Emergency Food Supplies – Give Yourself Some Options


After water, food is probably the most important survival item to make sure you have stored and ready for a potential disaster. You won’t die immediately without food, but a couple of days without enough calories and you will start to notice a significant drop in energy, cognitive and fine motor skills, and morale. Even though it is widely accepted in the prepping community that you will be able to survive for up to 3 weeks without food, the loss of those things listed above can be a real threat to your safety. There are a lot of resources out there on the interwebs on emergency food supplies written by survivalists, outdoor experts, ex-special forces, and so on. My aim isn’t to be an end-all be-all defining line in the sand on which type of food is better or which brand of freeze-dried food tastes better or anything like that. I will just lay out some of the different options available for you to try. It’s all about having different options. And trying this stuff out is key, especially if you have picky eaters in your home (spouse, kids). Food fatigue is a real issue, and storing a bunch of rice and beans and calling it good can lead to slow starvation that food fatigue brings.

The different emergency food supply options can be broken down into a couple of different categories: canned goods, MREs, freeze-dried goods, and dry goods. Let’s take an in depth look at these categories below, in order of shortest to longest shelf life.

Canned Goods

Canned goods are a great starting point for anyone interested in building up their emergency food supplies. The beauty of this category is that it consists of food you and your family are likely already eating on a regular basis, and it is easy to have instant variety. It is inexpensive to build up your pantry compared to the other categories on this list.

One great suggestion that I read is to have about a month supply of food in your pantry (or if your pantry is small, as long as possible) that is properly organized and easy to rotate. Once you have that, double everything but store the copy in a plastic storage bin in your basement or under a bed somewhere. You could even make a 2nd copy to give you 3 months of easy to prepare emergency food storage. How do you arrive at that first month supply? Glad you asked.

Start by keeping track of what you and your family eat from your pantry for an entire month. Get yourself a cheap notebook and keep it in your pantry. Every time you use something, write it down. At the end of the month, see how much of each item you used. Over the next couple store visits, replenish what you used during the month and start to build your 2nd and if you choose, the 3rd extra month supply.

Don’t forget to rotate those bins every month. Set a reminder on your phone or on outlook or other calendar. Canned goods are easy to prepare, but they have a limited shelf life. You won’t be able to fill up a couple bins and leave them for the next 25+ years.

Maruchan Ramen Noodle Soup, Chicken Flavor, 3 oz, 36 Packs

Pros – Inexpensive, easy to prepare, instant variety, what you are already used to eating

Cons – short shelf life, constant rotation and expiration date checking (most work)


MREs, or meals ready to eat, are very popular among the prepping and survival crowd. Part of this comes from the fact that many in the prepping community are former/current military personnel, and are used to eating MREs. But even for those not used to MREs from military training, MREs just make a lot of sense when it comes to emergency food supplies. Let me elaborate.

MREs, as the name says, are ready made meals that can be eaten right out of the packaging, hot or cold. No cooking is required, which is usually required to some extent in the other categories (maybe not a can of baked beans or spaghetti-os), which makes this a great portable emergency food supply option. There is also quite a bit of variety with these meals, depending on the brand you purchase and whether you purchase full meals, just entrees or sides.

MREs range in price depending on the brand and where you buy them from. If you are current military, you will probably get the best deals from the commissary. Everyone else, shop around online. Below is an option from Amazon that comes highly rated.

The question that everyone is dying to know – are they any good? I actually like a lot of the MREs out there. Some of the sides not so much, but the entrees are quite palatable, although they are much better when warmed up than cold (with the handy MRE heaters). You don’t get the flavor that you would get with a freeze-dried meal (MREs utilize preservatives to extend the shelf life vs removing all the H2O). If you plan on storing MREs, I would strongly suggest buying a variety box of entrees and trying every one of them to see what you think. When it comes to ready-to-eat, portable emergency food supplies that have a mid-range shelf life (~5 years), you can’t go wrong with MREs.

Pros – portable, ready-to-eat, variety, better shelf life than canned goods, many calories

Cons – more expensive, only ~5 year shelf life, rotation necessary (not as much as with canned goods)

Freeze-dried Emergency Food Supplies

Within the last decade or so, freeze-dried emergency food supplies have really made big headway in the market. Before, NASA was basically the only group interested in freeze drying food for their astronauts in outer space. Now, it seems a new company is coming out every month with their own freeze-dried meal recipes for emergency storage. There are lots of options varying a lot in price from brand to brand. Mountain House used to dominate this market. Now there are several high-quality companies competing for market share, like Honeywell, Wise Company, Thrive, and Backpackers Pantry.

Freeze-dried meals have some nice advantages. First is shelf life, with most touting at least 25 years as the standard now-a-days. Because of how they are prepared, they are completely water free. This makes them very portable and lightweight compared to MREs and canned goods. However, you will need to re-hydrate the food before it will be edible.

The freeze-drying process preserves the flavors of the food very well, without the need to add a lot of extra preservatives, so the flavors will be excellent with most well-known brands. The meals do require some preparation, but not a lot (usually just boiling some water and mixing with the food and waiting for 10 minutes for the food to re-hydrate).
Like with the MREs, my suggestion is to buy a variety meal pack and try out the different meal options before stocking up (they can be pricey). This Mountain House entrée pack is a great place to start. I would prefer to eat a freeze-dried meal entree over an MRE any day of the week.

Pros – Long shelf life, lightweight, delicious

Cons – Expensive, requires preparation

Dry Goods

Dried Pinto Beans – 20 lbs.

In the realm of food storage, dry goods take the grand prize in shelf life (as long as they are stored properly). Scientists actually found grain buried with an Egyptian Pharaoh that was still good after more than a thousand years. If done properly, this category can long outlast us.

Common dry goods include rice, beans, wheat (red and white), oats, and popping corn. The combination of rice and black or pinto beans can sustain life almost by itself, and is the basic food of many undeveloped countries. Wheat can be use in a variety of different ways, from sprouting to grinding for flour.

Dry goods are very inexpensive for the total amount of nutrition they provide. I can regularly find 50 pound bags of White or Red wheat for around $14, 50 pound bags of white rice for around $20, and 20 pound bags of pinto or black beans for around $15 in early 2015.

The main drawbacks when it comes to dry goods include the weight, extra work to store the food, and the sometimes extensive work in preparing the food for consumption. It is way easier to rip open an MRE, open a can of soup, or even prepare a freeze-dried meal than to cook a meal that consists of dry goods, which could include grinding the grain, extensive boiling, or even sprouting the grains. Preparing the dry goods for long term storage is also extra work that isn’t required with the other categories.

A sensible approach when dealing with dry goods is to start small and to only store items that you will actually use. There is absolutely no use in storing 1000 pounds of red wheat in your basement if you don’t know how to turn the wheat into something edible. I recommend some rice and your bean of choice (black, pinto, kidney) to start out with. A couple hundred pounds of each will do a lot to extend your family’s survival without adding a lot of extra work for food prep (boil the rice, soak beans overnight and boil them with some seasonings, viola!).

Pros – Inexpensive, longest shelf life, nutritious

Cons – Heavy, extra work to prepare and store, needs extra seasonings and ingredients to help taste, not used to eating

Preparing your dry goods for long term storage requires some extra work, food grade containers (5 gallon buckets work great), mylar bags, and oxygen absorbers. Below is a great video to walk you through the steps.

Balanced Approach

So which category do I recommend for you to build your emergency food supplies? All of them. Let me explain why. If you were to just focus on canned goods, you would be alright in the short term, but after you run out or they go stale, depending on the duration of the emergency, you might not be able to re-supply. The longer shelf life food supplies can sustain you for a long time, but nobody wants to eat bland rice and beans every day for a year.

The key is to balance your storage with a variety from these 4 categories. I recommend starting with the canned goods, especially since you and your family are already eating these items on a regular basis. Top Ramen, Spaghetti-Os, canned chili and Mac and Cheese are comfort items and will not only provide sustenance but also a sense of normalcy during trying times. Expand into the MREs and Freeze-dried meals next, but be careful of the price, as it is easy to spend an entire paycheck at once. Lastly, diversify with some longer-term dry goods to round out your emergency food supplies.

It’s all about options. A well balanced plan will see you and your loved ones through an emergency scenario. If you haven’t built up your supplies, the most important thing to do is to start. Start today. Good luck!

Real Avid Gun Tool Review – Sturdy And Handy Tool


Real Avid The Gun Tool Boxed (Silver/Black)When I set out to review the Real Avid Gun Tool, I wasn’t initially very excited about the product. From online images, it seemed like it was a small tool that didn’t have the sturdiness I need when gunsmithing. When I opened the package, I was a little stunned by the multi-tool that I held in my hands. Below, I’ll tell you what I liked, what I disliked, and my overall impression of the tool. But first, lets look at the specifications.

Gun Tool Specifications

The Real Avid Gun Tool boasts an entire shooter’s tool box in one frame that fits in the palm of your hand. Here is what’s included:

  • steel pin punch with round tip
  • scope adjustment blade with a curved contour
  • choke tube wrench for the following gauges: 10, 12, 16, 28, and .410
  • curved blade
  • 2 phillips screw driver bits
  • 2 flat blade screw driver bits (3/16″ and 1/8″)
  • Torx T10, T15, T20 wrenches
  • Hex 3/32″ and 5/32″ wrenches
  • magnetic 3/16″ driver
  • magnetic storage bay for 4 screwdriver bits
  • additional hex and torx bits
  • storage pouch
  • Weight – 8 ounces
  • Length closed – 5 inches
  • Width – 1.25 inches
  • Height 1.5 inches
  • Materials – 420 Stainless steel and aluminum, molded polymer, and black rubber grip
  • Price ~ $15 (buy here from Amazon)

These tools will easily replace several in your range or tool bag. Let’s look at what the Gun Tool does right.

The Good

Price – For right around $15, you get a very serviceable tool that is not only portable, but very capable of performing several gun maintenance tasks. I mean, come on? $15? I’ve seen scope adjustment tools that cost more than that.

Size – While the tool is bigger than I originally thought it would be from images online, it is still quite small, and is slightly longer and wider than a full-size Leatherman multi-tool. With the added pouch, the entire package easily fits in a pocket, on your belt, or in a range bag.

Craftsmanship – The tool is built very well, and for the several weeks I have been using it, it has held up nicely. It is sturdy enough to perform most gunsmithing tasks. Steel and aluminum parts mixed with rubber and molded polymer is a nice combination.

Ergonomics – The Gun Tool fits surprisingly well in my hand. Molded rubber grips add comfort and it is just as comfortable holding the tool either way.

Ingenuity – This is a creative little tool. Most multi-tools are built around a set of pliers. This tool has a magnetic bit driver at one end, and has the ability to accept 3/16″ hex bits of all kinds. The magnetic bit storage area is slick, and the array of torq and hex wrenches (along with the built in choke wrench) is a fantastic idea all around.

The Not So Good

Weight – I was originally worried that the tool would be small and flimsy. It is actually quite sturdy, but the steel adds a little to the weight. At 8 ounces, it isn’t a brick, but a little heavier than I would like. I realize that trading the steel with other materials reduces durability and strength, and I don’t think I would make that trade-off.

Magnet – While the magnet in the bit driver holds the bits ok, I notice a little give and slip under higher stress. Not a big deal.

The Bottom Line

I would definitely recommend Real Avid’s Gun Tool to any shooter or gunsmith out there. This tool not only combines several maintenance tools into one handy and highly portable multi-tool, but it is sturdy and durable enough to last a long time. And for only $15, you can add this tool to your range bag today. The price is right, and the Gun Tool is a perfect match for the novice or expert gunsmith out there.

Buy your Real Avid Gun Tool Here

What do you think of the Gun Tool? Feel free to add your feedback in the comment section below.

Food Insurance Essentials Kit Review


We’ve all heard of the rumors started by doomsdayers about the Mayan apocalypse that’s supposed to come on December 21, 2012. I know what you’re thinking: they have been wrong so many times before, so why should they be right now? Personally, I highly doubt the whole Mayan apocalypse nonsense; I think it’s a bunch of brainless and baseless babble. However, what I can’t deny is that the world seems to be experiencing quite an increase of both natural and man-made disasters.

Whether it’s tsunamis in Asia, hurricanes in America, economic depression in Europe, the threat of war in the Middle East, or the melting of the ice caps in the Poles, one thing’s for certain: something’s definitely wrong with the world as we know it. As such, it isn’t really surprising if you’re worried about you and your family’s safety. In fact, I’d be more shocked if you weren’t concerned at all about all that’s going on around us.

Don’t get me wrong, though. I’m not saying that the world is coming to an end, but I’d rather have a plan and not need it, than need a plan and not have it. If you feel the same as I do, here are a few things I think you should consider doing:

  1. First off, always have an emergency bug-out plan (no, it has nothing to do with bugs). When I say bug-out, I mean escape plan. When worse comes to worst, the best thing to do is to keep a level head to be able to make logical decisions. Having a plan for the worst is a good way to keep your calm and prepare yourself mentally for whatever might happen. If you’re taking care of some people, then it might also be a good idea to set an emergency rendezvous point where you can meet up and escape together.
  2. Secondly, make sure you have an emergency supply of all your essentials. Bring along some food, water, medical supplies, hygiene products, personal safety gear, and maintenance tools. Iff you plan on building your own emergency food supply, be sure to consider buying freeze-dried food for survival. Check out these Food Insurance reviews for more information.
  3. Lastly, teach yourself some survival skills. While it is admirable to take an intensive training workshop, knowing how to apply first aid, bandages, and CPR will do for starters. If you want to go a step beyond the basics, try getting some wilderness survival training from your local campers or outdoorsmen.

The Bug Out Bag – For When The SHTF


Hurricane Katrina LootingWe live in turbulent times. Natural disasters seem to be occurring with more frequency and higher devastation. Civil unrest in countries across the world is rising. Have you ever wondered what would happen to you and your family should you be forced to evacuate your home because of an impending natural disaster? Are you ready to brave the wild if a disaster situation happens and you need to get out of your home and leave the area in a hurry? What survival capabilities do you want at the ready if such a scenario were to unfold? These are some questions that every survival minded person should ask themselves right now. To gain the survival advantage, you need to have a survival system ready to go should you and your family be forced to evacuate.

The Bug Out Bag

Bug Out Bag GearEnter the survival bug out bag. This item can be referred to as a ‘go bag’ or survival kit, 72 hour kit, or SHTF bag. If you haven’t heard SHTF before, it is an acronym for a time when it ‘hits the fan.’ A bug out bag is designed to support your survival away from your home for however long you deem necessary. 72 hour kits are designed and supplied to keep you kicking for, you guessed it, three days. If you feel like you need a week of survival capabilities, then supply it accordingly. However you look at it, this bag should be ready at all times. If a disaster strikes, you probably won’t have time to gather gear and supplies. You will need to act fast; the survival of you and your family and loved ones depends on this.

Remember the rule of 3s. You can survive:

  • 3 minutes without air
  • 3 hours without warmth or shelter
  • 3 days without water
  • 3 weeks without food

Your survival kit needs to address these needs at a bare minimum. Other items can be added for additional comfort and safety. Typical bug out bag contents will have items that can be broken down into these categories:

  • food and water
  • personal protection
  • camping and shelter
  • signal and communication
  • first aid

Use this bug out bag checklist below to make sure you build your kit with the right gear.

Food and Water

SteriPEN Adventurer Opti Handheld UV Water PurifierFood and water are the most important priorities of your bug out bag contents. You won’t last long in a disaster situation without these two items. I like MREs and Mountain House freeze-dried entrees the best. They have a long shelf life and provide a lot of valuable calories. Granola, energy, and candy bars are good supplementary items as well. I like to carry at least one liter of water, and supplement this with a water filter. Katadyn filters are a great option. MSR also makes some great filters, although they tend to be a little bit more expensive. The SteriPEN is a fantastic item; it is small, light and effective. It is battery operated and isn’t actually a ‘filter’, but the SteriPEN is what I include in my personal bug out bag.

MRE (Meals, Ready to Eat) Premium case of 12 Fresh MREs with Heaters. 5 Year Shelf Life.


H&K P2000 SK 9mm.During a disaster, safety will be a major concern for you and your family. The rule of law will most likely disintegrate. High amounts of stress can cause peaceful people to act violently. The ability to protect yourself and loved ones becomes a high priority. If you live in a state where concealed carry is allowed, you should get your permit, train with and start carrying a self-defense firearm. This will save space in your pack since you already have the firearm and spare magazines on your person. If you live where concealed carry is not allowed or you don’t have a permit, consider adding a small handgun to your bag. Train with it frequently so you know how to safely use it, but keep it with your bug out bag at all times. Don’t forget to add extra ammunition, but don’t over do it. Ammo is heavy, and taking more ammo might limit your ability to carry more water or food. My concealed-carry firearm of choice is an H&K P2000 sub compact in 9mm. I carry it on a ankle holster with two spare magazines. In my bug out bag, I added 1 box of 50 rounds of 9mm hollow points.

Cold Recon Scout Black Kraton Handle With Secure Ex Sheath SK-5 High Carbon SteelA solid survival knife is also a must to include. Since I carry a Benchmade tactical folder on my person at all times (along with my gun), I also include a Cold Steel Scout Recon fixed blade inside my bug out bag. This is not only a protection item, but can be used for bushcraft activities and is one of the most useful tools to have when in a survival situation. For a less lethal option, consider adding a small pepper spray canister or taser. These items are fantastic for getting away from hostile groups. Don’t overlook this category! You could have enough gear to last you a year, but if someone takes it by force, your preparations were in vain.

Camping and Survival

Emergency Zone Brand HeatStore Reflective Survival TentThe ideal situation during an emergency would be to remain in your home. Your home is stocked with all the things you and your family need to survive. If circumstances forced you to leave, however, you would need an alternate form of shelter. Tents are great options, but they are bulky. Even backpacking tents are heavy and cumbersome. More than likely, you will need to find or create some kind of temporary shelter. Emergency tents and sleeping bags work well and are lightweight and portable. If you opt to take along a family tent, it is a good idea to split the weight up throughout your family. We’ll talk more about family member bug out bags later.

Petzl Tikka Improved Lumen Output Xp 2 Headlamp, Black, One SizeAlong with shelter, you will want to include items to increase your survival chances. Fishing and trapping gear allow added food gathering options. Fire starting materials, such as lighters, matches, and striker based fire starters are a definite necessity. If your bag has room, a small camp stove is a nice addition, but isn’t necessary. A good flashlight is a must as well. Consider adding a headlamp; these handy tools allow you to work hands free.

Rain gear, extra tarps, extra blankets, extra clothes, work gloves, and duct tape are some other items to include, as space allows.


Motorola MT352TPR Giant FRS Weatherproof Two-Way - 35 Mile Radio Triple Pack - SilverIn a disaster situation, communication with your party will be essential for security as well as logistics. Cell phones will most likely be offline. However, two way radios work great in these situations. Remember to pack extra batteries for items that require them. A survival radio is also a good item to have. When the emergency is over, your radio will let you know when it is safe to return home. Signal mirrors, whistles and flares could augment your signaling capabilities.

Etón FR160B Microlink Self-Powered AM/FM/NOAA Weather Radio with Flashlight, Solar Power and Cell Phone Charger (Black)Remember to adhere to proper OPSEC during a disaster situation. Operation security is paramount to your safety and the safety of those within your group. Improper light discipline, not communicating with coded messages, and improper use of signal devices could give away your position, intentions, group size, supplies, etc to other people that might want to take what you have. There are some great articles on Graywolf survival website that go over the many facets of OPSEC. Head over there now to learn more, but don’t forget to come back and read the rest on preparing your bug out bag here!

First Aid

Coleman Expedition First Aid KitMore than likely, first aid skills and supplies will be necessary from the get go. A good bug out bag is always going to have as many first aid options as can be packed. Don’t overlook this category! Even just some antibacterial pads, band-aides, and tylenol can go a long way to improve a survival situation.

Remember to consider your family member’s prescription needs. It is a good idea to buy a first aid kit, and then add more stuff to it, like medications, extra band aids, scissors, nitrile gloves, and gauze. Add what you think you and your family will need.

What To Pack Your Gear In

High Sierra Swerve Pack (Navy/Charcoal/Black)The bag or pack that you use and what you pack it with is completely customizable and ultimately up to you. A larger backpack will allow you to carry more gear, but this in turn will reduce your mobility and speed. If you plan on staying in a group, you will have expanded options. If you are able to employ a vehicle, many more capabilities will be possible. I have a survival duffle bag in my truck at all times. This constitutes my ‘vehicle bug out bag,’ and is a supplement to my bug out bag in the event that I will have my truck with me.

Some people like to use military style backpacks to create their bug out bags. The nice thing about these bags is they are built well and are very durable. The problem is that you will be attracting unwanted attention to yourself carrying around a multi-cam or dessert digital backpack, like the Falcon II from Maxpedition (awesome backpack!!). Remember those articles you just read about OPSEC? Instead, go with a neutral color, or even a color that is common for most school backpacks (blue, black, green).

Your bug out bag contents could go in any bag that you want them to. You could fit them all in a small fanny pack, or in a rolling duffle bag. It is completely up to you. Remember that you will have to make trade offs between more gear and more mobility. When packing my kits, I find that having a bug out bag checklist to track bug out bag essentials is a good way to get organized.

Family Bug Out Bags

Family Bug Out BagsIf you are single or plan on bugging out alone, for whatever reason, the kit you prepare should cater to your needs. If you have a family or you plan on bugging out in a group, the survival bug out bag you prepare needs to cater to the needs of your family or group. For example, let’s say you are a typical family of four: you, your spouse, and two kids (a son and daughter). Do you think that you will be able to carry all the survival essentials to keep your family of four alive for a week? Probably not.

Each member of your family needs to have their own bug out bag, customized to meet their individual needs. Let’s look at what the two parents could pack in their bags first, then look at what the kids could feasibly carry to help out.

Adult 1

  • 5 day supply of MREs
  • 2 Liters of Water
  • SteriPen adventurer water purifier
  • tent body
  • fire starter
  • emergency sleeping bag
  • poncho
  • spare socks, undergarments, sweater, and pants
  • two-way radio, spare batteries
  • hand crank radio
  • first aid kit (with medications specific for Adult 1)
  • fishing kit
  • personal mess kit
  • survival knife
  • 50 feet of paracord
  • extra ammo for concealed carry firearm
  • headlamp, spare batteries
  • personal documents and small amount of cash

Adult 2

  • 5 day supply of MREs
  • 2 Liters of Water
  • Katadyn water filter
  • tent poles
  • fire starter
  • emergency sleeping bag
  • poncho
  • spare socks, undergarments, sweater, and pants
  • two-way radio, spare batteries
  • hand crank radio
  • first aid kit (with medications specific for Adult 2)
  • snare kit
  • personal mess kit
  • survival hatchet
  • duct tape
  • small self defense firearm + 50 rounds of ammunition
  • headlamp, spare batteries
  • personal documents and small amount of cash

Notice that each adult is carrying a redundant supply of food and water, water filtration, and other survival items. Adult 1 is carrying a large portion of the family tent, and adult 2 is carrying another large part. There are a few differences in their gear items, but remember that redundancy is always good, especially since things tend to break and fail during a disaster situation.


  • 3 day supply of MREs
  • 1 Liter of Water
  • aquamira emergency straw filter
  • tent rain fly
  • fire starter
  • emergency sleeping bag
  • poncho
  • spare socks, undergarments, sweater, and pants
  • two-way radio, spare batteries
  • small first aid kit (with medications specific for Son)
  • fishing kit
  • personal mess kit
  • multi tool
  • headlamp, spare batteries
  • personal documents and small amount of cash


  • 3 day supply of MREs
  • 1 Liter of Water
  • aquamira emergency straw filter
  • tent stakes
  • fire starter
  • emergency sleeping bag
  • poncho
  • spare socks, undergarments, sweater, and pants
  • two-way radio, spare batteries
  • small first aid kit (with medications specific for Daughter)
  • snare kit
  • personal mess kit
  • small pocket knife
  • headlamp, spare batteries
  • personal documents and small amount of cash

Notice that the two kids are also helping carry the family tent, but the smaller parts. They are also carrying a smaller amount of food and water, a smaller water filter, and smaller first aid kits designed specifically for them.

Why all the redundancy? Well, we already talked about the fact that things tend to break or fail when you need them the most. But what would happen if you got split up from a member of your family or group? Having one person carry all the food, while another person carries all the first aid is a disaster waiting to happen. Every member of your family needs to have a bug out bag so that each member can survive if they end up being alone. This is not ideal, and you will want to remain together if at all possible. But designing your kits to meet each member’s specific needs is essential for everyone’s survival, especially if the group falls apart.

The Bottom Line

Options. It’s all about having options. For example, survival may or may not depend on your bringing a survival knife, but the options this item gives you are endless. Plan your bug out bag based on capabilities you want during a disaster. And for heavens sakes, set it up NOW and have it ready for when disaster strikes.

Here are a few articles that offer more insight into the important items to include in your survival bug out bag.

Advantages Of Solar Energy – Is It Worth The Investment?


Oil RefineryThe Problem With Fossil Fuels

Most people out there are very aware of the price of gasoline, and therefore oil. You don’t need to be a commodities trader to know the price of oil, as it affects gas prices, which in turn can affect the price of just about everything from shipping to food costs. Fossil fuels power the world’s economy. There are several problems with fossil fuels. Environmentalists point to the increased production of carbon dioxide when burning fossil fuels. Fossil fuels are also a limited resource that will one day run out. We import a lot of oil from the middle east, which is in constant turmoil. Small conflicts interrupt the shipment of oil from the Persian Gulf, causing shortages (and price increases). Natural disasters have damaged refineries in the past, and will continue to do so in the future.

Because of these problems with fossil fuels, there has been a lot of activity in the alternative energy sector in the last 50 years. Hydroelectric and nuclear power are predominant power sources that are alternative to fossil fuels. Solar power, wind power, and biofuels are up and coming alternative energy sources that could potentially supply the world’s economy in the future with renewable energy.

Solar Power

Solar Plant

Solar power is a unique energy source because it features an unlimited source – the sun. As long as the sun keeps burning, there will be a free opportunity to harvest its energy that is only limited by technology and the amount of solar panels you can set up. It could virtually power every building on the planet. If that is the case, why doesn’t every home have a solar power system?

I just got my monthly electric and gas bills in the mail. September and October are usually pretty mild months of the year in my home state, so the amount due didn’t cause me to dry heave. But in a few months, I will be paying close to $250 a month to heat my house. During the hot summer months, I easily top that on my electricity bill. Would it be worth it to install a solar energy system to supplement my power supply during those months? Let’s first go over the advantages of solar power and look at the argument for installing a system onto your home.

Advantages Of Solar Energy

What are some advantages of solar energy? I have done a little research and have come up with the following:

  • lower utility costs over time
  • environmentally friendly
  • creating energy locally, rather than shipping that energy from long distances
  • self reliance if emergency power outages occur
  • tax credits

Lower Utility Costs

Installing a solar energy system in your house will over time lower your utility costs. By combining this with windmills, your goals could be reached a lot faster. Many power companies will even pay you for your excess power production that is put back into the grid system. Dropping your bills by a significant percentage could increase your cash flow, making your monthly budgeting less tight.

Environmentally Friendly

Solar power doesn’t produce any emissions. It is a truly emission free energy source. So if you are inclined to think about the environment, this is another advantage of installing a solar system onto your home.

Creating Local Energy

Costs of shipping energy from power plants hundreds of miles away is mainly why energy costs are so high. This point ties in with the first; solar energy would lower the cost of energy.

Self Reliance During Outages

What would happen if the power grid went down because of a natural or man-made disaster? In a disaster scenario, power will most likely be non-existent. Many of us would be OK as long as the power returned after a day or two, but what if the outage lasted longer? While I am prepared to survive without electricity (based on my preparations), it would sure be nice to have some electricity in a survival situation. A previously installed solar energy system would afford you that luxury.

Tax Credits

There are still federal and state solar tax credits available, ranging from 10% up to 50%, depending on the system and how much you pay (some have a yearly cap). These credits are being phased out, so check with the IRS or with your state tax agency.

Now that we have gone over the advantages to having your own power plant on your roof (in the form of solar panels and a battery array), is it ultimately worth it to install?

The Down Side Of Solar Power

The cost of this technology is still quite prohibitive, especially during these tough economic times. These energy systems are very, very expensive. I estimate that installation on my house would cost well over $20,000 to achieve a positive electricity gain. If I installed the system myself, I could save some money, but I would want to get a more energy efficient electric water heater and furnace, which adds to the cost. To make that money back, I would be looking at somewhere between 8 and 9 years (if my utility costs are $200/month). Is that a good investment? It depends.

I am not sure I will stay in my home that long. If I was, then I think I would make the plunge. The problem is that solar power systems, especially the do-it-yourself variety, don’t add significantly to the value of your home. Not right now anyway, and that might change in the future as technology improves and home solar systems become more widespread. If I were to move 4 or 5 years down the road, I would basically be losing half of what I spend on the system.

If you are thinking about installing a system on your home, think about how long you will be staying in your home before you make your decision. The longer, the better.

The Bottom Line

Do the advantages of wind and solar energy outweigh the cons? For me, they do – except for the cost. That is why I have started small. Portable solar power systems can be had for $200, and can produce enough power to charge cell phones, laptop batteries, and trickle charge a car battery. Eventually, I would like to have solar panels on my roof paying for my utility bills. The nice thing is that as technology improves, the cost of solar panels and the needed accessories are dropping. As they continue to drop, installing a solar power system on your home will make more and more sense.

Hopefully this article will help you get started with your solar power plans. Good luck! Click the image below to get an idea of what solar panels cost right now.

Instapark® NEW All Black 100W Mono-crystalline Solar Panel, 100 Watt

Do you have a home solar power system? How much did it cost you? By how much is it reducing your utility bills? Any tips? Please feel free to comment below. Thanks!

Duffle Bag – Survival Readiness


As part of my bug out bag preparations, I have a large duffle bag at the ready. Within this survival duffle bag, I have an expanded survival kit which is meant to supplement my bug out bag if the situation allows for me to take it along in my vehicle. While my bug out bag has enough supplies for me to last about a week away from home, this large, canvas duffle bag has the possibility of sustaining me for another one to two weeks with a more diverse amount of survival gear. Lets take a look at what my survival duffle holds:

Camo Military Field Gear Duffle Bag Backpack

Leapers UTG Ranger Field Bag (Army Digital) – Amazon $40 (click here or picture above)

  • 15 MRE entrees (Buy here)
  • 8 3600 Calorie Datrex high energy food bars (Buy here)
  • 20 assorted powerbar gels (Buy here)
  • Katadyn Hiker Pro water filter (Buy here)
  • 4 Liters water (Buy nalgene bottles here)
  • Ka-Bar survival knife (Buy here)
  • Expanded first-aid kit (Buy here)
  • 3 each of: Under Armor calf length socks, underwear, base layer shirts and pants (Buy Socks here)
  • Olive drab wool sweater and beanie cap (Buy here)
  • leather gloves (Buy here)
  • fishing kit (Buy here)
  • snare kit
  • firestarting kit
  • Kel-Tec SU-22 folding rifle, with 2000 rounds of CCI mini mags, 500 rounds CCI shotshell #12 shot
  • Bushnell Binoculars (buy here)
  • 100 rounds 9mm Hollowpoints

This survival duffle is still a work in progress, and I need to tweak the gear involved. However, this bag has greatly expanded options from my bug out bag. The bag itself is a beast. It is absolutely huge. Go to amazon.com now and buy one or five. Similar bags from Blackhawk or 5.11 could cost you upwards of $200. The duffle bag is waterproof, fully padded, has multiple pockets and the carry straps are reinforced. It is also nicely done in Army Digital camo, with other color options available as well. The only thing lacking on this bag is the addition of some wheels to haul around all the gear that can be loaded into it!

This is just an example of what your ready to go vehicle survival duffle bag could be. You could similarly use a canvas duffle bag, or you could use a wheeled duffle bag if you anticipate carrying heavy guns and ammo. Rolling duffle bags are nice, but I think that survival bags should be a little lighter than those requiring wheels. This is especially true if you don’t have access to a vehicle in your survival situation. However you see it, supplement your bug out bag with a good survival duffle bag.

Camping Chairs – Camping Luxury


Imagine you have just hiked 8 miles, ascending 2500 feet up a rocky mountainside carrying a 70 pound pack.  You set up your base camp, collect and filter water for the evening and night and catch dinner in a high mountain lake.  Your trout is sizzling and ready to eat.  Your legs, back and feet are sore from the strenuous climb.  And there you sit, on the rocky ground, uncomfortable and sore.  It sure would be nice to be able to sit in a chair like a regular human being at a time like this.  But you comfort yourself by thinking ‘the extra weight of a camping chair would’ve broke my back on that hike.’

That scenario has played out for me many times in the past.  What a luxury a camping chair would be after a brutal hike!  I’ve asked myself time after time ‘is it worth it to carry all this added weight?’  That has to be answered by every camper/hiker individually – it is ultimately their back on the line.  But does it have to be a difficult decision?  Are there lightweight camping chairs on the market that would be a viable option?

Now, to find a backpacking chair that is a) lightweight, b) portable, c) comfortable, d) affordable can be quite a challenge.  I ultimately had to compromise and sacrifice some comfort to gain lightweight and portable properties in my chair.  Most folding camping chairs on the market weigh more than 5 pounds.  For me, that’s just too heavy.  I have found a few folding chairs that are light, but cost an arm and a leg.  I ended up getting a Kelty camp chair off of Amazon.com for $24.  My chair weighs one pound, but has no legs.  So I still end up sitting directly on the floor, but I have back support and padding.  The balance is difficult to achieve, but I am happy with my choice.

Kelty Camp Chair, Blue

If backpacking is not your gig, there are heavy duty camping chairs out there that have all the bells and whistles (cup holders, headrest, reclining, foot rest, rocking).  I appreciate a drive-in camp as much as anyone else, and these chairs can make life grand in the great outdoors.  Coleman camping chairs are a great deal, and truly bring luxury into the camp ground.  Happy camping!

Plastic Storage Boxes – Gear Organization


Stack-On BIN-6 Parts Storage Organizer Bins, 6 Pack, Red

Getting organized can seem like a daunting task to individuals with little time on their hands. Most people are very busy with jobs and home life, and extra time is hard to come by. Organizing your things may not be a priority to you. It definitely wasn’t for me until recently. I work two jobs and my wife and kids occupy almost all of my free time, not to mention my many hobbies. I just didn’t have time to deal with the closets full of junk and the basement and garage full of clutter. I decided to get organized because I was tired of being frustrated by the constant messes day after day. There is something to be said of stress levels and frustration that are associated with a cluttered home, and well, a cluttered life.

Constant Battle With Clutter

Before I decided to get organized, I had gear strewn all throughout my house. Every closet had random items. My basement and garage were littered with gear. My wife finally told me one day, “If you don’t clean up this junk and organize it, I’m gonna start chucking it.” Now, before anyone judges her for wanting to throw away my ‘treasured gear’ (not junk), I will say it was pretty scattered. I had fishing equipment in the guest bedroom closet, as well as random camping gear. I needed to get organized, and fast.

I did an online search for ‘gear organization’ and got some ideas for arranging my gear. I found different shelving ideas for garages and storage rooms. Some had shelving suspended from above the garage door, which I might explore more in the future. I found a lot of different storage choices, like shelving and storage bins. I thought that shelving in my garage would go a long way to organize my tools and other items out there. I found some heavy duty large plastic storage boxes that I thought would be perfect for organizing all my gear in my home. Let’s start with the plastic storage bins.

Organization With Plastic Storage Boxes

Plastic storage bins have a few characteristics that make them an ideal choice for organizing and categorizing your things. They

  • are stackable
  • have removable lids
  • have sturdy plastic construction
  • come in many sizes and shapes
  • come in different color options

Sterilite 66-Quart See-Through Storage Box with Latching Lid, Set of 4

The fact that these plastic storage boxes are stackable makes them a great space saver. Shelving units can be utilized to stack heavy duty plastic storage bins at higher levels, and the sturdy construction prevents collapse even under heavy weights. Plastic storage bins with lids are useful, in that the lids are usually removable.  This allows greater access to the box, as well as an additional space saver (the extra storage boxes can be stacked within each other).

These bins can be found in many shapes and sizes. Large plastic storage bins are nice, because they allow over-sized and bulky items to be stored neatly out of the way. Smaller boxes are convenient when taking advantage of smaller storage areas. These bins also come in many colors. Different colors allow you to organize your belongings into different categories. These categories can be color coded to save time when locating a specific item. Clear plastic storage bins allow you to see what has been stored inside, also reducing time when looking for something. This also reduces clutter, allowing you to locate the exact box with the item without pulling out multiple boxes.

Color Coded Plastic Storage Bins

Sterilite 19378606 50-Quart Shelf Tote Clear Base with Driftwood Lid and Platinum Latches, 6-Pack

I started at Home Depot. They have several different plastic storage boxes with lids to choose from. I went with a few clear plastic storage boxes, so I could see some of the gear that was inside. I ended up getting different colors, which would help me organize my gear as follows:

  • Clear – Smaller random survival items (extra fire starters, flares, knives, etc.)
  • Red – First aid kits and extra supplies
  • Green – Survival kits and camo (bug out bags, spare car kits)
  • Black – Tactical gear (tactical vests, MOLLE pouches, and knives)
  • White – Camping and outdoor gear

While the colors separate gear out by category, each plastic storage bin is labeled with its contents. I went with the same brand so that they could all be stacked well in my garage. Make sure to distribute the weight evenly throughout the boxes, or getting to a box closer to the ground could be difficult. The boxes I purchased were a good deal. Cheap plastic boxes can be found at Wal-mart, K-mart, ShopKo, Lowes and Home Depot. Shop around and find the best price and size to suit your gear organization needs.

Get Organized Today!

The benefits of organizing your homes are worth the time spent. What I have seen since storing all of our things in these plastic storage bins has be a huge reduction in household clutter. When messes do happen, it is really easy to just throw everything back in its bin and stow the bin away. The time we have saved since bringing order to our home has allowed us to spend more time doing what we love to do, with those that we love to spend time with. Being able to come home from work to a clean, organized house sure beats coming home to a cluttered house any day! If you find yourself in a never ending battle with household clutter, do some research on the different options out there, and try some out today!

Hopefully, these tips will help you to organize your lives. What have you done to de-clutter your home? What storage options do you like? What tips do you have? Please add your comments and answers to these questions below. Thanks!

 Storage Options

Tactical Vests – So Many, Which One To Choose?


UTG Tactical Vest with Shot Shell Cartridge Holder, Army Digital

The Scenario

Imagine it is a regular Monday morning. Commuters are preparing for their work week. Kids are catching their bus to school. Your neighborhood is waking up from the weekend. Suddenly, a massive earthquake devastates your community. Power is cut. Roads are severely damaged. Police and medical personnel are swamped with emergency situations. Because a vast majority of the populace didn’t prepare food storage, looting of grocery stores ensues. Because the roads are severely damaged, aid has trouble arriving for weeks. Looters turn into mobs, robbing neighbor’s food supplies. Violence erupts in your peaceful town. This situation is far from being a fantasy. Each city, no matter its size, is susceptible to this scenario. Lets say you’ve done your part with food and water storage, and can last for up to 6 months without outside aid. Will that matter if looters break down your door and take your storage by force? What can you do to prepare for this situation?

A lot of survival blogs preach the stockpiling of ‘guns and ammo.’ While I don’t disagree, a common sense approach is needed so as not to get bogged down with several different calibers of ammunition. Choose one for your rifle, one for your sidearm, and call it good until it becomes economically feasible for you to expand. For the sake of simplicity, lets say you invested in an AR-15 rifle platform. You have seven spare magazines and a few thousand rounds. Your sidearm of choice is a Glock 17, 9mm.  You have four spare pistol magazines. The looters are coming down the street towards you and your neighbors houses. How do you easily carry all of your ‘guns and ammo’ out to protect your loved ones?

Tactical Vests

Molle tactical vests are an invaluable option for this scenario. Unless you want to stuff your pockets with spare mags, tactical vests organize your gear in a way that suits you. In military jargon, these would be your LBEs, or load bearing equipment. Modular pouches hold anything from spare magazines, shotgun shells, radios, flashlights, trauma kits, water bottles, tactical knives, and even grenades (for the fortified looters). There are many types of vests on the market, most with customization as the key feature. Here is a breakdown:

  • Tactical Crossdraw Vests – Single configuration, 3-4 M4 double mag pouches, 3 pistol mag pouches, crossdraw sidearm holster, tactical belt with utility pouches, admin pouch, radio pouch
  • Tactical Plate Carriers – Blank canvas, can be completely configured to user, front rear and side armor plate pouches
  • Tactical Chest Rigs – Blank canvas, can be completely configured to user, map pouch, no rear attachment capabilities, high speed/low drag

Crossdraw Vests

Tactical Crossdraw Military Cross Draw Vest w/Pistol Belt--ACU CamoCrossdraw vests come already configured with pouch layout. They are not customizable, with the exception of possibly removing the holster to add more M4 mag pouches. But the idea of the crossdraw vest is that it incorporates the sidearm right on the vest. As long as you keep it supplied with gear, it will be ready to throw on in a grab-and-go situation. Crossdraw vests can be purchased for under $50, so they are a great economical choice. They also come in a wide variety of camo choices.

Plate Carriers

Blackhawk Lightweight Commando Recon Chest Harness, Coyote Tan 37CL82CTPlate carriers are fully customizable tactical vests, with endless possibilities of pouch configuration. If tactical shotguns are your thing, these vests can be loaded out to carry shotgun specific gear. If you are a medic, they can be loaded out to carry strictly medical supplies. They are large with lots of real estate. Internal armor plate pouches are available on the front, rear, and sides. Plate carriers also come in a wide variety of colors. A typical plate carrier can cost upwards of $100, but it does not include pouches, which would have to be purchased separately.

Chest Rigs

Condor Recon Chest Rig (Tan)Like plate carriers, chest rigs are fully customizable. However, they tend to only have a front section of molle webbing, hence the name ‘chest rig.’ They are smaller and lighter, and designed for mobility and speed. They tend to be a little cheaper than full plate carriers ($50), but also do not come with pouches. Like the other tactical vests, they come in a wide variety of colors.


Which One To Choose?

Choosing a tactical vest is difficult. A crossdraw vest might be the most economical choice, but is not flexible with pouch placement. Plate carriers are nice with all the molle webbing real estate, but you can run up quite a bill on different pouches. Chest rigs are lightweight and low profile, but lack a true loadout capability. If my financial limitations only allowed me to choose one LBE of the three mentioned above, I would buy a black crossdraw vest. This would be the easiest rig to set up, and would just require you to add gear (mags, sidearm, etc.). I would choose black because I live in an urban environment.

But why just have one?  Multiple tactical vests configured for different scenarios has its advantages as well (different colors for desert, forest, urban, and different loadouts for rifle, shotgun, sub-machine gun). Either way, having your rigs at the ready is important for when disaster strikes and those looters are headed for your neighborhood. You probably wouldn’t even have to fire a shot; just the sight of one or more tactical vest-clad assault rifle-armed men would most likely be enough to scare any looter away for good.

Tactical Vest Layout

Obviously, if you go with a crossdraw vest, you will be limited to where you put your gear because the pouches are sewn into the vest. You will need to train with the placement of your gear as it is on your crossdraw vest. But if you go with a plate carrier or a chest rig, where do you place your pouches and ultimately your gear?

This is a good question to ask yourself. It comes down to what purpose your vest is being outfitted for. If you are setting up a dedicated medic rig, the placement of pouches will be based on the tasks you will be performing as a combat medic. If you are setting up a rifleman rig, your rig layout will be based on the specific tasks of a rifleman.

I like to use the crossdraw vest for a basic layout for my plate carriers because it is the most generic layout there is. Pistol magazine pouches, rifle magazine pouches, and comms pouch are all in a good location to start out. But you can tweak where each pouch is placed based on the access you need for specific gear.

Each person has different needs. Left handed shooters versus right handed shooters might want everything flipped. A person with only a pistol might want only pistol magazine pouches. The key is to set up your vests to fit your needs, and then practice with it fully loaded. The weight is something that a lot of people aren’t ready for unless they have worn a fully loaded vest. Run drills with your vest to build muscle memory for magazine switches and transitions to your secondary firearm. If something doesn’t work, re-arrange your pouch layout until you find something that works. And train some more.

Here are some pictures of different tactical assault vest loadouts to give you some ideas.

The Bottom Line

As you search for the right tactical vest for you, remember that what works for me may not work for you. You need to try different systems out to see for yourself what you like. Good luck.

What is your favorite tactical vest type? How do you have yours loaded out? Any tips you would add? Please comment below. Thanks!

Coleman Tents Vs. Kelty Tents


A secondary form of shelter is essential when an emergency strikes and evacuation is necessary.  Camping tents are a great shelter option.  Besides, camping can be a fun family activity.  I get out every summer multiple times to backpack and camp in the western Rocky Mountains.  But if you look at the prices of some tents on the market, you might be shocked to see that a three-season tent can cost you upwards of $300!  For someone on a limited budget looking to invest in an emergency preparedness shelter, this is not feasable.  What about Wal-mart Coleman tents?

The Test:

2 night camping trip to the Uinta Mountains in Northern Utah in September 2010

First night – Slept in a four man Kelty Grand Mesa 4

Kelty Grand Mesa 4 Backpacking 4 Person Tent

Second night – Slept in a three man Coleman 7’x7′ Sundome tent

Coleman Sundome 3-Person Tent (Green, 7-Feet x 7-Feet)

All other variables were kept the same, such as:

  • tent placement
  • sleeping bag
  • floor mat
  • ground cloth

I decided to set up an experiment to determine if the expensive name brands are really ‘worth’ $150 more.  For this test, I chose the Kelty Grand Mesa 4 tent because it was situated somewhere in the middle of the price range for mountaineering tents.  I have used Kelty tents in the past and I like them.  I packed up my camping gear, the two tents to be tested, and my trusty sidekick Radar (black lab).  We went to a favorite camping area up in the Uinta mountains in Utah on a weekend in late september.  We stayed 2 nights and switched tents each night.  The sleeping bag I used was a North Face Goliath, which is rated to zero degrees.  The first night I slept in the Kelty Grand Mesa 4 tent (for testing purposes, I couldn’t sleep in the each tent the same night, so I chose to sleep in the Coleman tent the second night.  It reached 40 degrees.  I was comfortable all night.  I didn’t get cold, and only woke up a couple of times.  In the morning, there was moisture in my tent, around the edges on the floor, and on the tent walls.  I had the rain fly on because it was overcast, and it rained.  I was a little surprised by the amount of water in my tent, especially because I bought the tent based on the idea that the seams would not allow water in.  The second night I slept in the Coleman sundome tent.  It also reached 40 degrees.  As with the Kelty tent, I was comfortable all night, only waking up a few times.  As with the Kelty, I had the rain fly set up, and it rained again.  There was about the same amount of moisture in the Coleman tent as the Kelty tent.


I got two nights of restful sleep with both tents.  Both were tested in the same temperature range with rain.  Both the Kelty tent and the Coleman tent had roughly the same amount of moisture within the tent.  (A side note:  the water may not all be becasue of leaky seams.  The rain fly was up, trapping moisture from exhaling.  The low temperatures caused this water vapor to condense on the walls and floors of the tents by morning.)  I thought the Kelty tent was a little easier to set up, especially since I was by myself (my dog could only bark).  The coleman tent took longer, but both were set up easily enough.  The Kelty tent was marketed as a four man tent, with roughly 55 square feet plus vestibules.  The Coleman tent was marketed as a three man tent, with 49 square feet.  Both would make great two man tents.  You might be able to squeeze three men into the Kelty, but four is a stretch at best.  The Kelty tent weighed a lot less than the bulky Coleman tent.  But durability could be an issue with the Kelty three season if left up for extended periods of time through incliment weather.


For the price, the Coleman tent can’t be beat.  I thought it performed as well as the Kelty on my experiment, and would be a valuable asset for survival preparations.  Check the coleman tents home page for discount coleman tents online, or look for cheap coleman tents on amazon.com.

Why Military Clothing Is So Popular

Reinventing old styles to create a new fashion style is one of the best things about vintage clothing. Wearing old clothes in an entirely different fashion context is a way of making a unique statement. Wearing vintage clothes is a way to pay homage to the old style, while keeping in mind the aesthetics of the present.

Vintage clothing enthusiasts love military fashion because of the sense of political nostalgia that they give. Certain military uniforms just remind people of their history. Wearing vintage military clothing also makes people feel like they are playing a role. Soldiers are very courageous men, and wearing old uniforms can definitely inspire people to have courage that only soldiers have.

Military fashion is also very functional. Most military uniforms are very durable, and they are tailor made to function effectively in all sorts of conditions. One of the best reasons why people love wearing military clothes is that they can be worn comfortably all day, not to mention that they add style to the rest of the ensemble.

Combat pants and military jackets are commonly worn by vintage fashion enthusiasts because they are very comfortable and they can be worn to match with almost anything like any street and urban outfits. Many people are seen wearing camouflage jacket in the streets on a regular basis. Their popularity can also be attributed to the fact that they are very common in charity stores and other vintage and specialty shops.

The military shirt, although also commonly found in vintage military stores, require clever styling because it does not always match with regular street clothes. But when used wisely with other clothes, military shirts can be a great fashion asset because the resulting styles, most often than not, are very unique.

Two of the most stylish items when it comes to military fashion are the trench coat and the wax jacket. These items work really well with any kind of outfit. They are extremely functional especially in the cold months because they have been made to last in the worst of weather conditions. They also look very elegant and depending on their condition, they can be highly sought items in the vintage market. Trench coats made of leather, for example, when maintained in good condition can be valued for a lot of money. When leather trench coats are maintained well, they can be the best vintage fashion items in any body’s closet.

For more information read this guide to vintage military clothing

Wilderness is New Zealand’s Most Trusted Campervan Rental Business

Wilderness motorhomes are regionally recognized as being the most trusted travel and outdoors purveyor. Don’t just take our word for it – our customer reviews have earned us the esteemed Supreme Award of the Traveller Voted Awards for two of the past three years. Read what our commenters have said about their experience with Wilderness on the Rankers website.

There are many reasons why, if you are looking to rent a campervan hire new zealand based Wilderness is a great idea. We rent top notch vehicles at reasonable prices, because we understand that not everyone wants to, or can, pay top dollar for a campervan. Auckland Motor homes can be very expensive, but we have found a way to provide you with quality at a sensible price: we take vehicles six years old or younger, refurbish them, and then maintain them meticulously for our clients. Brand new motorhomes are available, too, including the European-designed and built Ixeo, which is known for its comfort and style.

Regardless of the model you rent, all of our campervans and motorhomes run on diesel, which in New Zealand is about forty percent less expensive than gasoline. Our campervans and motorhomes come with all the auxiliaries that most rental companies either won’t bother with or will charge you exorbitant extras for, like dual air bags, solar panels and high-charging batteries. There are also extras like water storage, DVD players, and freedom camping certification that many people consider to be fundamental parts of their outdoors experience.

It does not matter if you like your excursions rugged or pampered. Regardless of what you choose, we are the experts on touring wild New Zealand, and our team knows everything about campervan rentals in the region. Our team members live and breathe the outdoors. When we aren’t hard at work helping to shape your holiday into something special, we are testing our products on our own holidays. We know what works, and what doesn’t, from consistent personal experience. We have made the mistakes and enjoyed the pleasures of New Zealand road trips and wilderness excursions, and so our firsthand knowledge is unbeatable. We supply you with advice, guide books, and the tools you need to enjoy your holiday as much as we enjoy ours!

This is in part thanks to our moderately-sized company, which is big enough to provide you with a variety of campervan options, but small enough to still care about the quality of your trip.

Four Essential Plumbing Tips for the Kitchen

Pasadena plumbing companies are often called because of a malfunctioning garbage disposal, leaking faucets or a clogged sink. Those problems can actually be prevented. How? Use some of the following preventative measures and repair tips.

1. Do Not Use the Disposal as a Wastebasket

Every garbage disposal has a manual. Read this document. It contains valuable information about what you can throw into the unit, and which food remnants should go into the garbage can or composter. Hard-to-grind items, like fruit pits and chicken bones can jam the blades. That stresses the motor. The blades will get dull faster. A smarter solution would be to collect all those bones, and use them to make a healthy soup. Do not pour grease down the drain either. It hardens in the pipes. That causes nasty clogs. The list of foods that should not go into the garbage disposal include: celery, carrots, poultry skin, egg shells, banana and onion peels, corn husks, and citrus. Pasta and rice swell in the pipes when they come in contact with water. That also creates blockages.

2. Be Generous With Water

Plumbers advise their customers to use plenty of water when using their garbage disposal. It flushes the lines better. Open the faucet fifteen seconds before turning on the unit. Let the water run during the entire process, and thirty seconds afterwards. It rinses the debris out of the pipes, prevents clog formation, and gets rid of foul odors. Other ways to chase bad smells away include: putting a dash of liquid dish detergent in the water, grinding a few ice cubes, and adding a spoon of fine lemon grinds when the disposal is in use. Call a Pasadena plumbing expert when the drain continues to stink or the unit stops working.

3. Repair Leaking Faucets

Is that slow drip driving you crazy? Why not fix the faucet and move on? Usually, the problem is caused by a broken or worn-out washer. This issue can easily be fixed, even if your plumbing skills are limited. Turn of the water supply, unscrew the handle, and take it to the hardware store. The clerk should be able to determine which washer you need. Seat washers vary in size and quality. Pay a little more for a premium part. The investment will pay off in the end.

4. Plungers Are Versatile

These simple gadgets are not only used to unclog your toilets. Some plunger models are ideal to get the water back flowing when your sinks are plugged. Plungers are great tools for dislodging debris in pipes. Read the instructions on the packaging when this is the first plunger you ever bought. Make sure that no hazardous chemicals are your sink water. The liquid may splash, which can cause injuries. If the sink is empty, fill it with enough clean water to build up suction. Place the plunger on the drain hole, and push it up and down. Repeat several times. Remove the device. The drain should empty. Call a reputable Pasadena plumbing company when this is not the case. The clog in the drain may be too big, or you have a completely different problem on your hands.

Making Chainmail at an Iron Works Through History

One of the blacksmith’s working in an armory would have been called an armorer. Armor is defined as a protective covering. The coverings began as thick leather which led to large thick rings being sewn onto a leather shirt. Someone found out that if they linked the rings they created a stronger more protective type of armor. Plate armor was next to be made and used but this article will focus on the linked rings known as mail or chainmail. Those that make objects out of metal are called blacksmiths. Blacksmiths at iron works in Indianapolis can make chainmail.

Chainmail Clothing for a Knight of the Crusades

Historically, the wealthy were the only ones that could afford chainmail. The knights of the Crusades required chainmail to cover their bodies. The hauberk was a chainmail shirt that went to the knees. Chausses were the chainmail covering for the legs down to the feet. Sabatons covered the foot from the heel to the toe and were sometimes pointed. To protect the head, chainmail was made into a hood that covered the head and some of the neck. Camail was a chainmail collar that was attached to the bottom of the helmet. Mitons protected the hands and some of the lower arm. Under the chainmail was usually a padded undergarment that helped cushion the blows.

The Making of the Rings

Originally the rings were punched out of sheet metal or made from wire. To get the wire to the size they needed, wrought iron was hammered into plates and then thin pieces were cut from the plates. These thin pieces were then pulled through holes in a draw plate many times until they got to the size that was needed. A mandrel or wrapping rod is what the thin metal was inserted into and wrapped around. The end result when taken off the mandrel was a coiled wire. After slipping the coil off the wire the coils were then cut into rings one as a time. The rings were then pressed together, riveted or welded. To rivet them one end of the cut ring was flattened and the other was pierced to make a hole. A rivet was then inserted and secured.

Assembling the Rings Together

Chainmail pieces were fashioned differently for each different body part they were intended for. Where vital organs needed to be protected more rings were concentrated in that area. In places on the body that needed less protection fewer rings were used. The four-in-one pattern was the most common pattern used in the chainmail that has been found to date. The advantages of chainmail for a warrior is that it was easy to repair, and was flexible for ease of movement.

Plated Armor and the Elves

Eventually, the weapons used against chainmail could easily pierce it and plated armor became necessary. The chainmail was still worn underneath the plated armor for protection where the plates couldn’t reach. Now, craftsmen who produce iron works in Indianapolis can make beautiful chainmail in a variety of patterns. The making of chainmail from mithril, like the one in the works of Tolkien, should probably be left to the elves.

Important Dental Hygiene Information

The American Dental Association estimates that four out of five people rely on their dentists to provide them with important dental hygiene information. Relying on dentists to provide such vital information is undoubtedly an effective way of making sure that you get accurate facts on proper dental hygiene. However, it is also important to be proactive about dental health and keep up-to-date with current dental research findings from reliable sources.

Current research conducted by the American Dental Association has revealed several interesting facts about dental hygiene. For instance, dental check-ups are becoming increasingly important since these visits are a prerequisite for the early detection of a myriad of diseases and infections. In the past decade, there has been a significant increase in the number of oral cancer diagnoses and deaths. Dental check-ups make it possible to screen for oral cancer regularly. This is one of the most easily treated cancers if detected early. Regular dental checkups also facilitate teeth cleaning, which aids in the prevention of tooth cavities and various gum diseases. In view of this, it is crucial for one to make an effort and overcome the widespread anxieties most people have about visiting dentists.

Another important piece of information about dental hygiene is the fact that diseases of the gum have a major impact on an individual’s overall health. The American Dental Association argues that such diseases are the most common deterrents of good dental hygiene. In fact, the association asserts that these diseases are the primary cause of teeth loss among people above the age of twenty. Research has discovered a strong link between diseases such as gingivitis and non-dental diseases such as heart disease. However, it is important to note that prevention and early treatment of these diseases can help to avoid serious health complications. Brushing teeth at least two times a day and attending regular checkups can achieve prevention.

Another vital fact regarding dental hygiene is that good nutrition is often synonymous with excellent dental health and hygiene and vice versa. Eating sugary foods with low nutrient content increases the risk of tooth cavities, which are a hindrance to good dental hygiene. Parents should, therefore, ensure that they foster dental hygiene for kids by carefully monitoring the intake of sugary foods and encouraging teeth brushing after eating sugary snacks. On the other hand, eating well-balanced and nutritious foods reduces the levels of acidity in the mouth and this makes it easier achieve good dental hygiene. All in all, it is vital to equip oneself with important dental hygiene information in order to avoid the dire repercussions of poor hygiene and health.