Many survivalists, hunters, preppers and outdoor enthusiasts buy commercial Meals, Ready to Eat (MRE’s). These commercial MRE’s are very similar to the military MRE’s that the Department of Defense (DOD) provides to our soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines for field use (for some reason the DOD doesn’t allow the manufacturers to sell the same meals to the public). In this short article we’ll discuss what an MRE is and an easy way to cut down on the size and weight of MRE’s…or as we call it in the military…how to field strip a MRE.
The MRE has been the primary field ration of our troops since the early 1980′s. It’s a self contained, calorie dense (over 1,200 calories), shelf stable (up to five years under optimal conditions) meal designed to keep you fueled during labor intensive activities. While it’s designed as ‘a’ meal I found that even during the toughest field exercises it was just too much food/calories to be consumed as ‘a’ meal. Depending on the nature of the exercise and work involved I usually carried and ate 1-2 MRE’s per day. I’ll leave the discussion of the culinary ‘delights’ of the MRE for another time but you should know that these meals aren’t just heavy, they’re also bulky.
Note: The MRE is heavy by backpacking food standards not in relation to the MRE’s predecessor the C Ration. Continue reading
Diatomaceous Earth (DE) is the fossilized remains of waterborne diatoms and algae. DE is mined product…wonder if the job description is “fossil miner?” DE has the consistency of and looks like an off-white version of baby or talcum powder. DE is non-toxic and is sold in both food and non-food grades (see warning below about pool filter DE). While DE is mammal safe (even to eat if food grade) wear a mask while handling it as you wouldn’t want DE to get into your lungs. WARNING: Don’t use DE sold as pool filter media for any other purpose as the silica count is too high and breathing this DE in particular could create health issues).
DE’s primary use is for organic, non-toxic pest control. I discovered DE years ago as a heaven sent solution to keep my wife happy…you see she went back and forth on whether she hated the ants invading our house or the poisons I sprayed to keep the ants out more. The product works by scratching up the exoskeleton of insects so that they dehydrate and die. Here are the Top 10 ways to use (food grade and only food grade) DE:
Even as a child I was a big fan of the ammo can. The military issue ammo cans are sturdy metal boxes with latched lids that can be used for a number purposes besides their original. They come in a variety of sizes and shapes but all are designed to be air and water tight thanks to the a rubber gasket and latched lid with friction lock. Additionally, these boxes each have one or more handles so that they are easy to carry. I’ve been thinking a lot about the various uses of these boxes since a buddy and I recently got a steal of a deal on two pallets full through Government Liquidation. Here are the Top 10 uses for your ammo can:
Rachel was cleaning out the kitchen cabinets today and came across a half used #10 can of Augason Farms Taco Flavored Textured Vegetable Protein (TVP). TVP is a high fiber, high protein meat substitute made primarily from soy that stores very well for long periods. I keep some of my storage food in these long term store-able dehydrated cans and buckets and from time to time I use some of this food to make sure I know how to prepare it and could survive on it if necessary.
Canned TVP reportedly has a shelf life of up to 30 years if stored properly and will keep for up to a year after opening (provided you put the little plastic can lid on it). This particular can ended up in the back of the cabinet and had been sitting there with no protection from moisture for almost two years. On hearing that she’d found it I only had one thought…’SURVIVAL FOOD TEST!’
Well, really I had two thoughts…the second thought was ‘nachos or burritos?’ I went with the burritos. Continue reading
Yesterday’s video on the Jackson Family’s First Aid Kit elicited a number of questions. Most of the questions were about the Israeli Battle Dressing I mentioned as ‘the best’ battlefield dressing or first aid dressing but it really wasn’t shown in the video (it was inside a First Aid Pouch). I was introduced to Israeli Battle Dressing during pre-deployment first aid training in 2006. I was impressed with the battle dressing’s simplicity, versatility and effectiveness.
The Israeli Battle Dressing or Emergency Dressing can take the place of several items in your first aid kit and is purportedly the most versatile battlefield or first aid dressing in history. It comes in 4 & 6 inch sizes and is designed with a sterile wound field (the primary dressing) backed by a sterile elastic bandage (which becomes the secondary dressing) similar to an old fashioned Ace bandages. On the back side of the sterile wound field is a pressure applicator that allows the dressing to apply up to 30 lbs of direct pressure to the wound once it’s applied. At the end of the long tail is ‘closure bar’ that allows the dressing to secure itself similar. Continue reading
It’s good to take your own advice on occasion… this past week I did something that was WAY overdue…I copied my digital preparedness library onto USB Flash Drives.
Even though I’ve been collecting information for several years I still find something new every now and then so I decided that while I was archiving my library I would see if any of my favorite sites had anything new to offer…that’s when I came across The Ultimate Preparedness Library. I decided to take a risk (not a big one as they had a money back guarantee) and buy access to the library.
While I started off looking for a new book…what I ended up with was unlimited access to over a hundred digital titles (over 660MB) on numerous facets of preparedness and self reliance. While I ended up with a few duplicate titles (from all those years of collecting on my own)…there were so many new titles that it was money well spent.
While waiting in the checkout line at a local Big Box hardware store something on the impulse
trap aisle caught my eye. It was a little Light Emitting Diode (L.E.D.) conversion kit for that AA Mini Maglite® that I abandoned to a drawer years ago. I stopped using my Mini because it went through batteries like cheap dog food goes through a labrador. This little $7.50 purchase changed my Mini to a go-to flashlight once again. The kit has a replacement L.E.D. bulb, reflector and push-button butt cap. The light is still focusable (pinpoint to broad) and the push-button butt-cap means I’ve got another flashlight I can use while handling my pistol. While this upgrade won’t have me dumping my Surefire® flashlight…it sure does offer more bang for the buck and have some tactical capabilities (which my Mini didn’t have before because you had to rotate the head of the light to turn it on…sorry…no other way I could figure out to say that last bit). Incidentally, if you didn’t like the upgrade…there are no permanent modifications so you could always change it back. Finally, as a true test of the new L.E.D setup, I left in the anemic batteries that barely provided a glow with the Mini’s factory bulb. Once the conversion was complete the flashlight worked like a charm with something close to the manufacturer identified 30 lumens.
Manufacturer’s Specifications for the LUC2-07 L.E.D. Upgrade Combo II:
Check out the before (left) and after (right) pictures. The sleeve is a nice product as well, I purchased it several years ago but it didn’t become very useful until I installed the butt-cap switch.