Reader question: How Do you Protect your Emergency Supplies from Pests?

protect your emergency supplies from pests1

Photo provided by reader “S,” used with permission

This post is by Bernie Carr, apartmentprepper.com

I get a lot of emails on Apartment Prepper, and I always respond to readers’ questions.  Here is an excerpt from a recent email from reader “S.”  (I have removed any personal references.)  “S” provided actual photos.

protect your emergency supplies from pests2

Emergency bag, eaten through by mice. Photo provided by reader “S,” used with permission

I had some bad luck recently. My car broke down coming home from work.  As a result I had to leave the car at a mechanic for a week to fix a now bigger problem & figured it was wise to move my earthquake emergency bags from my trunk to my living room floor while the car was being fixed so that no one would be tempted to “borrow” from my supplies while fixing the car.

While that was happening, a restaurant next door started to be remodeled & I had to go out of town with a relative for several days. Since that relative had their own earthquake bags in their trunk I left mine at home over the trip so we’d have room for the suitcases.

I came home to my apartment & discovered something had eaten through the bags to get at the trail mix inside & had even ripped open a bag of store self tuna but decided it didn’t like it so the house smelt of rotten fish!! I had never had anything other than ants, spiders & crickets in the apartment before for years so this was a completely new experience for me!

So my question is, how do you keep your supplies safe from pests?

Reader “S” described a common problem among apartment dwellers.

She mentioned there was some remodeling going on next door.  Pests do travel from one unit to another.   I have noticed whenever someone moves out nearby and the unit is fumigated, there is an uptick in pests trying to come into our area.  That’s because the pests are driven out of one unit and they try to invade nearby units if you let them.

Preventive measure:  If you see movers, spray insecticide along entrances as well as corners of shared walls.  This should help prevent them from trying to come to you.  However this works on insects, but not mice.  We have discussed insects in a previous post, but today we are looking at rodents.

How do you protect your emergency supplies from pests such as mice?

To protect your emergency food, store them in food grade 5-gallon food buckets.  Mice or rats cannot chew through the plastic of the 5 gallon bucket.   Reader “S” has ready to eat items such as trail mix, granola bars and packaged tuna – these could all go in the 5-gallon bucket.  Place the sealed bucket in your closet.  Make sure the lid is super secure.  Hang your bug out bag (with non food items) in your closet.  In the event of an emergency and you had to leave, take the food from the bucket and transfer them to your bug out bag – this should only take 5 minutes before you run out the door.

If you are storing bulk food such salt, sugar, flour etc. for long term storage, here is a link to simple instructions: Repackaging salt for long term storage

Sometimes you can get food grade 5 gallon buckets for free.
How to Get Free Food Grade Buckets for Long Term Storage

Natural repellants for mice:

Thoroughly clean and sweep your areas, and remove any food.  Cover all trash cans so they don’t try to go in.  If you are already using 5 gallon buckets for your emergency food, make sure you are protecting your every day food as well – do not leave anything edible on counters.

There are commercial repellants available such as Rodent Defense  Spray in the areas frequented by rodents to keep them away.

Other natural repellants I have heard about but have not tried:

  • Peppermint Oil: Saturate cotton balls with peppermint oil and leave them around the areas you where have found droppings.  This is said to repel mice, sending them elsewhere.
  • Apple Cider Vinegar:  Clean floors, the insides of cabinets and countertops with 50% apple cider vinegar (does not have to be organic) and 50% water.  Mice will avoid the area and leave.
 © Apartment Prepper 2014

National Preparedness Month: Put Your Preps to the Test with 24 Hours Unplugged

 National Preparedness Month Put Your Preps to the TestWritten by Daisy Luther

This article first appear in The Organic Prepper

It’s National Preparedness Month, and the Professional Prepared Bloggers Association is celebrating by providing you with tons of information from some of the best writers in the niche in our 30 Days of Preparedness round-up!

It’s Day 28!!!! It’s time to take your game up a notch with 24 hours unplugged! No fair doing this on a day when you will be away from your normal activities anyway – you want to put your preps to the test!

A grid down scenario doesn’t have to be a massive EMP that detonates over the middle of the country, throwing us back to the 1800s.  It can be as simple (and likely) as a winter storm, a hurricane, or a computer issue at your local power station. While this is a fairly common occurrence, many people still seem taken completely by surprise when it happens. Without back-up heat, cooking methods, and lighting, the unprepared family could be in for a very unpleasant time until the lights come back on. Every family should be prepared for a minimum of two weeks without power.  Nearly 2000 families were still without power 94 days after Superstorm Sandy hit the East Coast.

Here’s why you should test your preps.

A couple of years ago, my youngest daughter and I spent a year in the North Woods of Ontario.  It was a grand adventure, totally different from the city life we’d had previous to this.  Our small cabin was on the banks of a beautiful lake and the edge of hundreds of acres of forest wilderness.  It was heated only by wood, and although we had electricity, we were warned that it was sporadic, since we were fairly remote and regular maintenance was not always performed on the lines of the area.

As a prepared family we were pretty sure we’d be just fine when the power went out.

The first time it happened was on a mild early autumn morning. The power went out for no apparent reason, and we high-fived each other. Game on!

Since it was afternoon and the weather was nice, it really wasn’t much of a challenge. The power returned before daylight, we had some stuff in the fridge for sandwiches, and we basically just needed to entertain ourselves sans grid. No big deal – we are bookworms, so we spent the day curled up with some good reads.  We did make one unexpected discovery – our well was pumped by an electric component, so when the power went out, we also had no running water, including water to flush with.  Of course, we had stored drinking water, and we brought a couple of buckets of water up from the lake for flushing, so this was a minor inconvenience.

However, it did get me thinking about how we would flush if the weather was cold enough that the lake was frozen, but there wasn’t snow on the ground.  Hmmm…#1 Note to Self – store water for flushing too!

The next power outage occurred a couple of weeks later and it was a much bigger deal. The initial outage hit at about 7 o’clock on a chilly fall evening. It was dark and cold. We stoked up a fire in the woodstove, and began to search for our lighting solutions. Unfortunately, I hadn’t had the forethought to set up off-grid lighting in each room, so after digging for my candles in the dark closet, I had to carry one around to light candles in subsequent rooms.

#2 Note to Self: Keep candles, holders, and lighters in each room in a place which is easy to access in the dark.  After this, we placed candles in holders are part of the decor all around the house.

The wind roared around outside the cabin and our power did not return for 3 days.  We used the woodstove to heat up meals, but we couldn’t find all of the bits and pieces for a game we wanted to play. #3 Note to Self: Keep off-grid entertainment well-organized, especially if there are children in the house.

On the second day of the outage, we dragged our chest freezer out onto the deck to keep our food from going bad in the cozy cabin. #4 Note to Self:  Get something sturdy to store food in outdoorsthat won’t draw wild animals to your porch that also doesn’t require you to drag a 200+ pound appliance outside.

By the time the next power outage rolled around, we had learned many lessons. At the first sign of windy weather, we immediately filled the bathtub. A bucket right beside the tub served as a container to transfer water from the tub to the toilet so that we could flush. A sturdy Rubbermaid storage bench with a lock resided on our deck, waiting to be pressed into duty as an outdoor freezer.  Each room boasted of decorative candles.  Home canned meals in jars lined my kitchen shelves, and a beautiful cast iron Dutch oven sat at the ready to simmer a delicious stew or pot of beans on the woodstove. A couple of pretty baskets were filled with art supplies and games (with all of their pieces) and a couple of kerosene lamps that were bright enough for reading sat at either end of the sofa.  Since the fans that blew the heat into the bedrooms obviously did not work without power, we had a couple of air mattresses to set up in the living room on the coldest nights, so we could stay cozy by the fire.

The next time the power went out, we were excited because it meant a break in our day-to-day routine of work and school.  Power outages had become mini-vacations, and were no longer even a blip on the radar for us.

We don’t live in our little cabin in the woods any more, but the lessons we learned allow us to take power outages in stride in a way that most people don’t. Even though we don’t expect a shaky grid where we live now, our home is organized in the way that we learned up North. Lighting, extra water, sanitation, cold food solutions, and off-grid cooking tools are all close at hand should they be needed.

Are you ready to test your preps?

Your challenge, should you choose to accept it, is to go for 24 hours without the grid. This means no electrical power, no central climate control, and no running water!  Some people will go hardcore and turn of the main water valve and flip all of the breakers. Others will just opt not to use those items.

 

  1. During your 24 hours off-grid, you’ll eat three meals, go to the bathroom, keep your family clean and at a comfortable temperature, and entertain yourselves. This a tall order in some locations!
  2. Plan ahead of time how you’ll overcome the challenges – you can learn a lot this way.
  3. But the real learning experience will come from the challenges you didn’t expect and plan for. This is how you will fill the holes that exist in your preps. It is far better to discover those gaps now, when back-up is as close as the breaker box in your basement, than it is to discover it when disaster strikes.
  4. Give every family member a notebook so they can jot down what works and what doesn’t.  Once your Grid-Down drill is over, compare notes.  You may be surprised at the observations your children have made.
  5. Make a shopping list based on the notes and fill those gaps!

 Testing…1,2,3…

Have you tried an off-grid drill before? What did you learn? If not, what’s stopping you? Share in the comments below.

Supplemental Reading:

One Second After

Alas, Babylon

The Prepper’s Blueprint: The Step-By-Step Guide To Help You Through Any Disaster

 

About the Author:
Daisy Luther is a freelance writer and editor.  Her website, The Organic Prepper, offers information on healthy prepping, including premium nutritional choices, general wellness and non-tech solutions. You can follow Daisy on Facebook and Twitter, and you can email her at daisy@theorganicprepper.ca

Emergency Essentials/BePrepared

Emergency Essentials/BePrepared

10 Disaster Preparedness Tips for Couples

10 disaster preparedness tips for couplesAlthough we have a lot of discussions about family preparedness, we also have many Apartment Prepper readers who are couples with no kids.  Here are 10 easy ideas to prepare for disasters when you are a couple.

1.  Make a joint decision to prepare.  If you are in a relationship, there is a chance that your partner is not on board with preparing, which may make it difficult for you.  I know a few of those personally – are some tips if your spouse feels that prepping means your are being paranoid

However, the un-supportive partner may feel differently if you show practical reasons such as preparing for a hurricane or you are concerned about job loss.  You’ll also want to decide where to store your supplies ahead of time.

If you have to, you may have to use your own funds instead of the joint funds for the preparedness budget.   Now that we’ve gotten this out of the way, we can get started.

2.   Get your water supply started.  Buy two 5-gallon containers or bottled water – these are carried at grocery stores, discount and home stores.  Now you have 10 gallons of water for the two of you, enough for five days.  The following week, pick up another two 5-gallon containers, and you will be covered for 10 days.

By the third week, find a good water filtration system such as the Berkey, or Katadyn so you can filter water from other sources in an emergency.

3.  Start buying shelf stable foods that both of you like to eat.  Initially, pick up canned foods, instant noodles, cereal, crackers, peanut butter etc.  The key is buying only foods that you both like.  Start with a week’s worth, then build up to a month.

The following week, purchase a backup cooking method such as a propane stove, rocket stove.

4.  First Aid:  If you don’t already have one, buy a prepackaged starter first aid kit – Costco and Sam’s have a good sized one for $20 or so.  Add a month or two supply of your personal  prescriptions such as birth control pills, blood pressure meds, asthma inhalers, allergy medicines etc.  Pack extra pairs of eyeglasses and/or contact lenses.

5.  For hygiene supplies, stock up on toilet paper, soap, shampoo, toothpaste, toiletries, large trash bags, paper plates and cups.  Buy enough for two people to last two weeks then build up to a month.

6.  For communication, have a backup list of contacts for both you and your spouse.  Make sure your phones are always charged.  For news when the power is out, have a battery operated or crank radio.  It is also good to have a solar charger for small electronics.

Backup your important documents.   Build a grab and go binder as soon as possible.

Make an emergency plan on how your would contact each other in the event of an emergency.  There is always a chance an emergency will happen in the middle of the day when you are both at work.  Plan alternate routes home from your work sites in case of a traffic standstill.

7.  For lighting, pick up flashlights and batteries, extra matches, tap lights and/or a camp lantern.  Emergency lighting can be found inexpensively, if you prepared ahead of time

8.  Hide cash for emergencies in a spot that both of you know about.  You never know when a bank glitch may keep you from accessing your accounts.

9.  Don’t forget about pets.  Build a pet emergency kit – set aside extra water, food and any pet supplies.

10.  Discuss the idea of safety and defense with your partner.   Unless you discuss it beforehand, there may be disagreements – Explore various options such as stun guns, tasers, pepper spray and firearms.

These are just ideas to get started with disaster preparedness- you can do them in any order, then build from there.

 

For more fast and easy tips to become more prepared, read my book:

Get the real deal. Whether bugging out or sheltering in place, you can never have enough clean water for survival: For your water purifier needs, please visit:

 

An inexpensive but helpful tool to keep track of supplies (Iphone or Ipad users)

Monday Musings 9/15/2014: Preparedness Updates and Links

Monday Musings 09152014 Preparedness Updates and Links

This post is by Bernie Carr, apartmentprepper.com

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

First the blog updates…

So many books… so little time…

Preppers History and the Cultural Phenomenon

We added another book to our reading list:  Preppers:  History and the Cultural Phenomenon by Lynda King.

More on Expiration Dates

One of the most controversial topics in preparedness involves expiration dates – invariably there are disagreements about this, even among bloggers.  Reader Pierce sent me this helpful guide on shelf life on food bank products.  It has some really applicable information.  Thanks Pierce!  See Shelf Life of Food Bank Products

National Preparedness Month Series

Don’t miss a great series in Prepared Bloggers for National Preparedness Month – there is something new everyday!

Mega Giveaway Next Week!

Next Monday, we will be announcing a huge giveaway, so please check back!

Now for the links…

America’s Poor, Deeper in Debt Than Ever

Obama: U.S. military to provide equipment, resources to battle Ebola epidemic in Africa

What We’re Afraid to Say About Ebola

Guide to Long Term Food Storage

Natural Asthma Treatment with Essential Oils

Elderberry Extract: Nature’s “Tamiflu”

Your Emergency Fund Is For More Than Emergencies – Believe It!

Take care and have a great week everyone!

© Apartment Prepper 2014

 

4 Tips for Small Space Gardening

4 Tips for Small Space Gardeners

Just because you lack large amounts of space does not mean that you cannot grow a lot of the fresh fruits vegetables and herbs you consume. As long as you have an area that receives at least 4 hours of sunlight daily, is easy for you to water, you should be good to go.  Here are a few tips to help you get great results with small space gardening:

GROW UP

One of the best tips for gardeners that lack space is to grow vertically. This is just as true in the fall as it is in the summer. In the summer months you can easily use a trellis to grow vining plants that yield plenty of fruits and veggies. In the fall, while there are not too many vining plants that grow in cooler temps, you can easily build a few levels of stairs (or purchase such a structure), and place your potted plants on them. Herbs grow great in this type of growing environment. Google “vertical planting wall” for some really cool ideas.

GO DWARF

Apartments, condos and smaller living spaces are great for dwarf fruiting trees. Many types of trees grow great in large containers and can be moved inside when the temps get too cold outside. There are columnar apple trees and dwarf lemon that fit this description. Most of these trees can be purchased for under $30.

WINDOW BOX GARDEN

Maybe you do not have a balcony. Consider a window box. A window box, is simply a box about 12 inches deep and the length of your window. You would attach it to your property just under the window by either screwing the box to the building itself, or using hangers so it hands from the window ledge. These are great because you can grow just about anything in them. Strawberries, lettuce, spinach and herbs all make for excellent choices for window box gardens.

UTILIZE RAILINGS

Does your balcony have railings? Then by all means attach some garden boxes to them also. They are unused space with plenty of airflow around them, and if you get plenty of sun, are perfect locations to grow a lot great tasting fruits and veggies.

Regardless of which option you choose, make sure you use a good potting soil that is equal parts peat/coir and perlite and double the amount of compost. Also be sure to feed your plants once a week with compost tea or a good organic fertilizer to make sure they are well fed and have the nutrients they need to grow and thrive in a confined space.

About the Author

mypic
Mike Podlesny is the author of the book Vegetable Gardening for the Average Person as well as the creator of the Seeds of the Month Club where members receive non gmo, heirloom variety seeds every month. You can listen to Mike each week on the Vegetable Gardening Podcast where he interviews gardening industry experts.

Emergency Essentials/BePrepared

Emergency Essentials/BePrepared



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Monday Musings 9/8/2014: Preparedness Updates and Links

Monday Musings - Preparedness Updates and Links  09082014

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…

September is National Preparedness Month as we mentioned in yesterday’s post.

We’re having to look through our food storage to rotate items for freshness.  I hate to see anything go to waste, so we periodically go through our emergency items.  I know… I know, many food items can go well past their expiration dates, but how far past is safe?  No one really knows so I prefer to err on the side of caution.   What if you were relying on canned food that are five years past expiration, only to find out they emit ba bad smell by the time you open it?  Things would be much worse in a disaster when items are scarce.

Thanks for being our sponsor   A big thank you to Ready Made Resources for renewing their sponsorship with us!  Please continue to visit our sponsors  – they help keep the lights on at Apartment Prepper!

readymaderesources.com

Vote for me!  I got a really positive responses about Monday Musings when we ran our first poll ever.  If you like Apartment Prepper, please go out and vote for me!

Now for the links…

Mommy, I Have to Go Potty! Make Your Own Emergency Toilet

Drought in Spain means massive olive oil shortage in months ahead

“Grid Jihad”: What If You Had a Week to Prep for the End of the World?

The Escape Exercise

Recharge Alkaline Batteries

Looking out for your finances as a renter

Ten Steps To Turn Financial Disaster Into Financial Independence

Take care and have a great week everyone!

© Apartment Prepper 2014

 

Infographic: National Preparedness Month

By Tess Pennington

(Editor’s note:  September is National Preparedness Month – we will post the basics about being prepared.  Today we are featuring an infographic that first appeared in Ready Nutrition)

Natural disasters seem to be more frequent and equally more violent these days. Yet the normalcy bias that has plagued our country continues. Many feel they are untouchable in terms of becoming a victim of a disaster. Little do they realize that disasters come in all shapes and sizes and typically do not make an announcement before entering your life.

Personally speaking, I have been through the aftermath of many disasters, both personal and natural. The aftermath does not take a few days for everything to get back to normal – it takes weeks if not longer to recover.

Anecdotes aside, this month marks a national 30 day endeavor to encourage citizens to be better prepared. I urge all of you to not fall into the percent of citizens who are not prepared. This infographic illustrates how massive these disasters can effect our personal lives, our jobs and our commerce. There are steps you can take to prepare yourself for your personal SHTF moment. It happens to all of us, better to be prepared than not prepared at all.

National Preparedness Month

Explore more infographics like this one on the web’s largest information design community – Visually.

 

The Prepper's Blueprint

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.

 

SunJack Solar Charger – Product Review

SunJack1 (5)I had the opportunity to test out the SunJack portable solar charger.  

What is the SunJack?

It is a portable solar charger by GigaWatt that can charge any USB device – phones, tablets, GPS, cameras, speakers, lights, and more.

Here is how it works:

The SunJack harnesses solar energy for direct charging or it can store power in a removable UltraSlim battery for use 24/7, rain or shine. After only 5 hours of direct sunlight, the 14 watt SunJack can power either 4 iPhones, 0.7 iPads or 8-9 hours of LED light using the SunJack USB CampLight. Unlike many other chargers, the SunJack kit includes a 1-2 batteries enabling you to simultaneously power 4 to 6 USB devices at a rate equal to on-grid charge speed (2 Amp).

Here is the SunJack right out of the box.

SunJack1 (2)

It comes with the four solar panels with USB charging unit, the battery pack, two carabiners and instructions for use.

I tried it out by leaving the SunJack outside on a small coffee table exposed to direct sunlight.

SunJack1 (3)You plug the battery to the charging unit and leave it alone in direct sunlight.

I left it out there for three hours

After three hours, I checked on the charge and found it was almost fully charged:

SunJack1 (1)There was only one more light indicator not lighting up at this point.    I asked my contact at SunJack about this and here is what he told me:

The last 20% charges a little slower to protect the battery and maximize the battery life. This is characteristic of Lithium batteries charge circuitry. Most likely if the battery is left in full sun for 5-6 hours the last led would also light up. 4 hours in full sun usually gets the battery 80% charged. Note this also occurs with iPhones as they charge to 80% really fast then charge speed slows down for last 20%.

It does make sense, as my own phone does the same thing.  After the final two hours, the fifth one lit up.

After the SunJack was fully charged, I charged up my phone and was pleased that the SunJack charged as quickly as am electric wall plug.  I’ve tested other solar chargers and the charging time is much slower than this one.  Granted, it was a smaller one with only three panels, but regardless, I was impressed at the fast charge of the SunJack.  Using the fully charged battery, I was able to charge my phone four times

The SunJack would be handy while camping to power up small devices – you can harness the power of the sun since you are outside already.  I think the SunJack is a great backup power source in the event of a power outage, or other emergencies.  As of this writing, it is available for $145 on Amazon and is currently on sale for $135 at LPC Survival.  The SunJack is well worth it.

 

Super Simple Tips to Trim Ounces from your Bug Out Bag

Super Simple Tips to Trim Ounces from your BugOut Bag

Written By Morry Banes

What’s the difference between a really smart prepper and an average one?

Let me get straight to the point, I believe that a really good preppers out there take things a step further. That one extra step is being prepared for the fact that a real life situation will probably prove that you can never be completely prepared.  Sounds complicated but it really comes down to making your bug out bag (BOB) more flexible.
Do not take what I just said the wrong way and start packing things for every scenario that you can think of, but think in terms of what you can do to include things in your BOB that can be used in more scenarios.  This will help you trim weight off your bug out bag, making it easier to carry.

Let’s take a step back here and look at the basic things that are most likely in your BOB right now and see if we can spot places where you could’ve done a better job.  So, it all comes down to walking straight down that yellow brick road that stands between having a BOB that’s versatile enough on one side and having one that will be bulky and heavy and only make things more difficult on the other.

1. Water – you would think that everything there is to say about water needs has already been said, but we are looking at things from a different angle here, trying to trim down some weight and bulk.
We can’t shrink down our 3-4 liters of water but we can:

  • Use a collapsible water bottle to save space
  • Extend the life of our water purification filters by adding coffee filters

2. Food – Think dense. When I say “dense” I mean calorie density.  I am all for simplicity here – to cover my food needs my 3 day BOB only includes: energy bars, 3 cans of anything protein (one for each day) and a light backpacking stove.  It’s so easy to overkill with bulky backpacking meals.

3. Clothes – boots, military style pants, a poncho, 2-3 pairs of socks, 1 pair on long underwear and one pair of thermo skin tight underwear suit, 2 short sleeve t-shirts.
Mentioning thermo skin tight underwear here might raise some eyebrows, but it packs so small and can make so much of a difference that it’s shame not to have it there.
Most of the preppers I know and talked to had significant space to peel in their BOBs just by cutting down on those 5 t-shirts and that second pair of pants. A skin suit a huge space-saver and much more versatile.  And yes, if you don’t have a bandana in your BOB, it’s back to the drawing board for you.

4. Shelter and sleep – again, simplicity is key to effective packing. Two tarps, a thin foam pad and a light sleeping bag adjusted to the temperatures you are expecting. I’ll never get onboard with the concept of a tent in a 3 day BOB.  A simple tarp is much more versatile.

As I said, when thinking about your BOB, don’t list endless scenarios in your head but think about items that can cover scenarios you’ll probably never think of.  You might want to read that sentence again.

5. First aid – one more thing that I’ll never get on board with is getting a factory made, pre-packed first aid kit. Building your own kit will not only save you space but the research alone will develop neurological pathways that will just deploy in the time of need.

6. Tools – this one is a biggie. First of all it’s essential to get it right because it’s the “outer wall” of everything we talked about and secondly, it’s the single point that can shave the most weight of your BOB.  If you are thinking screwdrivers, scissors, knives, bottle and can opener, let’s take a step back.

How about a multi tool?   I have to tiptoe in my wording here because many preppers might be offended if I talk about a multi tool like I came up with the idea.  But you would be surprised how many people aren’t really awake to the true value of a multi tool, and a lot of those who are don’t give that much thought to two basic questions:
1. multi tool pieces vs. standalone pieces
2. survival knife vs. a multi tool

Let’s get some clarity here:   If you play your cards right and choose wisely you’ll probably be able to replace a lot of standalone pieces of tools like pliers and wire cutters with a single tool.  No beating around the bush, my BOB includes a regular heavy-duty multi tool, a medical multi tool and a survival knife.

Allow me to give you my reasons here that also might give you some pointers for choosing your tool:

  • I stay away from glitter and shine and go for sheer usability in a multi tool (think Leatherman and Gerber).
  • Scissors in a regular multi tool will never be sturdy enough for your BOB. So, I’ll need standalone scissors. But instead of getting regular scissors I go for a medical multi tool that comes with sturdy heavy duty scissors. This covers the scissors issue but gives you so much more.
  • There’s no way around a proper survival knife for your BOB. None of the blades in the multitools are not even close to being as sturdy as that in standalone knife.

Getting things right here will probably cut the weight of the tools you carry in half.
I promised some clarity so let me share my choices:

Gerber 600 with a blunt nose
Leatherman Raptor
SOG Seal pup knife

Final thoughts

You can trim some serious “fat” from your 3 day BOB just by rethinking a few things using the pointers I offered in this article.  The end result – a lighter more flexible BOB free of fluff that you’ll probably never use and packed smartly with things you’ll really need and use.

Live smart and survive smarter,
Morry

About the author:
Morry Banes is an blogger in the field of multi tools, safety and preparedness. He runs a multi tool blog at bestmultitoolkit.com.

Morry is an ex multitool factory worker and today he owns a small hardware store in Tigard, Oregon, collects multitools and shares his passion by writing about them.

 

The Potty Box – Review and Giveaway

The Potty Box Review and GiveawayToday we are reviewing the Potty Box – Complete Toilet Set.  I received a review sample from Emergency Zone  I agreed to review it because I wanted to see if it would deliver on the product features as named in the website:

  • Triple-wall heavy duty design
  • Light weight & compact storage
  • Easy to set up and reuseable
  • Biodegradable
  • Enough chemicals and liners for 10 uses
  • Each scoop of Blue Gel will treat up to 1 gallon of liquid waste
  • Designed to hold up to 250 lbs
  • Fits under your bed, in your trunk, or under your desk in your office

This is how the box looks like:

Pottybox1

You turn the box over and you can already see how it will be constructed.

Pottybox2

Here is a photo of the box with contents.

Pottybox3The potty itself comes with:

10 trash bags

1 red bag labeled “biohazard”

small roll of toilet paper

Blue Gel porta potty chemical

small bottle of hand sanitizer

Pottybox4The instructions on how to construct it are right on the side of the box.  The Potty Box is easy to assemble.  All you have to do is unfold the cardboard and insert the cardboard tabs into the grooves.   Then you take a trash bag and fit it over the opening and tuck it under the sides.  It is as simple as putting together one of those filing boxes at work.   I wondered whether this construction would be flimsy like the filing box.

Actually this box is much stronger and sturdier.

I had a few people in the family of varying builds and weights try it out (no one weighed over 200 lbs. in this test, so I cannot vouch for anything above 200).  The box shows it can support up to 250 lbs.

At first, I imagined the cardboard might cave in but actually, it held up pretty well.  Some of the ones who tried it said it was comfortable enough, and some felt it was tight.

The plastic bag cushions your tush somewhat against the edge of the box.

Another comment was “You can’t do #1 and #2 at the same time,” but that is just something that would have to be worked out individually.

The lid of the box also functions as a toilet lid.

What I liked about it was it was very compact and lightweight.  It is very easy to assemble.  I also has the basic supplies needed for hygiene purposes and it functions as described.

As far as emergency potties for an apartment, it is very space efficient, however there are other choices such as 5 gallon buckets if you wanted a multi-purpose item.  If you are someone who does not want to assemble a potty kit, and want something quick that you can store under the bed or furniture, then the Potty Box would be good to have.  I would advise storing lots more toilet paper than the one roll.  You’d also have to consider how many people would potentially be using it in an emergency and the number of times used – each box has enough supplies for 10 uses.

I think the Potty Box would be ideal for a car survival kit – I’d certainly be grateful to have one if I were stranded somewhere.  It would also make a great gift for a non-prepper who would otherwise not have any hygiene supplies for an emergency.

NOW FOR THE GIVEAWAY…

Emergency Zone is giving away one Potty Box.   Please answer the following question for a chance to win

 What is your biggest concern about hygiene in a disaster?

The winner* will be chosen at a random “Pick a Giveaway Winner” drawing on Friday,  August 29 at 8 pm Central.  *Winner will be notified via email.  Winner must reply to email notification within 48 hours or another winner will be drawn.

THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED.

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