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  • 5 Types of Base Camp Shelters

    There are many reasons to setup a base camp shelter. Whatever your motivation, make sure you design and build one that meets your requirements and anticipates your needs. From underground bunkers to pine bough lean-tos, unique base camp shelters are needed for different scenarios.

    These five shelter types will cover most of your bases. Keep in mind that each shelter meets a different need. You may require more than one type for the scenario you are preparing for.


    1. Bunker

    Old abandoned bunker in forest - base camp

    This hidden shelter option has many advantages. Easily defensible, concealed, and well-fortified, a bunker shelter can provide safe and secluded base camp accommodations. Long-term food storage, rations, and other supplies can be easily concealed and kept safe until you need to access them. Bunkers can be equipped with generators and electricity, secure doors, multiple rooms, and other amenities of a permanent shelter.

    The size and location of a bunker may be limited by your access to land, and the amount of funds you are able to allocate to building one. Land, excavation, materials, and utilities can require a significant investment.


    1. Portable

    Portable shelters provide protection from the elements while allowing users to keep on the move. Trailers, tents, tarps, and tensioned fabric structures let you set up camp without having to own land, invest in excavating and building equipment, or devote a lot of time to building a permanent structure. Portable base camps should be designed for ease of setup and take-down, as well as stability in extreme weather events.


    1. Permanent

    Celtic Round House Base campA permanent base camp requires access to land and a significant investment in materials. Creating a permanent shelter is one of the most expensive base camp shelter options, but also one of the most comfortable and secure. A permanent shelter is more conspicuous than a bunker or a portable shelter. This type of shelter also provides many of the same amenities of a house. A permanent shelter may have running water, electricity, heating and cooling systems, and other comforts. It is important to remember that, unlike a bunker or a portable shelter, a permanent shelter will likely require a more established access route, such as a road, driveway, or established trail.


    1. Emergency

    An emergency shelter is necessary for quick and easy setup. This type of shelter is often located near a survival cache, and is meant as a temporary spot to regroup on the way to a more permanent base camp. An emergency shelter may also be required in an extreme weather event, such as a rainstorm, tornado, or blizzard. Emergency shelters can be crafted from many different materials. Having a tarp can make emergency shelter setup easy. If you aren’t that lucky, tree branches, rock outcroppings, or dry cave openings may have to suffice. Emergency shelters can be dug into the side of large snowdrifts, riverbanks, or small hills.  Survival caches setup ahead of time can also store tarps, ropes, and stakes in the event that an emergency shelter is needed.


    1. Semi-Permanent

    SafariTent_Open_Lifestyle_Moab_MattBarr_002_Web base campMore stable than an emergency shelter, yet not as immobile as a permanent one, a semi-permanent shelter can create a long-lasting, durable base camp that can be relocated or disassembled if necessary. Tensioned fabric structures can be anchored to nearly any surface to create a sturdy semi-permanent shelter. These types of shelters may have electricity and other utilities setup in mobile or temporary configurations.



    Jimmy Wall is an avid outdoorsman always advocating people to get outside. Living in Washington State, he says nothing is better than a climb up Mount Rainier to Camp Muir.


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  • Thanks for the Rain, Pineapple Express! (Got any more?)

    Finally. After an unexpectedly warm, dry February, the Pineapple Express has dumped enough rain and snow on northern California to bring reservoirs there up to average levels – the first time they’ve been that high since the drought began.

    Drought Monitor Released Thursday March 17, 2016 - Pineapple Express Drought Monitor - Released Thursday March 17, 2016

    This doesn’t mean the end of the state’s drought. The U.S. Drought Monitor’s latest report shows 55 percent of the state is still in extreme or exceptional drought. Groundwater is a major concern too. The state’s underground aquifers, which have been building their supply for hundreds or thousands of years, are being depleted far faster than they can be refurbished. Some of them have caved in and will never recover.

    The good news is the drought has been a wake-up call for the need to better manage water use.

    Here’s how some people are trying to save water.

    In California’s Central Valley, where a huge percentage of the food the U.S. eats is grown, declining aquifers have become a health hazard. Shallow municipal wells have gone dry as large agricultural companies draw down groundwater from deeper wells. This has left residents without water, or with polluted water.

    One problem is, when a lot of rain falls, the area doesn’t have enough surface storage, like reservoirs, to keep it, according to a story in the Christian Science Monitor. According to the story, George Goshgarian, an almond farmer in the San Joaquin Valley, is trying something new: flooding his almond orchards during the winter rainy season when his trees are dormant and don’t need the water.

    The idea is, the water will soak into the ground and hopefully some will trickle into the aquifer below. If he’s careful, the flooding shouldn’t hurt the trees because they are dormant. Then, during the drier growing season, the ground will have more moisture. And the aquifer below will have a bit more water.

    According to a study for the California Water Foundation that was cited in the story, groundwater in the southern San Joaquin is being depleted at a rate of 250,000 acre-feet per year on average. Using the rainy season’s runoff could reduce that amount between a third and a half, the study estimated.

    Homeowners and municipalities are also trying to figure out how to use rainwater runoff. The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power last August presented a plan to capture more rainwater for the city.

    According to Andy Lipkis, president of Tree People, which advocates for sustainable urban water use, an inch of rain falling on Los Angeles represents 7.6 billion gallons of water. Half that runs off into the ocean, he said in a story in the Christian Science Monitor.

    The utility’s master plan suggests projects to capture water that range in size from major basins to individuals’ yards.

    Drip Irrigation - Pineapple ExpressThe yard of Carrie Wassenaar of North Hollywood, Calif., is a case study in how water catching works. As described in the Christian Science Monitor, her yard has drought-tolerant plants watered by a drip-irrigation system that uses rainwater. A depression in the yard allows water to pool and seep down to the aquifer below. The water comes from an above-ground cistern that collects rainfall from her roof.

    “You want to feel like you're at least trying to help with the solution instead of just contributing to the problem,” she said in the story.

    Ready.gov says the best way to prepare for a drought is to use less water beforehand. Here are some tips from ready.gov for saving water inside the home.

    Replace washers in dripping faucets and repair pipe leaks.

    “One drop per second wastes 2,700 gallons of water per year,” ready.gov said.

    Insulate water pipes. This will reduce heat loss, which means it’ll take less time to heat water from the tap.

    Install low-flow appliances, toilets, and shower heads. Some water districts will offer rebates to offset the cost.

    Instead of rinsing dishes and using the disposal, scrape dishes into the trash or compost.

    Lawns - Pineapple ExpressOutside, reduce the lawn and put in plants adapted to your climate. According to a study, lawns cover an estimated 50,000 square miles of the country. That makes lawns the biggest crop in America. And you can’t even eat them.

    Don’t water too much. Lawns only need about a half inch of water per week and less in the autumn and winter. If water’s running down the gutter, you’re using too much.

    Consider using grey water for outdoor watering. For information about installing a rain catching system, check out the web site for the American Rainwater Catchment Systems Association.

    Be aware of regulations when considering water-saving tools. California offered homeowners tax-free rebates of up to $2,000 to help homeowners pay for water-efficient yards. As of February, the state had spent $22 million in rebates. Unfortunately, the U.S. Internal Revenue Service is taxing those rebates as income.


    Drought Preparedness - Pineapple Express

  • 10 Cloverfield Lane: Why Preparing for Emergencies Makes Sense

    Have you ever been in a situation where a little extra preparation could have made your life a lot more comfortable? These scenarios can range anywhere from the mundane to the extreme. While mundane moments such as short-lived power failure and an inconvenient tornado might happen frequently in the United States, the television and movie industries tend to depict extreme emergency situations. Most likely we won’t ever have to experience these extreme emergencies, but they sure are exciting and, most importantly, can teach important lessons in preparing.

    10 Cloverfield Lane Poster Via Wikipedia

    On March 11th, 2016, 10 Cloverfield Lane was released in theaters starring John Goodman, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, and John Gallagher Jr. Directed by Dan Trachtenberg, the story has a loose connection to the 2008 surprise hit Cloverfield.

    The initial movie trailer first aired during Super Bowl 50 and the movie features a small group of people trapped in a bunker underground waiting out whatever apocalyptic event may or may not be happening above.  Inside the bunker are loads of emergency food storage items, water, gear, and other necessities. They looked like they could live quite comfortably (as comfortably as a bunker can be with people and intentions you don’t know, anyway) for quite some time.

    10 Cloverfield Lane is very entertaining if you are into movies with intense drama and lightning fast turns in the story line. From a preparedness perspective, the movie makes it evident that regardless of your motivations you can be prepared for almost anything. So, thanks to producer JJ Abrams for entertaining us and giving us food for thought on preparedness!


    Did you see 10 Cloverfield Lane? Let us know your thoughts on the movie in the comments below!


    Along with the release of the movie, an interview video was released in which the actors of 10 Cloverfield Lane discussed what they would like to take with them in a bunker in real life. See the video here.



    Put yourself in their shoes. If you knew you were being forced to live in a bunker for who knows how long…what would you take? Personally, I’d make sure I had a load of board game. After all, things could get boring really fast. But what else? What are the necessities in your life that you just couldn’t imagine living without?

    And why, then, would a big film company make a movie about living in a bunker if it’s so boring?

    And that got us thinking: what is it about prepping that makes for such great entertainment? One reason could be because there are plenty of real threats that most people aren’t prepared for, so that adds an extra sense of drama. Or perhaps it’s about seeing if all that preparation was really worth it. Whatever the reason, producers of mainstream media have realized that this whole “prepping” or “survivalist” thing touches a nerve with the cultural sentiments and realities of our day.  They then grow the story to levels they feel will trigger feelings or emotions that make the experience memorable.

    As we rehash 10 Cloverfield Lane’s scenario over and over in our minds, we started thinking about other movies and TV shows that had a similar theme of emergency preparedness. Here are a few we came up with.


    You, Me, and the Apocalypse

    You, Me, and the Apocalypse first aired as a TV series in the fall of 2015. While not so much focused on the prepping aspect for the end of the world, You, Me, and the Apocalypse is a comedy-drama that follows different people during the last month before a massive comet – supposedly on an unavoidable collision course with Earth – ends all life as they know it. Even though the “stock up on food and gear” mentality isn’t entrenched in the show, the fact that they’re dealing with the end of the world shows us that it’s at least strong enough on their minds that they would make an entire TV series out of it. That being said, if a comet the size of Manhattan was going to hit Earth in 30 days, how would you prepare?


    The Walking Dead

    Zombies seem just about as likely to infiltrate our world as a super-massive comet striking our planet, but at least with The Walking Dead, the characters are in a survival setting. Civilization has all but collapsed, and those remaining must use their survival skills and instincts to keep from falling to the mindless zombies.

    The entertainment factor is definitely there judging by the popularity and longevity of the show.  There are also a number of things preppers find useful in this series, including survival techniques. The Walking Dead first aired in 2010 and as of this writing in 2016 is still going strong.


    Falling Skies

    Similar to The Walking Dead, Falling Skies follows a group of survivors following an alien invasion that basically ruined Earth. The same survival instincts and techniques apply to aliens as they do to zombies, so it’s worth a watch if survival shows are your cup of tea.



    Released in theaters in 2011, Contagion depicts the swift outbreak of a disease. As opposed to disaster survival and zombie shows, this movie makes viewers realize that we should be prepared for anything – including an epidemic.  Catching a bad bug can be devastating to an individual, but If many people contract the same illness at once a society’s infrastructure can’t help but suffer.   Taking note that not all emergencies are due to otherworldly influences it’s good to keep some balance in mind as we plan and prepare for the future.


    The Hunger Games

    A popular young adult dystopian novel, The Hunger Games films became box office hits. Following a young woman struggling to stay alive in a kill-or-be-killed arena designed to be a large, outdoor world, there are tons of prepping and survival tips. One thing that sticks out in particular is the main character’s realization that they need to stick close to a source of water. There’s a lot to be learned about survival when you’re running for your life in a game designed to kill.


    Man Vs Wild

    Why is it so entertaining to see one man, alone in the wild, showing off his survival tricks? We generally watch it from our comfy couch cushions because we can.  If ever there was an irony in watching these prepper shows, this might be it.  But again, this is a widely popular reality TV show, something both survivalists and non-survivalists alike tune into on a regular basis. There’s definitely something enthralling about emergency situations and the skills used to survive.


    Doomsday Peppers

    Perhaps the most direct in topic, Doomsday Preppers highlights different survivalists and their preparations should civilization as we know it come to an end. While some prepare for economic collapse, others prepare for a polar shift, while others still prepare for urban survival. If preparing for an emergency is your thing, you might very well be interested in how these preppers go about their business.


    These are just a few examples of a host of preparedness-related movies and television programs, many of which can be viewed on Hulu or Netflix. These programs may be entertaining and exciting, but perhaps that’s because they’re designed to be that way. By showing us extreme cases in which preparing is crucial (like fending off zombies), we are much more invested in what’s going on in the show.

    However, in all my years on Earth, I have yet to meet a zombie, get lost in the wild with just a pocket knife and a will to live, or flee from a super-massive alien intent on obliterating everything in its path. These scenarios are exciting, yes, but real life just isn’t like that (for most of us, anyway).

    The world is a relatively safe place. We have modern amenities that make life easier. When disaster does come, we’re usually able to rebuild quickly. But it’s the mindset behind these programs that stick with us. What if severe weather rolls in and knocks out your power for a few days? What if you unexpectedly lose your job? These less-apocalyptic situations are more apt to happen, and when they do, being prepared with extra food and gear can help life continue on as normal.



    10 Cloverfield Lane

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