Building A Practical Bug Out Bag

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Building a bug out bag can be complex or extremely lean and practical. Too many bug out bags I’ve seen online have everything inside them including the kitchen sink. You will certainly become quickly crushed under the weight of such a bag unless you’re in pristine shape. Even if you do have the strength of a thousand pack mules, why would you still choose to include useless gear you’ll never use?

In this post I explore the contents of a lean, mean, and practical bug out bag.

The contents

Here is a list of everything you need:

  • The bug out bag – The 5.11 Rush 72 is considered the best bug out bag in the business. I’ve written a complete review of this bag here.
  • 72 hours food and water – At the core of your bug out bag is 72 hours worth of food and water. The food packed should be non-perishable foods like dried nuts, fruits, Clif Bars, etc. Think about foods you would take on a camping trip. I particularly enjoy the meals from Mountain House foods as my go-to bug out bag food source. They’re a practical way to pack in the calories you need to survive 72 hours.
  • Change of socks and underwear – Not the flashiest gear on the list but completely crucial. Sometimes a change of socks is enough moral boost to blow you through even the hairiest SHTF situations. Besides, having to hike in wet socks is a terrible experience and will only degrade your mentality.
  • Headlamp – A headlamp for when it gets dark.
  • EDC Knife. A knife or a multi-tool for times when you need them. The list of uses for this piece of gear is endless. You don’t need a full blown fixed blade survival knife but a nice folder like the Kershaw Cryo 2 is a great knife.
  • Spare cash – Cash for times when the grid is down and stores can’t process your credit card. Also good for bartering items with other people.
  • Fire starters – Lighter and matches in some kind of waterproof container or plastic bag

Other considerations

All of the above gear is the core list of what you need in a practical bug out bag. There is no reason why you couldn’t survive and get to a safe spot with the above kit. However, we can begin to crazy and add more gear to the core list of items. Use your own judgement and decide for yourself if these items are “practical” and worth the weight.

  • Cell phone and mobile charger – Chances are you already will have your cell phone on you when it’s time to bug out. Consider packing a mobile charger to charge up on the road.
  • Water filter – More for long term survival but I can see practical use in the short term too if you run out of water early. The Sawyer Squeeze is the industry standard for survival water filters.
  • Stainless steel cook kit – You’ll need something to cook any food you find or to boil water.
  • Proper clothing – a layered approach works well in many environments. Read my post on survival clothing for more information into this aspect of survival.
  • Area Map – A map of your city/town. More important if you’re new and aren’t familiar with all the escape routes.
  • Paracord – Paracord has a number of uses out in the wilderness. Use it to rig up a makeshift shelter, make a bear bag, and haul a load up a mountain.

The bug out plan

Perhaps most importantly is your bug out plan. Your bug out plan consists of two parts: Where you’re going to go and how you’re gonna get there. Figure those things out and your bug out bag will be compounded in usefulness. Having a plan will give you peace of mind knowing the road ahead is paved with a clear goal in mind.

Conclusion

The practical bug out bag is cheap and efficient. Add whatever you want but keep in mind the weight of the bag is a crucial consideration.

 

43 Survival Guides in PDF Format

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I know when I got into survival I wanted to tear through all the literature. I read the SAS survival handbook and basically every single survival book recommended to me on the internet. Even after all this I was hungry for more info. Below is a collection of survival guides I found on the internet. All of them are in PDF format available for free download. Each PDF is available for individual download or a complete archive in zip format is available here.

Please note that credit for the following books is given to the listed authors within the publications and are not in any way affiliated with this site. I have simply taken the time to curate these books from the internet. With that said, please learn and enjoy!

Survival / Preparedness / Off Grid

  • 11 Steps To Survival – Canada has a robust emergency preparedness unit in each province and region of the country. This is a short handbook on basic survival strategies for common situations for the region. Lot’s of good stuff in here.
  • Aids To Survival – A surprisingly comprehensive survival book written by the Western Australia Police Academy. This guide has everything from basic survival tactics to full blown sections on radio communications. Because it’s an Aussie publication of course there’s an entire section dedicated to bushcrafting and bush survival.
  • Captain Dave’s Survival Guide – I’m not sure who Captain Dave is but he has some sound advice in his ebook. It’s a short read with some basic knowledge. Certainly not as technical as the others on this list but he has a great writing style and good basic advice. I recommend this one to the beginner survivalist.
  • A Common Sense Guide To Being Prepared – These are a handful of articles published in TIME magazine shedding light on the possibilities of certain attacks. They found in many cases it’s simply too technical of a challenge to launch any kind of attack which would effect a large population of people. This is why many biological and terrorist attacks are hyper local to a specific area. It’s a short read and might put your mind at ease.
  • Desert Emergency Survival Basics – Headed to the desert? It would be wise to give this book a glossy once-over. It’s packed with survival info specifically for desert regions. It’s loaded with navigation advice and what to do if you get lost or run out of water. Another great one to have in your arsenal of survival guides.
  • Ethicon Wound Closure Manual – Close a wound even if someone or yourself is bleeding out. This is an extremely technical manual. I glossed over it but couldn’t understand most of the terminology. If you’re a medical student drop out you might be able to grasp some of the literature in this one. Still good to have.
  • Underworld Survival Guide – This appears to be a manual for vagrants or homeless people looking to score free stuff. None the less, I thought the ingenuity in some of the cons were worth the read. If nothing else have a good laugh at some of this stuff.
  • Free Hot Tips – A giant bulleted list of easily digestible survival knowledge written by a former Green Beret. Some of these are quite good and this guide is a refreshing one compared to the more lengthy publications on this list.
  • Backyard Composting – The art of turning your waste into rich natural soil ripe for gardening and farming. Off grid stuff.
  • Hunting With a Bow and Arrow – Comprehensive book on hunting the old fashioned silent way. Learn to track your prey and move in for the kill. Practical advice loaded with sound hunting principles.
  • Homemade Traps and Snares – Lot’s of ways to make your own critter catching devices. Well illustrated diagrams too.
  • How To Prepare For Any Disaster – Great resource for surviving anything life throws at you. Lot’s of knowledge nuggets even the seasoned prepper will appreciate.
  • Worst Case Survival Handbook – Learn essential survival skills such as escaping from quicksand, jumping off a bridge, and fending off a shark. Survival situations you never think about are examined in hilarious detail in this guide.
  • Never Say Die – Another one from our Canadian Neighbors. I like how this guide jumps straight into the psychology of survival. The Canadian books on this list seem to be jam packed with solid survival advice.
  • Planning a Home or Farm Vegetable Garden – A short guide to planting and harvesting your own vegetables. Good resource for the prepper looking to slowly escape the iron grip of the food trucks and supermarkets.
  • The Complete Outdoorsman’s Handbook – A comprehensive guide to being a man in the outdoors. Learn to properly use a chainsaw, canoe, snowmobile, defend yourself against bugs, and survive in the wilderness.
  • USMC Water Survival Course – A complete guide on surviving out at sea no matter what the case. Packed with essential water survival knowledge straight from the hands of the United States Marine Course.
  • Survival Evasion and Recovery – Another Military document.
  • Wilderness Survival Guide and Tips – A basic document covering the essentials of what is needed in a survival kit along with a few general survival tips.
  • Winter Survival Course Handbook – Another one from the desk of the United States Marine Core. It seems these handbooks dive deep into the psychological aspects of survival which many other survival manuals leave out.
  • Winter Time Camping – Great resource for camping in cold climates and conditions.
  • You Will Survive Doomsday – Written by a Radiological Scientific Officer, this guidebook explores how to survive nuclear attacks. Bruce guides you through the process of fortifying your home and dispels many myths related to surviving a nuclear drop.
  • Your Basement Fallout Shelter – Build a fallout shelter in your basement.
  • A Complete Handbook of Nature Cures – Heal yourself with the natural world around you.
  • Survival Cooking – How to cook in various survival situations.

Bushcraft

  • Canadian Bushcraft Scout Manual – Think about what they used to teach in the Boy Scouts. This book contains classic and timeless knowledge about hiking safely, setting up camp, reading the weather, securing the right tools, making fire, and all the other pieces of knowledge we should all learn. Principle based with technical knowledge and diagrams.
  • Guide To Wild Edible Plants – A giant list of plants you can eat. I wish it would have had picture diagrams because there is no way to tell what you’re picking.
  • Handbook of Knots and Splices – Every knot you could possibly think of and more. Learn about what knots to use in what situations.
  • Pioneering Knots and Lashings – Clean cut diagrams and detailed descriptions of how to make each knot. The book contains lot’s of practical situations for the knots you learn about. There’s also many knots even the experienced Yachtsman has never heard of.
  • Wilderness Shelter Types – A quick list of the various types of shelters. A nice dirty guide to creating your own shelters.

Self Defense

  • Be Your Own Body Guard – This one covers everything related to personal safety. Everything from conflict avoidance to striking where it hurts. Lot’s of solid info on predator psychology and how to avoid violent situations all together. I particularly like the importance placed on developing situations awareness.
  • Citizens Homeland Defense Guide – This book attempts to educate you on staying out of harms way from a plethora of wild attacks. The book covers what to do during terrorist, biological, and chemical attacks. There’s a good deal of info on escape tactics as well as an entire section on Krav Maga techniques. Interesting read but the author could have gone deeper into the subjects. Still worth checking out in my opinion.
  • Tough – Everything you need to know to win a fist fight as taught to the British Commandos and U.S. Armed Forces.

Escape and Evasion

  • Combat Survival and Evasion – An extremely comprehensive study of evasion and survival tactics. Everything from the initial escape to surviving on the run is accounted for in blistering detail. An interesting read with a ton of easily applied survival info.
  • Survival Evasion and Recovery – This one looks like it’s been produced by the U.S. Military as a general guideline for all armed forces. It’s loaded with mil-spec information including an entire section on Camouflage theory which I thought was very interesting.

Weapons

  • The Knuckle Gun – Interesting diagram on building a pair of brass knuckles capable of firing a .22 round. Does this thing actually work? Read for yourself because I would love to know!

Government

  • FEMA Civil Preparedness Guide – A very dry read outlining the proposed policies and procedures of local authorities during periods of disaster. You might find some of their policies interesting but there is little in the way of real survival tips.
  • FEMA Flood Guide – Everything you need to know about floods compliments from our friends at FEMA.
  • Field Craft – A lengthy guide from the Canadian National Defense on the art of engaging the enemy and staying hidden. Lot’s of good info on navigating at night and using various technologies to accomplish missions.

Misc

 

What Is In Les Strouds Survival Kit?

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In his best selling book Survive, Les Stroud shows you exactly what it takes to survive in different survival scenarios. In an early chapter he dedicates an entire section to what he considers to be a highly efficient and lean survival kit. In this post I will explore the contents of Les Strouds survival kit and shed light on different ways you can use each piece of gear.

5 lb coffee container

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Les recommends keeping all of the following gear in a 5lb coffee container. This serves to house the gear in a compact space and also to protect the gear from outside elements like water. Les fails to mention just how you are supposed to transport this container. Are you supposed to hold it in your hand or keep it in your cargo pockets? I doubt a coffee container of that size will even fit in the most baggiest of pants pockets. It would be wise to store the container in a bug out bag or stash it somewhere safe. In the event you need the items within you can easily retrieve the contents and use what you need. However, if you’re venturing out into the wilderness I can’t see how carrying this thing around is practical. I do see the importance of keeping your gear stored in a safe container though.

Folding metal cup

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Some kind of stainless steel or metal cup is a versatile piece of survival equipment. The cup can be used to boil water and also doubles as a drinking and eating cup. I’ve used cheap metal cups in the past which tend to warp and degrade overtime. These days I’ve been very pleased with this camp set from Stanley. It comes with a handle so pulling it in and out of the fire is no problem. Without a collapsible handle you’ll be waiting a long time for the cup to cool down unless you have gloves or something to protect your hands.

Multi Tool

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A good multi tool or Swiss Army knife is always a lifesaver. The pliers on the multi tool especially come in handy for a number of situations. I use mine to take hot gear out of the fire like my cooking pieces and also to bend metals into place. You’ll never know what you’ll need the multi tool for but you will always be wishing you had one if you don’t.

55 gallon trash bags

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These thick industrial size trash bags can do a lot of good in a survival situation. You can easily create a shelter or use the bags to waterproof your gear. Crossing a river and don’t want anything to get wet? Throw everything in one of these trash bags and call it a day. You can also wrap your shoes up to create instant waterproof footwear during a storm. They also function very well as a makeshift poncho

Cotton bandana

Survival-Bandana
A cotton bandana in the signature Bear Grylls orange color. Oh the irony!

 

Use a bandana the traditional way as a means to keep your head from getting sun burnt and to wipe the sweat from your brow. They can also be used to filter sediment and debris from a water source. Note that this does not purify the water. Be careful to boil the water before hand and then filter through the bandana to remove the debris.

Ziploc bag

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The rest of the items below fit conveniently in a large Ziploc bag. The Ziploc bag further waterproofs your gear and protects from the elements.

  • 550 cordageParacord. Essential for stringing up a survival shelter and other uses to long to list. As they say, you never know what you’re going to need it for but you’re always going to need it.
  • Small led flashlight – Any kind of flashlight will do. When darkness hits and there is no electricity the night will be very dark. To navigate your way around your gear and camp you’ll need some illumination. I like a good tactical light like the Fenix PD-35 but any cheap flashlight will work.
  • CandleCandles are the old school way of lighting camp and home. They’re drop dead simple to use and are extremely practical as part of a survival kit.
  • Lighter or butane blow torch – Something you can use to light a fire with. A lighter works but a butane blow torch is nearly unphased by wind and other external elements.
  • Space blanket – A space blanket will reflect the heat you lose from your body right back at you. This creates a cycle of warmth even in extremely cold conditions. While you might not be comfortable, a good space blanket can keep you warm enough until the morning – and that’s all that matters. Survival is not a 5 star experience at the Ritz-Carlton.
  • Ferrocerium Rod – A ferrocerium rod is a man made metal used to create sparks which ignite a fire. The nice thing about them is they can get wet and will still be usable. This is not the case with lighters and matches. With a little practice in the wild you can easily create fire from dry tinder found locally in the environment.
  • Strike anywhere matches – A basic set of strike anywheres to add a little redundancy to your fire kit. Keep these in a metal container because plastic has properties which can ignite the matches.
  • Signal whistle – Has anybody ever been found by using one of these? I have no idea but Les recommends having one. I can see if you broke a leg in the wild how this might be your only way out.
  • Compass – Almost useless without a map but Les still recommends having one. This is one of those pieces of gear requiring proper training to be used correctly. If you choose to get one this compass is the best in the business.
  • Painkillers – Ibuprofens, Advils, Tylenols etc. Useful for minor ailments of the human body including any aches or pains endured in a survival situation.
  • Knife – Need I say anymore. A good survival knife is worth its weight in gold out in the bush. If there’s one thing you’d want on this list it’s a solid knife at your belt. I’ve written a post on choosing the right survival knife to give you an idea about what kind of knife you want. There’s thousands of knives out there but if you follow a few basic principles you can’t go wrong.

My Review of the Les Stroud Survival Kit

Les Strouds survival kit has taken a lot of flack from the survival community. Either people don’t understand why a certain piece of gear was included or they think his kit is completely missing critical gear. I will say this – The Les Stroud survival kit is extremely lean. This means you’ll need to rely more on your skills as a survivalist.

Everything you need to survive is there. Most importantly you have the means to secure clean water and shelter. Without these 2 elements in place survival is highly unlikely. People wonder why there isn’t 72 hours worth of food in the kit as recommended in most bug out bag guides. The thing is, this is not a bug out bag. This is a survival kit. Man can go 30 days without food but will quickly die without shelter or water. Everything you need to survive is here.

Would it be nice for the kit to have a water filter and everything else that goes into a full blown bug out bag? Sure, but why make it so easy on yourself? This is not a stay at a 5 star hotel. This is survival. With the right skills anybody can survive with the Les Stroud survival kit.

Conclusion

I think the Les Stroud survival kit is good enough for most people with basic skills. The thing is, there is no such thing as the perfect survival kit and who am I to judge one of the best survivalists out there? The nice thing about this kit is everything on it is very inexpensive. You could easily pick the stuff on this list up for less than $50. A good bug out bag with all the goodies will easily run you a few hundred.

What do you think about this kit? Let me know in the comments below.

16 Must Read Survival Fiction Books

Reading survival fiction books is a great way to prime your brain for a full blown SHTF event. It get’s you thinking about potential scenarios and prepares your mind for the worst. Plus, they’re great entertainment. Below I have curated a list of the best survival fiction books in the genre. Some of these books are quite unrealistic while some are as informative as they are entertaining. Pick one from the list and get reading!

1.) Out of the Ashes – Anthony Esolen

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How do you rebuild American culture once society is crushed under the weight its own ignorance? These are the questions asked and answered in the book Out of the Ashes by Anthony Esolen. Esolen illustrates everything wrong with the current state of America from our school system to the intricate relationships between man and women. Having lost our way we must rebuild our value system and sense of what it means to be a true American.

2.) Dies the fire – S.M. Stirling

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Modern civilizations worst nightmare has come true. A powerful electrical storm has rendered all electronics obsolete and now man has to learn to survive the old fashioned way. Can man harken back to the days of old and use ancient knowledge to survive in this new powerless world? The book showcases a world where government is not there to protect its citizens and sheds insight into surviving as an individual in total anarchy. Extremely engaging and though provoking read.

3.) One Second After – William Forstchen

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Perhaps the most famous in survival fiction, One Second After follows one mans journey as he protects his family in world completely destroyed by an EMP blast. One Second After is a powerful testament to the devastating effects of a world without power and electronics. Everything from the characters to plot line are shockingly realistic and the book has even been cited by congress as a must read for all Americans. Survivalists and preppers will find the survival techniques and strategies in the book all consuming. It’s going to be hard to put this one down.

4.) Going Home – A. American

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You’re 250 miles from home with a bug out bag when suddenly your car breaks down. On top of this, the entire power grid is down and there’s no telling when normalcy will be restored. With all your gear in a pack you begin to make the long and dangerous trek home. On your way you encounter gangs, marauders, and a host of other post collapse problems. How will you use the tools and supplies in your pack to survive. Going Home is the story of how one man would do it. The book is chocked full of survival insights sure to please even the most scrutionous prepper. You can tell the author has spent a considerable time pondering survival situations and different ways to survive.

5.) Patriots – James Rawles

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The economy tanks like Hillary Clintons campaign and widespread chaos and panic quickly sets in. This is the story of how a small group of dedicated patriots survive the madness. Each member is skilled in their own area of expertise lending lots of versatility to their movement. Can they make it to their homestead in Idaho? A good read and lots of interesting information on group dynamics in the context of a full blown survival situation.

6.) Alas Babylon – Pat Frank

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Our worst fear has come true. Total annihilation from nuclear war. Everybody has been wiped from the face of the earth save for a small town in Florida. This is the story of how complete strangers come together because of a common struggle. This story is not one of peaches and creme. Humans can be cruel and downright violent in environments where their own survival is on the line. When the hands of time have reversed a few thousand years, how does a group of modern men and women survive? Can’t we all just get along? Only time will tell.

7.) The Postman – David Brin

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Popularized in the classic movie with Kevin Costner, The Postman follows Gordan Krantz’s journey across a post apocalyptic United States. When he finds an old jacket owned by a dead postman, Gordan becomes a symbol for the rebirth of a new America. Can he connect the remaining towns of America and restore America to its former glory? A true tale of survival and what it means to be an American with classic values.

8.) Wolf and Iron – Gordon R. Dickson

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This survival fiction book follows the story of Jeebee Walther who finds himself a survivor in a post collapse America. As a scientist with a wealth of knowledge, Jebbee begins his trek across the dangerous new frontier in search of a safe haven for his ideas. He knows he can’t do it alone and finds a close companion in a Wolf who begins to follow him on his journey. The relationship between wolf and man is perhaps the most interesting chunk of this book. The book is also chocked full of unique survival situations which makes you think about how you would survive in the same place.

9.) The Mist – Stephen King

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A Stephen King fiction novel, this suspenseful book takes place after a severe thunderstorm which brought an ominous mist into a small town of Bridgton, Maine. The Mist brings with it horrors and creatures of the night. Trapped in a supermarket, a small band of people struggle to survive the dangers lurking in the mist. Stephen King is a master of human behavior and accurately portrays the psychology and struggles of people when thrown into a survival situation.

10.) 1984 – George Orwell

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George Orwells prophetic novel is more timely than ever. The epic story follows a man named Winston who’s sole job is to rewrite news events in a way that benefits the Ministry of Truth. When he begins to question his own actions as immoral his very survival is threatened by the powerful forces who employ his services. This book is a terrifying look into today’s “alternative facts” world and where we are headed as a nation. Will our great nation devolve in the same way? let’s hope not and take the actions required to remain sovereign and true.

11.) The Road – Cormac McCarthy

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Perhaps the most well written fiction story. The harrowing story of a father and his son will rub your heart strings raw and peel your eyes wide open to the horrors and tragedies of a real survival situation. Armed with only a pistol and the clothes on their back, a father and son forge their way across a ravaged landscape in hopes of reaching the coast line. Will they find refuge or more desolation and despair? A gripping read from start to finish.

12.) World War Z – Max Brooks

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The greatest in survival fiction. I mean, do people really think zombies are a legitimate threat? The story of World War Z follows the accounts and testimonies of individuals who witnessed the horrors of a world over ran by flesh eating zombies. Zombie enthusiasts will appreciate the zombie killing strategies presented in the book. Regular folks will have a good laugh a few parts and become consumed with the fast paced survival action.

13.) Earth Abides – George R. Stewart

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Disease and catastrophe reign destruction upon all corners of the earth. One man finds himself immune to the forces and discovers the horrors of a world where he is the sole survivor. What he discovers in this new world is more horrifying than an entire life in solitary confinement. A good read right up to the last page.

14.) Lucifers Hammer – Larry Niven

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When earth is struck by a comet, a new era of natural disasters rage upon the earth. The remaining survivors find themselves in a struggle to survive. Lucifers Hammer touches on the more violent and cruel aspects of humanity. Not for the faint of heart or anybody expecting rainbows and butterflies. A true story of harrowing survival fiction through and through.

15.) Swan Song – Robert McCammon

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Earth finds itself locked in a vicious battle of good vs evil. Monstrous creatures rule the night while massive armies pillage the remains of a post nuclear earth. At the core of the story is Josh, a pro wrestler currently seeking refuge in an abandoned gas station from the nuclear fallout. Following him is a young woman, Swan, who possesses special healing abilities. Their journey takes threw horrific scenes as they make their way across a war torn earth in search of salvation.

16.) Frontier Justice – Dr. Arthur T. Bradley

survival-fiction-16

This is the first book in a great survivalist series by Arthur Bradley. It’s got a western feel and boasts elements of the old wild wild west. In the first book, a super virus has ran rampant leaving many people dead. As governments begin to collapse it’s up to Marshall Rains to brand outlaws with his own kind of justice. At his side is his trusty wolfhound Bowie. Together they forage the baren landscape looking for food, water, gasoline, and anything else that will help them survive. The book is riddled with real life survival skills. You’ll come out smarter and wiser after reading these books, that’s guaranteed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

EDC Backpack List | Essential Items

backpack-edc

My backpack goes everywhere with me. In fact, I look out of place if my backpack isn’t somewhere close. My friends give me a hard time about carrying it everywhere but since I don’t drive it’s the only way to carry gear around. In my Osprey Momentum 30 I can haul roughly 40 dollars worth of groceries home if I have to. The backpack is such a practical piece of gear.

In this post I’m going to cover what what is in my EDC backpack and offer a list of essential gear items everybody needs on the day to day.

The EDC Backpack

osprey-momentum-30-edc-backpack

The backpack I use is the Osprey Momentum 30. This was a gift to me and turned out to be the perfect EDC bag. It has a 28 Liter capacity and numerous pockets for storage. The size is perfect. Anything less than 28L I’ve found to be too small. You can’t carry as much EDC gear as you would want. Anything bigger than 28L and now you have a cumbersome backpack with too much space. You also look like a backpacker and you don’t blend in as well.

The Momentum 30 has a number of features I like:

  • 28L storage capacity
  • Lots of pockets
  • Compression straps
  • Reflective stripes (more visible at night to cars especially when riding a bike)
  • Padded pocket for laptop and other electronics
  • “airscape” technologythe pack sits away from your back to promote airflow
  • Chest strap
  • Rain cover

I can recommend this pack having used it for many years. Throughout all it has been through it has held up quite nicely with little wear or tear. Too be honest, any 30L Osprey pack is going to be high quality. I suppose you could use any old backpack but for everyday use it simply won’t hold up very long. With a high quality pack I can do anything from camping/hiking trips to making a run to the grocery store.

That’s enough about the pack. Let’s crack straight into the EDC backpack list.

The Essential EDC Backpack List

  • Wallet, smartphone, keys – not much to say here. You are probably already carrying these items everyday and don’t need a laborious explanation as to why.
  • Chargers – Leaving home with a full charge is not enough anymore. If you stay over somewhere you’ll need a charger to have a full charge in the morning. I carry something like this so even if I’m not near an outlet I can still get charged up.
  • Nalgene water bottle – keep yourself hydrated especially during the summer seasons. I like the Nalgene water bottles because they’re lightweight, BPA free, and they don’t become odorous like other bottles do.
  • Protein bars – Just to have a snack if I’m on the bus or possibly stranded somewhere. I prefer Clif Bars but there are lots of options out there.
  • Multi-tool – I can’t tell you how many times I’ve needed a multi-tool and didn’t have one. Great stuff for cracking open boxes, working with the occasional screw, and the pliers have a million different uses. Essential piece of gear. I like the Leatherman Wave.
  • Tactical flashlight – Flashlights like the Fenix PD35 pack in a lot of illumination in a slim profile. They’re strong as an ox and won’t bust when you drop them. They also function as self defense tools because many of them have a serrated edge protecting the light. You can easily blind an attacker and then go in for a quick crack.
  • Knife – a good folding knife finds lots of use especially out in the country. You probably won’t need one in an urban edc backpack unless you’re thinking of self defense or maybe you work with a lot of boxes.
  • Lighter – not just for the smokers. A lighter is an essential survival item too small and light not to consider. It finds many practical uses from lighting pilots, making fire, making friends (who smoke), and lots of other scenarios.
  • Spare socks and underwear – For my current lifestyle I do not have transportation. If I’m across town I may crash at a friends place for the night where I can shower. Not a bad idea for the occasional hook up either.
  • Condoms – Haven’t you heard of the new Gonorrhea super strain?
  • Cash – Carry cash in numerous denominations. If the power goes out nobody can process credit cards. In fact, you still occasionally run into places that only except cash. Taco trucks come to mind. Mmm…tacos.
  • Pen and paper – to take notes on. I know everyone likes their smartphones for this but I still find the pen and paper reigns supreme for jotting down quick bits of info or giving someone directions. Especially if you’re on the phone with someone and you need to take down a note.

The Ultra Enhanced EDC Backpack List

The above EDC list is a great start. With those items you are well prepared for many different types of situations when out and about. I will now present an enhanced list. These items are not required but will certainly round out the pack and give you peace of mind if you find yourself in a real bad situation.

  • Water filter – a water filter like the Sawyer Squeeze is a low profile device to secure clean drinking water wherever you are. For the average Joe carrying one of these around sounds insane. For anybody who’s experienced an extended interruption of power you know how fast the store shelves get completely cleaned out. Scary stuff to run out of water. With a filter you can go to any old local water source and get clean water.
  • Sillcock key – now this is an interesting tool. Go to any school or urban shopping center and you’ll see water faucets without the handles. When the maintenance guy needs to use the water he uses a sillcock key to access the supply. This is one more way you can secure clean drinking water.
  • Shemagh or bandana – A shemagh has a number of tactical and survival applications. Use it to cover your face from dust (burning man type places), use it like a scarf to keep warm, use it as a tourniquet or a sling in medical situations. A truly versatile piece of EDC.
  • Hygeine kit – Travel size toothbrush/toothpaste, chapstick, hand sanitizer, deodorant, etc.

Conclusion

All of the items in the EDC list above fit perfectly into a 30L backpack with lots of room to spare. Most of the items are very lightweight leaving you lots of room to add things you might need wherever you go. I will also add one last little tip – any medications you need should be on you at all times. These are specific to you. You certainly do not want to be stranded without your medication if a condition begins to flare up and you’re away from your medicine cabinet.

Thanks for reading and let me know if I left anything off the list!

 

 

The 14 Best Prepper Quotes of All Time

prepper-quotes

Great writers can sum up entire blocks of information into easily consumable snippets of words. Sometimes all you need is a quick punchy line to absorb the philosophy and understand the true nature of a subject. Here I have assembled a list of the best prepper quotes that accurately sum up the philosophy of the modern day prepper.

1.)

Civilized man is only 9 missed meals away from total anarchy – unknown

It’s all fun and games until the food trucks stop running. At work, your coworker Joe is one nice chap. Let’s just see how nice Joe is when he makes a run to the store only to see the shelves have been completely wiped out due to a power outage that spooked the local population. Extend the power outage to 3 days and watch Joe and the rest of your city/town go planet of the apes mode. Never underestimate the depths a man can sink to when his own survival is on the line. Don’t be like Joe, invest in long term food storage.

2.)

Without weapons you are simply collecting resources for the strongest ape on the block – unknown

So you have yourself a healthy stockpile of food and water. Good stuff. Now, how are you going to protect it when Tryone and his gang of cronies come to your place looking for goods? You think he’s going to leave just because you asked nicely? I bet if you shoved a 12 gauge in his face he might think twice. I bet if you came at him with a pair of crazy eyes and a fully loaded AK-47 Tyrone might just find an easier target. It’s good you have the proper SHTF gear but now it’s time to start thinking about protecting what you collected.

3.)

Survival can be summed up in three words – never give up. That’s the heart of it really. Just keep trying. – Bear Grylls

While I don’t consider Bear Grylls the leading expert in prepping and survival he makes a good point here. Survival is built in to the heart of man. When you haven’t eaten in weeks the only thing keeping you alive is hope. It’s this ferocious sense of duty to make it through any situation and come out on top that will see you through. You’re as good as dead if you lose hope and lose heart. More and more people today despite living in the first world have lost hope. You can see in their eyes their soul has shriveled. The only thing keeping them alive is the daily sustenance of their eating habits. Throw this person into a true survival situation and you have a recipe for death.

4.)

The greatest detriment to your survival is to depend on others for your safety and security – unknown

As civilization becomes more cushy and less threatening we have grown accustom to relying on others for the things we need. When there’s a civil dispute we call the cops. When we run out of food we get on food stamps. We take advantage of everything the first world provides. Millennials (my generation) now expect free school and free medical. It’s funny to think of how we will survive in a true SHTF scenario. My guess is most will not. When they pick up the phones and don’t have a dial tone, well, that’s the makings for a 21st century horror scene. In what ways are you relying on others to meet your needs? It is the duty of the prepper to become as self sufficient as possible. That doesn’t mean you refuse help if you need it. It only means do as much as you can so you aren’t at the mercy of someone else. Get yourself a proper SHTF plan and put your mind at ease. That is true freedom.

5.)

Victory at all costs, victory in spite of all terror, victory however long and hard the road may be; for without victory, there is no survival. -Winston Churchill

For Winston, victory was everything. It was the ultimate goal. To achieve victory is to survive. To survive is to achieve victory. It’s getting to the top of the mountain and proudly looking at the hard path you forged behind you. Victory is a mindset that once cultivated makes you invincible.

6.)

You can’t defend your home from your home – unknown

Home security. How hard would it be for Tyrone to bust into your house? How secure are your doors and windows. Where are all the places of potential entry and how can you fortify them? At the bare minimum get yourself some heavy duty doors and solid locks. Look into a home security camera system to monitor the area from the inside.

7.)

All that is really necessary for survival of the fittest, it seems, is an interest in life, good, bad or peculiar. – Grace Paley

What Grace is trying to say is simple – those with a thirst for life will seek a way to preserve their survival even in the toughest times. Have you lost your passion for living? Are you simply fading away and going through the motions? If you consider your life boring and not worth it what will motivate you when you’re in a full blown survival situation? A renewed interest in life will naturally lead into learning skills which preserve the human vehicle.

8.)

Not all who wander are lost – J.R.R Tolkien 

From a certain perspective, this quote is about people who travel the world with no real plan or agenda. They like to see new things and this fulfills them. From a preppers perspective, it’s the stranger in a new town who’s creeping around with a malicious agenda. Be wary of people you don’t know all of the sudden showing up in the neighborhood. Chances are they know exactly why they are there. If Tyrone thinks he can target you or your place he better think twice.

9.)

All real communities grow out of a shared confrontation with survival. Communities are not produced by sentiment or mere goodwill. They grow out of a shared struggle. Our situation in the desert is an incubator for community – Larry Harvey

On the flip side to the previous quote, great communities can be forged out of a common struggle. Despite the violence we are used to seeing on TV I believe most people are generally decent and will do what they can to help their fellow man. Perhaps you too can learn to create a fellowship of preppers who have each others back. Make sure each is putting in their dues and the group can grow stronger as a result.

10.)

If I had 8 hours to chop down a tree I’d spend the first 6 sharpening the axe – Abraham Lincoln

Here’s a classic quote speaking to the essence of prepping. You prep for the hard times ahead of you by stocking food, water, and supplies. Taken more literally, it’s also about maintaining your tools and using the right tool for the job.

11.)

Prepare for the unknown by studying how others in the past have coped with the unforeseeable and the unpredictable. – General George S. Patton

A basic principle for learning and preparing for anything – look at how somebody else did it. Want to build a 6 figure business? Go to someone who’s done it. Want to learn and prep for hard times? Look at how your great grandparents made it through the great depression. The past is rich with lessons if you spend the time digging through the tomes of forgotten knowledge.

12.)

Make preparations in advance. You never have trouble if you’re prepared for it. – Ted Roosevelt

Another simple one. Prepare people ahead of time people!

13.)

Anybody worth shooting is worth shooting twice – Joe Fox (Viking Preparedness)

Sounds like a violent quote but let’s not have a failure of the imagination. This quote speaks directly to finishing the job you set out to do. It’s about setting your intention and seeing something through to the end.

14.)

The prudent see danger and take refuge, the simple keep going and pay the penalty – Proverbs 27:12

Smart people see problems and take action. Simple minds either can’t see problems or do nothing to reverse the course of the future. Prepping is about knowing that times might not always be that easy. It’s about preparing you and your family for the rough times ahead. Man was born unto a world rich with problems and solutions. See the problem and then find the solution.

Got a quote? Let us know in the comments!

 

 

What Pants Does Bear Grylls Wear?

bear-grylls-pants

On this blog I’ve discussed Bear Grylls in a number of posts. I’ve given you guys a review of his knife and compared him to the classic celebrity survivalist Les Stroud. Despite many of his survival techniques being outright dangerous and misinformed, a lot of his survival products are actually quite decent.

Bear Grylls wears a particular type of pants made by Craghoppers in every one of his episodes. The pants are well suited for survival situations and have a number of crucial survival elements weaved right into the fabric (pun intended.)

Let’s go over the pants he wears and discuss if they’re worth spending the money on.

Features at a glance

bear-grylls-survival-pants
Elements and features of Bear Grylls survival pants.

 

  • Polyamide material
  • Quick drying
  • Stretch technology
  • Reinforced buttons
  • Extra layer of webbing around waist and heel
  • 9 pockets featuring zippers and buttons
  • Belt loops double as hanging loops for quick drying
  • Lightweight yet sturdy

Review

The pants are a polyamide material – extremely tear resistant, flexible, and quick drying. These are all great functions of a good pair of survival pants. I particularly like how the material doesn’t irritate the skin like other synthetic materials. I can also be completely stealthy unlike many pants where you can here a man coming from a mile away. The knees are reinforced with stretch material with a total of 9 pockets. The cargo pockets are generously sized so you can easily stow a good amount of survival gear.

There are also a few small details I like. All the buttons are reinforced with nylon webbing. I can’t see this thing snapping off anytime soon even if you’re a little thick down the middle. The rear pockets are double buttoned with the same nylon design is the front flap. Whatever I cram in these pockets I know will stay there indefinitely. All the edges of the pants such as the bottoms and the waist band have been lined with webbing to keep from tearing.

Overall these pants have held up to standard and come recommended by many who purchased the pants.

Final thoughts on Bear Grylls pants

Bear Grylls pants hit all the spots I look for in a good pair of survival pants. They’re very light yet tear resistant and I know I will dry off quick if I come into contact with rain or water. They’ve also got plenty of storage compartments for all my gear. I always say you should completely avoid regular jeans pants for a number of reasons. They don’t stretch and if you get them wet you’re staying wet. If you’ve ever been soaking wet before you know how miserable you become.

These are one pair of pants that will last you for a long time. One last thing I will note is the size of the pants. They run VERY small so when you order be sure to order a couple sizes up. I would error on the side of ordering too big just in case. You can always pair them with a good belt which can also double as a great piece of survival gear.

Do you own a pair of Bear Grylls’ survival pants? Let me know in the comments what you think of them!

Top 6 Pieces of Hidden Gun Storage Furniture

hidden-gun-storage-furniture

There’s lots of reasons to hide your guns in the house. Having kids is a big one along with guests coming over to the house. If your home gets robbed these types of stash points in the house provide safe keeping for guns, ammo, and other valuable items. And let’s be honest, having a secret cache of weapons hidden in plain sight is pretty cool too. I’ve scoured the internet to track down the best hidden gun storage furniture for all your weapons and ammo.

1.) Cabinet Rifle Slider – This is the perfect cabinet for rifles and blends in nicely in any standard American style home. This is a cabinet with a front display and a hidden gun storage slider in the back. The sliding portion of the cabinet locks securely. The front shelves are adjustable and make a nice display for anything you want to put inside. Most rifles and shotguns will fit in the storage compartment although extra long guns will be a tight fit. The material appears to be a pressed wood but the finish is good quality and hard to tell it’s not real wood from a distance. Overall a great cabinet for your ammo and rifle storage. Check it out here.

2.) Gun Storage Bench – This is the American Furniture Classics 502 gun storage bench. High quality attractive bench for a great price. Full leather bench with hinged locking top revealing your secret stash of weapons. Lot’s of storage space and sturdy enough to be used as an actual bench. Easily stows any rifle you can throw at it plus a ton of ammo and whatever else you can think of. Again, very rustic and traditional looking. Wouldn’t blend in well with a modern home but for a house with traditional furniture nobody would suspect a thing. I like the fact this thing locks and there’s no way to tell it’s a secret gun storage compartment without looking too closely. The price on this bench too good to pass up.

3.) Gun Cabinet Armoire – A good looking mirror armoire with a carefully concealed storage area right behind your very own reflection. Perfect for the bedroom and completely unsuspecting. Comes with 2 locking methods – A magnet locking device or your traditional lock and key hardware. The height of this mirror is 42.5 inches so longer rifles will have trouble fitting. However, most rifles will but make sure to measure the length of your rifle before purchasing.

4.) Covert Cabinet Gun Shelf – My favorite piece of furniture for stashing a couple pistols along with a few magazines. Mounts to the wall like a normal shelf. There’s a hinged portion which drops down revealing the stash. No need to remove the things on top of the shelf to gain access. This is great if you need fast access to your guns. Locks securely via a magnetic lock and key. You’re not going to be stashing your entire arsenal in this thing but it’s perfect for 1 – 2 guns plus a few mags. Take a look for yourself.

5.) Covert Guitar Case – Furniture? Maybe not. But it’s still a fantastic and genius way to stash your high powered rifles. Nobody suspects a guitar case of containing guns and ammunition. The case itself features a 4 pin combo lock. The interior is well padded with foam surrounded by a hardened shell case. Not to mention this is an easy piece of gun storage you can grab. In the case of a robbery you can run with the guitar case to a safe part of your home and take your time unlocking the guns. Also an inconspicuous method to transfer your guns from one place to another without revealing what you have.

6.) The Peace Keeper – Or as I like to call it, the piece keeper! A fully functioning clock with a secret stash capable of holding a large hand gun and some other goodies. Nobody takes a second glance at a clock unless it’s to check the time, and we use smartphones for that nowadays. The clock looks completely natural no matter where you put making this one of the most incognito pieces of hidden gun storage furniture. Store your Glock in the clock!

DIY hidden gun storage furniture

You can make your own furniture with some basic carpentry skills. In fact, employing the services of a good carpenter could yield you a truly custom piece of furniture for all of your guns and ammo. Below are some pictures with a few ideas.

The rogue shelf – With some basic tools and the plans you can build your own hidden gun shelf made specifically to hide your guns and ammo. The following plans has all the blueprints you need to make this hidden gun shelf right in your own home. This is a fun and easy project to do if you can carve out the time and resources to get it down. At the end you’ll have a secret stash you can use to hide anything from guns, cash, or other important valuables you wan’t hidden from the naked eye.

Converting an old dresser – This guy took an old dresser and converted it into a hidden stash spot for guns and ammo. Go to any old garage sale and pick something up for cheap for this project. With basic tools you can save a lot of money by going the DIY route. Check out the video for some ideas:

The 5 dollar night stand stash – Another cheap an effective way to take an existing piece of furniture and turn it into a secret stash spot for your goodies. This guy simply took an old night stand and sawed the top off and added hinges and a cabinet closer. Easy stuff and a project you could get done in a lazy afternoon. You can keep this one by your bed at night for easy access to guns, flashlights, and whatever else you need instant access to.

Conclusion

When it comes to hidden gun storage furniture you have a lot of options. While many of the products found online can work you can also go the DIY route and build something completely custom.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Top 5 Molle Mag Pouches For Your Ammo Magazines

mag-pouch-outry

I love Molle compatible pouches because they’re so versatile. I can strap them to my loadout vest or my 5.11 rush 72 and hit the road at a moments notice. There’s a ton of high quality Molle mag pouches available and in this post I’m going to cover some of the best.

1.) Condor tactical double kangaroo mag pouch

condor-double-tactical-pouch

Go double duty with the condor tactical mag pouch. Condor makes great tactical products and I’ve covered much of their quality gear in other posts. It’s no surprise to see the same build quality in their mag pouches as well. This particular pouch easily stows away 2 regular magazines as well as 2 pistol sized magazines and attaches to any other Molle compatible hardware you have. The pistol magazine pouch is secured through a velcro flap while the other 2 main magazine pouches implement a secure bungee system.

2.) High Speed Gear double pistol mag pouch

high-speed-mag-pouch

Another tactical magazine pouch fitting most standard pistol magazines. Built rugged and tough for the 1911, HK 45, M9/Beretta 92, Glock and other similar magazine sizes. This is one of the more rugged and durable Molle pouches on the market. The magazines lock into place and stay there but are easily removed via the bungee system. You can do this one handed with no problem. Check it out here.

3.) Condor Triple Stacker M4/M16 pouch

mag-pouch-condor-triple-stacker

For those of you with M4’s and M16 this is one of the best pouches out there for these rounds. Similar to the other Condor products this pouch implements a bungee system to secure your magazines in place. This one can load in a total of 6 magazines. Some have noted a tight fit for certain model magazines but it isn’t a problem for most.

4.) Outry AR-15 Mag holder

mag-pouch-outry

For those with the AR-15. This fits a standard AR-15 magazine as well as the M16 and M4. This is perhaps the most versatile pouch for rifles. The pouches are large enough to fit other mags but it certainly fits the AR-15 magazine like a glove. The material is 1000D nylon. This stuff is extremely durable and won’t be busting anytime soon. This pouch also implements an elastic bungee system to keep the mags in place.

5.) Voodoo Tactical triple mag pouch

mag-pouch-voodoo-tactical

I introduce you to the Voodoo triple mag pouch. For those of you wanting to shoot your way out of a fully blown SHTF situation. This pouch holds any standard pistol magazine but known to fit the 1911 mags like a well worn baseball mitt. This is military grade nylon we’re talking about outfitted with quality Molle webbing and belt loops if you want to go strapped to the hip. The over top velcro system makes it easy to remove magazines and put them back. Out of all the pouches I really like the color on this one.

What to attach the pouches to?

Now that you’ve got a couple mag pouches what are you going to do with them? After discovering Molle I specifically look for Molle compatible gear I can use to attach my loads with. For me personally I like the 5.11 Rush 72 backpack. I take this bad boy out to the range, when I go camping, and I use it as a general bug out bag.

I’m also a big fan of the Condor Tactical Molle vest. When it comes to a full loadout the vest is something that can’t be overlooked. It’s extremely versatile and strong enough to attach steel plates for full blown body armor. With enough Molle pouches you can turn this thing into a full loadout and skip the backpack completely. That speaks to the true versatility and the genius behind the Molle technology.

Further reading…

If you’re interested in other Molle gear posts check out my best Molle backpacks post for a list of backpacks with loads of Molle. I’ve also got a similar post for the general Molle pouches for other load bearing options. Thanks for reading!

Magic Mill Pro Review

magic-mill-pro-review

Want to dehydrate your own food but don’t want to blow all your cash on expensive machines? Food dehydrators like the Harvest Right freeze dryer cost upwards of $3000. That’s outside the price range for most people. The Magic Mill Pro in comparison is thousands of dollars cheaper and allows almost anybody to start dehydrating food immediately. In this review I break down the features and specifications of the Magic Mill Pro food dehydrator.

Specifications chart

Product Name :Magic Mill Pro Electric Food Dehydrator
Model Number:MFD-6100
Type of Dehydrator:Shelves
Drying Racks:6 stainless steel shelves measuring 12X13"
Temp Range (°F):95 to 158
ThermostatDigital
TimerYes
Wattage400-450
Weight16.7 pounds
Dimensions19 x 15 x 13.5 inches
Color:Black
Oven mittsyes
Warranty1 year

Full Review

Review of the Magic Mill Pro
The Magic Mill Pro food dehydrator fully loaded with fresh foods

You can tell straight away this is a high quality machine. Everything from the external frame to the stainless steel food racks are premium grade. It’s a joy to work with and drys food a lot faster than other comparable food dryers. Food retains the full size rather than shrinking to 3/4 of the size as seen with other food dehydrators. The machine comes with a number of items. In the box you will find 6 stainless steel food racks, 6 plastic mesh racks, and 3 non-stick trays. And the thing is, you can fit a lot of food on the trays. Each of the 6 trays packs in a little over 1 sq foot of drying space leaving you with roughly 6.5 square feet of total space. That’s a lot of food you can pack in.

It drys basically anything you can throw at it. Fruits like pears, apples, and berries dehydrate with no problem and jerky is an all time favorite. In fact, people have been known to dehydrate full meals without a problem. For the price you get almost all the same features and perks you would get with more expensive products.

One thing I like about the Magic Mill Pro is the clear door. You can easily look in on your food to tell if it’s done or not. Opening the door would cause the machine to lose the heat causing increased power draw to bring the dryer back to the right temperature.

Speaking of temperature, the machine allows you to finely tune the heat depending on what kind of food you are drying. There is also a built in programmable timer to shut the machine off at a certain point. This a great feature to have if you’re about to go to bed but want some nice freeze dried goodies for the morning!

The machine is bigger than expected but it can easily be thrown in the garage or tuck away into an unused corner of the house. If you have the kitchen space that’s ideal. The machine is even quieter than a standard microwave. Another peeve I have with freeze drying machines is how loud they are. I don’t want to listen to something as loud as my laundry machine for hours at a time. The Magic Mill Pro happily hums along in the background and doesn’t grate on your ear drums.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How does the Magic Mill Pro work?

The machine has a built in heating element used to draw moisture out of food. The moisture is then blown from the machine with the fan.

Q: What does it come with?

The machine comes with 6 stainless steel food trays, 6 plastic mesh trays, and 3 non stick trays.

Q: How do you clean the trays?

Remove the trays from the machine and clean them by hand with warm water and soap.

Q: What kinds of food can you dry?

Fruits, vegetables, and meats all dry up quite nicely. It’s very simple to make high quality jerky as well as dehydrate all your favorite fruits and vegetables.

Q: Is there a timer?

Yes. The timer can be programmed up to 19.5 hours. Magic Mill suggests to allow the machine to rest for a couple hours when using the machine continuously for 20 hours.

Q: Is it loud?

The machine is very quiet. The fan is not loud at all comparable to a small room fan.

Q: Does the Magic Mill have a warranty?

Your Magic Mill is under warranty for a year from the purchase date.

Wrapping Up

The Magic Mill Pro is a great mid level dehydrating machine. Other comparable machines will run you hundreds of dollars more than the Magic Mill Pro. This machine has all the features and functions as machines 2 – 3 times the cost. Be careful though – this thing can become very addicting! Once you learn how to use it you’ll want to experiment with dehydrating all kinds of foods. I recommend the Magic Mill Pro to anybody looking to start dehydrating foods for little up front cost. Check out the current price on Amazon.