HOW TO PREPARE FOR ECONOMIC COLLAPSEIt may seem odd to think about how to prepare for economic collapse and the possibility of a complete US or a global imminent economic collapse right now. After all, the stock market is up and unemployment is down- things have gotten markedly better than they have been in years. There are those that believe that we are in the exact same place we were in 2008, right before we slipped into one of the worst recessions in US history. With our stock market set up with artificially inflated numbers due to an overly aggressive bond-buying program, we may soon see the entire economic system collapse upon itself. The entire market is currently predicated on a system of borrowing and investing and financial engineering that can’t bear its own weight.

So that raises the question; how to prepare for economic collapse? We don’t mean the stock market dropping a little, or the price of gas going up a few dimes. We mean to say the complete collapse of the economic marketplace that would make your bank accounts void and the currency in your pocket to become worth only as much as the cost of the paper. What if you had a newborn or small child at home, you as the head of your household have an obligation to protect your family. You need to know what is going to help you and your loved ones survive an economic collapse.

3 Tips on How to Prepare for Economic Collapse!

  1. Bartering Will Be Huge

Bartering is our oldest system of currency; physical goods or services for physical good or services- square deals built on a handshake. When money becomes worthless, barter will once again become the currency of the common man. That means you need to have either goods to trade, or a trade to ply. A few good items that you can stock up on now that will have huge value include personal toiletries, salt, liquor, staple foods, and if you have the ability and room- livestock and small game. As for trades, make sure you have some skills that will be in demand. You may be a marketing director now, but there will be little need for those skills in a collapse. Find a skill that will have real value; whether it is gardening, blacksmithing, knife sharpening, vehicle and mechanical repair, carpentry- anything that can provide a real and practical value.

  1. Don’t Trust All Your Money to the Bank

If the grid went down tomorrow every dollar in your account would float away like so much data. Don’t leave your survival to chance. While paper money will eventually become worthless, in the beginning cash will be king. There will be those who believe the system will right itself and they will be rich with all the cash they make. Keeping this in mind, start stashing away a little bit of cash every time you can. $20 here and there, maybe $100 when you can- anything to start a safety net of cash.

Eventually once you have a pretty good stockpile, say $5000, you should start considering a real investment.

  1. Precious Metals Will Always Have Value

Even as our dollar lowers in value every day, precious metals like gold and silver are steadily climbing in value. In 2006 gold was priced out at $472 dollars an ounce. As of this writing, it has climbed to a staggering $1,132.85. It has nearly tripled in value over a 9 year period. You won’t find a stock market investment that will yield that kind of return. As the dollar deteriorates, it will be precious metals that our economy turns to.

When answering the question how to prepare for economic collapse you have to keep in mind that disasters don’t really care very much whether you believe in them or not. That’s part of their strength, they happen when we least expect it and often despite our best efforts and intentions. You owe it to yourself and your family to be prepared for the very real possibility of a coming economic collapse. Nothing we have talked about here can hurt, it is all solid and logical. The only thing you are doing is giving yourself the peace of mind that you can protect your family and continue to provide for them.

Let’s keep the discussion going.

Comment below with any suggestion on how to prepare for economic collapse.

Smith’s Products Edgesport Survival Knife and Kit Review

Hey there fellow “bugged out preppers!” I was recently contacted by a representative of Smith’s Products asking if I could review some of their products. How cool is that? I said yes of course, and they even suggested we give away 1 of each of the products I review to one lucky person. More on how to be entered in the contest later.

Smith's Products Edgesport Survival Knife and Kit Review blog imageThe first of 5 reviews is the Edgesport Survival Knife and Kit from Smith’s Products. I started with this survival kit because it is one of their smaller kits and costs only $39.99 (as of 06/23/2015). This is a small, yet useful survival kit and should not be confused for a full out bug out bag. It doesn’t come close. However, it is great for someone who is out hiking or biking through the woods.

This kit is listed as an 11 piece survival kit, but came with a few more items if you count the whistle that is attached to the fire starter, or the signal mirror that was in kit, but not one of the listed items. I’ll list everything included below in the features section, and I will elaborate on a few of the key features.  I will also elaborate on one of the shortcomings of the kit.

The Edgesport Survival Knife is full of bells and whistles

While reviewing the Edgesport Survival Knife and Kit, I first grabbed hold of the knife. I bet all of you would have done the same thing. It came out of the packaging very sharp. I was easily able to shave off the hair on my arm without needing to use the diamond sharpening rod which stores inside the knife handle. The knife blade is made of 440A stainless steel which is highly rust resistant, so no need to worry about rust. However, 440A steel is a low cost stainless steel which may become evident with a lot of use.

The handle is made of plastic, but doesn’t feel cheap. Rather, it feels really comfortable with the soft grip. While using the knife, the locking mechanism was reliable and I felt safe using this knife for a variety of tasks.

Hidden within the knife handle are three other tools. One, which I mentioned earlier, is the diamond sharpening rod. Also included is a fire starter rod with a whistle attached to the end. After getting the black protective coating off the fire starter, it sparked really well. I will have a video up later showing how I made a fire using this kit.

Weather resistant container

All the items in the survival kit fit nicely within the orange pouch. It is described as being water resistant which it is, but it can be improved. One really critical aspect of the container is that it does not have zipper or any way to seal it. The top stays open leaving space for water to enter. I was able to fold the top over and then connect the clips. While this does close off the top it deforms the container a bit and doesn’t really resemble the image. The clear front cover is handy to identifying what you have packed and does a good job repelling water. The open top isn’t a huge problem but if you anticipate being around water I suggest moving the contents into a water-proof bag.

Survival Guide included

Not only does Smith’s Products pack the kit with useful items for survival, they also include a one page survival guide to keep with the kit that will help you use the kit in a survival situation.

Included is a simple checklist:

  1. Water
  2. Food
  3. Smith’s Outdoor Survival Kit
  4. Hat
  5. Extra clothing
  6. Duct tape
  7. Map and compass
  8. Leave an itinerary and map of where you will be staying with someone.

This particular survival kit comes with about 3 feet of duct tape which is decent for a starter kit, but may not be enough for a long term survival situation. Keep in mind this kit is not designed to survive an Apocalypse. So, if you think you will need more than 3 feet, go ahead and pack some extra. There are countless uses for duct tape, from fixing clothes, shoes or building a shelter. You will will be happy it’s there when you need it.

The guide also covers the basics of first aid, building a shelter, signaling for help, finding a water source, and locating food. Using the tips in the survival guide will greatly increase your chance of survival. Just don’t forget it’s in there though.

Features and Specifications

  • Whistle (it’s loud)
  • Fire starter (stores in handle of survival knife)
  • Diamond knife sharpener (stores in handle of survival knife)
  • Locking blade
  • Rubber grip on bottom of handle
  • Pocket clip
  • Striker
  • 440A stainless steel blade
  • Tinder
  • Emergency blanket
  • Lightweight & durable construction
  • Fishing kit
  • Duct tape
  • Collapsible cup
  • Weather resistant container
  • Survival guide (very useful)
  • Zip ties (can never have enough)
  • Safety pins
  • Pocket clip

Overall, this survival kit packs a big punch for being so small. The fire starter and tinder’s enable you to create and maintain a fire quickly in the event of a survival situation. Hey, you may even get to use the fishing kit to catch some fish and cook over your fire. Then while you’re at it, why not use the collapsible cup to wash down your fresh fish with some water you found using the tips in the survival guide.

All joking aside, Smith’s Products Edgesport Survival Knife and Kit provides the avid outdoorsman a compact and lightweight kit to bring along to safeguard against an emergency or survival situation. While it is not a replacement for a bug out bag, it definitely has a place for hikers and other outdoors-man who need something that provides the essentials for survival.

Check out the survival kit here:

Lastly, don’t forget to enter the contest for a chance to win one of these kits, click here to go to the contest page and follow the three easy steps. (contest is over)

We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.

Keeping Warm at Night During Your Bug Out

I think that most of us have a somewhat idealized vision of bugging out. We see it more as a way of getting away from it all and enjoying some time communing with nature. When we imagine ourselves on a bug out, we see nice weather, beautiful mountain scenes and a deer in our sights. Nice picture, isn’t it? But then there’s reality.

When the time comes to actually bug out, it’s probably going to be cold, wet and miserable. The highway will turn into a parking lot and we’ll be stuck abandoning our cars to head out on foot. It will be muddy, our flashlight won’t work, and we’ll have trouble finding anywhere at all to camp for the night, let alone an “ideal” campsite, like we saw in our imagination. With all the rain or snow, starting a fire will be an exercise in patience, rather than a demonstration of our survival skills.

Weather has a nasty way of playing tricks on us, especially at times when we need it to be cooperative. So, instead of planning the ideal bug out, we’d be much better off planning on everything going wrong. That way, we’re ready if it does and if the weather is actually nice, we can be pleasantly surprised.

Bugging out in bad weather adds a lot more challenges to our survival scenario. The biggest is trying to keep warm. Since hypothermia is the biggest killer in the wild, keeping warm is something that we can’t ignore. Even being a little bit cold could have drastic consequences, especially if it’s wet out too. Of course, that problem increases at night, simply because it pretty much always gets colder at night.

So, how do you make sure that you can stay warm at night during your bug out?

4 ways to Keep Warm at Night During Your Bug Out

Start by Staying Dry

The most important single thing you can do to keep warm out in the wild is to keep yourself from getting wet. Water draws heat out from our bodies, just like sweat does. Since most clothing will absorb and hold water, it increases this effect. In fact, most wet clothing will make you lose body heat faster than if you were standing their naked. A wet down coat can make you lose body heat 300 times faster!

Proper selection of clothing will go a long way towards keeping you dry. Your outer layer must be water resistant. That’s even better than being waterproof. Water resistant fabrics will cause the water to bead up and run off, like waterproof ones will. The big difference is that water resistant fabrics will also breathe, keeping the inside of your clothes from getting wet from your sweat.

The old Army rain ponchos were famous for this. You’d put on a rain poncho, because it was raining, and within a half-hour you were soaked under your poncho, from your own sweat. I always wondered what good they did.

You also want to make sure you keep your pack dry. If your pack isn’t waterproof, then you want to make sure that you have a waterproof cover for it or that your rain poncho is big enough to cover it as well. A backpack full of wet clothes and a wet sleeping bag won’t help you keep warm.

Make Camp Early

When traveling through the wild, it’s always a good idea to stop a couple of hours before sundown to make camp. This is even more important when it’s wet and cold out, as the temperature can drop drastically at sundown. If you don’t have your camp ready when the sun falls, you could fall prey to hypothermia before you can get it done.

There’s a lot to preparing a proper camp, starting with finding a good place for it. You’ll have a much easier time finding a good campsite during daylight hours, than you will at night.

The Right Sleeping Equipment

Since you’re probably going to sleep at night, having the right sleeping equipment is extremely important. The most important piece of equipment is your sleeping bag. I’m a firm believer in having a warm sleeping bag. If there’s a choice between two types of bags, for two temperature ranges, I’ll always go with the warmer bag. If I’m too warm, I can always open it a bit; but if it’s not warm enough, there’s not much I can do.

That’s why I like the North Face Furnace Sleeping Bag. It’s rated down to zero degrees, which is colder than I ever expect to experience. So, even if I’m stuck bugging out in the worst of weather, my sleeping bag will be warm enough.

Although the sleeping bag is the most important piece of equipment, it’s not the only one. Sleeping bags tend to crush on the bottom side from your body weight. The Furnace is designed with that in mind, having a special padding on the bottom side to compensate for that; but if your bag doesn’t have something like that, you need something to insulate you from the ground. Otherwise, cold ground could draw off your body heat.

The easiest way to solve that problem is with an inflatable or hard foam sleeping pad, like the ALPS Mountaineering Lightweight Self-Inflating Air Pad. That provides extra insulation between your body and the ground, eliminating that problem. Another way is to add a rescue blanket beneath the sleeping bag. If you’re going to do this, don’t use the thin emergency blankets, but rather a heavy-duty one.

You’re also going to need a good backpacking tent to keep the rain off of your sleeping bag. A double walled tent, like the Coleman Holligan 2 will go a long way towards keeping your warmer. The outer tent cover is actually a rain cover, but it also creates an air space between it and the inner cover, helping to keep heat in.

Build Your Fire Right

You’re definitely going to want a fire to help keep you warm on those cold nights. Building a fire in wet weather can be extremely tricky, but you can still do it, if you watch out for a couple of details. First of all, make sure that your fire is sheltered from the rain. Building it under some overhanging tree branches will go a long way towards making sure it doesn’t get doused by the rain. Also, make sure that it’s in a place where it won’t be flooded out. Raise it up off the ground a couple of inches, with a bed of rocks, so that it won’t be washed out.

Placing a large rock or building a pile of rocks behind your fire will help heat your tent, by reflecting the heat from the fire back to you. The fire will heat the rocks, which will then radiate the heat. That heat will go straight out towards you, helping to keep you and your tent warm.

Stack your extra firewood near the fire, so that the heat from the fire can help to dry it out. You’ll also want to cover it, so that the rain can’t fall on it. Dry wood will give you a much better fire, with much less smoke to advertise your position.

Sound off in the comments below on other ways you have used to stay warm while out in the wild.



How to Get Your Spouse On-Board with Prepping

How to Get Your Spouse On-Board with PreppingThere’s a very common problem that many people run into when they first become interested in prepping; that’s the problem of their spouse, or in the case of those who aren’t married, their “significant other” as the politically correct term has come to be known. It’s rare that a couple both develop an interest in prepping at the same time. Usually, one sees what’s happening in the world around them and decides they need to do something, while the other has their eyes closed to all that.

Even worse than having a spouse who’s eyes are closed to the problems we all face is having one that wants their eyes closed. Maybe they just don’t like to think about anything bad happening, but more likely they are counting on Big Brother government to take care of them. They haven’t realized that the government has a very poor track record of doing that.

Prepping without your spouse can be an especially challenging proposition. Not only does it help to work together on doing all that needs to be done, but there’s the problem of money. Spending money on stockpiling food and other supplies, when your spouse isn’t in agreement, can become a bone of contention in any marriage, especially when spending that money means that you might not be able to do something else that your spouse wants to do.

It’s clearly better to have both partners on-board with prepping. But how do you get that reluctant spouse going? What can you do, if they just don’t see things the way you do?

Be Realistic

First of all, be realistic. You’re not going to make any headway talking about the Yellowstone Supervolcano blowing up the country or the Earth’s axis shifting. Get them on board with seeing the risk of hurricanes or winter blizzards; any local weather problem which could leave you without power or the ability to go to the grocery store. Once they are on board with the little disasters, you can gradually work your way up to the bigger ones.

Take their Blinders Off

Part of the reason that your spouse may not see the need to be prepping is that they don’t see the world situation as you do. Maybe you watch the news and they don’t. If that’s the case, you are much more likely to see the risks that we face every day than they are. Educate them, so that they will know why there’s a good reason to be a prepper.

Be Reasonable

Don’t try to go off the deep end, selling your home and moving to a bunker, hidden in the middle of nowhere. Decide on doing preps that are in alignment with the risks you are talking about, not an end of the world scenario. As they come on board, you can gradually up the ante, looking at bigger risks and what you should do to be ready for them.

Be Patient

You’ve got to realize that it took time for you to get into the prepping mindset and it’s going to take time for them to do so as well. You can’t expect that the conclusion which you reached after months of thinking about prepping is going to hit them in one short conversation. You’ll probably need a number of conversations, each of which helps them come to understand the problems that you see.

Be Subtle

There are things you can do to start prepping, which don’t necessarily look like prepping, especially if you can attribute them to some other reason. Planting a vegetable garden can be because you don’t like the idea of GMOs, instead of for prepping. Then you can start canning, to preserve what you’ve grown. Put in a rainwater collection system, as a way of saving money on watering the garden and avoiding putting all that chlorine in the garden. Things like this make sense in a non-prepper world, but help you to be prepared as well.

You can also buy some survival equipment, without the need to make it look like prepping. It could be emergency equipment for the car or camping equipment, rather than bug out equipment. Buying a gun or a hunting knife makes sense for hunting or just shooting. You don’t need to shove it in their face that you are prepping, just work on it subtly.

Are you having trouble getting your spouse or significant other on-board with prepping? If so, share your situation and/or comments below.


Coleman Hooligan 2 Tent Review

Picking a backpacking tent to use as a bug out tent can be challenging, especially for those who aren’t experienced backpackers. Many of the subtle differences that will make one tent stand out over another to the seasoned backpacker, may fly right over the heads of the rest of us. One could respond to that by saying “Buy the most expensive and you’ll have the best.” But most of us really can’t afford to buy the most expensive, especially considering that the only time we’d use it is while bugging out.

Most preppers have to strike a balance between cost and features. While we might all want the best, we are practical people. As such, we look for something that will give us the best possible service, for a reasonable price. So, we need to understand what those high prices are buying for us.

In the area of backpacking tents, there are a number of features which can drive up price, but the most glaringly obvious is weight. Two person backpacking tents can range from five to nine pounds. Invariably, the lighter the tent is, the higher its price. So, when you’re looking at a $200 tent, you’re not getting more space; you may not be getting a much more durable tent; mostly, you’re getting a lighter one.

The Coleman Hooligan series of backpacking tents are a great mid-range tradeoff tent series for the average prepper. They make Hooligan tents for two to four people. We’re specifically looking at the two-person one here.

This is what is known as a three-season tent. It’s two layer construction helps keep you comfortable and dry, even in inclement weather. The inner wall is made of mesh to keep insects out. On warm nights, you could remove the outer cover and allow the cool breeze to blow over you, without having to let the mosquitoes in to interrupt your sleep. The outer shell is waterproof, protecting you and keeping you dry.

The floor is also built to keep you dry as well, extending up the sides to keep water from running into the tent. That saves you from having to put a ground sheet under the tent, as well as not having to worry about digging a drainage ditch around it.

The outer shell is zippered, forming a dry vestibule at the entrance. This allows you to take off wet boots and outer garments, before entering into the tent itself. With one half of the vestibule open, the other half continues to provide protection from the wind, so you don’t get cold while you are trying to work your way in to the tent.

This tent design uses one continuous, fiberglass tent pole, which goes over the center of the tent, long-wise. The fiberglass pole is 11mm in diameter and is sectional, with elastic cord to help pull it together. Stakes around the corners and guy lines finish off the assembly. This single pole design is very easy to erect, allowing you to have your tent up and ready for occupancy in ten minutes or less.

The Hooligan isn’t the lightest backpacking tent around, coming in somewhere around the middle of the pack at just over 7 pounds. But to cut a pound out of the weight, you’d have to spend $100 more. That makes this tent a great compromise that will serve you well.

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