Monthly Archives: January 2014

No Water, No Warning

Yes, we’re going to talk about West Virginia. For those of you living in caves (No judgment here, I get accused of it often enough) a coal storage facility leaked some noxious chemicals into the drinking water source for at least a 9 county area of West Virginia.  Residents had ZERO warning, and were just told one sunny day that their tap water was now only to be used to flush the toilets.

That’s it; no showering, no cleaning dishes, no drinking, no washing clothing, no watering livestock.  I think it’s probably even questionable if it should be used on vegetables or fruit. Although the timing of this particular event, midwinter, probably lessened the impact of that last one.

Straight out of the gate, one of the prepper-procrastinator methods of water storage went right out the window.  There was no way to fill up bathtubs or other large holding containers to get through the time with no water. If you didn’t have it stored before the chemical spilled, you weren’t going to have it during this crisis.

How would you have done during this? If you had gotten a notice about your water being only fit for flushing, how well would you have handled it? Now think about your weekend, what did you do this weekend, and would you have been able to do all of that with your water out?

I’ll start. I was at work and hubby was at home with the kids, so he would likely have gotten word first, then passed it on to me. I work in the next county upstream from our water source, so it’s possible I could have filled my personal water bottle before coming home, and maybe grabbed a gallon of water and one of juice from the grocery store on my way home.  I only mention juice because we don’t normally have any in the house, and I can see the kids enjoying some juice treats to mitigate the water rationing.

We have at least 50 bottles of water in the basement, plus 2 gallon jugs. For 4 people, 2 adults/2 kids.  Even 5 days after the spill, nobody is saying when the water will be potable again.  So, just for the sake of this post, let’s assume it will be an even week before the water comes back.  (That assumption in real life though is a tricky one, as it’s key to figuring out how to divide up the water you have.)  In my case that works out to 7 bottles a day for my family. To be used for drinking and basic sanitation.  One of the gallon jugs would probably go sit on the diaper changing table since we normally use cloth wipes and tap water for cleaning baby’s butt. One gallon would go straight to the kitchen for simple cooking, oatmeal and rice come to mind.

So that’s roughly 24 oz of drinking water per person, per day, for a week.  Any showering or sponge bathing would either have to come out of that, or we’d have to find one of the tanker trucks of water and fill some buckets.  (During the non-freezing parts of the year I have 55 gallons rain water stored for cleaning and such.)  That’s doable I think, the juice and fruit in the house would help. We stayed at home all weekend and cleaned and cooked. Obviously cleaning would have been curtailed.  Cooking could have happened, I roasted veggies, I just couldn’t have cleaned up very well afterwards.

– Calamity Jane

Start now to make sure you are staying prepared.


Via: shtfblog

Shooting Wisdom From a Pro: “I Carry a Gun ‘Cause a Cop Is Too Heavy”

Clint Smith served two tours in Vietnam, worked as a police officer, was a member of SWAT, directed training at leading gun manufacturing firms, is an instructor of advanced weapons and tactics, and now runs Thunder Ranch, a facility in Oregon designed specifically for avid gun shooters. If you want to learn how to fire a gun and what to do in life and death situations Mr. Smith is the person you’d want as an instructor.


(He’s pictured next to his wife to the left, along with Mrs. Smith’s 338 Laupa)

Over the years he’s has passed on scores of insights and words of wisdom, some via numerous instructional videos. Here are some of his key thoughts on guns, gun ownership, and life in general assembled from across the web:

Don’t forget, incoming fire has the right of way.

If you carry a gun, people will call you paranoid. That’s ridiculous. If I have a gun, what in the hell do I have to be paranoid about.

Make your attacker advance through a wall of bullets. I may get killed with my own gun, but he’s gonna have to beat me to death with it, cause it’s going to be empty.

If you’re not shootin’, you should be loadin’. If you’re not loadin, you should be movin’, if you’re not movin’, someone’s gonna cut your head off and put it on a stick.

The only purpose of fighting is to Win!

Shoot what’s available, as long as it’s available, until something else becomes available.

When you reload in low light encounters, don’t put your flashlight in your back pocket… If you light yourself up, you’ll look like an angel or the tooth fairy…and you’re gonna be one of ’em pretty soon.

The handgun would not be my choice of weapon if I knew I was going to a fight I’d choose a rifle, a shotgun, an RPG or an atomic bomb instead.

Nothing adds a little class to a sniper course like a babe in a Ghillie suit.

Don’t shoot fast, shoot good.

You have the rest of your life to solve your problems. How long you live depends on how well you do it.

You cannot save the planet.. You may be able to save yourself and your family.

There is no possible victory in defense.

The sword is more important than the shield, and skill is more important than either.

The final weapon is the brain. All else is supplemental.

Don’t pick a fight with an old man. If he is too old to fight, he’ll just kill you.

If you find yourself in a fair fight, your tactics suck.

I carry a gun cause a cop is too heavy.

When seconds count, the cops are just minutes away.

An armed man will kill an unarmed man with monotonous regularity.

The old sheriff was attending an awards dinner when a lady commented on his wearing his sidearm. ‘Sheriff, I see you have your pistol. Are you expecting trouble?’ ‘No ma’am. If I were expecting trouble, I would have brought my rifle.’

Beware the man who only has one gun. He probably knows how to use it!

You can say ‘stop’ or ‘alto’ or use any other word you think will work but I’ve found that a large bore muzzle pointed at someone’s head is pretty much the universal language.

(Sources: Email, The White Sepulchre, The Examiner, Buckeye Firearms Association, et. al.)


Start now to make sure you are staying prepared.


Via: shtfplan

Why you shouldn’t dismiss bugging out

Some posts/comments over on TSLRF inspired me to write out some thoughts on the oft-misunderstood survival tactic of bugging out.

Folks very often say some variety of “I’d never leave my home to become a refugee. I’ve got food, water, tools and guns here–why would I leave that all behind? If push comes to shove, I’ll fight it out here.”

Sure, in some situations, sheltering in place is the best bet. But in other instances, it isn’t. Having “bugging in” as your one an only crap-hit-the-fan response plan is not particularly prudent.

Let’s consider a few examples of when you’d need to bug out–not an exhaustive list, but a few to get the point across.

Natural Disaster

Clip above is from the 2011 tsunami in Japan, but there are countless examples from recent memory–Typhoon Haiyan just ravaged the Philipines.

Wind, water, fire and moving earth can smash your home and belongings to pieces in a matter of seconds…you versus the fury of Mother Nature isn’t much of a fight. Good luck staying put.

You might have plenty of advanced warning or you might get only a few seconds to grab and run.

War/Civil Unrest

Wars, coups, mass civil unrest…these happen often in other parts of the world. If you’re caught in the middle of something like this, your options are to try and keep your family alive amidst the fighting–gunfire, explosions, bored/angry/hungry fighters and opportunists–or leave for safer territory.

Plenty of examples from current events and history of this happening–pick a war and you’ll find smart folks packing up their families and fleeing.

The clip above is about a massive refugee camp in Jordan, just across the border from war-torn Syria. While these people are refugees and living in lousy conditions, they are alive, which is better than they would likely be if they tried to stay in the middle of the fighting.

Surprise! You’re on a government hit list.
If your government forces decide…for whatever reason…that they’d want your dead or locked up and shipped off to the Gulags, “sheltering in place” isn’t much of an option. SWAT teams, armored vehicles, explosives and all of that.

Governments go bad all of the time and start persecuting, imprisoning and killing people they don’t like or who don’t fit in with their vision for what their society should be like.

These days in the USA, law abiding citizens don’t usually find themselves in that situation. But, there could come a time when people who believe a certain way or say certain things find themselves on something more serious than an NSA watch list.

One man or even a small group against government forces is not a winning proposition. If you get wind that the men in black are coming for you, your only smart move is to run.

Gauge your threat level…
As with all things, you need to gauge the likelihood of something like the above happening that will force you on the run. It doesn’t take a whole lot of imagination to come up with more potential threats. After the assessment, plan accordingly.

Sure, ditching your home may not be all that likely, but one doesn’t need to look very far to find examples of a great many people have had to grab their belongings and flee in order to stay alive.

If hitting the road for safety is your best option…it’s your best option.


Start now to make sure you are staying prepared.


Via: teotwawkiblog

Pet Food for Emergency Preparedness – What to Store and How

The best way to protect your household from the effects of a disaster is to be prepared. If you own pets you are responsible to prepare for them as well.  Many disasters could cut off your access to more pet food from the store.  A prolonged power outage could keep the stores closed, or they may already be sold out.  Storing some extra food for pets is essential for their health and well-being.


As a pet and livestock owner I have researched and tested various ways to store pet food.  The easiest approach is to store what your dog or cat currently eats, that way you can keep the food in rotation and nothing is ever wasted.  Start by building up a three-month supply of pet food and work your way up from there.  Here are some recommendations and options for storing emergency pet food.

Store Dry Kibble in the Bag 
I work right next to a Purina Mill, and have had several in-depth conversations with the employees in packaging on how to best store dry kibble.  Surprisingly, they all say the best way you can store dry kibble is right in the bag.  Here is another article (click here) which helps to explain the science behind dry pet food storage.  If you look on the back or bottom of a dry food bag you will find a ‘Best Buy Date’ or “Expiration Date”, this date could be several years out.  ‘Natural’ pet food formulas tend to not last as long due to their lack of preservatives.  The date on the back of the food bag means that the manufacturer will not guarantee optimum freshness and nutritional quality past that date.  It’s doesn’t mean that it will suddenly rot and go bad after that date.  It usually indicates that nutritional value could be lost after that point in time, therefore the goal is to use the pet food by then.

Containers:  Pet food manufactures want their product to keep as is stated on the bag or they get in trouble. So they provide you with one of the best containers for it.  The bag keeps the food dry, dark and even allows it to breathe slightly. This is important because even dry pet food contains moisture in the form of fats and oils; it is for this reason that repackaging dry pet food in Mylar or other vacuum sealed bags for long-term storage is not recommended.  Few containers and/or storage methods are appropriate for processed food which contains fat and oils.  The wrong storage container could cause a greasy film to build up on the container’s sides that will go rancid, cause the food to be distasteful and hasten food spoilage of any new food you add to the container.  Even if you seal the dry food up in bags with oxygen absorbers and silica packets the fat and oils in dry kibble will still go rancid.

Keeping dry pet food sealed up in the bag it comes in, is the best way to preserve it.  If further protection is needed it is recommended that you place the entire unopened bag into another container like preferably a metal bin, or an airtight plastic container.  As soon as you open a bag of dry pet food oxidation starts to occur at a rapid pace, once opened, most commercial pet food will last less than six months so it’s best to use it in that time.

The best option for storing dry kibble is to build up a supply and rotate it out for use before exceeding the manufacturers date on the bag.  Use the oldest bag first and purchase new bags just like normal to replace them, rotate the older bags to the front.  Keep an eye on the food’s appearance and smell, if the kibble goes bad before the date on the bag; return the bag to the manufacturer or place of purchase. Keep dry kibble in a dark, dry area protected from extreme temperature swings.

Store Canned Pet Food 
Just like the date on the dry food bag, the date canned pet food means the manufacturer will only guarantee the nutritional quality listed up to that point in time.  Canned pet food can last anywhere from 2-5 years according to most manufacturers.  Some people claim it should be nutritionally valid for up to 10 years.

A year’s supply of canned pet food is fairly inexpensive to acquire, will last longer and takes up less space than dry kibble.  Rotate the supply by using the oldest food first and putting the new stuff in the back.  Once a supply has been acquired continue using and purchasing pet food like usual, this way you are continuously renewing your supply.  If a disaster were to strike on any given day cutting off the flow of new food, there would be still a year’s worth of stored pet food left to use.  Keep canned pet food in a dark cool area protected from extreme temperature swings.

Make Your Own Pet Food 
There are many different recipes for homemade dog and cat food available on the internet.  After all, store-bought pet food didn’t appear on the market until the 1930s so up to that point in time everyone just made their own pet food or fed their pets whatever they ate. In fact, one of the biggest trends in pet health today is organic raw diets, resulting in pet owners around the world moving away from store bought food.

Home Canned Dog Food
(click here for recipe)

One of the ways you can preserve homemade pet food is by canning it. While the resulting jar of food will be cooked and no longer raw it is still FAR healthier than it’s store bought counter parts. Homemade pet food lacks many of the unhealthy additives and preservatives that most commercial pet food contains.  

Click here for a Homemade Dog Food recipe
Click here for a Homemade Cat Food recipe from PetMD

The only drawback to canning pet food is that the canning recipes have not been scientifically tested for safety, so there is a greater margin of risk.  This is an option I would only recommend to someone who has had experience with canning and knows how to mitigate the risks involved with using an untested canning recipe. The running estimate for the self-life of home canned pet food is 10 years.

Another “homemade” option is just to stock extra amounts of the ingredients used to make their food.  This usually consists of rice, meat and some veggies, all these items are easy to add to long-term storage in a house or ‘bug out location’.  Just make sure there is enough food stored for both humans and animals.

Store Freeze Dried Pet Food 

Another option you may not hear about real often is freeze-dried pet food this would also be an option for Raw Diet fans.  It is usually formulated with high quality ‘raw’ food, and then freeze-dried for convenience and longer storage times.  Freeze-dried pet food is expensive just like human freeze-dried food is, but it could be a viable lightweight, long-term storage option for emergency pet food.  Below I have linked to a few types of freeze-dried pet food, click on the blue text to see the product.  I currently use freeze-dried dog food while camping with my own dogs so I can tell you first hand that it’s easy to prepare and they love every bite.

This is freeze-dried dog food, rehydrated.


Most of the freeze-dried pet food products available on the market would need to be repackaged in Mylar as the plastic packages it comes in are not meant for long-term storage.  Adding some oxygen absorbers and silica packets to the mix would also be a good precaution.  Unlike dry kibble, freeze-dried pet food is completely suitable for this storage method. The manufacturers were probably not thinking that preppers would stash their products away for years at a time, so repackaging is necessary.

Word to the Wise on Raw
While raw diets can be a challenge to prep for there are a couple of options available. Not prepping for your pet because they are on a raw diet and it is too expensive or bulky is irresponsible. I am pretty sure store bought or cooked food would be more healthy for your pet than starvation.

As the owner of three very large dogs I combine several of the above options for our pet food storage because I like having a plan B, C, and sometimes D.  Doing what works best for your situation and storage space while making sure your pets are taken care of is key.  Hopefully this information makes setting aside and storing extra food for pets a little more doable and less confusing.


Start now to make sure you are staying prepared.


Via: stephaniedayle1

Here’s How to Open a Can With Your Bare Hands

There are still tin cans out there that don’t have the handy pop-top tab for you to pull, and thus, require a can opener.

But what if you don’t have access to the specialized, can-opening kitchen tool? What then?

Enter a Russian outdoorsman to teach you how to open that can using only your bare hands. Now, unless you speak Russian, you’re not likely to understand what he’s saying, but we don’t think the language barrier is too much of a roadblock in his lesson.

Image source: YouTube

Step one: take off label.

Step two: apply pressure with your thumbs on the center of the can, creating a divot.

Image source: YouTube

Step three: put your palms on either end of the can, interlace your fingers and push together against the can.

Image source: YouTube

Step four: do step two and three on the other, non-divot side of the can.

Step five: depending on the contents of the can, liquid could be coming out of cracks you have created at this point. If careful, you could suck it out. Or, continue bending the can back and forth to get it to crack completely in two.

Image source: YouTube

The video by the YouTube user going by Grigoryi1 was posted a few months ago, but recently began gaining traction.

Check it out:


Oh, and if the can is short check out these videos:




Start now to make sure you are staying prepared.


Via: theblaze

Parks and Wildlife Officers Now Heavily Armed As Military-Style “Force Multipliers”- Ready For War

(Official Photo: Texas Parks and Wildlife Department)

You best not be a terrorist or homegrown radical extremist hiding out in the boonies of the Texas wilderness, because if you are you may well come face-to-face with the Parks and Wildlife Department’s newest rapid deployment “Scout Team.”

The unit is made up of 25 highly trained game wardens capable of deploying anywhere in the state of Texas within four hours. Armed with AR-15′s, BDU’s, and kevlar helmets, the team’s mission according to the TPWD website involves border operations, dignitary protection or any form of high-risk law enforcement, such as serving felony arrest warrants or hostage situations.

As The Dallas Observer’s Brantley Hargrove notes, “the militarization of every possible law enforcement entity in America is complete.”

[The team] is modeled after what military types call a “force multiplier,” which basically means that these guys can shoot a bunch of bullets. 

“We’re steeped in tradition and very mindful of our past,” said special ops chief Grahame Jones. “It’s an important part of who we are, but we have to look to the future.”

And the future is a camo AR. Now, if Texas truly intends to secede, it’s got its own military force ready and waiting. We’ve even got a Navy! TPWD has 564 vessels, including a 65-foot gulf patrol ship, and gunboats mounted with .30 cal machine guns.

Maybe we’re a little paranoid here, but doesn’t it strike you as a bit odd that every possible government related entity in this country – be it federal, state or local – is being heavily armed with assault rifles, weaponized drones and battle wagons?

The Social Security Administration, the IRS, the Federal Reserve, property code enforcement teams, and now Parks and Wildlife are all putting Department of Homeland Security’s multi-billion dollar budget to good use.

What, exactly, are these organizations planning for?

Do they know something big is about to go down?

Or is the intention here to strike fear into the populace by instilling in us that America is now a battlefield and the government is ready to go to war with anyone that stands in its way?


Start now to make sure you are staying prepared.


Via: shtfplan

Digital Bugout Preps: SCAN YOUR WALLET


This is a great article By Rich at the survivalring.


One of my yearly New Year chores is to scan and update the contents of my wallet and keep a digital copy in a secure location.

Personally, I own three scanners, each for a different purpose. Depending on the type of item to scan, these allow me to make multiple scans and save it as one PDF file. With your own scanner, once you’ve digitized your own important documents, you can then either print a copy for a safe deposit box, encrypt the file and keep it with your valuables, or hide it where only YOU will know the location. Hopefully you will never need this backup, but there’s always a chance, (never say NEVER) and then you will be really happy you have this backup.

Now, WHY would you want to do this? One very simply reason. BACKUP.

Like an extra hidden key for your car or home entrance, jumper cables in your trunk, an ankle holster and weapon to back up your main holstered firearm, or regular backups of ALL your most important computer data, you need a full backup set of your financial and identification easily and quickly accessible to you should you be the victim of robbery, burglary, and stupidity.

Ever misplaced your wallet, or some card or cards within it? Ever had your wallet STOLEN? Do you have a phone list of all your credit card company customer services anywhere, just in case your wallet, with all your credit cards and contact info for each one, somehow…vanishes?

I’ve lost a total of 2 credit cards in my life, realized it, canceled the card, and later found the card fallen between the front seat of my truck and the center console, or washed and damaged. Not too bad a thing, but the sheer panic of realizing your money…your income…is waiting for someone to find your card and pick you clean with one swipe in the wrong place…is a very good way to practice and re-examine, your personal “pucker factor”. I’ve misplaced my wallet a number of times, but never had it stolen.

Years ago, on a trip to SoCal in general, and Santa Monica and it’s famous Pier in particular, with my daughter with me on a trucking trip layover, I found a full wallet on top of one of those “park your own car and put your parking fee in the numbered collection slot box” thingies, right next to the pier.

I had put my parking fee in my slot, and there it was… a fat, full, and complete wallet…just at eye level. Couldn’t have been there very long. Wow. Lots of cash…many credit cards…and a military ID right in the front when you opened it up.  What do to?  The right thing, obviously…a teaching moment for my teenage daughter, in a strange place, after dark, in one of the most liberal, left wing states in the nation.

I put the wallet in my jacket pocket, thinking in a busy place like this pier, I’d find law enforcement folks somewhere soon. Within minutes, we saw a manned police car on the shore end of the pier and walked over to it, explaining to the officer eating a burrito what we found and where, and then handing it over to him. I’ve never had a cop look at me like I was a complete lunatic like that…but that was the immediate response I saw in his eyes.

Having taken care of that, we enjoyed the rest of the evening on the pier, than drove around the area, saw some movie grand opening red carpet affair, and headed back to our hotel in Lancaster for the evening. We enjoyed the evening, and hopefully the gentleman who left his wallet got it back fairly quickly. I felt really good for having the first thought to do the right thing, and especially for having my daughter see that for herself. Still, at the time, it got me thinking. Which is why you are now reading this article.

So why digitize your wallet?  It’s probably the most important personal carry item you may ever have. Both women and men usually have some leather or other kind of folding container for pants, suits, or purse pocket storage. You know what’s found in most of these…credit cards, ID cards, passes, certification cards, training cards, cash, business cards, and more.  Cash doesn’t need to be copied, because counterfeiting is wrong. Anything else that is your personal ID, credit info, or anything else with needed numbers, accounts, or so forth SHOULD be digitized. Doing this gives proof of ownership, proof of possession, and needed info in case that day occurs where you wallet IS stolen or lost.

Making digital copies is literally child’s play these days, with thousands of different models of scanners and software available to create a snapshot of your wallet contents. You’ll find a massive amount of YouTube videos on the actual concept and how to do this rather easy job. The key is actually DOING it.

Get it Done…

So, you’ve made a digital copy of your wallet contents, and using your scanner and software, you now have a PDF file with all the pertinent information at your disposal at any time.  Now comes the important question…where are you going to store that VERY personal set of information that resides in your computer? And, how are you going to lock it up, so only you or your closest family can access it when and as needed?

You have multiple choices, locations, and formats to choose from. Here’s the best way to handle this step with finesse, practicality, and ease of use.  Starting with your freshly cooked PDF file, do the following.

  1. Create a short list of at least 3 places to keep the info in digital format.  These could be a) your computer, in a nondescript folder, b) on a pen drive or SD Ram card, and c) emailed to yourself as a password protected ZIP archive file.
  2. Yes, an archive. You’ll only have one file in it, and you can always add more, but you need the data encrypted. Any archive tool will do, but I normally use WinRar or 7-Zip, the latter of which is free, and VERY good.
  3. While creating your new archive, save it with that password you’ve chosen, that only YOU can remember, and make sure to click the “encrypt” check box in your archive software.
  4. Hit “Go”, and within seconds, you are done.

Now, move the file to at least TWO physical devices, such as an SR Ram card, a micro-SD Ram card, a thumb/pen USB drive, or any of a thousand possibilities, as well as send a copy to yourself via your favorite online email service. A reminder here that your file MUST be encrypted and password protected to maintain its lock on your most precious life information.

Personally, I go with a 16 gig pen drive, and a 32 gig SD Ram card, with backup on my 4 gig micro-SD Ram chip. Any of these three devices can be located literally ANYWHERE, in your clothing, your car, your home, briefcase, or even jewelry. Do some searches on Amazon for “creating hiding places” and look for any and every idea you can think of as possible stowaway locations for your digital life.

The most practical, for me, is the pen drive, with for secondary backup my 32 gig chip which I use in both my digital 16 megapixel digital camera, and my Canon HD video camera, both of which use SD Ram for storing new images and videos. The files on these chips can be accessed like any other storage device, using your standard My Computer or similar file manager and nearly every laptop or computer these days has a SD RAM slot built in for moving your data from your cameras to your work computer. Heck, even most tablets have this tech as well.

When that inevitable day occurs that your wallet goes missing, forever….you’ll look back at this moment…right now…and say one of two thing….”no problemo” or “oh shit”. To get to the correct answer, act now, and get started in backing up your wallet.

Start now to make sure you are staying prepared.


Via: survivalring

Build your stash $1 at a time at the dollar store

This is a guest post by Griffin.


Based on all the comments from regular readers about the value of dollar stores, I had to see for myself what kinds of great deals I could find. I went to the local Dollar Tree to help me with the 3 Fs of survival (Food, Fire, and Fortification).

There’s tons of information out there on building bug out bags or stock piling for bartering. It’s easy to spend a few grand on gear at REI or specialty outdoor stores.

So what can we get for a dollar these days that can help us prepare when SHTF?

If I had just $5 to build a kit, the 5 items I’d buy would be these (with uses in parenthesis):

  • 10x 30 packs of matches or 3 pack of butane lighters (start a fire)
  • 4 pack of steak knives (defense, process food)
  • 20 pack of 20 gallon trash bags (clothes, water storage, bag to carry supplies)
  • 6 pack of 24oz Crystal Geyser Waters (water supply, holding tank)
  • 2 aluminum cook pans (purify water, cook food)

That’s a pretty good start for $5. Some alternative good items are a pound of trail mix and 55 yards of dental floss.

As I walked aisle by aisle I was amazed by how many useful items there were that would be great to have and cost way less than even a “discount” store like Target or Walmart.

A small categorized list includes:

Hardware: LED flashlights, 8 pack batteries, screw drivers, paracord rope, scissors, glow sticks, super glue, duct tape, ponchos, tea lights, candles, wire brushes, silicon, gardening gloves, and zip ties.

Medical: gauze pads, pain killers, petroleum jelly, ace bandage, antibiotic ointment, multi-vitamins, hydrogen peroxide, rubbing alcohol, first aid kits, sleep aids, tweezers, anti-diarrheal, q-tips, cotton balls, shaving razors, 6 pack facial tissues, 4 pack toilet paper, and travel toothbrush kits.

Food: 1 lb salt, 1 lb sugar, 1 lb beans, 6x 100 calorie granola bars, 1 lb trail mix, 1 oz beef jerky, cocoa, coffee, cereal, dried fruit, and cooking spices.

Cookware: Variety of knives, can openers, and utensils.

Cleaning: bleach, soap, ammonia, Clorox wipes, shampoo.

A lot of the goods at the dollar tree are generic brands. I’ve tried tons of generic brands for everything from cereal to shampoo. I find that about half the time the generics are chemically the same thing and a better deal at a fraction of the price. The other times I find that the generics just don’t work/taste as well as the originals. It’s really up to you if you care about brand names when the grocery stores are emptied and your dollar bills are worth toilet paper.

In TEOTWAWKI situation, generics will do just fine for barter or backup use, in my opinion.

In Summary, the dollar stores do stock a ton of useful stuff at an unbeatable price. I definitely don’t mind spending $30 bucks for an extra kit if it will help friends or neighbors.

I’ve even debated buying a plastic container and using silicon to seal it so I can bury an extra stash or two on the cheap. I’ll be able to rest a little easier at night knowing that somewhere out there are a few boxes of goods that contain the basics for 3 days of survival and only cost me $20.


Other comments:

Love the aseptic packaged milk! I like it because it has a long shelf life and tastes better to me than powdered coffee creamer. I also like to grab the soup in a tube – all the ingredients for a pot of soup, and can also be used to flavor beans, etc. The single servings of coffee, similar to tea bags are really valuable – easy to store long-term and so barter-able! Coffee filters which can be used to filter a lot of things besides coffee.


Extreme variety of glow stick products. I keep the “bracelets” handy for drink stirrers, color coded for each person.. And your glass doesn’t get lost in the dark! Glow sticks are attached to every first aid kit, and handy to crack to find the also included led flashlight that comes from Dollar Tree. Only difference I have found with those is they don’t come with batteries included, vs the multipack of led flashlights from Harbor Freight which do come with batteries and cost more unless I have one of their super duper coupons. The seed packs they have are pretty stingy on the amount of seeds, but you get what you pay for!
Chalk, gift wrap, pop rocks and first aid supplies. I keep multiple digital thermometers from there so everybody has their own, and tons of the anti-itch cream which works really well on fire ant bites, real and grandchild imagined!


When I hit the dollar store, I look for stuff made in the US and Canada. I avoid any personal care products made in China, and things you would consider ‘durable goods’ (knives, tools, etc) made there as well. Take care with the batteries, sometimes they’re on the far end of their shelf life and were sold in bulk to the buyers at a steep discount.

I’ve recently acquired a bunch of US-made screwtop plastic containers, shaving creams and soaps, and matches. Last fall, when they had their back-to-school sale, they sold string backpacks and I made a couple ‘handout’ kits for people showing up at my door. Ten bucks and they had the bare minimums for getting by in an emergency, including the carrier. I gifted half of them and keep the rest in one of my bins for when the ‘big one’ hits.


In the spring time, I picked up a whole case of solar yard lights at Dollar Tree. These can be charged outside and used inside. I haven’t seen the six pack of emergency candles there in quite some time.

When I went in, yesterday, I picked up some plastic drop cloths, clothes line rope, antiseptic wet wipes, emery boards, pencils, sharpeners, and extra erasers, med spoon and dropper kits, medicated lip balm, shower curtain liners (for the car first aid kit), liquid hand soap, and 100 plastic gloves (to use when putting gas in the car). I never touch the pump handle. You don’t know who has touched it before you or if they have the flu or not.


Yup, Dollar Tree has a pair of generic chap stick for $1 – burns with same intensity as the original product which is $2 for one tube – thats worth it.

Also noticed Progresso soups and gravy starters are 1/3 the cost of Wal-Mart, half of other department stores. A good portion of soup too – mix with a canned chicken and you have a tasty meal.


Dollar Stores are great BUT…. You really have to watch their product lines. Many of the items that they sell are now smaller portions than what is sold in other “full price” stores. Also my local WallyWorld sells many of the same exact health care products on a designated shelf in the health care and pharmacy department for .88 cents! You really have to watch what you are buying. Also the GV line of health care products are the same items for the most part as the name brand lines.

Something to ponder…Do people really think Albertson’s or Wall Mart have a toothpaste factory or a French fry factory…NO, the contract goes out to firms that do this full time. I know I work in a food processing factory and the same name brand item goes in one bagging line and the store brand goes in another bag line…kind of like asprin or other items. It;s not always this way but trust me you would be surprised what kind of profits are generated due to the color of the box of bag and the NAMEBRAND on it. Its all about consumer brand loyalty for these big established megacorporations.

AND…if you don’t want to ingest CHINESE produced foods….LOOK AT THE LABEL especially on frozen items. Our DT sells frozen strawberries and some mixed vegitables from the land of chemicals and low hygene….However, they also sell name brand frozen French fries from a nationally known name brand maker as well as what is known as B Grade fries. Those are products that don’t make the quality grade and are sold under other off-brands or store brand names. There is nothing wrong with B Grade its just not up to the makes high standards for color, sizing, or other factors and would otherwise end up as cattle feed if not sold to a re-packer as a store brand or independent brand item.

Sadly, we have lost two of our regional private dollar stores in the past few years due to mismanagement. We have lost a GREAT DEAL of selection with just DT in our towns. Another threat to dollar stores future are the exchange rates between currencies. The last few years have been good for dollar store consumers but a change in that ratio can and will spell doom to the buying power of the dollar for US citizens.

Beware and become educated and profit from being a good consumer.


I have noticed the same thing with the emergency candles at the Dollar Tree we stop at on the day trip to our daughters. Now we buy the tall candles in glass jars some have religious pictures on them. They will burn for 20 hrs or more I think. I have never used one all the way down. We are now buying a few every month.


I’ve noticed they have some nice canned food, like canned strawberries and pie fillings that you don’t find elsewhere.


Dollar Tree has window/ door alarms for $1 that can be used as perimeter alarms. They come with batteries.


Dollartree in my area carries mouse traps in packs of 4 and rat traps in packs of 2. those rat traps can take squirrel/tree rats making them cheap and silent game getters. as well as pest control, I keep about 100 on hand. candles used to be a good deal (and made in USA) but now they only sell tea-light candles in packs of 8, I can get 144 pack for $5 at another shop.

they also carry heirloom variety garden seeds, if you check in in October/November you might be able to get their entire leftover inventory for $1 (I got 100 packs of seeds 2 years ago in late fall)


You can also catch doves and other seed-eating birds with rat traps–make sure you have a stout string or piece of baling wire to secure it to something. Bait the end of the trap with cracked corn, and a little on the bait pedal. The best way to secure the bait so it doesn’t get lost or used up is to glue it to the trap with Dollar Tree pancake syrup…
Also, other deals on storable edibles include canned Mackerel (wild caught) for $1 per can, Jumex fruit nectars, Boxed milk (keeps for months), and vinegar.


You can get online the 8″ candles for $1 but for the shipping cost I go to Dollar General and pay $1.50.
I have a cardboard box of 8″ candles because they burn for 100 hours ( I documented that) and that’s a great deal for $1



Start now to make sure you are staying prepared.


Via: thesurvivalistblog

How to Make Elderberry Tincture and Elderberry Cough Syrup

With the increase in mortality and morbidity of H1N1 in the last few weeks, I thought I would repost some information on elderberry tincture and elderberry cough syrup. Both elderberry tincture and elderberry syrup work by decreasing the viral load of the influenza virus. It is thought that elderberry and star anise inhibit the replication of the virus.

Elderberry Cough Syrup

The standard treatment for influenza is Tamiflu. The active ingredient in Tamiflu is star anise. The elderberry cough syrup has star anise as an ingredient. (And the advantage of the herbal remedy is that you don’t need to go to the doctors and get a prescription. And the herbal remedy is a lot cheaper. Note: Tamiflu is only effective if taken within 48 hours of the onset of symptoms.)

Recipe: Elderberry Cough Syrup Ingredients:

  • ½ cup elderberries (sambucus nigra)
  • 12 star anise
  • 4 cinnamon sticks
  • 8 cloves
  • 2 cup water
  • 1 cup honey

Add water, elderberries, star anise, cinnamon sticks and cloves to pot. Bring to a boil. Then simmer for 45 minutes. Strain out the plant material. Wait until liquid cools. Then add honey. Stir well. Place in glass jar and refrigerate.
Dosage: For adults, use one tablespoon every hour until cough subsides. For children, use one half to one teaspoon every 2-3 hours as needed for cough.

Note: Some people like to include licorice root and/or ginger. Licorice root helps boost the immune system. Ginger helps with cough and nausea. I have never tried these myself. But next time I make cough syrup I will add the licorice root.

Elderberry Tincture

Elderberry tincture has the advantage in that it doesn’t have to be refrigerated and it lasts forever. However, it does contain alcohol. If that’s an issue for you, use the cough syrup.

Recipe: Elderberry Tincture Ingredients:

  • 1 cup elderberries
  • 100 proof vodka

Place elderberries in quart jar and fill jar with vodka. Shake every day for two weeks. Then strain plant material. Viola. You have elderberry tincture.
Dosage: I put one tablespoon of tincture in my tea every morning, along with honey and lemon juice. It is essential to stay hydrated when you have the flu. I would push a cup of tea every hour, along with plenty of water and other clear fluids.

Dried elderberries can be ordered from or Mountain Rose Herbs. I order from Amazon, as they have free shipping.


Start now to make sure you are staying prepared.


Via: thesurvivalistblog

Infographic: Water Storage and you


Thanks to for creating and sharing this great source of info on one of the most important needs for every single person in your life. Print it out and hang it in your kitchen, preferably your fridge door, or maybe inside the pantry so every time you look into the pantry for something, you’ve got that info IN YOUR FACE.

Give this graphic a serious read and take some notes. It’s pretty darn good for those of you just starting out.

Food Insurance – Your Freeze Dried Food Storage Source

 Start now to make sure you are staying prepared.

Via: survivalring