Home Made Fire Making Kit -By Grumpy G

After I submitted my article “How To Make Water Proof Matches,” Andrew asked me if I’d be willing to post some pics and descriptions of my home made fire making kit.  I said sure.  So, for your viewing pleasure and critique, here is my

Home Made Fire Making Kit – Contents

Home Made Fire Making Kit  Here is the kit itself.  The plastic container was purchased at Hobby Lobby for $1 USD.  It measures 5.5in x 5.5in x 1.5in, and has a hinged lid.  It is not waterproof; more on that later.
 The next photo shows the kit opened up.  There are 5 compartments, 1 larger center compartment and 4 smaller ones.  I’ve numbered them for ease of identification in this article.# 1 A portion of the strike strip from a box of wooden matches.  I used spray on contact glue to affix it to the inside of the lid. Home Made Fire Making Kit
Home Made Fire Making Kit  #2 60 home made water proof matches.  Click here to read the Prepography pictorial article on how to make them yourself.   They are wrapped in a bit of aluminum foil to keep them from rattling around in the compartment,
 #3 2 tea light candles and the instructions for the magnesium fire started that is in the kit.  The candles came from a bag full of misc candles purchased at a local thrift store.  I needed something to keep them from rattling around in their compartment, so I used the fire starter instructions.  These instructions are made from card stock and folded to take up the extra space and keep the candles quiet.  There’s also an added benefit to including them, not only do they provide instructions for the person who does not know how to use the fire starter…but in a pinch the card board can be used as tinder. fk4
Home Made Fire Making Kit #4 Magnesium fire starter and a length of braided hemp rope.  The fire starter came from Harbor Freight Tools and cost around $3 USD.  It’s not the best one on the market, it does the job, though.  The rope can be used as tinder.  I wrap it around the fire starter to keep it from rattling around.

Andrew’s Note:  Make sure to test your fire starter as there have been reports of counterfeit, non-working models being imported in recent years.  Testing it will take several tries as there is usually a coating or varnish you must get through.

 #5 12 Vaseline covered cotton balls in a snack size Zip-lock bag.  These make great accelerators for starting fires in damp conditions.  Folded up, the bag fits perfectly in it’s compartment.  The cost for this item was negligible, as everything came from the cabinet and pantry. Home Made Fire Kit
Home Made Fire Making Kit  #6 2 lighters and 30in x12in piece of aluminum foil.  One lighter is a Bic Mini ($1 USD).  The other is a light anywhere lighter I got from Survival Life ($4 USD)  It has a steel striker with a cotton wick that fits inside the lighter.  The lighter is filled with butane.  The striker is struck on a magnesium rod that is on the side of the lighter.  It works very well.  In my other fire kits, I have 2 bic lighters.  The aluminum foil can be used for many purposes; gathering water, cooking, signaling, etc.  It also keeps the lighters in place when in the kit.

Home Made Fire Making Kit – Future Improvements

The kit has multiple ways to start a fire when needed, and are usable as they are. There are a couple of improvements I am going to make, though. The first is going to be to add some char cloth to the kit. I need to make it, writing a Prepography How-To article in the process. The second improvement will be to water proof the kit. I am going to do this by taking electrician’s tape and wrapping it around the case, along the seam where the lid and body meet. Not only will this help water proof the kit, but the tape could come in handy in a survival situation.

If you’ve made it this far, let me know what you think. Is there something I missed, or that you would change? Feel free to comment below.

Grumpy G – Author Bio

Grumpy G. is still on the young side of middle age.  He takes great pride in the fact that he’s been married to the same woman for over 20 years and with whom he’s raised their 2 children.

Grumpy GA large portion of his life has been spent in, and around the military.  Both as a graduate of a national ranked military academy’s Junior Reserve Officer Training Program (JROTC) and later as a Marine.  His first formal military training was at the age of 16 when he attended a 3 week JROTC Summer Camp at Ft. Leonard Wood, Missouri.  Later, in the mid 1980’s, he spent the summer after high school attending the U.S. Army’s ROTC training at Fort Knox, Kentucky in preparation for entering the Army’s Early Commissioning Program where he excelled to the point that he was offered an Army scholarship to attend university.

Rather than continuing immediately with  the commissioning process, Grumpy chose to spend a year as a red-shirted Freshman playing football with a National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) Division 1 school before returning to the military academy to continue his education.  After discovering what he euphemistically calls the “joys of cannabis and other mind altering substances,” he parted ways with the Army’s ROTC program.

Over the next few, somewhat rudderless years  Grumpy gained valuable experience in how to scratch out a living with hard work and few skills.  After a particularly comical exchange with an employer he found himself unemployed, slightly inebriated after drowning his sorrows and in front of a recruiting office late one night where the only service recruiter still working was the U.S. Marine.

Having grown up in a family proud to claim four generations of Marines, it seemed like providence.  The recruiter loved Grumpy G from the start as Grumpy G must have been the easiest ‘sell’ of the recruiter’s career.  Shortly afterward Grumpy was on his enlisted and on his way to Boot Camp.  For some reason the Marine Corps decided to train him as a computer operator, and over the next ten years he held various Military Occupational Specialties (MOS) mostly within the Information Technology (IT) field which was still in its infancy in those days.

After that first enlistment Grumpy G transferred to Marine Corps Security Forces and life became even more interesting.  After undergoing training at Mare Island Naval Yard, he was stationed aboard one of the last conventional carriers in San Diego.  At the time, the on-board Marine Detachment’s primary mission was security of Special Weapons (nuclear) and their components.  The job focused on local/vessel security, terrorist threats and procedures for dealing with broken or missing special weapons.  Then President George H.S. Bush sent down the order that Special Weapons were to be removed from U.S. naval vessels except submarines which left a number of Marine Corps Detachments without a mission.  Grumpy G’s Detachment participated in a pilot program for a new mission where they preformed cross deck vessel boarding for search and seizure (VBSS).  This was in the time prior to the official creation of the specialized Marine Expeditionary Unit, Special Operations Capable (MEU SOC) units, and Grumpy’s detachment was one of the first Marine elements, outside of the long standing Marine SOC community to perform such duties.  In addition to the VBSS missions the detachment was trained for pilot recovery as depicted in the final scenes of the movie Behind Enemy Lines, refugee evacuation from hostile environments, as well instructing Naval personnel in marksmanship and security techniques.  While serving in the detachment Grumpy G was selected for a number of leadership roles including  Corporal of the Guard, Assistant Section leader, M-60 Machine Gun Crew Chief, M2 Machine Gun Maintenance Instructor, Designated Marksman Team Lead, and Prisoner of War Team Lead.

After Sea Duty Grumpy G, with his new wife, a Navy brat herself, in tow were transferred the Marine Barracks at 8th and I in Washington D.C.  In addition to the ceremonial duties all Marines stationed there undertake he once again assumed the duties of computer operator with the addition of instructor duties.

After the birth of their first child Mr. and Mrs. G decided it was time to explore life outside the service due to the time commitments of twice weekly parades from May to October (which typically required duty to last until 2A.M.) and the prospect of even longer deployments away from the family once transferring duty stations.  Grumpy G moved his growing family back to his home town in fly-over country where they soon welcomed their second child into the family.

The last two decades he has built a successful civilian career in IT as well as become born again though he continues to describe himself as a ‘terrible Christian most days.’

Grumpy G has always seen the sense in living a prudent self reliant  life-style but readily admits that he failed to live up to his ideal until about a decade ago.  He describes his politics as Constitutional Republican with a hard classical liberal “NOT PROGRESSIVE” bent.

With the accelerated erosion of our freedoms over the last 20-25 years he has decided not only to start becoming more prepared and self sufficient but also to spread the word.  Even after a decade of committed preparedness he still claims to feel woefully unprepared but takes some solace in the fact that his family’s stance is better than about 95% of the country.

Grumpy G says his philosophy can be summed up as:

  • Keep your eyes fixed on your goal
  • Be aware of your environment; it WILL affect you whether you want it to, or not
  • The small stuff will get you before the big stuff has a chance to
  • Strive for community, with out surrendering yourself to it
  • Don’t worry about what others think of you
  • And live today like no other, so that in the future you can live like no other (which he admits that he appropriated from Dave Ramsey)

Prepping on $30 A Paycheck – Intro

How “Prepping on $30 A Paycheck” Came About

Prepper Axiom # 1 – Change your mind and your tail will follow. (Cognitive)

The kernel of the idea that led to “Prepping on $30 A Paycheck” came from a conversation I was having with a co-worker one day.  He was not in to prepping  or self-sufficiency at the time.  He was interested in the topics of what I did on the weekend and after work. I could tell he had the makings of a convert. He just needed a little nudge, and some guidance. I finally asked him outright, “You are interested in prepping, why don’t you just do it.” His response was, “I don’t have a lot of disposable income; I can’t afford it”.

Oh man, my head hurts. Trying to wrap my mind around a statement like that, coming from someone who lives a comfortable middle-class lifestyle really pains me. OK, this is where I don’t want to be “that prepper guy”. I told him that it really does not take a lot of cash to start out. I laid down the number of $30 a pay-day (bi-weekly pay schedule), as a very realistic, and achievable goal to set aside for prepping. He was a little dubious on two accounts. First, he didn’t believe that anything substantial could be done for that amount. Secondly, he said that he would have a hard time coming up with $30 out of his paycheck. I gently pointed out that he spent way more than that over a two-week period eating out, going to the movies, and in wasted groceries. He begrudgingly conceded that point. I then pointed out that even though I spent more than $30 a paycheck now, when I started that number was it. If it didn’t fall within my budget, it didn’t happen. I put forth the proposition that if he would set aside $30 every payday, I would help him navigate the waters of becoming “prepared”. He mulled over what I had said, shook his head and said he would give it a try.

Prepper Axiom #2 – The best laid plans of mice and men often go astray. (Cognitive)

Almost as soon as my co-worker said “OK”, “Prepping on $30 A Paycheck” got sidetracked. He started having marital problems, and was extremely distracted. It was obvious his heart wasn’t in to much except his problems.  Our little experiment wasn’t going to happen anytime soon. I gave him support and kept working on him  I tried to get him in the right mindset. Things started to get back on track in his life, and he slowly came around.  He perked up and began getting in to the mindset of doing little things to be more prepared.  We discussed prepping on $30 a paycheck, again.  It seemed that it was back on. Then, he got another job and abruptly left. I haven’t heard from him since his departure. Still, before he left, I made him promise that he would continue trying to put himself in the right mind-set. He said he would, and added that he would continue adding items to his prep list as he went. I believe he would, as his outlook on his prep status was not as fatalistic as it was in the beginning.

So where does that leave us with prepping on $30 a paycheck? Well, basically, I don’t have a guinea pig. Honestly, there is no one in my life at this point in time that is at the place that they would be willing to take the steps towards preparedness and self-sufficiency it would entail. There are a couple of people who are almost ready; none that are ready, though. Being an “evangelical prepper”; that is some one who enthusiastically extolls the virtues of preparedness and self-sufficiency, I think it is necessary to move forward with the idea.  I hope that someone reading this would take it to heart. Take it to heart and take the first mental steps down a path that will lead them to a higher state of security from being prepared, and peace of mind from leading a more self-sufficient life-style.

So, in the interests of the community; that’s another FSP doctrine, I have decided to be my own guinea pig. I mean, why not? Why should I ask someone else to take my advice, if I am not willing to do it my self. Yes, I know I said I started out this way, but my methodology was scatter-shot at best. I honestly did not have a solid plan, even though I did a lot of reading in books, and on the web. I didn’t know any other people who felt like I did, outside of the internet. I also hadn’t met Andrew J. and didn’t know what FSP was. A good dose of hind-sight will allow me to put together a more comprehensive and detailed plan on how to go about prepping on $30 a paycheck.

I am going to start from square one, with the idea that I have nothing set aside. I will take my $30 and apply it as I would under those circumstances. I will detail my second journey as best I can. This is a serialized Prepography feature, so you would expect that I will be posting an article every two weeks; on my pay schedule. That may not happen, in fact I guarantee that it won’t, because I have some real life concerns. As I write this, deer season and the holidays will be coming up.  My time will be limited, somewhat. I will endeavour to stay on track best I cane with my purchases and postings.

Andrew’s Note:  We’ll set up an index page for this series in the near future so that it’s easy to keep up with Grumpy G’s preparedness odyssey.

The Ten Cannots – Quote

This Too Will Pass AKA The Ten Cannots

  • You cannot bring about prosperity by discouraging thrift.
  • You cannot help small men by tearing down big men.
  • You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong.
  • You cannot lift the wage earner by pulling down the wage payer.
  • You cannot help the poor man by destroying the rich.
  • You cannot keep out of trouble by spending more than your income.
  • You cannot further the brotherhood of man by inciting class hatred.
  • You cannot establish security on borrowed money.
  • You cannot build character and courage by taking away men’s initiative and independence.
  • You cannot help men permanently by doing for them what they could and should do for themselves.

Reverend William J.H. Boetcker (1916)

Andrew’s Note:  Grumpy G shared this quote with me and I thought it was misattributed because it sounded too contemporary.  I looked it up and yep, it was written by a Presbyterian Minister nearly a century ago…timeless truths.  Anybody have the President’s e-mail handy?  I think this would be a better sermon for the First Family than another one of Jeremiah Wright’s.

Sanctuary: A Post-apocalyptic Novel – Book Review

Sanctuary: Introduction

Sanctuary: A Post-apocalyptic Novel” by G. Michael Hopf is the third in his “The New World” series. After purchasing and powering through the first two novels in the series; “The End” and The “The Long Road,” I was anxious to crack open my publisher provided review copy of Sanctuary and see what happened next..

Andrew’s Note:  You can read Grumpy G’s reviews of The End HERE and The Long Road HERE if you haven’t already. 

Sanctuary: A Brief Synopsis

Surviving the attack proved to be more than they could have imagined… “Sanctuary: A Post-apocalyptic Novel” takes place months after a devastating Super  EMP attack, and nuclear strikes which crippled the US, Europe and parts of Russia and the Far East. The country has slid further into chaos, as millions starve and gangs and lawlessness stalk the cities and country-side. The main characters, Gordon, Samantha, Sebastian, Barone, Connor and Pablo all set upon their own paths to seek vengeance, try to rebuild and consolidate, or simply survive.

Sanctuary: A Bit More

“Sanctuary: A Post-apocalyptic Novel” takes on a more epic tone. The main characters are all in search for some sort of sanctuary. Vengeance is dealt out by several characters. Allies gained in “The Long Road” are lost and new ones created. The overall tragedy of the story increases on all levels. Some try to build empires and brutal methods are often employed.  The morality of some characters’ choices are brought in to question, while others gain clarity after suffering untold hardships. Friends and family are reunited and new alliances formed.

Sanctuary: The Critique

I am just gonna come out and say it. Out of the three books so far published in the “The New World” series, “Sanctuary: A Post-apocalyptic Novel” is probably the weakest. Now, don’t take this to mean I did not enjoy the book. I really did. G. Michael Hopf has crafted a very engaging story for those that enjoy end of the world type fiction. The story in this book just feels a bit rushed. There are several scenes that come off as contrived, simply to speed the story up, and several story arcs come crashing together in the last bit of the book in a fashion that just seemed too convenient for me.

With that said, “Sanctuary” takes the series to a place where its vistas truly open up. While “The End” focused on the characters on a more personal level, and “The Long Road” started to open up the character’s stories more to the larger events going on around them, “Sanctuary” sees them starting to take center stage in the larger drama that is taking place after the fall of the US. In the canon of “The New World”, “Sanctuary” lays the ground work for the characters to attain the epic status that the story hints at.

Sanctuary: Final Thoughts

Sanctuary: A Post-apocalyptic Novel” is another fine addition to the “The New World” series. While I don’t think it is as strong an outing as the first two books, it is a jamming good read. Final judgment on ‘Sanctuary,” at least for me, will most likely come with the addition of the next installment in the series.

Sanctuary: A Post-apocalyptic Novel

Product Details 

  • Series: The New World Series (Book 3)
  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Plume (May 27, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 014218151X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0142181515
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.3 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.1 ounces

Pallet Wood Projects

5 Minute Pallet Table

Grumpy G’s 5 Min Pallet Table

Frequent Prepography contributor Grumpy G is nothing less than a pallet aficionado and has had me taking a second look at pallet wood as a low cost resource for building pallet wood projects.

I’d previously dismissed this abundant and low cost building material from an outdated worry surrounding introducing toxic chemicals into my immediate environment.  I can still hear one of my sergeants yelling at then Private Jackson…”Jackson, take that damned pallet off the fire, don’t you know they’re treated with toxic chemicals!”

Grumpy G and others over the years have shared pallet wood project stories with me and I’ve been concerned with their safety but have had my concerns brushed off by those in the know…that doesn’t mean every pallet is safe to build from (or burn nearby) but some of them certainly are and you can find out which ones by reading this short article from Instructibles or this article for expanded information.

Pallet Rabbit Hutch

Grumpy G’s Pallet Project Rabbit Hutch

…anyway, on to the purpose of this note to our readers…Grumpy G has shared a cool website with me called 1001 Pallets but would more appropriately be titled 1001 Pallet Wood Projects.  It’s a great place to view the possibilities for this most humble of recyclable materials.  You can see pictures of pallet wood projects for the garden, the workplace, the home or anyplace else you can imagine…check it out.

SurvivAMINO Product Review

(Grumpy G’s disclaimer: I am not a doctor; just a cautious consumer. This article is not intended to impart any medical advice. The only recommendation I have that you should listen to 100% is this; before taking this product, or any other nutritional product for that matter, talk to a medical professional. If you do take it, and don’t feel right, chances are something isn’t. Stop taking it and, again, talk to a medical professional. Enjoy my SurvivAMINO Product Review.)

Andrew’s Note: After reading our SurvivAMINO Product Review, use Coupon Code “Prepography” for a 20% discount on Step 2 of Checkout.

What is SurvivAMINO?

SurvivAMINO is described as a “Tactical Protein Replacement for Survival”. VitalitySciences promotes it as being a substitute for heavier, bulkier protein items in your bug out bag, kit, or pack. SurvivAMINO provides this protein in the form of 8 essential amino acids in a small package. Instead of packing along heavier, bulkier food items you can replace each meal’s protein with just five little tablets of SurvivAMINO.

What you get when SurvivAMINO:

Each bottle of SurvivAMINO costs $45 ($39.99 with the Coupon Code Prepography) and contains 100 tablets of dietary supplements that contain essential amino acids as a protein replacement. You can also purchase by the 12 bottle case for $495 ($396 with Coupon Code), which is a little over a 9% discount before using the coupon code. Shipping is free in the continental US. Per the usage instructions, the 100 tablets represent 20 servings, or basically a weeks’ worth of protein replacement. VitalitySciences is very clear on their website that this product is meant to replace protein only, and not whole foods. In other words, you cannot replace all food with SurvivAMINO and expect to stay healthy. Instead, you can carry your protein in a compact, lightweight form. In fact, the supplement comes in a standard vitamin style bottle and weighs just a quarter what a similar amount of protein from pemmican or a 1/20th as much as the same amount of protein from canned meat would weight.

SurvivAMINO Website:

VitalitySciences provides a handy website where the consumer can purchase and learn more about SurvivAMINO. The website includes:

  • Testimonials from various athletes and preppers
  • FAQ Section
  • Amino Acid Facts: A quick and dirty rundown on what amino acids are, and why they are important.
  • Blog: Features nutrition articles and interviews/profiles of athletes from multiple disciplines.

All in all, the website is well put together, and easy to use.

Why Protein and Essential Amino Acids (EAAs) are Important:

At this point, I’m going to change gears are talk about proteins and EAAs. Protein is an essential nutrient which helps form the structural component of body tissues and is used within many biological processes. For example, protein is used to make enzymes, antibodies to help us fight infection as well as DNA. It is also needed to make up muscle tissue, which in turn helps to keep our bodies active, strong, and healthy. Most protein is stored in the body as muscle, generally accounting for around 40-45% of our body’s total mass. If you increase activity, perhaps to improve health, fitness, or body composition, you will need more protein to function. The same can be said about elevated activity during and emergency situations, or bug out and get home situations. Protein in your diet will also help alleviate feelings of hunger. The body cannot use protein taken from food until it is broken down into amino acids. There are 20 to 21 amino acids (depending on what you read) which can be arranged in a myriad of ways to create the proteins the body needs to survive. Essential amino acids are “essential” not because they are more important for protein than the others, but because the body cannot synthesize them. They must be supplied by an outside source. The symptoms of essential amino acid deficiencies manifest themselves as nervousness, exhaustion and dizziness.

The SurvivAMINO Plan:

VitalitySciences intends for their product to be a replacement for protein in one’s preparations. Again, their website is very clear that this is not meant to be a replacement for all food; rather it is meant to replace just the protein containing foods one would normally consume. The website points out that SurvivAMINO is good choice for emergency kits; which I take to mean bug out or 72 hour bags even though there is a weeks’ worth of nutrition in each bottle. Amino acid absorption is a little beyond the scope of this article but the manufacturer claims that their superior sourcing enables the amino acids in SurvivAMINO to be better absorbed which will provide performance.

Testing Methodology:

I am not a dietician, nor am I a high level athlete. However, through past military and sports training I do know how my body reacts and how I feel when my diet is out of whack. I used SurvivAMINO as a replacement for protein in my diet twice a day for 5 days. That’s half a bottle for anyone not paying attention. Honestly, I was not looking forward to the testing process as I do like my proteins, especially when they are grilled or smoked. This was actually a prime time for me to test the product, as I am currently on a Weight Watchers plan. I diligently log my food intake daily and my weight several times a week. I am much, more in tune with my body’s nutrition than I have been in years. I also have access to professional clinical nutritional dietitians through work, and I planned on taking the product to them to get their feedback. In addition to the dietitians, I wanted to speak to some Boy Scout leader friends who have extensive experience long distant backpacking to get their thoughts on it, as well. Finally, SurvivAMINO tries to set itself apart with the claim that it is superior in grade than their competitors, so I asked VitalitySciences; via the “Contact Us” feature on its website, if it had any independent verification of that claim.

Results and Conclusions:

I took SurvivAMINO as directed; taking 5 tablets for lunch and dinner, each, while cutting out as much other protein as I could. During the testing, my daily intake of protein, beforeSurvivAMINO was only about 10 grams daily. The recommended daily protein intake for an adult meal is around 56 grams. At the end of the week, I felt none the worse. The first day I did have a stomach ache after taking the tablets. Realistically, that can be attributed to an empty stomach (more on that later) and not the tablets. I thought I would feel the effects from lack of protein intake, but I didn’t. For the last 4-5 weeks my weight loss had been averaging .285 Lbs per day on Weight Watchers. I lost a total of 4 Lbs during the testing period for an average of .8 Lbs per day. The weight loss was not unexpected; I was surprised at how much it was, though. I did not decrease any other food intake during the test period, except the protein. I did replace the lost fats in the meat with olive oil.  It makes me wonder how much weight you would lose in a real life emergency over the same period, with increased stress, increased activity and reduced rations.

The professional clinical nutritional dietitians I discussed SurvivAMINO with were dubious about the product when I took it to them.  They weren’t keen on replacing meats, fish, nuts, and other protein rich foods with an amino acid supplement. They said that they would have liked to have seen more detailed nutritional info on it than what was provided, as well. They did say though, that no nutritional harm would come from using the product as directed over a short period; say 2-3 days. In fact, the only thing they said they would change in that instance would be the dosage instructions. They suggested that instead of taking 5 tablets per meal, you should eat the same amount of tablets, but stretch your intake over the course of the day. The reason for this change, they explained, is that they felt the body would do a better job of absorbing and using the amino acids through more frequent and smaller doses. They also suggested incorporating multi-vitamins into the plan as well. This is because as you cut protein containing foods out of your diet you are also losing what vitamins and minerals they contain, as well.

The Scout leaders I talked with had a different take on SurvivAMINO. They liked the idea of being able to drop weight from their packs, and still have the nutritional value the product could provide. However, for holistic reasons, they were hesitant about replacing meals with tablets. They made the point that the act of eating is a huge component of the human psyche, and that eating, especially food high in protein, is very comforting and satisfying. They pointed out that this is especially true after an arduous or stressful experience. They wondered what the effects on moral would be if that experience was reduced through replacement by supplements. Additionally, they pointed out that an empty stomach (remember my stomach aches the first day?) can be more detrimental to one’s moral than the discomfort of carrying around the extra weight in food. They pointed out that at least the weight would decrease as the days pass. They did say that in an emergency situation SurvivAMINO would be better than nothing, but suggested that they would use SurvivAMINO it as a supplement to their more traditional protein intake and not a total replacement. At the time of posting, I am still waiting to hear back from VitalitySciences on my inquiry about independent verification of the higher quality of their product. I haven’t heard anything back, thus far. If I do get a response, I will make sure to update this article.


  • SurvivAMINO as a product: I have no complaints about the actual product. As far as supplements go, it’s one of the better performing ones I’ve used. The ill effects I expected from not taking in as much protein never manifested, like I thought they would. Also, I really like the fact that it comes in tablet form and not encapsulated or powdered; they are much easier to use.
  • SurvivAMINO‘s price: At $45 ($39.99 if using our Coupon Code) a bottle the price still seems a bit steep to me. There are dozens of competing products in the dietary supplement market that are cheaper. This may be a case of you get what you pay for, though. As noted, this is one of the better supplements I’ve used. Whether the cost is worth it is up to you.
  • SurvivAMINO‘s claims of quality: The dietary supplement market is unregulated by the FDA; hence the FDA statement on SurvivAMINO’s bottle. Manufacturers can make almost any claim they want, and it is up to the consumer to verify them. While they do have quite a few quality endorsements on their website, I am still waiting for independent verification of the higher quality of their product and/or manufacturing process.
  • SurvivAMINO‘s plan: As an emergency or short-term plan, SurvivAMINO does fit the bill as a compact, lightweight protein replacement. All the concerns that were raised by people I talked to were about the idea of completely replacing protein containing foods with a supplement, and using it as such for any longer than 2-3 days.

In the end, I would use SurvivAMINO in real world application. However, I would use it as a supplement, rather than a total protein replacement. I would pack it, along with some form of whole food protein. The extra weight would be negligible and it would be a great way to stretch what heavier protein I carry. Carrying SurvivAMINO would increase the time frame in which I could keep my body fueled, therefore increasing my chances of survival. In fact, I wouldn’t ‘pack’ SurvivAMINO, I would actually carry it on my body along with other essential essentials. That way, if had to dump my gear, I would still have my protein replacement on me.

SurvivAMINO Product Review Coupon Code

Don’t forget that there’s a 20% discount available on SurvivAMINO with the Coupon Code “Prepography“…

Schell on Realistic Training – Today’s Quote

In our peacetime tactical training we should use difficult, highly imaginative situations and require clear, concise and simple orders. The more difficult the situation the more simple the order must be. Above all “Let us Kill everything stereotyped [sacred cows]; otherwise it will kill us.”

German Captain (later Lieutenant General) Adolf von Schell from his 1933 classic, Battle Leadership

Thanks to Grumpy G for today’s Quote.

Prepping on $30 A Paycheck

This page provides a convenient way to enjoy every article in Grumpy G’s Prepping on $30 A Paycheck series from the beginning.

  • Prepping on $30 A Paycheck – Payday 1
  • Prepping on $30 A Paycheck – Payday 2 TBD
  • Prepping on $30 A Paycheck – Payday 3 TBD
  • Prepping on $30 A Paycheck – Payday 4 TBD
  • Prepping on $30 A Paycheck – Payday 5 TBD
  • Prepping on $30 A Paycheck – Payday 6 TBD
  • Prepping on $30 A Paycheck – Payday 7 TBD
  • Prepping on $30 A Paycheck – Payday 8 TBD
  • Prepping on $30 A Paycheck – Payday 9 TBD
  • Prepping on $30 A Paycheck – Payday 10 TBD
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Top 10 Ways To Find Extra Preparedness Money

Prepography contributor Grumpy G and I have had several rounds of correspondence lately discussing budget prepping and prepping when money is tight.  Preparedness doesn’t have to be expensive, but there’s no denying the fact that many facets of preparedness do cost money and with the economy getting tougher and tougher in many areas it sure would be nice to have some windfall or unbudgeted money to put towards your preps.  That got me to thinking about ways the Top 10 Ways To Find Extra Preparedness Money.

With one exception I’ve used each of these techniques to find extra preparedness money at some point.  If you have techniques you’ve used that you can add let us know in the comments:

  1. Garage SaleHold a Garage or Yard Sale:  I hate getting everything together and sitting around the garage all day but it’s a sure way to make an extra couple of hundred bucks in a few days and replace things you no longer use with things that you hope don’t end up in the next garage sale.  Don’t forget to put an ad in the newspaper and make sure to put signs up from the nearest major intersection(s) if your community allows it.  Consider timing your garage sale with your city or neighborhoods annual garage sale and you’ll be even more successful.  If you live outside of town borrow a friends garage or participate in a multi-family garage sale in town for more sales.
  2. Turn the Tables on Amazon:  Did you know that Amazon buys back music, books, electronics and all sorts of other stuff.  You generally make garage sale prices but don’t have to sit in a hot garage all day.  I’ve done this enough that I’m starting to get a better idea of what brings the big bucks and it seems to be collections (anthologies) of books, graphic novels, music and recent electronics.  Amazon pays you in Amazon gift cards which means you can buy just about anything but firearms, ammo or misplaced Russian nukes.  Amazon even pays for shipping.  CLICK HERE if you’d like to learn more.
  3. Join the Reserves or National Guard:  This one takes more than a little more commitment but the pay is good, the cause is honorable and it comes with lots of built in training that has preparedness value.  The education and health insurance benefits are tremendous even for the “Reserve Forces” and will help you prepare mentally and physically for the unexpected.  Reservists and Guardsman typically serve one weekend a month and two weeks a year after initial training.  Contact your local military recruiter for more information.
  4. Take a Part Time Job:  Seasonal work is often available so it need not be a long term commitment.  Some jobs also come with employee discounts that can help stretch those prepping dollars…think hardware stores, grocery stores, gun stores, farm stores, pharmacies or big box stores.
  5. Put Forward Extra Effort at Work:  If you work for tips or commissions think of ways to bring something extra to your customer’s experience.  If you’re a salary-man or woman,work hard and earn that next promotion…if you are an hourly worker volunteer for overtime.
  6. Start or expand a Small Business:  Turn a hobby into a business…even better if its a preparedness hobby.  If you already own a business add a product line, buy out a competitor or move into a new territory.
  7. GunSell a Firearm:  I’m not sure I’m capable of selling a firearm without regretting it…and they almost always appreciate in value but selling a firearm is a great way to make some quick cash because there’s always a buyer.  Make sure you do so legally and consider using an online service like Gunbroker.  If selling a firearm to a stranger make sure you meet safe like the parking lot of your local police station (tell the desk officer what you’re doing and he/she will keep an eye on you).
  8. Buy Wholesale & Sell Retail:  I once bought a couple of pallets of ammo cans from Government Liquidation because it was a cheap way to get the large number I needed.  The extras went into a garage sale or were traded to a local gun shop for store credit.  Make sure you buy what you know and have a good feel for what you can sell it for.
  9. Join a Barter Network:  This is actually the one way to find extra preparedness money (I know…no ‘money’ involved but it has the same end effect) that I haven’t tried but I have cousins that have participated in barter networks for years.  In a barter network you trade your skills or excess capacity from your business for the skills of others (or excess business capacity).  The secret to making the barter networks work is that they aren’t one on one exchanges… you receive a credit for the time/skills or goods you contribute to the network and debits for the time/skills you withdraw from the network.  As an example of how these networks work…my cousins owns a doughnut shop and trade doghnuts for trips, car rentals and meals but you could just as easily barter for preparedness skill training, garden work or fresh honey.
  10. Donate Unused Items to Charity:  This last method takes a little lead time but is much easier than any of the methods listed above.  Round up all your unused items and donate them to your favorite charity and pick up a charity receipt.  Claim the donation when you file your taxes and pay less taxes.  You win, the charity wins and Uncle Sugar is going to borrow three times what you would have paid him anyway so he won’t be doing without…trust me.

These are my Top 10 Ways to Find Extra Preparedness Money…what are yours?

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