Editors’ Prepping Progress

To be prepared for a crisis, every Prepper must establish goals and make long-term and short-term plans. Steadily, we work on meeting our prepping goals. In this column, the SurvivalBlog editors review their week’s prep activities. They also often share their planned prep activities for the coming week. These range from healthcare and gear purchases to gardening, property improvements, and food storage. This is something akin to our Retreat Owner Profiles, but written incrementally and in detail, throughout the year. We always welcome you to share your own successes and wisdom in the Comments. Let’s keep busy and be ready!


Here at the Rawles Ranch we had some wonderful atypical sunny days this week which cheers us all up. We’re happy that the days are starting to perceptibly lengthen, but we will be very happy when the Grip Of Winter is released.

Aside from my usual writing, I did some organizing and inventorying. I concentrated on making certain that I have all of the parts needed to complete my few remaining planned M4gery and AR-10 builds. It would be embarrassing to be a few parts short. You see, ARs have a nasty habit of not functioning unless all of the requisite parts are present, sober, and ready for duty. There are a few exceptions–such as the ejection port cover parts and sling swivels–but as for most of the rest: They have to be there, or the Poodle Shooter doesn’t go “bang” reliably or accurately in a serial fashion, as it should.

Avalanche Lily Reports

Dear Readers,
To conclude the discussion of backpacking gear and food, that I began last week:

Food Issues

I spent more time in YouTube listening to videos of Through Hikers planning their meals, preparing and organizing their foods in boxes and sending it.  I wanted to know what their food choices were.  What I found were that many of these hikers live on highly processed foods: candy, freeze dried meals, nutrition bars all of which are full of additives: corn syrup, soy, MSG, salts, other flavorings, dyes, preservatives, dried milk, blueberries, bananas, nutritional yeast, maltodextrin, aspartame and other fake sugars, et cetera. Those are all things that I refuse to eat, or am intolerant to.  I have food sensitivities (the big ones are yeast, mushrooms, cane sugar, blueberries, bananas, milk and milk products, eggs, crustaceans, mollusks, and whole wheat.  (Gluten is not an issue).  If any foods contain these items, I would prefer to fast that meal than to eat it, and feel lousy, later.

For the most part, our family eats an all natural, very loose kind of Paleo-Keto diet, which is dairy free and mostly wheat and yeast free. We eat very little packaged processed food, mainly canned tuna, salmon, Kirkland plain potato and corn chips, some Premium Saltine crackers, dark chocolate, canned organic tomato sauce, paste, diced; Lara Bars, peanut and almond butters, organic ketchup, and relish.  Most everything else we buy is bought in it’s pure, single state form, or we buy fresh, or grow it ourselves, or raise it ourselves.

I am not currently milking cows, because we are mostly dairy free. Our cows are now being raised for beef. But one of them can be milked if we had long term guests who need milk. For instance if our son, his wife and the grandchildren came home, they would want milk and eggs. A similar situation has arose with the chickens: sensitivities to eggs, thus we raise them for meat and give most of the eggs away.

Well, so what do we eat? We eat lots of beef, chicken, turkey, tuna, salmon, cod, nuts and seeds of all kinds: almonds, walnuts, cashews, pistachios, peanuts, pumpkin and sunflower seeds; rice, sweet and white potatoes, squash, oats, barley, some honey and maple syrup, and lots of fresh, frozen and dried fruit, veggies, olive and coconut oils and milk, and only a little bit of pure dark chocolate. We eat very little dairy, wheat, pastas, yeast, sugars, desserts, jams.  The kids do sometimes eat cheddar cheese melted on corn chips. I will eat white flour (non yeast or dairy) homemade biscuits or flatbread once in a while, but cannot make a habit of it.  I make lots of soups, chili’s, stir fries, roasts; meat, potato/rice vegetable meals, of which, I will now be sharing those recipes with you in the coming weeks.

Obviously, many of these foods are not self-sustainable in the American Redoubt, which is why we say stock up.  We wish to stay as healthy as possible as long as possible, and when these unsustainable foods are gone, they’re gone and we’ll make do with what is left.

Healthy Trail Foods

Thus, needing more ideas for healthy eating on the trails, I got back onto YouTube and looked up the words “Thru Hikers Keto”  and a large number of videos showed up of people with special diets doing Thru hikes mostly on the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) and their food choices. I watched many of them and gleaned many more ideas of what to eat and how to prepare our own dehydrated meals.

Thus this past week, I cooked up and then dehydrated (in our trusty Excalibur dehydrator) some of our frozen ground beef, and veggies: Zuchinni, carrots, sweet peppers to make some meals for hiking/bugging out.   Nearly all of those foods were grown or raised right here at the ranch, but not the peppers. We’re having a tough time getting them to grow, here.  I harvested only about 30 peppers this past fall.  The dehydrated hamburger was delicious to me. I couldn’t stop snacking on it.

We do have much Freeze Dried individual foods in storage, but most of them  are in bulk-sized packages (read: #10 Cans) and I do not want to get into them, until we have to.  We also have freeze dried meals and MREs I will not eat these because of the chemicals/preservatives and dyes. At least I won’t until they’re the only thing left on the shelf.  Then, God help me!

We also ordered dehydrated coconut milk and some beef bone broth powder to try, and to nutritionally boost our smoothies and hiking cereals. They arrived this week and I will be trying them out this coming week.

Now for the jump from Ultra-light hiking to Survivalism.  Now that I know more about dehydrating our own foods for meals. I’m going to be dehydrating more foods to create our own dehydrated meals for hiking and bugging out.  We will test them out here at the ranch and during some hiking and skiing trips in the coming weeks. I, also will be putting them into our bug out bags in case we ever have to flee our ranch.  This is our bug out location, I hope to never have to leave, but you never know what could happen…  We must be prepared for all scenarios. In the future, I will tell you which meals work the best and how to make them.

Cooking Tools

Because we are of the survivalist bent and are looking at long-term survival in the forest and the practicability of available long term fuel, I have a tiny folding wood burning stove for cooking meals that burns twigs and small pieces of wood, instead of a gas/propane hiker stove. We will be testing that out with these dehydrated foods in the coming weeks.

Snow Conditions, Skis, and Skiing Skills

Three weeks ago, I discovered that if the snow is soggy wet, then my waxless cross-country skis do well on that type of snow, also as well as, the powdery snow if the temperature is below 32* F.  The problem is a damp snow layer on top of powder as the temperature transitions from above freezing to below freezing. This is when the snow crystals freeze to the bottom of the skis causing the skis to lose their gliding capabilities.

What I’d like to do this winter, and what we are doing, is getting everyone in shape and up to speed on their cross country skiing skills, so that we can go for an overnight winter cross country skiing trip. Violet came skiing with me three times this week.  She needs to get the kick and glide movements smoother and continue to build her strength and endurance.

As you all know, up to this point, we are living year-round at–and have been developing–our intended Bugout location. (Our idea of Bugging Out is Bugging in, since we already live here.)   We haven’t really spent too many nights sleeping outside or camping. We aren’t really planning on leaving here, but if we had to, we need to be ready to go, to be in shape, and to be accustomed to being out in the elements in all situations.

As a wrap up, this coming week, the plan is to test sleeping out in my Wiggy’s sleeping bag in the tent, to try to ski around our land or hike the driveway and road for an hour every day, to order polypropylene long underwear for a good base layer, to do some research into sleds to pull gear in while cross country skiing, to dehydrate more foods and start planning meals and testing them out on our little tiny wood camp stove, and to start composing an article on the comparison of ultralight hiking gear versus a bugout backpack.

May you all have a very blessed week! – Jim and Avalanche Lily Rawles


This week at the Latimer homestead the preparations for Spring gardens have begun! The ground thawed enough where the tractor was able to till the ground. It was a team effort. Two young men shoveling the foot of chicken poo out of the chicken pen into a wheelbarrow, then onto the main garden plot to spread it. The winter’s ashes from the wood stove was also spread throughout the garden and then everything, including last years plant cover (sans any seeds) was tilled under. We’ll now let that settle for the next six weeks or so and then till again just after the spring grasses have started to shoot up. It’s funny, no matter how hard you try to find all of the carrots and onions, you always find you missed some when you till.

In the meantime, the house repairs continue at a normal pace. Every outlet in the house has to be replaced because the old outlets have lost their grip. It doesn’t help that whoever wired the house before never bothered to connect the ground wires. At least they didn’t cut them off so it’s just a matter of wiring them properly as I replace the outlets.

Strangely enough, we have one light switch in the kitchen that doesn’t seem to control anything. There is power to it and it has its own breaker, but I can’t find any load connected to it. I suspect that it was a light switch that was orphaned during one of the many remodels the previous owners performed. The microwave sits right next to it so I’m thinking of replacing the switch with an outlet for the microwave. I’d feel a lot better about that if I could just locate where the rest of the wire vanishes to. My fear is that it is just an open end somewhere in the wall or roof. Any ideas on tracing that mystery wire out would certainly be appreciated.

o o o

As always, please share your own successes and hard-earned wisdom in the Comments.


    1. Dear Hoosier Gal,

      I like to keep things very simple.

      I fried the beef on the stove, (90% lean) drained the fat and fluids, put the meat on paper towels on a cookie sheet, blotted away all of the extra fat and juices with another paper towel. I then put the meat in the dehydrator with the temperature between 145 and 155 degrees for 7 hours. I kept checking it, periodically after about five hours. When it was dry, I took it out, cooled it down, put it into a gallon sized baggy, and put it in the freezer. (I put it in the freezer because the hour was too late to seal it with our vacuum pack sealer) The next day, I took it out of the freezer. As it warmed in the plastic, I saw a little bit of a moisture build up. So I put the dried hamburg back on the cookie sheet and popped it into the oven at 200 degrees for a half hour. I then let it cool, put it into 3 pint-sized mason jars and vacuum sealed them shut.

      Once I have dehydrated more foods, I will be combining the dried foods for backpacking meals, and testing them out.

      I heard that some people like to mix bread crumbs with their dehydrated beef, because it gives it more moisture and tenderness for the beef?, when rehydrated?

      I’m not sure about that, and anyway, I don’t want breads: flour, gluten, yeasts mixed with my hamburg.

      As of today, I do not know how the hamburg will be, texture wise, when it is rehydrated. I do like it’s dehydrated crunchy beefy taste. We’ll have to wait to find out when I make a meal with it.



    2. Hoosier Gal,

      I use 93/7% lean hamburger for dehydrating; anything less than 90% is too greasy and it doesn’t dry properly, thus the meat is wasted. Using a similar method as Lily’s above after cooking, draining, heat and drain and if necessary do a 3rd cycle of heat and drain. The more grease and moisture you get out the less time you need for drying. After the 2nd (or 3rd) heat/drain I spice the hamburger to whatever flavor I want and put it in the dehydrator about 5/6 hours or over night, depending on your location, altitude and humidity. I store some in mylar bags, some in glass jars and some in vacuum seal bags.

  1. HJL, I had a similar light switch in a previous house’s kitchen, near a window that controlled an exterior light to illuminate the back yard. If your past remodels changed or covered an exterior wall and such a light was removed or relocated your switch would become an orphan. Repurpose it for the microwave.

  2. Hugh,
    Use a tone generator to find your wires in the wall. Disconnect the wires in the box to determine which pair come from the breaker box (obviously the hot ones when you turn the breaker on to check). After that, a telephone tone generator will be safe to use on the remaining pairs of wires. You should be able to find and trace them behind drywall and masonry as long as they are not in conduit or metal shielding (MC cable). If you have to work on hot wires they make tone generators for finding live AC wires but they are more expensive (maybe $200 vs. $25). If for any reason you need to trace backward toward the breaker panel, make sure the breaker is off and disconnect the neutral. In addition to the risk of shock or burning your equipment, the connections in the breaker panel will send your tone all over the house, reducing it’s level and just creating confusion.

  3. HJL, although I know not a thing about electrical wiring, I do know to have a healthy reverence for it. As I mentioned last week, we had no more finished a full electric rewiring (by a city certified electrician) that was inspected by the city inspectors, than we had a devestating fire caused by a loose wire in a hidden junction box. Our house survived because it was brick, but we were out of our house and in limbo for a year (do not ask me about contractors and code enforcers…not to mention complaining neighbors!) Is it any surprise we have since moved to the middle of the woods in the American Redoubt?

    Lilly, I understand fully about eating healthy foods. We battle the same thing here without the allergies. Processed foods cause so many health issues, but are convenient, cheap and easy to store. I have a mix in my food storage and am interested in your backpacking/long term food solutions. History shows us that long term foods were as highly caloric as possible and bland. Hard tack, pemmican, corn mush and flour cakes. In fact, settlers would “flavor” foods with ashes in desperation. Dried fruit, meat jerky and dried fish were probably a bit more tasty.

    Anyway, onward. It was so cold here this week that the local schools closed 1.5 days. I was glad to be home at the cabin to keep the fire going. Our Wyoming dogs couldn’t even stay out long because of the humidity and the winds. I am happy to report that, if needed, I was prepared for being outside. But, happily, I didn’t need to be! Instead I worked on building a website for my potential business. I have built one for my community archaeology project, so I know some basics. It’s slow going and a lot of work. Amazing how the memory skips that part!

    Just happy to report that all the fall preparations are working. I did just order and receive a recommended reference book, The Penguin History of the World by JM Roberts and OSS Arne Westad. I teach Global Studies (World History for those of us of a certain age), and, at first glance, this looks to be worth the few dollars I paid for it. It is so unused as a used book that I suspect some college student was forced to purchase it and never cracked it open. Right now Google is available, but that will not always be the case.

  4. HJL
    Wiring in a house is confusing. Good on you for replacing those loose receptacles.
    We had a close call last year. The receptacle for our coffee pot went dead.
    We traced it back to the first recepticle in the chain that was still energized and I found a loose connection in the back of that 50 year old device.
    I am old school, if it ain’t broke don’t break it but in this case I think swapping out old for new and doing it right is a great idea.

    Thinking about your mystery wire, it sounds like the switch might be in the kitchen.
    A lot of people used to put garbage disposals in before we found they were bad for septic tank chemistry.

    I like the signal generator idea although I have never used one. You being a Ham probably likes that too.

    1. To Lee, please explain to me why garbage disposal and septic tanks do not mix. I have one in my kitchen, also just had the septic tank cleaned as hasn’t been done for the years this place was a rental. Thanks.

      1. Karen, we have had septic at five locations in our lives. The tendancy is for people to stuff a lot of food waste into them, which goes into your septic system.

        If you think of it as it’s actual limited capacity, and very tender biological capability, you will save yourself many thousands of dollars of grief later.
        Where we live now, the prior owners paid $13,500 to redo their septic- we have the invoice.

        Food waste is wonderful nutrients for your yard, garden, and compost pile. Now we keep a scrap bucket to haul out outside and it’s coming to 1-2 gallons of waste per week. So 50 or 100 gallons of solid food waste per year is now NOT going into our 1000 gallon septic tank anymore.

        The other killer is chemicals. If cleaning fluids kill your green foamy scum in the tank, it won’t break up the poop or other waste from your sinks. So your septic tank will eventually backup, plug or fail, possibly even causing overflow onto your floors. It was an unhappy family time, and we had to make them all use 5 gallon buckets during an interim period.

        We learned this year that getting chemo for cancer ended up killing the tanks green scum at our rental house. The poor guy getting treatment now has chronic diarrhea for past two years where all ‘food’ goes through him and it is sitting in a confetti state in the tank. The screens plugged, the tank filled totally up, the line plugged all the way to the toilet, then you learn where the sewage drain system really isn’t tightly sealed after all.

        I am now dosing that toilet with biologic treatment every week (Green Pig, and common yeast). My buddy just started his third round of chemo so I need to pull out the strainer baskets out and clean them regularly.

        Septic inspectors here measure the thickness of the green foam as part of the report they write up.

        Great question you asked! Treat your septic gently and monitor what you feed it. God Bless and best wishes.

        1. Alaskaresident
          Years ago my late husband was on chemo for many weeks, several times over a 3 year period. We had a septic tank at the home we were living in. The man that came to pump our sewer tank told us that if we let a gallon of whole milk sour, then pour it into our septic tank, it would counter act the chemo chemicals that were passed thru his body. Chemo kills the good bacteria in the tanks. We did that and never had any problems with our sewer system.

        2. We just installed a new water treatment center with softener. We have rerouted the rinse cycle water from the septic to a drain outside the home and down to a runoff irrigation ditch. I’ve read that the recycled water from a softener is bad for your septic, too.

  5. BRUTAL nasty week. Lots of snow , wind and below zero weather. Got to -33 for the lowest low with -55 wind chill. I mainly kept the woodstove in my shop stoked as well as feed the wood stove and fireplace in the house. I have now burned right at 50% of the wood I figured I’d burn this winter. I got lots more though.

    Got snowed in for three days. The road is now open, one lane only in most places.
    We ended up breaking the record low temp ever and had the snowiest January on record. What the heck happened to Global Warming?

  6. Picked up 15 steel mags from gunbroker for 6.00 a pop. Also found some Okay Surefeed mags at Botach (no tax and free shipping). Also picked up 500 pieces of RP .45 brass. Also updating inventory of firearm accessories and getting ready for a trip to Gorden Food Services (rice, beans, lentils etc).

  7. Karen, thanks for the question. I may have been a little hasty with this general comment.
    Garbage disposals are primarily used to grind food products. Fresh veggies and grease do not break down as quickly as other digested material we typically flush.
    This is a problem if the disposal is used to dispose of large quantities of vegetable and greasy waste. You do not want to allow solid material into your drainfield if you can help it.

    Most of us with septic tanks are very careful about what we put down the drain. My Wife and I are picky about everything from TP to soaps and other products.
    We have been on a septic for 37 years. I removed our disposal 24 years ago after the pumping company recommended we stop using it.
    Unlike city sewers we have to provide our own maintenance. I like digging in the dirt but I do not enjoy digging in THAT dirt.

    We all have a small amount of food go down the drain. This is normal. If you do choose to use a disposal try to limit the volume.
    More frequent pumping might be required. Sounds like you are on the way by having the septic pumped. Now you have a “clean” start. Take care of your bacteria and they will take care of you.
    Best of luck!

    I hope this helps.

  8. This is slightly off topic, but thanks to Avalanche Lily she caused it to pop into my mind again. I’m in my 70s and due to med problems and necessary pills lost all my teeth and had to get full upper and lower dentures. They are horrible! A.L. say they eat many chew necessary foods. Try that with false teeth! Not so good. PEOPLE! TAKE CARE OF YOUR TEETH!! Once they are gone, they are gone and false teeth don’t compare! Ask someone who has to endure them. Boy do I miss my real teeth, but it’s too late now. Think about SHTF. Even if there’s a dentist available who’s gonna make that set of false choppers? Think about the cost. You think the dentist is expensive now, just wait. Before i ended up in my current situation, had many root canals and caps. Just as good as the real thing. Anyhoo, that’s my rant and thanks Lily!

    1. Comingstorm, I feel for you. Literally. My teeth have been breaking down for years, just had four lower front teeth pulled yesterday. I wept for quite some time right there in the dental chair, not about the pain but for the sorrow of losing my ability to eat as I used to eat. Large grief.

      My young dentist, god bless him, held my hand throughout. I told him that he is a man among men, to offer comfort to another man crying out sadness.
      His wife and family are fortunate to have his tender heart in their lives.

      Dentures are in my future, Sigh.

      Carry on

  9. I had a friend who would dehydrate her leftovers for her husband to take to work while he was away (army Reserve) . he appreciated it and it was so much healthier. I have dehydrated a lot but haven’t tried hamburger. I m looking forward to how yours reconstitutes. I would think that vacuum packing whole meals in canning jars could be very helpful as well as some in the vacuum pack bags. Also on another note, we use our ashes in our chicken coops , placed in boxes for them to dust themselves during the winter. They are all excited when we bring in fresh (but totally cooled of course) ashes.

  10. Madam,
    Here at our farm near the outskirts of Eugene Oregon, we went organic in 2011. The differences are amazing:
    Complete across-the-board elimination of “allergies”.
    No more “arthritis”.
    No more “fungus” around toes and toenails.
    Elimination of “brain fog”.

    I listed those symptoms in quotation marks. Based on this experience, these symptoms were all caused by the millions of tons of petroleum-based pesticides our species dump on food crops.

    With this success, we experimented with eliminating Omega 6 oils, such as corn, safflower, sunflower. Soy was never a part of our diet because of the interference with human hormones. Cotton is the most sprayed crop, so cottonseed oil was never part of food for us.

    Because our joints need oils for lubrication == our brains are 80% fat, 80% of that is cholesterol == we increased our consumption of organic olive oils, organic coconut oils, and BACON.

    I think I discovered a simple formula for determining a reactive potential:
    *** If I crave it, it is harmful. ***

    For example, a nice comforting carb-load of nachos with refried beans and cheese == bad for me.

    Of course, after journaling our reactions to foods, we eliminated grains years ago. No oatmeal, wheat, corn, barley. Then we discovered the area in the human brain responsive to addictive substances and activities; just like a gambling junkie or a free-jumper or coke-head, that part of our brains releases ‘feel-good’ chemicals. We felt good after a gamble or a big plate of nachos, so we instantly learn to seek more. Bad idea.

    Another bad idea is the Standard American Diet aka SAD. I grew-up with one small hospital for several million people. Are you noticing massive hospitals and clinics on every corner? Correlation?

    And our animals are Paleo, too.

  11. One of the benefits of backpacking “light” it frees up weight/space. I’m a zpack.com fan (yes it’s expensive), but quality and lightweight always does. If your diet requires special foods or your climate special clothing this weight and space saving becomes really important. The lower the weight of the big three pack,tent,sleep system,( under 5 lbs.) the better off you will be. Especially if older, have children, or out of shape. Also think gun,ammo, 5 days + or more of special foods. The “lighter” you can travel backpacking while still meeting your needs, the greater the odds are of getting to where you’re headed

  12. Hello JM,

    The stove is a Lixada, Titanium Fold-up Twig Stove. We purchased it through E-Bay.

    My tent was one of our sons’. It is a Salida 2 Kelty, 2 person 3-season, self-standing tent. It’s about four pounds. I just found out that it has been discontinued. 🙁

    Well, I had thought it was a one-man tent. No wonder I thought there was room for Jim in it, last week, which was the first time I had slept in it. 🙂

    Eloise has a Marine Corp TCOP single-man tent that Jim ordered for her from a seller on Craigslist. She slept out it one night, so far, last summer.

    To be fair, this is what we have of backpacking weight at this time, and we’re not saying that these are the best products. We may find out later that we’ll be making changes after giving them some tryouts. We also own have two expedition quality three-man tents made by Moss. (Back when they made tents. Now all they make is nylon trade show “pavillions.) But those Moss tents are borderline for backpacking weight.



  13. Greetings from our beautiful place in SW Idaho where we had an extremely busy week here, on Monday we had imported 30 yards of road mix for the driveway, the weather has been so mild this winter and the road was getting spongy/muddy and this was the best way to address the problem. The wife has had a problem with her Kahr 9mm everyday carry (the trigger pull was too long) and had hinted about looking at something different ,say no more, we hopped into the truck and away we went to my favorite gun store where we found one that she was very comfortable with, the M & P Shield in 9mm she’s been out back at the range the past couple of afternoons breaking it in! Between all of that she has been able to make up a new batch of soap too as the inventory was getting low and made up 8 pounds worth this should be enough for the year. I had to go back into town on both Wed. & Thur as i am doing some bartering, first job was at my doctor’s house and it is difficult to put a value on our dealing due to our relationship, he a doctor and me a carpenter but we struck a happy deal for the both of us, he got his items fixed and i feel i got the better part of the deal a real doc i can call on and avoid the health care system. Thur found me in town again doing more carpentry work, finishing up work on a folk school that some friends are getting started, again we are bartering and they are sponsoring me at a weekend banjo camp that is held here in the spring this year.
    Fri. we placed our orders for this years meat birds 52 of them to be picked up the first of April and placed an order for 1 package of honey bees, we are down to just 1 package of bees per year as we just can’t keep them thru the winter ( they keep dying) we think it is because lack of a good food source during the season, but we do get a great benefit from them during the season as they are the greatest pollinator’s on earth. Today takes us into town again, our church does an annual ground hog feed which is now more of a tradition than a fundraiser but a great way to have fellowship with our church family as well as serve our community! Blessings to all and especially to those of you caught up in the polar vortex this to shall pass

  14. HJL,

    This should do the job of tracing out your mystery wire. You are right to want to know where this goes. You may find a hidden receptacle or a hidden fixture box, or just two wires hanging in a wall somewhere. Could be dangerous just to let it go unresolved.


    Personally I would prefer the Fluke brand, but they tend to be really expensive. I noticed the Fluke branded products started at over $100 and ran up to a couple of grand for the top end pro model.

  15. I love sepic tanks. They are very easy to get along with as long as you take care of them. Hence, for those dealing with chemo, or some such, I always recommend that one toilet be a composting toilet. I like Nature’s Head, but there are many out there. In a SHTF time, you will be VERY happy that you have one never fail option!! I have coco coir stacked up. Again, like a septic tank, coco coir and composting are very easy to deal with and take good care to always work. AND……you can reuse that used coir as soil supplement in 2 years. Just give the worms a chance to turn it into incredible dirt.
    I always caution people to remember that the brain uses and needs fat. Don’t go low fat mania but give the brain good fats. I really think that so much alzheimers these days is due to low fat, chemical laden foods consumed since the 1970’s.

    1. I second Sandra’s recommendation to have a compositing toilet on hand. Sanitation is important. It can be as simple as a toilet seat made to snap onto a bucket. I store mine filled with bags, toilet paper, wet wipes and plastic gloves. And, yes, I’ve used it; convenient, but smelly. We also are on year 2 of our regular composting toilet and the coco fibers work better than dirt or sawdust; however we have to buy the coconut fibers and reconstituted them. The urine container also fills quickly and, with our water rationing situation, I use inexpensive plastic gloves to empty both the toilet and the liquid holder. In addition, make sure your compost is secured away from animals.

  16. Hello Lilly,
    I also have a Lixada and use it with twigs, a little brass Trangia alcohol stove that can also burn hello bottle Heet) and a cup made out of a .22 pellet can that can burn hand sanitizer, jellied fire fuel, or Esbit tablets. That stove is truly multi-fuel. Enjoy it!

  17. Hello Avalanche Lily,
    Concerning backpacking foods, it is only a matter of weight. I did 3 “50 milers” during high school summers with my Explorer Scout Post in the Sierra Nevada. We planned on 1.5 pounds of food per person per day based on mostly freeze dried and dehydrated foods. For an 8 night trip, that was 12 pounds of food per person in your pack at the start of the week. I remember how much lighter the pack was at the end of the week. You can take canned food or fresh food if you like. It is just heavier and takes up more room in your pack. The fresh food gets smashed as well. For 1-3 nights, canned/fresh works just fine. I suggest reading “The Complete Walker” by Colin Fletcher. The book was first published in 1968 and he used mostly dried foods and things like beans at the time when freeze dried foods were just beginning to be developed. I still recall one passage (45 years later) where he describes a day on the trail and pre-soaking the beans for his next meal in a pot and being careful not to spill the water when putting on/taking off his pack.
    Jim from Texas

  18. I’ve been lurking (and learning) for many years but thought I’d chip in on the subject of trail food.

    I understand the search on what through hikers use but suspect you’d get a ‘better’ set of ideas from what bushcrafters carry instead.

    An example is:


    Obviously there are still ‘questionable’ items in his personal menu but I think it’s based on a better mindset than the precooked, chemical laden, foil-packed lightweight goop most hikers carry.

    I started on MOD RAt packs (because they were free), progressed to foil pack goop and now I personally suspect I eat more healthily on the trail than I do at home, using basic ingredients – grains, pasta, rice, couscous, dried fish, jerky, hard cheese, and even dried home-made sauces in blocks (and eg. pre-measuring and separately packing individual, one-meal, bannock mix etc.) and it doesn’t have to weigh, or take up that much space (ie. a normal PLCE side-pocket is 10 liters/2 gallons, his are I believe 15/3 gallon to hold a weeks full menu for one).

    I’d be interested what others think, and suggested options I may have overlooked

  19. Bug-out???? Um, No!

    What we did in the American Redoubt {building our homestead} we will be bugging in, at all costs! Meaning the only way we will be driven off our property is not by looters or neighbors or even an influx of illegal aliens (when they get around to placing them in the Redoubt as they did in Missoula Montana with the Syrian Refugees because “It’s too white there.”) is by the governmental people. Oh. they’ve already started moving people to the cities (see below).

    It might be the county tax system, raising to taxes to oblivion, or like in Kali State driving people off land in the desert [to preserve it for future generations] with high harassment and edicts from the City Council meetings. It might come from the Feds illustrating we don’t want people owning their own private property anymore due to conservation [heck the BLM is all around us and US forestry – they have us surrounded]. It might come from a UN decree with foreign troops on our US soil and advancing in rank and file to remove all humans from rural property [now that all the farms are government owned]. They [the GOV] are moving people out of the Alaskan Arctic Wildlife Refugee region [www.cnn.com/2010/US/07/07/vbs.heimo.alaska/]… Kali is moving people into the inner cities to “give watch” over them [https://www.npr.org/2018/02/14/585122825/some-california-cities-criminalize-nuisance-code-violations].

    Anyhow…. What ever the governmental reason to move us from our land will incur one hellacious gun fight. No need to be quiet about this. All of our blood sweet and tears poured into our property and living space on this Earth God gave us to subdue and till. One heck of a gun fight to take it! I know I’m preaching to the choir.

    We’re bugging in–never out! No need to plan to bug out unless someone has something we missed as a family here. Please share!

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