Alternate Currency

coinsToday’s topic is going to discuss having multiple methods of payment as a prep. It is wise to have a few methods that you can pay for goods and services in a SHTF scenario. Our current Fiat money will be useless when power does not work or during an economic collapse. I will provide ome alternate methods and ways you can supplement cash reserves for when SHTF.

In my EDC – In my Every Day Carry bag, I carry about $40 US dollars along with a few dollars in quarters. My reasoning is in the first moments of an SHTF scenario, this money will still be viable and can be traded for goods and services. I keep small denominations so change should not be needed. I also carry a few pure silver coins and one gold coin. These coins will allow me to barter for goods. The value of Gold and Silver tend to increase as the value of the US dollar decreases.

At Home – At home I have a multitude of items that can be considered currency. I will not disclose the amounts of what I have for security reasons. It includes items that you would not normally think as a good alternate currency. My thinking is people will need there vices, will need vital items for kids, and of course traditional alternate currencies are always accepted.

  • Gold and Silver – I keep in stock a supply of both and in varying weights and sizes. I also have a lot of scrap gold (chains, bracelets, etc) that can be traded for goods in a SHTF scenario.
  • US Dollars – I also keep in stock US currency. I do not count on this as my main alternate currency but I will attempt to trade this off first (for the uninformed and unaware) during a SHTF scenario.
  • US Currency – I also keep stock of coins. I keep all denominations of coins. I would say this is the lowest currency I keep in stock.
  • Precious Gems – I keep an assortment of precious gems: diamonds, rubies, opals, etc. Although tough to trade, for a particular person this could be the winning item for much needed supplies. One good bonus also is they are small and easy to carry or conceal.
  • Cigarettes – Once SHTF, people will be going crazy over nicotine withdraw. This alternate currency will prove to be very handy to these subset of people.
  • Baby Formula – Again the subset of people that have infants will be looking high and low for this item. It has a good shelf life and is portable. Also in a pinch can be consumed for your own benefit.
  • Liquor – This item can be a morale booster during a SHTF scenario. Not to be mean, this item is not meant for the alcoholics as I pretty much can assume they have perished or will unreasonable to deal with in a SHTF scenario.
  • Comfort Food (Non Perishable) – This is one set of alternate currency that is overlooked. Most junk food does not require refrigeration and can last at least 3 to 6 months. We keep this item in a rotation status in our preps.
  • Hygiene Items – This category includes items like soap, hand sanitizer, toilet paper, toothpaste, etc. During a SHTF scenario some people would be willing to trade items or services for just some toilet paper or soap. Also I consider this as  “throw in” items. When bartering, I can “throw in” a bar a soap to sweeten the deal.

My alternate currencies I think will allow me to barter and extend my survival. I will also state for me items such as food, water, ammo are off my bartering table. These items are too precious and I cannot fathom trading them for anything. I would be interested in hearing your thoughts on my alternate currency and if you have any others I haven’t thought about.

Leave a comment below and let me know!

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Prepping and Kids

kidfoodI am the proud dad of 3 kids. I have a 13 year old, a 3 year old, and a 2 year old. Children’s needs during an emergency situation are similar in regards to basic needs (food, water, shelter). But with kids, you must also have preparations to keep them out of trouble and make them feel safe and secure.

We have made a conscious effort to stockpile some easy toys that they would use in a SHTF scenario. Now, this doesn’t mean we take up critical space for other preps. It means we try to incorporate these things in our bug out bags, our vehicle survival bags, and at our home stockpile.

We also try to incorporate items that will make them safe. Currently my little one uses a pacifier. We ensure we have at least one in our preps. We also try to keep a good tab on exactly what they like to eat (that is not perishable). Currently Spaghetti Os is currently stockpiled for them. Additionally, freeze dried fruit and snacks also will help boost up their moral.

We also try to educate our kids as much as possible on the prepper lifestyle. There have been lots of questions to why we prep and we try to answer them to the best of our abilities. My older child, we try to instil knowledge and skills she could use in a SHTF scenario.  She currently understands how to purify water first, she also understands why we prep and that the items stockpiled are for emergencies.

One thing we try to achieve is a fine balance of preparedness and a normal life. We made a decision when we both agreed to prepping to allow our kids to live a normal life. This doesn’t mean we shelter them from our preps. We take the angle of teaching them and educating them on why and if they have questions we answer.

Perhaps when they are a little older we can talk more about prepping with them and have them more involved.

How do you handle your preps for your children? Please comment and let me know

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Product Review: Multi-tool

productReview1Today’s product review is of my current EDC multi-tool. I will be breaking down my review in 4 criteria: usability, portability, durability, and prepping value. In my previous post “Every Day Carry” I mention a multi-tool is a vital component of my tools assortment that I like to carry every day with me.

The multi-tool is the SOG PowerAssist Multi-Tool. My reason for this multi-tool over others is some of its specialty items that I think would be good in an emergency situation. The SOG V-Cut comes really highly rated and if needed can cut you out of a seatbelt in a vehicle emergency. Additionally, I like the sheath it comes in and I also like the ability to order replacement items off the multi-tool if needed.

Usability (Rank 4): This multi-tool just works. The model I currently use has the following tools:

  • Pliers – Uses the SOG assist, which allows you to clamp down with less manual force.
  • Hard Wire Cutter – A great item for my field of work. This cutter does quick work of networking cable and/or zip ties.
  • Crimper – I have not used this, but I heard it for blasting caps…… interesting.. prepping value?
  • Straight Edge Blade – Great as a backup knife. Sharp and uses the SOG Assist which flips open with just a flick of your thumb.
  • Serrated Blade – Same as the straight edge w/ the SOG Assist. I have used it to saw through small limbs (less than ½ inch limbs)
  • Three-Sided File – not used but it has a nice grit to it.
  • Large Screwdriver – I use this at least once or twice a month. Works great and its sturdy
  • Philips Screwdriver – Same as the Large Screwdriver.
  • Can Opener / Small Screw Driver – I have used both from time to time. Both sturdy. I would say that the can opener is a little difficult to work, but in a pinch works.
  • Bottle Opener / Medium Screw Driver – I have used the driver with no issues.
  • Ruler – This is imprinted on the side of the tool. I would say calling this a ruler is a little far stretch but it works if needed.
  • V-Cutter – one great item that I have yet to use (and hope not to). Sharp. I have tested on twine and it cut it without any problems.
  • Lanyard Ring – I don’t use this feature but would be good to use if out in the woods. It is made of good quality and I wouldn’t expect issues from it.
  • Nylon Carrying Pouch – Works great. I currently use it on my belt and I have never felt it was going to fall out of it.

With all the tools that come with it, it makes a great compliment of various tools that help me during my day and also if and when a SHTF scenario occurs. I feel very confident that with this tool, I can survive an emergency (work or SHTF).

Portability (Rank 3): The SOG is quite easy to carry both in the sheath and on the lanyard. The nylon pouch has a clip on the back that allows you to either clip it to your belt or on a bag. It is made of a strong plastic and I have used it a solid 4 years and it has never broken on me. The reason I scored this down to 3 is it would be nice to include some sort of clip directly on the tool. Like I said above I have not used the lanyard ring yet but it is made of a good quality steel.

Durability (Rank 4): The tool is made out of 420 Steel with a black oxide finish. With my continual use the finish has not diminished. The tools themselves are sharp and as if they are the day I bought it. The blade knives have stayed sharp and I have yet to sharpen them. As far as wear, I have dropped it and its even gotten wet. Both instances have not caused any issues with the functionality of the knife.

Prepping Value (Rank 5): Two strong points for the SOG multi tool is the V-Cut and it’s SOG Assist. The SOG Assist can come very valuable in a situation where one of my hands is incapacitated. I would be able to open and use the knife, serrated knife, and the pliers with one hand. The V-Cut speaks for itself. I travel 30+ miles to work and if I faced an accident that I was trapped in, I could use the tool to cut myself free. I also think the V-Cut has double bonus of the ability to cut small rope/yarn. In a SHTF scenario, I can use that to make cord or cut cord without expending my knives blade.

Overall Rank: 4

The SOG PowerAssist Multi-Tool is a great addition that I have relied on for many years. I will continue to use this as my main EDU multi-tool. Although priced in the mid-range of multi tools, I think the specialized technology and tools command the price.

Let me know if you have questions or want further details

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Water Sanitation

dirty-waterAs I have talked about water preps in my previous post Water Preps, water is one of the most important resources you will need in a SHTF scenario. My current strategy is to have a stopgap supply of 2 weeks of potable water ready with many more gallons available after sanitizing it. Today’s post we are going to discuss possible ways to sanitize water.

Boiling – The most obvious and effective way to sanitize water is to boil it. Boiling will kill any parasites and bacteria that can kill you. The method I would recommend is to first filter it. To do this, any cotton material will work, a cheese cloth, coffee filter, or any other porous material will suffice. The idea behind this is to filter out the bigger matter before boiling.

Now with this pre-filtered water, you can place it in a container to boil. Various government agencies say for the boil to be effective, you must boil the water for a minimum of 1 minute. I personally try to boil the water for at least five minutes. This ensures all matter has been effectively destroyed.

Some setbacks to boiling include energy to boil the water, and it’s a time consuming process.

Chemical – The next effective way is to chemically treat the water. The most common practice is to add a specific amount of chlorine to a specified amount of water. The current recommended ratio is ¼ teaspoon of chlorine to 1 gallon of water. As boiling water, it should be pre-filtered to get rid of heavier sediment. Mix the water / chlorine combo thoroughly. You must leave this water at least 1 hour before attempting to drink it.

Some of the setbacks to chemical treatment are the time it takes to purify and also a slight chlorine taste.

Filter – This involves a piece of equipment that can filter out harmful bacteria and chemicals from the water. This method is right on-par with boiling (and in some cases more superior to boiling). Generally, you will also want to pre-filter any water going into the filter. This will allow the filter to last longer and have less chance of clogging. The typical process can vary depending on the equipment purchased. I have written a nice write up on my top 5 water filters. Most filters involve a carbon filter (reduces chemical odors and chemicals), a membrane (reduces bacterial and other harmful organisms).

The major setback with most filters is that you must purchase additional filters and they have a specified life-expectancy.

I personally take a multi-pronged approach. I purchased some coffee filters for my pre-filters. I have a method on making my own chlorine on demand which I will share in another post. Lastly, I have purchased various filters as a compliment to water sanitation preps.

I am very interested in hearing your ideas on water sanitation. Please leave your comments below!

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Water Prepping

waterAs I have stated in previous posts, my number one prepping item is Water. An average person can go without water for 3 to 5 days. If you live in hotter climates like I do, the number of days is on the shorter side of the scale.

FEMA recommends that you have 1 gallon of drinking water per person for a minimum of 3 days.  This means for a family of 5 like mine we would need at the bare minimum 15 gallons of water. As history as shown us, government assistance during disasters can take 2 weeks or longer depending on the severity and number of citizens impacted.

One important thing that is not mentioned in water prepping is the need for water for sanitation. We are humans and as such we are a very dirty species. If you do not take into account this need for water, you could face infection of your entire family. Just look at Haiti when the earthquake stuck. They are to this day still fighting disease as cholera, tuberculosis, typhoid, and hepatitis to name a few. Water for sanitation must be considered and strongly recommended.

For my water prepping, I have enough drinking water for my family for 2 weeks (70 gallons). I also have 220 gallons of rainwater stored in rainbarrels. This water in its current state is non-potable. Ideally, this water would be earmarked for sanitation (flushing toilets, showers (after boiling), and cleaning dishes (after boiling)).

This in my eyes is a good start. I am also currently working on ways to purify and obtain more drinking water. This will allow me the ability to have an unlimited supply of water when needed. I will talk more about my ideas and methods in another post.

The way I got to my level was not overnight. As I have talked about before, it was a gradual process. I made it a personal goal of getting a 5 gallon jug of drinkable water every time we did our major grocery shopping. The initial cost is about $12 dollars (this includes the deposit). But after the initial purchase, I cycle these 5 gallon jugs into my house to use at my water cooler. I then return the empty and only pay $5 or so for a new one. This ensures that my immediate water is fresh and rotated.

My rainbarrel system is comprised of four 55 gallon barrels. They are interconnected and their primary purpose is for my urban garden. Here in Florida we get 65 inches of rain a year. This allows me to save on my water bill and also in SHTF have a reserve of grey-water that can be used in multiple ways. I will discuss my rainbarrel system in a future post.

Now, where do I want to be? I would ideally like to have a month of immediate drinking water and double the amount (500 gallons) of rain water. This would ease the burden of trying to find water in a SHTF scenario for a bit of time. This would also buy us time before we would have start obtaining water outside our house, saving energy.

I recommend you start with a 3 day supply. Once you reach this goal, expand to the next level. The beauty of getting to your first goal is that you can rededicate some resources (time, money, and energy) to other priorities that are not to the minimum level. This holistic approach is the most effective way of scaling your prepping equally.

Do you have other ideas? I would love to hear them, please comment.

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The most important tool

ravenous_brain_rectToday we are going to talk about the preppers most important tool: Knowledge. Knowledge can provide the edge when a SHTF scenario happens. Yet, it is the most overlooked and undervalued tool. I have made it my own personal goal of learning something every day that can help me when SHTF. IT could be anything really, from urban edible plant identification to handgun tactics.

Now, when I talk about learning, most of the times I am talking about researching, reading blogs (like you are now), watching instructional videos. Most of my learning takes a few minutes to a couple of hours depending on what the subject matter is. I usually do this during a time that I can focus (usually in the evening) and retain the information.

Prepping is a lifestyle, like I have said in previous posts. You need to breathe, sleep, and think about it. There have been numerous times that I have been walking down a street and have taken a mental picture of locations, or recalled a specific “weed” growing on the concrete as an edible plant. This keeps my skills honed and ready for at a moment’s notice.

Some knowledge must be learned through doing and practicing. These must also be taken into account of your knowledge tool. If you have learned to make fire via youtube but you have not practiced, this in a SHTF can become a huge problem. Take some time out to practice the knowledge you have gained and perfect it. I do this regularly. When it comes to survival knowledge, I take a weekend long trip exclusively to work on them. What I have found when I do these trips is that sometimes the exact knowledge I learn doesn’t work for me. I have to modify or learn other ways to perfect it for my situation.  This is where true knowledge is learned. The time to practice is not when SHTF.

What do you think of my most important tool? Do you agree? I would love to hear your comments!

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