Archive for March, 2015

18 Reasons a Trash Bag (or three) Should be in Your Bug Out Bag Right Now

Friday, March 27th, 2015

When it comes to your bug-out bag — given the limits you have in terms of space and weight — the best survival items you can pack are those that are lightweight, have multiple uses, and don’t take up much space.

I’m sure you know the importance of duct-tape and paracord (and likely have those in your bag right now) however, there is one item that many of us overlook that should also be in there…

A trash bag.

Yes, trash bags — especially heavy-duty contract bags — are one of those excellent cost-effective, space-saving, multi-use items that should be in every bug out bag. They have a plethora of uses, 18 of which I’ll be listing in this article.

So without further ado, here are 18 uncommon uses (and reasons) why a trash bag (or two) should be in your bug-out bag if it isn’t yet…

18 Uncommon Bug-Out Uses for a Trash Bag

  1. Warm Shower: Fill your trash bag with water, tie it up above your head and let it sit in the warm sun. The black color of the bag will absorb the sun’s rays heating up the water. Once the water has reached your desired temperature, poke some tiny holes to enjoy a nice warm shower.
  2. *Note: Some trash bags (not so much with contractor bags) are lined with chemicals on the inside to prevent odors and mold. It’s not a bad idea to turn the bags inside out if using them for the next three uses.

  3. Food Transporter: Whether you just took some game while bugging out or if you’ve opened your packaged food and need a clean place to put it in, a trash bag makes for a great container for transporting and protecting game meats, opened food, etc.
  4. Water Container: Besides a one-time use shower, a trash bag can make a decent way of transporting a fair amount of water if you’ve lost or don’t have a water container. Here’s where having a contractor bag would be idea given their strength.

    *Note: Some trash bags (not so much contractor bags) are lined with chemicals on the inside to prevent odors and mold. It’s not a bad idea to turn the bags inside out if using them for the above purpose>

  5. Water Collector: Dig a hole around 2 feet in diameter and 2 feet deep, tear open your bag so it’s one large piece and lay it over the hole to set up a makeshift rain water collector or container.

    *Note: Some trash bags (not so much with contractor bags) are lined with chemicals on the inside to prevent odors and mold. Given that, it’s not a bad idea to turn the bags inside out if using them for the above purpose>

  6. Poncho: Trash bags make for excellent ponchos. Just rip a hole in the bottom of the bag for your head and two on the side for your arms and it will do a fine job at keeping the wet weather at bay.
  7. Waterproof Leggings: Take two trash bags and place one foot with your shoes on inside each. Tie up the bags around your ankles and calves with some duct tape or cordage (both of which aren’t bad ideas to have in your BOB). Now you have some decent waterproof leggings to temporarily cross through shallow brooks or streams or traversing over deep, wet snow.
  8. Gear Protector (Dry Bag): You can use the bags to keep your gear stored in your BOB dry while traveling in wet conditions. In addition, you can enclose your entire bug-out bag with the trash bag (cutting slits for your backpack straps to get through) for a makeshift poncho for your bag.
  9. Makeshift Toilets: If you happen to have bugged out to an urban area and there aren’t many places to dig a latrine, trash bags make for excellent makeshift toilet liners (like in a 5-gallon bucket or in a non-functioning toilet if the grid’s down).
  10. Comforter and Pillow: Large trash bags filled with leaves or other light debris make for great expedient comforters that can be placed on top of you when it’s cold out. In addition, a smaller bag (or a large one only partly filled with leaves) will work pretty decent as a pillow (it would be best to place a piece of cloth on it (like a Shemagh or bandana) for your face to lie on for more comfort.

    Although less than ideal, you could also partially inflate the bag for a pillow (but it will be less comfortable than leaves or other soft debris).

  11. Strong Rope: Yes, trash bags can actually make surprisingly strong cordage and rope when braided correctly. I plan on doing a video of this pretty soon so I’ll update this article with that when I do.
  12. Ground Cloth: One thing that’s very important when setting up a tent or other makeshift shelter is laying down a groundcloth to keep the moisture from coming up from the ground into your shelter at night. A trash bag cut open and laid out will help in this way.
  13. Makeshift Shelter/Lean-To: While obviously not ideal, a trash bag can work as a fair shelter against wind, rain and the sun’s rays. Just stretch it out and tie it off as you would with a standard lean-to shelter.
  14. Life Preserver/Flotation Device: While certainly not Coast Guard approved, trash bags can be blown up with air like a balloon, tied off, and be used to provide flotation while crossing bodies of water. A few of these can also be tied to a makeshift raft to aid in buoyancy. Again, the stronger the bag (like a contractor bag) the better to prevent tearing and puncturing.
  15. Arm Sling: Similar to how the boy scouts use their neckerchiefs for slings, you can follow the same approach to sling someone’s arm if recently injured.
  16. Bandage Protector: If you’ve just finished bandaging up someone’s wound, you can use a strip of a trash bag to wrap over the bandage and tie it off to further protect the bandage and wound from getting dirty.
  17. Bug Out Washing Machine: For extended bug-out travels you can place your dirty clothes in a bag, some soap scrapings (or if you packed small amounts of detergent) and some water, twist or tie off the bag and vigorously shake the bag for a few minutes. Drain the dirty water, replace with clean water and repeat for the rinse cycle.
  18. Window Black Outs: While at your bug-out location or when bugging in, you can use trash bags to cover your windows at night — preventing a “light signal” to those less-than-friendly people looking for occupied residences. Again, it’s best to use contractor bags here since some thinner bags will require multiple layers.
  19. Cold Compress: Trash bags can be filled with snow or ice (if available) to provide for a makeshift compress for treating inflammation caused by injury.

Final Thoughts

In addition, let me just stress again that while normal trash bags can work in the above examples in a pinch, again, ideally you want to pack contractor bags which you can find at most any hardware stores.

Also, as a side note, others have mentioned using trash bags as “thermal underwear”. While it will hold in heat, it’s not a good idea since it also traps in moisture, which when cold outside can easily lead to hypothermia. True thermal underwear “breathes” to allow the moisture to escape.

Activated Charcoal: A Must-Have Item in Every Preppers Med Kit

Tuesday, March 17th, 2015

If I were to guess, activated charcoal is probably not one of the items found in your med kit right now.

Well, it’s time you change that…

The thing is, in a long-term disaster or a post-collapse situation, you’ll likely not have access to professional medical help. And if you or your loved one accidentally ingests something poisonous, it could end up being a very bad day for you or yours.

That’s where having activated charcoal could be a very real life saver.

In this article you’ll discover just what activated charcoal is and how it can be used to ward off potential disaster when things go very bad. In addition, you’ll learn about many of the other potential uses that this long-standing “medicine” has.

Activated Charcoal Throughout History

The first recorded use of charcoal for medicinal purposes comes from Egyptian papyri around 1500 B.C. as a method of staving off infection of open wounds. Since then, activated charcoal has continued to be an effective form of treatment for a variety of ailments down to the present time.

In fact, it’s common to find activated charcoal in modern emergency rooms for treatment of drug overdose and poisoning.

How does it work you ask? Well, read on…

How Activated Charcoal Performs its “Magic”

It may at first seem a bit unbelievable as to how a simple black powder can be so effective at removing poisons from the body. But there’s real scientific reasons as to why.

Activated charcoal works mainly by adsorption (no I didn’t spell that incorrectly). Since activated charcoal is 100% alkaline (i.e. negatively charged), this negative ionic charge attracts postive ionic charges like toxins and poisons, causing them to bind to the charcoal which then gets escorted out of your body through the eliminative process of your intestines.

Even when made as a poultice (a moist paste of charcoal and water that you spread over a wound or sting) this adsorption process will work to draw out poisons caused by stings and bites of animals.

Basically the process that creates activated charcoal (steam heating and oxidation) ends up creating an internal lattice of very fine pores. This structure allow s charcoal to adsorb over 100 times its weight in bacteria, toxins and other positively charged chemicals (like drugs and unwanted medicine).

For that reason, it’s important that you don’t ingest charcoal if you’ve recently (within the last 2 – 4 hours) taken perscription medicine for medical reasons since it can also adsorb certain medicines as it does poisons.

Charcoal Remedies

Here are just some of the examples of charcoal remedies (both internal external) that you’ll find used in modern as well as folk medicine:

Internal Uses:

  • food poisoning / drug overdose: This is really the only remedy I’ve found where charcoal is used in modern medicine. My ER doctor friend has used charcoal a number of times in the Emergency Room for drug-overdose patients.
  • elimination of toxins that contribute to anemia in cancer patients
  • stomach bug/flu: This has worked very well in my family. Anytime we feel a stomach bug coming on we take a teaspoon of charcoal in a cup of water which stops it in its tracks.
  • filter toxins from blood
  • headaches
  • minor arthritic symptoms
  • diarrhea
  • sore throat irritation
  • tooth abscesses

External Uses:

  • disinfect wounds
  • teeth whitening: Charcoal surprisingly does an excellent job at removing tartar and plaque buildup on teeth (no the black will not stain your teeth) and even removes stains (especially those caused by coffee).
  • cold sores
  • insect bites: Very effective against bee and wasp stings. I’ve personally seen this work wonders for my 4-year old daughter with a wasp sting. The pain subsided very quickly after making a poultice and covering her sting.
  • snake bites

Is Activated Charcoal Something I Can Make?

As a quick warning, this is not the charcoal that comes as briquettes that you use in your charcoal grill. Since many of them are laden with dangerous fillers and petrochemicals (firestarter) to help them ignite, ingesting or using these for medical purposes could certainly lead to a very bad day for you or your loved ones.

True activated charcoal is made industrially through a process of exposing pure charcoal to hot steam in order to oxidize it. So while you can certainly make normal charcoal from a woodfire and grind it up fine enough to be somewhat effective (if that’s all you had available to you), it’s not the same.

Given the purity that you can buy as well as it’s practically limitless shelf life I would still highly recommend you purchase it.

Where Can I Purchase Activated Charcoal and How Can I Learn To Use It?

It’s important that you purchase a high-quality charcoal. Here’s the one that I recommend and buy for my own family:

Hardwood Activated Charcoal Powder 16 oz (1 lb) in Mylar Bag

In addition, if you want to learn all of the fantastic ways to use this as well as dosing information be sure to check out some of these resources:

Activated Charcoal: Antidote, Remedy, and Health Aid

Charcoal Remedies

Drugs.com