Friday, August 31, 2012

Make your Own Solar Generator - Cheap!

Not really a gear review today, but I thought I'd share this interesting post.  There have been some huge power outages lately (India was a big one) and a lot of folks are wondering about backup power.  For anyone wanting to have their own power generator, but balks at the cost, check out this article over at Ghost Prepper:

DIY - A Cheap Solar Generator

The materials look very affordable and the instructions are fairly simple.  You will need a few tools though, so read the directions carefully and find out if you have all the tools before proceeding.


Wednesday, August 29, 2012

What If You had to Go to a Shelter?

As news about Isaac approaching the Gulf Coast fills our new reports, we are reminded that hurricane season is in full swing.  Many residents in New Orleans have already evacuated into shelters for safety, while some are choosing to stay home.

What if you did have to go to a shelter?  I would have no idea what to expect, never having experienced anything like it.  Being in close quarters with many others could breed infections.

This article from The Survival Doctor has some great suggestions on what to take with you to help you avoid catching something:

Small Items Could Prevent Major Misery in Emergency Shelters

Even if you never have to go to a shelter, these are good items to include in your bug out bag.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Great Tips on Finding the Right Tent

Shelter is one of our basic needs and is an important part of a well rounded preparedness plan.  A tent is one option for shelter, but choosing a good tent can be difficult.  Why not take some advice from someone who knows:  Check out this SurvivalCommonSense article:

Gear review: How to choose a four-season backpacking tent for winter camping

Even if you are not planning a camping trip right now, the article gives some great pointers on finding the right tent. 

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Gerber 31-000751 Bear Grylls Survival Series Ultimate Knife

Everyone should own a good knife but choosing one can be tricky.

I originally was not going to look at this knife.  I was skeptical about it, especially since it had a celebrity endorsement by Bear Grylls. 

But after reading a lot of forums and reviews, I changed my mind and decided to try it.

I was not disappointed.  It is very light weight and fits perfectly in my palm.  I also like the hand grip, as it is molded and non-slip.  It also comes with a nylon sheath, sharpener, as well as a firestarter, so you get extra value for your money.

If you are interested, here are some more specs:
  • 10 inches in length from end to tip
  • Blade Length is 4.75 inches
  • Weighs 11.2 ounces alone, 14.72 ounces with sheath
As far as field testing it, we took it camping and I used it to cut twigs and whittle wood and it performed well.  The easy non-slip grip made it easy to use.
I have bought other knives before, that didn't work out so I gave them to other family members who needed a knife. Gerber 31-000751 Bear Grylls Survival Series Ultimate Knife is a keeper.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Make Fresh Coffee when the Power is Out: Magellan 9-Cup Percolator

I wanted to find out a way to make coffee when electricity is out and the coffee maker won't turn on.  Remembering how my Mom used to make coffee when I was a kid, I picked up the Magellan 9 cup percolator from the camping section of Academy.

Percolators were the popular way to make coffee up until the 1970s when automatic drip coffee makers came out.  I had never used a percolator before but it's actually pretty simple.  You measure ground coffee into the brewing chamber.  Fill the pot with the desired amount of water.  In this case, it says nine cups, but with our large coffee mugs we have at home, it makes about five-six servings.  As the the water boils, the hot water works its way up the tube until it reaches the coffee grounds.   The coffee drips back down, as the rest of the plain water goes up the tube until the entire pot is now coffee.

I had read that if you leave it percolating too long, the coffee will taste burnt, so I made sure I took it off the heat after about 10 minutes of brewing.

The coffee was pretty flavorful and strong, just the way I like it.  It won't replace my drip coffee maker, but I like knowing I can brew coffee during a power outage.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Survivorman Returns

I just found out my favorite outdoorsman, Les Stroud, Survivorman is back on Discovery.  The new show is called Survivorman Ten Days.  He will spend ten days instead of seven surviving out in the wild all by himself, with no camera crew.  

I've watched the original Survivorman for years; this show got me interested in learning survival skills.  It's a great show to watch with the family. 

I am setting my DVR to catch all the episodes!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Purify Muddy Water in a Pouch: HydroPack

This looks really interesting:  Purifying dirty water and drinking it from a pouch, like a Capri Sun.

Check out this Daily Prep Episode, Turn Muddy Water into a Sports Drink

They are not cheap, but they are small and portable.  They can be purchased by the bucket.  The Amazon product description shows:
  •   Forward osmosis filter requires no pumping, works in any virtually and water, even muddy water. Produces a sports drink for improved hydration.
It's worth a look!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Magellan Outdoor Flask

This summer we took a few camping trips and were able to test out a lot of gear.  I was happy with most of the items we got, but as we've all found out, some items just don't work out at all.

 This item is one of them:

This flask leaked all over the place.  The contents were of a syrupy consistency and it leaked just enough so that the items around it were all sticky.  I was not a happy camper (pun intended)! 

When we returned I searched around and luckily, I still had the receipt.  The folks at Academy were good about giving me my money back.  Granted, it was only $4.99, but still, when you take something all the way to the mountains with you, you expect it to work.   For next trip, I'll go for the pricier flask.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Gear for the Space Challenged

If you live in an apartment, you are usually short on space.  You need to be selective on what types of gear to choose.  Here is an article about essential gear to have that don't take up a lot of space:

10 "Must Have" Emergency Gear for Apartment Preppers

It's not all inclusive, it would be impossible to list everything, but a good place to start!

Friday, August 17, 2012

Blue Hill UL Stove

I am looking for an emergency stove that can be used with different types of fuels.  I found this review over at

Gear review: Blue Hill UL stove

The stove can be used with a Sterno can or other similar canned fuel but it can also be used with alcohol, solid fuel tabs or placed over a fire.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Backpacker's Pantry Cheesecake

A lot of people wonder if the freeze dried desserts are any good.  I know, because other shoppers have come up to me at the sporting goods store, asking if I've tried them.

I can't vouch for all of them, but I can say the Backpacker's Pantry Cheesecake is very good.

It is easy to prepare:  just mix contents with hot water and wait a few minutes.

I know it says "Cheesecake" but don't expect a New York style cheesecake from a five star restaurant.  It is more like the no-bake "cheese pie"type dessert, or like a pudding.  Once you accept that, you will find it's pretty tasty.

It it sweet and nicely flavored, with a creamy consistency.  The kids liked it and asked for seconds.
And that is a good recommendation right there.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Katadyn Pocket Water Microfilter Review

 Katadyn Pocket Water Microfilter

There are so many portable water filters available, the choices can be confusing.  I have been interested in the Katadyn Pocket Water Microfilter but have not given it a try.

Here is a review: 
Katadyn Pocket Water Microfilter Review  from Off-Grid Survival

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Grain Mill Review

Most beginning preppers are concerned about storing food for a week to a month, but as you get more familiar with food storage you eventually get to storing grains.  Then you will need a grain mill to process your stored grain.

If you are in the market for a grain mill here is a good review of one:

Equipment Review: WonderMill Junior Deluxe Grain/Flour Mill  

from ModernSurvivalOnline

Under the Bed Harvest Food Rotation System

I tried the Shelf Reliance Under the Bed Food Rotation System, hoping to add more storage space.

Here are the parts that came with it:

I laid it all out, got a few tools and set out to assemble it.

Two hours later I was still assembling.

The parts do not fit well together, and just when you think they will stay up, the whole thing falls apart.   I don't think I am totally clueless about building things-assembling bookshelves, cribs, futons etc.  The issue was the holes do no line up properly with the other parts.

When I finally got the shelf assembled, I found out it does not fit well under our bed.  Once assembled, it is 14 inches high.  The shelf is way too tall and I would have to elevate the bed several more inches.  In all fairness the height is specified in the Shelf Reliance website; my fault for not pre-measuring my under the bed space. 

Lesson learned:  Always measure your space before acquiring any new items.  As far as recommending this product, I give it a 2.5 out of 5 stars, due to the difficulty of assembly.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Is the E-Foods Sample Worth the $9.95 Shipping Cost?

E-foods is offering a free sample of entrees, but with a $9.95 shipping cost.  If you are still trying to decide, check out this review:

Product Review: E-Foods Creamy Potato Soup
It's over at Apartment Prepper

Pathfinder 32 oz Bottle and Cup Set with Water Bottle Bag

If you've seen the show Dual Survival, you'll be familiar with Dave Canterbury.  He runs the Pathfinder website and Jarhead Survivor over at SHTF Blog bought the 32 oz Bottle and Cup Set with Water Bottle Bag.  See
Gear Review: Pathfinder 32 oz Bottle and Cup Set with Water Bottle Bag 
for an indepth review.

He also reviewed the Stove Top and Pot Stand

Looks like some good gear.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Good Review of the Kifaru Bug-Out Bag

It takes a lot of research to find the right bug out bag.  See a possible one:  Kifaru Longhunter.

See Initial Review:  Kifaru Longhunter  over at TEOTWAWKI Blog.

Mountain House Noodles with Chicken

At our last camping trip we took Mountain House Noodles with Chicken for one of the dinners.


After removing the oxygen absorber, just add a couple of cups of boiling water, seal and wait about 10 minutes.

We left it alone a couple more minutes to make sure the water was absorbed.

You can eat it right out of the packet or serve in a bowl.


This stuff is good!  The noodles came out soft but not overly mushy.  You can really taste the chicken pieces and the sauce was very flavorful.

This may be one of the best freeze dried foods I've ever had!  Highly recommended!

The family liked this one so much we plan to buy a few more for home use.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Welcome to Prepping Gear Review!

Hello world!

I started preparing for emergencies and found there are a lot of unfamiliar gear, food and products out in the market.  You can't always be sure what you are buying until you actually try it.  Some have worked out just fine, but some, not that well.

I thought I'd start a blog to document what I've tried out, and see what else is out there.

Together we can make the most of our hard earned money, and get the items that we really need!

Thanks for visiting.