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Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Prudent Prepping: October Roundup

The dust has settled and the First 72 Hours have passed. Follow along as I build a long term plan via Prudent Prepping. 

I haven't done a buffet post in a while, and both this week and last have been really filled with work. I'm tired and there are almost three weeks' worth of topics I don't have time to write, rolling around in my head and as notes in my tablet.

First up, the latest California oddity:

Fire Warning Blackouts Scheduled This Week
Yes friends, you read that correctly. Due to temperatures forecast to hit the low 90's by Friday with wind gusts to 60 mph at the higher elevations, Northern California is shutting off the power again. This time, nowhere near the 800,000 (that became 2 million) originally affected will be in the dark; only a mere 200,000 (maybe. You never know). 

The store I was in today sold 14 generators from Monday morning until I left Tuesday afternoon. I'm still seeing battery lanterns fly out of the stores, and I predict Eveready and Duracell stock will soar in price well before the normal Holiday buying spree.

Share The Knowledge
In my post last week I mentioned needing to find my prepping books. I found them in the bottom of a book tote, as they were on a small shelf beside my computer and so went into the bin first. This was poor planning on my part! I've been looking through the pile and what I found is what I think will be my recommended book for beginners, at least in my area where $13 for a book won't dent most peoples budget.

When The Grid Goes Down (prophetic title, isn't it?) has very short chapters that include many lists, but it is presented in a style that doesn't make reading what is there boring.

From the Amazon page:
Disasters come and go each year. It is through developing a self-reliant mindset, having essential survival gear, and possessing a handful of critical skills that will enable you and your family to prevail in an urban crisis. Jammed with field-tested information from real-world applications, survival instructor Tony Nester covers how to prepare for both short-term survival ranging from 24-72 hours as well as long-term situations resulting from a grid-down emergency or pandemic.

Some of the chapters:
  • The 6 Key Areas for Creating a Self-Reliant Home
  • Water Storage and Purification Methods
  • Alternative Water Sources At Home
  • Creating a Water Map for Your Region
  • The 3 Essential Food Types to Stock Up On
  • Designing an Off-Grid Medical Kit
  • Home Security and Personal Defense Measures
  • Safeguarding the Exterior and Interior of Your Home
  • Heating, Cooling and Lighting When the Power Goes Out
  • Alternative Sanitation and Hygiene Methods.

I have to admit I had a hard time buying this paperback book sight unseen, since it cost $12.95 when I bought it and is now $13.56. At less than 80 pages, the Kindle version is a slightly better value at $4.49, but not by much.

Personal Comfort
I mentioned several weeks ago on the Facebook page that I'd seen markdowns being made on Mission Premium Cooling Towels in a Home Depot I service. I bought one and I like it! As was mentioned by Erin and others, these things only work in low humidity areas, like CA or AZ. Folks in humid areas of the South and Midwest won't benefit from putting a wet rag around their neck as the air is too damp to provide evaporative cooling.

I haven't seen them lately in stores, but Amazon has them!

From the Amazon page:
  • 100% Polyester
  • Machine Wash
  • Cools instantly to 30 degrees below average body temperature and stays cool for up to 2 hours when wet
  • To activate cooling technology simply soak in water, wring out and snap three times; to reactivate, simply re-soak and re-snap
  • Lightweight, premium stretch fabric with a textured, super-sporty look
  • Chemical-free, reusable and machine washable; permanent technology is incorporated at the fiber level and will never wash out
  • UPF 50 protection against the harmful rays of the sun; size 10" x 33"

Even though Fall is here, it looks like I will get at least one more week use from this before storing it in my warm weather gear box.

Takeaway And Recap
  • California is finally following the lead of other states and experiencing disasters regularly! My hope is this will spur more people to get serious about protecting their family.
  • Finding a suitable book to recommend is hard, and I need to start someplace.
  • The neck wrap is a luxury, but it does get hot and it works well.
  • Nothing was purchased this week, but Amazon has When The Grid Goes Down for $13.56 in paperback or Kindle for $4.46
  • Also on Amazon is the Mission Premium Cooling Towel for (more than I paid for mine, but well under retail) $10.51 with Prime.

Just a reminder: if you plan on buying anything through Amazon, please consider using our referral link. When you do, a portion of the sale comes back here to help keep this site running!

If you have comments, suggestions or corrections, please post them so we all can learn. And remember, Some Is Always Better Than None!

NOTE: All items tested were purchased by me. No products have been loaned in exchange for a favorable review. Any items sent to me for T&E will be listed as such. Suck it Feds.

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Stay With the Car

Every year in my part of the country, we hear tragic tales of tourists getting stranded and dying (or coming close) before they're found. If you're in the backcountry and your vehicle becomes disabled, what do you do?

The instinctive reaction from most folks is to leave the vehicle and try and hike out. This is one of the worst things you can do, and I'm going to tell you why:

Your car is easier to find than you.
A single human can very easily get lost, and is much harder to locate. Viewed from above, I occupy probably 3 square feet and have a matte finish; my truck occupies well over 100 square feet and is reflective. Additionally, I can only yell so loud and so often, whereas the horn on a vehicle carries further and can be used over a much longer time.

Your vehicle is a pretty good shelter. 
It will keep you dry in a storm, and if the engine runs you have some measure of climate control. Since most of these incidents seem to happen either in winter storms or desert environments, being able to keep warm or cool is a huge thing. You will also be more comfortable in your vehicle, sleeping better and keeping your wits more firmly about you.

Your vehicle also has all of your gear. 
If you leave your car, you have to leave substantial quantities of supplies that you may need. You can only carry about 25% of your body weight over any kind of distance, and that is with a proper pack. Loaded correctly and planning ahead, I can carry about 50 pounds; that sounds like a lot of weight, but keep in mind that a gallon of water weighs 8 pounds, and a gallon is about a day's supply under serious exertion! In the event that you're abandoning a vehicle, the odds of proper load-bearing gear being available are quite low, so that 50 pound capacity might fall to as low as 20 pounds.

If you stay with your vehicle, though, you have all of your gear at hand. You don't have to leave something potentially important behind because you have no way to carry it, or carry items you don't need on the off-chance that you might need them.

None of this applies if staying with your vehicle is a hazardous situation. 
Remaining in the path of a flood, or in an avalanche area, or with a dangerously damaged vehicle is a very bad plan. No matter how useful or easy to find your vehicle is, it's worthless if you're killed by a dangerous situation.

You may need to try to get yourself out of being stuck, but it should be your last resort, not your first.


Monday, October 21, 2019

Minimalist EDC Pts 3 and 4: Dry and Warm

The final installment of a series of minimalist planning, for those who have to carry everything with them everywhere they go.

This week: Keep dry and warm.

Godspeed to you all.

Sunday, October 20, 2019

The Importance of Faith

Not actually Erin.
& is used with permission.
Don't worry, this isn't going to be a lecture on religion. I'm the last person to tell you what you should believe. I just want to make two points about faith. 

First, I feel it's important that people believe in something. What that something might be is up to that individual to decide, as is how they practice that belief. The world can be a dreary, dreadful place at times, and during a disaster it can seem a lot darker. In a survival scenario it's practically necessary to believe in something that gives you hope and raises your spirits, because a positive mental attitude and a reason for living are the most important resources a survivor can have. 

I've struggled with depression most of my life, and even though I've never lacked food, water, shelter, clothing -- all the things needed for survival -- there were a few times where I strongly considered suicide because I had lost hope. If it's possible to contemplate suicide while having everything necessary for life, then being in a survival situation where those things are lacking only increases that chance for despair. You may die without water after three days, but three hours without hope can be just as deadly. 

Believe in something that uplifts you and rewards that faith. 

Second, don't be afraid to put faith in people. I don't mean all people, of course; there are plenty of human beings out there who don't deserve your faith, and a smaller (yet viler) percentage of them who will actively take advantage of you. No, what I mean is that you need to have people in your life whom you trust, and in whom you can put your faith. 

The more I learn about prepping, the more I am convinced that none of us can ever be self-sufficient by ourselves; there's simply too much for one person to do. Humans are social creatures by necessity; we lack the strength, speed, and natural weapons of most predators to survive alone. More than tool use, I believe that it's our ability to communicate and form tribes which makes humanity a successful species.

Find your tribe, cultivate them, and put your faith in them. 

Thank you for listening. I sincerely hope you have something you can believe in and people in whom your faith is secure. 

Thursday, October 17, 2019

Drinking Container Safety: Common Materials

Erin mentioned some potential hazards from drinking out of plastic containers (BPA) and aluminum, and asked me to add to the list of do's and don'ts for choosing what to drink from. During my research I gathered more information than most people can absorb in one article, so I'm going to split the metals off into a separate post and cover the other common materials today. There may be a third article for uncommon materials if I dig up even more data.

There are more kinds of plastic on the market than I care to list. Most plastics are petroleum-based, and the few that aren't are chemically similar to the petroleum-based plastics. Some plastics are made with or treated with BPA (Bisphenol A) or phthalates, both of which are endocrine disruptors (they mimic hormones produced by your body's endocrine or ductless glands). BPA is bad news and has received a lot of press over the last few years, so avoid it as best you can.

Plastics are formed by purifying and twisting basic hydrocarbons to create selected monomers. These monomers are then chemically or physically bonded together to form polymers (hence the use of the "poly-" in most names) with interesting properties.

Plastics are usually separated by the industry-standard recycling number stamped or cast into the plastic.

#1: PET (Polyethylene Terephthalate)
  • Clear and smooth, this is the plastic commonly used for single-use (disposable) soft drink bottles and peanut butter jars.  
  • Avoid prolonged heat, as that may cause harmful chemicals to leach out of the PET. 
  • Bacterial growth is more of a problem when reusing bottles that contained sugary drinks than any chemical hazards.

#2: HDPE (High-density Polyethylene)
  • Considered "Food grade" by the FDA, this is the safest choice. 
  • Milk and water jugs are normally made from HDPE, so it has a track record as a safe plastic to use with food and drink. 
  • Most 5-gallon buckets are made of HDPE. 
  • David's Nalgene bottle which he finally managed to break was made of HDPE.
  • PEX (cross-linked Polyethylene) water pipe is made of HDPE and is rated for hot and cold water.

#3: PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride)
  • The common water and sewer pipe plastic. When heated, PVC can release phthalates and other chemicals, which is why hot water piping requires the use of CPVC (Chlorinated PVC) pipe. CPVC is less likely to leach chemicals into the water inside it, so it is a safer choice.
  • PVC is also used in plastic films or sheets for things like shower curtains and cheap rain gear, but making it flexible requires the use of softening agents that can be harmful. Collecting water in a PVC poncho is less of a risk than trying to store water in a can lined with the poncho.

#4: LDPE (Low-density Polyethylene)
  • Typically used for films like bread wrappers, LDPE is normally a single-use plastic that is food safe. 
  • Thin films may be useful as a liner for a container, but will lack the strength to be of much use for storing or transporting water by themselves.

#5: PP (Polypropylene)
  • Available in a wide variety of types, PP is opaque or translucent and has a high melting point which makes it safe for microwaves and dishwashers.
  • One of the safer plastics available, you'll see it used in yogurt  and food containers. (In my opinion, yogurt isn't quite food, but it wants to be.)

#6: PS (Polystyrene)
  • Hard or foamed, PS is the common material found in plastic dinnerware and styrofoam cups. 
  • PS can release unpolymerized styrene, which is a slow poison that accumulates in a body's fat over time.
  • Handy as an insulator, but not a good choice for storing food or water.

#7: Mixed or Other
  • Literally mixed plastics of unknown origin. This one is a gamble, since you have no idea of what is in the mix.
  • If you see a "7" and the letters "PC" on a container, it means that it is made of Polycarbonate which is made using BPA. 
  • This is the "last resort" of plastics for food or water.

Coconut shells, dried gourds, and folded leaves are all examples of natural cups.
  • If the material you've chosen comes from an edible part of a plant, it's safe to use as a cup as long as it hasn't started to rot.
  • Broad, smooth leaves will be safer than narrow, fuzzy ones because the "hairs" on leaves is where many plants keep their poisons. The fuzzy leaves also collect more dust and dirt that you'll have to clean out of your water before drinking it.
  • Leather can be used for short-term storage of liquids. The use of wine skins for several thousand years has proven that it's a safe choice.
  • Wood is usually a safe choice as there are few poisonous types of wood in the world, but avoid cedars, birches, and gum trees if you're making cups and bowls since they're all toxic. Some of the more exotic woods of the world are also toxic, but you're less likely to find them laying around.

Glass and Ceramics
  • While different materials, these are similar in structure and composition. Both are primarily made of silicon, a stable and abundant element.
  • Glass and glazed ceramics are smooth on the molecular level, leaving very little space for bacteria to grow. This also makes them easy to clean. 
  • Heavier than plastics and much more fragile, glass is a good option for stationary prepping (hunkering down or shelter in place) and long-term food storage like canned vegetables.
  • Unglazed and partially-fired ceramics are porous and will provide ample opportunity for nasty things to grow in your food and water. They are useful for transporting, but not for storing foods and water. 
  • Unglazed ceramics are a lot easier to make. Old-school crocks for making pickles and sauerkraut were often only glazed on the inside to save money in production while still being safe for food use.

Obviously,  if you have no other choices you'll use whatever you can find to hold water. This information is for when you have choices.

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Prudent Prepping: Earthquake! Part the Latest

The dust has settled and the First 72 Hours have passed. Follow along as I build a long term plan via Prudent Prepping. 

Well, the post I wanted to make last week has been pushed back again. I wonder if the idea behind it should be shelved, since things are conspiring against turning it in...

Yeah, we had a medium-size one last night, 4.5 on the Richter Scale; big enough to wake me up and shake up the dog, but not enough to break anything here. It was quite a surprise to our recently arrived from overseas house guest! They are used to typhoons, but the house shaking for no apparent reason was a novel experience for them, and there was a little squealing and shouting from one end of the house to the other, checking on everyone.

That by itself wasn't too bad, but the text messages coming in for the next hour wore me out. I was scheduled to start an hour early that morning so I really needed some sleep, but the check-ins were (and are) appreciated.

This past week has really been crazy at work. How crazy you ask? This crazy!

Prepping Without Knowing How
With PG&E's announcement of a preemptive power shutoff, flashlights and batteries sold out fast along with the normal stock of generators carried in local stores. Many people decided to place orders to guarantee having one in case the power actually went out in a larger area than was first outlined. From last Monday to this Wednesday morning, a local store ordered and sold 144 generators of several sizes. This morning, the store I was in sold out of generators again.

I believe the blackout, and now an earthquake, has really opened many peoples' minds to planning for a disaster. Thursday the 17th is the 30 year anniversary of the (almost Big One) Loma Prieta Earthquake, and on the U.S.G.S. website is an explanation of what happened -- and what will happen -- to this area in the future. I wrote about earthquake prepping and showed an animation in this post from last year that pretty accurately showed where things were shaking in last night's quake. Please read through the linked posts under "What To Do". My fellow bloggers show what, and also explain why, they do when planning for a disaster.

Blackout Update
P.G.&E has said that all but a few isolated areas will soon have power restored. Now that they have potentially prevented a fire similar to what So. CA. had this past weekend, the Governor is now demanding PG&E pay people affected by the blackouts $100 and businesses $250, while respected news outlets are questioning whether this situation is potentially the New Normal for California.

Here at Blue Collar Prepping we have a very strict 'No Politics' policy that is enforced for members and bloggers, so I am not blaming any party. What I am going to blame, however, is 50 years of forest mis-management (in my opinion) and short sighted business practices for contributing to the fires that have burned too many square miles, destroyed far too many structures, and killed so many people for far too long.

Be safe and be prepared.

Takeaway And Recap
  • Nothing was purchased for this week, but I'm being asked even more questions on where to start. I have to dig my prepping books out of the totes to see which might be a good beginner book.
* * *

Just a reminder: if you plan on buying anything through Amazon, please consider using our referral link. When you do, a portion of the sale comes back here to help keep this site running!

If you have comments, suggestions or corrections, please post them so we all can learn. And remember, Some Is Always Better Than None!

NOTE: All items tested were purchased by me. No products have been loaned in exchange for a favorable review. Any items sent to me for T&E will be listed as such. Suck it Feds.

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Diagnostic Procedures

Diagnostic procedures are the methods involved in finding the root of a problem. You drill through a list of tests and potential issues, eliminating them until you find the problem. In my case, the problem is that my truck won't start. Lets get into my methods and see how I find problems.

Knowing what a piece of equipment needs in order to function properly is key to making a diagnosis. In my case, an engine needs 3 things to function: air, fuel, and spark (or compression, in a diesel). My engine will crank, but won't actually start. This means that I'm missing at least one of those critical elements.

Air is fairly straightforward. My filter is in decent shape, my turbo is functioning correctly, so air is getting into the engine.

Compression was my first thought. I didn't have any indicators of a catastrophic mechanical failure, so I look to my electrical system, with the idea that insufficient electrical current won't turn the engine with enough energy to get ignition. With 2 batteries, there may be enough power to turn the engine, but not with the force needed to actually ignite the fuel/air mix. Both batteries have 12.7 volts and test good on the machine at my local parts house. The alternator likewise tests good. Volts are present, so the next step is checking that they're actually getting to the parts that need them.

Using my electrical multimeter, I checked for continuity on all my fuses. I found one that was burned out, but it's unrelated to any of my engine components. (It is for lights on one of my trailer plugs.) I also tested the relays that control my engine functions. The easiest way to do this is to use another relay with the same part number. My fuel pump relay is the same as the relay for my air conditioning, and the relay for my daytime running lights. My ignition and starter relays are the same as the relay for my rear window defroster. Changing out these relays will tell you if a relay is malfunctioning. In my case, swapping relays did nothing.

This virtually eliminates anything in my electrical system as the point of failure. This leads us to fuel as a culprit. Chasing fuel leaks requires special knowledge and tools. If you're not equipped, this is the time when calling a mechanic can save you hours of time and headaches. If you have the tools and skills, I don't have to explain this part of the process to you.

The principle applies to any piece of equipment. The same idea of listing possible causes and eliminating them works for malfunctioning lights, plumbing issues, or any other problem you might face. Notice that I did the quick, easy, and free checks first. The more you can eliminate in short time and for zero cost, the better. It takes a bit of practice to brainstorm possible causes, so don't be afraid to call friends who have experience with whatever you're fixing. I still find myself making that call from time to time.

A bit of logic and some testing helps you find the root of your problems. This saves you time at a mechanic or sometimes that bill itself.


Monday, October 14, 2019

Minimalist EDC Pt 2: True Everyday Carry

The second installment of a series of minimalist planning, for those who have to carry everything with them everywhere they go.

This week: a true Everyday Carry for Everyone.

Godspeed to you all.

Friday, October 11, 2019

Water Pasteurization

Not actually Erin.
& is used with permission.
The standard method of making water safe is to boil it. However, bringing a substantial quantity of water can be time and fuel-consuming, one or both of which may be in short supply in a disaster scenario. You can save time and fuel by instead pasteurizing your water (yes, just like they do for milk) before drinking it.

The boiling point of water is 212° F or 100° C, but the pasteurization point of water is 149° F or 65° C. That's a tremendous amount of savings of both time and energy, and can be easily achieved through solar cooking techniques as well as the traditional "pot on the fire" method.

However, a significant drawback to pasteurization is that, unlike boiling,  there is no visual indicator for when water has reached that point. This is easily corrected with the purchase or manufacture of a Water Pasteurization Indicator, or WaPI.
The WaPI is as ingenious in principle as it is simple to use.
  • A blob of wax with a very specific melting point sits at the end of a capped, hollow plastic tube. A small length of wire or fishing line with weights on the end keep the tube from floating to the surface of the water and provides a convenient way to pull the tube out for inspection.
  • The tube is placed into the water you wish to pasteurize with the wax at the top. 
  • When the water is pasteurized, the wax reaches its melting point and flows to the bottom of the tube.
  • Remove the WaPI to allow the wax to cool before re-use. 
  • To re-use, simply move the WaPI along the line so that the wax is again at the top of the tube and drop it into a fresh, cold pot of water. 
At 1.5 inches long and 1/6th of an ounce in weight, it essentially takes up no space and weighs nothing, meaning that it can be added to any Bug Out or Get Home bag without drawback. There is literally no downside to having this in a bag, which is something I have been unable to say about anything else.

You can purchase a WaPI for $10 and free shipping from Amazon

NOTE: Pasteurization renders water safe to drink; it does not sterilize. If you need to sterilize something, such as bandages or medical instruments, you must bring the water to a boil.

Further, pasteurization does not protect against chemical contaminants. For that you need a filter or a distillation tool.

Thursday, October 10, 2019

Prepping for Winter

It's once again that time of year to switch from shorts and T-shirts to wool socks and flannel shirts. Fall is here, and that means winter is not far behind.

Here in fly-over country, the temperatures went from 90 to 55 like they saw a state trooper. Older building will switch from heat in the mornings to air conditioning in the afternoons, and they're predicting the first frost for this weekend. Most of today's post will concern those of us who live in colder regions, so the folks down south can read it for entertainment purposes.

Winter means that most of us have to rethink our daily preps and “change gears” in our thinking about the short-term preps. Staying warm moves up on the list of importance and insects become less of a problem. The BOB/GHB will grow in size as the extra layers of clothes are added. It's time to take stock and see where changes need to be made.

  • Check your doors and windows, make sure they close and seal properly. Adding a doorsweep/draft stopper to outside doors is an easy project that will keep some of the cold air out of your house. Putting them on interior doors may be an option if you want to close off unused rooms and heat only the ones you're actually living in.
  • Heaters need to be checked. If you have a furnace, either have it checked or do it yourself. Change to filters to improve airflow and at least look at the gas lines/ wiring to make sure they are still in good shape.
  • If you use fuel to provide heat, it's time to make sure you have enough. Propane and fuel oil tank levels should be checked and wood piles need to be refilled and covered. Natural gas and electrical heat are at the mercy of your utility companies (see David's post from yesterday), so you should look at your backup heat sources.
  • Years ago I lived in an old house with water pipes that were so poorly placed that they would freeze when the temperatures dropped down to about 10° F. Frozen pipes means no water and possibly busted pipes, so I had to insulate the vulnerable ones and place heat tapes on most of them. This is the time of year to check the heat tapes and insulation to ensure that vermin haven't destroyed them.
  • It's also time to winterize the lawn mower and get out the snow shovels. I don't have enough sidewalk or driveway to warrant a snowblower, but if you have one it's time to get it serviced before everyone panics after the first snowfall. Shovels are simple tools, but they need to be kept clean and straight to work best. I use an aluminum grain shovel for snow and have to smooth out the nicks and dents every year.

  • I have a fairly high metabolism, so I change my diet with the weather. It's time to switch to high-calorie foods and warm beverages to stay warm.
  • Fats and oils provide dense calories and store better than fresh vegetables, so my menus change with the seasons. As I get older, it takes my body a bit longer to adjust to changes in diet so I try to make the changes slowly.
  • Harvest season is in full swing, so there are plenty of locally-grown foods to stock up on. The orchards and farmers markets are open and prices are better than they'll be in a few months. If you can your own food, you're already in full production by now.
  • Cold weather and freezing temps means that I can't store water in my vehicles, so I switch to empty water bottles and a way to melt ice and snow.

  • Winterizing a vehicle is an annual chore. The most common issue I've run into over the years is weak batteries; once the temps drop below freezing it takes more power to start an engine, so a battery that worked fine all summer will pick the coldest day to die on you. Have your battery tested at an auto parts store and replace it before it leaves you stranded somewhere.
  • Modern technology has improved the coolant in most cars, but it still needs to be checked. Any auto parts store will sell you a hygrometer to check the density of your anti-freeze and most oil-change shops will check it for you as part of their service. Add or change your anti-freeze as needed; it's a lot cheaper than replacing a cracked engine.
  • Tires have also been improving over the years, but you still need to make sure you have enough tread left to give you traction in mud/snow/ice. Check your tires now, before you need that extra traction.
  • Those who live in mountainous regions or drive through them will know what tire chains are and how to use them. If you carry chains, it's time to pull them out and inspect them. Repair or replace worn chains, because having one fail while driving is a nerve-wracking experience that can do serious damage to your car.

Fall is busy for me. My day job is working with farmers, so I'm working long hours and don't get many days off between Labor Day and Thanksgiving. My preps are always a work in progress, so there are some that are closer to what I want to have than others. Keep improving what you have and try to get ready for what is coming -- that's the basics of prepping for me.

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Prudent Prepping: Grid Down?

The dust has settled and the First 72 Hours have passed. Follow along as I build a long term plan via Prudent Prepping.  

I've had to change my blog post topic this week, due to the Northern California fire danger and our local Power company's response to the threat.

When The Grid Goes Down
I first mentioned Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) and their emergency response plan in this post from May of this year. There were discussions of having to possibly 'power down' sections of North California in the event of a major fire, or at least the threat of a fire based on the conditions at that time. No one was too concerned due to how remote the locations were where most of the fires started, and there was little thought given to the transmission lines (possibly) affected running through the wilderness areas to the urban power users.

Guess what happened this morning? Weather conditions are such that PG&E has announced that 800,000 customers will be affected by a mandatory power outage, and potentially 3 million users could be turned off if there are actual fires. Here is the latest, complete news report from SF Gate:

Neighborhoods Impacted by PG&E Shutoffs
This map shows part of my county, but lucky for me I'm not in the potential blackout zone.

The map below shows the entire Black Out area for Northern California. On this map I'm right at the "O" in the San Francisco. As you can see, major portions of the Coastal Range and Sierra Nevada mountains are affected by this policy.

Because I live in earthquake country and quakes are normally a complete surprise that lasts 30 seconds, I've finally seen what my fellow bloggers experience when storms are forecast: Panic Buying I watched every generator, half of the larger flashlights, and ALL of the battery lanterns sell off the shelves between 6:01am and 1:30pm at the store I was working in today, and I was asked for lights and batteries All. Day. Long.

One cool thing was that I had several people looking for advice and tips on what to do, and I directed several to this blog for information. I expect to see a big spike in Sawyer Mini water filters and Etekcity LED lanterns, not from me but as Featured Items on Amazon.

Okay, maybe from me.

One of the local counties is recommending people in the affected areas to be prepared for as many as 5 days without power. This is a good time to review preps and convert others to being prepared. Not only did I send people to BCP, I shared my previous orders on Amazon with two co-workers and a customer I've known for several years to show that it's possible to build up supplies while having a reasonable budget. Everyone has slightly different requirements for their families and likes different things, so I don't think it's necessary to show a detailed list. What is important to show are the basics:
  • 1-2 gallons of water per person, per day. This is your minimum requirement.
  • Easy to cook (and acceptable) food for your family. This doesn't need to be fancy, long term storage food either. In fact, if your power goes out for 5 days, emptying out your freezer and fridge might give you enough food for 2-3 days by themselves.
  • Lights for everyone. My recommended lantern produces more than enough light to keep the dark away. Don't forget the batteries!
  • Radio, to keep up on the news. Battery or hand cranked. 
  • Optionally add portable power packs for personal electronics to this list. Cell phones may not have service if the towers lose power and backup generators run out of fuel, but it will temporarily allow for games and reading eBooks.
Of course, this is only if the power is off and there is in fact no fire. If there is a fire, all bets are off and you must evacuate!

It's sad that it takes a crisis to get people to think about taking care of themselves, but there is no time like the present.

Be safe, stay safe, and be ready to explain why you have emergency supplies.

Takeaway And Recap
  • Nothing was purchased this week.
  • Next week I'll have a report on my new water bottle, along with some more prepping news.

* * *

Just a reminder: if you plan on buying anything through Amazon, please consider using our referral link. When you do, a portion of the sale comes back here to help keep this site running!

If you have comments, suggestions or corrections, please post them so we all can learn. And remember, Some Is Always Better Than None!

NOTE: All items tested were purchased by me. No products have been loaned in exchange for a favorable review. Any items sent to me for T&E will be listed as such. Suck it Feds.

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Guest Post: Why Every Bug Out Bag Needs a Woobie

by George Groot
George is a member of our Facebook Group and has written for us before.

What is a “Woobie”?

In the military, a woobie is a standard issue poncho liner, designed to work with a standard poncho to make something like a survival sleeping bag by putting the two together.* By itself it's a quilted camouflage square made from ripstop nylon with a small bit of insulation between the two sides. The edge is reinforced with slightly thicker nylon webbing, and there are sewn-in laces that allow you to tie the woobie to the poncho.

The woobie is beloved by soldiers as it is the most cost-effective item in terms of weight that you can carry to keep from freezing. The old saying “Travel light and freeze at night” is true in the infantry, and the woobie, much like the “snookie cap” (aka watch cap), is something lightweight to keep you from freezing at night.

Just how much do Soldier’s love their woobies? This much:

The woobie is viewed as an essential piece of kit for field exercises by most infantrymen, although it is viewed as a “comfort item” by some leaders who view a two pound woobie as additional weight that would be better spent on water, food, batteries, or ammunition. Having served in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Germany where the winter weather can kill you just as dead as any enemy, I firmly believe that a woobie helps a soldier get better rest in the field. and a soldier who has better rest makes better decisions, is more alert on patrol, and a better teammate to have around. If you have a mission set of unknown duration, you’ll want to pack your woobie, and want your guys to pack theirs.

Getting a Woobie of your Own
Shipping weight for one is two pounds, but they are actually lighter, usually around 22 ounces when dry. Woobies come in a standard milspec size of 62x82 inches, but commercial offerings can be larger or smaller (my personal woobie has an extra 10” of length), so when ordering online make sure you get a woobie that is a size appropriate to you -- although if you don’t know where to begin, the standard milspec dimensions work fine for almost everyone except the super tall (and even for the super tall, a milspec woobie will work for most uses).

If you are looking for the most possible “utility” from woobie camouflage, get the USMC version with MARPAT camouflage on one side and coyote brown on the other. If you're looking for the most absolute value for the money, faded ACU pattern woobies are usually half the price of new ones, and the mottled digital gray actually does okay in winter, sagebrush deserts, alder forests, and against gravel and concrete. OCP, also known as multicam, works well in most natural environments, and the woodland pattern is usually fine for anywhere that has greens and browns to blend into. However, I recommend you purchase clothing that is specific to the area you are in, and not rely on a woobie for concealment.

The Many Uses of a Woobie
Much like the towel of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, the lightweight woobie is an infinitely useful item to have on hand. Here are some of the things you can do with a woobie:
  • Comfort while resting. You can use your woobie as a blanket. You can use your woobie as a pillow. You can use your woobie as a hammock (not recommended, but you can if you have to). You can share woobies so that one person in three can get really good sleep while two provide security.
  • Overhead shelter and concealment. By spraying your woobie with Scotch Guard or other water repelling treatment for camping gear, you can use your woobie as a rain cover. Since they come in camouflage patterns, you can use your woobie to conceal you (if you've picked a pattern that makes sense for your area).
  • Gathering and carrying tool. You can lay your woobie out and shake fruits or nuts from trees to gather. You can use your woobie as a carrying implement by rolling stuff in it and tying the ends together and slinging it over your shoulder and across your body.
  • First aid. You can use your woobie and two long sticks to make an impromptu field litter to transport a casualty. You can cut a woobie into strips for splinting a broken limb. You can fold a woobie into a sling to support and immobilize an injured arm.
  • Cold weather garment (see pictures at end of article). By tying the loop ties together you can make an impromptu uniform liner that covers your arms and torso down into your groin and upper thigh area. (When wearing standard Army fatigues you’ll look “puffy” with your woobie stuffed in your uniform jacket and pants, but you’ll be warmer than the guys who are hanging about in a wet uniform.) Simply slide your fingers through the tied string, and put your uniform jacket on, then stuff the extra poncho liner into your pants, adjusting the poncho liner so that it covers your arms, armpits, torso, groin, and upper thighs. This will help you not die of exposure when halted for a long time.
  • An aid to fire starting. Since the woobie is synthetic, if you absolutely need some highly flammable tinder, you can pull the polyester stuffing from your woobie (not recommended, but it’s an option).
Youtube has many videos on how to modify a woobie to make it even more suited to various tasks, and if you are handy with a sewing machine you might want to look into whether or not any of those projects would be value added to you in the circumstances you think you are most likely to encounter.

What a Woobie Is Not
It is not the same as a sleeping bag, thermal mat, and a tent. In terms of heat retention it's way better than nothing, but on its own isn’t going to give you the good rest you need except in very mild conditions in places where it doesn’t get too cold at night.** You’ll need at least season-appropriate clothes to truly make the woobie into a valuable addition to your total system, and I recommend wool watch caps in every bug out bag regardless of season, as it can always get cold at night.

Packing your Woobie
A standard bug out bag can easily accomodate a woobie. A woobie is at least five pounds lighter than an M65 field jacket, and much lighter than a full sleeping bag set; it's even lighter than a spare uniform set. It crams down into a much smaller stuff sack or ruck pocket too. So if you need a lightweight bugout bag I highly recommend you put a woobie in it.

In a standard ALICE or MOLLE rucksack, an external pouch is perfect for rapidly stuffing a woobie into when you need to strip down to minimal uniform or so you don’t overheat. Stored that way, the woobie is nice and handy for when you need to add a layer. On a civilian backpack, I would recommend a small nylon “stuff sack” be used to hold the woobie so that it is easy to find by feel in the dark.

Your other kit should also be in stuff sacks, so that you don’t have a “rucksack explosion” digging around for a specific item. There's nothing more frustrating than having to empty your entire pack to look for one item, and then needing to repack in a rush because your position was compromised and you need to move immediately!

If you are cheap and don’t mind not having cool factory gear, a gallon ziplock style freezer bag reinforced at the seams and sides with duct tape can make a great waterproof storage bag for your woobie. (Note: if you have a larger than milspec woobie like mine, you’ll need to duct tape two bags to make a waterproof bag for your woobie). When I was in Ranger school this was the preferred way to store spare socks, t-shirts, woobie, pens, paper, etc, that could get soaked in the rain or a river crossing. I’ve used both the slide lock and the standard press lock, and for storing clothes, the press lock is probably the better option; for storing maps, paper, etc, the slide lock is really convenient because you’ll get in and out of those bags a lot more often even if it isn’t as totally waterproof. For what it's worth, I still have some of the duct taped ziplock bags from over ten years ago protecting some of my gear.

Waterproof sacks from ziplock gallon freezer bags and duct tape.
Waterproof gear bags ensure your BOB will float, and be much lighter on the other side of a water obstacle.
The bag holding my woobie is halfway finished to illustrate process.

Appendix: Woobie as Cold Weather Gear

1). Tie Figure 8 knot in center ties on each side of woobie.

2) Put fingers through tie loops created by figure 8 knot, holding folded woobie over shoulders.

3) Put on your jacket or uniform top over woobie, using ties to pull woobie into arms. Wrap loose parts around your torso.

4) Tuck excess woobie into your pants top. If you are a little tight, just unbutton the fly and stuff, using belt to keep pants up.

5) Zip up your top. Now you have extra insulation around your torso, arms, and upper legs. It won't make you perfectly toasty warm, but it's a lot better than nothing. To remove, just take the loops off your hands and pull the woobie out the jacket front.

* I’ve been in the US Army for a while now and this is one thing I haven't done with a woobie, so I might have to try it someday as simply knowing how to do it isn’t the same as having experienced doing it.

** However, if you are “escaping and evading” you should be moving at night and resting during the day anyway.

Monday, October 7, 2019

Minimalist EDC: Reduce,Reuse,Recycle

The first of a series of minimalist planning, for those who have to carry everything with them everywhere they go.

Today we're talking about the scourge of the earth's oceans: plastic bags.

Godspeed to you all.

Friday, October 4, 2019

Water Bottles: Material, Construction, Purpose

Not actually Erin.
& is used with permission.
A few days ago, David talked about getting a new water bottle for his Every Day Carry gear. What he said, and the comments that arose from it, have spurred me to talk about what to look for in a water bottle for your preps.

The biggest criteria is "How do you intend to use it?", followed by what it's made from and how it's constructed.

When looking for water bottles for your preps, the three biggest contenders are plastic, aluminum, and steel.

Unless you're like David and have actually managed to break a Nalgene bottle, this is probably your best bet. Nalgene is a brand name, but much like "kleenex" or "xerox" we now use it as a generic noun to indicate a type of durable plastic used in sports bottles. This kind of plastic is almost indestructible, lightweight, comes in a variety of sizes and colors and spouts, and is affordable by anyone. There is some concern about the long-term health risks of drinking from a plastic bottle made with BPA, so manufacturers such as Nalgene advertise that their products are BPA-free.

Aluminum is cheaper than plastic (unless you get a fancy insulated version -- see Construction, below) and weighs slightly less than Nalgene. It also scratches and dents more easily, which is a legitimate concern if you're using it every day; the daily bumps, drops and other oopses of daily life can do more damage to a bottle over the long term than taking one hiking or camping will.

There's also some concern about the long-term health effects of drinking from an aluminum container. This is because aluminium in solution is toxic, and there is concern that aluminum poisoning could be a contributing cause of Alzheimer's syndrome. In truth, this is outside of my field of expertise and I will ask Chaplain Tim, who was a professional water chemist, to explain this in greater detail. However, I wish to point out two things:
  1. Aluminum oxidizes when exposed to the air. Aluminum Oxide is both insoluble (doesn't dissolve in water) and very tough (fun fact: sapphires are composed of oxidized aluminum), but that coating can be damaged in a variety of ways:
    • Physical Deformation of the container, which exposes un-oxidized aluminum to whatever is inside. Remember, aluminum dents easily!
    • Chemical degradation of the oxide. All fruit juices and most soft drinks are acidic, which will strip off the oxidized layer, as will washing your bottle in the alkaline soap of a dishwasher. 
  2. The amount of aluminum needed to be a health hazard would require you to drink regularly from that bottle for years before any ill effects could potentially manifest. 
In other words, so long as you only put water in your water bottle, don't bang it to pieces, and don't drink from it and only it for years and years, you will be all right. 

Steel is non-toxic and tough. Steel is also more expensive than aluminum and slightly heavier, which may be an issue in a Bug Out or Get Home Bag. It's also less conductive than aluminum, which is why insulated thermoses are made from it. 

Some water bottles are insulated and some are not. While there are different types of insulation (double wall, vacuum insulated, etc) for our purposes today we only care if they're insulated or not.

Insulated bottles keep your cold drinks cold and your hot drinks hot, and in a neat side-effect, prevent condensation from forming. I have never seen an insulated plastic water bottle and I don't think it's possible to make one; instead, you have to put an insulating sleeve over the bottles.

Both steel and aluminum bottles can be insulated, but this increases both price and weight, sometimes dramatically depending upon the type of insulation and size of the bottle. Given that aluminum is a good thermal conductor, it will reach room temperature faster than a steel bottle of similar construction.

Given the advantages of an insulated bottle, some may ask why any prepper would want an un-insulated one. The answer to that is simple: You cannot boil water in an insulated bottle. The insulation will prevent the water inside from heating, and attempting to do so will result in damage to the bottle's insulation as you burn it away, as well as wasted time and fuel for the fire.

It is possible to boil water inside a plastic bottle, as the water itself absorbs the heat which would otherwise melt the plastic, but over the long term this will destroy your bottle.

Ironically, aluminum's heat conduction makes it an excellent candidate for purification in the field by boiling, as it will heat up quickly and also cool down quickly. Steel will take longer to heat and will also retain it for longer.

This brings us to our main criteria, "What will you use it for?" These are my opinions.

Every Day Use
Unless your name is David Blackard, use a Nalgene style bottle for water. If the water becomes tepid before you finish it, top it off with cold water from a faucet. 

If you want to drink a non-water substance, get a steel bottle. If you want to keep it hot or cold, get an insulated version. I prefer vacuum insulated bottles, also known as thermoses.

Hiking or Camping
I suggest un-insulated aluminum for this because it is cheap (so that if you damage it or lose it you won't be out a lot of money), it is lightweight, and if your outing turns into a survival situation you can purify water in it easily (because, as prepper, we always have on our persons multiple ways to start fires, don't we?).

BOBs or GHBs
I actually don't recommend bottles at all for BOBs; I think you are better served by boiling water using cooking equipment (such as a pot over the fire) and then being poured into a hydration bladder for drinking on the go.

For GHBs, I suggest both a Nalgene and a simple aluminum bottle. Boil water in the aluminum, then pour it into your plastic bottle for drinking while you Get Home. Not only will this allow you to benefit from the qualities of both bottles, it will increase your carrying capacity:
  1. Boil the water in the aluminum bottle.
  2. When you can touch the bottle, pour the water into your Nalgene.
  3. Repeat until Nalgene is full. 
  4. Boil another aluminum bottle's worth of water and seal it when it has cooled.
  5. Refill your Nalgene from the aluminum when you are running low. When the aluminum is low, start looking for another water source. 

As you can see, there are advantages and disadvantages to each material and design. To find which is right for you, first determine how you intend to use the bottle and work from there.

Thursday, October 3, 2019

A Potential Man-Made Disaster (part 3)

Having brought up the potential man-made disaster of a second American Civil War (ACW2), I've been doing a lot of thinking about how preppers could work to minimize the impact on their lives. Some people reason that we've already entered ACW2, it just hasn't gone “hot” yet.  Others believe that we're in a “Cold War” stage right now, with the battles being fought in courtrooms, legislative chambers, public opinion, and propaganda campaigns.

The wedges being forced between different sectors of society are many and vary in strength, but they're there. We need to acknowledge that things could erupt into violence soon and make our decisions before that happens. There will be no avoiding damage; ACW2 would hit each of us in some way. How can we minimize the damage?

Prepping for War

Situational Awareness (SA)
  • You're the best judge of what's going on around you. Get your head out of your phone and pay attention to the people and places around you.
  • God (or nature, take your pick) gave you five physical senses and at least one other. Pay attention to what you smell, taste, and feel as much as you do to what you hear and see. Smoke from a campfire smells different than smoke from a house fire; tap water has a different taste from town to town; and changes in weather can often be felt in your body before they become evident in the sky. Learn how to decipher these clues to heighten your SA. That “at least one other” sense is your common sense and paranoia, so don't disregard your “gut feelings” just because they don't always make sense.
  • If you live in a larger city, you probably already know the areas to avoid after dark. Expect those areas to expand as things heat up; opportunistic criminals aren't all stupid and lazy, and many of them will try to take advantage of any disruption of “normal” to further their own goals.
  • If you're old or have diminished senses for any reason, get a dog if possible. Their senses are much more acute than ours and they will warn you if somethings is “off”,

Be Ready to Move
  • Modern wars have a tendency to be fluid, moving battle-lines in unusual and sometimes random ways. An area can be safe one day and in the middle of a battle on the next, so you need to be flexible in where you sleep at night. I'm not in a position to be able to tell you how things are going to go down in your town or city, as I don't live there, so it's up to you to learn as much as you can about your local surroundings and how they can be used to help you.
  • Not all moves will be permanent. You may only need to get out of harm's way for a few days before venturing back home if a battle is short and decisive. Riots and other disturbances burn themselves out when there is nothing left to loot, but you're going to need somewhere to stay for the week or two that may take.
  • If you live near any of the likely infrastructure targets, you're more likely to have to relocate. Distribution and transport of any essential commodity will become a target, so bridges, pipelines, electrical stations, and shipping yards are likely to be attacked in one way or another.
  • Don't expect a lot of fore-warning. Our culture is based on instant communication, and there are groups out there today using those communication tools to gather large groups for bad reasons. There are also groups using the same tools to gather people for good reasons, but knowing which outcome is expected can be a challenge.

If You Choose to Fight
  • Becoming active in a civil war can take many forms. Serving in one of the branches of the military will give you a basic idea of what is needed, but you're not likely to be part of a large, organized force. 
  • Support personnel will always outnumber fighters by roughly 3:1; that's just how these things work. Logistics, tactics, intelligence gathering, and other “non-combat” roles will be highly prized skills. Sun Tzu wrote a book about the basic strategies that will cover most of the conflicts we're likely to see, and I highly recommend reading it and thinking about how it applies to your unique situation.
  • If you choose to be a trigger-puller, get your affairs in order. Make peace with whatever deity you choose and train as much as you can. Recognize that you and those fighting next to you have no guarantee of living through any given day. Choose your allies with care, and watch for informants and infiltrators.
  • Expect to be portrayed as a terrorist or whatever new name the mass media will use to denigrate you. Any resistance to authority will be called criminal, and the talking heads will grab anything they can find (or make up) to present that resistance as the worst thing to have ever happened. Never willingly talk to the press; they have proven time and again that they cannot be trusted to tell the truth about anything.

Plan Long-Term
  • ACW2 will not be a short conflict. We've forgotten how to conduct short conflicts, so I don't see an internal war being much different than the “war on drugs” that has been running for a few decades now. Part of the problem is that we have people in government that will gain power during any conflict, and being human, they will do all they can to maintain that level of power and control. Another factor is the risk-averse culture that has taken over most of our daily actions: warning signs on everything to avoid lawsuits, “safety first” campaigns at most job sites, military forces that have to obtain permission from an office thousands of miles away to do much of anything, and the ever-increasing “nanny state” that seeks to control us for our own good.
  • A 72 hour kit makes for a good Bug Out Bag, but you're going to need more than that for a long conflict. Think along the lines of providing the bare essentials for you and yours for a few years. As I mentioned last week, modern civil wars and revolutions are lasting longer than the historical ones did. I'd expect some form of disturbance in basic services to last for several years in some places. Do what you can to cover the basics of shelter, water, food, and fuel for as long as you can.
  • Every different region has its own pros and cons. Here in the Midwest we have plenty of food and water available, but the winters can be severe; areas in the Southwest will have milder winters, but not much arable land and brutal summers; and coastal areas are more heavily populated and rely on other areas for their food and power. Planning for the long term means taking a good look at the resources and conditions around you and finding a way to make them work for you.

“Unexpected” Doesn't Mean “Impossible”
“All swans are white until you see a black one.” That's the premise of the black swan theory: things that have never happened before are unexpected and will catch many people by surprise. A good grasp of history will show that more has happened than most people know about, but we also have a rapidly evolving technological sector that is making the “impossible” happen every day.
  • I expect a lot of the “fighting” in ACW2 will initially be digital. Hackers on both sides will be busy trying to disrupt the digital lives of their enemies, causing confusion and sometimes physical damage. With “deep fake” video technology becoming cheap and available, propaganda will reach new lows. Weaponized commercial drones are being used in some parts of the world already.
  • Hospitals, small cities, and medium-sized companies are being targeted by hackers taking control of their computer systems. The amount of disruption possible grows with the increasing reliance on digital everything in our lives.
  • So-called “weaponized autism” has become common, with several internet sites providing better data analysis that most governments can produce, and I know of one country that has recruited people on the spectrum as intelligence gatherers which can pick out patterns and minute differences that most “normies” would miss.

Like I said last week, none of this is earth-shaking news; it's mostly common sense once you think about it. I suggest that everyone set aside some time to actually sit down and consider the possibilities and how they would react to them. A little self-reflection wouldn't hurt, either.

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Prudent Prepping: A New Water Bottle

The dust has settled and the First 72 Hours have passed. Follow along as I build a long term plan via Prudent Prepping. 

The recently departed water bottle in last week's post has been replaced with something that will degrade slowly in sunlight and be difficult for me to break.

I hear some laughter from the cheap seats, so check this out.

Iron Flask Sports Water Bottle

Iron Flask Sports Water Bottle - 18oz, 22oz, 32oz, 40oz, or 64oz, 3 Lids, Vacuum Insulated Stainless Steel
  • SPECIAL INTRODUCTORY PRICE! SPORTS WATER BOTTLE INSULATED: Goodbye sweat! The double wall insulation makes the Iron Flask sweat-free! It keeps your drink COLD for up to 24 hours, and HOT for up to 12 hours. *NOTE: ONLY the 18 Oz & 22 Oz fits in cupholders*
  • 3 LIDS: YES, Iron Flask comes with THREE different lids. Straw Lid with 2 Straws, Flip Lid (18 oz, 22 oz, 32 oz, and 40 oz ONLY), and a Stainless Steel Lid! *NOTE: The stainless steel lid is plastic from inside and stainless steel from outside*
  • 18/8 PREMIUM STAINLESS STEEL: The Iron Flask is made of 18/8 Stainless steel that is 100% BPA free and non-toxic. It will never leave a metal taste or rust. HAND WASH ONLY WITH SOAPY HOT WATER!
  • FUNCTIONAL DESIGN: The powder coat exterior finish is a classic. It assures that you stand out with a very durable and elegant bottle. Our logo is now LASER ENGRAVED to assure the highest quality as well.
  • 100% SATISFACTION GUARANTEED: We guarantee that the high quality Iron Flask bottle will surely please you! If, for any reason, you are not 100% satisfied with the Iron Flask, we will issue you a full refund or an exchange!
I really like the idea of having different tops for different uses, plus I have a second replacement straw for the 'sipping' top included in the box! Friends have seen this bottle and are thinking of ordering a larger size, so I can get another opinion and review.

The decision to not use another Nalgene bottle came from comments made on the BCP Facebook page in the discussion of plastic bottles, particularly the comments from George Strong, among others. If you haven't read them, I'll post some quotes from George (with permission):
"UV causes cross linking among polymers. The BPA was added as a sacrificial agent to protect the polymer in water bottles from UV generated cross linking.
"This is the same UV that forces carbon into a tight, four carbon bond that is essential in making vitamin D for your body. It has to do with the wavelength of the radiation matching up with the specific distance in carbon to carbon bonds.I recommend stainless steel water bottles for longevity, and titanium bottles for lightweight hikers. Aluminum is not good for human health."
In a separate conversation:
"Most plastic bottles are fine for long term storage in dark places, perfectly safe. However they will break down faster than stainless steel, glass, or silicone rubber containers. If you need to use"solar sterilization" to make drinking water, cheap disposable water bottles will pretty rapidly wear out, but they filter less of the UV than glass will, although glass won't stop all UV."
So, with info and advice from friends, I bought what I think is a nice water bottle with great features at a great price!

Takeaway and Recap
  • I'm always amazed at how much good information the readers of this blog have and how willing everyone is to share. I learn something every week it seems!
  • Purchased for this week: a 20oz.Iron Flask Sports Water Bottle from Amazon, $21.95 with Prime. Yes, 3 separate lids and a 20oz. bottle for $21.95. This size was my pick because it will fit into a standard cup holder. I'm looking at buying a 32oz. just to have a spare!
    * * *

    Just a reminder: if you plan on buying anything through Amazon, please consider using our referral link. When you do, a portion of the sale comes back here to help keep this site running!

    If you have comments, suggestions or corrections, please post them so we all can learn. And remember, Some Is Always Better Than None!

    NOTE: All items tested were purchased by me. No products have been loaned in exchange for a favorable review. Any items sent to me for T&E will be listed as such. Suck it Feds.

    The Fine Print

    This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution- Noncommercial- No Derivative Works 3.0 License.

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