The 5 C’s of Survival

There are 5 things you should keep with you as either EDC (every day carry) or in you vehicle to survive most short-lived emergency situations. These items will greatly improve your chances of being found alive if you are lost in the wilderness, or get are forced by weather to stay where you are during a hike or hunting trip. It is important to let someone know where you are going, and when you should be back, so they can alert authorities that something may have happened.

1. Cutting – Simply a knife, preferably not a small keychain knife from a souvenir shop during your last vacation. I would suggest a folding knife with a blade at least 3 inches long. Learn how to properly sharpen your knife, and keep it sharp all the time. A dull knife is more dangerous than a sharp knife. This tool is helpful to make a spear, cut small branches for firewood, cleaning game to eat, and cutting the next item in our list – Cordage.

2. Cordage – Keep a 30 foot hank of paracord, or tarred twine, to help build a shelter or help make a snare to catch game to eat. Paracord has smaller strands inside the casing that can pulled out if smaller cordage is needed, and the casing is still usable for many tasks.

3. Container – Have a small metal container for heating found water to a boil. Boiled water will be much safer to drink, as any bacteria will be killed, keeping you from being sick, and prevent getting dehydrated from diarrhea or vomiting.

4. Cover – You can use a smaller tarp, poncho, or space blanket to provide a layer of protection from rain or cold. A makeshift tent can be made from a tarp, and use the cordage to tie it down. Being dry in the rain can prevent hypothermia overnight when it is cold out.

5. Combustion – Don’t think too hard on this one, make it easy on your self and have a couple of regular BIC lighters. I am sure that there are quality lighters like a Zippo, I have used them, but it seems like the fluid evaporates before I get to use it for something meaningful. It is also a good idea to have some redundancy with the ability to make a fire and keep a fire steel, steel wool and a 9-volt battery, etc. If you do not think you can start a fire, PRACTICE, remember you need some tinder (something dry that will catch fire easily), Kindling (lots of small twigs to bridge the gap between tinder and the fuel) and then use your fuel (sticks thicker than your thumb, or other wood that keep the fire going). I’m sure there are people that cannot make a fire using a lighter unless they have a firedog.

These 5 C’s could make an unexpected overnight wilderness emergency a little more comfortable, they could also save your life.

SP’s weekend foraging

I have been tracking some edibles growing in my yard this year, and wanted to show some simple things readers in the sticks might be able to find and enjoy. There is plenty of Sumac trees growing behind the dam of our pond. The small red berries have a coating on them that is very tart. You don’t need to eat them, as the flavor is just on the outside.

Sumac berries on the tree
Sumac berries collected

I usually will pick them in July, as they will lose flavor as the rain will washes off the tartness towards fall. Collect a couple of big berry pods, and put them in a container of drinking water to have a Sumac Lemonade.

I also collected some Amaranth seeds, but I was too late to catch them at the right time. I actually collected some seeds earlier in June, but thought they were not ready yet. the seeds in June were white and larger than the darker small seeds I collected over the weekend. Amaranth can be winnowed to just the seed, and milled to be an amendment to flour for baking. The smaller seeds would not winnow very well and will be spread out for a bigger yield next year.

Hopefully, foraging can include some jalapeños growing in the garden. My wife has grown them for a few years, but the yield didn’t seem to be enough to do anything with them. I used Simply Scratch’s Easy Homemade Pickled Jalapeños as a guide for my first pickling adventure. I only used a couple tablespoons of sugar, and the next time I will reduce it to one. The process was quick and easier than I thought it would be. Other than the sugar, the jalapeños came out tasting terrific, and were crisp.
Pickled Peppers

What do you have growing in your area that you have eaten? Please comment and share.


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SP’s thoughts on where we are heading…

I know I said this would be a positive site, but with a topic like prepping, you need some zombies in order to justify the effort. Zombies are jokingly used as metaphor for the events we prepare for, or those who have a survival plan to “shop” at Walmart when TEOTWAWKI (The End Of The World As We Know It) happens. There are many reasons my family preps, but there are many reasons we have not thought of yet. Hopefully for all of us, the main reason we prep is if there is a small local weather event, or a possible job loss. The ability to have a few weeks of food, or other supplies on hand, will allow us not to spend needed cash unhand for basic needs, or keep us off the roads during bad weather to buy food.

Unfortunately I have to be sensible and look at other factors I see happening in the media. These events are occurring at an alarming rate, and much higher frequency. The dichotomy of our political system and the ineffectiveness of our so called leaders is shocking. It seems that rather than limiting the damage already caused economically and socially, they are piling on debt and infringing on our freedoms at an alarming rate. The seemingly local events are getting 24 hour nationwide coverage, and the division of us continues. The flames are fanned, the buses roll in from large interests on issues they feel additional support is needed. It’s sad to see where we were just a few years ago, and I don’t think the average person is paying attention, or at least cares where where heading as a society.

My biggest concern is the state of our economy and the fragileness of all interconnected systems that depend upon it. Civil unrest can be a cause or effect of a broken economy, and any motivated group can take their cause too far. If, or when, either the economy or the people break down, a cascading set of events unfold. Supply chains for stocking stores and gas station are severely disrupted, workers fail to go to work, utilities go dark or are under-maintained, businesses fold from lack of sales, and people take to the street to express their rage.

We likely have little effect on these macro issues we face. We are much better with trying to build communities and provide support to them. Local politics need to be closely followed and be sure the local politics reflect the needs of the community, as we have already lost the 535 reps and senators to the machine dividing us.

My priority for this blog is to get you to act now, to be prepared for the small events, as well as larger ones we may face. Times are good now to buy and plan for the future, to learn basic skills that could mean the difference between life and death. Any money you can comfortably spend now for long term food, water storage, creating energy for your home, is going to take much more later on if the paradigm doesn’t change.

Sorry for the rant, but please comment your opinions for our discussion.

Take care,
Sensible Prepper

Got Preps?

Not long ago, prepping had a negative stigma attached to it. Now all the mainstream outlets are cashing in on the idea with the reality based programs that don’t seem to realistically portray being prepared. The validity of the network and the participants are suspect, and the networks get the ratings they are looking for. The reality is, up until a couple generations ago, prepping (more accurately homesteading) was key to our existence. In many areas during that time, there was not a convenience store, or supermarket close, and likely a family may only get out to shop a few times a month.

Being prepared should be more of a responsibility than a hobby. Providing basic needs for your family, when they will need it most, is common sense.

There are also some basic skills every adult should know or learn. Even just some general knowledge about basic homesteading skills can go a long way to make an extended event manageable. There is a never-ending list of skills that would be helpful, or even profitable if normal day to day activities stop. If you are already a skilled mechanic, blacksmith, gardener, seamstress or hunter, just to name a few, your community would benefit from your knowledge, and you can use your trade to barter for needed supplies or services. For those of us whose current trade may be useless in an extended event (I manage computer networks, and won’t have much to do), then it is important to work on the most basic skills like: being able to start a fire using 3 different methods, gardening, foraging for food, fishing, hunting, building strong community ties and sewing. These skills will take time to become proficient at.

The time to start is now. Please comment on your view of prepping, and the mainstream media’s current biased view.

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Location and shelter thoughts

Your home is your castle. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a few feet of stone between your family and the outside world, and a moat with alligators. Unfortunately I don’t have a castle, but I have a mixture of rural and suburban areas around me. There are Pros and Cons to nearly all inhabitable structures, and where they are located.

The area you live is a key factor in how you should prep. I am not a fan of city living, and see many issues with trying to survive with thousands of other doing the same. There are many services that a city needs to bring into and out of it. All residents depend on these services for normal daily life like trash hauling, water supply, fuel, and food supplies. All these services would all be taxed during social unrest with our current just in time delivery system and the possibility of the service providers staying home to ride out the unrest with their families. Living in an apartment and trying to have a significant supply of food and water is tough due to the available room for storage. City living does have a few bright sides, they will get very high priority for restoring services and will be provided the bulk of all available supplies and assistance. Cities also offer many different communities of like-minded people ready to help each other.

Suburban living provides some relaxing of the issues I see with living in an urban environment. The ability to have a bit more property will allow for gardening, and possibly some small livestock. One of major drawbacks for me with these areas, could be the masses from the city heading out looking for resources.

Rural living can provide the most freedom from many of the issues above, and inversely suffers from small communities ready to assist each other. Priority of service restoration, as compared to living in urban ares, will also be much lower. Living in the country will require resourcefulness and more planning in advance, in order to provide the necessities

Some preppers living in suburban and urban areas will buy some property in a rural area for their BOL (Bug Out Location). They will preposition some basic supplies there, and head to it if social unrest is looming. Living structures on these properties could be a house, shack, travel trailer, tent or less to provide shelter while bugging out.

Where ever you live, have a plan in place to either keep supplies and Bug-In, or have means to get to a BOL, a relative or friends house that is set up for long term problems. Set goals now to try to move if you do not like the prospects of the area you are in. Look for opportunities to strengthen your ability to defend your family and preparations you put away for a rainy day.

Please leave comments you would like to share regarding the best place to make your castle.

Take care.

Sensible Prepper

Avoid the Grocery Stores and chaos

Having a supply of food available when a local emergency happens is important. No having to run out to the store to get food can avoid dealing with panicked shoppers, cash only registers because the power is out, or credit cards can’t be processed. Remember from the earlier post that most people have a few days of food in their home already. Keeping a little extra on hand can extend your not needing to deal with the masses and empty shelves. Most grocery stores only have enough food onhand to keep the shelves stocked for about 4 days. Most stores expect to have a big truck stop by to replenish their storeroom. What if there is a fuel crisis, truckers strike, or some other event the prevents this “Just in Time” shipping to happen?

Keep a list for a couple of weeks, of food your family consumes. Say in the course of 2 weeks your family consumes 2 cans of mandarin oranges (It happen in my house), and you shop once a week. The next shopping trip, rather than buying 1 can, buy 2. You will consume 1 can and have another weeks supply in the pantry. The following week, buy 2 cans again, and after finishing that weeks can, you will have 2 in the pantry. This is called “copy canning” and is relatively inexpensive way to build up a full pantry of food you will eat. You will not have to depend on eating beans, or rice solely during a time when the stores are not easy to shop at. The fact that you have at least one familiar aspect of normal life, will also be a comfort to your family.

My families plan does contain some long term storable food. Some of it is rice and pasta, but there are also some MREs (Meals Ready to Eat), along with some high calorie snack bars. The more food in your pantry allows you to help others in need with some of these long term storables.

Gardening is a great way to get some food into storage as well, and the quality and safety of the vegetables from your garden will surpass the stores offering of non-organic farming that use chemicals, at best, to grow abnormally big production, size, to preserve it and keep it looking edible. Look into dehydrating and canning as a way to store your garden grown, or food purchased by local trusted growers. We have only gone as deep into water bath canning, for acidic fruits and jellies so far, but have one of those evil pressure canners when time allows.

Another source of food can be found in your yard that you may overlook, there are many edible plants with leaves, flowers or roots that would make a nice amendment to a salad. These greens will have beneficial minerals and help stimulate your digestive system (dandelion greens are actually tasty). Stop by the library, and get some edible plant identification book, head to some common ground you won’t get chased away from by Bubba, or go on a trail walk to try your new skill. Something I have been trying to do is toss some lambs quarter, amaranth and chickweed seed in some common areas around my yard to try to get some of these plants established.

Hunting, fishing, raising chickens and/ or rabbits for meat, are other means to secure food for your family. As with most of the methods described in this post, they should be practiced now, so the skill are there when you may need them.

Please leave a comment on other ideas you may have for feeding your family a healthier diet of your grown, or gathered food.

Take care,

Sensible Prepper

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Water, Water everywhere…

Water is third in line as a necessity behind air and environment, in the survival rule of threes. You can live:

  • 3 minutes without air
  • 3 hours in extreme cold or heat
  • 3 days without water
  • 3 weeks without food

In most areas water may not be too difficult to find, but the main concern will be the cleanliness of the source. Another major problem with water is it takes up a lot of room and is very heavy in order to store a long term supply.

Having multiple methods of gathering water is imperative. The experts consider 1 gallon of water per person per day for drinking and sanitation as a minimum.

Storing water is easy, finding room for it not. Most sealable containers, that are clean, can be used with the exception of milk jugs. The plastic they are made from breaks down, and could possibly fail to do their job. Good containers could be as simple as 2 liter soda bottles, or food grade drums in 15, 30 and 55 gallon sizes. If the water comes from the tap, it may be just fine to store without needing to add a few drops of chlorine bleach. As long as the container remains sealed, and no bacteria is in it, it should store well.

In a survival situation, water can also be collected from your roof. A normal house roof can provide hundreds of gallons of water from just an inch of rain. Care should be taken to avoid the first bit of rain that washes the bird poop, and other junk off the roof. The water collected needs to be filtered and sanitized to be safe for drinking

Making water safe to drink can be achieved from one of, or combined methods of boiling the water for a few minutes, using filtration to get out some of the minerals and bacteria, or using purification solutions to improve the quality. A filter can be made with a bucket of sand and charcoal that drips out much cleaner water than what went in. Clean drinking water is imperative to prevention of cholera and diarrhea, which cause dehydration and are leading causes of death in areas with poor sanitation and unsafe water conditions after natural disasters.

Keeping clean when normal conveniences are not available is also very important. Water that may not be safe to drink can be used or recycled for washing clothes, or flushing a toilet. Do not neglect keeping up with sanitation, as human waste and long durations of uncleanliness can lead to disease.

Please feel free to share your plans for obtaining water when the faucets are dry.

Sensible Prepper

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Where to start prepping?

You can’t start anywhere but at the beginning. You won’t have 3 months of supplies if you don’t have enough for a week. A prepping plan for most mini emergencies should get you through 3 days at least.

You should be able to find your food needs already sitting in your refrigerator and food pantry. Water will be a different story. I would suggest getting some bottled water, or save 2-liter soda bottles that have been rinsed out well and filled with tap water. There should be no need to add any chemicals to these containers as long as the conditions were clean when you filled them from the faucet.

Lighting is another important need if the power goes out. LED lanterns, candles and flashlights should be kept available, with a good supply of batteries. Cooking can be done outside on a grill, keep extra charcoal and lighter fluid on hand, or purchase an extra propane tank and keep it available for power outages. You will also want to have a small battery powered radio (preferably with NOAA Weather bands included) for monitoring the news and weather.

Please think carefully during the hot of summer or cold of winter, about ideas for heating and cooling your home safely during emergencies. The extreme summer and winter seasons could make your 3 day requirements more costly. An inexpensive generator is great to have, but the expected total runtime on them is relatively short. Small generators are best used for running the refrigerator/ freezer a few time a day, or keeping up with the sump pump during a storm. They are not designed for running 8 hours a day. The problem I see with the generators over 4000 watts is people either running a big generator to run small loads, or they are over loading and overusing them to the point of failure. A typical house uses very little energy unless the AC / heat, dryer, water heater and stove are running.  My extreme weather plan would center around running a small air conditioning unit in modest room during the summer. For winter, luckily we have a wood burning stove to knock down the chill. Another option is to heat a smaller area with a kerosene stove (assuming all safety warnings are being followed) in the winter.

Don’t forget you will also need to keep extra pet food available. You are still responsible for taking care of your pets during these mini emergencies.

These basic needs should be the minimal start to a 3 day plan:

  • food
  • water
  • lighting / radio / batteries
  • cooking
  • heating / cooling
  • pet food

I will go into more details on all these basic needs later on, and this 3 day plan should provide a basic starting point into prepping for short term inconveniences you will undoubtedly face.

Take care,

Sensible Prepper

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Welcome to the maiden blog post @ sensiblepreppingonline

I finally fell off the deep end and started a blog on prepping. I have been mentored, have mentored, and consume most of my free time thinking of what may be in store for us in the future. The goal I have for this blog is to remain positive as I can, and provide a sensible view of being prepared for most challenges we may face. Not only may there be economic, natural disasters, or social disruptions, we may also have to deal with issues closer to home like job loss, a broken leg, etc.

I am not a writer, so bear with my writing style. i am sure it will get better with time. I have plenty of sensible prepping information to share. I likely won’t have the solution for Cold Fusion, or a perpetual motion machine, and most of the information and knowledge I have is found on many other sites. I hopefully can focus some viewers with ideas to help take some of the anxiety out of prepping, and talk them down from the ledge. Another purpose this site will serve is to link to items I feel would be needed in many situations, preferably before everyone else is also trying to get them too. I intend to be affiliated with a preparedness oriented company, while providing descriptions and hopefully some review of helpful products.

Thank you for visiting. I will provide some information about my background and family life soon. I hope you can benefit from my writing, and look forward to hearing comments from those that would like to share.

Take care,

Sensible Prepper