Survival Buzz: How to Test Your Drinking Water + Giveaway

How to Test Drinking Water At Home | Backdoor Survival

When you think about emergency water, most likely you think about acquisition, purification, and filtering processes.  I know that I do.  What is missing from this equation, though, is testing. Can we assume the water coming out of the kitchen faucet is safe to drink?  And what about well water or home filtered water?  Wouldn’t you like to know about the lead, bacteria, pesticide, iron, and copper content of your water?

These questions lead me to the topic for today: testing your drinking water using a home test kit. 

Prepper Book Festival 12: Mason Jar Nation + Giveaway

Mason Jar Nation | Backdoor Survival

If there were such a thing as a 12 point program for Mason jar addicts, I would be a card carrying member.  I adore Mason jars and use them to store bulk foods in the pantry, craft supplies in the closet, and frozen goods in the freezer.  Because of my love for Mason jars, they are being carefully wrapped in bubble wrap and packed away in boxes so they make the big move I have coming up this Fall.

So, imagine my surprise and delight when I was offered an opportunity to include a book about Mason jars in a Prepper book festival. 

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25 Must Have Items for Your Survival Hygiene Kit

25 Must Have Items for Your Survival Hygiene Kit | Backdoor Survival

The Oxford English Dictionary defines hygiene as:

“Conditions or practices conducive to maintaining health and preventing disease, especially through cleanliness.”

During or following a disruptive event, life will be tough enough without having to worry about maintaining health and preventing disease.  Why then, do I find the topic of a survival hygiene kit taking a backseat to articles about food, water, bug-out bags and life in the wilderness?

Today I plan to change that by sharing my own list of must have items to keep me clean, healthy, and looking good.

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Survival Buzz: 18 Herbal Remedies for Aches and Pains

18 herbal remedies for aches and pains | Backdoor Survival

As well versed as I am when it comes to using essential oils for aches and pains, I have little practical experience using herbal remedies to resolve those daily creaks in my joints and elsewhere that seem to occur at the worst possible time.

Given the popularity of our recent Prepper Book Festival entry, Be Your Own Herbalist, I decided I better get with the program and continue the discussion of herbal remedies by calling in some experts with first hand experience.  That, plus getting some first hand experience myself.

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Prepper Book Festival 12: Alcohol Mantle Lamps

Alcohol Mantle Lamps | Backdoor Survival

When it comes to emergency lighting, I am the first to raise my hand to try out the newest and bestest lighting gizmo out there.  It is not that I am a gizmo-junkie but rather I don’t like pitch black darkness.  As a result, I have tried to learn as much as I can about emergency lighting and who better to learn from than my pal Ron Brown, author of the The Non-Electric Light Series of books and e-books.

Today I introduce Book 8, Alcohol Mantle Lamps.  I do believe this is the final book in the Non Electric Lighting Series but with Ron, you never know. 

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Three Ways to Use Healing Essential Oils That Work

Three Ways to Use Healing Essential Oils That Work | Backdoor Survival

When it comes to using essential oils topically, most recipes will simply say “add to a carrier oil and apply”.  That sounds simple enough but the reality is that measuring the proper number of drops can be hit or miss.  Most EO brands include an orifice style dropper but just when you think you have doled out the requisite drops, more come out.  This is not only wasteful, but when it comes to essential oils, using more is not always better.

A solution to this dilemma is to create custom salves, butters, and  lotion bars that make the application of essential oils a cinch. 

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Save Money By Raiding the Pantry for Food Preps

Save Money By Raiding the Pantry for Food Preps | Backdoor Survival

There are times when we all need to budget and to carefully watch our food expenditures.  Throughout my own adult life, I have done so on many occasions.  Sometimes it was because I was saving for something special but more often, my personal austerity had to do with the reality of income less expenses resulting in a shortfall.

As a prepper, this can be a dilemma, especially as we try to acquire emergency food and supplies that are going to stand up to the test of time.  For most of us, even during the best of times the process of acquiring large stores of emergency supplies can be daunting, expense wise. 

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Prepper Book Festival 12: Coloring Flower Mandalas

Coloring Flower Mandalas | Backdoor Survival

Taking a break from your preps is something we all need to do from time to time and what better way than to immerse yourself in a calming and relaxing hobby.  This time around, I am not going to tell you to go camping like I did early this week.  Instead I am going to ask you to break out the coloring books and start coloring.

To help me twist your arm a bit, I have asked artist Wendy Piersall to join us in a Prepper Book Festival.  Today she is here to tell us a little bit about herself and also to give away three copies of her book, Coloring Flower Mandalas: 30 Hand-drawn Designs for Mindful Relaxation.

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Nine Things You Can Learn from Camping That Will Make You a Better Prepper

Nine Things You Can Learn from Camping | Backdoor Survival

One of the best ways to test your survival skills is to spend some time outdoors, without electricity, running water, and flushable toilets.  This is not to say that every disruptive event will require you to live outdoors, but rather that such an event will require you to cope without modern conveniences.  As preppers, our hope is that such an event will be short-term in nature, but, as the saying goes, “hope for the best and prepare for the worst”.

About a year ago I was discussing this topic with Phil Cox, the CEO of Buy Emergency Foods

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Survival Buzz: Relieve Stress By Taking Time for a Progress Check

Relieve Stress By Taking Time for a Progress Check | Backdoor Survival

Whereas I am not generally a doom and gloom person, sometimes I get both stressed and depressed over the state of the world, generally, and my country, specifically.  Furthermore, as much as I do like to stay informed, there are times when what I read is all too much and I just want to go hide under a rock somewhere.  The upcoming election is a good case in point.  Regardless of the outcome, my belief is that uncertain times are not over and further, bad times are right around the corner.

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Prepper Book Festival 12: Be Your Own Herbalist

Be Your Own Herbalist | Backdoor Survival

How much do you know about herbal medicine?  Or perhaps more important, how much do you know about becoming your own herbalist?  You might be asking, “what is an herbalist”?  An herbalist is someone who is proficient in the use of herbs.  As simplistic as that seems, if you are like me you have read books, studied and grown herbs, and then, with the exception of a few select plants, filed this herbal knowledge away for sometime down the road.

That needs to change.  Earlier this week I sat down and read Be Your Own Herbalist: Essential Herbs for Health, Beauty, and Cooking and all I can say is WOW. 

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It’s More Than SOS: How to Learn Morse Code

How to Learn Morse Code | Backdoor Survival

Unlike amateur radio, there is no license requirement to send Morse code.  With a bit of practice, anyone can send Morse Code and big brother will not stop you.  That being said, it would be extremely rude, impolite, and dangerous to send out irrelevant Morse Code, especially while in the midst of a disruptive event.

Why Morse code?  Morse code transmits text information as a series of on-off tones, lights, or clicks.  By interpreting these signals, a skilled listener (or observer in the case of lights), will understand the message without the need to have specialized equipment.

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Survival Buzz: Getting Started With the Pillars of Preparedness

Getting Started With the Pillars of Preparedness | Backdoor Survival

What exactly are the basics of survival?  Speaking from the heart, even I am a bit unsure these days.  Long gone are the days when a well-stocked pantry, a generous supply of clean drinking water, and bug-out bag were all you needed to be prepared.

As much as I would like to answer this question in a definitive manner, the more I know and the longer I am doing this, the more I realize the nature and scope of what we need to prepare for has changed over the years and, if anything, is far more exhaustive than I could imagine when starting in 2010.

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Prepper Book Festival 12: DIY Solar Projects

DIY Solar Projects | Backdoor Survival

Dozens of readers have asked about DIY solar projects and until now, I have had very little to offer.  That has changed. As you will see below, the latest entry in the Prepper Book Festival is flat out fantastic.

DIY Solar Projects: How to Put the Sun to Work in Your Home by Eric Smith is a full-color DIY book with lots of pictures, lots of diagrams, and lots of information.  Interested in building a real, wood-encased solar oven (and not a tin-foil and cardboard mockup)?  Eric will show you how using common materials available at most hardware stores. 

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6 Useful Preps You May Not Have Thought Of

6 Useful Preps You May Not Have Thought Of | Backdoor Survival

One of the very first things I did when I adopted the prepping lifestyle was a walk-around inventory.  This was years ago and although I had not consciously considered myself a prepper at the time, I discovered that I had a lot of stuff, but it was woefully disorganized and lacking in many key areas.

For example, I had lots of canned goods, supplemental lighting, off-grid cooking devices, tools and more.  On the other hand, except for a 55 gallon water barrel and a small first-aid kit, I was sorely lacking in water and medical supplies. 

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Survival Buzz: Coming to Terms With Your Prepping Priorities

Coming to Terms With Your Prepping Priorities | Backdoor Survival

A number of years back, I opened a discussion of preparing for probable events and setting aside the extreme for a later time.  It all started with a conversation in my household, and whether we needed to take our prepping to the next level. The specific context was freeze drying our own food but it could have just as easily been medical supplies, firearms, and communications gear.

This got me thinking about prepping in general and the various stumbling blocks that many face along the way.  These stumbling blocks may include expense. 

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Prepper Book Festival 12: The Winter Fortress

The Winter Fortress | Backdoor Survival

During these days of extreme terrorist, crazy politics and uncertainties relative to government control,  it is easy to lose track of some of the threats we initially prepared for.  Case in point is a nuclear threat.  Although it is difficult to separate nuclear threats from terrorism, the recent spate of events has been focused upon shootings and suicide bombs.  That said, threats of nuclear sabotage has been around since WW II, and if anything, it has only gotten worse. 

With that introduction, today I present The Winter Fortress: The Epic Mission to Sabotage Hitler’s Atomic Bomb, a piece of non-fiction that is gong to rock you off your chair. 

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23 Brilliant Uses of Duct Tape In Real Life

23 Brilliant Uses of Duct Tape In Real Life | Backdoor Survival

Anyone with a modicum of cleverness can come up with the list of 50 ways to do this or 50 ways to do that.  The problem, as I see it, is many of these lists are a rehash of another list with the author having little or no first hand experience with each of the listed items. Not that it is devious or wrong, but there has to be a better way.

Something I like to do is to ask real people how they manage situations and use things.  I couple that with my own knowledge and experience and viola! 

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Survival Buzz: Situational Awareness Can Save Your Life

Situational Awareness Can Save Your Life | Backdoor Survival

This week in the Survival Buzz I was going to talk about freeze dried food.  And then the tragic event in Nice happened.  I have been to Nice and have walked the Promenade des AnglaisIt is a beautiful seaside city that is idyllic in many ways.

Beauty notwithstanding, the death of innocents anywhere in the world always motivates me to stand up and pay attention to my surroundings even more than I normally do.  It is one thing to watch for eagles that may swoop down and snatch my dog. 

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Prepper Book Festival 12: Complete Guide to US Junk Silver Coins

Complete Guide to US Junk Silver Coins | Backdoor Survival

You might think this is an unusual title for the Prepper Book Festival but given the keen interest many of you have in precious metals, I felt this book worthy of your attention.

The Complete Guide to US Junk Silver Coins by Brian Smith is a fascinating journey down the historical path of U.S. coinage. Not to be left out, it also includes a brief history of paper currency in the United States. Remember when paper currency was a “silver certificate” and not a Federal Reserve Note?  Back in the day, currency was backed by silver that the US government had on deposit, dollar per dollar.

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How to Make an Awesome Healing Body Butter

How to Make An Awesome Healing Body Butter | Backdoor Survival

For the longest time, I have shunned learning how to make a body butter. Most likely this is due to a commercial product I purchased a few years back that was a sticky, smelly mess.  I just did not understand the popularity of such an item and why I should bother.

Fast forward to today and I wanted to come up with a carrier for essential oils that supplemented the simple salve I concoct from coconut oil, olive oil, and beeswax.  An important motive was feedback from readers who were allergic to bees. 

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Survival Buzz: How to Deal with Buckets of Food for Daily Use

How to Deal with Buckets of Food for Daily Use | Backdoor Survival

Purchasing food in large quantities is certainly economical but not always convenient.  Not only are there issues with finding adequate and temperature controlled storage space, but If you are like me, you struggle with setting aside an appropriate amount for daily use.

In keeping my commitment to respond to reader questions, today I share thoughts on the following question that was asked back in April.  Although the question is specific to tubs coconut oil, the answer applies to other food products as well.

I have questions about how you use and store your coconut oil since you buy the larger tubs from Tropical Traditions.

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Prepper Book Festival #12: A Prepper’s Cookbook

A Preppers Cookbook | Backdoor Survival

When it comes to prepper cookbooks, I have been disappointed more often than not.  You might be wondering why so let me just say this:  many are simply compilations of recipes that are on the internet in the public domain.  Not only that, I know some cookbook authors that are prepper frauds.  They have not prepped a day in their life. I know because they have told me.  Let us leave that unpleasant tangent for another day.

Today I want to introduce you to a real prepper and real cookbook author, Deborah D.

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7 More Skills You Need to Survive SHTF

7 More Skills You Need to Survive SHTF | Backdoor Survival

When it comes to prepping, once the basics are covered, skills will trump stuff. The good news is that many of the skills needed to prevail following a disruptive event are things we already know.  How to cook from scratch, start a fire, grow a vegetable garden, and administer basic first aid are just a few of the skills most of us have learned over time.

Beyond the basics, there are skills that are more personality and lifestyle driven.  A few examples include perseverance, frugality, and problem solving. But what about going beyond these traits?

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Survival Buzz: How to Avoid Nicks and Cuts by Sharpening Razor Blades

How to Avoid Nicks and Cuts by Sharpening Razor Blades | Backdoor Survival

What started out as a great Wednesday shortly turned into a bloody mess.  The short version of the story is that Shelly, aka the Survival Husband, decided to touch up his bald head with a dull razor blade.  What happened next was a scrape about one and a half inches long and a half inch wide.  Who would have thought that so much blood could pour out of such a small wound.

I grabbed some gauze to soak up what I could, then dabbed on some boo-boo stick followed by miracle slave. 

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Prepper Book Festival 12: The Zika Virus Handbook

Zika Virus Handbook | Backdoor Survival

How much do you know about the Zika virus?   Whereas it is easy to consider Zika to be someone else’s problem, the reality is that that ramifications of Zika evolving into a global pandemic are horrifying. This is the next generation we are talking about and honestly, we need to care.

Today the Prepper Book Festival features The Zika Virus Handbook by Joseph Alton.  Many of you are familiar with both Joe and his wife Amy who blog at Doom and Bloom dot net.  They are also authors of The Survival Medicine Handbook and a periodic contributor to this website.

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Getting Out of Dodge: The Survival Retreat

Getting Out of Dodge Survival Retreat | Backdoor Survival

There comes a time when every prepper takes a look at what they have done, what they are currently doing, and what they plan to do in the future.  Sometimes, they retrench and rethink past preps and improve on what they have done and especially what they have learned skill-wise.  Sometimes they take a break because let’s face it, we all need balance in our lives.  And then there is the most difficult part which is planning for future preps, if any.

I am very good about asking questions about prepping goals and readers excel at answering. 

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Survival Buzz: 4 Ways to Control Slugs Naturally

4 Ways to Control Slugs Naturally | Backdoor Survival

Even though my garden is tiny, slugs and snails are having a heyday.  They are getting into my flowers and hostas which is especially hurtful.  I hate slugs so although I am certain they have some purpose in the big picture of our ecosystem, I want to get rid of them.

Lucky for us, the newest Backdoor Survival sponsor, Seed for Security, has some great tips for getting rid of slugs naturally.  Not only that, in order to give me my monthly Buzz break, Nan is providing one lucky reader with a complete Seed for Security Super Survival Kit

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Prepper Book Festival 12: The Borrowed World Novel of Post Apocalyptic Collapse

The Borrowed World | Backdoor Survival

For the past year I have found that when it comes to post-Apocalyptic fiction, there is a lot of sameness.  Either the story lines have been told before or the writing is dark and oppressive to the point where I can’t get beyond the first twenty pages.  Call it a personal quirk if you must, but I want to learn from survival fiction and to open my mind to possibilities and scenarios that could play out if “it” – whatever it is – happened to me.  But I also want to enjoy the read.

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Light Your Way With Nokero Solar Lights

Light Your Way With Nokero Solar Lights | Backdoor Survival

Let’s face the facts.  Prepper’s are lighting whores and solar geeks.  Add a flashlight or lantern to our preps and we are over the moon excited.  Get our hands on something powered exclusively by the sun we are thrilled.  Who said preppers are difficult to please?

Today, for all of you lighting and solar fans, I have the perfect solution to your portable lighting needs: Nokero Solar Lights.  Part lantern, part light bulb, the Nokero N233 Solar Light is lightweight and small but puts out an extremely bright beam.. I am going to share with you my thoughts on the Nokero  N233, but beyond that, I have five up for grabs in a giveaway plus one super Nokero W100 Solar Work Light valued at $179. 

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Survival Buzz: Do Old Geezers Think or Care About SHTF?

Do Old Geezers Think or Care About SHTF | Backdoor Survival

The term old geezer has been around for as long as I can remember with the common definition being “an elderly man that is extremely old”.  That seems like an oxymoron to me but what do I know?

Wikipedia has this to say:  “Geezer is a slang term for a man. In the UK, it can carry the connotation of either age or eccentricity. In the US, the term typically refers to a cranky old man.”  Okay, so an old geezer is both eccentric and cranky.

I would like to soften that definition a bit. 

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Prepper Book Festival 12: 5-Gallon Bucket Book

5 Gallon Bucket Book | Backdoor Survival

When this newest Prepper Book Festival was launched, I indicated there would be some fun titles along the more serious fiction and non-fiction titles. Couple practicality and usefulness with fun and and we have a real win.  Such is the case with today;s book, 5 Gallon Bucket Book: DIY Projects, Hacks, and Upcycles.

Here in my household, collecting 5 gallon buckets takes second place only to mason jars, and you know how I feel about them!  Give me a few dozen buckets and jars and I can and do store anything. 

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