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The Best of Backdoor Survival

Avatar for Chris Thompson Chris Thompson  |  Updated: October 31, 2022
The Best of Backdoor Survival

Table of Contents

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Reflection is an important thing to do sometimes because without knowing where you’ve been, it’s hard to know where you’re going. This article is a little different because I wanted to look back and bring together the best articles from throughout the life of Backdoor Survival. It begins with a thought on social shares and then moves into the best of BDS early years.

Thinking about Social

Love it or hate it, the social media is something every blogger must pay attention to.  With that in mind, the other day I was curious about the most popular Backdoor Survival social media and Facebook shares.  Much to my surprise, I found that there were five articles that collectively have been shared over 30,000 times!

Holy smokes.  There is a lot of sharing going on!

Five Most Shared Articles Facebook

Today I bring these top five most shared articles out of the archives so that you can enjoy them too.

Miracle of Tea Tree Oil 470

The Miracle of Tea Tree Oil: 80 Amazing Uses for Survival

First Published 05-21-2013

Miracle Healing Salve

DIY Miracle Healing Salve

First Published 12-03-2013

60 Emergency Supplies You Can Buy for a Buck

60 Emergency Supplies You Can Buy for a Buck

First Published 04-07-2014

How to Safely Shelter In Place During a Pandemic

How to Safely Shelter In Place During a Pandemic

First Published 10-06-2014

39 Fantastic Prepping TIps

39 Fantastic Prepping Tips

First published:  07-18-2013

Thoughts on Social Shares

One of the toughest parts of a blogger’s life is to keep their most vital articles alive so that new readers and followers can learn from them.  In internet-speak, these articles are called “Evergreen” and it is a constant struggle to make them public without appearing to be redundant, or worse, lazy!

That being said, I hope you enjoy these reminders that there are some great articles in the Backdoor Survival archives.  As always, I am open to requests; all you need to do is ask!

A Look Back Through the Years

The unique thing about blogging is that you end up with articles that stretch back in time and some become dated fairly quickly while others seem to last the test of time. While we’re looking at the best articles of Backdoor Survival, I wanted to bring together some of the reflective pieces written each year that look at the top articles that year, and also provide thoughts on the upcoming year at the time (It’s kind of fun to see if the thoughts penned in each of the years below came to pass!).

Best of 2015

In typical blogging tradition, at the beginning of each year I take a look back at the previous year and compile a list the most popular articles of the year.  As I did so this year, it became apparent that most popular articles in terms of page views were not necessarily articles published in 2015.  Making sense of the most viewed list was further puzzling since many of the so-called popular articles were less prepper-centric than I would have guessed.

This year I decided to deviate from tradition and share a month by month chronology of what I feel were the best and the most useful articles of 2015.  Then, as I do each year, I will provide a peek at what we will see going forward.  I hope you enjoy this walk through 2015 and find a gem or two you may have missed.

The Best of Backdoor Survival 2015| Backdoor Survival

The Best Articles of 2015 – Organized by Month

January 2015

The Best of Backdoor Survival 2015| Backdoor Survival

5 Important Considerations When Forming a Prepper Community

Honorable Mention:  Birch Essential Oil for Arthritis, Muscle and Joint Pain

February 2015

The Best of Backdoor Survival 2015| Backdoor Survival

6 More Uncommon First Aid Items

Honorable Mention:  How to Build a Simple Faraday Cage for EMP Survival

March 2015

The Best of Backdoor Survival 2015| Backdoor Survival

DIY Simple Salve: An All Purpose, All Natural  Ointment and Carrier Oil

Honorable Mention: Survival Basics: Using Oxygen Absorbers for Food Storage

April 2015

The Best of Backdoor Survival 2015| Backdoor Survival

8 Reasons Old Cookbooks Are Important

Honorable Mention:  How to Deal With Open Wounds When Help is Not on the Way

May 2015

The Best of Backdoor Survival 2015| Backdoor Survival

Best Practices: The Every Day Carry Bag aka EDC

Honorable Mention:  What to Look for When Shopping for Food Storage

June 2015

The Best of Backdoor Survival 2015| Backdoor Survival

The Three Most Important Survival Skills According to Grandpa

Honorable Mention: Canning Jars 101 – Everything You Need To Know and More!

July 2015

The Best of Backdoor Survival 2015| Backdoor Survival

An Open Letter to Preppers: How to Conquer Self-Doubt

Honorable Mention: 12 Skills for Preppers That Money Just Can’t Buy

August 2015

The Best of Backdoor Survival 2015| Backdoor Survival

How to Create an Emergency Ammo Can First Aid Kit

Honorable Mention:  50 Reasons Why Preppers Need Vinegar in Their Stockpiles

September 2015

The Best of Backdoor Survival 2015| Backdoor Survival

10 Smart Survival Strategies for the Woman Living Alone

Honorable Mention: Homesteaders and Preppers: We Are All On the Same Team

October 2015

The Best of Backdoor Survival 2015| Backdoor Survival

Struggling With The Burden of Truth and Knowledge

Honorable Mention:  The Best Practices for Using Mylar Bags

November 2015

The Best of Backdoor Survival 2015| Backdoor Survival

What You Need to Know About Eating Expired Food

Honorable Mention:  How To Build Your Own Perfect Bug Out Bag

December 2015

The Best of Backdoor Survival 2015| Backdoor Survival

11 Mistakes and Goofs That Every Prepper Should Avoid

Honorable Mention:  30 Reasons Why You Might Be a Crazy Prepper Nut Job

Other Notable Items

For 2015, 44% of the readers accessed the website from a desktop or laptop computer, 36% by mobile device, and 20% by tablet.  In addition, the top social network was Pinterest followed by Facebook.  No surprise there.

In 2015, Backdoor Survival Book Festivals continued to be hugely popular with readers as well as authors and publishers.  The variety and quality of both fiction and non-fiction books in the niche has improved since the early days and  I am personally committed to presenting the best of the best so that the cream will rise to the top.  Expect more of the same in 2016.

Likewise, giveaways have been extremely well received.  More are planned for 2016, but perhaps with more balance than in the past.  One thing is certain: I have learned a lot from your responses to those “giveaway questions”.  In a way, they become a mini-forum for sharing ideas between each other and that is a very good thing!

The Survival Buzz has matured a bit.  Instead of simply writing about preps, I now try to include a weekly motivational piece so you have something to think about.  This is part of the overall focus of writing less about stuff and more about process.

At the end of December, there were 22,570 email subscribers (sign up here), 28,475 Facebook fans, and 14,900 Pinterest followers.  Holy smokes!  That is a lot of preppers and I am humbled by your loyalty.

A Look Forward to 2016

As much as I try to view into my virtual crystal ball to see what is coming down the line, I always seem to be wrong.  That being said, as of this moment, here is what I see happing next year.

In 2016 I plan to continue to focus on well researched articles and series of articles that will stand the test of time.  Much like the series on Propane for Preppers, Emergency Water for Preppers, and How to Set Up and Master Ham Radio Without Going Crazy, these articles may not be the headline grabbers that make Google and drive-by readers happy, but they are solid and should withstand the test of time.

Along those lines, throughout the year, I plan on updating many older articles from 2012 and 2013 that are getting a bit long in the tooth.  The information is still good but it needs to be enhanced and brought to the forefront for new readers to see and for long-term readers to revisit.

I will continue to share what I know and personally experience with essential oils and DIY projects, plus spend more time exploring the concept of frugality as it relates to preparedness.  Although much has been written about the Great Depression, I want to focus on frugality with more focused a 21st century twist.

Finally, it is time for a site facelift. Backdoor Survival needs to be faster and more nimble and easier to navigate to exactly the information you are looking for.  This will become a major undertaking that I hope to outsource, at least for part of it.


As a person that does not like change, it is easy to fall back on old habits.  Still, I recognize that change represents progress and so Backdoor Survival will march forward.  I am hopeful that little tweaks here and there will make your reading experience easier, and that what you learn will help you streamline both your preps and your skill set.

Please know that I feel your pain when you tell me you are overwhelmed by the scope of it all because there are days when I feel it too. I also empathize with those of you that are merely tolerated by family members who don’t buy into the need to prepare.  As always, those will always be things that I write about as we take steps moving forward, one prep at a time.

Embrace the new year everyone!  We really are in this together.

Best of 2014

It has become blogging tradition to post an end of the year roundup of the best articles from the previous year. The problem, of course, is what constitutes the best? Is it the most viewed or the most shared? Or, perhaps, is it my own hand-picked favorites?

My choice this year is to highlight the ten most viewed articles since, after all, they are the most popular. Although some of these were written prior to 2014, they do represent those articles that new readers tend to visit and that long-term readers go back to over and over again.

The Best Prepping Articles of 2014 from Backdoor Survival

So, without much introduction, let us take a walk down memory lane and revisit the 10 most popular articles and the “Best of Backdoor Survival 2014” presented in order of popularity.

Top 10 Most Popular and Most Viewed Articles on Backdoor Survival in 2014

The Miracle of Tea Tree Oil: 80 Amazing Uses for Survival

The Miracle of Tea Tree Oil: 80 Amazing Uses for Survival

DIY Miracle Healing Salve

DIY Miracle Healing Salve

Seven Facts Your Should Know About Ebola

Seven Facts You Should Know About Ebola

40 Items to Barter in a Post-Collapse World

40 Items to Barter in a Post-Collapse World

9 Tips for Buying Property With Little or No Money

9 Tips for Buying Property With Little or No Money

How to Recharge Alkaline Batteries

How to Recharge Alkaline Batteries

DIY Liquid Castile Soap

DIY Liquid Castile Soap “Wonderful”

12 Months of Prepping One at a Time

12 Months of Prepping – The First Year

44 Fantastic Uses of Paracord

44 Fantastic Uses of Paracord for Prepping and Survival

Plus one more, not from the top ten, but a personal favorite that I felt was universally helpful to anyone serious about putting together a first aid kit.

8 Uncommon First Aid Items

Fast Track Tip #10: 8 Uncommon First Aid Items

Other Notable Items

A lot of things went on in the prepper blogging world in 2014.

Most notably, Pinterest became a huge draw and, as a matter of fact, more new readers came to this website from Pinterest than from any other source (here are my Pinterest Boards).

This had some ramifications in that a good deal of time was devoted to both finding the right graphic and formatting it with titles and something called metadata.  It was not fun work but, as with all things blogging, a part of the back end process that must be attended to.

Early in the year, after three major denial of service attacks, I changed web hosts and upgraded to a very secure hosting plan that will ensure you can continue to browse Backdoor Survival without incurring an online social disease.

I completely rewrote 12 Months of Prepping and hope to put it into a book format sometime in 2015 along with additional tables, worksheets, and checklists.  That said, doing so is quite time-consuming and definitely not a money making venture.  Still, I know that it will bring value, so I will strive to get this done.

On the bright side, the Prepper’s Guide to Food Storage was released in print format.  In addition, I lowered the price of the eBook to 99 cents so that everyone could afford a copy.

There have been numerous requests to put the Backdoor Survival archive on a searchable DVD. I have researched authoring tools but as far as I can determine, each article would need to be formatted and added to the DVD individually.  I will continue to do research to determine if this can be done in an efficient manner.

A Brief Look Forward to 2015

Over the past few weeks, I have shared some insight as to where things are headed in 2015.  I want to continue to update and bring forward some of the survival basics I wrote about early on.  This will give me an opportunity to add more in depth information and to educate a new generation of preppers.

I also have started a new series that will be focused on the 10 Simple Strategies for Becoming a Prepper. I think you will like it.  Also a work in progress is a free e-course on how to use essential oils.

Beyond that, I will continue to work to introduce Backdoor Survival to a broader audience with additional articles pertaining to homesteading in place, natural healing and DIY projects.  Not to be left out, there will continue to be frequent reviews plus book and survival gear giveaways.


As we embark upon this new year, I have many resolutions as I am sure do you.  As you take steps to fulfill your bucket list, remember that regardless of what is happening in our world, you must live your life as normally as possible, without fear and with the knowledge you are doing the very best you can to prepare.

I don’t know about you, but I am so ready for 2015!   Happy New Year!

Best of 2013

Another year has ended here at Backdoor Survival and what can I say?  My readers are the most prepared and the most awesome preppers on the planet.  They are ordinary folks living ordinary lives doing the best they can to be ready for life’s emergencies.

Looking back, I am sure that you will agree that 2013 has been quite the year on a lot of fronts.  Most notably, the much dreaded SHTF never happened.  Sure, there were some squeaks and bumps in the economy plus Obamacare and its ramifications have hit many of us hard.

Best of Backdoor Survival 2013

Natural disasters and wonky weather continued to wreak havoc throughout the world.  Although North America did not suffer from a major hurricane or tropical storm, other countries were not so lucky.  Most notably, there are still 1,900 people missing and 4 million displaced following Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines.  And then there is the continued tragedy of Fukushima, as plant #3 gives pause for concern to everyone living on the West Coast of North America.

But enough bad news.  Today I want to cast a positive note on the past year by highlighting fifteen of the most popular articles on Backdoor Survival in 2013.

Top 15 Most Viewed Articles on Backdoor Survival in 2013

9 Mistakes Typically Made by Preppers

29 Reasons to Use Coffee Filters for Survival

12 Months of Prepping – The First Year

How to Recharge Alkaline Batteries

The Miracle of Tea Tree Oil: 80 Amazing Uses for Survival

20 Items to Kick Start Your Food Storage Plan

The 10 Commandments of Survival

40 Items to Barter in a Post-Collapse World

A Primer on Propane for Prepping and Survival

39 Fantastic Prepping Tips

How to Sharpen Razor Blades for the Long Term

5 Uncommon Skills That Will Be Useful After the SHTF

DIY Miracle Healing Salve

DIY Liquid Castile Soap “Wonderful”

How to Build an Outdoor Mud Oven for Use Now and When the SHTF

Other Notable Items

In 2013, Backdoor Survival Book Festivals became hugely popular with readers as well as authors and publishers.  The almost-weekly author interviews and book giveaways have exposed us to many great reads in both the the survival fiction and non-fiction genres  We are currently about half way through Book Festival 4 and many great books and their authors are already lined up for Book Festival 5.

And then there were (and are) the giveaways.  We gave away a WonderMill grain mill, a Royal Berkey, Mountain House food, a Tactical Traveler and a Lifestraw among many other things.  The Winter Blast Giveaway will continue through the first couple of months of 2014 with more great items and an opportunity to win them for free.

BDS has 7,400 email subscribers (sign up here) and 10,300 Facebook fans.  I continue to scour for relevant eBooks that are temporarily available for free and offer them to you on Facebook three or four times a week.

In July, I implemented a new site design that made navigation easier but alas, is still fright with behind-the-scenes woes that give me a lot of grief.  These problems have resulted in a few outages but the good news is that I expect to have these problems corrected buy the end of January.

Finally, in 2013 I was offered a major book deal but ultimately turned it down so I could continue to focus on this blog.  Instead I have chosen to publish short eBooks, the first of which is The Prepper’s Guide to Food Storage.

A Look Forward into 2014

In addition to improvements in the site design, I am looking into a better comment system as well as a better anti-spam system.  I am also taking steps to eliminate the rampant stealing of Backdoor Survival content by unscrupulous websites that are trying to make money off of the work of authors such as myself.

Content wise, I will be refreshing 12 Months of Prepping – One Month At a Time with updated material to help both newbie and experienced preppers with their preparedness journey.  In addition, I will be sharing more real-life experiences and tips from readers such as yourself.  I will also be expanding on practical DIY articles showing how to do everything from building an alcohol heater to baking bread on on outdoor grill.

Balance is everything in life and I plan to practice what I preach and spend more time with my husband, Shelly, and less time behind a computer.

The Final Word

I said in the beginning that 2013 has been quite the year.  I fully expect 2014 to be more of the same.  I would like to thank you so much for being fabulous readers and for staying loyal to Backdoor Survival.

Now here is a New Year’s surprise.  I am giving away a copy of my book, The Prepper’s Guide to Food Storage, to 5 readers who leave a comment below.  No rules, no quiz, just leave a comment.  The winner will be chosen at random from comments that are made on January 1st and 2nd.

Good luck to everyone and my best wishes for a Happy New Year!

Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!
– Gaye

If you enjoyed this article, consider voting for me daily at Top Prepper Websites!  In addition, SUBSCRIBE to email updates  and receive a free, downloadable copy of my e-book The Emergency Food Buyer’s Guide.

Bargain Bin: I put some thought into the things I would want to have if or when there is another Great Depression. I own all of these items.

Lodge Logic 12-Inch Pre-Seasoned Skillet: Cast iron items were at the top of the list. My readers love cast iron and so do I. Also at the top were Lodge Set of 2 Pan Scrapers and the Lodge Max Temp Handle Mitt.

All New Square Foot Gardening: I put in a Square Foot Garden last year and was pleased with the results. It is not too early to start planning for spring planting.

Clara’s Kitchen: Wisdom, Memories, and Recipes from the Great Depression: If you don’t know about Clara, be sure to read Depression Cooking: A Visit to Clara’s Kitchen.

Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day: The Discovery That Revolutionizes Home Baking: At an average cost of 50 cents a loaf, this bread is easy, delicious and inexpensive to make.  Also Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day: 100 New Recipes Featuring Whole Grains, Fruits, Vegetables, and Gluten-Free Ingredients

How to Live on Wheat: Everything you need to know about wheat.

Fiskars 7855 8-Inch Hatchet: The Fiskars products are easily sharpened and will last a lifetime. Oh, and while you are at it, you might also like the Fiskars Axe & Knife Sharpener .

Emergency Mylar Thermal Blankets (Pack of 10): I do believe in helping my neighbors in the community so a supply of these will be handy to hand out to those in need. You will be surprised at how warm these will keep you. Be sure to test one out in advance so that you have the confidence to trust the blanket in an emergency.

Holding Your Ground: Preparing for Defense if it All Falls Apart: This book, by Joe Nobody, is the book you need this book if you care about defending your homestead.


Bargain Bin:  Today I share some of my favorite books and the cast iron skillet that belongs in every prepper kitchen!

How to Sew a Button and Other Nifty Things Your Grandmother Knew:  You are going to love this book.  It is charming and and timely and filled with good-natured humor and the loving spirits of grandmothers everywhere.

How to Build a Fire: And Other Handy Things Your Grandfather Knew: From the same author and another good one.  The book offers a glimpse into the hearts and minds of grandfathers near and far by sharing their practical skills and sweet stories on how to be stronger, smarter, richer, and happier.

Lights Out: A Cyberattack, A Nation Unprepared, Surviving the Aftermath:  The hallmark book, by award winning journalist Ted Koppel, will hopefully educate the sheeple and motivate them to embrace the message of preparedness.  For the rest of us, there is much to learn about the state of preparedness, or lack thereof, at the highest levels of our government.  Read more:  Prepper Book Festival 10: Lights Out by Ted Koppel.

Growing Up in the Great Depression: If you liked Clara’s Kitchen, you are going to love this book.  Written by 93 year old Delores Mixer, learn about her life growing up during the Great Depression.  The ways that she and her brother contributed to the family “kitty” are ingenious.  (Going to the Ice Warehouse, picking up pieces that fell off the ramp, then selling them to neighbors for a few cents a chunk – that is just one example.)

The Survival Medicine Handbook: A Guide for When Help is Not on the Way: This book teaches how to deal with all the likely medical issues you will face in a disaster situation, including strategies to keep your family healthy even in the worse scenarios. It covers skills such as performing a physical exam, transporting the injured patient, and even how to suture a wound. This medical reference belongs in every survival library.

Cast Iron Skillet with Hot Handle Holder: Likewise, I feel that everyone should own a basic, 12” cast iron skillet.  In spite of the myth, they are easy to care for and over time, will become a family heirloom.  On grid or off grid, cooking with cast iron is the way to go.

The Ringer Cast Iron Cleaner – Stainless Steel Chainmail:  I purchased one of these in October 2015 and it is friggin’ fantastic.  You will never ever have to scrub cast iron again.  I can’t say enough good things about this gizmo.  You want one (and I definitely need to do a review).

3M N95 Particulate & Respirator Mask: This is an inexpensive mask that can be used in a variety of emergency situations. They come in a box of 20 and are NIOSH-certified. The molded cone design is fluid and splash resistant and will greatly reduces your exposure to airborne particles.

Moldex 2730 N100 Respirator Mask:  Do not confuse P100 masks with the N100s.  N100 is what you want since the P100’s are used to filter particulate only and not gasses and vapors.  Note that if you are on the small side, you will need to order the smaller version which is the Moldex 2731.

Disposable Protective Coveralls: There are plenty to choose from.  I purchased these DuPont White Tyvek Disposable Coveralls With Hood in a medium and it fit me okay with a bit of excess room left over.  Shelly needs a large, definitely.

3M TEKK Protection Chemical Splash/Impact Goggle:  I read a ton of reviews before settling on these.  I was so impressed with both the fit and comfort that I ordered another pair to use as a spare.  These are great and the price is right.

Spark Naturals Essential Oils:  It is no secret that I prefer essential oils from Spark Naturals.  They are well priced and of the highest therapeutic quality.  You enjoy an additional 10% off all items, including sale items, when using code BACKDOORSURVIVAL at checkout.  In addition, SN announces a discounted “Item of the Week” every Monday, and yes, the extra 10% discount will apply.

Shield Protective Blend:  Here is a direct link to one my most diffused essential oils.  If you can only afford a few oils, I would suggest Shield, Lavender and Melaleuca (Tea Tree).

Bicycle Canasta Games Playing Cards:  This timeless classic will keep the entire family occupied when the power it out.  Playing cards or board games should be in everyone’s preparedness kit.

Ticket To Ride: This my favorite board game, bare none.  Family friendly, you will spend hours in front of the fireplace playing Ticket to Ride with your favorite people.  This is worth the splurge.


If you have not done so already, please be sure to like Facebook which is updated every time there is an awesome new article, news byte, or link to a free survival, prepping or homesteading book.  You can also follow Backdoor Survival on Twitter, Pinterest, and Google+.

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53 Responses to “The Best of Backdoor Survival”

  1. Thanks for all your thought and research. Too many other prepper sites focus on defense, so I greatly appreciate your focus on everyday living when TSHTF. Your product recommendations from personal experience are invaluable. Most of us would not want to spend money on things of unknown worth, nor even realize that some of those items are out there. Occasionally I find what I consider a better version of something you’ve reviewed, but I wouldn’t have known about it in the first place without your review. So keep up the good work and have a wonderful, fulfilling, peaceful 2016!

  2. Thanks Gaye for your continued encouragement when we don’t receive it from friends and family because they think we’re prepping nuts. I’ll bookmark this piece for future reference.
    Happy New Year and continued success on the blog.

  3. Well put together piece. Always love to see “the best of” anything! Will revisit many of these. You put a lot of time and effort in to helping others. You probably don’t get enough credit for it either. I wish I could invite you over for French press coffee and homemade cinnamon rolls (made from freshly ground kamut!)….or better yet, Virginia wine and cheese! Cheers to you and yours in 2016 and thanks for all you seemingly tirelessly do.

  4. Happy New Year and may 2015 be safer and more productive than the last.

    I tried to enter the contest for the books but messed up the process.

    Most people do not use film cameras anymore but I found that the small plastic containers the 35 MM film comes in are great for storing items like matches, safety pins rubber bands and other small items.

    This has probably been suggested previously but if not, this is my suggestion for the contest…

    Dean L.

  5. I, for one, am grateful you keep these evergreen on file. I have to have reminders from time to time. AND I often just link the article to a friend or family member. So keep then handy. And thanks.

    Update on my idea of using the empty chocolate chip mylar bags in my gloves. It didn’t work inside the gloves but during that cold spell we just had when temps dipped below freezing. It did work in layers; first layer—gloves, second layer—mylar bag (with hole cut for thumb), third layer mittens (I discovered the thumb need to be free even in mittens). When working or moving around where I would normally use gloves, that’s first layer work. When not doing much or idle, that’s all layers working to retain heat. I did find it works best if I allow my hands to cool down before slipping them into the mylar-lined mittens. Now I’m doing the same for my socks/boots. Will see how that works.

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