Tag Archives: DIY

Putting Together Your EDC Bag

Putting Together Your EDC Bag

Hopefully by now you have gone out and bought yourself an EDC bag.  If not, you should backtrack to my previous post, “What is an EDC bag and why should I have one” before continuing on.  At this point it is time to start getting all of your gear together and organizing it.  Yes this sounds like it can be a daunting task especially when trying to figure out which items you really need and which ones should be grouped together.  This article isn’t about keeping a few items that can fit into your pocket such as a knife, a few band aids and a cell phone – it’s about having all of the “essentials” on hand so that you are fully prepared for any situation that might arise.  If you really think a pocket sized kit is all you will need then I hope the only thing that happens is you fall off your bike because you were looking back at a hot chick and scraped your knee.

When you look at the list of items below I know you will probably think to yourself, “how am I supposed to put all this in my EDC bag ?”.  The amount of stuff you can carry will depend on the bag that you purchased, however, the main idea here is to still keep everything as compact as possible.  Many of these items are small and hardly take any room.  There may be some things that you will find you may not need while other items may be available in smaller sizes or formats that can do the same job just as effectively.

To help simplify things we will start by breaking everything down into categories.  Remember that we’re only trying to stock the bare necessities here, not create a complete survival bag.  The items I’ve listed below are just general suggestions.  You will need to determine exactly what you think will be needed to accommodate your bag.

Clothing and Apparel:Hiking Boots

You should keep a complete spare change of clothing in your bag as keeping yourself dry is very important.  Modify the type of items listed here to suit your location and and environment.

  • Pair of underwear and socks (add long-johns if you live in a colder climate)
  • Pair of jeans or pants made of high strength material
  • Pair of gloves and hat or bandana
  • T-shirt and sweater
  • Rain poncho
  • Dust mask
  • Add anything else that you would need for your location and climate but remember to keep everything as compact as possible.

Food and Water:Water

Having clean drinkable water should be your top priority with food following right behind.  If possible, get yourself a water bottle that has a filter built into it so in the case that you need to collect water from a nearby river or stream it will filter out most of the harmful bacteria.  Remember though, it’s always your safest bet to boil the water before you drink it regardless of where you found it.

  • Water bottle, canteen or survival straw with built in water filter (always keep it pre-filled with fresh clean water)
  • Water purification tablets
  • A few MRE’s (ready to eat meals)
  • A few packages of oatmeal, granola bars or high energy protein bars
  • Mixed dried fruit and nuts
  • Hard candies
  • P-38 can opener (in case you come across some cans of food along the way)

First Aid & Medical:First Aid Kit

A first aid kit is another critical component to your EDC bag.  While a pocket sized kit could do the trick you should keep in mind that it’s always better to put together your own kit rather than buying one that’s pre-made because not one kit that you purchase will be tailored to your exact medical needs.  If you choose to build your own kit you should know that many of these items can be found at the dollar store for a fraction of the cost.  Below are some standard items that you should include in your kit if you decide to put it together yourself.  Remove or add items to suit your needs.

  • Band aids – different sizes
  • Butterfly band aids
  • Gauze pads
  • Arm wrap (in case of a sprain or fracture)
  • Medical tape
  • Rubbing alcohol (to sterilize)
  • Peroxide (to disinfect the wound)
  • Polysporin (to help heal wounds and infections)
  • Puffers, Epee Pen, etc..
  • Suture kit
  • Any prescription and non-prescription medication you may require
  • Quick Clot or cayenne pepper (cayenne pepper will thicken the blood and help slow or stop the bleeding)
  • Tweezers
  • First aid manual

Navigation, Signaling and Lighting:Compass and Map

Regardless of where you live you should add a map of your local area into your pack in case you need to take a different unfamiliar route in order to get home or to a safer place.

  • A quality map compass
  • Map of local area and state/province
  • Whistle
  • Signal mirror
  • Glow sticks
  • LED flashlight or headlamp and extra batteries (store batteries separately)
  • Cell phone (preferably a smartphone)

Fire and Heat:Fire and Heat

Aside from having clean drinkable water at the top of your list, keeping yourself warm and dry is also extremely important and being able to make a fire is extremely important.  Hypothermia can set in faster than you think so keep this in consideration when adding any of these items to your bag.  You will want to be able to make a fire in any type of weather so I personally would go with a magnesium fire starter.

  • Waterproof strike anywhere matches, Windproof lighter, Magnesium fire starter or flint and steel
  • Hand and foot warmers (if you live in a colder area)
  • Emergency candles
  • Space blanket (can also be used to create a shelter)



You may come across a time or place where you will need to have the cover of shelter perhaps to ride out the night or to protect yourself from the elements.  Carrying an actual tent or other shelter with you wouldn’t make sense as they would be too bulky and wouldn’t fit in your EDC bag anyway.  Instead, you will probably have to improvise and make one out of available materials.  Here are a few items that can help you to make one:

  • Small tarp (can be used as a wall or roof for your shelter)
  • Large black garbage bags
  • Rain poncho
  • Paracord (to tie and hold together your shelter)

Protection:Fixed Blade Buck Knife

People do crazy things when under pressure and stress, especially during the after affects of a severe natural disaster or when society has broken down.  Besides yourself, everyone else will be in full survival mode and being able to protect yourself will be crucial.  Here are a few items that you should consider putting in your EDC bag:

  • Pepper or bear spray
  • Pocket knife (preferably a quality knife with a fixed blade)
  • Hand gun with spare bullets
  • Taser gun

Tools and other misc items:Gerber Suspension

Aside from some of the items above, here are a few more which you will want to have on hand and will find to be very useful in many scenarios.

  • 50 feet of 550lb paracord
  • Pen and pad of paper
  • Adjustable wrench (to turn off gas valves, tons of other uses)
  • Multi-tool
  • Cable ties
  • Small mini screw driver with bits (to fix eye glasses or other small items)
  • Small hose (you might have to siphon gas) – has many other uses
  • Roll of quarters (for pay phones) and at least $100 – $200 in small bills (you never know when you’ll need to make an emergency purchase or have to buy your way out of trouble

Lastly, you will need to make sure that all of your supplies stay dry.  I previously wrote an article on different ways to “waterproof your backpack” and it’s contents.  Although I used backpacks as an example you can still use the same ideas for your EDC bag.  Click here to read it.

Best of luck with building your EDC bag and let us know what you put in yours in the comments below!

This article was written by INCH Survival and can be viewed here:


Your First Hydroponic Plant (Beginner’s Guide)

st5-300x225Start your very first miniature hydroponic plant! A recommended guide for beginners who both loves planting and technology. I’m going to show you how to make one in less than 15 minutes, out of household materials! Our tiny “Hydroponic System” kinda cost us $5-7.


Recommended Seeds/ Plants:
– Tomato Seeds/ Plant
– Mung Beans/ Plant (We used this one)
– Chili Pepper


Step 1: Gathering Your Tools And Materials

Parts & Materials: (Some links are just alternative, I bought mine for $5)

– Recycled Container (Free)
– Controlled Fertilizer ($1.00)
– DC Water Pump ($4.00)
– A Cheap Mini Funnel ($0.10)
– Aquarium Tubing ($0.40)
– Water Flow Valve ($0.20)
– T-Shaped Splitter ($0.10)
– Super Glue/ Epoxy ($1.00)

Recommended Pump Kit: DIY Water Pump Motor Water Pipe Power Supply Set ($12.90)

Tools & Equipment:
– Leatherman Multitool (Gift From: Instructables)
– Rotary Tool (Dremel/ Black & Decker)
– Permanent Marker
– Soldering Iron
– Hot Glue Gun
– 12inch Ruler

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Step 2: Installing The Water Distribution System In Your Funnel

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Our hydroponic setup uses a simple water drip system. Water needs to reach the plant, also needs to get distributed evenly.

1st.)  Drill a hole on your funnels side for the T-splitter.
2nd.) Measure the inner circumference of your funnel and cut a strip of tube [Formula: (2)(π)(r)]
3rd.)  Slit some hole on your tube using a knife, be sure to slit it on 5 even sides. Use a ruler!
4th.)  Connect your tube on the T-shapped splitter
5th.)  Apply a few drops of super glue to mount your assembled drip system (tube) on your funnel

Step 3: Glue The Assembled Funnel To The Cover

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This is a three step procedure, be careful in handling knives and hot-glue.

1st.)  Trace your funnel on top of your container’s cover
2nd.) Use your leatherman’s knife  to cut a hole cleanly
3rd.)  It’s now time to warm up your gluegun and mount the funnel to your container’s cover. Be sure to seal in the gaps!

Step 4: Installing Your Water Pump

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There are some factors to consider in buying water pumps, the AC (outlet type) consumes a lot electricity and isn’t compatible with solar panels, the DC (battery type) can be easily hooked to a solar panel w/battery, providing free electricity 24/7.

Okay lets get started! What I have here is a non-submersible water pump, which I found from my inventory. I had to drill a hole on the container in order to add a pinch valve (water flow valve). The pump is slightly elevated since it is not water proof.

Step 5: Finalizing The Setup

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I saw this pack of fertilizer lying around my our garden, it was my dad’s. It’s a typical complete & controlled fertilizer for general purpose. For my setup, I just dropped 2 table spoons of fertilizer. If your concerned for your plant’s nutrition, there are some fertilizers designed for hydroponic setups found in Amazon.com

Use smooth pebbles to hold your plant’s roots, make sure they are tucked in firmly.

Step 6: Soil Planting Vs. Hydroponics

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Here are our the results of our experimentation for our investigatory project in school. You can find a significant difference between the comparison of the soil planted plant and the hydroponic plant. The hydroponic plant started as the underdog, time passed it managed to surpass the growth of the soil planted plant.

Bottom Line: Plants planted on a hydroponic medium, grows faster = Hydroponic Wins!

By Ascas

This article can also be viewed here at Outlive The Outbreak

DIY Miracle Healing Salve

Miracle-Healing-SalveFor the past six weeks, I have been exploring alternatives to over-the-counter ointments, salves, and beauty products.  Not only are these products expensive, but as I have learned time and time again, they don’t always work.

Starting with a basic formula for healing salve that I found on the internet, I decided to make my own all-purpose salve and to test it on various ailments to see how it worked.  I added a bit of this, subtracted a bit of that and came up with I call my own Miracle Healing Salve.  The funny thing is that when the final results came in, the formula that worked the best as an all-purpose salve was a version included the same blend essential oils I have been using for muscle aches these past ten plus years.  Go figure.

As easy as this Miracle Healing Salve is to make – and it is easy – it just works. I will share some of the uses that I have become ecstatic about but first, the recipe.

Miracle Healing Salve – The Recipe

1  Cup Coconut Oil (not fractionated)
1  Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
5  Tbl. Organic Beeswax Pastilles

8 each 2 ounce jars or containers ** OR **
4 each 4 ounce mason jars

To each 2 ounce jar add: (double if you are using 4 ounce Mason jars)
5 drops Lavender essential oil
5 drops Rosemary essential oil
5 drops Peppermint essential oil
a few drops of Vitamin E (optional)

1.  Put a pot of water on the stove to simmer.  While the water is heating, put the coconut oil, olive oil and beeswax pastilles in a heatproof jar or measuring cup.










2.  Set the jar filled with the coconut oil, olive oil, and wax into the water and leave it there until it melts, giving it a stir from time to time.  You want a slow, gentle melt so take your time.  It could take 15 or 20 minutes depending on the temperature of the water bath.









3.  While the ingredients are melting, drop your essential oils into each of the containers.  Hint:  I have found that it is easier to use a glass medicine dropper than the dropper that comes with the bottle of essential oil.  This is optional and a matter of personal preference.









4.  Pour the melted oils into each of the smaller jars containing essential oils.  There is no need to stir unless you want to since the oils will mix up on their own.









5.  Cover the jars with a paper towel or cloth and set them aside for up to 24 hours.  Although the salve will start to firm up within minutes, it takes at least 12 hours to complete the firming process.  (The purpose of the cover is to keep out dust, bugs and other nasties that may be floating around.)


A Word About the Ingredients

Coconut oil is a natural moisturizer and is antibacterial.  Olive oil is chock full of anti-oxidants and has anti-inflammatory properties.

Lavender is a natural antibiotic, antiviral, antifungal and antiseptic.  It is a master healer that also helps to prevent scaring.  Rosemary is also antiseptic and an excellent treatment for muscle aches.  Peppermint is an anti-inflammatory and is also antiseptic.  Are you seeing a pattern here?

The optional Vitamin E is an antioxidant and is also used as a natural preservative.

10 Ways (So Far) to Use Miracle Healing Salve

These are the ways I have used this salve with success.  I am sure there are others that are yet to be discovered but these make a darn good start!

1.  Hand and foot moisturizer:  An unbelievably emollient hand and foot moisturizer.  No more dry hands and feet.

2.  Relief for nocturnal foot and muscle cramps (rub on the bottom of your feet and on your calves before going to bed – this really works!)

3.  Eliminates symptoms of eczema and psoriasis:  With the addition of 5 to 10 drops of Melaleuca oil (tea tree) to a jar of Miracle Salver, the patch of psoriasis on Shelly’s elbow has all but disappeared. In the past he has tried everything including diet changes and prescription drugs.  It has taken about 3 weeks for the Miracle Healing Salve to do its thing.  Gone are the ugly crusty patches.

4.  Antiseptic Ointment for life’s little bumps and bruises:  Instead of Neosporin, reach for Miracle Healing Salve to both soothe and heal cuts and scrapes.

5.  Promotes healing of scars:  Slather the Miracle Salve over new scars and watch them heal in days rather than weeks.  You can barely see the scar from my recent surgery. It is no longer tender, red and angry looking.

6.  Makeup Remover: Smear on your face the wipe away your makeup with a damp washcloth.

7.  Facial moisturizer and serum:  Yes, really.  You would think it would be greasy but the oils absorb quickly and leave your face with a nice, dewy texture.

8. Cuticle and nail conditioner: No more ragged cuticles or dry, splitting nails.  This is a byproduct of being diligent about #2.  It just happened without my realizing it.

8. Hair serum: A few drops liquefied in your palms and then smoothed over your hair will leave it shiny and less fly-away.

10.  Relieve pet scratching and itching: Tucker the Dog was scratching himself in one spot on his belly so I put a little Miracle salve on the spot and a couple of days later he stopped.  Was it the smell,  the healing properties or just a coincidence?  I don’t know but it worked.


Items replaced by Miracle Healing Salve

The Final Word

You have not heard the last of this.  In addition to Miracle Healing Salve, I have made batches of Tea Tree Skin Ointment and Lemon Salve.  These are themes of the basic formula that were put together to take advantage of the specific properties of oils used in their formulation.  I am also experimenting with an infusions of dried oregano and olive oil.

As with all things at Backdoor Survival, I am testing first posting later.  Stay tuned!

This article was written by Gaye Levy and can be viewed at Backdoor Survival

Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!

If you have not done so already, please be sure to like Facebook which is updated every time there is an awesome new article, news byte, or link to a free survival, prepping or homesteading book on Amazon.  You can also follow Backdoor Survival on TwitterPinterest, and Google+.

In addition, when you sign up to receive email updates you will receive a free, downloadable copy of my e-book The Emergency Food Buyer’s Guide.

One Log DIY Rocket Stove

OneLogRocketStoveWithPan_500x375One of the most common questions that I am asked  from non-prepper friends and acquaintances is what exactly is a rocket stove and how do I get one.  I try not to roll my eyes over this because although rocket stoves are common among campers, backpacking enthusiasts and former boy scouts, they are a relative unknown to city dwellers and individuals that do not spend a lot of time outdoors.

According to Wikipedia, a rocket stove is an efficient cooking stove using small diameter wood fuel which is burned in a simple high-temperature combustion chamber containing an insulated vertical chimney that ensures complete combustion prior to the flames reaching the cooking surface. Seems simple enough, especially when you consider that rocket stoves are found more commonly in third world countries where wood fuel sources are scarce so an efficient system for converting twigs, branches, pinecones, leaves and other bits of biomass to fuel is essential to cooking.

There are a number of commercial versions available and indeed, I own both the Solo StoveSurvival Friday: One Log DIY Rocket Stove   Backdoor Survival and the EcoZoom Versa.  On the other hand, if you are a bit handy with some basic tools, you can build your own for as little as a dollar or too.  All it takes is a bit on interest and a bit of work. Last month I connected with Ken Youngquist at SurvivalTek regarding a unique rocket stove that he built from a log her found on his property.  The advantage of this particular rocket stove was that it was elevated, making it easy on the back while feeding fire or cooking.  Not only that, it kept you off of the damp ground, which, depending on where you live, is a big plus. I was fascinated by the one log rocket stove and shared it over on Facebook where it received a ton of comments.  Today, on Survival Friday, I share it with you.

The One Log Rocket Stove

Years ago I wrote about how to make “The Swedish Log Candle” and have since noticed many variations of the same theme appear throughout the internet. While log candles can be used for cooking, rocket stoves in general have been a popular topic as well. There are now a number of various rocket stoves that are made out of a single log, similar in effect to a log candle. After viewing several videos on one log rocket stoves I decided to try it out for myself. Although I believe pine would be a preferred wood, I used a seasoned poplar log that I had available. I recommend using a corded high-torque drill for this process. I set the 14″ log upright and used a 1 1/2″ blade bit to drill a 6″ deep hole down the center from the top. Then I laid the log on it’s side and drilled a second hole, intersecting the first hole at it’s bottom end.

Just a note: at the point of intersection, a blade bit can give a hellacious “kick” so be careful as you approach that point. After blowing out the saw dust I set the log upright to begin preparing it for fire.

As long as I took the liberty of using an electric drill to make a natural material rocket stove, I also took the liberty of using a manufactured tinder by using bamboo skewers. Purists can figure a way to approach this project more naturally but I figured “who cares? This is fun!” I collected a bundle that was about a third of the volume of the hole and poured gasoline on it and the hole walls before inserting them down the shaft. It’s important to “wet” vs. “flood” so as not to have the fluid stream out the bottom hole. Use caution when lighting it with a match or lighter. In this case gasoline was handy but other accelerants would work as well.


Conventional rocket stoves have larger diameter holes and thus fuel can be fed from the bottom hole. When I tried this approach it seemed to choke out the airway and snuff out the existing flame, so I recommend feeding any kindling from the top during the initial process of establishing the stove’s fire. Once the flame was established I selected three 1″ high stones that I placed around the top surface of the log which became the tripod or trivet for my pot and pan. I initially brought a pot of water to boil for coffee, then continued with a pan with which to fry bacon and eggs. Although this rocket stove takes some “manufacturing” to make, it is a great project for a number of reasons. These can be made ahead of time and stored for power outages, camping trips and garden gatherings. Outside of a little tinder and some accelerant, they are self contained and don’t require the gathering and consumption of local natural materials. They can be controlled and extinguished by using a spray bottle of water and thus can be used multiple times. Because it is elevated, it can also be used in a wet environment. Furthermore, they last for hours and are a joy to use.

About Ken Youngquist:  SurvivalTek is the creation of Ken Youngquist, a guy who from his youth was captivated by primitive living skills, and in his adulthood, was intrigued by the television Series MacGyver. The result has been the study and practice of survival skills, and the desire to pass on the mantle of preparedness to others.  SurvivalTek contains almost 6 years of weekly articles that support subjects of interest to those of us wanting to learn more about survival and preparedness techniques.

The Final Word

Having the ability to cook outdoors is so important that I tend to write about the various options frequently.  This is definitely an area where one size does not fit all.  Whether you prefer to build one yourself using Ken’s method, build one using the method described in Building a DIY Rocket Stove or purchase one outright, there are a number of options available to insure that you will be able to cook when the grid is down. And just when you think you are all set, don’t forget to practice using your rocket stove!  As with all survival skills, practice makes perfect.  Learning how to build a fire in your rocket stove and how to cook with it is an all-important task that should be done 3 or 4 times a year, just for practice sake. The bonus is that you might actually have a bit of fun in the process.  And who can argue with that? Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation! Gaye.  This article can also be viewed at Backdoor Survival If you have not done so already, please be sure to like Facebook which is updated every time there is an awesome new article, news byte, or link to a free survival, prepping or homesteading book on Amazon.  You can also follow Backdoor Survival on Pinterest. In addition, when you sign up to receive email updates you will receive a free, downloadable copy of my e-book The Emergency Food Buyer’s Guide.

Batteries Not Included: 3 Ways To Cook Food In Any Situation

Campfire-pineconeYou may have enough food stored away to get you through a disaster, but do you have a way to cook it?  I was feeling pretty confident about my supply of food, until the power went out for 2 weeks!  I quickly realized it’s pointless having food if you don’t have a way to cook it (unless you enjoy eating dried pasta and beans).

To truly be a Survival Mom you need to take the next step and figure out a way to cook your food without power.

I’m spoiled, I’ll admit it, I don’t think I’ve gone a day without electricity until a hurricane swept through our town and taught me a lesson I would never forget.

Immediately afterwards, I researched different powerless cooking methods so I would never be in the same predicament again.

There are plenty of options out there, but I noticed many of them can be costly. No need to worry though, because I have you covered!

Not only are these 3 powerless cookers practically free, you can make most of them with the scraps you have just lying around. You’ll be saving a chunk of cash, re-purposing items, and becoming prepared all at the same time.

Try and pick 1 powerless cooker to make, or if you’re feeling extra ambitious… make all 3!

Apple box oven

Apple Box Oven

The apple box Oven uses about 1/2 the charcoal that a Dutch oven uses and gives the same results as baking in a regular oven! A lot of the meals in my food storage need to be baked in an oven, so going without one would be tough! You can bake 3 loaves of bread at the same time, cook your famous casserole, or make anything else your heart desires. Even if you don’t want to make one right now, you can always gather up the supplies and throw them in an apple box. Then if you’re ever without power you’ll have something to do!



Fuel Needed:

  • CHARCOALS – about 17 coals to cook for 1 Hour @ 350
  • FOR ONE YEAR – you will need 22 bags of charcoal (16 lbs. each)
  • DON’T FORGET – store extra newspapers & matches to light the charcoal.


  • Click HERE for Step-by-Step Instructions

rocket stove close up

Rocket Stove

This is definitely one of my favorites! If you think living without an oven is hard, try living without a stove! I’m constantly using my stove to ground beef, heat-up food, and cook quesadillas! This may not look too impressive, but it only requires a handful of twigs to cook an entire meal. You won’t have to worry about cutting down a forest just to eat if you have one of these. It’s easy to use and most of all, it gets the job done!


  •  10 CAN W/ LID
  • 2 LARGE 28oz CANS

Fuel Needed:

  • TWIGS – A handful of twigs will cook an entire meal!
  • FOR ONE YEAR – Store a pile of wood that you can chop pieces off of to use in the stove.
  • DON’T FORGET – Make sure to save your dryer lint to help fuel the fire, and store plenty of matches.


  • Click HERE for Step-by-Step Instructions

the wonder oven

Wonder Oven

This oven truly is wonderful! It’s like a crock-pot but without a cord attached to the wall. It’s even better too, because while it keeps hot things hot, it also keeps cold things cold! Ice cream will stay frozen inside for over 4 hours, meaning you no longer have to run everyone off the road when coming home from the store!

To cook in it, you’ll first need to boil your food for about 10 minutes and then immediately place your pot inside the wonder oven. It will continue to cook and keep your food warm until you’re ready to eat! I told you it is wonderful!



Fuel Needed:

  • NONE!
  • DON’T FORGET – When cooking you’ll need to get your food boiling for about 10 minutes before placing it into the wonder oven. A rocket stove is a great option to use to help get the food boiling, so make sure to store some extra wood.


  • Click HERE for Step-by-Step Instructions

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

No need to wait for the power to go out to start enjoying your home-made powerless cookers. I’ve started taking the rocket stove on camping trips and even use my wonder oven to cook food on the way to visit Grandma.

Remember; just try making at least 1 powerless cooker! You never know when you might need to put your skills to the test, so don’t wait too long to start collecting your scraps!

Believe me; no one enjoys eating dried pasta, not even the dog!

View the original article on SurvivalMom.com

By  on September 13, 2013

This article can also be viewed at Survival Life