Showing posts with label water filtration. Show all posts
Showing posts with label water filtration. Show all posts

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Tom of Camping Survival Talks Water Filtration


Another excellent video from Camping Survival. The approach Tom lays out would be a fine way to go for really nasty (hurricane, Africa in general, etc) water. While one could argue it is a bit 'belt and suspenders' redundant it's important to note this is a multi layered approach that will let you develop an approach that works for different situations.

In my mind it would go something like this depending on your situation. Cloth pre filtering with a shemag or a t shirt is only really necessary if there are a bunch of floaties (pine needles, etc) or the water is muddy or otherwise filled with sediment. Next I would be inclined to go with some sort of water purification tablets for real quick/ light trips. Easy to have a small bottle of them in a daypack in case you happen to need them. They often have an after taste of varying degrees. You can try a few different kinds to see which are the least unpleasant for you. The simplest option is to just deal with the slight after taste. The next option in my mind is to mix your water with something. Those little pre measured gatoraid/ ice tea/ flavor drink packets would be good for the short term and could provide some arguable benefits.

In a more static home disaster type situation bleach would be easy to substitute here.  It is lower cost and at 16 drops of bleach to a gallon the half empty jug o bleach under the sink could purify a whole lot of water. The only downsides of bleach are that it has a shelf life and is (though more in larger quantities used for cleaning) relatively bulky. I think there are powdered chemicals that store better and can be used in it's stead but have not really looked into it. (Need to do that.)

If you just want to taste good old water a filter is an excellent approach.

Personally we have a few options at home for filtration and purificatiion. The smallest are a life straw and a mini sawyer, with a Katadyn Pocket Water Filter as our larger model for a longer term situation or a small base camp setup. We also have a Big Berkey for our home setup. The lifestraww and Sawyers (think we have 2) are designed to be replaced when the filter goes. We keep a spare set of elements for the Katadyn. Those things are super rugged and used by a lot of folks like the Red Cross in Africa. We need to get a spare set of elements for the Berkey. Additionally most of our systems include the ambiguous bottle o tablets.

Do you have a plan to make water safe for drinking and cooking?

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Friday, May 9, 2014

Lifestraws At Camping Survival

Camping Survival has a good deal on Life Straws. These are a cool piece of kit are affordable enough you can have a few stashed here or there.

Friday, January 17, 2014

A Free Lifestraw with every Katadyn Pocket Water Filter at Camping Survival

Camping Survival is throwing a Lifestraw in with every Katadyn Pocket Water Filter purchased. The Katadyn is an awesome product, spendy but awesome. This deal helps take some of the sting out of the price.The Lifestraw is a pretty cool product in it's own right. I have one and it's a cool little piece of kit. Between the two you could cover most potential filtering needs.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Water Contamination and Failure in LA

Our little 'ville is having some water issues. A pipe or something broke. First the water was deemed unsafe to drink and we had a 'boil watch' then it went out entirely. Of course by the nature of things this had to happen during a transition. In our normal established setup this would not be an issue. When settles we have a bunch of water jugs full and the Big Berkey to filter more water. We had a couple filters on hand but none you would really want to filter a household's worth of water for a week in.

Thankfully the water did come back on though it's still under the boil watch and pretty nasty. Also we were able to get some additional jugs and a few gallons of water to deal with tomorrow and probably the next day. After that we can purify and stash it in the jugs. For tomorrow at work I've got a Berkey Sports Bottle to keep me safe as well as hydrated at work. 

This whole thing has me wanting to purchase a Hydrant Water Storage System from Titan Ready Water so we can keep a month's worth of water on hand in an easy to handle setup.

For this short period we are probably just going to eat food that does not require cooking on disposable dishes.

Immediate lessons:
Have multiple methods of water filtration on hand at all times (We did this)
When possible have at least a few day's worth of water on hand. More is better. (We normally do.)
Have foods that can be eated without much prep/ water. (We have some food here.)
Have disposable plates/ bowls// dishes to save on water/ effort for short term issues.

Will talk more about this fun little disaster experiment later.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Death Squads, What Collapse Looks Like and Things To Do Now

Well it looks like the friendly (snark) local Aryan Brotherhood offed that DA and his wife, as well as the Colorado prison department guy in Colorado and probably the ADA from Texas. As AM noted recently Assistant Attorney Jay Hileman stepped down from prosecuting an Aryan Brotherhood case. Part of me says the dude should man up and do the job Texas is paying him to but on the other hand I can see his perspective. The guy took the job to bridge into something else and now all of a sudden some crazy honkeys are killing folks in the exact situation he was in. As AM noted this is bad.

I do not know what will happen. It is worth noting this is how death squads come to be. Some group either Criminal or Revolutionary in nature (yes there could be others but lets keep it simple)  decides to start hitting back at the cops and or soldiers (for the sake of flow I will just say cops from here on). The cops decide that it sucks when they are being attacked and killed. In small to medium sized groups they decide to do something about it. Given that they are the cops who have significant discretion about which cases to pursue and where to pursue them, especially with politically marginalized people, the odds of getting caught are about zero. Cops know who the bad guys are, who their friends are and where they hang out. Maybe they go all Vick Mackey and bend some rules, slap some folks around for info or whatever; or they might go strait to 'black sight prisons, torture and summary executions and shallow graves. In the big picture it doesn't really matter because it is bad.

Every action has an equal and opposite reaction. Actions by angry groups of armed men are typically violent. Once the pro regime death squads get going the anti regime (criminal or revolutionary) death squads are sure to follow, if they do not exist already. The tit for tat spiral goes into full effect. The end result is Iraq from 2006-2010ish, the dirty wars in South America or Mexico right now. For those who are not up on their current history that means very bad. Tons of people getting killed or just vanishing. Some are legit players in the conflict but many, of not most, are normal folks ratted out for personal reasons or just at the wrong place during the wrong time.

This is the kind of thing that happens with the mob in Italy or tribal groups in Iraq during the bad years. It leads to a paralyzed system in the short term due to turnover. Eventually folks get into these positions who are not inclined to prosecute these cases unless it's a slam dunk (like caught on live TV and the guy says his name out loud) or maybe even not at all. It would be difficult to overstate the impact this sort of thing has on rule of law.

Along other lines (well except mooching off AM for material;) we need to know that collapses do not typically happen in a day. Rome wasn't going great then all of a sudden those pesky Germanic Hordes showed up. One could make a legitimate argument that right now is what collapse looks like.

What can we do? Long term shelf stable food and dehydrated emergency food are good options. Ammo and precious metals are always good ideas.  A quality water filter is essential. All old hat.

Today I had a couple of cavities filled. Not so long ago I went to the eye doctor to get a couple extra sets of glasses. Wifey has done or is about to do these things. We make sure the kids stay current on all their stuff too. Typically these are things that get put off or delayed when money gets tight, which it is now for about everybody. Best case you still have a job but magical price increases that are clearly not  inflation are decreasing purchasing power.

I urge you to take care of this stuff ASAP. A tooth that you've been putting off getting fixed would be a real problem if things go all Argentina on us. Ditto for needing a spare set of spectacles. If your family need medicine it would be prudent to stock some. Yes it costs money, sometimes a lot of money. However I can't see medical/ dental/ optometry care getting cheaper, more available or better in the next couple years. Quite frankly I suspect the opposite is going to happen. In other words that filling or new pair of glasses you are putting off now will be even less affordable in a year. They may just plain be out of the reach of many folks who are currently in the middle class.

Along the health and fitness effort line work on getting into shape. Also slowly work to make your addictions into luxuries. In other words decrease frequency and consumption such that if you need to stop using them it is not a big deal. Do this a bit at a time and it doesn't suck that bad. I'm down to 2 cups of coffee a day and more days without beer than with so it can be done. It's not fun but sure beats needing to quit these things because you do not have and can not get them during an already stressful situation.

 That covered a lot of ground but hopefully everyone got something out of it.Get moving and do something.

Thoughts?





Saturday, February 23, 2013

Lifestraw Initial Impressions



 
Camping Survival was nice enough to send me a lifestraw to check out. It is a pretty neat little product. Very simple and priced around $20 so you can have one in the car, another in a kit, a third in your EDC type bag or whatever. Also they weigh like 2 ounces which makes carrying one an easy decision. They are a bit long but they are thin enough to easily fit just about anywhere. 

The Lifestraw was designed for disasters and such in the third world so they are simple and easy to use. There is really nothing to break unless you crush the thing or light it on fire. They are said to be good to filter a thousand gallons of water.

My concept of use for this item is for outdoor trips, short term emergencies or as a backup to another system. I will fiddle with it some more and do a full review in due time. As of right now it's place is in my HPG Kit Bag.

If you are looking for a light and affordable filter the Lifestraw seems like a solid option.

Monday, February 4, 2013

What Did You Do To Prepare This Week?

A slew of stuff arrived in the mail and eventually I will talk about it. Picked up some extra cleaning stuff. The good folks at Camping Survival sent me some canned rice and powdered eggs as well as a Water BOB and a Life Straw portable water filter. Also got some sugar. You will be seeing reviews in due time.

Did some dry fire training with the J and went on a great ruck march yesterday. Also I have been working on barefoot running. It is pretty comfortable but I have also been wearing sandals or minimalist shoes for awhile. My form is changing and it seems to be a lot more efficient.

Anyway that's what I have been up to. What did you do to prepare this week?

Thursday, January 3, 2013

RE: Bags in EDC Contest

Received a comment about the rules for our EDC Contest today that is worth addressing.

 First lets review the full rules:

The broad strokes are this. I want to share and discuss the stuff we carry around every day AKA EDC. Taking pictures of our stuff and talking about it is my goal. Looking both at broad tools (pistol, folding knife, light, multi tool, etc all) and specifically digging into the this vs that of a Wambanger 29 vs a Doohickey A3.

The prizes will be as follows:
1st Place: 3 Sport Berkey Water Bottles donated by LPC Survival ($69 value)
2nd Place: 1 Blackhawk Holster donated by LuckyGunner.com ($50 value)
3rd Place:  1 Snare-Vival-Trap cough garote cough donated by Camping Survival ($17 value)

Wildcard: This one goes to whoever I want to give it to for whatever reason I feel like. It will be a grab bag donated by yours truly. The exact makeup is TBD depending on what I have lying around  and may include books, gear, medical stuff or even a couple silver dimes. ($30+  value)

The Details:

The contest will run from today until 31 January. Typically I would have it run for a month but I want to give a bit more time since lots of folks are doing other things from Christmas through New Years. Still I wanted folks who might be off work and have some spare time to have the opportunity to knock out their entry thus the extra week.

As discussed above a submission will be a picture of the stuff you personally carry around on a normal daily basis with high regularity as well as a blurb/ essay discussing the stuff and it's role. I'm talking on your belt and in your pockets not in the car or some bag that generally travels near you but actual on body cary.

[Edited at 9:22 on 12/24 to include. Received a good question. Purses can count for women. They are a terrible way to carry defensive weapons but that is another topic. Honestly just didn't think that through when writing the rules. Guys I am still not including the Murse/ man bag/ Jack Bauer satchel or whatever. Life is not fair and you can call it sexist if you want. The reason is that women have their purses a pretty much all the time out of the home, probably at a higher percentage than active CCW holders have guns, while guys have some awkward bag that might go into the car occasionally.]

Note that I said a normal day and with high regularity. Don't try to impress folks by exaggerating. I do not want to know what your ideal hypothetical EDC is but what actually goes with you to the grocery store, movies or mom's for dinner. It would be a real upward battle to convince me you carry a Glock 34 with 3 17rd mags plus 4 33rd mags, a snubby .357 with 4 speed loaders, a 12" bowie knife, boot knife, a swiss army knife, an IFAK, a GPS, a lensastic compass, a pocket survival kit, a USGI poncho, an IFAK, an extendable baton, a mace, a taser, 3 of those lifeboat rations, binoculars, a multi tool and some other stuff on your person every day. Ethical issues aside I will call it like I see it if somebody seems to be exaggerating.

I'm not going to be specific about format for the picture or blurb/ essay. If the stuff doesn't open on my windows PC I will reply saying it needs to be changed to something that works on my computer for it to be entered into the contest.

I usual edit guest posts for OPSEC, spelling and grammar. To help contestants out I can (if they want) help with editing by looking a submission over and sending it back with some thoughts to help in the editing process.

Submissions will be made via email to theotherryan@yahoo.com. 

Winners will be picked by voting in early February. Details will follow as I firm this part up in the coming weeks.

I reserve the right to change prizes, contest dates or whatever else for any reason. Also I reserve the right to disqualify a contestant or even a winner for any reason, can't see why I would do this but things happen.

If there are any questions or I need to clarify something please let me know so that can happen.

Onto the comment:

 "I read the rules and understand that purses are allowed for women but I would recommend rethinking about men possibly carrying a backpack or even a shoulder bag. I have a 6-year-old and a 2-year-old and for the past 6 years I have always had on me a daddy shoulder bag that carries all of our gear, to include EDC. And when I travel to work, all my EDC gets transferred to my day pack which is sitting right at my feet at work. Just some thoughts."

After thinking about this all day I  have got to stick with no man bags. The first reason which was my original reason is that most men who have these bags do not really carry them around with high regularity.  Women carry their purses at a higher percentage than the most serious CCW holders pack heat. Guys just don't do this with their murses or whatever sort of maxpedia tactical whatever. Check discretely on a guy who supposedly carries a man bag all the time randomly and he likely will not bat enough to be in the big leagues. You may be the exception but that still doesn't disprove the rule. Also women's clothing and fashion is such that they have a harder time fitting this stuff into their pants and shirt pockets so it ends up in the purse by default.

The second reason I thought of today is that would be a different contest. My observation is that prepared women usually have the things a prepared man would have in his pockets in their purse full of normal woman stuff. A prepared mans bag is a whole nother topic.

I have a EDC/ get home bag and it is chock full of great stuff. There is a pathfinder trade knife, a leatherman, a knife sharpener, a steel bottle and cup, an IFAK, a boo boo kit, water purification tablets, 550 cord, a compass, a headlamp, a small led light, lighters and a fero rod, about 2k in calories, a survival blanket, a boonie hat and probably some other good stuff. The point is that comparing that as well as things I could keep in my assault pack vs what another guy keeps in his jeans or cargo pants really isn't apples to apples.

So no man bags are not allowed. The EDC/ get home bag could, or even probably will, be a different contest down the road. Honestly I do not have a way to know if this stuff lives in your pockets or takes up a small part of a diaper bag/ whatever. If the stuff fits in your pockets and for whatever reason occasionally goes in a bag take a picture and send it in to my email theotherryan@yahoo.com. Hope that seems reasonable to everybody.



Sunday, December 23, 2012

EDC Contest: What's In Your Pockets?

I've been hinting at a super sweet contest for awhile now. Some things ended up delaying it but no matter, here we are.

The broad strokes are this. I want to share and discuss the stuff we carry around every day AKA EDC. Taking pictures of our stuff and talking about it is my goal. Looking both at broad tools (pistol, folding knife, light, multi tool, etc all) and specifically digging into the this vs that of a Wambanger 29 vs a Doohickey A3.

The prizes will be as follows:
1st Place: 3 Sport Berkey Water Bottles donated by LPC Survival ($69 value)
2nd Place: 1 Blackhawk Holster donated by LuckyGunner.com ($50 value)
3rd Place:  1 Snare-Vival-Trap cough garote cough donated by Camping Survival ($17 value)

Wildcard: This one goes to whoever I want to give it to for whatever reason I feel like. It will be a grab bag donated by yours truly. The exact makeup is TBD depending on what I have lying around  and may include books, gear, medical stuff or even a couple silver dimes. ($30+  value)

The Details:

The contest will run from today until 31 January. Typically I would have it run for a month but I want to give a bit more time since lots of folks are doing other things from Christmas through New Years. Still I wanted folks who might be off work and have some spare time to have the opportunity to knock out their entry thus the extra week.

As discussed above a submission will be a picture of the stuff you personally carry around on a normal daily basis with high regularity as well as a blurb/ essay discussing the stuff and it's role. I'm talking on your belt and in your pockets not in the car or some bag that generally travels near you but actual on body cary.

[Edited at 9:22 on 12/24 to include. Received a good question. Purses can count for women. They are a terrible way to carry defensive weapons but that is another topic. Honestly just didn't think that through when writing the rules. Guys I am still not including the Murse/ man bag/ Jack Bauer satchel or whatever. Life is not fair and you can call it sexist if you want. The reason is that women have their purses a pretty much all the time out of the home, probably at a higher percentage than active CCW holders have guns, while guys have some awkward bag that might go into the car occasionally.]

Note that I said a normal day and with high regularity. Don't try to impress folks by exaggerating. I do not want to know what your ideal hypothetical EDC is but what actually goes with you to the grocery store, movies or mom's for dinner. It would be a real upward battle to convince me you carry a Glock 34 with 3 17rd mags plus 4 33rd mags, a snubby .357 with 4 speed loaders, a 12" bowie knife, boot knife, a swiss army knife, an IFAK, a GPS, a lensastic compass, a pocket survival kit, a USGI poncho, an IFAK, an extendable baton, a mace, a taser, 3 of those lifeboat rations, binoculars, a multi tool and some other stuff on your person every day. Ethical issues aside I will call it like I see it if somebody seems to be exaggerating.

I'm not going to be specific about format for the picture or blurb/ essay. If the stuff doesn't open on my windows PC I will reply saying it needs to be changed to something that works on my computer for it to be entered into the contest.

I usual edit guest posts for OPSEC, spelling and grammar. To help contestants out I can (if they want) help with editing by looking a submission over and sending it back with some thoughts to help in the editing process.

Submissions will be made via email to theotherryan@yahoo.com. 

Winners will be picked by voting in early February. Details will follow as I firm this part up in the coming weeks.

I reserve the right to change prizes, contest dates or whatever else for any reason. Also I reserve the right to disqualify a contestant or even a winner for any reason, can't see why I would do this but things happen.

If there are any questions or I need to clarify something please let me know so that can happen.

Now I am going to do an example of what a submission could look like based on my EDC. Not saying you have to stick to it exactly the goal is just to give a better description of what a submission might look like.

Submission XX: Ryan from Arizona

From the top.

Pistol- Glock 19 with Trijicon night sights. I think it is a great carry option because it is concealable but shoots almost like a full sized handgun. Other than the night sights it is bone stock. It holds a Glock 19 mag with 14 rounds of JHP in the mag and 1 in the chamber.

Holster(s)- I showed two because they both get regular use. The Galco paddle holster typically gets used when I will be wearing a vest or some sort of sweatshirt/ jacket that covers it up. This holster sits at about 2 o'clock just in front of my right hip. I really like that it is easy to put on and take off but attaches securely to a belt with these little plastic ridges on the paddle.

The one on the left is a Bianchi 100 Professional and it sits right about 12:30 Appendix Inside Waistband (AIWB). This holster is typically used when I will be wearing lighter clothing. Both are fine options for their place.

Mag Pouch- Blackhawk single mag pouch. They are available from Lucky Gunner and Airsoft Atlanta for a bit under $20. It is a bit bulky but retention is good, the clip is solid and it seems quite durable. Inside the pouch is a second Glock 19 mag. Some folks carry a G 17 mag as a reload because it holds 2 more rounds. I've tried that and the extra length hurt in terms of concealment which I dislike.

Knife- Benchmade Griptillian. I like this knife a lot. It cuts like crazy and holds an edge very well. The customer service is head and shoulders above any other knife maker I have dealt with. May get a new knife (probably for my next birthday) but it will probably be a Benchmade.

I have tried carrying a second knife on my weak hand side as a 'get off me blade' but don't really feel it is needed for my everyday life. Am already about as close to a batman belt as I want to be.  Also I do not carry a multi tool. Probably use them 2-3 times a month which does not justify it being on my person. Do however have one in my EDC/ GHB backpack and another in our primary vehicle.

Light- The light is an LED Lenser AAA. I like that it is small but dislike that it seems to run through batteries like Charley Sheen through hookers and cocaine. Have regularly found it dead despite very rare use (probably less than 20 minutes ave) and weekly battery rotation. Probably going to replace it with a Streamlight.

Lighter- A bic lighter with a few ranger bands wrapped around it. It gets used very rarely as I am not a smoker but I think a lighter is essential to carry. The knife and lighter are really the core of my 'survival' type stuff in terms of EDC. With them I can do a lot.

Chapstick- Self explanatory but important in very dry Arizona.

Phone- A China Mart Tracphone. It does everything I need (calls/ texts) and has no contract. If I talked on it a lot the slightly higher cost of minutes would matter but since it's rarely used that isn't an issue.

Wallet- The usual ID and cards as well as cash. I try to have at least a hundred dollars cash on me all the time.

Not shown:
Keys- Dunno why they missed the pic but nothing special there.

Belt- A good belt makes carrying a pistol much more comfortable than it can otherwise be. I use a heavy nylon 'rigger belt'. Many folks make these and they are mostly the same. The one I'm using was made by Spec Ops; no particular attachment there it was simply conveniently available when I needed a belt.

Clothes- I am sure to have a hat and decent shoes when leaving the house. Generally I wear pretty functional clothes but obviously that varies based on what is going on.

The End.

Hope that helps clear up what sort of thing I've got in mind.  Yours doesn't need to be exactly like this.  Just wanted to give an idea and talk about my EDC.

Of course you are welcome to ask anything about my EDC and I'll do my best to answer. Now get to work on your submissions.

Merry Christmas,



Monday, September 24, 2012

Air Travel and Preparedness

I hate flying. It is just a huge hassle. I really hate flying in America with airlines seemingly getting their customer service skills from communist Russia and the terribly irritating, disrespectful and utterly useless TSA. Having a little kid makes it worse. Given an option between flying with kiddo and getting kicked in the junk every hour on the hour for the same amount of time I would take the kicking.

Anyway the topic of preparedness and traveling by air comes up now and again. In various survivalist fiction it is a fairly common theme, typically showing a prepared person who gets caught unprepared. One answer which I sort of consider a cop out is to say that you live at your 'retreat' and do not travel. It is fine and dandy if that is how you want to live but many people it is not really an option. They need to travel occasionally for work or choose to see family who live far away (make no mistake if you move 2,000 miles to ideal survivalist land your friends and family are not going to all follow.) or just to have a fulfilling and interesting life.

It is not a big deal to be fairly well prepared when traveling. There is this magical thing called a checked bag. Take a well thought out selection of gear and put it into this bag. Below is a picture of various preparedness stuff that came along with us for this trip.

Contents:
Rocky boots, what I am wearing for work these days.
Sawyer water filter
Personal survival kit
IFAK
compass
lighter
cheapo flashlight
battery powered lantern
emergency radio
about 2-3k calories in food
the remaining stuff from my GHB
My TT bag
various knives-I didn't plan to go all John Locke here with the knives. A knife here or there plus a couple in kits sort of unintentionally grew to more than I might have brought when intentionally looking at all of them.

Not shown are some good serviceable clothing and a couple water bottles.

My experiences though brief, flying and carrying firearms have been positive. Unless you live in or travel to anti gun areas it is too easy to take a gun or two and some ammo along. This might be a good place for a fairly affordable gun sort of akin to a truck gun if you will. More a place for a $400 used revolver than your new custom $2,500 1911.

Yes checking a bag or two in the case of a gun, is a hassle. However it will let you land pretty well prepared instead of just relying on luck and your keen wits.  To me an extra few minutes and a small fee are probably worth it. At least worth thinking about anyway.

Something else to consider is keeping some equipment supplies and maybe even weapons in a place you regularly travel to. This of course would require that you can afford to take a small portion of your supplies (maybe a gun or two, a pair of boots, some clothes and maybe basic camping stuff like a pack, a tent and a sleeping bag, etc.) or have the money to purchase this stuff at the location. Also it would require a safe place to store this stuff or the establishment of a full on cache. This is an excellent place for fairly inexpensive (but still good) stuff like military surplus gear.






Friday, August 31, 2012

Sawyer Water Filter: Initial Impressions


I got to fiddling with the Sawyer Water Filter. Not sure why it took so long but here we go. Do bear in mind that these are just initial impressions. Maybe the thing will fall apart in a month and I will write that it sucks, who knows. (Though they have a  million gallon manufacturers guarantee. I do not think anybody has really put that to the test but it is definitely a positive sign.) Anyway here we go.

The Good: Two words; small and affordable. They cost somewhere around $40 and the dimensions of the filter are about 4"x2"x2". Weight is around a half pound. If those numbers do not illicit some interest I am not sure what would.

The Bad: The arrangement where you have to fill a bottle with questionable water and then filter it by squeezing it through the filter requires some getting used to. It isn't really bad, just different. The need for bladders are definitely the weak link in the system. That being said water filters are a fairly fragile item anyway. They have lots of little pieces like hoses and gaskets. The setup comes with little bladders to use. They seem fine but I would probably look at other options for serious use. Available bladders like those made by platypus might be a good option. I really like that the threads on the filter are compatible with 1 and 2 liter soda bottles which are readily available and almost indestructible. This is how I will probably use the Sawyer Water Filter.

You do really need to squeeze the bottle or bladder for it to work. Not a big deal as pumping the little handle on most filters 1,000 times to get a liter of water is probably more of a hassle. It is however a consideration. Filters like this are not what you would want to use to provide clean water for a family of 5 when the power is out or for a base camp kind of situation. While you could do it that would suck. I think you really want a small compact filter for hiking or mobile emergency use and a larger gravity flow filter like a Berkey water filter for a cabin/ base camp or a bug in type situation.

The Ugly: Please note that this is a filter vs a purifier. The significance is that the system does not eliminate viruses such as Hepatitis or Rotavirus. This may or may not be a concern for you depending on where you live and what you are looking for it to do. Admittedly I am not as educated on the topic as I could be. My  semi educated guess is that for areas that have all sorts of nasty diseases like sub Saharan Africa or the 3rd world in general this would be an issue. Also for situations where you might need to make water that could have co mingled with sewage (like a fairly populated area during a hurricane or flood) this could be problematic. I suppose you could boil and filter or something but I am not exactly sure.

My overall (initial) assessment is that these filters are pretty cool and a darn good deal. They would be great for a lot of situations. Given the price of the Sawyer there are a lot of possibilities. For the price of a Katadyn Pocket Water microfilter with a spare element we could get Sawyer water filters for ourselves, our parents and all of our siblings! Storing filters in all manner of kits, having a filter per group member or whatever is realistic given the affordable price point of the Sawyer filter.



Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Posts Worth Reading

Teotwawki Blog continues their prepping on 40 dollars a week series. Obviously it could easily be $40 a paycheck or month or whatever works with your situation. The emphasis on realistic and practical solutions that are still affordable is outstanding. I actually have one of the Sawyer Water filters they talk about. Honestly it was a last minute add on to another order just to check it out. This post reminds me that I should get to fiddling with the thing.

Claire Wolfe (who needs to be added to the blog roll) wrote a great post Things I  no longer have to worry about. I would add 'what other people think' and 'how (broke or barely getting by) people think I should spend my money'.

So a Glock is too big for you? Just saying a small 16 year old girl does it.


Tuesday, August 21, 2012

What Did You Do To Prepare This Week?

I ran 3 miles this morning leaving me with 21 left to go for the month. My NCO counterpart nicely told me that I am about 5 days behind being on glide path. That being said needing to do 2.1 miles a day or 2.6 if I don't run on the weekend (which my record on is pretty bad) is pretty manageable.

Picked up a spare filter for the Katadyn filter. The whole intentional purchase plan lead to making a purchase that has been languishing on the list for a couple years now. This is a good thing. 

Also did some looking at which tools and equipment fit into each of our systems. So many ways that can go. I have got some thinking and maybe tweaking to do.

What did you do to prepare this week?

Also remember that our giveaway of a copy of Stacey's Quest will run for only 2 more days.  Hurry up and enter today!

Monday, June 11, 2012

What Did You Do To Prepare This Week?

I picked up some moleskin for the get home bag. Also ordered a pair of black berkey elements for the filter, a couple surplus swiss poncho's, another compass and a Cold Steel Pipe Hawk. Yeah I decided to give the hawk a shot. Worst case it is sort of a cool thing to have anyway.

The biggest thing of last week is that I got back to a pretty normal exercise schedule for the first week after getting sick. Running, sprinting and lifting. Good times.

What did you do to prepare this week?

Monday, May 21, 2012

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Random Thoughts on Kits

I have pretty much pulled everything we have lying around or locally available for my GHB. Everything else will get ordered today or tomorrow. Stuff is chosen and funds are available but I am on the fence about a couple things that may go in the order. These new "sawyer"  water filtration systems look promising and for the price I may give it a shot.
I have noticed a few things about kits lately that seem worth discussing:

The name a person uses for a specific kit almost meaningless but we have covered that already. It's purpose is probably a lot more meaningful anyway.

There seems to two sort of schools when it comes to kits. There is the "generic" kit school and the specially designed school. The generic kit folks would say that a get home bag aka GHB should have these things. The specially designed folks would want to know a bunch of stuff like where you live, how far you are trying to go, what your plan is, etc. I think they are both sort of right. The generic kit folks are right in that they probably give a 75% solution for most people. Kits need stuff like a knife, fire, water and water purification, shelter (clothes and or sleeping), etc in varying quantities. The specialized folks are (outside of a rare person with terribly unrealistic plan) right in that kits should be driven by your skills, situation and plans. More often than not, excluding a rare person with a really unique situation, the specialists just end up adding and/ or subtracting a few things from the generic kit lists anyway.

In putting things together I have definitely realized you need redundancy in common items. I do believe in a sort of modular nesting concept where your EDC blends into a sort of survival kit, which flows into a get home bag, maybe all this contributes in some way to a BOB, etc. However life doesn't always work that way and each kit should be able to stand alone, certainly in key areas.

That means you probably need stuff like knifes, flashlights, water bottles, etc in some quantities. Not necessarily the same exact items but broad areas to fit different kits. The perfect flashlight to be on your key chain is not the one you want to use to set up camp at midnight. This means you probably want to think about the roles and expectations of tools in different kits.

To further complicate things you really want stuff in kits to be dedicated equipment. To me the whole point of a kit is having a thought through and organized set of stuff ready to go and in the right place when you need it. Otherwise you don't have a kit so much as a bunch of good stuff strewn all over your house, car, storage area, etc all. This means you either need to be really good about borrowing and replacing stuff, which nobody ever actually does, or have additional redundant stuff for common use.
The exact bar for what to get a spare of and what not to is based on our situation. For most people I think something like $50 or so makes sense. So that means the knife/ flashlight/ socks/ waterbottle/ etc all in a kit need to stay there. Certainly in the case of big ticket items like GPS's, guns, sleeping systems, etc common sense dictates some things may have to be added to the kit before taking it out or borrowed as needed. A big prominent tag on the front of a bag that says what to add and where it is located is a good way to make sure you remember those items.

Since most of the stuff we are talking about here is fairly inexpensive this redundancy really isn't a big issue. Also it is helpful with overall redundancy in that if you have 4 good knives the odds you will end up losing or breaking them all is slim. The process of figuring out what works well for each nitche could help the old "equip a friend" stash. A knife/ flashlight/ pouch which is slightly less than perfect for your situation is a lot better than no knife/ flashlight/ pouch.

Another thing that it is worth remembering is that you don't have to get the absolutely perfect best stuff on the market right away. I certainly do not recommend junk as it is alwys false economics. The thing is that you can replace servicable stuff with better stuff piece by piece over time. A $40 knife can be replaced by a better (or maybe just cooler if we are being honest) $85 knife around your birthday or a $75 on sale pack can be replaced by a perfect $400 pack when you have taken care of some other things and have the ever rare surplus cash lying around. This will also help with the whole redundancy thing and the "equip a friend" stash.

Even if you are not so worried about getting home or bugging out or whatever putting together kits is a pretty good way to really look at what you need in context instead of just a bunch of stuff on some big list.
In terms of general themes on the short term you are mostly looking at disposable stuff. You are carrying food to get you to wherever. Water is sort of an exception because it is so darn heavy. For just about any sort of plan you need to be able to make questionable water safe to drink. TP, baby wipes and generally stuff that is going to be consumed is the short term answer. All kits need some of this stuff if just for emergencies and convenience. However at some point a plan just cannot be supported by stuff on your back and you need to transition to things to get food, make shelter, etc.

Maybe you have a ridiculous cross country bug out planned. Of course you hope to use a vehicle and may even have some caches but the odds of that failing or needing to take substantial detours are high. In any case for this type of situation stuff like a .22 rifle, fishing gear, some traps, etc would probably be good to have. Even if you are super duper prepared and live at your "retreat" having a "grab in case of being overrun" bag is probably smart.  Anyway that is all I have to say about that.

Thoughts?

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Winning and Losing: Eating Well, Couch to 5k, Berkey Water Filter and Solar Power

We have been making some changes lately. We have started eating a lot better. More fresh fruit and veggies, lean protien and better carbs. Less eating out, just plain junk and carbtastic blah meals. Most of it is pretty intuitive. If there are not chips in the house you won't eat chips. Having some discipline and not going out to eat every time we feel like it and that sort of thing. The carb thing is kind of a grey area with lots of folks taking different views. We have both tried the super low/ no carb thing before and it doesn't work for us. She just hates it and I am tired and weak all the time. Instead we are trying to eat more reasonable portions of wheat bread or tortillas and brown rice. Just avoiding the huge bowl of white rice or plate of pasta kind of meals. We both feel a lot better and are getting healthier.
Wifey has been doing Couch to 5k. She is midway through week 6 right now. While she, like many people, does not currently and probably never will like running it is working for her. She noticed that dragging the kid up stairs has gotten easier. I would say this is a real good program for lots of people to seriously look at. If you are a fairly healthy person who is of a reasonable (like not morbidly obese) body weight but have not been very physically active this is a great way to get back to it. Toss in some sort of weight training program and you will be good to go. If you are seriously overweight or woefully out of shape it might be wise to do some sort of build up to this program, like eating reasonably and walking 1-2 times a day several days a week for a month or two to build up some conditioning and drop some fat. As always everybody should consult a general practice doctor, a dietitian, a cardiologist and a physical therapist before any sort of change to their diet or beginning any exercise program.

Personally I am cutting back to 2 times at the weight pile a week and upping my conditioning. Still doing the big lifts, just a bit more geared toward holding what I've got while conditioning gets tightened up. The human body only has so much work capacity and most of us only have so much time so there is a sort of push/ pull relationship. If you add or up the intensity in one thing you are going to almost inevitably lose ground in some other. Also inherantly between weight training and running/ cardio/ conditioning there is an inherant trade off. It isn't a bad thing really, especially for someone without many sport specific goals. Unless you plan to be a competitive marathoner or powerlifter it really isn't an issue.

On the downside our Berkey water filter is currently deadlined. I couldn't get it to seal and pass the dye test then (maybe while slightly frusterated;) I broke one of the white plastic nut/ bolt combo's that seal up the holes without an element in it while putting it back on. So I am not sure what exactly was wrong but now there is a new problem to deal with. Talk about not moving in the right direction!

This happened about three weeks ago and I put it away in frustration. I am going to get a replacement nut/ bolt and some more elements (either to replace the faulty ones or as spares) then go from there. On the bright side the good folks at Directive 21 have been great in helping me trouble shoot things and have just been a huge help with this. If I weren't such a slacking procrastinator this problem would likely already be fixed. Had I bought our Berkey from some no name fly by night folks who knows where I would be.  There are no problems that money (hopefully not very much, I really want it to be just the washer, not the element(s)!) and time can't fix. It hasn't been a huge concern because we have another water filter. Maybe there is a lesson there.

On a nice sunny day recently I busted out my little solar charger. I fiddled with it until I had a decent idea how it was supposed to work and then plugged in my kindle. After several hours in direct sunlight nothing happened and my dead kindle was still dead. This lead to a good amount of not very nice language.

 I realised a few things from this. First of all I do not know anywhere near enough about electricity. Second since we have added all sort of stuff, some pure entertainment and some useful since picking this charger up we may have already outgrown it. Third I need to test it at it's primary purpose which will be charging AA and AAA sized batteries. I am waiting for a sunny day when I have time to mess with it. Another more substantial (probably 15-26 watts) portable solar charger and maybe some sort of battery bank could be in order. However I have to do some more testing and become a more educated consumer before putting something else onto the wish list. If anybody has good resources to check out on this front I would be interested. Specifically good primers on electricity in general and a good breakdown of what watt/ size pannels can charge what sort of stuff and in how long would be great.

These two events were pretty frusterating for me. Nothing like having to go back to the drawing board or adding something else to the shopping list in an area where you thought things were good. Then again testing stuff is a good thing, even if you don't get the answers that you would like. Far better to have issues now, with the worst case being spending a little bit of money (water filter) or adjusting my expectations and maybe searching for a new piece of gear (solar charger), then some time down the road during an emergency when I need this stuff to work.

I guess the closing point is to look at eating healthier, getting into better shape plus alsp really start testing and retesting your equipment. Odds are something that should work might not.
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