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Are You Making These Common Prepper Mistakes?

Hello! Robert Raskin of Las Vegas back again, and today I’d like to discuss some common mistakes novice preppers make. Let’s face it, unless you were born into a homesteading family, chances are you were new to prepping and survivalism at some point. We all were, but through trial, error, and research, most of us got a lot better at it over time. Today’s blog post is dedicated to those who are new to prepping, and I post it with the hope you will avoid these all-too-common mistakes and save yourself a lot of time, money, and effort.


Have You Taken Inventory of Your Food?

The failure to inventory the food you have stored is a common mistake. Many novice preppers stock a large amount of food when they first get started, but if you don’t take inventory of your stocks regularly, you may forget to replace anything that has expired. If your food expires and disaster strikes, you may find yourself with a lot of food you can’t use.


Have You Bought Gear You Can’t Use?

If you have invested in supplies, equipment, or even weapons, chances are you have spent a significant amount of time researching what to buy, where to buy it, and which tools were the right choice for your situation. What is surprising is that so many people who are new to prepping take the time to buy the right items, and then they don’t spend just as much time learning how to use them. If you have gear that you don’t know how to operate, it’s time to learn.


What mistakes did you make when you were starting out? Share your wisdom with the group by posting your comments to me, Robert Raskin, below.

Survival Must-Haves You Haven’t Considered

Hello! Rob Raskin of Las Vegas here again, and in today’s post I’d like to discuss some basic items that should be in every prepper’s survival kit that you may have overlooked. Sometimes it’s the little things in life that count, and that is definitely the case when it comes to the following items. Most people have these common items in their homes, but they may not make it to your homestead. When you are stocking your off-grid home or your survival kit, make sure you have the following items.


A Sewing Kit

Having an upholstery needle and some thread handy can be a lifesaver in many situations, especially if you need to mend something you are using for shelter. Tents, sleeping bags, and other gear can rip, and it is crucial that you be able to mend it. If you don’t have any thread handy, your dental floss will do the trick.



Most of us have preferred pen to pencil since elementary school, but a pen is not necessarily your friend in a survival situation. If you need to write something important down, you may find that the pen is out of ink, and believe it or not ink can freeze. If you have a pencil, you will always have the option of sharpening it with a knife.


Aluminum Foil

Foil is an incredibly versatile thing to have on-hand, because it has myriad uses. We all know that you can line pans with aluminum foil for easier clean-up, but there is much more it is helpful for. You can heat stones wrapped in foil in a fire and use it to heat up your sleeping basket, and this is important to remember on cold winter nights. And speaking of lining pans…sure, they make cleaning easier, but this will also help you to save water.


A Broom and a Mop

Having these items on-hand can make cleanup much easier, especially if there has been a storm, flood, or fire, and it has been proven that keeping your shelter clean can help relieve stress. Even if your shelter has dirt floors, you’ll appreciate being able to clean them in the event that the unexpected should happen.


Do you have anything else you’d like to add to this list? Let me, Rob Raskin, know in the comments!

Worst Survival Tips

Hello! Robert Raskin of Las Vegas here again, and today I’d like to share some of the worst survival tips I’ve seen online with you. There are many excellent sources for survival and homesteading advice on the internet, but unfortunately, there are also some very bad tips out there that could end up getting you killed. How do you separate the good from the bad? A combination of research and common sense, along with making sure you have a solid plan in place before you go into the wilderness, can go a long way.  If you plan to go out in the wild and you don’t want to make it back, follow this advice:


Throw Your Food to the Bears

We have all seen a certain famous so-called survivalist who is really a television personality use this tactic. It’s easy to survive a bear attack when the cameras are rolling, but in real life, throwing your food supply at a bear may be an appetizer—and you may be the main course! After all, you have just taught the bear that you are an excellent source of food.


Drink Brandy to Warm Up

Another image we are familiar with is that of a trusty St. Bernard with a barrel of brandy fastened around his neck for emergency use. In theory, drinking alcohol will warm you up, but in reality alcohol only moves your blood to the surface of your skin. This actually makes you more susceptible to hypothermia. You would be better off drinking the brandy after you’ve reached safety.


Travel by River

It is a common belief that you can follow the river to find your way to help, but this is only true if you do not actually get in the water. In a true survival situation, the last thing you want to do is get wet if you aren’t in a position to get dry again. If the weather is too cold for you to dry off, getting in that water might kill you.


Suture Your Wounds

Another situation we’ve all seen in movies is the rugged survivalist who is so tough that he sutures his own wounds. In truth, only a trained medical or emergency professional with sterile equipment is qualified to do this. Grabbing a needle and trying to do the job yourself might not stop the bleeding, and it most likely will give you sepsis. If you don’t have a suture kit and know how to use it, leave the job to the pros.


Do you have any terrible survival tips to share? Let me, Robert Raskin, know in the comments!

Best Websites for End of the World Survival

Hello everyone! Rob Raskin of Las Vegas here, and today I’d like to tell you about a couple of websites that are incredible sources for information on topics related to survival, off-grid living, and disaster preparedness. At CATS2010, we are very proud of our efforts in these areas, but there are many other sites that are also valuable resources. You will find articles on any topic you can dream of on these sites, and I highly recommend you check them out because you never know when TEOTWAWKI might be upon us. is brought to you by James Wesley Rawles, a survivalist author who is a former US Army Intelligence officer. This virtual community has come together in the interest of preparedness, whether in the event of a natural or a man-made disaster. This is the most popular daily survival blog, so there are well over 28K articles here—enough to keep you reading for a long time! Just a few of the topics you’ll find here are self-sufficiency, logistics, tools, privacy, encryption, hunting, trapping, off-grid power, evaluating parcels for off-grid living, finding survival retreats, and small unit tactics. You can’t be too prepared, and this is an excellent choice if you want to make sure you have everything covered.

If you believe mainstream America needs a crash course in self-reliant lifestyles, then you’ll fit right in at APN is co-owned by Tom Martin, Hugh Vail and Phil Burn, and their mission is to bring knowledge and understanding of these topics to the mainstream, because they believe that disaster prep and off-grid living bring communities together. At this website you will learn what you should have on-hand in the event of a disaster, how you can help yourself and your community, and how disasters can be overcome on both personal and neighborhood levels.


This is Rob Raskin, and I hope you’ll check back soon to see what other topics I will be covering. I’d like to take a moment to send good thoughts to the survivors of Hurricane Harvey, who are learning the hard way that you never know when disaster may strike. Be prepared, and stay safe.

Best Survival Movies

Hello everyone! Robert Raskin of Las Vegas here again, and today I thought I’d write about something fun—survival movies. There are so many classic survival movies that it’s hard to know where to begin. From War of the Worlds to zombies, survival is a topic Hollywood never grows tired of because all of the essential elements of what makes movies great are present: action, excitement, and suspense. I can’t name all of the great survival films here, but these two are a couple of my favorites.



This story is unbelievable because it is true, and it is truly a miracle that anyone survived when this Uruguayan rugby team’s plane crashed in the Andes mountains. The story is well-known because the survivors ended up having to resort to cannibalism to stay alive, but if you look beyond the shock value you will see that this story involved much more. After being stranded in frozen terrain for two months, 16 of these man managed to survive a situation of us many of us can’t imagine—and hopefully won’t ever have to!


Red Dawn

This movie was a big deal in the eighties when the Cold War had everyone wondering if nuclear attack was on the horizon, and any patriot has had a moment when they watched it for inspiration. What can a group of eight teens do against invaders from a foreign army? High school trained these teen heroes well for guerilla warfare, and it turned out they could accomplish a lot more damage than anyone suspected. This movie is a testament to what can be done when a group of patriots are willing to do anything to protect the country they love.


What are your favorite survival movies? Let me, Robert Raskin, know in the comments.

DIY Greenhouse Tips

Hello everyone! Rob Raskin of Las Vegas here again, and today I’d like to talk about how you can build your own greenhouse. These structures are crucial in many areas because they extend the growing season, and they can improve your yields of the fresh vegetables and fruits that you depend on for survival when you are off-grid. Greenhouses protect plants from extreme temperatures and pests, and you may be surprised by how inexpensively and easily you can build your own.


What Type of Greenhouse is Right for Me?

When it comes to greenhouses, you are only limited by your imagination, and many varieties are possible, including solar, A-frame, hoop houses, lean-tos, and even those you can make out of old windows. Any of these are excellent choices for year-round growing. You can find many different websites online that offer everything from free build-your-own greenhouse instructions to kits that come ready to assemble. Believe it or not, you can create a self-sustaining ecosystem in your greenhouse, and these biodomes are perfect for you if you want to speed up the growing process.


The types of crops you can grow in your greenhouse will depend on your location, the size and type of the structure, and the growing season, so you’ll need to do some research and trial and error to determine what works best for you. What kind of greenhouse experience do you have? If you have any tips you’d like to share, please post them in the comments section below.


Until next time, this is Rob Raskin, wishing you happy homesteading!

Survival Stories: The Sea

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.


Must-Have Disinfectants for Survivalism and Homesteading

Hello everyone! Robert Raskin of Las Vegas here, and today I’d like to talk about the many different kinds of unconventional and all-natural disinfectants that are available to survivalists and homesteaders. You never know when you might need to disinfect a surface, a utensil, or a wound or infection, so it’s best to be prepared and have some sort of disinfectant agent on-hand.


Here are some of the disinfectants that are available to you:

  • Manuka honey, especially non-pasteurized—you can count on this anti-infection remedy to promote healthy healing. In fact, humans have been relying on its healing properties for centuries, and possibly even longer.


  • Epsom salt soaks—Magnesium sulfate is not technically a disinfectant, but it can be used to dehydrate an area, to draw out infection, and to treat skin irritations and conditions.



  • Dakins Solution—This is an old stand-by that is easy to use if you have household bleach on hand. To make this solution, use between 0.25% and 0.5% bleach mixed with sterilized water. This treatment is really effective for flushing debris from wounds


  • Aloe Vera—If you’ve ever had a sunburn, chances are you are already familiar with this plant’s curative properties, but did you know it is also a natural disinfectant and antiseptic agent? This is a great plant to have around, and you can also use it as an antifungal and an antiviral.



  • Silver—Many people don’t know that millennia ago people dropped silver coins in water to prevent the growth of bacteria. If you have invested in precious metals, you may want to keep this one in mind!


Visit me, Robert Raskin, here again at CATS2010 next time, and if you have any more ideas for natural disinfectants, please leave them in the comments!

How Far Would You Go to Survive an Animal Attack?

Hello all, Rob Raskin of Las Vegas here again, and I’m back with more incredible tales of survival for you. Co-existing with wildlife is a part of survivalism and homesteading, and anytime you are in undeveloped country you run the risk of coming in contact with a potentially deadly predator. It’s important to have a firearm and ammo on you whenever you are out in the wild, because if you aren’t able to defend yourself you won’t be able to protect yourself against a predator attack. These men found themselves without the necessary defenses, but luckily for them they had nerves and fists of steel so they lived to tell the tale!

Carl Akeley

Conservationist and biologist Carl Akeley was also a taxidermist, and a leopard exacted its revenge by attacking him when he was on an African expedition. The deadly predator lunged at Akeley, who discovered too late he had run out of ammo. In a split-second decision that would ultimately save his life, Akeley forced his fist down the beast’s throat, slowly suffocating him to death. His arm could not have been in great shape after that, but it was better off than the leopard’s throat, and that’s the important thing.

Gene Moe

When Alaskan hunter Gene Moe was attacked by a grizzly bear that weighed 750 pounds, he couldn’t reach his rifle, which left him with one weapon left to defend himself: a Model 110 Buck knife. This weapon was no match for the bear, which bit off a piece of Moe’s arm, his ear, and a chunk of his leg. As the bear charged Moe one final time, Moe threw a punch that was so solid that when it landed under the bear’s eye, the bear dropped dead. Moe’s arm was also paralyzed in the process, but it’s better than being a bear’s lunch.


What would you do if a wild animal attacked you and you didn’t have a loaded gun handy? Let me know in the comments! This is Rob Raskin, hoping you’ll visit the CATS2010 blog again soon.

Best Uses for 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!


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!


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