To wrap this Winter Prep series up, let’s go over a few winter driving tips. I’m not trying to teach you how to drive, but just some good techniques to use while driving in snow and ice conditions. Continue reading “Winter/Snow Driving Preps, Part 3 of 3, Driving Tips”
Winter vehicle emergencies can be pretty harsh. If you breakdown, wreck or slide off the freeway that’s one thing, help should be there soon.
But, if you’re on the road less traveled and it’s late at night and something happens, you could be stuck there for a while. If for some reason you can’t start your vehicle in that situation, you have about 20 minutes before it starts getting cold in your car. You already have an emergency kit in your vehicle, right? Just in case you don’t, we’ll be covering that in a later post. But, from here we’ll assume you’ve got a basic 72 hour survival kit in your vehicle. These are some things you should add to it for the winter:
Here in Utah, Winter is finally upon us! This generally means we get to share the road with a bunch of inexperienced snow drivers who think it’s safer, not more dangerous, to drive 15 miles an hour on the freeway. Hopefully, all those people will read this post and we’ll fix the I15 problem right here and now! Yeah right. But for you, dear reader, I offer some advice on how to prep your vehicle for winter, what to stash in your vehicle and some driving tips. Hopefully you’ll have some sage advice to add to this in the comments. This is the first of 3 posts in this series.
Over on “Food Storage… A Necessary Adventure”, there is a recent post called Have you seen a 1/4 cup lately.
It put a few things into perspective for me. Of course you should go read the post, but the basic rundown for me was that the minimum amount of food for longer term survival comes in the form of 1/4 cup of rice, and another 1/4 cup of beans, in dried form. How much is a quarter cup, really? We all have measuring cups that size, go check it out. It is really little.
This should give us all some hope for the possibility of storing enough for ourselves. A 25lb bag each of beans and rice gives just over 300 days of *minimal* sustenance! Not only does that show us how easy it can be to get started, but as the poster notes, that also gives us a great understanding of how we can provide some charity in the worst of situations. I know I plan the food for my family, and in the worst of cases, I would need to focus on keeping those resources for my family. But inside we all want to help others. Even if we’re not giving much, just a quarter-cup of dried beans and rice can keep a person alive. Understanding that from our side makes it easier to share.
Now you need to learn how to make the best use *of* that little amount.
I suspect that most readers of this blog are more intelligent than the average reality show addicted, talking head worshiping American that thinks that everything going on in the world and economy right now is just a hiccup that will go away in the spring. You know, the ones that we preppers are pretty sure we’re going to have to fight off from killing us and stealing our preps WTSHTF. But, just in case any of you are slightly toeing the line with the popular hero-worshiping of the Socialistic head of the ‘Office of the President Elect’ thinking somehow he’s going to Change anything but his mind, or that somehow he’s going to bring Hope to the country – I bring you this.
There are very few mainstream articles being published right now that are presenting a realistic top-down view of the entire situation with the economy. The quotes I’m going to present to you here are from mainstream publications but the key point of them is that these are quotes from high level analysts and executives in widely respected financial companies who are remarking that things are bad, very bad and they are going to get much worse.
The following snippets are from this excellent article from Bloomberg:
An important piece of any Bug out Kit is a way to make a whole lot of noise. You need some way to create some attention-getting noise that can really travel the distance. This tool is a way to get the attention of a search party if you are lost or injured, as well as a way of helping find somebody who is lost. But all whistles are not created equal. Some are bulky, some are tiny, some have Pea’s, some don’t. How do you know which you should get? Well, I was recently pointed to a site via edcforums to an excellent PSK whistle review (PSK). Go check it out before you buy your whistle, it’ll help in selecting.
A local friend of mine recently posted his notes about creating a set of emergency bags (BOB – 72 Hour Kit) for his family. It’s great to see a friend getting his family so ready, and even better when they can share such excellent information. In his example, I think he does a great job of presenting how he will get his young sons to carry a small part of their own gear, without overtaxing them. I know all younger families like myself worry about how to ‘carry enough’ for the younger children, and this example shows great thought in dealing with that concern. Check out the Lances BOB setup. Several pictures showing all the included gear, in and out of the bags.
In the recent Costco mailer, some friends and I all noticed that a “72-hour” kit that Costco carries had a limited time online discount available. The $60 kit was/is available for a limited time for $40 with shipping (Costco 72 hour kit sale), so I decided to check it out. One more 72 hour kit could be good for my family, and if it was nice, would make a great gift to give to some family members and friends.
The kit is all self-contained in a 2.5 gallon bucket, that has a nice airtight seal (gasket lined-lid), but has the one-time use strip around the edge, so you know if it’s been opened. The bucket of course will still reseal, but
with the thinner lip that’s left after the protective strip is removed. So you don’t need a bucket tool to open this thing, but you will need some kind of knife or tool to release the first seal. I had to cut that part open. The bucket itself contains a listing of contents, as well as basic nutritional information for the food inside, which is nice to have available. However for this review I wanted to actually get my hands on what was inside, to see the quality, etc.
I run a museum that covers, in part, the Great Depression. In a reply to Steve’s letter about how people may react to a “modern” 1930s type depression, you listed a number of economic, social and cultural differences in America in the two time periods. I might add, or expand on, a few.
In the 1930s, many more people lived on farms or gardened. Even in many towns and cities, it was common to have a garden and raise a few animals including chickens, rabbits, pigeons. An enormous difference, then and now, is that the garden seeds then were “heritage” or open pollinated. That means that a family could save their seed year after year, and always have a crop. That is no longer possible with today’s hybrids. If you save seed now, they, (the hybrids), won’t come back the next year. In a major economic breakdown, there will be little distribution of anything, including seed. No seed, no garden.
In the 1930s, most people had wells or cisterns for water. Today, if the electricity goes off, no more “city” water. Formerly, most people had outhouses. They didn’t need flushing. Today, if you can’t flush, you’ve got a biological lab in your bathroom within three days. In the 1930s, there were more horses, more donkeys, more mass transit and railroads, and more bikes. Today, no gas means no mobility. 80 years ago many more people preserved their own food. It was common for most folks to dry, can, smoke, salt, pickle and cold cellar, food. Today, many people consider food storage a discount card to a restaurant. In the 1930s, most people heated with wood or coal. Now, it’s almost entirely “on demand” gas in a pipe, or electricity. Formerly, most people had treadle sewing machines, grain grinders and meat grinders. Today, nada. In the 1930s, far more people practiced folk medicine and used herbs. If you got cut, sew it yourself. Got sick, chop a chicken and make soup. Today? You’d better have a pill bottle and insurance.
In the 1930s, far more people were church goers. Families tended to live closer to each other. People in general had a more self-reliant attitude. If someone had a problem, they tended to try to solve it themselves. And if they couldn’t, their church family, or own their family, would help them. Society today includes far more people who think the gov’t should, and will, be their caretaker.
It’s my belief, that if today we have a depression, if only as bad as the 1930s Great Depression, that [the societal impact of] such a depression will be many times worse. It’s a somewhat real possibility that, today, in a severe enough crisis, there would be no transport, little food or medicine, no heat, no sanitation, no water and very little cohesion of society.
In the 1930s, people sold apples on street corners, and a popular song was “Brother Can You Spare a Dime?” I’m afraid that today, it may be far more common for people to try to take what they can, and consequences be d***ed. A 1930s-type Depression today ? Not pretty.
I have to completely agree with everything the museum curator said. Americans are entirely NOT prepared for anything remotely resembling hardship. We have become a nation of debtors and are addicted to debt. We’ve lost the sense of personal accountability and self reliance that characterized Americans for 200 years.
Here in Utah, I am surrounded by people who believe in the principle of self reliance, preparedness, etc. Not everyone is on board with these tenets, but I believe we Utahns are far better prepared than most in other states, particularly those in large cities.
Don’t believe me? How would these people react to a pandemic, food crisis, etc?
Do we even need to wonder if they have any food storage, money, etc. set aside for a rainy day, let alone something far worse?
What are YOU doing to prepare your family? Even if a catastrophic event were to never occur, what is the downside to gardening, food storage, and general self reliance? I know that if I could afford it my family and I would live on a self sufficient family farm. Today I would be running it in maintenance mode, just keeping a bare minimum of animals, produce, etc. However if something were to happen I could ‘flip the switch’ and ramp up to a self sufficient family farm. What I mean by this is that we would be producing enough milk, honey, wool, etc. to supply our own needs and have some to sell or trade for what we can’t or aren’t producing ourselves.
For now this is just a dream. Our little half acre just isn’t big enough. It is already cramped with our garden, chickens, goat and dogs.
What do our readers think about these topics? Am I being to down on our preparedness level as a society? Am I crazy for dreaming about a little family farm? Comments welcome.
All Preppers know that in a TEOTWAWKI or WTSHTF situation or any other crisis event you’ve got to be able to start fires, especially in a Bug Out situation. We’re not talking about being able to get a spark here, we’re talking about strong tinder lighting capability. If you add moisture to the mix you’ve got an even more complicated and risky situation.
Lets say you’ve bugged out, you’ve got all your Bug Out Gear with you, and it’s been drizzling a bit. The ground is wet, found tinder is going to be wet, the only thing that might be dry is your last couple squares of toilet paper – and you’ve got to have a fire. So what do you do? You put your last precious squares of TP wadded up on the damp ground and then set your damp twigs on top of it and use one of your 27 lighters or 6 other fire starters you have in your BOB to get it going. In less than a minute your TP has burned out and the ground and twigs are still damp – and your SOL.
Enter a very simple prep – taking regular old cotton balls (100% cotton, none of that fake junk) that cost about $1.25 for a bag of 120 (that’d be the LARGE size cotton ball) and cover them with Vaseline which costs about $3.00 for a good size jar. Now you’ve got a very compact and light-weight water resistant starter that will burn strong for several minutes.
Here’s the step-by-step and a demo:
Transfer the cotton balls into a decent container – we used ziploc sandwich bags.
Put a handful of Vaseline into each bag and seal with a bit of air in them.
Knead the cotton into the Vaseline until each ball in the bag is covered nicely (this takes a little bit of time)
Voila! You just made a baggie full of really killer fire starter. We made up a few.
There are dozens of ways to make these, this just illustrates what I’ve found useful and easy. One of these baggies will go into mine and each kids Bug Out Bag (BOB) with several baggies going into my regular long-term storage. There are lots of ways to store them too, right now I’m just storing them in their baggie.
To light the ball, you rip it part way open to expose the inner threads of cotton and spark against them. They ignite very quickly and the rest of the ball acts like a candle due to the vaseline covering. Once the ball has sat in jelly for a few days it will be water resistant.
For about $14.00 we just put 600 reliable fire starters into our storage – not bad at all!
This video demonstrates how long and how well the cotton ball burns once it’s covered in jelly, the other balls in this video are plain ole regular cotton balls.
Don’t be caught without the ability to easily and reliably make fire! Take the little amount of time and money these puppies require and you’ll always have the security of reliably starting many fires.