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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Surviving Winter Storms: A How To Guide

Snowy and cold has been the forecast for my state this year, with the Northern part of Utah digging out from under 28 inches of the greatest snow on earth,  even as I type.  We are at about 150% of average snow fall here, with more on the way.  This is a big change from the last several years of drought,  prompting me to compile a list of the best posts on Simply Preparing on the topic of  Surviving Winter Storms.

Surviving Winter Storms Safely

Clothing

I always have to grin when recent transplants from warm weather states realize that they are actually going to need a warm coat to survive winter storms with below zero temperatures.

1.  Learning how to dress in layers for winter weather is a must.

2. Don’t let your body heat escape into thin air.   These behind the head earmuffs are my favorite and don’t make me feel like a five year old when I’m out in the winter weather.    But you may be more of a beanie sort of person.

3.Gloves  You’ll need winter gloves that are warm,  water proof, moisture wicking and will allow you to work out doors too.

4. Winter Boots   I have a pair of KEENS that I adore.  They give my feet the support they need, while keeping them warm too.

5.  Insulated snow pants.  Maybe a pair of thermals to go underneath.

6.  Wool Socks  I remember first thinking that wool socks would be so uncomfortable.  The first thing I think of when I think of wool is rough and scratchy.  Plus, who wants to hand wash wool socks.  Then I found Smartwool.  Soft.  Warm.  Machine washable.  Your goal of surviving winter storms will be much more comfortable when your feet are dry and warm.

The Ultimate Guide To Surving Winter Storms

Surviving Winter Storms Without Electricity.

1. Your chances of losing power during a winter storm are pretty high.  Having a Propane Space Heater will allow you to heat the inside of your home safely.

2.  Firewood.  If you have a fireplace or wood burning stove,  make sure you keep an extra cord of wood available to burn.  You’ll also need a good axe for splitting wood and chopping kindling.

3.  Wool Blankets.   Far superior to cotton or fleece at keeping you warm, wool blankets are a must have for surviving winter storms without electricity.

4. Hand Warmers.  I buy these by the box and stash them everywhere.  Little bits of bliss, I’ll tell ya.

Food

Surviving winter storms requires  you having a stock of non-perishable food items to last for a while.  Granola bars and shelf stable milk for breakfast.  Peanut butter and whole grain crackers.  A can of black beans mixed with a jar of salsa scooped up with tortilla chips.

If you heat with a fire or a wood stove you can heat up canned soups and stews.  In a real pinch, you can even eat these foods straight out of the can.  Just make sure you have a good can opener on hand!

You can also purchase MREs (Meals Ready To Eat) that come with their own single meal use heaters.

Don’t forget the bottled water.  The rule of thumb is one gallon of water per person per day.

Sanitation

At the first sign of a winter storm, fill the bathtub up with water to use for flushing toilets. Add the water to the tank so that, if necessary, you can flush.

Another option is to get a box of the black contractor grade garbage bags. Place a bag in your drained toilet. Sprinkle some kitty litter into the bottom of the bag. Every time someone makes a ‘deposit’ into the black bag, add another scoop of kitty litter. You’ll be able to tie the bag securely and then store it outside until your services are restored.

A Guide To Surviving Winter Storms

Let There Be Light

The last thing you want is to be caught in the dark while surviving winter storm. Fortunately there are a lot of lighting options to choose from.

Camping Lanterns

Flashlights    At the price of this top rated Outlite A100, you can afford for each member of your family to have their own light source!

Candles   Don’t forget the matches!

Staying Safe Outside

1.  I’ve seen many people trying to remove snow from their roofs after a snow storm.  Make the job easier and safer with a roof rake.

2.  Ice Melt  Used for porches and sidewalks to keep them free from ice.

3.  Kitty Litter.  Yup.  Plain old non-clumping, non-scoopable, gravel kitty litter will help provide traction under your car’s wheels and down those front steps.  Can’t find this type of kitty litter?  Grab a couple of bags of sand.

4.  Snow Shovel/Pusher.

5.  Snow Scraper with Brush

 

Preparing for any possibility during a winter storm is simple common sense.  Don’t be part of the herd racing out to the grocery store in hopes of grabbing a loaf of bread and a carton of milk before the flurry flies.   Take the fear of of winter storms by being prepared before hand.

What things to you to do to prepare to survive winter storms?

 

Don’t forget to review Simply Preparing’s List of 11 Things To Do Before A Winter Storm!

 

Plan on traveling during the winter months?  We’ve got you covered. Check out our post on   Last Minute Winter Emergency Road Trip List

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Make Your Own Brown Sugar: 15 Minute Prepper

Yes!  You can make brown sugar.  When I show you how easy it is to make your own brown sugar, you are going to wonder why nobody told you this sooner.

How to make brown sugar for baking, desserts and sweets.  A DIY recipe that can be used in your homemade and nautral products like body scrubs.  A frugal tip that will save your money too!

Why Make Your Own Brown Sugar?

Making your own brown sugar can be much less expensive than purchasing brown sugar.   November is when the big baking supply sales begin.  Last year I was able to score sugar at .12 a pound by combining sales and coupons.   Molasses  goes on sale this time of year too.   Purchase it in bulk, add one tablespoon to one cup of sugar, and you’ve got brown sugar for about .30 cents a POUND.    That beats even the very best sale price for brown sugar in my area.

That’s not all, folks.  No Siree!

When making your own brown sugar you can control how dark and flavorful the end result will be.  No more worrying about having to buy both dark and light brown sugar.  Oh, the ease and simplicity!

And seriously, who doesn’t love one less trip to the grocery store?

Make Your Own Brown Sugar and Save Time And Money

A Recipe To Make Your Own Brown Sugar

This will be the shortest, sweetest (get it….sweetest……brown sugar……heh) recipe you’ll ever take down.

1 cup granulated cane sugar

1 Tablespoon unsulphured molasses   (Have you seen these measuring spoons?  They are the cutest EVER.)

In a medium sized bowl, mix together the sugar and molasses.

Work it until the molasses is  completely incorporated into the sugar.   You’ll need to keep stirring using a small whisk or fork for a couple of minutes, but it will all come together.

For dark brown sugar, add another tablespoon of molasses.

How to make your own brown sugar!

Use as you would in your favorite cake and cookie recipes.  Store in an airtight container.   I LOVE these to store my brown sugar in.

What things have you bought in the past, but now make your own versions of?    How have these DIY versions saved you money and time?

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First Time At The Shooting Range: What To Expect

There are a lot of things we swore we would never do before we actually became parents. Give in and buy the kids a candy bar at the store, let them play tic-tac-toe with the sugar packets in a restaurant, exclusively breastfeed for an entire year, let them sleep sneak in our beds, own a gun. Did you have to go back and make sure you read that last one right? I would have. I hesitated when I wrote it. However, my job as a mother is to protect my children against anything, and this maternal instinct is stronger than any previous agenda I may have had before I knew what dangers would face my family in today’s world. I have started to hate turning on the news. I can only see so many heart-wrenching stories of school shootings and kidnappings before I feel an overwhelming anxiety every time I kiss my children goodbye. I walk through my son’s school hallways and notice that one of the teachers has covered all of the windows, another keeps her door locked, there are security procedures put in place. In the deepest part of my heart where my biggest fears live, I feel the worry of what if this isn’t enough. Even at the school family movie night I had a fleeting thought that this would be the perfect opportunity for someone with a vindictive mind, and there would be nothing I could do to stop him or her. These thoughts leave me feeling scared, paranoid, and worst of all…helpless.

My First Time at the Shooting Range

what to expect your first time at the shooting rangeOne of the local shooting ranges periodically has a ladies night. Not your typical of a night out with the girls for sure, but I was willing to give it a try. It sounded like a great way to face one of my fears (the gun itself…and what it can do), and see if I was even able to hold-much less shoot-something I was starting to think might protect my family one day.

I was extremely nervous as I drove to the range. The thoughts flying through my head ranged from “this is the beginning of taking control over my fear, this is becoming the only way I can protect my family” to “I can’t believe I am doing this, I shouldn’t be doing this, I never thought that I would do this, this goes against everything I said I would be and do and teach as a mother”. To say I was conflicted is an understatement. To make matters worse, I was early. I hate being early. Not early in bringing the kids to a school or a family function or anything, but early to a get-together. That night I was meeting a friend, and I told her I would be there at 5:30. I glanced at the clock and noticed I was about ten minutes early. I figured I would just sit in my car and play games or dink around on Facebook or whatever, but when I looked up there were three women looking right at me. My windshield faced the huge window of the location. Feeling silly, I got out of my car and slowly walked to the front door, texting my friend on the way in.I stood there fidgeting, trying to look like I knew what I was doing but really having no clue. I kept checking my phone and pretending to look at the surroundings but I felt leftout. I hate ladies nights. My friend texted back that she had just left, and I should sign us in. Not sure what else to do, I headed to the counter.

“So what are you shooting today?” the gentleman asked me.

I replied with a simple “ummmmmm, yes? Can you tell it is my first time?”

He chuckled and said “well, what is your goal in being here?”

Without a hesitation I responded “to protect my kids”. No question, no uncertainty, that was it.

And without a hesitation he responded, “then you want a 9mm.” He handed me three bags of ammunition without asking if I wanted the maximum or not, ran my card, and handed me my receipt.

Feeling slightly more confident, I grabbed my ear and eye gear and walked back to the front. I then glanced at the television and stared at the headline “Dorner shootout: ‘Hundreds of rounds’ fired during gun battle”. I looked down at the nowmenacing-looking bullets in my hand and shuddered. Trying to avoid the television, I walked toward the pink mace and called my husband to pass the time. I finally worked up the courage to walk to the gun display…more effective than the mace and certainly more intimidating. Finally my friend arrived and we chatted until we could get a spot on the range. We talked about what we would do if someone broke in our houses. We talked about why it is important to be familiar with guns in general, the benefits of having and knowing your own gun as well as a gun that may be dropped in chaos. We talked about gun safety around children. We talked about a lot of things I have never thought of before. We finally got our turn and she was confident as she walked to the counter and loaded her gun. I think I may have looked like a deer in headlights. The super sweet guy came over to help us, and she told him I needed a 9mm. I just used my womanly smile and probably looked goofy. Apparently I just assumed the bullets magically loaded themselves. The guy came back over when it became quite obvious that I had no idea what I was doing. My friend said she would load it for me, he said I couldn’t be a cheater and he would show me how (though I am apparently still a cheater because she has a fun little thing that helped me load it!). While he helped me, I kept getting dinged in the head and on my arms by my friend’s shell casings. Something you don’t think about if you don’t typically shoot I guess.

Gun loaded and ready, she showed me what to do with the thing. I put my body in the typical CSI stance and couldn’t decide what to do with my eyes. Do I close one? Look through both? What the heck was I looking for anyway? I was patiently told that if a stranger was in my house in the middle of the night I would probably be using both eyes to try to get a clear view. Duh.

She patiently told me how to load the gun, how to release the magazine, how to do the cool little move where you load the chamber and how NOT to point it at anything but the range and how to check to make sure there weren’t any leftover when I was done. I am even more confident now when I tell my son guns are not toys, and I don’t even really like imaginary ones. Those things deserve some respect for the damage they could do, and how easily they can do it.

I have only been shooting once before in my life. When my dad took me after the Chuck E. Cheese Shooting. He didn’t want me to be afraid to use a gun if I needed to defend myself. He wanted me to know what I was supposed to do with it if I found one. I guess some of his teachings stuck with me. I feel a little proud to say it didn’t take a whole lot of direction for me to get the hang of things, and the biggest direction dealt with how to load/handle the gun. Turns out I am not too bad. Turns out, once she told me what to do, I am a quick learner. Turns out my blogging mommy-buddy is a bad mamba jamba, and by learning from her, I am pretty bad mamba jamba, too! And now (because I don’t own a gun) I do know that if someone has one against me or others and we somehow get it away from them, I know what to do with it. Or kind of. It is like swimming. You know how to jump in, but you don’t really know how to swim without some more practice.

While taking turns, I noticed a few things. The women you “think” you are going to see at a gun range, aren’t really who you see. I saw senior citizens, teenagers, hot twentysomethings, moms, and even a cop’s wife. I also noticed that the older lady next to us kept getting nervous and when she did so she turned towards us, and her gun followed along with her. Yeah….kinda scary.

After we left, my friend and I got some appetizers and a drink, and I finally got to ask some honest questions from someone I know is very educated on the subject. I was surprised by my lack of knowledge. I was surprised to find out some things that disturbed me. I was surprised to find out some things were even more different than I expected.

Since I am not one hundred percent solid on my stance and am still in the education phase of things, I am not really in a position to say what I firmly believe. And either way, what I believe shouldn’t really have an impact on what you want to do. Education and thoughtful discussions are a good way to gather more information to make your own informed decision, yes. But I fully believe that this is a situation in which YOU must make your own decision. Don’t let anyone’s opinions make it for you. If you let anyone else make this decision for you that is your first mistake. Because if you don’t really want it you won’t respect it or learn how to properly use it, and if you want one and don’t get it you may have that regret one day.

My biggest fear of all is my children. God forbid an accident would ever happen. I know there are safeguards against this, but still accidents can happen. I used to think I would never EVER consider having one. My husband used to try to change my mind, then finally gave up. I still may not be, but at least we are having an open conversation about it. When we first talked about it, we hadn’t yet experienced Sandy Hook, the Aurora Theater shooting, and so many break-in and rape news stories we can’t even count. When we first talked, I didn’t have children I would die to protect. When we first talked, I didn’t understand. I didn’t try to listen. And I wasn’t in immediate jeopardy of having someone else make my decision for me. Yet, some of the feelings I had then I still have now.

So, for now, I am going to keep educating myself. I am going to keep learning what to do with something as powerful as a gun. I am going to learn how to respect it, how to use it for good and not evil, and ultimately I will make a decision that is good for MY family.

I stepped out of my comfort zone and took a risk. I opened my eyes and my ears to a very controversial and very important topic. I educated myself on just one of many ways to protect my children. And even more important, I ignored the fear of judgment that sat in my stomach when I thought about writing this. A fear that I didn’t even realize I would have. Everyone is so heated, opinions are more than viewpoints now. Opposing opinions are breaking up friendships and families, turning allies into adversaries, and creating a fear like I have never seen. I have done nothing to be ashamed of. All I did was learn more about something I knew little about, take the first steps in learning how to protect myself and my family, and taking a risk outside of my comfort zone. I empowered myself just a little bit. And that is worth writing about.

*Our guest author today is Vicki Little. Vicki is a wife and mom to two adorable kids that are the center of her world. You can read more from Vicki on her blog, Living In Moments, where her motto is “Life can change in an instant, stop on a dime, or take your breath away. Don’t miss a moment…

Are You Preparing For December 21?

The much discussed Mayan end of the world prediction date of 12/21/12 is just a few days. Are you preparing for December 21 any differently than you normally prep? Have you felt an urgency to step up your prepping regime in anticipation for Friday? Or are you just starting to think that perhaps prepper’s aren’t so crazy and you better get stocked up in the next 4 days?

Even with such assurances from NASA many people are feeling uneasy with the date fast approaching.

Question (Q): Are there any threats to the Earth in 2012? Many Internet websites say the world will end in December 2012.

Answer (A):The world will not end in 2012. Our planet has been getting along just fine for more than 4 billion years, and credible scientists worldwide know of no threat associated with 2012.

Mayan Calendar ImagePreppers by and large view this as another Y2K. The real threat of the day will probably occur from people acting crazy and wanting to make something of the day. I am not worried a meteor will end the world but I am concerned that some idiot will choose it as a great day to wreak more havoc and evil on the world. It’s certainly not unthinkable that local man-made havoc will occur. We are not I hiding in our bunker but I also am not planning to go to crowded places that I don’t need to be. That just makes sense to me.

I don’t need to prep for Friday because I am by and large prepped for something to happen on any given day. But if the Mayans have pushed you to freak out and start preparing for December 21 I am so happy to have the excuse to get you here! Not specifically to my site, but to the preparedness movement that is underway!

This site focuses on prepping out of the panic and fear and getting you to a place where a silly date on the calendar doesn’t stress you out. Here is where I suggest beginning preppers start:

I must say I have had some uneasy feelings lately more than usual. It has made me consider plans for more long term sustainability. I can’t say why that it is but it has stirred some more plans and preps for longer term water storage and the ability to grow more food. Maybe its the Mayans reaching out from the past to remind us that there is no way we can continue on the path we are on. Or maybe its just my feelings about the political and fiscal unrest happening not only in the US but most of the world. Whatever it is, I am grateful for the reminders that prepping is an important part of my lifestyle and something we need to be constantly vigilant about.

How To Open a Can: Sunday Skill

Today’s Sunday skill is teaching your kids how to open a can with a mechanical can opener. This is another one of those tools where most of us are so used to popping out the electrical can opener that if we have a mechanical one, it is likely buried in the back of your drawer and your kids have no idea what it is. It won’t do much good for you to have a stocked panty if your family cannot get the cans open! Every household should have a minimum of two manual can openers (in case one breaks). I personally have 3 of the ones below and numerous bottle opener types that would just do a V-shaped puncture open. You can pick can openers up super cheap if you keep your eye out for them. IKEA is actually one of my favorite places for picking tools like this up for $1 or $2. They are also commonly found at Goodwill Stores and garage sales for 50 cents.

Manual Can Opener

how to open a can with a manual can opener

I’m going to assume here that most parents are capable of showing their kids how to use one of these but here are instructions with pictures in case you need a refresher course.

 How To Open a Can WITHOUT a Can Opener

But what if you need to open a can and you cannot find a manual can opener? This is a super neat trick I stumbled upon that is a great Sunday Skill for us adults:

 

If you don’t have a knife, rub it a bit more and you can likely get your fingernail under the lid to pry it open.

How To Open a Bottle of Wine With Your Shoe

And as an added bonus….this is a fun little video on how to open a bottle of wine with your shoe. I haven’t tried it but I can think of a few times I would have been desperate enough to!

 

 

Looking for more easy ideas? This link to prepping for kids should help! Is there another skill you would like me to cover? Let me know in the comments! Have a great week.

*I’d like to thank the folks at www.survivalistboards.com for pointing out the two videos I included here.