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Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Barter For Survival: Top Ten Barter Items Every Prepper Should Have

Barter For Survival: Top Ten Barter Items Every Prepper Should Have

Barter items for survival – What would you have to trade in a survival situation?
Any conversation about prepping first starts with the “the best survival gun” followed by “bugging out vs hunkering down” and then on to “the best retreat location” and then to “what to have on hand for barter… well today, I’m going to answer that question.


The first thing to consider is what items do people need and use every day, followed by will they need these items after a long-term disaster and if so will those items be readily available when the resupply lines are cut. If not, then would those items be easy to make from other common items?
These are the questions I asked when putting away my own barter items – those are included in the list below in no order.
1. Ammunition
While I don’t advocate bartering most ammo after a collapse simply because that ammo could be used against you. Stop and think about it, if a person needs to barter for ammo in the first weeks and months after a collapse then it’s evident that that person has not prepped and will need other stuff, stuff they figure that you now have and there is no guarantee that they won’t use the ammo that you traded them at a later date to kill you and take your preps for their own use.
The exception that I make with ammo for barter purposes is for shotgun ammo. I’ve stocked up a large amount (500 rounds) of 12 gauge bird shot in #6 and smaller shot sizes for barter purposes. Sure birdshot can kill someone, however, it’s low penetration and short range make it one of the least threatening ammo types that can be stocked up and used for barter purposes.
2. Water Filters
Fresh, clean drinking water will always be in demand and while storing water for barter might not be feasible for most people it’s easy and takes up little room to store water filters such as the life straw. The life straw is an excellent barter item, that is easy to store, has a long shelf-life and is small and lightweight meaning that 25 or more of these types of water filters can be stored in a small space life a military ammo can.
3. Garden Seed
Seed to grow food is one of the if the best barter items that you can have on hand post collapse. I store both non-hybrid seed as well as hybrid vegetable seed for barter. Seed is light-weight and inexpensive but will be worth more than gold to a survivor who is trying to barter for those seed after the balloon goes up. But, before, you go out and buy a bunch of seed for barter (or for your own use) do some research on what grows well in your local area. Another thing that I’ve done is print off copies of the PDF guide “Planting a Home Vegetable Garden” to handout when bartering with vegetable seed because most people have no idea how to plant a garden and this pamphlet will give them more confidence in their own ability to take the seed and grow food. This will help them to be successful as well as increase the perceived value of the seeds when you’re negotiating your barter deal.
4. Solar Panels and Rechargeable Batteries
Wow! Wipe that look off your face, I know what you’re thinking… solar panels… those are expensive and I can’t afford those for myself let alone stockpile enough for barter. Well, in some cases you would be correct, however, I’m not talking about expensive 200-watt panels, no not for barter,  what I’m talking about here is smaller solar chargers such as the C.Crane 11-in-1 Solar Battery Charger priced at $24.99 each or the SunJack Portable Solar Charger with a SunJack USB Battery Charger for Rechargeable AA/AAA Ni-Mh and Ni-Cd Batteries for under $60 dollars. You can also set up a charging center where people can bring you their batteries to charge and you use your solar set up to charge their batteries in exchange for goods.
5. First Aid Supplies
You could stock up on individual first-aid items such as bandages and gauze and while that’s a good idea, I’ve also stocked up on premade first-aid kits for barter. These kits can be bought for under $20 each now but post-collapse would be worth much, much more. Don’t forget about antibiotics – you can get antibiotics here and find out more about their use here. If you have medical skills (or someone in your group does) then those medical skills will be in high demand and can be bartered for just about anything that you need.
6. Skills
As mentioned above in item number five medical skills are and will continue to be in high demand after any major disaster especially a long-term disaster, however other skills will be in demand too. Skills such as carpentry, auto and shop mechanics, sewing, firearms repair etc will be in high demand and those skills can be bartered for goods that you need.  Don’t forget to put back the tools you’ll need to get the job done in the best, quickest and safest way possible.
7. Toilet Paper, Baby Diapers, and Tampons
Toilet paper, baby diapers, and tampons are always in demand will continue to be in the aftermath of both short-term and long-term disaster. Sure some folks might substitute toilet paper with something else like a cloth or even leaves if forced but toilet paper would be a luxury and preferred by nearly everyone and survivors would pay handsomely for that luxury post collapse. Same with tampons and pads. Baby diapers would also be needed and in demand – if you have a baby, plan to or someone in your prepper group has one then I suggest that you look into cloth diapers
8. Coffee, Tobacco, and Booze
Oh, my… need I say more. Most people have their vices and most of those vices involve one or all of the three. Bags of tobacco that have been vacuum sealed with give the longest shelf life. If you can brew your own booze then you and your product would be in high demand, but by so doing you would probably increase your chances of being robbed for your product so security and caution would be a top priority. Currently, there are laws regarding the brewing of booze, find out the laws in your state if this is something that you’re interested in learning and follow those now, but after a major collapse, they probably won’t be a whole lot of enforcement of those laws that are currently on the books.

10. Lighters and Matches
Lighters and matches for barter should be self-explanatory, but keep in mind that these like condoms and some of the other items mentioned above would most valuable for barter after a major long-term EOTWAWKI type of event.  Because we don’t know exactly what is going to happen or when it’s best to stockpile smaller amounts of many different barter items than a massive amount of only one or two items.  Before anyone sends an email telling me that matches have a short self-life, it should be noted that I have matches from over 15 years ago in a glass jar that still strike and burn just as well as the day I put them into storage. The key is to keep them dry and add a desiccant.



7 Secrets To Successful Canning – How To Preserve This Year’s Harvest!

Now is the time to get ready for a successful canning and preserving season! One of the best things about growing your own food is keeping it the year around for great homemade taste! For an individual who wants to start canning for the first time, or for the seasoned veteran, here are a few secrets to help you have a successful canning season this year.  



successful canning
The results of our canning efforts one summer.

The most important thing to remember about canning is to simply not be afraid to try!  Maybe you have only water bathed before and never uses a pressure canner. Whatever it is, if you are feeling a little nervous, ask someone to help you or try it out with you. 
Having the support and accountability of a second person will make you take the leap and feel more comfortable trying something new. 
We have been canning for many years, but one thing that we realize is that we can never stop learning. We like to stay on top of approved canning methods and provide recipes that are safe and healthy for our family and friends. If there is one rule of successful canning, it is just that – be sure to use approved, try and true methods.
So as canning season approaches, we thought it would be a good time to reveal our 7 secrets to a successful canning. Feel free to share your own thoughts in the comments at the bottom as well!

The Products That We Use

We get many emails about the products we use when we can. So we thought it would be helpful to list them here:
Ball Water Bath Canner
Presto Pressure Canner
Canning Utensil Set
Portable Kitchen Timer
Kitchen Towels
Canning Jars
Canning Lids

7 Secrets to a Successful Canning Season

1. START SIMPLE




successful canning
Canning jam is an easy way to get started.

If this is your first time canning, start with simple recipes such as jams and jellies. Most of these recipes require only a few ingredients and use a more simple method of canning which includes a hot water bath (not pressure canning). If you are going to try pressure canning for the first time, do so with small batch recipes. Pressure canning requires more time in order for the canner to come up to and release the pressure so you will want to start off with recipes that will fill your pressure canner, but not require multiple batches to be processed. 

2. RECIPES AND PROCESSING RECOMMENDATIONS

Always, Always, Always follow an updated and approved USDA recipe for canning. Just because you have a recipe from Grandma’s recipe book, it does not mean that it is safe to use today. The acid content in many vegetables have changed over the years and many methods used for canning decades ago are no longer safe. You must also follow the recommended processing procedure. For instance, those canning recipes that sealed naturally, without a water bath or pressure canning, are no longer safe to use. Follow the updated and recommended processing guidelines. 

3. JAR SELECTION

Use the correct jar for the correct use. Not all jars are created equal. There are freezer jars, canning jars, and jars for decorative use only. They are not interchangeable. After you have your jars selected, inspect the rims for any chips or cracks in the glass. If you see a defect, do not use them for canning. 

4. NEVER OVERFILL YOUR JARS

Food expands when it is heated so there must have enough room at the top of the jar to allow this to happen. Each recipe will give you guidance on the amount of ‘headspace’ that a jar needs before processing. If the jar is too full, it could cause leakage and may result in a jar not being sealed.

5. ALTITUDE ADJUSTMENT

You must adjust canning times based on your altitude. Most recipes that you will find are listed for locations that are 1,000 feet below sea level. Check out this altitude adjustment guide for the specifics adjustments required for your area.

6. TEST YOUR JARS




successful canning
One of the best tools that we ever bought!

Test all jars after they are completely cooled by pushing down in the center of the lid. A properly sealed jar will not have any movement. If you can push your lid in, it did not seal properly and needs to be placed in the refrigerator for use within a week. 

7. LABEL EVERYTHING

Mark your jars by writing with a permanent marker on the lid with the name and date.   You might think you will remember what was in each jar, but many items all look the same (pizza sauce and taco sauce) in the middle of winter. If you are making multiple batches of the same recipe, you will also want to write the batch number (ex. 1, 2, 3) on the lid as well. The batch number will help you identify jars made from the same recipe.
This is helpful when labeling variations in tastes, for example the various spice level in salsa.  Also, if there is a problem, you can easily pull out all the jars made with that specific batch. I had to do this one time when I forgot to add the preserving ingredient when canning tomato juice and it was nice knowing I was able to pull off the shelf only the jars that I needed to fix.
I am sure there are many other tips that our readers can provide to make it a successful canning season for both the new and experienced canner. Feel free to share those ideas in the comment section for all our readers to enjoy!




How To Prepare For An Earthquake


As preppers, we do our best to prepare for disruptive events that will turn our lives upside down.  For the most part, we focus first on natural disasters that are common to our immediate area because if there is one thing we know for sure, Mother Nature knows how to throw a real hoe-down when she wants to.  One example of such an event is an earthquake.
People who live in an earthquake zone know that an earthquake will happen eventually.  For them, it is just a question of how bad, and how much it will affect them personally.  For that reason, if you live near a fault line, you better be prepared for the inevitable shaker because it is going to happen.
This article is Month Three in the series “12 Disruptive Events to Prepare For This Year“.

How to Prepare for an Earthquake | Backdoor Survival 
12 Months of Prepping for Disruptive Events: Earthquakes

Where Do Earthquakes Occur?

For those of us in North America, the biggest danger is anywhere within the “Ring of Fire.” The Ring of Fire is the rim of a continental plate that stretches from the southernmost tip of western South America and running up along the west coast of North America. It loops around under the south coast of Alaska and southeast Russia, then heads back south down the coast of Japan. It goes all the way down to the southern area of Australia.
On planet Earth, there are two other prominent hot areas for quakes, the Alpide belt in the Middle East, and the Mid-Atlantic Ridge.
While these major plate connection areas are a hotbed of seismic activity, they are not the only place an earthquake can occur. Major earthquake zones occur wherever the continental plates meet, and not just on the coastlines of major continents.  To be more specific, earthquakes can occur wherever a fault exists.
According to USGS, a fault is a break in the rocks that make up the Earth’s crust, along which rocks on either side have moved past each other.  Note, however, that not every crack in the ground is a fault. What defines a fault is the movement of the rock on either side. When that movement is sudden, the released energy causes an earthquake. Some faults are tiny, but others are part of great fault systems along which rocks have slid past each other for hundreds of miles. These fault systems are the boundaries of the huge plates that make up the Earth’s crust and they can exist anywhere. In fact, damaging quakes have occurred in Missouri, South Carolina, Yellowstone National Park, Kentucky and even southeastern Illinois and Ohio.
Most people are unaware that there are several regions deep in the heartland of the US that are vulnerable to quakes.  One exists on the southern borders of Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Missouri and Arkansas. This same zone spreads down the eastern sides of Kentucky and Tennessee.  There is also a small zone that covers the mid-sections of Nebraska, Kansas, and Oklahoma as well as a couple of zones that loop across the bottom of Texas, Florida and the Louisiana area. There’s an earthquake zone in northern Maine and one that covers many of the small northeastern states as well.
Earthquake zones are everywhere, or so it would seem.
Not to be excluded, there is also the added influence of man-made earthquakes caused by fracking, nuclear events, and mining. Simply put, it’s a good idea to be prepared for an earthquake, and have preventative measures for recurring aftershocks even if you don’t live in major fault locations.
Before starting, let’s clear the air on one point.  The earth will not swallow you up. In fact, the actual earthquake is not what is deadly. What kills during an earthquake is being struck by debris or flying objects or by falling buildings.
With that out of the way, the first thing you should learn is how to identify the start of an earthquake. Sounds are often the first sign an earthquake has started.  A strong first signal to the start of an earthquake is a low rumbling or roaring from the ground that gradually increases in magnitude.  On occasion, the rumbling can be more gentle and it will be a rolling sensation that signals the start of an earthquake.
Here is the thing. Sometimes those signals come and go without causing any serious damage, but you won’t know that until the quake hits.  Those signals could precede a minor disturbance that simply wakes you from your sleep, or they could be the start of a major event.

How to Drop, Cover, and Hold

There are three things you do when you start to feel the first tremble of an earthquake:

DROP  –  COVER  –  HOLD!

This is something you practice.  It does not matter whether you are in your home, at school, at a shopping center or in a tall building.  You must initiate these three steps in order to protect yourself during an earthquake.   Practice makes perfect and, as a matter of fact, this is something we drilled monthly when I was a kid growing up in Seattle.
Specifically, when an earthquake strikes:
DROPDROP down to the floor.
COVER — Take COVER under a sturdy piece of furniture. If that is not possible, seek COVER against an interior wall and protect your head and neck with your arms. Avoid danger spots near windows, hanging objects, mirrors, or tall furniture.
HOLD — If you take cover under a sturdy piece of furniture, HOLD on to it and be prepared to move with it. HOLD the position until the ground stops shaking and it is safe to move.

Skills, Strategies, and Supplies You Need to Prepare for an Earthquake

Taking care of yourself while you are in the moment (with the Drop, Cover and Hold) is of utmost importance during an earthquake.  But there are also some other things you can do in advance to protect yourself from the big one. Let us start with skills and strategies.  As you read through the list, you will find that many of these skills and strategies are common sense strategies to prepare for any type of disaster or disruptive event.

Skills and Strategies for Earthquakes

Locate the safe places in each room of your home, workplace and/or school in advance. Walk around and inventory your options.  A safe place could be underneath a piece of furniture or against an interior wall away from windows, bookcases or tall furniture that could fall on you.
Practice drop, cover and hold on in each safe place. If you do not have sturdy furniture to hold on to, sit on the floor next to an interior wall and cover your head and neck with your arms.
Bolt and brace water heaters, furnaces, and gas appliances to wall studs.
Bolt bookcases, china cabinets, gun safes and other tall furniture to wall studs or to the floor.  Have heavy electronics like televisions bolted to a brace or a wall.
Hang heavy items, such as pictures and mirrors, away from beds, couches and anywhere people sleep or sit.
Install strong latches or bolts on cabinets. Large or heavy items should be closest to the floor.
Learn how to shut off the gas valves in your home and keep a wrench handy for that purpose.
Locate Your Utilities and Learn How to Shut Them Off - Backdoor Survival
A crescent wrench is hanging right above our propane meter.


5 Water Storage Tips Everyone Should Know


Please note this article is about water storage tips. Purification of water is a different topic, although I do touch the topic here a bit.

Tip #1 Know Your Containers

Not all containers are created equal. Whether the container you wish to store water in is something you can place in your Bug Out Bag, or bury underground at your retreat, the material that it made from is as important as the purity of the water it holds.

Plastics:
Plastics that are safe to store water in must be food grade safe, on the outside of the containers there should be a recycling symbol (triangle of arrows), which has within it a number between 1 and 7. Food grades are 1, 2, 4, and 5. (Although some bio-plastics are also food grade and marked with a 7, unless you know the container is meant for food do not trust it, as not all number 7 stamps mean they are safe for food). The best food grade containers made of plastic are marked with a number 2, as this is High-density Polyethylene (HDPE) plastic. The others are PETE (#1), LDPE(#4), and polypropylene (PP/#5).1 If you are recycling old containers be careful not to use old milk jugs, or cardboard type juice boxes. Milk proteins and Juice particulars are almost never removed completely by washing and it is best to go with a new container for long term storage.
Glass:
Not even all glass containers are the same. Some glass used to store chemicals originally would not be considered food safe, let alone safe to store water. Glass can break, crack due to freezing, and even end up with tiny flaws from use inside which might trap contaminates. water storage tips - mason jars
Borosilicate glass (trademark name Pyrex) is likely one of the best forms of glassware to store food and water in as it can take temperature ranges and even has some resistance to breakage. Watch out for soda-lime based glass that calls itself Pyrex as it is not heat resistant. One example is Mason jars, and jars that look like mason jars but cannot be pressure canned.

Stainless Steel Tank:

If you plan on collecting your water from rain run off, the best way is is store it in a stainless steal tank. They generally have a 40 year life span, and they tend to actually cost less over the lifetime of the tank compared to other storage systems. Stainless Steal is best for Water Storage systems.

Tip #2 Preserve Your Water

Chlorine:
Water from the kitchen sink tap might not need anything added to it to store it. If your municipality water supply adds chlorine to the mix store the water as is works. If however you have ‘clean’ water, without additives, you will need to add the chlorine yourself. Add two drops, of non-scented chlorine bleach to every 2 litres of water, make sure it is also non-additive as well. When you need to use the water, let it stand open for 30 minutes before drinking. You should be able to smell the chlorine in the water when you add it, if you don’t add another two drops, but remember to wait an additional 15 minutes of airing the bottle before use. Be sure to read the label when purchasing chlorine for this use, 5.35% chlorine content is best for calculating your needs. Chlorine bleach will kill mostbacteria causing diseases. Storing the chlorine itself is another issue. Chlorine should be stored between 50 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit, after a year of storage, it starts to degrade by approximately 20% per year to salts and water. If the chlorine source you are using is 6% sodium hypochlorite, you should replace it after 3 months of storage.
Calcium Hypochlorite:
Calcium Hypochlorite is actually better for storing water then using liquid bleach, because of it’s longer shelf life. It is generally sold in two forms, dry and hydrated. Although the hydrated is safer to handle the dry granular can have an indefinite shelf life (a yellow white solid which has a strong smell of chlorine). It can be purchased by the common name as “pool shock”. The thing to watch for when buying pool shock is if they add anti-scaling agents (water softeners), you want a 68%-78% calcium hypochlorite without the water softeners added, although calcium chloride is often added as well. One pound of granular Calcium Hypochlorite will treat up to ten thousand gallons of water (37854.1 litres). The process is rather simple. First you make a solution of the Calcium Hypochlorite(approximately 1 teaspoon) to two gallons of waters (8 litres). Do not drink the solution! The ratio for stored water is 1:100, one part solution to 100 parts water. Added Note: Calcium Hypochlorite can also be used to make Chloroform, but that’s another topic.
Iodine:
The first thing that must be mentioned about using iodine is that some people are allergic to it, some people who are allergic to shellfish are also allergic to iodine. Second, using iodine is more effective as a point-of-use method for stored water where your not 100% sure it was stored correctly. Potable Aqua Water Treatment Tablets should be stored nearby, or in your bug out bag. I include it here as a fall back method. Iodine purification works best with the water temperature being over 68 degrees Fahrenheit, and the iodine itself must be stored in a dark bottle away from UV sources such as direct sunlight as it is sensitive. Persons with thyroid problems or on lithum, women over fifty, and pregnant women should consult their physician prior to using iodine for purification. Iodine removes/kills Giardia lamblia better then bleach.2 Giardia lamblia is a flagellated protozoan parasite that colonizes and reproduces in the small intestine, causing giardiasis.3 Useage: Liquid 2% Tincture of Iodine Add 5 drops per quart when the water is clear. Add 10 drops per quart when the water is cloudy. Iodine kills microbes down to 0.004 microns!

Tip #3 Where you store is important.

Keeping safe drinking water in a proper place is as important, as storing the water correctly in the containers. Dark closets are better then garages where the sunlight hits the containers, as some plastic containers degrade faster when exposed to sunlight, as well as methods such as chlorine are also effected by the same UV rays. You might also want to consider the construction of the area the water is stored in, is it safe there from an earthquake or fire?

Tip #4 Water should be replaced every six months.

Even bottled water from the store has a shelf life, but home made stored water can have small amounts of contaminates which can have a compounded effect over time. Keep track of your preps and rotate them, including the water and methods used for your water supply.

Tip #5 More than just drinking

You need more water than just for safe drinking supply, you need to bathe, clean surfaces and utentiles, cookware needs to be maintained, and even need sterile water for first air. Take stock of the water you use on a day to day basis so that you have a better understanding of what you use when there isn’t a crisis, so that you are better prepared when there is one.

Pat Henry, (theprepperjournal.com) "Why Prep?"