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Sunday, October 30, 2016

WISE COMPANY 5-Day Survival Backpack review

Let me start off by stating any equipment or supplies are better than none. I rather be in a bad situation and have this backpack than find myself standing there empty handed. (Yes this is my "say something nice" statement before I write things some people might not like.)

As I started to really educate myself on the realities of emergency preparedness a few things stood out to me. One of which was the prepackage emergency bags or backpacks. What could be better than a bag all ready to go? All you would have to do is grab the bag and go! Man, that would be great!



I came across a sale on this item and decided to purchase one. The idea was to see what the bag could do by touching, feeling and using what the bag came with. Ordering the bag was simple and it came exactly when they said it would. Just for the record this cost me less than a hundred dollars, I think! I can't find the receipt right now, DUH!

First thing I noticed was the bag claims to hold food, water, first aid and warmth for five days if you read what is written the way most people read things.


Looking at the placard attached on the backpack one would think you are ready to deal with tornados, hurricanes, wildfires and floods just by having this bag! What could be better? Even the smaller print makes it seem as if this is what I need to be ready in the event of an emergency. This bag comes with 32 servings of gourmet entrees! Water, a stove, not any cup but a stainless steel cup, flashlight, survival whistle thing, matches, blanket, emergency poncho and even a set of playing cards! If they can put a set of playing cards in the bag the bag must be really loaded for a bad day! The 42 piece first aid and hygiene kit will come in handy if you have to survive out of this bag!

This morning I opened up the box the bag came in and was kind of like a kid at christmas! I couldn't wait to see what I could learn from this bag. They managed to get five days worth of supplies for one person into a rather small bag and I wanted to learn how. 


The bag is about the size you would buy for an elementary school child. There are pockets and straps all over the bag which gives you options for packing gear. The material is a really thin type, the straps  are not padded and do not seem to be made for any long periods of use. Inside the bag I found three bundles of supplies. As you can see one was filled with water packets, one with food stuff and the third had equipment.


Let's start with the water supply provided. You see these packets being sold as emergency supplies. One might think from the presentation of the bag five pouches of water would equal enough water for five days. After all the bag is labeled as a "5-DAY SURVIVAL BACKPACK".


The amount of water in each is 4.227 fl oz. or 125ml. "Well how much water is that? Must be enough if they are saying this bag will last you five days?" Let me see if I can put this in prospective for you. I emptied one of these packets into a regular sized glass from the kitchen, looking forward to a nice glass of water while I went through the rest of the bag.


Obviously I was disappointed at what the pouch held. Good thing I was not really thirsty, you know like after surviving a tornado or running for my life from a forest fire. This is some hard core rationing for even the hardest ones of us out there if this is all the water you get for one day! How about a few more visuals to help you.





















That is all the water included in one of these pouches, half a drink glass or martini glass. No the pouch is not filled with liquor for either of these! Which might be a good selling point or marketing scheme to another company. "We got booze for your emergency kit!"

There is no way you are going to be doing much physical activity if these are supposed to be consumed one a day, for five days. Of course the bag also comes with water purification tablets. Issue is the bag does not come with anything I can use to hold the water in I want to treat? This was really the first WTF moment I had with this bag. If you are going to say this bag is a 'grab and run' or a bag you can use to survive for five days you might want to include items needed to utilize the supplies you put in the bag. Otherwise what is the point of putting items into the bag I can not use? Would suck to be standing next to a stream with no way of filtering water. And no the stainless steel cup does not allow you to follow the directions provided for the water purification tablets...........


The water purification tablets and other supplies were contained in a separate plastic bag from the water. Five tablets and their directions are located in the lower left section of the photo. The directions state to transfer the water from one container to another. Containers not provided in the bag... The plastic bag also contained a medical kit, matches and other items.



I am not sure what was supposed to be hygiene items in this bag or advertised '42 piece first aid and hygiene kit'. There are some tissues provided, the kind and size to blow your nose and I really hope they do not expect you to use those on your rear. But you should have enough q-tips to keep your ears clean for five days. Unless you get a small scrap or cut this first aid kit is almost useless.

Let's focus on the food stuff provided in the bag. Water and food would probable be the two top items of concern if you were suddenly stranded on a roof top or stuck up a tree during a flood. You know a flood like the one pictured on the placard. Water all the way to the roof tops of homes.



Six pouches of food items is provided. I am not sure but the items seemed to have just been randomly thrown into the plastic bag and tied off. Not sure why I think this just my impression of how the package was packed. Pasta, beans & rice, tortilla soup, two types of cereal and whey milk....... These are supposed to last five days.......


Here are the directions printed on the food pouch. Yeah, about that 3.5 cups of water, where do I get that? This is an emergency bag, bag implies the situation is bad enough I have had to leave or other wise can not use the comforts of my home. Isn't electricity one of the first things to go out? Followed by gas? I know in California if the Big One hit we can expect an interruption to the electricity and gas supplied to our homes. Guess that would leave you with option three, using an emergency heat source. They did provide me with one in the bag! I'll try that but first;


We have covered this in other post, you need at least 1200 calories to stay alive and over 2000 if you are being active. Total calories in this food pouch 1040? Guess this is what you get to eat for one day. Once you prepare the food plan on eating it right than because there is nothing provided to save your uneaten food with. If you manage to find 4 cups of water I guess you also can find a Tupperware bowl or something else to store your cooked food in.


For some reason milk was included but no other drink choices (should have included alcohol). Of course some how they figure I have procured water which was not provided to make the milk. Milk, really?

Having opened the box right before lunch time I decided to try and prepare a meal from this bag. I quickly found out I would need items not included in my 5-day survival backpack. Water, water in an amount not provided in the bag was the first thing I needed, along with a way to measure the amount of water in order to follow the directions.


Four cups is a lot of water to carry around in a measuring cup........ sarcasm intended. Next I took the items outside to cook up my lunch utilizing the items in the bag.


Took me a minute to figure out how to open the "stove". And just so you know I picked the tortilla soup for lunch, I really like tortilla soup.


Took four of my twenty matches to start one of my four fuel tabs. Wait, I got four fuel tabs in a 5-DAY SURVIVAL BAG? Twenty minus four, minus four, minus four, minus four leaves me four other matches to use for five days? Well maybe it does not take four matches each time to light the fuel cubes?


Found out my stainless steel cup does not fit on my portable stove....... Which means I had to find another way to heat up my 4 cups of water.......


I had to find an old pan in the cupboard. Did not want to get in trouble for using one of the new ones. I guess if a disaster struck and I had to utilize this bag finding a pan would not be a big deal. Especially since I already found a measuring cup, along with extra water.


The water never reach boiling as the direction wanted.


The fuel cube ran out of flame before the water boiled. I decided to just keep trying to make lunch and not use another of the three remaining fuel cubes.



Well the next thing I found out I needed was a spoon and a lid to follow the directions on the package. Really, not a single piece of this kit can help me eat the food I am trying to make? I guess if already found water, measuring cup, pan, a lid for the pan, there should not be any issue finding eating utensils.


Following the directions I ended up with this. A pan filled with flavored water sitting on top of uncooked rice. If there is any tortillas in here, you know to make it tortilla soup, I could not find them.


Well not wanting to waste food I took the "soup" inside the house. You know the house which I might have to leave carrying this 5-day survival backpack. I utilized the gas stove, which is lite via electricity and this bag of tortilla chips to try and salvage the meal. After ten minutes on the stove and the addition of the tortillas to the tortilla soup I had a decent lunch!

In all fairness I will report the soup was decent, even had extra I might take to work with me.

After the attempt at lunch I did not even try to test out anything else from the bag. I figured the quality of the the other items and thought put into the planning of this bag was determined already.

Why am I being rather negative in this review? Because I hope everyone reading this will understand a few things from this.

One, you are responsible for you! People will package and sell anything someone else will buy but at the end of the day they will not be relying on the items to survive.

Two, there are no prepackaged one size fits all answers. If there was a company selling bags which could do this I would be adding a link and filling my garage with them!

Three, you get what you pay for. As I stated this bag did not cost me much (still can't find the receipt) but is almost a complete waste of resources. I literally could walk around the house, with maybe a trip to the dollar store and make a more useful bag than this one.

(trying to end on an upbeat note)

If you have nothing else this bag is a starting point from which you can build a far better 5-day survival backpack............

As Always,

Stay Safe!

Sunday, October 09, 2016

Rome wasn’t built in a day.


We have all probably heard this at one time or another. When planning for emergencies this is a good saying to remember. Planning will not be done in a day. I was just personally reminded of this earlier in the week.

Out here in California we had a recent warning put out about an increased risk of a major earthquake. Of course earthquakes are kind of normal out here but to have authorities put out a warning is very far from normal. In response to the warning the ‘Boss’ asked me about her Get Home Back while telling me the warning concerned her. With the mission given I went and started to go through her bag. Here is where the saying comes into play.  

Several months or more have gone by since I looked at her bag or mine for that matter. Looking through the bag along with talking to her, I realized the bag was no longer filling the need the bag was originally put together for.  Our situation has changed, such is life, and I have fallen behind on our preparedness! Quickly I found myself reminded there are no one time, fix all answers to emergency preparedness.

Which brings me back to the point of this post.

Little things matter, little things put together make for big things and build a solid plan for responding to emergencies. The extra cup-of-soup you pick up adds to the other items you have bought and increases your food preparedness. Checking the batteries in the flashlight in the drawer means the light will work when you need it. Reviewing, altering and adjusting what you think is already taken care of might allow you to change things as your situation changes. All of these building blocks lead to the building of Rome!

Do not get overwhelmed by your effort to be prepared. Build your plan one brick at a time. Take time to review what you have done to ensure each brick still fits. Adjust as needed. Before you know it you will be living in a fine Roman city!!!



As Always,


Stay Safe!!   

Wednesday, July 06, 2016

Urban Garden - Update #2

In the category of trying to learn something new, here is the latest installment of garden update. With drought and having to water the garden by hand since I can not run the sprinklers the harvest is not what it might be. I've still had fun trying to figure out how to grow stuff and it is weirdly satisfying to eat stuff I grew myself!!



We started this round off looking something like this in my little Urban Garden.





Then we ended up with some stuff growing!!! The broccoli never really did anything. The Hippie came by the house and said the broccoli 'went to seed'? Guess that means we ain't getting none right now. Hahahahaha. The soccer ball was not harmed during the growing of the crops!


The harvest has been going on for a few weeks now. Surprisingly all the food does not get done at the same time!! You know like the grocery store!! hehehe Have had a few issues with one of our little friends around here eating the tomatoes before I can pick them. Not a big deal, ok it was a big deal but I got over it!




Ended up with enough potatoes I did not need to buy any for a few weeks now. Also found out the red ones grow more than the white ones. Had planted less red ones but got just as much as the others.




The celery grew! Had no idea what I was doing with it!


And the most exciting thing for me was I grew some decent onions!!! I know it sounds silly but I have not been able to get the onions to grow to any size worth talking about!!

Next step is to get the dirt ready to try and plant some more stuff. It has really been fun trying to figure out how to grow food. Makes me realize how hard it is to fill those shelves at the grocery store. Also makes me realize how delicate the food supply is.

Waiting for the grapes to ripen. Not sure my second vine is going to grow that much this year, Kids decided to pull the leaves off of it. When they are ready I am going to practice making jam this year. Another skill set I am trying to gain knowledge in. Of course that means I will also get some practice in on treating burns!

Remember learn something new this month! There is always something out there to learn!

As Always,

Stay Safe!  

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Planning #7.3 - Guns, hand guns, what to consider


Again we go down the hole to see what there is to see. This time we are going to get a little more detailed on what you should consider when looking to add firearms to your planning. 


As with our other planning we have to tailor the plan to our situation. The amount of money you have to put toward this, your particular situation and the amount of training you have are all factors which need to be considered. 



If you want to have something which is not very complicated, can be stored ready to use for long periods of time and will not break the bank, a revolver might fit the bill. Stored in a good pistol box, you can bolt down to somewhere, you do not have to really think about it. 



Maybe you want something small enough you can carry it on your person and have the ability to reload quickly if needed. A semi-automatic pistol might fit. Some of these can be picked up for only a few hundred dollars. These can also be stored inside of a secure box yet still accessed in a hurry if needed. 


Some pistols are not really good choices if you want to keep them loaded. The magazines have springs inside of them and if they are under pressure (loaded) for extended periods of time the springs go soft and the magazine might not work properly when you want it to. This is why a revolver is a better idea for long term storage. 

Revolvers and pistols are considered close range, 15 feet or less, tools. Some folks consider them only as backup tools. Yet in a confined space, such as your home, they might work better than some of the larger options. These tools are easier to manipulate when there is not much room. They are also easier to carry and of course they are easier to conceal if need be. 

As far as brands to buy and caliber to buy. This all depends on your experience and abilities. If you have little training or no experience a .38 revolver might be your best choice. Something to only be used during an emergency. The tool is easily concealed, range is not very good but if you are only using the tool as a last resort........ you just touch the bad guy with the barrel while you pull the trigger. Down side of this tool the round is not very large and unless you place the barrel in the right places the bad guy can keep fighting. 

  
For most people 9mm is the caliber you want to consider looking for. There are revolvers and pistols in this caliber. Of course revolvers and pistols both come in larger calibers. You can purchase what could be considered a 'hand cannon'. 


For most of us this is far more than we need or could handle. Believe it or not some people even hunt with pistols and revolvers! For most of us this is not a consideration when talking about firearms but nice to know you can utilize this tool for more than one use. Hunting bear with a .38 or anything smaller than a .357 is not such a bright idea!!!!


So let's take hunting with a pistol or revolver off the table for now. Let's focus on what most of us are considering these tools for, self defense and the defense of others. 

There are hundreds of companies which make these tools and I will not get into a 'discussion' about which one is the 'bestest'! Your personal price point will dictate what you purchase. Why wont you discuss the different brands? Because to some folks brands are like religion and no matter what they have a favorite. Remember we are looking for a tool which fits your needs. Let's focus on tools for self defense.

The Beretta M9 or 92f is a fine pistol. Thousands have been made and are in use. For the novice I think this is a good platform to start with. Most fellas out there can easily grip this tool, one drawback for the ladies is some might have trouble wrapping their hands around a full size version. They make smaller versions so this can be worked around. The pistol is reliable, easy to clean and I personally like the safety feature for those with limited experience. You literally can throw this pistol loaded, with the safety on and it will not discharge. (do not ever try this! do not ever ask me how I know this!)

You can purchase other brands and again it is a matter of what you can afford or have experience with. Look for something simple to use. Some pistols come with all sorts of extras, fancy triggers, fancy sights and all types of attachments. If you understand all of these good utilize them but keep in mind battery powered items might not work when you need them. A suggestion would be to keep your tools simple to cut down on the learning curve and chances of something not working. 

Again a revolver might be the best choice for some of us out there. You load the cylinder, close the cylinder and it is ready to go.  


TRAINING, TRAINING, TRAINING!  No matter what tool you add to your planning you absolutely need to be trained to use the tool! You can add a rocket to your tool box but if you do not know how to use it is useless. What kind of training?  

Here is another question were people like to get their feathers ruffled..... Whoever you go to for training their first priority needs to be safety! If they do not spend time ensuring you understand and manifest safety you need to walk away. If they tell you they can turn you into a Navy SEAL, skilled gunfighter in three easy lessons, walk away! Marksmanship should be the the focus after safety. 

You have to handle the tools safely and be able to hit what you are aiming at before you can do all the other 'high speed, low drag' stuff people want to learn how to do. What people forget is in order to do all the 'fun' stuff you have to have a solid foundation to work from.

If the person you go to does not offer some type of classes which increase your skill set over time just walk away. There really is not rules people have to follow when they decide to call themselves firearms instructors and as with other things some people might be able to do but have no idea how to teach.  



You have to have a solid foundation before you should even be shown a position like this one.

Most folks should never, never be put in this situation!!!!!!


 Most of us will never reach a level of training where this is appropriate!!! This level of confidence takes years to reach. If you find someone offering to show you how to do these types of things in a "Easy to learn, complete gunfighter system, you can master in just one weekend!" walk away!!! 

Ok, this one is getting long! Let's come back up for some air! Remember you need to tailor your planning to your situation. This carries over to what type of tools you add to your abilities. Take the time to research what fits your needs. Take the time to find a good instructor. Take the time to train! The time you spend now will be the difference if you ever need this skill set. 

As Always,

Stay Safe!