Energy expert Robert Brenner is back this week to discuss the threat of a national power grid outage. What’s the biggest threat to our national power grid? Find out in the article below, and be sure to check out Robert’s previous EMP articles here, here and here.
The greatest threat that could potentially cause a national power grid outage isn’t EMP from a massive solar storm. Nor is it damaging EMP from a high altitude nuclear explosion two dozen miles above our land. While the effect of EMP can be serious, the probability of an actual EMP strike is low, so these don’t worry people monitoring grid vulnerability. No, the greatest threat we face comes from home grown or imported terrorists who are already within our country. They pose a real and significant threat for multiple, wide area physical attacks. And their threat potential is growing.
A report in Self-Reliance Central states that the U.S. power grid is attacked at least once every four days by cyberterrorists or people attempting to physically damage or destroy parts of our electrical infrastructure. These attacks are real and they are potentially quite destructive.
Last year Frank Bates at Patriot Headquarters wrote that one power company reported receiving about 10,000 cyberattacks each month, and many other utility companies noted frequent cyberattacks each day as our adversaries probed networks to find weaknesses. Our power industry and Homeland Security have kept ahead of cyber terrorists, but it’s a constant battle to keep our national grid safe. Terrorists are persistent. They keep trying to find our Achilles heel.
In the last five years more than 362 such attacks have caused electrical disturbances or partial power outages. Many are probing tests to see just how prepared we are and to identify our weaknesses. Every time I hear or read about an outage, I immediately suspect foul play. The July 24th power outage at Le Guardia International Airport in New Jersey made me question how workers could “accidentally” cut through the exact cable that provides power to Terminal C and Parking Lots 4 and 5.
Delta Airlines had to cancel over 100 flights—among all the airlines using Le Guardia 170 flights were canceled, disrupting lives for thousands of travelers. The Delta communications system was down for over 5 hours and jet ways (jet bridges) and people movers at the terminal were inoperable for almost 12 hours. Normally a construction job does not start without prior knowledge of all the underground objects that are in the area of a work site and appropriate flags or markers are installed on the ground above the work area. What was different about this job?
A short term outage can be endured, but loss of electrical power for several days or longer can cause havoc on society. Communications can go down, commerce, banking, healthcare, fuel supplies and travel can simply stop working. Countless organizations and individuals will energize backup generators to keep their facilities open and electricity flowing. What happens when they can’t keep their generators running because fuel trucks can’t deliver the diesel, natural gas, or propane needed to sustain operation?
Our lack of foresight will delight our enemies. They will be happy, but others will suffer because they failed to prepare once again.
What’s comforting in all of this is that because EMP is not involved, survivalists should do just fine. You will be fine. So relax and enjoy the outages when they come. Others will ignore the threat, but you will be prepared. Be happy, and be safe.
Have you ever wanted your own laser guided blowgun? Why not make your own?
It’s easier than you think — and cheaper too!
This is one of the coolest video tutorials I’ve come across in a long time. This would make a great weekend project, and you could even get the kids involved.
Check out the tutorial from King of Random below.
Looking for a wilderness survival guide to help you on your next outdoor adventure? Look no further. Outdoors expert Alden Morris is back today with more awesome wilderness survival tips. This time, he’s discussing one of the less pretty aspects of survival: outdoor alternatives to toilet paper. Check out the article below.
All too often toilet paper is truly needed in an emergency situation. While out camping, hiking, or exploring the outdoors, the instant feeling of regret is felt once it has been realized that the toilet paper has been forgotten. Even the experienced camper and outdoorsman will forget this crucial item from time to time. Fortunately though, there are several solutions that can be used as an alternative to toilet paper if it has been accidentally left behind.
If toilet paper has been forgotten, some other packed items might come in useful as an alternative. Some items that may be packed, especially during camping trips, may be coffee filters. Coffee filters are great to use as an alternative to toilet paper because they come in large quantities as well as they can be easily packed and take up very little space.
Napkins are also another great alternative that might also be found packed in a day bag or amongst the camping gear. As well as pages from a phonebook. If a phonebook is nearby or available be sure to tear out the pages and store them in a dry place if toilet paper is no longer an option.
If some of these items have not been packed than another alternative can be used which is very useful if additional items are scarce. For example, if only out hiking for a day items such as rags or towels can be used, strips of clothing or even torn clothing, and as a last resort; socks. In an emergency situation, especially if home is within a days’ reach, socks can be a very efficient alternative.
Surprisingly the packaging from some packaged goods can also be used as an alternative to toilet paper. If some of the packaged goods are made from paper or if a paper bag was used to place items in from a recent store purchase this may also work as a decent alternative.
If absolutely no items are available than thankfully there are natural alternatives that can be found amongst nature that can be used in place of toilet paper. A large quantity of leaves may be useful however, be sure to know which plant the leaves came from. Moss can also be collected from trees and fallen logs and used as an alternative to toilet paper. 44
If a corn field happens to be nearby than corn husks can also be used and of course if a nearby stream, lake, river, or large body of water is reachable than do not hesitate to use this option as a last resort.
When SHTF, will you start hunting game to get your food supply?
Most true survivalists are master hunters. Many of us started hunting at an early age and consider it part of our lifestyle. It’s only natural that we would rely on this skill when SHTF and our survival skills and instincts are put to the test.
But is hunting the best way to procure food in a disaster? After all, many people live in areas where wildlife is scarce. Others only have access to a limited supply of ammo.
So what’s the solution?
Check out this video from TinHatRanch and learn why hunting game when SHTF might not be your best bet.
(For our previous articles on choosing a fixed blade survival knife, click here and here.)
Now that we have a grasp on what makes a good (or not so good) survival knife, we are faced with choosing one. This can be a challenge as there are so many possibilities out there, some very good, some awful, and a wide spectrum in between.
There are two primary approaches, both of which have their benefits and difficulties. One way is to go out to “where the knives are” and see what appeals to you. This has the benefit that you can tell right away what “feels right” and what “does not work” for you. The down side is lack of knowledge. Appearance and feel are important in the choice of a knife, but what you can’t see or feel may turn out to be more important. Furthermore, is the price a good value or are you being “ripped off”? So the other option is to research the field, gather knowledge, and come up with some possibilities to search out for the “look and feel” test, and to be able to bargain effectively. Here the problem is you can only find out what you can find out. You may experience that half your knowledge turns out to be models which are undesirable in person. And over there in the corner, is the “perfect” knife you don’t even consider because it did not turn up in your research. There is actually a “third” approach, where you search in person, then research those which appealed, then attempt to acquire the “winner”. This is effective, but leaves you open to missing out on “one time” opportunities.
When searching for knives, it is likely you will encounter knives which do not fit into either the bush or field class. In the previous parts of this article, we pointed out the deficiencies of knives shorter than 4″ and longer than 12″. When searching for knives, you are also likely to run into very nice knives 6″ to 9″ long. Be aware that these may be a bit big for bush knife tasks, and not as good at chopping as a field knife. This does not mean you must reject a knife which is neither field or bush out of hand; just be aware of the down sides of such a choice.
Every knife has four prices. There is the “list” price, which the manufacturer sets and which is generally easy to find out. It is primarily a guide to where in the product spectrum the manufacturer thinks (or wants) the knife to exist Then there is the “street” price, which is what you can actually get it for, and is largely set by supply and demand. This is usually less than list price, but occasionally it is list price, or for something which is in great demand and limited supply, higher than list price. You can generally find a range of values for this by looking at a number of dealers, local and online; the more rigorous your search and the more patient you are, the more likely you will find the lowest version of this. Next is the “intrinsic value”. This is what the knife is really “worth”, and it is based on the cost of design, materials, labor and expenses to make and deliver the knife. It is likely you cannot find out what this is; just be aware that usually nobody will sell you a knife for intrinsic value. Generally the selling price includes some or all of “branding” (a value based on the name brand), “hype” (additional cost imposed to profit from some feature of imaginary value), advertising (expenses involved in getting people willing to buy) and “profit” (for everyone who was involved in making and selling the knife to you).
Since there is essentially no way to know the intrinsic value, make an effort to avoid the things which inflate the knife’s cost significantly. A good brand name is worth something, but it won’t butcher your hog. If you find a brand whose prices seem much higher than another brand with similar products, they may be charging “too much” for the name. If you see a bunch of flashy ads, it is likely the price includes a large chunk to pay for that advertising. Hype may not be a factor, as the features described in these articles are pretty standard and classic. Finally, having the fewest possible organizations between you and the manufacturer keeps the amount of profit paid under control. Generally, your best price will be from an independent dealer, with minimal expenses, who bought directly from the manufacturer.
But that is only three prices. The last, and most important price is the “practical” price, or what it is worth to you, modified by what you can afford. This, only you can specify. A knife which fits you like a glove and does everything you could want it to would be worth more to you than a knife which fits ok and will do much of what you want it to. But if you don’t have enough money for the better knife, buying it may do you more harm than good. If the mortgage doesn’t get paid, or you don’t have food on the table, or you don’t have enough left for other important survival gear, that “perfect” knife may cause more problems than it will solve. A good quality, adequate knife which you can afford may be a better choice.
Just to show you what you are up against, I did a quick check on what seems to be available. Note that just because a knife appears on this list, it is not necessarily a good choice for survival. The only criteria for inclusion was 1) the blade length was appropriate, and 2) the picture “looked like” it might be good for survival usage. The knife may well NOT be a good choice upon further research; for instance there was one very nice looking field knife which did not make it on this list because the blade thickness was listed right next to the length, and I just happened to note that it was only .1″ thick; unacceptable in a field knife. On the other hand, just because a knife is NOT on this list does not mean it would not be an excellent survival knife. I certainly did not find every knife manufacturer, and even for those I did find, I may have missed a suitable model or ignored the company due to extreme price (such as Puma, whose U.S. site offered its models in the $400 to $1400 range; it would be cheaper to import them from Germany) Some of the web sites had ineffectual search or filter mechanisms, which means I had to scroll through pages of pictures in search of likely looking ones, and some manufacturers use the same title for widely differing knives, so I may have included a title which has some models not suitable, or left off a title which does have a suitable model.
So take this list with several grains of salt, talk with friends to see what they recommend, visit stores and shows, and search online for reviews and comments.
These can be very helpful in evaluating the “unseen” aspects of knives. Manufacturers and sellers of knives often have reviews on their sites which can be useful. Keep in mind the possibility that such reviews can be “slanted”. There are a lot of other reviews on the internet, both written and video. Do searches for the models you are interested in. And stay tuned to Survival Life, for individual knife reviews from me and other bloggers here. Keep in mind that in every case, a review is the OPINION of the person or persons doing the review, which may or may not be relevant to YOUR reality. It is best to take several reviews and “average” them to get a truer view than you can get from just one review.
The final aspect of choosing a knife is dependent on you; that is how it fits you. Your hand is very likely different from the hand of the person next to you, and a knife which works well for you may not work as well for them, and vice versa. You need to make sure that your knife fits you. If it is “too small”, you won’t be able to hold it comfortably and securely, and this will mean you won’t be able to use it as effectively. If it is “too big” or the “wrong shape”, again, it may not be comfortable, secure and/or effectively useable.
If the grip is pretty much straight, and long enough for your hand, the actual length is less critical. However, if there is a guard at the front and a “hook” at the pommel end, now you have a specific length which needs to match the width of your hand. If the grip is contoured, then the contours must match up with your hand. And the thickness of the grip needs to be appropriate for the length of your hand.
The simpler the grip, the more universal it will tend to be. The more “custom” the grip, the better or worse it can be for you.
When talking about fit when holding a knife, we need to be aware of HOW the knife is being held. There is no “right” way to hold a knife, but there are “appropriate” ways hold it for each particular usage. Grip styles to be familiar with are:
Hammer grip – The knife edge is facing away from the palm, and the fingers are wrapped around the grip as if you were holding a hammer. This is often used for chopping tasks. It is instinctive, powerful and secure, but not overly flexible and may not provide maximum control.
Saber grip – This is like the hammer grip, but instead of being wrapped around the grip, the thumb is on the back end of the spine, or on the grip behind the upper guard. This is used for many tasks which require the strength and/or guidance the thumb can provide; it is preferred by some knife fighting styles. It is more versatile than the hammer grip, but less secure.
Filipino grip – This is like the saber grip, except the thumb is much further out along the blade. This is generally not practical if there is an upper guard, and is used for fine control during some cutting tasks.
Choke grip – This is exactly like the hammer or saber/Filipino grip, depending on where you put your thumb, except the hand is moved forward so the forefinger is in front of the guard. It requires the knife to have a finger choil, and is used for control of precision cutting tasks.
Sideways grip – Sometimes called the “modified saber grip”, this is similar to the saber grip, but with the knife rotated 90 degrees inward (clockwise for the right hand, counter clockwise for the left hand). It is a slashing grip, good for tasks like harvesting grass or grain, and preferred by some fighting styles. It is not a particularly secure grip, but it is fairly flexible. In order to reduce the chance of the hand slipping forward onto the blade when stabbing, see if you can nestle the pommel into the palm of your hand by holding it a bit further back.
Upside down, “FGEU” or “draw” grip – This is the hammer grip, with the blade rotated 180 degrees so it is facing the palm, technically called a Forward Grip, Edge Up. This grip is used when you want to pull the knife towards you or upwards rather than the more usual pushing it away or downwards. Since the blade is facing towards you, this grip should be used with caution, as a slip can result in you cutting yourself.
Reverse, “RGEO” or “ice pick” grip – This is the hammer grip, but with the blade extending downwards from the hand rather than the normal upwards, technically called a Reverse Grip, Edge Out. The edge is still facing away from the palm. This is primarily a “stabbing” grip, and is generally not used for much except for certain styles of fighting. A variation of this is to move the thumb over the end of the pommel to give stabbing movements a bit more oomph.
Make sure that the knife fits you well using all of these grip styles which are appropriate for the knife you are evaluating.
Looking for cool things to do with glow sticks from a party store, rock concert or even military supplier?. Gaye Levy from Backdoor Survival is back this week with a list of reasons why you should add glow sticks to your survival kit. There are tons of cool things to do with glow sticks, and they can really home in handy in a survival situation. Check out her article below, and be sure to visit Backdoor Survival for more awesome survival and homesteading tips.
Whenever I think of glow sticks, my first thoughts are of kids’ sleepovers or rock concerts. Despite the visions of the Dollar Store party supply section that are probably dancing through your head, the bright tubes are actually a great addition to your preparedness supplies.
Glow sticks are also known as light sticks or chemical lighting. Here is how they work:
A glow stick is made from a plastic sheath or tube that houses a mix of chemicals. Basically, the way it works is that you bend the sheath to crack the capsules that hold the different chemicals separate from one another, then you shake it up to mix the contents, creating a chemical reaction that emits energy with only a teeny emission of heat. This is called chemoluminescence).
The diagram below provides some detail.
1. Plastic casing covers the inner fluid.
2. A glass capsule covers the solution.
3. Phenyl Oxalate and fluorescent dye solution.
4. Hydrogen Peroxide solution.
5. After the glass capsule is broken and the solutions mix, the glow stick glows.
The result is a brightly colored, diffused light that is good for short term illumination (about 6-12 hours). There are several variables that affect the length of time the stick will stay lit: the length of the stick, the chemical composition in the sheath, and the ambient temperature.
Normally, when you think of emergency lighting, you think about candles and flashlights. While both have their place in the survival kit, there are some downsides.
Here are the cons to these standard light sources:
Glow sticks come in various lengths, with 6 or 10 inches being the most popular. A stick of this length can have a duration of anywhere between 30 minutes to 12 hours, based on the factors we discussed above. Whereas duration is determined by the chemistry of the formulation, brightness is affected by temperature: the warmer the temperature, the brighter the light will appear.
Some of the sticks are flexible and have a connector on the end that allows you to turn them into a bracelet or necklace. This is ideal if you want to give them to children. These are usually lower quality sticks, so you won’t want to rely on them for adults.
There are also small and compact mini 4” light sticks which are great for handbags, medical kits, and glove boxes in vehicles. They can provide up to 4 hours of illumination.
The shelf life is at least four years especially when packaged in foil packaging. Plus one popular brand, the Cyalume Snaplight, is manufactured in the United States.
Glow sticks are far more useful than their inexpensive origins might indicate.
1. They are safe in all environments, including those where questionable or even undetectable gases may exist.
2. They are waterproof and can be used in the rain.
3. They are weatherproof and windproof
4. They are non-flammable, and non-sparking, eliminating the possibility of burns or the ignition of other flammable substances.
5. They have a long shelf life.
6. They are very inexpensive.
7. Most light sticks can be seen from a mile away in the right conditions, making them ideal for indicating your location in a rescue situation.
8. The bracelets can be worn by children who are afraid of the dark.
9. By clipping them on a jacket or placing it around a wrist, they can help you keep track of children when you’re out camping.
10. They can be placed around the house in Mason jars during a power outage, safely lighting your home to prevent accidents without the risk of a fire.
Depending on your needs, the standard 360-degree illumination may be an annoyance. Also, the longer rated 8 to 12 hours light sticks will definitely start to dim after a few hours and dim considerably towards the end of their rated life.
The ambient temperature strongly affects the brightness at each end of the heat spectrum, with overall brightness starting to dim in cooler temperatures below 40 degrees and temperatures over 80 degrees. Also, once activated by breaking the internal glass vial and combining the chemicals, they cannot be turned off, which could be a security issue if you were in a situation during which you needed to hide.
The cheapo sticks from the dollar stores are just that: cheap. It’s very worthwhile to spend a small amount of extra money and get higher quality sticks.
There is no discernable difference in either light output or duration between these two grades. It seems that the only difference between the two is that the U.S. military, for reasons best known to it, requires a slightly different formulation for their light sticks. This formulation has a four-year shelf life while the Industrial Grade formulation has a five-year shelf life.
Go figure. The bottom line is this: the Military Grade version is a good light stick but not worth the 25% extra you pay over the Industrial Grade light stick, which produces the same amount of light and lasts just as long.
Glow sticks are a safe and inexpensive addition to your home, your vehicle, and your gear kit. They have a myriad of uses. A pack of 10 will cost between $10 and $15, and even less on a per unit basis if you purchase a larger supply of 30or more. They will last for 4 years at a minimum, and if stored properly, even longer.
Chemical light sticks are readily available at Lowes, Amazon, and many outdoor stores. The only caveat is to know that those sold as a consumer item ( such as those sold as toy and party items at the dollar store)are not the same quality as an industrial grade or military grade light stick. That said, for the kids, these inexpensive party-like glow sticks are terrific.
Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!
Want to know how to make your own DIY survival knife?
There is no survival tool more important than the knife. In most emergency situations even SHTF scenarios, the multipurpose cutting tool can help make life much easier. If you decide to bug out, you can use it to clear the area you have chosen to camp in. The knife is handy in making stakes on which to tie down the tent as well as cut some rope for setting up the tent. After that, the knife can be used to chop some dried and dead branches to build a fire. Read on to learn how to make this DIY survival knife at home.
For the full tutorial, click here.
hack saw blade
file or grinder
locking pliers (when using grinder)
work goggles (when using grinder)
some paracord for the handle
spray paint (optional)
Tip: Use the toothline as the spine of the knife.
A bench grinder would make the work faster but if there is no power, you have to make do with a file. Take safety measures by wearing goggles and using locking pliers to keep your hand away from the grinder.
You can use just about any shade you like or whatever’s available.
Use the rough stone followed by the fine one until you reach the desired sharpness. You can test using cardboard.
Start with a loop before wrapping the tang.
Once the fire is going, you can open your canned food with the knife and start cooking over the flames. Then it’s time to rest for the night, with the trusty knife close by in case animal or human attackers arrive to take your precious food.
When you get up in the morning, it is time to hunt, fish, or trap depending on your location. If you are good at throwing knives, you can try hunting game with your cutting instrument. When you’ve camped near a body of water, you can go fishing with the knife. You can also set up traps around your camp to catch game while you are away hunting. On a side note, traps are also useful for protecting your territory.
A knife is not only essential in surviving outdoors. If you have bugged in, the cutting tool can be handy in the kitchen. And it is always a good self defense weapon, wherever you may go. In survival situations as well as in our daily lives, the knife is a great companion.
Are you interested in learning different ways to generate electricity at home in case SHTF and you can no longer rely on the power grid? Read on to learn 8 ways to generate electricity at home from energy expert Robert Brenner.
Based on the book: Power Out! How to Prepare for and Survive a Grid Collapse)
Native American Indians believe that the earth is alive and pulsing with energy. Scientists found that the earth does indeed resonate (at a frequency of 7.8 Hz). Our brain resonates at the same frequency, and when people become “tuned” with nature many become healthier and actually heal from ailments. This suggests that “earthing”—connecting your body to the ground may have merit. Are people healthier when their bare feet touch solid ground or fingers touch plants and trees growing in the soil? Perhaps life is related to the energy that flows in the earth and in our bodies—a marvelous symbiotic relationship.
Nikola Tesla also believed that the earth has energy. His work in 1909 showed that the earth resonated, but it wasn’t until 1952 that a German physicist, W. O. Schumann actually measured its 7.8 Hz base frequency. Tesla wanted to produce free electricity using the invisible energy in electromagnetic fields. and he joined others seeking ways to produce electricity from the energy that is all around us.
Today we recognize eight technologies that can be used to produce electricity—chemical, solar, fuel-driven generators, steam turbines, hydroelectric, wind, thermal, and EMF. This article will introduce you to each.
Storage batteries are popular for producing electricity. They have been around for years, and the technology is consistently improving. The chemical interaction between battery cells and electrolyte produces a voltage that can drive current through a connected device. Battery power can energize lighting, drive small motors, pump water, and even provide electricity to an entire home.
Batteries are sold in multiple capacities—2V, 6V, 8V, 12V, 24V, 36V, 48V, 72V—and are constructed in various shapes using materials such as manganese-dioxide-zinc-nickel, carbon-zinc, nickel-cadmium, nickel-metal-hydride, and lithium. Batteries can be made of dry cells, wet cells, or gelatin oozing sludge and be single use or rechargeable depending on the application. Homeowners typically use dry cells for flashlights and small electrical devices, and wet cells for driving inverters to produce AC power. A special battery is the fuel cell. It converts chemical energy from the oxidation of a fuel into electric DC energy.
You can even build small voltage, low current batteries to light LEDs or operate MP3 players, and they are fun to make. Check out the lemon battery, potato battery, bleach battery, earth battery and crystal diode. These typically generate 0.6 to 1.9 volts and 0.58mA to 0.95 mA. The earth battery can produce 12-14 volts and 200mA of current. You are never without a way to generate battery power.
By placing a panel or module covered with solar cells in direct sunlight, photon energy can be converted into DC voltages between 1V and 46V with current from 20mA up to 9 amps depending on the module. An array of solar modules can be applied to a high voltage inverter to produce AC that can be tied to the local electrical grid. A smaller solar panel can charge a landscape light or drive a DC motor or lamp.
Solar panels can charge a whole bank of batteries. Then at night the batteries can provide power to the home. Some solar homeowners have added a transfer switch and battery bank so they don’t have to be without electrical power when the solar panels are not active.
Several new inverter products can convert solar energy into electrical grid AC with a grid power-out feature that allows the homeowner to draw solar DC through a transfer switch in the inverter and provide up to 1500 watts of AC. This lets the homeowner continue to use solar power as long as the sun is shining while the grid is down.
Moving wind can cause a propeller to rotate and turn a generator shaft producing electrical energy. Harnessing the energy in the wind is like harnessing the photons in a solar array to produce electricity. Like solar, wind energy is available and renewable. Home wind generators can be installed that typically create 400-800 watts for charging 12V batteries.
New bladeless wind turbines operate without large rotating propellers that put passing birds at risk. The wind can be put to good use to generate electrical power.
Moving water has performed useful work for thousands of years. It’s moved great objects, turned wheels that processed grain, pumped water uphill, and rotated turbines to generate electricity.
You can create your own electrical power using flowing water that turns a turbine or propeller shaft with a generator attached. It converts water action to electricity. If you have moving water on your property consider a simple hydroelectric generator. They produce about 100W of power 24/7 and can charge a bank of batteries for your home.
Small voltage hydroelectric power also includes a submersible propeller generator that can be placed in fast water environments, and a submersible sailing boat turbine generator that produces DC.
A related technology is the Tesla turbine. It uses closely-spaced disks that rotate when fluid or gas enters and exits. Holes in the disks cause a connected shaft to rotate providing kinetic energy to a generator or alternator creating DC or AC electricity. The shaft must rotate at 16,800 rpm to produce 12V DC, so it can be noisy.
Fuel-based generators produce AC, although many units have a DC output available for charging batteries. They are intended to operate as independent standby power sources during emergency conditions.
Standalone gasoline, diesel fuel, natural gas, or propane (LP gas) generators convert burning fuel into AC electrical power. A stationary generator can produce up to 200 kW of AC. For example, I have a 15kW stationary generator that runs on propane and backs up the utility grid power to my home. This generator provides power to my whole house should the local grid fail. Portable generators can produce 140W up to 30,000 watts of power. I also have a portable 2,000 watt gas-driven generator that provides up to 13.7 amps of 120V AC. The gas tank is good for 5 to 9 hours of operation before refill. It’s been a reliable power source for camping and even for energizing field lights during school activities.
A steam power generation system uses fuel such as wood, coal, gas, wood gasification or nuclear energy to heat a liquid in a boiler producing high pressure steam that is passed through a turbine rotating an attached generator that produces electricity. Many power plants today function on this principle.
While steam engines were common in the 1800s, only small demonstration steam power generators are currently available for the home user. They can produce 10V to 15V of DC power for charging a 12V battery.
A thermocouple or thermoelectric module can convert heat to DC voltage that can be used to charge a battery or bank of batteries. The Stirling engine also runs on heat. It produces DC power based on heat applied to a cylinder containing a movable piston. And Nitinol wire can become a heat engine that uses the temperature difference between the same wire immersed in two tanks of water to turn a generator and create electricity. These all produce low voltage and current, but enough energy to charge a wet-cell battery.
This is an up-and-coming technology although it has been known since Nikola Tesla conducted his first experiments to transmit electricity without wires. Tesla’s experiments included energizing light bulbs spaced out from a power source without connecting wires. After Tesla died, no serious research and experiments followed until recently. Now Tesla coils can cause wireless light bulbs to glow in your hand and high voltage electrical sparks to fill the room.
We are just beginning to exploit this technology. Products are now available that use invisible EMF energy to charge mobile phones. Perhaps soon we’ll be able to harness WiFi energy to create electricity that can drive appliances and even vehicles.
Our earth is a giant source of energy—ready for us to use. Thanks to the work of Weber, Faraday, Maxwell, Hertz, Edison, and Tesla, we have electrical power to make all of our lives easier and more comfortable. As technology developed some of the innovations from those days were bypassed. Today these technologies are being revisited, refined, and reintroduced. These are indeed exciting times.
Academy Outdoors is a new series here at Survival Life. Every week, our expert contributors will give you the best tips on hiking, hunting, bugging out, and all things outdoor survival.
This week, Gaye Levy from Backdoor Survival will teach you the importance of hiking and the many benefits it can have if you want to lead a more prepared lifestyle. Check out her list below, and be sure to visit Backdoor Survival for more great tips.
As the weather continues to improve, my daily hikes get longer. I am so blessed to live in an area with miles of hiking trails, many just a few footsteps outside my front door. Even if that were not the case, hiking is something I adore so rain or shine, I am out there with my hiking boots and my dog, Tucker.
You might be thinking that this is easy for me to say, living as I do in Western Washington, land of Subarus, down vests and hiking boots. To be honest, though, even when I lived in the city, and downtown at that, I still made it a point to hike at the local parks and around town, taking in the sights and the sounds along the way.
Over the weekend, as I was enjoying a hike, I thought about all of the ways that hiking can make you a better prepper. Whether you can hike a mile or ten, here are 10 ways that hiking can help you be better prepared.
1. Become accustomed to carrying a pack on your back
The first time I loaded up my emergency pack and put it on I almost fell over. It was heavy and it was uncomfortable. Lesson learned. I needed a pack that was ergonomically suited to walking some distances and the albatross I had put together was a fail.
I finally settled on what I feel is the perfect pack (Rothco Medium Transport Pack) and learned through experience that 20 pounds was the max I could carry. Hiking gives you an opportunity to become accustomed to carrying a pack on your back and allows you to adapt to its feel as you travel over a distance with you hands completely free.
2. Get practical experience using items in you emergency kit
I don’t care how experienced you are, stuff happens and you need to be prepared. This is especially true when you are in the middle of nowhere. Stumble and trip? You need to learn how to get yourself back up on your feet with any scrapes and sprains dealt with. Need to go potty? Learn to squat in woods. Need help? Learn to signal.
Disoriented or not sure where you are? Read a map and use your compass.
3. Break in hiking boots or other footwear
A short hike gives you an opportunity to gradually break in new hiking boots. Be aware that good socks are important too.
4. Learn to observe your surroundings and increase your awareness of dangers
Whether the danger is a brewing squall or a wild animal, you need to be ever-alert to potential dangers while out on the trail or in the bush. After spending time outdoors, you become more attuned to the nuances of sound and the physical cues of nature.
Where I live, the predators are mostly in the form of bald eagles who will swoop down and make a meal of your small pet. Because of the time I spend outdoors and on the trails, I have developed a sixth sense for danger and keeping a look out has become automatic, requiring no special thought.
5. Practice reading a map and using a compass
These days we rely upon a GPS to get us from point A to point B. Not that many years ago, we had maps with compass rose plus a compass. If you are lost, will you be able to find you way home without using electronics? Hiking provides you with ample opportunities for learning to read a topographical map and to read a compass.
6. Learn to read the skies and predict weather conditions
As someone who boated for 20 years in the waters of Puget Sound and the Canadian Gulf Islands, I know how quickly the weather can change. There are some rules and some tricks to reading the weather, but once you figure them out, it becomes easy to look at the sky and determine the likelihood of a storm.
7. Deal with changing elements with aplomb
You only need to be stuck unprepared in a sudden thunderstorm once. After that first time, you will know to include a poncho, emergency blanket, or tarp to use to protect you from the elements.
8. Recognizing local edible foliage and berries
Foraging for food is another skill that needs to be practiced and honed. While hiking, you can observe local edibles and even snap photos or take samples. Once home, you can research what they are and determine whether they are safe to eat.
9. Stay in good physical shape and build stamina
It goes without saying that being in reasonable if not excellent physical shape will enhance your ability to survive following a devastating disruptive event. There is more to being in good shape, though, than height and weight in proportion.
By increasing the length and difficulty of your hikes, you can build up stamina and endurance far beyond what you can do with almost any other type of activity except perhaps swimming.
10. De-stress and clear you mind of cobwebs
Getting out on the trails and spending some time with nature will make you more relaxed and less anxious. Being a prepper with the endless list of things to do can take its toll, and for me at least, hiking gives me an opportunity to de-compress and de-stress.
This is the number one reason I hike at least a mile daily, and often three miles or more. Rain or shine. And always with my dog.
Items to Take On A Hike
While the purpose if this article was to point out ways hiking can help you prepare, I feel that it is useful to point out some items you should take with you when you hit the trails. Including these items will help ensure your safety while enjoying the outdoors and learning to become a better prepper!
- Topographical Map
- First Aid Kit
- Signaling Device
- Paracord or other Cordage
- LifeStraw Water Filter
- Food/Energy Bars
- Emergency Blanket
- Fire starter
- Mobile Phone or Two Way Radio
The Final Word
When you think about it, hiking and camping share many of the same skill-building attributes. The advantage of hiking, however, is that you don’t have to set aside a huge block of time to reaps its benefits. You do not have to make camp or cook meals. A single hour or two is all you need along with some basic gear that you most likely already own.
One piece of advice: when hiking with others, set the pace to accommodate the person with the least stamina and lowest capabilities. Save the marathon hike for another time. Being a good prepper means helping those that may not be as strong as you are achieve what they can without endangering themselves.
Regardless of where you live, hiking can be an uplifting physical and mental experience. There is something about getting out for an hour or two, or even for an entire weekend that will nurture the soul and give you a renewed focus to keep on doing what you do.
Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!