Review: Emergency Lighting with the Aladdin Mantle Lamp + Giveaway

Emergency Lighting Aladdin Mantle Lamp | Backdoor Survival

When it comes to non-electric lighting, there actually is a genie in the bottle.  Oh my gosh, if you only knew how long I have been waiting to say that!  So now you ask:  Genie? Bottle?  What the heck?

Many of you have mentioned that you have a kerosene lamp.  Some have been of older vintage, passed down from grandparents or purchased for a song at a garage sale.  Others have a newer lamp, purchased specifically for prepping purposes.  And then there are the rest of us, lamp-less and yearning to learn more.

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Practical Reasons to Learn Morse Code for Survival

Practical Reasons to Learn Morse Code | Backdoor Survival

This article is about Morse code and why, as a prepper,you should learn just a smattering for survival purposes.  Before you groan, hear me out.

In the event there is a catastrophic end of the world event, the grid will be down and you will need to communicate your location and your status.  With a few simple Morse code signals, you will have the ability to summon help or to tell the world you are okay.  You will be able to communicate with your peers using signal mirrors, flashlight beams, handheld radios, and even simple, DIY devices.

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Survival Buzz: Win a Lifestraw Go With Buzz Break #3

A LifeStraw Go for You and a Buzz Break for Me | Backdoor Survival

Here we go again with another LifeStraw Go Giveaway.  This is month number three as I keep my promise of offering up a total of five LifeStraw Go water filter bottles, one a month for five months.  I get to take a break from writing, and one lucky reader wins a LifeStraw Go.

Do you know about the LifeStraw Go?  In the simplest of terms, it is a “LifeStraw in a bottle”.  What that means is no bending down to water level to suck up drinking water. All you need to do is scoop or pour the questionable water into your bottle, and drink from the straw.  

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Backdoor Survival Interviews Emergency Essentials

Interview with Emergency Essentials | Backdoor Survival

As some of you may recall, late last year I had a number of customer service issues with personal orders I placed with Emergency Essentials.  After many attempts to resolve these issues, I felt I could no longer endorse them even though I felt they had a robust product line filled with terrific products at a good price point.

I will not bore you with the details other than to say that after a number of heartfelt conversations with their management team, I came away feeling that Emergency Essentials was committed to improving their customer service infrastructure so that my experience would not happen again, to me or to anyone else.

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How to Survive a Dental Emergency

How to Survive a Dental Emergency | Backdoor Survival

I don’t know about you, but I have had my share of dental emergencies, including one major emergency while in the middle of nowhere.  Thank goodness I had some clove essential oil to mitigate the pain until I got back to civilization three days later.

In the event of a major disaster or disruptive event, finding dental care from a trained professional may be impossible.  First responders are going to be saving lives and not tending to a nagging toothache or even to a broken tooth.  For that reason, we need to think about being dentally prepared with the tools and knowledge to get us by during a dental emergency.

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12 Wellness Reasons to Include Elderberries in Your Preps

12 Wellness Reasons to Include Elderberries in Your Preps | Backdoor Survival

The first time I learned about elderberries is when a homesteader I know told me she supplemented her income from making and selling her homemade syrups and tinctures.  At the time, I knew nothing about elderberries even though they are quite common near the edges of the forest here Washington State.

As my interest in natural remedies grew, I started investigating the merits of elderberry then stumbled upon this fact: elderberries can and do fight the flu.  Not only that, they do so exceptionally well.  Talk about a light bulb going off in this prepper mind of mine!  

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Survival Buzz: Adapting to the Challenges of Relocation

Adapting to the Challenges of Relocation | Backdoor Survival

Welcome to this week’s Survival Buzz with an update on my own preps and announcements from the Backdoor Survival blog.

Once again, this week I am going to answer questions posed during the March Lifestraw Go Giveaway.  Before I do, I want to remind you that I do not consider myself an expert.  A lot of what I share comes from my own personal experience and research.  Admittedly, I like to think that I know a lot more than many, but realistically, I also know that there are many that know a lot more than me.

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Review: How to Charge a Laptop Off-Grid with Enerplex + Giveaway

How to Charge a Laptop with Enerplex | Backdoor Survival

When it comes to solar panels that charge portable electronics, you have a lot of choices.  At the top of my head, I would say I have reviewed at least six different set-ups and have given as many away to lucky readers.  So, when I was approached by Enerplex to review their entry into this field, I sighed and thought “here we go again”.

But wait.  There was more.  In addition to the Enerplex Commandr 20 Solar Panels, they had the Generatr S100  battery unit that included a 19V laptop port and an integrated AC inverter. 

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Tipping Our Hat to the Next Generation of Preppers

Tipping Our Hat to the Next Generation of Preppers | Backdoor Survival

Over the course of the last few months, I have given a lot of thought to the role of our more seasoned citizens as harbingers of the prepper movement.  Since I am very much a baby boomer, I throw myself into that lot.  As far as I am concerned, boomers are smart, funny, active, resourceful, and, for the most part, experts in perseverance.

Many of us are also MSH people, a term coined by my pal George Ure back in the early seventies. What does MSH mean?  Make “stuff” happen!

As easy as it is to praise my own generation, I find it trendy to disparage the younger generation, commonly referred to as Millennials. 

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Survival Buzz: How to Move From the Mid-Way Point of Prepping

How to Move from Midway Point of Prepping | Backdoor Survival

Are you at the point where you are comfortable with your prepping progress?  By that I mean you have done enough to know you can get by if you have to, and, for better or for worse,  wonder if you have done enough.

If this describes you, I can relate.

As promised, this week I am going to tackle another one the questions that were posed during the April Lifestraw Go giveaway.  Robin asked:

My question…. When you’re feeling like you’re mid-way (of your personal goals/expectations), how do you decide what comes next?

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8 Things You Can Do Now to Promote Medical Self-Care

8 Things You Can Do Now to Promote Medical Self-Care | Backdoor Survival

Something not frequently addressed by the survival and prepping community is the importance of good health and medical self-care.  What I am referring to is individual responsibility for our own physical and mental wellness.

Why is this important?  If there were to be a major disruptive event, whether local, regional or global in nature, you will need the stamina to survive adverse and even austere conditions, perhaps with minimal food, shelter, and water.  Health care facilities may be scarce, if they exist at all.

Think about it.  As much as we prep and do our best to store a year’s worth of food and supplies, how much attention do we actually pay to taking care of ourselves and staying informed of medical issues and topics? 

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The Top 10 Tips for Debt-Free Living

Top 10 Tips for Debt-Free Living | Backdoor Survival

Bailing yourself out of debt and remaining debt-free is not so much about tackling the debt as it is about the way you live your life every single day.

I say this from experience.  When you learn to be frugal instead of frivolous, you discover that you have a lot more money than you thought you did.  You also find that frugality is not something to dread but rather, in its own way, is an adventure in and of itself.

Of course paying off debt should be of the utmost concern to anyone who is interested in living a prepared lifestyle but beyond that, how do you stay out of debt? 

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Survival Buzz: Firearms Safety for Newbies

Firearms Safety for Newbies | Backdoor Survival

Like most people, I have a lot of knowledge about many topics but just a handful where I would consider myself an authority.  Precious few, actually.  It really quite humbling, you know, to be of a certain age and not know it all.

One area where I am especially weak is with firearms.  I have been to classes, have my own handgun (which I find uncomfortable to use and need to replace), and have shot a few rounds in my day.  As much as I realize the importance of training and practice, I feel as though I will forever be a firearms newbie. 

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The Care and Feeding of Pressure Canners

Care and Feeding of Pressure Canners | Backdoor Survival

A pressure canner can be a prepper’s best friend, especially if there is access to home grown fruits and veggies, or a local farm community that will sell you “less than pretty” items for a song.  On the other hand, mention the phrase “pressure canning” to someone who has never canned  and they will start to shake and shiver with fear.

I know, because I did.  The reality however, is that canning using modern methods is very safe. With a modicum of diligence, there is no need to be afraid and a lot to be gained in the process. 

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Nine Reasons Why Adult Coloring is Important to Preppers

Nine Reasons Why Adult Coloring is Important to Preppers | Backdoor Survival

Six months ago, I discovered adult coloring quite by accident. It all happened as part of the daily haunt seeking out quality eBooks being offered for free on Amazon, I kept running into adult coloring book titles in the top ten ranking of all non-fiction books.  What was this?  Something new?  I had to check it out.

When my first adult coloring book and set of pencils arrived, I dug right in and become hooked from the get go. Adult coloring became a time when I could take some downtime to listen to music and escape the stresses of blogging, a hectic work life and an uncertain world.

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Survival Buzz: How to Clean Cast Iron the Easy Way

How to Clean Cast Iron the Easy Way | Backdoor Survival

For the longest time I have been promising to share with you my number one tip for cleaning cast iron skillets.  Well finally, today is that day.

Let me begin at the beginning.  Six months ago, on a lark, I ordered this chain-like gizmo called “The Ringer”.  The purchase was based upon one of those “just for you” suggestions from Amazon and in a moment of weakness, I fell for it.  Little did I know that cleaning my cast iron skillets would become so easy.  Not that cleaning cast iron is difficult, mind you, but it can and does take some time.

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Prepper Book Festival 11: Failures of Imagination

Failures of Imagination | Backdoor Survival

It seems like just yesterday we could wake up each day to a routine.  We would get up, go to work, eat an evening meal, then spend a bit of downtime with friends and family or in the pursuit of personal hobbies.  We worried about making ends meet, our careers, and the health of our loved ones.

What we did not worry about was being safe from terrorist attacks, nuclear wars, global pandemics, or an economic collapse.

Alas, times have changed, and with each day we face more uncertainties.  Couple these uncertainties with little confidence that our government and our leaders have a pulse on the world situation, and we feel a sense of abandonment. 

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Beyond SHTF: How to Keep Your Home Safe From Fire

How to Keep Your Home Safe From Fire | Backdoor Survival

A couple of weeks ago one of my blogging colleagues lost everything she owned in a house fire.  Fortunately, the entire family, including the family pets, got out safely but everything they owned was gone.

Can you imagine this happening to you?  In a flash, you could potentially be homeless and have to deal with temporary shelter in a hotel or with family members as you sort through the rubble of your burnt out belongings.

And what about your preps?  Food storage, survival gear, and your precious print library of survival books would be gone.

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Survival Buzz: Thoughts on Alternative Transportation Following an EMP

Thoughts on alternative transportation following an EMP | Backdoor Survival

Last week’s call for questions was amazing.  There were over 100 of them which will surely keep me busy for awhile.  There were so many that I actually hired an assistant to help me categorize and compile them into an organized list.

With that type of interest in what I have to say, it seems fitting that I answer one question right away.  This question comes from the winner of the LifeStraw Go and it is a good one.

I would like more information on alternative transportation in an EMP situation.

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Survival Basics: Understanding and Making Your Own Desiccants

Understanding and Making Your Own Desiccants | Backdoor Survival

In 2013 when I first wrote about desiccants, the context surrounding the use of desiccants was a mystery to me.  I knew that little pillows of gel were frequently packaged with with electronic gizmos, new shoes, pill bottles and even clothing purchased over the internet.  I also knew that  many articles, books and websites with information about long term food storage also talked about desiccants.

As far as my knowledge of desiccants went, I was clueless. What are they?  How are they used?  And were they really necessary?   It seemed that depending upon who you consult, they were absolutely 100% necessary or a total waste of time and money. 

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What Happens When the Lights Go Out for Good?

What Happens When the Lights Go Out for Good | Backdoor Survival

Have you put some thought into what would happen if your world went dark for a week?  I mean really thought about it, starting with day one and going out a week, a month or even longer?

I don’t know about you, but when I first started prepping, I heeded the warnings from NASA and considered the possibility of an EMP caused by solar flares, a coronal mass ejection, or even a meteor strike.  These days, the concern is as much for a human-induced attack on the grid as it is for a natural phenomena.

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Survival Buzz: Enter to Win a Free LifeStraw Go in Buzz Break #2

Win a LifeStraw Go Water Filter Bottle | Backdoor Survival

Do you remember me telling you about the LifeStraw Go last month?  The LifeStraw Go is a “LifeStraw in a bottle”.  What that means is no bending down to water level to suck up your drinking water.  Don’t get me wrong. The original LifeStraw is a fantastic product and has a prominent place in my preps.

Still, with the LifeStraw Go, you simply fill the bottle and take a drink.  Everything is nice and tidy in one simple water filtering package.  In addition, refill filters are available. How cool is that?

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Every Survival Community Needs a Town Library

Every Survival Community Needs a Town Library | Backdoor Survival

I have always been a huge fan of public libraries.  As a matter of fact, before the era of eBooks, one criteria I used to determine where to live was the proximity of a public library.  Can you imagine doing that now?  These days, libraries do not need to be within commuting distance since most, if not all libraries offer a free and convenient way to download eBooks, magazines, music and videos from the comfort of your home.

In addition, did you know that most libraries have a request feature where you can borrow titles not in their inventory from other library systems? 

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How to Control Lice in a Survival Situation

How to Control Lice in a Survival Situation | Backdoor Survival

A few weeks ago I received an email from a reader describing a scene in a book she was reading.  In the book, the author was describing a prolonged stay where she, her family, and some friends had to endure life in a bomb shelter.  In such close quarters under less than optimal conditions, they all become infested with lice.

Can you imagine becoming infested by lice while sheltering in place following a disaster or disruptive event?  If that happened, Target and Wal-mart would be inaccessible, as would Amazon.com.  Having had lice myself when I was a young adult, just thinking about it gives me the heebie-jeebies.

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Survival Buzz: Catching Up With Prepping Following a Relocation

Catching Up With Prepping Following a Relocation| Backdoor Survival

One of the challenges of relocating, even temporarily, is that your preps take second fiddle to the rest of the logistics.  And then, boom!  You realize that if something happens, you may be at risk of not being ready.

I am not saying that happened to me because I did bring some basics to Arizona, plus, the first week I was here I ordered two 160-gallon water barrels From Emergency Essentials, and a 720 day emergency food kit from Buy Emergency Foods.  Shortly after that, I worked on building up my canned goods and bulk foods, pretty much using 12 Months of Prepping as a checklist for the basics, as well the 20 item food storage kick-start list from both my book and this website. 

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A Kit to Treat Trauma Before Help Arrives

Kit to Treat Trauma Before Help Arrives | Backdoor Survival

A few months back, I was contacted by Jeff Midgley, who expressed an interest in becoming a sponsor and advertiser on Backdoor Survival. As I always do, I checked out his website and product line to ensure they were appropriate for BDS readers.  Needless to say, his website “TNT First Aid” passed the vetting process and can be now be found on the sidebar (or at the bottom of the page on mobile).

What happened next was my own, more in-depth investigation of the items sold by TNT First Aid and the recognition that my own first aid kit, while totally practical, useful, and  portable, was missing some of the more esoteric components of a trauma kit.

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Prepper Book Festival 11: Braving the Storms

Braving the Storms by Kyle Pratt | Backdoor Survival

By now you probably know that I have a virtual love-fest with certain authors.  These are the individuals that consistently put out meaningful and educational work that we can learn from, whether it is the form of preparedness oriented reference books or survival fiction.

This week I once again feature one of those authors, Kyle Pratt, as I introduce you to the third book in his “Strengthen What Remains” series, Braving the Storms.  I love audiobooks and lucky for me, I was able to listen to the book during my daily walks with Tucker the Dog, and during my nightly de-stressing while coloring in “adult” coloring books.

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23 Ways to Be an Amazing and Awesome Prepper

23 Ways to Be an Amazing and Awesome Prepper | Backdoor Survival

Once upon a time I was new to prepping.  Although I had a few emergency supplies on hand, it was not until I did a personal risk assessment that I realized how exposed I was in the event of a true emergency.

Being located offshore the mainland US, and being subject to the whims of the Washington State ferry system, I knew that our island community would be stranded if there was a major disruptive event in the Pacific Northwest.  The type of event would not matter.  We would be cut off if there was an earthquake, terrorist attack, or nuclear event. 

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Survival Buzz: 2 Pieces of Advice For Living a Strategic Life

2 Pieces of Advice for Living a Strategic Life | Backdoor Survival

Some days, I have a very short fuse.  Call it stress, age, or simply disgust at the world situation, but the smallest things can set me on a rant.  As a prepper, these feelings are a bit troublesome given that in a true emergency, rants and temper tantrums will have no place. It will be survival that counts.

Do you remember a time when you could handle a lot more than you can now?  I do.  The bottom line is that  life is simply more complicated now than twenty or thirty years ago. 

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Is It Really Safe to Ingest Essential Oils?

Is it really safe to ingest essential oils | Backdoor Survival

Every month or so, I write an article about essential oils.  Sometimes I share information about various oils while at other times I provide my own recipes for using essential oils to concoct household or personal products.

While this is not an essential oils website per se, it is a website about self-reliance and preparedness.  It is about strategic living, staying healthy, and being the best you can given our uncertain times.  In my own life, essential oils play an important role and I try to share that with you.

One question does come up over and over again. 

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Prepper Book Festival 11: Prepper’s Communication Handbook

Preppers Communication Handbook | Backdoor Survival

One of the challenges of emergency communication is understanding the technology.  Is a one-way radio sufficient to receive updates following a disaster or other emergency, or do I need a scanning device?  What is a shortwave radio and why do I need one?  Is getting a Ham radio and radio license worth the effort?  And then there are those “family” walkie-talkie devices.  Those seem like a good idea but are they really?

Shoot, even I get confused by all of the options even though I own all of them.  Deciding which one to use, and when, only adds to the dilemma.  

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14 Essentials to Help You Fix and Clean Almost Anything

14 Essentials to Help You Fix and Clean Almost Anything | Backdoor Survival

Back in 2011, I wrote a little piece about the importance of having a selection of items on hand to fix and clean almost everything.  Since that time, my views have changed and whereas many of the items on the original list still hold a prominent place in my fix-it kit, some have dropped off and others have been added.

Given that my focus this year is on simplicity as well as frugality, this is a great time to go back and credo this list because let’s face it.  Life is filled with little fix-it and clean-it tasks.

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