One small item you might want to add to your emergency pack or B.O.B. is some plastic sheeting. The obvious uses are as a part of a shelter or to cover supplies or gear to protect from rain. But there is another use that could mean the difference between life and death in an emergency situation.
On a nice sunny day you decide to take a hike into the forest. Somewhere during the day you realize that you are completely lost and your water bottle is almost empty. What do you do now? If you are not prepared you might be in some serious trouble. If you planned ahead and have the equipment you need then you can build a below ground solar still to supplement other water sources or to at least buy some time until you find another source of water.
The United States Marine Corps teach this technique in their Summer Survival Course. This is a simple technique for drawing moisture from the ground and getting it into a container for prepping to make potable.
Find a low area there the ground may contain moisture, such as an old stream bed or where a lot of rain runoff gathers, etc.
Step One: Cut a circle out of the sheet of plastic, approx. 41-45 in. in diameter.
Step Two: Dig a hole 24 in. deep and 39 in. wide. Leave a small shelf around the side for the green foliage to sit. Dig a small pit in the center of the hole for the container to sit.
Step Three: Place the container in the pit and place green foliage around the shelf.
Step Four: Place the plastic circle over the top of the hole and use soil or rocks to secure the edges. Place a small stone in the center to create a point where the water will run and drip into the container.
This is only a temporary or supplemental method as it would take at least 3 stills to meet the minimum daily water needs of one normally active person. Of course the more you work the more water you will need to consume so this is a short term solution to be used in conjunction with other methods and sources.
It has been a few weeks since I have been able to post anything, we have been busy with home improvements and the weather has been quite hot, which is only an issue because my 5 year old son seems sensitive to heat. So I thought I would share some of the other things I have been studying and learning about.
I have been doing a lot of reading lately about methods for storing food and water for longer periods of time and came across the concept of a Zeer pot. I am anxious to build one to see how it works and if it really does work.
Although the technology behind a Zeer pot cooler has existed for centuries, it took the ingenuity of lecturer Muhammed Bah Abba to revive the idea of the pot cooler. Being used more and more in arid climates it has opened many more opportunities because it keeps produce and meats cool for much longer periods than was possible before. There are records of evaporative technology being used as far back as 2500 B.C.
The construction of the Zeer pot is relatively simple. First, you get two pots, one small enough to fit in the larger one leaving approx. 3 cm gap and plug any holes that may be in them. Then you use sand to level the inner pot rim with the outer pot rim. Once that is accomplished you fill the gap between the two pits with sand and pour water in until the sand is sufficiently dampened. Place your product inside the inner pot and cover with a damp towel. As the water evaporates out of the sand it will in turn draw the heat from the inner pot, thus keeping the product cooler.
The Zeer pot seem to work best in dry heat areas and possibly not so well in high humidity areas but I will let you know once I build one and see how it works.
This is quite a ways from the Missouri River. I believe that this was worse than the flood in 1993.
I am taking a break from road trips for a little while. Between flooding and time restrictions I cannot get to the places I want to see. So for now I will probably just be writing about plans being made for this fall or other projects I am working one.
One thing people do not realize is that you do not always have to travel to faraway lands to meet interesting people and learn new things. We decided to stay closer to home since the weather was hot and everyone was a bit tired and a long drive would not do. St. Joseph, MO has one of my favorite museums, the National Military Heritage Museum. The main reason I like to go there is that there are two different models of UH-1 Iroquois helicopters, the “M” and “H.”
The UH-1H is in a fenced in area but I still can get my arm through the gate to take a few pictures. The UH-1M sits inside one of the few buildings the museum owns. Our guide was kind enough to let me climb into the UH-1M and get a cockpit shot from the crew chiefs position. I have not actually sat in a Huey since I was a kid; I liked it as much now as I did then.
Extensive renovations are underway setting the historic buildings to the glory they once new. We were told that hopefully by winter the third floor of the main building would be home to a model train setup that is said to be quite impressive. The uniform hallway has uniform examples of the armed services and from different time periods. Our guide said that there are hundreds of uniforms that are in storage until room can be found for them.
Models, made from wood, plastic, and even legos, display everything from tank and naval warfare to Hueys coming into an LZ. A trench display that was shipped in from a movie set will give an idea of what living in a trench sounded like and looked like.
The museum is a work in progress and I am anxious to see how it grows each year that I will be visiting.
The day was still young so we decided to go to The Duffle Bag, a small military surplus store. Folks, when you want something good for cold weather, or for a certain job, go with military issue, it is built to last and to perform its job well. Some of the prices are a little high compared to other places, but there is plenty of digging to do and unique items to find.
Growing up with a father that was in the Air National Guard for 38 years, full time, I developed an affinity for some of the equipment, vehicles, and aircraft that the military uses. As a kid I had quite a collection of military uniforms and gear and only recently have begun collecting again. Whether you agree with what the military does or what it stands for, I cannot help but respect men and women that are willing to give their lives for something they believe in whether I agree with the ideal or not.
We still had a lot of day light to kill so we drove the forty-five minutes to Leavenworth, KS and visited one of my new favorite stores, Overlooked Antiques. Seventy-five percent of the store is your typical antique store, but the other twenty-five percent is military memorabilia from the World Wars until present. We also found a new store called Military Memorabilia not far from the other store. The owner was quite friendly and hopefully in a few days I will get a call about my Huey hat coming in.
All in all it was a pretty good day. We did not use a lot of gas like we usually do and we did not have to stop and eat out anywhere so we saved a few more bucks there. Except for forgetting some coins we bought in the antique store the day really did not have any hitches.