Tuesday, April 30, 2013

TUTORIAL - Mini Medicine Kit

As part of a thorough 72 hour bag, I'm a big fan of keeping a mini medicine kit on you at all times. Even when not in a desperate situation, having the right meds on you for the right time can be not only a huge morale booster but also really keep you comfortable in a pinch. Since you only need to take 72 hours worth of each med with you, it ends up being quite a small package.

Since whipping out a bucket of pills in a public place can seem quite suspicious, or draw unwanted attention, many preppers keep their meds inside of a sturdy mint tin:

This keeps things discreet, and also serves the purpose of keeping your meds safe from being crushed or damaged in your bag. To keep them airtight, mini ziploc bags are the best thing to use to store them.

Now, I'm not going to go off on the tangent of the dangers of self medicating, but a wise prepper will always, ALWAYS thoroughly research and learn about the gear they take with them. Medication is no exception to this rule. Learn about it and be safe.

Here's a list of what I'd recommend you keep in your med tin. Depending on your age, body size, gender, etc, you will require different dosages, so be sure to do your research and find out what a 3 days' supply of each medication will be:

- Bisacodyl Tablets
These relieve constipation very, very well, and relatively quickly.

- Paracetamol Tablets
Great for nagging headaches. A headache can cloud your judgement and make your life miserable.

- Vitamin C Tablets
Aside from being extremely good for your general well-being, high doses of Vitamin C will slow the negative effects of non-nuclear radiation

- Aspirins
Often used as a pain relief medication, they can also help fix a hangover and do a marvelous job of lowering your blood pressure

- Potassium Iodide Tablets
These, when taken correctly, will greatly slow damage to your thyroid from nuclear radiation, including nuclear fallout

- Ibuprofen Tablets
Anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen are fantastic for when a headache explodes into a full- blown migraine, and can also be used in a makeshift poultice to lower the swelling of an infected wound, making it easier to treat

- Imodium Capsules
No-one likes having diarrhea at the best of times, but when you're stranded somewhere it can be a death sentence, leaving you with chronic dehydration and malnutrition. Just remember that Imodium isn't a cure for diarrhea, but it'll slow it down while you figure out the cause

- Caffeine Tablets
When you absolutely have to stay on your toes, keeping a sharp mind can be the only thing that keeps you alive. Caffeine is good at helping with that

- Charcoal Tablets
If you have ingested any sort of poison, knocking back a couple of charcoal tablets will help to absorb it as it passes through your system, greatly lowering its effect on your system. It could save your life one day. Also, crushing the charcoal tablets up into a bandana and pouring water through it will do a fair job of filtering the water pretty well

- Water Purification Tablets
Pretty self explanatory. These babies will cut out pretty much any and all nasties that could get you if you were to drink from that filthy stream Au-naturale

Also don't forget to pack any prescription medications that you may be on.

So that's my two cents on the matter. Obviously it's a good idea to have a larger stockpile of each of these at your home base, close to or inside of your large first aid kit, but that's not much of a problem since most of the above comes in a large packet.

Try and buy online as you can easily buy bulk for very cheap prices.

That's all for now! See you again next time!

- CumQuaT

INFORMATIVE - Your First Aid Kit (MedKit)

There are really two types of medkit. The one you take with you and the one you keep at your home-base (the place you store all of your supplies). If you spend a lot of time at work, it's good to have a small one there, too.

For your home base, your best option is to get a large, pre-prepared one, since they're designed to not be moved around and so are often very thoroughly stocked and cover a broad range of injury. Here in Australia, St John's Ambulance Service offer many nice pre-made kits, but most camping stores have them, too. They may seem expensive, but trust me when I say it's worth having one.

I won't go into too much detail on the full-size medkits, as the pre-made ones are often best, but what about the medkit that you carry with you in your 72 hour bag? Often the travel kits you can buy just don't cover things thoroughly enough.

If you live in America, then you're lucky enough to be able to order one of the only pre-made kits that is ideal. It's called the IFAK and it's made by The Skinny Medic, who has a fantastic YouTube channel covering first aid training. It also comes in a very cool "tear away" pack design so you can have it securely attached to your bag, but also have the ability to quickly tear it off and make use of it in a crisis.

If you don't live in the USA, then you can replicate this medkit yourself. Here's a video outlining what's in it:

One of the most important items in there which I'd like to hilight is the QuikClot. If you suffer a particularly nasty wound - say you're mugged and get a knife wound such as a stab or deep cut, that can lead to severe, traumatic bleeding, and your only option is to get to a hospital. Depending on where the wound site is, you can bleed out VERY quickly, leading to loss of conciousness, which means you can't get help. If you tuck a QuikClot sponge tightly into the wound, however, it absorbs all of the blood and forces it to quickly clot, stopping the bleeding and giving you the valuable time to get medical help. Even if it's long enough to be able to call emergency services and last the trip to the hospital.

I know it's scary and seems a bit crazy to think about scenarios like that, but I have personally been attacked by someone wielding a knife before, and it is, quite honestly, one of the most terrifying ordeals of my life. I still have a fairly nasty scar on my arm as a reminder of what people are willing to do to you if they're desperate enough. QuikClot goes for about $25 per sponge, but realistically, you should only need one in your pack. It's worth it. Grab it.

Another thing I would probably add to the above kit is one of the Israeli Bandages mentioned in an earlier post. They're pretty amazing, and you can check out the video about them by clicking here.

That's all for now! See you again next time!

- CumQuaT 

INFORMATIVE - The Israeli Bandage - Worth Having in Your Kit!

This bandage is incredible. I'll definitely be getting 2 or 3 of these to keep in the med-kit!

- CumQuaT

INFORMATIVE - MREs - the facts

MRE stands for "Meal: Ready to Eat" and they are basically food sources with an incredibly long shelf life, some of which are also very tolerant to temperature and other environmental conditions, making them more or less ideal for storage.

Why would you have them? Well, have you ever had the power go out for an extended period which crossed over a meal time? This happened to me quite recently. Where I live can get some pretty extreme weather sometimes and we had the power go out at about 5pm, just as the sun was starting to go down. We didn't pay much heed to it, really, but come 9pm it still wasn't on. By coincidence, we hadn't done our weekly groceries yet, so the cupboards were pretty bare, and there was a minor cyclone going on outside with trees falling on roads and very dangerous conditions for driving to go and get food. We did, however, have our little portable gas cooker and some MREs, so we were fine for food, and by 2am the next morning our power was back again.

But what if that situation had lasted longer? What if power went out completely and never came back? What if driving was unsafe or impossible due to natural disaster or lack of fuel? This is where MREs come into their own.

There are three main types of MREs: Portable, Packet and Homemade.

Portable MREs are ideal to throw in your 72 hour bag, or to store in bulk, as they are generally quite small. Though there are many varieties, a good example are Mainstay Bars, which I keep about a month's supply of.

They're not pretty, and they're certainly not haute cuisine, but they have everything your body needs and will keep you going when no other food is available. For something that looks like a urinal cake, they don't taste too bad... A bit like a lemon cake, or if a madiera cake was the density of an old fruitcake. Not too bad, but you'd go mad if you had nothing else to live on... Just be sure to drink plenty of water while you eat them, as they'll dry your body out quite quickly.

Aside from their conventient size, they have the added benefits of around a 5 year shelf life and extremely high environmental tolerance. You can leave these things in your hot car and they'll be fine. Other MRE varieties are not quite so tolerant. They also do a fairly decent job of making you feel full, though your forceful chugging of water whilst eating them probably helps with that.

Packet MREs are more designed for long-term storage in a cool cellar or cupboard somewhere. They're less temperature tolerant and take up far more space. The added disadvantage of them is that they are quite fragile when compared to MREs in bar form, as they are often packed with air and don't take well to pressure or heat changes:

They do have one significant benefit, though. They are bloody delicious. I have cooked these up before and served them to people without telling them it was dehydrated food, and they thought it was freshly cooked, and complimented the chef. Another big benefit is variety. Just from the limited range that I've seen, there are at least 30 different meals you can get in this form, as well as meal "parts" like chicken breast, sausages, etc, to be able to mix together your own meals - particularly good if you're foraging for edible bush tucker, which I'll go into in a future post.

Unlike MREs in bar form, these take preparation to be able to eat. It's quite simple, really. Just add boiling water and stir. If you have cookware in your kit, you can just pour them into your billy can with about a cup and a half of boiling water and you're good to go in a few minutes. Just last weekend I had beef teriyaki with rice and diced vegetables. It was amazing. Even if you're not planning a camping trip I recommend grabbing one or two of these just to try them out. You can get them at any camping or disposals store.

Now, these are quite expensive when compared to things like Mainstay Bars. You can get a months supply of Mainstay bars for about 50 or 60 Aussie dollars, but Packet MREs will set you back between 10 to 15 dollars apiece. Don't let the price fool you... They're bloody worth it... But this can make it tricky to properly "stock up" if you're preparing for the long haul. Generally speaking, though, a month's worth of food for your bug out/bug in group should be enough for any realistic scenario. So grab a couple here and there month to month and before you know it, you'll be stocked up.

Homemade MREs vary greatly, as it depends on who made it and what it is, but a very handy skill to learn is how to can foods. Don't let the name fool you, canning often makes use of vacuum-sealed glass jars. Here's a good video that explains the process:

The video pretty much sums it up, but you can use this method to preserve anything from vegetables to meats to entire all-in-one meals that can be easily reconstituted later with the right tools. The detriments are pretty obvious, though... They're not very portable, they're fragile, they're not temperature tolerant, but the benefits include the ability for variety (as morale is very important in an extended survival experience), quality (since you've prepared the food yourself) and nutritional value (as it all gets stored very well during the process).

So that gives you a bit of insight into what you can do for food. MREs are a great way to supplement your own hunting, foraging and cultivation, each of which I'll cover in future articles.

For now, I'll catch you later!

- CumQuaT 

Monday, April 29, 2013

Good links - April 2013

So when I find some good links for you to check out, I'll do a post for it. Here's this month's offering:

Australian Survivalist - http://www.aussurvivalist.com/
Good all-rounder survivalist info page for Australians.

Zombie Squad Forum - http://www.zombiehunters.org/forum/
Actually a little funny. The whole thing is themed for zombie survival, but they really do cover some pretty damn good ideals and concepts there that translate to real-world scenarios.

Gallimaufree - http://gallimaufree.wordpress.com/
Covers a wide range of suburban survival techniques. Great for those whose plan is to "bug in" rather than "bug out".

72 Hour Survivalist - http://72hoursurvival.com/bug-out-bag/
A great summary of some alternative views for a 72 hour bag or bug-out bag. (They're two different things! But we'll cover that in a later article)

Survival Gear Australia - http://www.survivalgearonline.com.au/
One of my personal favourite sites. Not only do these guys sell some great stuff at pretty decent prices, they also have a great news section down the bottom on the left where you can keep up to date with lots of current and related topics to survivalism, though we'll be doing that here, too.

Water Treatment - http://eighteenthcenturylivinghistory.freeforums.org/safe-water-t396.html
A friend of mine put me onto this one. It's a great and thorough article going into many various water treatment and purification methods from yesteryear, which still work well today.

Your EDC Bag - http://www.youredcbag.com/
EDC stands for Every Day Carry, and we'll be going into it in more detail in future articles, but this site goes into lots of fun detail regarding the topic.

The Deth Guild EDC - http://www.dethguild.com/edc-bag-every-day-carry/
Another page with some interesting EDC topics. The more you read the better prepared you are, mentally!

- CumQuaT 

TUTORIAL - 72 Hour Bag

It's fairly commonly known that any good prepper carries with them at all times a 72 hour bag. What this is, is a kit in a bag or your car, or taken with you somehow which contains in it everything you'd need to get by for 72 hours.

The basic theory is that if you're out in the city, or at work, or visiting friends, and something bad happens (Shit Hits The Fan) you will be able to get home again. Depending on what's happened, that trip may have to be made on foot. Let's say a natural disaster has happened, that might lead to severe traffic jams as everyone tries to move away from the danger zone. Or, if something particularly crazy happens, like an EMP blast goes off (or something causes an EMP wave) then vehicles will cease to work at all. The odds of that happening are pretty darn small, but being prepared can't hurt!

For example, I live around 16kms from where I work, so if I was at work and the roads were blocked, it would take me about 5 hours to walk home. But what if something happened where I couldn't take the easy road home? Perhaps there's flooding? Perhaps a particularly bad natural disaster has happened and military personnel or police are herding people one way, and I still need to get to my home... I might need to take the back roads to get home, and that might mean an overnight trip - particularly if I'm trying to be stealthy. Sometimes you may not be able to move from your current location, and you may need to wait a day or two before you can move. Any of these scenarios are what you need a 72 hour bag for.

So what should you put in your 72 hour bag?

Well, that is very much based on your own personal needs, however there are certain things that I believe everyone should keep in their 72 hour bag.

The best way I can think of to show my suggestions is to list what I keep in my own 72 hour bag. The items that are highlighted in red are ones that I think everyone should have. Everything else is very much based on how paranoid you are or how prepared you want to be:

- Hazard 4 Evac Plan B Sling (Bag)
- 3 days worth of MREs (I use 1200 calorie mainstay bars)
- A basic medical kit (I'll go into that in a separate post)
- A metal water flask
- A warm jacket
- A bandana (I'll go into that in a separate post)
- A medicine kit (I'll go into that in a separate post)
- Protective gloves
- Face protection (balaclava or ski mask. Sounds crazy, but they're good for disappearing)
- A good hat (I prefer a giggle hat)
- A small sewing kit
- A rugged torch (I use a Fenix E21 for my 72 hour bag)
- Spare batteries for the torch in a watertight, zip-loc bag
- A multi-tool
- A compass
- Wet-wipes (handy if you need to go to the toilet when there isn't a toilet)
- Electrical tape
- Chemical glow-sticks
- Small survival kit (I'll go into that in a separate post)
- A survival guide (I reccommend the SAS Survival Guide ISBN: 978-0-00-718330-2)
- A high-powered laser pointer, for signalling
- A Li-ION backup charger for your phone
- A solar charger unit, for extended times being stranded
- A small trowel (handy for poop time!)
- A wet weather poncho
- A suitable dry-bag
- A small, but functional knife (I use a small Smith&Wesson folder for this bag, but I'll do a separate post on knives)
- A knife sharpener (you don't want your blade to go dull!)
- A glass-breaker (handy when trapped in a car!)
- A decent length of ParaCord (I keep 100 feet, and I'll do a separate article on its uses)

So that's what I carry with me every day. The Hazard 4 Evac Plan B sling is EXCELLENT for carrying all of that very easily, and I highly recommend it, however they're a little pricey. Just know that they're worth every cent of the cost.

So there's a few items up there that I need to go into in further detail. That should keep future posts sorted out for a while ;)

Until I get around to doing them, have fun!

- CumQuaT


Welcome! I couldn't find any one website that contained all of the tutorials, gear reviews and relevant news all together that I wanted, so I figured I'd set one up myself!

I hope other people can benefit from having everything all in one spot like this.

- CumQuaT