Sentinel Handbook

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Archive for March 2014

7 Reasons to Buy Bugout Gear the Pros Use

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By Becky Blanton

 I’m pretty convinced that those sweet little alcohol stoves I made out of Coke cans will be awesome when I’ve been separated from my bugout bag thanks to the zombie apocalypse. If aliens or a sinkhole that swallows the one road to my house come between me and my bag of serious survival equipment; I know where I can turn for a portable heater to make coffee or boil water for tea. After all a Coke can stove and a bottle of Heet or rubbing alcohol beats having absolutely nothing else right?

But when I do have my bugout bag and all my awesome survival goodies and the fecal matter has hit the fan what do I want? Not a Coke can stove if I can help it. I also don’t want to suck water through a sock stuffed with dry grass and sand, or an old t-shirt stuffed into a disposable water bottle. I want to be prepared with the real deal, like the stuff I’d find police using on or or a top consumer rated site like:

I want gear that is going to stand up to anything that invading zombies, aliens, government forces, and a starving Honey Boo-Boo can throw at me.  So I don’t shop the designer camping stores, or cram my bag with homemade stuff I learned to make in arts and crafts on YouTube classes. I find out what the pros (police, military, hard-core survivalists, professional outdoor guides) are wearing, using and buying.

Yes, it’s great to have a backup plan for filtering water, putting up a shelter, and fending off starving neighbors in case you become separated from your own gear.  Find all kinds of “deals” and learn to craft a tank or bunker out of common ordinary household trash on YouTube; but don’t depend on turning trash into survival treasure if you can afford the good stuff. That’s a backup plan, not your go-to plan. Here are seven reasons you need to buy the absolute best survival equipment you can afford:

  1. It will survive the apocalypse. Zombies, nuclear war, Russian Spetsnaz  (special forces) squads and even being left in the rain or stuck in the ground because you were so freaking tired you just forgot to repack or sheath it. You can drop it, hit it, pound it with rocks, drag it 20 miles down a rocky trail and the chances it will still work are extremely high.
  2. Whether it’s a tent, a sleeping bag, a stove, a frying pan or a pocketknife, it’s been designed by engineers and pros, and tested by professional outdoor guys who get paid to live in extreme environments trying to break gear year round. It’s typically not made by children in third world countries working 23-hour days. People who buy equipment that costs more than your monthly mortgage payment demand quality.
  3. When you realize that you need more guns, bullets, beef or beer and you have no money, you can barter that $400 knife for some serious supplies and gain a few weeks more of life until you can barter it back.
  4. Whatever it is, it will always work. It will always work because if it’s a knife it’s made out of stuff like carbon and molybdenum by men who live, breath and argue about the best steel composites 24/7. If it’s cookware or stoves, it will be made to withstand anything you, your kids, family and clueless bugout buddy can throw at it. It will not be cheap tin or aluminum that will dent and burn if you leave it on a hot campfire too long.
  5. It will perform like it was designed to perform. It won’t break when you’re putting too much weight, pressure, or stress on it. You won’t have to worry about it snapping in your hands or becoming shrapnel because it exploded when it got too close to a campfire.
  6. Camping at Jellystone, or the local KOA for a weekend is one thing. Surviving a nuclear war, defending your family, living in the woods for five to ten years while the planet heals is another. When the poop hits the fan that you can’t pop down to the local Wal-Mart for another frying pan, dull knife, cracked water filter, leaking shelter, the bugout bag whose straps have torn off the pack, or the minus zero sleeping bag that falls apart a week into your living off the grid.  The zombies will have already looted both Wal-Mart and any other retailers.
  7. Survival means survival of the fittest, the best equipped, the toughest, strongest and most prepared on all levels. That means knives that stay sharp, tents that repel water, water filters that function even when you step on them.

 If those aren’t good enough reasons to convince you to invest in really good equipment (at least knives, shelter, filters and bugout bags) as you can afford it, then you probably aren’t all that serious about surviving whatever life, and the apocalypse have to throw at you.


This entry is from a special guest blogger, and dear friend, Becky Blanton. Becky is a ghostwriter, TED Global speaker and a former police officer and police academy graduate. She ghost writes ebooks and books about survival prepping, camping, gear and a variety of topics. This is her second guest blog for this site.


Written by Silver Sentinel

March 9, 2014 at 12:11 pm

8 Things to Look For When Buying a Medical Kit

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By Becky Blanton

Your average medical emergency, whether you’re hunting, fishing, hiking or living off-grid, is going to require more than that  $12 first aid kit you bought at your local pharmacy. Real medical emergencies typically involve amputations, serious gashes and cuts that are going to require surgery, or at least more stitches than you have fingers.

It doesn’t matter if you’re a law enforcement officer, a prepper, a mom, an EMT in training or a doctor, your medical bag and equipment could one day be the only thing standing in between you and dying.  Police and federal agencies buy medical kits from police supply sites like  or They buy high-end medical kits because they’re more likely to be tending to shootings, stabbings and traumatic amputations.

Soccer moms buy first aid kits at places like CVS or Wal-Mart. They consist primarily of Band-Aids, wound seal and gauze, but nothing for serious injuries.

Hunters, campers, day hikers and fishermen go to places like Cabella’s Or Bass Pro for a little more advanced, but still not basic life support supplies. Take your time and surf the web to see the wide range of medical kits out there. Prices will range from $9.99 at big box retail stores, to $500 or even $1,500 and up for professional kits made for EMTs, police and military medics.

No matter who you are or what you’re buying for, here are eight things to look for when you’re buying a medical kit. It will be worth ten times its weight in gold when you really need it if you buy the right kit. If you have several jobs, hobbies or places you’ll need medical care, then buy several kits if you have to. But buy smart. Look for:

  1. Waterproof or water-resistant bags or kits. Medical kits get thrown in car trunks, backpacks and tossed into tents and boats. A lot of the equipment inside is useless if it gets wet or even damp. Tape won’t stick, pads won’t absorb and all kinds of things will rust, mold or become unsterile. Look for a back with a waterproof bottom or boot, and that has a waterproof or water resistant zipper.
  2. Lots of pockets, preferably ones that open and close with Velcro or big sturdy zippers. Since the tendency most of us have is to pick up an open bag in a medical emergency and move it to a better spot, bags with open pockets will spill all those sterile supplies right onto the ground. Make sure that any bag you get has some means of securing (elastic bands, ties, mesh bags, zippers or Velcro, pockets etc.) your gear when the bag is open and picked up by one end.
  3. Make sure the pockets are large enough to fit the supplies you’ll be using. Not all medical supplies are the size of a golf ball or pack of matches. There are pads, scissors, suture kits, flashlights, splints, tape, bandages and things that just won’t fit into tiny pouches. Determine what supplies you’ll be carrying and then pick a medical kit based on whether those supplies will fit snuggly and safely and without being crushed in the pockets and pouches the kit has.
  4. MOLLE systems rule. MOLLE stands for Modular Lightweight Load Carrying Equipment. It’s a system derived from PALS (Pouch Attachment Ladder System), which consists of webbing stitched into rows of heavy-duty nylon on vests, packs and bags. The system allows users to attach various sizes and configurations of various MOLLE-compatible pouches and accessories. It makes whatever kit you have more versatile.
  5. Get a color consistent with what you’ll be using it for. If you’re a doomsday prepper who wants to blend into the woods, then camouflage is a good color for you. If you’re a snow patrol member, or hunter, maybe bright orange is a better choice. If you’re a member of law enforcement, brown, black or navy blue or red or orange is a good choice. Color is important because it will help you identify the medical kit quickly, which can save lives.
  6. Pick a medical bag or kit for your specific medical needs. If you’re a soccer mom and the worst thing you’ll be dealing with are skinned knees and elbows and maybe a broken or sprained ankle or two, your needs are different than a hunter who plans on being in the back country around a lot of people with hunting rifles and large angry animals. Lions and tigers and bears, oh my, can do a lot of damage and require hard-core medical kits to repair or stabilize a medical emergency.
  7. Consider your group size. Everyone should carry a personal medical kit unique to their own needs — insulin needles, aspirin, Band-Aids for scrapes, lip balm, asthma inhalers, diabetes supplies etc. but if you’re going to be using the kit with a group, get one specific enough to treat everyone’s potential needs. Make sure it will last for as long as you’ll need it. Is this a home medical kit for a family of four, or a medical kit for a Scout troop of 10 to 15 boys and four adult leaders? Make sure you take into account the amount of supplies you’ll need to pack and for how long you’ll need them.  Most kits come prepacked with supplies for a specific number of days and people so it’s not too hard to figure out.
  8. Know how to use the supplies that come with the kit. If you plan to carry it, you should know how to use it. Many people create or buy excellent medical kits, but have absolutely no idea how to use the supplies inside. When buying a medical kit make sure you know what all those supplies are, and how and when to use them. Better yet, take some First Aid classes and learn how to actually perform basic to advanced first aid and then buy a kit based on your skill set and ability to use the items in the kit.

Medical kits can be expensive. And the truth is, they may never be used. Err on the side of being prepared rather than not. The life that kit saves may be yours.


This month’s entry is from a special guest blogger, and dear friend, Becky Blanton. Becky is a ghostwriter, TED Global speaker and a former police officer and police academy graduate. She ghost writes ebooks and books about survival prepping, camping, gear and a variety of topics. This is her first guest blog for this site.

Written by Silver Sentinel

March 5, 2014 at 6:44 pm

Posted in Uncategorized