Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Quick Pick: Portable Stove

     A portable propane camping stove can make a great addition to your New York City dwelling for use during or after an emergency.  It can be very helpful if we lose electric and or gas for anywhere from a day to a month, and can take up virtually no room at all.  It allows you to be self-reliant if necessary and do many useful things if stuck with no utilities, especially during the colder months.  Some helpful applications for your stove would be: 
  • Heat up your supply of canned foods (though you should stock many canned goods that can be safely eaten cold).
  • Make water potable. 
  • Sanitizes dirty rags and or clothes by boiling them. 
  • Allows you to make hot 'moral boosting' drinks like coffee and tea. 
  • Spot bathe with a warm pot of potable water.  You do that by dipping a clean rag in the water and wiping down your body with water and soap.  The key is to not soak yourself, but just use enough water to help the soap lather, and then enough water to help wash off the soap. 
  • Heat up your apartment if the temperature is extremely cold outside, though this should be a last resort use.  There are better products for this, and definitely better/safer methods to conserve heat in apartments to keep you warm.
     You will find your stove most useful in short- to mid- length disasters as you can only store so much propane.  Laws in New York only allow you to store two 16 oz. canisters (I’m not 100% on this one, but I’m pretty sure I read that somewhere.)  The small portable camp canister can last you for a few months at a time if you properly ration the fuel.  If you decide to store more than 2 canisters, keep in mind fire safety issues.  If there is a fire in your apartment building, propane canisters could go off like a bomb adding a much bigger risk to you and your family’s safety.  You should also keep in mind where you store the tanks.  Away form where you sleep is suggested.

     If you wanted to break the law (tsk. tsk.) and have a long-term supply of propane, you can store a 20 lbs. propane cylinder, though I really don’t suggest that at all as it could be dangerous and unnecessary.  If you have a porch or balcony you could store the large tank out there, but if you do have that luxury I would suggest keeping a cheap charcoal grill out there instead.  Make sure to have a bag or two of charcoal as well.  The pros to charcoal grills are that you can burn more than just charcoal (i.e. furniture, books, etc.)

     Safety will obviously be a major concern while using and storing an outdoor stove while indoors.  Like most things dangerous you will have to be extra careful, and make sure to always follow a set of protocol.  Most propane stoves will not have instructions for indoor use so there will be a few key things to remember; 
  1. Make sure to properly ventilate the room. - You can do so by using the stove near an open window, or even possibly on your fire escape.  The one concern with being near open windows will be security.  If the disaster lasts more than a few days, crime will run rampant in Manhattan.  You will have to be much more covert while cooking, and showing others you have food.  One option, if available to you, could be cooking near a window with no entry from the outside (i.e. seventh floor window opening out into an ally.)
  2. Keep all flammable objects away from stove. – Make sure you cook somewhere where the stove will not catch things on fire.  One of the best places should be near or on your existing stove in the apartment. 
  3. Make sure the stove is stable and secure. – Pretty obvious, just try and make sure you keep the stove on a stable platform and make sure no one can bump into it.  Once again, the best place will probably be on your stove as the family will already have the body awareness of that area being for cooking. 
  4. Only cook items in a pot. – Don’t heat your marshmallows over the fire please, you’re not camping… 
  5. Use a lid on the pots you cook with. – This will heat things up much faster, and help you conserve precious fuel.
     One last thing I wanted to mention was what I mentioned above about using the stove to heat your apartment.  Though you could do this, and should if you’re about to freeze to death, I don’t suggest it.  There are many alternatives to keeping you and your family warm without having to resort to using an unsafe product intended for outdoor use.  I will do a post on a few methods to keeping you warm in your apartment without the use of unsafe fuels or traditional utilities either tomorrow or the next day.  

     Below is a great two burner stove sold by Coleman that would be perfect for most small families.  You can also look into some of the very compact, efficient 'pocket stoves' that are meant for camping if space is an issue.  The "MSR pocket stove" I link below is a great one person portable camping stove, and can save you a bunch of room if you just use it store it and a case of small fuel canisters.  If you have been prepping for a while, then your B.O.B. should have a small stove in it that you could use.  I suggest the propane stoves, for ease of use and convenience for two or more people.  If stuck bugging-in for a long period of time, having one of these will make a bad situation, much easier to handle. 


Self-Defense: Pepper Spray

     This new series of posts is going to be about what I suggest you own, and use for self-defense as a New Yorker.  New Yorker's are a bit limited in defense options due to the strict laws we have.  These posts are meant to help keep you, and those you love protected in the most legal, realistic way possible, helping you ultimately decide what you will choose as your self-defense options.  I will be touching upon all aspects of self-defense from day-to-day personal defense and training, to long-term home defense.  I will also do my best to explain the safety, and responsibility issues you will face when owning an item that is intended to harm others.

     Pepper spray (also known by the brand name ‘Mace’) is a very effective item that helps you debilitate and escape from a potential attacker.  It does so by spraying an inflammatory agent affecting a person’s breathing, vision, and skin for anywhere from 15 minutes to over an hour, allowing you to make a hasty retreat.  The active ingredient in most pepper sprays is called Oleoresin Capsicum (OC).  The amount of OC that is in the product effects how potent the spray will be.  There are many producers of pepper spray on the market these days, most are pretty generic and will get the job done in most cases.

     Unfortunately for us in our bustling metropolis, we are limited in what kind of pepper spray we can legally carry, and how much OC it has in it.  We can legally carry, and buy online, pepper spray that is made to deter animals.  This type of pepper spray has a very little amount of OC, (or whatever active ingredient the EPA deems humane) and is not as potent so it will not harm the animal long-term.  This type of pepper spray can be all you need to neutralize an assailant, but leaves me a bit skeptical on its effectiveness against someone who is mentally ill or is on some type of drug (as most would-be attackers typically are.)  It also makes me wonder how long its debilitating effects will last.  "Mace" makes a dog pepper spray that I link below, and though the reviews are not great, it is a legal option.  The other spray "Halt", is what you see attached to most mail carrier's bags or belt.  You can carry bear spray in New York, but you will definitely run into problems with its size, as it will be hard to conceal.  Also, the size of the container actually makes it illegal to carry in Manhattan.  As a side note, if you are camping in the bush during bear season it is legal to carry a big can of bear spray in the state of New York, and probably not a bad idea to do so.

      A few more laws and restrictions that you should be aware of if you do decide to buy pepper spray for you or your loved ones self-defense are; 
  • You need to be 18 years or older to buy, and or use pepper spray.
  • You cannot have a history of felony convictions or assaults. 
  • You can only buy the spray at a gun dealer or an authorized pharmacy. 
  • You have to complete a form with your name, address, date of birth. 
  • You cannot transport the spray into another state. 
  • You can’t give your pepper spray to a minor (sorry young teenagers, no self-protection for you.)
     Another quick thing to mention is that it states in NY law that you should carry around the directions of use the spray came with.   Most companies place these instructions on the bottles, but to be on the safe side, also carry around any printed materials the spray came with in your purse or EDC system.

     As with anything potentially harmful to others, you need to do your homework on the proper use and safety precautions of pepper spray.  One of the most common problems with it is that people end up getting splashed (a foam based pepper spray alleviates that problem) or they breathe in the spray that they are using to debilitate an attacker causing the same debilitating affects to themselves.  As most situations will be different, here are some things to keep in mind when using the spray; 
  • Try and take a step or two back from the attacker. Best case scenario is to spray them from about two to three feet away.
  • When about to spray, do your best to remember to hold your breath. 
  • Do your best to shield your eyes (glasses would be helpful if you wear them.) 
  • Remember while trying to shield your eyes, to aim it at the assailants head and face. 
  • As pepper spray is a deterrent, when the attacker is subdued, run away to get help.
     Having done extensive research on different sprays and companies, I have found this product to be the best ‘legal’ option for us New Yorker’s.  It comes in a few different sizes, and is fairly easy to find, and buy.  The site for the above product also has some great info on pepper spray laws in NY, as well as a location finder for a dealer.  Here is a link to another site with tons of useful info as well.  Read over this page to explain the different applications of foams, foggers, and forced-cone type sprays.

     You can buy pepper spray for your out of town relatives (i.e. non-New York residents) from online stores like Amazon.  Maybe even buy two for them so you can have them ship you the extra one in a new box, or you can pick them up in person the next time you visit.  Not that I suggest that because it is totally illegal, and can get you arrested and fined if caught.  Also keep in mind that if you do use an illegal spray on a would-be attacker, you could face potential legal problems afterwards.  If you were to do something like that, then I might suggest the Cold Steel Inferno Pepper Spray I link from Amazon below, as it is a very effective spray.  But I know you would not do that, as you believe that our right to defend ourselves and our property were something our forefather’s put in The Constitution because they didn’t realize we would be protected by our impeccable police, and government.  Allowing us to ignorantly, I mean, blissfully let them take care of our personal safety, and security while we sit back and watch TV.


Friday, November 26, 2010

Quick Pick: Ponch Liner

     I have mentioned in a previous post that I grew up with a former Marine father who had bought many of his military items home after serving in Vietnam.  His poncho liner (at the time, I knew it as the comfy camouflage blanket) ended up being one of my favorite blankets, and for good reason.

     Poncho liners (also lovingly known as Wubbie's in the military) are military issue multi-purpose blankets that are typically made of a nylon shell with a polyester insulating filling.  They are durable, warm in the winter, cool in the summer, and dry extremely fast.  Originally they were intended to be added to your poncho as a liner/blanket to help keep you a bit warmer during cold, wet weather.  It has strings on all corners to help you tie the blanket to the poncho or to use in conjunction with your poncho as a waterproof shelter or makeshift sleeping bag (the strings also helped me build many an indoor fort as a child.) 

     Due to their light-weight, and how small the poncho liner can be folded up, they are great to have on hand especially while camping or hiking in the bush.  They make perfect sleeping bag liners, as the polyester helps 'wick' moisture from your body.  They're also ideal as a ground mat for sitting on the ground as the nylon shell is naturally resistant to dirt and moisture.  

     There really are a million and one uses for these blankets, and after trying it you will be amazed at how comfortable, and useful this little gem is.  The one problem you might find will be matching your apartments furniture to the camo color.  Luckily camo is in style right now in fashion, so you might be starting a new furniture trend...


Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving

      I hope all of you have a wonderful Thanksgiving.  Though it is often a day thought of as a ‘football watching, eat till you burst’ kind of day, I prefer to observe it how it was most likely intended; a day to be with family and friends.  During this day I like to surround myself with those who I love.  It helps to remind me why I prep, and who I prep for.  I’m more of a “glass half full” kind of person, and try not to get lost in the doom and gloom of survivalism.

     We all prepare for different reasons.  By reminding yourself during the holiday season why you prep, and by reassessing your prepping needs and wants, you can help refocus your efforts.  Focus is one of the most powerful states of mind a human can attain.  While focusing on a goal, you are unstoppable, and by continually reminding yourself of your focus, you can truly achieve great things.

     I personally take this time to remind myself why I do this in the first place; to allow myself, and those I love continue to be confident in the fact that no matter what happens, we will do our best to survive with the knowledge and supplies we have acquired.  I especially take solace during the holidays that my knowledge can be used to help other, less informed (unprepared) New Yorker’s through whatever disaster may occur to us in our big beautiful city.

     Make an effort to remember what Thanksgiving is all about this year; love and appreciation.  Appreciate the good in your life, and love those around you.


Friday, November 19, 2010

The Neck Knife

     My post today is about my recommended knife carrying system while in the bush; the neck knife.  I would like to explain in a bit more detail what this system is, and why I use and suggest it.

     The neck knife most likely came from Scandinavian countries.  They often wear their knives around the chest area by either using a necklace attached to the sheath or by placing the sheath on a button near the top of their overalls.  Many traditional Scandinavian countries had this button placed on their clothing just for this purpose.  The reason they place the knife there is so they could get to the knife quickly and efficiently if they fell into frozen water.  They could then use the knife to help pull them out of the ice by sticking it into the harder ice around them or by chipping through the ice to escape.

      The Scandinavians must have quickly realized the benefits of keeping their knives around the neck because many of the Scandinavian knife companies like Mora, and Roselli make many of their 3 and 4 inch blades exceptionally light.  Some weighing in at barely 3 ounces, with the sheath!  Most of these knives are made of either a hardened carbon steel, or stainless steel.  I prefer carbon steel as I’ve explained in my past post about knives here.  If you live near the beach, or often use your knife in salt water, then I might suggest stainless steel as it will be more resistant to rust.

     These days, many outdoor guru’s, and survivalist’s use a neck knife for slightly different reasons, though it would still help if you fell into a frozen body of water.  Mainly it is worn around the neck for convince, but there is much more to it than that and I would like to go over some of the benefits here;
  • Conveniently located - Why search around in your pocket or under your shirt/jacket when you can place the knife on the outside of your clothing.
  • Can be concealed easily – Great for New Yorker’s, even if you’re upstate, as knives are perceived as dangerous, and mainly used by criminals in this part of the country.  It’s still easily accessible if under your clothing, more so then a belt knife anyway.  I mean in the bush by the way, don't walk around the city streets with a knife under your shirt, it will most likely be considered illegal because it has a pointed tip.
  • Can be accessed by one hand – Because the knife is light, you can use one hand to pull it from the sheath. 
  • Knife is on you at all times – If you change clothing, you can leave the knife on and not forget it in the process.  Belt knives have to be removed if you change pants or belts. 
  • Wear whatever pants or shorts you want – You no longer have to wear a pair of pants with pockets, or a belt.  You can also wear light shorts because you no longer have to worry about attaching the knife to your belt. 
     There are many neck knives on the market right now, and more and more companies seem to be jumping on the wagon (which is not a bad thing.)  I use and suggest one of the variations of carbon steel Mora for use as a neck knife.  The 4 inch S-2 is the perfect blend of size, weight, and function in my opinion.  It is also durable, and since it is polished can be used as a signaling devise similar to a mirror if lost in the bush.

      You can turn your neck knife into a bit of a survival necklace if you don't mind a little bit of added weight.  I prefer what minimalist survivalist Cody Lundin does and make the knife sheath a mini kit.  The idea is to always have a knife, signaling devise, way of starting a fire, and container all close at hand easily accessible in an emergency.  He suggests wrapping a lighter on the bottom of the sheath with duck tape, as well as a non-lubricated condom.  The duck tape can then be reused if need be.  You make the necklace out of 550 paracord, which allows you to have cordage as well.  Last you can attach a whistle to the paracord as you should always have a whistle around your neck while in the bush anyway.  You can attach a compass as well, I prefer to use a separate compass around my neck so the metal from the knife does not interfere with the compass's reading.  You can also substitute a fire steel, for the lighter as it will be much more reliable, and add a small LED light.  Below is a picture of what mine looks like when worn, as well as what it looks like up close and some Amazon links to make your mini kit.  *Author's Edit* I have upgraded my neck knife a bit and added a cut piece of bicycle inner tube to hold the lighter in place.  Inner tubes make excellent emergency tinder as once lit, they will burn hot for a minute or two.  I've also added a foil wrapped iodine pill that can be used to purify a liter of water in a pinch.  I still wrap the condom with duct tape.  So now I have a knife kit that allows me to make fire with good waterproof tinder, purify water, water container, signaling device, cord, and has about 20 inches of multifunctional duct tape.

Here are a few links to YouTube of a few different variations on neck knives:



Thursday, November 18, 2010


     Sorry about the lack of posts, but my book is not going to write itself.  Today, as a treat, I'm going to write about something that I know many people are fond of (I definitely am); knives!

     As a child, I had an affinity for all things military.  My father is a former Marine and willingly enlisted to serve our country during The Vietnam War.  After serving, he returned home to continue his life, and start a family.  Being more knowledgeable about military gear now that I'm older, I have to laugh about all the different things around the house that were originally intended for his military career.  Some of my favorite blankets growing up were actually "poncho liners" (I still keep one of these in the apartment as it is one of the most comfortable blankets I've ever owned) and the uncomfortable, but exceptionally warm, military issue wool blend blankets.  He allowed me to use his old medals, and uniform's to help my very active imagination while playing "Army".  He also allowed me to own a few pocket knives which I cherished.  In fact, I still own my first Swiss Army Knife till this day, and the box it came in.

     If you read this blog, you know I am a firm believer in always having a knife of some sort as part of your EDC or EDB.  Unfortunately knives have got a bad wrap over the last few decades, especially in places like NYC.  The simple fact is that they are, and always have been, an extremely valuable tool.  Knives are a part of our culture as human beings, and a tool that has helped shape our modern society.  Talk to some of the older generations about how school children always had a pocket knife on them, and how going on an airplane with a large sheathed fixed-blade knife was normal, and acceptable.  Do knives have a dark side?  Sure.  Bad people use them for bad things, but that is unfortunately the case for most tools.  Axe's and hammer's have been used as murder weapons many times.  Just like the debate for firearms; "firearms don't kill people, people kill people."  The same applies to any object that can hurt or kill someone.

     I have to remind you not to be stupid, and obey local laws.  In New York, our laws are a bit vague, but pretty easy to figure out;  No auto assist knives (i.e. switch blade, or spring release.)  A knife has to have a blade that is no larger then four inches, or about the size of your palm.  And here is were it gets a bit tricky, no knife should have a sharp pointed edge.  The way I see it, the last one is so the police officer can use discretion as to if they see the knife as a tool, or as a weapon.  I have never had a problem with my Leatherman, but if I did I would explain that I use it during my job.  Yes I would be lying, but I would approach it in a submissive, friendly way.  If you choose to carry a small pocket knife like a Swiss Army Knife, then it should never be out of your pocket as to draw attention.  New Yorker's are a bit jumpy when it comes to things they determine a weapon.  You should never have your fixed-blade on you when you leave the house, unless it is an emergency or you are going into the bush.  It should be concealed or in your bag in either case.

     Now that I got that out of the way, I can get into the meat and potatoes of this post; fixed-blades.  NYC may have laws about carrying big knives, but none on buying and owning them. (Thankfully!  Not so lucky when it comes to gun ownership though, more on that in a future post.)  When shopping for a fixed-blade knife, rule number one is to make sure it's a full-tang blade.  Full-tang blade knifes are when the metal of the blade goes through the middle of the handle and ends at the bottom.  This makes the knife much stronger, and keeps the design simple.  The less parts there are, the better.  Next thing I suggest looking at is what the blade is made of.  There are a plethora of metals on the market these days, each one stronger and more expensive then the next.  Strong is great and all, as it can take a beating when you attempt to do something stupid with your delicate blade like cut down a tree, just like you saw on TV!  (Don't use your blade for stupid things please, if you break it, your screwed.)  Strong is not great when you have to sharpen the blade after it becomes dull and all you have is a ceramic rod or a wet rock to sharpen your blade with.  Unless your a master sharpener, you will have a real problem getting a fine edge on your knife if it's made of a tough metal.  I personally prefer, and suggest carbon steel.  It is a softer metal, which makes it much easier to sharpen.  It also has the added benefit of creating a spark to start a fire if struck with a sharp object like a rock edge.  Carbon steel needs a bit more attention then its harder brethren, and should be dried before stored.  You should also do your best not to abuse it by attempting to cut down trees, throwing it or digging it into the ground.  

     The last thing you should look for is a good sharpening bevel or primary grind.  A bevel is where the edge begins, typically in the center of the knife, and gets finer until it becomes the fine edge.  Unfortunately, many modern knife makers no longer use the bevel.  It has become decoration, as it serves no other purpose.  Modern knives have a secondary grind of the edge making it sharp, but hard to sharpen.  A wedge or chisel shaped point is easier to sharpen as the bevel sits into the sharpener, taking the guess work out of trying to figure out where the edge is suppose to be.  A master sharpener can put an extremely fine secondary grind on a blade making the knife super fine, but most of us are not masters, and I find that the easier to sharpen in the field, the better.  

     Which brings me to why I don't suggest using a folding knife as your primary knife.  I am not a fan of products that have a lot of working parts.  The most functional tools in the world are simplistic in design, and don't rely on many parts.  The same should apply to your knife, as it's one of the most important pieces of equipment you can have on you in the bush or during a disaster. 

     So where does that leave us?  A fixed carbon steel, full-tang blade with a wide bevel.  The beautiful part of carbon steel blades, is that they tend to be very reasonably priced.  In fact Mora, a Swedish knife company, makes an excellent assortment of carbon steel blades priced in the $15-$20 range.  I have owned and used Mora's blades for a few years and I am very impressed with the quality of their blades.  Their carbon steel knives come in all different shapes and sizes.  I suggest the blade be no longer then 4 inches if you are going to use it as a neck knife.  If you need something a little bit bigger, Mora offer's a few larger sizes as well.  Here is a great web site that has a full catalog of Mora knives, as well as many other Swedish knife companies that I suggest looking at.  If your new to knives, the Mora Clipper I list below, is a great starter knife, as well as a great back-up knife.  You can also find my favorite Mora knife the S-2 here.  Since carbon steel blades are very reasonably priced, I suggest owning a few.  The following are a list of a few that Amazon offers. 


Sunday, November 7, 2010

Super Fabric: Gore-Tex

      Gore-Tex is used in many products these days, from hats to boots.  It is one of the original technical fabrics and now has a few different variations.  Billed as a "waterproof and breathable" fabric, it allows the moisture vapor from the body to escape through tiny holes throughout the fabric that are too small to allow larger water molecules such as rain or snow through.  Many companies these days have their own versions of 'breathable fabrics' such as Marmot and The North Face.  While these items are cheaper then 'Gore-Tex' made products, they still don't quite compare. 

     When shopping for a water/wind-proof outer shell jacket I definitely suggest Gore-Tex.  Gore-Tex offers four variations when it comes to their outerwear;
  • Performance Shell: For everyday outdoor activities.  It is water/windproof and is the most versatile of the group.
  • Paclite: Jackets made from Paclite are just that; light, and can pack up into little spaces.  This is my favorite variation for New Yorker's as it fits in your ECB relatively well, and it makes a great rain/wind protecting outer shell.
  • Soft Shell: This version is helpful as it allows you to skip carrying extra layers.  It is water/windproof with the added benefit of being lined for warmth on the inside.  I personally like having a few layers, as it allows me to 'fine tune' my clothing's 'microclimate', so I'm not very fond of this type of Gore-Tex.
  • Pro Shell: Jackets made from this are for extreme conditions.  It has a two or three layer version.  Though most New Yorker's would not see the conditions these jackets are made for, they are a great investment as they will last a long-time, and are durable as hell.  Jackets made from this type of Gore-Tex tend to be expensive, but are worth the investment if you are often outdoors in the cold, you ski, or your an avid hiker/backpacker.
      Gore-Tex fabrics can be found in many boots, and shoes these days too.  I suggest any boots that you buy for hiking and backpacking have some form of Gore-Tex in them, as it can make a really big difference.  You find Gore-Tex in running sneakers these days, and though it is a nice touch, I feel it is an unnecessary cost to an already expensive product.  Running sneakers with Gore-Tex are for people who do a lot of trail running, not street runners.  There are a few different versions of Gore-Tex fabrics made for footwear;
  • Extended: This is for running and trail running type shoes.  It is meant for high activity in warmer climates.
  • Performance: This type of Gore-Tex is made for shoes that you would wear to get around town, or for light hiking.  It is by far the most versatile of the group, and is great for shoes or boots that you wear often.  Shoes made of this type of Gore-Tex are what I wear most of the year.
  • Insulated: This is the Gore-Tex fabric that you would look for in a hiking or backpacking boot.  This makes those big, bulky boots much more comfortable, breathable, and waterproof.  Never buy your hiking boots without it!  I will be doing a post on what makes a good hiking, and backpacking boot soon.
     You can also find Gore-Tex in items like hats, and gloves, but I still prefer some of the good ol' reliable fabrics like wool for those items.  You can read what I suggest for a hat here.  And you can read my post on my suggested layered glove system here.  Gore-Tex gloves are convenient and I definitely love how functional they are, but I still prefer the system I linked above. 

     As you can tell if you read this blog often, I'm a big fan of Gore-Tex.  In my opinion it really is a "super fabric" and once you own a product with a Gore-Tex fabric in it, you really start to appreciate how amazing it is.  You do pay for this technology though, as some Gore-Tex items can get pretty expensive.  It also needs a bit more maintenance to function properly.  The garment needs to be kept clean and free of dirt as to not block the small holes from doing their job and letting the moisture dissipate from your body.  You also need to replace the DWR (durable water repellent) coating on the outside of the item every few years which can be done by getting a simple to use spray.  Boots and shoes should be kept clean as well, and you should replace the DWR every six months.  I suggest buying a Gore-Tex coat and or pants for an outer shell, as its usefulness in and out of the city will be priceless.  As with everything else you buy in store and online, read the reviews and make sure the item is well made and worth the price.

     Here is a link to the Gore-Tex homepage if you would like more info.  The site lets you find what type of Gore-Tex product you want and gives you a list of all the companies that make it.  I suggest checking it out.  Below is the DWR that you spray on your product every few months, and soap you can use to clean them.


Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Power Gel

     There are many power gels on the market right now, all touting different things.  Most people use it as fuel for long distance activities like running and biking.  These gels give you instant energy, and are easily transportable.  I personally don't like the taste of the gels you can buy, and I definitely don't recommend you buy them.  Not to mention, it drives me crazy to see all the discarded 'empty' gel packets all over the Central Park running paths.

     What if I was to tell you there's a cheaper, much tastier option for you that takes minimal effort on your part?  Well there is (obviously!)  It is not my idea, and all credit needs to go to Ron Fontaine over at Survival Topics.  He also has a great survival store linked here, where I buy my Firesteel and paracord from.  His site has a ton of information on outdoor survival that I suggest you read when you get time, if you are into outdoor survival.  Ron calls his little gel "Survival Power Gel".  He gets into why you would want to use it, what it does for your body, and how to make it.  I suggest reading his article here if you are interested in knowing the in's and out's.

     I have used this gel for over a year, and I make sure to always have some on me.  It is in my ECB, and I also keep a tube in my B.O.B.  It makes a perfect survival food.  It stays for long periods of time, it is lightweight, gives you instant calories and energy, plus it tastes amazing.  Beside its intended emergency purposes, I often use it as a 'quick meal'.  If I just couldn't get to breakfast or lunch due to a busy day, a shot of this stuff is like having instant energy in a tube.  Because it is broken down by your body so quickly and efficiently.  It stops hunger pangs, and regulates your blood sugar in one shot.

     This gel is also ideal to have while hiking or backpacking.  I have used it while backpacking a 25 mile path in The Catskills called Devil's Path.  A quick shot when it has been a while between meals really helps raise energy levels, and it is also a great moral booster.

     The way I suggest you make this gel is to buy a 16 oz. jar of honey from your local health food store, or online.  A 21 oz. bottle of brown rice syrup, and a small bottle of blackstrap molasses.  The ratio is 50% brown rice syrup, 30% honey, and 20% blackstrap.  Pour all of the honey and brown rice syrup into a pot, that you have set up to double boil (double boil is when you put a larger pot on the stove, with a little bit of water, then place a smaller pot inside of it, so the smaller pot can get hot, but does not touch the flames.)  Keep at a low temperature, as your not cooking the ingredients, but instead your heating them up so they are a little bit easier to work with.  Put into the mixture only about a quarter of the bottle of blackstrap molasses, and a little less then a teaspoon of salt (added benefit of electrolyte replacement.)  Mix it all together and let cool for a few minutes.  Place the finished product in a food safe squeeze tube like the one I use, and suggest below.  If you have left over, and you definitely will, put it back in the honey and brown rice jars.  Leave the tops off the containers and allow the gel to cool for a few hours.  

     This is great stuff, and I thank Survival Topics for the idea.  It has been a lifesaver many times when I just can't find time in my day for a meal.  Not only can it save you from everyday hunger, but this amazing little gel could one day "save your life" while in the bush or in a long-term disaster situation.  No ECB, B.O.B., or survival kit should be without!

You can also buy these items 'bulk' from this website.  I like having a large quantity of honey in the apartment, because it really is natures 'super food'.