xmlns:og='http://ogp.me/ns#' July 2016 ~ The Prepared Guy

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Prepper Talk Radio Episode 41, 07 13 16 Responsible Carry with Rob Pincus

Rob Pincus has become my favorite firearms educator and trainer for many reasons.  The techniques and the philosophy behind everything he teaches make sense to me on every level and is meant to work with exactly how the body works naturally.  When Rob speaks I listen intently.

  You can learn more from him at his site:  www.personaldefensenetwork.com  

Follow him on Facebook too https://www.facebook.com/RobPincusPro/?fref=ts   

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Harvest Right

Initially, as part of my food storage comparison, I had included Harvest Right.  I asked them to send me some samples.  They were more than happy to oblige and sent me a box full!  With just a little bit of comparison I decided that I should not lump them together with the other long term food storage companies.   Here is why.

The Harvest Right freeze dryer allows you to freeze dry your favorite foods at home and then store them for up to 25 years when packaged correctly.  I hope you caught my intentional wording there.  

Harvest Right sent me some freeze dried fruits and vegetables as well as a few entrees which they had prepared and freeze dried themselves.  When we spoke they made it clear to me that they should not be compared along side other long term freeze dried foods.  After tasting some of their foods and comparing them to some of the other major food storage brands it was easy to understand why.

With this machine in your home you can preserve all of your favorite foods.  There's no need to force yourself to eat that chili you bought as part of the bulk purchase of that brand name freeze dried food storage you really don't care for, but don't want to see go to waste.  (As I mentioned in my long term food storage comparison I didn't like any of the chili I tried.)  Make your own favorite secret family recipe, freeze dry it, and put it in a Mylar bag with an oxygen absorber and enjoy it several years in the future.    

Let me tell you a little about the food samples they sent me.  I do realize that they are Harvest Right's own recipes and that the taste of my own recipes would vary.

Have you ever eaten a freeze dried purple grape or slice of pineapple.  Wow!  Better than candy!  Did you know that you can freeze dry cheesecake, ice cream scoops and even Fat Boy ice cream sandwiches in their wrappers?!  I didn't!  The scalloped potatoes were amazing!  Their Creamy Chicken with Wild Rice was fantastic!  I imagine that they tasted just about a good as when they were made fresh.  Comparing your own favorite recipes that have been freeze dried in the Harvest Right freeze drier to those of other long term food storage companies is actually not a fair comparison at all!  Not even close!

As part of my long term freeze dried food storage comparison that you can read about here:   http://www.preparedguy.com/2016/06/confused-about-long-term-food-storage.html ,  I realized that there was no way that I could make my review about taste only.  I couldn't make it about cook time, serving size/calories, or ease of preparation.  There are way too many meals, way too many variations.  Taking all of that into consideration, with a few exceptions, they were all the same.  So, why would I waste more time trying to pick them each apart and identify their differences?  Not gonna do it.

The biggest problem that I found between all of the different food storage companies I tried, when it comes to 25+ year shelf life food, is: it all pretty much tastes the same.  Like I said, there are a few exceptions but that doesn't mean that those exceptions are any better.  To achieve such long shelf life the manufacturer must remove all fats and oils that could go rancid.  This removes a lot of flavor.  Some of the manufacturers meals I tried add extra spices and flavoring which honestly just makes the flavor stronger, not better.

A better way to go about your long term food storage is to prepare it yourself.  Yes, with the Harvest Right freeze drier you can make some of the foods you prepare last up to 25 years but I personally wouldn't count on everything you prepare to last last long.  As I mentioned previously, over time, oils and fats will go rancid.  Could they still be edible after 25 years?  Many foods can and will.  What about meats or other foods containing oils and/or fats?  I guess that is possible but I wouldn't bet my life on it.  My suggestion with the foods that you freeze dry is that you rotate them and eat them regularly.  The freeze dry process preserves flavors so well you'll hardly notice that they have been on your cupboard shelves for years.  This way you could keep the shelf life of the food and meals you have freeze dried to less than 7 years which will ensure great tasting food storage.

Now imagine what you could do with the excess fruits and veggies from your garden, or even your Sunday dinner leftovers!

These things aren't cheap, at all.  But, if you're planning on buying a years worth of long term food storage for your family from one of those brand name companies, and if taste and quality is high on your list in importance, you should take a serious look at a Harvest Right freeze dryer.  Once I have installed the new roof on our home that is overdue we'll be getting one.  Priorities, right!?          


I have not received any compensation for my opinions, other than the most excellent samples Harvest Right sent me.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

2005 Toyota 4Runner Kryptek Typhon Tactical Seat Covers

Just starting on the build.  Thanks to https://www.coversandcamo.com/ for the awesome seat covers!

Much more to come!

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Fitness for SHTF.

Notice how I wrote fitness 'for'  SHTF and not 'in' SHTF.  You must be fit before the S H T F in order to be fit during an SHTF event.  That's pretty obvious but I am concerned about some of you.  I am not a fitness expert nor a nutritionists.  These are my opinions and what I have come to learn for myself.  My hope is to give you some ideas and possibly inspiration to get fit.

To prepare for TEOTWAWKI or an SHTF event we first build up our food storage and other supplies, have an awesome bug out location, practice our fire making and other skills but I feel that physical fitness takes a back seat for many of us.

Depending upon the event, but much more likely than not, you'll be pushed far more physically when it hits the fan.  Your feet, legs and lungs will be the first to notice as they will have to carry you further, under heavier load, and more often then likely they have before.  Your back and arms will take a beating because of the heavy loads and tasks you'll need to perform.  How are your forearms and hands?  Can you cut down a tree and chop it into firewood with a hand saw and an axe without getting blisters or suffering serious fatigue or muscle shutdown?  Is your back strong enough to dig up and turn over your backyard so that you can plant a garden, dig a latrine or even graves?  I didn't think so.  Although I exercise regularly this kind of work is punishing for me physically as well.  It will become reality soon enough so it's time to take getting fit seriously.

Short of living off the land by living off-grid or working on a farm or ranch how does one become prepared for this kind of situation?  One of the many things that I say regularly is that we should change our lifestyles now so that when we are compelled to change the transition won't be as difficult.  Here are a few suggestions and questions to ask yourself:

If you have a tree in your yard, or maybe your neighbor has one that needs to come down, use a hand saw and axe instead of a chain saw so that you can truly appreciate how difficult the work is as well as to condition your body.  It will also help you know your limits as you don't want to hurt yourself, especially during SHTF.  Pile up this wood in your backyard instead of taking it to the landfill.  BTW, I hope you have a wood burning stove in your home.

Stand, don't sit.  Whether at work or where ever you go spend more time standing than sitting.  It is a known fact that standing burns more calories.  However small this difference in calories may be you are also building up your endurance.

Do all of your own yard work including mowing the lawn.  Push your mower instead of using the self drive.

How far would you have to walk to get water from a spring or river?  How long will it take you to get there and how much water can you carry?  How many times a day will you need to make the trip to get the water you need?

Have you ever ground a #10 can of wheat by hand with a hand grinder?  How long does it take you and how often will you need to do it?  Do you have the stamina to do this each and every day?

Can you endure standing watch for multiple nights?  Can you function well on just a few hours sleep each night?

Endurance is the key.

Take the television show American Ninja Warrior for an example.  The muscle bound guys who take on the first qualification course rarely make it to the end.  It's always the skinny, ripped, rock climber types that make it the furthest the fastest.  The need for one person to lift a large amount of weight in a 'real world' setting is few and far between.  Large muscles only get in the way and have very little practical use when SHTF.  If you work out in a gym remember that lots of repetitions with low weight will get you the lean muscle and endurance you need to thrive when SHTF.

I don't believe that working out for SHTF fitness needs to be done in a gym.  Here is a list of my recommended exercises that will better prepare you for an SHTF event.

Push Ups - Shoot for a goal of being able to do 20 push ups at any given time, multiple sets everyday.  I train using "Perfect Pushup" or another device that allows me to increase my range of motion throughout the entire push up; from the top all the way down to touching the floor .  The "Perfect Pushup" also adds a twist so as to strengthen some of the stabilizing muscles. Doing this exercise correctly is key.  All the way up and all the way down slowly so as to work the biceps, triceps and pecs as well.  It also strengthens muscles in your back.

Pull Ups - Forearm and bicep strength is essential when using hand tools from axes to shovels.  My goal is 10 consecutive pull ups, doing multiple sets during each and every day.  Lift your legs slightly at the knee and incorporate a crunch into your pull up or extend your legs outward to strengthen your core muscles.    

Sit Ups/Crunches - My least favorite exercise but possibly the most important.  Core strength is essential to a strong back and to prevent injury.  Strengthening your abdominal muscles can help you to avoid injury to your back.  I do most of my crunches with the Total Gym.

Walking/Hiking - In addition to standing as much as possible during the day instead of sitting, a weekly hike of a few miles is my minimum.  The intensity of my hikes vary greatly from a casual trail hike with my son when we practice some bushcraft skills to summitting a local peak or an off trail bushwacking afternoon adventure.  Longer and more strenuous hikes and backpacking trips are a great way to push yourself and test your readiness.

Sprinting -  If you are not 'in shape' and attempt to sprint you are likely to hurt yourself, especially if you're gettin' up there in age like me.  In many emergency scenarios it may be necessary to quickly run away from danger, to cover, or sprint to someones side who is in need of help.  Mix an occasional sprint in with your regular walking or hiking.
Stairs - This is a love/hate relationship.  Great for cardio and quads.  If I can't go for a hike I do stairs. Take the stairs instead of the elevator.

Cardio - Hiking, stairs, walking, and swimming.  The heart is a muscle that also needs regular exercise.  That's Zombieland's rule #1,

Total Gym -  I love my Total Gym!   I'm not trying to sell products here.  I spend 15 minutes on this and get more flexible and stronger each time.  It's a great tool for my forearms as well as abs.  Anytime I can be more like Chuck Norris I take the opportunity.

Swimming - I am not much of a swimmer.  I can save myself in case of a water emergency but it won't be very graceful.  This is an essential skill that may come in handy.   A few standards I have set for myself are: Tread water for 2 minutes, swim 100 yards using any stroke, swim underwater for 30 seconds.  

Stretching / Flexibility -  Zombieland Rule #18: "Limber up!"  Take time each day to stretch and warm up the major muscle groups, especially before strenuous exercise.  Stretching increases range of movement and reduces the chance of injury.  Instead of adding weight to your workout routine use less and concentrate on strength throughout your full range of motion.

Breathing / Meditation - Taking time to breath purposefully increases oxygen levels in your blood which assists in detoxifying your body and healing.  Proper breathing can also help to decrease anxiety, attitude, and decrease pain. My technique?  Breathe in deep and fairly quickly through my nose for a count of 5, hold for a count of 10, exhale for a count of 10.  Inhaling deep to expand the alveoli, holding to allow the oxygen to be absorbed, exhaling deeply through the mouth then forcing out as much air as possible, which then creates a vacuum in your lungs sucking air back in.  Then rest for a few normal breaths, repeat.  This is my own version of what I have learned from the way others teach.  The counts can be any version that you decide and need not be terribly consistent.

Diet - Consuming the wrong foods will absolutely limit your ability to build your endurance as well as lean muscle.  Carbonated drinks are one of the worst possible things you could put into your body.  Carbonation is known to cause low mineral bone density and digestive problems.  The high sugar content in fountain drinks is also hard on your body.  Don't be fooled into drinking 'diet' sodas as the artificial sweeteners are actually worse for you than real sugar.  Limit your sugar intake as eating too many sweets can compromise your immune system and lead you on the path to diabetes by overworking your pancreas.  Limit your meat consumption, in particular red meats, as they can tend to cause inflammation and digestion problems.  There are many other good sources of protein than just meat.  Eat lots of live foods like fruits and vegetables and drink lots of filtered water.

These are my minimum personal goals.  I have 5 kids and a full time job in addition to my work with PrepperCon and The Prepared Guy so I have a hard enough time getting in the minimum amount of exercise.  Whenever possible I orient my recreational activities toward fitness in addition to my daily routines.

My advice to you, develop a plan that works best for you and your schedule and be consistent.  It should include as many elements to it as you are able; upper body, legs and cardio with an emphasis on flexibility.  To make progress you must push yourself each time to go beyond your previous performance level.  Once you have reached a level you are happy with working to maintain that level is a good strategy too.  Quitting is not.

As with any activity it is much more fun when you are fit enough to do well at it.  The same goes for prepping and emergencies.  If you're not in shape then SHTF is especially gonna suck for you.  For those of us who are preparing to be in shape for SHTF we may be looking forward to it just a little too much.

Some of you may say that you'll deal with all this when it happens as there's a small chance of it happening anyway.  If this is true, why do you prep at all?  Because you know, like I do, that the possibilities are many and as time goes by the risk increases.  So, what other excuses do you have?

Friday, July 1, 2016

Are you prepared to... walk?

Where ever I go my ultimate plan is to always have with me the right tools and resources that I might need just in case I have to walk to get back home.  Let me paint you a picture.

As a young child I had a series of dreams.  Just like a television series that continues along a progressing story line each week so did these dreams.  It all started out on a family trip to the mountains for a drive and a picnic.  For some unknown reason our family car, which was a red Jeep Cherokee Chief, would not start.  So, we began walking.  Each night for what seemed to me like years, actual years, night after night, each time I went to bed, my dreams were all about trying to get home.  Always just walking... and flying.  I'm one of those people who has always had dreams where I was able to fly.  If only I could do that while I'm awake.  I am sure that these dreams were meant to inspire me to prepare for this possibility.  Hopefully it won't actually happen to me but I'll do my best to be ready for it.       

When one of my kids go away with a friend on a trip, my advice to them is to be prepared to walk home.  To take with them what they need to make walking home possible.  This is also my advice to you. 

I haven't taken a flight in almost 4 years.  Since that time I have become much more intense about always being prepared.  Flying dramatically reduces my options of what I can take with me.  I had a quick flight from SLC to LA recently.  In and out, same day, with a layover in Phoenix each way.  So, what are the minimal items that I can legally carry with me, in a carry on bag?  The premise is that flights may be canceled due to a terrorist event or we possibly get hit with an EMP or a financial collapse that makes a return flight impossible.  What can I take with me in a single carry on bag that will make my situation more bearable and even a walk back home possible.  What plans could I make to provide for a quick escape from either of these deadly extremely dense population centers?  

I have compiled a list of items that I carried with me in my bag.  This bag is a small professional shoulder bag that won't hold much.

1.  Water filter water bottle.
2.  AA flashlight with spare batteries 
3.  USB battery pack charger
4.  Headphones
5.  Note pad and pen.
6.  Wallet, ID and cash.
7.  Bandana
8.  E95 mask. (2)
9.  Compact first aid kit.
10.  Map of the area.
11.  Compass.
12.  (2) Silver dollar coins - American Eagle
13.  Essential Oils
14.  Excedrin and Ibuprofen
15.  Fresnel lens
16.  Hand sanitizer
17.  Readyman escape and evade survival card
18.  Tissues
19.  Energy Bars / Candy / Snacks
20.  Spare glasses
21.  Signal mirror
22.  Survival bracelet
23.  Water bag for more water carrying capacity.
24.  Emergency Blanket
25.  Duct tape

Also, don't forget to pack your skills.  If you don't know how to use a map and compass and don't have a great sense of direction that you've developed over years of experience and practice, this journey home is gonna get far more complicated.  I'll talk more about this in an upcoming blog post.

Another essential aspect of being able to walk home is your personal fitness, which I will also address in another upcoming blog post.  Are you fit and healthy enough to make a difficult journey?  If not, what are you doing to become so? 

As I have never been to LA, before I left I became familiar with the area via map and google earth to plan an escape route out of the city.  I plotted a course from landmark to landmark with plans for an alternate route or two and marked these on a map.  I have prepared a list of friends and people I know in the area and carried their contact information with me.  I took enough cash, and a few silver coins, to buy several days worth of food and other minimal tools i'll need, if I have the opportunity to get them.  I marked on my map the location of the nearest sporting goods stores where I can acquire the basic tools that I'll need to make the journey home including:

A.  A multi tool such as a Swiss Tool.
B.  A machete or other large blade.
C.  A way to easily sharpen them like a small diamond or carbide sharpener.
D.  Bic lighter(s)
E.  Tarp or other shelter
F.   Umbrella 

Depending upon the season this list will change and could be much longer and more comprehensive.  It being the middle of summer I'll need shelter from the sun so that I can travel as much as possible during the day, thus the umbrella.  Additionally I'll try to get a change of clothes, boots and backpack.  Most airlines will allow both a personal item and a carry on bag.  I could have chosen to bring an additional carry on such as a small backpack with these additional items that I would need.  

In an SHTF event the vast majority of people around you will not realize what it actually happening.  But you will, because you are aware of the possibilities.  This will give you the advantage.  Take that opportunity to quickly acquire what you'll need and to get out of the immediate danger zones; anywhere there are lots of people.  Hopefully you'll find good people along your way who will help and support you.  If you belong to a particular group or church, plan your route to include stops at local church buildings, community shelters, etc. to increase your chances of finding good and prepared people willing to help.  

Fortunately nothing did happen and I made it back home safe and sound, but how do you think I would have felt IF something did happen and I could have been more prepared for it?  I had no excuse, other than perhaps my own laziness, not to be prepared and carry a few additional items.  Expect to be caught off guard, when you are the least prepared, for something catastrophic to happen.   

Flying far away from home and having to walk back to your family and resources would be a worst case scenario.  This may also be a far-fetched scenario as well but it is best to prepare for the worst and then expect the best in every case.  

The purpose of this site is to provide you with information about what I have learned, my experience, and what my motivations are as a Prepared Guy. I have always felt driven to be ready for any situation by something powerful deep inside me. Being prepared has always served me well. I feel compelled to help others do the same.
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