Survival Tin Party Favor

Survival Tin Party FavorThis post is by Bernie Carr,

I got this heart tin as a wedding party favor.  Originally it contained mints but after they were gone, I kept the container.

I thought it would be fun to use it as a survival tin, as I had done a while back with my pocket sized first aid kit.  Instead of giving out candy, why not include items that could one day help someone out in an emergency.  It’s useful, handy and can be stashed in a desk or purse.

Here are a couple of ideas:

All purpose survival tin

Secret Survival Tin 1Include:

  • Strike anywhere matches
  • A couple of safety pins
  • Paracord
  • Anti-bacterial wipe
  • Cash:  a few coins and a bill

You can also include a couple of water purification tablets, paper clip, rubber bands etc.

First Aid Tin

First Aid TinInclude:

  • A couple sizes of adhesive bandage
  • Sanitizing wipe
  • Pain reliever
  • Antibiotic ointment
  • Diarrhea remedy (already inside the tin)

You can also add allergy medicine, a couple of cotton swabs, eye drops etc.

First Aid Tin 2

© Apartment Prepper 2014

Show young kids that being prepared can be fun!

Jake and Miller's Big Adventure© Apartment Prepper 2014

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Nite Ize DoohicKey Key Tool – Does it Work?

Nite Ize DooHicKeyThis post is by Bernie Carr,

Today we are reviewing the Nite Ize DoohicKey Key Tool, a little gadget that has multiple uses.

According to the package, it can be used as:

  • Carabiner
  • Box Cutter
  • Bottle Opener
  • Wrench
  • Ruler
  • Flat Head Screw Driver

The Nite Ize DoohicKey Key Tool is small enough to place in your key ring.

I tested out its uses and found it to be sturdy enough to perform its intended uses.  I also like that it does not take up a lot of space.

Here is one of the uses I found for it:

Nite Ize carabinerI hung up a collapsible water carrier to dry for several hours and the Nite Ize DoohicKey Key Tool held up well.

It also worked well for opening boxes, and is not sharp enough to cut yourself.  It came in handy as a bottle opener.

Priced at $6.71 on Amazon, it is inexpensive enough to buy one for everyone in the family.  I think it would also make a nice stocking stuffer, office gift even for people who don’t want to think about prepping.

© Apartment Prepper 2014

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Do Homemade Waterproof Matches Work?

Do Homemade Waterproof Matches WorkThis post is by Bernie Carr,

I’ve seen instructions in various survival sites regarding waterproofing matches.  Recently, I saw a link on Survival Blog on the same topic with Jim Rawles saying if you’re going to do this, you must cover the entire match with nail polish.

Being a type personality I still had some questions in my mind:

- Does it have to be wooden matches, or can you use paper matches that you get for free in restaurants?

-Since you are using nail polish, which is a fire starter in itself, would the entire match burst into flames as you light it?

I wondered if the homemade waterproof matches would really work in an emergency if they get soaked.  I decided to try this for myself.

Here is what I did:


Waterproof Matches project1Box of wooden matches

Packet of free paper matches from a restaurant

nail polish (it doesn’t matter what color)

I covered both sets of matches, top to bottom, with nail polish, then let them dry overnight.

Waterproof Matches project2

The next day, I placed some matches in a plastic baggie and poured water into the bag, soaking both sets of matches.

Waterproof Matches project3After draining the water, I wiped the matches with a cloth to get rid of any excess moisture.

Now for the test.

1.  First, I lit one set of matches that were never covered with polish to make sure both matches work well.  They do.

2.  Next, I tested a set of matches that were covered with polish, but were not drenched in water.

Result:  The wooden match with nail polish lit immediately upon striking.  No, it did not burst into flames, only the tip burned just as a normal match would.

However, the paper match that was painted with polish DID NOT work.

3.  Finally,  I tested the wet matches.

Waterproof Matches project5

Same result as #2:  The wooden match covered with nail polish also lit immediately, no problem, but predictably, the paper match did not work.


Nail polish does work to make matches waterproof, but only if you are using wooden matches.  Covering a pack of wooden matches with nail polish to make them waterproof actually works, and is a worthwhile prepper project.


Survive Being Stranded: Build a Car Survival Kit

Car Survival KitThis post is by Bernie Carr,

Since many city dwellers spend a lot of time in their cars, it makes sense to keep a well stocked emergency kit.  Most of these items are easy to find:  you may already have many of these items around your house.  Just fill in what you’re missing.

Basic car kit

  • Fix-a-Flat” or some kind of tire sealant – this has helped me on a couple of occasions.  Replace it as soon as you use one.
  • roadside flares, reflexive tape or safety triangles
  • Jumper cables
  • Flashlight with extra batteries, light sticks

First aid kit

You can either buy a pre-assembled one or build one yourself.  Make sure you include pain relievers, allergy medicine, antacids, adhesive tape, antibacterial wipes, antiseptic cream, and other medications your family uses.


Keep nonperishable food such as protein bars, granola bars or high calorie emergency food bars.  You will need to rotate your food stash – if you leave them in the car too long, they will deteriorate especially in the summer.


Bring enough bottled water for the family.  Just remember to keep rotating the water bottles.

Cold weather supplies

You’ll need emergency blankets, hand warmers, windshield ice scraper, snow shovel, rock salt or cat litter to give you traction, tire chains

Other helpful items

  • Multi-tool or Swiss Army knife
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Gloves
  • Rags
  • Trash bags
  • Tow strap or tow rope
  • Paracord
  • Duct tape
  • Battery operated or hand-crank radio
  • portable stove
  • Matches and lighters
  • Seat-belt cutter/window breaker escape tool

Small amount of cash in assorted denominations and change for toll roads

Umbrella, rain ponchos

Paper maps, compass

Old cell phone (keep it charged at all times) – can still be used to call 911

For Kids:  extra clothes and socks, diapers, baby wipes, small toys

While you’re at it, check to make sure the owner’s manual, spare tire, and jack are still in the car.  These items are often taken for granted as being in the car, until one day you need them and find out they have been misplaced.  Don’t take any chances – get that car survival kit assembled now.  Hopefully, you’ll never need it, but if you ever get stuck, you’ll be glad you have it.


© Apartment Prepper 2014

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.



Bushnell BackTrack D-Tour Personal GPS

I had an opportunity to test out a personal locator, the Bushnell Back Track D-Tour GPS thanks to Johnson over at Optics Planet Inc.

I wanted to see if this device can help you find your way home in case of emergency or when out in the country.

Set Up

Mr. Apt Prepper and I did the test and followed the Quick Start Guide to set it up.  Here’s what we did:

  1. Loaded three AAA batteries into the back of the unit.
  2. Went outside, pressed the POWER button, and waited for the satellite signal to come up.  It took a few minutes to find the satellite, just like any regular GPS unit.
  3. Selected an icon for our Location.  It has Home, Car, Star,
    Flag or Target to choose from.  We chose Home for this test.
  4. We drove out for a distance to a wooded area and parked the car.

GPS in Wooded AreaAs we walked, we looked at what types of information is given by the device:  digital compass, latitude and longitude coordinates, distances in yards/miles or meters/kilometers, time, temperature and altitude.  As we went further away from the “home” starting point, it tells how far you’ve gone, and how fast you’re going.  Mr. Apt Prepper and I were walking a normal pace of about three miles per hour.  So we figured if we were 20 miles away from home it would take us approximately seven hours to get home on foot.

After a while we decided to head back to where we started.  To return to a location, just select the icon and the Bushnell points to the direction and shows the distance back to the location.

Neighborhood view



- Help you find your car in a crowded parking lot like an airport or stadium.

- Find your way back to base camp while hiking or camping

- Keep a record of trails taken for biking or hiking.  The device comes with a USB attachment and can be connected to your computer to launch the D-Tour app.  The app  is an optional feature that allows you to store your trips, view maps, however you do need to log in with a password.

- Return to your hotel if you are traveling in a strange city


-  Find your way home in an emergency

-  Locate hidden caches that you’ve pre-programmed.

-  Store locations of your emergency meeting places or pre-planned safehouse

-  Mark good areas for hunting or fishing


The Bushnell Back Track D-Tour GPS  has a sturdy and durable construction.  The screen has a nice size and I liked that you can see it clearly in bright sunlight.  The buttons, which are located along the sides, can be a bit clunky as you are trying to grip the device at the same time.  I should mention that the device should be kept at a horizontal position during use to ensure accuracy.

Screen View in SunlightYou can program up to five locations.  According to the product description, battery life can last 16-20 hours, which will outlast a smart phone, and up to 48 hours of trip data can be stored.

Because if its rugged construction, you can use it in places where you don’t want to risk using your expensive smart phone, such as in biking or running trails, or while camping or hiking.

This device would be ideal for anyone who needs a little help finding directions or who get turned around easily.  It would also be ideal for an older child or teen to carry around for emergencies in case they have to find their way back to a meeting place in times of emergency, or for a college student who is away at school.   It would also be a helpful addition to a bug-out bag.  (make sure you have backup batteries)  Before an emergency happens, you’ll need to head to your various locations to pre-program it.

It would make a good gift for both prepper and non-preppers in your gift list.  The regular price is $71.99 but for a limited time, Optics Planet is offering the following discount for Apartment Prepper readers:

10% off expires 12/5/2013
Coupon code: apartprep

Check it out!

 Article update 11/23/2013:    Reader Bob S inquired whether the stored locations will reset if you replace the batteries.  I finally got a chance to try it out:  removed the batteries and replaced them, rode out to a new location and checked to see if it would point back to a previously stored location.  The good news is, it actually did not lose the saved areas.  When I turned it back on, and set it to “Home” (not my real home, just the place I had set it to) -  as soon as it found the satellite, it pointed to the correct direction.   Bob – Thanks for bringing this up!


Emergency Essentials/BePrepared

Emergency Essentials/BePrepared

Bargain E-book for a Long Lasting Emergency Light

2000HrFlashlightI purchased a copy of The Amazing 2000-Hour Flashlight by Ron Brown.  It’s a manual that shows you how to add a 30-cent resistor to a $5 flashlight, to create a light that will run for 2000 hours on the same battery.   The e-book contains step by step instructions and includes illustrations.  You can’t buy such a light from a store; you have to make it yourself.

I first heard about the author, Ron Brown through his DVD, Lanterns, Lamps and Candles.  After learning from his DVD, I went on to experiment with making emergency lights from common household items and they were all super cheap and easy.  The e-book’s Foreword was written by Gaye Levy, who runs one of my favorite blogs, Backdoor Survival.  With two trusted writers, I figured this book is sure to be a treasure trove of information.

Being the inquiring mind, I asked Ron Brown a question that I am sure comes up:

APT PREPPER:  The book description indicates “using illumination for 2000 hours”  – how many lumens would you estimate the light to be?

RON BROWN:  You’ve asked an excellent question but not a simple one to answer. So I’m going to quote from the book itself (sans illustrations).

“When I first added a 150-ohm resistor to a flashlight, I was concerned about how much light it would produce. So I compared my newly modified light to a variety of other flashlights I already owned.

“In preparing a sequel to Lanterns, Lamps & Candles that would address electric emergency lighting (a future project, as it turns out), I accumulated a fair assortment of flashlights, old and new, borrowed and blue.

“Comparing them, I found that the Eveready 5109LS with a 150-ohm resistor was right down the middle, neither the brightest nor the dimmest of what I had on hand. So, even with the resistor in place, it’s fair to say that the light output is “good.” Not great, I’ll be the first to admit, but good.

“Now, what can I use as a cutoff point, a minimum, a threshold, to say that it’s NOT good anymore? Here’s where it gets sticky.

“Flashlights are commonly rated in “lumens” and most lights provide that info on the label. The Eveready 5109LS does not. Online, however, various sellers (e.g. Best Buy, Walmart) state that the 5109LS outputs 25 lumens.

“What the 5109LS wrapper does display is a little clock icon that says ‘FL 1 Standard 65h’ (meaning 65 hours). ‘FL 1′ stands for ANSI/NEMA FL 1 – Flashlight Basic Performance Standard. In that standard, run time is defined as ‘the continuous time lapsed from the initial light output to when the light is at 10% of the initial output.’

“So the FL 1 standard uses circular reasoning. A flashlight is measured in terms of itself. If the 5109LS starts out at 25 lumens, when it reaches 2.5 lumens its run time is deemed to have expired. (According to Eveready, that’s 65 hours.)

“I would argue that we need a fixed standard of comparison, not a moving target. When I’m trying to compare light output and battery life using a 56-ohm resistor versus a 150-ohm resistor versus no resistor at all, a run-time benchmark defined as ’10% of wherever you started’ is useless.

“So I picked a light that supplies, in my opinion, a minimum threshold of useful light. It’s a keychain light, the Maglite Solitaire. It’s been around since 1988 and kicks out a blazing 2 lumens. Count ’em. Two.

“Although the two-lumen Solitaire will not inspire Tarzan-yells and chest beating, it does produce sufficient light to be useful. You’ll be able to find your way to the privy at midnight. It’s a practical standard by which to compare various flashlight designs. And it’s widely available; Walmart carries it.

“I bought a new Solitaire. The Solitaire’s blister-pack contained a Duracell alkaline battery in addition to the flashlight. I swapped out the Duracell for a new Energizer Ultimate Lithium battery. I removed the lithium battery from the Solitaire between tests.

“I used a pass/fail test. As long as the flashlight being tested was visibly brighter than the brand new Solitaire, I judged the test-light as ‘passing.’ I would waggle my finger at the test-light and say, ‘Keep on trucking.’

“When the light being tested had dimmed to the point of being MERELY EQUAL to the brand new Solitaire, I judged the test-light to have ‘failed.’ I would then jerk my thumb and yell at the test-light, ‘You’re outta here.’

“That was my standard. That’s where the 2000 hours came from. 

“You might well ask, of course, ‘How did you determine visibly brighter?’

“In answer, the simplest test I found was to stand in a dark room with the light being tested in one hand and the Solitaire (the control or standard) in the other and shine the lights in quick succession, one after the other, at an analog wall clock with a sweep second hand, twenty feet away. If you try it, you’ll discover there really isn’t much question about which one best illuminates the clock face.”

This response shows how thoroughly this book is written.

I have read through it and found that the materials are very easy to find, and the instructions are easy for me to figure out.  I am going out to get the parts and assemble a couple of these 2000 hour lights for myself.  Having an emergency light that’ll last for 2000 hours is certainly a money-saver for apartment dwellers and homeowners alike.   This information is a bargain at  99 cents and I highly recommend this e-book.


The Prepper’s Pantry

The Prepper’s Pantry

Emergency Uses for Lipstick


Many women carry at least one tube of lipstick in their purses.  I’ve admitted to having makeup in my bug out bag so I thought it would be interesting to figure out emergency uses for this ubiquitous item.

Emergency firestarter

Lipsticks main ingredients is petrolatum and this would make great firestarter.  I experimented with using lipstick to help start a fire and it worked.

Write a message

If you find yourself wanting to write a message but have no pen or pencil, you can use lipstick to write a message or draw an arrow.

Lip or Skin Balm

Though the main purpose is for color enhancement, lipstick contains moisturizers and many contain sunscreen.  This can be used to prevent chapped lips and sunburn.   Of course if you are trying to avoid undue attention or trying to look as obscure as possible, bright red lipstick may not be advisable.   However, if you are alone and don’t need to worry about appearances, it’ll do in an emergency.


The brownish shades can potentially be used as a coloring agent to camouflage something.

Grease or lubricant

Again, because of the oils contained in the lipstick, you can use it to lubricate gears.


With all these uses, someone is bound to want one – you may be able to use lipstick for barter.

Uses for Lipstick Containers

Empty lipstick tubes can be recycled and reused:

  • Use as a pill container
  • Hide emergency cash
  • Store strike-anywhere matches

Now that we have proved it has multiple uses, we can justify that lipstick does deserve a place in the bug out bag :)


Mother Earth Food Storage

Mother Earth Products

For beginning preppers

DebtProof Living

Common Prepping Supplies that Don’t Last Very Long

After prepping for the last couple of years, I am starting to discover some items in the emergency kit or bug-out bag do not last as long as I thought.  Not only do you need to track your food storage, you also need to pay attention to your non-perishables.  I am not saying you should avoid stocking these items, but I do recommend you rotate these supplies often.


I made the mistake of leaving batteries inside flashlights and lanterns and they leaked after a few months, ruining the gadget.  Batteries do expire and lose potency, or they leak battery acid when they get old.  A battery testerwill help you manage your battery supplies.  I still stock up, but I rotate frequently and I now keep rechargeable batteries which are cost effective.


Many sites don’t even recommend candles for emergencies due to risk of fire hazard, but many people stock up on candles for power outages.  Because we live in a hot climate for several months out of the year, we’ve had candles stored in the garage that have melted and warped.  If you keep candles, make sure to keep in a cool, dry place.  As a backup, learn to make inexpensive lamps from household items

2.5 gallon plastic water bottles

plastic 2.5 gallong water bottlesI used to store several 2.5 gallon water bottles but I have found the plastic containers degrade and can easily spring a leak.  I’ve had a few mishaps with them.  I still keep some but I rotate them frequently.   To avoid storage failures, I’ve added these heavy duty water containers to my water storage.

Lip Balm

Most bug out bags contain at least one lip balm and they are highly recommended when you are out in the sun.  However, like candles, they tend to melt into a gooey mess if left in the heat.  Store them in a cool dry place, and inspect them every year.  When they get old they also get more waxy tasting.

Adhesive Bandages

I have several boxes of adhesive bandages stocked up in several places:  car first aid kit, home emergency kit, office kit etc.  I recently used a few of the older ones and found they lose their adhesive properties over time.  They can be used but because they don’t stick as well, they need replacing more often.  You still need to stock up on them, just remember to use and rotate frequently.

Antibacterial wipes

I had a few boxes of individually wrapped antibacterial wipes from a year ago.  I opened a few packets to check and found that many wipes have already dried up.  The liquid antibacterial gel so far does not have any sign of deterioration.   I think the gel gets a bit thicker over time, but remains usable.

Sunscreens, Lotions and Mosquito Repellant

These liquids frequently have expiration dates but we all know most items are still usable post expiration.  However, they do have a shelf life.  Pay attention to the texture, smell and consistency of the liquid.  If you notice that the ingredients have separated, the item smells “off” or has changed color, it is time to get rid of it.  There is no point in hanging on to a product that has lost its potency.


Many apartment preppers are unable to store gasoline.  Due to the fire hazard, storing gasoline is usually prohibited in the lease.   However, if you are able to store gasoline, you will need to use CARB (if you live in California, it’s the California Air Resources Board or EPA compliant gasoline containers.  Even then, gasoline will stay fresh only for about 30-90 days at a maximum, depending on storage conditions.  You will need to use a gasoline stabilizer such as Sta-Bil, and continue to rotate your supplies regularly.

After storing supplies for a couple of years, I’ve learned that reality sometimes falls short of expectations.  I hate throwing unused stuff away but once it’s no longer effective, out it goes.  At that point, these old items are just clutter and you are just fooling yourself thinking you have supplies.  The worst thing would be to have prepping supplies fail you when you need them most, or when you can no longer buy new ones after an emergency.  Keeping close track of your stored items will help you avoid waste and nasty surprises later on.


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

 For beginning preppers

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

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 beginning preppers