Prepper Book Festival 10: Prepper’s Survival Hacks

Gaye Levy Gaye Levy  |  Updated: November 24, 2020
Prepper Book Festival 10: Prepper’s Survival Hacks

When it comes to books about survival and preparedness, one of the more prolific authors out there is my friend and blogging colleague, Jim Cobb.  I have all of his books and can attest to their integrity, readability, and usefulness.  Today, I am pleased to introduce you to his newest book, Prepper’s Survival Hacks: 50 DIY Projects for Lifesaving Gear, Gadgets and Kits.

Preppers Survival Hacks by Jim Cobb | Backdoor Survival

So what is this book about?  It is not so much an “about” book but rather a “to-do” book for do-it-yourselfers and MacGyver types.  Does that sound like you?

Want to make some fire-starters using empty egg cartons?  How about an inexpensive rocket stove fashioned from patio pavers?  These two projects are in the book along with 48 others.  What I like is that most are accompanied by photographs so you can not only read about the project, but follow along visually.

Why is that important? The photographs are visual proof that these projects are doable and not just the imagination of some anonymous eBook author.  (Oops!  Did I really say that?)

In classic Prepper Book Festival tradition, I have an all-new interview with Jim as well as three copies of his book up for grabs in this week’s giveaway.  Enjoy the interview then be sure to check in below to learn about the giveaway and to read  an excerpt from Prepper’s Survival Hacks.

An Interview with Jim Cobb, Author of Prepper’s Survival Hacks

This is your sixth Backdoor Survival Prepper Book Festival which speaks to your success as an author in the preparedness and survival niche. That being said, how do you differentiate this book from your previous books?

This book is all about the DIY end of preparedness. I believe that fostering skills like thinking outside the box and being creative are important ways to succeed when under pressure. Being able to improvise a solution when the “standard” isn’t available can be crucial.

Do you ever suffer “prepper burnout” and if so, how do you deal with it?

I think we all do from time to time. While preparedness is a way of life, it doesn’t need to be all-consuming. It is important to take breaks from time to time, to live your life. Go on vacation, just be practical and use some common sense to take reasonable precautions, that’s all.

What, in your opinion, are the greatest challenges we face going forward?

As a society, we are growing ever more divisive. I don’t know if this is something that is being done intentionally or not but the fact is, we seem to be headed for some sort of conflict within our own borders.

In the days following 9/11, the American people were, for the first time in many years, allied as one against a common foe, though at the time I don’t think we truly understood completely what had happened. In the years since, we’ve lost that feeling entirely and it has become much more of a everyone is out for themselves mentality. Sad, really.

Two acronyms are bantered about among survival and prepper types. They are SHTF and BOB. How do you feel about these two terms and do you use them yourself?

I use BOB in my writing far more than I use SHTF. Honestly, I never really cared for the SHTF acronym. I never use either of them when giving classes and such.

What advice do you have for a young person in their 20s who has shown an interest in preparedness?

Start saving money now, putting a little aside every single time you get paid and never touching it. Far too many people never learn how to handle finances and that’s actually a crucial part of preparedness.

Start learning some basic skills, too, like scratch cooking and food preservation. Preparedness isn’t all about the sexy stuff like firearms and bushcraft. You have to know how to feed yourself, how to keep clean, how to pay your bills.

Tell me about your own website. Was is its focus and who is the target audience? was started about 6 years ago as an attempt to combat the large amount of false information that was, and is, going around online regarding disaster readiness.

The target audience has always been the average person who wants common sense and practical advice on how to be better prepared for whatever life decides to throw their way.

Can you drop some hints about your next book?

The next book will harken back to my first, Prepper’s Home Defense. It isn’t a new edition or anything, rather something like a spinoff, I guess you could say. I’m very much looking forward to writing it, just gotta get the current one done first, LOL!

Do you have some advice or a personal message you would like to pass on to Backdoor Survival readers?

Do something every single day that moves you forward, that moves you closer to your goals, whatever those goals may be.

Life is short, don’t waste it.

The Giveaway

Jim has reserved three copies of Prepper’s Survival Hacks: 50 DIY Projects for Lifesaving Gear, Gadgets and Kits for this Book Festival Giveaway.

To enter the giveaway, you need to utilize the Rafflecopter form below.  Select one or more of the options after signing in using your email account or Facebook, the choice is yours.  The best way to start is by clicking on “Free Entry for Everyone”.  After that, each option you select represents an additional entry.  There are a number of different options so pick and choose or select them all.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The deadline is 6:00 PM Pacific Tuesday with the winner notified by email and announced on the Rafflecopter in the article.  Please note that the winner must claim their book within 48 hours or an alternate will be selected.

Excerpt: How to Build a DIY Solar Still

If Prepper’s Survival Hacks sound familiar, it is because back in September, in the article Emergency Water for Preppers Part 2: Purification, I included Jim’s instructions for building a solar still.  For your convenience, I am sharing these instructions below as well.   And just for the record, I agree with Jim!

I’m going to be flat-out honest with you. I don’t in any way, shape, or form endorse the use of a solar still for acquiring water in a survival situation. I’m including it here for two reasons.

1. In any survival manual, it is almost expected that the solar still be mentioned, and its absence in this book would be noticeable.

2. I wanted to include it specifically so I could talk a bit about why you shouldn’t rely upon it.

Bucket or clean container
Large plastic tarp
Large rocks or logs
Small rock

#1  On the surface, the solar still is a fairly straightforward project. Using your shovel, dig a hole a few feet deep. At the bottom of the hole, roughly in the center, place your bucket or other clean container. Next, stretch the plastic tarp across the top of the hole using the large rocks or logs to secure it in place. Finally, place a small rock at the center of the tarp, which weighs it down above your container.

#2  The idea is that the sun will heat up the inside of that hole, causing moisture from the ground to evaporate, then condense on the bottom of the plastic tarp. It will then run along the plastic to the point above the bucket, into which it will drip.

Here’s the thing. The amount of water you’ll gain through the use of the solar still is, quite literally, a drop in the bucket compared to the amount of energy you’ll expend by digging the hole and setting everything up.

Don’t believe me? Go ahead, set one up tomorrow and see how well it performs. If you get more than 2 cups of water, you’ll be doing fairly well.

The Final Word

Let me repeat the last words in Jim’s interview:  Life is short, don’t waste it. Those are sage words, which, after reading them, I had to write down on a large piece of paper and set next to my desk lest I forget.

These days, it is all too easy to get bogged down in the ritual of preparedness. Finding an outlet, whether in the form of DIY projects or some other hobby, is something we all need to do.  That, along with setting small, achievable goals, will bring a sense of focus and satisfaction to our lives.

As crazy and uncertain things are in our world, we can only do what we can do.  Find some pleasure in each day and then, with a sense of smug righteousness, be comfortable in the knowledge that have taken steps to prepare.

Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!

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In addition, SUBSCRIBE to email updates  and receive a free, downloadable copy of my e-book The Emergency Food Buyer’s Guide.


Spotlight:  Prepper’s Survival Hacks: 50 DIY Projects for Lifesaving Gear, Gadgets and Kits

When a catastrophic event strikes, you’ll need to rely on your skills and supplies to keep you alive. This book teaches you how to improvise solutions for the scarcities, deficiencies, and dangers that will arise in a worst-case scenario.

Prepper’s Survival Hacks offers a wide range of creative ideas for transforming cheap and widely available items into life-saving gear:

•Harvest water in a transpiration bag
•Catch food with a pocket fishing kit
•Cook using a handy hobo stove
•Craft quick fire starters in an egg carton
•Make a mini oil lamp using a mint tin
•Assemble a survival kit in a belt pouch

 Plus: The Preppers Guide to Food Storage

No list of books would be complete without my own book, The Prepper’s Guide to Food Storage.  The eBook print version is available.

Help support Backdoor Survival. Purchases earn a small commission and for that I thank you!


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48 Responses to “Prepper Book Festival 10: Prepper’s Survival Hacks”

  1. when pine cones are available, pick up a few to use in the very fuel efficient stoves such as Biolite. Ditto when cleaning up fallen branches in the yard. Small dried twigs, etc. work great in these stoves. A cache of such fuel sources can come in handy when using these stoves in a lights out situation.

  2. Like Linda, I gather pinecones, but also pour melted wax from old candles over them so I can use them as firestarters.

  3. Need to know and learn all that I can in these perilous times!!! Good information and resources can make the difference!

  4. I keep a small stapler in my purse to fix the hems of my slacks if I’m not near the car and the duct tape. Generally one or two small staples will get me through the day until I get home to actually fix the hems with needle and thread.

  5. Take the time when you add something new to your preps to organize it. When push comes to shove you will probably not have time to get everthing in shape.

  6. Hubby built a solor oven instead of purchasing this pricey item and it has twice the capacity of the commercial ones! It makes great bread!! He used old window pane, sun visor reflectors and an old box. Get easy peasy instructions all over you tube. For bugging in, make a rocket stove. We have a two burner that we used old grates on so we can cook twice as much at once and walk around your yard, free bio mass for fuel for it just laying around.

  7. I’m not very creative in things like these, but boy is my husband the McGyver type! He’s a Mr. Fixit and comes up with all kinds of hacks using things laying around the house or garage. It’s a talent I admire.

  8. create a”grab-n-go” kit to stash in your desk drawer. Mine is a small plastic container with: bandaids, Neosporin, pain meds, small multi-function knife, rain poncho, flashlight, glow-stick, mini dental floss (+toothbrush/toothpaste), small mirror, sewing kit, and a length of paracord. I also keep a pair of running shoes and extra socks stashed. If there is a power outage during a storm, this will get me out of the dark office building and out to my car where my main kit is.

  9. Water, you will need more water. Keep a large blow up swimming pool at the ready to start filling as soon as an issue is identified. Keep a bathtub liner water keeper at the ready. Keep your recycled water and juice containers clean them and fill with water.

  10. Check monthly to see if any of the batteries need recharging in your emergency chargers for your phones, flashlights, etc.

  11. as an avid DIYer i would love to win this sure most of the stuff could be found online but its nice to have it all in one spot and in a handy format that i can take into the yard or garage to work on projects

  12. When you put your groceries away (and you purchased a bit extra, right?), take the time to put the new stuff in the back of the shelf, so you use up the older stuff first.

  13. Rinse out 2 liter bottles as you use them up and fill with tap water. Store for when the water goes off. Use for flushing toilets. I store bought bottled water for drinking.

  14. I had a Staber wash machine that wore out, so I’ll hook it up to a tread mill and pedal the old mash machine with human power.

  15. My husband is on board but my son and family are not, so I can sure use this book as we will have their family to help when it all goes to pot.

  16. I just assembled a flower pot heater, using tea candles for heat source. Slow to warm up, but it gets pretty hot after about 15 mins. Takes a bit longer than 10 minutes to assemble when you include the base.

  17. Using a cardboard box, foil with foam backed car sun screen, clear plastic sheet, tape and a cookie rack I made a quick, light weight solar oven. Total cost about $5 as we had the box, tape and cookie rack. Heats well enough to warm soup and melt wax. Need more practice with it.

  18. I fill up 2 liter bottles with tap water as they are used up so that there will be extra water for washing and toilets.

  19. I’m not able to store much food ahead due to space and cost. But for YEARS I’ve recycled the metal containers that pop corn comes in around the holidays to store extra pasta, flour, cake mix, etc., anything that I want to keep bugs and mice out of. A 24 ounce can is big enough to hold a 10 pound bag of sugar or flour and if your family likes the 3 different flavors of pop corn you get a free metal container!

  20. I’d love to win this book. Being an avid Prepper I’m always looking for new sources of information & new ideas

  21. I hAve started using Mylar bags for storing dry foods, write content, quantity and date on one side. Then turn it offer and write the cooking instructions on the other side, so if I am not home…. My kids or husband would be able the what is stored.

  22. I keep the free cotton from pill and vitamin bottles and smear a little Vaseline or lip balm on it and keep it in an Altoids tin for emergency fire starting.

    • I would like to purify my water with your suggestion of using SODIS.
      How do I go about finding it, and WHAT exactly is it? Can I get it at WalMart, a feed store,
      a restaurant, a big box store, a kids toys store, A book store or do I have to make it myself?
      For us beginner preppers suggestions perhaps could be a little more explanatory.

  23. Since I use a lot of herbs, rather than prescriptions or OTC meds, my best 10 minute hacks would be preparing herbal tincture and mixing herbs for tisanes.

  24. I have a lot of books stored on my kindle. Is there any way to get the stuff I don’t want to keep off the cloud?

  25. Well it doesn’t take 10 minutes each time, but when I receive packages with packing paper (not plastic, actual paper), I save it, cut it into squares that can be used for a variety of things. Yes in an emergency any paper will turn into TP! Better than leaves!

  26. I also make fire starters from dryer lint and liquefied petroleum jelly. I also gather pine cones from my front yard to use as candles with melted wax.

  27. As a widow, I know I need all the help I can get. Your e-mail’s are a big help but I feel a book would also be a huge help when the SHTF. Thank you

  28. My best hack is taking ten minutes each day to check my lists. If I see something I know I have used, I’ll make a reminder in my to do list to replace it or renew it. I write down things I’ve seen on the internet, or sometimes I’ll get on my email and print out a project I want to try from one of several newsletters I get, and add the ingredients or materials to my shopping list. It only takes me ten minutes, sometimes twenty, but then I can spend the rest of the day doing my other stuff without worrying about my preps. And I only go shopping every two weeks when we get paid, so my prep shopping is done then, and then done. That way I only spend what I planned, and no more. Also I plan and schedule training for my family when I know we’ll have time. I am a prepper, but it doesn’t take over my life, and I’m still prepared. (Of course, in the still of the night when I can’t sleep, I still worry, but that’s a mental thing. And I’m trying to get rid of that stress, too.)

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