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Survival Gear You’ll Be Surprised to Know You Actually Don’t Need

Survival gear is about quality over quantity, needs over wants, functionality over whim. If you don’t need it, you shouldn’t have it. I learned this the hard way. As a kid, I remember getting my first survival kit. It was something cheap from the mall, with little more than a few tidbits. Nonetheless, I was overjoyed by my little box of fishing hooks, candles, Morse code instructions and a plastic compass. One night, I decided to test out my survival skills by camping out in the forest behind my house. Tent in one hand, box in the other, I had childish fantasies of catching fish and living like the king of the forest. I’d be completely off the grid, surviving off my own cunning.

By 9pm, I was back home, eating a reheated dinner I’d missed a few hours earlier.

My first attempt to go it alone was a total failure. In part, it was inevitable; I was, after all, just a kid. My survival box was hardly and help, either. With the exception of a small flashlight, none of the items in the box were particularly useful then, and certainly not now. In fact, if there’s one thing I’ve learned since that disappointing night, it’s that having the right gear for the job is critical.

In the past, we’ve published plenty of articles on what kind of survival gear you should have. New preppers should check out this list of basic gear. If you’re putting together your own bugout bag, this checklist is your best friend. On the other hand, it’s all too easy to forget that while there’s plenty of things you do need in a survival situation, there’s just as much survival gear that’s completely unnecessary.

In this list, we’ll be looking at survival gear that shouldn’t be in your basic survival kit or bug out. Some of these items might have once been a good idea, but are outdated by newer alternatives. Some were just bad ideas to begin with, or are just too cumbersome to be worth the effort. Whatever the reason, you don’t need any of this stuff on you in a survival situation.

Survival books

Books are a survivalist’s best friend, but even the closest of friends need time apart. As any bookworm knows, books can get pretty heavy, pretty quick. Indeed, the best place to store an important book isn’t your rucksack – it’s your mind. So instead of stuffing your bugout bag full of reading material, try to read and memorize your favorites long before SHTF. If that’s not possible, then copy anything particularly important into a more compact notebook. Alternatively, consider investing in a Kindle or similar, which can allow you to carry a library in your pocket. The downside, of course, is the need to recharge every few days.

Check out Survival Gear You'll Be Surprised to Know You Actually Don't Need at https://homesteading.com/survival-gear-youll-be-surprised-to-know-you-actually-dont-need/
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Candles

Once upon a time, every survival kit had to include a few candles. The rationale is simple: candles are lightweight, easy to light and don’t rely on electricity. They can be broken but still work, and you always know how much use you have left. Today though, candles are far too anachronistic, and there are plenty of decent flashlights that will do just fine.

Ordinary, lousy matches

Another anachronism, matches just aren’t as great as most people think they are. They’re unreliable, finicky and die the minute they get a drop of water on them. Waterproof matches are much better, but personally I’d rather invest in a reliable waterproof lighter. Throw in a cheap backup lighter or two from the gas station, and you’re good to go.

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Toiletries

I’m always shocked by how many survivalists carry basic toiletries, like deodorant in particular. To be fair, I can’t go a night without my toothpaste, so I guess we all have our weaknesses. Nonetheless, toiletries should never be considered a priority item. Realistically, a serious bugout bag can almost always go without any toiletries at all. If this sounds like a tall order, then at the very least consider investing in an all-in-one soap. One tried and true option is Dr. Bronner’s, a multi-use Castile soap. It can be used as a toothpaste, shampoo, body wash, kitchen detergent and more.

Aluminum foil

Many survivalists swear by aluminum foil – and no, it’s not to protect against the X-rays from Pluto. The idea is that aluminum foil can be used as an improvised bowl for boiling water, among other things. It’s become so popular, that aluminum foil is now a pretty common addition to many store-bought survival kits. In reality, this foil isn’t particularly reliable. For evidence of this, grab some foil right now, fold it up and carry it around in your pocket for the rest of the week. Odds are, it’ll come out a crumpled mess of shredded trash. Now ask yourself, would you really trust that foil with your life?

Canned food

I once knew an old British World War II veteran who swore by spam. “A can of spam and some crackers is all I’ll need,” he used to say. I’ll always respect him, but it’s unarguable that canned goods simply can’t be considered an appropriate food item for the modern survivalist. Dehydrated meals are simply superior by almost every measure. They’re lighter, easier to pack and can include far less waste. Plus, they’re usually easier to split up into smaller rations if necessary.

For most outdoorspeople, dehydrated meals usually boil down to either dirt cheap ramen or overpriced ready made meals from the hiking store. While both options are fine, nothing beats a DIY dehydrated meal. Dehydrating food is surprisingly easy to do, and simple to preserve and store. If you’re looking for recipes, check out our list of 15 easy things to make with a dehydrator.

Ten thousand guns

We all know that guy: he’s got an AR-15 over one shoulder, an antique AK-47 over the other, and about half a dozen side-arms in his underwear. Presumably, he also has a trolley full of ammunition in tow.

Don’t be this guy.

Sometimes, less is more, and any hunter knows that guns are pretty damn heavy. If you haven’t yet discovered this too, you will after a few hours of hiking with a rifle. Or, just watch this old MythBusters segment, which exists to remind us all that none of us will ever be the DOOM guy.

Backup items

There’s a few backup tidbits that make sense: an extra lighter, a few spare pens, batteries and the like. However, you don’t need backup versions of every piece of gear in your bugout bag. As already mentioned, one gun is just fine; so is one stove, one filter, one everything. All of your gear should already be tried, tested and guaranteed to stand up to whatever you plan on throwing at it. The only things you should consider doubling up on are small items mentioned above, or anything that you seriously think might break. For example, a spare torch or phone could make sense.

Clothing

Okay, I’m not suggesting you go naked when SHTF. Instead, just one set of clothing should do you just fine. Fashion is hardly a priority when we’re talking about survival gear, and every spare shirt is just another dead weight that will – well, leave you dead. Just bring whatever is suitable for your climate, and don’t bother with that extra pair of socks.

Hollow handle knives

Just. Please. Don’t.

In all seriousness, there are some good quality hollow knives out there. The Cold Steel Bushman is one example of a great knife that happens to have a hollow handle, but that’s not what we’re talking about here. Instead, my gripe is with hollow knives where the handle is used as a container for tidbits such as a compass or firestarter. It might sound like the perfect survival gear, but oh, how wrong you are. These knives are finicky, easy to break and create more problems than they solve. Just get a decent full tang blade, and call it a day.

Over-sized, chunky first aid kits

Those big metal boxes with red crosses on them that you see in office buildings were never intended to be moved, let alone be used as survival gear. They sit on a wall, and mind their own business until a desk jockey gets a paper cut. In a survival situation, you want something lightweight. A standard fabric pack should be fine, while a Tupperware container or similar can offer a little more protection for its contents. Either way, keep it as small as possible, and avoid metal for now.

Anything that’s already on your multi-tool

Screw drivers, hammers and mini-saws are great, but you don’t need them in a survival situation. Tools like these are heavy, and unnecessary 99 percent of the time. If you do, however, feel that you just can’t leave home without these items, then consider investing in a good quality multi-tool.

If your bugout bag looks like a toolkit, then you’ve done something wrong.

Cheap multi-tools/ Swiss Army imitations

Speaking of multi-tools, don’t buy something that will break after a day or two. Ditto for overloaded Swiss Army knives. Admittedly, many survivalists completely multi-tools altogether, noting that so many are cheap, shoddy and unreliable. This isn’t entirely true, and there are plenty of good quality multi-tools out there. Don’t be stingy, and only buy survival gear you can rely on.

Check out Survival Gear You'll Be Surprised to Know You Actually Don't Need at https://homesteading.com/survival-gear-youll-be-surprised-to-know-you-actually-dont-need/Check out Survival Gear You'll Be Surprised to Know You Actually Don't Need at https://homesteading.com/survival-gear-youll-be-surprised-to-know-you-actually-dont-need/
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Plastic eating utensils

As an avid hiker, most people I know tend to prefer plastic cutlery on the trail. It makes sense, with plastic being lightweight. New plastic products are always getting more durable, and there’s a good mix of variety. Having said that, plastic eating utensils are a waste of your money if used as survival gear. What you gain in terms of weight, you lose in terms of reliability. Sooner or later, your plastic spork is going to snap, and the plastic bowl will split down the side. For me, the latter happened when it was full of steaming hot ramen – nice. Don’t make my mistake, and stick to metal.

Wire saws

Good quality wire saws are okay, but sadly the market is overwhelmingly flooded with cheapies. As a piece of survival gear, they’re overrated. Almost every store-bought survival kit nowadays contains a wire saw; most will snap within an hour of intense use. So unless you’re a hitman planning on garroting someone in a dimly lit apartment, just buy a knife.

Excessive cutlery

While we’re on the topic of cutlery, let’s talk about excessive eating items. You don’t need a cooking pot, bowl, fork, dining knife and spoon. Instead, all you need is a solid cooking pot, a fork and the ability to slurp like a pro. Alternatively, Korean-style metal chopsticks work great, too. They’re chronically underrated by us westerners, and are somewhat more versatile than a boring old fork.

Flare guns

Unless you’re planning on an extended vacation on a desert island, you probably don’t need a flare gun in your backpack.

Flare guns are heavy, and almost always unneeded. If you really find yourself in a situation where you need to bring attention to yourself, just use a small, handheld mirror. A mirror doesn’t need to be loaded.

Mallets

Some people like to use mallets for hammering in their tent pegs. Putting aside the fact that a pure bugout shouldn’t actually include a tent, there’s almost never a need for a mallet. Even if you’re planning on bringing full camping gear for some reason, the mallet will still be a dead weight. Unless you’re camping in a parking lot, tent pegs can easily be hammered down with a rock. If you’re having trouble with this, then you might have bigger problems.

Anything longer than your forearm

No list can cover absolutely everything, and I’m sure I’ve missed something here. So as a general rule, you should seriously question carrying any bulky items. If it’s longer than your forearm, taller than your knees or otherwise just damnably heavy, then you might want to reconsider carrying it.

Your ukulele/hipster guitar/bongo drums/pan pipes

It’s been a long day, and everyone is sitting around the fire, exhausted. Then, that hipster in your group starts strumming some tunes on his organic, fair-trade ukulele. It’s usually around that moment when everyone else loses the will to live.

Want to know more about survival skills? You’ll love these articles!
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Self Sufficiency

NYC Adds Nearly 4,000 People Who Never Tested Positive To Coronavirus Death Tolls

New York City added nearly 4,000 people who never tested positive for the coronavirus to its death toll Tuesday, bringing coronavirus-related deaths in the city to around 10,000 people.

The city decided to add 3,700 people to its death tolls, who they “presumed” to have died from the virus, according to a report from The New York Times. The additions increased the death toll in the U.S. by 17%, according to the Times report, and included people who were suffering from symptoms of the virus, such as intense coughing and a fever.

The report stated that Democratic New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio decided over the weekend to change the way the city is counting deaths.

“In the heat of battle, our primary focus has been on saving lives,” de Blasio press secretary Freddi Goldstein told the Times.“As soon as the issue was raised, the mayor immediately moved to release the data.”

The post New York City added nearly 4,000 people who never tested positive for the coronavirus to its death toll appeared first on Daily Caller

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Self Sufficiency

How To Make Lacto-Fermented Sauerkraut In A Mason Jar

The thing about homesteading is you get to create your own ingredient right from scratch! Cheese, yogurt, butter and now sauerkraut, a delightfully sour and crunchy ingredient you can use on your meals — or consume by itself — while on a homestead, or while facing this health crisis!

This homemade sauerkraut is a great meal because it has a long shelf life. You can either make plain sauerkraut or mix it with herbs and spices. In this tutorial let us make Lacto-fermented sauerkraut that preserves all the good probiotics in a jar, good for your guts.

So how to make sauerkraut in a mason jar?

RELATED: How To Make Buttermilk On Your Homestead

Delicious Sauerkraut Recipe Every Homesteader Should Know

Why Make Sauerkraut?

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Not only does sauerkraut spoil a long time, but it is also a meal in itself, and it is also easy to make! You don’t need to be an expert cook, all you need to do is follow these simple steps.

So let us get started. Here are the steps in making sauerkraut in a mason jar.

Ingredients:

  • 1 head of cabbage or 2 1/2 lbs cabbage
  • 1 tablespoon of salt

Tools Needed:

  • knife
  • bowl
  • mason jar
  • smaller jar
  • rubber band

Step 1: Wash & Clean the Tools & Ingredients



Wash all the equipment and utensils you need. Wash your hands too.

You don’t want to mix your sauerkraut with bad bacteria, anything that is going to make you sick.

Next, remove the faded leaves from your cabbage. Cut off the roots and the parts that don’t seem fresh.

Step 2: Cut the Cabbage Into Quarters & Slice Into Strips



Cut your cabbage into quarters and remove the core. Then, slice it into strips.

Step 3: Place in a Bowl & Sprinkle With Salt



Put the stripped cabbage into a bowl. Sprinkle the cabbage with 1 tablespoon of salt.

TIP: Use canning salt or sea salt. Iodized salt will make it taste different and may not ferment the cabbage.

RELATED: Homemade Yogurt Recipe

Step 4: Massage the Cabbage



Massage the cabbage for five minutes or more to get the juice out.

TIP: You’ll know it’s ready when you see a bit of juice at the bottom of the bowl and will look similar to coleslaw.

Step 5: Press Cabbage Into the Mason Jar



Add the cabbage to the mason jar gradually. Press it in hard to allow the juice to come out. Do this every time you add about a handful of cabbage.

IMPORTANT: Food should be covered by the liquid to promote fermentation. Add any excess liquid from the bowl to the jar.

Step 6: Press a Smaller Jar Into the Mason Jar



You want to squeeze every ounce of that juice from the cabbage. To do this place the mason jar in a bowl and get a smaller jar.

Fill it with water or marble to make it heavy. Press it into the bigger mason jar. Allow any juices to rise to the surface.

Step 7: Cover the Jars With Cloth & Tie With Rubber Band



Leave the small jar on. To keep your jars clean from annoying insects and irritating debris, cover your jars with a clean cloth. Then, use a rubber band to tie the cloth and the jars together, putting them in place.

Step 8: Set Aside & Check Daily

Set it aside in a cool dry place, away from direct sunlight. Check the water level daily. It should always be above the cabbage.

Step 9: Taste Your Sauerkraut & Keep at Cool Temperatures

Homemade Sauerkraut Cumin Juniper | How To Make Lacto-Fermented Sauerkraut In A Mason Jar

After about five days, you can taste your sauerkraut. If the taste is to your liking, tightly cover it with the lid and store in the fridge or cellar.

NOTE: If after five days it’s still not your desired taste, leave it for a few more days. This will allow the fermentation process to continue.

You can now enjoy your sauerkraut in a mason jar. Enjoy its goodness! You can use it as a side dish or mix it with your favorite sandwich.

Things to Remember in Making Sauerkraut

  • Store away from direct sunlight and drafts.
  • Colder weather will make the process longer. Spring is the best time to make them since the warmth helps activate the fermentation.
  • Always make sure that the cabbage is below the water level during the entire fermentation process.
  • If the water level decreases during the fermentation process, you can make a brine and add it.

Let us watch this video from Kristina Seleshanko on how to make delicious Lacto-fermented sauerkraut in a mason jar!

So there you have it! Making Lacto-fermented sauerkraut in a mason jar is as easy as slicing the cabbage into strips. Remember that as long it remains unopened, your sauerkraut can last for months. Best of all, you can partner this sauerkraut in many recipes.

What do you think of this homemade recipe? Share your best sauerkraut recipe in the comments section below!

Fellow homesteaders, do you want to help others learn from your journey by becoming one of our original contributors? Write for us!

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Self Sufficiency

9 SPRING VEGETABLES FOR YOUR GARDEN

Having plants in the house will bring peace to people. Having a little garden with vegetables is even better! You can grow these vegetables in your backyard garden easily as well!

RELATED: Microgreens Growing Guide

In this article:

  1. Tomato
  2. Eggplant
  3. Beet
  4. Spinach
  5. Pea
  6. Carrot
  7. Radish
  8. Cauliflower
  9. Asparagus

Growing veggies in your garden will give you an opportunity to understand what you eat and value it more. Early spring is when most vegetables are being planted. Keep reading to learn about 9 spring vegetables that anyone can grow in their garden!

Tomato

Tomato is the most popular garden vegetable in the States! There are different varieties to choose from. Tomatoes need to be planted in early spring because they won’t survive a frost.

Because tomatoes are consumed daily, try adding them to your garden! They’re not difficult to grow either.

Eggplant

Eggplants are known to have low-calorie, vitamins, minerals, and nutrients. Plus, they are delicious! So why not plant them in your garden?

Eggplants shouldn’t be planted too early because they won’t be able to survive a frost. So you could consult an expert in your area before you plant your eggplants.

Beets

Beets are known to be a superfood for its various health benefits. They’re easier to grow in the garden, usually around late March or early April.

If the weather is always cool, beets will keep getting bigger and bigger. Once the weather starts to warm up, you’ll need to harvest them, or they’ll go to waste.

Spinach

Spinach is a delicious early spring veggie, and it’s also very beneficial for health. And it’s not difficult to grow spinach in your garden!

Spinach needs cold weather to grow. Getting spinach to grow is easy, but keeping it growing will require some extra care.

Pea

Peas are usually planted in late April. Peas will die in freezing temperatures, but they also won’t survive the heat either. So make sure you plant your peas in early spring.

Peas are widely used in many different ways, and there are different types of peas. The soil you’ll be planting your peas should be suitable for them, so make sure you ask while buying seeds.

Carrot

There are different types of carrots, but regardless of their size and color, it’s a fact that carrots are both delicious and rich in vitamins.

They’re root vegetables, so with proper sun and watering, they can be picked up as baby carrots as well.

Radish

A radish is an excellent option for beginners because it doesn’t require too much care. Radish is easy to harvest.

Radish grows fast, so it’s better to keep an eye on it after a few weeks. Radish usually is grown pest-free, but there’s always the chance of unwanted guests, so watch out for worms. Radish can be eaten raw or can be added to garnish recipes.

Cauliflower

Cauliflower isn’t the easiest vegetable to grow at home, but it is very popular.

Cauliflower grows better in colder weather, so before you plant it, consider the climate of your garden. Cauliflower can be eaten raw or cooked, and it is known to be very beneficial for health.

Asparagus

Freshly picked, tender asparagus is very delicious!

Asparagus plants get more productive with each harvest, and mature asparagus harvest can last for months! Make sure you plant them at the correct time, or else they might go to waste.

All the vegetables listed above are great for your healthy diet, and it’s fun to watch them grow. So don’t miss out on the opportunity to grow your own veggies and eat healthy this spring!

So tell us which veggies will you be growing this spring? Tell us in the comments section!

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