Archive for November, 2013

How to Use Barter to Fill Your Prepping Needs

Monday, November 25th, 2013

Before currency was even conceived as a means of convenient value exchange, there was barter.

I’m sure all of us at one time or another in our lives have traded something. Basically, we traded something we were willing to give away in exchange for something else we wanted or needed — and both parties (hopefully) felt better off.

That’s bartering — a process of trading goods and services for other goods and services.

So how does barter benefit preppers?

Well, first off, barter is a great way of getting preps if you’re short on funds.

Since it’s not dependent upon currency, it’s a very viable means of value exchange that preppers can take advantage of — if you know how to overcome its disadvantages…

For the most part, barter is bilateral. In other words, two people form an agreement of a mutually beneficial exchange.

The problem with that is, for the exchange of goods or services to occur, each participant must want what the other has. And finding someone who has exactly what you want AND is willing to exchange that thing for what you have to offer can be difficult.

However, there is also a multilateral (or circular) form of barter which can overcome those limitations.

Circular barter allows for a lot more flexibility: A wants what B has; B probably wants what someone else has, and that person in turn probably wants what a fourth person has. Eventually it’s likely that the chain will loop back on itself, so that a circular trade can be arranged.

This “circular barter” used to be only possible with barter organizations but now, with the Internet, there are a number of sites that give you this ability due to the large number of users online.

Here is a list of barter companies — look them up and see which one fits your needs and wants:

  • BarterQuest.com – This is one of my favorites.
  • U-Exchange
  • FreeCycle.org — not exactly a barter site but you can get some good stuff for free that people are throwing out.
  • Itex.com — If you own a small business or you’re a sole proprietor, this is a great barter site for businesses to business barter. You could find plumbers, welders, electricians etc who may barter with your skills/services.
  • Craigslist.com — Craigslist has a great barter category that many don’t know of. This is typically under the “For Sale” section for your area.
  • Multiswap.net — This site is a place where friends can all sign up together to create a trusted barter community. If you’ve got a bunch of like-minded friends and acquaintances, this is a great service to sign up for.

Final Thoughts

Historically barter has always become a method of exchange (even replacing money in some cases) during times of monetary crisis.

With our current economy the way it is, and where the dollar is going, it may very well be a more prominent form of value exchange in the near future.

With that in mind, start getting used to barter now and I would highly recommend you start forming barter organizations either locally or through a circular barter exchange service like Multiswap.net as mentioned above. This way you’ll be way ahead of the game when the economic collapse happens.

Emergency Home Heating on the Cheap

Friday, November 22nd, 2013

With winter fast approaching, those of us who live in the temperate or boreal climates are already starting to feel the cold setting in.

One thing that had always worried me (before I got a wood stove) was the regular blackouts that happen here in the Northeast and not being able to heat my home. Up until the time I got the wood stove, I was able to figure out a method that easily met my needs in an emergency.

In this article, I want to share with you this low-cost method that can be used whether you live in an apartment, a rental home or your own home and don’t have the option of some of the other more permanent off-grid heating options such as wood/coal or solar heating.

Emergency Home Heating on the Cheap

A couple years back, I had purchased the Mr. Heater Big Buddy portable propane stove (you may have seen the review here) and since that review I’ve had two instances where the power went out for a day or two forcing me to use it (in combination with the method I’ll be sharing next) to keep us toasty warm.

Basically, if you didn’t get the chance to read the review, it is a small, portable propane heater that can either be used with two propane “camping” bottles or attached to one or two normal 20 lb propane grill tanks and easily last for a week per 20 lb tank under normal use:

Creating the “Hot” Room

Note: this technique is particularly appropriate if you live in a place larger than 500 square feet. If your home/apartment is 500 sq feet or less, then the Big Buddy will be just fine by itself.

This method is very simple…

In terms of heating your home in an emergency, you need to start thinking of actually heating a smaller, cordoned off area where it is a lot more economical instead of feeling you need to heat the entire home.

For emergencies, the thing you want to do is basically cordon off a room or dedicated area in your home that will become your heating and living space for your daily activities. For my home, we used the living room for this purpose.

Some things that you can use as partitions are a large thick blanket, a plastic tarp, even a large mattress that is big enough to shut off and partition a section of your home.

Here’s an example of a big blanket that I used to cordon off the living room in my house:


I used wood clamps to attach the blanket to the entryway framing:

Then, using a portable heater that can be used indoors (like the Big Buddy), heat that room exclusively and use that room for your daily activities (and possible sleep area).

Since the Big Buddy is portable, we were able to bring the heater into our bedroom (as well as the kids) and with a window cracked a small amount, heat the room while sleeping.

A note on carbon monoxide:

Although this heater is rated to be used indoors without venting, I would still recommend cracking a window to allow for sufficient air exchange. Since I placed the 20 lb bottle outside and ran the hose inside through the window, it created a crack in the window just large enough for a good air exchange without losing too much heat:


If the crack in your window is too large for your liking and it’s venting too much cold air, stuffing a bit of insulation (old t-shirts, foam, or commercial insulation) will cut down the amount of cold air drafting in.

Note: The heater does have a low O2 sensor that automatically shuts off the heater if oxygen reaches a low enough point where carbon monoxide starts to be produced but I like to err on the side of caution.

How well does this method work?

Well, in a 450 sq foot living room, with the temperature into the teens outside, I was able to keep my room at a comfortable temp around 70°F with the heater running at medium (turning it to low or off if the temp rose during the day).

With my two 20 lb propane tanks, I had enough fuel to last me around 2 weeks with regular use.

As always, I’d love to hear your comments. Let me know what ways you use to heat your home in the winter that doesn’t depend on the grid.

FREE DOWNLOAD – The Preparedness Review Fall 2013

Tuesday, November 12th, 2013

My friend Todd, the editor of the Preparedness Review, has just released the Fall 2013 edition as a free download.

For those of you new to The Preparedness Review, it is published two times a year, in the Fall and Spring.

Articles are contributed by authors who write for the online Preparedness Community and it includes some of the best prepper information published during that time.

Here’s what you’ll find in the Fall 2013 edition:

  • The Preppers Guide to Better, Safer, Cheaper Cleaning – Gaye Levy
  • Survival Antibiotics Primer, Part 1 – Joe Alton M.D. (Dr. Bones)
  • The One Hour Bug-out – Joe Nobody
  • Step By Step: How to Build a Rocket Stove – Jamie Black-Smith
  • Herbs For Sleeplessness and Anxiety – Silvia Britton
  • How to Cut Up a Squirrel for Cooking – Hank Shaw
  • Bugging Out vs. Hunkering Down – MD Creekmore
  • Survival Trapping : Basic powered trap – Survivor Don
  • Why You Need to Be Ready for Total Grid Failure – Daisy Luther
  • How to Make Homemade Yeast – Tactical Intelligence
  • WROL – Protecting Your Family When the Bad Guys Come Down Your Street – P. Henry
  • Preparing Yourself and Your Family for the Use of Violence – Chris Ray
  • 6 Trees Every Survivalist Should Know & Why – Creek Stewart
  • Natural Remedies for a Cold – James Hubbard, MD, MPH
  • 10 Survival Skills Every 12 Year Old Should Know – Jane – Mom with a Prep
  • The Prepper’s Conundrum: Bugging In – Tess Pennington
  • Emergency Binder Template – Linda Loosli

Fall 2013 Preparedness Review Download Link

DOWNLOAD the FALL 2013 PREPAREDNESS REVIEW HERE

Here’s another link that is working if you have issues with the above one: FALL 2013 Preparedness Review

LifeStraw Family 1.0 Winner Announced!

Sunday, November 3rd, 2013

Drumroll please…

Alright, the winner for the LifeStraw Family 1.0 water filter, chosen by a random number generator is “John” (comment #62). There were a number of Johns who commented so be aware that it was the John with the “xxxxxx@comcast.net” email.

John, I’ve sent you an email to your email to get your shipping address.

Thanks to everyone who participated! I’ll be sure to have more of these in the coming months so stay posted.

Be sure to subscribe to my email list (upper right corner) to get instant announcements of future drawings and great free training!

 – Erich