Things You Can Cook Over a Fire

25 Jul

Written by Guest Contributor on The Prepper Journal.

Editor’s Note: A guest contribution from Scott Huntington to The Prepper Journal.

Before we had ovens, cooktops and microwaves, there was only one way to cook up some grub — over the fire. You have to admire fire’s staying power. How many other old-world methods remain relevant thousands of years after they were invented?

Cooking over an open flame isn’t just fun, it’s popular for a good reason. The flavor you get from a flame-cooked meal is difficult to match on even the finest bar-b-queue. Plus, sometimes it’s the only cooking method you have. From surviving and camping to just getting creative, here are 10 things to try next time you’re around the fire.

Blueberry Orange Muffins

Let them try and tell you that baking on a camping trip is a bad idea! This environmentally-conscious muffin recipe makes your pack lighter by re-using the peels of oranges that you can eat on the trail. When it’s time for dessert, mix water and muffin mix as directed and then spoon the result into the empty orange halves. Wrap the mini muffin trays in a double layer of tinfoil and set them in a warm — but not flaming — section of coals. Allow eight to ten minutes of cook time. Boom, a sweet treat that you wouldn’t expect around a campfire.


While they’re simpler to do over the backyard fire pit than on the trail, kebabs can be packed and made in the wilderness with little hassle. The beauty of these simple-but-tasty creations is they allow you to create a multitude of flavor combinations and can customize for meat-eaters, vegetarians or omnivores. As your skill in combining flavors improves, you can play around with mixing things that cook faster or slower, like meat and fruit, and using the thickness of each slice to help the entire skewer cook evenly.


Everyone loves pizza, right? But you might not think to cook it over a fire. With a simple pizza stone, you can make it on your backyard grill or beside a babbling brook. Fresh pizza dough can easily pack into camp for a first-night-out feast, and of course, it transports well from your fridge to the bar-b-queue. Similarly to Kebabs, you can enjoy a number of flavor combinations and you might be surprised how much you enjoy the nuance of a crispy-yet-chewy grilled pizza crust. It’s not unlike a gourmet wood-fired pie.


We’re not surprising anyone by including steak on a list of things you can cook over a fire. A steak traditionalist might even argue this is the only way meat should ever cook. Choose a flavorful piece such as New York Strip or Rib Eye to make over the open flame and the fat on the meat will nearly cook it for you. We recommend a good coating of butter or olive oil, complemented by some salt, pepper and rosemary, but you’re welcome to get more creative with your steak seasonings. Another great thing about this fire-cooked meal is there are several sides you can make over a fire as well.

Corn on the Cobb

Sure you could boil your corn, something we’ve probably all had. But flame-grilled corn-on-the-cob is without question the better way to have it. Plus, it’s so simple. Pick up some good fresh corn, shuck it and wrap in tinfoil, and place in hot embers for 20-30 minutes.

You can also do it with a campfire grill to reduce the mess. Throw a nice chunk of butter and some salt and pepper inside the tinfoil wrapper to add the perfect finishing touch to this sweet and healthy side.

Baked Potatoes

Similar to corn, baked potatoes can be made easily around a campfire by taking advantage of the wonders of tinfoil. However, as a heartier dish, baked potatoes can serve as a main dish when stuffed with the right ingredients. Do some meal prep before hitting the trail by splitting your spuds and packing them with bacon, chives, butter and seasoning. When you arrive at camp, everything will have melted together in the foil — you can finish it off by cooking it over the fire.

Egg and Sausage Taquitos

We tend to focus on dinner when the idea of making things over a fire comes up. But what about breakfast? For the most important meal of the day, breakfast can get neglected on camping trips, but these simple breakfast taquitos will give you a morning boost whether you make them for the kids at home or cook them up after a night on the trail. Meal prep is fairly simple — you make some sausage links and eggs, season them up and then wrap in a tortilla and add seasoning. Make sure you have a good means of keeping these cold if you plan to make them at camp.

Campfire Griddle Cakes

Your camp-mates will be thrilled to wake up to the smell of hot, fresh pancakes on the trail. If you’re used to cooking on a cast-iron skillet, these are about as straightforward as making pancakes at home. You can whip up a batch of batter in 15 minutes at home and jar it or bring with you on the trail using a Tupperware container. Make sure you bring along the necessary flatware. These aren’t as easy to eat with your hands as a kebab, hot dog or s’more. Extra points if you remember syrup and fresh berries.

Stuffed Bell Peppers

Similar to the baked potatoes we mentioned earlier, these stuffed veggies can easily serve as a main course. The recipe we chose uses a combination of rice, veggies and ground beef for a well-rounded and nutritious dinner that helps get all your food groups in while you’re out on the trail. The stuffed peppers are cooked in a Dutch oven and take about 30-45 minutes, which should be enough time to prepare additional sides if needed. They look pretty gourmet when done — proof you don’t have to be at home to enjoy something special.


What would a list of fire-cooked goodies be without s’mores? These old-timely favorites will bring a smile to anyone’s face, whether on the trail or in the backyard. Did you know, s’mores have gone upscale? Try them with fruit, peanut butter and other wild combinations.

Cooking over an open flame is a wonderful social experience and a way to make plain-old good food. It brings the family together and gives you an excuse to try some truly special recipes that you otherwise might not. So try out some ours, or let us know in the comments below what your favorite flame-cooked eats are!

Be Safe out there and be sure to check out The Prepper Journal Store and follow The Prepper Journal on Facebook!

The post Things You Can Cook Over a Fire appeared first on The Prepper Journal.

Nutritious Food Plants You Can Harvest Quickly

19 Jul

Written by Guest Contributor on The Prepper Journal.

Editor’s Note: A guest submission to The Prepper Journal from Raymond Poole. Raymond Poole is an organic cooking and gardening fanatic. He spends his free time trialing and testing different growing techniques to make his beloved fruit and vegetable garden flourish to full flavor.

Admit it, we want things to happen fast. We’re a society of fast food, fast internet, and instant gratification. But when it comes to growing nutritious food, we have to be patient. Mother Nature usually needs time to work.

But there are exceptions in the vegetable world where gratification, if not instant, isn’t far off. We only need a few weeks to produce some nutritious vegetables and enjoy them for a great lunch or dinner. Imagine having fresh spinach harvested four to six weeks after planting. Even better, a vegetable garden in your backyard will complement that verdant, green lawn and add some color and texture to your landscape.

There are many wholesome veggies you can grow, relatively quickly, a few steps away from your kitchen. Here are five vegetables to get you started.


Spinach is an excellent source of minerals, vitamins, potassium, zinc, magnesium, iron, and calcium. And you can harvest it as soon as a month after planting. Sow the seeds into good quality soil and then water.

This is a must-have vegetable if you’re living off the grid. Spinach improves eyesight and cognitive function, combats Alzheimer’s disease and gastric ulcers, and increases blood flow to the brain. Its high content of potassium and its lack of sodium helps maintain good blood pressure and its antioxidants strengthen muscles. It also reduces the chance of heart attacks and strokes.


Carrots are excellent as part of a salad, as a snack, and taste great when cooked. They thrive in the USDA’s Hardiness zones 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, and 10. They do need lots of sun, and do well when planted about three to five weeks before the last frost. Select a thin fingerling variety and plant the seeds about 2 inches apart at a depth of ¼ to ½ inch. Water at least 1 inch per week and fertilize four weeks after planting if the soil is lacking organic matter. Don’t use compost. In about six weeks, you’ll have your harvest — and some can be picked even sooner as part of the thinning process.

Carrots offer carbs and fiber, lowers cholesterol and reduces the risk of cancer. It includes vitamin A, which promotes good vision and improves immune functions. Its Biotin enhances metabolism and vitamin K1 promotes bone health and blood clotting. It has potassium that improves blood pressure and vitamin B6 to convert food into energy.


Another ideal food for salads, radishes are ready for your table in as little as 21 days after planting. This is a cool weather crop, planted in spring and autumn and two weeks before the last frost. It thrives in sunlight and well-drained soil with a pH level of 6 to 7, according to the Farmer’s Almanac. The soil should be free of rocks. Include organic matter like compost, manure, or leaf mold in the soil before planting.

Rich in fiber, radishes also aid the digestive system and help combat several forms of cancer. They improve cardiovascular health, relieve respiratory disorders, lower blood pressure, help manage diabetes, and protect the kidneys.


Lettuce grows in colder temperatures and is ready to begin harvesting 30 days after planting. Plant in the early spring when temperatures are between 45°F and 65°F. It thrives in moist, cool conditions and can tolerate a light frost. It will flower or bolt to seed if the weather gets too hot.

The soil should be loose, moist, well-drained, and fertilized. It favors acidic conditions. So include some compost into the soil. Plant seeds in rows of 12 to 15-inches long. Leave a space of 18-inches between rows. Thin the growing seedlings to 4-inches apart to prevent overcrowding. You can harvest over time, by cutting outer leaves as they mature, or take the full plant when leaves are full size, but still tender. If you wait until the lettuce is too mature, it ends up tasting bitter.

There are several types of lettuce. They include Romaine, which is sweet and crunchy. Crisphead or Iceberg, which has a crisp texture and mild taste. Butterhead (also known as Boston or Bibb) has large, soft, green leaves that are sweet tasting. Romaine has the greatest benefits.

Lettuce, in general, has only 12 calories for one shredded cup. It prevents the build-up of plaque. It includes relaxing and sleep-inducing properties. Its minerals improve energy. It’s an ideal food for anyone monitoring their blood sugar or wishes to maintain their weight.


The green leaves of the arugula plant have a peppery taste and are ideal for salads. Once mature, cut the leaves off the plant and enjoy. Leaves will continue to grow back each year.

The plant thrives in well-drained, moist soil with a pH level of 6 to 6.5. Add compost to the soil before sowing. Do the composting in the fall. and plant the arugula in the spring. The plant tolerates cool weather and an occasional frost, so plant as early as April in daytime temperatures above 40 degrees. Select a sunny location for planting, although it tolerates some shade. The plant grows 1 to 2 feet tall and is ready for harvest about four weeks after planting.

You can either plant the seeds in rows or scatter them over an area. The seeds should be about one-quarter inch deep and 1-inch apart. Once the leaves develop, you can harvest.

Arugula includes vitamin K, which assures healthy bones and a better immune system. It also has cancer-fighting properties, increases metabolism, improves eyesight, and enhances mineral absorption.

Growing your own nutritious foods provides many benefits. You’ll save time and money with fewer visits to the grocery store. You’ll also be prepared if the store shelves are empty!

Be Safe out there and be sure to check out The Prepper Journal Store and follow The Prepper Journal on Facebook!

The post Nutritious Food Plants You Can Harvest Quickly appeared first on The Prepper Journal.

Are You Prepared to Deal with a Fire at Home?

18 Jul

Written by Guest Contributor on The Prepper Journal.

Editors Note: The following guest article was generously contributed by James Smith in October of 2015. It is worth rereading if you caught it then as well as for the first time now.

Additionally I want to add a link to a great, recent article along the same subject line from Aaron Karns of which can be seen by opening this link

Every year, over 2500 people die and around 12,000 are injured in home fires in the United States. Direct property loss due to fires at home is estimated to be over $7.3 billion annually. Like any other man-made catastrophe, home fires can also be prevented.

To protect yourself and your family, it is essential that you understand the elementary characteristics of fire. Because fire spreads very quickly, there is absolutely no time to collect any belongings or make a phone call. In less than two minutes, a small fire can become fatal; in about five minutes, an entire residence can be engulfed in flames.

Smoke and heat from fire can be more hazardous than the flames. Inhaling the extremely hot air can char your lungs, while the noxious gases can make you drowsy and disoriented. Instead of waking up due to a fire, you may fall into deep sleep. Contrary to popular belief, asphyxiation is the leading cause of deaths caused by fire, surpassing burns by a 3-to-1 ratio.

A large majority of home fires are caused in the kitchen, while cooking. These fires are also the leading cause of injuries. At night, fires are mostly caused by cigarettes not put out properly, lack of precautionary measures around fireplaces, and heating appliances kept close to combustibles and furniture. These fires are considered more dangerous than others as they can fume for quite a long time before being discovered.

Fire is QUICK!

In less than thirty seconds, a minor flame can get totally out of control to become a major fire. It takes less than five minutes for a house to be filled with thick black smoke or to be completely engulfed in flames. Most fatal fires happen while people are sleeping. If you are woken up by a fire, don’t waste time trying to collect any things as fire spreads fast and the smoke is too thick. You will barely have time to escape.


The heat from fire is more dangerous than the flames. With room temperatures rising to 100 degrees at floor level and 600 degrees at eye level, the heat alone can kill. The hot air, if inhaled, can scorch your lungs and leave you dead in a matter of seconds. The heat can also melt your clothes and skin.


Fire isn’t bright, its pitch black. Fire starts bright, but quickly produces black smoke and complete darkness. If you wake up to a fire you may be blinded, disoriented and unable to find your way around the home you’ve lived in for years.

Flames do not kill as many people as toxic gases and smoke do. Oxygen is used by fire to produce toxic gases and smoke that kills. Inhaling small amounts of these gases can leave you disoriented, short of breath and drowsy. The colorless fumes can put you into deep sleep even before the flames reach you.


You can only prepare yourself and your family if you know the characteristics of fire. In case of a home fire, know that every second counts, so your family and you must be prepared. Have a fire escape plan and make sure each member of your family knows it well. You must keep some of the necessary survival supplies in your home. Keep an extra door as a fire escape route and see that it is not blocked in any way at any time. Install fire alarms and keep a check on them regularly to make sure they are functioning. Here are some tips to help you prepare:

Smoke Alarms

A properly installed smoke alarm is the only thing in your house that can alert you and your family 24/7. A functioning smoke alarm enhances your chances of surviving a lethal house fire considerably.

Install smoke alarms that contain both photoelectric and ionization smoke sensors. Test their batteries monthly to ensure that they are in working condition. See that you have a smoke alarm installed on every level of your house, especially the basement. Sleeping areas should have smoke alarms both inside and outside, this is especially recommended by the US Fire Administration.

Furthermore, disabling a fire alarm can be a fatal mistake. Open a door or window, or wave a towel at the smoke alarm to clear the air.

During a Fire

If, even after all the precautionary measures, a fire happens to break out at your residence, follow these tips to ensure survival:

  1. While making your way towards the exit, crawl low under the smoke. Poisonous gases and smoke collect towards the ceiling, so crawling your way to the exit may allow you to escape.
  2. As soon as the smoke alarm sounds, think only of escaping. Do not stop to gather your belongings.
  3. If you see smoke blocking your exit, look for another way out.
  4. Before opening any doors, feel the door and the doorknob; if they feel hot, do not bother opening it, look for another escape route instead.
  5. While opening a door, open it slowly to see if there is heavy smoke or fire.
  6. Stop, drop, and roll if your clothes catch fire. Make sure you cover your face with your hands and roll on your back again and again until the fire is out.

Escaping the Fire

To ensure survival in case of a fire at home, you should know any obstacles that may hinder your escape route. For example, gratings or grills on windows usually have a fire safety feature that allows them to be opened easily from the inside.

Make sure you have fire escape ladders if your home is of multiple stories. Ensure that the anti-theft mechanisms that block entry from the outside are easily opened from the inside. Your family members’ safety is as important as yours, so you should teach them all the precautionary measures, as well as conduct a drill at least once a year so they know how to escape a deadly fire.

About the author: James Smith is a survivalist, who loves to write about survival skills and techniques. He has extensive knowledge about different survival kits and other survival supplies which he loves to share with others by writing blog. Follow him on twitter @jamessmith1609.

The post Are You Prepared to Deal with a Fire at Home? appeared first on The Prepper Journal.

How to Make Sure Your Stuff Lasts Forever — or Close to It

17 Jul

Written by Guest Contributor on The Prepper Journal.

Editor’s Note: A guest contribution from Scott Huntington to The Prepper Journal.

Whether you live primarily off the grid and rarely venture to town or you simply wish to extend the life of your belongings to save money, taking certain steps can make everything from your clothes to your home last longer. Even though many now live by the convenience principle of tossing broken things and buying new, learning to extend the life of our objects also helps protect the planet we share. In a world where every other product bears a label reading “Made in China,” the cliche they just don’t build things like they used to has merit.

Any way you slice it, extending the life of anything from your car to your kitchen appliances makes sense. When survival is on the line, protecting your tools keeps you alive. Here’s how you can maintain the items you own so they last as close to forever as possible.

Extend the Life of Your Clothes

Washing and drying your clothes can cause them to pill and wear more quickly. Whenever possible, opt to hand wash your clothes. It takes longer, but it’s far kinder to the environment and your wardrobe.

Tossing your clothes in the dryer may help them dry faster, but it does a number on the fabric — the lint screen gets full of all the bits of thread pulled from the fibers of shirts and more. Plus, line-dried fabrics smell so much more amazing than those dried with chemically laden sheets. If you live in an area that prohibits outdoor clotheslines, invest in a drying rack you can place on your porch or balcony to dry your duds.

Rotate your clothes and maintain proper hygiene. When you wash a load, put the clean clothes further back in the closet so every item sees relatively equal wear. While it’s not true you must shower every day unless you’ve been working in a coal mine, do wash your armpit and groin areas twice daily, as sweat can leave salt stains on clothes.

Make Your Food Last Longer

Using the right materials for food storage requires a small upfront investment, but you will save money and your stash of strawberries in the long run. Rinsing fruits such as berries in a vinegar and water solution before putting them in the fridge eliminates bacteria that cause spoilage before your produce hits the drawer. As fruits decompose more quickly than veggies, store them in separate drawers.

Invest in quality reusable food storage containers designed for different products. Store leafy greens in cartons lined with paper towels to draw out moisture and keep them crisper longer. Keep milk in sealed glass jars to extend shelf life, and spend the money for washable cheese cloths to keep your cheddar from molding after a few days.

Keep Your Vehicle Running Strong

Protecting your vehicle means performing regular and preventive maintenance on engine and body. To keep your car or truck rust-free for years, invest in rust protection for your undercoating and wash the underside of your car regularly. Wash your car at least every other week, or more often if salt and grime accumulate faster due to inclement weather.

Keep your engine running by getting regular oil and filter changes. If you drive a four-wheel drive or high-performance vehicle, speak with your mechanic about using synthetic oil — this extends the time between changes and keeps engine heat lower. If your car is older than 2007, change the oil every 3,000 miles. Newer vehicles can average 5,000 miles between changes. Replace your air filter every 15,000 to 20,000 miles.

Do the Same for Appliances

If you’ve got an older fridge, take a dollar bill and close your refrigerator door on it. If it pulls right out, it’s time to change the gasket. Doing so costs only $30-$70 and takes a screwdriver and an Allen wrench. You’ll save a fortune on electricity and keep food fresher longer.

Change the air filters for your HVAC system out monthly. Some experts recommend doing so less often in the winter, but deciding to cut down on filter changes depends on many factors. If you have pets who shed or if you smoke, keeping up with monthly maintenance can save you in terms of costly future repairs.

When it comes to your dryer if you use one, invest in a snake wand to clean out the lint trap more effectively. Create a spill barrier when using the oven by placing cookie sheets on the rack underneath your casserole or pie. Use a paste of baking soda to clean spills up if they do occur — as soon as the oven safely cools, of course.

Protect Your Furnishings

Do you ever feel warm when you sit next to a sunny window in your home? The heat isn’t only burning your skin — it’s also fading the wood and fabrics of your furnishings. Investing in window tinting can cut your cooling and heating bills, as well as preserve the life of your leather. Even your blinds become faded over time from sun and heat, so you’ll maintain your window coverings too. A bonus of such tint is that you can see out, but strangers cannot see into your home.

If your leather furniture suffers minor tears, you can buy repair kits and fix them at home in little time. Did you carelessly take a chunk out of a chair leg with a hammer while using it for support on another project? Get some wood putty and stain to repair the nick instead of buying new.

Extend the Life of Your Roof

If your roof leaks, the entirety of your homestead can suffer damage. Extend its life by keeping your gutters clear of leaves and debris, as overflows can lead to leakage. Perform a visual inspection of your roof while you do so — if you notice missing patches of tile or shingles, repair them without delay. If water damage reaches the rafters, black mold and significant water damage can occur.

Are you roughing it and having problems with your tent gear? Keep repair tape and basic tools with you to patch holes quickly. When you change campsites, shake out tents thoroughly to remove debris and insects. Pass on using water to clean it, as this can cause mildew, but if some develops from exposure to the elements, use a distilled white vinegar and water solution to kill it. Be sure to dry the area thoroughly.

Extending the Life of Your Belongings

Living in the sticks means driving miles to get supplies — and who wants to tackle such a drive every time something breaks? If you’re living rough or minimalist, no doubt you need to preserve the life of the possessions you keep with you. Even if you live in New York City, though, extending the life of your belongings saves you major moolah. Cash is better kept in your hand or even under your mattress than doled out constantly to merchants in a disposable-minded society.

Be Safe out there and be sure to check out The Prepper Journal Store and follow The Prepper Journal on Facebook!

The post How to Make Sure Your Stuff Lasts Forever — or Close to It appeared first on The Prepper Journal.

How to Prep for an Earthquake

5 Jul

Written by Guest Contributor on The Prepper Journal.

Editor’s Note: A contribution from Scott Huntington to The Prepper Journal. As a native and one who has been through multiple earthquakes I can say “amen” to holding our breath. There are so many faults that half of the quakes I experienced personally were generated by previously unknown faults in the Pacific plate, still considered the “ring of fire” by scientists worldwide. Whenever traveling to and from California I cross that mother of all faults, the San Andreas, where discussions always gravitate towards…. while the article speaks to California it applies to anywhere along the ring of fire, and yes, maybe Yellowstone as well.

Californians have been holding their breath for 20 years now, waiting for “the big one” to hit. Living in a fault zone can be nerve-wracking. The mental impact of not knowing when an earthquake might strike might be almost as damaging as the effects of the physical quake when you consider it over time.

But you can do some things to feel better. Earthquakes have been taking place since the beginning of time, and people have come to understand how to prepare for them. Here are our suggestions for the best ways to make ready for a quake.

Know If You Live in a High-Risk Area

Prepping for an earthquake might not be a good use of your time if you live in Nebraska. California gets a reputation as a seismic hotspot, which it probably deserves, but other places are high-risk zones as well. The USGS survey identifies areas across the country with seven levels of risk, which you can view in a color-coded map on their website.

The West Coast is particularly suspect when it comes to the risk of earthquakes, with the USGS map indicating the strongest probability of a quake is in Southern Alaska, Washington, California, Hawaii and Nevada. For those who choose to live in these states, there will always be a high risk, although the right construction can reinforce your home against the harmful effects of a quake. There is also a USGS program called Shakealert that claims to offer early warning of coming earthquakes, which might be worth your time if you live in a high-risk zone.

If earthquakes aren’t your thing, move away. That’s the best way to avoid them. But these are excellent places to live (political climate aside), so if you’re going to stick around…

Prepare Your Home

Minimize loose, heavy items in your house by fastening heavy furniture to the wall or avoiding it altogether. If you have the budget, you can consider installing reinforcing walls like we mentioned earlier, which will help ensure your home remains a safe zone during most earthquakes. If you work or live in a tall building, have a clearly marked evacuation plan and make sure everyone knows how to access it.

Have a communication plan with your children, which is fairly simple in the age of cell phones but, should damaged cell towers cause coverage to go down, it’s smart for children to have a phone number or two memorized and know how to use social media to communicate they’re safe. At a minimum have a stated, know “meet location” for all family members. You really can’t depend on any infrastructure remaining uninterrupted in an earthquake.

An earthquake readiness kit isn’t quite the same as the bug-out bag you’d pack for a hurricane or tornado, but it’s similar. You could be facing a situation where communications and other infrastructure is down, so have extra doses of any special medications your family needs, clean water and snacks, a powerful flashlight and extra batteries. Apportion your supplies to last at least three days. Pack a first-aid kit with medical supplies to treat lacerations and bruises. While off-the-shelf kits are available for purchase, only YOU know your family and their real needs so start with the basics and build out your kit your way. Pick a couple of 72-hour periods and note everything the family consumes during that period, from water to food to medications as a starting point and then do the “what if’s?” – water supply is compromised, home is compromised, missing family member, what is Plan B – always have a backup/Plan B. As any military officer will tell you Plan A is out the window as soon as the first shot is fired.

In addition to these must-haves, some other items will round out your kit nicely, such as two-way radios and pet supplies if you’ve got any furry friends in the family. A multitool is a good idea as a substitute for a full selection of hand tools, and a breathing mask with a particulate filter is another excellent addition to protect your family’s lungs from the smoke and dust that could fill the air in the aftermath of an earthquake.

Know How to Respond During a Quake

Earthquakes are one natural disaster we usually can’t predict until it’s too late. That means you need to practice what to do when one hits before you’re in a bad situation. If you have kids, make sure you have a plan as a family for what to do if an earthquake starts.

As for what to do, less is more in the case of an earthquake. You aren’t going to have time to seek much shelter. The best motto is “drop, cover and hold on,” which is what children learn in school. If you are outdoors, don’t seek cover indoors. If you’re sleeping, use your pillows to protect your neck and head.

If an earthquake occurs while you’re driving, pull over in a space that’s clear of overhead buildings or potential debris. All you can do is wait the quake out in the safest possible place. Once the shaking stops, it’s time to evaluate the situation. Know what natural gas smells like, and immediately disable the gas lines in your home if you smell a leak. There are valves available to automatically shut off natural gas lines in case of an earthquake, have them installed by a licensed professional. Locate your earthquake kit and check in with your family. Once you have everything squared away, you might head out to see if you can help others.

In the Aftermath

Earthquakes often have aftershocks up to a day later, so be vigilant, because these can be severe incidents if the earthquake was powerful. Once you’ve established that you and your family are unharmed, put on your sturdy footwear and take a walk around the perimeter of your home to spot any damage that may have occurred.

Unlike the movies, and like hurricanes, the majority of injuries and deaths occur in the first 72 hours after the event, downed power lines, floods, broken infrastructure like damns and freeway overpasses, etc.

Monitor your radio and other means of communication for information about the damage the quake did and whether there is any public action to help those affected. Depending on your situation, it may be appropriate for you to help, or you may need to reach out for assistance, which is why it’s so critical to have your radio and supply of batteries.

Perhaps the most frightening thing about an earthquake is the way they happen with little to no warning. Having a practical plan and the right supplies in place can give you the peace of mind to get through an earthquake safely. It’s only a matter of time, so think ahead and practice these good habits to be ready when the day comes. Stay safe!

Be Safe out there and be sure to check out The Prepper Journal Store and follow The Prepper Journal on Facebook!

The post How to Prep for an Earthquake appeared first on The Prepper Journal.

Safety Hacks Every Newbie Camper Should Know

2 Jul

Written by Guest Contributor on The Prepper Journal.

Editors Note: A guest post from Anna Katrina from across the pond.

Going camping soon? Avoid big and small discomforts and inconveniences and camp in safety. Here are the camping safety hacks you need to know.

Sleeping under the stars after a day of adventure in the great outdoors can be wonderful, provided you’re not all itchy with mosquito bites or didn’t just have to put out the flames your tent flap caught from the windswept fire.

A lot of little things can go wrong when you go camping, but that doesn’t mean you should stay at home. Anticipating some of the problems you may run into goes a long way to keeping you safe.

To that purpose, we’ve put together a list of some of the most important safety hacks you need to pay attention to when you go camping.

Campfire Safety Hacks

Even in well-maintained camping areas, the campfire can continue to represent a bit of risk. So, let’s start with some campfire safety hacks.

  • Keep a clear radius of at least eight feet around the fire pit and anything else that may catch fire – trees, tents, camping gear, chairs.
  • Avoid building a fire under low trees. When your location doesn’t give you much of a choice, always build a small fire and keep an eye on it.
  • Put out the fire before sleeping. Even if the fire is away from your tent, it may still pose a risk or attract wild animals.
  • Camping in an area without a ready-made campfire pit? Circle the fire pit with rocks and clear the rim of the pit of all flammable debris, whether it’s twigs or plastic bottles.
  • Keep water or a shovel at hand, especially when you build a fire on a windy day. Campfires may become unpredictable under a strong wind.
  • Keep matches and fire starters in a waterproof plastic bag in your backpack.
  • Bring multiple fire starters. Some won’t work in humid environments or if it’s too cold outside.
  • Don’t forget to pack a magnifying glass. With it, you can start a fire safely without having to worry about matches.

Tent Safety Hacks

A fire-retardant tent may still ignite – no tent fabric is fireproof. And then there’s carbon monoxide poisoning to worry about, which makes tent safety even more important.

  • Set up your tent before sunset. This way it’s easier to set up your tent properly and arrange all your gear.
  • Don’t use cooking appliances in a small tent. Even if you have a big, well-ventilated tent, think twice before cooking anything inside. For the same reason, you want to avoid using any fuel-burning devices in your tent. Even if nothing catches fire, you may not be able to get rid of the smell anytime soon.
  • Don’t smoke inside the tent. Even high-quality tents can burn or suffer damage as a result.
  • Get a portable camping carbon monoxide alarm with you. Any fuel that burns or smolders can release carbon monoxide, which can be fatal within minutes. Symptoms include headache, dizziness, nausea, and fatigue.
  • Don’t use any open flames inside the tent. Instead, use flashlights or headlights. 
  • Keep 20 feet between tents if you’re camping with friends or family. In the case of a fire, this minimizes the risk that the fire will spread from one tent to the other.
  • If you get caught in a lightning storm, look for better shelter. Most tents feature aluminum poles which attract lightning. You also want to avoid sheltering under tall trees, which puts you at risk of falling branches.
  • During a lightning storm, stay away from ponds, lakes, or rivers, as water conducts electricity. Sheltering in your car is safer; Cars are designed such that stray electricity flows through the metal shell and into the ground.

Personal Safety Hacks

Securing the campfire and the tent is only the start. Next, you need to pay attention to your own safety during camping.

  • Wear bug spray. Worried about wolves and bears? Quite often, mosquitoes and ants are a much bigger threat. Wear long sleeves and avoid bright colors, which tend to attract mosquitoes. In addition to citronella candles and some scouring powder, have some DEET spray ready. But remember not to use it under clothes. If you use sunscreen, apply DEET spray at least 30 minutes after or it may penetrate more deeply under your skin, which isn’t healthy.
  • Drink at least 8 large glasses of water every day. When camping, dehydration can be more dangerous than any external threats. Even when it doesn’t negatively affect your health, dehydration can cause fatigue and irritation. Make sure you have a good supply of water with you in case you may not be able to access right away any water sources on the camping ground.

  • Leaves-of-three, let-it-be, or in other words, avoid ivy and oak and other poisonous plants. Wearing long pants and good hiking boots will keep you safe from poisonous plants most of the time, provided you avoid touching them. It goes without saying that you should not eat any plants you find around the campsite unless you know exactly what they are. Edible and non-edible berries look much the same.
  • Wash your hands after changing your clothes. When you brush up against certain poisonous plants, their oils may remain impregnated on your clothes and irritate your skin upon touch.
  • Make sure your first-aid kit holds a few important but often neglected items: antibiotic ointment, antibiotic for skin infections, anti-inflammatory medication, and water purification tablets.
  • Wear gloves when you gather firewood. Splinters can be painful and lead to an infection. Then there are also snakes and spiders to worry about.
  • Take a mirror with you. If you get lost, a mirror can help you flash your position to searchers.

Animal Safety Hacks

What are the chances of wolves or mountain lions attacking you while camping? None, if you choose the right area. Still, here are a few general animal safety hacks that can make a close encounter with a wild animal less daunting.

  • Use a hiking stick or branch to feel your way as you hike through the brush. It’s a simple but useful defense against snakes.
  • If you come across a snake slithering before you, stop and let it pass, or it may feel threatened by your proximity to it. But if you come across a snake that’s sitting still in front of you or coming toward you, go slowly around it.

  • Face to face with an aggressive or very tame raccoon? It could be sick. Make loud noises to scare it away.
  • Use fresh food first. Remove food from the campsite at night or pack it tightly – the smell of food may attract bears.

Camp Safely

The good news is that most of the time at least, camping is perfectly safe. After all, how often has lightning struck your tent so far? And how many bears have you met while exploring the woods near your campsite?

But it’s best to be safe, and the hacks you’ve learned will come in handy in a variety of situations, not just when you’re camping.

Finally, remember to have your checklist handy. Bringing with you all the camping items you need will help you stay safe and well provisioned for during your adventure.

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Important Tips for Backpacking with Your Dog

29 May

Written by Guest Contributor on The Prepper Journal.

Editor’s Note: A timely guest contribution from Dennis as the weather and the mid year holidays see more and more of us getting off the grid for some decompression time. 

Many backpackers want to take their dogs with them on backpacking or hiking trips so they too can enjoy the journey. Socialized dogs are an excellent companion anywhere, anytime. To go for backpacking with your dog you just need to train them, establish some rules and pack them accordingly.

Also, before going make sure your trail is dog-friendly. Many times this is for the safety of the dog.

Before you embark (pun intended) you need to think of the stuff both of you are going to wear, use and carry. Making sure your dog is also equipped properly for backpacking will result in a better experience for you both, and anyone else along or who you encounter. The regular gear you use may when alone not be proper for every instance with a companion. Be flexible and approach each adventure in its own way.

Preparation and Gear Tips for Backpacking with Your Dog

Here is some advice you can follow to prepare your dog for the next camping and hiking trip.

Preparing Your Dog Mentally

For camping and hiking trip, you need to prepare your dog mentally and physically like humans. Without some training they may get overwhelmed with the new environment and physical activities while you are on the trail. To avoid these troubles, you need to prepare your dog prepare for it, they are now out of their territory. Here are some tips to follow for the backpacker:

Start out with short trips and never do the training trips in the same locations – not a must, but the more variety a dog sees on these trips the better it adjusts to new outings. Start with some small and easier trails with your dog and observe how it responds. You can then increase the length of your trip gradually to make him familiar with the variety of trips outside his territory.

Physical Activities for the Dog to Make Him Fit for Trips

Prepare your dog physically, train him to run on command, to heel and to keep you in site. These are natural behaviors but positive reinforcement is time well spent. Train him for long walks with a smaller amount of food and water. As you know sometimes getting water on the trail can be a little difficult, so it is a good idea to train your dog beforehand.


Teaching the Dog Backpacking Trips

If you don’t know how to control your dog then it will be risky and problematic to bring him on the trip. See if it follows your command or not. Give your dog proper training to understand your command and to heed them.

(Editor’s Note: I only drew my sidearm once when I hiked the John Muir Trail and it was in response to a simple-minded hiker who had a 50 lb un-socialized pit-bull mix with him that he had no control over and who decided I didn’t belong on HIS trail. No one was harmed though I still to this day think I did this clowns neighbors a disservice.) 

You also need to teach your dog some rules and trail etiquette’s before planning for the backpacking trip.

Dog Dropping on the Hiking Trail, bad

Training, excursive and preparation is not the only thing that keeps things better on backpacking trips. Carrying the right gear is paramount  according to Alex Raynold of the Safariors website.

Along with the staples, always carry some plastic bags to pick up your dogs droppings and dispose of them properly. Leaving dog poop on the trail or around your campsite is very unhygienic and problematic for others.

Use a Proper Leash and Harness for Your Dog

While it is always good to let your dog range, for their enjoyment as much as anything, having  a flat collar or a body harness is a must. A front harness restricts some motion in the shoulders, therefore a body harness is a better, most secure option. If your dog does not walk well on a leash then a front-hook harness may be the better option for you.

Harnesses are always better than collars for backpacking or hiking as harness helps to even out the pressure across the body. One word of cautions, not all humans are dog-friendly, so pay attention to strangers reactions, Also, few wild animals are dog-friendly and the smallest of these can carry rabies or other harmful diseases, not to mention the environment itself where ticks and other pests are always looking for a food source.

You can also use a flex leash as this allows your dog to go, sniff around and come back to you.

Dog Shoes Can Be a Good Addition to Your Next Camping Trip

Many people might find this funny but dog shoes or boots are essential gear for your dog while backpacking, especially if your dog does not go outside often. These take getting used to so purchase inexpensive ones at first as they will most likely get chewed off during training. And remember they, like everything else on the planet, can be field-repaired with duct tape.

Carry Proper Sleeping Gear for Your Dog

Whether its winter or summer, you should carry a sleeping mat or pad or a sleeping quilt for your dog. If you are in the outdoors sometimes the surface you choose for camping may be too hot. Using a sleeping mat can save your dog from the heat. Conversely, cool ground drops core body temperature and that is seldom a good thing.

Sleeping gear can save your dog from the rough surfaces as well. If you think your dog is less padded then you might want to carry a dog sleeping bag for it.

Choose Your Track Accordingly

If your dog is trained for walking on trails, listens to your commands then you can choose any type of back packing you want. If your dog is not trained properly and does not always obey your commands then you should choose flat grounds and man made back packing trails and work on training out its bad habits before venturing off the grid.

There are some other small essentials to keep in your backpack for your dog. The collar or the leash of your dog can be broken or somehow your dog can become lost in woods. For the former, remember your duct tape, for the latter there are a number of tools. As a precaution, or last resort, you can always hang a small bell and an ID card on your dog’s neck. I suggest you do this no matter what fancier solution you have already put in place. 

Last Few Words

You need to be proactive while backpacking with your dog to protect him/her from unwanted critters. Also, do not forget to carry a first-aid kit and add a few extra bandages for your dog, who is as prone to injury as you are, maybe more so on outings. 

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What You Need in an EDC Bag – Ultimate Guide for Preppers

2 May

Written by Guest Contributor on The Prepper Journal.

Editor’s Note: A contribution to The Prepper Journal from Peter Betts on a subject we haven’t posted about in awhile. An interesting take from a Prepper/survivalist in the Pacific Northwest, The Prepper Journal is a forum for different ideas.

Have you gotten your Everyday carry (EDC) bag but not sure what items to include into it? Everyday carry items are stuff you constantly carry on your body, so you are always prepared for unexpected dangers. Sometimes, it could even be useful for solving daily problems like preventing you from ‘losing’ your phone charger.

In this article, the focus would be geared towards understanding what you need to put in your EDC bag. If you are looking for a suitable EDC bag, you can check out this post in The Survival Hacks.

We will be diving into tools that you should consider including in your EDC bag. Bear in mind that the items listed here are designed to keep your bag as durable, light-weight and convenient as possible, so I have excluded few essentials which you would normally find in a bug out bag list.

The idea of an everyday carry is to prepare you for any unexpected danger, so you can move to a safe location or back home with limited tools. Before we begin, what are the few items that you are already carrying before leaving home every day? What are the items that will come in handy if you added it into your EDC bag? Let’s get right on to it!

What do you need in an EDC bag?

#1 Wallet

Yes, spare cash is at the top of the list. Make sure you bring loose change instead of big notes, so you can buy items like batteries, food and water from any stores before they run out. If you are carrying your everyday carry bag for travelling, you could consider bringing an extra wallet to stash your cash at different location to protect yourself from a pickpocket, have extra copies of your passport, ID and travel documents in case of emergencies. To prevent losing valuable items, a money belt can keep your important stuff hidden and hard to get too.

#2 Leatherman

Why Leatherman? It’s the only multi-tool that gives you a knife, scissors, prying tool, bottle and package opener, screwdriver and tweezers all in one small device. In fact, some Leatherman can be custom made to fit a saw, file, wire cutters and wrench according to your needs. This multi-tool is a must-add into your EDC bag list because well…it can do almost anything!

#3 Phone with Power Bank

Nowadays, a phone can be used as a navigator, calculator, torchlight, signalling for help and more importantly, to communicate with your loved ones. However, a phone can only be as useful as its battery life. You might carry a phone charger with you but not every place has a socket plug available and in the event of a total blackout, you will need to look for alternative power source.

Consider taking with you a Power Bank which is compact, light and can easily fit into your EDC’s bag pocket. With this reliable backup power source, you would not have to worry running out of battery for at least the next 24 hours. 

#4 Flashlight

A hand-held flashlight might come in handy especially when you are using it navigate your way in the dark, use it as a help signal or just to illuminate dark areas when you are working on your car. Though a phone torchlight function can easily do the trick, but if you could carry a flashlight inside your bag, why not?

#5 First Aid

Now we are getting into the real stuff. Bringing a mini emergency first aid kit either storing it in your EDC bag or car would make a huge difference when disasters strike. Injuries are always unexpected and failure to sterilize the wound would result in infection and inconvenience. Pack a few adhesive bandages, plasters, alcohol wipe, burn cream, cold pack and aspirins.

Depending on your health condition, you might want to pack your own personal medication as well like asthma inhalers, pain killers and insulin injection to name a few. Packing these first aid items in your EDC bag would guarantee your chances for survival.  

#6 Food and Water

Since this is an everyday carry, you probably don’t need to pack survival food kit or filtration straw because the goal is to arrive at your safe location within the shortest time frame. Still, it is an option to pack a few survival food bar and extra emergency water packet to quench your thirst and hunger during the trip. Most survival food bar and water packet can be kept in your bag for years and it still taste good.

#7 Poncho

Name me one thing you can’t control? The weather…of course! What about fitting an umbrella into your EDC bag? It will probably take up plenty of space and besides, strong winds will break it anyway. Perhaps packing an emergency poncho in your EDC item list might not be so bad after all as it is lightweight, compact and has a hood to keep your body dry while it rains.

#8 Signal Whistle

Adding a whistle to your EDC bag list is optional. It will be useful when calling for help or to attract attention. Blowing into the whistle using the SOS code: three short pulse, followed by three longer pulse, and then three more short pulse is an internationally recognized distress signal in Morse code. Who knows? The whistle might save your life one day.

#9 Global Positioning System

While you phone do have google maps to help you with directions, but it’s hard not to admit that turning on your phone GPS would reduce your phone battery so drastically that having a power bank might not save you if you are using it the whole day.

Keeping a GPS like the Garmin gives you a highly sensitive GPS receiver which is high receptive in dense wooded areas, trackback function to retrace your path and alert function which can send distress signals through satellite to your loved ones and rescue team. 

#10 GPS tile

Imagine packing your EDC bag for hours but you left it somewhere accidentally or even worse, it was stolen. With all your precious gear packed inside your EDC bag, you could opt to place a GPS tile into your backpack or wallet to keep track of your valuables if the need ever arises. This is particularly useful for preppers who take their EDC bag for travelling, you would save yourself from plenty of heartaches and anxiety of scrambling to search for your lost items. With a GPS tile, you can find it with just click of a button from your phone.

#11 Notebook & Pen

You probably are already bringing a pen and paper in your everyday carry to pen down any ideas or thoughts throughout the day. A nice add-on would be a field note cover which holds your notepad, pens, name cards, lighter and spare cash. You can even keep a mini survival tin inside your note cover to hold small items like emergency whistle, lighter, safety pins and paracord.

#12 Others

There are many things that can be covered into this EDC bag list, few things worth mentioning but were not included in the list above are sunscreen, duct tap and hygiene products such as dental floss and trash bag.

Hopefully after reading through this list, it gave you a rough idea on what to include into your EDC bag. Make sure you do not over stuff your bag with items and keep it as practical and light weight as possible. If there are any items you feel should be included into the list, feel free to let me know! 

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Survival Gear for Short Term and Long-Term Survival

23 Apr

Written by Guest Contributor on The Prepper Journal.

Editor’s Note: A contribution to The Prepper Journal from James at the Prepper Broadcasting Network.


What are you Preparing For?

In the survival and prepping world there is a lot of confusion about what to prepare for. I don’t mean which major cataclysmic disaster, rather what, duration and what areas to prepare for most.

Think about the difference in these two scenarios

Short Term Wilderness Survival

Long Term Urban Survival

The tools, skills and situations that one should prepare for in the wilderness can be very different from those you prepare for in an urban survival situation. For one thing, the human threat in a short-term wilderness survival situation is almost nonexistent.

However, in a long-term urban survival scenario you are going to have to plan thoroughly for the human threat. Understanding the variability in survival situations and what you are planning for will assure that you are efficient with your money and your time.

Short Term Survival

If you are preparing for short term survival you are looking to sustain yourself over a couple weeks at most. There are some basic things you need to consider, and you need the right tools to execute on these. Let’s look at some of the best survival gear to have for short term survival.


In a short-term survival situation water is going to become an issue in about 24 hours. Sure, the story is you will die in 3 days without water, but the truth is you will be feeling incredibly uncomfortable after about 24 hours without water.

To remedy this, you should have some sort of small filter like a Sawyer Mini to get water into your container or bottle.


In short term survival you are going to depend on fire to assure you are warm and dry. If you are wet and cold in even moderately cool conditions, it can be the end of you. Hypothermia will set in and you will die. This can happen surprisingly fast without shelter or fire.

The Any Weather Fire Kit by Self Reliance Outfitters is the answer to fire needs in all conditions. This kit gives you several fire solutions:

  • Pathfinder HD6 Ferro Rod
  • Pathfinder Multi-Fire Tool
  • Pathfinder Mini Inferno
  • Exotac Matchcap XL
  • UCO Stormproof Matches

Pack a little dry tinder in your pack and you cannot fail with this kit.


In a short-term survival situation, you can invest in a high-quality tarp, some plastic stakes and quality cordage to solve your short-term shelter issues. Of course, you need to know how to make a shelter with that tarp. This is a skill that is easily enough learned.

All weather blankets are the most affordable options for this, and they also reflect heat back at you. There are bigger and better options, but these blankets can be used to make simple lean to shelters. You can even wrap yourself up completely and just overnight in the blanket. Its not idea but it will keep you warm.

Long Term Survival

A long-term survival situation is going to require more robust survival gear. You are going to have to make greater strides in all aspect’s survival. Let’s look at some of the survival gear you will want on hand for a long-term survival situation.


You aren’t going to want to depend on that Sawyer Mini on the long term for large scale water sourcing. A larger scale container for boiling or something like a Katadyn hiker pro will give you the ability to filter more water, faster.

As far as food is concerned, I would recommend packing some simple metal traps that can be used to catch substantial meat sources. The meat will sustain you better than other types of food. A survival fishing kit will help a lot as well.


You are going to need to process wood for many things. This could be for long term shelter or just firewood. To do this you are going to want at least three metal tools.

  • Axe
  • Saw
  • Strong Fixed Blade Knife


For long term survival scenarios, you are going to want something that is repeatable and effective for thousands of fires. That is going to be a sturdy ferro rod. Get yourself a 1-inch thick ferro rod that can take a beating and make fire after fire.

For long term survival you will also want to consider things like “next fire” mentality where you create things like charcloth to get the next fire started with ease.


One of the often-neglected parts of long-term survival is the means to end it. I mean rescue. How do you get rescued if you cannot find your way out of a bad situation? One of the most effective methods for long term survival rescue is having a signaling device.

Something like a quality signaling mirror is going to make all the difference. This means you will be able to shine light on the eyes of people in boats, planes or even those on the adjacent ridge. This signaling device could be the difference between life and death.


Since we are all on limited budgets and have limited time frames to devote to preparedness and survival its vitally important that we know what we are preparing for. It’s very easy to be seduced by marketing and design. Survival gadgets of all types abound.

It will always go back to the basics of survival. The only difference is going to be how long you must depend on the tools and skills you have.  These should be comparable to the duration you are planning for. You don’t have to be a master buschrafter to deal with a short-term situation. However, you better have some skills if you plan on being stuck in the woods for a month or more.

Another tip is to start with short term survival and grow into the long term. Its nearly impossible to start off knowing how to survive for 3 months in the woods. You must build up to get there. Make a little progress each day and it will go a long way.

Above all, stay focused.

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How to Break Through a Locked Door in an Emergency

9 Apr

Written by Guest Contributor on The Prepper Journal.

A guest contribution from Ryan to The Prepper Journal. Seemed appropriate today as I am doing my taxes. 

“Opportunity does not knock. It presents itself when you beat down the door.”

In a disaster scenario involving the need to escape danger or quickly gain access to a locked room, contacting a locksmith is not going to be an option. In some situations, it may be necessary to compel opportunity to present itself.

Incorrect technique here could prove costly. There are distinct methods for door breaching and lacking a clear understanding of them could be your downfall. Whether it’s a scenario of fight or flight or paramedics rescuing a drug overdose who locked themselves into a bathroom, good technique could make or break the situation by saving valuable minutes.

This guide is intended to give you different methods and tips that are based on the tools that you have on hand. In some cases, you may not have anything to assist you at all. This article will take a look at a few different approaches.

If you have no tools on hand, here’s to hoping the door that you are facing isn’t a reinforced metal commercial door. In this case, you may want to look for alternative means of egress or otherwise start scouting for the tools mentioned further down in the article to assist your entry.

But if you’re dealing with a standard residential door or a lighter weight, wood commercial door, then a solid kick or three should be sufficient to break through.

Assessing the Door

The first step is to assess the door. Questions to ask yourself are:

  1. Does it swing inwards or outwards?
  2. Where are the locking mechanisms located?
  3. Are the hinges visible? If so, are they removable?

If the door swings towards you, you have your work cut out. The best point to attack is going to be the hinges. You can start by looking to remove the hinge pins, but a well-designed exterior door will sport non-removable hinge pins. In this case, you’ll have to use the fork end of a crowbar to shear the hinges off entirely. This can be accomplished by wedging the fork over the hinges one at a time and then hammering the other end of the bar with something. This will take several minutes but it’s about your only option when the door swings this way.

Fortunately, in most cases the locked side of a door will open by swinging away from you. In this case, begin by examining where the locking mechanisms are located. You’ll likely face a circular lock (dead bolt) in addition to the knob itself. A chain lock may be present as well, located higher up on the frame. This is not a major impediment. However, you may have to deal with this lock individually after starting with the others. The toughest to breach will be the circular lock, but all of these types are easily broken through in all but highly-reinforced doors.

The goal is to force the locking hardware through the surrounding jamb.

Breaching With a Kick


Kick the door with your heel landing as close to the locking mechanism as possible. If there is time, start out with a light practice kick or two to test if your foot lands where it is supposed to. Unless you’ve been brushing up on your martial arts lately, your accuracy probably won’t be up to spec. Take a few seconds to make sure your aim is straight, and then go for it.

It may take a few tries. If you are making progress, you’ll see space begin to emerge between the door stile and the jamb. You also may see the door begin collapsing in on itself (most modern doors are hollow on the inside except for a lightweight filler material). This is another reason why it is important to keep your kicks as close as possible to the locks themselves. If you hit towards the middle on the door, it may begin to warp outwardly, making your strikes less effective. The edges of the door, on the other hand, will always be relatively well reinforced.

As you see progress, keep on aiming at the locks that haven’t broken through yet. If a particular lock is proving stubborn, adjust your point of aim accordingly.

Eventually the locking mechanisms should break through the jamb and the door will swing free.

Breaching With Tools


If the door proves extremely tough and you aren’t able to breach it this way, then you may need to recruit some tools.

Common tools that can be used to open a door are the crowbar, ax or sledgehammer.

If you have access to an ax or sledgehammer, you are in luck. You’ll use these the same way you would use your heel if you are kicking down the door, except this time the tool itself is taking the brunt of the force instead of your bones. That’s a good thing.

When using the ax, you’ll want to use the blunt side to strike the doorknob with a baseball bat style swing. This will transfer an incredible amount of force directly through the locking mechanism, making short work of the surrounding jamb. For obvious reasons, you’ll want to make sure no one is standing anywhere close to you while you are doing this – take extreme caution before swinging an ax around.

A sledgehammer will work the exact same way. The sledgehammer is even better as the end should have more weight than the head of an ax and therefore provide even more inertia to blow the door wide open.

Another common tool that can be had in just about any garage is the crowbar. Wedge the curved end into the gap between the door and the jamb (it may need a little help via a few taps with a blunt object like a brick to get fully wedged in) and crank away. Remember to situate it close to the locks.

Leverage is going to be your friend here. Focus your weight on the far end of the bar. This maximizes the amount of force applied. The curve in the bar is also your friend. It puts continuous pressure on the door as you’re prying.

Once a large gap in the door has been created, you should be in good shape. If it hasn’t fully opened yet, finish it off with a well-placed kick.

Should you ever wind up in an emergency situation where you need to quickly get through a locked door, these methods can provide you with exigent solutions. With your efforts focused efficiently, you’ll be able to make short work out of all but the most reinforced doors. As long as you stay safe and always use them for the right reasons, these techniques should prove a worthy addition to your preparedness skill set.

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