Shelter 101: Wilderness and Emergency Survival Shelters


Shelter is one of the top priorities necessities in the wilderness and survival situation. Below we will go into which shelter would be best for you depending on the situation or location you are in.

First ask yourself how quickly you need to build a shelter, and how long you plan on being in the local vicinity. In a true survival situation you will probably need to build a shelter rather quickly and preferably before night falls.

Squirrel Nest

The Squirrel Nest shelter is one of the most simplest of all woodland shelters. They are the quickest to put together since they are just a pile of leaves.

This type of shelter can be surprisingly warm and even effective at keeping you dry.

Mound up a huge dry pile of leaves and dig yourself a trough in the middle, lie down, and then pull the leaves over you.

Two or more feet of leaves on top will resist moderate rain for hours, but it’s necessary to lie very still to keep them in place.

To increase the stability of a squirrel nest shelter make the shelter between two fallen logs. This will prevent leaves from spreading out on the forest floor.

Debris Hut

The Debris Hut shelter provides a quick sleeping shelter for one to two people. However it is not possible to do anything else in it  such as cooking, working, etc.

To make a Debris Hut shelter cut a strong, straight branch at least 10′ (3m) long for the ridgepole. One end goes on the ground while the other is supported by a pair of sturdy sticks set into the ground and crossed and tied (using vine, paracord or even shoelace) near the top.

If you can find a naturally occurring support for the open end, such as a low tree limb, by all means use it! Lash the ridgepole to the support with cordage.

Cut a bunch of sticks at leave 1″ in diameter, and place them diagonally against both sides of the ridgepole, spacing them about 2″ apart. It is not necessary to tie them in place.

Now lay down inside and make sure it covers your entire body, with enough height for toes and at least 3″ extra width on  each side of your shoulders.

If you have a tarp or poncho place it over the ridgepole and secure the points of the tarp/poncho to the ground.

If you do not have a tarp or poncho, or would like more insulation then begin piling leaves over the sticks (or poncho)  and don’t stop until the pile is ridiculously high. The leaves will settle quickly, and the thicker the covering remains, the better it will protect you from rain and heat loss.

Lay more sticks or leafy branches over the leaves to hold them in place. Branches with pine needles are the best.

Now, if you haven’t followed the tip we have below, stuff the inside of the hut with leaves for insulation. Leave a good pile of leaves at the door. After you wiggle your way in feet-first for the night, pull the loose pile of leaves in after you to close the entrance and prevent heat loss around your head.

Tip: Build the debris hut over a huge pile of leaves to avoid having to stuff it later.

Shade Shelter

The Shade Shelter is primarily for those in desert environments but can also be adapted for colder weather locations as well.

This type of shelter is ideal for hot and arid climates where travelers or survivors need to be aware of the heat and sun which can lead to deadly heat stroke.

In winter environments travelers or survivors may need to protect themselves against sunburn or snow blindness.

If rain protection is not an objective then even a bare pile of sticks will suffice for a shade shelter that resembles a partial teepee.

Cut three long poles and last them not too tightly at least 1″ down from one end. Stand the assembly upright, then spread the legs into a tripod.

Take more long poles and align them between two of the poles, resting their tops in the crotch of the main poles at the top.

For protection from the sun from two directions, fill in two sides of the pyramid.

If long sticks are difficult to come by, last a couple of shorter sticks horizontally between two main uprights. You can then pile shorter sticks or even sagebrush against them.

For sun protection fro, dawn to dusk, use four poles for the main structure and cover three sides, leaving the open side facing north in the northern hemisphere, south in the southern.

Wind Block

While building a shelter to block just the wind seems like an awful lot of energy for a shelter tha


One of the most popular and well-known wilderness and survival emergency shelters is the Lean-To shelter.

Lean-tos are a class of shelter with a common configuration but no set structure.

They all consist of a flat slanted roof and, usually, two or more stout poles that serve as rafters.

Covering Your Lean-To

If you have a tarp or poncho use it! If not the below methods are great secondary coverings.

Large slabs of bark can be pulled off of down, rotten trees, and these make excellent roofing material.

Lay a curse across the bottom, then work your way up, overlapping each course like shingling a house.

Pile several feet of leaves over closely spaced roof poles and hold them in place with light branches, as for a debris hut.

The roof must be pitched steeply, at least 45 degree angle, if thatching is to be used.

Tip: For greater protection, sides can be added to a lean-to using the same methods. Ultimately, you can even enclose part or all of the front as well for a structure that will conserve heat as well as provide rain and wind protection.

In conclusion, there are various of types of shelters that we haven’t even covered. We will be doing a few more Shelter 101 write-ups that will include other types of shelters. Many of the above are excellent shelters for wilderness environments and for when you are in an emergency survival situation.

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Best & Worst Places To Live During a Zombie Apocalypse


Best & Worse Places To Live During a Zombie Apocalypse
Ah yes the perfect doomsday scenario, a Zombie Apocalypse. With the increased fanfare to everything zombie thanks to the advent of TV series The Walking Dead people are infatuated with Zombies. But… the zombie apocalypse is no joke!

We found two zombie apocalypse reports. One over at which is not a detailed report and the highly detailed report at

The two reports differ on which state would fair better during a Zombie Apocalypse. We tend to favor the Estately report since their due-diligence is far more admirable! So we will start off with the Estately report… State Zombie Apocalypse Report

U.S. States Ranked From Most to Least Likely to Survive the Zombie Apocalypse

Estately really researched and figured out all the possibilities and numbers with this report!

Here’s what the company looked at for each state:

  1. Active Military Personnel per capita (based on data from the U.S. Census)
  2. Military Veterans per capita (based on data from the U.S. Census)
  3. Physical Inactivity (based on the CDC’s 2012 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System)
  4. Martial Arts Enthusiasts (based on percentage Facebook users who list “martial arts” as an interest)
  5. General Interest In Survival Skills (based on percentage Facebook users who list “survival skills” as an interest)
  6. People With Knowledge Of Zombie Lore (based on percentages of Facebook users who listed “zombies, ‘Resident Evil,’ ‘Zombieland,’ and ‘The Walking Dead’” as interests)
  7. Laser Tag Enthusiasts (based on percentage Facebook users who list “laser tag” as an interest)
  8. People With Guns (based on 2012 data from the FBI)
  9. Obesity (based on the CDC’s 2012 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System)
  10. Paintball Enthusiasts (based on percentage Facebook users who list “paintball” as an interest)
  11. Triathletes (based on percentage Facebook users who list “Ironman triathlon” as an interest)

What Estately found was that rural states will offer favorable odds for any survivors, while a majority of the Northeast and South will degenerate immediately into a zombie-filled hellscape.

United States of Zombies

The Top 10 Best States to Survive the Zombie Apocalypse


In a state where residents run from bears and moose, they will not be scared of slow-moving corpses. Alaska is packed with military personnel and veterans, and they’re only a fraction of the well-armed Alaskans prepared to shoot zombies from a moving snowmobile.


No other state has a shared love of zombie movies and guns like Wyoming. While New Yorkers are having their brains eaten in cafes and elevators, the fine people of Wyoming will be sitting on the front porch with a shotgun enjoying a prolonged zombie hunting season.


Coloradans are well known to be among the most physically fit in the country so when zombies start crawling out of their graves, most of the state’s residents will be miles away, easily jogging up a 10,000-foot mountain.


If a horde of zombies stumbles into Lewiston, Idaho they’re going to have their hands full. Idahoans are physically active, heavily armed, and are hard to catch because they’re oddly really into parkour.


This state knows its zombie facts (from movies and TV shows), but it’s also full of triathletes and martial enthusiasts. Not only can residents escape from zombies by running, swimming, or biking, but they can also turn around and dole out some beat downs like the ninja assassins they are.


The state’s residents previously prepared to face the zombie apocalypse, but that was because pranksters hacked into a TV station’s EAS and broadcasted a message that the zombie apocalypse had begun. Had that not been a test, those zombies would have experienced the full wrath of Montana’s arsenal because that state is heavily armed.


Home to both the Department of Zombie Defense and the Arizona Zombie Defense Force. The state of Arizona trains for the zombie apocalypse with zombie walks, a Zombie Night at an Arizona Diamondbacks game, and much more.


Las Vegas is home to the Zombie Apocalypse Store, so it’ll be easy to buy supplies to fend off the walking dead. Cities around the state are already prepping with zombie pub crawls, a state run zombie prevention site, and more.


New Yorkers fleeing a zombie apocalypse will drive up real estate prices when the move to the Granite State, the most prepared in the Northeast.


Should the zombies enter an office building in Wisconsin, they’ll face a large number of people prepared to shoot zombies in confined areas because Wisconsin is home to the most laser tag enthusiasts per capita in America. Wisconsin is awesome. Click HERE for proof.

The 10 Worse States to Live in During a Zombie Apocalypse


Despite being physically fit, residents of Massachusetts are almost completely lacking in knowledge of zombies. Ignorance is not bliss, it’s very costly in a zombie apocalypse.


The Tennessee Zombie Response Unit has its work cut out for it because the rest of state is ill prepared to battle the undead. Tennesseans should abandon their company softball teams and form paintball teams instead.


For Louisiana, the downside of letting the good times roll is it makes it very difficult outrun the living dead. Lack of physical fitness and limited knowledge of zombies dooms the great state of Louisiana… once it runs out of ammunition.


Here’s a plan—Alabama confronts its obesity by training for the Alabama Biathalon. It’s a variation of the winter sport, but instead of cross-country skiing you just run around the woods with a gun shooting at everything. It’s like hunting season, but you can’t bring a 24-pack of beer.


Residents of Connecticut should either begin playing laser tag or start seasoning themselves because if the zombie apocalypse started today they’d get eaten up as appetizers.


Even though The Walking Dead is set in Georgia, residents there have little interest in zombies. In the event of a zombie apocalypse, the undead will discover Georgia brains are as sweet as Georgia peaches.


If there were New York travel brochure for zombies it would tout the state’s lack of veterans, limited enthusiasm for survival skills, and scarcity of firearms.


Our nation’s capital has almost no knowledge of zombies, martial arts, or firearm ownership. It’s going to be an all-you-can-eat brain buffet for the zombies.


M-I-S-S-I-S-S-I-P-P-Die. Everybody is going to die. From zombies.

51st—NEW JERSEY If the zombie apocalypse began today, and you live in New Jersey, the odds are 100% that you’ve already been bitten and have become a zombie. State Zombie Apocalypse Report

The five best states to survive the zombie apocalypse:

1. Texas with a survivability score of 67

With a low population density and more federally licensed firearms dealers, hospitals and Walmarts than any other state, Texas is an easy choice for best place to survive the zombie apocalypse. It also has more military bases than all but a handful of states, which will come in handy to protect your desert camp from zombie invasion, or, in the event that Fort Hood is lost, as a place to salvage supplies.

2. Georgia with a survivability score of 65.25

Looks like The Walking Dead gang are lucky to be in Georgia, as the state’s low population density, large number of Walmarts, military bases and hospitals, and high rate of gun ownership make it a great place to ward off impending doom. Of course, crazed groups of survivors trying to take your prison won’t make matters any easier.

3. California with a survivability score of 65

California has a lot of things working against it: super high population density and a ton of large cities. But apparently the good outweighs the bad, and its mountainous terrain and impressive number of gun stores, Walmarts, hospitals and military bases tip the scales in its favor.

4. North Carolina with a survivability score of 62

Guns, military bases, hospitals and Walmarts – North Carolina has ‘em in spades. It also has several urban centers and a high population density, but, again, GUNS.

5. Virginia with a survivability score of 61

Virginia is pretty middle of the road in most categories, but its large number of hospitals, Walmarts and military bases make it a great spot to seek shelter from the zombies. And it’s pretty close to Washington D.C., which, you know, would totally be protected to the last man standing.

The five worst states to survive the zombie apocalypse:

46. Hawaii with a survivability score of 30

At first glance Hawaii would seem like a great place to survive the zombie apocalypse: it’s cut off from the rest of the United States, the weather is nice and there are volcanoes in which to dispose of rotting zombie corpses. But what if the zombie virus does spread to infect entire islands? Well, then you’re trapped on a small island with millions of zombies and basically no guns. Doesn’t sound so paradisiacal now, does it?

47. Nebraska with a survivability score of 28

Nebraska does not score well on any category, except population density. It’s flat, which means the zombies can move faster (and you won’t see them because of the corn stalks!), it’s only got a few gun stores and there are just a couple of military bases to protect you.

48. New Jersey with a survivability score of 27.5

New Jersey is the most densely populated state, and that, coupled with its lack of guns and mountains, means it’s one of the most difficult places to survive the societal breakdown. And that’s not even taking into account the millions of zombie New Yorkers who are sure to come flowing across the bridges and through the tunnels in search of their next meal.

49. Delaware with a survivability score of 16.75

Small states with no guns, no mountains and lots of people don’t fare well in the zombie apocalypse. That we know.

50. Rhode Island with a survivability score of 14.75

And here it is, Rhode Island is hands down the worst place to survive the zombie apocalypse. Its population density is high, there are no mountains or guns, and, really, not much of anything else that would be useful either. So here’s some advice to Rhode Islanders, when the mysterious bitings/illnesses start, head south.

The full list of states and their zombie apocalypse survivability scores:
  1. Texas with a survivability score of 67
  2. Georgia with a survivability score of 65.25
  3. California with a survivability score of 65
  4. North Carolina with a survivability score of 62
  5. Virginia with a survivability score of 61
  6. Tennessee with a survivability score of 57.75
  7. Pennsylvania with a survivability score of 57.25
  8. Arkansas with a survivability score of 56.5
  9. Utah with a survivability score of 56.4
  10. Washington with a survivability score of 56.25
  11. Alabama with a survivability score of 55.5
  12. Arizona with a survivability score of 55
  13. Colorado with a survivability score of 54.75
  14. New York with a survivability score of 54.5
  15. Alaska with a survivability score of 53.25
  16. Florida with a survivability score of 53.2
  17. Montana with a survivability score of 53
  18. Idaho with a survivability score of 52.75
  19. Mississippi with a survivability score of 52.5
  20. South Carolina with a survivability score of 52
  21. West Virginia with a survivability score of 51.5
  22. Kansas with a survivability score of 51
  23. Louisiana with a survivability score of 50.75
  24. Missouri with a survivability score of 50.5
  25. Oklahoma with a survivability score of 50.25
  26. Wyoming with a survivability score of 48.75
  27. Oregon with a survivability score of 48.5
  28. Massachusetts with a survivability score of 48
  29. New Mexico with a survivability score of 47.25
  30. Illinois with a survivability score of 46.75
  31. Michigan with a survivability score of 45.25
  32. Wisconsin with a survivability score of 45
  33. Maine with a survivability score of 44.25
  34. Ohio with a survivability score of 44
  35. Kentucky with a survivability score of 43.25
  36. Iowa with a survivability score of 42.5
  37. Indiana with a survivability score of 41.5
  38. Nevada with a survivability score of 41.25
  39. South Dakota with a survivability score of 41
  40. North Dakota with a survivability score of 40.5
  41. Vermont with a survivability score of 39.25
  42. Maryland with a survivability score of 38.75
  43. Minnesota with a survivability score of 38.5
  44. New Hampshire with a survivability score of 38
  45. Connecticut with a survivability score of 35.5
  46. Hawaii with a survivability score of 30
  47. Nebraska with a survivability score of 28
  48. New Jersey with a survivability score of 27.5
  49. Delaware with a survivability score of 16.75
  50. Rhode Island with a survivability score of 14.7

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The S.U.R.V.I.V.A.L. Acronym


Survival Acronym

The Survival Acronym was developed for military personnel, primarily Special Forces, but can be easily adapted to civilian survival.

You can easily replace the word “enemy” with “the unprepared”, as some, NOT all, will be attempting to take what you have as they have not adequately prepared.

S – Size Up the Situation:

  • Size Up the Battlefield: If you find yourself in a combat situation, this means finding a spot where you can be concealed from your opponent.
  • Size Up Your Environment: Is it grassland, forest, jungle, a desert?  Pay attention to the plants and a animals of the area as well as potential sources of water.
  • Size Up Your Present Condition: If you have been involved in combat, take a moment to check yourself for injuries and provide first aid as necessary.  It’s possible to overlook injuries or underestimate their severity when in the heat of combat.
  • Size Up Your Gear: Has anything you need been broken or lost in the heat of the moment?

U – Use All Your Senses:

  • It’s easy to get caught up in one sense in a high-stress situation.  You may be so focused on looking for your opponent in a conflict that you fail to notice a gas leak, for example.  Use all of yours senses to gather information, notice sudden temperature shifts.  Taste will probably not be too useful in the moment, but use your senses of sight, hearing, and smell to read the battlefield situation before you.
  • Fight the impulse to panic or take immediate action. Don’t do anything ill-considered.

R – Remember Where You Are:

  • If you have a map, find your location and relate it to the terrain around you.  Attempt to identify areas that can provide potential shelter, sources of water, and the location of allies/enemies.  If you are traveling in a group, always be aware of which person has the map.  If this person dies, you will have to retrieve it from his or her body.

V – Vanquish Fear and Panic:

  • Take a deep breath or two and focus purely on what you need to do in order to survive.  Letting fear and panic overwhelm you will both drain your energy and prevent you from making intelligence decisions in a vital moment and get you killed.
  • Calming yourself down may be the key to survival
  • Dehydration and hunger can make it difficult to think clearly, so – after checking that you are safe from any threats – make a plan to get hold of the essentials you need to survive.

I – Improvise:

  • It is always smart to equip yourself with the best equipment available to you, but never be afraid to improvise a tool or weapon, it could be the difference between life and death.  This means being creative, thinking outside the box.  What available to you can be turned into a weapon?  What can you use to make shelter for yourself?  Even the most well stocked bug out bag you will run out or have tools break on you if relied on for too long, which means you may need to learn how to use natural objects as tools.

VValue Living:

  • Focus on the good things in life for motivation in order to maintain your sanity.  Remember what you are fighting for, the people that you love, the gift of time to be the person you are.

AAct Like the Natives:

  • When away from home but still around other people, it’s best to avoid undo attention and pissing off the native peoples you find yourself among.  Offending the natives is a bad idea, so when in Rome, do as the Romans do.  How do they dress?  What do they eat?  How do they go about their routines every day?

LLive by Your Wits and Learn Basic Skills:

  • Listen to your brain but also listen to your gut, focus on being present in the moment in order to react to any situation before you.  Please note that this is no substitute for preparing yourself beforehand as well as you can.

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30 Uses for Wood Ash


30 Uses For Wood Ash

1. Make lye water out of ash. You can boil 2-3 spoons of ash (clean white/grey fluffy ash) with water and then filter it with a coffee filter. Lye water is a great cleaning agent and sanitizer for clothes, floors, windows, silverware, plates, and even rust in marble.

You can also make lye by adding the fluffy white ash in a cheesecloth. In a bucket with holes on its base, you add the cheesecloth and ash, and hang it somewhere high. Add the water. Underneath, place another clean bucket to collect the lye. The lye has a brownish color, so you remove the bucket when clean water starts to sip through.

Test the lye by adding a fresh egg in the liquid. If the egg floats, the lye is good to go, if not, repeat the process.-For use in soap making.

2. A paste made out of ash and water, can remove stains from furniture.

3. If we want to remove a stain from clothes the moment they happen, we add a bit of ash and after about five minutes, we rub it with the crumb of a bread (not the crust, the soft white bit).

4. Ash is a great odor repellent, just add a bit over the area that smells, example: kitty litter.

5. You can remove odors from a fridge, by adding a plate of charcoal ash inside. Change the charcoal over, until the smell is gone.

6. You can use it to brush your teeth.

7. You can wash your hair with lye soap and rinse with vinegar. This is especially good for oily hair.

8. Lye is used in many foods and sweets. Like grape must pudding (moustalevria), honey cookies (melomakarona), and in bread. It makes bread fluffy and prevents it from crumbling. Lye is also good for the cleansing of the intestines.

9. Ash was used for many years in farming. It recycles the natural nutrients back into the earth. It can be used as compost but does not include Nitrogen. It aids in the increase of the earths PH level which in return, aids in the growth of the plants. (But because of the ongoing increase of the PH level, not all veg and fruit thrive from it. eg potatoes).

Cleaning your camp dishes with wood ash
10. It strengthens plants that love calcium, such as tomatoes, vineyards, beans, spinach, peas, avocados, garlic etc. Even rose bushes. You can add 1/4 cup ash before planting.

11. One spoon ash per 1000l of water, strengthens underwater plants.

12. It prevents plants from frost in winter, if you add a layer of ash over them.

13. Animals hate ash. You can rid your garden of insects and various parasites, such as slugs and snails.

14. You can rid yourself of ants. If you throw some ash in their colony, they will be forced to relocate, as they can’t move the ash.

15. Spread some ash in the corners of the house, or dark spots of your cellar etc. For as long as there is ash, no mice/rats, cockroaches or insects approach.

16. It repels lice, ticks and fleas off animals. You make a thick paste of ash and vinegar and spread over the fur. It’s messy, but it works.

17. It repels clothes moths. You can add some ash on your stored clothes, and simply shake it off when you need to use them. You can leave them for years this way, and nothing will happen to them.

18. Lye is used to make soap (potassium hydroxide). It’s a bit of a lengthy process, but its worth it.

19. Ash is used for “immortal eggs”. In a recipe used in the Middle East, they preserve eggs in a mix of clay, ash, salt, lime and rice rind for many months.

Many Uses For Campfire Ash

20. Sodium Carbonate, can be made out of ash. It is known to be an excellent product, used as household cleaner. Boil water and ash, until it evaporates. The remaining substance is your Sodium Carbonate (Soda).

21. Ash contains salt, and can therefore melt ice.

22. The charcoal collected within the ash, can be used as a filter.

23. You can use charcoal to filter blurry wine.

24. You can use charcoal to filter water before drinking.

25. Charcoal in metal containers can be used to remove humidity in cellars, cupboards and under sinks.

26. You can put a fire out quickly by throwing ash over it.

27. In the older days, they used to preserve seeds in large clay containers, by adding a thick layer of ash over them. This prevented insects from destroying their produce.

28. It can be used in wounds, to kill bacteria and aid in faster healing. Melting hand made soap in lye water and rinsing a wound with it without rinsing over it with clean water.

29. No fridge? No worries! You can preserve your fruits and vegetables for many days, even years, by digging a hole in the ground and filling it with ash. Add your veg and fruit, ensuring enough space between them, so that they do not touch each other, or the muddy ground. Seal the hole with a piece of wood, and you let it be.

30. In the olden days, to preserve the fresh rennet, they added it in a bone animal horn, filled it with ash, sealed it with mud and hanged it from a tree. This ensured the rennet lasted for many many years

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25 Must Have Survival Foods in your Pantry


25 Must Have Survival Foods in your Pantry

Building an emergency pantry is one of those lifelines that takes both time and planning to make it fully functional. Ideally, you want to store shelf stable foods that your family normally consumes, as well as find foods that serve multiple purposes.

Keep in mind, that water is your most important prep. You need water for consumption, food preparation, and for sanitary needs. Ensure that you have a large quantity of water stored away for emergency use.

Stock up on the following items today to get your prepper pantry ready for the next extended emergency:

1. Canned fruits, vegetables, meats, and soups
2. Dried legumes (beans, lentils, peas)
3. Crackers
4. Nuts
5. Pasta sauce
6. Peanut butter
7. Pasta
8. Flour (white, whole wheat)
9. Seasonings (vanilla, salt, pepper, paprika, cinnamon, pepper, taco seasoning, etc.)
10. Sugar
11. Bouillon cubes or granules (chicken, vegetable, beef)
12. Kitchen staples (baking soda, baking powder, yeast, vinegar)
13. Honey
14. Unsweetened cocoa powder
15. Jell-O or pudding mixes
16. Whole grains (barley, bulgur, cornmeal, couscous, oats, quinoa, rice, wheat berries)
17. Nonfat dried milk
18. Plant-based oil (corn oil, vegetable oil, coconut oil, olive oil)
19. Cereals
20. Seeds for eating and sprouting
21. Popcorn (not the microwavable kind)
22. Instant potato flakes
23. Packaged meals (macaroni and cheese, hamburger helper, Ramen noodles, etc.)
24. Purified drinking water
25. Fruit juices, teas, coffee, drink mixes

Along with these must have survival foods in your pantry make sure you have adequate cookbooks to create nutritious meals using your food stores!

Preparedness Cookbook Recommendations

The Preppers Cookbook: 300 Recipes to Turn Your Emergency Food into Nutritious, Delicious, Life-Saving Meals

The Prepper’s Pantry: Building and Thriving with Food Storage

The Preppers Cookbook: The Ultimate Recipe Guide

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Edible Wild Plants: Rose Hips


Rose Hips, which are not a particular plant but rather the fruit of the rose plant. The rose hip, also known as rose haw or rose hep, is the fruit of the rose plant, that typically is red-to-orange, but ranges from dark purple to black in some species. Rose hips begin to form after successful pollination of flowers in spring or early summer, and ripen in late summer through autumn.

Edible Wild Plants - Rose Hips

The wild dog rose is the type of rose most often cultivated for their hips. This plant grows up to ten feet tall and bears a white, very fragrant flower. Once the flower has bloomed, and all the petals have fallen off, the hip is picked and used in a wide variety of preparations. Rose hips are the best source of vitamin C; they contain 50% more vitamin C than oranges.

A single tablespoon of the pulp gives an adult more than the recommended daily allowance of 60 mg. They can be eaten raw, after being put through a blender, or soaked in water overnight and then cooked in the water for about half an hour. Because of the high vitamin C content they are an excellent immune system booster, and are often used as a supplement to prevent or treat a cold. The pulp from rose hips may be used in sauces or made into jelly.

In recent news a pill made from Rose Hip extract cut arthritis pain, as well as help reduce high cholesterol.

Rose Hips for Medicinal Uses
Pill Made from Rose Hip Extract Cuts Arthritis Pain

February 14th 2014

A new pill made from rose-hip extract has been found to reduce the agony of osteoarthritis sufferers by an astonishing 90 percent.

Human trials suggest a wonder supplement called Gopo – named after a key ingredient of the plant – could provide a breakthrough for six million Britons whose lives are blighted by joint pain. Pills containing the supplement are now available in the UK for the first time – for just 15 pence each, the Daily Express reported. Scientists said that they have proved the herbal remedy possesses special properties which can alleviate the condition in the hand especially.


The pill gave round-the-clock relief, and sufferers were a third less likely to use conventional painkillers after taking the supplement. Rose-hip, also known as rose haw, is the fruit of the rose plant and is commonly used for jam, jelly, syrup, soup, wine and marmalade. It contains high levels of vitamin C and lycopene, a powerful antioxidant that helps lower cholesterol.

During World War II, British citizens were encouraged to gather rose hips to make vitamin C syrup for children. Rose hips have an herbal flavor that’s suggestive of roses without tasting floral.

Edible Parts

  • Flowers
  • Buds

The flowers and buds are edible raw or boiled. In an emergency, you can peel and eat the young shoots. You can boil fresh, young leaves in water to make a tea.

After the flower petals fall, eat the rose hips; the pulp is highly nutritious and an excellent source of vitamin C. Crush or grind dried rose hips to make flour.

Caution: Eat only the outer portion of the fruit as the seeds of some species are quite prickly and can cause internal distress.

Rose Hip Uses

Rose hips are used for tisanes, jam, jelly, syrup, rose hip soup, beverages, pies, bread, wine, and marmalade. They can also be eaten raw, like a berry, if care is used to avoid the hairs inside the fruit.

A few rose species are sometimes grown for the ornamental value of their hips, such as Rosa moyesii, which has prominent large red bottle-shaped fruits.

Rose hips have recently become popular as a healthy treat for pet chinchillas and guinea pigs. These small rodents are unable to manufacture their own vitamin C and are unable to digest many vitamin-C rich foods. Rose hips provide a sugarless, safe way to increase their vitamin C intake.

Rose hips are also fed to horses. The dried and powdered form can be fed at a maximum of 1 tablespoon per day to improve coat condition and new hoof growth.

The fine hairs found inside rose hips are used as itching powder. Dried rose hips are also sold for primitive crafts and home fragrance purposes.

Rose hips were used in many food preparations by the indigenous peoples of the Americas.

Rose hips can be used to make Palinka, a traditional Hungarian alcoholic beverage, popular in Hungary, Romania, and other countries sharing Austro-Hungarian history. Rose hips are also the central ingredient of Cockta, the fruity-tasting national soft drink of Slovenia.

In his book Stalking the Faraway Places, wild foods enthusiast Euell Gibbons recommended stuffed rose hips made by slicing a large hip in half, removing the seeds and inserting a wild raspberry.

Rose hips are commonly used as a tisane, often blended with hibiscus, and also as an oil. They can also be used to make jam, jelly, marmalade, and rose hip wine. Rose hip soup, “nyponsoppa”, is especially popular in Sweden. Rhodomel, a type of mead, is made with rose hips

Medicinal Uses

Rose hips are particularly high in vitamin C content, one of the richest plant sources available. However, RP-HPLC assays of fresh rose hips and several commercially available products revealed a wide range of L-ascorbic acid content, ranging from 0.03 to 1.3%. Rose hips of some species, especially Rosa canina (Dog Rose) and R. majalis, have been used as a source of vitamin C. During World War II, the people of Britain were encouraged through letters to The Times newspaper, articles in the British Medical Journal, and pamphlets produced by Claire Loewenfeld, a dietitian working for Great Ormond Street Hospital for Sick Children, to gather wild-grown rose hips and to make a vitamin C syrup for children. This was because German submarines were sinking many commercial ships: citrus fruits from the tropics were very difficult to import.

Rose hips contain plenty of lycopene, an important and strong antioxidant that prevents oxidation of low density lipoprotein (LDL) as well as of many cellular membranes. Lycopene in rose hips differs more in its isomer distribution than in other sources (tomatoes, pink grapefruit).

Rose hips also contain some vitamin A and B, essential fatty acids, and antioxidant flavonoids.

A study of a rose hip preparation for treating rheumatoid arthritis concluded that there was a benefit, apparently due to both anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant effects.

Rose hips are used to help prevent colds and influenza.

Where Does Rose Hips Grow?

Since rose hips are the fruit of a rose plant. You can find them where-ever roses grow.

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Preparing For Major Winter Storms


Preparing For Major Winter Storms

With a major winter snow storm hitting a majority of the eastern United States we thought it would be a good time to discuss Preparing for Major Winter Storms.

Heavy snow can immobilize a region and paralyze a city, stranding commuters, closing airports, stopping the flow of supplies, and disrupting emergency and medical services. Accumulations of snow can cause roofs to collapse and knock down trees and power lines. Homes and farms may be isolated for days. In rural areas, unprotected livestock can be lost. In urban areas, the cost of snow removal, damage repair, and lost business can have severe economic impacts.

The problem with Winter Weather Preparedness is a majority of the public tends to think about it 24 to 36 hours prior to an actual storm. While this may be the norm for our society it is best to plan well ahead of these events to limit stress, lack of resources and the panicked public.

Below you will find what you need to have in your Home, Office and Vehicle to be prepared for a Major Winter Storm.

Home Winter Storm Preparedness - Home Winter Storm Survival Tips and Kit
Home Winter Storm Preparedness


Non-Perishable Food – Stock up on canned soups and vegetables, powdered food, and grains like rice and pasta. Make sure you have enough to last your family at least three or four days. Make sure you have a manual can-opener, as well. Freeze dried food is also ideal but remember to have a store of water.

Camping Stove or Grill – A gas-powered camping stove is a wise investment for any emergency situation. If you have an electric stove in the kitchen a camp stove is almost a necessity.

Be sure you use it with proper ventilation to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning, and have plenty of backup fuel.

A great little cooking stove is the Swedish Trangia as fuel sources are abundant and rarely ever depleted at retail stores.

Matches – To light your gas range/camping stove/candles. Do not rely on lighters that can run out of fuel or break down all too easily.

Battery Operated Radio – This way you can get news without wall power. Make sure the batteries are good. It is also possible to buy a motion charging radio, as you can with a flashlight.

Prescription Medications –  Like food, it is always wise to have enough to last you a few days.

First Aid Kit – You never know what kind of injuries or emergencies will happen, so make sure you have sterile bandages, disinfectant, antibiotic ointment, and over-the-counter painkillers available.

A Shovel –  Even if you live in an apartment you should own a shovel as you may need to dig yourself out before your ground crew gets in, and they are unlikely to dig out your car.

Hurricane Lanterns – Not only do they provide light during a power outage but they also produce heat that can easily heat a room in an emergency.

Cellphone with Cord/Portable Cellphone Charger – Cordless home phones will not work when the power is out. Many states require at least one wall plugged phone, which receives power from the telephone connection, in all households.

If you have a car charger you can always rely on your vehicles battery to charge your phone. However it may be an endeavor getting into your car!

Warm Room – When faced with an extended power outage, living and sleeping in a single room will help conserve heat. If there is an extended power outage during a major winter storm set up a tent in the house.  You can sleep in sleeping bags or a mattress in the tent to share heat and warm a smaller area. The tent can also keep kids distracted.

Flashlights & Batteries – Make sure you have good quality flashlights and headlamps with fresh batteries. You can also purchase self-powered flashlights and self-powered radios. Some models will also charge your cell phone.

Anything else vital to your household – You should always have ample supplies of items like diapers, formula, pet food, and so on before the storm hits.

Business / Office Snow Storm Preparedness - Business Office Winter Storm Survival Kit
Office Winter Storm Preparedness


Most employer’s and employee’s do not think about an event where they are stuck at the office due to inclement weather. But it happens more often than not!

While driving home may be treacherous at times there may be instances where you cannot even leave your office parking lot, let a lone get to your vehicle.

It is ideal to have an Office Preparedness Kit that includes but not limited to these basics (Many of these are a blend between your Home and Vehicle Winter Storm Preparedness Kits). These basics are small enough to fit into a utility closet.

Non-Perishable Food – Stock up on canned soups and vegetables, powdered food, and grains like rice and pasta. Make sure you have enough to last your family at least three or four days. Make sure you have a manual can-opener, as well.

Camping Stove or Grill – A small compact gas camping stove is ideal to feed a few employee’s. Make sure every employee is versed on how to work the camping stove/grill in case anyone is stranded there so they all know how to operate it.

Matches – To light your gas range/camping stove/candles. Do not rely on lighters that can run out of fuel or break down all too easily.

Battery Operated Radio – This way you can get news without wall power. Make sure the batteries are good. It is also possible to buy a motion charging radio, as you can with a flashlight.

Prescription Medications –  You should have this in your Vehicle Emergency Kit

First Aid Kit – Your office should have a first aid kit but make sure it is well-rounded. This includes but not limited to sterile bandages, disinfectant, antibiotic ointment, and over-the-counter painkillers available.

A Shovel –  Most businesses have a shovel or a snow blower. It is a great idea to have more than three on hand as there may be more than one employee stranded and more than one hand shoveling out cars is better than one!

Hurricane Lanterns – Not only do they provide light during a power outage but they also produce heat that can easily heat a room in an emergency.

Cellphone with Cord/Portable Cellphone Charger – Cordless home phones will not work when the power is out. Many states require at least one wall plugged phone, which receives power from the telephone connection, in all households.

Blankets –  A majority of offices do not have secondary backup heating sources so blankets will be your lifeline if the power goes out.

Warm Room – Same with Home Emergency Plan make sure you have a room in your office, preferably a central location that does not get drafts, to hunker down in.

Flashlights & Batteries – Make sure you have good quality flashlights and headlamps with fresh batteries. You can also purchase self-powered flashlights and self-powered radios. Some models will also charge your cell phone.

Bottle of water and a few protein, snack bars –  In case someone in your office has been eating the food stores that are meant for an emergency stash a few bottles of water, protein bars and jello boxes in your desk. This way you wont be starving to death when you find Fat Phil ate all the survival food stores at the office!

Employee Contact List – You may need to call employee’s families letting them know that they are safe or have left and to expect them soon. This way if for some reason an employee gets stranded the family can send out help.

Vehicle Winter Storm Emergency Preparedness - Vehicle Winter Snow Storm Survival Kit
Vehicle Winter Storm Preparedness


In the unfortunate event that you are stranded in your car due to heavy snow fall or automobile problems it is wise to have a Vehicle Emergency Bag in your trunk.

Some auto parts stores and mass merchandisers like Walmart or Target sell these as a bundle in their own carrying case. But we highly recommend building your kit to fit your needs based on your areas winter weather.

Blankets –  If you are stuck with a car that won’t start, or that has conked out, and have to wait in cold weather for help, you will want a decent warm blanket as an extra layer.

Snow shovel – Get a short-handled shovel, probably a coal-type shovel, to stow in the trunk in case you need to remove snow from around the wheels of your vehicle.

You can buy plastic ones, but you may want to opt for a metal one in case you also need to chip at some ice or compacted snow.

A quality all metal shovel is critical as you will most likely need it most!

Flashlight –  Self explanatory. Keep a good-sized, water-proof flashlight with fresh batteries in case your breakdown is at night. Pack emergency candles too, as a back-up.

Hand warmers – Available at many retail stores. Smash the bag and the chemical reaction inside creates warmth to defrost fingers that may be trying to change a tire or fiddle with an engine.

Matches – You never know when you will have to manufacture heat. It’s better than rubbing two cold, snowy sticks together, hoping for the best.

Bottle of water and a few protein, snack bars –  You hear of people surviving on ketchup packets that have fallen between the seats, but some planning will yield a better menu under emergency conditions.

Syphon Pump –  If being out of gas is your problem, and you get offered help by a good samaritan, you want t be able to get a gallon or two of gas out of another gas tank to get you going quickly.

Candles – Yes you can have a candle in the car. Just have it at a central location and do not move around too much. 9 hour, 15 hour and even 36 hour candles are ideal and lightweight for Vehicle Emergency Kits

Lightsticks – These cost almost nothing at a dollar store and can be used either as a iight source or to wear in case you are shoveling snow around your wheels at night.

Flares – These should be in your trunk in all seasons for putting next to your car if you are pulled over in distress. Use chemical light sticks as an alternative.

Whistle –  It can be used to either signal for help to someone who can’t hear you yell, or to scare someone who may be trying to take advantage of your distress.

Extra Winter Clothes – Always have an extra set of clothes in case your current one get wet or damp. Wet clothes will kill in a snow storm when temperatures plummet.

Make Sure Your Car is Full of Gas –  You may need to go out before everything is operational. It is a rule of thumb in the Emergency Outdoors family to never have your car go below half a tank.

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2013 Year End Disaster & Preparedness Review


2014 is knocking on the door, so what happened in 2013? Well here is a rundown of what happened in 2013.

Nearly every kind of disaster saw a decrease in activity this year, with some even having some historical significance.

Note: The last time both the Atlantic and Pacific hurricane seasons both averaged below normal was 1977.

Other notables include: Lowest Tornado Numbers in US since 2005 and the Lowest Forest Fire Numbers since 1989. Most totals rang in lower with some exceptions: Solar and Volcanic Activity still saw a small uptick recently.

While the statistics show that natural disasters are on a decline, there were still many tragic disasters that did occur this year. After the ‘Statistics’ section of this report is a look at the worst disaster of 2013.

Global Earthquake Total – Yearly Comparison
Global Earthquake Total 2013Global Earthquake Total 2013

Global Hurricane ACE – Atlantic/Pacific Comparison
Global Hurricane ACE - Atlantic/Pacific Comparison
Global Hurricane ACE - Atlantic/Pacific Comparison

Global Tornado Totals – Euro/US Comparison
Global Tornado Totals - Euro/US ComparisonGlobal Tornado Totals - Euro/US Comparison

US Forest Fires Rates
US Forest Fires Rates

Global Temperature Statistics
Global Temperature Statistics

US Flood/Drought Yearly Comparison
US Flood/Drought Yearly Comparison

Solar Activity in 2013
Solar Activity in 2013

Worst Disaster in 2013 – Typhoon Haiyan
Typhoon Haiyan

Typhoon Haiyan was a pacific ‘hurricane’ that effected several countries (Micronesia, the Philippines, Vietnam, and Southern China, Taiwan) in November of this year for 8 days .

It is thought to be one of the strongest hurricanes that has ever hit land, but as every country measures storms differently it is hard to get a consensus on that matter as it ties closely with several other storms. The preliminary damage estimates caused by Haiyan exceed 1.5 Billion US dollars, although it is still fairly early for those estimates to be entirely accurate. The death toll caused by Haiyan is currently over 6,100+ people and rising, with over 1,500 people still missing.

The highest winds measured during the storm were as followed: 1 Min Sustained – 195 MPH, 10 Min Sustained – 145 MPH. The lowest recorded internal pressure of Haiyan is estimated to be around 895 MB at peak intensity. Just under 200 Millions Dollars was raised from countries worldwide to help support relief efforts, although this figure does not include charity donations, etc.

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5 Steps You Need To Take When Your Refrigerator Goes Out


5 Steps You Need To Take When Your Refrigerator Goes Out

One of the things you must consider during an urban survival situation is your refrigerator.  No, you don’t need to save it, but you want to get as much use out of the food in your fridge in the event of a major crisis. In fact, these tips don’t have to be reserved for some zombie attack. If you lose power after a major storm, you should follow these same rules.

  1. Eat the foods that are perishable first – Fresh fruits and veggies will be at the top of the list. These spoil the fastest, but they are also great for fueling your immediate survival. They are packed with healthy nutrients and vitamins your body will need to keep going.
  2. Cook up the meat from the freezer – You don’t have to cook it all at once the second the power goes out. Your freezer will stay cold for about 24-hours following a power outage if the door is kept closed.
  3. If you can, preserve those fruits, vegetables and meat. Drying, jerking or salting are all ways you can do that without power. In the summer an easy way to dehydrate your fruits meats is to slice them thinly, lay them on cookie sheets and then put them in our car with all of the windows rolled up. Park your car where is gets as much sun as possible. For your frozen fruits, if the power is out and you are in danger of losing them, cook them into jams or sauces. The high sugar content will help to preserve them without refrigeration.
  4. Processed foods are next on the list – They will be safe to eat for a while due to the number of preservatives they are prepared with.
  5. Canned foods should be saved for last – These have extensive shelf lives. If you have any dehydrated emergency food supplies, they should also be last on your list.

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Mini Urban Survival Kit


Many of us have regular day jobs and go into the city every day to get to work. For those who work in an office setting there is no way to bring a BOB. If you drive to work you can leave your BOB in the car. For those who take public transit to work a BOB is just not possible. As 9/11 showed there are a few items that every office worker should have. An emergency can happen at any time, and we should be close enough to gear to get out of the office and on your way to escaping the  general area.

This sort of situation requires a small kit that we can keep with us all or most of the time. If we base our mini urban kit on the average office worker we can also apply that to any other work setting. The average office worker has a minimum  amount of room to carry things with them, plus those items must fit into the general attire of the office worker.

Regardless of the specific threat, we are likely to face fire or dust, lighting being out, and debris. Since we’re in a city we need a minimum of equipment, even a few blocks is enough to put most dangers far enough away that we can relax for a  bit and worry about getting home from there.

The kit itself needs to fit in these small bags yet remain easily grabbed. A small waist or fanny pack of no more than 4 inches thick by 6 inches high by 10 inches wide (about the size of a 1 gallon ziplock bag) is enough room to fit everything we need.

Mini Urban Survival Kit Bag Mini Urban Survival Kit for Work

In this kit we can keep the following:

  • BIC lighter
  • Nitrile and/or gardening gloves (leather palm)
  • Small AM/FM radio with bud earphones (shortwave/weather if there is room)
  • Compass/whistle/match container with matches
  • Small tube of anti-bacterial, waterless hand cleaner
  • Small pack of baby wipes
  • Flat pack of duct tape (3 to 10 feet)
  • First aid kit (extra anti-bacterial wipes and assorted band aids)
  • Emergency “space” blanket (2 if there’s room)
  • Money: Roll of quarters, $10 in ones & $20 in fives (vending machines/pay phone)
  • 20 oz bottle of water (empty 1 liter platypus type bladder if there is room)
  • Tea/cocoa/coffee packets, suger and creamer
  • Hard candy/granola or power bars (Snickers is what I carry)
  • Sunglasses, reading/spare glasses as required
  • Windbreaker (folds up into it’s own pouch)
  • Bandana
  • Knife or multi-tool
  • Keychain LED light, 2AA maglite or LED light. Extra batteries if there is room.
  • Military type manual can opener
  • Safety goggles
  • 3 day supply of prescription

Most of the items above are to aid you in getting out of the building you are in, protecting your hands and eyes, making sure you do not breath in dust, and in cleaning yourself up once away from the immediate threat.

In fact the first six items will fit into the first kit I suggest, while the first aid kit (with extras), the emergency blanket and the duct tape will fit into a 1 quart ziplock bag. If you were to purchase a windbreaker with zippered pockets you could fit  the all of the items, minus the water bottle into the pockets of the windbreaker. You would have to grab the windbreaker and the bottled water and be on your way.

Using Military Pouches for Mini Urban Survival Kit

Another Mini Urban Survival Kit Idea: Use Organizer Pouches to Build an Urban Survival Kit


The knife or multi-tool can be kept on your belt or in your pocket, as can the lighter, keychain LED and sun glasses. A bandana can be kept in your back pocket and the military style can opener on your keychain. This will free up some room in your kit for other things.

If you spend all day at a desk then you can keep a few things in your desk drawer, or in your locker if in a factory, like a polar fleece pull over or light jacket, running shoes or hiking boots, spare socks, pair of jeans, t-shirt, long sleeve shirt, some extra food, bottled water and maybe a fleece throw in a small gym type duffel. Grab the duffel and survival kit and get moving until you have time to change.

Many office workers keep a small gym type duffel at their desk with shoes and athletic gear for when they go to the gym during lunch or  after work. Many office workers can be seen on the public transit systems with a briefcase/laptop bag and a gym duffel.

Pelican Hard Case for Mini Urban Survival Kit

Hard Case Mini Urban Survival Kit Idea: Use a Pelican Case to Build an Urban Survival Kit


The idea behind a mini urban kit is not to keep you alive in the woods, but to get you out of buildings and to your car, on your way home, or to safety. When you think about it, most of the items on the list are fairly common items that we see many office people with.

These should not attract any attention, but can make the difference between life and death or reduced injury.  If you do not have room to keep a spare pair of shoes make sure that whatever shoes you do wear have a good rubber sole and are comfortable for walking. With some looking you can find shoes that meet these requirements and remain appropriate for dress wear.

Plastic Tubes for Mini Urban Survival Kit

Plastic Tubes for Mini Urban Survival Kit

For those times when a waist pack or small duffel is inconvenient or not allowed you could get yourself a photographer’s or fisherman’s vest with multiple pockets. If you’re getting a fishing vest and plan on wearing it in the city you may want to carefully remove the fly  patch. You wouldn’t come close to using all of the pockets on the vest and your items would be with you at all times.

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