Distillation Method for Drinkable Water

This simple, brilliant still requires only a stainless steel water bottle, copper tubing, a cork, and a catch container. Make sure to listen to Kenneth Kramm’s lessons learned as he experimented with this practical distillation method.  He practices on sea (salt) water.

He also mentions the Sawyer Mini Water Filtration System

original post: Simple Bushcraft Distillation Method for Drinkable Water

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The Greatest Water Crisis In The History Of The United States

US Drought Monitor May 5 2015What are we going to do once all the water is gone?  Thanks to the worst drought in more than 1,000 years, the western third of the country is facing the greatest water crisis that the United States has ever seen.  Lake Mead is now the lowest that it has ever been since the Hoover Dam was finished in the 1930s, mandatory water restrictions have already been implemented in the state of California, and there are already widespread reports of people stealing water in some of the worst hit areas.  But this is just the beginning.  Right now, in a desperate attempt to maintain somewhat “normal” levels of activity, water is being pumped out of the ground in the western half of the nation at an absolutely staggering pace.  Once that irreplaceable groundwater is gone, that is when the real crisis will begin.  If this multi-year drought stretches on and becomes the “megadrought” that a lot of scientists are now warning about, life as we know it in much of the country is going to be fundamentally transformed and millions of Americans may be forced to find somewhere else to live.

full article: The Greatest Water Crisis In The History Of The United States

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Build Your Own Bicycle-Powered Battery for Emergency Power

At some point, you’ll be caught without power. If you’re lucky, it’ll come back, but if you’re stuck in a situation like last year’s Hurricane Sandy, it might be a while, and you’ll need another way to keep your gear powered. This deep-cycle battery, charged by a bicycle-powered generator, will do the trick.

The video above is a brilliant walkthrough of how the whole thing works and what it takes to build it. You’ll definitely need some components and some time to make this happen (not to mention some skill with electronics projects), like a magnetic DC motor (the kind you’d find in an electric wheelchair) and a charge controller based on this 555 controller design that keeps the battery from overcharging and turns the charging back on once it’s been discharged a given amount.

Once it’s all up and running, you can attach a bike and use it to charge the battery any time you need to. The beauty of the setup is that it uses pedal power to charge the battery, not to power the devices, so the lights don’t go out right after you get off the bike—you can charge the battery a bit every day, get some exercise, and still use your emergency radio, keep the TV turned on, or use your phone to let everyone know you’re okay.

Hackett’s Bike Generator | YouTube via Hack a Day

original post: Build Your Own Bicycle-Powered Battery for Emergency Power

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Be Brave

If I may offer some advice….

I get inundated with “security advice” questions all the time in life. Riot breaks out somewhere, the emails and phone calls come in. Spree shooter sets about murdering as many people as he possibly can, the emails and phone calls come in. A bad guy goes an…well you get the picture.

There’s always this string of questions. What caliber? What plan? What tactic? What bag should I EDC (every day carry) and what gear should I EDC in my EDC bag?

Questions, questions, questions.

Allow me to answer in brevity that is devoid of any sarcasm and is the most sincerest answer I know to give.

When the wolf comes to kill don’t worry about the sheep, don’t worry what kind of dog you may be or may not be. Don’t worry about getting killed, don’t worry about the aftermath, don’t worry…about anything.


Make a decision to stop the wolf and then go stop him.

Stop him where he stands by whatever means necessary and don’t do it with kindness, don’t do it with anger, do it with sincere an solid intent that he will never stand again.

We live in a very modern age but the bad men of the world are very old in their ways and desire. And for old problems new answers are rarely the solution.

You stop a bad man by making a decision. That decision is all that will matter until the future of everything being over arrives. Give no yield, no quarter, no pause. Do nothing less than be victorious. There is no shortage of bad men in the world and there will never be a shortage of such men. But they, the creatures that go bump in the night, the wolves at the door, are thwarted by decision and decisive action.

It’s not caliber, capacity, polymer nor steel that overcomes the evil of this world but rather bravery.

Be brave. Be Brave. Be Brave.

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The Ditty Bag – EDC a Centry Ago


 These days, if you’re going car camping or out for a short hike, you’ll likely take with you a daypack — a small bag that holds the gear you’ll need for the outing (camera, snacks, jacket), as well as supplies that are good to have with you in case of an emergency (matches, first aid kit, compass).

A century ago you would have carried something similar, just with less nylon and zippers. When your great-grandpa went exploring the wilderness or marching to battle, he likely carried a ditty bag, haversack, or possibles bag. These handmade pouches held the essentials for frontiersmen and early outdoorsmen, and we thought it would be interesting to take a look at how these bags were used, and what they held inside.

The Ditty Bag


The original ditty bags were issued to navy sailors beginning approximately in the early 18th century. Sailors were issued a large canvas sea bag in which to store their spare clothes. Within this sack was placed a smaller pouch which contained a sewing kit, as well as letters from home and souvenirs from their travels. Early seamen were expected to make their own clothes, and thus, as the author of 1884’s Sailor’s Life reports, they knew “how to cut out clothing with as much ease, and producing as correct a fit, as the best tailor.” The origins of the name “ditty” are obscure; it may possibly be traced to a cotton cloth known as ditti; a fabric called dutty which was used to make sails; a take on kitty-bag, itself derived from “kit bag”; or a riff on “ditto” — in reference to the fact the bag contained a spare set of clothes.


In the early 20th century, the term ditty bag was adopted by outdoorsmen to describe a small pouch made of canvas, leather, or cloth, that ranged from about 4×6–6×8 inches in size. A 1912 edition of Field & Stream described its “raison d’etre”:

“In camp and when cruising about the woods, there are certain essentials, and many other small articles of constant use, which one should always have handy. They aggregate about two pounds weight and if disposed about one’s clothing will not only make these garments heavy and uncomfortable but will fill them with knobby protuberances which make sitting down or lying down a matter of much struggle and remonstrance…

The ditty-bag has the inestimable advantage of being the place for everything small and loseable — it’s there, nowhere else, and all you have to do is to go and ferret it out instead of having to do the same thing through eighteen or nineteen pockets.”


An outdoorsman’s ditty bag was kept within his larger backpack when he was hiking, so that little pieces of gear would not get lost at the bottom of the pack. He would then remove it and attach it to a belt, sling it over his shoulder, or wear it around his neck when he ventured away from camp for the day, or even, for the very rugged, several weeks at a time. Its contents served his daily activities and also provided emergency supplies should he become lost or caught in a pickle.

What exactly an outdoorsman packed in his ditty bag came down to personal taste and needs. Field & Stream notes the discussion over the bag’s proper contents represented a “veritable crank’s paradise,” and that “so much individuality of temperament enters that one hesitates to specify anything.” Yet the author does offer his own recommended packing list:

  • Compass
  • Matchbox
  • Saltbox
  • Emergency ration (Packed in a tin and consisting of smoked beef and bacon, a packet of tea, bouillon capsules, and hardtack. The tin, when tacked to a stick and held over a fire, doubled as a frying pan.)
  • Punkie dope (insect repellent)
  • Fisherman’s knife
  • Nails
  • Tacks
  • Needle and thread
  • Candle stump
  • Razor and piece of strop
  • Looking glass (mirror)
  • Tube of shaving cream
  • Tube of condensed coffee
  • Toothbrush and tooth powder
  • Fishing supplies (hooks, lines, sinkers)
  • Gun cartridges
  • Gun grease
  • Can opener
  • Rifle cleaning rod

The author also recommends bringing, if space allows and one is scientifically-minded, a small field microscope and pair of bird binoculars. Finally, no ditty bag is complete, he argues, unless it includes “one foolish thing which the owner would not be happy without.”

The Haversack


The haversack functioned a bit like a ditty bag for soldiers. It takes its name from the German word for oats — hafer. At the turn of the 19th century, oats were a staple foodstuff of the poor in Europe, and the British would mix them with water to make a crude bread called oatcake. Workers took these oatcakes or havercakes to their factory jobs for their mid-day meal, and the bag they carried them in became known as a haversack.

haversack 1878

Haversacks were widely adopted by militaries on the march the world over. Usually around 12×12 inches in size, and made from linen or canvas, the bags were slung over the right shoulder (a canteen was slung over the left). They were waterproofed with paint and held a solider’s food and mess utensils, as well as his personal belongings. US infantrymen of the 1800s would typically be carrying about 3 days of rations consisting of hardtack, bacon or salt pork, and coffee. Though the meat was often wrapped in a cotton cloth, having grease leak out and stain and saturate the haversack was a common problem. Another issue was the fact that the paint used to waterproof the bags often flaked off and got on the food.

infrantry equipment haversack

During the Revolutionary War, innovators began to take a stab at combining the soldier’s haversack and knapsack, so that he didn’t have to carry two separate bags. But the idea was slow to win adoption; the men didn’t like how a combination bag necessitated their carrying around their knapsack all the time when they only needed a small kit, that the knapsack was harder to clean out, and that they couldn’t easily reach into their haversack to nibble on their rations while on the march.

The Possibles Bag


In the 18th and 19th centuries, mountain men, minutemen, frontiersmen, and black powder hunters of all kinds would usually be found with two bags slung across their shoulders: their powder horn and their “possibles bag.” It was so-named either because it contained everything you might possibly need for the day, or because you could possibly find most anything packed in the bag. As with the ditty bag, the contents of a man’s possibles bag varied by taste and necessity.


Most typically, the frontiersman’s possibles bag was stocked with all kinds of essentials for hunting, fighting, and venturing through the great outdoors: tobacco and pipe, tin cup, flints, jerky and other edibles, nipple wrenches and picks (tools for one’s muzzleloader), etc. Within the possibles bag might also be a “strike-a-light” pouch, which held a fire striker and tinder. The bags were made of animal skin, and either slung over the shoulder or attached to a belt.


The very notion of a possibles bag is quite evocative in and of itself, and in the midst of the research for this post, I came across a nice story of a father who found a way to carry its spirit into the modern day. When author Robert Fulghum’s son graduated from college, he gave him a possibles bag as a symbol not only of the opportunities before him, but the oldtime frontiersman’s spirit of improvisation:

“Many [pioneers] survived even when all these items were lost or stolen. Because their real possibles were contained in a skin bag carried just behind the eyeballs. The lore of the wilderness won by experience, imagination, courage, dreams, and self-confidence. These were the essentials that armed them when all else failed.

I gave my son a replica of the frontiersmen’s possibles bag to remind him of this attitude. In a sheepskin sack I placed flint and steel and tinder, that he might make his own fire when necessary; a Swiss Army knife — the biggest one with the most tools; a small lacquer box that contained a wishbone I saved from a Thanksgiving turkey — for luck; a small velvet pouch containing a tiny bronze statue of Buddha; a Cuban cigar in an aluminum tube; and a miniature bottle of Wild Turkey whiskey in case he wants to bite a snake or vice versa. Invisible in the possibles bag were his father’s hopes and his father’s blessing. The idea of the possibles bag was the real gift. He will add his own possibles to what I’ve given him.”

Do you carry a possibles bag or other kind of daypack either when camping or in your everyday life? What do you pack in it?

original post: Venturing Out, Vintage Style: Your Great-Grandpa’s Daypacks | The Art of Manliness

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