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Priorities for prepping on a tight budget

A while back, I wrote an article for folks that are brand new to prepping. If you missed it, click here to read it. Anyway, I got some positive feedback on that article, but I also received a few emails asking me to be a bit more specific. They wanted to know where and what they should start with first.

In particular, one email from a lady told me she was on a fixed, very tight income. She had very limited resources, and was asking me what should be the priorities for her, even more so than in the above listed article. I could tell from her email she was feeling a bit overwhelmed. She wanted to be more prepared, but could not spend very much each month.

That’s understandable. Beginning preparedness can feel like a daunting task. You can also look at everything you might potentially need, and feel concerned because your funds are limited. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

I have decided to break down that beginning prepping article a bit more, and go into detail as to what I believe should be your top priorities if you are on a budget. Keep in mind that these are the top priorities in almost every disaster scenario, NOT just a huge SHTF event. As always, I stress that you need to start with the most probable scenarios, and work your way outward.

For this article, I’m assuming that you already have developed emergency plans. That to me is your obvious #1 priority. Failing to plan is planning to fail, and hope is not a plan. Instead, this article will focus on what resources you should be collecting first. (For more info on preparedness planning, click here.)

These categories are listed in order of importance (in my opinion). For each category I list the basics for that category that you should work on first. Once you have the basics in that category covered, move on to the next. Or if you can, try to cover more than one category at a time! For example, I list water storage over food storage. (3 days without water/3 weeks without food.) But if you can cover both categories at the same time, you are that much further ahead.

At the end of each category I will list “additional” items. These are items that while I feel are important, they are areas/items that you can come back to once you have all of your basics covered.
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EDC Gun Review – Glock Compact

I had someone email me the other day, asking why I didn’t do a review of the Glock I carry as an EDC firearm. While I don’t carry a Glock off duty, I am sure there are plenty of folks out there who might carry it as their EDC gun.

So, here you go! My review of a Glock as an EDC.

I will actually be looking at two compact (mid-sized) Glocks. I will look at the Glock 23 (.40 S&W) and the Glock 32 (.357 Sig.) The Glock 23 is a Gen 4, while the Glock 32 is a Gen 3.

The first Glocks were produced in 1982, and started arriving in the US by 1988. There was a lot of doubt in the “gun world” about whether a plastic (polymer) firearm was worth anything. The huge success of Glock has answered it’s critics. It is now one of the most popular handguns in America today. According to Glock’s website, 65% of police departments in the US issue/carry Glock pistols.

This success was partly due to the clever and effective marketing of Glock, who sold their pistols to the police at a discount. When police departments saw how effective and well-built the Glocks were, plus the fact that Glock 17s could hold 17 rounds of 9mm, they began carrying them en-mass. This gave credence to Glock with the general public, and the rest as they say is history.

The Glock 23/32 is a polymer framed pistol and almost 7 inches in length. (5 inches high.) Its 4 inch barrel is made of ordnance grade steel, and has a nitrate finish. The pistol (Glock 23) weighs about 23.5 oz or so (unloaded). The 32 weighs 21.5 oz unloaded.
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How to start prepping in 5 easy steps

I receive emails quite often from people who are new to prepping. A few says they have thought about it for a while, but haven’t really got started. I’m sure it can feel like a daunting and overwhelming process to the beginner. But it does not have to be.

Being prepared is really not hard if you approach it the right way. If you are brand new to prepping, or just aren’t sure where to begin, here are 5 easy steps to help get you started.

There are plenty of links throughout this article dealing with many various prepper topics. These are a great source of information, so please be sure to check them out.

#1 Begin with a Plan

Start off by sitting down and figuring out your plans would be if you have an emergency or disaster. Making plans now will help you to not feel lost or overwhelmed should a catastrophe strike. Failing to plan is planning to fail. And hope is not a plan!

In the beginning, I would not plan for worst case scenario. Instead, start off with the more realistic and probable scenarios. (The more extreme the event, the less likely it is to occur.) These scenarios should be based upon your location, situation, and the conditions you are in or could realistically be in.

For example, if you live along the Gulf Coast, hurricanes are a realistic possibility. So having hurricane plans makes sense. I know states like Montana and Idaho are subject to winter storms. I live in “tornado alley”, and have planned accordingly. Many large metropolitan cities are seeing an increase of violence, and riots are now something (click the link for more details) that urban city dwellers might consider planning for.

Most emergencies don’t have to be regional or even local. Job loss, medical emergencies, house fire, car wrecks, etc are all things you should be prepared for that are specific to you and your family.
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Off-grid cooking method – Here is one we recommend

off grid cooking

Adding rabbit meat to the oil and seasoning

Editor’s note: I want to welcome Cheryl L (my mom) to the site with her first article! Enjoy!

No matter what you are prepping for, at some point in time food preparation must enter into your preps. I am always trying to find ways to cook using a minimum amount of time, energy, effort, and fuel. So I plan my preps accordingly.

I prefer to keep my life simple and that includes getting everything done in the morning and taking it easy after all the work is done.  This is one of the reasons that I decided to purchase a thermal cooker.

Another reason I thought a thermal cooker would be a wonderful idea is for the ease of cooking a meal whether on a regular stove, a rocket stove, an open campfire, or in any emergency situation.  We live in tornado territory and I can take a thermal cooker down into the shelter along with the already stored dehydrated meals and water, etc. so that I can prepare them for my family if the need arises.  Be it a rabbit dinner or emergency food storage, I feel secure in having the means to take care of them.

I looked and researched on the internet, reading about several different thermal cookers. After some study I finally settled on the Saratoga Jack 7L thermal cooker.

I went with the Saratoga because it received a lot of positive feedback on Amazon, and because it comes with two heavy-duty pans that nestle together for cooking, (cook two separate pots at once) a lid, a cook book and of course the vacuüm cooker.

Saratoga Jack 7L thermal cooker

The Saratoga Jack thermal cooker is simple to use. You follow your regular recipes, bring the temperature to a rolling boil for a few minutes, and then seal the pot in the cooker.  And depending on the recipe your food is ready and waiting for you in the evening when you are ready to sit down to dinner.
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5 Items you probably should NOT stock long term

Toilet paper stockFor many preppers on a budget, the ability to stockpile goods and supplies might be limited. They may have to stock just a little at a time. And in that case, I hope that they are not stockpiling items which maybe they shouldn’t.

I wanted to take a look at some items that you may NOT want to stock pile long-term and the reasons why. I also try to have some alternatives available as well.

Many of the items listed below are items you SHOULD have in a disaster, so do NOT think I’m saying not to have these items. Instead, I’m saying that in your long-term planning (i.e. the grid goes down for an extended time) these are items you should think about having alternative plans and options for.

Toilet Paper

Now hear me out. NO ONE out there understands the importance of good, quality toilet paper more than I do. I always have several weeks’ supply on hand. But there is a big draw back to trying to hoard toilet paper long-term.

The problem is that large amounts of toilet paper are bulky and take up a lot of room. For me, in an urban setting, I have trouble storing more than a month’s supply for my family. So if a true long-term disaster struck, beyond 3 to 4 weeks I’ll be in a crappy situation.

The average person uses over 100 rolls of TP per year. Now multiple that times the number of your family members/group. That’s a lot of room for a hoard of TP! And yes, my family goes through AT LEAST that much TP.
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10 Items you should stock up on long term

Soap stockHopefully, as a prepper, you will have some food set back and stocked in case of a disaster. You will have water stored, as well as a few purification methods. You might have a weapon or two stored, and some extra ammunition. (Click the links to find out about water storage, weapons for SHTF, and storing ammo long-term). You might have extra gear and supplies on hand. But could there be items out there you haven’t thought about stockpiling for a long-term, grid down scenario?

In this article, I want to cover some items that you might not realize you should have plenty of  in case of a long-term disaster, and some reasons why it might be a good idea.

So let’s jump in.

Hygiene items

Being clean (or at least feeling clean) is a great boost to morale during a SHTF situation. And during a grid down scenario, you might not have enough water (or fuel to heat the water) for a hot shower. But that doesn’t mean you can’t keep yourself clean. So having some extra hygiene items is probably a good idea.

Things like toothpaste and shampoo have a shelf life of about 2 years from the date of manufacture once they are opened. (They can last around 3 years if unopened.)  Things like soap, mouthwash, and deodorant have a 3 year or so shelf life.

Keep in mind that the shelf life listed is for items stored at room temperature. Things like temperature extremes and direct sun light can degrade these products much more quickly.

If you cure your store-bought bars of soap (by removing the wrappers and letting them sit in the air for about 6 weeks) they will harden and last much longer.
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