Alternative Energy Funds – The Basics And Why To Invest

Geothermal PlantThere is a relatively new sector on the street these days which is garnering a lot of buzz. Alternative energy, and specifically renewable or ‘green’ energy, is any energy source that is an alternative to fossil fuels. As we all know, fossil fuels will soon run out. Finding a replacement or replacements to this energy source is a solution that not just our country, but the entire planet will have to face sooner or later.

Fossil Fuels

‘Oil is power.’ In the past 100 years, this phrase rang true throughout the world. During World War II’s infamous ‘Battle of the Bulge,’ axis forces made a push to acquire a large allied stockpile of oil. They failed, which ultimately sealed their fate. Recent conflict in the middle east has been centered mostly on oil. Today, countries without oil stores are at the mercy of the countries that do have these stores. But there is a movement which has been picking up steam during that past few decades – a shift towards finding alternative energy sources.

Forms Of Alternative Energy

The building of hydroelectric dams around the country halfway through last century could have started this movement. Nuclear testing and research could have also contributed to it. Either way, ‘going green’ is a phrase we hear every day in modern society. ’Green energy’ is a buzzword everywhere from politics to pop culture, and is sweeping the nation. Green energy includes:

  • wind power
  • solar power
  • geothermal power
  • hydroelectric power
  • biofuels

Wind

Wind Farm

Wind power captures naturally occurring wind to turn a wind turbine. The revolutions of the wind turbine rotate magnets, which produces an electric current. Home wind turbines can charge batteries to be used for home appliances. Large scale wind farms produce large amounts of electricity and can supplement power plant production. Wind power currently supplies approximately 1.8% of national power production.

Solar

Solar Plant

Solar power harvests sunlight through the use of photovoltaic cells. Solar panels are layered with these cells, which turn light into electricity. The electricity can be used to charge batteries or power household appliances. Solar power farms harvest light on a large scale, and also supplement power plant production.

Geothermal

Geothermal Plant

Geothermal power utilizes heat that is generated by the earth. Radioactive decay in the center of our planet produces heat, which is conducted towards the surface. The heat is lost as it travels outward, so tapping the heat deeper into the earth’s crust is critical. Geothermal power plants currently supply approximately .3% of national power production.

Hydroelectric

Hydroelectric Power

Hydroelectric power uses the kinetic energy of water to spin power generating turbines. A dam is constructed on a river, producing a reservoir. The water flow is regulated through the turbine based on the energy need. 100% of Paraguay’s power needs are met by the production of the Itaipu dam. 90% of the power produced is exported to Brazil.

Biofuels

Biofuel

Biofuels are an alternative to fossil fuels. Organic alcohols can be made by fermenting the sugars, starches, and cellulose of fruits, vegetables, and other plants (sugar cane) into alcohol by way of enzyme interactions. Ethanol is a common additive in gasoline. This is a renewable source of energy that right now is highly subsidized, but has promising prospects for the future.

These are five of the most common renewable energy sources available. Other forms that are either still in the developmental phase or have a lower potential are tidal power, wave power, biomass power and anaerobic power. Renewable energy has a bright future.

Investing In Green Energy

There are many different forms of renewable energy, which falls under the alternative energy umbrella. Solar power, wind power, hydroelectric power, and biofuels are all examples of ‘green’ energy. Because of the fact that ‘going green’ is politically savvy, there will be a lot of money made by companies dealing in this kind of energy because the government will support and subsidize this type of energy production, even if it isn’t as efficient as just using fossil fuels. So even for the short to mid term (fossil fuels are not expected to run out for several more decades), these companies will be profitable. Looking longer term, these companies will be the main energy producers, so profits are only projected to rise as fossil fuels supplies fall and as research and development in these new energy sources advances.

Alternative Energy Mutual Fund Options

The real challenge is picking the winners out of the many alternative energy companies. One idea to consider is to hedge by investing in mutual funds or ETFs. The top alternative energy mutual funds out there, believe it or not, have a mix of renewable energy companies and fossil fuel companies. Lets face it, for the next couple of decades, the world will still be very reliant upon fossil fuels. Oil prices are on the rise, and that trend will likely continue as unrest continues in the middle east. Finding the best alternative energy funds on the market will require some diversification across different energy sources.

A couple specifically alternative energy mutual funds to look at include Allianz RCM Global Water (AWTAX) and Pax World Global Environmental Markets (PGRNX).

Alternative Energy Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs)

Alternative energy funds can come in the form of mutual funds (alternative energy mutual funds), like those offered by respected brokerage companies, or in the form of ETFs. ETFs hold a few advantages over mutual funds in my opinion. First, ETFs can be traded like any stock. They can usually be found with more specificity to which market you wish to target. For example, finding alternative energy mutual funds that only have holdings in solar power might be difficult. There are ETFs for solar energy, solar and wind power, wind and hydroelectric power, and so on. ETFs also don’t have the fees that are associated with mutual funds.

Some ETFs in this sector to look at include the First Trust NASDAQ Clean Edge Smart Grid Infrastructure Index Fund (GRID) and the PowerShares WilderHill Progressive Energy Portfolio (PUW).

Whether you like the prestige of mutual funds, or the specificity of ETFs, the political correctness of renewable energy or the availability of fossil fuels, don’t overlook energy in your portfolio. Alternative energy is an up and coming sector in the market, and the next couple of decades will bring many changes. Make the right decisions now and you could definitely score large profit margins from the certain shift in the tide.

Finding The Best Storage Containers For Sale

At one point in my life, I decided that I needed to organize my home.  With my busy life (jobs, family, home, hobbies) house cleaning got to the point where it was almost completely neglected.  This led to frustrations and elevated stress levels.  Coming home from work to a messy and cluttered home is not ideal.  I did some research on different storage methods and options.  I found that there are storage containers for sale that would help me to take back my home from clutter’s firm grasp.

There are many different storage options on the market.  Plastic storage bins are one such option.  I immediately liked this option because these storage boxes would allow me to pack away my things into a neat, customized storage system that would allow easy and fast access, while cutting down on needless clutter.  The first criteria I needed when researching these containers was portability.  If the containers were made of steel or wood, how could I haul them around?  Finding plastic storage containers for sale was what I needed.  I needed to find some portable storage containers for sale.  To save space, these containers needed to be stackable.  This was the second requirement.  Third, I needed to find cheap storage containers for sale.  Spending a ton of money on plastic storage boxes wouldn’t work out very well, as we are on a strict budget.  Finding storage bins that were heavy-duty and functional was the fourth criteria.

To satisfy all of my requirements meant that I needed to shop around.  Almost every store out there, including grocery stores, carry plastic storage bins of some kind.  They come in many different sizes and colors.  I liked using the different colors to separate and store items by category.  Clear storage boxes also were nice, because I could see all the items in a specific box, making it easy to find an item without pulling out many boxes.  To satisfy the portability requirement meant that I needed to stay away from heavy materials, such as wood or metal.  Plastics are lightweight, and very durable.  I went with plastic storage containers in the end.  Most plastic storage boxes on the market are stackable, and as long as you get boxes from the same company, they will match up very well.  I also noticed that containers with removable lids aided in storage of empty containers because they could be stacked within each other.  As you can probably tell, saving space is very important to me.  Finding used storage containers for sale aided me in my quest to find a viable storage system, while saving money.  Army surplus stores will probably have the cheapest containers, but be careful to buy containers that don’t smell.  A lot of them at my local army navy store smelled like mothballs.  Another way to go is Walmart.  Walmart has a wide variety of plastic storage bins that are cheap.  Durable storage containers were very important to me as well, because stacked storage boxes could collapse, damaging your belongings.

These requirements were all met by plastic storage containers that can be found almost at every store.  Try a few out to make sure they suit your needs.  I ultimately went with many different kinds.  I got a few waterproof storage containers to hold survival equipment, in case we need to leave our home.  They are kept waterproof by a heavy duty lid clamp with an o-ring system.  I purchased different colors to categorize my items, as well as clear boxes.  Large boxes were good for the garage.  I stored tools and other large, bulky items in large plastic containers.  Smaller containers were ideal for inside my home (closets, cabinets).

What I have seen since organizing my home has been very surprising.  When messes appear, it is very simple to throw the mess items into a container and stow it away.  Gone are the days of coming home to a messy house.  We now have more time to enjoy our hobbies, as well as spend more free time with family.  The frustrations is gone, and extra stress from home has been dissipated.  I highly recommend organizing your homes in a similar fashion.  It will save you time in the long run – time which you will be able to use on things you enjoy.


The Bug Out Bag – For When The SHTF

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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.

Protection

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.

Communication

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.

Son

  • 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

Daughter

  • 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?

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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

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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

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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!