SunJack Waterproof Lightstick Review and Giveaway

SunJackLightStick4

This post is by Bernie Carr, apartmentprepper.com

I am always on the lookout for good backup lighting and when I found out the SunJack Waterproof Lightstick can also charge devices, I was even more interested.  It is made by the makers of the SunJack Solar Charger which I have previously reviewed. 

SunJackLightStick1

The box comes with:

  • SunJack® LightStick
  • Mini-USB cable
  • 2 Lanyards
  • User manual
SunJack Lightstick charging indicator lights

SunJack Lightstick charging indicator lights

The first thing I did after examining the items was to charge the lightstick.  Using the mini-USB cable that came with it, I connected it to my plug and charged it.  The indicator lights on the lightstick flash while it is charging and stops flashing when it is fully charged.  It took about four hours to charge.

SunJack LightStick at dim setting

SunJack LightStick at dim setting

The light itself has 3 brightness settings:  dim, normal and bright along with an emergency blinking strobe.  Even at the dim setting, it gave a sufficient amount of light.  It is not a flashlight with a focused beam; it illuminates a wide area, and is more like a lantern.  The light is also waterproof if you take it to a lake or pond, up to six foot in depth.  I like that feature – if it happens to rain while you take it camping with you, you don’t have to worry about the light shorting out.  The two lanyards provided allows you to hang the Lightstick vertically or horizontally across two hooks.

I should mention the batteries are not replaceable.  However, the typical battery life is 500-1000 recharge cycles, at this rate, even if you use and recharge every other day the battery should last over 4 years.

Next, I connected my cell phone to the light stick to see if it would actually charge it.  It worked, and within a couple of hours, my phone was fully charged.

I think the SunJack Lightstick makes is a great emergency light for your home as well as your car survival kit.  It would also be a good camping or hiking light.

Now for the giveaway…

One lucky winner will be chosen via a random drawing to win a SunJack Lightstick, courtesy of SunJack.  To enter, just leave a comment below regarding:
On a scale of 1 to 5, how prepared are you for a power outage lasting several hours?  What backup lighting do you have?
The winner* will be chosen at a random “Pick a Giveaway Winner” drawing on Saturday, May 2nd at 8 pm Central.

*Winners will be notified via email. 

*Winner must reply to email notification within 48 hours or another winner will be drawn.

© Apartment Prepper 2015

Emergency Essentials/BePrepared

Navigation During a Disaster

Navigation During a Disaster

Emergencies don’t happen only during convenient times.  What if something happens and we are at work, school or some other location?  Our family has discussions about what we would do if an event were to happen and we are nowhere near each other.  We have to make sure we know how to get back together no matter where we are.

Most people rely on their cars’ GPS device or mapping app on their smart phones.  But a disaster may cause disruptions to connectivity.  If you are in an unfamiliar location when an emergency happens, you need a backup method to find alternate ways back home.

  • Carry paper maps in your car

Those maps include:  local area map, topographical map and extended area map.   You can get local area maps and state maps for free from a roadside travel service such as AAA.  I was able to get local area maps and a state map for free.  Check with your auto insurance company if they have these maps may be available for free.

You can find free topographical maps at http://www.anyplaceamerica.com/ A variety of maps can also be found at http://www.usgs.gov/pubprod/

Familiarize yourself with using paper maps.  Teach your children how to use paper maps as well.  One of the things my Dad taught me after I learned how to drive was how to use a Thomas Guide.

  • Print three alternate routes to any of your destinations

If you currently do not have any paper maps, print alternate routes to your destinations using MapQuest or Google Maps.

When traveling to new areas, pay attention to your surroundings:  make a mental note of natural features such as rivers, hills, mountains etc.  Also note the towns you are passing by, gas stations, rest areas, the characteristics of the road such as turns, slopes etc.  Don’t “zone out;” instead, observe your surroundings so you find a route back if you had to.

Of course, these are all in addition to having a car survival kit at all times.

 


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Monday Musings 4/20/2015: How To Make A Survival Still

How to make a survival still1

This post is by Bernie Carr, apartmentprepper.com

Welcome to another Monday Musings, where we share interesting links about all things preparedness, as well as updates on the blog.

First the blog updates…

The Penny Pincher Prepper pic

My next book is off to the publisher!  I sent the final chapters of my upcoming book  The Penny-Pincher Prepper: Save More, Spend Less and Get Prepared for Any Disaster to the publisher.  The book is for anyone who has wondered how to be prepared on a small budget.  The book is due out this October.  

I’m sure there will be lots more work up ahead but I am relieved to be over the bulk of it.  Now I get to spend more time writing the blog!

Who won Prepper’s Financial Guide?   Jennifer won the drawing and she had the following comment:

What are my concerns about an economic collapse? While a resident of Texas I lived through Hurricane Ike, and suffered major damage to my home. Fortunately we had financial reserves to begin rebuilding, even before the insurance company did its survey. I am most concerned about the vulnerability of the supply chain. We had 8 days notice of the hurricane, and we’re well prepared anyway. But in the last hours I decided I wanted more dog food, the Walmart was bare. When the power went out, my well pump did as well. Got the generator going to preserve meds and a small room for cooling, hooked a hand pump to the well. We were okay, but were clogged by “friendly neighbors” with zero clue about self care. I’m only as secure as those around me. We went through our charity supplies in hours. Always thought I’d have trade items, the neighbors had NOTHING to trade. Always looks for new information. I learn through good choices and mistakes. Thank you, eager to hear perspectives.

Survival Still project

I’m always on the lookout for projects that don’t require a lot of special tools and equipment for those of us who are space challenged.  This video on how to make a survival still that fits in a bug-out bag is by far the simplest one that I’ve seen.  Take a look and drop me a line if you are going to try it.

Make a Survival Still for Drinkable Water (improved design)

Now for the links…

13 Ways to Save Money and Protect the Planet at the Same Time

12 Survival Lessons from Ukraine: “Nothing Provides as Much Valuable Information as Real World Situations”

The Coming Disastrous Global Crisis

The One Item an Expert Hunting Guide Says You Must Always Carry With You

Stacking Silver = Simple Solution

Jobs In Hard Times

Take care and have a great week everyone!

© Apartment Prepper 2015

Can You Get Arrested for Carrying a Knife?

Can you get arrested for carrying a knife

This post is by Bernie Carr, apartmentprepper.com

One of the most discussed pieces of gear in prepper sites is the knife.  On any given day, you will find knife reviews, benefits of carrying knifes and knives for everyday carry (EDC).  After moving to Texas several years ago, we noticed a lot of people carry knives on a daily basis and we thought, “What a great idea!”  and started carrying one ourselves.  However this is not the case in many states.  Some people are afraid of knives and feel they are deadly weapons.  In some states, you can get arrested if found with certain types of knives.  Short blade pocket knives are generally legal.  I started wondering just exactly what type of knives will get you in trouble.

The answer, it turns out, is not so cut and dried.  It varies in each state.  Some states allow up to a certain blade length, while others prohibit specific types of knives.

Also, there is a difference between “owning” a knife versus “carrying” it.  You can own a knife and leave it at home or in a display case, and you won’t run afoul of the law, but the minute you carry it somewhere, you may be in trouble.  For example, in Texas, it is illegal to own a “gravity knife”  (a knife that has a blade in its handle that can be opened by inertia or gravity, designed to be opened or closed one handed).  However, under the Texas penal code, there are knives you can own but fall under “Unlawful Carrying

“Illegal knife” means a:
(A) knife with a blade over five and one-half inches;
(B) hand instrument designed to cut or stab another by
being thrown;
(C) dagger, including but not limited to a dirk, stiletto,
and poniard;
(D) sword; or
(E) spear.
(7) “Knife” means any bladed hand instrument that is capable
of inflicting serious bodily injury or death by cutting or
stabbing a person with the instrument.

From this definition, it is unlawful to carry any knife with a blade over 5.5 inches long, throwing knives or stars, dirks, daggers, stilettos, and other stabbing knives, bowie knives, swords, or spears.

However, in Los Angeles County, California, the 5.5 rule is way over their limit:  you would run afoul of the law in many that prohibit fixed blades of 3 inches or more.

A good resource for finding out each state’s laws regarding knives is the American Knife and Tool Institute (AKTI) website: http://www.akti.org/state-knife-laws/

Federal law prohibits transportation and sale of ballistic knives across state lines. A ballistic knife is a knife with a blade that can be fired as a projectile.  Also the TSA bans knives, utility blades, razor blades, swords in airplanes.  When flying domestically, you can keep a knife in your checked luggage as long as it is sheathed, or securely wrapped.

Areas where you must not carry a knife:

  • schools
  • school bus
  • courthouse
  • airport
  • polling places

What if you get stopped by the police and you have a knife?

I am not an attorney, or an expert on knife laws, but from what I read in my research:

  • Be courteous and calm.
  • You can state your name and address, but politely ask for a lawyer immediately.
  • Do not consent to a search, or agree to waive any other rights.
  • Do not give any other information about what your knife is for, why you are carrying it, but keep asking for a lawyer.

In answer to the original question, “Can you be arrested for carrying a knife?” The answer is “Yes, but it varies by state.”  To be on the safe side, you should be aware of federal, state, and local knife laws before choosing a knife.
© Apartment Prepper 2015

10 Household Items You Can Make at Home

10 household items you can make at homeSince I started writing this blog, I’ve encouraged my readers to take small steps to becoming more self sufficient.  Being able to make things yourself helps you save time, money and allows you to be less dependent on store bought items.  Living in a small space should not stop you from trying do it yourself projects.  That’s why I enjoyed this article from LeAnn who writes The Homestead Dreamer.

10 Things I Stopped Buying at the Store  by LeAnn, The Homestead Dreamer

We have made a lot of small changes in our lifestyle over the last two years or so. At the time, it doesn’t seem like much of a big deal but then six months pass and you realize how much your routine has changed. One of our big overall goals is to buy less pre-packaged items and make our own as much as possible. While we do have to buy the whole foods to then process ourselves (for no man is an island!), there are several things I realized that I stopped buying at the store all together.Instead, we make it ourselves and end up with a superior food for less money.

Many people argue that the prices you pay at the grocery store are for the convenience of not having to make it yourself from scratch. In some ways they would be right but honestly, I’d just be sitting on my duff watching TV and being a ‘zombie’ like the majority of Americans. I prefer to be productive and would rather spend 2 hours making up some tasty food and preserving it than watching “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo” and have the intelligence sucked out of my brain. We work every day to be more self sufficient and produce (or learn how to) as much of our needs as possible.

  1. Crackers – Crackers were one of the first things I decided I would no longer buy. It is incredible how many crackers you can make out of one cup of flour! That cup of flour (with other ingredients) was enough for 4 people to eat stew with and no one was left wanting. We have enjoyed plain whole wheat or white flour crackers but the real fun is when you add in spices to compliment the meal. One of our favorites is the garlic/oregano crackers but I have also made them with garlic, onion, and basil mixed in. Pepper crackers were kind of a fun twist but it is easy to go overboard on the pepper. One of my most popular posts to date, How To Make Crackers in 20 Minutes, will show you how to make your own, too!

Read the rest of the article by clicking on this link:  10 Things I Stopped Buying at the Store

Monday Musings 4/13/2015: Have you Read the Special Newsweek Off Grid Edition?

Off Grid

This post is by Bernie Carr, apartmentprepper.com
Welcome to another Monday Musings, where we share interesting links about all things preparedness, as well as updates on the blog.

First the blog updates…

Special Newsweek Off Grid Edition

I received a copy of the special Newsweek Off Grid Edition.  I was surprised a mainstream magazine actually dedicated a whole issue to preparedness and survival.  The issue itself consists of high quality photographs in glossy paper, and features several interesting articles on various aspects of survival:  shelter, fire, food, water, communications and more.  The Introduction was by Survivorman Les Stroud whom I highly respect as a survival expert.  It also features our own Survivor Jane in “Prepping for Doomsday,” which gave a good background on preparedness.  I also enjoyed the article “16 Lifesaving Special Ops Tips,” among others.

The Off Grid Edition is mainly geared for people who have never considered or just getting interested in survival or preparing for disasters.  I like that it dispels myths about preppers and offers many practical tips.  It would make a good coffee table magazine and a great conversation starter.  Pick up a few issues to give out to your non-prepper friends and relatives, and keep one for yourself as well.

Worried about an Economic Collapse?

You still have time to enter and win a copy of Prepper’s Financial Guide by Jim Cobb.  See Prepper’s Financial Guide: Review and Giveaway

Now for the links…

Essential Oils for Preparedness PDF and Podcast Part 1 and Part 2

12 Bad Strategies That Will Get Preppers Killed

Lesson’s Our Family Learned Before, During, and After a Hurricane…..

 

© Apartment Prepper 2015

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

Prepper’s Financial Guide: Review and Giveaway

Preppers Financial Guide

This post is by Bernie Carr, apartmentprepper.com

Today we are featuring Prepper’s Financial Guide by Jim Cobb.  We have featured Jim Cobb in a previous interviews and book reviews.  He has written several books on preparedness and I am glad to review his latest book.

Prepper’s Financial Guide has great information for anyone with any concerns about an economic collapse, whether it’s in the aftermath of a natural disaster or a series of financial missteps.  The book covers practical, actionable strategies that an average person can implement in various financial areas:  reducing debt, investing in precious metals and foreign currencies, securing your possessions, becoming more self-sufficient and more.

Just as being prepared for disasters with water, food, shelter and supplies just makes good sense, taking the steps outlined in the book toward financial preparedness will help you hedge against financial threats whether they occur as widespread collapse or a personal one.  Even if nothing happens, the suggestions in the book would still help you reap benefits.

Prepper’s Financial Guide is a good addition to your preparedness library – get your copy and begin securing your finances.

Now for the giveaway:
I am happy to add that Ulysses Press is providing a copy to our readers as a giveaway.  One lucky winner will be chosen via a random drawing.  To enter, please answer the following questions in the comments:
Are you concerned about an economic collapse?  What aspect of your finances are you most insecure about at this time? 
The winner* will be chosen at a random “Pick a Giveaway Winner” drawing on Saturday, April 18 at 8 pm Central.

*Winners will be notified via email. 

*Winner must reply to email notification within 48 hours or another winner will be drawn.

© Apartment Prepper 2015

Take control of your financial future!

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

Insta Natural Lavender and Peppermint Essential Oil Review


Natural Products Inc Lavender OilI received review samples of Insta Natural Lavender Essential Oil and Peppermint Essential oil.

The first thing I noticed when I received the packages was the fragrance emanating from the boxes.  At first I thought the bottles may have leaked but upon close inspection, I found they were tightly packaged in plastic bubble wrap and there were no leaks at all.  These oils are just very concentrated and pure.

I tried the Lavender essential oil for making a sea salt scrub.  I mixed a cup of sea salt, coconut oil and __ drops of the lavender oil.  It smelled lovely!  The scent is very clean and relaxing.  I should point out this oil is for external use only.

Peppermint Essential Oil

I then tried the Insta Natural Peppermint Essential Oil for making my deodorant spray.  The scent is very potent therefore you only need to use very little.  At 4 oz., this bottle will go a long way.  Again, this is for external use only.  I would use these oils for making personal care products such as salves, sprays or scrubs.  All in all these oils are a good value for the cost.

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

10 Ways to Avoid Wasting Bread

10 ways to avoid wasting breadLiving in a hot and humid climate, I noticed that bread goes stale a lot quicker than when a lived in a dry area.   I always feel bad having to throw out stale bread so I started finding ways to make it last longer or re-purpose it.  Here are a few ways that have worked well for me:

  1.  Freeze it  If I have extra, I just keep a few slices on the counter and freeze the rest.  I thought I’d be able to tell the difference in quality but there really was no noticeable difference in taste or texture after it was thawed.
  2.  Refrigerate and Toast it
    I also tried storing bread in the fridge.  I did notice a difference in the texture – it gets a bit harder, but if you toast the bread, then no one can tell.
  3. Make croutons  It is very easy to make croutons.  Just slice the bread in squares, toss with a teaspoon of olive oil and season with salt and pepper.  Garlic and onion powder also add a nice flavor.  Bake at 375°, mixing them occasionally, around 10-15 minutes or until they turn golden.
  4. Garlic Bread Sticks    Butter the bread slices.  Season with garlic salt.  Slice the bread into 1 inch wide strips.  Bake at 375°, mixing them occasionally, around 10 minutes.  The butter seems to make them darken a bit quicker than olive oil.  Serve with your favorite pasta dish.
  5. Bread crumbs
    Freeze leftover bread before it goes stale.  Once you have enough pieces to make a batch, bake them in the oven at 250-300 for 10-15 minutes.  Place in a blender or food processor.  I’ve even used a cheese grater to make bread crumbs when I didn’t have either one and it worked.
  6. Grilled cheese sandwiches    I learned how to make grilled cheese sandwiches watching hospital cafeteria workers in one of my first jobs.  Toast two pieces of bread lightly first. Then add a tablespoon of butter to the pan or grill.  Place cheddar cheese in between the bread and brown both sides of the sandwich in the pan.  Serve with a slice of tomato and pickles.
  7. Stretch ground beef for hamburger, meatloaf or meatballs.
  8. French toast   Lightly toast the bread.   Scramble an egg and add cinnamon, vanilla and a tablespoon of milk.  Dip the toasted bread in the egg until it is moistened, and fry in a buttered pan.  It is ready when it is golden brown.  Serve with maple or pancake syrup.
  9. Thicken soups  You can add pieces of bread into any soup to thicken the consistency.
  10. Feed the birds  If you no longer want to eat it, cut bread in small pieces and use as bird feed.

I know there are many more uses for bread, such as making bread pudding, or French onion soup, etc.  but these are the ones I have tried.

 

Happy Easter Everyone!

Happy Easter

Psalm 71

In you, O LORD, I take refuge;
let me never be put to shame.
In your justice rescue me, and deliver me;
incline your ear to me, and save me.
Be my rock of refuge,
a stronghold to give me safety,
for you are my rock and my fortress.
O my God, rescue me from the hand of the wicked.
For you are my hope, O Lord;
my trust, O God, from my youth.
On you I depend from birth;
from my mother’s womb you are my strength.

 

I’d like to wish everyone all the joy and hope that Easter brings.