Prepping Tip: How To Start A Fire With Wet Wood

By Mac Slavo

As preppers, we like to share important tips when we come across them.  One trick that could help us all immensely when the SHTF is knowing how to start a fire with wet wood: one of the most frustrating things on Earth.

When it comes to a SHTF situation, one of the most critical survival skills you can learn is how to start a proper fire. With this skill, you can cook your own food, dry wet clothes, warm yourself up, and even signal for help. Anyone who’s gotten a campfire going probably thinks they have it all figured out.

Let’s face it, it is rather simple: when we are wet and cold, we want to be dry and warm and we’ll need a fire to do that in an emergency. But making a fire out of wet wood isn’t the easiest thing to do. Even if you can get your tinder burning, the logs can stubbornly remain unburnt. So I’ve found a few tricks I’d like to share and maybe they’ll help the next time all you’ve got is wet firewood.

First, water usually only penetrates the outer layers of dead wood, so your best bet is to use a knife or hatchet to strip away the damp outer layer. You could also split the wood into smaller pieces exposing the dry inside. Once you’ve got your wood ready, employ one or some of the following and you should have a fire in no time!

Petroleum Jelly (Vaseline)Cotton balls soaked in petroleum jelly burn at extremely high heat and are a great low-cost alternative to commercial fire starters. Each ball will burn for about three minutes which is long enough to dry out the wet tinder and ignite it. If you try this, make sure you pack them in a sealed plastic bag.  They can get messy but are invaluable. Stock up on these! You can make about 200 of these yourself for under $10.

Steel Wool – This one is usually the most surprising and unknown. Steel wool is actually highly flammable and rather inexpensive. A few sparks from a Ferro rod will get a clump of steel wool burning at over 1,800 degrees Fahrenheit in a matter of seconds. Steel wool also has the advantage that it can be lit electrically. If you rub the terminals of a 9-volt battery against the wool, it will heat to its ignition point in a couple of seconds.

Doritos Chips – Say what? Doritos chips are actually flammable. (It kind of makes you wonder what’s in them now, huh?) As it turns out, the chemicals, powdered flavors, and oil in the chips make the perfect combination for combustion. Almost any chip will do, actually, so if you dislike Doritos, don’t worry, experiment with chips you do like as most other chips are flammable as well. And if you get your fire started with steel wool or petroleum jelly soaked balls, you won’t need to light your chips on fire. You will have a crunchy snack to munch on as you warm up.

There are more options if you’re really in a pinch, but I chose to share these with you because of the low cost and effectiveness of them. Also, stocking up on all of these items is a good idea because they have several uses and could come in handy when the SHTF.

This article was sourced from SHTFplan.

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Image credit: Pixabay


How to Prepare for a Cyber Attack

By Daisy Luther

On March 5, a “cyber event” interrupted grid operations in parts of the western United States, but the hack was just disclosed to the public a few days ago. As of now, officials are not sure who perpetrated the cyber attack.

The attack marked a somber milestone for the US power sector: the unnamed utility company is the first to report a malicious event that disrupted grid operations.

“According to a cryptic report posted by the Department of Energy, the March 5 incident lasted from 9 a.m. until nearly 7 p.m. but didn’t lead to a power outage, based on a brief summary of the electric disturbance report filed by the victim utility,” E&E News reported on April 30.

Cyber attacks are a growing risk, experts say. Here’s what you need to know about them.

What exactly is a cyber attack?

A cyber attack is more than just shutting down the computer systems of a specified entity. It is defined as “deliberate exploitation of computer systems, technology-dependent enterprises, and networks. Cyber attacks use malicious code to alter computer code, logic or data, resulting in disruptive consequences that can compromise data and lead to cyber crimes, such as information and identity theft.”

Technopedia lists the following consequences of a cyber attack:

  • Identity theft, fraud, extortion
  • Malware, pharming, phishing, spamming, spoofing, spyware, Trojans and viruses
  • Stolen hardware, such as laptops or mobile devices
  • Denial-of-service and distributed denial-of-service attacks
  • Breach of access
  • Password sniffing
  • System infiltration
  • Website defacement
  • Private and public Web browser exploits
  • Instant messaging abuse
  • Intellectual property (IP) theft or unauthorized access

Cyber attacks happen far more frequently than you might think. Check out this real-time map for a look at the almost constant siege.

How does a cyber attack affect you?

You may think that if you don’t spend your day working online, that an attack on our computer infrastructure isn’t that big of a deal. You may feel like it wouldn’t affect you at all.

Unfortunately, there are very few people in the country that would remain completely unaffected in the event of a major cyber attack. Our economy, our utility grids, and our transportation systems are all heavily reliant upon computers. This makes us very vulnerable to such an attack.

And by vulnerable, I mean that if it was done on a big enough scale, it could essentially paralyze the entire country.

Here are some of the systems that are reliant on computers.

In the event of a widespread cyber attack, the following could be either completely inoperable or breached. Keep in mind that a domino effect could occur that effects systems beyond the original target.

  • Gas stations (most of the pumps are now digital and connect right to your bank)
  • Banks (all of the records are online) would not be able to process electronic transactions. ATM machines would not function to allow customers access to cash.
  • Utility systems (most power stations are run by computers)
  • Water treatment facilities (these are automated too)
  • Protection of personal information, including data about your finances, medical records, physical location, and academic records – everything a person would need to steal your identity
  • Government operations, including dangerous identifying information about federal employees or members of the military
  • Transportation systems (trains, subways, and planes are heavily reliant upon computers)
  • Traffic management systems like stoplights, crosswalks, etc.
  • Air traffic control
  • Everyday trade – most businesses have a computerized cash register that communicates directly with banks. Many businesses are also reliant on scanning bar codes for inventory control and pricing. Point-of-sale systems would be down and people would not be able to pay using credit or debit cards.
  • Telecommunications systems can be affected if cell towers are disabled or if the landline system were directly attacked. As more people rely on VOIP, taking down internet service would serve a dual purpose.
  • SMART systems could be shut down or manipulated. All of those gadgets that automate climate control, use of utilities, or appliances through SMART technology are vulnerable.

Here’s a video from NATO that explains a little bit more about the dangers of cyber attacks.

Prepping to survive a cyber attack

Prepping for a cyber attack is not that different from prepping for other types of disasters that affect the grid. You want to be able to operate independently of public utilities, stores, or public transportation.

Click each item to learn more details.

  1. Have a supply of water stored in case municipal supplies are tainted or shut down
  2. Be prepared for an extended power outage.
  3. Have a food supply on hand, as well as a way to prepare your food without the grid.
  4. Keep cash in small denominations on hand in the event that credit cards, debit cards, and ATMs are inoperable.
  5. Keep vehicles above halfway full of fuel, and store extra gasoline.
  6. Be prepared for off-grid sanitation needs.
  7. Invest in some communications devices like ham radio or one of these other options.
  8. Be ready to hunker down at home to avoid the chaos that could come in the aftermath of a massive cyber attack. Be prepared to defend your home if necessary.
  9. Remember that your prepper supplies and skills will see you through this disaster just like any other.
  10. Protect your identity with a service like LifeLock (which will alert you to suspicious activity once things return to normal). Use some of these tips to keep your information locked down.

What do you think?

So, let’s hear from the “hive mind” of the preparedness community. How likely do you think it is that we’ll be hit by a massive cyber attack? Was the event in March some kind of test run? What other effects do you think a massive cyber attack might have? Do you have any additional preparedness tips for such an event? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Daisy Luther is a coffee-swigging, gun-toting blogger who writes about current events, preparedness, frugality, voluntaryism, and the pursuit of liberty on her website, The Organic Prepper, where this article first appeared.  She is widely republished across alternative media and she curates all the most important news links on her aggregate site, Daisy is the best-selling author of 4 books and lives in the mountains of Virginia with her two daughters and an ever-growing menagerie. You can find her on FacebookPinterest, and Twitter.

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Survival Water Filter DIY – Four Easy Methods in Emergencies!

By Prepper Aaron

Preppers, how do you filter water in an emergency … without a filter?  Filtering water is not something most people normally spend much time thinking about – after all, the water that comes out of your sink is perfectly safe to drink (most of the time – Ed.)  But during an emergency or in a survival situation out in the wild, you cannot take potable water for granted. In those situations, knowing how to purify water without a filter on hand, or how to make a water filter in the wild can be the difference between life and death.

Thankfully, there are a number of survival water filter DIY methods that can work in a pinch and require only materials that you are likely to have on hand around the house or can find in the backcountry. This is a case where studying these methods a little bit ahead of time can make an enormous difference in your ability to survive in an extreme situation.  Also, be sure to check out our field-tested review of the Katadyn Hiker Pro as a great backup water filtration system to keep handy for emergency situations (or to barter with).

4 Easy Methods For Filtering Water In An Emergency

1) Sand and Charcoal Water Filter

One of the simplest filters you can learn how to make in the wild or at home is a sand and charcoal filter. This water filter will not purify your water, but it does an excellent job at turning very dirty and cloudy water into clear liquid that can then be boiled to remove microorganisms.

To make this filter, you will need sand, some gravel or small rocks, charcoal from a wood fire, a container such as a hard plastic bottle or a plastic bag, and a coffee filter or a fabric that water can pass through. If you are using a bottle as your container, take the cap off and cut off the bottom of the container, then invert the bottle. If you are using a plastic bag, leave the top end open and cut a small hole in the bottom of the bag. Push the coffee filter or piece of fabric to the bottom (cap end) of the container or bag so that it is covering the hole, then add an inch or two of charcoal. On top of the charcoal, interleave layers of sand and gravel so that you have at least two layers of each.

Once the filter is set, you can hang it from a tree branch or simply hold it suspended over a collection container and pour dirty water into the top of the filter. The water that comes out should be relatively clear, but you’ll need to purify it either by adding chemicals or by bringing it to a rolling boil for five minutes before drinking.

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2) Evaporation Trap for Collecting Water

If you are planning to rely on filtering your own water for a long time, building an evaporation trap is a significant time investment but can serve as a semi-continuous source of filtered water. To make this, you’ll need to find an area that sees direct or indirect sunlight throughout the day and then dig a hole that is about one to two feet deep and a few feet around in that spot. Once the hole is dug, place a collection container in the bottom of the pit – be sure that no dirt gets into the container in the process. Place a plastic sheet so that it covers the entire pit and use rocks or branches to hold it down somewhat tightly. The last step is to place a small rock in the center of the plastic sheet, just over the collection container so that the sheet dips down over it.

The resulting trap should allow water to evaporate out of the soil in the hole when the sun hits it, but the plastic sheet will prevent it from going far. The water will then drip down to the depression in the center of the plastic sheet, right over the collection container. Unfortunately, in order to drink the water, you will still need to purify it by boiling or with chemicals, which requires undoing and redoing the plastic sheeting each time.

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3) Solar Still For Collecting Water

Just like the evaporation trap, it is possible to make clean water using the power of the sun with a solar still. This method uses a large mixing bowl from around your house rather than a pit, and you will need to have unclean water to fill the bowl with rather than relying on groundwater. To make a solar still, place a cup or can inside the bowl of water so that the rim of the cup is below the rim of the bowl but remains above the level of the water. Cover the entire setup with plastic wrap and place a rock or other weight directly over the cup. Just like for the evaporation trap, the water will evaporate when the sunlight hits it, collect on the plastic wrap, and then drip into the collection cup. Again, this water will need to be purified with chemicals or by boiling prior to drinking it.

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4) You Can Use Household Chemicals to Purify Water

If disaster strikes when you are at home, chances are high that you already have a stash of chemical treatments around the house that can be used to purify water without a filter. When using chemical treatments, it is important that you have water that is relatively free of particles – straining dirty water through a t-shirt, cloth, or whatever fabric you have on hand will work, and folding the fabric a few times will increase its filtering power.

The first chemical to turn to is bleach. Almost every household has a container of bleach around – just check under your sink or in your laundry room if you are not sure. To purify pre-filtered but potentially bacteria-filled water, simply add 1/8 teaspoon of bleach per gallon of water, mix, and wait at least and hour before drinking. If the water does not smell of chlorine 30 minutes after adding the bleach, you should repeat the process since your bleach may have exceeded its stable shelf life.

If you have a pool, the chemical in pool shock, calcium hypochlorite, also works well to purify water. Pool shock is extremely potent and stable for up to a decade, in contrast to store-bought bleach. You’ll need to dilute the shock powder by adding ½ teaspoon to one gallon of water, then add that to water at a concentration of 1% (approximately 2.5 tablespoons per gallon of water).

You may also find iodine in your medicine cabinet, which is okay for short-term use as a water purifier but can be dangerous for pregnant women or people with thyroid problems. Add 20 drops of 2% iodine solution to each gallon of water, mix, and wait at least an hour before drinking.

Filtering and Purifying Water Can Be Easy!

While these DIY survival water filters may not produce water that is 100% free of particles, they can turn water that is too dirty to drink into a viable source of sustenance. Some of the methods are perfect for short-term survival, while others, like the evaporation trap, are more suitable as long-term survival solutions for when you will be staying in the same spot for days or weeks. Remember that with any of these filtration methods, you will need to purify your water using the chemical methods described above or by bringing it to a rolling boil. Therefore, it is important to stock your emergency preparedness kit with chemicals for purification or with a significant stockpile of fuel for boiling large volumes of water.

Knowing these methods could be the difference between life and death in an emergency situation!  However, an easier way is to simply have a small portable water filter handy.  Check out our field-tested review for the Katadyn Hiker Pro here.  We think its the best all around water filtration system for emergency situations!

This article was sourced from

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Prepping Tips: How To Prepare Your Dog (Or Cat) For Survival

By Mac Slavo

Your dog is most likely not going to be forgotten when the SHTF, so why not have a contingency plan for him? Your beloved pet might be able to help you get through a catastrophe, as long as you make plans in advance.

The most important factor to consider is water.  If you have a well, you only need to have a method to get water from it in the event there is a power grid failure or malfunction. If you store your water, make sure you store extra for your four-legged friend. Dogs are often fine drinking water from a stream or a creek, and may not need as much as you think if a water source is readily available, but it is something to keep in mind.

Dog food will probably not be readily available if the country or globe is plunged into a primitive survivalist environment.  So obviously, the basics of food and water should be dealt with first. You should stockpile canned dog food and kibble if you find it on sale.  Oftentimes dollar stores a great place to find bulk, hugely discounted dog food.  It won’t be premium-quality food, by any stretch of the imagination, but it will keep your dog alive when society is crumbling around you.

Thankfully, it’s relatively easy to store kibble for your dog or cat. Try to find a food-safe grain storage bin to keep out the rodents and save about a one year supply.  This is handy for those who may want better quality dog food.  Saving it in advance is the way to go!

But there’s one suggestion that I have found personally helpful.  If you hunt and know how to kill your own food, you’ll have a leg up when the SHTF.  Instead of tossing out that chewy hock (the bottom part of the elk or deer’s leg) save the meat and boil it.  Dogs love this and as it approaches one year of being in the freezer during normal times, (it won’t keep forever) toss it in some boiling water with a little salt. Doing this is a simple way to help keep your dog fed and eliminate waste after a hunt.  Any other part of the animal that is not fit for human consumption, such as some of the organs (dogs particularly like the liver), could be saved and prepared in a similar manner for your dog (or cat, to each their own.)

The Happy Prepper also suggests making your dog its own bug-out bag!  Not only could that be a fun project, but it could help your furry friend and yourself if you wake up to a disaster.

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Try not to overload your dog with too many items, but things like paracord would be excellent additions to a doggie bug out bag.

This article was sourced from

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Can You Be A Minimalist AND A Prepper?

By Mac Slavo

Minimalism is having a moment, and a quick perusal of YouTube will have you wondering why you haven’t tried it before, other than it seems like it is diametrically opposed to prepping.  But why can’t you be both?

Minimalism and prepping can actually go hand-in-hand. There’s really more overlap in ideas than most will admit. On the surface, minimalists and preppers look very different, but all you have to do is dig a little deeper and you will find that the methodologies both employ are actually very similar.

Serious preppers understand that survivalism is not just about the hoarding of stuff, but about carefully selected items that will give them a leg up during an apocalyptic event.  Minimalists also usually only keep items that are useful to them, making them not only unburdened by the baggage of “stuff”, but capable of distinguishing from wants and needs, overlapping the area into the “prepper’s mindset” quite easily.

Minimalists are used to living with less. They don’t need designer handbags and extravagant body washes to get through. Because of this, they often save a good portion of their income, freeing up more money for those needs (like a water filtration system) by saving on the wants.

Minimalists also often choose smaller homes (the tiny house movement is having a moment) since they have fewer items they need to store. But those small abodes are easier to take off the grid in a SHTF situation too. They require substantially less power than a standard-sized American home.

Just like prepping, minimalism is not for everyone.  Many will have trouble giving up their beloved possessions and the public is often skeptical of both.  Many look down on preppers, too, for taking their survival into their own hands and storing extra food and water while average people hoard things like shoes. Others tend to look down on minimalists for wearing the same few shirts in rotation and never replacing them until they are worn out.

Minimalists and preppers also share another common thread: those who practice one or both are above the rampant consumerism ravaging the lives of and indebting most Americans. Both avoid buying up every sale item in sight just to have it and both really evaluate every purchase made making certain it’s necessary and “the right one.”  The truth is, neither prepping or minimalism is “normal” to the average overspending, deeply indebted American who has no idea why they can’t make ends meet.

Additionally, most preppers and minimalists reject the very idea of waste—food, perishable goods, and money. Both have learned to tailor their lives (whether it’s prepping or minimizing) in a way that allows the use of literally everything (composting, for example, is a great way to eliminate food waste.)   Minimalists often employ this strategy too and eventually grow their own food decreasing their reliance on others.

Minimalists don’t “go without;” rather, they’ve learned to live with less. They simply narrow their focus and really home in on what is truly a necessity just like preppers do.  After all, there’s only so much you can fit in your bug-out bag.

You can be both! The key is to find balance and do what’s right for you. There is no right or wrong way to prep, just like there is no right or wrong way to be a minimalist.

Hang onto the joy and peace you get from not being weighed down by excessive belongings while maintaining the comfort and confidence you get by knowing you are prepared to be self-sufficient in the event that any ordinary support systems break down. –Off Grid News

Another great article on the similarities between preppers and minimalists can be found by clicking here. Off Grid News did an excellent job highlighting how you can be a minimalist and a prepper at the same time.

Click here to subscribe: Join over one million monthly readers and receive breaking news, strategies, ideas and commentary. You can read more from Mac Slavo at his site

Image credit: Pixabay

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A Power Grid Failure Will Totally Disrupt Your Life: Lessons From Venezuela

By J.G. Martinez D.

Hello people.

You must be already aware of the terrible water situation that people in most of the cities in Venezuela are facing. This is the product of the combination of several factors that I will try to explain. But please! Understand that we suffered the consequences of a weirdo military chief that NEVER had any clue about governing like a civilian, but giving orders and commands, and he ordered seizure of all the companies and put them under control of the “State” because everyone should have access to water.

Indeed our laws say that water is free; I mentioned this in a previous article. Companies, therefore, quickly found a turnaround to capitalize the right to ADDRESS, extract, and direct the water to the customers who did not pay for the water, but the work of having it “transported”. This is quite important for the reader to accept this. I have that feeling that sometimes people just refuse to believe this sort of thing happens in some places in the world, much less on the same American continent. And, yes, it happens. It happened to us, and it was about to happen to people in Chile, too, back in the ’70s with Allende.

Things that were once easy to get in Venezuela are now impossible to find.

This said, I hope you can have a more complete view of what happens when instead of motivated employees, highly trained and well paid, you have underpaid, sad, ill-mannered government employees wearing a T-shirt with Hugo’s face. Well, that happened in lots of companies, originating the disaster we are facing now. Car parts, batteries, oil derivatives, all of those products that you were once accustomed to having in the stores in industrial quantities, have become exotic commodities that need careful financial planning to acquire and with a large mafia-style black market behind. Food is, of course, on the top of the list with proteins as the main concern.

A brief parenthesis here. I decided to go on board with Daisy’s website because her approach to survivalism and prepping is quite sustainable, something that was lost on our path to an apocalypse. We had everything easy; and even in my town you could find imported cheese, Italian salsa for pasta, and some other similar delicacies. There was the possibility to buy milk from the producers, but they took over the farmers’ production and ruined it, just to keep people under control by starving them.

Start taking care of your health now, if you aren’t already.

If you make major changes in your diet NOW, if you try in some way to live healthier NOW, if you can move to someplace with a large inner garden in the near future, if you plan to exercise, get in shape, and grow as many of your staples NOW…you’re heading in the right direction. This website is overflowing with information that is very hard to compile working alone and I will defend that faced with anyone else. This is a strong motivation to me because I have had in front of me people over 70 years old able to take a 30 kilograms tapioca bag on their shoulders and walk 4 kilometers through the mountains with it. If someday I had to do that, and I mean like now being much younger than 70, the tapioca would grow roots before I arrived at where I was heading.

People, eating healthy and exercising is part of the preppers’ legacy. Your main survival tool is your brain. And your body is like the carrying case. Your primary vehicle. Perhaps with one engine backfire here and there after some beans, but…come on, nobody’s perfect. Therefore, maintenance is important. No matter if we die of something else. We will leave behind a healthy corpse to admire. The stamina of that old man I saw carrying that bag, back there in my home town made me see how important it is to stay in touch with nature. I have lost some excess weight; so much walking around here has toned my leg muscles, and I don’t feel so tired as fast as I used to. My ingesting of vegetables and fruits has increased a lot (because of the price of red meat, mainly) and I feel great, generally speaking.

Here are some lessons I learned after the collapse in Venezuela.

Please those readers who are just starting, consider this as the main issue. Stockpiling Spam, or sausages, or whatever you could think you need is perfect. But that is not sustainable in the long term; and perhaps if I could have made different choices back in time, our life could have been gone through a different path, and we would be in much better condition, mentally, emotionally, and financially speaking. This comes from my heart because I am almost starting again, older…but much wiser. I would like to say that much stronger, but it’s not up to me.

There is great, valuable information available, and we have to appreciate all the work and effort behind this.

I understand perfectly if some of you don’t want to walk down that road. I don’t consider myself a farmer by any means, either. But I do know about chemistry, about some basic physics and some other stuff, and there is enough theory available to be able to grow up some decent crops from a good-sized garden, no matter how inexpert can one be. I agree 100% with the guy that relies on his Glock for self-defense because you have to use what you have available, and what works for you. In my territory, a crossbow (homemade, perhaps) or a .22LR will have to make it (mountains, lots of trees and bush to hide in, a very different terrain to the urban environment the Glock guys are). Perhaps a sawed twin-barrel 12ga, provided I can have access to some shells in the future after our liberation is complete. Even a good, old .38 S&W is a good choice on my side of the (tropical, humid and hot) woods. Simple, reliable and proven. Drop it in the mud and it still works.

A total power grid failure will disrupt your entire life.

The most identifiable disruption, in my opinion, is a total power grid failure. The cause is up to you. Earthquake, winter, economy. Not relevant.

The relevance is that its consequences vary depending on the location, of course. For some people, this situation can be present during the winter. An interruption of the service that lasts 3 days in the worst of the winter, is enough reason to be prepared for a failure lasting ALL the winter (perhaps it’s just me, never having seen more ice than my regular freezer produces…oh, wait I was in the peak Bolivar in Merida, Venezuela. That is the closest I have been to such severe climate). Because we don’t know if there are people willing to risk their integrity to restore the energy given the case. In regular times, sure. There are lots of qualified, hardcore professionals that will make their best effort. But in the middle of an economic collapse? Will your standard average underpaid, perhaps uninsured average Joe go out? How about an extreme winter immediately after a pandemic, for example? This is something to be aware of.

Just shut down the breakers at home for a weekend. Make a drill. Get your genset out and start it. Everyone else should adapt. It’s time to sharpen knives, to oil leather jackets, to read a book, teach the kids to shoot with a bow, you get the point. I like the idea of solar chargers and batteries for small devices, flashlights and perhaps radios for some entertainment and local comms. Do you have safe candle holders to save your batteries at night or some other non-hazardous way to provide lighting? I read the very sad news of a diesel lamp setting fire to an apartment a few days ago, with two small children injured with 2nd- and 3rd-degree burns. City people, totally unprepared for these kinds of madness and penury.

I spoke with this friend of mine, former boss, very prepared. Lived in Canada and the USA. A really nice guy. He told me that people in small cottages in rural environments have been less affected, so to speak, with the power failure. I told him that things are going to be much worse. He’s an engineer, too, and he knows. Unfortunately, he is not in the prepper lifestyle, despite my attempts to influence him to take some basic measures in the past; but back in those days money already was getting tight for everyone (2015).

They’re struggling still there, and he keeps me updated. He says that most of the food is now (thanks to the good weather) limited to local crops. No cold chain to bring apples from Colombia or Brazil, for example. Just things that can be grown locally. Corn, papayas, tapioca, black beans, red beans, white beans, lentils…all kind of beans. Cheese is a luxury item. Eggs, meat, all of this needs cold, and the prices are a total craziness. This was to be expected, though. He mentions as well that people in secluded cottages have had some security problems with trespassers, but nothing worth mentioning here. A couple of starving people here and there stealing whatever they can from the crops, but mostly they just leave them be. They go and plant the perimeter again, and that keeps them away from getting too close to the house. Dogs have been very useful too.

Life has gone backward one hundred years in some places.

Candle lighting, firewood cooking, expensive proteins, no antibiotics, or modern medications except for those who can afford it. Not even cellphone communications, and unless water can be transported to the main house tank, no tap or shower water. There is no electrical pumping of course. This could be solved with some sort of mechanical arrangement and a horse or some other animal, though. I hope to see this done soon. There are reports of the most isolated rural communities that horses are being used, as there are no spare parts for the most common vehicle there, the Chinese crappy motorcycles. These are not of the best quality, they break down all the time; when you have a working supply chain parts are dirt cheap. Not anymore. There are almost no spare parts because there are no dollars to buy them nor chain supply to transport anything. That’s why I insist so much in a good quality brand vehicle and a parts stock. Buying cheap can cost someone’s life. Including ours. A good business idea would be to have a small 2-ton truck and make some agreements to transport production to the city. Once you come back to the cottage, hide the thing in a barn or some secured enclosed garage, out of sight. At night in pitch dark, robbers will do their thing and can become dangerous if not controlled. I have recommended to the people in my subdivision to get every radio they can and keep it on at nights for security.

Interesting note. Some friends are using their car batteries (and their kids’ toys car batteries) for lighting, with cheap LEDs. One 12v battery will light for 3 days in a row before needing a recharge. This was a set up I already had for lighting: an old car battery, a row of LEDs and a small solar battery charger, with some cheap switches. 12 hours of Venezuelan sun is more than enough for powering a laptop with a proper converter, even if the battery is not 100% new. This remaining capacity can be used. Oh, and once depleted the lead could be really useful…use your imagination.

People in the city are desperate and would buy all kind of food but they do not have money. This is extremely dangerous. The currency being used is the dollar; and without power, it is going to be hard to imagine what will happen with the electronic banking transfer. Just a few days ago someone informed me that the maintenance board of the subdivision is charging $2 for basic chores like cleaning and keeping the electric gates working. These are now useless, and car owners have to get out of the car and open them manually, exposing themselves. Another reason to have some kind of deterrent.

Thanks for reading!

I look forward to your kind comments, and your much needed assistance!

About Jose

Jose is an upper middle class professional. He is a former worker of the oil state company with a Bachelor’s degree from one of the best national Universities. He has a small 4 members family, plus two cats and a dog. An old but in good shape SUV, a good 150 square meters house in a nice neighborhood, in a small but (formerly) prosperous city with two middle size malls. Jose is a prepper and shares his eyewitness accounts and survival stories from the collapse of his beloved Venezuela. Thanks to your help Jose has gotten his family out of Venezuela. They are currently setting up a new life in another country.

This article was sourced from The Organic Prepper.


7 Ways City Prepping Is Different Than Country Prepping

By Daisy Luther

I used to have that idyllic country lifestyle that most preppers dream about. Chickens, goats, acreage, a creek running through the backyard, and most of all, seclusion. It was wonderful. I learned so much about raising animals, keeping hungry deer out of my garden, and being self-reliant to a much larger degree.

But then life happened and that wasn’t going to work for us anymore. My precocious kid graduated homeschool at 16 and wasn’t able to follow her dreams in the state and location where we lived. Obviously, at that age, I wasn’t about to turn her loose to go to school in a different state, so we relocated.

We moved to a suburban area in southern Virginia.  Gone was the acreage and the privacy, but that didn’t mean that I gave up on prepping. No way! I firmly believe that no matter where you live, you can be prepared. You may not be able to have a whole farm but you can still be self-reliant and prepped.

However, city prepping and country prepping are two different animals. Here are some of the ways that it’s different.

#1) You have to rein in the redneck when you’re in town.

When I lived out in the boondocks, nobody cared when there was a faint odor of livestock, mud in the mudroom, and hay in the back of the Jeep. In the city, things are a little different. If I set up an ugly, makeshift greenhouse using a clear plastic tarp and zip ties over a swing set in the front yard, the neighbors would 100% complain. In the country, lots of people have redneck things set up and nobody really cares.

That doesn’t mean you can’t have a greenhouse. It just can’t be in the front yard and it has to be one that looks a little nicer. Heck, you can even have a teeny one on a patio or balcony.

#2) In the city, OPSEC is even more important.

When you live within city limits, you’re bound to have neighbors. That means that OPerational SECurity is even more important than it is in the country, where you have a privacy buffer between yourself and other people.

In the city, you don’t want to be seen lugging in buckets and buckets of emergency food. People will comment something along the lines of “You got a bunker down there?”  It’s a joke now, but if they’re going hungry later, they’ll remember it.

In the city, everything you do outdoors has the capacity to be seen from by a person outside the family. Even if your back yard is fenced, a person on the second floor of another home will be able to see inside. So, your garden and your urban chickens? Everybody will know about them.

#3) In the city, you can’t go whole-hog (literally) on self-reliance.

There are a lot of things you can do in the city to be more self-reliant, but it should more look like a quirky hobby than an effort to set up a full-on homestead.

Your livestock will be limited to chickens and rabbits (if that – check your municipal website to find out what your local laws are.)  You aren’t going to be able to raise pigs or goats, and there will be no backyard butchering station in most cities.

There’s only so much of a garden you can have because there’s only so many places in your city yard with good sunlight where it’s also socially acceptable to plant vegetables. (But if you’re creative, there are quite a few things you can sneak in.)

#4) In the city, there are fewer 4-legged predators and foragers.

When I lived in the country, it was a constant battle to keep things (besides us) from eating our chickens and getting into our gardens. Between the bears, the mountain lions, the foxes, the coyotes, and the deer, raising food in the boondocks isn’t as easy as people expect it will be.

In the city, you are unlikely to have to worry about any of these things. The only trouble we’ve had have been from skunks, raccoons, and groundhogs. I’m sure there is no place completely free of varmints that want what you’re raising, but it really is easier to protect hens and veggies within city limits.

#5) In the city, you have access to a lot of stuff nearby.

This would most likely change if times were really bad, but within walking distance of our home, we have a co-op, a huge weekly farmer’s market, a community garden, and a meat market that sells only local products.

Throughout the growing season, we hit the market right before it closes and cart home tons more produce than we could ever grow, even in the country.  Then, in my nice big city kitchen, I dehydrate, can, and freeze all day Sunday. Sure, I did this in the country, too, but I had to drive more than an hour round trip to do it.

And the shopping is great, too. We have every possible big box store within 30 minutes of us, as well as many grocery stores within that same circle of convenience. Shopping the sales has never been easier. When we lived in the country, we just hit one store that regularly had the best prices, but here I can purchase the loss leaders from 4-5 different stores within an hour or two. It’s made a massive difference in our budget.

There’s a lot of convenience to living in a place where you can get things that you’d normally have to drive an hour to purchase.

#6) In the city, you have neighbors that can help you quickly.

We have been fortunate to have wonderful neighbors, although I know from experience this isn’t always the case. When I was recently recovering from surgery, our next-door neighbors were great about asking if we needed anything from the store, taking our trash to the curb and bringing it back in, and offering rides to appointments. If my daughter had needed help, it would have been right there, seconds away.

When another neighbor’s husband had a heart attack in the back yard, we heard a commotion and were over there helping out immediately while awaiting the ambulance. We took care of their dog and cat while he was in the hospital and left meals in the refrigerator that could be heated up when our neighbor returned home to get some rest after a long day at the hospital.

I know for a fact that country neighbors are great, too. In the city, however, you get to have a network close by.

Also, while I’m not recommending that 911 be your official home defense plan, you generally get a much faster response from police, fire, and ambulances in town. Where I lived before, it took a minimum of 45 minutes for the aid to arrive.

#7) In the city, a lot of your preps look environmentally friendly.

City folks are big into the environment and you can use that to your advantage when prepping. You can compost, you can have rain barrels, in many towns you can keep chickens, and you can do all sorts of things that preppers do while looking like another city hipster.

There is even a massive community garden just a couple of blocks from my house. I have a tiny little plot there, mostly so I can get to know other self-reliant souls.

You can be self-reliant in the city.

City life is very different from country life, but it’s certainly not impossible to be self-reliant. We’ve had fantastic luck with our gardens, we’re allowed to have up to 5 hens, and we can access more stuff much easier than we could when we lived in the boonies. Having neighbors has been a really nice change, and we’ve enjoyed this experience.

To the people who walk past my house to go to the park down the street (with walnut trees and a river, by the way) I just look like a city gal who has some flowering vines and a couple of big dogs. To my neighbors, I’m the friend who swaps my tomatoes for their mulberries (and brings them a jar of homemade jam.)  I have 48 different grocery stores to choose from within 45 minutes of my home, as well as 4 farmers markets and farms with produce stands. (No patterns of buying tons of stuff with all that variety!)

I still can and dehydrate, I still cook from scratch, and I still raise and forage for some of my own food. I have supplies, nearby water sources, and great neighbors. I have a plan for a wide variety of emergencies. (You can check out my new workbook to create your own plan.)

I firmly believe that you can be prepped anywhere. Life doesn’t always plant you in the “ideal” location, but it doesn’t mean that you can’t be prepared.  I’m not saying that city prepping is necessarily better than country prepping but it sure does have some nice benefits.

There will be variables, of course, in any setting, but you can prep anywhere. Don’t let anyone tell you that it can’t be done.

What about you?

I started out in the city and to the city, I returned.  I loved living in the country, but there are also many things I enjoy about city life. And in either place, I am prepared.

Has anyone ever turned up their nose at your location? What do you see as the pros and cons of prepping in different environments? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Daisy Luther is a coffee-swigging, gun-toting blogger who writes about current events, preparedness, frugality, voluntaryism, and the pursuit of liberty on her website, The Organic Prepper, where this article first appeared. She is widely republished across alternative media and she curates all the most important news links on her aggregate site, Daisy is the best-selling author of 4 books and lives in the mountains of Virginia with her two daughters and an ever-growing menagerie. You can find her on FacebookPinterest, and Twitter.


Where Should a Prepper’s Retreat Be Located? Here’s What I Learned in Venezuela

By J.G. Martinez D.

Where should your prepper’s retreat be located? This is not an issue that could be explained easily in one article. Or in a book, I think. However, I will do my best.

What was my motivation to write about this? Because I was very concerned about what was going on (logically) and the situation of my parents. However, they seem to be coping well, with the scarce money I can send them. Their needs are not that much, and they have kept themselves healthy with a diet that includes lots of tropical fruits like pineapples, papayas, watermelon, bananas and the vegetables available year-round.

My mom loves cheese, and this is known in our area as being tasty…and greasy! The toll in your veins and heart after a life consuming it is usually pretty high, and the stroke rate is quite high there. Same for red meat. They have been lowering a lot their ingesting of both, and it seems to have been quite good for their overall health. After learning they were collecting a few spoons for the weekly consumption from the coffee plants in a neighbor’s empty plot, I was really much more satisfied. As there is no sugar, sweetening with honey has become a need. Even our traditional sugar cane juice, solidified and hard as a rock, similar to a large caramel, called “panela” was expensive and scarce before I left the country.

I realized that it is all about learning to live with less, to use wisely as much of the supply that Nature makes available for us, and a wise choice of location to take advantage of this.

What’s going on in the cities

As I am writing this, something sinister is cooking up there. Armed convicts are patrolling the streets. The doors of hell are open. However, in the capital city, Caracas, and in the poor barrios (and not so poor) of every major city there are gangs of armed, masked guys roaming the streets.

You won’t see this perhaps on YouTube or some dubious political trend such as Twitter (however, there is a lot of on-site footage there, only in certain accounts) but it is happening, and it is getting worse. (Writer’s note: I started to write this a few weeks before the blackout.)

The desperation of the gangs is increasing, and they are becoming more and more aggressive. This was to be expected. It is in their nature. To hold onto the power (whatever the concept they have of such word) by every means available…until they can’t do it any longer.

We waited too long.

Provided this worst-case scenario (I’d rather prefer a pandemic, truly, instead of drugged, armed thugs at my front door) would happen, we took some containment actions. However, the scenario arrived too late, and the preps we had were not enough.

Bugging out with all of my gear would have been the less smart option…provided I could leave my job and come back later (very unlikely). The reason is simple. Every single item in any load we could have taken with us would have been “confiscated”. With or without property documents. This is a failed state, remember?

Because there is no rule of law, and nowhere to address your grievances either, you know?

Too risky, and too far away home. Perhaps a most logical choice would have been the mountains nearby our place…but building a bunker there, to go just the weekends was an open invitation for looting, and leaving our main home every single weekend was not an option neither, because monitoring thieves passing by could mark our home and break in.

It was not possible to make something concealed enough without the laborers and contractors opening their mouths and revealing the strange building so far away. Venezuelans are not exactly the most discreet people in the world. The only alternative would have been building something oneself, and for those of us who are challenged for that sort of stuff, it could result in a total disaster or risk of building failure.

For your potential retreat, location is key.

Given the recent events, with a nationwide power grid failure, and a catastrophic water supply system meltdown, added to a total communications blackout, I can say, with a proper amount of trust, location is key.

Those in the bigger cities, totally unprepared, paid the toll. Desperation, lack of medical attention for problems related to malnutrition and stress, personal safety diminished, all of this were and still are, the common denominator plaguing the people’s lives in the cities.

Being far away, using isolation as safety measures, could be safe enough just under the proper precautions, and banding with some other similar-thinking families or groups, as neighbors.

I just confirmed with some close relatives that the location where my once so-called bug out place was not so severely punished by lack of pumping water. The water distribution system of the town nearby is gravity-fed, people. The rural communities around have traditionally used rainwater collection tanks, having learned by years of irresponsible governments (way before Uncle Hugo, I have to acknowledge) that a water pipeline was not going to be installed anytime soon.

A note about water

Private water companies were almost non-existent because of the monopoly laws of the state over natural resources such as water. Basically, water belongs to everyone, and it was illegal for a company to take over it, even if you buy land with an underground stream. Companies just could charge the work of treating it, manage it, or bottled it or conduct it to the places where it would be needed. The needed permits to dig and install a water pipeline, though, are just the beginning of a long line of corruption. This was before Hugo, too.

One of the sources of the collapse of the actual water grid. And of course, the corruption and bribes behind the state controlling the water management facilities since their construction you could imagine what levels they reached and how long that line is.

In many places, the responsible team for the facility would shut down the treatment plant with any excuse, and they would receive bribes from the truck drivers, or owners of several tank trucks, to keep it like that for some time. Then the major would have to deviate “emergency” resources from the municipal (something like a county) funds to pay these trucks to deliver water to the communities.

This is a scheme that is not new at all. It has been there for decades. Those dumb enough to try to combat this, have been threatened…or worse.

Oh, and just add the military to the mix. Wonderful results.

You need a natural water source.

All of this has been described because the location of my retreat is near a natural water source. And it’s drinkable. No need to boil, just some gravity filtering as a precaution. My relatives did not need to fill their tanks there, because there is always a good reserve of filtered water at home, but if needed, they could have gone there.

It is far off the path, not many people go there.

The power is again operational in about half of the country.

The consumption of the region where my soon-to-be compound is located, is so low because there are no large industries, and the population density is so low, too, that it won’t be a problem in the near future despite the nationwide failure. I say “soon to be” because now the joining of Venezuela to the NATO is almost a certain fact. This said we are going to need bunkers, just in case.

All major cities are suffering because of the high rate of per capita power (and water) consumption. It is clearly a collapse situation where those in power (politicians and legally or illegally armed forces) just take what they need, and the rest are left to rot in their own juices.

Of course, there is an entire setup of variables around the entire situation. This is nothing that can’t be fixed with a good amount of blood, sweat, and bullets. It is not the end of the world. Just the end of a terrible era for my country. Our preparations as a family were not enough for such terrible duration of the events that tore our country apart, and there was no way to prevent or foresee that.

What we expected was what happened.

Did we suspect that someday the colectivos would be roaming the streets, free, and harming people? Yes, of course. They used to roam by the dozens whenever one of their thugs got shot, to drive him to the graveyard.

Did we suspect that food would be scarce and that power and water, soap and toothpaste would be a luxury item? Of course. We knew that the companies that once produced all kind of products had been seized systematically, in a fantasy of being “fighting against the evil empire”, only to make them unproductive so they could import everything and sell it on the black market with huge illegal, untraceable profits.

We knew that these thugs would not surrender and that they were going to kill one another after Chavez would die. They allowed violence to spread all over the country in levels that we never believed possible.

It could be possible to survive in a subdivision.

With a two-story house and a patio, we would have been incredibly much better prepared. In a tropical climate, 35 square meters can produce a LOT of food. Add some poultry for eggs, and you will have mayonnaise, and something to exchange for other items you need.

Being surrounded by several subdivision houses means that there is some degree of security. Constant rain in our area is another plus. Even in the dry seaso, it rains like there is no tomorrow. You should see the papayas in our front garden and the eggplants! Wonderful.

However, being in the middle of the city and close to some dubious barrios, an extremely low profile would have been a need. Sooner or later it was to be expected some kind of confrontation. I was not wrong: in our former city was the only place where someone shot back and killed a national guard. Go figure.

There are many variables

To summarize, there is an entire setup of variables that you have to address before selecting the location of your homestead. As the needs of everyone is different, the relative weight of such variables in our decision has to be addressed according to that.

Water, safety, accessibility, height over sea level, flooding tendency, hurricane belt, corn belt, rust belt, Bible belt, you need a matrix with all these variables in a row. As many as you believe is important. Make a spreadsheet with these in a horizontal line. In a vertical line, write the places you have selected. Based on your taste for every particular variable, assign to each place a number, from 1 to 100 perhaps or 1 to 10. Add this grading to the right end and you will have a totaling number useful for your selection purpose.

There is a method a little bit more complex to explain but will leave it for the seminars in the future, because it is definitely much better as it will give more weight to the variables such as “gun friendly state” or “cheap gas”, or “good weather year around”, and so on.

Thank you.

I hope now this article has been useful, and please leave your comments so I can keep improving my stuff in the future. I have some designs that could be a real success in the prepper’s market, indeed for some custom made, great quality devices. Unfortunately, haven’t been able to pass to the stage of a prototype.

Thanks for your much-needed support, and God bless us all, people.

Stay safe!

About Jose

Jose is an upper middle class professional. He is a former worker of the oil state company with a Bachelor’s degree from one of the best national Universities. He has a small 4 members family, plus two cats and a dog. An old but in good shape SUV, a good 150 square meters house in a nice neighborhood, in a small but (formerly) prosperous city with two middle size malls. Jose is a prepper and shares his eyewitness accounts and survival stories from the collapse of his beloved Venezuela. Thanks to your help Jose has gotten his family out of Venezuela. They are currently setting up a new life in another country.

This article was sourced from The Organic Prepper.