Thursday, March 29, 2012

How To Make A Mini Methanol Burning Backpack Stove

   Mini stoves and fuel cubes are convenient supplies for any backpack adventurer, but these types of stoves tend to be flimsy and the small flame of a fuel cube is not the most efficient way to boil water. Fuel cubes are great fire assists though, especially the waterproof variety. In my research on more powerful, portable heating options I stumbled across Zen Alcohol Stoves. On their website they outline a variety of liquid fuel burning stoves that you can make yourself from aluminum soda cans, cat food tins, and arguably any metal container. I greatly appreciate their work and for offering this host of free information.

   I fabricated a handful of different designs and conducted efficiency tests. I found the low pressure, top-burner, 12oz aluminum can design to be my favorite, and I recommend fueling it with methyl alcohol, aka methanol, or more commonly known as gas line antifreeze (Yellow bottle “Heet”), which is inexpensive and burns clean with no smoke or odor. After sifting through the vast catalog of information on the Zen site to figure this thing out, I thought I would simplify the process for any of my readers looking for a reliable, lightweight camping stove you can make yourself.
Materials needed-
·         Two 12oz aluminum cans
·         J-B Weld
·         Metric ruler
·         Steel wool
·         Masking tape
·         Ridged angle
·         Scissors
·         Paper hole-punch
·         Permanent marker
·         Craft knife
·         Push tack
·         Sandpaper

-Download the template sheet from Zen and cut out the 40mm wide inner wall template and the #24 circular template.

*If you don't have a printer, no worries, once you see how these are made you can likely wing it with a fair amount of success.

-Use steel wool to polish the unopened aluminum cans free of paint. They’re much easier to polish while they’re sealed and full.
-Secure the craft knife to a ridged angle at 30 mm and score the first can.

-Secure the craft knife at 40mm and score the second can.

-Empty the cans of their contents and rinse clean.
-Use the craft knife to score the bottom of the 30mm scored can. Carefully score around the edge until you can pry the disc free. Discard the disc and use sandpaper to dull the sharp edge that remains.

-Center the #24 circular template over the opening and mark the line points with a permanent marker, keeping them close to the rim. Use a push pin to punch the holes.

-Use scissors to cut out the 30mm and 40mm can bottoms. Make sure to leave enough aluminum in tacked to layout the inner wall.
-Tape a leftover sheet of aluminum to a flat surface. Tape on the inner wall template and cut it out of the aluminum. Use the hole punch to punch out the three half-holes on the edge of the diagram. Only punch holes along one edge of the inner wall.

-Assemble the inner wall by folding together and locking the tabs, folding them inward. Apply J-B Weld to the inner and outer tab seams and along the rim of the inner wall opposite the punched half-holes. Seat the inner wall down into the inside rim of the 30mm can half. Allow to cure for 24 hours.

-Assemble the two can halves by inserting the top (with the inner wall attached) over the bottom half. You might need to make a couple small snips in the lip of the bottom half to help it slip under the top, or make a shim from scrap aluminum to coax the upper half over the bottom. Don’t worry about dents in the seam as long as they’re small enough to be covered with a seam of J-B Weld.

-Make sure the inner wall is firmly seated into the bottom half by gently twisting and pushing the halves together. Seal the outer seam with J-B Weld and allow to cure for 24 hours.
   *You can try to seal the inner wall tab seams, seal it to the inside of the top half, assemble the can halves and seal them together all at once, but I found assembling the two halves together a lot easier if the inner wall is already secure to the top half.

   Congratulations! You now have your own lightweight, compact backpack stove.
   Pick up a liquid medication measuring vial if you want to precisely monitor fuel consumption. My tests revealed that 20ml of methanol will burn for 7 minutes in this stove design. A standard bottle of Heet is 355ml, which gives you just over 2 hours of burn time per bottle.

   Carefully pour methanol into your stove and light. At first, a single blue flame will emanate from the main opening. After a few seconds the fumes in the inner, outer chamber will ignite and begin to burn from the pressure ports.

   Burning methanol is difficult to see unless shaded so be extremely careful -don’t think it’s not burning just because you don’t see it. Let the fuel completely burn away or use another can bottom to set over the stove to snuff it.
   To make a simmering cap -take another can bottom, 20mm high, and put a couple pencil size holes in the top of it. When the simmer cap is placed on your burning stove, the holes will allow the fire to continue to breathe without completely smothering it. Play around with different sized holes to customize the heat output to just keep a pot warm or simmer soup.
   You can simply secure some rocks around your mini stove to hold your pot, or fab a pot holder/wind shield from an aluminum coffee can like I have. A pot holder like this can also be filled with hot coals and double as its own little wood stove.

   Thanks to Zen for the info. Check out their site for additional stove designs and fuel options.

Friday, March 23, 2012

The Frugal Prepper

   Some of us are struggling these days just to make ends meet. Saving for future concerns can be frustrating when the now puts such high demands on your resources. When I first began researching Prepping, my restless nights became even more so once I realized I couldn’t afford to become an entombed king and wait out whatever storm in luxury like it seemed everyone else was doing. How can I stockpile anything when I can barely get through the week? It’s so easy to get discouraged when faced with things you think you need that you can’t afford. By not giving up and through countless hours of research I’ve discovered that it is indeed possible to be a successful Prepper on a shoestring budget.

   Make a realistic list (no bunker palaces) of supplies you would like to accumulate, or think you need, don’t worry, it will grow and shrink a few times over as you get more involved. And don’t worry about how much it’s all going to cost, just make the wish list.
   Designate an area in your home and begin filling it with supplies from your list -many of the things you’ll need to have in an emergency are probably already in a drawer or cabinet somewhere in your home. Have an extra flashlight or box of baking soda? You’ll need them. Add them to the survival supply area. Have an extra tube of toothpaste? Nevermind, you don’t need it, you have baking soda! Consolidating helps to put everything into perspective and is a visual reminder of progress. As you run out of room in your initial supply space you can move on to cramming things wherever you can -the initial space is just to help get you focused.
   Check out yard sales, flea markets and second hand stores every chance you get. You’ll be surprised at how much treasure you can glean from what others all but give away. The more you check supplies off your list, the more research you’ll be doing in the process and you’ll gradually develop a clearer view of what you really need.
   Now is a good time to have a yard sale yourself. Take a day or so to go through that closet, attic, garage and basement and take an honest assessment of what you really need. Letting go of items that hold memories is not easy to do, I know, but if you’re going to take preparing for your future seriously, you have to face letting go of the past. Put the acquired funds towards your future.
   Recycle every container you empty (except those that held chemicals), sterilize, fill with water and store. Set up rain catchers -barrels, buckets, kiddy pools, soup bowls -anything that will hold water, to collect the rain and save energy costs of running your home faucets. Water you collect and store yourself can be thoroughly purified with chlorine bleach or some other method -check out my “Survival Water Workshop” post for purifying tips. Every liter of water you store further secures your future.
   Save the seeds from your produce -rinse, allow to thoroughly air-dry and store in a cool, dry place away from light. They may not all be viable, but many of them will be. Even if you’ve never been much of a gardener (“Organic Gardening For Beginners” post coming soon) they may still prove to be valuable trading commodities. Every seed saved is a chance for a whole new food source.
   Survival stores have many long-term storage food options like military MRE’s, freeze dried foods, emergency food bars and so on, but can be costly on a limited budget. I suggest comparing prices with as many companies as you can find -some of the differences in pricing and shipping costs for the same products can be drastically different. Keep in mind that a lot of these products need water to rehydrate and a heat source for best results, but emergency food bars are non-thirst provoking and ready to go. Check the nutritional values of these products as well, as you may need to supplement with vitamins. Diversify your supply as much as possible, not just to prevent palate boredom, but for better nutritional variance and preparation requirements.
   Canning your own food at home can be very cost effective since bulk food items can be purchased at discount prices. There are many different options for canning and picking, but the simple boiling-water-bath method can go a long way to storing food and will cost you no more than the jars and lids. You can even get away with utilizing used jars as long as the lips are not damaged, but the lids need to be in prime condition to make a pressured seal. Though home canning may be an intimidating prospect to some of you, refer to my post “Home Canning For Beginners” so I may further encourage you to give it a try -you may find it’s not rocket science after all. Compared to the price of preprocessed, long-term storage foods, home canning can be much more manageable on a shoestring budget -and the pride that comes with doing it yourself… priceless.
   Expiration dates on store-bought canned foods are there to protect the manufacturer from liability pertaining to the degradation of flavor, color and advertised nutritional value. As long as the can has not been damaged or exposed to heat the contents will remain safe to eat, so avoid dented or bulged cans. Regular, store-bought cans of food have been discovered on forgotten shelves and even the ocean floor, decades after their stamped expiration date -thorough chemical analyses found them to be safe to eat with minimal loss of nutritional value. Discount grocery stores sell canned goods with damaged labels or expired “sell by” dates for pennies on the dollar -they couldn’t sell them if they were contaminated, but I would still avoid dented or bulged cans.
   First-aid supplies are necessities that need to be purchased from a reputable source. You could easily waste money purchasing a first-aid kit which may contain a host of supplies you’ll never use, so know what’s in it. Pain reliever/ fever reducer/ antibiotic ointment/ bandages and hydrogen peroxide or some other antiseptic for cleaning wounds are a few of the essentials. Also, consider your medicine cabinet and the products your family uses on a regular basis. Keep on the lookout for buy one-get one free deals to gradually build up a stockpile. If you take prescription medication -refer to my post “Pharmaceuticals After Doomsday” for my research and opinion on that subject.
   Baking soda is inexpensive and a versatile asset to any emergency supply. Refer to my post “Baking Soda: An Underestimated Amazement” for more information about its many uses, including toothpaste.
   If you’re the only member of your immediate or extended family that is preparing for an uncertain future, look to your local community for like-minded Preppers. Check with your local social networks like CL and FB and see who’s out there, you might be pleasantly surprised. Just like people have different social, religious and political views, Preppers are no different. Find out what their views are. For instance, you may not want to be a part of a militant militia, or pious religious group, but then again you may. Ask questions, attend meetings and vet them as much as I’m sure they’ll investigate you. You may not need to stockpile so many supplies if you can tend a garden, cook, sew, work on cars, teach, etc. Everyone has something positive to offer the right group.
   Seeking to be more self-sufficient and responsibility for your own safety can only be commended. Don’t be discouraged by how far you seemingly have yet to go -every step you take, every blog you read, every seed you keep, every fruit you can, every ounce of water you store further ensures a more secure future for you and your family.
   Keep striving -few things worth doing are easy and nothing is more worthwhile than your future.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Baking Soda: An Underestimated Amazement

   This is the first installment in a series I’m putting together highlighting the true potential of everyday products. In the marketing world of “New and Improved” and breaking down multifunctional products for more individual sale opportunities, some tried and true items get all but forgotten for the extent of their capabilities. The more versatile you are, the better your chances are of overcoming the challenges of any survival scenario -this quality equally applies to every item at your disposal. A versatile product translates into less money spent on supplies and less storage space needed or weight to carry. By exposing the possibilities of these different products I’m hoping to spur your imagination so you’ll begin to see new, creative opportunities everywhere and thus be better equipped to survive.
   The ancient Egyptians utilized sodium bicarbonate in their cleaning solutions, but it wasn’t until the mid-1800’s that baking soda became more recognized as a household asset. These days, most people only think of two applications when they think of baking soda -baking of course, and deodorizing their refrigerator, but in the hands of an informed, creative Prepper, baking soda can effectively accomplish so much more.

Mixed with enough water to form a paste-

·         Toothpaste
·         Treat Bee stings
·         Treat acne
·         Soothe poison ivy and other rashes
·         Remove tough stains
·         Treat skin fungus
·         Polish metals
·         Facial exfoliator
·         Effectively clean everything

As a powder-

·         Smother a fire
·         Spread around areas of concern to repels ants and other insects
·         Add a pinch to tomato sauces and coffee to reduce acidity
·         Add a pinch to tea to remove bitterness
·         Add to laundry for whitening and cleaning power
·         Alone for deodorant or add a few drops of essential oil per tablespoon for scented deodorant
·         Alone for effective shampoo or mix with an existing product for added performance
·         Add to critter litter to absorb unwanted odors
·         Powder on and rub in to safely dry-clean your furry friends

As a Bath-

·         Full-body skin softener
·         Fungal foot soak
·         Relieve sunburn
·         Treat multiple bee stings, insect bites or large area rashes
·         Soak fish and meat to tenderize, remove fishy smell and gamey taste. Rinse and cook
·         Safely clean fruits and veggies

    I was surprised to learn through extending my own knowledge on the subject of sodium bicarbonate that it’s apparently an effective alternative treatment for cancer -changing the PH level around cancerous tissue -and apparently, cancer is not the only disease that thrives in an acidic environment. I decided to leave out the more advanced medical applications in this article because unless you have surgical experience, access to intravenous equipment and so on, some of the info wouldn’t do you much good. I will however, be adding more of the simpler medicinal uses in an upcoming post entitled “Home Healing”. If you’re interested in learning more about this “Slice O’ Matic” of chemical compounds there’s definitely more to be learned than what I’ve outlined here, so like every topic I address, I encourage you to research it further.
   I feel it’s important to reiterate, in case you missed it, that with all the amazing applications for baking soda it remains safe for the environment, unlike most of the products meant to replace it -so go on and enrich your cookies, polish your silver and cure cancer?...

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Pharmaceuticals After Doomsday?

   Millions of people worldwide take prescription medication on a regular basis, most for serious conditions. What are they going to do if this lifeline suddenly stops flowing? If you’re one of these people, and a Prepper as well, then you need to find some way of getting around one of the most controlled markets on the planet and stockpile your meds, or better yet, talk to your doctor about alternative ways to treat your condition without pharmaceuticals. There are real alternatives, but you have to be persistent because it’s not always in a doctor’s best interest to promote less dependency on them, unless he or she’s a naturopath.

   Skipping doses to stockpile your meds is never recommended because you’ve been prescribed that specific dosage for a reason, and how much can you realistically stockpile that way anyway? Purchasing medications on-line typically requires a prescription so there’s no gain in supply that way. If a prescription is not required for an on-line purchase then there’s a serious risk of getting junk medication. On-line suppliers that sell medication without a prescription acquire them from countries that have low standard regulatory systems for quality control, or none at all, and usually come with no guarantee of advertised value. That’s not to say that all medications purchased on-line are junk, but unless you have a lab at your disposal and can verify the medication yourself, there’s no way to be certain that a mail-order medication is what it’s supposed to be. Medication fraud does happen.
   I highly recommend researching alternative forms of therapy and seeking to eliminate pharmaceuticals from your life entirely, no matter what your condition. I’m sure some of you just scoffed and are now considering stopping right here as opposed to reading on about all this “alternative medicine” nonsense (more on your instinctual doubt later, if you stick around).
   Though shroud in misconception and misinformation, there are reliable methods for treating every disease and condition known to mankind -naturally. It’s pretty straight forward science actually -if an ailment is caused by nature, its remedy is also hidden somewhere in nature. In many cases, simply educating yourself on the natural medicinal constituents of different foods and changing your diet accordingly can cure illness and keep you healthy. The myth that natural remedies are a waste of time is just that, a myth. The science of pharmaceuticals has come a long way to be sure, but keep in mind that there’s a good reason why the industry strives to instill fear and doubt regarding natural treatments -trillions of reasons actually. I’m sure some of the natural remedy companies out there just want your money too, so do your research before trusting any company with your health.
   Through trial and error and study of the body’s natural rhythms and energies, over thousands of years, cultures around the world have discovered the health related truths hidden in nature all around and inside of us. Every pharmaceutical product ever fabricated was derived from the chemical structure of one natural source or another, but as the long list of side-effects that accompanies the latest pill shows, when you fabricate nature there can be serious consequences to your health -kind of defeats the point actually, yet we often accept dangerous consequences merely for the illusion of convenience. Aspirin will eat away at the lining of your stomach because it’s not natural, but chewing on a white willow branch just tastes woody. The convenience of some pharmaceuticals really is an illusion these days since you can just as easily purchase white willow bark extract as you can aspirin, but because of the stigma surrounding naturals, millions of people readily choose the option that harms them.
   New medications are the only ways a pharmaceutical company can continue to make money. Medication patents are only temporary so their window of serious profit is short before other companies can make their own versions of the same medication and charge much less -forcing them into a quantity over quality mindset.
   If you live in a modern society, especially the US, you’re inundated from the word go with highly effective, psychological marketing designed to instill distrust of anything not made by a pharmaceutical company, and though they continue to regularly kill people in droves, millions continue to scoff at alternative treatments and line up at the nearest pharmacy -because that’s simply what they were taught believe, not because it’s true. If a restaurant regularly poisoned its customers and yet kept coming up with new dishes, new promises and an ever growing body count, would you really be lining up at their door for dinner? There are real, safe alternatives out there.
   If this post has provoked anger or fear, then you’ve obviously been thoroughly convinced that pharmaceuticals are the only trusted source of treatment and all other options are dangerous. I encourage you to take an honest look at the issue and ask yourself how you came to believe that. Was it through unbiased research on the subject, or simple what you’ve been led to believe? If you’re offended by the notion of being deceivable then get over yourself, don’t take my word for it, take up psychology, but be forewarned -your pride may not like what you find.
   Investigate natural remedies and alternative treatments for yourself, think for yourself, decide for yourself.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Doomsday Road Trip

   As enjoyable as a road trip can be, driving in a lawless world might not be all sing-a-longs and guessing games to help pass the time -you may need to seriously up your driving game. Here are some practical ideas, and a few unconventional ones, to better your odds of safely reaching your destination.
-Practice defensive driving skills if you can find a safe place to do so. Some areas even offer closed course classes and like self-defense courses –they’re money well spent. Your life and the lives of your family may depend on your ability to navigate obstacles at high speeds without losing control.
-If you have a Bugout Location, know your routes (more than one) without a map and practice driving them at night. Keep clear goggles in your car kit in case you need to hang your head out the window and drive without headlights at night. Of course I don’t suggest practice driving without headlights, but it might be a good idea to be prepared to do so -a concealed target is not an easy target. Goggles will also protect your eyes from broken glass.
-Have actual maps and a compass for reference –GPS devices won’t work if the satellites are down.
-Keep a full range of supplies in your vehicle -food, water, first aid, duct tape, flashlight, tools, fuel can, syphoning hose or hand-crank pump, spare tire and jack, portable compressed air tank, emergency battery charger, extra motor oil and other essential fluids, etc. That may sound like a lot to haul around along with all your personal gear, and for some vehicles it may very well be, but if you simple put all your supplies together you can better judge what you have room for and what you don’t -most of these are practical supplies you should have around anyway. If you would rather not drive around with your vehicle fully stocked like a portable bomb shelter at all times -have your survival vehicle supplies consolidated somewhere close for quick loading.
-Run-on-flat tires are not cheap but are the best defense against getting a flat tire -otherwise keep a few cans of aerosol tire-patch products in your kit -Fix-A-Flat and the like. Tire puncture plugging kits are available at most auto parts stores and are inexpensive and fairly simple to use to fix a tire puncture yourself -you’ll need a portable air tank to inflate the tire back up though. If all else fails don’t hesitate to run on the rims -your vehicle control will be extremely poor and you’ll permanently damage the rims, but police chase footage prove it’s not out of the question -rims can be replaced, lives cannot.
-Should your radiator spring a leak or blow a hose, you can still operate the vehicle, just watch the temperature gauge and pull off the road and shut off the engine (if you can) when the needle reaches the limit or it will eventually permanently damage the engine. Open the hood for ventilation and let it cool down. Periodically turn on the ignition key and see where the temp needle goes. Don’t pour water on your engine to help cool it down unless you know what instruments to avoid getting wet. Once your engine is cold again you can continue on. I once drove a vehicle over 70 miles after my radiator blew out and completely drained of fluid. It took me 4 hours because I had to pull over and shut off the engine every time the temperature red-lined and let it cool down, but I got to where I needed to go.
-DYI spy car defense tactics may sound drastic or even absurd, but keep in mind what kind of environment you might be driving in. Without the aid of law enforcement to help you, you may be on your own. Glass containers of nails can be thrown out behind your vehicle to puncture pursuing vehicle tires. Glass containers of motor oil can also be thrown out behind you onto a hard surfaced road, and especially effective around curves. Have you ever been following another vehicle and they turn on their windshield wiper fluid and you get sprayed too? Imagine what spraying a toy water pistol out your window would do if it was filled with an oily substance. Those little globe-like plastic containers that cheap toys come in, like from a coin machine, can be filled with petroleum jelly and thrown at a pursuing vehicle. The worst practical joke I was ever subjected to was when a “friend” of mine smeared petroleum jelly on my wiper blades and then put a small blob of mud right in the driver’s view on the windshield. Instead of getting out of my vehicle and wiping off the mud once I noticed it, I simple turned on my wipers and fluid -and petroleum jelly smeared across my entire windshield. It took more than a couple towels and some serious degreasing cleaner to clean it off well enough to see again. Please don’t do this to anyone, it’s really not a joke -thankfully I wasn’t flying down the road when this happened or I might not be here to suggest that you think about trying this yourself, but like any of these tactics -only if you’re in serious danger and fending for yourself.
-If you can’t afford a bullet-proof vehicle or full riot gear for every passenger in your vehicle, fiberglass ballistic panels sell for less than 20 bucks per square foot and can be merely set beside you to possibly redirect a bullet -you could even attach a handle to a small panel to make a handheld shield. Even laminated plywood or sheet metal might redirect a projectile away from you. With today’s weaponry, it’s hard to guarantee anything to be totally bulletproof, especially if you take a shot straight on, but anything between you and a bullet, especially if you’re angled away from it, adds to your chances of surviving a shootout.
   Your ability to remain calm in a stressful situation is the best defensive skill you can possess. Practice and preparation will help you keep your cool -even if you’re dodging flaming rubble while zombie mobs paw at your car.
   Buckle up and Godspeed.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

The Mayan 2012 Doomsday Prediction

   Unless you live under a rock and commune only with cave critters you’ve heard about the Mayan doomsday prediction for Dec. 21st 2012. I tend to not readily believe what I hear, read or even see. My skeptical nature encourages me to question, research and cross-reference information rigorously until I have a better understanding of each position on a given issue. I’ve discovered that the lens from which information has been filtered through can greatly influence the interpretation of said information, often making the truth of it all a bit difficult to conclude. After thoroughly seining the 2012 Mayan Doomsday Prediction theory through my skeptical filter, this is what I’ve come to believe…
   First of all, the debunking myth that the Mayan calendar does not account for leap days and therefore the end date of the Long Count calendar has already come and gone without fanfare, is not only not factual, because it apparently does, but to suggest that horological scholars forgot to factor that in is simple ridiculous. The Mayan way of counting the days is dramatically different from our Gregorian way, but time is time, and every reputable horologist has concluded that the Mayan Long Count Calendar end date corresponds to Dec. 21st 2012 on our calendars. I’ll have to take their word for it because the complex calculations are all but a nest of snakes to me, but since most of them think the doomsday scenario overreaches the evidence and their findings are from a historical perspective, their reasoning is more credibility to me than a debunking post on Face Book.
   There seems to be no clear evidence that the Mayan’s themselves considered the end of the Long Count calendar to be a “Doomsday Event”. By all cultural accounts they merely considered this to be the passing of one World Age into another and an easily survivable period. The “Doomsday” interpretation mainly comes from the imagery found on the last page of one of the few remaining Mayan documents, the Dresden Codex, which depicts what some consider clearly ominous, and others a mere social warning.
   Despite rampant speculation of the looming threats our world faces, on the surface there appears to be no scientific evidence that anything dire is inevitable to happen on Dec. 21st 2012, or any other time soon, but I’m not entirely comfortable blindly skating on fragile surfaces. Take it from the Nat Geo program “Doomsday Preppers” where at the end of every segment they make sure to point out that “experts” think these people are wasting their time. History tells me that in reality, if there was cause to be alarmed there’s no way these experts would tell us -and if you think your government would not lie to your face -you need a history lesson.
   In all honesty, the fulfillment of some ancient prophecy is not what worries me -many dire prophecies have already come and gone without so much as a cosmic fizzle- and the very real threats we face on a planetary scale are nothing new. There does in fact, happen to be millions of well-armed people among us that are not only afraid something dire is going to happen in 2012, but many of them are hoping it does. Fear is a dangerous factor in any equation, and when people act on their fears -innocent people tend to get hurt. Then there are the Doomsday Preppers that are more hopeful for change than afraid of it because they’re sick of the way things are and they want to start over. History also reminds me that passionate rebels need little encouragement. It’s the propensity for human beings to fulfill their own dire prophecies that truly worries me. God forbid it rains somewhere on Dec.21st 2012 –it will likely spark total chaos.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Survival Water Workshop

   Statistics show that 75% of Americans and 50% of people worldwide are "chronically dehydrated”. The milder symptoms of dehydration are often dismissed or mistaken for other conditions -symptoms like fatigue, weight gain, joint pain, constipation, dry skin and headaches. When your body loses more water than you’re taking in, it has to compensate for the imbalance in ways that can spiral dangerously out of control if left unchecked. There is no reliable guideline for how much water you need because each person’s need differs greatly depending on their general health, diet and environmental exposure.

*As with all of the advice I give, I am not a medical professional, I’m merely sharing the knowledge I’ve attained over the years and practice safely myself -Follow my advice at your own risk.

Tips on preventing dehydration-
-You can never go wrong by drinking clean water whenever you’re thirsty. If you’re thirsty you’re already dehydrated by 2%.
-Limit sweat producing activities.
-cover your skin in dry and windy conditions to minimize the rate of moisture evaporation.
-Breathe through your nose to better regulate your breathing, 5% of what you exhale is water vapor.
-Foods with high water content, such as fruits, berries and vegetables will help hydrate you. Lettuce for example can be as much as 95% water, an apple up to 85% -another good reason to eat your fruits and veggies.
-Avoid foods high in protein when water is in short supply because proteins require more water to digest than other foods.
-Alcohol and caffeine can cause the body to produce more urine than normal, so extra water consumption is needed to counterbalance the additional fluid loss.
-Avoid adding salts to your system if you’re unable to dilute them with plenty of water. Your body needs to maintain a delicate balance of electrolytes and water to maintain optimal efficiency -too far out of balance can even kill you -as in drinking seawater. As your body loses water, you lose vital electrolytes along with it, so seek to replenish those too with pedialyte, electrolyte sports drinks, or by taking electrolyte tablets with the appropriate amount of water.
-You can make your own effective rehydration solution at home.

 *Simple ORT (Oral Rehydration Therapy) Solution Recipe

·         1 liter of clean water
·         1 teaspoon of salt
·         1 teaspoon of baking soda
·         5 teaspoons of sugar
·         Add concentrated flavor drops or powdered flavoring if desired


Recognizing dehydration-
   Suffering from dehydration has been described as flu like symptoms, or a hangover. Some of the signs of mild to moderate dehydration include-    

·         Dry mouth and skin
·         Headache
·         Constipation
·         Fatigue
·         Decreased urine output, darker urine
·         Dizziness, lightheadedness
·         Stomach cramps

 Signs of more severe dehydration include-
·         Extreme thirst
·         Lack of sweating
·         Sunken eyes
·         Rapid heartbeat
·         Rapid breathing
·         Delirium, confusion
·         Muscle spasms

Treating Dehydration in a Survival Situation-

-Shelter from the elements, direct sunlight and heat.

-If over-heated, cool down by placing something cool on the sides of the neck and remove excess clothing. Rub alcohol prep pads on extremities -the evaporation helps expedite heat loss.

-Take small, frequent sips of water or ORT solution until symptoms improve. If vomiting occurs, rest for 15 minutes and continue sipping. If vomiting occurs again, wait 30 minutes and continue.

-Rest until symptoms pass.

*Without medical assistance there’s not much you can do other than what I've outlined, which is why it’s so important to try to avoid getting there in the first place.

Finding Wild Water-
-Water runs downhill so check in low lying areas, nooks and crannies in rocks and trees.

-Follow the wildlife. Game trails often lead to water and birds tend to hang out near even the smallest of resources.
-Some types of vines can be drained of their water. Nick the vine and see if it shows a drop of fluid, avoid if it’s cloudy or milky. If it’s clear, drip a drop into your hand, if it doesn’t change color in your hand, cut at ground level and again above your head. Do not touch the vine to your lips, it could cause irritation. Do not swallow if the water is sour or bitter –safe vine water should taste woody or mildly sweet if anything. The pores at the top cut may close and stop the flow before it has completely drained. Cut a couple inches off the top when it stops to be sure it’s empty.
-Dry creek and river beds may hold water just under the surface so dig in low lying areas. If water doesn’t appear in the bottom of your hole at a depth of your elbow, move on and try digging in a new location. If water appears, allow it to pool and sit for a few minutes for the sediment to settle.
-Wet sand or mud can be strained of water by balling it up in a shirt and twisting the ends tightly. You can wedge one side of the twisted cloth in a crack in a rock or nook in a tree and wrap the other end around a short stick to give you added leverage for twisting.
-Distill water from green vegetation by digging a shallow hole in direct sunlight. Place a catch container in the center of the hole and fill around it with green plant material. Cover with clear plastic and anchor the outer edges with rocks. Place a small rock in the middle so the plastic sags downward, directly over your container. This little greenhouse will condensate on the underside of the plastic and drip pure water into your container. Urine can be distilled this way as well.
-You can also place a clear, or semi-clear, plastic bag over green leafy vegetation directly on the bush or tree in direct sunlight. Droop the bottom of the bag to allow moisture to accumulate in the bottom, or drip out of a small hole into a container.
-Collect dew before the sun rises by tying cloth around your ankles and legs and walking through grassy areas -wring into a container to be purified.
-Bamboo is an easily recognizable water source plant. Bend over a tall stalk of bamboo and secure it in place. Cut a few inches off the top and place a container under it and allow it to drain over-night.

   *Water distilled from another source or drained from a safe plant is pure water -all other sources may contain parasites that can make you sick. Do not rely solely on distilled water as it is bereft of nutrients. The most common danger with drinking wild water is Giardiasis -an infection of the small intestine caused by microscopic protozoa (Giardia Lamblia). Stomach cramps, nausea and diarrhea are the most common symptoms, which may not show up for 2 to 10 days, but can last a few weeks. In most cases, like having a cold, your body will naturally fight and destroy Giardia on its own without treatment, but dehydration from diarrhea is a serious concern in a survival situation.

Some natural ingredients you can use to treat intestinal infections and parasitic worms-

·         Whole Cloves -Suck and nibble until soft enough to swallow, good for upset stomach and toothache as well. 3-5 clove twigs per day for two weeks.
·         Raw Wild Garlic –Single, hollow stem/ 2-3 foot tall/ has a small bulbous top/ grows nearly year around in the northern hemisphere/ easily identifiable smell. Eat a couple raw bulbs per day for two weeks. May upset a sensitive stomach, but will deter insects from biting you as well.
·         Pumpkin Seeds -Munch on a handful every day for two weeks.
·         Raw Carrots -As much as you like

   *These remedies should be taken on an empty stomach if you’re infected, and any of these can be eaten regularly for prevention if intestinal infections and parasites are looming threats -I tend to nibble on cloves myself. A diet high in fiber will help make your system inhospitable to parasites as well. Avoid sugar, dairy and fat while infection is suspected -these only help the little buggers.

Water Filtering-
-You can make a very effective water filter by using clean charcoal from your fire pit, crush it up but not too fine so it won’t clog the drain hole, put a layer in the bottom of a container or plastic bag with a small drain hole in the bottom, then alternately layer any of the following available materials -small rocks/ sand/ cloth or cotton balls –in distinct layers. Amount and thickness of layers depends on the size of your container and remember to leave plenty of room to add water because it won’t pour right through -it will drip and take time. You may need to poke a thin stick up through the drain hole to get a flow going. Place a catch container underneath the drain hole and fill your new filter with water. The first batch may still be cloudy, discard or run it through again -it will gradually get clearer.
-You can also filter water by digging a hole 10 feet from the edge of a river or 50 feet from a standing body of water until your hole begins to fill with water. The sediment between the body of water and your hole will filter out particles of plant matter, bugs and so on. Doing this at least 50 yards up the beach from sea water will produce water dilute enough to safely drink.
-Any cloth, such as a shirt or sock, can be used to filter out bugs and other sediments -every bit of bits you can remove the better.
   Filters can only remove sediments and help to improve the taste of water -filtered water will still need to be purified.

Water Purification-
-You should always boil water if possible, even if it looks clean and clear. Contrary to popular belief, there is no need to waste excess fuel and water by boiling it for extended periods of time. Some say 5 minutes, some say 10, some even say 20 minutes, but unless you’re boiling water in a bath tub I doubt any would be left after 20 minutes. The reality is that water temperatures above 160° F (70° C) kills all pathogens within 30 minutes, and water heated above 185° F (85° C) within just a few minutes. So in the time it takes for the water to reach the boiling point of 212° F (100° C) and allow it to cool down, all pathogens will have long since been destroyed. The only consideration is higher altitudes, and again, some people recommend additional boiling time per thousand feet of higher elevation, but the CDC recommends boiling water for one minute anywhere on the planet, at any elevation, to be sufficient. Also,  if the FDA can approve milk to be safe by pasteurizing at 145 °F (63 °C) for 30 minutes -bringing water to a rolling boil and letting it cool almost seems like overkill, but unless you carry a thermometer with you, bring water to a rolling boil and by the time it cools you should be fine.
-You can also fill and tightly seal a clear container, or clear plastic bag, with questionable water and allow it to sit in full sunlight for 6 hours to purify it.
-A plastic bottle can actually be used to boil water. Suspend the bottle over a small fire with a vine or some other cordage and don’t allow flames to touch an empty part of the bottle or it may melt, or fill a plastic bottle completely and set it amidst hot coals.
-Aluminum foil can be easily shaped to hold and boil water. Many object can be used as a make-shift pot, just use your imagination, but don’t use any galvanized metal containers (Shiny, silvery, looks smooth but flakey) or anything that has been used for chemicals, petroleum products and so on. Good options are things like a soup can, hard hat, milk jug, etc.
-Without a pot, you can gradually bring water to a boil with hot rocks by adding them from your campfire to a make-shift container. A shallow pit, lined with any material that will hold water will work for this method, such as a trash bag or rain coat. Keep adding and trading out hot rocks and your water will eventual reach the boiling point.
-Household liquid Chlorine Bleach kills everything, including viruses, and is perfectly safe to drink if properly diluted. Don’t use any bleach product with scents or other additives. Add 2 drops of regular chlorine bleach to a quart or liter of water, 4 drops if it’s cloudy or green. Mix well and allow to sit for 30 minutes. If it still has a slight bleachy smell it’s purified and ready to drink. If it doesn’t smell like bleach after 30 minutes then all the bleach was used up destroying the nasties and there are still nasties left. Repeat the dosage and wait 15 minutes and smell again. You want some bleach to be left over to be sure. For a gallon of clear water use 8 drops and 16 if it’s cloudy or green. Even if the resulting water is still cloudy, or neon green, it will be safe to drink.
-Iodine is not as effective or safe for long term use as chlorine bleach, but is more effective than nothing at all. Add 5 drops of 2% iodine (the typical standard for first-aid-kits) to a quart or liter of water, 10 if it’s cloudy or green. Mix and wait 30 minutes.
-You can find ready-to-use water purification tablets at camping and survival supply retailers. They’re inexpensive and easily stored in your pack, pocket, or glove box. Make sure you know what you’re getting as some are for emergency use only and not intended for long-term use, and some are, so fully read the labels.
-Colloidal Silver solutions are veritable first-aid-kits in a bottle and also used to purify water. It comes in a variety of strength and you’re unlikely to stumble across some in the wild so I won’t recommend a specific treatment method. Research it for yourself and follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
-You can improve the taste of boiled or chemically purified water by pouring from one container to another, back and forth, adding as many bubbles as you can. A dash of salt helps too.

    If you’re unable to implement any of the purifying techniques I’ve outlined and you have to drink questionable water without purifying it, don’t panic. If it’s going to make you sick, it may take a few days to do so and may take weeks to become serious -dehydration will not be so forgiving.
Stay calm, drink what you have to and stay alive.

Who’s thirsty?