Bug Repellants

Bug Repellants

Any of my friends will tell you that I loath black flies and mosquitoes. They turn the perfect part of the spring into an obnoxious swat-fest. I remember the first time I went canoeing with my wife and father-in-law. He was gung-ho to find the best route and followed the directions of “seasoned” canoeists on an internet database. I should have inspected the route, but I assumed they knew where to go and how long it would take. It was not my first time canoeing, but being the better man, I let my father-in-law run the show. He will never live it down. It was toward the end of day one, when we ended up in a small lake. Actually, a large island, ringed by a small “lake”. Ok, it was a swamp. An island in the middle of a swamp. The map indicated a single swamp symbol, and that was more than enough apparently. When we got there it was about 3pm and as the day turned to night, the hordes of insects descended. First it was the black flies… because why not canoe during black fly season. And as soon as it dipped in temperature, the black flies would disappear and then for five minutes, everything was great. And then the mosquitoes. And they never left us alone until well after 8pm. Flying, Biting Insects Mosquitoes, black flies, deer flies and company, are the bane of every woodsman. I am not talking about the single mosquito that lands on your arm, I am talking about the cloud of mosquitoes that have nothing better to do than drain you...
How To Make Dry Laundry Detergent

How To Make Dry Laundry Detergent

It took me a while to take the plunge into making my own laundry detergent. Reason #1 was because I watched a bunch of videos on how to make liquid concentrate. In this style of recipe, you have to boil the soap flakes and other ingredients in a giant pot until everything melts down, separate it out into other 5 gallon containers and then re-hydrate it with even more water. Basically it looked like a pain in the ass to make and from what I saw, took up a huge amount of room, and we are all tight on space. Reason #2 was if it is going to take up all this room and smell up the house while cooking the soapy mixture, my wife was going to be less than enthusiastic about doing something like this again. On a rather recent Survival Punk podcast episode, James (one of the hosts) talked about making a dry detergent mixture during a rainy day. I read his article over, checked out some other sources (as you should always do when embarking on a science experiment) and purchased the rather cheap ingredients at the local discount grocery store. All in all, I spent around $15.00 to $20.00 – the same price as a jug of detergent. Not bad. I have been using the recipe below for around 4 months and I doubt I will go back to the liquid concentrate. It is a huge difference in cost. The recipe below will make 50 mason jars of liquid detergent (100 large loads) in a single mason jar, and I still have most of the boxes of borax,...
Every Day Carry

Every Day Carry

EDC Check. For those who are veterans of survival and preparedness, if you think you are prepared and this article is old hat consider this: Where is your EDC bag / stuff? Is it on you right now? What is in it right this second? What does it cover? Have you ever used any of the stuff in it? I mean really used it? Does it have all the components needed to cover off your basic needs? Time to walk the walk. Buckle down, test your stuff. Make a real fire, check the expiration dates, etc.    Every time my mother-in-law picks up my backpack, she constantly exclaims “what’s in this” and “why is this bag so heavy”. While I wouldn’t say the bag is heavy, it does have some heft to it. I have gotten used to the weight of being prepared and I feel almost naked without my backpack – like when I have to go through airport security. What makes up the majority of the bulk of my daily backpack is my EDC or Every Day Carry kit. If I took all the contents out and laid them on the table, the few items that I really need on a daily basis are my wallet, keys and maybe a pack of gum. But I don’t want to carry what I just need, I want to carry what I may use. Whether it is an emergency or just daily life, my EDC helps me cover almost everything that comes my way. Every Day Carry What is Every Day Carry? EDC is the price of admission into preparedness. It is the most...
Protect Your Eyes

Protect Your Eyes

Unless you have a prescription or are blind, you have most likely taken your eyesight for granted. It is one of those things that you tend not to worry about until it is too late. But think about all the things you do during the day that you need your eyes for. Even if you take commuting out of the picture, you still rely heavily on your eye sight. Cooking over a stove, punching in the timer on your microwave and navigating your freezer are all almost impossible tasks without your eyesight. Even paying the pizza guy would constitute risky venture if you couldn’t see. Would you hand him a $50 or a $20? If you drive a car, then you know what happens if you forgot your glasses at home and the sun is right in your eyes – you’re basically blind. If my wife forgets her glasses and she looses a contact in the water, then she can’t see 5 feet in front of her. Eye sight is critical and eyewear is thus just as important. There are three types of eye wear to look at for both practical situations and during a survival situation; prescription glasses, safety glasses and sun glasses. Prescription glasses If you have a prescription and you wear glasses every day, if you loose the one device that allows you to see properly, this little detail can derail your whole situation. It is important to always have a back up pair of glasses around you if you require them. Whether in your purse, your back pack, your EDC pack, your car, a back...
Should You Store Food?

Should You Store Food?

Is food storage right for you? When I first was introduced to the survival and preparedness movement, I was inundated with photos of people with food and water setups for the global apocalypse including canned goods, MRE’s, food pails, cases and cases of water. They had to have sunk thousands of dollars into rotating shelf operations. And the phrase “eat what you store, store what you eat” has gotten really old. While food is important, it is your 5th survival priority in the event of an emergency survival situation. And what is more, you could go weeks without a single drop of food. So should you store food at all? The Benefits In a 72 hour emergency, it is nice to be able to eat. Eating is a common daily activity and the process of preparing, cooking and then eating food is something that can bring a sense of normalcy to our lives – along with the social aspect of eating. Food gives you a calorie boost to be consumed when you are busy doing other activities, like chopping firewood and building shelters. In cold environments, warm rich foods supercharge your metabolism, warding off the cold. And in the event of an evacuation, a storehouse of calories will keep you moving, even with that 50 lb. backpack full of gear you plan to hike around with. Storing food is a form of food security. It is insurance that you will be fed when it gets rough out there – whether we are talking about a snow storm, a riot or the end of the world. If you have stored...
Generating Your Own Power

Generating Your Own Power

How important is power? In 2013, Toronto was hit with a massive ice storm that covered power lines and trees bent over from the weight of ice. Luckly for our family, our house and the rest of my street was relatively untouched. While everyone was panicking from power loss, my house still had power and we could watch all the events unfold on the TV. Then around noon, when the sun had come up and the ice started to melt, our power went out. For two days. It was not from any branches hitting the wires, or from water getting into the power box… or whatever ice storms do. It was because the power company had cut power to our street (without warning), to work on another street that was damaged. When it seemed like the worst of it was over, our “disaster” was just beginning. Have you ever experienced a power outage in the winter? At first, it was just darker in the house. With daylight, everything seemed normal. By 10 pm the house started to cool inside and we had to bundle our infant daughter in her heavy pajamas plus a sleep sack – which is just a glorified sleeping bag for infants. Usually we sleep fine in a cool bedroom, so we were not affected. By the time morning had arrived (around 7 am), our house had dropped drastically in temperature. So much so, that we could see our breath. Even the cat was cold. We don’t have a fire place in our house. I was a recent purchase, and it is an uncommon feature in...