Top 10 Life Hacks and Survival Tips for the Doomsday Prepper in Your Life
By Robert Grimminck, Toptenz, 12 February 2016.
By Robert Grimminck, Toptenz, 12 February 2016.
Are you ready for the end of the world? Chances are many people aren’t even prepared for next week, let alone a theoretical event that may wipe out much of humanity. Since most people aren’t Doomsday Preppers, we have some helpful hints should the world end and you happen to be one of the lucky few who survive.
At the end of the world, even basic problems like light will be a problem. What happens once you run out of candles? Well, if you’re lucky and have a box of Crayola Crayons, you’ll have a bunch of small, timed candles. Simply break off the tip of a crayon and light it. The crayon should burn for about 30 minutes. The crayons make for ideal candles because transporting a pack is easier than a bunch of candles, plus they automatically put themselves out if you forget about them. If you want a long term solution for an effective candle, find a can of Crisco and feed a wick through the middle of it. It will burn for 45 days straight.
9. How to Cook Food Without a Frying Pan
Despite it being common knowledge, breakfast may not be the most important meal of the day. But let’s say you’ve slept in some abandoned building after a long day of walking and you have another day of walking ahead of you. You can’t deny how appealing a breakfast of bacon and eggs would be. Of course, that is if you have access to bacon and eggs. The problem is that if you do have bacon and eggs, you’ll need a frying pan, or at the very least a thin piece of metal or aluminium to cook them, right? Well, the good news is that you can cook both bacon and eggs in a paper bag over hot coals. We know it sounds illogical, because wouldn’t the paper catch fire? Don’t the eggs make the bag too damp? Well, apparently not. How you do it is you take four pieces of bacon with lots of fat and layer the bottom of the bag with the bacon and crack two eggs over it. Fold the top of the bag twice and poke a stick through the folds. Hang the bag over the coals to allow the bacon to cook for seven to ten minutes, during which the bacon fat will cook the eggs like a skillet. Once your breakfast is complete, simply eat it straight out of the bag.
8. Open Tin Cans Without a Can Opener
If you’ve ever been camping and brought canned food, but not a can opener, you’ll know how nightmarishly frustrating that situation can be. It’s just a can! Something you can normally open in under a minute with minimal effort. Now imagine how much more frustrating that would be if your survival depended on opening cans of food. Sure, you could try smashing the cans open with a rock, but you would risk losing the valuable food inside. Instead, a simple trick to opening a can is to flip it upside down and rub the top against a piece of concrete for about a minute. Then simply squeeze the can and the lid will pop off, allowing you to eat whatever is inside, staving off starvation for at least another few hours.
7. Fire From Ice
Obviously, one of the biggest problems if you’re stuck somewhere cold at the end of the world is hypothermia. Hence, starting a fire before dark may mean the difference between life and death. The good news is that you can start a fire with ice. That may sound impossible because ice is simply frozen water, two things you don’t associate with a roaring fire, but it is possible. In order to start a fire with a piece of ice, you’ll need to get the clearest piece of ice you can find, shape it into a circular disc, and then make the surface smooth and round with your hands. Get some kindling and angle the piece of ice between the sun and the kindling. The ice should act like a magnifying glass, and it will hopefully ignite the tinder with the focused sunlight.
6. Natural Refrigerator
Refrigerators are something we take for granted every day, but if you’ve ever gone without one, even just for a while, you’ll quickly realize how important they are. For example, fridges extend the life of food products and certain lifesaving medications need to be refrigerated. The good news is that if you’re in a hot, dry climate, (where you’ll definitely need a refrigerator more than people living in cold climates) you can easily build the Zeer pot-in-pot refrigerator. You’ll need two terra cotta pots, and one of them needs to be 2-3 inches smaller in diameter than the other one. The smaller pot should be glazed and preferably it shouldn’t have a drainage hole. If it does have a drainage hole, plug it. Besides the pots, you’ll need a bag of sterile sand, a square piece of burlap cloth that is big enough to cover the top of the inner pot, and finally, you’ll need a trowel.
To construct it, pour about an inch of sand on the bottom of the bigger pot, and then set the smaller pot on top of the sand in the middle of the bigger pot. It’s important to make sure the lip of both pots are at the same height. Then fill in the sand in the gaps between the two pots so that the sand is about an inch below the lip of the pots. Then pour cold water into the sand until it is saturated. If the inner pot has a double glaze on its inner and outer walls, non-potable water, like seawater, can be used. Finally, cover the top with the wet piece of burlap. And there you have it, your very own non-electrical refrigerator. It’s just important to remember to pour water into the sand every two or three days to ensure the contents inside stay cold.
5. Tin Can Camp Stove
The difference between cooked meat and raw meat could mean the difference between life and death in the badlands of the apocalypse. A simple, easy to carry stove you could make uses an Altoids or tuna can, cardboard and melted wax. First, you need to cut a long strip of cardboard so that you can see the waves inside the cardboard. Then you fold the strip so that it can be packed as tight as possible into the can. Using melted wax from a tea light or a candle, pour it over the cardboard and in the gaps of the cardboard. The cardboard acts like a wick, but since the cardboard is stretched out it creates a bigger surface area for fire and the wax slows the cardboard burning process, creating a functional stove you could carry in your pocket.
4. Condoms For Everything But Contraception
Ironically, when the population is decimated, condoms will become incredibly valuable for a few different reasons. Condoms are resilient and waterproof by design, so they become incredibly helpful when you are trying to protect things that you don’t want to get wet, like fire starting material. Secondly, since they are waterproof, they can also be used to store water. With stored water, they can even be used to start a fire. Simply fill a condom with clear water, and use the sun to start a fire, similar to the method used to start a fire with ice or a magnifying glass. Finally, condoms can also be used to hunt and fish for food. It’s possible to make condoms into a slingshot and it can be used as a bob for fishing.
3. Finding True North
If you’re travelling through the horrible wasteland that was once civilization, you’ll need to head in a certain direction because roaming around lost is just a waste of energy. While it may sound easy to simply walk in a straight line, it is actually surprisingly easy to get side-tracked and lost doing that. One way to set your direction without a compass is to figure out which way true north is. To do that, get a needle and cork, or something to make the needle float. Rub the needle on your clothes to magnetize it and then stick the needle through the cork or rest it on top of a leaf that floats, and place it in a puddle or cup of water. The needle will turn and point to true north.
Another way to find direction without a compass involves sticks. There are two ways to do this, one way during the day and one way at night. The first way, which you do during the day, is to put a stick in the ground so that it is sticking vertically up, and mark where the shadow is with a pebble or a rock. Wait 10-15 minutes, then mark where the shadow has moved. The original shadow indicates west and the direction the shadow moves is east.
The second way to get yourself directionally aligned can only be done at night. Get two large sticks, one bigger than the other. Stick the shorter one in the ground, and then just beyond it, jam the taller stick into the ground. Then bend over behind the smaller stick, and in your mind, make a line that goes from the top of the two sticks to a star in the sky. Watch the star for several minutes and the stars will change location (they aren’t moving, the Earth is, of course). If the star moves up that means you are facing east; down is west; if it moves right, then you’re facing south and finally, if it moves left, that is north.
2. How to Tell How Many Hours of Daylight Are Left
In any type of apocalypse, night will not be your friend. There will be roaming packs of animals that can track you in the night, and then there are bandits and whatever zombie-like creatures that may be more agile than you. Therefore, finding shelter or setting up camp before nightfall is one of the most important things you should do if you are ever travelling in a post-civilization wasteland. A way to get a rough estimate of how much sunlight is left in the day is simply to use your fingers. While facing the sun, outstretch your arm so that your palm faces you and your hand is horizontal with your thumb on top. Then line up the bottom of the sun with your index finger. Next, put your other hand below your first hand, palm facing you, and your index finger and pinky should be touching. If there is enough space, “walk” your top hand below your second hand. Every finger, not including your thumbs, between the sun and horizon is about 15 minutes worth of daylight, meaning every hand is about one hour of daylight.
1. Filter Water
Besides oxygen, the most important thing humans need is clean water. People usually can only go three days without water, so it is of the utmost importance that you find water should the apocalypse happen. Secondly, water needs to be clean because dirty water can be full of diseases which will not only kill you, but will also make the last hours of your life miserable. The good news is that you can easily make a water filter with two jars or cups and a piece of cloth. Fill one cup with dirty water and place the cup with the dirty water on a higher elevation than the empty cup. Next, put one end of a strip of cloth in each cup. After a few hours, the water will travel through the cloth from the one cup into the other and filter the dirt out of the water in the process. After that, simply boil the water to kill any germs, and ta-da, you have clean drinking water.
Top image credit: Picography/Pixabay.
[Source: Toptenz. Edited. Top image added.]