Free Credit Card Knife

Survival Life

This post is by Bernie Carr,

Please welcome our new sponsor, Survival Life.  Yes, they are the folks who offer the Free Credit Card Knife, with just a small fee ($2.95) for shipping and handling.  This handy little tool fits in your pocket, wallet purse, bug-out bag; why not keep one in several places so you can easily reach for a knife when you need it.


  • Ultra Slim – Folds to the size of a credit card, 2 mm THIN! (The same size as your standard credit card and 1/10th the thickness of your standard utility knife!)
  • Quick and Simple Conversion – In just seconds, this tool transforms from an unassuming card in your wallet into a fully functional knife.
  • Surgical Steel Blade – Stainless steel construction for durable, rust-free sharpness.
  • Protective Hand Guard – Helps you get a grip and prevents the blade from slipping.
  • Built-In Safety Sheath – This prevents any accidents caused by an open blade in your pocket or pack, and even prevents the blade from becoming blunted during everyday carry.
  • Snap-Open, Waterproof Locking Mechanism – Easier to open than ordinary penknives, and no metal hinges that rust.
  • UNADVERTISED BONUS - Complete Your Order for the
    “Credit Card Knife” Now and Get the “Ultimate Every Day
    Carry Kit
    ” Bonus Guide Absolutely FREE!

I think the credit card knife is a neat little tool, and the price is right.  I am ordering four myself.  Go check them out!

 Update on 2/13/2014:  Checked with Survival Knife to find out how long it normally takes to get an order, and how to contact them if there is an issue:  It takes 12-15 business days typically.   For any issues, you may contact the support team at or by phone 512-366-3332.

The Unofficial Hunger Games Wilderness Survival Guide: Review and Giveaway

Creek's New Book

I received a review copy of Creek Stewart’s latest book, The Unofficial Hunger Games Wilderness Survival Guide.   I had read his first book, Build the Perfect Bug Out Bag and reviewed it previously.   I had great expectations for the second book, and I was pleased to read it.

It is well known that The Hunger Games books and movie had a lot of survival type situations and this book relates how one might actually survive when faced with such difficult circumstances.

First, the Big Question

We might as well get the big question out of the way:  Do you need to read The Hunger Games series of books or see the movie before you can appreciate this one?   I would say it helps, but it is not absolutely necessary.  I admit I have not seen the movie, but I did read the books a couple of years ago.   There is a tie-in, as the topics relate to some of the survival issues covered in the book, but if you have not read or seen the movie you will still learn a lot of survival lessons.

What I Thought about The Unofficial Hunger Games Wilderness Survival Guide

I thought the book was very informative and covered all the necessities for survival.

Some of the topics include:

  • Finding water and making it safe to drink
  • Identifying edible plants
  • Building snares
  • Building a shelter to protect against heat, cold, wind and rain
  • Fire-starting
  • Navigation
  • First aid
  • Travel tips for rescue and evasion
  • Making tools to increase the odds of survival such as a bow, knife from a sharp rock

and a lot more.

I enjoyed the sections that I personally feel deficient in, such as identifying plants that are safe to eat, finding your way using things in nature, natural camouflage, good fire-starting materials etc.

I liked reading the “Survival Quick Tips” that were sprinkled throughout the book, giving helpful advice that is related to the section.  The book also includes a lot of photos and illustrations, making it easy for the reader to follow along.

The author gives specific advice on where to look when you need additional information about a subject such as the best guide for foraging plants, references and actual brands of gear that are known to work.   As anyone who has researched emergency gear knows, finding out about what works and what doesn’t takes time and money:  having concrete advice like this handy eliminates a lot of guesswork and wasted time.

Fortunately for us, we are not faced with life or death survival situations such as those experienced by the characters in The Hunger Games, but you never know when you will be faced with such a predicament.  The time to learn these skills is now, not when we’re already deep in the middle of a crisis.  As author Creek Stewart says, “Remember, it’s not IF but WHEN.”  I recommend The Unofficial Hunger Games Wilderness Survival Guide to anyone who wants to learn survival skills in an entertaining but illuminating format.

Now for the Giveaway

Two lucky readers will be chosen to win this giveaway of the following:

  • Autographed copy of The Unofficial Hunger Games Wilderness Survival Guide
  • Willow Haven Outdoor Logo Sling Pack,
  • A 100% cotton Willow Haven Outdoor Survival Bandanna
  • A Multi-Fuctional Survival Tool with built in lanyard, compass, ferro rod, whistle and water-proof container for storing matches other survival kit items.

Creek's giveaway 2

To win, please comment below regarding any of the following:

  • What survival situation in The Hunger Games you were most curious about
  • What you hope to learn from this book

Entries will be accepted until Sunday, May 26th at 8 pm Central.  We will contact the winners via email-please respond within 48 hours or another winner will be chosen.  Good luck!

Note:  This giveaway is now closed.


What to Do if Your Bug Out Vehicle is Too Small

Prepping in small spaces is a topic we’ve discussed, but we have not discussed space issues in a bug out vehicle.

Many city dwellers are trying to save on gas, and are downsizing to a smaller vehicle.  Several relatives have switched to small economy cars or hybrids after getting tired of high gas prices.  If you live in a city, there is always a chance you may need to get out, hopefully you will be able to drive out while you can.

Now is a good time to evaluate your bug out vehicle, before any emergency happens.  Here are some considerations:

  • Number of people riding with you.
  • Trunk/storage space
  • Gas mileage
  • Ability to drive in flooding and rough terrain
  • Height of the car
  • Condition of the car

How much supplies you want to take with you?  You’ll need to be choosy about what will go into your bug out vehicle.  I realize many preppers favor “bugging in” instead of driving out.  I can understand it is much easier to shelter in place.  But everyone needs a “Plan B” in case you have to flee an immediate danger in the city.  You will need essentials such as water, food, shelter (tents etc), your bug out bags.  If you have pets you will also need space for them and their supplies.  You may also need a gas can or two, depending on the situation.

Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • Clean out your car thoroughly.  I know people who carry a lot of clutter in their trunk such as sports equipment, bags of clothes they need to donate or take to the cleaners, even trash.  I’m not judging anyone, but if you happen to have junk in your car, get rid of it.
  • Maintain your car.  Are you overdue for an oil change or tune-up?   Do your brakes need replacing?  Are your tires balding?  I have been guilty of all of the above at some point in my life when I kept putting off repairs due to budget constraints.  Do your best to get your car serviced.  You don’t want your car to break down when you are trying to get your family to safety.
  • If your car lacks space for emergency supplies, now is the time to look into ways to increase storage space:

Roof luggage rack

Roof luggage rack

Roof Cargo bag Rooftop cargo box or rooftop cargo bag

Cargo Carrier

Cargo carrier

Before you buy, check the specifications carefully to make sure the space extender you are buying will fit your car.

Low budget idea:  If you have a built in roof rack, mount items on the rack with rope and a black or brown tarp,  but you will will need to practice doing this to make sure everything is secure.  Not very attractive, but if you are trying to leave in a hurry then you may not care about appearances, just try to avoid attracting attention.

You could also find these items used.  As people change cars, they will not be needing the old rack for the old car.

I’m not an expert on cars, and you may find other solutions work better for you.  Space in your car may someday be as critical as the space in your home.  The good news is, these space extenders are useful to have even if no emergency ever happens.



For your gold and silver coins, visit:



For beginning preppers



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.


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

Monday Musings: 10/29/2012 Under the Weather Edition

Just a quick Monday update as I try to recover from a stuffy head and other miscellaneous miseries that accompany this time of year.

Nature reminds us to be prepared.  A monster storm is looming over the East Coast as Hurricane Sandy approaches land.  On the other side of the country, Hawaii just got through a tsunami warning, which fortunately did not materialize, due to a huge earthquake off the Canadian coast.   The impending East Coast storm predictably caused a mad rush to the stores for last minute emergency supplies.

What happened to Odd Questioner?   If you’ve read this blog and other preparedness blogs for a while you would recognize frequent comments from “Odd Questioner”   Then he disappeared for a while and what a surprise I got an email from him.  He’d been “laying low for awhile, but the reason why is below:”

He recently released a book, available for free or for sale (or both).

The book, Beyond Collapse, by T Joseph Miller, is a complete guide to preparation and survival, but more importantly it is a long-term guide to forming and keeping a post-collapse community.   It prints out to 8.5×11 inches, and has 430-some-odd pages in it.

The free version is here:  (Please note, the free version is for personal use only and not for distribution.  I recommend you print it out for future use.)

The paperback can be had here:

From what I have browsed so far, the book looks very thorough and well thought out. I am adding it to my reading list.

ParaVival Paracord Bracelet   I received a paracord bracelet sample (pictured above) from ParaVival Gear.  They specialize in all things paracord.  As you can see from the photo, the bracelets are attractive; what you can’t see is they are softer and more flexible that some other paracord bracelets I’ve seen.    In an emergency you can see exactly where you need to start unraveling.  Check out, not only do they have neat paracord creations, they also have instructibles for the “do it yourselfers” in the group.

Prepper casting call with expert training opportunity.  Do you want to be in a TV show, AND learn from an expert?  Not a recommendation, just passing information along.  Here’s what the they are looking for:

Seeking apocalypse believers for 2-day training course w/ an EXPERT PREPPER, to be filmed by Emmy-winning production company.   Apply to by Monday, 10/29 to be considered!   If you believe that the end is near and are seeking a great opportunity to learn how to prepare, come join us for a 2-day course. The course (normally hundreds of dollars, in this case FREE) will consist of building shelter, procuring food and water, setting up camp, booby traps, learning defense, etc. All levels of expertise welcome.  Course will take place for 2 days within November 8-11th (probably over the weekend), so please be available in that time frame.   The course will be filmed by a major television production company, but will not air on television. So you must be open to being interviewed and filmed as you participate.

In order to apply, please contact with:

-Your name
-Your age
-A clear photograph
-The type of apocalypse you believe will occur (global financial crisis, natural disaster, solar flare, plague, zombie attack, etc.)
-Your level of prepper expertise
-Why you want to participate
-A short bio about yourself
-Any video of yourself that you have

Survival Knife Infographic   I like a good infographic so I had to share the following with you.

How to Choose the Perfect Survival Knife by

Stay safe everyone!



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


ReadyMade Resources is a trusted source for your preparedness supplies:



Don’t Forget Gloves for your Emergency Kit and Bug Out Bag


I never thought much about gloves until I started preparing.  At the most I had a pair of rubber gloves for washing dishes.  Now I have several types.

Disposable gloves

Disposable gloves can be used for quick and dirty jobs such as cleaning up messes, pet waste, handling contaminated surfaces to avoid infection etc.  However these are generally very flimsy.  Thankfully, they are not very expensive.  I got a 10 pack at the 99 Cents Only store, but a box from the warehouse store would be a better deal.

Heavy rubber gloves

If you do not want to run the risk of the gloves tearing up, you’ll want a pair of heavy duty rubber gloves.  Use these for larger jobs such as hauling trash, digging in the mud etc.  You can purchase these at any grocery or discount store.

Work gloves

The first time we went camping, I didn’t even think about bringing work gloves.  Mr. Apt. Prepper brought his and I saw how the gloves protect your hands from injury when picking up branches and chopping wood.

The next time we went out to the mountains, I came prepared with my own work gloves:

–I never had to worry about getting splinters and minor cuts.
–They give you a better grip
–Keep your hands warm as the day grows colder.
–Protection from heat as you tend the campfire.
–Keep your hands clean and lower the risk of infection

In the aftermath of a natural disaster or emergency, such as a hurricane or earthquake, you may have to pick up fallen branches, gather firewood, sift through broken glass and other heavy duty chores that will require protection from your hands.

Do yourself a favor and pick up a couple of sets for each member of the family. You can keep one pair with the emergency supplies and one in the bug out bag.

Here are a couple of good ones:

For men: Custom Leathercraft P3214L Workright Flex Grip Work Gloves, Large, 3-Pair

For ladies: Wells Lamont 1124S Work Gloves, Grain/Split Palomino Cowhide

For more preparedness tips, read my book:





Help your College Student Prepare for Emergencies


Back to school season is in full swing, and these last few weeks were spent preparing kids for the first day of school.

We have a couple of nieces and nephews who are going away to college in a few weeks.  This got me thinking what can be done to at least get them prepared for emergencies.   I’ve listed a three layered approach, with the third choice is the most extensive but also the most encompassing.  It all depends on your relationship with the teen, the extent of their involvement with prepping, what you want to prepare for and how much you wish to spend.

I.  Give a prepping themed “going off to college” gift that will be useful in an emergency or at least get them started to think about being prepared:

  • solar cell phone charger
  • multi-tool or Swiss Army Knife
  • paracord bracelet

II.  Assemble a Power Outage/Earthquake/Hurricane Emergency Kit

Include in a small decorative box or basket, items that they will be able to use for a variety of emergencies such as power outage, earthquake or hurricane.  Include the following:  at least three days worth of water bottles, water purifier, easy to prepare foods (canned foods with can opener) or food bars such as Mainstay Energy Bar, high energy snacks such as peanuts, flashlight/radio/charger and batteries, and pocket sized First Aid kit.  Remember most dorm rooms or off campus apartments are small:  everything has to be reasonably sized and efficiently packed. The items have to be simple to use and do not require special preparations.  They may be in a panic when the emergency happens, so include a note with some instructions.

III.  Assemble a Get Home Bag

In the movie Zombieland, the beginning scene showed one of the main characters getting attacked by a zombie in his dorm room.  After this horrible experience, his first instinct initially was to just get home.  This is fiction, but in a real emergency, anyone would want to get home as quickly as possible.  I think the most efficient way to prepare in a dorm would be to assemble a Get Home bag.

In a backpack, include the following items:

  • personal water filter or set of Hydropacks
  • food bars
  • cash (to be used for transportation)
  • First Aid kit
  • a change of clothes and underwear (weather appropriate)
  • good wool socks
  • comfortable shoes
  • rain gear (umbrella and rain poncho)
  • flashlight/weather radio
  • solar charger
  • utility knife (check campus guidelines) or multi-tool
  • signal mirror
  • whistle
  • lighter or matches
  • tarp
  • self protection such as pepper spray
  • small hygiene items such as toothbrush, toothpaste, soap, floss, toilet paper (with cardboard removed), liquid hand sanitizer or wipes, contact lens solution etc.

Adjust the items according to the student’s needs and situation. Have a conversation about what is included in the backpack and situations where it may come in handy.  Include them in your texting tree and explain how it works as well as plans where the family can meet in case of extreme emergency.  As with any emergency preparations, we hope to never have to use them, but  good to have just in case.







This is Cool: Solar Water Bottle

My daughter sent me a link to this YouTube video, since she knows I like sustainable, low-tech ideas like these.

Made from 1.5 liter Coke bottles, 2 cap-fuls of bleach and tap water, they are able to provide lighting to people who would otherwise live in the dark.  They are made from recycled materials, are solar powered, and only need replacing every five years.  I think the bleach keeps algae from growing in the tap water, which will eventually cloud the water.  The only drawback is they do not work without sunlight, but since the families perpetually live in very dark areas, even in the daytime, having the solar water bottles is a big improvement for them.

This is the nonprofit organization in the Philippines is helping provide families who have no electricity with indoor lighting:

In the event of a lengthy power grid power failure, it doesn’t hurt to know about a variety of lighting sources such as this one.



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.


  • 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


  • 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