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    Best ultimate bug out and survival vehicle for urban survival

    By David Simpson

    How far can you travel on 90 gallons of gas? That’s a key question if you’re bugging out or trying to survive in the wilderness! In the EarthRoamer Xpedition vehicle, you could get more than 1,000 miles from home before you have to fill up your tank. With another 90 gallons of water and solar panels on board, you’ll be self-sufficient in all of your travels, whether you stay on the road or you decide to pave your own trail. Two main features separate the EarthRoamer from the other RVs you’ve seen traveling the roads, says EarthRoamer’s president and CEO, Bill Swails. “When I originally designed it, I wanted a vehicle that had the off-road capability to get to very remote places such as four-wheel drive trails and places that typical RVs just aren’t designed to go,” he says. “Secondly, once you get to those remote locations, I wanted it to be a totally standalone vehicle— shelter, cooking and  bathroom would all be built-in without the need for hookups.”

    Whereas a traditional RV needs power, water and sewer hookups, the EarthRoamer is designed to visit remote locations using its standalone solar power and high capacity water and fuel tanks. “The biggest factor of how long you can be out in the EarthRoamer is how long you can make that 90 gallons of water last,” Swails says. “If someone takes a long shower, they could pump out 90 gallons all at once, but most survivalists are able to go a week or two—or longer with the 90-gallon tank.” “We have one customer who likes to go to Baja and camp on the beach,” Swails says. “He gets plenty to eat from fishing, so we created a vehicle that pumps water in from the ocean, has a special unit that’s powered by the solar panels that takes salt out of the water and makes fresh water for him, so he can stay in the vehicle indefinitely since it’s parked and doesn’t require more gas.” If you’re interested in finding your way off-road in an Earth-Roamer, you won’t just pluck one off the shelf. “Every EarthRoamer is built for the user,” Swails says. “We have several base layouts and basic interior configurations, and then we tailor the vehicle to  meet the needs of the individual.

    The XV-LT model specifics

    EarthRoamer’s XV-LT model is based on a Ford F-550 commercial duty truck chassis and has seven model configurations that include the following customizable features:

    • Three Ford cabs available: The Regular Cab, Super Cab, and Crew Cab
    • Lengths ranging from 22.6 feet to 27.5 feet
    • Three EarthRoamer camper sizes: LT, LT Stretch, and LT Super Stretch
    • With the Regular Cab, this vehicle has a turning radius of only 21.2 feet
    • The Crew Cab has sleeping quarters for up to four adults

    The XV-HD model specifics

    The bigger XV-HD model of the EarthRoamer is based on a Ford F-650 commercial  duty truck chassis, with sleeping quarters for up to eight people and lengths ranging from … Read the rest

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      What is MERS ( Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome ) and What can you do to avoid them

      By David Simpson

      It could be headed our way. And if it arrives, it could cause more deaths than the SARS, the virus that broke out in Asia and appeared in secondary cases around the world. Sometime during the summer of 2012, within the Arabian Peninsula, a new virus emerged that researchers and physicians worry may cause the next global pandemic.

      Effects by area and numbers

      As of July 2013, 80 cases of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus (or MERS-CoV) had been confirmed, resulting in 44 deaths. This 55 percent mortality rate makes MERS, to date, more deadly than the SARS virus, which had a mortality rate of 9-12 percent.

      The majority of these cases have occurred in Saudi Arabia, plus a smattering in neighboring Middle Eastern countries, the United Kingdom, France and Italy. No cases have yet been reported in the Americas, but researchers say there is no reason why the virus could not be carried across the ocean by travelers who visit the Middle East—especially when many Muslim Americans make their annual pilgrimages to Mecca.

      What is MERS carona virus

      As is often the case with emerging viruses, researchers are still working to pinpoint the virus’ origin and mode of transmission and are unsure how long that process will take. While typical, this is cause for concern, because until tests confirm where the virus began and how it spreads, scientists cannot determine the most effective methods for prevention and treatment. For the time being, researchers on the MERS case are investigating whether an animal may be the source of this virus, as SARS originated in bats.

      And because outbreaks have thus far occurred in clusters, scientists say it is likely the virus is transmitted from person to person. Officials are not sure how directly someone must be exposed to MERS to be at risk of catching it: Is proximity enough (e.g. sitting next to someone carrying the virus on a flight), or is the virus transmitted only through physical contact with a carrier’s skin, saliva, airborne particles from sneezing or coughing, etc.? “There are teams of scientists trying to better understand how MERS-CoV affects humans,” says Dr. Susan Gerber, the lead clinical investigator for the Center for Disease Control’s MERS activities. “Human-to-human spread has been investigated in the context of family and health care settings.”

      According to a WHO webpage devoted to the MERS virus, the virus thus far has not spread quickly or broadly enough to indicate it is contagious without direct contact. As such, the WHO has yet to issue any travel restrictions for affected areas.

      MERS virus prevention

      The CDC and WHO are working in conjunction to learn more about MERS; however, because the virus has only recently emerged, no preventative vaccine or antidote yet exists. When the public can expect an antidote is “hard to determine,” Gerber says. “We are still learning about MERS-CoV. Research is underway to identify potential antivirals as well as research to develop a vaccine,” says Gerber.

      In the meantime, the CDC … Read the rest

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        What to do during a power outage today near me in my area

        By David Simpson

        During a sustained crisis when the lights go out for an extended period, you will be faced with camping out in your home. When I was a kid growing up in Michigan, we had a few power outings each winter when an ice storm rolled In and felled power lines. My father would plant us kids in the family room with our JC penney sleeping bags, my mom would bundle us in sweaters and snow-pants, and then they would get the fireplace blazing. My father would then seal off the other rooms and hallway with visqueen and tape. He’d slightly crack open a window to prevent carbon monoxide buildup and then turn on a camping lantern.

        These outings were short affairs lasting only 1-3 days, but the emphasis wasn’t on trying to heat the entire house and resume our previous lifestyle. It was to heat the body and a very small space and then only intermittently to conserve fuel. Both of my parents grew up during the first Great Depression and knew well what a life of austerity and improvisation looked like. For us kids, it was an adventure, but for the adults, it was like stepping back in time to a life of perseverance.

        When the power is out long-term, focus on heating (or cooling) the body and not the house. The Japanese live like this full time, emphasizing personal warmth over heating a large space. If it’s wintertime, then get down the jackets, hats, snowpants and sleeping bags or blankets. Gather up family members in one room for sleeping to concentrate heat, but remember to have 24-hour ventilation by keeping a window slightly ajar, especially if a woodstove or propane heater is involved. Seal up the rest of the windows with visquene and duct tape. At night, employ the old camping trick of placing a warm bottle of water at the bottom of each sleeping bag. Then go to sleep with a wool hat on and food in the belly, which will keep your internal woodstove cranked up.

        Propane heaters

        Some ranching friends of mine use a propane heater to warm their 12’ x 12’ bunkhouse, and it works perfectly for this small setting. I use them in canvas tents for a few hours when we don’t want to run the woodstove. These devices are intended for small spaces and won’t heat an entire house. The nice thing is that the propane tank can also be used as fuel for a campstove or lantern. There are “tree” fixtures you can purchase that will allow for multiple branches off the main propane tank.

        Remember to crack open a window in the house to prevent carbon-monoxide poisoning. In mildly cold weather, you can extend the life of your propane fuel by running the heater for 15 minutes every hour during the day. Remember to seal off the unused rooms in your home during a winter blackout as a propane heater is designed to only heat small … Read the rest

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          How to survive a mass shooting

          By David Simpson

          It has happened in schools, movie theaters, grocery stores, malls and fast food restaurants, terrifying innocent victims and creating devastatingly sad headlines. As scary as it is to think about facing an active shooter situation, it’s important to know how you’d react if you come face-to-face with a crazed gunman. Although you may think you know just what you’d do, you should also consider what law enforcement professionals suggest as your best strategies to improve your survival odds and give you the best chance of getting away from the threat.

          Can you prepare?

          Although no one can anticipate an active shooter situation, you can prepare yourself for a quick exit no matter where you are. We checked out the Nonprofit Coordination Committee of New York’s publication called “Disaster Planning, Emergency Preparedness & Business Continuity” and found some great tips on preparing for this type of scenario. If you go to the same office or school building every day, memorize the location of exits and know where elevators and stairwells are. Even if you go to a location you have never visited before, you should still make yourself aware of the exits. If you visit a basketball arena, for example, check for exits as you enter, and then also take note of all the available aisles and doors once you find your seat. Even if you’re in an enclosed space like a subway car, you can take note of the nearest emergency exits and where the glass-breaking materials are, such as an axe in a fire bay (the axe can also be used for self-defense).

          When possible, escape

          If you are in a situation where a shooter enters an open area such as an office lobby and begins randomly taking aim, your best bet is to escape. “A moving target is difficult to hit, even for a trained marksman,” says Sergeant Kelly Peel of the Fort Worth, Texas, Police Department. “Running may be a good option.” Even if you’re in an enclosed area like a train car, you’re still better off escaping than fighting the assailant in most circumstances. “Running is probably the best option,” Peel says. “The individual will need to assess their ability to reason or fight.”

          Leave it to the police

          Police departments are specially trained to deal with active shooter situations, sometimes facing years of education and practice sessions to determine exactly what to do to take down a shooter.  Therefore, it’s very risky for the average civilian to try and be a hero by going after the assailant. In most cases, you are better off escaping immediately and leaving the takedown to the professionals.

          Surviving stress: how to deal with post traumatic stress disorder

          He squeezed into the elevator among the other occupants and pressed his floor number. But, instead of going up, the elevator suddenly and forcefully went into a free-fall to the basement. Fortunately, there were only minor physical injuries. Unfortunately, he suffered a psychological injury. “I thought I was done with the … Read the rest

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            Best concealable body armor plates and tactical vest in the world

            By David Simpson

            Ever since mankind started attacking one another with pointy objects. man has also thought of ways to defend himself. One of those ways has been the use of personal body armor – whether ancient warriors clad in boiled leather, Samurai dressed in intricate lamellar armor, or medieval knights of old with their iconic plate armor and shields.

            The advent of firearms and ever more powerful ballistic performance outpaced the development of technologies for protective equipment that could be deployed in a practical manner. Flak jackets (those issued in the Korean and Vietnam wars were constructed of on) could help stop fragments and slower or smaller-caliber bullets, but were-not effective against typical fire-arm threats. Metal (steel) plates were required to provide more protection. The end result, not unlike an average teenage boy’s attempts to reach second base with his first sweetheart, was heavy. uncomfortable, sweaty, and awkward.

            Then in 1965, Stephanie Kwolek, a chemist at DuPont tasked with creating fibers for use in tires, invented a para-aramid synthetic fiber known as Kevlar – giving rise to the so-called bulletproof vests commonly seen today. And good old-fashioned steel has been supplanted with other materials and manufacturing processes to protect against more lethal threats.

            Critical to protect warfighters on today’s battlefield as well as law enforcement personnel on the streets at home. protective body armor also continues to spark the interest of civilians who might find themselves in harm’s way or wish to be prepared. While it’s fun to focus on shooting and putting rounds down-range, don’t neglect a good defense.

            Generally speaking, civilians may purchase and own protective body armor, as long as they aren’t felons. Committing crimes while wearing armor can also result in additional penalties. Note also that Connecticut’s laws require one to purchase body armor in-person from a local retailer; mail order sales aren’t allowed. Be sure to double check the regulations in your area. That being said, a number of armor manufacturers have policies restricting or prohibiting sales of their products to civilians, and companies and distributors have various requirements for customers to demonstrate their eligibility.

            Soft Versus Hard Armor

            There are two main types of body armor: soft and hard. Soft body armor is what many might envision when thinking of police officers – a vest made of flexible materials worn around your torso. Typically, there are inserts (front and back) made of the protective ballistic material, sealed against the elements and held inside of a carrier. 

            The inserts may also extend around the torso to provide side coverage. In some cases. both inserts and carrier are custom built to the end user’s exact measurements, providing maximum coverage and comfort. In others, they are available in various standard sizes (e.g. small, medium, large, etc). Custom armor is usually also available specifically for female users, modified to fit their body contours. Carriers may be designed to be worn under clothing

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              Long Term Fuel Storage 101

              By David Simpson

              From matches to gasoline, your fuel supply list should include a variety of resources to keep you moving, warm and healthy. Food, water, shelter: these are the first things we think about in times of trouble. But what about fuel? After reality sets in, we begin to worry about long-term survival. Any plan for out-lasting a disaster must include stockpiling, and the one item many forget about is fuel. Fuel is an essential item that we rely on for heat, sustenance, sterilization and travel, and having a cache of it can make the impossible bearable.

              Fuels to cook your food and keep you warm

              Waterproof matches and dry firewood often come in handy in a jam, especially if your lodging is destroyed or you have a working fireplace. We talked to Jeff Davis, co-owner of The Ready Store, an online site dedicated to stocking survival specialty items. Davis suggests, “Long, water-resistant matches are the best to have around, but regular matches stored in a waterproof case will work just as well.” Storing and stacking firewood for extreme emergencies is a smart move, but be careful to keep it off the ground to avoid water and bug damage. “Two old standbys with great fuel benefits are coal and charcoal,” advises Davis. Coal is a great heating resource and does not have as many rules for storage.

              You can order it in large amounts and have it delivered right to your doorstep. If you don’t mind a little dirt and dust, coal is a relatively easy fuel to have around your property with many advantages. While charcoal is just as handy as coal, it requires a little more maintenance to stockpile it. Once the star of summertime cooking, charcoal—if kept dry and away from dampness—can be a great way to easily cook your food in a disaster. Charcoal is also readily available at supermarkets and home repair stores, and keeping it in elevated bins is a great way to keep it moisture-free. Year after year, the most popular grilling fuel in the United States continues to be propane. It is easily available at most hardware stores and can be hooked up to a propane grill.

              A representative from Paraco Gas, a leading distributor of propane, recommends you store propane “outside in an area with good ventilation, preferably on concrete or on another hard, non-combustible surface.” Unfortunately, due to its outdoor housing requirements, packaging, and flammability, propane is not recommended for stockpiling in large quantities unless you have a lot of space.

              Proceed with caution: combustible supplies

              To get the 411 on combustible fuels, we talked to Janet Nelson, co-owner of www.TheEpicenter.com, a website dedicated to providing emergency preparedness food and survival supplies since 1995. “If you are planning for a major disaster or you just want to be cautious because you foresee shortages, stockpiling diesel, gasoline and kerosene is wise, but proceed with care. The big three are powerful and dangerous fuels and need to be maintained … Read the rest

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                What is a yurt and how to build a yurt

                By David Simpson

                A yurt is safer and more stable than a tent for camping and long-term survival. They are an affordable alternative to a mobile home as well, easy to build and weather resistant. If your home is destroyed or you just want to be closer to nature, a yurt might be the thing you’ve been searching for.

                What is a yurt?

                A yurt is a tensile structure with a frame and skin and originally meant to be mobile. It is so much more than a tent, though, and with its domed design and cozy interior, it can be a permanent residence for a family. They can be equipped for most climates and “provide a unique outdoor experience” says engineer and Yurts of America owner, Jerry E. Ritchie.

                A cousin of the Native American teepee, these ingenious structures can withstand great winds, wintery downfall, and extreme heat—they are meant to endure the most violent of elements and survive. “The unique design of the yurt yields naturally to different climates as its convective style allows heat to rise through the skylight. I have designed yurts to last for years in locations from Mexico to Alaska, and if fitted with the right reflective insulation can last even in extreme temperatures, allowing the heat in or out as needed,” relays Ritchie.

                History

                Yurts have been around for thousands of years and originated in Mongolia among the nomadic tribes. The fluctuating weather over the plains of Asia combined with the nomadic lifestyle affected the design and flexibility of the traditional yurt. Their sturdy movability was symbiotic with their ever-changing terrain.

                In the beginning, they were fashioned from “felt, sinew, and animal hair,” while Ritchie says, “today’s yurt is much more stable and constructed of code compliant steel, wood, and aircraft cable.” Originally, the moveable yurt functioned as “a tree bending in the wind,” says Ritchie, “and when the wind on the plains pushed against one side, the whole yurt moved, spreading the wind across it.” The yurt’s history of fluidity with nature makes it a perfect transition home for disaster survivors or anyone worried about the environmental dangers destroying property across North America today.

                When you need a roof over your head quickly, a yurt can provide shelter that will last through a violent weather apocalypse.

                Evolution of the western-styled yurt

                As Westerners discovered the singular qualities of yurt living, the evolution from mobile unit to stationary structure emerged. Ritchie says, “The dome frame spreads the load across the body of the structure.” This unique design is what has helped it prevail through the ages, persisting in spite of wind, snow, heat, and time. The original construction of the central ring as the roof with the continuous circular arch and domed design has endured through the ages.

                While the new enhanced yurt integrates the original concept, the materials and permanence have changed. The circular shape of the structure also tolerates snowy conditions and can withstand heavy snowfall—an important asset should … Read the rest

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                  Best top rated hiking boot reviews for men and women 2017

                  By David Simpson

                  BOOT CAMP
                  Get A Solid Foundation Your feet, more than any other part of your body, take the most abuse, so why not take a few minutes to take care of something that’s supposed to last you a lifetime?

                  1. Early bird gets the bad boot:
                    Setting out first thing in the morning to go shopping for boots will just get you a bad fit. Your feet spread out and get bigger over the course of the day, so it’s best to go shopping later in the afternoon after your feet have had a chance to swell.
                  2. Keys to a good fit:
                    Leave yourself some room for different-thickness socks and leave at least a finger’s space between your heel and the back of the boot so when the boot is done up you don’t get bruised toes from hitting the front of the boot.
                  3. Lightweight vs. heavyweight:
                    Heavy boots give you better protection but will tire you out on long hikes. Light boots are easier to walk in but might not provide enough insulation when you’re sitting in a tree stand or duck blind. Choose the weight of the boot according to its intended use.
                  4. Breaking them in:
                    Take the time for a proper break-in. Wear them on short walks with the proper socks on to slowly work in the fit. With all-leather uppers, use a mixture of 50/50 rubbing alcohol and water to soak the boots, and then wear them until they dry for a quick break-in.
                  5. Lace ’em up:
                    If you buy a high top-style boot then lace them up. The higher boots are meant to provide you with extra ankle support when you carry loads or negotiate rough terrain, and they can’t do their job if you leave them unlaced.
                  6. Fewer seams are stronger:
                    Seams are the weakest part in a boot so a boot with fewer seams stands to have less chance of failing. So when you’re looking for a set of boots, keep your eye out for a design with the fewest number of seams.
                  7. Socks matter:
                    Boots don’t work on their own; it pays to buy good socks and layer them. Your first layer should be a wicking sock designed to draw the moisture away from your foot. Damp feet are often cold, sore feet that are prone to blistering. Your second layer is your insulating layer, so vary your sock thickness according to temperature.
                  8. Taking out the rub:
                    Blisters are basically friction burns that develop from a bad rubbing spot. Try placing a piece of duct tape over the spot that rubs in the boot; the outer, smoother side of the tape will allow your foot to glide across that spot instead of rub. 
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                    How to navigate with a map and compass

                    By David Simpson

                    You’re on the move. Perhaps you’re backpacking in a wilderness area, or maybe you’re bugging out to a secret location—but whatever the reason, you’ll need to make sure you stay on your route at all times. A few simple techniques can help you identify where you are, and ensure that you find your way to your destination.

                    Utilize all resources

                    The first thing to remember when you’re trying to “stay found” (or avoid getting lost) is to use as many techniques and tools as you have available rather than counting on just one or two to handle all situations. That might mean using a topographic map in combination with a road map, utilizing waypoints in your GPS to confirm where you are on a larger scale map than your GPS can display, or just using a map with a handheld compass.

                    Once you’re on the road or trail with your navigation tools, it isn’t practical or safe to stare at your map during your entire trip. The following techniques will allow you to maintain your situational awareness by focusing on your surroundings instead of the map or GPS.

                    1. Break the trip into segments.

                      Don’t think of it as one long trip. Instead, break it up into a series of shorter legs with easily recognizable natural or man-made features at each end. Then you can move from one checkpoint to the next until you finish your journey.

                    2. Use terrain association.

                      A very simple and direct way to move from one point to the next is to determine the compass bearing to your next checkpoint and then walk the straight line to get there. This works well, but it also means that you don’t have the option of picking the easiest route—and that’s where terrain association comes into play. Terrain association refers to following terrain features, like roads, woodlines, ridges or streams to reach your checkpoint or destination. This allows you to take the easier route when you can and resort to following compass bearings when you absolutely must.

                    3. Familiarize yourself with what’s on and off your planned route.

                      You should always be prepared for the unexpected, so before you set out, take the time to familiarize yourself with what’s on either side of the route you plan to take. This will give you an advantage if you run into some obstacles along the way, such as finding that the bridge you planned to cross has been destroyed. You want to have a Plan B, C and D in mind to address any problems along the way.

                    Think inside the box

                    Handrails, or linear terrain features, can make it easier to navigate when you’re moving from one point to the next, and they can also help you to keep from getting lost. Whether you’re traveling on foot or by vehicle, you can use long linear terrain features to draw a box around the area where you’re operating.

                    As long as you stay within that box, you can always find your way … Read the rest

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                      What to pack for camping: My own checklist for reference

                      By David Simpson

                      Walkstool Comfort 75 CM Fold-up Hiking Stool with Case

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                      Coghlan's Non-Stick Carbon Steel Family Cookset

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                      Go Caddies Water Bottle Holder

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                      Coghlans 9 Cup Aluminum Coffee Pot, Silver

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