Duct Tape Hacks for Preppers

Duct tape has become indispensable to Preppers due to it’s uncanny ability to fix just about anything.  Stock up on duck tape and you’ll be prepared for everything from first aid emergencies, to clothing repairs, to finding your way back to base camp.

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Concerned about the bulk and weight of duct tape in your BOB?  Check out this FLAT duct tape!

Survial and emergency preparedness uses for duct tape.  From first aid kits, to camping, to hiking and DIY projects, duct tape has you covered!

Using Duct Tape In Emergency First Aid Situations

Sling for a broken arm:  Fold a long strip of duct tape in half down the middle, so there is no longer a sticky side.  You now have a strip sturdy and flexible enough to use as a sling for a broken arm.

Stabilize a broken leg: Using sturdy sticks as splints, use the duct tape to hold the splints in place.  First, lay sticks on either side of the injured leg. Then hold it all together by wrapping duct tape around the sticks.

Secure a bandage:  Place a sterile dressing over the wound, and strap it in place using duct tape.  This will also create a water proof barrier.  A piece of duct tape can also be fashioned into a butterfly suture.

Make shift mole skin:  Cover the blister and the area around it with a bit of cotton gauze from your first aid kit,  then place a piece of duct tape completely over the cotton gauze.  Make sure that the duct tape doesn’t touch the blister!

Create a Pandemic Seal:  Use duct tape and plastic sheeting to seal a room from the spread of pathogens.

Waterproof your hiking boots using duct tape.

Mend Clothes And Gear With Duct Tape

Repair shoes and clothing:  Who needs a sewing machine?  Did you know this miracle tape come in transparent?

Fix your broken glasses:  We won’t tell the Fashion Police, pinky swear.

Patch up your rain gear:  Duct tape is water proof!    Line the inside of your boots to keep the cold and wet out too!

Keep the creepy crawlies out:  The zipper on your tent busted?  Use duct tape to keep the door to your tent closed.

Have a hole in your sleeping bag?  Duct tape to the rescue!

Splint a broken tent pole or fishing pole.   Tape a stick to the broken part of your tent pole or fishing pole.  It won’t be a long term fix, but it should see you through the current need.

Create Emergency Shelter.  By duct taping together a few of your contractor grade garbage bags together you can fashion a simple survival shelter .  You can also tape branches together and then stretch out and duct tape the garbage bags to those to help provide a wind break/simple shelter.

Fix a broken window screen.

Mend a cracked water bottle:   After making sure the outside of your bottle is completely dry then cover the crack with a piece of tape, and then wrapping the tape around the entire width of the bottle.

Get your car back on the road! Duct tape can be used to repair leaking hoses, hold up a bumper, patch the roof, etc.

Cover tears in vinyl siding:   Apply when the siding is dry, making sure to smooth the duct tape down well. You should get at least a season out of this hack.

20 Ways Duct Tape Can Save Your Life

Camping Hacks

Mark a trail:   Need to find your way back from where you came from?   Wrap duct tape around tree trunks along your route.  Just remember to make sure that each tree is in sight of the next one.

Signal for Help:   Make a giant arrow pointing to where you are, or create a giant S.O.S.  Fluorescent colored duct tape or reflective tape would work the best for this.

Use as a fire starter:  Wrap tape around a bundle of dry lint and then cover the outside with char cloth.

Makeshift torch:  Wind the top of a large branch with duct tape and light it up!

survival uses for duct tape

In the comments below, share YOUR favorite ways to  get yourself out of a jam with this wonder tool!

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15 Minute Prepper: Black contractor bags

15 minute Prepper.  Yup, it’s a thing.  At least around here it is.   We believe in simply preparing.  You won’t find info on how to dig your own bunker here.  Or how to survive a zombie attack with just your toothbrush.  What you will find are solid, simple, tested by us, ways to get your family through an emergency.  Our 15 Minute Prepper series will focus on things even the busiest of people can implement within their personal preparedness goals.

Prepper uses for black contractor grade garbage bags.

How To Prep With Contractor Grade Trash Bags:  15 Minute Prepper

Today we are talking about why you’ll need  black  contractor bags an emergency as a 15 minute Prepper.  Not just regular trash bags, but contractor grade trash bags.    These bags are 4mils thick and are made to withstand uses normal trash bags would balk at.  Contractor bags take up very little space and have unlimited possibilities.

1.  Make a poncho.

2. Use as ground cover.

3. Seal windows, doors and vents. (You’ll need some duct tape too!)

4. Cut down to size for a make shift diaper cover.

5. Layer between clothing to help keep in body warmth.

6.  Barter item.

7. Dig a hole.  Put a bag in the hole, now you have a make shift sink.

8.  Using duct tape, tape the bags around your pants for snow pants.

9.  Water proof your shoes.  Cutting the bags down to size, cover your shoes with the plastic, using duct tape to secure them around your ankles.

10.   Use as an emergency potty.  Line a 5 gallon bucket with a bag, stick a toilet seat on top and viola! a place to do your business!

11.  Create a wind break, or a bit of privacy.

12.  Using a black contractor bag you can determine wind direction.

13.  Fill with air and tie off to create a simple flotation device.

14.  Use  black contractor bags in an emergency to cover broken or blown out windows from earthquakes, etc.

15.  Fill a black contractor bag up with water, sit it in the sun for a while and then hang it from a sturdy branch to use for a shower.

16.  Use a black contractor bag in an emergency to collect rain water.

17.  Cache your food scraps out of an animals reaching by putting them in a contractor bag and hanging it from a tree.

18. A black contractor bag can be used as a rucksack  to haul clothes, food or whatever else you need.

19. After bandaging a wound, cut out an appropriate size piece of a contractor bag and tape it over the bandage. This will keep it from getting dirty or wet.

20. Use as a ‘wet bag’ for dirty diapers.

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Prepping on a Budget: Things to Buy at Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving has to be one of the best times of the year for prepping on a budget. Loss leaders are the items stores deeply discount to get you in the door in hopes you will buy the rest of your meal there. I admit, I am a lazy couponer and deal shopper at best these days but this is one week that all the ads are spread out and my strategies kick in. Especially if money is tight for prepping this week your extra $5-$10 will yield you much better results than most others throughout the year.

Loss leaders at Thanksgiving center around foods that are great for 2-3 years of shelf storage. I was able to pick up all of the below canned goods for less than 69 cents a can. The soups and veggies were 50 cents each.

Ideas for building long term food storage using Thanksgiving loss leaders.

I know Walmart price matching can be a pain for some. My store is really nice about it so I just gathered all my ads, made a list and headed in for one big stock up.

Here is a list of great prepping items to be looking for on sale the week of Thanksgiving:

  • Turkeys-Buy as many as you have space for in the freezer. Or plan to can the meat or make chili or soups with them to can.
  • Canned Fruit– pineapple, peaches, pears, cranberries are all good choices.
  • Canned Soups-Broth, Cream of Mushroom and Chicken are big this week. Broth takes the place of water when cooking rice or beans so you are helping to up your water storage with that one as well.
  • Canned Pumpkin-This is a biggie if you have pets.
  • Jarred Gravy-Will make emergency foods taste a little better!
  • Pumpkin, Squash, Onions, Potatoes and Sweet Potatoes– All of these store well if you can ‘root cellar‘ them. For those of us that have no ability to root cellar, there are many creative ways to can or dehydrate these veggies to store. My favorite ways to use a bounty of pumpkin is on ParkerMama’s blog.
  • Butter– I freeze mine but I know it can be canned.
  • Flour-If you would like to store it for more than a year, you can put it in airtight mylar containers. I’ll post a tutorial soon on how to do this easily.
  • Sugar, Karo Syrup and Honey-check how long Karo lasts cause it’s not something I use.
  • Salt-You need salt in your diet in an emergency. It also works well to cure and preserve foods and has actually been used as currency throughout the word. It’s amazing what this undervalued thing that sits on our table is useful for!

Check expiration dates as you are shopping. Digging around a bit can produce dates almost a year apart. Duringcanned goods expiration date 2015-long term food storage my shopping I was able to find 2015 dates in most cases.

 

I’d love to hear from you: 

  • I am not a canner so if you are and have good links to share, please leave them in the comments.
  • What’s missing above? Is there something great I forgot to share?

Buying Junk Silver As Part of Your Prepping

When people talk about buying junk silver they are referring to US dimes, quarters, half dollars and dollars minted through 1964. These coins were produced with 90% silver and 10% copper. They have an “intrinsic value” which means the metal to produce them actually has value unlike a paper dollar bill. The penny has always been copper or steel (for one or two war years) and the nickel is made of nickel and copper so they are not being referred to when people discuss the $1 face valuation of junk silver. A dollars worth (4 quarters, 10 dimes, etc.) of coins add up to .75 of a Troy ounce of silver, but because of wear it is accepted to use .715 as the multiplier. Generally you get the most silver for your money when buying junk silver as the premiums typically are the cheapest.

junk silver dollar signDon’t let the name “junk silver” fool you. They are designated “junk” because they don’t have value to a collector. They do however have melt value as a precious metal and that is what makes buying junk silver a great investment for emergency preparedness. Precious metals will always have value, even when the paper dollar does not. Most financial experts agree that everyone should have 10% of their investment portfolios in precious metals. People that feel we are on the very edge of the fiscal cliff believe in keeping a much higher percentage of their money in something as reliable as precious metals.

The Process of Buying Junk Silver

Junk silver is typically sold in $1 face value increments. The easiest way to learn the value of junk silver is to use a silver coin calculator since the price fluctuates. You can go to your local coin shop or buy online at places like APMEX, Gainesville Coins, or Provident Metals. All three have good reputations among preppers. Right now APMEX is selling $1 silver coin bags for $25.84 with a credit card and Provident is selling it for $25.28. Gainesville appears to be sold out at the moment. The more you can buy the better price you will get.  They all ship usually USPS in inconspicuous packaging and you will likely have to sign for your shipment.

Do you have junk silver laying around your house?

Keeping junk silver is something that most Depression-era people tended to do so it is not uncommon to find old quarter and nickles tucked away in drawers at Grandma’s house. She wasn’t nutty for keeping random nickles and dimes.

Also, there are still pre-1964 coins in everyday circulation. Always check your change in hopes of finding a little silver. It’s getting harder and harder to do but it happens. Some people even go to the bank and get $100 in quarter rolls, check them and cash back in all the silver they didn’t find and start over. Its a treasure hunt for them.

But for emergency preparedness, you are better off buying junk silver and then adding anything you find to your bags.

*Thank you to Beau for help with some of the research and wording for this article.

 

 

Sunday Skill: Cotton Ball Fire Starters

Good morning everyone! Today’s Sunday Skill will take you more time to gather the 3 ingredients than it will to make your fire starter. Super simple but a great thing to show the kids now that they know how to light a match and you’ll have some wonderful fire starters for camping or to carry in your bug out bag in the end.

Cotton ball fire starters burn for quite a bit of time allowing you to quickly get kindling lit and a good fire going. In order to make your fire starters you need 3 things: cotton balls, petroleum jelly (vaseline) and a container to keep them in. I like to use old prescription medicine bottles as containers. If I was making this for a bug out bag I would use a smaller prescription bottle that would fit about 5 balls smashed in.

Cotton Ball Fire StartersSimply swipe each cotton ball into the petroleum jelly. I use my fingers to work it into the cotton fibers well (plus, its a good way to moisturize my hands). Then store the soaked cotton ball into your container. It will last forever like that since the petroleum is oil based.

These guys have a great video on it and show the difference in the burn times if you want more information.

Cheap Solar Lights For Emergency Lighting

There are many ways to light your home if the power goes out. Candles, flashlights and kerosene lanterns are the tried and true ways many of us grew up with. But thanks to cheap manufacturing costs, there is now a safer, cheaper way to get emergency lighting-outdoor solar lights.

The past few summers, Walmart has had these available for $.97. Understandably they disappear off the shelves quicker than they can be stocked so you really need to be on the look out for them.

Emergency lighting from $1 outdoor solar lights

$1 solar lights from Walmart

Leave these outside and bring them in to light your home at night. Obviously, you will need to have other back up lighting planned if there is no sun during the day.

The $1 ones are great for emergency lighting. But if you want to spend a few dollars more, these are typically found for $3.

Top of $3 solar light

top of $3 solar light

Why pay more? Well, these bigger ones actually hold a nice little surprise inside:

solar light as double a charger

Its a solar powered AA battery charger

Rechargeable batteries are expensive. Here you get the battery and the solar charger! If you don’t have a handcrank NOAA radio, at least have enough solar chargers like these to keep your battery powered one running.

 

How To Make a Trash Can Rain Barrel

Trash Can Rain Barrel

Trash cans can serve many purposes in prepping supplies.

Rubber trash cans have a number of emergency uses. Today I picked up this 32 gallon one for $12. I can usually find them on sale for under $10 but I needed one quickly today. I make sure to buy the ones that are the thicker rubber, not the cheaper flimsy plastic ones. This one is made by Rubbermaid. I want to stress they are not food grade and not meant to store open bags of food and are not recommended for long term food storage. I know this, yet I do keep large unopened packages in them until I can get things properly stored. To me that is better protection than just having them lying about.

So, what can you do with them?

Have two near your water heater with a garden hose, flat-head screwdriver and the printed instructions for how to drain your water heater in case you are in a situation where your potable water supplies are running low. If a situation arises where you have exhausted your water supplies and drained your water heater, you can then turn the trash cans into rain barrels. Remember that this new rain water will not be potable water. You cannot drink it without first chemically treating it or filtering it. You can use bleach in an emergency to treat water. Use 16 drops of regular household liquid bleach per gallon of water. Do not use scented, color safe or bleaches with added cleaners. A medicine dropper comes in handy for this. However, using calcium hypochlorite (pool shock) is the best prepper plan for chemically treating drinking water.

compass saw needed for trash can rain barrel

This is a compass saw

It’s important to have the additional supplies needed to build your rain barrels on hand and to realize if you are at this point, you probably won’t have electricity for that fancy drill. My plan is to use a compass saw if no power was available. You can find the pvc parts in the plumbing section of any store like Home Depot. Watch the video below and as always, write down the instructions and store them in a safe place. I suggest storing the instructions in a ziploc bag with the needed supplies and taping it inside one of the barrels.

 

Faraday Cage Fail

This week I tried to build a Faraday Cage. I failed. So instead of this post being about how to build a safe place to keep your electronics, it is now about how I failed at it.

For those of you wondering what the heck I am talking about…A Faraday Cage is a shield that blocks external electric fields. Regardless of its name, it has nothing to do with a LOST character. Why would one need to build a Faraday Cage you ask? The theory is that if an EMP (ElectroMagnetic Pulse) were to occur, all electronic equipment in its area would be destroyed. Placing electronics inside a Faraday Cage protects them from the damage of the pulse. It’s the same reason your cell phone often doesn’t work in an elevator. Pulses can be caused by several things but the prevailing thoughts are that an EMP would come in the form of either a terrorist attack or a solar flare.

EMP bags can be purchased to protect your equipment or you can follow one of the hundreds of youtube videos that claim to help you DIY your own.

I was under the impression all you needed was a steel or other metal container, foam, and cloth to wrap the items in. So I started with my supplies gathered. I was attempting to store away one NOAA radio, an old cell phone, batteries and some AA universal battery chargers for the phone and radio.

Items gathered for DIY Faraday Cage Project

Items gathered for DIY Faraday Cage Project

I had this cute tin I had purchased awhile back from Home Goods. Bonus, no one would realize it right?

Decorative aluminum tin for Faraday Cage

Home Goods- $6. Pretty cage material, huh?

green craft foam to act as insulator in faraday cage

You need to insulate the electronics inside from coming in contact with the metal container. I used 1/2 crafters foam I had around in the garage from an old project.

foam liner for faraday cage

Next I lined the entire tin with the foam and shaped it to fit inside.

electronics wrapped for faraday cage

I wrapped each electronic separately with an old towel and put 3 packs of 4 AA batteries in with them and a few battery chargers that fit the electronics.

Finished Faraday Project

I finished it all up and was quite proud of myself. Who said prepping couldn’t be fashionable?

And then I go the bright idea to test it. I opened it back up and put my cell phone and called it. I was pretty embarrassed to find that I could hear my cell phone ringing. Yikes. It clearly wasn’t blocking the signal. So ,what went wrong? I have a couple theories.

  1. The tin I was using may not be aluminum, steel or thick enough.
  2. I may need to duct tape the lid completely which would ruin my decorator look.
  3. The foam inside wasn’t thick enough.

I will be continuing to test different ways to do this and would love to hear your theories (besides me just being an idiot) as to what I did wrong in the comments. I will post the results so that you can also build one when I get it right. Until then, I think I will investgate the ready made ones and see if that just maybe a prep worth paying for!

 

 

 

 

How to Get Emergency Water From Water Heater

Most homes have a water heater that holds at least 30 gallons of potable water. It’s one of the conveniences we take for granted, until it stops working! But many of us don’t take for granted the fact that we do have a 30 gallons of emergency water from water heater

storage device in our house! If you are working on building your supply of water, I recommend that you don’t include your water heater when calculating your water storage needs. This way, you have an extra 30 gallons to buffer you beyond the time you plan for. If you are still working oplastic tub for water heater drainingn building that supply, knowing you have that tank may set your mind at ease a bit.

I recommend you watch this video now. Then print out these directions, gather a cheap garden hose, and tape the directions to the outside of a large plastic bucket.

 

Depending on how clean it looks after drained you may want to disinfect the water with pool shock or bleach.