LuguLake II Bluetooth Speaker and Charger Review + Giveaway

LuguLake II Review and Giveaway - Backdoor Survival

Sometimes we all need to break away from the seriousness of prepping and treat ourselves to something just for the fun of it.  And if that something also serves a useful function?  Then I say “bring it on”!

Today I am breaking form and sharing with you a fantastic Bluetooth speaker that not only delivers terrific sound, but can be used to charge your tablet or smartphone.  The device is called the LuguLake II Charger Speaker Stand and in a word, it is simply terrific!

But hold on. 

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Free Food Friday: A Taste of Mountain House + Giveaway

Mountain House Spring Giveaway - Backdoor Survival

Long time hikers and backpackers have known for years that the gold standard in trail food has been food pouches from Mountain House.  Then Y2K rolled around and an entirely new crop of enthusiasts turned to Mountain House for “survival food”.

Here we are, many years later and guess what?  Mountain House is still, in my opinion, the gold standard.

Lucky for me and lucky for us, I have a fantastic relationship with the folks at Mountain House (technically, Oregon Freeze Dry), and am often on the receiving end of “hint hint wink winks” relative to new things happening within their company. 

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How to Make Whole Wheat Bread Using the WonderMix

How to Make 100% Whole Wheat Bread Using the WonderMix - Backdoor Survival

For years I have coveted a real dough mixer.  You know the kind; a mixer with a huge dough hook so I could bake 4, 5, or even 6 loaves a bread at once.  On a day last month, my dream came true.  The folks at WonderMill offered to send me their new WonderMix for testing.

Other than learning how to make bread using the WonderMix, the rules were simple.  I had to use it and I had to give one away to a lucky Backdoor Survival reader! 

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Review: Inflatable Solar Air Lantern for Emergencies + Giveaway (10 Winners!!)

Solar Air Lantern Review - Backdoor Survival

If there is one thing we all should be mindful of when it comes to our emergency kits it is weight.  Let me tell you this: strap more than 20 pounds on your back and unless you are an experienced backpacker or in the Army, you are not going to get very far.

For that very reason, I am always on the lookout for prepping items that are both light weight and useful.  If the usefulness extends beyond emergencies, and the item is value priced, all the better.

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Gear Review: SunJack Waterproof Lightstick + Giveaway

Review of the Sunjack Waterproof Lightstick - Backdoor Survival

If there is one thing that we all share in common, it is our interest in having adequate light to brighten our way when the grid is down.  Perhaps that is why some of us, no names mentioned, have over two dozen flashlights of all sizes and types.  And that is in addition to chemical light sticks.

With all of these portable light sources, what if you had a powerful source of light that was not only bright enough to light up a room, but was waterproof and rechargeable using any USB source? 

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Friday Review and Giveaway Blast! Win a 55 Gallon Water Barrel

Ultimate 55 Gallon Water Barrel - Backdoor Survival

Here we go again with another Friday Giveaway Blast!  This week the prize is a fantastic 55 Gallon Ultimate Water Barrel Kit from Emergency Essentials.  I know for a fact that this is something that many of you covet and now you have an opportunity to win one for free!

You can never have enough extra water on hand.  I discovered that when I personally experienced 12 days without running water due to a water leak near the main coming into my house.  Believe me, all of my stored water came in handy. 

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Gear Review: RAVPower 15W Solar Charger with Dual USB Ports + Giveaway

RavPower 15W Solar Charger - Backdoor Survival

I am enamored with all things solar.  What is not to like about getting free energy from the sun?

Perhaps that is why I am always anxious to test every new solar gizmo that comes along.  In doing so, I have come across some great items, but of all of those items, portable solar panels rank right up there at the top of list.  With that said, I have a fantastic new solar charging system to share with you today: the RAVPower 15W Solar Charger with dual USB Ports.

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Review: The Fantastic Gardening Notebook + Giveaway

The Gardening Notebook Review - Backdoor Survival

I have a love/hate relationship with gardening.  Although blessed with a green thumb, to take advantage of that blessing I need good sun and warm weather.  Unfortunately, that is not the case where I live.  Although beautiful in so many ways, my home is situated on a tiny, shaded lot and the weather?  Let me just say that this is Western Washington and the growing season is short.

In spite of the shortcomings of where I live, each year I set up a seed starting station in my office on top of the file cabinets. 

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Conflicted: The Survival Card Game

Conflicted: The Survival Card Game |Backdoor Survival|

When you read dystopian or post-apocalyptic fiction do you give some consideration to how you would react in a similar situation?  I’ll tell you what. The more I read, the more I assimilate various survival strategies and begin to formulate my own survival game plan.  This is all good and forces me to continue to read serious survival fiction as opposed to the latest John Grisham thriller.

The problem, as I see it, is that reading a book and thinking about strategies is a singular pastime. 

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Gear Review: SunJack Portable Solar Charger

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With our reliance on portable electronics, a huge concern is what will we do when the power is out and our batteries are dead?

This is true not only for our phones which provide a vital link to the outside world, but for our tablets, and electronic readers, too.  Think about it.  We all have hundreds if not thousands of documents that will help us muddle through if the grid goes down.  Barring printing them out and setting up a massive library system, we will be stuck unless we have some way to power up our gizmos.

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The Inexpensive Tac-Force Speedster Outdoor Knife

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I have a habit of suggesting this piece of gear or that, especially when it is value priced.  This is not to say that a bargain priced piece of equipment is going to perform the same as something more expensive but that sometimes, for the task at hand, inexpensive or even cheap will do just fine.

Over the years I have suggested bargain-priced deals on whistles, knives, fire-starters, and flashlights. Many times I refer to these items as “almost free” because at under $5 or $10, they are practically giveaways. 

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Summer Survival Blast: The SolarBag Water Purifier

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One of the first rules of preparedness is to ensure that you have an adequate supply of water to sustain your drinking, cooking and hygiene needs in the days and weeks following a disaster.  To that end, I am positive that we each do the best we can given space and budget constraints.

Now what if I were to tell you that with a 4 ounce BPA free plastic bag and some sunlight, you could take raw water and purify up to  2 gallons of water a day? 

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The Sunday Survival Buzz Volume 121

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Welcome to this week’s Sunday Survival Buzz – a roundup of preparedness news, tips, articles and recommendations from around the web. But first, an update on my own preps.

One of the more important things I did this week in inventory the Potassium Iodide I had purchased shortly after Fukushima.  At that time there was a big panic; everyone wanted some so the merchants sold everything they had at an inflated price.  I was stuck with a couple of packets with a short, remaining shelf life.

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These Boots Are Made for Hiking + Altai Tactical Boots

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It takes a lot to get me excited about clothing and other personal items.  It is not that I am particular but these days, I value my investment in survival gear and supplies far more than an investment in the clothes on my back and the shoes on my feet.

On the other hand, hiking boots are something I take quite seriously.  When push comes to shove (or the stuff hits the fan), a good pair of boots will be well-purposed during everything from a trip to the lake for fresh water, to an emergency evacuation on foot to higher ground. 

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Off-Grid Cooking with the Amazing HERC Tea Light Oven

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One of the challenges during a power outage is cooking meals.  While there are many options, most require cooking outdoors using stove-type methods such as a rocket stove, BBQ grill, fire pit or camp stove.  These methods work great, especially if they are coupled with a cast iron skillet or Dutch oven.

The problem, however, is that we can not predict or time when the power will go out.  Nor can we predetermine how long the grid will be down; it may be hours or it may be days or even weeks. 

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Free Food Friday: Will Mikey Eat it? :-)

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When it comes to food storage, I like to think I have all bases covered.  Canned goods, bulk foods, freeze dried products – you name it, I have it.  As I tend to preach, having variety is as important as having foods that your family will eat.

Realistically, in a survival situation you will likely eat anything, including plants that you forage and even snakes, bugs and heaven-forbid, road kill.  Fortunately, the likelihood of a desperate and dire survival situation is remote when compared to the possibility of a short term crisis or disaster where you will need to fend for yourself for a much more limited period, say one week to one year.

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Clean, Drinkable Water – LifeStraw Family Review

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One of the first things newbie preppers do is get themselves set up with water.  In my own case, I purchased a 55 gallon water barrel and lots of bottled water and indeed, this set the groundwork for moving forward not only with my own preparedness activities but with Backdoor Survival as well.

Fast forward a few years and a lot of research later, and I now know that having stored water is not enough.  An essential component of every family preparedness plan should be a simple, non-mechanical method of purifying water whether at home or in a bug-out-situation.

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BDS Book Festival – Living On The Edge + Interview with F.J. Bohan

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Every once in awhile, a book will come along that fills me with inspiration and allows me to dream about things that perhaps I may never be able to experience myself.  Living on the Edge: A Family’s Journey to Self-Sufficiency is one of those books.  Written by F.J. Bohan, this book memorializes F.J. and his family’s 17 year adventure that included everything from living in a tent to homesteading in the desert.

With that introduction, I would like to welcome back F.J. Bohan as I share the next author interview and giveaway in the current Backdoor Survival Book Festival.  Naturally, one lucky reader will win a copy of Living on the Edge so be sure to check out the details of this week’s giveaway below.

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Survival Friday: Free Food Again!

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It is somewhat of a joke among my family and friends that I talk about food all of the time but never eat.  Let me re-phrase that a bit; I don’t eat all that often or all that much.  That does not, however, prevent me from having good, healthy food on hand not only for day to day meal planning but also for long term emergency needs.  And to that end, I am always on the lookout for something new, food-wise.

Given my penchant for all things food related, it should come as no surprise that once again, I have done a taste test on some pre-packaged meal pouches.  This time around, the meal pouches were provided by Backdoor Survival sponsor, Survival Based.  Not only that, Survival Based is providing an assortment of 12 different Food Supply Depot meals to one lucky Backdoor Survival winner.  More about that in a moment.

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Secrets of Successful Fuel Storage

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One of the benefits of maintaining the Backdoor Survival website is that I am often asked to review various products of interest to the preparedness community.  I have personally tested and used all of the products I have written up and as you know, it is always more than a simple “two-liner” or just the rewrite of a pile technical specs or press releases.

But there are some products that I can’t effectively review because the Survival Husband and I do not always have the necessary review tools.

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Special Report: Winner of the Amazing WonderMill Giveaway

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We have a winner!  Today I am thrilled to let you know that “Jo” is the winner of a new WonderMill grain mill.  She has been informed and will have her choice of the WonderMill electric or the manual Wonder Junior Deluxe.  It is a tough choice.

Here is how Jo responded to the question “What pioneer skill do you feel will be the most valuable following a disaster, collapse or other “stuff” hits the fan scenario?”:

Self defense will be first and foremost. You can’t do any gardening, water gathering etc.

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The Remarkable EcoZoom Rocket Stove plus Giveaway

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When I first got my EcoZoom rocket stove in 2011, I  barely knew how to start a fire, let alone keep one going.  How things have changed since then!  Since that time, I have used my EcoZoom often – not so much because I was in a grid down, but because it is fun to use.  Yes, I know.  Prepper’s can be strange sometimes.

When I was recently contacted by EcoZoom about a review, I was excited because I already had an EcoZoom and was big fan of their product. 

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Winners of the LifeStraw Giveaway!

Today I am pleased to announce the winners of last month’s LifeStraw giveaway.  There were 258 eligible entries and a ton of really great responses to the two questions I posed.

What, if anything, is your current portable water purification method?
and
What do you consider the most important item to have with you as an “Every Day Carry” (EDC) item?

Sipping pond water from a LifeStraw while in Alaska

The winners were selected at random so that everyone had an equal chance of winning.  They have been notified by email and each has claimed their LifeStraw

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Gear Review: Trademark 4 in 1 Hunting Knife

It must be a guy thing.  One knife is never enough and neither are two or three.  Most men that I know have a collection of blades, each serving a slightly (with the emphasis on “slightly”) different purpose.  That said, when planning for emergencies, you should have a reliable knife in your pocket, in your vehicle, in your pack and in your tool box.  In our household, we have pocket knives, multi-tools, tactical knives. machetes and more.  And in all fairness to the men out there, I have three knives of my own.

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The LifeStraw Personal Water Filter Review

I first learned about the LifeStraw Personal Water Filter a year ago when one of the readers of Backdoor Survival sent me an email extoling its virtues.  Although it sounded cool and the price (about $20) was right, I did not bother to test one myself.   After all, I already had a Berkey Sport bottle, a Nalgene water bottle and some water purification tabs in my pack.  I was all set.

Or so I thought. 

During my recent trip to Alaska, I decided to carry along a LifeStraw and use it for some field testing.  After all, what better place to stick a straw in the water and drink than a beautiful Alaskan glacial pond or stream?

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Meals Ready to Eat – Not!

The concept of a meal in a pouch is not new.  For years, military organizations have contracted to have “Meals Ready to Eat” (or MREs) made for distribution to hungry soldiers in the field when a mess kitchen was unavailable.

The evolution of military grade MREs from the 1960’s era to now has resulted in light weight pouches that contain a complete meal sealed into a tidy packet.  A typical MRE contains a main course, side dish, bread, dessert, and flameless ration heater.  There will also be a napkin, eating utensil and condiments such as salt and pepper. 

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Product Review: No-Rinse Personal Hygiene Products

A while back I was sent an assortment of personal care items that could be used for bathing and personal hygiene following a disaster when the grid was down and clean running water was not available.  The products were from the company Clean Life that is located in Ohio.  They have been around for eons, since 1948 to be exact, and the products have traditionally been used in convalescent care, in military field operations and NASA.

I have always been interested in products that can be used without water.  When I was an avid boater in the Puget Sound area, water while at anchor in a remote cove or at a marine park was precious.  Sure, there were sun showers but a sun shower with salt water is, well, not much of a shower.

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Preparing for An Emergency with Limited Space and a Limited Budget

I don’t care what our government is telling us.  Times are tough.  Even for the fully employed, the cost of energy – fuel to heat our homes and gas for our vehicles – has skyrocketed, the cost of healthcare and healthcare insurance has gone through the roof, and food?  Don’t get me started.

For many, the cost of getting by day to day has resulted in downsizing of all types.  For some, that has meant moving to a smaller home or apartment and for others, it has meant home-sharing with grown children, relatives or close friends.  For many, it has meant cutting the household budget to the bone and then some.

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Bug Out Bag Basics: Cooking Outdoors Using a Solo Stove

Have you ever thought about how you would cook on the run?  What I mean is this: you are ordered – or need – to evacuate the shelter of your home and are not sure where you are going.  You may need to camp out and you are most definitely going to have to fend for yourself.

The bug-out-bag is ready to go will all kinds of gear including some paracord, a good knife and whistle, Mylar sleeping bags and a tent, water purification tablets, first aid items, plus some freeze-dried food pouches. 

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Eight Survival Lessons Learned from the Brushfire Plague

Based upon the number of review requests I receive, the genre of “survival fiction” is hot.  More than hot, actually.  It is exploding with new authors putting survival stories to paper on a regular basis.  As someone who lives and breaths prepping and survival, when I take a few moments out of my day to relax, reading a terrifying tale of survival during a SHTF situation is the last thing I want to do.  I would much rather take to the trails, hiking with my dog or hitting the dance floor with the Survival Husband.

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