GTS Recommends

1
Our Review of The Prepper’s Blueprint
2
Essential Survival Gear to Keep In Your Bug Out Bag
3
Guide: Choosing The Proper Camp Site
4
Basic Survival Series: 10 Uses for Your Survival Knife
5
Basic Survival Series: 5 Items To Always Carry In The Woods
6
Foraging: 10 Bugs You Can Really Sink Your Teeth Into
7
Gear Review: Monkey Paks Tactical Backpack Bundle with 2.5L Hydration Water Bladder
8
Numanna Food Storage Review: Pasta Primavera
9
Disaster Management Survival Basics: An Introduction
10
GTS Recommends: Survival Tools

Our Review of The Prepper’s Blueprint

Book Review Time, Class!

In these times of peril, people want to make sure they can protect and provide for their families no matter how uncertain the future may be . My review of Tess Pennington’s book, The Prepper’s Blueprint, is below. It is sold on Amazon, and lays out a complete guide to help us all properly prepare and set our minds at ease.

Pennington writes, “My purpose in all of this is not to promote fear and doom, or to teach others to hide from life, but to help others be aware that disasters do in fact exist and can affect us. Moreover, my goal is to teach others that they can find freedom through self-reliance.”

What’s In It For You?

Drawing on her years of experience, she delivers a comprehensive blueprint that will take you from uninitiated to full blown ready-to-roll prepper, who will be ready for any extended, long-term crisis situation.

Let’s here what some of the experts in the field have to say:

The Prepper's Blueprint book cover

Never have I recommended with this much conviction a book a concerned citizen must purchase and read from cover-to-cover.

Others Say

—  Daisy Luther, TheOrganicPrepper.ca

Tess not only writes about preparedness, she lives it.  The Prepper’s Blueprint is packed with advice from an experienced prepper and is exactly what is needed in these crazy times!

The Prepper’s Blueprint provides novice and experienced preppers with a ready set plan to get prepared, complete with “Preps to Buy” and “Action Items.”  You won’t find a more wide range of information in a compact format anywhere else.  I highly recommend The Prepper’s Blueprint!

— Todd Sepulveda, Prepper Website – PrepperWebsite.com

Being prepared for the unexpected is sensible, but it isn’t always simple. In The Prepper’s Blueprint, Tess Pennington sets out elementary steps that anyone can take, even those on tight budgets or living in small spaces. Her suggestions are practical and prudent, and she avoids the hype and scare tactics so common on survival websites and in many survival books. Tess is a pro with a thorough understanding of what it takes to survive. I highly recommend The Prepper’s Blueprint.”

– Lisa Bedford, The Survival Mom – TheSurvivalMom.com

Not often do I read a book that offers a practical, common sense plan for building self-reliance and preparedness for the common man and woman. Some writers in our niche rehash gloom-and-doom theory but fail to lay out action steps for Doing the Stuff on our journey to self-reliance.

— Todd Walker, Survival Sherpa

There are a ton of prepping books out there and when you have read and reviewed as many as I have, the lines of distinction start to blur.  This book is different and will surely become one of the most useful and valuable prepping books in your library.

— Gaye Levy, BackdoorSurvival.com

Conclusion:

I can not say enough about this book, and I can’t say it any better then these other experts. Hands down, this will be the best $20 prep tool you will buy this year. So go on out and get your copy today!  You will not be disappointed.

Essential Survival Gear to Keep In Your Bug Out Bag

You Don’t Need 104 Things In A Bug Out Bag- But These Items Are Essential!

Sure, we all love survival gadgets and tactical gear. It is easy to get obsessive over having the best survival gear in your bug out bag.  And most of us are always acquiring more and more stuff.

With that said, if you are on a budget, or looking to travel lightly, there are only a few things you need on your most essential bug out bag packing list.  The items on this essential list of survival items contains the most important gear that one must never leave home without.

GearedToSurvive.com has put together a list below of the absolutely most essential survival items that you need to have in every bug out bag in your group.  This list will allow everyone to do a lot more with less and allow you to travel light, quick, and efficiently.

OUTDOOR EQUIPMENT

It should be noted first, that you do not need expensive equipment to survive or thrive the outdoors. However, a specific toolset will help facilitate your time outside. For example, without a knife and water reservoir one would have a difficult time surviving at all!

BASIC EQUIPMENT

bugging out to the mountains

Got Gear?

As already mentioned, you should be taking only critical things when escaping out to the wilderness. Most importantly a backpack, with which one can carry a number of tools – the size of which will depend on the duration of the trip and the desired “extras” you wish to bring along.

Geared To Survive’s essentials-only bug out bag pack list:

  • Backpack (sized for duration of trip)
  • Fast drying sturdy pants
  • Rugged boots and socks
  • The Best Hunting Knife You Can Afford (full tang only-always strapped to you)
  • BIC Lighter (just keep one please)
  • Fierro Rod (always have – strapped to you)
  • 10ft paracord
  • 32oz: Stainless Steel Water Bottle (purifying water)
  • Rain poncho
  • Fleece sweater
  • Waterproof bag with spare socks and shirt
  • Stainless Steel cup, 32 oz. and simple cooking set
  • Small first aid kit including painkillers, anti-inflammatories and charcoal tablets
  • Tweezers (light and surprisingly useful!)
  • Hygine set (a toothbrush at least)
  • Head Lamp
  • Tent or at least a tarp

RAIN PROTECTION

No one should ever, ever underestimate how deadly rain can become! It is not just about the discomfort with wet clothing.

More important is the fact that when soaked, your body cools down 25 times faster than when dry. This can lead to hypothermia and death!

Therefore, rain protection are items that must not be overlooked.

A raincoat or poncho must be part of your equipment. Rain ponchos are usually cheaper than a good raincoat, and cover the backpack.

A good cover for the head is also required.

The right footwear in combination with fast drying pants protects the lower body from getting wet.

Again, it is worth mentioning that spare socks and underwear in a waterproof container, is nice to have at camp.

NICE TO HAVE!

Of course, there are other pieces of gear that make life more pleasant in the bush, or in an emergency to save lives.

Geared To Survive’s Comfort list:

  • Tarp (best with eyelets and loops)
  • Seat Cushion
  • Multitool
  • 3ft wire
  • Super glue
  • Saw (Folding)
  • Ax or Bushcraft knife
  • Leather gloves
  • GPS and emergency compass and map
  • Binoculars
  • Thermals (insulated underwear)
  • Water Filter
  • Baking Soda

This pack is always necessary, and should always go with you to the great outdoors. Not just when the SHTF.  Whether you are an avid trail-runner, cycler, hiker, or only just getting outside to do a weekend camping excursion while in the outback, survival predicaments may hit any time.  You must have at least a simple understanding of the best way to keep your self alive or your @$$ is grass.

Remember Aron Ralston in this instance. This outdoor fanatic became a legend when he got stuck in the canyons of Utah between a massive boulder and a canyon wall.  (Insert rock and a hard place joke here…*groan*)

Regardless of James Franco’s dreamy-eyed cinema-graphic portrayal, there wasn’t anything sexy around Aron needing to amputate his own arm utilizing a very uninteresting multi-tool. However, using one good arm to crawl through canyons and rappel down waterfalls to get to safety required real moxie!

So make sure you observe simple safety awareness and you should expect to return from your own survival predicament using perfectly fine, undamaged limbs.

CONCLUSION

So there you have it.  In a survival situation when you end up in the wilderness without typical shelter, this list is just enough to get you set up to thrive.  This is a list of the absolute essential items you need in a bug out bag.

Of course, you can expand from here based on a variety of your own situation specific factors such as location, expected climate, and expected duration.

However, how well you manage from there depends on how well you have developed your bush-crafting skills. If you have other items you think should be included or excluded, comment below.

Guide: Choosing The Proper Camp Site

What To Look For When Choosing A Campsite When Desperate

Perhaps the most important decision you will make in a survival situation is campsite selection. There are 4 main considerations when choosing a proper camp site, referred to as the Four W’s. But there are a few other important factors that will also need to be considered. For example:

making camp

  • For how long do you intend to stay in the location?
  • If staying more then 1 night, are there enough available resources to support you(and your group)?
  • Is the area large enough to accommodate your party(and gear), with ample work space?

Any camp that will be used as a longer term base camp will need to be carefully examined so as to not deplete the available resources prematurely.

The Four W’s:

  • Wood
  • Water
  • Wind
  • Widow Makers

When deciding on a spot to make camp, always ask yourself these questions:

Wood:

  • Do I have a source of wood close enough to this location to complete the tasks I plan for this camp? This could include making a debris shelter, a raised platform to sleep on, a tripod, tools, for cooking etc.?
  • Is there enough firewood to last the duration of my stay? Look for an area with plenty of dead fall to make your firewood collection easier.
  • Do I have the tools to access the wood?

To get a fire built quickly, you generally want to use a softer wood, such as Poplar, Pine or Cedar. But for a longer lasting fire and for cooking you will want a harder wood like Ash, Hickory or Oak.

Water:

  • Is there a convenient water source, that is close to camp?
  • Is the water source a stagnant or flowing? Any ground water will need to be boiled at the least, but filtering prior to boiling is preferred when possible.
  • Is the water source attractive to other game animals? Are fish present? This would provide access to a possible food source.

Wind:

When selecting a camp, you need to think about wind. In the summer months wind can be leveraged to take advantage of convective cooling. But in the colder months, this same advantage becomes a life threatening disadvantage and may cause hypothermia.

Other factors to consider are the effects of the wind on your fire. Could the wind spread hot coals into the camp, causing a dangerous forest fire? Or is the wind going to blow smoke in your face, and into your shelter all night?

Camping on a ridgeline leaves you exposed to the wind, while camping in low laying areas leaves you dealing with colder temperatures. Remember that heat rises while cold air settles at ground level. Choosing a mid to higher ground camp is the best choice where possible.

Widowmakers:

Widowmakers are standing dead trees or broken branches that have not yet fallen to the ground. These can be blown over by a gust of wind at any moment and can cause serious injury or death. Do not make camp within the fall radios of a standing dead tree.

This awesome video shows you how to build a simple but sturdy shelter if you absolutely need to stay a long period of time on your campsite.

So I Chosen My Camp Site…Now What?

Understanding how to find or make a simple refuge in a wilderness setting is still another indispensable ability that any survivalist must have.

During a disaster or crisis situation it is possible for entire families to be separated from each other; the splintered part of a household might end up in a woodland setting or any other outside place where there are few modern conveniences.

Understanding how to make a simple shelter may also help improve your odds of survival if you’re stranded in the wilderness with no way to return to the main road inside the day.

Unless you’ve got a GPS device or map with you, it’d be better to let others track you down.

How can you make a simple bed in the wilderness?

This is, in fact, a great question because with no bed, you can not rest properly and you are likely to get stiffness and back aches if you are not accustomed to resting on hard ground with no bed or sofa.

Out in the wild, it’s a frequent practice to make a bed on the floor itself. If you reside in Canada or in the U.S., then you might discover large balsam trees in your area.

Balsam trees (also known as “mountain goose” by outdoorsmen) provide excellent leaves and elastic boughs that are fantastic for producing an improvised bed. These trees are jokingly called “mountain goose” since survivalists often search for them to “pluck” them for branches and leaves.

How can you produce a balsam bed?

A balsam bed is elastic and comfortable since it’s composed not just of leaves but also youthful, supple twigs.

Longer balsam twigs will be set on the floor first and will serve as the base or “framework” for your improvised bed. The briefer boughs will be put on top of the longer ones to function as the cushioning material.

Fashion your bed until you believe the top layer has a sufficient quantity of cushioning. If you do not have any extra bedding with you, this will do. But if you’ve blanket or comforter on you, put it on top of the briefer boughs to avoid the sap from sticking to your clothes.

The sap of the balsam tree will become tacky and then hard after a couple of minutes.

Can half-caves be utilized as shelter?

Half-caves have actually been used as shelters for centuries.

These spacious depressions located in bottom of valleys and cliffs are usually stable enough to be applied as temporary shelter.

Half-caves are usually formed by rain, erosion and the action of plant and tree roots which always dig away at the bottom of natural land formations.

  1. Inspect — Research the half-cave thoroughly before using it as guardian. Be cautious of small animals, snakes and rodents! The existence of scorpions and other harmful critters is a clear indication that it may be risky to use this distance as shelter.
  2. Sterilize — When the half-cave does not have any natural occupants, clean it by removing twigs, stones and surplus dirt to flatten the floor. Cleaning a half-cave will also make certain you could maximize the space inside.
  3. Keep Out The Rain — it is possible to improvise a lean-to doorway to shield yourself from rain and sunlight, should the elements opt to become too extreme at any stage during your stay on your temporary shelter. Just make sure you point all leaves, branches and twigs down so that rain will slip to the floor and not within the cavity, where you are sleeping.

Other considerations when choosing a camp site:

  • Avoid dry wahses or depressions as these may be prone to flash flooding or water runoff in wet weather. Flash floods can occur due to a storm miles away.
  • Don’t make camp on the edge of a water source. Water attracts insects and predators. And there is always the chance of flooding.
  • Avoid areas that could be subject to rock slides.

Conclusion:

Following these guidelines for correct survival campsite selection will not only keep you safe in the wild, but will make for a much more pleasant experience.

So carry your proper gear at all times.  Keep a clear head in case of emergency.  Don’t do anything rash that could take you out unnecessarily.

A little common sense, coupled with a little knowledge will keep you safe and ready for the miles ahead.

Basic Survival Series: 10 Uses for Your Survival Knife

10 Things You Forgot Your Survival Knives Could Do!

A high quality hunting knife can serve many purposes. It can be used to fell trees, clean game, create sparks for fire, build other necessary tools and provide self defense among other things. Its multi-functionality is why it is called a survival knife. Check out our review of the 10 Best Hunting Knives here.

No one should ever venture into the woods without at least a quality blade and an idea of how to use it if a survival situation were to present itself.

survival knife

The following is a list of 10 uses for a survival knife:

  1. Making Shelter: First and foremost, a knife works well cutting down saplings and trimming limbs for shelter material.
  2. Procuring Food: Lashed to the end of a green sapling, your knife can be improvised into a hunting spear that can be effective at taking down mid-sized game up to and including a boar(be carful with wild boar). Or as self defense from said boar, coyote, wolf or bear.
  3. Processing Food: The proper knife will do very well at skinning and quartering animals caught or killed for food. It will also work well for cracking nuts and extracting grubs from dead logs.
  4. First Aid: Your knife can be used to create bindings from clothing or other natural material to make a splint of dressing. It can be used to remove foreign objects and even cauterize a wound.
  5. Procuring and Processing Fire Wood: A quality knife can withstand tremendous chopping and beating. This is useful when you need to split wood for fire or harvest wood to use around camp. Batoning the spine of the blade with a club sized log is extremely effective for splitting and chopping.
  6. Improvised Tools: The knife can be used as a hammer to drive stakes when making camp or setting snares. It can be used as a can opener or as a pry bar, should the need for one arise.
  7. Repairing Gear: Over time, your gear will need repair or modification. Your survival knife will prove its worth if/when this situation arises.
  8. Making Tools: Your knife will allow you to make a range of tools to aid in your survival. It can be used to make trap componants, cooking props such as tri-pods, containers from tree bark and even a backpack, should you find yourself without one.
  9. Making Fire: A quality knife should be made of high carbon steal, with a flat spine. This allows for striking a ferrocerium rod or even striking the spine with a piece of flint stone. Or, it can be used to fashion a more primitive fire board and shaft for a bow drill fire set.
  10. Used as a Shovel: As a last resort, a well-constructed survival knife can be used as a shovel for digging fire pits, collection of root tubers for food along with many other aspects of survival that require digging. Better would be to create a digging stick with your knife and save the blade edge.

Conclusion:

The more time you spend in the woods and with your knife, the more useful it becomes to you and the more resourceful you become with it. Be sure to have a proper knife in your kit. One that will be durable and trustworthy. Your life may depend on this one piece of gear.

Choose wisely and always keep it sharp and strapped to your body.

For more information on what makes a quality survival knife, check out my guide How to Choose the Right Survival Knife.

Basic Survival Series: 5 Items To Always Carry In The Woods

Never Head To The Woods Without These 5 Essential Tools

So you’re planning that day trip or weekend trip out into the wilderness soon? Have you prepared yourself for all circumstances that could happen to you or are you just gonna wing it?

We believe that you should always think “Safety First!” before heading out to enjoy Mother Nature.

What Should I Bring?

Glad you asked! There are five pieces of gear that many consider the most essential emergency items that you can

5 things you must have for survival

carry in your basic survival kit, whether you’re hiking, rock climbing, hunting, camping or anything that you do in the wild that could potentially become a survival situation.

These five items should always be with you in a backpack. They are so important to your chance of survival that they have their very own catch phrase.

5 C’s of Survivability (per Dave Canterbury):

  • The first “C” of the 5 C’s of survivability is a good quality Cutting tool. Good quality to me is something that you can chop trees down with. It also must preform fine carving tasks as well because this tool may have to be used to create all of the other items in this list, in the event you’ve lost everything but your knife. Check out our review of the best hunting knife you can buy. Always keep your cutting tool attached to your body and make sure it’s the highest quality you can afford.
  • The second “C” of the 5 C’s is a Combustion device. When I say combustion device I don’t mean something that can start fire, I mean something that will give you fire. In this case, a ferrocerium rod and wet fire gel that will start fire even in damp or wet conditions. A fire is one of the most important aspects of survivability because it helps control your body’s core temperature, and you can do many other things with fire as well.
  • The third “C”  is a Cover. Something that can help ensure that your body’s core temperature is protected in a cold environment or provide shade in an arid environment. I choose to carry a 100% wool blanket for a cover item. Ideally a 66 x 90 blanket so that you can roll up in it like a sleeping bag or make shelter or shade. There’s a lot of different uses for a wool blanket because its the only fabric that will retain 80% of its insulating value even when soaking wet.
  • The forth “C” of the 5 C’s of survivability is a Container. A container is very important. You can collect water obviously, but also to carry things like nuts and berries. Because your hydration is so important, you have to make sure that you drink plenty of water and that the water is safe to drink. A metal container allows you to boil your water. Boiling is the only 100% guaranteed method to kill all pathogens that will make you sick, so a metal container is very important. Make sure that you have a good thick-wall, stainless steel container that holds 32oz. 32 ounces is how things are measured for disinfecting water with chemicals. Whether its iodine, chlorine dioxide or bleach, it is all measured in drops or units by US quarter gallon, so you need to make sure you have a 32 ounce stainless steel container.
  • The fifth “C” is Cordage. Cordage is very important because it is used to lash and bind everything that you need in a survival situation. Tools, shelter, traps, all of these things require cordage for binding. Making cordage in the wilderness or in a survival situation is not going to be easy, so you want to carry cordage with you. I recommend a tarred Mariners bank line because it is water resistant and binds to itself very effectively. It is a 3 ply cordage that you can break down to three fibers and use for smaller things like repairing equipment, sewing or anything that requires a finer thread.

Conclusion:

These 5 items are the most difficult things to reproduce in the wild with natural material. Survival is all about conserving calories and maintaining your body’s core temperature. You don’t want to have to spend a lot of time and energy to make things in a wilderness situation if you don’t have to, and these 5 items take a lot of time and energy, or specialized materials to recreate.

You are far better off carrying these items.

With these 5 items, you can pretty much take care of all immediate needs for 72 hour search-and-rescue type scenario where you’re going to stay put and wait for rescue.

Foraging: 10 Bugs You Can Really Sink Your Teeth Into

Top Ten Tastiest Edible Bugs You Can Eat For Survival

The idea of biting into a juicy caterpillar might induce a gag reflex, but in a survival situation it could be the difference between life and death.

Most people in North America have a deep prejudice towards bugs, especially in regards to them being a food source.

But the fact is, over a quarter of the people worldwide (that’s over 2 billion) are already eating bugs as part of their diet.

There are over 1,900 edible insect species thriving around the world. Equaling an estimated 40-tons of bugs per person! Changing our mindset about these creatures may be the answer to the coming food shortages.

Bugs are big business in places such as Mexico, Thailand and Indonesia. In fact, eating bugs is very common in many parts of the world. And for the more adventurous connoisseur, there are online retailers offering a variety of pre-packaged and ready to snack on bugs.

ants are delicious

So, if you get to the point where eating bugs may keep you from starving to death, don’t think of them as a last resort. They are packed with protein, high in fat and provide a bit of carbohydrates as well.

The following are the top ten tastiest bugs to dine on in survival situations:

  1. Ants – When foraging for a tasty meal, don’t forget about ants. Considered a delicacy by many, ants rate very high for taste. These bugs are a great source for high quality protein, but less fat than most other insects. Boiled or roasted ants provide both nutrients and flavor.
  2. Cicadas – If you are ever in need of survival food, look to the cicada. Nymphs and adults provide a tasty meal and can be prepared by roasting, frying or boiling. These big bugs are packed full of protein and vitamins, making them a staple food for survival.
  3. Grasshoppers – From late Spring to early fall, grasshoppers are readily available. Gather these from dusk till dawn and cook when in need of a quick meal. Grasshopper are relatively simple to prepare. These bugs can be boiled, sun-dried, fried, or added to soup and will provide plenty of nutrients and flavor. Beware of multi-colored species which can be toxic. For safety sake only eat solid colored grasshoppers, and remove the legs before ingesting.
  4. Crickets – Another quality source for protein are crickets. Believe it or not, 100-grams of cricket contains 12.9-grams of protein! If you’re in need of a meal, crickets are a tasty and nutritious choice. Prepare your crickets by dry roasting, frying, or simply adding to most any meal as an additional source of protein.
  5. Mealworms – Mealworms are a worldwide staple food and a premium source of nutrients. Mealworms can live in most any environment where they can find food and can be found in decaying wood, leaves or grasses. Sautéed, roasted or boiled, the mealworm can be prepared a multitude of ways and can be eaten alone or added to additional food to add nutrition.
  6. Dragonfly – Always plentiful near water, you can eat the dragonfly adults or the larvae. Fried or boiled, the dragonfly makes for a tasty dish.
  7. Locusts – Considered to be “kosher”, locusts have been eaten for thousands of years. The plump bodies of these critters provide plenty to snack on, make the locusts a prime survival food. Stir-fried, boiled or dried, locusts can be prepared in a variety of ways. Rich in protein, zinc and iron, make locust a premium source of nutrients as well.
  8. Waxworm – Waxworms offer a nutty flavor, roasted or sautéed, the waxworm can be the source to a nutritious meal. If you would rather not indulge on the waxworm, bait a hook with these as fish love them.
  9. Rolly Polly – Or Sowbugs. These small bugs make their home in rotten wood or the moist soil under rocks. The sowbug can be roasted, or eaten fresh.
  10. Termites – The high oil content of termites provide a nutty flavor and they offer a valuable source of protein, essential amino acids and fat. Roasted, baked or boiled, termites are tasty.

Conclusion:

Not everyone is comfortable with the eating insects, but bugs are a reliable source of protein and essential vitamins. In a survival situation bugs will provide the vital nutrients that could save your life.

Word of caution: If you have allergies to shellfish you should avoid eating bugs. And be careful not to gather from areas where insecticides or pesticides may have been used.


How will you know what bugs are safe to ingest? This simple rule should keep you safe in most situations, “If it’s green or brown, toss it down. Red, orange or yellow, forgo that fellow.”

Gear Review: Monkey Paks Tactical Backpack Bundle with 2.5L Hydration Water Bladder

Out of the box, this Monkey Pak bundle includes everything you need for a reliable bug out bag or weekend camping trip.

Durability begins with the selection of materials.

The 600 denier weight is a good compromise between being tough and being light.

This rugged material can also be water-repellant. Not mind you, water-resistant.

That means that whatever is at the package closest to the cloth will get a bit wet in a torrential rain but it will not get completely wet.

Light rain will be no issue.

If you would like more rain resistance buy an aftermarket waterproof spray, spray it on your Monkey Pak backpack and now you’ve got waterproof stuff.

Where’s My Stuff?

Fortunately you’ll never have to say that with the Monkey Paks Military Army Style Backpack because, in addition to its numerous internal organizers, you’ve got five compartments to store your equipment in.

Only crappy backpacks will have you rooting around in the middle of the jungle for something in your package.

Whether you are putting together a bugout pack or weekender, multiple compartments ensure that you are organized enough to know where everything is.

The organization of the pack from a cost standpoint, makes this worthwhile purchase.

Looking beyond the dollar signs, a hydration pack is a good complement to a backpack that is military.

Just think about how you would typically have a drink out from the trail: stop, unhitch your own pack, take your own water container out, pop or twist the cap, choose your drink, replace the contents on your pack then hitch back the pack up your back.

Not only can there be a time benefit to on-the-go drinking but you still get much hydration if the terrain is not friendly to you taking a bit of a break to drink – you also get lifeline while slogging through waist-high water or knee-high.

This package is MOLLE compatible.

You may buy any number of MOLLE attachments such as canteens, knife sheaths , compass kits, along with others letting this tote a range of alternatives.

Here’s a selection of what you can add to the bag.

  • Molle Water Bottle
  • Molle Compact EDC pouch
  • Molle Flashlight
  • Molle Utility Pouch

As wonderful as this bag may seem, there have been a few complaints regarding the construction of the bag. Some customers have said that the bag isn’t truly MOLLE compatible, as they use Velcro instead.

Another concern is that because there is a lack of interior dividers, it could be problematic when looking for some items, which in an emergency situation, could be disastrous.

Another concern a customer pointed out is the nylon straps of the bag are very slick. The plastic clasps doesn’t appear to have teeth on them, so you may have to tie off the strap so that the nylon doesn’t slip through.

Learn More Below!

Numanna Food Storage Review: Pasta Primavera

Our Review of The Numanna Organic Family Pack

One of the most difficult things about tying together my passion for real food with my need for preparedness is finding emergency food that tastes reasonably good, has fewer additives, and isn’t loaded with genetically modified ingredients from a country with low food standards.

I have buckets of emergency food from several different companies, but there was nothing I felt I could really get behind. There were always things like MSG (instant headache), GMO corn syrup (just no), or a label that announced “Made in China.” Don’t even get me started on the copious amounts of crap and sugary drinks that seem to be the backbone of many emergency kits.

Readers frequently ask me how they can immediately build a supply, and hands down, emergency buckets are the easiest, fastest way if you have the need for speed. At the same time, it’s difficult for me to recommend products that completely go against everything I believe in as a real food activist.

Despite all of the drawbacks, emergency food buckets have a vital place in your pantry. You just have to make the best choices available to ensure that you’re nourishing yourself instead of poisoning yourself.

Here’s why you should store emergency food buckets

  • A lot of calories can be condensed into a very small amount of space.
  • If you have the capacity to boil water during an emergency, a filling meal can be yours.
  • They add variety and speed to an emergency food supply.
  • They’re lightweight and easily portable in the event of a bug-out scenario.
  • They’re packed to have a 25-year shelf life, so you can get it, stick it in the back of your closet, and forget about it until you need it.

If you’re looking for ready-made meals, you have to understand that none of them are going to be completely without additives. They’re made to last (as mentioned above, for 25 years), to cook up quickly and efficiently, and to taste reasonably good.

A Better Choice: Numanna Freeze Dried Food!

Finally, I’ve found a product line that I can get behind. I recently got a gluten-free family pack made by Numanna Food Storage  to test it out and I’ve been very impressed with the company, the mission, and the food.

Here’s the company’s vision statement:

NuManna believes that emergency food should be as healthy if not healthier than the food we eat on a daily basis. The effects of food on our overall health have never been a bigger concern. Chemical preservatives, food allergies, gluten intolerance, MSG, and certainly Genetically Modified (GMO) foods are all challenging our well-being.

NuManna Foods is well aware of these problems. The founders of NuManna have their own special dietary needs and were seeking storable foods with no Aspartame, or High Fructose Corn Syrup before NuManna began. GMO-free ingredients and gluten restricted options were also a high priority. They didn’t find storable food meals quite up to the standards set for their own family. So, they decided to create them and became one of the first storable food makers of its kind to offer such selective and chemically free products.

We understand customers with exacting standards. We understand how food intolerance can be overwhelming. We also realize the human body cannot eat preserved foods for an extended period of time without getting sick. Your food storage and emergency supplies should not be a health crisis. We work to meet and exceed your expectations and make it easy to find the high-quality storable foods you want and need without sacrificing flavor or value.

Allow our pursuit of quality preparedness food to overcome the frustration you may have felt in seeking out healthy food storage. Our standard packages are Certified 100% GMO-Free with no preservatives, no soy, or other controversial ingredients. We also offer complete Gluten Restricted buckets with the same chemical and preservative-free standard. Our foods are even free of Autolyzed Yeast Extract. NuManna is a true innovator in healthy and chemically free storable foods.

I haven’t found anything else in the storable industry with these standards, so I was eager to try it out. Last week, we made a batch of the Gluten Free Pasta Primavera.

Numanna Survival Food Pasta Primavera Review

The food came to us sealed into bags containing 6 servings.  There were only two of us having dinner, but since food storage companies usually have birdlike appetites, we expected that the 6 servings would be more like 3 or 4.

Here’s the package:

Numanna Pasta Primavera

While this is not organic, remember that it IS certified non-GMO.

As I brought the water to a boil, I dumped the contents of the package into a bowl for a better look.

Pasta Primavera packet contents

Almost immediately after I stirred it into the boiling water, the creamy sauce began to thicken up.

Pasta Primavera on the stovetop

I cooked it for the full 18 minutes on the package instructions.

After it was cooked, I divided it into 6 equal servings to see if their idea of what a serving of food was, corresponded with ours. This is one serving of prepared Pasta Primavera.

Numanna Pasta Primavera prepared

I’ll be honest – I was expecting something along the lines of Kraft Macaroni and Cheese. Much to my surprise, this was delicious.

You read that right – not just okay – DELICIOUS.

The sauce was creamy and had a little bit of bite from the black pepper. The pasta and peas weren’t mushy.  After 18 minutes of cooking time, they were al dente with a pleasant bite to them.

I forgot to add the butter called for in the instructions, but in an emergency you might not have butter on hand anyway. It was still very tasty, rich, and creamy.

We enjoyed the leftovers with some sauteed chicken and added a little basil and fresh Parmesan. It tasted like a restaurant meal.  My kiddo had seconds both times we ate it.

Pasta primavera with chicken

 

The Price

In the smallest packages (single buckets) the meals cost anywhere (including shipping costs) from $2.40 for the gluten-containing food to $2.52 for the gluten-free food. If you get a ginormous supply that would last your family for a year, it drops to less than $1.50 per serving.

Now, if you compare this to some of the other buckets on the market, you might feel like that’s too high of a price. But, you have to keep in mind, this is for real food.

One other popular company charges an equivalent amount per meal, but the “meals” are ridiculous items like instant rice (just plain – nothing but white rice), oatmeal, cream of wheat, pudding, sugary energy drinks, and powdered milk.  If I was in an emergency situation and had been working hard all day, I wouldn’t be too happy to open my food bucket and find and orange energy drink or a bag of plain rice for that night’s dinner.

If you want to add things like oatmeal or drink powders to your stockpile, you can do it for FAR less money than $2.40 per serving. Any time you’re shopping for food buckets, check to see what you get and decide if these items should really be considered a meal.

Here’s what you’ll find in the Numanna Gluten-Free pack.

  • Pasta Primavera (3 x 6 servings)
  • Classic Chili (2 x 10 servings)
  • Enchilada, Beans & Rice (2 x 6 servings)
  • Sweet Habanero Chili (2 x 6 servings)
  • Italian Pasta (2 x 6 servings)
  • Potato Casserole (2 x 6 servings)
  • Cheesy Broccoli Soup (1 x 10 servings)
  • Black Bean Soup (1 x 10 servings)
  • Cheesy Potato Soup (1 x 10 servings)
  • Oatmeal (1 x 10 servings)

As you can see, Numanna does include some packets of oatmeal, but they don’t add it to the meal count. It doesn’t figure in to the calculations of cost per meal.

The Freeze Dried Verdict?

I’m very impressed!

While I wouldn’t serve processed food on a daily basis, in an emergency or for a rushed meal when I don’t have time to cook, I’m absolutely thrilled with Numanna Food Storage products.

The company’s commitment to making a better quality storable food is admirable, and I’ll definitely be stocking up on more of their food. I have my eye on the Defender Nutritive Pack next. It’s a family pack of non-GMO food that includes a bonus of organic high-quality grains and superfoods, like quinoa, chia seeds, spelt, and sprouting seeds.

Check out the product line HERE.

It’s such a relief to find an emergency food line that I can recommend without hesitation. Over the next few weeks, I’ll be adding our reviews of the other meals in my bucket of gluten free goodies.

If you give it a try, let me know what you think of it. I’m planning to do some experimenting to combine this with some of my other stored foods to boost the protein intake and add some variety.

originally posted @The Organic Prepper

Disaster Management Survival Basics: An Introduction

Survival Skills Disaster Management 101

The following article on developing your survival skills disaster management is provided by Benjamin ‘RAVEN’ Pressley:

Quick: A weather disaster just happened as you were travelling through a mountain pass. You’re skills are now about to be put to the test.  Are you ready?

If you have done what you should prior to this point you would have identified this point in time as a potentiality.

The big secret to basic survival? As much as is possible, plan ahead.

Train yourself in the skills you think you will need. Challenge yourself by testing what you know under controlled circumstances and try to see the flaws in your skills.

As much as is possible, prepare.

Don’t wait until you are thrust into a situation and then have to learn or wish you would have took the time to learn. I always caution all my students that just because they have taken a survival course or read a book on survival or watched a TV show on survival doesn’t mean they should go out like an expert and think they can survive.

Take time to master your survival skills.

I suggest you train yourself by doing things like take matches with you camping but also take a bow and drill fire set. Try to make fire without matches during your trip but if you can’t then you have your matches to fall back on.

Take your tent but build an emergency shelter and stay in it instead. Use your tent if you have to though. Maybe even set up a modern camp then strike out, set up a survival camp and use it, that way you have a backup if you need it.

Always be safe. Test your skills little by little. Allow yourself to experience survival skills. Take some classes in survival skills.

Then when you are ready you and some fellow ‘survivors’ try it on your own. Never purposely endanger yourself. Always have a back up plan and inform others where you will be and what time to expect you back. That way a search party will know where to look should things go badly.

snow covered wickiup shelter

You may be surprised how little it really takes to enjoy the outdoors. You will find you don’t need the entire outdoor store catalog on your back to enjoy yourself.

In fact, that is kind of what got me interested in survival skills.

I was part of a camping organization as a boy. They took a group of us camping and we were so loaded down with so much stuff it was unreal! I quickly learned that the more skills I had, the less stuff I needed.

You Call Yourself An Outdoorsman?

No matter how experienced an outdoorsman you may be…you too could become lost in the woods.

It could happen to anyone.  Even Daniel Boone, the famous American pioneer, even he got lost. He wouldn’t admit it directly, though. His words were, “I’ve never been lost but I was a might bewildered for several days.”

You could be out in your canoe or boat and get overturned, losing all your gear. What would you do?

It seems to be in the news almost daily, some family, individual or scout-type group strike out into the wild and get lost or injured or caught in the dark.

Most People Simply Are Not Prepared.

Families out on a day hike get off the trail and become lost with inadequate supplies. Many people have died from exposure, when something as simple as being able to build a fire without matches or constructing a simple debris shelter could have saved their lives.

Mother Nature is unforgiving. However, she is also no respecter of persons and will yield her resources to anyone who knows how to access them.

Many outdoor enthusiasts, perhaps most, are so dependent on their modern gear that they would be lost without it.

Modern outdoor conveniences make recreation in the outdoors very pleasurable, but the wise person will have a backup plan. Taking a survival skills course and a first aid course from an experienced teacher is a wise thing to do, for nothing can replace hands-on experience for learning lifesaving skills.

primitive fire

I teach survival skills courses, but I remember when I first tried to build a bow drill fire by reading a book on the subject with no success. It was not until an experienced teacher had shown me what I was doing wrong that I successfully could go into the woods and with nothing but what was around me construct a bow drill and build a lifesaving fire.

Survival Priorities and Basics Come First!

The first thing to remember, if thrust into a survival situation, is to remain calm.

Panic has lead to death in untold numbers of situations largely because the victim could not think clearly. The first tool you need is the ability to control the anxiety brought on by a stressful situation and use your logic.

In fact statistically, Panic is the number one killer in a survival situation.

Exposure is number two.

Bill Gingrass, a fine outdoor survival and primitive skills instructor, came up with a good way of reminding yourself of this, which is to remember the acronym S.T.O.P.

Stop, Think, Observe, Plan (S.T.O.P.)

STOP, do not wander around.

Sit down, calm yourself.

Do whatever you have to do to get control of the situation.

If you’ve planned ahead, informed someone of the trail or water you intended on travelling and the time you plan on returning, they will know to send someone if you don’t show up at the appointed place and time. Rely on the knowledge and skills you have. You can survive!

THINK, assess the situation for what it really is, not what your panicked mind is magnifying the situation to be.

OBSERVE, look in your pockets and look around you at what you have that would be useful.

  • Do you have a pocket knife? A pocket knife is much more practical than a large sheath knife and can accomplish most tasks.
  • Even a good-sized sapling can be brought down with a pocket knife if the sapling is bent and cut on the tension side of the bend.
  • Do you have a canteen on your belt or a survival kit?

Survival kits are good, if they are well thought out and remain on your belt where they cannot become separated from you.

Most kits on the market are sadly lacking, especially the type found in the hollow handle of so-called ‘survival knives’, made famous by Rambo.

Hollow handled knives were originally designed to contain dehydration tablets and the ‘saw’ on the back was never designed for sawing wood, but ripping out an opening in the fuselage of a downed plane.

Hollow handles also make a knife easy to break because the tang doesn’t go far enough into the handle.

PLAN to stay alive.

What are your priorities? You must plan on staying a long period of time, even if it is possible that you are rescued quickly. Set up a permanent camp, don’t try to find your way out, unless you know where you are going and it will not require more energy than you have to give. Also factor in whether you can supply yourself for such a trip.

Consider how long it is till sunset. Don’t get caught unprepared in the dark. The darkness changes everything. Temperatures can drop rapidly. You can’t see as well. Nocturnal animals that have superior night vision come out at night.

In a night-time survival situation you become just another part of the food chain.

How you use your brain and survival skills you have acquired will determine how high on the food chain you remain.

How do you determine how long it is till sunset? Hold up your hand in front of you in your line of sight placing your four fingers just under where the sun appears on the horizon. Move your hand downward to a position just under where your hand was before, counting how many hands and/or fingers down to the horizon.

Each hand is roughly an hour, and each finger is about 15 minutes. This will give you a solid estimate but will vary depending on your hand size. Test this method before you get in a survival situation to your hand size versus timing with your watch. Then you will have a more accurate idea of how accurate your measure is.

book cover

Put Out A Signal.

As soon as possible, signal in some manner. Three is the universal distress signal, whether it is three gun shots, three fires or whatever the case may be.

If you do decide to hike out clearly mark your trail so searchers may track you easily.

Why not just bring a cell phone for calling 911? Because they are not reliable. Never count on a cell phone in the wilderness where there may be no towers to even get a signal. Sometimes travelling down the road it is hard enough to get a signal much less in the wilderness.

Prioritize Now.

Your top four survival priorities, in order of importance, are as follows:

  1. SHELTER
  2. FIRE
  3. WATER
  4. FOOD

Why this order?

Hypothermia Is The Biggest Threat To Your Chances To Survive!

Most people that perish when thrust into a survival situation die of exposure, not hunger or thirst. Hypothermia, one condition of exposure, is the condition of the body when it is losing or has lost heat quicker than it can produce it. Hypothermia can occur at 50 degrees F believe it or not.

Hypothermia at 50 degrees Farhenheit usually happens when one has fallen into the water and suddenly their body loses heat unexpectedly. If you do fall into the water try to remember to ball yourself up into a ball, drawing your knees close to your chest allowing your body to adjust to the temperature of the water before you swim out.

Symptoms of hypothermia are uncontrollable shivering (early stages), redness of the skin, numbness, usually in the extremities, such as toes, fingers, hands and feet, slurring of speech and lack of concentration.

In advanced cases there is no shivering and the person is usually incoherent. You must get the victim of hypothermia warmed up as quickly as possible. If you are with someone in this condition, and you are lucky enough to still have a sleeping bag, crawl into the sleeping bag with them with bare skin to skin contact.

Even if you don’t have a sleeping bag try to shelter yourselves somehow, out of the wind and insulate yourselves in some manner, with natural debris or some other material and do the same.

Build a fire as soon as possible. In some situations, such as this, the fire may actually take a higher priority than , acquiring shelter as soon as possible.

If a person is in advanced stages of hypothermia no matter how warm a blanket or sleeping bag they have it will not help. In this state the person’s body is not producing enough heat to preserve by insulating them. You must warm the person. Warm liquids and a heat source are what is needed.

If not treated early the victim will eventually experience frostbite and will begin to have blackening of the extremities, such as toes, fingers, ears and nose followed by entire limbs and will eventually lose the use of these body parts. The body will preserve the core (heart and brain) above other body parts in an attempt to stay alive.

So What Is Hyperthermia?

Hyperthermia is the opposite of hypothermia. Hyperthermia is when the body becomes overheated. Sometimes the dangers of heat are underestimated.

In the summer of 1980, a severe heat wave hit the United States, and nearly 1,700 people lost their lives from heat-related illness. Likewise, in the summer of 2003, tens of thousands of people died of the heat in Europe.

High temperatures put people at risk. People that are particularly susceptible to heat are infants, people age 65 or older and those who are obese. People suffer heat-related illness when the body’s temperature control system is overloaded.

The body normally cools itself by sweating. But under some conditions, sweating just isn’t enough. In such cases, a person’s body temperature rises rapidly.

Very high body temperatures can damage the brain or other vital organs. It’s like having a fever.

Several factors affect the body’s ability to cool itself during extremely hot weather. When the humidity is high, sweat will not evaporate as quickly, preventing the body from releasing heat quickly.

Other factors that can cause hyperthermia are dehydration, alcohol use and certain drugs. Hydration is so important in hot or cold conditions. More about water later.

Two common problems of hyperthermia are heat exhaustion and heat stroke.

Heat exhaustion usually occurs before heat stroke. Heat exhaustion is the body’s response to an excessive loss of water and salt contained in sweat. A person suffering from heat exhaustion may be sweating profusely. The skin may even be cool and moist.

The victim’s pulse rate may be fast and weak, and breathing may be fast and shallow. If heat exhaustion is untreated, it may progress to heat stroke. Heat stroke occurs when the body becomes unable to control its temperature. The body’s temperature rises rapidly, the sweating mechanism fails, and the body is unable to cool down.

Body temperature may rise to 106°F or higher within 10-15 minutes. Heat stroke can cause brain damage, permanent disability or even death if emergency treatment is not given.

Watch Out For Symptoms of Heat Stroke

Symptoms of heat stroke include high body temperature (above 104°F), reddening of the skin, no sweating, a rapid pulse, a throbbing headache, dizziness and in extreme cases nausea, confusion, seizures, unconsciousness and death.

What should you do if you or someone experiences hyperthermia?

First of all catch it as early as possible. Get the victim cool. Get them into the shade. Immerse them in water if you can. Even soaking the clothing with water will help. As the liquid evaporates it will take away heat from the body.

Fan them. Do not allow consumption of alcohol. I know certain TV shows show the survivalist drinking urine for emergency water. Urine will actually dehydrate a person further as will drinking alcohol and blood.

Soaking the clothes with alcohol or urine would be a better use. The evaporation process from the clothing can help cool the body. And of course, get medical attention as soon as possible.

Be Aware Of All Available Resources

Be resourceful. Be creative in a survival situation. Think. The life you save may be your own or someone close to you. Control your circumstances as much as is possible. Don’t let things get out of control. Think ahead.

Benjamin ‘RAVEN’  Pressley practices and teaches primitive, survival and wilderness living skills. He bases his skills on skills practiced for generations by Native Americans and aboriginal peoples all over the world. He has taught these type of classes since 1986.

Raven has taught all ages in classes. He has taught and continues to teach at schools, civic organizations, Scouts, Y-Indian Guides, Royal Rangers, YMCA, museums and historical sites. He has written and published many books on various primitive, survival and wilderness living skills.

For more information visit his website at WayoftheRaven.net

GTS Recommends: Survival Tools

Got Your Survival Tools?

While it is possible to effect one’s own survival with nothing more than a good cutting edge, the odds of survival increase exponentially with each proper piece of gear you can incorporate into your survival kit.

In this guide I will be focusing only on the tools I recommend to include in any survival kit you plan to build, are in the process of building. Or maybe your kit needs updating.

Tool Selection

While selecting the tools you will include in your survival kit, remember that these tools need to be reliable and durable. In the event these tools are needed for survival, you want to be able to trust them with your life and possibly your loved ones lives. With this in mind, I chose tools that may be pricier than some of the other alternatives. Remember these are just my recommendations, however I do believe that in one form or another, all of these tools should be included in your survival kit.

tools for survival

1. Knives, Obviously

The first, and most important item in your survival tool kit is a knife. Your knife is, by far,  your most valuable survival item. When you are left with nothing but the cloths on your back and your knife, you can effect survival.

This one tool can aid in the reproduction of all other items on this list, or be used in place of almost any item on this list. For this reason, your knife needs to be of the highest quality you can afford.

Oh, and always have this item strapped to your body in case you get separated from the rest of your gear.

For a comprehensive overview of what makes for a proper survival knife, take a look at this guide:

Survival Guide: How to Choose the Right Survival Knife

Recommended Survival Knives:

  • Old Hickory Butcher Knife: Probably the best knife you can get for the price. Full tang, high carbon steel made by Ontario Knife
  • Buck Knives 0102 Woodsman Fixed Blade: No list would be complete without a mention of Buck knives
  • Ka-Bar Straight Edge Knife, Short: A very high quality knife for the price
  • Benchmade Bushcrafter Knife

Another key to survivability is to have built in redundancies. For this reason, as well as versatility and conservation of resources, it is recommended to include a secondary cutting tool.

Recommended Secondary Knives:

  • Ganzo G704 Folding Knife for EDC
  • Light My Fire Swedish FireKnife: Includes an original Swedish Fire Steel Scout Fire Starter
  • Benchmade Knife 15031-2 North Fork Folder Wood Handle

2. Chopping / Sharpening Tools

While a quality knife can do all the chopping and processing needed around, and in the building of a camp, I recommend a dedicated tool for processing firewood and larger game animals. This is also related to the need to keep your other blades sharp.

Additional Cutting and Sharpening Tools:

  • Fiskars X15 Chopping Axe, 23.5-Inch
  • Cold Steel Trail Boss Hickory Handle
  • Bahco Laplander Folding Saw
  • Lansky Dual Grit Sharpener
  • Lansky PS-MED01 BladeMedic

3. After Sun-Down Lighting Tools

A survival situation will not take a time out just because the sun has gone down. There will be work that needs to be done after sunset.

The work you need to do will undoubtedly require 2 hands to complete. So for this reason I will always choose a head lamp as my main candling device. This allows me to have light on my work and keep both hands free.

A fire provides light as well, but if you want a hand held flashlight or lantern in your kit, I would consider these as secondary candling devices. Also handy in a survival situation are glow sticks.

What we want from our headlamp is multiple brightness settings, including an SOS setting. As well as being waterproof and providing high lumens.

Recommended Candling Devices:

  • Luxolite Waterproof Headlamp
  • KEKU LED High Power Headlamp Rechargeable Waterproof
  • iZEEKER Waterproof Headlamp Cree T6 Bright 4 Modes 5000lm
  • Cyalume SnapLight Green Glow Sticks 12 pack
  • Bayite 1/2 Inch X 6 Inch Drilled Ferrocerium Rod

Conclusion on Choosing Survival Tools:

Obviously this list does not cover all the emergency equipment we would like to have in our survival kit. For example, fire and relatively comfy shelter are high on most people’s priorities.  But with what we have here, this checklist will definitely get you started on the right track should a situation arise.

We will be adding more GTS Recommends Guides to the site as the days go by so check back often.

If you are looking for a bug out bag / backpack to carry all your gear, please check out our review of the Monkey Paks tactical backpack.

The next GTS Recommends will cover more packs, cooking and shelter recommendations as well as much more.

Copyright ©2018. Created by Meks.