So many people do not think about the electricity going out. In the US we are fortunate that short of disasters the power grid in most cities and towns are very stable. The main lines rarely go down and there are redundant paths to power most neighborhoods. However when the power goes down it can be a real problem as the lights, heat, appliances, and even the communications systems in most homes need electricity. As a firm believer in always being prepared. So there are several choices for emergency lighting. As with most emergency plans you want to have more than one option. So the first thing I usually recommend is flashlights. These need to be very robust and durable flashlights. You need to check the batteries every 3 months to make sure they are not corroded. You will also want to look at flashlights that use easy to acquire batteries. I usually recommend flashlights that use 2 to 4 AA batteries or 2 to 4 C batteries. I would stay away from the 12v or 24v battery flashlights. I also recommend getting at least one flashlight for each room and making sure they are easily accessible for all the family in the house. The second part of my plan also involves parafin oil lamps and candles. These are easily available and easy to maintain. They are also great for ambient light if you want to use them on special occasions. Another choice you can make is normal candles. However I would recommend having at least 300 hours worth of candles in the house for this to be a viable alternative. Now a couple of other things you will want to keep around would include pro-pain for grill or small camping or backpacking stove. Some of these run on different fuels which is fine just make sure you have fuel. I would recommend having at least 7 days worth of fuel for what ever system you are using. Even a Charcoal grill or wood fire place/ stove can be used for cooking as well as heat. Just be careful it is better to have little heat and use more blankets and clothing than to start a fire that requires more air circulation to get the CO2 away from you which could kill you. So be careful using such cooking systems indoors. Now something else is your water and refrigeration. I doubt I need to tell prepers but just in case you are new. Keep the fridge and freezers closed as much as possible. As for hot water, that will be tough without using fuel to heat the water unless you have natural gas hot water heater. In the case that you have only electric appliances you might want to consider a 15K generator with standby capability. This will allow you to power the house and keep your heat, hot water, and even cooking capability. However generators are expensive and need to be maintained. They also need fuel to run. Most of which is gasoline as well as motor oil. Regardless of what you decide to do. Make sure you have the basics covered they are light, cooking, and warmth. These are the things that you need to prepare for. Since these are the things that electricity provides.
So there is a movement in the US and even world wide to practice bush craft. I have been looking at information online for much of this. I have come to a conclusion that we have two different types of mentalities. There is the bush craft and the long hunter. Both have a merit in some ways. However there are some distinct differences.
Long hunting is an old school set of ideas. The style of preparedness requires the understanding of skills used before the 1940’s. This was a simple type of setup. The first of which is a light carry of equipment. Unlike most bush craft kits the long hunter had to setup and shape anything not easily carried. This includes handles for tools. The most common tool handle needed was an axe handle. The axe was a very important piece of a long hunter kit. Since a hunters axe was needed to process fire wood, and even build a hunting lodge. A second piece is a real tinder box. A metal tin large enough to carry punk wood, cat tail tops, and dry grass blades. Third is a good knife with a full tang that can be used for camp chores or game processing. Fourth is a good high carbon steel striker used for starting fire. Then a bit of extra powder and ball for the black powder weapon. From there kits drifted a bit. Things like small game cooking forks, metal cup or water flask. Even some arrow points to make a bow or a sling shot to used for small game. Even some cord and fishing line along with fishing hook.
A bush craft kit tends to be a bit more high tech. They used folding saws or pocket chain saws. Then the use of a faro rod (which I do not recommend as a primary fire starter). Then the 550 cord which is a modern cord and can do some good work. Then wire and all sorts of high tech equipment. Much of which can easily help you survive in a wilderness area. The biggest difference is that a bush craft kit relies on modern equipment.
So can you work the Long hunting kit or the bush craft kit. Well much of it depends on the survival knowledge. I recommend going over what things you can rely on in the woods. Can you navigate without a compass and a map? How much skill do you have in wood working? Do you need the high tech tools in a bush craft kit? Now I will warn that getting all of the skills to work with a long hunters kit will take some time. Still a bush craft kit will require many of the same skills, but some of them will be different skills. So I usually recommend to new survival preparedness students to learn the bush craft basics and then move to a long hunter skills. This way you do not get in over your head.
So I have a confession to make. I have a very specific set of skinning tools that I like to use. I got turned on to these by a Bi-Mart clerk who hunts with her husband. So I bought a set. That is the PakLite Field Master set from Buck knives. So what makes this set such a good choice. Well there are several things
The biggest reason I like this set is the kit itself. The kit has ballistic plastic inserts for each blade on the sheath. It makes the sheath easy to clean should you get blood in the kit. Just remove the plastic inserts and wash the black nylon sheaths.
The next reason is is the design of the knives in the kit. Instead of being multiple large handle knives or even a knife handle with replaceable heads like the Kershaw. These were skeletal handles and super slim full tang knives. Each blade is about 1/4 inch thick and is high carbon steel. The blade geometry is a classic American bow belly style and the caper is a nice long almost straight razor design Even the gut hook which is a modern tool is an amazing design. Each knife is well balanced and comfortable in the hand. Also the cutouts make for very positive grip in almost any way you need to move or hold the knife.
The third is the space in the sheath. There are two pockets on the sheath and one is just big enough to fit two DMT double sided folding diamond sharpeners. The second pouch is big enough to hold all the hunting documents you need to take with you when hunting.
If you are not a fan of the Field Master there are several other kits in the PakLite line as well as single knives that you can buy. They are a bit expensive when buying. However each knife is worth the money.
So there are many do it all knives that are acclaimed as all in one survival knives. Youtube is filled with survival knives and lists of all sorts of cutting tools. However most people are still not sure exactly what is needed for survival and why you cannot truly have an all in one knife.
Now the first thing I usually hear after that statement is that I do not know what I am talking about. Peace here and just listen. Most good knives designed for use as a woods knife. Have blade dynamics designed for use in skinning, game processing, and other camp tasks including wood carving. This tends to make the blades clumsier for combat and difficult for some of the other tasks people think of when using a knife. Many of these blades are not suited for some other tasks when in the wilderness as well.
Well if that is the case is there an all in one cutting tool? Truth is no. Regardless who tells you there is. There is no way to really get an all in one knife. The real truth is you need a couple of cutting tools in your kit to be able to really survive. These types of cutting tools have different dynamics to allow for good work when you have no modern tools. So how do you figure out what you need? That is a pretty simple answer.
- A good skinning and game processing knife
- A good wood and camp knife
- A good folding or pocket saw
- A good hatchet or camp axe
I will go into more details in later posts about how and what to look for in these kind of tools. This kind of pack list for knives will help you stay alive in the wilderness. Tools like this will allow you to do most of the work you will need in the wilderness. That kind of work includes feeding yourself, building game traps or snares, and even shelter building.
So one thing that often gets forgotten. Light is needed to be able to observe surroundings, tracking game, and other tasks in the wilderness or in a survival scenario. Now many will tell you to have an emergency light source. Still most of the time the requirements for a good light source is not really talked about. There are several things that I always recommend for use.
The biggest thing first is that the light has a replaceable bulb system. Many modern led lights are not able to have the bulbs replaced. This is a major downfall on cheap LED lights. However there are several brands of good flashlights that have replaceable bulbs and are not too expensive. As part of this requirement is that the light have a secondary bulb carried in the light. This is also a pretty common feature of higher end flashlight systems.
The second thing I look for is a simple common battery size. The size I prefer is AA this is not a deal breaker if it is C’s, D’s, or even AAA’s . The biggest thing it to make sure that what ever battery you choose it should be the same as any other battery you are keeping in the kit you build. The trick on dealing with batteries is to only use one size. That way you can eliminate having too many different sizes in the batteries stored. That is the reason I always recommend AA’s.
The third recommendation is a weather resistant design for the flashlight. While most cannot be really waterproofed many are water resistant. These have rubber or silicone o rings to keep water and corrosion out of the light. They are hardy and resist the elements and are a primary factor for military flashlights as well as law enforcement.
The fourth and final real recommendation is pick a light that is fairly common. That means lights like Mag-Light and crooked patrol lights are preferred as they are available world wide and have a large availability of replacement parts. Some of these also have aftermarket parts such as red light lenses and clips or lanyards. Which can come in very handy if you are needing to rely on the flashlight quite a bit. Some of these systems including the Mag-Light brand have adjustable focus.
Additional tip red lenses help if you are in an evasion scenario to allow you to land navigate at night with out giving away your location. This is very important in a WSHTF or WWOL situation. Since many will flee the cities and light will be used by others to find locations with supplies.
Sorry for the delay on this post. I have been meaning to get to it for some time. So this article is going to be about the three levels of preparedness that you should think about when setting up kits.
Level 1 is the emergency kit. This is the type of kit you should have in your vehicle and with you while hiking on day trips. It should contain some fire material usually a couple of wet fire type tenders. You should also have some water pure tablets for cleaning water. I also recommend some 550 para-cord mil specification as well as a good solar blanket. This can be added to a good first aid kit like what I have discussed in the firs aid kit listings.
Level 2 is for an evacuation kit. This needs to be a bit more complete. It should contain some clothing. Everything in the level 1 kit (just keep them together), an additional 30 days of water pure tablets. Then you should add a small shelter as well as a camp axe/ folding camp saw and a good survival knife. Then a good multi-tool is also important to have for this kit. All of the clothing should be outdoor clothing as well as outdoor boots.
Level 3 is a shelter through an emergency. This should include some propane for a small camp stove, at least 30 days of food (minimum 1000 cal) per person, water at least 3 gallons per person for 30 days, and 30 days of any medication that is regularly taken by family members. You should also have 8 sets of batteries for and one flashlight per person in the house hold. I would also recommend some books and games to keep you occupied as most of the time power could be out.
Now all of this is a minimum I would recommend to set aside. Do not let the amount of money this could be. Just start a the level 1 as each kit builds on the last. By the time you reach the level 3 with food requirements and water requirements this does require some serious work. However canned stew and 5 gal water bottles do help with this kind of preparation.
First Aid kits are very necessary. This kind of gear will allow you to begin treating an injury. When no one else is around it is important to be able to start treating a wound. Since it can mean the difference between you getting to medical treatment and in some cases never making it out of the woods. There is a flood of first aid kits on the market. However I have a couple of specific kits that work well. I am including links to these kits.
- Amp 3 Range Kit
- Adventure Medical Kits
- Emergency Preparedness medical kits
- Coleman Expedition First Aid kit
Now there is no prefect medical kit. So many of these are just a basic start with. The main thing is to make sure you have some of the same basics that are in these kits. The products are an amazing place to start. Yet many people need medications that are not in these kits. This means that you will need to customize these kits to match what you need. In the event that you are not sure what you need. Look over all of the medical issues you have and make sure things are covered.