Category - Survival Tips

Crayon Candle

Crayon Candle

Crayons = your next survival hack.

Ok, let me explain. If you have kids, or know anyone who does, there is probably an overabundance of crayons lying around the house. Believe it or not, you can use a crayon as an emergency candle when the power goes out.

  • First, you need some crayons – the nontoxic ones are best.
  • Next, locate a fireproof base – a small plate works well.
  • Use a match or lighter to melt some wax off the top of the crayon and drip it in the center of the base. Quickly stick the crayon in the wax.  This will help the crayon to stand up right on the base.
  • Once the crayon is stuck to the base, simple light the top of the crayon. Important, do not remove the paper sleeve because it acts like a wick and enables the crayon to burn. Be sure to keep the flame from your lighter on top of the candle for 5-10 seconds – long enough for the paper to catch fire.

The standard size crayons burn for about 30 minutes. I’m sure how long the larger ones will burn because I haven’t tested the larger ones yet.

It isn’t a bad idea to keep a pack of crayons around. They are good for keeping kids entertained and, who knows, you may use them as a backup light source or emergency fire starter.

Water, Your #1 Survival Priority

     PREPAREDNESS 101: WATER, Your #1 Survival Priority!

Harry Weyandt

Harry Weyandt

By Harry R Weyandt, Nitro-Pak.Com Preparedness Expert                                                                                                                                                                                                       Having an emergency backup water reserve for you and your family is THE single most CRITICAL part on ANY preparedness plan, without exception! Most people think of food as the most important part but it is down the list of survival priorities when crisis strikes and comes after bug-out kits, first-aid, sanitation, light, heat/warmth and personal protection.  Freeze-dried and other long storing foods should be a part of your overall preparedness plan, so don’t forget them.

FACT: Most adults can live up to 30 days without food, but without water, most people will die within 3-4 days. We cannot emphasize enough that emergency water storage is the single most important step of your preparedness planning. So let’s get to it.

To start off with, I usually like to give people a real life statistic that shocks most people about how much water the average person uses per day in total water usage.  What would be your guess? Perhaps 5 gallons to 25 gallons. Maybe 30 gallons? Here’s the shocker. Estimates vary from region to region, but according to The Department of Interior USGS, the average person uses up to 100 gallons of water per day! About 70% of that total is used within your home. So, were you even close?

Now I know what you are thinking, “there’s no way I consume and drink that much water per day”, and you would be right. So the next logical question is….


Most preparedness experts, FEMA, and the American Red Cross recommend storing a minimum of 1 to 2 gallons per person per day and plan for a minimum of 3 to 7 days. The USDA recommends that the average adult drink about 1 gallon of water per day (I said water, not soda pop!). In addition, water used for hygiene, brushing teeth, meal preparation and, in an emergency, to take a quick towel bath, would require another gallon of water or more. So here’s what we recommend:

  • GOOD:    1 gallon per day x 3 days               =  3 gallons per person/per day minimum
  • BETTER:  2 gallons per day x 3 days             =  6 gallons p/p
  • IDEAL:     2 gallons per day x 7 days             =  14 gallons p/p
  • EXTRA MILE: 2 gallons per day x 14 days   =  28 gallons p/p

(Under the “Extra-Mile”, a family of 4  would need 112 gallons of water for 2 weeks)


My suggestion is to DIVERSIFY your water holdings (sounds like an investment portfolio doesn’t it). I like splitting my water storage into to two broad categories 1) grab-n-go to quickly leave at a moments notice and kept with my bug-gear, 2) the balance of my water storage in bulk storage containers. Here’s my recommendations:


FIRST, a WORD OF CAUTION. Never ever use previously used containers like milk jugs, bulk soda syrup or other food containers. These containers can NEVER be 100% cleaned out of their previous product no matter how much you try. All plastic has microscopic pores and they will contaminate your water if you use them. NEVER USE USED CONTAINERS!!!

  1. water barrelsThe easiest and most convenient option is to purchase several cases of bottled water from your local store. You probably already have some at home right now. Just buy a few more. If these are 16 ounce bottles and there are 24 to the case, that would equal 3 gallons of water. This should be your minimum target per individual PER DAY plus any full size pets you have, for 3 days. These bottles are easy to toss in your car when things hit the fan. This water should be rotated at least 1x per year to insure freshness and safety.
  2. Another possibility is purchasing 1 or 2.5 gallon jugs of purified water at the store. This might be your least expensive way for your grab-n-go bug-out water storage, but remember that these, like the water bottles above, need to be rotated yearly. Large 5 gallon water cooler bottles can also be used. Some companies will provide crates for stacking these large bottles too. Please note, that standard store bought plastic containers are not intended for long term storage and are made to break down, become brittle and will crack over time
  3. water-pouchesDatrex® Emergency Water Ration Pouches. These sterilized and purified foil sealed Datrex 4.2 oz. water pouches are the same ones that are used on cruise ships and lifeboats worldwide. They have a minimum shelf-life of 5 years and require no rotation during this time. They are very durable and can survive being frozen and still remain good afterwards. Emergency Operating Centers (EOC) and businesses like these pouchesbecause they can be dispensed easily in any emergency without waste.
  4. Five (5) gallon water storage containers are another convenient way to store gab-n’-go water to keep with your 72 hour bug-out bags and kits. These are heavy duty versions of the ones sold for camping in sporting goods stores. They have also been designed to easily stack up to 3 high for more convenient storage.The down side is that this water need to be treated for safe long term storage(see 5 year water storage preserver).
  5. water-brickAnother popular option is the modular stacking 3.5 gallon WaterBricks®.These are specifically designed for water storage and bulk food storage. These can stack up to 6’ if desired. Each WaterBrick has a carrying handle on the end for quick pick-up and go.There is an accessory spigot cap for easy water dispensing too. These like the 5 gallon water containers shown above, require the water to be treated for safe long term storage (see 5 year water storage preserver).


First, another word of warning. I hear people all the time talk about being able to buy previously used 55 gallon barrels for their water storage. Don’t fall for this trap!

Here’s a real life story. A good neighbor of mine years ago decided, against my advice, to purchase four used 55 gallon drums that had previously had been used for bulk “coke” syrup to “save money”. He washed, rinsed and power sprayed each container thoroughly and even used baking soda to rinse them out. In the end he had saved probably about $100 for his efforts…so he thought. After treating his water and letting it store for about a month I challenged him to pump some out and taste it. Oh boy, he was so fuming mad at what he found out about his nice used storage containers. The water fermented and tasted awful. In short order, he tossed out the containers and came to me to purchase new ones for his family storage. The gist of this story is, don’t be penny wise and end up being pound foolish. Buy only new, never used containers for your water storage!

Heavy-duty water storage drums come in many different sizes from 15 to 55 gallons in size. Make sure that they are BPA-free and certified by the FDA as being food grade compliant.  Many barrels are NOT and intended only for chemical storage. Typically the blue versions are OK for water storage. Today there are a couple of companies making super-sized water containers that can store up to 250 gallons. Whatever size best suits your needs, remember that water is HEAVY and weighs 8.35 pounds per gallon. Once these containers are filled, they are immovable and will stay there until empty. Once again, this water needs to be treated for long term storage (see 5 year water storage preserver ).water-barrel

One suggestion I would make to you when storing ANY water is not to store the container directly on a cement floor or ground. This can be accomplished by using plywood or 2×4 boards covering the entire base of the container to act as a protective safety barrier. You see, all plastic breathes and can allow transfer of odors and contaminates from the ground. Keep all fertilizer, gas, paints, and other chemicals away from your stored water.

WARNING: Water Never to be Used for Emergency Drinking

Never, ever use swimming pool, spa tub, water fountains, water beds, even if you have a water filter. Why? These waters are contaminated with chemicals, acids, algaecides, and other harmful chemicals which can be deadly. These water sources might be able to be used for bathing, hair washing or operating flush toilets in an emergency. In addition, we do not recommend using flood control canal water for emergency drinking water either since these canals are often polluted with sewage and who knows what.

© 2017 Nitro-Pak Preparedness Center Inc. Click Here to see our full list of preparedness articles and blog posts.

Harry R Weyandt is the founder and owner of Nitro-Pak Preparedness Center Inc., one of America’s oldest and most respected preparedness companies. He has been a leading authority in the preparedness industry for over 30 years and has been interviewed by CNN, ABC News, FOX News, The New York Times, USA Today and The Wall Street Journal among others as an expert in his field. He lives in Utah with this wife Vickie along with their children and grandchildren. His hobbies are boating, camping, international travel and anything to do with preparedness.

****5 year preserver link to:


Could you and your family pass this 2 minute preparedness test?

Could You and Your Family Pass This 2 Minute Preparedness Test?

Harry Weyandt

Harry Weyandt

By Harry R Weyandt, Nitro-Pak.Com Preparedness Expert

HEBER, UT-– Assuming you are at home or close by right now, could you and your family be able to quickly put together the below list of items and evacuate your home within the next 15 minutes? Let’s see if you can pass this test:

1) Would you be able to quickly grab your ready-made 72 hour bug-out bag for you and each member of your family (don’t forget Fido’s* kit, too)?

2) Have on hand a solar USB charger for your cell phones and personal electronic devices or emergency battery power supply for recharging?

3) Be able to grab a minimum of 3 gallons of water per person that will cover you and each family member for at least three days (including Fido)?

4) Have on hand a box or bucket of emergency just-add-water meals or military MRE’s to cover you and your family for a minimum of three days? These should that provide at least 1600 to 2500 calories per day per person.

5) Quickly be able to grab in one place all important legal papers like birth certificates, passports, your will, end of life directives, car titles, copy of driver’s license, health insurance cards, marriage license, property deeds, list of important relatives & friends out of the area, their addresses, phone numbers and emails, etc.?Checklist

6) To have immediate available at home or with you $100 to $200 cash in $1, $5 and $10 bills?

7) Be able to quickly grab all important heirloom family photos and genealogy documents to keep from possible destruction.

8) Have on hand a tote containing winter clothing, boots, jackets and gloves? (available year round)

9) Right now, does your car have AT LEAST a half tank of gas in your car ready to roll?

10) Could you immediately be able to grab a sleeping bag for each family member as you flee out of the house?

11) Do you have in one place all your prescription drugs and medications so you could quickly gather these up and leave right now?

12) Do you have an extra set or more of auto and house keys in case they get lost in the evacuation commotion?

If you answered no to any of the above questions or would need more than 15 minutes to get all these things together, you’re not alone. Nearly 99% of us would not be that prepared either. Now imagine you got that call or banging on your door at 2 am and were told, like the folks in the Oroville CA area, that a disaster was imminent or headed your way and everyone had to evacuate and leave NOW. Would you be ready??Hurricane Kit

Here are some suggestions on how to be better prepared for each of the questions asked above:

1) 72 HOUR KIT: Build your own or buy a good quality 72 hour bug-out kit that contains at least the items shown below (like NITRO-PAK’s Executive 72 Hr Survival Kit). For a good emergency radio, we recommend the Kaito KA500 or KA350 solar and dynamo powered am/fm radios. Some more extensive kits may already include these radios.
Your kit should contain at least the following supplies: emergency high energy food bars, hard candy, emergency water, quality first-aid kit, emergency thermal blanket, leather gloves, rain poncho, flashlight with spare batteries, toilet paper and sanitary supplies, waterproof matches, multi-function knife, light-sticks, pepper spray, playing cards, hand warmers, notepad with pencil, large trash bags, hand sanitizer, back-up water carrier, nylon cord, duct tape, N95 dust masks and a battery am/fm radio or solar & dynamo hand-crank radio. Optional: Water filter.


Get solar USB device recharger to repower up your cell phones and personal electronic devices or have a rechargeable back-up emergency power supply (or better yet, both). We suggest a minimum of a 16 watt or higher rated folding USB solar panel portable system. Always have extra batteries around for all battery operated devices like lanterns, flashlights, radios, etc.

3) WATER STORAGE CONTAINERS: One of the easiest and most cost effective ways to fill this requirement is to have on hand a large 24 bottle case of your favorite bottled water stashed at home (be sure to rotate them at least once per year). Figure about a case per person minimum. As an alternative, purchase a five gallon water storage jug for each person, or a Water-Brick® (about 3.5 gallons) or 2 cases of Datrex® Emergency Water Ration Pouches per person (about 4 gallons). The advantage of the foil sealed water pouches is that they have a minimum storage life of 5 years and are convenient for dispensing in an emergency.

4) COMPACT EMERGENCY FOOD SUPPLY: Here are a couple of options for just-add-water emergency foods. Mountain House’s 3-Day Emergency Food Supply box contains all real freeze-dried instant meals that will provide 1650 calories per day and have a 30 year shelf-life. These are the best tasting foods you can buy in our opinion. The WISE Company’s Ultimate 72 Hour Emergency Kit for 2 Persons provides not only 2100 calories per person per day but also includes a water filter bottle and fire starter, too. One other option is Nitro-Pak’s MRE Deluxe Food and Water Supply kit. These will provide two hot meals per day and about 2500 calories. These also includes 24 emergency water pouches. Shelf-life for these is about 5 years.

5) FIRE-PROOF VALUABLE FILE BOX: Purchase a fire-proof and waterproof portable file chest like the FirstAlert® #2037F. These will safely store your valuable records, deeds, passports, birth moneycertificates, social security cards, car titles, photo CD’s and memory sticks, etc. We have used one of these in our home for years. They are ideal for this purpose. These fire chests typically can be purchased for under $75 and weigh about 40 pounds empty. A very worthwhile investment indeed!

6) CASH IN HAND: This might be the easiest step of all that you can get done today. Go to your bank or credit union and get up to $200 in small $1, $5 & $10 bills. Small bills work best in emergencies since cash change may not be available. Remember, in most serious disasters, credit cards will not be useable (no power or phone lines to verify) and ATM’s won’t be working either. Of course, banks will be closed…evacuating their families, too!

7) IMPORTANT FAMILY PHOTOS: We recommend taking time to scan your invaluable photos and documents. Scan them to a CD and/or USB memory stick and then up then put them in your fireproof file box you got under #5 above.

8) WINTER CLOTHING: Keeping a tote in your garage with winter boots, jackets and warm gloves so they can be accessed quickly in the event of a quick evacuation. These can come in handy even in summer depending on your locale when night temperatures dip and no heat is available. Jackets can be used as pillows in a pinch, too.gas

9) GAS IN YOUR CAR: Here’s a no brainer folks. As the normal course of living, preparedness experts have long recommended that anyone owning a car should keep their gas tank at least halffull. Just make it an on-going habit. This is a smart thing for all of us to do.

Mountain-House-3day-kit10) SLEEPING BAGS: If you do not have enough sleeping bags to cover all family members, get what you need now. These will come in very handy should you need to go to an evacuation center. Sleeping bags can also be used at home should you be caught in cold weather and you lose your heat.

11) DRUGS & PRESCRIPTIONS: Try to build up an extra supply of important prescription drugs and medications. You may have to get creative. See if you can get your doctor to give you a 90 day supply for added safety. Keep these in an area where you can quickly access them. Be sure to have photo copies of all drug prescriptions from your doctor. For those that may be on refrigerated medications, always have a portable insulated carrier at home that you can put Keysbags of ice and /or gel ice packs into

12) HOME & CAR KEY SPARES: Always have a spare set of keys or multiple sets of spare car and home keys per-made up. Possible locations would be hidden under your car, in a home lock box or other exterior hidden location (hopefully you will not forget). Things get misplaced or lost quickly when things hit the fan so always have an extra set or more handy for quick access.

*A QUICK NOTES ON PETS: Most evacuation centers do not allow entry of pet into their complexes. You may need to make other arrangements or help should you need to stay at an evacuation center.

© 2017 Nitro-Pak Preparedness Center Inc. Click Here to see our full list of preparedness articles and blog posts.

Harry R Weyandt is the founder and owner of Nitro-Pak Preparedness Center Inc., one of America’s oldest and most respected preparedness companies. He has been a leading authority in the preparedness industry for over 30 years and has been interviewed by CNN, ABC News, FOX News, The New York Times, USA Today and The Wall Street Journal among others as an expert in his field. He lives in Utah with this wife Vickie along with their children and grandchildren. His hobbies are boating, camping, international travel and anything to do with preparedness.

Crappy Tips for Survival Sanitation

Crappy Tips for Survival Sanitation

Crappy Tips for Survival Sanitation

Harry Weyandt

Harry Weyandt

By Harry R Weyandt, Nitro-Pak.Com Preparedness Expert

Here is a crappy subject that most of us avoid thinking about or discussing…emergency sanitation needs when disaster strikes. So let’s get this out-in-the-air so to speak and look at why this subject is so important and simple steps you can take now to be better prepared.

After any major disaster or flooding, sewer systems we take for granted everyday may fail or become inoperable for an extended period of time. Dysentery and disease can quickly occur if sewage and human waste is not properly taken care of.

So what steps can you take now to lessen the impact on you and your family?

There are several low cost solutions you can do right now to be better prepared. If your sewer system at home has failed, you can still use your toilet bowl and seat to take care of business by using a plastic bag liner in it. If there is any excess water is in the toilet, remove it and the tape handle so no new water enters.

One solution I really like is the Reliance® Double Doodie PLUS Waste Bags. These bags are ideal for emergency use for several reasons. First, the PLUS size is oversized and designed to fit into any standard toilet bowl. They are made of heavy-mil plastic bags that are double lined to avoid puncture and breakage after use and removal. They also feature a double zip-lock seal for added safety after use and also have a built-in carrying handle for easy carrying. Each bag contains what I call poo powder or they call Bio-Gel to control toilet waste and odor. Bio-Gel solidifies human waste into a gelatin, masking odors and making it much easier to transport. These bags are a great investment for emergency preparedness and are well worth their weight in gold when you need them!

As a low cost alternative, you can use two (2) standard black plastic trash bags to line your toilet bowl under the seat. Typically the smallest size you can buy is 33 gallons, but you will only be using a small fraction of that capacity. Using two bags together adds additional safety should one bag fail (not a pretty sight if one does). When approximately half full of waste in the toilet (about 1-2 gallons), remove the bags together, tie closed and take it to a trash container outside or other safe place out of the house. If needed, you can dig a deep enough hole deep in your back yard to dispose of them in. Public officials may also have collection areas to take your waste to.

To control smelly odors, we suggest camping toilet powder like Reliance Bio-Blue. Place 1 or 2 packets in the toilet bag liner. Other liquid RV type toilet chemicals can also be used to control odors.

If a home toilet is unavailable, I would recommend a portable all-in-one camping type toilet with cover like the Reliance Hassock Portable Toilet, Tri-To-Go Toilet, Fold-N-Go Toilet or Flush-N-Go Toilet. Each one is sturdy, well made and can be used for both camping and emergency preparedness.

Another thing that should go without mentioning is to have on hand a VERY good supply of toilet paper and hand sanitizer. You don’t want to run out of TP for any reason, so I suggest stocking up and having a 6 month to a year supply on hand. The average person uses 24 rolls of TP per year, so plan accordingly. As far as I am concerned, for me and my family, you just can’t store too much toilet paper.  Enough said!

© 2017 Nitro-Pak Preparedness Center Inc. 


Harry R Weyandt is the founder and owner of Nitro-Pak Preparedness Center Inc., one of America’s oldest and most respected preparedness companies. He has been a leading authority in the preparedness industry for over 30 years and has been interviewed by CNN, ABC News, FOX News, The New York Times, USA Today and The Wall Street Journal among others as an expert in his field. He lives in Utah with this wife Vickie along with their children and grandchildren. His hobbies are boating, camping, international travel and anything to do with preparedness