Saturday, March 29, 2014

Escaping Your Escape Plan

Most of my bug out scenarios involve me driving down a certain road for my initial exit. There is only one road exiting my suburb, so from the standpoint of I'm at home and the SHTF, that's the natural choice. (There are actually 3 suburbs including mine that all use this one exit road.) I have considered the volume on this road. I figure that daytime should be fine, most people will be at work. Evening would be a disaster as everyone is home and awake. Middle of the night would be so-so, it would depend on who heard the news. How many of you are in the same boat? I have seen way too many burbs created that have only one exit point. It causes traffic snarl every day, and would be horrific during a disaster. To make matters worse, I know this specific road that exits my suburb has several oil and gas pipelines that run under it just before it hits the main highway. Its a total nightmare of mine. If one of those pipelines was to go, my entire area would be locked in.

So I'm thinking I need to beef up my exit strategies. Should the main route be blocked or busy, what next? Do I just sit there in traffic like everyone else and wait for whatever to hit?  I don't think so. I need to escape my escape plan. On to Plan B.

Next time your bored at lunch break, think through your exit scenario(s). Where are the bottlenecks? Where could the strategy break down? Think about who or what is going to get in your way? Then consider how you can alter the plan if you need to - to avoid the crowds and the man made glitches. Often the answer takes just a little more creative planning. If your plan B involves some 4 x 4 'ing, you may want to go for a leisurely stroll and case out the route to make sure there are no large boulders to bring an abrupt end to your joyride. If your plan involves ditching the vehicle, you may want to consider relocating your bug out bags (or placing a second set) just past where you foresee the bottleneck.

Whatever your scenario may be, think about the plan b. You just never know when you might need to escape your escape plan.

This post by Dwight from Briden Solutions - Proudly helping Canadians obtain high quality Survival supplies.  

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

A Self Sufficient Woman - Guest Post by Lee Flynn

A self Sufficient Woman

Inside of every female, is a Self-Sufficient Woman. Whether she knows it or not, the potential is there. A prime example is the fact that her body has the power to provide everything it needs to sustain and grow another human life. When it comes to living in a world that is growing ever more dependent upon others to survive, self-sufficient women will prosper because of the lifestyle they have chosen. Preparing more in all aspects of your life is a common theme that is followed by self-sufficient women. In a lot of ways, how self-sufficient and prepared you are can speak volumes about who you are.

Self-Sufficient Women Are Gardeners

There are many obvious benefits as to why someone would want to grow a garden. Whether it's for the stress relief, a hobby or a family outdoor activity, there are many advantages to gardening. Self-Sufficient women often supply their own families with home-grown fruits and vegetables. A concern for health and nutrition is deeply tied with growing a garden. Not only are they providers of good healthy foods and nutrition, they benefit from the exercise, the calming effects and the creativity that gardening offers.

Self-Sufficient Women Are Financial Planners

Most people have been in stuck in that scary boat where they ask themselves, do I pay the car payment or the credit card bill this month? Women who are self-sufficient tend to stay out of debt and stockpile cash for emergencies. Investing in gold and silver is also a common practice to protect themselves from inflation. Making purchases with cash, saving money and preparing for financial burdens proves that self-sufficient women are planners, frugal and smart. It also says a lot about their self-control and discipline. Becoming materialistic or keeping up with the Joneses is not a concern for self-sufficient women.

Self-Sufficient Women Get Off The Grid

Because being self-sufficient tends to mean, providing for all your needs possible, it often includes relying upon yourself for energy and power. This can range from wind turbines, solar panels, a well for a water source etc. Sometimes a place is purchased out in the boondocks which can be referred to as their retreat or safe place. This safe place can be used as an emergency living for when a natural disaster happens or just for the simplicity of privacy. Self-sufficient women prepare more and panic less.

Self-Sufficient Women Have Emergency Preparations

Being concerned with the welfare of yourself and your family is a responsibility that self-sufficient women bear well. Because they are pro-active creatures, nothing gets past them. Stocking up on water, food, safety and security measures are top priorities for them. They comprehend that it's better to be well-prepared than ill-prepared. Food storage can consist of foods they canned or dehydrated from the produce from their gardens. A supply of fuel is always kept stored on hand and because self-sufficient women own firearms like a practical 9mm for security and protection, she will stock up on 9mm ammo.

Self-Sufficient women live a lifestyle that focuses on all elements of life that they depend on to not only survive, but to flourish in whatever conditions life throws at them. They're realists as they look at life boldly and courageously perform the tasks needed to be self-sufficient. They're creative and can find a use for everything. They're passionate about the way they want to live and they never give up. They travel the road less traveled on and they do not shun away when things get tough. Self-sufficient women see a beauty in life that is worth experiencing and in it, they are the ones that experience true freedom. There's few things better in life than no debt, a pantry stocked with food and supplies and a backyard ripe for harvest. A sense of pride is well deserved in a self-sufficient lifestyle. There's beautiful simplicity in a self-sufficient woman.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Economic Collapse...What Does That Mean Anyways?

How Money Is Created:

To fully appreciate the economic situation we are in, we first have to understand how money is created.
First, the Bank of Canada prints our money, or more accurately, whites a line in a ledger book.  Unlike the Federal Reserve in the US, The Bank of Canada is a crown corporation, essentially, the government’s very own money printing press.  When the government needs more money put into circulation to pay for public services and such, the Bank of Canada, under the direction of the finance minister prints it, or creates it numerically.  Surprisingly, only about 5% of money is created this way. 

Friday, March 14, 2014

Water Anyone?

You may have heard the recent news about the State of Emergency in Lethbridge Alberta. The situation there went from bad to horrible in only a matter of hours. Here is a quick rundown of the timeline:
  • Tuesday - the city issued a statement saying they were having trouble with the water plant keeping up, and asking residents to conserve water.
  • Tuesday 3:20pm - the City figures things were under control as the water plant was catching up.
  • Wednesday 8:30 am - City was asking residents to conserve water for another 24 hours. 
  • Wednesday 10:15am - the attitude changes, City is declaring a water emergency as the water plant completely shuts down.
  • Wednesday 11:15am - local state of emergency declared due to critical water storage situation. City declares it only has an 8 hour water supply at normal usage.
  • Wednesday noon - City asks residents not to hoard water, no dishwashing or clothes washing, only cooking and drinking.
  • Wednesday 4pm - Boil water order is issued, City water is no longer drinkable, City's ability to provide fire suppression is at risk.
  • Thursday 2pm - Boil water order still in effect
As of the time I am writing this, this water emergency is still playing out. The City's reason for all this: "The unprecedented quick snow melt caused water to run directly over ice and frozen ground to river and streams. As there was no place for dirt, silt and organic matter to seep into the ground, much more of it managed to make its way to the river then in previous spring thaws." Another official comment on the City website: "We have never seen raw water conditions this bad in the Oldman River."

What I find interesting is how quickly the situation deteriorated, and our inability as a general population to navigate the unexpected. I'm sure workers at the City of Lethbridge are doing everything they can to remedy the situation. I'm also aware that money does not grow on trees, so every municipality can't build infinite water storage or treatment facilities, so I am by no means pointing any fingers. Nature happens.

The point to highlight and bold here in this situation is the government cannot predict and prepare for every situation possible - they just can't. We shouldn't expect them to, and frankly I don't want them to. And that's the whole reason why we as preppers exist and why more people should think twice about having some storage. It only took two hours from the time the water plant shut down in Lethbridge until the time the city issued a Do Not Hoard statement. Why? Because every single person was filling their bathtub and the water supply was taking a double hit.

Please take this unfortunate situation as a reminder to yourself, and pass it along to those you care about as well. Get some water storage happening in your home in whatever way you can. Get a big tank, or lots of little ones and FILL THEM UP. This is for all of you who have bought a Super Tanker from us and it's still sitting empty in your garage - fill it up! Then extend your water abilities by getting some filtration/purification. That could be some Lifesaver water bottles, an AquaPail or AquaBrick, or some Aquatabs. Lots of aqua there, and they come in all shapes and sizes. Just do yourself a favor and take this as a hint. Then when the snow melts too fast in your area for the local plant to keep up, you'll be ready.

This post by Dwight from Briden Solutions - Proudly helping Canadians obtain high quality Survival supplies.  

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

There's No Place Like Home - Guest post by Lee Flynn

A Few Tips on How to Make your Camping Trip a Bit more Comfortable

Camping combines all of the best parts of sleeping on the ground, getting eaten by insects, and pooping outdoors. However, despite the fact that most of our ancestors got over “the call of the wild” about ten thousand years ago, nearly 50 million Americans annually decide to toss aside millennia of technological advancement, all for the opportunity rough-it outside and eat charred potatoes out of blackened tin foil. Hey, what can you do? Camping is an American tradition. Unfortunately, what many campers don’t realize until they’re hacking away at the frozen ground with a camping shovel while the pressure in their bowles slowly increases, is that the tradition itself is based almost entirely on discomfort. Discomfort is really what defines camping, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Here are a few ideas on how you can make getting out in the rough go a little bit more smoothly.

1. Dress for success

Having lived for generations in the comforting embrace of internal climate control, many of us don’t really appreciate just how extreme the elements can get. Fortunately, all it takes is a night curled up in a shivering, frost-covered ball, or a day swooning from heat exhaustion to really drive the point home. Before you head out into the wilderness, check the weather forecast. See what the temperatures are supposed to be, and be sure dress appropriately. A pair of thick socks or heated fleece mittens could potentially mean the difference between a weekend spent in a tent and a weekend spent in your own private hell. Also, be sure to prepare for the worst. Even if the weather is expected to be nice, make sure to bring a warm, waterproof coat. Also, a pair of waterproof boots and several changes of socks are a must. Oh, and never leave home without waterproof matches, because it’s easier to stay warm and dry when you’ve got a fire going.

2. Location, location, location

Sometimes, people who claim to hate camping actually mean that they hate camping in a specific spot. While you’re planning your trip, be sure to take location into account. Find out a few things early on, such as the availability of utilities such as water, bathrooms, or electrical outlets. Familiarize yourself with local plant and animal life, making special notes of any that are dangerous, or ones to which you may have allergies. Check for online reviews of the campsites, and determine how crowded the area is likely to be. Also, take travel time into consideration; if you use up all of your patience just getting there, then you won’t have any left over to deal with the camping itself.

3. You are what you eat

Camping-food always seems like it’s going to be better than it actually is, but once you sink your teeth into the half-frozen, half- charred insides of a hotdog cooked on a stick, the reality of your situation quickly becomes apparent. Don’t just pack the kind of camping food that you always grew up eating; instead, get creative and come up with some meals that will be easy to pack, but still pack a punch in the flavor department. Do some research and see which of your favorite meals you could potentially put together over a cooking stove. Alternately, you could make a unique foil-dinner, by picking up a few of your favorite fast-food items and wrapping them up for easy reheating once evening rolls around (just remember, things like soft-tacos and chicken-nuggets work a lot better than hamburgers). Or, consider pulling a few dehydrated or freeze-dried meals out of your home’s emergency food storage for easy-to-prepare meals that are also nutritious.

4. Sleep it off

Most of us have very specific sleeping circumstances that we seldom deviate from. And, for most of us, sticking with those preferences while camping is completely impossible. As such, you’ll need to know what kinds of things are likely to prevent you from getting a good night’s sleep, so you can prepare for them. If you’re sensitive to hard or uneven ground, make sure you get some bedding that will offer support while still protecting you from the roots, rocks, and slopes that might otherwise bore into your back while you try to sleep. If you feel as though the sounds of nature will be anything but peaceful, bring along some earplugs. Consider including a sleeping bag liner or a hotwater bottle if you think you’ll get cold at night. Perhaps most important of all, make sure that you’re tired enough when it’s time to hit the sack that you’ll be able to sleep—even if you’re outside of your sleeping comfort zone. This means you need to make sure to get plenty of exercise during the day (hiking, swimming, fishing, playing, etc.) so that when you hit the pillow at night, you’ll be too tired to worry about being uncomfortable.

5. Always have an exit strategy

Hey, not every camping trip is going to be a success. If you get out there only to find that everything is going wrong, don’t be afraid to retreat. After all, discretion is the better part of valor, and knowing when to quit is the sign of a logical and realistic mind. Why not instead check into that motel you saw a few miles down the road? 50 million Americans go camping every year; one less won’t make much of a difference.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Product Review - Waka Waka Power

There is a new trend developing in the prepper community in regards to portable power.  A multitude of new products promising to deliver renewable,portable power have emerged onto the market including this one:  the Waka Waka power.  This is the big brother to the Waka Waka, which is essentially an LED light with a solar panel.  The difference with the new Power model is that is has a built in USB charger plug that will charge smart phones, MP3 players, E readers, or small tablets.

The Waka Waka (I love the name) is powered by a 2200mAh Lithium Polymer battery, which is a gell form of  the more commonly known Lithium Ion cell.  LiPo batteries have some interesting charging requirements and other characteristics which will become important later on in the review. 

The first feature I will address is the output of the unit.  Two LEDs make this a pretty decent light for power outages or other emergencies.  If you're like me, the first thing you are going to do when you unbox your Waka Waka is look at the front of the unit, which is oddly mindful of a smiley face, and turn on the light.  Please don't do this unless you enjoy seeing spots for at least 20 minutes.  These 2 LEDs give off some impressive lumens at full strength.  Luckily though, the brightness can be adjusted with successive pressing of the one and only control button.  Personally, I think it would have been better to start it at the lowest setting and work up, but it is designed to do the opposite.

The flip open cover acts as a stand and can be used to position the light in almost any way you could think of, including being hung by a piece of para cord (or whatever else you have) and even placed on the top of a soda bottle.  Keep in mind that although it is fairly light weight at only 200 grams, it will tip over an empty bottle, so make sure you have something in it.

For charging phones and other devices, you have a standard USB port on the side of the unit, so make sure you have the appropriate charging cord.  Charged to full capacity, this unit easily and quite quickly charged an Iphone 4 twice (not from completely dead, but at about 30%) and still had some juice left over.  It did not however charge my old Motorola flip  phone, but no standard USB connection does either, so no surprise there.  If the device you want to charge can be charged with a standard USB cord from your computer, you should be good to go.

There are 2 ways to charge this unit up.  It can be plugged into a typical USB port with a micro USB connector, or with the built in solar panel, which occupies the entire back side of the unit.  This is where the LiPo battery makes a difference, and unfortunately, not a good one. Lithium Polymer batteries are tricky to charge properly and need some very careful charging parameters near the end of the charging cycle.  Most of the other reviews of this product that I read came to the same conclusion.  The unit is very slow to charge past the 75% mark, and I had the same observation.  Charging with a USB cable from my laptop was by far the fastest way to get the Waka Waka up to full power.  The built in solar panel was well, disappointing.  This really doesn't come as a surprise to me because no matter what a solar manufacturer claims, solar panels are inefficient, and don't work in cloudy conditions.  Sorry, but they just don't.

The claim of the unit is that it can achieve 75% charge (notice that number?) in 6 hours, on a sunny day, at New York latitude.  I guess that could explain the long solar charge times I experienced.  In my tests, solar charging took 2 days of direct sunlight to get up to a full charge.  In cloudy conditions, it was almost impossible to get the charge indicating LED to blink at all.  When the unit was placed facing full sun, it did charge at it's fastest rate (indicated by 3 quick blinks of the indicator) but to keep this rate up, it had to be repositioned about every hour or so as the sun moved around in the sky.  Given this, I think that the charge rate on a clear summer day outdoors would be OK, but don't rely on this during stormy conditions.

Certainly, this unit is better than nothing as a solar charged power pack.  If you keep it charged with the USB cable, it makes an excellent portable charger.  As a light,well, it works great.  It is bright, or dim if you like, lasts quite a long time from a full charge and the positioning options are fantastic.  From a full charge, and on full brightness, it lasted well beyond the claimed 20 hours, and that was continuous use.  Oh, and in case you are wondering, yes, you can charge your phone and use the light at the same time.

You can get your Waka Waka Power for $69.00US here .

Now, if you think that is a bit pricey, consider this...

For every WakaWaka Power sold in the west, a donation is made to the Waka Waka Foundation to finance entrepreneurial education, micro-loans to women energy entrepreneurs, and subsidies for the very poor in countries like in Nigeria, Haiti, Nepal, India and Latin America to replace polluting, dangerous kerosene lamps.