to win a copy.  We’ve made it as easy as possible to enter, with lots of opportunities to win!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

© Apartment Prepper 2016

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Uses for Paracord You Didn’t Know About

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Everday Uses for Paracord

This post is by Bernie Carr, apartmentprepper.com

What is paracord? Paracord is often cited as an essential item in a prepper’s tool box. It is a lightweight nylon cord that was used for parachutes in World War II. It is also known as 550 cord, as it is rated to hold up to 550 pounds. Paracord is somewhat elastic; it is composed of inner strands and an outer nylon sheath.

Paracord has multiple emergency uses such as stringing tarp or tying branches together, securing gear to a luggage rack or securing items to a backpack or go-bag. The inner strings can be used as a fishing line, to sew or repair clothing, or as substitute for dental floss.

I have found that paracord has many uses around the house, and can be used in day to day living.

  • Make a dog collar

Paracord Dog Collar

  • Create gift items such as bracelets and belts
  • Use as a clothes line
  • Replacement for shoelaces
  • Curtain tie-backs
  • Desk drawer pull (photo above) My work desk drawer handle broke and I was having a hard time opening it. We didn’t want to have to go to the home improvement store to buy new drawer hardware so Mr. Apt. Prepper rigged it with leftover paracord. It works!
  • Repair window blinds.

Paracord used to fix blinds

I always thought paracord is a helpful item to have around, but now I am convinced it is essential not only for emergencies, but for everyday repairs.

I actually have this book and have found great instructions for paracord crafts:  Crafting with Paracord:

Crafting with Paracord

I like being able to use preparedness gear for everyday needs. If you have other uses for paracord, please share them in the comments!

© Apartment Prepper 2016

Updated from a previous post that was originally published on 1/30/2014.


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Can Apartment Preppers be More Self-Sufficient? Interview with Author LeAnn Edmondson

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Can Apartment Dwellers be more self sufficient
This post is by Bernie Carr, apartmentprepper.com
Last week we featured a review and giveaway of Aftermath II, A Story of Survival. Today I am delighted to share an interview with the author, LeAnn Edmondson.  LeAnn writes the blog Homestead Dreamer.  Having been an apartment prepper herself, she knows all about the challenges of preparing for emergencies in an apartment, as well as some encouraging words for those of us who aspire be more self-sufficient.
1.  A person who is new to preparedness can quickly become overwhelmed.  What steps would you recommend to a new prepper?
Every prepper goes through moments of panic and being completely overwhelmed. They feel that it’s all hopeless because they can’t do ‘enough’ to prep. In my mind, this is a first test that separates those who will continue on to improve their skills and preps versus those throw their hands up and quit because it’s all “too much.” The steps I would recommend would be to recognize the panic and fear, then work through them. Bring yourself to a state where you can assess and make a plan on how to deal with this ‘mini crisis.’ If you can’t get your feelings under control to be able to assess the situation, that is the first thing you need to learn and master. All the stocked food in the world won’t help you if you don’t know how to control your feelings to then make logical steps.
2.  Your website Homestead Dreamer shares ideas about becoming more self sufficient.  Do you think apartment dwellers can be more self-sufficient?  How?
YES!  Apartment dwellers have less control over the outside of their place but inside is their sanctuary. Apartment Preppers have to be more creative with storage and whatnot but in many ways, that’s an advantage. Looters want a quick grab and go and aren’t going to go out of their way to dismantle stuff that may or may not have food in it. Apartment preppers also tend to focus on skills more than stuff, another very distinct advantage. When we started prepping, we rented an apartment. Since we didn’t have the space for stuff, we decided to work on skills and that is where the real value is. Apartment preppers tend to learn that before people who live in their own houses.
3.  What do feel are the biggest threats we should be preparing for?
I can’t point to any one threat because they are all “huge.” One common thread through all of the threats of economic collapse, natural disasters, and civil unrest is the uncertainty. It seems everyone can feel the intensity ramping up. They know in their gut that something is coming, something has to give. The whole planet has too many people, using too many resources, and none of it’s sustainable. The bubble will pop eventually. The uncertainty that comes along with all of that is our ‘biggest threat,’ because no one know what direction it’s coming from or what form it will take. There seems to be an underlying panic and insecurity simmering under the surface. Perhaps that is what’s making so many people think about having a little extra set back, just in case.
4.  How close are you to your dream of homesteading?  What have you accomplished in your homestead so far?
Homesteading is a word that is defined differently by everyone. Our dream of homesteading the way we really want to is another 5-6 years away but anyone can homestead in place. So far, the things we have accomplished is largely in skills. Because we just moved to our first home, we are having to rebuild stuff up. This year’s garden will largely be on the porch as we have to cut some trees and brush back to make room for the greenhouse and coldframes. Another thing we have accomplished is learning, a lot, about all the things we want to have on the homestead and that includes the things we don’t want. We would love to be able to just buy the land raw and dive in but there is real value in the way we’ve had to pursue our dreams. We learn before we make choices and avoid making some potentially costly mistakes.
5.  What might you advise people who feel this dream may be out of reach?
I would tell them straight to their face that sometimes I feel like I am reaching for stars, deluding myself that I will ever have the homestead of my dreams. There have been times where I’m crying (yes, literally crying) because the desire is so strong to get out of the 9-5 rat race and work to produce what we need instead of trading my time for paper to then trade the paper for what I need. I would rather grow the food, catch the fish, and process it myself instead of paying some company to do it (putting in God-knows-what chemicals). I would tell them that what keeps me going is the learning. An example would be chickens: I want them so badly. I can’t have them yet because we don’t have a coop or run area, plus there are a lot of dogs that run loose in this neighborhood. Until we can build an area for them to be safe in, I am instead reading all about their care, behavior, different breeds, medical issues and how to treat/prevent them, food needs…the list goes on. When it is time to actually pick out which breeds to get, I will have the book smarts firmly in my head along with the advice and stories from those who already raise chickens for eggs and meat. When the time comes, I will hit the ground running instead of having to learn after the fact. Adjust and adapt but never stop dreaming!
Our thanks for LeAnn Edmondson for joining us for an interview and for her thoughtful insights.
There is still time to enter the giveaway for her latest book, Aftermath II – check out Aftermath II Review and Giveaway!
Aftermath II
 © Apartment Prepper 2016
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Aftermath II – Review and Giveaway

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Aftermath IIThis post is by Bernie Carr, apartmentprepper.com

Today we are featuring Aftermath II by L. M. Edmondson.  We previously featured the first book in the series, Aftermath.

Here is a quick description from Amazon:

A world-changing event has taken place and with seventy percent of the world’s population believed to be dead, the first winter after IT happened will prove to be a bigger challenge to survive than the disaster itself.

Jimmy Walker has banded together with other survivors in what was formerly known as Michigan. After meeting the threats from the local criminal element and avoiding being rounded up by the United Nations, the focus changed to gathering enough resources to survive the coming winter.

But the U. N. is not resting.

Not only will the survivors have to deal with people fleeing the cities, they will have to face all that Mother Nature can throw at them without any modern conveniences. Even if they manage to survive the weather, the lack of things to do leaves a lot of time for getting lost in the magnitude of what has happened to humanity.

The story picks up where Aftermath left off. Aftermath II delves into the community banding together in their fight for survival.  The engaging style and fast paced story that I enjoyed in the first book continues to engage the reader.  Although it can be read as a standalone since it does a good job of recapping what has happened, I recommend you read Aftermath first.  If you are looking for a book that will keep you turning the pages, pick up Aftermath II.

Now for the giveaway…

The author has reserved a copy to giveaway for Apartment Prepper readers.  One lucky winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter.  We’ve made it as easy as possible to enter, with lots of opportunities to win!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Urban Survival: When the Cities Fall Apart, These Strategies Will Keep You Alive

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Urban Survival: When the Cities Fall Apart, These Strategies Will Keep You Alive

 Urban survival

Collectively speaking, there are many of us who have been preparing for emergencies and have read our fair share of prepper fiction and watched enough apocalyptic thrillers to know that the higher the population density, the more dangerous it can be in a disaster. As well, when resources like food and fuel have to be transported from outside the city limits, then your survivability rate lessens. So what about those who have to live in the city? Should they just stop prepping all together? Would they stand a fighting chance at surviving?

According to the last census, 80.7 percent of the U.S. population lives in urban areas. In fact, many choose to live the higher populated areas because of better paying jobs and better school systems, so the probability of a shtf event happening while you are in the city is likely. As well, because many commuters spend a large majority of their time away from their homes, I recommend having these 20 items on hand to get you back home.

In an interview by Rory from The Daily Coin, he asked if it is possible to live out a shtf scenario in an urban setting. The answer is yes, but for a majority of us, we must ask ourselves if we are up to the challenge. Because while I do believe someone could get by in an urban setting, it could prove to be more challenging for the Average Joe.

Urban Survival – Is It Even Possible?

If you are forced to stay in the city after a disaster occurs, all is not lost. I do believe urban survival is possible, but you may need to get creative. Ultimately, being able to survive in an urban setting during a major ordeal depends on multiple factors: specifically, the type of disaster, if basic infrastructure is still up, where you are located, what you have with you and your skill sets. Moreover, I believe that whether you are surviving in an urban setting or a rural one, you need the same things for survival: food, water, shelter, protection (sound familiar?). The difference is you will need to rely more on your skills and ingenuity in finding opportunities to use to your advantage in a post-disaster city. In both scenarios, rural and urban survivors will also have to find a way to carry on for long durations. That is, when your short-term reserves are tapped out, what’s your long-term plan?

Above all, the population density will be your greatest threat and your resources will quickly be depleted. If you are not familiar with Selco’s story from SHTFSchool.com, he survived in an urban setting and tells his story and shares ways that he and others survived on his website. Some of the critical needs he outlines are:

Food – No city can feed it’s people on its own and when the supply trucks stop running, supplies will quickly be depleted. It is wise to have food on hand. I outlined 25 must-have versatile foods for your pantry.

As well, I highly recommend storing a variety of heirloom seeds. These can be to grow sprouts for emergency nutrition and for gardens for long-term food sources. You could also plant edible flowers. Not only will they be lovely to look at, but they will provide sustenance when you need it the most. Alternatively, if you can locate food packing plants or warehouses in your city, that may be a good place to allocate additional food reserves if yours runs out. This article can provide information on foraging for weeds.

Water – Municipal water sources can become tainted and it will be up to you to locate water sources. Water could look crystal clear and still contain very dangerous contaminants. – so avoid this all together and make sure you have some water stored away. Your skills will come in handy here if you are actively practicing how to survive. Here are five different ways to find water when there is none to be had. As well, consider having a map on hand of water sources in close proximity to you.

Fuel – Due to so many who are getting out of dodge and leaving the city, the fuel stores will quickly be depleted. As well, this could be problematic for running your generators. Many preppers prefer to have some alternative fuel on hand, or even biomass briquettes. Make sure you follow the proper safety guidelines for storing fuel, especially those who live in apartments.

Many suggest solar panels as a good power alternative. While I like this idea, I think it can also draw unwanted attention, so further security measures should be put in place to hide the solar panels from view.

Power – The failure of the power grid will prevent things from getting back to normal. When the majority of the population realize things aren’t going to change any time soon, and the above listed items aren’t available, there will be breakdowns to the level of social collapse. Many feel this very reason is why it’s important to be ready to bug out on a moment’s notice. If you are caught in this, it could be very dangerous.

What You Will Be Up Against

While it is entirely possible to survive in the city, you need to know what you will be up against. I realize that I am painting a very bleak picture, but those who stay behind and choose not to bug out are either under prepared, trapped in the city or have enough skills and know-how to make it on very little stored resources. The latter will not be the majority. Therefore, be prepared for roaming gangs, thugs and desperate individuals who have resorted to a more primal version of themselves. They will do what they need to in order for their needs to be met. If they haven’t eaten in days, they will smell your food from miles away, so you need to know how to mask the smells of your food or you could be welcoming unwanted visitors whose primary focus is to take what you have.

Security will be crucial in surviving in an urban setting and having a group you can depend on will make it all the more secure. Many neighbors and friends living in close proximity will band together and help to fortify the homes or find a suitable location in a higher location so you can get a bird’s-eye view of the scenery.  One aspect that the city offers is a plethora of building materials to use for fortifying a home. If you start looking for fortifying plans now, you will have a better idea on what materials you will need. I also cannot stress how important it is to have a means of protecting yourself. If someone kicks in your door, they aren’t only looking for a cup of sugar. Having a firearm and knowing how to use it could make all the difference in the world.

As well, having a keen grasp on communication skills with your group to ensure your perimeter is safe and make sure you will have alerts to possible threats. Communication is key and you should have multiple forms of communication, especially if a family or group member ends up being separated. One of the greatest threats we all face in cities are terrorist attacks. They target highly populated cities with dirty bombs and chemical weapons, and what we saw in Brussels that is can happen in peaceful cities, as well. Today it was Brussels. Where will it be the next time they hit America? Protecting yourself is the only option to ensuring your family has what it needs, including gas masks to gauge against chemical and biological attacks.

Start Finding Ways to Think Outside of the Box:

As I mentioned previously, to survive in a post-disaster urban setting, you will need to get creative in the way you work problems. Nothing should be wasted and everything could be used. Trash lying around can be repurposed and fashioned into something more useful. As well, start reading resources that can help you in your future preparations. The following books have great information on this type of survival.

SAS Urban Survival Handbook

The Prepper’s Blueprint

Where There’s a Will, There’s a Way

The human species has always found way to survive and times aren’t all that different. In order to thrive in an urban environment, you need to be aware of what’s stacked against you: the lack of resources, possible threats, roaming gangs and violence. If you can change your line of thinking, utilize key skill sets and become more fluid with the problem, your odds improve.

About the author:

Tess Pennington is the author of The Prepper’s Blueprint, a comprehensive guide that uses real-life scenarios to help you prepare for any disaster. Because a crisis rarely stops with a triggering event the aftermath can spiral, having the capacity to cripple our normal ways of life. The well-rounded, multi-layered approach outlined in the Blueprint helps you make sense of a wide array of preparedness concepts through easily digestible action items and supply lists.

Tess is also the author of the highly rated Prepper’s Cookbook, which helps you to create a plan for stocking, organizing and maintaining a proper emergency food supply and includes over 300 recipes for nutritious, delicious, life-saving meals. 

Visit her web site at ReadyNutrition.com for an extensive compilation of free information on preparedness, homesteading, and healthy living.


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