This guest post was provided by Lewis James, a trained and experienced emergency medical professional. He provides some insight into what to include in your first-aid kit. For more tips and information on first-aid kits, check out his blog over at www.unflinchable.com
While your first-kit should be tailored to your specific situation, here are the 10 basic items that should be in every first-aid kit:
I recommend the SWAT tourniquet as it is very simple to use and is a versatile item for your first-aid kit. It can be used as an elastic bandage to wrap a sprained ankle, it can work as a pressure dressing on a wound, and can obviously be used as a tourniquet in extreme situations.
Don’t just toss in a couple 4”x4” gauze pads and call it a day. You can get a package of compressed gauze for a couple bucks that is the equivalent of 39 pieces of 4”x4” gauze! The best part is, it is very compact! Pack as much gauze as you can fit in your kit. QuikClot gauze could also be added if you have the space.
3. Tape (or Steri-Strips)
Tape is a necessity for every first- aid kit. You can use it with a small piece of gauze to make a band-aid or use it to secure larger dressings to a wound. I personally carry a pack of large Steri-Strips (4” x ½”) instead of tape because they are much stickier and do a better job of holding wounds closed. You can use them like tape to hold gauze to a wound as well. Tape can do all the same things, I just prefer Steri-Strips in a compact first-aid kit.
4. Diphenhydramine (Benadryl)
This can be used to treat allergic reactions. Some people will say to carry an EpiPen, but if you don’t have a prescription for one, do NOT carry it! Epinephrine is a dangerous drug! Obviously, if you DO have a prescription for an EpiPen due to a severe allergy, you should have one with you at all times.
This is used to relieve pain, inflammation, and fevers. You could substitute Tylenol or another NSAID, I just prefer Ibuprofen because it’s a little stronger.
This is similar to Ibuprofen in that it can reduce pain, inflammation, and fever. Because aspirin is also a mild blood thinner, it can also be used to reduce the risk of a stroke or a heart attack, which is why I recommend packing it in addition to Ibuprofen.
7. Antibiotic Ointment
When you’re dressing a smaller wound, it’s a good idea to put some antibiotic ointment on it to reduce the risk of infection. This isn’t a substitute for cleaning the wound though! Wound cleaning is still a vital part of first-aid.
You need to have gloves in a first-aid kit to not only protect wounds from further contamination while you’re dressing them, but also to protect yourself in case you are treating someone else.
Ever tried to pull a splinter out of your hand without tweezers? Pretty difficult! Tweezers can also be used to pull out ticks. As a side note, the plastic tweezers that are usually included in first-aid kits are useless! Get some real stainless-steel ones.
10. Safety Pins
Safety pins are one of those items that can really help you out when you’re trying to “MacGyver” (improvise) first-aid gear. For example, if you need to make a sling out of a t-shirt or piece of fabric, safety pins will be very helpful in making it secure.
Those are the 10 items that I recommend you keep in your first-aid kit. There is gear you could add to give you deeper capability, but this is a very good foundation. These 10 items alone make a solid, small, and lightweight first-aid kit that would be perfect for your survival kit or bug-
out bag! These items are the core of every first-aid kit that I have, including even my vehicle first-aid kit.
FoodInsurance.com just recently released a pretty cool infographic showing some interesting (some, like the helmet, are a bit ridiculous) survival uses for duct tape that I thought you’d be interested in checking out.
At the end of the graphic are some additional survival uses that I like to use it for. I’d love to hear some other uses that you’ve found so leave them in the comments below.
7 Additional Survival Uses for Duct Tape
Here are a few additional uses that I’ve found (and used) for duct tape.
- Remove ticks from clothing: Anytime I’m hunting or walking in the woods I often find ticks crawling up my pants or shirt to find a warm, dark spot. I use duct tape to quickly grab them like improvised fly paper.
- Improvised boot lacing: There was one time I needed a boot lace while out in the woods to make a bowdrill fire. The lace eventually broke so I was left without one. I used some duct tape to wrap around the boot ankle as “lacing” for a tight, supportive binding to get out of the wilds. *Note: I now use paracord in place of lacing for all my shoe wear. These don’t break when doing a bowdrill or other heavy-duty activity.
- Survival arrow fletching: If you can’t find feathers, duct tape will make a very serviceable arrow fletching.
- Water container repair: Duct tape does a great job at repairing small leaks in water bottles or bladders.
- Cordage: Duct tape makes for excellent cordage in a survival situation. Either used wrapped around objects like stakes for building shelters or even twisted on itself to make actual rope.
- Improvised water containers: Yes, you can even fold and piece duct tape together to make a very serviceable water container.
- Container sealer: Duct tape makes a fantastic air/water tight seal for food storage containers or ammo cans.
What else do you use it for? Leave a comment below…
Alright, I have another product review for you guys. This one is about the Midland ER300 emergency radio.
First, some background…
For the last couple of years I’ve been primarily stocking my bug out bag with the Eton Microlink emergency radio.
The Microlink is a pretty good little radio, its very compact, and fits perfectly in a bug out bag.
However, there are a few issues that I have with it. But since I haven’t been able to find a suitable replacement, it has stayed in my bug out bag – up until now…
The Midland has now become my go to emergency radio for my bug out bag.
Find out in this review why I made the switch…
The Midland ER300: First Impressions
After getting this radio in the mail and opening the packaging I thought to myself, “dang, this thing is big”.
In fact, I was a little disappointed with the size.
If you take a look at the comparison of the Eton and the Midland you can see that there is a noticeable size difference:
Since I’m all about minimizing the bulk and size of my bug out bag I was a little bit put back with the size of this and didn’t think it would’ve been a good fit.
It appeared to be of better quality and sturdier then the Eton but for this reason alone I didn’t feel it would’ve been a good replacement for the Eton.
It really came down to the overwhelmingly better features that the Midland offers that sold me on it:
Features of the Midland ER300 Emergency Radio
Besides the obvious fact that it is a NOAA emergency radio that can also receive AM/FM channels, here are the more noteworthy features:
Multiple Sustainable Power Sources
This is one of the huge sellers for me that I feel that Eton is lacking.
Like the Eton, you can charge the battery with the integrated solar panel, or by handcrank.
However, not only is the lithium-ion battery pack replaceable (the Eton also has this feature), but it can also store six AA batteries as an extra power source for backup (what the Eton doesn’t have).
Finally, there is a toggle switch that allows you to switch between these two power sources so you don’t drain them both at the same time.
Extremely Bright Flashlight
This was another big selling point for me.
It’s about time an emergency radio uses some of the Cree LED lights. This one pumps out a whopping 130 lumens on high and also allows you to run it on a lower setting to conserve power.
You really notice a difference when you compare the two emergency radios. Check out the difference between both of these shining on a dark wall:
Ultrasonic Dog Whistle
Midland claims that this may be helpful for search and rescue teams using dogs in locating individuals in distress.
Having been involved in local SAR teams myself, I haven’t heard of something like this being used before, so I originally wrote it off as more gimmicky than practical.
However, after some thought I think that this would actually be a pretty cool thing if you have a dog.
It wouldn’t be difficult to train your dog to come to the sound of this whistle and I could see a lot of applications where you would want to covertly call your dog to you — especially in a precarious bug-out situation where yelling for your dog might attract unwanted attention.
NOAA Weather Alert
This is a fantastic option that the Eton (and even higher-priced radios) don’t have.
Basically, you can switch the radio to “alert mode” where it will monitor actively — in real time — for any weather alerts.
So for example, say you were sleeping and there’s some serious weather that’s coming your way…the radio would alarm and flash — waking you up and automatically turning to the channel to broadcast what the weather issue is.
This real-time alert could make all the difference in getting it to your safe room in time or being able to evacuate from an area before you’re stuck behind with the crowds…or worse.
SOS Morse Code Beacon
Morse code isn’t as popular in the military or even in amateur radio as it used to be.
However, SOS (… – - – …) is one of the few signals that even many laymen not trained in Morse code can recognize.
The SOS beacon in the flashlight provides you a hands-off way of broadcasting an SOS transmission – freeing you up to work on other survival tasks.
USB Device Charger
finally, the Midland also has a USB device charger.
Having the ability to charge your devices like a smart phone or even a Kindle or other reading tablet packed in your bug out bag, is a great feature.
*Note: The Midland does not provide enough power to charge an iPad, but is fine for an iPhone, Kindle or other similar device.
Digital Display and Tuning
The digital display of the Midland is another big plus over the Eton. With the Eton’s small knobs, it’s sometimes difficult to tune to the channel you want as well as know exactly which channel you’re on.
With the digital display, there is no confusion or difficulty tuning to the channel yo want.
Finally, it’s nice that it has a clock display.
Just so that there is no confusion, here’s a head-to-head comparison of their features:
|Midland ER300||Etón Microlink|
|Device Charger (via USB)||Yes||Yes|
|Ultrasonic Dog Whistle||Yes||No|
|Replaceable Lithium Ion Battery Pack||Yes||Yes|
|AA Battery Backup||Yes||No|
|Real Time NOAA Weather Alerts||Yes||No|
Pricing and Where to Buy
If you caught it in the comparison chart above, you can see that the price for this radio is around $80.
While it is two times the amount of Eton radio, I feel that the larger price is worth those extra features.
The cheapest place that I found you can buy it is (like many things) on Amazon.com: Buy the Midland ER300 on Amazon here.
When comparing the two radios, I definitely feel that the added features of the Midland are worth the extra cost and bulk.
If you haven’t yet stocked your bug out bag with an emergency radio, I definitely recommend this one.
We all know that preppers have a passion for gear.
And in no other instance do you see this passion come out more often then when they purchase and talk about the contents of their bug-out bags.
However, while I think it’s fantastic that people are building and getting excited about BOBs, it becomes too excessive when they try to pack them with every imaginable piece of “required” gear they find. They soon end up with a pack they can hardly get on their backs let alone lug it for a few miles.
Well, I’m not one to talk. I fell into the same trap and ended up with a BOB that was over 60 lbs.
Believe me, if you ever had to carry a 65 pound backpack more than 2 miles you’d probably agree with me – it’s not fun.
And since my legs and conditioning ain’t what it used to be, lately I’ve been on a mission to reduce the bulk and weight of my own bug out bag. One of the areas where I’ve been able to strip-down a fair amount of weight is with my backpack stove.
The Heavy “Lightweight” Stove
For the longest time I used to carry around an MSR “lightweight” gas stove along with four 8 ounce bottles of fuel. Sure the stove was only a measly 3oz, but the fuel and stove were far from lightweight, weighing a total of 35 oz (over two lbs!).
As a side note: I carried four with me since MSR recommends 4 oz. (114 ml) of liquid fuel per person per day for cooking or 8 oz. (237 ml) of liquid fuel per person per day for melting snow and cooking.
Since I was lugging my family’s and my fuel supply (which would only last around 2 days according to MSR’s recommendations) I felt I had to at least carry 4 bottles. So despite the “lightweight” designation of these cooking stoves, it ended up being too much.
Enter the Solo Stove…
The Solo Stove
Well, over the last few months, I’ve been testing out an excellent little backpacking stove by the name of the Solo Stove.
This stove runs completely on wood and other biomass so not only is the fuel renewable but best of all, you don’t have to carry it with you since it’s all around you.
Since every pound counts when you’re carrying a backpack, I have been able to save over 2 pounds of weight just because of using the stove.
In this video, you can see my review of the Solo Stove and how it works:
How it Works
Here’s the explanation of how the Solo Stove works from the manufacturer:
The Solo Stove is a natural convection inverted downgas gasifer stove that incorporates a secondary combustion for a more efficient and cleaner burn.
The bottom vents allow air to enter and flow up the bottom of the grate to feed the primary combustion, a top down smolder.
In addition, air entering in from the bottom vents heats up within the inner wall and rises up and out the top firebox vents causing a secondary combustion at the top of the stove.
The Solo Stove actually cooks the smoke out of the wood and then burns the smoke not once, but twice! This technique makes for a cleaner burn which means less smoke and also allows the stove to burn more efficiently.
And here’s a visual of that process:
Having used it frequently for the last few months it’s definitely been proven to be a very efficient little stove requiring little wood to cook and boil water.
Solo Stove Specs
Packed size: Height 3.8 inches, Width 4.25 inches
Assembled size: Height 5.7 inches, Width 4.25 inches
Weight: 9 oz
Materials: 304 stainless steel, nichrome wire
Fuel: sticks, twigs, pine cones and other biomass
Boil time: 8-10 mins (32 fl oz of water)
Advantages and Disadvantages of the Solo Stove
The biggest advantage as I have mentioned is that you don’t have to carry around fuel with you. The fuel is all around you in the form of a small sticks twigs park matter and other biomass fuels.
And once you get a decent flame going, you can pretty much put any dry biomass into the hot stove and it will burn it efficiently.
The other advantage is that because of the gasification process, these little stoves are very efficient — it really doesn’t take that much fuel to cook your food or boil your water.
The biggest disadvantage should be obvious: This stove doesn’t work well if all your fuel you find is wet.
However, with a little practice you can learn how to find dry fuel in wet conditions.
For example, even in rain you can still get dry, dead twigs and branches that are attached to standing dead or live trees (such as with most conifer trees like pines, spruces and hemlocks).
And even if these sticks you gather from the trees are a little wet on the outside, you can shave off the outer portion to get access to the dry inner core and use that for fuel.
Obviously, this isn’t the best option, but keep in mind you can also burn Sterno fuel cans or hexamine tablets inside of the Solo Stove — giving you a backup option for those days where it might be too wet or you don’t have time to go through the process of creating dry fuel.
All in all I think the Solo Stove is a fantastic addition to anyone’s bug out bag. Especially if you are familiar with making fires and making fires in inclement weather this is a definite must-have add-on to your bug out bag or even a replacement of your existing cooking stove option.
If you’re interested in purchasing one of these, Amazon always has the best prices: Get your Solo Stove here.
I’ve posted a number of homemade fire starters since the start of this blog, and if there’s one that I find the most effective it’s got to be sawdust fire starters.
I used to make these sawdust fire starters as a kid after learning how to do it from of one of my dads Special Forces Manuals he had.
They are so effective they’ll stay lit in rain (not torrential downpours), on top of snow, and in high winds so they’re perfect if you need to start a fire in moist conditions with less-optimal wood…
…and they’re super easy to make:
How to Make Sawdust Fire Starters
You can check out how to make sawdust fire starters with my latest YouTube video or read the step-by-steps below:
What You’ll Need
- wax (old candles, paraffin, etc)
- ice-cube tray
Making Sawdust Fire Starters Step-by-Step
|Step 1: Melt some paraffin or other wax over the heat. If you’d feel more comfortable you can make a make-shift double boiler by placing a glass Pyrex bowl in simmering water.
|Step 2: While melting, stuff sawdust into ice-cube trays. Make sure to that the sawdust doesn’t overflow into the adjacent cubes
|Step 3: Pour melted wax over the sawdust. The sawdust will expand a bit as it absorbs the sawdust. Again, ensure that the wax is contained to the individual cubes and doesn’t overflow into adjacent cubes.
Pour off any excess wax…
|Step 4: Place tray in freezer until cold and firm. These will pop out much like ice when cold.
|Step 5: Light. These burn for a really long time and are great in high winds and moist conditions.
With the shootings in Aurora and Sandy Hook, gun control has been on the radar for much of 2012 and 2013 — and it’s not looking like it will stop anytime soon in 2014.
Feinstein has been busy pushing her S.150 bill (her “assault weapons ban of 2013″) and Obama is saying that gun-control will be the “central issue” of his final term in office.
There’s increasing pressure to shut down the “gun show loophole” as well as restrict private firearms sales, and there’s even talk of preventing the passing down of firearms to heirs (in other words, your firearms must be turned into the government upon your passing).
Let’s also not forget the UN Arms Trade Treaty that Obama is in favor of which is setting the stage for a national gun registry.
Before you brush it off as harmless, remember what happened in Hitler’s Germany – what started as an innocuous gun registry by the Weimar Republic prior to Hitler’s reign provided Hitler easy access to confiscate the firearms of those Jews who were in possession of them.
If the national gun registry were to take place here it would be no different. It would be easy pickings for those wanting complete gun confiscation — leaving you with no means of protecting yourself from a SHTF event or a tyrannical government.
The Second Amendment is there for a reason folks.
So is there anyway around this?
Getting Around Gun Registration
Many states (including mine) require all individuals who sell, transfer, inherit, or lose a firearm to report the sale, transfer, inheritance, or loss of the firearm with the state — gun registration is alive and well.
But there is a way around this…that is still completely legal (Note: please don’t take this as legal advice. Be sure to check your own state for laws and requirements)…and that is, through building your own.
Per provisions of the Gun Control Act (GCA) of 1968, 18 U.S.C. Chapter 44, an unlicensed individual may make a “firearm” as defined in the GCA for his own personal use, but not for sale or distribution.
And that’s the catch.
You can make one for your own personal use so long as you don’t sell it or distribute it.
This is good news for preppers.
This means no background checks and no serial numbers…again, completely legal.
If you’re thinking, “Yeah Erich, but I don’t have the skills to build my own gun.” Think again. Nowadays it’s a lot easier than people think.
Take an AR-15 for example – the dreaded “assault weapon”.
The only part on the AR-15 that is considered a “firearm” is the stripped lower receiver – the location where the serial number is normally engraved on:
All the other parts can be bought for cash from your local gun store or even online and they’ll ship it to your home without any need for an FFL or background check. Yes, that means the magazines, the barrel, the bolt-carrier group, the trigger assembly, the pistol grip, and so on.
On the other hand, if you try to purchase just the stripped lower receiver you will be required to get a background check. And they cannot be shipped to your house unless you have an FFL or you ship it to an FFL that does the transfer for you.
Well, what many preppers don’t know is they sell what’s called “80% lowers” for the AR-15 as well as other firearms. These are not considered firearms because they are not complete (they are 80% complete) and can be shipped to your home.
According to the ATF, they are nothing but a cool-looking paperweight:
They require you to use a milling machine to mill out the unfinished areas to make it a functioning lower receiver – – not something most people have the skill-set to do.
However, for the AR-15 especially, there are jigs that you can purchase that can be fitted with these 80% lowers that only require you to have some milling bits, a drillpress and the ability to follow directions and you can have yourself a functioning lower receiver completely off the books:
And even better yet, some companies are now producing 80% lowers made from polymer plastics. These only require you to have a Dremel tool or even just a normal electric drill and you can mill out your own lower receiver in about an hours time.
Here’s a video showing how this is done:
My Own Experience
I recently purchased two of these polymer lowers and plan on milling them out in the next month or so, so I’ll be sure to make a video of it for you guys to check out.
As always, I love to hear your comments so please chime in if you have some experience with 80% lowers.
A couple years ago I reviewed a great little emergency heater called the Mr. Heater Big Buddy heater (you can read the Big Buddy review here). It’s been my go-to heater for spot heating sections of the home or for emergencies prior to getting a wood stove.
Since getting the Big Buddy, I’ve heard some great things about Kerosene heaters from a number of readers as well as through my own online research and have wanted to pick one up for some time now. For more information, End Times Report is a fantastic site that has some great info on kerosene heaters.
About 2 weeks ago I decided to pick one up (specifically the KeroHeat CV-2230) to see how it performs and here’s my overall review:
Overall I was impressed with this little heater and I think it makes a great addition to my off-grid heating preps.
It pumps out a fair amount of BTUs (23,000) that is capable of heating the main floor of my living space, and as I mentioned in the video above, it kept the house at a comfortable 65 F when the temps outside were in the mid teens.
The fact that it runs off of Kerosene is another big plus. Kerosene is a very stable, long-lasting, easily stored fuel that I have no issues even keeping (in small amounts) indoors.
The carrying handle (especially under the weight of a full tank of kerosene) feels pretty flimsy and bends slightly under the weight. Overall the construction seems a bit on the cheap side but looking at these types of heaters as a whole and you’ll notice there’s not much too it — it’s essentially millenia-old technology (wick and fuel) wrapped in a modern container.
If you’re looking for a good off-grid option for heating your home, I’d recommend taking a closer look at either the KeroHeat CV-2300 or Mr. Heater Big Buddy. Both have worked well for me.
If you plan on buying one of these for your off-grid/emergency heating needs, be sure to pick up some extra wicks (they’re around $18). It’s the one element on the heater that will “wear out” with time.
Click on the image below if you want to check it out in Amazon…
When the shelves go bare, the supply systems shutdown, and chaos hits the populated areas, it’s highly unlikely you’ll be frequenting your favorite restaurant for some time.
If you’ve been a reader of my blog for even a short time, you know how much importance I put on setting aside a years supply of food storage; but the reality is, food maybe taken from you or it may have to be left behind…
However, knowledge and skill will always be with you.
It’s during times like these that the skill of hunting will come in real handy.
After all, the more skills in self-sufficiency you can develop for obtaining food through either growing or harvesting (a.k.a. hunting/trapping) the less dependence you’ll have upon either commercial food sources or your own food storage.
Why it’s Time to Learn How to Hunt Now
Lest you think that you will simply walk into the woods and harvest a cornucopia of animals when things go south, think about this:
The sad reality is that our wild-animal population cannot support the total population in a country such as the U.S.
As an example, let’s just look at the deer population…
In the communist state that I live in (Massachusetts), there are a total of 85,000 whitetail deer. We have roughly 6.5 million people living in the state.
If you figure a generous 100 pounds of meat from each deer (the avg is probably more like 75 lbs), that equates to only about 1.2 pounds of meat per person — but get this — now the entire deer population is gone. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that that’s not a lot of meat.
Sure, the deer population may be a lot better in other states, but still, the numbers of wild animals cannot support the numbers of people for any sustainable amount of time.
The good news?
Well, it’s going to take some time for the rest of the population to figure out how to do this.
For someone, who has been hunting for a little bit now, I know that you can’t just simply walk into the woods and take your pick of deer and other animals.
It takes some time to learn how to hunt and although there’s overlap, each animal has its own unique strategy.
Sure, in times where rule of law is void, you won’t be restricted by many of the laws and regulations that we as hunters deal with now. But, even without them, it will still not be that simple.
This will grant those who have developed the skills ahead of time a window of opportunity to harvest a good amount of animals to put away before a large portion of the population catches on.
Of course, this is all conjecture anyhow.
I can’t say what type of situation we’d be faced with. It could be a plague that wipes out millions upon millions of people leaving competition for the animals a non-issue; or it could be a total systemic collapse that leaves millions of desperate people in its wake — forcing them to leave the cities and spread across the countryside like a swarm of locusts.
Whether it’s the next “great disaster” or just tough economic times, the importance of learning to hunt now shouldn’t be overlooked.
The Benefits of Hunting
Learning to hunt now goes way beyond survival or even beyond supplementing your current meat requirements.
First off, there’s the obvious health benefits of eating free-range, organic meat.
Also the health-building benefits of being in the outdoors in the fresh air, exercising, enjoying solo time or the camaraderie that comes with the group hunt.
Let’s not forget that the skills you learn in hunting carryover to a great many other areas that are very beneficial to preppers.
For example with hunting you get practical experience in:
- weapon handling, safety, maintenance, and function
- how to fire dynamically and under pressure
- and even building campfires and pitching tents during multi-day hunts
All these skills would easily carryover in a world where chaos rules.
So, if you’re interested in learning a new “hobby” that can provide just as many benefits in your life today as it would in a survival situation, I highly recommend you learning how to hunt.
Announcing a Soon to be Released Course
On a related note…
In February or March of next year, I’ll be releasing a new product that will teach you step-by-step how to hunt.
It covers everything from small game like squirrel to larger game like deer — including equipment recommendations, animal-specific hunting strategies, gutting, skinning, butchering, storing and preparing the meat for the table and much more.
Over 90% of it will be in high quality HD video so you can see exactly how each of these steps are done.
If you’re a member of my other course, Prepper Academy, you know how much of a stickler I am on quality and detailed information.
This course will be no different.
Keep in mind, this will not be a trophy-hunting course (although you still could use it for that I suppose) but is specifically designed for the prepper looking to feed his/her family or supplement their existing meat supply.
I’ve had the benefit of teaming up with a local hunter named Danny who’s been hunting and trapping almost every day for the last 40 years now.
He’s a real interesting character (think of Gandalf from Lord of the Rings, with the white beard and long hair, except in a lot better shape and cowboy hat instead of the wizard’s hat).
Although about 50% of his family’s meat supply comes through what he hunts and traps, he’s told me there have been years where he’s been unemployed where their entire meat supply came from his hunting/trapping efforts.
I’ve been hunting for a bit now and I can’t hold a candle to him.
This guy knows his stuff.
I’m really excited about this course and will give you more info as the time gets closer.
In the meantime, I’d love to hear your comments about things you’d like to see in a course like this. He’s got a wealth of knowledge and I want to make sure that we’re covering the most important things that you’d like to learn.
Keep in mind this is a hunting (not trapping) course. We plan on doing a trapping-specific course later next year. So please limit recommendations and comments at this point to be hunting-specific ones.
Before currency was even conceived as a means of convenient value exchange, there was barter.
I’m sure all of us at one time or another in our lives have traded something. Basically, we traded something we were willing to give away in exchange for something else we wanted or needed — and both parties (hopefully) felt better off.
That’s bartering — a process of trading goods and services for other goods and services.
So how does barter benefit preppers?
Well, first off, barter is a great way of getting preps if you’re short on funds.
Since it’s not dependent upon currency, it’s a very viable means of value exchange that preppers can take advantage of — if you know how to overcome its disadvantages…
For the most part, barter is bilateral. In other words, two people form an agreement of a mutually beneficial exchange.
The problem with that is, for the exchange of goods or services to occur, each participant must want what the other has. And finding someone who has exactly what you want AND is willing to exchange that thing for what you have to offer can be difficult.
However, there is also a multilateral (or circular) form of barter which can overcome those limitations.
Circular barter allows for a lot more flexibility: A wants what B has; B probably wants what someone else has, and that person in turn probably wants what a fourth person has. Eventually it’s likely that the chain will loop back on itself, so that a circular trade can be arranged.
This “circular barter” used to be only possible with barter organizations but now, with the Internet, there are a number of sites that give you this ability due to the large number of users online.
Here is a list of barter companies — look them up and see which one fits your needs and wants:
- BarterQuest.com – This is one of my favorites.
- FreeCycle.org — not exactly a barter site but you can get some good stuff for free that people are throwing out.
- Itex.com — If you own a small business or you’re a sole proprietor, this is a great barter site for businesses to business barter. You could find plumbers, welders, electricians etc who may barter with your skills/services.
- Craigslist.com — Craigslist has a great barter category that many don’t know of. This is typically under the “For Sale” section for your area.
- Multiswap.net — This site is a place where friends can all sign up together to create a trusted barter community. If you’ve got a bunch of like-minded friends and acquaintances, this is a great service to sign up for.
Historically barter has always become a method of exchange (even replacing money in some cases) during times of monetary crisis.
With our current economy the way it is, and where the dollar is going, it may very well be a more prominent form of value exchange in the near future.
With that in mind, start getting used to barter now and I would highly recommend you start forming barter organizations either locally or through a circular barter exchange service like Multiswap.net as mentioned above. This way you’ll be way ahead of the game when the economic collapse happens.