10 Skills That Urban Preppers Should Learn

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10 Skills That Urban Preppers Should Learn

By Tess Pennington

This article originally appeared in Ready Nutrition

Skills are a major part of prepping. Although it is important to have supplies in place; the belief is that skills, and not supplies, will give you a greater survival advantage during a long term emergency. Learning new survival skills and abilities creates a new platform of knowledge to draw on when times get tough.

There are many preppers who taking the time to make skill building a priority. The Survival Sherpa is applying his vast knowledge to the field and showing his audience ways to learn skills and be more efficient. Check his site out, it’s very informative. The Organic Prepper is turning her back on consumerism and focusing on finding local sources for food to create a food pantry.

There are many things you can learn to promote a more sustainable lifestyle while living in a densely populated area. In fact, 80% of the population lives in an urban environment, so do not let that stop you from your prepping endeavors.

Make the best of where you are and begin learning skills or continue refining them so that you can use them confidently during a disaster. Some great skills you can easily learn are:

  1.  Raise micro-livestock in small confines. Some popular breeds are rabbits, guinea pigs, chickens, etc.
  2. Garden and produce your own food supply. You can easily grow these types of produce, even on an apartment patio!
  3. Forage for local plants and herbs. You’d be surprised to find some of these in your own backyard.
  4. Learn about hydroponic/aquaponic food production. There are many local classes and sustainability expos in your area that you can take advantage of. Alternatively, there are also community colleges that are offering these courses.
  5. If the proverbial S hits the F, we will see a lot of serious injuries, and even deaths, from people making unaccustomed physical demands on their bodies. Train your physical body now in the event of evacuations.
  6. Take an emergency first-aid class or self-defense class. The American Red Cross offers a variety of first-aid classes that you can take advantage of.
  7. Learn how to confidently use a firearm. A lot of dangers exist during and following emergency disasters. Learn how to protect your family by any means necessary. Many urban centers have gun ranges and classes to take to refine this important skill. This site can show you where the nearest gun ranges are.
  8. Start a prepper’s pantry and store shelf stable foods. We must put measures in place before a disaster is upon us in order to have these lifelines available to us when we need it the most. Check out these 25 must-have foods.
  9. Learn how to preserve your food supply. If you know how to dehydrate and use a pressure canner, then you are already ahead of the game.
  10. Go to farmer’s markets and get in contact with local growers and practice bartering. Here are some great tips on how to barter better.

Many families have to stay in urban areas for financial or familial reasons, but do not let that stop you from learning a more sustainable way of life. There are lots of things you can do and many people who are in the same place as you with the same interests. Sometimes your friends could end up teaching up and thing or two that they have learned along the way.

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.


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Why You Need Gloves for Your Emergency Kit

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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, you’ll want a pair of heavy duty rubber gloves.  Use these for larger jobs such as hauling trash, burying waste, 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 125L Handyman Flex Grip Work Gloves, Large

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

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How to Create a Safe Room in Your House or Apartment

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By Daisy Luther

This article originally appeared in The Organic Prepper


The homes of many rich, famous people have a secret hidden within them.  Somewhere, in the depths of the home, is a secure room to which the residents can retreat in the event of a home invasion or violent intruder.  A safe room was carved into the original house plan, and many of these are state of the art.  Features might include a bank of monitors for viewing what’s going on outside the room, a small kitchenette, comfortable furnishings, fresh air venting, and a hardened communications system.  These expertly designed rooms can cost tens of thousands of dollars, but you don’t have to be a movie star or a multi-millionaire to build your own version of a safe room. Even the most humble home or apartment can have on a place to which vulnerable family members can retreat if they are under threat.

Why should you have a safe room?

Some folks may read this and think to themselves, “I don’t need a safe room when I have my 12 gauge shotgun and my 9 mm. That’s just running away.”

I completely understand your point. Most of the people who read prepping and survival sites are not of a “retreat” mentality.  But, if a gang of 12 thugs (possibly wearing badges) kicks down your door, how likely are you to shoot every single one of them before someone gets off a lucky shot and hits you?  Hint: If you aren’t tactically trained, the likelihood of this is pretty slim.

Here’s another reason: do you have vulnerable family members in the house? Children? A spouse or elderly relative? Someone who just isn’t a fighter?  Even if you intend to engage, you may have people in the home who are not willing or able to do so, and it will be better for you if they are safely out of the way.

A safe room is honestly just another prep. It doesn’t mean you are cowardly. It means you are ready for a variety of scenarios and that the safety of your family is paramount.  It is a layer of protection that allows vulnerable people to retreat until help arrives.

Here’s a perk: another great use for your safe room is that you can stash your valuables there. Most break-ins occur when you aren’t home.  If your valuables are locked away, a random tweaker searching for things to sell to support his habit is not going to be able to access your important papers, your fine jewelry, your firearms, or your most prized possessions.

Retreating to your safe room

When you retreat to your safe room, you have one goal: to end any possibility of interaction with an unwelcome person. Please don’t call it a panic room. That indicates that you are a scared victim.  You are retreating to a safer location because you don’t intend to be a victim. In a military gun battle, do soldiers move behind sandbags or into trenches? Of course. They want to limit the likelihood of being shot or otherwise injured. You may or may not be a trained soldier, but your goal is the same. It is to avoid being injured by a person who may be intent on injuring you.

A safe room is not a bunker. You probably aren’t going to be holed up in there for days during a stand-off. It is a point of retreat until help arrives.

The #1 rule of the safe room: DO NOT LEAVE IT UNTIL YOU ARE SAFE AND YOUR HOME HAS BEEN CLEARED. NOT FOR ANY REASON. A criminal will threaten, cajole, manipulate, and bully to try to make you come out. DON’T DO IT.

We’ve often talked about the importance of having a plan (as well as a few back-up plans) and running practice drills. A safe room is no different. All family members that are physically able should be able to quickly access the room. If you have several people in your household, you might want to put a keypad access on the door to the safe room so that whoever has retreated first is safely locked in without worrying about admitting the other family members.

Map out as many different ways as possible to get to the safe room from various locations in the house. This is a great time to get the kids involved, because children are explorers by nature. They may know routes that you had never even considered.  Practice, practice, practice.  Run timed drills and make a game out of how quickly all family members can get to the safe room and get the door secured.

Of course, the success of moving quickly to your safe room rests upon being alerted that someone is in your home.  You should have security measures in place that let you know that the home has been breached:

  • A dog
  • Inexpensive battery operated alarms on all entry points
  • A high quality monitored alarm system
  • A wireless alarm system that sounds an alarm and automatically calls for assistance
  • Outdoor sensors that will alert you when someone comes through your gate or approaches your home. (Note: If you’re like us and you live somewhere with a lot of wildlife, this option may not work well for you.)

The more of these early warnings you have, the better off you’ll be. Someone might get through one of the alarms, but how likely are they to get through 3 or 4 without you being alerted?

Where should your safe room be?

If you are building a new home from the ground up, you have the unique opportunity to have this special room added to the plans. In this case, your far less limited by the existing design and layout of the house. In fact, there are companies whose sole purpose is designing safe rooms for homes and businesses.  One of the most reputable, Gaffco, offers consultations, plans, and even construction of these rooms. Additionally, they offer “pods” that were originally designed for the US military, which can be incorporated into the design of your home or connected to the home via a breezeway.  These options are top of the line, and may be out of the affordable price range for the average family.

Most of us aren’t in that building process though, so we need to adapt part of our living space to make a safe room.   Some people adapt a large walk-in closet or pantry, while others refurbish a room in their home. DuPont offers a “Stormroom” that is reinforced with Kevlar and is epoxied to your garage floor. It’s designed to withstand a Category 5 hurricane, so it’s a good be that it will also withstand your average home invasion.  These start at $6000 for the smallest size.

Here are some important qualities:

  • No windows to the outside
  • Ventilation
  • Thick/reinforced walls
  • Water and a bathroom
  • Enough space for the number of people likely to shelter there
  • Ease of accessibility for the family from multiple locations in the house

Of course, finding all of these things, sitting there in one room, waiting for you to reinforce the door may not be likely so you have to work with what you’ve got.

Some good options are:

  • Walk-in closet
  • Master bedroom with attached bath
  • Basement family room
  • Storage room
  • Wine cellar (Not as outrageous as it sounds – surprisingly the humble little 2 bedroom Victorian cottage we used to live in had one)
  • Interior den with no windows
  • Inside an attached garage

If you intend to go full out and reinforce the walls, it will be less expensive to convert the smallest area that will house the required number of family members.

It is of vital importance to locate the safe room in a place that can be quicky and easily accessed by family members. If you have to run past the entry through which intruders just burst, you probably aren’t going to make it to the safe room. Remember, the most ideal safe room situation is one in which the criminal has no idea that you were home or, if he knows you’re home, has no idea where you may have gone.

One important thing to remember is that your safe room doesn’t have to only be a safe room. The best use of space would have the room used regularly for other purposes.  Most of the modifications you’ll make don’t have to be obvious. For example, if you’re reinforcing the walls, you can drywall over your reinforcements, paint the wall a happy color, and carry on with your life.  An attractive exterior type door can be painted to match the other interior doors in your home.  Even if you live in an apartment or condo, you can make some subtle changes to create a safe place to retreat.

The key here is to do the best you can with your resources and the space you have available. Let’s talk about the most important modifications.

The Door

The very first line of defense is the door you will slam behind you.  For many of us, this is where the majority of the money will be spent.

Forget about flimsy interior doors.  Most of them are hollow core and your average everyday axe wielding murderer or gangbanger intent on mayhem can get through them by kicking or punching through. Go to Home Depot and get yourself the very best exterior steel slab door that you can afford.  If your safe room is an ordinary room in the house, look for a door that can be painted to blend in with the other doors in the house. There’s no sense making it obvious that this room is special.

There’s no point in having a great door in a cruddy door frame. Your door is only as solid as the frame that holds it, so replace your standard interior door frame with reinforced steel. Get the absolute best quality you can afford, then paint it to match the rest of the door frames in your home.  Hang your door so it swings inward. Then you can add extra layers of security to the door.

You want to add more locks than just the doorknob type. For your primary lock, choose a heavy duty reinforced deadbolt system. You can also add a jimmy-proof security lock like this one for an added deterrent, but this should NOT be your primary lock.  You can add a door bar, the hardware for which would be fairly unobtrusive when the bar is not across it.  If you make all of these changes, NO ONE is getting through that door by kicking it in.

The Windows

Windows are a definite weak point in a safe room. If you are using a room that is also used for other purposes (like a master bedroom) you probably have them.  Don’t despair – they too can be reinforced.

The biggest threat with a window, of course, is that the glass will easily break, allowing someone to either get in the room or shoot people who are in the room.

You can go all out and replace the window in that room with a bulletproof security window.  Although they are very expensive, you may decide it’s worthwhile since it’s just for one room. If this is out of your price range, you can purchase ballistic film and apply it to your existing window.  This video shows you how much a high quality ballistic film will withstand.  If you’re doing this, do NOT skimp on quality.

If you have windows, no matter how resistant they are to impact, it’s a good idea to have curtains too.  You don’t want the aggressor standing out there watching you or casing your retreat.  Not only would that be mentally rattling, they just might figure out a way to breach your safe room or counteract your safety plan, like secondary communications.  They do not need to know how many people are in the safe room, what equipment and supplies you have, or what you’re doing in there.  Get heavy curtains and make sure they’re completely closed with no gaps whatsoever.

The Walls

This is where the serious expense comes in.  A round from a 9mm handgun can easily penetrate the walls of the average home. Dry wall does NOT stop bullets, not even from a weaker caliber gun. That’s why one of the most important rules of gun safety is to not only know your target, but what is beyond your target.  If your walls aren’t sturdy enough to withstand bullets, then you’ve basically just put your family into a box to be shot more easily.

One way to lessen the expense of this is to choose a room in the basement. If you build your retreat into a corner, then you have two exterior walls that are concrete surrounded by dirt – virtually unbreachable.  Then you only have two walls to worry about.  If you are in an apartment, the laws in most states insist that walls separating two apartments must be fire resistant. Therefore, the wall between your apartment and the next could be made of cement, providing one wall of safety.

Free plans for a variety of safe rooms are offered by the Department of Homeland Security. As well, FEMA offers free plans for a safe room that is designed to withstand natural disasters. This could be easily adapted for home security purposes too.

There are a few different ways to reinforce the walls of your safe room. Some of the following options may be out of your price range or skill level, and some may not be practical for your living situation.

  • Armored steel panels: One of the best ways to convert an existing room into a ballistic haven is by adding armored steel panels to the walls. You can add drywall over the panels and no one will even realize they are there. These are heavy and use on upper floors could damage the integrity of your structure. They’re expensive, with a bottom end price of about $400 for a 4×8 panel, but depending on the layout of the room, they may not be needed on every wall.
  • Kevlar: These resistant walls are made out of a fiberglass type material.  This is a much lighter weight alternative and can be used in places that can’t hold up to the addition of heavy steel or concrete. You can learn more about Kevlar construction from Total Security Solutions.
  • Poured concrete:  This MUST be used on a ground floor or in a basement because of the extreme weight.  This is a far less expensive option and can withstand most threats.
  • Sand:  This is another heavy weight option, but it can be far less expensive than other options, particularly if you live in an area with abundant sand.  A 12 inch thick barricade of sand can protect against many different ballistic threats. In a basement room, a sand-packed wall in between the exterior of the room and interior drywall can provide substantial protection at a lower price. The Prepper Journal has an interesting article on using sandbags to stop bullets. The ideas could potentially be adapted to the interior of your home.  For example, you could stack sandbags halfway up a wall and then build a lightweight wall over the sandbags – the inhabitants of the room would need to shelter behind the sandbags to remain safe.

Temporary options: For the average family, many of these solutions can be out of reach.  If you rent, you probably won’t want to do major construction, either. It’s best to choose a room that is already as sturdy as possible and then reinforce the weak points. Although these options aren’t anywhere near as resistant as the ones above, they are better than nothing.

  • Have a heavy duty item you can shelter behind, like a steel desk or deep freezer.
  • Line your walls with heavy furniture, like loaded bookcases with real wood backs, not flimsy particle board.
  • Line your walls with metal filing cabinets, fill the drawers with anything, and stay low.

The Camouflaged Safe Room

Even though safe rooms aren’t really a “fun” topic, a secret hidden safe room is the kind of thing that stirs the imagination.  After all, how many awesome movies from your youth began with the magical discovery of a stairway or room hidden behind a bookcase or a mysterious doorway at the back of the closet?

The success of a camouflaged safe room rests on the residents of the home quickly moving into hiding without the intruders even knowing that they are home. This is the best case scenario for an event during which you need to retreat to a safe room.

You don’t have to have a mysterious Victorian mansion to have a hidden safe room. Amazon sells a hidden door hinge system that you can use to create a bookcase door. (You can also buy plans for installing a bookcase door or even an entire bookcase door kit.) Other options might include a trap door in the floor hidden under an attached throw rug or a discreet door at the back of a closet behind all the clothing.

Don’t rely strictly on the secret entry for your security. It should be followed up by the reinforcements described above, in the event that the intruders discover you’ve gotten away.


As was discussed in the introduction, a safe room is simply a retreat. If you don’t have help coming, you could remain trapped in there indefinitely, particularly if the intruders decide to wait you out.

Remember the #1 rule of the safe room? DO NOT LEAVE IT UNTIL YOU ARE SAFE AND YOUR HOME HAS BEEN CLEARED. NOT FOR ANY REASON. A criminal will threaten, cajole, manipulate, and bully to try to make you come out. DON’T DO IT.

You may not have had time to call 911 or your well-armed neighbor before sheltering in your safe room.  If that is the case, then you need to be able to summon assistance from within the safe room. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Cell phone: Make sure you have an additional charger for your cellphone that stays in the safe room.  Remember that a cell phone is not 100% reliable.  While it’s not exceptionally likely that your average home invader will jam your cell phone, it’s possible. (WikiHow explains how easily one can be made and this device jams  both cell signals and WIFI. )
  • Landline phone: Put an old fashioned phone in your safe room. Don’t get one that relies on electricity to work. Even better, install a secondary buried line in the event that your primary line is disabled. If a criminal cuts one phone line, he generally won’t look for a secondary line.
  • Computer: Just like the secondary landline, above, consider a secondary internet access as well.  If you have Skype, you can also have an internet telephone system from which you can call for assistance, but be warned that you many not immediately reach your local 911 from a Skype phone.

Once you have 911 on the line, be sure to let them know that you are armed. (Cops hate surprises.)  If at all possible, stay on the line with the 911 operator so that you can confirm that help has arrived without opening the door of your safe room.

  • Two-way radio: If you have a trusted friend or neighbor nearby, a two way radio system is another way to summon help. This one transmits up to 36 miles.
  • Ham radio:  Be warned, you need an FCC license for a ham radio.  You can learn more about the different kinds of ham radios in this article.
  • Cameras:  While cameras won’t help you summon help, they can let you know what’s going on outside your safe room.  Especially important, a camera outside the door of the room will give you some advance warning if your retreat is about to be breached.  It can let you know if help has actually arrived or if the intruders are just trying to trick you into thinking so. This system feeds into your cell phone or your computer.


You want to have enough supplies to stay in your safe room for 24-48 hours. Since this is a safe room and not a bunker, you don’t need  year’s supply of beans and rice in there.

  • Food: Stock up on food that doesn’t require any cooking or refrigeration. (This article is about food that you’d eat during a power outage but many of the suggestions will work for your safe room supply.)
  • Water: Even if you have an attached bathroom with running water, store at least one gallon per person that is likely to be in the room,.  Just in case. Because stuff happens, especially when bad guys are around.
  • Cold weather gear: In the event that your heat stops working during cold weather, stash a selection of winter coats, gloves, hats, sleeping bags, and a warm change of clothing.
  • Entertainment:  Really.  If you end up in the room for more than a couple of hours, you’ll go insane just staring at the monitors.  As well, if there are children in there with you, they’ll handle the ordeal much better with some distractions.  Keep some books, games, puzzles, DVDs, etc., in the safe room.
  • Sanitation: Ideally, you’ll have an actual bathroom as part of your safe room. If not, you’ll need a place to relieve yourself.  The best portable option is a camping toilet, which will eventually have to be emptied, but holds over 5 gallons and should last throughout any amount of time you’d be in your safe room. Also stock hand sanitizer, baby wipes, feminine hygiene supplies, and diapers, if applicable to your family.
  • Special needs items:  Remember that movie “Panic Room”, with Jodie Foster and Kristen Stewart?  They were forced to leave the safe room because it wasn’t stocked with the necessary supplies for the diabetic child.  Don’t let this happen to you. Not only will you stock your safe room with food, but keep extra medication for any family members with special needs.
  • First aid supplies: Keep a full first aid kit, as well as a manual, in your safe room. If a family member was injured on the way to the room, you want to be able to provide some care for them. Particularly focus on supplies necessary for traumatic injuries.  Also stock things like antacids, pain relievers,  and anti-diarrheal medications. You can find a great first aid supply list in this article.
  • Emergency supplies: Always keep a fire extinguisher, goggles, and some particulate masks in your safe room.  A very determined criminal might try to force you to leave the room by starting a fire. Depending on the materials used in the construction of your room, this could be successful.  The goggles and masks aren’t perfect, but they give you a chance to launch an offensive if you do have to leave the safe room.


Here’s the bottom line: If an intruder somehow manages to breach your safe room, the time for retreat is completely over.   There’s no option left – you have to be prepared to fight like your life depends on it.  If an intruder has gone to the trouble to break through all of your defenses to get to you, your life most likely does depend on your ability to mount an aggressive defense.

Aside from your primary defense weapon (which you’re probably carrying with you), all of your other weapons should be stored in your safe room. Your extra ammunition should be stored there too.

Is every person of reasonable age in your family able to handle a weapon? If not, it’s time to sign up for classes or go to the range.

You need to have a plan in the event your defenses are breached. You don’t want any “friendly fire” injuries to occur. This plan will be different for every family based on individual skills, on available weapons, and on the set-up of your safe room.

The safe room is your final point of retreat. If someone brings the battle to you, you must be prepared, both mentally and physically. Otherwise, you and your family are like fish in a barrel, neatly corralled targets for the intruders.

 What would you add to this list?

Whether you actually have a safe room in your home, or you’ve considered building one, do you have some things to add to the lists above?  Please share them on the original article so that the suggestions may be added to benefit other readers.


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

Prepper’s Home Defense: Security Strategies to Protect Your Family by Any Means Necessary

Preparing your Battle Space

Home Invasion: Preventative Security Layers to Protect the Home

About the Author:

Daisy Luther lives in a small village in the Pacific Northwestern area of the United States.  She is the author of The Organic Canner,  The Pantry Primer: A Prepper’s Guide to Whole Food on a Half-Price Budget, and the soon-to-be-released The Prepper’s Water Survival Guide: Harvest, Treat, and Store Your Most Vital Resource. On her website, The Organic Prepper, Daisy uses her background in alternative journalism to provide a unique perspective on health and preparedness, and offers a path of rational anarchy against a system that will leave us broke, unhealthy, and enslaved if we comply.  Daisy’s articles are widely republished throughout alternative media. You can follow her on Facebook, Pinterest,  and Twitter.


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10 Tips for Renting a Storage Facility for Emergency Supplies

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10 Tips for Renting a Storage Facility for Emergency Supplies

This post is by Bernie Carr, apartmentprepper.com

Now that we have moved to a smaller apartment, we are using every available space for storing supplies.

What if there is absolutely no room left in the apartment for storage; after you have purged stuff and added creative space savers, what else can you do for storage?  One possible solution that may work for some is to rent a storage unit.

What to consider when choosing a storage facility:

  1. Accessibility.   Choose a storage facility that is close to your home, in case you have to walk.  You must be able to get to the unit quickly in an emergency.
  2. Cleanliness.  Inspect the units and note any trash and pests.  The storage facility must fumigate regularly.  Unless you are only storing canned food, your stored food should be properly stored in mylar bags and in sealed five gallon buckets.
  3. Temperature.  If you live in a hot, humid area, the unit must be temperature controlled.  Same reason I do not recommend a garage unless you live in a temperate area, you don’t want to store your precious food and emergency supplies in a hot, humid environment as this will degrade the quality of your supplies.  If you live in an area that is cool most of the year then you are in luck, you do not need a temperature controlled facility.
  4. Pricing.   The size of the units vary, so you will need to research what’s available in your area.  Once you know the price range, you should also check your budget to make sure you have room for the additional expense.  Check online for special deals such as “First or 2nd month free” or size upgrade discounts.
  5. Size  There are various sizes available such as 5×5, 5×10, 10×10, 10×20 or 20×20 are some examples.  You would need to assess your own needs and looking at the units before choosing.
  6. Neighborhood.  The storage facility must be in a secure area and in a good neighborhood.  The area should be well lighted and be monitored 24 hours a day.  Some facilities have an on-site manager living in the premises but that is rare.  A coworker of mine rented a storage unit for her excess stuff, that was in a questionable neighborhood but was dirt cheap.  The unit was broken into, and it was several days before the management even informed her.  Also consider how close the place is to a busy street or unsavory hang-outs.
  7. Floor location.  Is the unit in the ground floor on on a higher floor?  Ground floor units are easier to access when carrying heavy loads, but I also worry that thieves may try to break in the easier to reach units.
  8. Locks.  Some locks are easier to cut through than others.  Also, some facilities allow only proprietary locks that you purchase from them for an additional fee.
  9. What are you storing?  Storage facility applications always ask what you are planning to store in your unit.  There are certain items that are prohibited:  combustible materials such as gasoline, propane tanks, fireworks; they also frown upon firearms and ammunition.  Each state or jurisdiction may also have its own rules about what can be stored, and what the storage company is obligated to report so check on these issues before taking your items to storage.
  10. Read the fine print In relation to #8 above, always read the storage agreement so you are aware of your rights, and what you can and can’t do.

If you have a like minded friend or relative, you might be able to share the space and split the monthly storage cost.  You  just have to be sure you trust them completely and they won’t run off with your stuff if an emergency happens.

Keep track of your unit and check on it every once in a while.  Make a list of what you have stored.  We’ve all seen those “reality shows” about storage unit buyers making a profit by buying abandoned storage units.  If you can no longer afford the fees, cancel and clean out your unit before it is seized from you.  You’d want to at least be able benefit from your stockpile instead of losing out.

For now I am trying to fit my supplies in every available space in my apartment.  But I did research the storage units in my area, so I would consider it if I do run out of room.

© Apartment Prepper 2015

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How to Avoid Losing Everything in a Disaster

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Pay attention to your surroundings

This post is by Bernie Carr, apartmentprepper.com

In the aftermath of the recent historic flooding in Houston, we saw a few neighbors hauling out all their furniture, carpets and other belongings that were drenched by floodwaters.  Some families are even worse off as entire homes were engulfed and carried off in the floods.

Preppers try to be ready for emergencies whether foreseeable or not, but there are always inherent risks to everything.  If you store your preps in your home, it is possible to lose them should a tornado strike, or should floodwater or fire engulf your home.  I’m not trying to say it’s pointless to prep, this is all the more reason to carefully consider what steps to take in order to minimize the risk.

What are some things you can do now to help you mitigate the risks?

I don’t have all the answers but I thought I’d just post some thoughts to get us started in figuring out the best way to prepare for a major disaster.

  • List all disasters that are possible in your area.  It is pointless to worry about earthquakes if you never have earthquakes in your area, or radiation leaks if you don’t have a nuclear power plant nearby.   I have never experienced a tornado in Houston, but some residents have experienced small ones that have touched down in outlying areas.  Therefore, we have to consider the possibility.  
  • Stay aware of what’s going on so you can plan accordingly.  Trust your gut:  if you have a bad feeling that something is about to happen, heed those warnings.  The worse that can happen is you’ll feel foolish about overreacting later, but if something does happen, you will be glad you trusted your gut.
  • Get adequate insurance coverage for your home or apartment.  Read the policy thoroughly so you understand what is covered.  Flood insurance is not covered by most standard policies and a separate policy would have to be obtained.  Keep a copy of your insurance policies in a safe place, and a backup copy elsewhere.
  • Take photos or video of your belongings for your records and note the date taken in case you have to file a claim.  Store it in a safe place and have a backup location.
  • Have a hard copy of all your emergency contacts instead of storing everything in your cell phone.  If you were to lose your cell phone in a disaster, you will be hard pressed to search for your contacts at a time when your mind is reeling.
  • Learning survival and self sufficiency skills is a great hedge against losing everything.  Even if you lose your physical preps, the knowledge you have gained will help you start over.
  • Make an emergency plan so every family member knows what to do.
  • Conduct drills to practice your emergency plan
  • Have some savings set aside, in various areas that are accessible to you.  I always get flack for suggesting you keep some savings in a bank, but if you keep everything at home and you lose that home, at least the bank will still be standing.  If you don’t like large banks, then a local credit union is a good option.
  • As a final thought, sometimes, you just need to pray for strength and have faith in God that you will have the courage to endure.

A Little Help from Friends

You don’t have to do this alone – there are a lot of sites that can help you along.  Best of all, learning all this information won’t cost you anything.  Here are a few sites to get you started:

Backdoor Survival

Mom with a Prep

Geek Prepper

The Organic Prepper

The Survival Mom

Graywolf Survival

Ready Nutrition

Prepper Website

Survival Sherpa

Urban Survival Site

Just as there is no way to be insured for everything, there is no way to prepare for every disaster under the sun.  But you can try your best to take these steps, set your mind at ease, knowing that you are doing everything you can to protect yourself and your family.


 © Apartment Prepper 2015

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Polar Pure Water Disinfectant Review

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Polar Pure Review

I received a review sample of Polar Pure Water Disinfectant.  It is an iodine water disinfectant that kills viruses, living organisms (including Giardia cysts) and bacteria in the water. Polar Pure has been around for years, and has been well regarded by campers, backpackers and preppers.  Unfortunately, it went off the market around 2010 because meth cookers reportedly used the iodine crystals to manufacture methamphetamine.  This resulted in more stringent laws involving iodine crystals.  The manufacturers of Polar Pure redesigned the product’s formula, using just slightly more iodine and adding a more accurate temperature gauge.  The process to obtain licensing from the DEA took four years and now they are back in the market.

Polar Pure

Easy to use

To use, you simply add water (use a bandanna or t-shirt to filter out dirt and sediment from the water) to the bottle.  The solution will be ready to use in one hour.  The bottle has a dosage table showing how much to use to disinfect water.  It only takes one capful to purify one liter of water.


The Polar Pure comes in a small bottle.  I can see why backpackers and campers would want to have a Polar Pure bottle in their packs.  It is portable and good for many water treatments.


I tried the treated water, and detected a very slight iodine smell.  It did not really bother me, but if you like you can add a flavored drink mix to your water to improve the taste or smell.


Polar Pure costs $19.99 per bottle and will effectively treat Up to 2,000 quarts of water.  It is reasonably priced.

I think Polar Pure is a great product to have in your inventory of water purification methods.  However, if you are allergic to iodine or shellfish, you would need to choose a different purification method, as Polar Pure’s main ingredient is iodine.  I can see why many hikers and backpackers are glad Polar Pure is back on the market.   After testing it myself, I plan on purchasing a bottle or two, so I can add it to my emergency supplies.


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

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What Contaminants does the Berkey Filter Out?

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Recently I mentioned I use our Berkey daily instead of saving it for emergencies.  You may be wondering what exactly does the Berkey filter out.  Dan of The Daily Prep. created this infographic that shows all the contaminants and there are a lot of them!

The Berkey Water Filter Contaminants Guide

Like this infographic? Learn how to Escape Modern American Life and be self sufficient at The Daily Prep.

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Monday Musings 6/1/2015: Hurricane Season Starts Today!

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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…

Hurricane season starts today  Although it feels like hurricane season started early with all the wild weather we had recently, the official start is June 1st, and lasts until November 30th.  I just hope we don’t get an active hurricane season this year!  Not taking any chances – we’re reviewing our supplies and if you live in a hurricane prone area, now is a good time to be ready.

A big thank you to all who have donated and supported the blog    You’ve helped me cover blog expenses that were due.  I had a recent donor whom I was trying to email a “thank you,” but my message came back undeliverable.  I hope you read this post and know that I appreciate your kindness!

You are in no way obligated to donate – you can also help out by visiting our sponsors should you need their products, or clicking through our Amazon links – they won’t cost you anything out of pocket, Amazon just sends a few cents our way for having the links up.

Photo from The Weather Channel

Photo from The Weather Channel

Watch the 2nd Season of Fat Guys in the Woods  Well, this is not technically a blog update, but I did review an episode a while back and I enjoyed watching it.  Creek Stewart is back for Season Two with new locations and tougher challenges for the participants.  According to the promo email I got:

The average Joes dine on everything from tree jerky and cactus to bone marrow and scorpions. They will attempt to start fires using materials that range from birch bark to tampons. And, for shelter, our average Joes will put their creativity to the test by building structures using Mother Nature’s supplies like ocotillo plants, moss and pine trees. Highlighting different weather extremes and conditions, “Fat Guys in the Woods” season two was filmed in the following locations:

Drummond Island, MI

Mendoza Canyon, AZ

Sonoran Desert, AZ

Wewahitchka, FL

Dead Lakes, FL

Cave Country, KY

Red River Gorge, KY

 “Fat Guys in the Woods” season two will be premiering June 7th at 9 p.m. ET on The Weather Channel.

Now for the links…

How to write eBooks as a Second Stream of Income

Made by Hands: Make it or Buy it?

8 Delicious Ways To Enjoy Gut Healing Yogurt

Make your Own Eco Friendly Scouring Powder

How to Choose the Best Survival Knife for your Needs

Learn to Build Shelter for any Survival Situation

The Illusion of Preparedness: Our Story

Take care and have a great week everyone!

Take control of your financial future!

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Keep Bugs Away: Sawyer Permethrin Clothing Insect Repellent Trigger Spray

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Sawyer Permethrin2

This post is by Bernie Carr, apartmentprepper.com

I mentioned the bug population in our area has exploded, and when this happens you need to do whatever you can to protect yourself.  I had the opportunity to try out the Sawyer Permethrin Clothing Insect Repellent Trigger Spray.

The Sawyer Permethrin Clothing Insect Repellent Trigger Spray is used by spraying it on clothing, socks, shoes and other gear such as tents and sleeping bags. It forms a protective barrier so fleas and ticks will not attach themselves to you, and, it also kills mosquitoes and flies on contact.  The main ingredient is Permethrin, a synthetic molecule similar to those found in natural pyrethrum, which is taken from the chrysanthemum flower.  It is not for use directly on skin, as the skin will break down Permethrin within 15 minutes, rendering it ineffective.  However, it does bind to fabric without damage, and continues to be effective for up to 6 weeks or 6 six washings.

Sawyer Permethrin3

The Test

I tried out the Sawyer Permethrin Clothing Insect Repellent Trigger Spray by spraying it on my clothes, socks and shoes and going hiking through some thick woods.  I wore long sleeves and long pants for maximum protection.  The product is odorless.  I did not use any other insect repellents on my skin- I wanted to be sure this product was the only product being test.  When I had walked there before, there were always flying insects trying to land on me.  I also found a few ticks on my shoes so I knew this to be an infested area.

Upon hiking for a couple of hours, I checked myself all over and found that no ticks had attached themselves, and I did not get bitten by any insects as I would have expected, even in exposed areas such as hands and face.

Therefore, I would conclude that Sawyer Permethrin Clothing Insect Repellent Trigger Spray works as described, when used as directed.

I was pleased with the result and bought another bottle to be used when we go camping this summer.  This time I will spray the tent and sleeping bags as well.

 © 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

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How to Prepare for a Flooding Disaster

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How to Prepare for a Flooding Disaster

This post is by Bernie Carr, apartmentprepper.com

As you may have heard, our city experienced an unprecedented flooding disaster.  Last night, a severe storm dumped several inches of rain in a short amount of time.  Many people who were out and about – watching the Rockets game, attending graduations and proms etc. – were caught in the flood.  Many motorists were stranded in their cars all night as flood water prevented them from moving any further.  Some had to abandon their cars on the roadways.  Many homes have been flooded and damaged.

Except for a few power outages, our area was not severely affected and I am grateful.  This morning, schools were closed, traffic lights were not working and people were asked to stay off the roadways.  I was hearing about some apartments that were severely damaged causing several families to move to shelters.  Today’s developments showed me how quickly an unforeseen disaster can happen and the need to be prepared is ever present.

Here are a few thoughts one what we can do to prepare for a flooding disaster:

Before a flood happens

  • Pack an emergency kit or bug out bag in case you ever have to evacuate.
  • Build a grab and go binder that houses all your important documents so you can easily carry it with you in case of evacuation. It is also a good idea to have a backup somewhere else such as a safe deposit box, or a relative’s home.
  • Make it a habit to check weather reports and forecasts before heading off. This way you can be prepared for any possibilities. If nothing happens, you lose nothing. It does not end there. Pay attention to your surroundings and be alert for any sudden weather changes.
  • Identify routes that are not prone to flooding. Plan your evacuation destination and route ahead of time.
  • Keep your gas tank half full so you do not have to stop for gas.
  • Include your pets in your emergency plan-many shelters do not accept pets.
  • Discuss emergency plans with all family members.  Designate a meeting place in the event your family members are separated.
  • Check your homeowners or renters insurance policy to find out your coverages. If you are not covered, you may need supplemental insurance.
  • Educate kids, especially younger drivers in the family,  about the dangers of crossing flood waters.

Know the difference between a “Flood watch” vs “flood warning”

· Flood watch: means there is a possibility of flooding

· Flood warning: Flooding in the area is already occurring or is about to start.

Staying safe in a flood

Stay informed by listening to the news for any emergency announcements.

Evacuate immediately if an evacuation order is issued by authorities.  Or, move to higher ground if you feel your home is likely to flood.

If your home starts to flood while you are inside, and you are unable to evacuate, move to higher ground such as an upper floor, attic, roof or even on top of tables

Flood waters are extremely polluted as it contains runoff from cars, gasoline and oil from the street, sewage, fertilizers and other toxic chemicals. Thoroughly wash your hands and any parts of your body that comes in contact with flood waters.

Disinfect everything that flood waters may have touched. Food, makeup, medicines that got wet are no longer fit for use and should be discarded.

It is difficult to accurately assess how deep flood waters run, especially in the dark.  As little as six inches of water can knock a person down, and two feet of water can sweep away a vehicle.

Don’t push ahead when facing a flooded area.  Whether walking or driving, the most important thing to remember is, “Turn around, don’t drown.

© Apartment Prepper 2015

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