Why Do Preppers Need to Know Basic Plumbing?

13 Jun

Written by Wild Bill on The Prepper Journal.

As a homeowner I will be the first to admit that I would rather change out a 220v circuit breaker during a hurricane while knee deep in vermin filled flood waters than work on plumbing. But as a homeowner it is a required skill as the damage from leaks or broken pipes can be extensive so Megan Nichols shares her expertise with us..

And as a prepper it is a required skill to keep your water supply flowing, both in and out of your home, be it any day or in a hunker-down emergency.

However, when people are talking about prepping, the conversation usually centers on bunkers, food, water, medical supplies and skills and ammunition, but there’s one thing a lot of people leave out: plumbing. Knowing how it works, and how to repair it if it breaks, can be a valuable tool. Why do you need to know basic plumbing as a prepper, and what skills should you focus on?

Why You Should Learn Plumbing

First, it can save you a lot of money in the long run, even if the world doesn’t end. The average cost of calling a plumber can range from $45 to $200 an hour, so if you can fix leaks or repair running toilets yourself, you can save yourself a lot of cash.

If the world does end, you won’t have the option of calling a plumber, so you’ll need to be able to fix problems on your own.

Finally, plumbing is a fantastic skill you can barter for other goods or services. Chances are high that we’ll revert to a barter economy after the world ends, since money won’t mean much, so having applicable skills can ensure your survival in one of these situations.

Now that you know why you need to learn plumbing, what basic skills do you need to know?

Fixing a Leaky Faucet

A leaky faucet can cost you a lot of money if you’re still paying your water bill. If you’re not, it’s still a waste of a valuable resource you could run out of if the infrastructure collapses. First, figure out what type of faucet you have. Faucets come in four varieties — compression, cartridge, ceramic disc and ball. Once you know what kind you have, fixing a leak becomes easier.

Leaky compression faucets usually need new washers, while ball and cartridge models typically need new o-rings to prevent them from leaking. Ceramic disc faucets rely on neoprene seals that need to be removed and cleaned, so you don’t even need to worry about the hassle of finding new parts.

One leaky faucet could cost you upwards of 2,000 gallons of water a year, so fix it quickly.

Stopping Banging Pipes

If you’re in a situation where stealth is paramount, the last thing you want is your pipes banging in the walls every time you turn on a tap or flush the toilet. If the pipes aren’t fastened tightly enough, changes in water pressure can cause them to bang against one another and eventually wear out, causing leaks.

Thankfully, this is an easy fix. All you need to do is secure the pipes to prevent them from moving. If you can’t access them, installing water hammer arrestors can soften the changes in water pressure, preventing the banging.

Stopping a Running Toilet

Running toilets are just as annoying and wasteful as leaky faucets, so it’s important to fix them as quickly as possible. There are two possible leak points: the valve that empties water from the tank into the bowl, and the seal between the two pieces. The first repair is easy — just replace the flap. It should cost you less than $3 from your local hardware store and is something you can do in 10 minutes.

If the seal between the tank and bowl is leaking, you need to remove the two bolts holding the pieces together, then replace it. This is a bit harder, especially if the bolts have never been removed and are rusted in place, but it’s still a fairly simple repair.

Unclogging a Plugged Drain

Plugged drains are problematic and can even create a health hazard if they cause sewage to back up into your home. Clogs come in all shapes and sizes, from hair in the shower to roots growing through your sewage line. The first thing you need to do is figure out where the clog is. Sometimes this is easy — if your sink is backing up in the kitchen but everything else in the house is draining fine, chances are high the clog is somewhere between your sink and the main sewer line.

If everything is backing up, starting with the toilets, the problem is probably in your main drain line.

You’ve got a lot of options here. You might be able to clear small clogs with vinegar and baking soda — just like making a volcano in elementary school science class — or with commercially available drain cleaners. If this doesn’t work, you may have to snake the drain. We recommend including a 25-50-foot drain snake with different head attachments in your survival supplies. You may even have to disassemble it to clear out the blockage.

If you do take the drains apart, make sure you have everything you need to reassemble them once you’ve cleared the clog.

Repairing Water Heaters

Just because the world has ended doesn’t mean anyone wants to take a cold shower. Gas and electric water heaters provide warm water for bathing, washing dishes and doing laundry — but they don’t last forever. Knowing how to repair a water heater could earn you quite a bit in the barter system.

Thermostats and heating elements often fail, and getting new pieces could prove problematic if you don’t have the option to drive to Lowe’s or your local plumbing supply store. Heating elements usually fail because they get coated with a buildup of whatever minerals are in the water. You can restore the water heater by removing the elements, cleaning them off and replacing them. It’s not as good as installing new ones, but it will get the hot water flowing again.

Many problems can be fixed by just flushing the water heater to remove any buildup or sediment in the bottom of the tank.

While we’re not recommending practicing on your own water heater, knowing how to repair one could serve you well if everything falls apart.

How to Learn DIY Plumbing Skills

The easiest way to learn most of these skills is to start practicing. Fix that leaky faucet you’ve been ignoring for weeks, or flush out the water heater if your shower keeps getting cold before you have time to rinse the shampoo out of your hair. If you’re not sure how to do something, consult YouTube — there are tutorials there for nearly every repair you can think of.

Learning plumbing won’t just save you money — it can also be a valuable prepper skill you can trade for goods and services if we end up back on a barter system.

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The post Why Do Preppers Need to Know Basic Plumbing? appeared first on The Prepper Journal.

What Was it You Said Was Too Difficult?

30 May

Written by Wild Bill on The Prepper Journal.

I received this over the Memorial Day weekend and found it a short, inspirational story of determination. One worth sharing. I am sure such stories happen often everywhere, they renew our beliefs in each other.

I have posted it below unedited, as I don’t see any way to improve upon it.

14-year Old Boy Climbs a Mountain Alongside Adventure App Creator

April 24, 2019 – At 6:15 am on Easter Sunday, 14-year old Getúlio Felipe, who has cerebral palsy, began climbing the highest mountain in the Dolomites, Italy to prove that anything is possible and that the outdoors are accessible to everyone. After nine straight hours of battling deep snowpack, cold weather and physical exhaustion, Getúlio reached the top of the Punta Penia peak, a glacier reaching 3,343-meters (10,968 feet).

Accompanying Getúlio on this journey were Pedro McCardell, creator of the Lyfx app, an app for that conects travelers to local guides, Alessio Nardellotto, an experienced climber from the Dolomites, Alberto Benchimol and Stefano Fabris, who worked as a separate support team for safety and image capture.


The desire to climb a mountain came a few years ago when Pedro McCardell, mountaineer and creator of the Lyfx application, a kind of “Uber of Adventure,” which allows local guides in various parts of the world to connect with travelers in search of adventure and unique, personalized experiences, challenged him to climb a mountain.

Getúlio, who was only nine years old at the time and did not really know what kind of challenge awaited him, accepted it, and then the preparations began. Getúlio divided his time between studies, daily and physical activities, preparing his body and mind for the great adventure that awaited him.

The young man has been overcoming challenges since he was born. After a cardiorespiratory arrest at birth (which caused cerebral palsy), doctors believed that Getulio could never walk. Contrary to all the diagnoses, Getúlio began to take his first steps at age 7, and from that moment on he didn’t stop anymore. He learned to play soccer, choosing the position of goalkeeper and integrating the school team, and even met his great idol: the German goalkeeper Manuel Neuer.


His most recent achievement, the climb of Marmolada, the highest mountain of the Dolomites in Italy, was only possible thanks to the union of Pedro McCardell, Alessio Nardellotto, experienced mountaineer of the region and leader of the expedition, the Unesco Education, Science and Culture) and the “Razões Para Viver” website (Reasons to Live, on a loose translation).

After 9 hours of climbing, and with several stops to check the health conditions of Getúlio, as well as some attempts to make him give up (all in vain), the team arrived at the top of the mountain, where Getulio sat looking at the view and said “what a good life”. No doubt this was a unique experience, not only for Getúlio, but also for Pedro McCardell, Alessio and all the others involved.

The whole adventure was documented, and the images will be used as part of a film about Getulio’s story, produced by Lyfx.

About Lyfx

Lyfx is an adventure platform that connects adventurers with local outdoor experts. The company is the brainchild of Pedro McCardell, an adventurer, filmmaker and entrepreneur, who saw the need to make the outdoors more accessible to everyone. Follow on Instagram @lyfx or visit lyfx.co.

Thanks, Rangel Jesuíno

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The post What Was it You Said Was Too Difficult? appeared first on The Prepper Journal.

Where Have All the Adults Gone?

24 May

Written by Wild Bill on The Prepper Journal.

I can set the tone of the article by stating that the following item was returned by Google when I searched “Who Governs our Government”:

“Revealing Photos Melania Trump Doesn’t Want You to See”

I did not include the link, it is sensationalist garbage, but it is a bellwether of the quality of the News Media and the influence of search engines. Of course I received the boiler plate standards from Wikipedia and The NY Times, and CNN, and The Washington Post, and even one from The White House, but that one was on state and local governments and their functions. The stuff taught in Civics Class of a bygone era. How did an answer slip into the Google search results?

It was my first search in trying to find out just how our government functions anymore. If one follows the Media it clearly doesn’t function, but the light switches at home and work still work, as do the traffic signals, air travel, and local law enforcement. The grocery stores are still full – this isn’t Venezuela yet –  as are all the other retail outlets, brick and mortar or on-line. The same poor content is passed off as entertainment on 400+ channels of mind numbing tripe and I too can have a Brazilian Butt if I just give them my credit card information. 

As preppers we are planners and we are generally frugal about it, while we want to be prepared for any emergency we really have to take a broad stroke when it comes to foods, medications, water, defensive equipment, communications equipment, our shelter and our survival stores. The economy of scale applies as always, we collect all these things while living normal lives, doing our daily routines. All in spite of how the sensationalist press portrays us. And for the moment, at some level of abstraction, we still have direct and local control of these and their purpose.

Things Beyond Out of Control

Where we do not have control, not even clear viability, is an area where we should focus some concern, keep our eyes open, and collect what information we can to help us decide if our plans are complete. 

No I am not talking about the weather, natural and man-made disasters, though KNOWING what infrastructure is in place for such events – floods, storm surges, tornadoes, earthquakes, forest fires, urban unrest, prisons and jails, dangerous industrial facilities, etc. is really every residents responsibility. It is ones responsibility to know where shelters are, where emergency supplies can be found and what local safeguards are in place. The Prepper Journal is full of related articles on such things. While we generally choose not to depend on these as a matter of personal responsibility and self-sufficiency,  as many have failed to live up to expectations we should nevertheless know of them as they draw a map for us of where the government personnel will be and what they will be doing. As much as anything they tell us where to avoid in the aftermath of a disaster.

Things Spinning Out of Control

However, how do we prepare for our Federal Government currently being more representative of an episode of the Game of Thrones than it is of our founders vision and in line with our Constitution? I recall from civics class studying about the checks and balances between the three branches of the Federal Government. If they are still there they are blurred to say the least.

Day in and day out we watch as elected officials willfully and purposefully break the laws that we the people are subject to, punished for with swiftness. These same law breakers are the darlings of the Media, both to the left and right of center. After all they drive readership which feeds Google Analytics which translates into advertising dollars. The business of criminality sells.

Both Houses of Congress have Oversight committees and Ethics committees.    

“The Committee on Oversight and Reform is the main investigative committee of the United States House of Representatives. The committee’s broad jurisdiction and legislative authority make it one of the most influential and powerful panels in the House.”

The House Ethics Committee, on the other hand, requires that all members take at least one (1) hour of training a year on the matter of Congressional Ethics. I looked for the training materials to no avail. A whole hour, 60 minutes. 

So Who Governs Our Government?

Clearly against the designs of our founding fathers, and to our shame, the Federal Government has become omnipresent in our lives. They have stripped from the doctor decisions on patient care, they have stripped from the individual any expectation of privacy, they have taxed us based on their greed as opposed to our level to tithe without burden. They continue to defined as “rights” the charity they need to buy votes.

And I see no authority taking them to task. I see no “equal in the eyes of the law”. I see no calming force, no semblance of due process, but rather a steadily increasing assault on all things considered at the core of American values. Spun to a fever pitch by a compliant and facilitating Fifth Estate who no longer makes an effort to mask their agenda and partisanship.

The examples are almost endless and they are the indicators of a full-on assault on America. In the past The Prepper Journal spoke with clarity on the matters of a government out of control and the direction that it wants to take us, the rational to take pause and not overreact:

The Revolution Will Not Be Fought with Rubber Bullets

Stop Wishing for a Revolution

Since these posting from several years ago the fever pitch has only spun upward, now fueled by the hate directed at the people who elected a non-politician to drain the swamp that is Capital City, the seat of more and more concentrated power as the people are stripped of representation, replaced by an under-educated imported migrant class that will gladly trade votes for food and shelter, things they never had. Those that seek to bring socialism to our shores have fertile sources of those willing to sell out. Such is the enemy at the gate. If I were one of them I would be making best effort to get in on the free ride as well.

To be clear, those seeking entry legally are welcome and bring a work and life ethic that we can all embrace. However the human traffic that dictators have created is being exploited by those in our government who want to be dictators themselves, the permanent political class.

And don’t be fooled that Capital City is a singular entity. It indeed has branches in Albany and Sacramento and Richmond and Olympia and Illinois and more.

I am used to wonder how the citizens of Rome felt while the Huns approached, I suspect we know. The Prepper Journal 2019 hopes all of our followers will be ready and hopes the need to step up as patriots doesn’t come to pass, that cooler heads prevail and that checks and balances come back into vogue. They certainly have been missing for more than a decade and are still stifled at every turn by an activist Federal Judiciary long seeded with the minions of the donor/political elites.

I suspect the greatest generation understands what John Adams and his peers did, and I pray we learn it as well through a bloodless coup that brings people to the justice they so richly deserve. If not, then let us be ready to fulfill Jefferson’s  vision. We fear it, but it may be forced upon us.

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Roughing It – Tips I Never See

8 May

Written by R. Ann Parris on The Prepper Journal.

I should say rarely, not never. And some I do see, I just don’t see them pointed out often in articles – or shared verbally. Since we’re in times when so many people are learning, are planning their first “roughing it” camping or packing trips, and so many seem to plan for either an extended bug-out or an I’m Never Coming Home trip to the woods, I figured I’d hit a few of those. Some oddball stuff is up front, and then we hit rain gear.

#1 Mostest-Importantest: Pack like it will be raining.

That means a fly cover, tarp, or ginormous poncho that can be quick rigged for a dry spot to change socks and to overlap the entry of a bivy or small tent as a “mudroom” for changing. It also means planning on there not being anywhere dry to sit, having to work for tinder, and being super-duper aware that some areas may require a detour due to water height, speed or just slick approaches.

Depending on why you’re out, if you carry, and what kind of gun you have, that, too, merits some precautions.

Squat/Crouch vs. Sit-Kneel-Bend

I kind of feel silly pointing this one out, but it’s for-sure something I just don’t see listed often/ever. I don’t remember learning it. I know people who do it, see others who do it … and yet, there’s a lot of wet butts and knees, too.

To avoid those, there’s two handy poses. One I have heard described as the “cowboy crouch”. The other has a slew names – kimchi squat and dragon/gargoyle squat among the least colorful.

The main point is, as you hunker down to poke a fire, spit a squirrel, de-hook a fish, fetch the coffee kettle, pull a stubborn weed, study footprints, take advantage of cover and concealment, or wait for a shot, instead of making contact with the ground, you hover above it.

Dusty butt is fine (until you get in my truck). Wet butt, especially in cool or cold weather, is kind of uncomfortable. Plus, if wet butt sits in dust or leaves next, now there’s muddy butt.

Wet/muddy knee(s) aren’t as bad, but moisture wicks away warmth (even with wool). Too, while “clean” maybe isn’t a priority in a survival situation – out in the woods or working the homestead – we can make more mess to be scrubbed and-or carried all over the house and our blankets, or less.

Now, for many totally understandable, legitimate reasons, some people can’t hover like this at all, or hover like this for long without developing the walking ability of a newborn moose. If you can, though, it’s a good habit to at least try out.

Wet-Pack … Always

Wet sucks in the woods and when working. If you’re packing or walking around, wet usually also means some chaffing and blisters. Damp, humid summer afternoons are their own kind of suck, but the suckage from dampness greatly increases when there’s some chill to the air. There is equal suckage to getting to a way point or digging for a sock change, and discovering everything is either soaked or juuuust a little damp.

It doesn’t actually take that much “chill” to feel chilly when you’re damp, when you’re sunburned, when you’re tired, or when temperatures are swinging 25-40 degrees noon to 3 a.m.

Rain pants and coats help prevent that. They also work wonders as a combo with thermals or fleece sweat suits to keep you roasty-toasty even when it’s cold but dry. They create a nice insulating buffer of warm air, see. Which means, you can possibly cut down on the bulk and weight of your autumn-winter-spring or high-el packs.

There are whole-pack covers we can get, or we can rig it with a poncho. That works against most rain, but if you’re crossing any creeks or kayaking, it’s not a bad idea to go a couple steps further.

Double-bagging bedrolls and clothing in plastic grocery or trash bags or springing for 2.5 and 1-gallon Ziplocs can be enormous for a comfortable night.

Don’t forget to wrap your foamie, ground cloth, or air pad in something, too – bivy sack, the dry side of your tarp, some salvaged boat/auto/shipping pallet shrink wrap, something – or have something to lay between it and your bedroll so wetness doesn’t soak up to you.

Specifically pack socks in individual bags. That way, you don’t inadvertently expose all pairs of socks to dampness or wet ground/gear that can be present when you change them under cover.

Some extra bags can help keep feet dry and warm layered between socks if it’s chilly and boots aren’t wicking away or spring a leak. In some swampy and cold areas (to include spring melt), it’s worth thinking about Mickey boots to go over top, not “just” gaiters.

Picking Out Rain Suits

The fit of a rain coat is one I don’t see mentioned much. Features of a good set are another. Durability also gets skipped.

Packing, canoeing-kayaking, or hunting, you don’t have to spend a fortune, but you should be aware of what you’re getting. When you’re picking out a motorcycle, boating, or packing rain set for your gear, test it out.

Wear a bulky sweater and gloves and your hat of preference, zip it, lift the hood, and stick your arms out – like hiking with a stick or shooting a rifle. Then do the same, in your slimmest summer sets.

We’re checking to see if it’s too constraining in the body  or arms, or super loose (which can be annoying donning and carrying a pack). Gaps between coat and gloves let in wetness, cold, and can snag and catch annoyingly on each other and our gear.

*Fix-It Tip: Keep a pair of long kitchen gloves or similar that come up the forearms and some rubber bands or condoms with your raincoat. If a gap does prove annoying, they can regularly bridge it. Rubber bands or condoms can go around gloves worn on the outside of sleeves (with an inch folded over) or around loose sleeves/hems. They can also help keep sidearms and long guns a little protected.

Pro-cons weigh differently for each of us. Be aware of them, think about any coats that have issues you hate, and try to dodge them on this purchase.

Another I don’t regularly see mentioned: Even if you cheap-out on the pants (or make/get chaps instead) get a good raincoat.

There are features to consider, but the biggie is, this thing is taking wear and tear from straps from a gun and-or bag, from whatever frame or cord might be on your bag, from straps or rope to a sled. There are ways to don a pack “evenly” but at some point, most of us have the majority of weigh slinging (dragging) on one shoulder and sleeve. If the coat can’t hold up to that, it’s wasted money.

Try to get rain suits with Velcro or press-clip seals at the wrists and ankles, and to get the type with snaps or zippers that can be opened to vent when we’re warm.

For a summer bag, throw in some running or biking shorts (or boxer briefs) and a tank top for underneath to cut some heat, or if you’re not hiking brush, grab some yoga or bike pants that are slim, lightweight, fast drying, and unlikely to chafe even if it’s too hot for the rain pants.

Oddball Stuff We See

There’s also little oddball stuff, depending on location, why we’re out and about in the world, what we carry out in the world, and where we’ve been. Some folks wear ‘80s grunge and rocker style shirts or keep a doubled-up bandanna in front of their hips. Among the identifying/alerting, convenience, peeling off layers, and nose-brow reasons, they can help keep a trigger finger, butts, or a gun out of rain and-or cold, or let us wipe our hands underneath like a quarterback. Some wear essentially a loincloth or birding or kayaking skirts for the same reasons.

Once you get wet, it’s hard to get dry again. It also starts getting miserable, hot or cold, especially if rubbing sets in. Avoiding wetness in the first place and being mindful of ways to limit the spread of dampness, especially in mud or cold conditions, can have big impacts on a stroll, work, bug-out, hunt, or camp out.

Some of it we just may have never been exposed to. Some of it we might have seen and not really noticed, or didn’t necessarily apply as an intentional act. Some of it seems to be linked to childhood (to include fear of death and bodily harm for tracking in more mud and wet), and some of it very much seems absent from some fields (the military) or super specific in application, with few and far between ever even practicing it.

However they came about, these are just a few things to consider as you head offroad, things that – from rain gear to not exposing yourself to mud and dampness – may come in handy. Or, at least give you an idea what’s going on when you see somebody. Because, sure, oddball folks abound. But some of the oddities have a purpose.

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How To Teach Your Kids About Survival

30 Apr

Written by Wild Bill on The Prepper Journal.

Editor’s Comment: Another guest submission from Scott Huntington to The Prepper Journal. A subject we have talked about in the past and with the Summer break coming some food for thought.

We all love the great outdoors, and it’s a great way to spend time bonding with your family. If you go out hiking as a family, do your kids know what to do if they get separated from the group? What about other survival situations — would your little ones know how to stay alive until help arrives? Everyone should know some basic survival skills, regardless of their age. Here are some easy ways to teach your children about survival skills.

Be Stealth About It

This is the best tip we can probably offer you. Be sneaky about teaching them survival skills, the “wax on, wax off” method per say. Don’t walk up to your kids — especially younger ones — all doom and gloom and tell them that you’re teaching them how to survive in case the world ends.

All you’ll manage to do is scare them to death, and they won’t remember anything you try to teach. Instead, be sneaky about it. Take notice of what interests your kids and play into their interests. Approach it as a game, if it helps.

Don’t — “Hey, let’s learn how to build a fire in case you’re stranded in the woods all alone.”

Do — “Hey, wanna learn how to build a fire?”

Don’t put the focus on survival. Instead, shift the focus to learning new skills. If your kids are ever alone in a survival situation, they’ll thank you for these comprehensive lessons.

Focus on the Rule of 3

This isn’t some mystical voodoo — just a simple rule to help your kids remember what they need to focus on in a survival situation.

Remind them that they can live:

  • Three weeks without food
  • Three days without water
  • Three minutes without air
  • Three seconds without the right mindset.

From there, know your priorities — first, don’t panic. If you’re not swimming, you can skip the second one, focusing on water and food.

These aren’t the only things you need in the wilderness — fire, and shelter being among the most important — but reciting the rule a few times can help you get into a survival mindset.

One rule you should reinforce as often as possible is the Lost rule — if you get lost, you don’t move. You stay put and wait for someone to find you. Staying in one place makes it easier for search and rescue teams to find you, and could potentially save your life.

Get Out There

Kids aren’t going to learn how to survive in the wilderness if they spend all of their time sitting in front of video game consoles or televisions.

GET OUT THERE!

Take the family hiking or camping, and give your kids a practical application for all the skills they’ve learned. You should be there to supervise, especially if they’re trying their hands at foraging or fire building, but having a possible outlet for these new skills can help reinforce them in their young brains.

Make sure you have plenty of supplies on hand for these excursions, especially if you have younger children who aren’t up to building a fire or fishing for their dinner — or if the kid’s attempt to catch dinner falls through. Children of any age can benefit from regular camping excursions. Getting them used to the woods helps make it familiar territory and prevents panic if they ever end up out there alone.

Skills They Should Know

What survival skill should your kids know? That depends on their age — you don’t want to trust that a toddler can tell the difference between nightshade and blueberries — but most older children should know these basic skills.

  1. How to build a shelter This is vital in areas where it gets cold at night. Even a basic shelter could mean the difference between a successful night vs. the wild and/or hypothermia.
  2. How to build a fire You need a fire to cook food, boil water and stay warm in cold climates. In addition to creating a fire, your kids should know how to protect it for the night and how to keep it contained, so they don’t accidentally start a wildfire.
  3. How to purify natural water sources Rivers and streams might look clean, but they could hide dangerous bacteria that could make you ill. Boiling or otherwise purifying water could save your life.
  4. How to forage for foodWhile you can survive for three weeks without food, a lack of calories makes it harder to sustain because you won’t have the energy to continue moving forward. This is a tricky lesson because there are so many plants that look edible and are fatal — a handful of pokeberries could easily kill an adult, even though they look edible. Learning how to set snares can also help them stay full in the woods.
  5. How to defend themselvesSelf-defense is as much a survival skill as anything else listed. Even if they never need to use it, self-defense classes can be life-saving. Learning how to create makeshift weapons can also be a valuable skill.
  6. How to perform first aidTake a family trip to your local Red Cross or fire station and take a first aid class. It’s a lot harder to deal with a skinned knee or a broken bone if you can’t holler for mom or dad’s help.
  7. How to navigateA cell phone with GPS won’t always work if you’re out in the wilderness. Teach your children how to read a map and navigate using a compass. This can be a fun skill to learn — set up a scavenger hunt with prizes at specific coordinates.

There are plenty of other skills they’ll pick up along the way, but these seven can save their lives if they’re ever alone in a survival situation.

Closing Thoughts — Don’t Scare Them

While learning survival skills is important, your kids won’t learn anything if you scare them instead of teaching. Children will learn from everything you do, so show them the basics and let them run it with them. You’ll be surprised how quickly they pick them up!

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Yes, You Do Need to be Reminded Every So Often

3 Apr

Written by Wild Bill on The Prepper Journal.

A guest contribution to The Prepper Journal from Brennan Valeski, a writer for SurvivalTechShop.com who loves gear and technology that allows him to be ready for any situation that arises. He shares his personal experiences and recommendations to help you be prepared for your next adventure.

5 Ways To Stay Safe On The Road

There are many different ways to approach road safety. At the end of the day, it begins with you and your actions behind the wheel. According to ASIRT (the Association for International Road Travel), “nearly 1.25 million people die in road crashes each year, on average 3,287 deaths a day”. The sad truth is that often most road crashes are predictable and preventable. Here are a few key actionable tips to keep yourself and others safe on the road.

#1 – Wear Your Seat-belt

This one is a no-brainer. Every time you step into a vehicle you’re going to want to buckle up your seat belt. Each time you get in you’re also responsible for your passengers. Sometimes they may think they’re exempt, although without wearing them a lot of damage can occur.

This simple action can prevent injuries, and save a life if you were to get in an accident. In some cases, it can even be fatal consequences if not worn, so it’s important to make sure you and your family are buckled up every single time.

#2 – Eyes On The Road

Keep your eyes on the road. This should be the only thing you’re focusing on while driving. Everything else can wait, including any texting or social media.

If you have a passenger, let them take care of navigation or music. If you’re driving alone, make sure to take care of these things when you first get in the vehicle before you start moving.

It’s easy to get distracted by your cell phone, and you don’t want that to take your attention off the most important thing while in a car… driving.

According to AAA, 6 out of 10 teen crashes involve driver distraction. The most common forms of distraction include:

  • Interacting with one or more passengers: 15%
  • Using a cellphone: 10%
  • Looking at something in the vehicle: 10%
  • Looking at something outside the vehicle: 9%
  • Singing/dancing to music: 8%
  • Grooming: 6%
  • Reaching for an object: 6%

#3 – Never Drink and Drive

Under no circumstances should you ever get behind the wheel while under the influence. If you’re going to drive, don’t drink. If you’re going to drink, don’t drive. You should never mix the two together. If you ever find yourself in a situation where you’ve had too much to drink, then get an Uber, Lyft, cab, or friend to take you home.

With all the technology available nowadays, there’s no excuse to ever drink and drive. The cost of a ride does not compare to your life, or potentially harming someone else due to your irresponsible actions.

#4 – Stick To The Speed Limits

The speed limits are there for a reason. As annoying as they may seem sometimes out on the open road, they’re designed to keep drivers safe. While most modern cars can handle 120 miles per hour, you may not think it’s a big deal until something happens. This is the main reason speed limits exist. They’re based upon the width of the road, the varying weather conditions, and many other factors. T

he speed limits leave room for error with drivers and are built for the type of road. Especially when driving in unfamiliar territory, you never know when a sharp turn could be just around the corner. Instead, it’s best to keep racing on the tracks, and the roads for getting around.

#5 – Stay Prepared

Preparation is another key element of road safety. One way to stay prepared is to utilize a road safety kit. This way, you can make sure you always have that crucial gear in a time of need. If you plan on vehicle dwelling, I’d also suggest you take a look at these van life essentials. Each of these items may be helpful in a pinch on the side of the highway or at your campsite.

 

In addition, for those planning on going camping with a trailer, you may want to consider your camper weight. If you go over your vehicle’s maximum towing capacity, you can cause serious damage to your engine. Or worse, you may even cause potential jackknifing. This dangerous situation could flip your trailer or car. I’ve seen a few campers turned over on the side of the highway and it’s not pretty. Therefore, it’s very important to make sure you’re towing a safe load with your vehicle. You can check your owner’s manual or look on the manufacturer’s website for the specific details of your make and model.

 

One last way to stay prepared is to check your tires and vehicle before driving. It may sound very simple, yet you’d be surprised by how many people don’t. It’s as simple as walking around your car before you get in. Check the tires to make sure they have enough tread on them (nothing protruding, scarring, or nails). A little walk around to check your car is in good running order is a very important act for road safety.

To Conclude

A little bit of preparation goes a long way. These steps can help to keep yourself and others safe on the road. Above all, it begins with you and your actions behind the wheel. You cannot always control what others do on the road, so you should stay alert and aware of your surroundings.

To recap:

  1. Wear your seat belt
  2. Keep your eyes on the road
  3. Never drink and drive
  4. Stick to the speed limits
  5. Stay prepared.

As long as you follow these rules of the road you’ll be much safer out there. Of course, you can’t prep for everything, yet this is the best you can do. Do your part when driving as it’s a collective effort for not only for your own safety, yet others as well. Drive safe!

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Insurance Checkups

2 Apr

Written by R. Ann Parris on The Prepper Journal.

Many of us consider our preps – from spare boots and cold-weather gear to our backup tools and alternatives for lighting and cooking, and most especially our pantries – to be a tangible form of insurance.

They are, absolutely and without a doubt.

However, we also need regular insurance. The type where we gamble so much per month/half against the likelihood of something bad happening, and a company somewhere pockets years of our quiet, peaceful existence until it’s time to wrangle over a payout.

(I actually have a really lovely insurance agency that does not make me jump through hoops and responds quickly. Others, however, have horror stories on all kinds of fronts.)

We need conventional insurance because stuff does happen, all the time.

Exactly what kind of insurances, and how much, is situationally dependent. The down and dirty rule is that we either keep enough in savings to pay for replacements or losses ourselves if and when things happen, or we get insurance, with deductibles we can and will maintain in savings or on a card.

Be sure the household has enough life/disability insurance.

This one catches people ALL THE TIME, peeps!

We not only want to cover each individual’s financial contributions, but also the cost of services provided by them.

Those services can be anything – child care, grocery cost reductions courtesy of gardening, hunting, fishing, tax filing and budgeting, inputs to and from livestock they managed, vehicle and property maintenance, lawn care, animal care, security, even cleaning, cooking, and laundry.

Documentation is highly encouraged for ease and full payouts.
Especially once we get into the “do you cover” areas below, documentation is regularly helpful if not absolutely necessary… which makes total sense and is lovely of my agency to warn me about. Repeatedly. Every Single Checkup.

Ensure your property is actually covered.

Many general auto and property policies DO NOT automatically cover:

  • Flood damage (internal or external sources)
  • Earthquakes, Tornadoes, Hurricanes, Bushfire/wildfire
  • Mudslides
  • Hail, ice/snow load damage

  • Full vehicle replacement (versus totaling out at Blue Book value)
  • Pools & related equipment/structures*

*Items: Coverage is even less likely if these items are undeclared prior to the claim, or if they were not included in the assessed value of the property.

  • Sheds, barns & outbuildings*
  • Tractors, mowers, lawn-tree care equipment*
  • Aftermarket vehicle add-ons (camper shells, tow hitches, KC light bars, roll bars, extended fuel tanks, full-size spares, full-size spare tires, oil pan guards, beefier bumpers, equipment & fuel can racks)*

 

  • Tow-behind trailers
  • Solar panels/roofs with solar panels
  • Towing vehicles stuck in mud at home residences (but they’ll fetch you out of a ditch or give you a jump 50 miles away from it…?)
  • Multi-location towing (from wreck/fail site to one mechanic then another, or home then to a mechanic – I love my insurance company more and more)
  • Falling tree/limb cleanup when no property is damaged

  • Falling tree/limb damages to fences, carports, & sheds*
  • Lawn, tree, shrub & garden bed replacement/repair (like, if somebody uninsured leaves the road and clips them, or a roof blows off and squashes them)
  • Animal damage to structures (bees/ants in walls, squirrels eating attics/wires, deer ripping row covers, groundhogs digging under patios/driveways, cattle running through gates/fences)

In many cases, we can get additional coverage for those items and circumstances, a separate policy for them, or a different agency may cover them.

Electronics and appliances are usually special cases.

If a bearing went in the washer and it quaked enough to shimmy the toaster oven out of its cubby and rattle the laptop off the adjoining counter, usually that’s not covered.

 

Likewise for losing our balance painting and knocking the TV off the wall/stand, a dog or toddler launching into/onto a laptop, sneezing and impaling/head butting the TV, or stubbing a toe and dropping a tablet.  

*Those items can usually be insured against “FML” moments separately, by either homeowner add-ons or other companies, but be sure of the fine print.

Decks, docks, balconies, carports & porches are sometimes special, too.

It’s not universal, but sometimes they’re only covered if something else happens – the house burned and the porch went with it, versus a tornado tossed something that only messed up the balcony.

We also might end up covering it if our boat sinks and the weight snaps a piling and the deck falls apart (but the boat might be covered by other policies).

If they are eligible for coverage, we need to make sure their value is included in our total property estimates.

Some possessions require notifying the insurance agency that we have them to gain coverage or full coverage.

Common ones are:

  • Precious metals (any format), cash
  • High-value items (welding rigs, working livestock, LGD animals, compressors, generators, table saws, livestock tack & care supplies, reloading equipment, etc.)

  • Collections (coins and specialty bills, airguns, antique tools, books)
  • Firearms & airguns
  • Ammunition
  • “Excessive” numbers (7 TVs & 11 laptops for 2-4 people, 400-1200 canning jars – it’s highly subjective between companies and agents, so ask)

In some cases, there are limits to the coverage of those items if they were previously undeclared.

My agency doesn’t care how many guns or PMs I have or how/where I keep them. However, they do require me to provide the value amounts for each. It doesn’t change the price of my premiums, but if I don’t tell them, I can only claim a certain dollar amount, regardless of the total amount of my claim.

(I do have to itemize claims, and will need documentation of each of those items and their cash worth if I ever have to file a claim for them. Until then, my insurance doesn’t care if $5K is covering two stupidly expensive rifles or 3,000 economical rimfires.)  

With excessive numbers, high-value items, and collections, there are exceptions so we may end up shopping around, but commonly all we have to do is tell our companies so we can adjust our policies (and, again, have documentation of value).

That value may either be specially noted as part of the total possession value, or be add-ons to a policy.

Cash usually has a cap limit unless we specify otherwise, and they are going to want proof.

Some won’t cover pantry and freezer contents at all.

Others are willing to if we explain that we maintain real goods in lieu of savings, or are homesteaders and produce our groceries for the full year in 3-7 months and store it. Again, keep recent pictures as proof.

Double check your auto theft/damage policy.

One, we want to make sure the stuff in our vehicles are covered, and that we have the right amount of coverage for the items in there.

*That includes things we’re transporting, even infrequently, like tack to an event or other property, guns and gear for training and competition, tools, and sports equipment.

Two, some agencies won’t cover those “maybe, maybe not” items listed above, or will cap how much they’ll cover even if total claimed is under our total coverage amount – or will cap high-value or specific types of items if we didn’t tell them they’re there before a claim.

For instance, even if my coverage is $3K and I’m only claiming $1,500 total, some insurance agencies will apparently only pay $250-$500 for the $700 gun I didn’t tell them I keep in there, or will only cover $100 of the $250 in cash I keep locked in the glove box or center console.

However, some of them would have covered full value if they knew about the gun, or had been warned I carry cash.

 (I am increasingly in love with my agency and may not even bother price checking others at the next checkup.)

We have to know what’s actually covered, so we have to ask ahead of time.

Don’t forget documentation.

Take pictures of things like foods, garden beds, or valuable trees that aren’t covered by ag insurance every six months when you update info binders and check smoke detectors, ideally with something that can be used to prove it’s a recent photo. For other valuables, a one-time image is sufficient.

If you don’t have cloud storage from your anti-virus service, there are some free and inexpensive drop box options. We can also keep a USB drive or external hard drive in bank safety deposit boxes, work lockers, or a friend or family member’s home.

As a last resort, make a dummy email (or use the one you use for missing/lost posters and-or other important information) to send the pics to so they’re available off the web if something happens to your home.  

(To save time/email space, consider putting pics into Word or PowerPoint documents and sending those.)

Tally numbers and call your agent.

We don’t want to out ourselves, but there are reasonable, “normal” things many, many, many non-preppers own. Make sure they’re covered so we can actually replace them in case of theft or damage, and that we have the right coverage (or insurance agency) for the risks common to our lives and areas.

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Critical Thinking – A Valuable Skill to Prepare for the Brave New World

27 Dec

Written by Wild Bill on The Prepper Journal.

Editors Note: A contribution from an educator on the development of critical thinking as the primary goal of the educational process. As preppers we must always be learning and teaching those who will one day hold positions of responsibility. Positions that will impact our lives and the lives of those we care about most. While this article is directed at those perhaps still “learning how to learn”, its has a powerful message for us all.

Critical thinking is an opportunity to assess the way you form thoughts and offer evidence for your ideas instead of blindly believing that your position, regardless of the topic, is the only correct one. The advantages of mastering this skill include the improved control of your learning process as well as empathy for other opinions.

It’s self-directed and self-monitored thinking. Teachers assign tasks aimed to develop critical thinking to entail effective communication and problem-solution skills. Such assignments also help to reduce egocentrism & sociocentrism.

The development of critical thinking in school leads to obtaining such skills as:

  • Reasoning
  • Analysis
  • Evaluating
  • Decision making
  • Problem-solving

Critical thinking is a valuable skill for any career, and so it is important to discuss how it develops during the educational process. First, let’s define “critical thinking.”

What Is Critical Thinking and How to Develop It?

So, what is the goal of critical thinking? The primary objective is to become an argument ninja, meaning being able to defend a personal position using credible evidence and logical reasoning at any time. Other purposes include:

  1. Ability to think independently for yourself
  2. Improve the quality of judgment and beliefs

Those are two major critical thinking goals. The first one stands for the ability to think for yourself no matter what people around you are telling. It’s about having a personal point of view regarding any situation. The freedom of thought is one of the most valuable assets that every human has. Often, the way we make decisions depends on the goals we plan to achieve, so that is why every individual should understand how to achieve various purposes and by which means.

Also, we don’t want others to use our words as their own. It is the sense of intellectual property. We want to claim authorship and ownership of our beliefs. People who lack critical thinking tend to mindlessly parrot what they have heard on TV, radio, from the government, etc. That is why so many people act like the herd, and we can obviously see it in the literature’s best creations like George Orwell’s “Animal Farm.” In other words, the ability to think critically prevents us from being mental zombies.

As for the second goal: people are driven by their beliefs when making judgments, and the result is making the right choice. Through developing critical thinking skills, one will make better decisions even in the most complicated situations.

Methods to Develop Critical Thinking Abilities

What are some of the effective tools to develop critical thinking? Right, those are the good old in-class and after-class assignments. Teamwork and writing tasks help to develop both time management and critical thinking skills.

The most popular ways to train this skill are:

  • Analytical essays
  • Argumentative and persuasive papers
  • Research papers
  • Case studies
  • Presentations and speeches
  • Book reviews and article critiques

As the student’s academic level grows, the number of such tasks goes up as well. It is not that easy to handle all the homework assignments. If you feel overwhelmed with your tasks, focus on topics that you plan to study further in your life. It is okay to seek assistance when you are feeling overwhelmed, to ask that someone “do your homework for you” if you are running out of time having too many things to do and you have made a conscious, critical decision as to where help is needed more to fill in the requirements than to mature your thinking. It makes sense that a student cannot cope with all assignments equally well, and we adults are guilty of this as well, and we often find ourselves prioritizing tasks, from what bills to pay down to what to plant to how best to prepare for the unknown.

Effective Methods to Teach Critical Thinking to Students

The primary rule of teaching and developing critical thinking in teens is always starting with a question. A student should be able to answer more than “yes” or “no” as the topic should require broad research and analysis.

Once students start to brainstorm after the tutor assigns a specific question, the process of learning critical analysis skills is activated. You should come up with the list of all possible ideas and the ways to develop them in your writing. Open discussions in class are one of the most effective strategies for improving critical thinking.

Then, it is necessary to create a foundation. The critical thinking process is directly related to the review of related information. To recall facts and topics covered in class, the best ideas are to:

  1. Read in-class tasks and other homework assignments
  2. Recall previous lessons and exercises
  3. Review visual content
  4. Involve such classes as critical thinking with data

Also, the teachers should motivate their students to solve various cases both individually and in the team. By comparing the results of both, it is possible to explain what critical thinking is, and how it stimulates rational thought and analysis.

Without critical thinking and proper time management, it is hard to imagine a successful person today. Do not underestimate the importance of your homework tasks – develop all the essential skills with their help. Be willing to take risks and state your considered opinions and expose them to the light of criticism. Understand that done constructively it builds character, validates your processes and educates!

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We Are Again Blessed on This Thanksgiving

22 Nov

Written by Wild Bill on The Prepper Journal.

As the year draws to a close and the parade of holidays lines up while winter in all its forms takes shape, we hope that on this holiday, where we as a people gave our first thanks, shared our hard obtained bounty with others who shared with us, and saw a future that allowed us to freely prosper and honor our God, The Prepper Journal hopes you are again with family and friends, in the warmth of their company, breaking bread in love and friendship as people have since the beginnings of recorded history, be it a feast or a simple meal.

  

We hope that the true and traditional meaning of this original American holiday, now shared by other countries, will remain your foundation.

This is after all the holiday that proved at least one of moms teaching – “Don’t go into the water until 30 minutes after you eat! You’ll DROWN!” – we put this one to the test with that second helping of just about everything and not being able to say no to the desserts! Well, it is just today, right. And after all, is football on Thanksgiving football without pumpkin pie? Or some left over dressing and just one more slice of turkey? Hopefully this will be the deepest question you will have to ponder on this most American of Holidays.

While food and football may occupy center stage, it is the shared company of those who now enrich our lives, the memory of those taken from us too soon and the hopes for our future generations that will be remembered, that will sustain us, drive us and last a lifetime.

Happy Thanksgiving from The Prepper Journal!

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Pickups for Preppers – Swing Sets & Trampolines

15 Nov

Written by R. Ann Parris on The Prepper Journal.

Curbside pickups can net preppers some handy materials. Sites like Freecycle and Craigslist and the local classifieds can be sources, but just driving around on our daily and weekly routines can be useful in scoring pickups as well. If we’re looking for a lot of something or something specific, we can also pick up a specific prepaid drop phone and staple some notices at stoplights and four-way stops – you’d sometimes be surprised what it will net, for nothing more than coming and hauling something away.

Swing sets and trampolines are two that we won’t see sitting by the curb on trash day, usually, but that we can check listings for and post our own about, with pretty decent results. They have a fair number of uses for preppers, as-is and for parts.

They do have some special considerations that other, smaller curbside pickups don’t require.

Prepping for Salvage

One, before we head out, we want to verify that we’re getting what we expect. Trampolines are pretty standard but swing sets can have metal, wood or plastic frames. We might have some use for wood, even if it’s “seasoned”, but the steel-aluminum pipe sets have the most uses and we’re not as likely to reap benefits from the plastic tot sets.

We might also want to plan for clothing and equipment to wade into overgrown areas (ticks, chiggers) and we may want to bring a hoe or trenching/tulip shovel to help free the legs if it’s been in place a couple of decades.

Multiple bodies are a benefit, even if 1-2 of them is really just a “hold this here” or “steady this, will you” type.

If we have two able bodies available and a trailer, flatbed, or stake truck, and we’re dealing with a swing set or relatively small trampoline, we may be able to just walk it up.

Most likely, though, we’re going to be taking it apart, at least partially. If we’re by ourselves, a pair of tires or dolly might be enough for a trailer, but it’s even more likely we’re going to be taking it apart.

These things have also probably been sitting out for a while. That expands our tool list beyond a pair of multi-tools.

Since bolts have likely fused and we’re potentially dealing with rust, a hacksaw and-or bolt cutters can be biggies. A mallet or sturdy wrench can be handy for “gently” tapping pieces apart, especially with models that nestle pipes into each other.

Trampolines are actually really, really easy to get apart even by yourself, and since they’re typically shorter, will need a little less frame disassembly with a standard pickup, SUV, van, or full-sized sedan. However, many will still have those vicious springs attached.

If hands are going or there’s cold weather, the trampoline is a little rusty, and just to make things faster and easier, use pliers to hold or pull the mesh. Two pairs and pulling both toward each other works better yet.

Parts & Pieces

Even a trampoline or swing set that’s incomplete or in rough shape has useful life left to give.

Legs from trampolines just need inverted to support insect netting, frost cloth, and shade cloth in gardens.

The surrounding mesh from some trampolines, the bounce mesh, and the cover pads some trampolines have can all be used as those insect meshes or shade cloth. They can also be used to give a pet or livestock shade in their runs.

Swing sets’ cross bars and attachments pipes can be used for garden bed covers, chicken moat runs, and ladder-type trellises for gardens. The smaller pipe can also be used for just about any kind of peg or stake depending on length and sturdiness, or get assembled into storage shelves.

Super-Simple Pens & Shelters

Trampolines shine in one area particularly for as-is use and builds that require little work and effort. They are nearly ready-made pens. All we have to do is circle them with hurricane fencing, poultry mesh, or chain link.

In some situations, poultry, rabbits, and dogs will require covering them and-or adding dig barriers.

They can also work as lamb and kid pens, or be combined with other salvage parts to make a “safety pen” for small livestock to escape adult flock/herd members.

   

Flipped upside down, rectangular trampolines make excellent frames for mobile chicken tractors, with or without the addition of wheels. Trampolines are typically light enough, the larger versions can have those wheels and some tension-resisting supports added and be dragged easily as well.

With the legs sitting on some blocks or chunks of lumber, as-is trampolines make great feed-station and shade shelters for shorter livestock. With a tarp added, they’re good for rain as well as snow.

Swing Sets As-Is

A-frame swing sets have their own as-is uses. Just remove their swings and they create a space for a small raised bed, some pots and planters, and hanging baskets. Especially in smaller yards, the potential to go vertical can greatly increase our growing capabilities.

Use the holes or remaining bolts and hooks to string line, and they’re excellent bean tee-pees. With mesh instead of line, they’re squash and melon trellises instead – with enough space between the feet for planting a crop that will benefit from the shade those crops provide.

Even “well-loved” swing sets tend to be fairly sturdy, although we’ll have to give them some shimmy shakes and hang tests. Once we’re sure, those A-frames can be used to support other types of growing.

We can use them to brace soil-based vertical systems and the towers and lines for drip aquaponics, aeroponics, or hydroponics. They can also be supports for slightly canted hanging systems like ZipGrow type towers.

It requires a lot more of a build, but they can also form the base structure for horizontal (or barely tilted) biofilm hydroponics (there’s a long-term issue that develops with small spaces when we try to do biofilm aquaponics).

Soil adds more weight again, but they can also be used to create pyramid gardens with horizontal planters.

One benefit to those swing set A-frames is that we can easily throw some tarps, painter’s cloth, plastic or cloth row covers, or insect mesh over them (pad any bolts or hooks to protect the plastic and mesh). That buys us some extra season for any of their garden potentials.

We can benefit from the ability as well. Most swing sets have enough room underneath that with some mosquito netting, we can gain some outdoor sleeping space or a covered table for bug-free meals.

It also means they’re nearly ready-made firewood storage.

We can also use them near our butcher stations to hang deer and livestock. We can leave them as-is or use parts from some of the attachments to create a little more space at the top, and throw mosquito netting over to create a fly-free work space.

With that netting or garden mesh, we can also use swing sets to easily construct protected solar and slow-smoking drying racks and curing areas for fish, vegetables, fruits and meats.

They’re also super handy nearly-ready clotheslines, tall enough to keep blankets from trailing and with the cross spars excellent for expanding our drying capabilities for shorter clothes.

Shade Canopies

With some extension poles, we can turn trampolines into shade canopies for us and large livestock. As with swing sets, those can also be draped with mosquito netting or garden mesh to create a space for sitting or working without being harassed by flies and other insects.

Structural Builds

With a little more work for framing a door and structural support, with or without some small bookcases, we can easily turn old swing sets into more permanent mini greenhouses or winter covers for small ponds.

Round trampolines can also be turned into greenhouses or enclosed berry or garden areas. The simplest builds just involve reassembling it in halves with the legs facing inward and using a pole or timbers to add structural strength.

They can also be assembled in quarter-arcs for a longer structure with one flat/straight side. Those require additional materials (like from a swing set) or in some cases can be attached to an existing building or fence.

Swing sets and trampoline frames can also be assembled into animal coops and hutches.

Swing sets aren’t exactly deep, but the shape and sizes means it’s pretty easy to enclose a section to buffer wind and rain for small livestock without sacrificing much ventilation.

Sheets of plastic of metal and lumber can be used to enclose portions of a trampoline coop, although rain and air currents tend to still end up circling inside them. Buckets and boxes are also pretty easy fixes to allow small animals to share body heat and escape cool or wet weather without sacrificing ventilation, or we can just attach a standard coop or hutch and use it as a walk-in enclosure.

Both A-frame swing sets and trampolines can also be sheathed their entire lengths to form goat and calf sheds, feeding station sheds, and carports for mowers, ATVs, bikes, and lawn-garden equipment.

Swing Sets & Trampolines

Playground pickups do require some tools and planning for transportation, but many builds require little work and materials to create usable spaces and expand our preparedness. Other projects become a lot easier for people with little DIY experience or who are working primarily by themselves. With most, we can re-purpose our playground equipment again and again, breathing more and more life into something that would otherwise rust away in a backyard.

Beware at all stages, though. Hornets and wasps think highly of unused hollow pipes, too, and can be downright mean when defending their homes.

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