Tuesday, 18 February 2020

Should you buy a gas mask?

A quick google search for prepping or preppers will give loads of image results showing people wearing gas masks.

It's an image that's been popularised in video games and film with dystopian futures and as such is often dismissed as a doomsday prepper cliche but are there practical reasons for owning gas masks?

House fires are thankfully less common than they used to be but are still a major risk and its usually the smoke that kills people not the heat.

Long before the fire has used all the oxygen in a room or people are badly burnt they are disabled by the toxic smoke house fires produce, a gas mask in this situation could help you evacuate from a burning building in time by filtering the available air.

Accidental chemical spills in industrial facilities or from transport accidents can release poisonous fumes. These noxious clouds can envelop your home or workplace if it is near to the facility or scene of the accident on major roads and railways used to bulk transport chemicals.

Often the official advice in these situations is to stay put and close windows and doors but a gas mask would allow you to safely evacuate from the affected area or ensure your survival if you do stay put.

Large scale civil disobedience protests can prompt authorities to try to disperse crowds with CS gas which irritates the eyes and lungs.

A gas mask protects you from these effects so that you can leave the area quickly and safely particularly if you have any lung related medical issues.

Military masks are often rated for CBRN (Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear) protection so are effective protection against airborne viruses and bacteria to evacuate the area so you can be decontaminated before you're infected. This is generally overkill but is another potential use albeit an extreme one.

Modern gas masks can be quite expensive, but you can buy ex military surplus ones quite reasonably and whilst the filters may have expired you can often buy new filters that will fit these masks but you may need to also buy suitable adapters such as I did here with this Yugoslavian / Serbian M1 gas mask;

So gas masks don't have to be expensive, or purely the preserve of the stars of doomsday preppers.

They can help you in several relatively common situations if you ensure they have a good seal and suitable working filters (old respirator filters will probably be effective slightly beyond their expiry date but for many common masks there are commercially available replacements).

Therefore in my opinion respirators are worth having, particularly old military ones as they also look pretty cool too if you like collecting militaria as I do...

Take care

Thursday, 13 February 2020

Prepping for COVID-19 the novel corona virus

The 2019 virus originating from Wuhan in China is a newly discovered corona virus.

Corona viruses are quite common often resulting in what is known as the common cold or flu that infect the respiratory system resulting in coughing, sneezing, fever and possibly breathing difficulties leading to pneumonia.

Most people that contract these common corona virus infections make full recoveries but it can be lethal for those with poor immune systems such as the very young and elderly or if there is an underlying health condition like diabetes, cancer and chronic lung disease who develop complications.

Covid-19 is a new virus thought to have crossed over into humans from a contaminated meat market in Wuhan that appears to cause severe symptoms in many more people than than is normal.

Much like the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV) corona virus identified in 2003 also originating from China or  Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoVidentified in Saudi Arabia in 2012 did.

The virus is spread in the droplets we exhale that either directly enter a new host through inhalation and splashing into contact with our eyes or by landing on surfaces that others then touch and transfer to their mouth or eyes.

As such the main way to prevent infection is to maintain high hygiene levels by properly washing hands and disinfecting surfaces people make contact with and where possible avoiding people as they may be infected.

Disposable PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) should be worn when in known infected areas covering the whole body but as a minimum wear gloves, eye protection and a suitable respirator (specified N95 or better, fitted properly!).

Care should be taken when removing and disposing of these as they should be considered contaminated after use, place into plastic bags taking care not to squeeze them down which could force air out that could carry the infected droplets.

This virus is spreading rapidly thanks to international air travel of infected people so stock up now in order to self isolate at home if it reaches your area for a minimum of fourteen days.

As well as food, water and medicines buy and store products to ensure your hygiene;

Hand sanitiser
Plastic waste bags
Plastic sheeting and duct tape
Bleach and cleaning fluids

I covered this in a recent video on YouTube "Prepping for the corona virus";

Take care,

DIY wood stove flue

In order to use my wood stove in a tent I wanted something to protect the canvas from getting scorched by the flue.

I've seen several on Amazon but all are around £40 or more but when Lidl was selling these bird feeders for £3.99 I decided to make my own.

If you want to do similar here is a Amazon link for the type of bird feeders I used;

I began by removing the lid and the hanging bail for use later with a pair of pliers...

Next to open the bottom I drilled a hole so I could use tin snips to open it up leaving approximately 1cm overhang.

Again using the tin snips I cut the over hang to form little flaps that I could fold over the bottom ring at the base of the fatball holder.

I repeated this on a second bird feeder and used rebar tying wire to tie the two together.

Lastly I straightened the two bail hangers to form hooks and reattached them so it could be hung from the spark arrester on the flue.

The finished product looks pretty good I think for £8

If you want to watch the video of how I did this click here and if you like it please give it a thumbs up and consider subscribing 👍

Take care

Monday, 29 July 2019

Triangular bandages, the medics EDC multitool

The humble triangular bandage seems to be absent in many modern first aid kits but I would argue every IFAK should have at least one due to its versitility 

Most people know of its ability to provide support to injuries as a sling

But it can also be a wound dressing and simple narrow or broad bandages that can also be used to immobilise limbs by securing to splints

By forming a donut shape to allow bandaging over for protruding objects in a wound

Bandaging awkward areas such as the head and hands

As its a simple cotton triangular cloth it also can be worn as a bandana, used to cover a water bottle when filling from a water source, hobo bag and cut into pieces for making char cloth etc etc

You can see some of these uses in this video

So make sure you have one in your IFAK and maybe consider carrying one in your EDC even if only as a hankerchief

Take care



Tuesday, 23 July 2019

DIY Backpacking Alcohol Can Stove

When hiking keeping weight to a minimum is key and money might be tight so making an ultra lightweight alcohol stove from empty drinks cans could be the way to go as they're often found discarded on your travels so are completely free and your helping tidy the environment when you repurpose them this way, win-win!

These can be made quickly and easily with a simple multitool from your EDC or you can use commonly found items such as scissors and pliers

You do need to be careful with the edges of the can as they will be very sharp so wear suitable gloves, you can see my video on how I made this one here

As ever I'd love to hear what you think so please leave your comments in the box below or contact me directly

Take care


Friday, 19 July 2019

DIY Beer Can Oil Candle

Power cuts used to be common when I was a kid and altough the national grid is more reliable today they can happen at anytime, this is a handy way to make an emergency light source if you don't have any lamps or candles (your home should of course have candles and lamps too!)

Get an empty beer or soda can and cut it in half with a knife or scissors and cut a strip of cotton cloth to act as a wick, you can also used paper towels as a wick if that's easier

Then pour some regular cooking oil into the bottom half, it doesn't matter what oil you use the only difference will be what scent the flame gives off as it burns the oil, place the top half over the bottom and put your improvised wick through the ringpull hole

Now dip the wick down into the oil as far as you can before pulling up and trimming at the point where its soaked with oil and light as you would any other candle

You can see this in my top five emergency hacks for beer cans video on my YouTube channel here;

Let me know what you think in the comments section, what other uses would you suggest?

As ever thanks for your time!

Take care


Friday, 5 July 2019

Top 5 Folding Camping Stoves 2019

The range of folding stoves for camping is quite varied, these handy lightweight stoves can use a variety of fuels but are mostly used for self contained fires where a open campfire may not be practical

This is my top five favourite stoves currently available;

5. Bushcraft Essentials Bushbox

easuring 9.0cm x 9.0cm x 11.5cm at just 270g this was the forerunner for most folding camping stoves that followed the sides interlock to provide a surprisingly stable base

Pots can be supported by the trivets or by sliding wire tent pegs through the holes around the top

Due to the interlocking sides construction they've made kit so that two or more can me connected in parallel which is really cool

4. Lixada pocket folding stove

This handy little pocket stove is much easier to set up as three sides are fixed together with hinges that wrap around the ash grate and locked into place with a simple pin that slides into the fourth corner

11.6cm x 12.7cm x 16.2cm high

3. Toogoo opensided

This open sided stove makes an excellent travel BBQ and is super easy to refuel as it has an open sided front 

15.0cm x 19.0cm x 18.5cm high with a generous 6.0cm ground clearance under the ash plate

2. Pskook bushbox

This fully hinged firebox sets up in seconds as most of the parts are already connected to eachother

Able to hold much more fuel this stove is a genuine replacement for a campfire both for cooking and heat when camping

The door opens to reveal a generous opening for refueling and is hinged so that sticks want to slide down into the firebox rather than fall out

This is my pick for best value stove of 2019 and I recently did an unboxing video here;

14.0cm x 14.0cm x 21.0cm high this extra space means you don't need to refuel as often as the previous smaller stoves

1. Bushcraft Essentials Bushbox XL

The undisputed king of the folding camping stoves thanks to its versatility, its the most expensive stove in the list but that is down to the extensive engineering that has gone into producing it that allows this stove to perform many tasks excellently

YouTube is full of videos showing the numerous uses of this stove and for several years has been seen as the benchmark go to portable stove

12.5cm x 12.5cm x 19.0cm was for a long time the most generous folding camping stove but has now been exceeded by the PSKOOK

Still retains its crown as the best stove due to the multifunction trivets and the various slots that accommodate them 

So that's my top five let me know what you think or if you have any others you would recommend in the comments below 👍

Take care


Should you buy a gas mask?

A quick google search for prepping or preppers will give loads of image results showing people wearing gas masks. It's an image th...