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Modern Solutions for "The New Normal"

It's not about "Living your best life" anymore, it's about Surviving what life throws at you.

Patriotic Apparel

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Literature & Resources

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Survival & Tactical

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Would you and your family be ready if you had to start over?

This last year has been "unexpected" to say the least. Make sure you're prepared for the next "BIG" whatever it's going to be

Quick Tips

Best Ways to Purify Water in The Wild

Water is more important than food when it comes to surviving in the wilderness—you can survive for weeks without food, but only a maximum of about five days without water. Water that you’re likely to find in the wild can be contaminated with parasites and microorganisms that could be very harmful to your health. Knowing how to purify water could be the difference between life and death.

It’s important to find ways to purify your water in the wild—water found in the wild can cause ailments like dysentery or other serious health problems that could prove fatal in a survival situation. For this reason, you’ll want to always carry supplies which will make purifying water possible.

It’s also beneficial to purify water using a variety of methods, combining them when necessary to produce clean, drinkable water free of contaminants and dirt. You may want to practice the different methods below to ensure you have the skills necessary to produce potable water that won’t make you sick. You’ll also want to look for as wide a variety of water sources as possible, so that you not only have an abundant supply of water but a choice between water sources which may be cleaner than others.

One of the easiest ways to purify water is to boil it. Boiling water for ten minutes thoroughly kills any organisms in the water, making it safe to drink. You want to apply sufficient heat to produce a rolling boil, and keep the water at this temperature for ten minutes at a minimum. Once removed from the fire and cooled, the water will be safe to drink.

Filtration is another excellent way to purify water in the wild. Oftentimes, scavenged water will be muddy, dirty, or full of floating debris. In this situation, sand filtration is one of the simplest ways to make your water potable. You’ll need a plastic bottle you can cut the bottom off of. You’ll then want to invert the bottle, and pack several inches of pebbles or cotton into it, followed by larger pebbles or gravel. Top this layer of gravel with several inches of sand, and fill the remaining space with water. Within a few moments, clear, filtered water should flow from the bottom of the inverted bottle. If the water is cloudy or still has some dirt in it, pass it through the filter again to clear it up.

Though not the safest method of filtering water, t-shirt or cloth filtration is a good way to clean dirty water that you may be able to further purify using other methods. In a pinch, filtering water through cloth is better than not filtering it at all, and if this is the only method available to you, it’s certainly better than nothing. You’ll want several layers of cloth for this method. You can cut scrap cloth into wide strips and double them up, or fold a t-shirt or other article of clothing back on itself to create multiple layers of cloth for the water to flow through.

One of the easiest ways to effectuate this method is by using sturdy sticks to form a framework for the cloth. Wrap the cloth around the sticks, which can be handheld or anchored in the earth at an appropriate angle to allow you to collect water that flows through the layers of cloth. Simply pass the water through the layers of cloth, collect it in a bottle, and examine it for impurities. If water is cloudy or still dirty, you’ll want to pass it through the cloth filter one or more times until it’s as clear as you can get it. Though this method may not protect you against microscopic organisms, it is better than nothing—and in the best of circumstances, can be considered a good “first pass” filtration technique to be combined with boiling or sand filtration.

If you have the luxury of time, sedimentation filtration can also be a useful technique. Over time, particles in still water will settle to the bottom of a container, leaving mostly clean water above the layer of dirt and particles at the bottom. This is a particularly good method to use for muddy or murky water. Simply fill a container with untreated water and allow it to sit for a day or two. This can be aided by the sun, provided you have a way of tightly sealing the bottle or container to guard against evaporation. ​After a day or two, most of the particles will have settled at the bottom of the container. Carefully pour the water into another container, taking care to not disturb the layer of sediment at the bottom. This method is particularly useful when combined with either boiling or a sand filter to produce clean, potable water.

Basic Land Navigation

In a world where every smartphone manufactured in more than the past decade has built-in GPS capabilities, basic wilderness land navigation is a skill that most people don’t think too much about. There are apps for every popular mobile device platform that will allow you to enter a set of coordinates and get step-by-step directions on how to get from here to there.

But GPS satellites do go offline, and require extensive ground support to stay accurate. And—most importantly—smartphones, GPS receivers, and other electronic devices require regular recharging. What would happen if you lost access to technology that would guide you out of the middle of nowhere and back to safety? Would you be able to use a compass and a map to orient yourself, find your location, and then move from one point to another with consistent accuracy?

Even low-tech basic land navigation requires tools, but only three of them—a basic orienteering compass, a topographic map (preferably laminated or sealed in plastic), and a pencil or dry erase marker.

Orient your map by laying it on as level a surface as you can find. Look for the North Declination line, which is usually going to be located near the map’s legend. Once you’ve found that, place your compass on the map with the edge of the compass aligned with the magnetic north line on the map. Then, keeping the compass and the map oriented together, turn the whole map until the compass arrow is pointing north. The map will now be facing in the correct direction.

To locate your position on the map, orient the map and look for a terrain feature (a hill, etc.) to your left. Locate the same feature on the map, and with the edge of the compass aligned through its center, draw a line between the feature and your direction from it. Repeat the process using a terrain feature off to your right. The point at which the two lines cross is your location.

Next, find your first grid coordinate on the right side of the map, even with the square containing your location. Then find the second coordinate along the bottom of the map in the same way. That will give you the four-digit grid coordinate. This will allow you to chart paths from grid point to grid point on the map, toward your destination and around any obstacles. Reorienting yourself, if necessary, is as simple as orienting the map and then proceeding along the indicated line of travel.

Camping Must Haves

There’s nothing quite like the feeling of going on a camping trip and realizing—after you’ve reached your destination and probably after you’ve set up camp—that you’ve forgotten some vital or useful piece of gear back at home. Without proper preparation (like a check list), it can be easy to forget some handy piece of equipment. It can be inconvenient, downright troublesome, or in some cases, even dangerous. Before you take your next trip into the great outdoors, consider prepping a “mini-bug out bag” with these camping essentials so you’ll be wilderness-ready.

First Aid Kit

Minor injuries, like burns, scratches, cuts, or even bug bites are fairly common to experience on a camping trip, even more so if you’re active instead of just lounging around the campsite all day (not that there’s anything wrong with that). And should the worst happen and a serious injury befall you or one of your companions, having a decent first aid kit could make a critical difference in providing first-line treatment before proper medical assistance can be reached. There’s a good reason this is the first item on our list—it’s arguably the most important.

Fire Starters

If you’re handy with a bow drill, chances are you won’t need a lighter, matches, or a flint and steel to start a fire, but even the most experienced Eagle Scout will admit that starting a fire (especially in damp or rainy conditions) is just a lot easier if you’ve got a ready source of flame with you. Without a fire, you’ll have no way to cook food or boil water, and your nights are going to be a lot colder. Though there’s a lot of satisfaction in starting a fire without any tools, consider that something of a hobby, and don’t risk not being able to get a good source of light and heat going. You can even buy waterproof matches and leave them in your camping kit, just so you’ll always be able to get a fire started quickly and easily.

Rope or Cord

Even if you’re not a veteran knotsmith, rope or cord is incredibly useful when camping—and knowing how to tie a basic assortment of knots makes it even better (if you don’t know how to tie a handful of basic knots, consider learning how—it’s a great skill to have). Whether it’s to make a clothes line, to hang food on a high branch out of the reach of marauding animals, to create a shelter, hang a rain fly, or for emergencies (like pulling someone out of the water or up a steep incline they may have fallen down), rope is a camping must-have. Don’t go camping without at least one—several would be better.

Tarps

You can put one under your tent to protect it and give it a basic barrier from the cold, damp earth, and of course you can hang one over your tent to shed rain away from your gear. You can—if you have a spare—even use it to haul gathered firewood back to camp. Tarps have a myriad of different uses, so be sure to bring at least one—and consider bringing a few. They’re lightweight, require limited space, and are sure to make your camping trip a little bit easier.

A Reliable Light Source

Whether you’re making a late-night bathroom trip or sneaking out of the tent for a midnight snack, you’ll need a reliable source of light—and more than one isn’t a bad idea. Whether you opt for lanterns, flashlights, headlamps, or all three, you should always have a good light source in your camping kit. Always keep fresh batteries or plenty of fuel on hand as well, and be sure you can get to your light source easily without having to unpack a bunch of stuff in case you need to set up camp in the dark.

Maps and a Compass

Everyone with a smartphone has GPS, but smartphone batteries run out. Getting lost in the wild without a reliable method to find your way back to camp—or to help—is a really bad idea. Get a good orienteering compass and be sure to have up-to-date maps (and it’s a good idea to laminate or otherwise water-proof them).

Spare Clothes & Wet Weather Wear

Even the sunniest forecast can be wrong, and the weather can change on you surprisingly fast. You don’t want to be stuck without rain gear or an extra set of clothes you can put on if the temperature unexpectedly drops (or you need to swap out wet clothes for dry).

Pocket Knife or Multitool

Whether you’re partial to Swiss Army Knives or Leatherman tools, this is an absolute essential that takes up almost no space and has a multitude of uses. With a couple of good knife blades, a saw, an awl, scissors and whatever other useful feature your weapon of choice might provide, you’ll have a handful of important camping tools right in your pocket.