Category Archives: Survival

Special Considerations for Buying Off-Grid Land

Special Considerations for Buying Off-Grid Land

People contemplating the possibility of escaping the rat race, returning to a simpler, more natural lifestyle, or concerned about the political climate and global threats, might be seriously considering an off-grid lifestyle. Before they look for land that will allow them to jump into a safe, sustainable and self-sufficient future, however, it’s important to consider exactly what they will require in order to make off-grid living a viable option.

Special Considerations for Buying Off-Grid Land

Have Clearly Defined Goals

Specific needs will depend on ultimate goals. Planning for post-Armageddon survival involves different parameters from simply seeking peace and self-sufficiency. Are you looking for seclusion or defensibility? Do you want to grow your own food and keep a few chickens, or would you prefer rugged terrain that is conducive to hunting, trapping and fishing, with a small garden plot near the house? Do you want an acre or two in a community of like-minded neighbors of a minimum of 50 acres with a stream running through it?

Before contacting a real estate agent, buyers should be sure to have a well-defined list of their requirements, along with a secondary “wish list.” Chances are the view won’t be the primary concern, but the price may be. To prevent any misunderstanding, buyers should communicate any concerns to their real estate agent. Know that a search for the perfect tract of land may take a good deal of time and some serious legwork.

Special Considerations for Buying Off-Grid Land

Know the Ancillary Costs

Buying raw land means that people must consider not only the cost of the land itself and it’s financing, but also figure the total cost of planned improvements into their budget. Living off the grid can entail spending large sums for sanitary waste or septic systems, power generation (solar, wind or hydroelectric), and road clearances, in addition to housing and/or garage or barn construction.

It can be wise to talk to others in the prepper community or to people who have already made the transition to off-grid living to get some “expert” advice.

Special Considerations for Buying Off-Grid Land

Think About Possibilities and Probabilities

There are a few basics, however, that should be at the top of a buyer’s “Need to Know” list. Consider the following :

  • How Much Land is Enough?
  • Is there surface water — pond, spring or stream — or will a well be required?
  • Is the land suitable for agricultural use; for animals, crops or both?
  • How accessible is the Land? On the other hand, are there naturals impediments to traffic and against strangers?
  • What is the terrain; will there be a risk of erosion, mudslides, wildfires, floods. What about drought, wild animals, poisonous plants. What is surrounding land used for? Is there a danger of toxic fumes or other health hazards?
  • What kind of sustainable power is feasible?
  • Are there existing land restrictions that will impact any plans for building and living off-grid?

Special Considerations for Buying Off-Grid Land

Look to the Future

No matter what their budget, any person’s reasons for wanting to move off the grid, and their long-term expectations, there are valid reasons to consider growth patterns and projections for the locale they have in mind.  Growing populations will create suburbs in coming decades out of land that currently seems far away from the urban core.

Finally, the best advice is to buy as much land as you can to assure that you are able to maintain the level of privacy that your future lifestyle demands.

Special Considerations for Buying Off-Grid Land was written by:

Gary Ashton REALTOR®
The Ashton Real Estate Group of RE/MAX Advantage
210 12th Ave South, Suite 201
Nashville, TN, 37203

garyashton.com
nashvillesmls.com
twitter.com/garyashton
linkedin.com/in/garyashton/

Starting a Survival Garden in 4 Simple Steps

Starting a Survival Garden in 4 Simple Steps

Disasters can occur anytime, and when they happen, food becomes scarce in the neighborhood. One of the most beneficial things you can do to prepare your family for these situations is to start a survival garden in your backyard.

What Is a Survival Garden?

A survival garden is a specially prepared small farm where you plant highly nutritious crops for your family’s dietary needs. The garden is also important when it comes to the production of vegetable that can be stored for future consumption. These food crops are selected mostly based on the calories they provide. They include protein, carbohydrates as well as fat producing crops.

Survival gardening is advantageous when it comes to natural disasters. With a survival garden, you are better prepared to face a food shortage problem that will likely affect society in times of disasters. Many harvested food crops from a survival garden also have long-term storage abilities like carrots, potatoes, onions, pumpkins, nuts as well as winter squash.

How to Start a Survival Garden

To start a survival garden, follow these simple steps:

1 – Identify the Perfect Location

When identifying the location for your garden, consider the following factors:

Sunlight – Survival garden should be located in a place that receives at least 6 hours of sunlight in a day. Most of these crops require sunlight as a source of energy for their growth and developments.

Accessibility – The garden should be near your home for easy monitoring. You can then easily check for pests, weeds, disease and the general conditions of the crops. Having it near also reduces the risk of thieves who may decide to harvest on your behalf.

Access to water – Your survival garden requires water for irrigation. This means that a water source must be available and accessible. It becomes easy to set irrigation system when the water source is near.

Fertile and well-drained soil – Most of the crops you plan to cultivate in the garden require proper drainage. A well-drained soil is well aerated, which allows the crops to grow well. You can also do some soil test to determine the nutrients level of the soil.

2 – Select Suitable Crops

Most survival garden crops are for family consumption. Therefore, you must determine how much your family consumes and then calculate how much your garden can produce. It is highly advisable to subdivide the garden into sections and also intercrop to ensure you cultivate several crops. Maximize the garden’s output but don’t intercrop crops that are not friendly.

Make a written plan for your garden. Ensure you have perennial crops like sage, mint, raspberry, blueberry, strawberries, bunching onions and asparagus in the garden. They should be planted at the back of the garden where they will be less disturbed. A survival garden should aim to produce several food crops either at the same time or in a sequence. Therefore, make sure you don’t plant crops that have the same pests or don’t follow each other in the sequence.

When selecting crops, be realistic and go for crops that are well adapted to the regions’ climate. On top of that, it is highly advisable to go for crops that your family loves and consumes more often. Also, consider the season of the year and make sure you incorporate those crops that can be preserved for future use. Don’t make it look too complicated, make it simple for a start so your garden can produce good harvests.

3 – Prepare the Land for Cultivation

If you want to harvest handsomely, you have to prepare your land properly. Clear the bush, plow, collect trash and compost it, and level the garden. Depending on the crop varieties you want to have in the garden, you can select to use either rows or bed. For crops like carrot and onions go for beds, and for crops like kales, cabbages, potatoes as well as corn go for rows.

Ensure you subdivide the cultivated land into plots that will be planted with different crops. If there is a plot, you want to mark and intercrop it to ensure you don’t affect the arrangement. Depending on the times of harvest you can plant some crops earlier to ensure they are not affected by competition for sunlight and nutrients.

When spacing your garden, also consider crops that require special training like tomatoes. Set the poles for training during planting to ensure you don’t disrupt other crops in your garden. If you are going for drip irrigation, make sure to set it properly to ensure crops get significant moisture for their growth. After planting it is necessary to fence the garden to keep off pest like rabbits, poultry, porcupines and squirrels

4 – Plant and Manage the Garden

Apply organic manure before planting, but if the soil needs a special nutrient boost, go for organic fertilizers. Use plant certified seeds as well as seedlings from certified seeds. After planting ensure that crops are well taken care of until they mature. Irrigate regularly and weed the garden when necessary. On top of that do pest monitoring as well as disease checks to ensure your garden is free from pests and diseases.

It is important to be well prepared for any disasters that can lead to a food shortage. With a well-prepared survival garden, you can cultivate the most important nutrient providing crops. The garden can be small, but with subdivision and intercropping, you can harvest enough. Follow these steps, and you will have the best garden that meets most of your family’s nutritional needs.

Resources & Further Reading

Planning A Survival Garden
Vegetable Gardening for Beginners
Planning Your Garden In Six Easy Steps

Guest Post Author Bio: Henry Rangkuti is a gardening enthusiast. His other passions include the outdoors, travel and technology. He writes about his gardening interest over at his website GardeningJourney.com.

6 Inexpensive Skills Every Prepper Needs

Take a second and think if there is anyone you know who has loads of supplies packed into their home. Now ask yourself if that person has the knowledge and skill level to employ that equipment in critical times. What about you? Do you have the know-how when the going gets rough?

Maybe you’re just getting started with prepping and have an extremely tight budget. Your community and family are going to need capable people who can execute vital tasks when times are hard and lives are on the line. Don’t sell yourself short if your finances prevent you from acquiring massive amounts of equipment for any number of disasters. Think about the people on the other side of the coin who have lots of gear, but not lots of training on how to use it. Aristotle’s said, “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts” and pulling together as a community can pull you through any difficult circumstances.

Take a stroll through any prepper website and you’ll see that a ton emphasis is placed on gear and gadgets. I’m here to tell you that skills beat gadgets any day of the week and twice on Sundays! Knowledge weighs nothing and you always have it on you. People often try to buy their way out of a problem, but skills are built through habit and time. Today we’re going to focus on 6 basic skills that every prepper needs: Shooting, Medical, Survival, Communication, Gardening, and Leadership.

Shooting

When things fall apart, it’s handy to know how to handle a weapon. Not just for self-defense purposes, but also for hunting. Even if you only have a .22 rifle, you can become deadly with it. Fancy scopes, match-grade barrels, suppressors and bi-pods are not required. A rifle with a sling in the hands of trained marksman can devastate an enemy force or consistently provide meat for the pot. You need to learn how to shoot – it can literally save your life!
Project Appleseed is a non-profit nationwide community of volunteers that teaches traditional rifle marksmanship that will “transform you from a person with a rifle into a principled and skilled Rifleman.” They offer inexpensive weekend shoots in nearly every state. Check out their site and get signed up for one of their events.

Medical

Medical emergencies don’t wait for the end of the world. They happen every day to thousands of people in your community. Trained First Responders can mean the difference between life and death. It’s likely that everyone will have to deal with some sort of medical or traumatic situation so it’s probably not a bad idea to learn how to deal with medical emergencies before they occur.

There are many counties/cities in every state that need volunteer firefighters. Since almost 80% of their calls are medically related, there are departments that will pay for your Emergency Medical Technician (EMT)- Basic Certification Course in return for your volunteer service to their department. This is an outstanding way to learn a crucial skill (for free) and get involved in your community. During my time as an EMT, I’ve seen first-hand the varied and extreme reactions of people’s response to stress while also developing the muscle memory to stay calm and provide emergency care to the sick and injured.

Survival

Whether you’re bugging out during a crisis or simply lost in the woods, survival skills are foundational to maintaining life. There are a lot of great resources on this topic that are free. Check out your local library for books or DVDs on survival. YouTube can also provide a lot of information regarding water purification, shelter building, fire-craft, signaling, navigation and snaring. There are a wide variety of techniques in the survival community so focus your search on practical skills and less on the primitive living techniques that can take years to master like fire by friction, tanning hides, flint-knapping, etc.

Communication

It’s a good idea to learn how to use radios now before you need them.For communities to effectively work together during catastrophes, they have to be able to communicate. In today’s society, we’ve become complacent with luxuries like the internet and cell phones that are highly vulnerable to failure when things go south.

In times of need, HAM radio operators stand in the gap to provide lifesaving information. This allows communities to prepare for incoming threats, make informed decisions, adjust provisions for crisis duration or work in concert with nearby communities. You can learn the basics of HAM radio with this free course.  Also, it’s less than $40 to get your license and using a simple handheld radio you can be talking to other operators in your community in no time!

Gardening/Canning

You’ve probably heard the saying that “Growing your own food is like printing your own money” and in hard times this has never been truer. Imagine your delight eating fresh tomatoes or strawberries after two weeks of freeze-dried food. Or opening a jar of raspberry jam in the middle of winter that you canned earlier that summer. Gardening and canning are skills that can be learned with a minimum amount of startup costs. If you have no idea where to start, check out your local county extension or city. They likely offer free workshops on these subjects and some even provide supplies to take home! Don’t worry if you don’t have a lot of space. A simple windowsill herb garden can teach you the learning curve that comes with gardening. The beauty of gardening is that even if the crisis never comes, you’ll still enjoy the fruits of your labor. Ha…you see what I did there?!

Leadership

Working together is a key factor to surviving disasters and leadership is a fundamental role in making that happen. Your community is a lot like a tribe and it needs leaders at the local level. Good leadership comes from being informed and understanding what people need in hard times. One part of leadership is understanding what planning and execution are taking place at the city, state and national level. FEMA has tons of free online courses so you can work together and relay community challenges using the local chain of command. Here is a snapshot of some of the courses they offer:

  • Understanding the Incident Command System
  • Emergency Planning
  • Decision Making and Problem Solving
  • Planning for the Needs of Children in Disasters
  • Natural Disaster Mitigation

There are also free courses on personal emergency preparedness offered by your city or county. A quick Internet search should point you in the right direction.

Sometimes the hardest part with most things in life is getting started. The good news is that you don’t need a fortune to start building your skillset. The danger here is not acting on this information; you have to apply it! Like Derek Sivers says, “If information were the answer we’d all be billionaires with perfect abs”. Now you know how to get started and move towards your goal. This can actually be a lot of fun. Invite a friend along with you and learn something new together. You might even find a new hobby!

This article was written by The Prepper Journal and can be viewed here

A Bug Out Bag for Frequent Flyers

A Bug Out Bag for Frequent Flyers

One of the challenges of being a dedicated prepper is that is almost impossible to cover all contingencies. No matter how well you plan, prepare and stock up, you can always have situations arise that you did not prepare for or count on.

For me, one of my almost daily challenges involves travel. I fly over 200,000 miles domestically every year. This can keep me on the road and in the air almost five days a week. Not the best “Bug Out” scenario, huh?

Over the past three years I have developed a travel-friendly, TSA compliant, carry on, bug out bag.

A Bug Out Bag for Frequent Flyers vs A Bug Out Bag for Frequent Flyers

First, let me say a few words about what you carry. Do not try to carry credit card knives, ceramic knives, or any type of knife device intended to be covert. TSA will find it and you will be arrested. I have witnessed this with my own eyes on several occasions.

A Bug Out Bag for Frequent FlyersA Bug Out Bag for Frequent FlyersA Bug Out Bag for Frequent Flyers

I am going to list each item and explain how it fits into the travel bug out bag scenario. Each item will have a “problem” rating. number will appear in parenthesis ahead of each item indicating how many times I have been stopped because of the item. If I have never been stopped because of the item, “NI” will appear indicating NO ISSUES.

First, EDC (Everyday carry) items. These items should be in your pockets when you approach the TSA checkpoint. You will be required to place these items into a TSA “dog dish” for pass thru in the scanner. Any keys, metal coins, cell phones, etc. must go into the dish as well.

  • (1Tactical 300-lumen flashlight – I have been stopped only once with this flashlight and TSA only wanted me to unscrew the lid to the battery compartment so they could view the battery
  • (NI) Standard “Bic” type lighter – Yes, believe it or not, you are allowed to carry a standard lighter with you. You cannot have any torch type or jet type lighter. These will be confiscated by TSA
  • (1Metal tactical ink pen – These pens are available in many shapes and sizes. Stick with the smaller size and make sure you can demonstrate that it writes if stopped and questioned about it (only questioned once)
  • (NIParacord bracelet – This a handy item for many situations and has never been an issue.
  • (NI) Large metal coin – A large metal coin can be used as a flat-head screwdriver, can be heated to seal wounds or as a hand warmer when placed in between two pieces of cloth. I have a large NRA coin that I have carried for six years. Challenge coins are great as well.

On to the bug out bag itself. I use the Travelon Packable Multi Pocket Back Pack. I do not unfold it, but leave it in its compact size. Unfolded it expands to 19” x 12.5” x 6”. I place it in my computer bag or shoulder messenger bag. Leaving it in its compact form, I still can put the following items in it:

  • (NIEton Scorpion AM/FM/NOAA Emergency Radio – This is one of the most compact radio units out there. It has both solar charging and crank operations. It has an LED flashlight built in and a tough rubberized case and is waterproof. A top-mounted carabiner will allow you to attach it to most anything.
  • (NIMylar space blanket – These have multiple uses and have never been an issue through security.
  • (NI) Generic Whistle/Compass/Signal Mirror Match Holder – You have seen these dorky things on every survival site on the web. They normally come with matches and a lanyard. REMOVE the matches. Bad day otherwise.
  • (NILifeline First Aid Kit – This is a small, compact kit containing the normal assortment of bandages, gauze, etc. NOTE: Remove the alcohol wipes and moist towelettes from the kit and place them in your quart-size, 3 oz or less TSA bag.
  • (NI) Hotel size bar soap – Never an issue
  • (NISmall sewing kit – Small variety of needles, safety pins, buttons and thread.
  • (NIEton Blackout Buddy H2O – This a small flashlight device that is activated by adding a few drops of water to a sealed compartment on the device. Last up to 12 hours.
  • (NICollapsible shopping bag – These fold up to about 2” X 2”. Great for stashing foraged supplies.
  • (NIHiking socks (2 pairs) – If TSHTF, you will probably be doing a lot of walking.
  • (2LifeStraw water filters – This is perfect for travel and will outlast your journey. I have been stopped twice with this item. Once I explained what it was, no problem.

Remember, you are already carrying a lot of useful items as part of your regular travel packing.

  • Spare clothing
  • Paper – Notebook paper makes great kindling
  • Pens, sharpies
  • Toiletries – toothbrush, toothpaste, shampoo, body wash, etc.

What scenarios would necessitate needing these preps?

Well, hopefully, you are on the ground if an EMP event happens. If you are lucky enough not to be plunging out of the sky, the items you have with you would allow you to start a trek on foot towards home, a safer situation, etc. If you have any experience in prepping for survival, you will be scavenging and foraging as you go.

A Bug Out Bag for Frequent Flyers A Bug Out Bag for Frequent Flyers

Economic collapse/civil unrest. When the economy goes, it will go quickly. The day the government handout checks will not cash, the country will plunge into anarchy. Angry entitlement recipients will begin looting, plundering and attacking anyone they see as privileged. Other than the tactical pen, the TSA has rendered you weaponless, so your skill set needs to include defensive techniques, etc.

Earthquake/natural disaster. Least likely if you travel domestically as I do but if it did happen, the LifeStraw could be the difference in life or death. Utilities are the first thing to shut down is these situations.

This is by no means an exhaustive list, this is just what I personally carry through trial and error with the TSA. Remember, the TSA has a horrible job. They have to deal with thousands of disgruntled flyers, flyers ignorant of the regulations, and defiant or drunk flyers as well. Your best chance to go through a TSA checkpoint unscathed is to be polite and treat them like humans. Most days, they do not want to be there any more than you do. Happy Trails and be safe out there.

This article was written by The Prepper Journal and can be viewed here

Body Armor for Survivalists - Why it Should Always Be Considered

Body Armor for Survivalists – Why it Should Always Be Considered

Nowadays, body armor is more of a necessity for civilians and survivalists. Anyone looking to be prepared in the event of civil unrest, natural disaster, terrorist attacks or any other unforeseen event understands the need for adequate protective equipment.

Body armor comes in many shapes and types, but you should have a good understanding of what it can and cannot do for. Essentially, no body armor is 100% bulletproof and different levels are only suited against the type of weapons they are tested against. This means that a bullet-resistant vest won’t be effective against knives, needles or other sharp-edged weapons. Conversely, there is a difference in how stab and slash resistant body armor works as well. Combined systems are available, but they are more expensive and cumbersome, so you have to carefully consider if they’re the right choice for you.

How is body armor categorized?

Based on the type of ballistic weapons it can stop, body armor can be classified as soft, semi-rigid and hard. Soft armor is the most commonly used – both by police officers and survivalists to stop handgun rounds. Semi-rigid plates are designed to minimize blunt force trauma while giving additional protection in high-risk scenarios. Hard armor is either ceramic or metal and is designed to stop modern battle carbines such as .223, 7.62 X 39, and .308, making it applicable in war zones and urban riot scenes.

When it comes to a decent array of pistol weapon threats, versatility, and affordability – the best choice is Level IIIa. This armor is considered as standard armor for law enforcement at this time. It offers enhanced protection over level IIa up to a 44mag and it also stops 357 Sig, which is a high-velocity round for a handgun.

What types of body armor are available?

Body armor vests come in two styles: covert and overt. Covert (concealable) body armor is used beneath clothing. For that reason, it is slim and lightweight and designed to end up being undetectable. This kind of body armor is typically made from moisture wicking fabric that will help to keep the person wearing them cool, and are also usually produced in lighter colors than other types of body armor.

Overt body armor is meant to be worn above your clothes, and as a result, it tends to be created from tougher fabrics than covert types of body armor. The idea of overt body armor is to be visible to other people, and for this reason, standard overt body armor covers are usually black, but there are plenty of other colors available. Frequently overt pieces of body armor will include high visibility strips, or be manufactured entirely from high visibility materials, meaning that the wearer stands out.

What to consider when selecting body armor?

Fit affects coverage. Body armor panels and carriers come in many different shapes, sizes, and comfort levels. Getting a proper size is crucial to ensuring your vest will fulfill its protective qualities. If it’s too big – it will be loose and won’t stop weapon projectiles. A carrier that is too tight will put too much strain on the delicate armor, wearing them off quicker.

It may seem like a good idea to immediately upgrade to hard body armor to increase your chances of survival, but don’t be quick to do it. Surviving depends a great deal on moving quickly from point A to point B without drawing attention to yourself. Heavy armor is, well, heavy. It restricts your movement and agility, making you an easy target. Heavy ceramic plates add weight to the carrier and make your protective gear easily visible – something you don’t want in a hostile environment.

Do some research and compare the different options on body armor available online. Make sure you measure correctly and select a vest that fits well, is lightweight and comfortable apart from offering a high level of protection – these are just a few of the ground rules that every survivalist should stick to when shopping for body armor.

Special Thanks to Alex Ashton from SafeGuard Armor for providing this informative article.