A Review of No Rinse Personal Care Products

No Rinse Personal Care ProductsI received an assortment of No Rinse personal care products for review.  No Rinse is a line of “waterless” personal care products, hair care, body wash, bathing wipes etc. It is made by CleanLife Products LLC, which has been in business since 1948.  No Rinse has been used by NASA, military personnel, hospitals, home health agencies, and for disaster relief.

The Test

To properly test No Rinse, I skipped taking a shower on a Saturday, then again on Sunday.  I also went on a 45 minute run on both days.  It was not a super hot day, but it was muggy.  After the Sunday run, I got very sweaty and really needed a shower.

I tried the No Rinse shampoo first, on sweaty, slightly matted hair. If you’ve ever colored your hair, using hair dye on dry hair, you will know what this feels like.  Not quite soaked but wet and very slightly sudsy.  It does not lather up like shampoo.   I have straight, course hair and I worked the No Suds through the scalp to the ends of my hair.  Then I towel dried.   After the hair dried it still felt just a tad heavier and not as clean as water rinsed hair, but it was fresh smelling and better than unwashed hair.   If I water was scarce, I am sure I would appreciate being able to clean my hair this way.

Next, I tried the body wash.  According to the instructions, you can apply the wash directly to your skin or use a washcloth.  I did not really want to be spilling liquid so I did the wash cloth method.

No Rinse2

I used the No Rinse in the wash cloth and wiped the entire right side of my body.  The body wash had a pleasant smell, like a “powder fresh” type scent, but not overly strong.  I have a sensitive nose and tend to get allergies from strong smells but this scent did not bother me.  After I finished my right side, I did a self check.  My skin felt clean and there was no sweaty smell.

I tried the wipes on the left side.  Again, the result was good.  The scent was fresh and the wipes cleaned the skin very well.

I had the kids try the antibacterial foam and they liked it a lot.   Kids of all ages get germy, and the foaminess encourages them to clean their hands.

All in all I consider the No Rinse test a success.  Being able to stay clean in an emergency protects your health as well as helps maintain morale.  Consider keeping a supply of No Rinse in the car for long drives, in the emergency kit and the bug out bag.  No Rinse products can be purchased from distributors or from the No Rinse Amazon Store.

 

 

An Ideal Stove for Outdoor Cooking

Long time readers know I am always on the look-out for lightweight portable stoves to test out, having had less than stellar results in the past. Living in an apartment in the city, we cannot deny the possibility we may have to bug out if there were an extended emergency.  In addition, we enjoy camping and backpacking, and a lightweight stove is a must.

Sole Stove box

I was excited to try out the Solo Stove.  It is a small, portable stove that uses biomass (twigs, dried leaves, etc) for fuel.  Not needing to bring special fuel is a big advantage:  since you can easily find branches and twigs, you are not adding weight to your bug-out bag.

Assembly

The stove is very easy to assemble:  just set the cooking ring on top of the stove so that the prongs are on top.  That is what your pot will rest on.

Starting the Fire

1.   First, collect your fuel:  in our case, Mr. Apt Prepper gathered up twigs, dried leaves and a few acorns out in the back of our building.  Place the twigs in the stove chamber.  The twigs or wood pieces should be roughly two to three inches in length.

Sizing Sticks for kindling for Solo Stove2.  Make sure the stove is on a level area, away from the wind.  We just set it on a  paving stone.  The Solo Stove’s instructions can be found here.

3.  Start the fire.   It would have been easier to use firestarter, but we wanted to see how it would perform by just lighting the fuel using matches.  The dried leaves caught fire instantly and in a couple of minutes, the rest of the twigs were burning nicely.

Burning leaves in Solo Stove  4.  We set a pan containing two cups of water on the stove.  We continued to add twigs to the fire.  The water started to boil in about 10 minutes, which is a lot faster than I’ve experienced with a regular campfire.

Pan on Solo StoveCleaning

Once the fire has died down and stove has cooled completely,  all you need to do is empty out the ash.  Since the fuel is all organic, you don’t need to worry about polluting the area.

Ash inside Solo StoveA bit of soot may cling to the stove but it is easily wiped off.

We put the stove through the paces and it performed well.  Mr Apt Prepper kept an objective eye over the test.  If we had to come up with an area of improvement it would be to provide more detailed instructions for the inexperienced portable stove user.  One thing that is not obvious to a new user is gauging the amount of fuel that is needed.  Using dried twigs, the stove did not give off much smoke at all, which is great for a bug-out stove, when you don’t want to attract a lot of attention with your cooking fire.   For those readers who are inclined to “do-it-yourself”  there are many plans found around the internet that provide instructions on how to make one.

 

 

For beginning preppers

BioLite CampStove Review

BioLite Stove

I received a sample of the BioLite Stove for testing and review.  The BioLite Stove is a portable stove that allows you to cook with wood, and charge small electronic gadgets at the same time.  As many long time readers know, I am always on the lookout for good portable chargers for emergencies as well as a good backpacking stove.

This is what came in the box:

Contents of BioLite Stove box

BioLite ContentsThe box contained the stove within a pouch, USB cable and the firestarter sticks.  Inside the pouch was the actual stove, the charging unit (battery) and instructions.

The instructions indicated you have to condition the battery before first using the stove by plugging it into your computer’s USB port or wall plug.  In my case, I plugged it into the wall charger for six hours per the instructions.  The light on the unit flashes at first then glows a steady orange while charging.   It is recommended you charge it every six months if unused.

The next step is to attach the battery to the stove and it is ready to use.

BioLite CampStoveI added a firestarter stick and some tinder (small twigs, wood pieces, acorns etc) to the stove and lit the firestarter with a match.

BioLite Campstove testThe fire started up fairly quickly.  You turn on the fan on the battery charger, first low, then high.  It is the same effect as blowing on the tinder to get it to catch fire.  In no time at all, the fire was going nicely.

BioLite Campstove lightedTo keep the fire going I continued to add sticks, twigs, dried leaves and small acorns.  There was small amount of smoke generated because some of the twigs were not completely dried out.  I placed a small pot with an egg on top of the stove.  The water started boiling fully after about 10-15 minutes.

Boiling egg in BioLite CampStove

You can start charging  on the battery once the light glows green.  You will need a good amount of twigs to keep the fire going.  The website indicated it should be ready in 10-15 minutes before you can charge, but it took mine a bit longer.   However it did work as described.  You can charge small devices such as cell or smart phones, GPS units, etc.  You just plug the phone via the USB cable into the unit and it will charge.

The BioLite Stove has a very efficient design, is lightweight, weighing only about two pounds.  Being a dual purpose item, it saves space as well.  It is good to have in your emergency kit in case of a power outage, and would make a good backpacking stove.  The instructions are easy to follow and the website has a FAQ section that addresses most concerns.   The BioLite Stove worked very well and I highly recommend it.

For more information, visit the BioLite website http://www.biolitestove.com/

 

ReadyMade Resources is a trusted source for your preparedness supplies:

 

 

Product Review: E-Foods Creamy Potato Soup

I’ve had a few Hits and Misses with long term storage foods, so I am always wary when anticipating a new product tryout.  I never know how it will turn out.  I received a sample of E-Foods meals (free sample available at E-Foods Direct).  (Note: Apartment Prepper is not affiliated with E-foods; just providing an independent review.
The package contained three entrees:  Creamy Potato Soup, Chicken Tortilla Soup, and Chicken and Rice Soup, with each packet containing about four servings.
E-foods pouch
 The sample for Creamy Potato Soup was the one I opened for this review.
eFoods Potato SoupPreparation was easy:
1.  Boil 4 1/2 cups of water.  Add the soup mix.  The soup mix looked a bit like instant mashed potatoes so I wasn’t sure how it would turn out
2.  Stir well and lower heat.
3.  Let it simmer for 15-20 minutes.  I wanted the soup to be soft and creamy so I left it for 25 minutes.
4.  Stir and serve.
 
The instructions mentioned you can add other ingredients such as bacon, chicken clams, or corn for variety.  I did not add any other ingredients as I wanted to try it plain.
Cooked eFoods Potato Soup
The resulting soup had chunks of potato, was creamy and flavorful.  I would say a packet that includes four servings would be enough to feed two adults for a hearty dinner.
 
For anyone who is curious to try long term storage meals I would say the sample packet is worth the $9.95 shipping cost.   You get to try various flavors of storage food and decide before you buy.

 

 

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Good ideas for building a food storage plan can be found here:

Product Review: Legacy Premium Beans and Rice Enchilada

Legacy Premium Beans and Rice Enchilada

I received a sample of Legacy Premium’s Beans and Rice Enchilada entree from PrepareWise.

Legacy Premium Beans and Rice Enchilada contents

Here is what is looks like in the package.

The instructions look easy enough:  Boil water, stir in the product, lower the heat and let it simmer for 12-15 minutes, stirring every few minutes.

I followed the instructions and tested it after 15 minutes.  I prefer a softer texture so I left it simmering for five more minutes.  Then I let it stand for 10 minutes, as the sauce thickens a bit more as it cools.

Cooked Legacy Premium Beans and Rice Enchilada

Here is what the prepared dish looked like in a bowl.

Now for the taste test…  It’s good!  The family, who by now is very skeptical of my taste tests, tried it as well.  Everyone liked it.   The sauce is very flavorful, slightly spicy but not overly hot.  The texture is excellent.  The beans softened up nicely, and the corn added just a hint of sweetness.  We had the dish by itself, but I would think it would taste good accompanied by tortillas or tortilla chips.  You can also add ground beef or chicken if you like, but it is good on its own.  More good stuff about this entree:  it has no MSG, no trans fats, uses sea salt and for those concerned, it’s gluten free.

The Legacy Premium line of storage foods is carried by one of our sponsors, PrepareWise.

If You are Looking for a CCW Holster, this one is Worth a Look

I received a review sample of ULTRA Model Concealed Carry Holster for Firearms from Deep Conceal, LLC.  While I personally do not have a CCW license currently, I intend to obtain one.  Mr. Apt. Prepper does have his license and I have seen him try out a lot of different holsters.   It is not easy to find out that is both comfortable and easy to reach.  There are many options:  ankle, front or back waist band, shoulder.

First, we’ll cover a few details:  Selection includes right hand or left hand draw, available colors are white or black, and then you get to choose the size, from Xtra Small to 4XL and everything in between.  An FAQ section in the website shows how to measure for the correct size:  Take a tape measure around the chest at the Sternum. Inhale and then exhale – take the measurement when you are done exhaling. Note the measurement on the tape and order the corresponding holster size.  The holster is made in the USA and Deep Conceal offers free shipping in the U.S.

Now for the result:  This holster is easy to adjust and therefore very comfortable.  It also provides for easy accessibility of the weapon.  It stays in place where you want it too, without a lot of pulling or chaffing.

Mr Apt Prepper tried it out and I could not even tell he had his firearm on him.  This proves that the holster does stay concealed as it’s supposed to.  He found it well-made and he recommended it to his friends who have CCW licenses.  He now prefers it more than his in the waist-band holster.

If you are looking for concealed carry holsters, visit Deep Conceal.

Disclaimer:  This review is for the concealed holster only, and does not recommend you to purchase one if you are not licensed to carry a concealed weapon.  You must be licensed in your state to carry a concealed weapon.  State laws vary, so check the laws in your state.

 

 

 

 

 

The PreppingGuys – Two of the Nicest Preppers I’ve Ever Met

A few months ago I got to talking with these two guys, Al and Joe and found out we have a common interest in preparing for emergencies.  We chatted about our prepping successes and failures. Those of us who have embarked on the journey to preparedness usually find out fairly quickly that there is so much gear out there.  Sometimes it is hard to tell what works and what doesn’t.    You might think that you are good to go when you buy that survival kit and set it aside for an emergency.  That is, until you open it up and find  flimsy, sub-par items that just seem to take up space.  Al and Joe were telling me about an “Emergency Kit” they had purchased some time ago and found a compass that doesn’t point, survival whistles that don’t make a sound and matches that don’t light.

Over time, I got to know them better and I found out they’ve done a lot of research on prepping gear.  They had also been testing out their equipment on a regular basis, both at home and out in the field.  I wished I’d known these guys when I first started prepping as I could’ve saved a lot of money, time and frustration!

So I tried to convince them to start their own site so they could help others but they were hesitant. I think that they were just uncomfortable about revealing that they were preppers.  After a few months of me hounding them, they finally came around.  Al and Joe, now known as the PreppingGuys, have decided to chronicle their experiences in testing out survival gear and preparedness projects.  They will show you how to make the most of your hard earned money when buying equipment and supplies.

Let’s welcome the PreppingGuys to our  preparedness community.

Please check out their site at http://PreppingGuys.com

Taste Test: THRIVE Freeze Dried Ground Beef

Thrive Freeze dried ground beef

Thrive Freeze dried ground beef

Today I am going to review a popular Thrive freeze dried item, the ground beef.   Misty Marsh over at Your Own Home Store kindly sent me a sample a while back, but I had not gotten around to posting the result due to work schedules getting in the way.

I use a lot of ground beef chuck in my everyday cooking, as it is less expensive than steak and can be used in a variety of menu items: tacos, burritos, spaghetti, lasagna, soups etc.   For this taste test, I originally planned to make spaghetti but Mr. Apt. Prepper suggested ground beef and potato hash, so we can really know the taste of the freeze dried ground beef.  The sauciness of spaghetti would have covered up the flavor.   This made sense to me so I went ahead and cooked Freeze Dried Ground Beef Hash.

Here is what I did for the taste test:

Cup of Freeze dried ground beef

Cup of Freeze dried ground beef

1.  Measure a cup of freeze dried ground beef.

2.  Add 1 1/2 cups of hot water.  I just warmed up the water for a minute and a half in the microwave, then added it to the ground beef.

Rehydrating freeze dried ground beef

Rehydrating freeze dried ground beef

3.  Leave the mixture alone for 20 minutes.  While the meat was rehydrating, I cut up one medium potato into cubes.

4.  After 20 minutes, the ground beef looked properly hydrated so I drained out the water.

Rehydrated freeze dried ground beef

Rehydrated freeze dried ground beef

5.  Heat the skillet and add a teaspoon of oil (I used olive but other oils should be fine).  Add the ground beef.  Season with garlic powder, onion salt and pepper.  Brown the ground beef.  I also added about a tablespoon of ketchup (a leftover ketchup packet would also work) for some flavor and moisture.

6.  Add the diced potatoes and mix well.  I added about 2 tbsp of water and covered it up.  Heat on low for 15 minutes.  Mix it around a bit so the potatoes don’t stick to the skillet.

7.  It is now ready to eat.

Freeze dried ground beef and potatoes

Freeze dried ground beef and potatoes

8.  Serve with white rice or tortillas.

Now for the result… This ground beef hash made from Thrive Freeze Dried Ground Beef was very tasty.  The beef had a good texture.  The kids said they look like baby meatballs.  If I were to make spaghetti or lasagna I would break up the ground beef even smaller so it will spread evenly in the sauce.  It has an excellent flavor and tasted just like freshly cooked ground beef.

I have reviewed other Thrive meats in previous posts:  Freeze Dried Chicken and Roast Beef .  The Ground Beef is now the family favorite, and I highly recommend it.

For drinking or cooking, you can never have enough clean water for survival: For your water purifier needs, please visit:

 

For more preparedness tips, read my book:

 

Mainstay Energy Bars Product Review

By:  Clay

Good day fellow preppers. Bernie has been so gracious to allow me to post reviews on products and ideas to help fellow apartment preppers. I myself live in a small apartment in a very populated urban environment and have been prepping for some time. I have been financially prepping longer than with supplies, but all the same I have been researching and continuously revising several plans for different scenarios. I have learned through my hunting, fishing and outdoor experience, that I am into quality rather than quantity in most cases. Thus, I have been willing to spend a little bit more on certain things I feel are worth the money.

This is my first written review of any product. I am not a seasoned journalist, just a person who is trying to figure out how to best handle situations that may arise and be over-prepared. My focus is primarily on prepping for an economic type of disaster rather than a hurricane or major tropical storm like Houston had with Tropical Storm Allison and Hurricane Ike, although methods I use can cross over for any scenario. When there is a hurricane coming to Houston, I usually take a “Hurrication” to Austin or Dallas to visit friends. I usually don’t hang around.

All of that being said, having a small apartment, I do not have much room to store my supplies. Basically, I have a standard size closet and therefore I must be cognizant of what I buy and the amount as well. I have a “GOOD” bag (get out of dodge) that I can grab and go if something were to happen unexpectedly but I know based on research that one will have time to either load a vehicle and move locations, or prep your apartment for an impending event. Prepare now that way as to miss all the crowds at the stores who will be dashing to get what supplies they can and not necessarily what they need. Rotate your food and water as necessary. Pay attention to shelf life and storage requirements.

One of the things I have in my GOOD bag as well as in plastic tubs with the bulk of my food and water, is a groupof energy bars called Mainstay Energy Bars. You can buy them in single bars or in bulk. There are several different ways to purchase these bars, mostly from the internet.

During a time of heavy stress, whether it be emotional, mental or physical, you need calories, fat, vitamins and carbohydrates because your body is working overtime to combat stress. These bars come in 3 different sizes and caloric amounts. I have chosen the 1200 calorie bars since I require a large amount of calories due to my hyperthyroidism. These 1200 calorie bars come in a thick tough foil type package with 3 sections. They are about 8” long, 2” thick and 3” wide. They pack easily in any back pack or box. With regards to taste, the bars are not as good as a Snickers or Butterfinger, but in times of need, they are a welcome substitute and will do the trick to satisfy hunger and give you the nutrients you need to press on until you can settle with enough time to eat a meal. They taste somewhat like a rather bland sugar cookie. You wont need to eat the entire bar, but only a section to carry you over. You can share the rest of the bar or keep it for later.

As there is with anything, there are pros and cons. Listed below are what I feel are pros and cons with these bars.

Pros:

  • the bars are small and packable
  • their content is important for certain stresses on your body
  • they do not taste bad
  • low in sodium
  • do not make you thirsty like other bars
  • 4-5 year shelf life and are quickly consumed

Cons:

  • pricey
  • flaky or chalky
  • hard
  • high saturated fat content
  • high in sugar

I would not consider this a meal but only a snack to give you energy to help fuel your body for a a few hours.  After eating a third of the bar (1 serving), I was not thirsty which is good because your body will not crave water, which you are trying to conserve during a crisis. Without water you are in big trouble. One reason you do not get thirsty is because the bar is not overloaded with protein or sodium. Protein needs water to be efficiently digested and absorbed by the body, so your body will crave water after you eat a lot of protein. I have 20 of these bars to supplement my food stock because of their pack-ability and nutritional value.

Nutritional Value:

Per serving and based on a 2,000 calorie diet:

Calories 40
Calories from Fat 210
Total Fat 23 g
Saturated Fat 7 g
Cholesterol 0 mg
Sodium 23 mg
Total Carbs 46 g
Dietary Fiber 2 g
Sugars 14 g
Protein 3 g
Vitamin A 50%
Vitamin C 60%
Calcium 50%
Iron 10%
Thiamin 15%
Riboflavin 25%
Niacin 30%
Vitamin D 50%
Vitamin E 25%
Vitamin B-6 90%
Folic Acid 35%
Vitamin B-12 20%
Phosphorous 40%
Magnesium 30%
Pantothenic Acid 100%

In conclusion, opinions vary and these bars might not be palatable or affordable for everyone, but they can sustain you during times of crisis.  I have several plastic tubs in my closet with an equal amount of rations, propane, MREs, water packets and medical supplies so that if I only have time to grab 1 tub, it will get me through 3-6 weeks of basic survival along with my GOOD bag. I’m not one to tell people about prepping for emergencies, since most people will wait until the last moment and will not have the necessary items needed to sustain them for very long. Also, in an extreme case, if looters get word you have supplies, they will pay you a visit. People who know me, know that I am a “go to” person in a survival type of situation because of my outdoor experience.  If you can gather a small group of people who you know to be trustworthy and responsible, you can pool your resources together.  This way, you eliminate time and space issues as well gain mental and physical support from the group.

Mainstay energy bars