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  • DIY Paracord Projects You'll Love

    |7 COMMENT(S)

    DIY Paracord Projects You'll Love

    Paracord is one of the most practical supplies you can have in an emergency. You can make tourniquets, slings, and splints using a pack of 50 foot Nylon Paracord. You can even use it as a fire starter, fishing line (simply pull out the white strands inside the larger green tube), or to tie off a makeshift shelter—the possibilities are endless. Having even a single yard of paracord could make all the difference in a survival situation when your supplies are limited.

    Here are 4 DIY paracord projects that our bloggers made to show you just how useful paracord can be in an emergency and in everyday life.

     

    Maglight Handle by Rick

    In this project, you do the same knot you’d use to make a paracord bracelet, but instead of closing it off to fit your wrist, you wrap it around a flashlight handle. Here’s what Rick has to say about it:

    I came up with this tutorial on my own, using a basic paracord knot traditionally used for paracord bracelets. I started by looping the paracord around the base of the flashlight a couple of times.

     

    DIY Paracord Projects You'll Love

     

    Next, I tied the basic paracord knot until it reached my desired length (you can keeping going to the top of the flashlight, if you’d like. It’s up to you how long you want it). At this point, I wrapped the paracord around the end of the flashlight in a similar fashion to what I’d done at the base. I tied it off by making two knots so it would stay.

    DIY Paracord Projects You'll Love

    DIY Paracord Projects You'll Love

     

    Dog Collar by Kim

    I made this 18” collar to fit an adult golden retriever using a great tutorial I found at Irrelephant-blog.com. It took me less than 2 hours. Check out their blog for an easy step-by-step tutorial.

    Paracord Dog Collar Tutorial

    Helpful Hints:

    1. To make it easier, try to keep each strand of your paracord untwisted from itself the moment you begin tying knots. If one (or both) of the strands twist with itself, then it’ll be harder to get a tight knot along the collar.
    1. Once you know how much paracord you need to work with, you can cut it with a few feet to spare, but make sure you know exactly how much you’re going to need so you don’t cut it too short. If you aren’t positive, sometimes it’s safer to keep all of your paracord attached to the project you’re working on—just to make sure you have enough of it.

     

    I left the entire 50’ Nylon Paracord intact while I made my dog’s collar. But almost immediately I realized the strands were inevitably going to tangle with each knot I tied. I found it helpful to fold up one of the strands I was working with and secure it with a hair elastic to keep it from tangling with the other strand. This got one strand of paracord out of the way while I worked at tying with the other side, but made it easy to pull out a little more paracord at a time as I needed it, and ultimately have enough to finish my project.

    Want more paracord?

    Check out this tutorial for making a paracord dog leash to go along with your dog collar.

    Water Bottle Sling by Angela

    I followed a step-by-step tutorial from instructables.com (It has pictures of each step; it’s great!), but I modified a couple of the steps to give you some extra tips and tricks that I found helpful.

     

    Paracord Water Bottle Sling

    Helpful Hints:

    • Hint for Step 1Measuring your Paracord: I used a measuring tape to measure out 112 inch strands (you need 4 strands) and used sewing pins to mark off each 112 inch section of my 50’ Nylon Paracord pack. I then cut the strands by each pin. After cutting, burn the ends of your paracord right away so it doesn’t fray (I learned this the hard way). Trust me. It makes things easier in the long run.
    • Hint for Step 3Making a Chinese Good Luck Knot and Cross Knot: When I first did this step, I made my “S” too big. This caused my knots to be much further down from the Chinese good luck knot than they should have been. Make smaller “S” shapes to make your cross knots look even throughout the design.

    At first, it may be easier to mark off the “S” shape with pins for a clearer visual of where your left strand will weave through to make the cross knot. Once you get the hang of it, take the pins out and you should be able to make the knot like a pro.

     

    Easy Paracord Drawstring Pouch by Sharon

    Easy Paracord Drawstring Pouch

    I chose to make the “Easy Paracord Drawstring Pouch” from instructables.com.  It looked attractive, useful, and—well, easy! However, I found that the instructions assumed a few things about the user:

    1)      They knew how to make a Celtic drawstring knot

    2)      They knew what an overhand knot was and how to make one. Instructables.com shows good photographs with the instructions, but in step three it’s a little hard to tell which strand is supposed to go over and which strand is supposed to go under to create the knot.

    I ended up looking for other sources for each of those knots, and found both written instructions and videos. I found some good videos where they divide each step into separate segments, so you can stop the video and watch the instructions as often as you need to before you go on to the next step. Check out this Youtube Video with easy instructions for making a Celtic knot.

    I also learned that the experts really do mean it when they tell you to singe the ends of your paracord to keep them from fraying, as fray they will!

    My first—and second—attempts to get the project started ended in confusion and frustration. I had to start over several times because I kept losing track of where I was and which strand was being pulled through the knot. The third time, I downsized the project and attached a pen cap to the cord being pulled through to create the knot if I had to leave it for a bit. This method worked and I was able to finish the project.

     

    Have you ever made anything out of Paracord? If so, how has it helped you in an emergency or everyday life?

     

    Posted In: Insight, Skills

  • Who Couldn't Use a Faraday Cage? (Plus How to Make One)

    |20 COMMENT(S)

    What It is

    A Faraday cage, also known as a Faraday shield, Radio Frequency Cage, or EMF (Electromotive Force) Cage, is simply an enclosure built to protect electronic devices from electromagnetic radiation and electrostatic discharges. It can be anything from a small box to a large room, covered with conductive metal or wire mesh, which prevents surges from damaging the equipment inside.

    The sources of these surges can be powerful lightning strikes, destructive solar flares (CMEs, or Coronal Mass Ejections) directed toward earth, or the effects of an EMP (electromagnetic pulse) from a nuclear bomb detonation high in the atmosphere.

    The device is named for Michael Faraday, who observed in 1836 that the excess charge from a conductor remained on the outside of a container and had no effect on the interior contents. He experimented by building a room coated with metal foil and allowed high-voltage discharges from a generator to strike the outside of it. He used an electroscope to show that there was no electric charge present on the inside of the room’s walls. Though the device bears Faraday’s name, Benjamin Franklin is believed to have been the first to discover the principle.

    Faraday cages, or shields, are used all throughout our society. Some are used in the scan-rooms of MRI machines, in which the “cage” effect prevents radio frequency signals from being added to the data from the patient’s image. Some electrical linemen wear “Faraday suits” when working on live, high-voltage power lines to prevent accidental electrocution. Military planners and politicians who have reason to keep their communications private often meet in Faraday-protected rooms that are impervious to electronic “eavesdropping.” In 2013, the Vatican even used the technology to shield the Sistine Chapel from curious listeners during the deliberations to select the new Pope.

    Many people buy Faraday bags to protect their cell phones and laptops both from electrical surges and from unwanted surveillance or tracking.

    According to the National Weather Service, an automobile is essentially a Faraday cage, and it’s the metal surrounding you, not the rubber tires, that protects you from lightning (as long as you’re not touching metal inside the car).[i] A smaller example is a microwave oven, which is a Faraday cage in reverse, trapping the waves inside the device instead of keeping them out. In fact, an old microwave oven makes a good Faraday cage for small electronics!

    Typical items that can be stored in a Faraday cage include

    • Laptop or notebook computers
    • Thumb drives or external hard drives
    • Cell phones
    • Ipads, iPods, and e-readers
    • Portable AM/Shortwave radios, ham radio equipment, and walkie-talkies
    • DC/AC inverters
    • Battery-powered radios

     

    Why You Might Need One

    Why, you may ask, would it do any good for you to have working electronics when everyone else’s would be down or destroyed? First of all, you might still be able to communicate with people outside the affected area (and it may be very difficult at first to determine how large that affected area is).

    Second, you won’t be the only “techie” who thought to protect valuable electronics in a Faraday cage. Some preppers do this as a matter of course, and eventually you would probably be able to communicate with them. (Cell towers, however, would likely be “fried” and need to be rebuilt).

    Communication at such a time would be extremely valuable. Unless there had been well-publicized warnings of impending CMEs in the days before the event, many people would have no idea what had happened to our world. Ham radio operators, who could communicate with other Hams around the globe, might become the new heroes of the day.

    Many AM/FM and shortwave radio stations believe that they’ll still be able to broadcast after an EMP or CME event, and without all the usual “noise” of our plugged-in society, their waves may be able to travel farther than they do now. Hopefully there would be Faraday-protected radios out there to receive their signals! There is, however, a likelihood that the earth’s electromagnetic field would be seriously disrupted by such an event, and it might take quite a while for things to settle down and not cause static on the airwaves.

    How to Make a Faraday Cage

    To be effective, a Faraday cage must:

    • Be covered with conductive metal or mesh. Copper is the most conductive metal, followed by aluminum. (Well--gold and silver are better, but we assume you won’t be covering your cage with those!)
    • Be properly grounded (according to some experts, to prevent shocks when touched)
    • Adequately surround whatever it’s protecting.

    In addition, whatever is inside should be adequately insulated from the cage itself, such as being placed on wood, in a cardboard box, or on a rubber mat so that it doesn’t touch any metal.

    Faraday Box # 1—The Galvanized Trash Can

    A Galvanized Trash Can can act like a Faraday Cage

    You will need

    • A galvanized metal trash can with a tight-fitting lid
    • Several boxes of heavy-duty aluminum foil
    • Enough metal screening or mesh to wrap around the top of the can and fit over the lip
    • Cardboard boxes of assorted sizes that fit inside the can
    • Plastic garbage bags or plastic wrap
    • Cloth pieces to wrap items

    Wrap the items you wish to protect first in cloth, then plastic, then 3-4 layers of heavy-duty foil, being sure that the foil is molded to the shape of the item and that each layer completely covers the previous one, with no tears or holes.

    Place your wrapped items in cardboard boxes. Tape shut, then wrap the entire box with 2 layers of foil.

    Line the trash can with cardboard, including the bottom, making sure there are no gaps. The foil-wrapped boxes must not touch the metal of the can. Set the can on wood or cardboard, not touching any other metal.

    Several experts say that simply putting the lid on the can, even if it fits tightly, is an insufficient seal. They suggest folding a sheet of metal screening around the top of the can and over the top lid and then forcing the lid over that to maintain a constant, tight-fitting metallic connection.

    Remember, this is for long-term storage of the appliances inside, not something that you can take your appliances out of to use and then return to the container without a great deal of trouble. A good idea is to look around for good deals on duplicates of things you use every day. Another important thing to remember is that you will need some type of charger—hand-cranked or solar-powered—to power up your devices once a crisis has passed. If you can wrap and store one of these in a protected Faraday container, you’ll be glad to have it. 

    Faraday Cage # 2—A Metal-Clad Box

    Any box made of non-conductive material such as plywood, and then totally covered with metal, metal mesh, or metal screening can serve as a Faraday cage. The metal must touch at all the corners and over and all around any opening for the protection to be complete, as an electrical charge will find its way through any gaps or crevices in the construction. The smaller the holes in the mesh or screen, the better the protection—but either mesh or screen is believed to work better than solid metal. The metal can be attached to the wood with staples or screws, whichever seems to work best for you. You might consider applying the metal mesh so that it folds around the corners. Then let the next piece overlap the edge of the first, securely fastened together and to the wood so that there is no break in the conductive shield.

    Updated: Living Off the Grid

    For those who don’t rely as heavily on electronic equipment for day-to-day life, the idea of Living Off the Grid is more realistic. Those who live off the grid don’t need to worry quite as much about EMP’s or CME’s causing havoc and chaos to their daily routine because they have already given up a lot of the equipment that would be affected by those electromagnetic pulses.

    However, living off the grid doesn't always mean going completely electronics-free.  In this case, living off the grid may not protect you from the aftermath of EMP’s or CME’s even if you produce your own electricity from an alternate source.  Faraday cages can benefit a variety of lifestyles to protect you and your electronics.

    There are many uncertainties about exactly what would happen in the case of an enormous release of electromagnetic energy in our civilized, plugged-in world. We can hope that nothing will happen to damage our electronics, but in case our hopes are vain, we’ll be happy for every measure we've taken to prepare!

    For more DIY projects, check out the articles below:

    DIY Tent Lamp

    Guest Post: Make a Paracord Bracelet

    Baby Steps: DIY Felted Wool Dryer Balls

    Emergency Essentials' DIY Laundry Detergent

     

    Sources:

    www.ehow.com/info__10047811-things-keep-faraday-box.htm
    www.ehow.com/how_8796313_make-faraday-cage-html
    www.thesurvivalistblog.net/building-a-faraday-cage
    www.wikipedia.org/wiki/Faraday_cage
    www.science.howstuffworks.com/faraday-cage.htm
    http://thesurvivalmom.com/2012/10/09/skill-of-the-month-make-a-faraday-cage/

     

     

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: Faraday Cage, disaster preparedness, DIY, emergency preparedness, preparedness, disaster, skills, emergency power

  • Become an Emergency Essentials Guest Blogger!

     

    Emergency Essentials Guest Blogger Program

    Do you have some great tips for emergency preparedness, a story about surviving disaster because you were prepared (or surviving a disaster that got you thinking about preparedness), favorite food storage recipes, or other information you want to share with Emergency Essentials’ customers? Then you may want to become a guest blogger for Emergency Essentials!

    Submit your tips, idea, experience, or other article and we’ll pay you with an Emergency Essentials $20 gift card if we choose to publish it on the Preparedness Pantry Blog. You can submit as many guest blog posts (articles) as you’d like. Want a Volcano Collapsible Grill to make that pizza, but it’s out of your budget? Become a guest blogger with Emergency Essentials and you could earn enough gift cards to pay for it!

    Here are the guidelines you’ll need to keep in mind if you're interested in being an Emergency Essentials guest blogger.

    • The blog post must be at least 300 words.
    • The blog post cannot already be published elsewhere.
    • We reserve the right to edit for grammar, punctuation, and content as needed.
    • If we make major edits, we will pass the blog post by you for your final approval before publication.
    • Your name and state will be included in the post unless you specifically request otherwise (you can select a pen name or request to be Anonymous, if you prefer). We like to give you credit for your great ideas and tips!
    • We focus our efforts on preparedness, not political commentary. Please keep that in mind when submitting posts.
    • We aren’t able to publish all posts that are submitted to us. You will only be contacted if we publish your piece.
    • If you’d like to submit a series with multiple posts about one topic, please send them all as attachments in the same email. For a series, you will receive one $20 gift card for each of the posts in the series we choose to publish. We reserve the right to publish only a part of what you've submitted or to combine articles, either to shorten the series or if we feel there is significant overlap between the articles.

    Submit your guest blog post to social@BePrepared.com with the subject line “Guest Blog Post for the Preparedness Pantry Blog”.

    Check out previous guest blogger submissions.

    We look forward to reading what you've got to share!

     

    --Sarah (a.k.a., Urban Girl)

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: guest blogging program, guest post