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These Brave Men Nearly Didn’t Survive the Antarctic – Could You?

Hello all, Robert Raskin here again, and today I am happy to report that I am in Las Vegas and not in the Antarctic. This is some of the least user-friendly terrain in the world, but still many brave men and women have explored the region, and around the turn-of-the-century many of these groups represented the first humans to ever set foot on the land in certain areas. Read the following harrowing tales or survival and ask yourself whether or not you’d risk everything to venture into uncharted territory.


Ernest Shackleton

In 1914 explorer Ernest Shackleton and a group of 28 men decided to brave the harsh climate of the South Pole so they could cross the 1,800-mile continent, but they never made it to land. Shackleton had visited the area previously, but this time his group suffered the misfortune of having their ship trapped in the ice, eventually causing the ship to break apart. For fourteen days the group floated in their lifeboats until they reached an island, pausing occasionally to eat some of their own dogs. Despite the fact that they ended up 1,000 miles from their starting point, none of the men perished.

You can learn more about the Ernest Shackleton story here.

Douglas Mawson

In 1914 Australian scientist Douglas Mawson, who was still in his twenties at the time, planned to lead an expedition in which he would lead a team across the Antarctic coast, which was primarily formed of high ice cliffs and had an average wind speed of 80 mph. The group was comprised of several young men and a team of dogs, and they encountered several disasters along the way. One man and six dogs fell hundreds of feet to their deaths when a crevasse was camouflaged by snow. Like Shackleton’s team, this one also relied on eating their own dogs to stave-off imminent death, but it was not enough and some members of the team experienced weeks of starvation, pain, exposure to the elements, and eventually, delirium. Another man died before Mawson and the survivors eventually were able to return.


The moral of these stories is that dogs are man’s best friend, and it’s best not to visit the Antarctic without them! But in all seriousness, it is really amazing what man can survive when he really puts his mind to it, isn’t it? This is Robert Raskin, hoping you’ll check back soon.

Don’t Buy a Safe Until You Read This

Hello everyone, Rob Raskin of Las Vegas here again. If you are thinking about buying a safe, read this first. Even if you do not have children in the house, it is to your benefit to own a gun safe. Controlling access to your firearms is a fundamental part of gun safety, and in fact gun accidents are being used against gun owners in an attempt to take away their Second Amendment rights. By owning a gun safe that can prevent tragedies from occurring, you can do your part to help maintain our access to the firearms that are our constitutional right.


What Size Do You Need?

Many people aren’t sure what size they need, but safes can be costly, so when you are making an investment like this it’s best to get the biggest one that is within your budget. Many people regret not going larger later on when their needs change and they have to go through the hassle of selling their existing safe and buying a new one. Gun safes can easily weigh hundreds of pounds, and if you can avoid the trouble of arranging to transport one later on by simply buying a larger one to begin with, it is well worth any extra costs involved.


What Are Security Ratings?

Safe security ratings are subjective, and imported safes may not be accurately labeled to reflect their true rating, so it’s always best to check with a knowledgeable professional before you choose the rating that is best for your needs. Essentially the ratings are as follows: a safe with an RSC rating is for holding up to $5K in content value because it has passed a five-minute attack test, a B-Rated safe would be for up to $10K in content value, a C-Rated safe would be up to $30K, and there are higher ratings that are intended to hold up to $1M, which can withstand a 30-minute torch or tool attack on all sides.


Do You Need a Fireproof Safe?

In 2014 there were 1,298,000 accidental fires in the US, and that number was actually down 23% from the previous year. While there are many steps you can take to prevent fires, the truth is sometimes accidents happen, and that is why fire ratings should be one of your top considerations when choosing a gun safe. It is recommended that you purchase a safe that has a 1 hour fire rating, because a rating lower than this will not be sufficient to protect your firearms and other valuables in the even the worst should happen. Like the security rating, when it comes to the fireproof rating, it is always best to go with the highest rating that you can afford.


These are the top safes of 2019!

How to choose a safe.

Is that snake going to kill you? Read this and find out.

Hello, Robert Raskin here, and today I’d like to talk to you about the importance of being able to identify potential threats in your surroundings. Approximately 100,000 people die from snake bites each year worldwide. There are 20 different species of venomous snakes in the US, and these include the ultra-deadly cottonmouth, rattlers, coral snakes, and copperheads. If you are thinking about homesteading, you’ll need to buy a pair of big boots and a guide to identifying wildlife in your area, paying particularly close attention to the presence of any venomous snakes in your region. Remember, when you are far away from the nearest hospital, it is much easier to know which snakes to avoid than it is to find antivenom!



We all know the easiest way to spot a rattlesnake is to hear it. If you’ve spent any significant amount of time outdoors in many parts of the US, then you have probably heard the sound of a rattle yourself. Even if you can’t see or hear the rattle, there are other ways to identify this common and venomous snake. They have triangular heads, and their eyes are elliptical, and there are many different varieties so their colors and patterns can vary significantly. The rattler is a pit viper, which means it has two well-defined pits located under its nostrils. These allow the snake to sense heat and to hunt in the dark.



This snake has many look-alikes, so you’ll want to familiarize yourself with its characteristics if you want to spare yourself from worry when you are homesteading or camping in the Southeast US. Cottonmouths can grow up to three feet long, making them one of the larger species. Their bodies are thicker than many other snakes, and it tapers at the neck, so you may notice that the head is much wider.  These are also pit vipers, meaning they have heat-sensing pits between their eyes and nostrils similar to the rattlesnake. Younger cottonmouths are lighter brown than older snakes are, and they have distinctive bands around their bodies.


Coral Snakes

When it comes to identifying venomous snakes, forget the rules you just learned, because the coral snake has a unique appearance that sets it apart from the rest. Their heads are not triangular, and you also won’t find heat sensors or elliptical pupils if you are close enough to look for them. Luckily for you, this snake’s distinctive stripes are easy to spot, so maybe you won’t have to! You may come across a snake that looks similar to this one, but don’t panic until you repeat any of the following mnemonic devices:

Red next to yellow is a dangerous fellow; Red on black, safe from attack.

Red touch yellow, kills a fellow; Red touch black, venom lack.

Yellow touches red, soon you’ll be dead; Red touches black, friend of Jack.

I’m sure you are starting to get the idea by now!


This is Rob Raskin, wishing you happy homesteading. Check back again for more survivalist, homesteading, and community action tips.


How to tell if a snake is venomous or not.

Cottonmouth vs Water Snake!

Lost at Sea: Could You Survive? These People Did and Lived to Tell the Tale!

Hello all! Rob Raskin here again, and today I’d like to tell you about some incredible stories of survival at sea. When we think of the most difficult places to survive on earth, the ocean may not be the first thing that comes to mind, but the truth is there aren’t many harsher environments. We’ve all read The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, right? Water, water, everywhere, and not a drop to drink. Danger lurks just under the surface in the form of sharks and other predators, and at any time a storm can sweep in, not to mention the fact that there is no shelter, no food, and drinking sea water can kill you. Read the following stories, and if you have any comments let me know!


Deborah Kiley

When experienced crew member Deborah Kiley agreed to join the crew of the Trashman, she never imagined she would be one of only two people on board who would return from the voyage alive. During their trip from Maryland to Florida, Kiley and another crewmate learned they were the only two experienced sailors on board. Worse, they quickly learned the ship’s captain was afraid of the water. When the boat reached North Carolina, a storm hit, and the waves were powerful enough to rip holes in the boat. Little did they know, this would not be anywhere near the worst that would happen. One by one three of the five people aboard went insane from drinking sea water, jumping overboard to meet their bloody demise via the sharks that had been attracted by blood in the water from another passenger who ended up succumbing to blood poisoning. Days later, Kiley and the other survivor were rescued.


Poon Lim

Chinese sailor Poon Lim holds a world record no one wants—he managed to stay alive on a life raft longer than anyone else in history! The sailor was headed from South Africa to New York during World War II, when it was torpedoed by a German U-boat. Poon was the sole survivor, and he was able to stay afloat on a small wooden raft, where luckily there were supplies like water and flares. After the supplies ran low, Poon needed to do something for sustenance, so he fashioned a makeshift fishing pole and managed to catch a shark. How smart is that, figuring out a way to make a shark his meal instead of the other way around? It was 133 days before he was rescued, and incredibly, he had only lost 20 pounds when he was discovered and he was still able to walk, despite the fact he was close to death.



These are the Top 10 scary lost at sea stories!


More amazing wilderness and ocean survival stories!

Archery for Survival

Hello fellow Survivors, Rob Raskin of Las Vegas here once again to take a look at ways to survive off-the-grid. Today we’ll be looking at bows and arrows, which can serve as excellent defense and hunting tools. While it may seem old-timey, learning how to hunt with a bow and arrow can be an immensely useful skill. This is a silent way to hunt to defend your property and it doesn’t rely on costly ammunition which may be difficult to replace in a survival scenario.  To become the ultimate survivalist, read on.

Creating the Bow

Obtain a piece of wood that is about 5 to 7 feet long and about and inch to an inch and a half square. This should be one solid piece of wood, not a composite, and can come from a tree. If you use a piece of wood, you’ll have to carve it down so that the edges tape off on both ends, and toward the middle so you can have a handle. If you can’t obtain wood, you can also use a length of PVC pipe. Make sure it is flexible enough to bend and also strong enough to return to its shape on its own.

Stringing the Bow

Cut notches at the both ends, which will hold the string you thread through it. You’ll want to use a strong string or cable which won’t get stretched with repeated uses. Cut a length that is somewhat shorter than your bow, so that when it is tied to it, it draws both ends closer together. You’ll tis this round one of the botches you carved into the ends of your bows. The, gently lean on the bow to bring it down to the other end of your string. Tie that end to your bow, and then hold the bow by the middle. By now, it should be complete.

Making Arrows

To make arrows, you have a wide range of options available to you. You can use sticks that can be found in nature, or man-made items which may be easily available to you. Wooden dowels are ideal raw material for arrows, but you can also use lengths of fiberglass. Heavier arrows will do more damage to your target and can fly further, so you may want to have a stock of these on-hand for perimeter defense or long-distance hunting. However, lighter arrows might be more useful for smaller game, as they’ll inflict less damage on the meat.

Making a bow and arrow can be a cost-effective way to defend yourself fin the wild or in any SHTF scenario. You won’t have to worry about resupply and can enjoy the element of surprise against your target. Just be sure to get enough practice in so that you can act decisively in the moment of decision.


Learn more about the archery skills you’ll need for survival.


How to build your archery bug-out bag.


If You Had to Forage for Food, Would You Starve?

What did people do before there were grocery stores? When the SHTF, we’re all going to find out. Better be prepared!


Hello, this is Robert M Raskin of Las Vegas, and I’d like to help you prepare for any scenario in which you may find yourself in the wilderness or the desert without any food or water, whether you ended up in your location unexpectedly, you were separated from your gear, or you ran out of the rations you believed would last throughout the duration of your outdoor expedition or mission. While you can survive for weeks without food, you’ll need water within a day or two if you want to have the strength to carry on.

Edible Plants

When it comes to eating plants in the wild, it is better to be safe than sorry, so make sure to familiarize yourself with the plants that are common to your area so you don’t make any tragic mistakes while you are foraging in the wild. Some edible plants that are native to many parts of North America include the amaranth, asparagus, cattails, clover, chicory, dandelions, fireweed, prickly pear, and mustard. I recommend investing in a guide to keep on-hand rather than waiting until you are caught in a situation in which you need to search for food unprepared.

How to identify edible–and toxic–plants in the wild.

Basic Hunting Skills 101

You don’t have to have animal products to get by, but if you are craving meat it helps to know how to acquire it on your own. Long before firearms were invented, people were hunting their food in the wild with handmade weapons, and there’s no reason you can’t too with a little preparation and practice. You can use a bow and arrow, a spear, or even a trap to catch the wildlife that are native to your area so you can have fresh meat even if you are far away from the nearest grocery store. If there is a lake or river nearby, make sure you have what you need to fish nearby, even if you don’t have a fishing pole.

Learn more about primitive hunting skills.

How to Locate Water

Whether you are in the desert in Nevada, the woods in Montana, or you are lost on a deserted island, you may need to find a source of fresh drinking water. Anyone can find and purify drinking water in the wilderness if they have a few simple supplies, and these include a bottle you can boil and carry water in, a hose you can use to siphon or to draw the water from an underground source, and a fire-starter that you can use to boil. You can dig for water even in dry river beds, and snow and ice are a great way to get clean water, though it still needs to be purified and you should not drink it while it is still ice-cold, or you may risk lowering your own body temperature to dangerous levels.

Here are 5 easy tricks to find water in nature.

Hydroponics for Survival

Hello again, Rob Raskin of Las Vegas here to talk about growing plants indoors. In any emergency situation, the ability to survive without relying on the outside economy can make all the difference between whether or not you survive or fail. Any event can disrupt modern supply chains, and depending on what caused the emergency, it may not be safe to go outside. A biological, chemical or radiological attack can contaminate a wide area for years and could isolate you from much of the outside world. Learning how to grow plants indoors is a vital skill that can give you a leg up against the competition and could make the difference between your success and failure.

Using Pots

One of the easiest ways to grow plants indoors is to use some pots. There’s really no limit to how many you can have inside your home aside from the space you have available. You can use a few large pots, some trellises for plants with runners, or tall racks with long pots. These can make the most out of the space you have if you plan on intensively farming indoors. You will want to make sure that you can get enough light for your plants. In addition, you will need to keep them well-watered, which can introduce molding problems if you are not careful, due to increased humidity.

Building a Greenhouse

If you are set on launching a bigger indoor growing operation, you’ll want to invest in a separate greenhouse. Building one can be a relatively simple matter of finding a bit of land you can set aside and deciding on what kind of greenhouse you would like. There are several different varieties that you can choose from. You can find a relatively simple, disposal one at many home hardware stores or gardening stores. However, if you want to create a more elaborate construction, you’ll need to build a wood or PVC frame, find a ventilation system to filter out contaminants, obtain a power supply, and also install an irrigation system. While a disposable greenhouse can cost $100 or less, a more elaborate one can easily cost somewhere in the five figures.

Deciding on the best ways to grow food before a crisis hits can help you better survive one with the right tools. Starting ahead of time is the best way to prepare yourself for any crisis that may occur.


Learn more about hydroponic survival food prep.


Make space for hydroponics in your shelter.

Dowsing Works, Try It Yourself!

Hello, Rob Raskin of Las Vegas here, and today I’d like to talk to you about a controversial method of finding water in the wild. Whether you know them as Dowsing rods, dowsing sticks, or divining rods, chances are at some point you have heard about this phenomenon, in which a person uses a combination of a y-shaped branch or two L-shaped wires and their own intuition to locate water underground. Historically people have also used these rods to communicate with the dead, and some plumbers have even tried using them to locate pipes and gas lines.


While there may not be any solid science around the ancient art of dowsing, there are plenty of people around who can and do use it successfully.


According to the lore, the dowser simply needs to grasp the rode in their hands and slowly walk the land, and when water is detected the dowsing rods will lead the way straight through it, as though by unseen and mysterious forces. There have been studies conducted that debunked the phenomena, but there have also been hundreds of cases of dowsers being able to predict the depth of water sources with incredible accuracy and a high enough success rate that it has to be more than mere coincidence.


One thing that most people will agree on with regard to dowsing is if you need to find water, it can’t hurt to try it. What do you have to lose? If you’re a skeptic give it a try and let me know in the comments whether or not it worked.


Want to Try Dowsing?

You can make your own dowsing rods, and you can also buy them on ebay for under $20. There are also dowsing crystals available for just $5 to $15. That’s not a lot to pay to give it a try, and I think I just might! It may be a long-shot, but if it works it’ll certainly be worth the small investment. This is Rob Raskin, wishing you happy homesteading, and I hope to see you back at my blog soon.


How to locate underground water sources with dowsing.

Learn how to make and use your own dowsing rods.

Mylar for Survival with Rob Raskin

If you want to survive TEOTWAWKI, one of your best bets is to stock up on Mylar sheets!

Hello everyone, Robert Raskin of Las Vegas here again, and today I’d like to talk about some uses for Mylar sheets, which I mentioned in a recent blog. These “space blankets” are so versatile that I thought they deserved their own post! There are so many benefits to Mylar because this material won’t crack if you store it in a small space, so you can fit several of them into your survival bag. These blankets are waterproof, they don’t biodegrade, and they are ideal for helping you to stay warm because they can hold in your body heat. If you get under one with another person or even your dog, even better!


Sleeping and Shelter

You can protect yourself from damp ground by sleeping on a Mylar sheet, and you can put one over you to keep in the heat. You can also use them to create makeshift shelters if you don’t have any other materials available. You can also use them to create a layer of insulation over any shelter you’ve created. Just make sure you’ve packed duct tape!


One reviewer’s take on whether or not Mylar will stand up to the winter cold.


Cooking and Fire

You can use a Mylar sheet to start a fire, thanks to the reflective materials, and you can also wrap food in one to heat it up like an oven. These blankets can be used to reflect heat from an oven or a fire, and you can even use them as a fishing lure or to protect the vegetables in your garden from predators and the elements. Is there anything you can’t do with a Mylar sheet? It sure doesn’t seem like it!


Watch this video to learn how to make an oven using Mylar!


Store rice for 30 years using Mylar!


Check back with me, Robert Raskin, next time, because you never know when disaster may strike, so it’s best to be prepared!

Rob Raskin’s Favorite Survival Stories – US Edition

Hello everyone, Rob Raskin of Las Vegas here again, and this time around I thought it would be fun to talk about a some of the survival stories I’ve been reading about lately. Have you ever done an online search for stories of people who have survived on their own in the wild or other dangerous circumstances and lived to tell about it? It really makes you wonder how far you would go to survive if you had to. Today I want to focus on people who have survived life-threatening ordeals here in the United States. Read these stories and let me know what you think of what these brave people did in the comments. These people are so inspirational, I might just make this an ongoing series!


Aron Ralston

When 27-year-old mountaineer Aron Ralston decided to spend a day hiking and biking is southeast Utah’s Blue John Canyon, he never imagined he’d return five days later and without his arm. Despite the fact the experienced outdoorsman was an avid climber, he broke one of the cardinal rules of going out into the wild—he did not tell anyone where he was going. When he slipped into a narrow canyon his right arm became pinned under an 800-pound boulder. Ralston’s wife was pregnant at the time, and he said he was visited by the specter of a child who he believed to be his unborn son, and that gave him the strength to amputate his own arm with a blunt pocket knife. Today Ralston is a father, thanks to his bravery and nerves of steel, and after much rehabilitation he has returned to his active outdoor lifestyle.

Hear Aron Ralston describe the ordeal in his own words!

Donna Cooper

Then 62-year-old retiree Donna Cooper decided to visit remote Scotty’s Castle in Death Valley, she ended up lost in the desert with her two teen daughters, who were dependent on her for survival. The trio ended up driving a distance of over 300 miles when they ran out of gas. Cooper and her daughters were forced to rely on cacti for sustenance, and they were lucky to find an abandoned trailer with a hose that still had some hot—yet drinkable—water in it. The women attempted to sleep on the porch, but they were forced to douse themselves with water every 15 minutes due to the scorching desert heat. They hooked a CB radio up to a car battery, but there was only static. It would be three days before they were found by rescuers, alive and only suffering from mild injuries.

This three-part series about Donna Cooper’s ordeal is fascinating!

What would you do if you were in a life or death situation like the ones faced by these incredible individuals? This is Rob Raskin, hoping you’ll visit the site again soon. Until next time!