All posts by Costa Rica Prepper

Kansas native gone expat, homesteading in Costa Rica. Planning to thrive in both good times and bad, his prepping focus and skill development are in the 7 G's preparedness: God (YHVH), Gold, Guns, Grub, Gear, Ground, and a Group. Costa Rica Prepper is 36 years old, father of 3, and a founding member of MSP.

The 7 G’s of Preparedness

Today, more than ever, humans are more reliant on technology and machines for survival. Because of this, many people would be unprepared for how to proceed if there was a major catastrophe. Preparing for this slim possibility is important, especially if it can be done in a way that helps you and your family thrive now as well as survive later.

7 G’s of Preparedness

While there are many strategies for being prepared; for many people the only way it will work is to keep it simple. Keeping your mind on the 7 G’s of Preparedness is one way to do just that. Whether or not you ever need to rely on these for survival, you will appreciate having these “at the ready” for day to day living as well as your security net.

1) God

Faith is what drives your will to survive and makes life special. Make sure you keep God at the center of your disaster preparedness plan. Pray about your decisions and always find a way to share the word of God with those around you—now and in the future.

2) Gold

If there was a catastrophe or especially a financial crisis, what do you think your 401K will help you with? Diversification is an essential part of any disaster plan and investing in gold is often a good option. Talk with a financial expert and find out the best way you can make gold part of your investment plans. Naturally, silver is also included in this G.

3) Guns

In case of a global crisis, your weapons could be one of your most important assets. If you have an adequate stash of weapons, you’ll be able to hunt, protect your family and possibly barter for other needed items.

4) Grub

While you may grow or hunt your food, it is always good to have some form of preserved food on hand. Canned or otherwise preserved food is vital. Shoot for at least one year of long term food storage for each member of your family. If you can’t do that today, you can start slowly with just $5 a week.

The last last 3 G’s are for members only.

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10 Food Storage Items no Prepper Should be Without

If you’ve begun the journey to become more self-reliant you’re probably stocking your pantry and freezer with food. If you haven’t started storing food, you can begin now with just $5/week. If you already have food storage that’s great! But food is only one part of what should be in your storage pantry. Whether it’s a weekend blackout or a true emergency, here are 10 essential items that will help you stay comfortable and safe until things return to normal.

10 Non-Edible Food Storage Items You Need

1) Aluminum foil:  Aluminum foil is a multi-use tool that every pantry should stock plenty of.While it has dozens of household uses, aluminum foil is especially helpful during a prolonged outdoor or off-grid situation. Shape it into a funnel, a cup or bowl for transferring water, crumple it into a ball for scrubbing pots and pans, cook foods inside a pouch of foil buried under hot coals, create a moisture barrier for outdoor sleeping or use the shiny side for signaling. It’s light and easy to carry, be sure to include a roll in your bug-out bag too.

2) Food-grade Buckets:  Storing bulk food is pointless if you don’t put it in a moisture- and pest-free container. The American Preppers Network suggests collecting free frosting containers from the bakery at your local grocery store instead of paying for new food-grade containers. Simply ask at the bakery if they have any empty frosting buckets—the store doesn’t keep or reuse them—and you’ll amass a great collection of storage containers without spending a dime. Just don’t forget the lids.

3) Duct Tape:  You know it has a million uses, don’t forget to stock it. Use duct tape to make rope, repair tears, build a shelter, set a snare or weave a fishing net – just to name a few ideas.

4) Garbage Bags:  Plastic garbage bags are another multi-use tool no well-prepped pantry should be without. In addition to hauling food and water, garbage bags can be worn as rain protection, used to build a rudimentary tent or a sleeping bag.

5) OTC Medications:  It’s just smart to stock up on medications you use all the time. Take advantage of coupons and sales to fill a shelf in your pantry with everyday items like diarrhea medication, pain relievers, bandages and antiseptic cream.

6) Water Purifiers:  We don’t think much about water until it’s not available. If a power outage or natural disaster left you without potable water for more than a day or two, what would you do? Stockpiling bottled water is impractical for most people, but there are smart alternatives.

Keep water purification products on hand. Items such as purification tablets or the Lifestraw personal water filter are needed if water sources may be contaminated. If the water from your tap is safe, use a bladder like the WaterBOB to save fresh water in the bathtub when you’re bugging in

HOPE FOR THE BEST, PREPARE FOR THE WORST

Build an Affordable Long Term Food Storage Solution On Just $5 a Week

If you think you can’t afford to build an affordable long term food storage solution for yourself and your family, think again. Whether you’re on a fixed income, on assistance or are just getting by, it’s still possible for you to build up long-term food storage gradually, and you can start with just $5 a week. Yes, that’s right — $5 per person per week can get you a week’s worth of healthy, energizing food that will keep each person in your family going should a crisis situation arise.

How is this possible? Believe it or not, the key to keeping your food purchasing costs low can be as close as your local Dollar Store. This video explains how anyone can use the Dollar Store as a resource for stretching food purchasing power to the max:


Believe it or not, most Dollar Stores have plenty of the things preppers need to build up a viable long-term food supply. Some of the best items you can pick up for efficient storage and nutrition include:

• rice
• beans
• oats
• pasta

The video above illustrates a Dollar Store purchase of two bags of rice, one bag of dry beans, a bag of uncooked pasta and a container of oatmeal, all for that awesome Dollar Store pricing of $1 per item. These items combined are enough basic food to last one person for a week, and the total cost of the purchase is only $5.

An Impressive Start for Less Than $75

With this system, you’ll be able to build and store an initial three-month’s food supply for under $75 – less than a dollar a day. If you discipline yourself to make a similar $5 purchase once per week, in three month’s time, you’ll have an excellent start on your food supply.

This Dollar Store scenario shows that just about anyone on any budget can start prepping. It’s a pretty empowering idea, although not the best approach for longer-term amounts of food beyond three months. When your budget allows, other effective long-term food storage steps include:

Bulk Buying

Bulk buying can help you save a tremendous amount of money. That cheap 50 pound bag of rice at a local ethnic supermarket or warehouse store can be broken into smaller portions and secured in airtight, insect-proof containers for a longer protected shelf life. You can also buy large #10 cans of foods which can then be canned into more manageable sizes. Consider negotiating your bulk purchases at the store; talk with the management and see if they’ll give you an ever deeper discount on a large-scale purchase. Your bulk buys should be stored in 5 gallon buckets or Mylar bags with the oxygen removed in order to have an extended shelf life.

Mormon Canneries

If you’re into canning your own food, the Mormon Church has an excellent network of canneries for use all around the country. While some of the locations have become more like “canning museums” where you can see old-style canning equipment, others are fully-functional and will allow you to come in and use the facilities. Mormon canneries offer food staples at extremely reasonable prices. When you leave the cannery, your food is ready for long term storage — plus you get to learn how to can like a pro in the process. Note: Consider donating a few hours of your time as a trade for the use of the facility. (If you’re going to can more than just a few #10 cans, let them know.)

Dehydrating

Dehydrating food is another great way to extend your dollar and save storage space. Dehydrating can extend the shelf-life of food from days to years. Dehydrated food also compacts down considerably for efficient storage. Start with small batches and use vacuum bags for storage; work up to using Mylar bags, oxygen absorbers and 5 gallon buckets with gamma seal lids. There’s almost no limit to what can be dehydrated — fruits, meats, veggies, seafood and even your leftovers from dinner. Just make sure your long-term storage foods are dehydrated until they are crisp — no moisture.

You could also consider making a double-portion of dinner a couple of times a week, dehydrate the excess and store it in Mylar bags. By doing so, you can literally put away two extra meals per week for just a few dollars and minimal effort. Doing so consistently (50 weeks a year) will add a full three months worth of delicious food to your pantry. Dehydrated meals also make it very easy to provide dinner for the family when you don’t feel like cooking — just re-hydrate one of your favorites.

No Excuse

Now that you know you can build long term food storage for just $5 a week you have no excuses. Get out there and start stocking your food storage!

Do you have any money saving tips for building long term food storage? Share them in the comments below.

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Best Guns for Home Defense

There’s a raging debate going on in America over firearms. The lines are clearly drawn and neither side is prepared to offerquarter or take prisoners. It’s an issue that’s come between family, friends and neighbors, turned father against son, brother against brother.

Am I talking about the debate over the meaning of the 2nd Amendment, the freedom to bear arms and the God-given right to self-defense? No, I’m talking about an even more heated and divisive argument, the one about the best guns for home defense.

I’ve seen many a flame war in forums over this issue and I’ve no doubt that in some cases had the opponents been face-to-face they would have come to blows. It seems to be a very personal and subjective decision for a lot of people. But really there’s nothing very complicated about it, it comes down to a rational and logical assessment of your personal situation and which type of gun best meets your needs. Let’s take a look at the options.

Shotguns

There are many who will say that the shotgun is the best choice for home defense and there’s no doubt that in the world of short-range small arms it reigns supreme, and causes much less property damage than a grenade or a LAWS rocket. Although a cursory search turns up no readily available statistics and I don’t want to wade through the propaganda it’s probably the most popular home defense weapon too. You have your choice of pump-action, semi-auto, double barrel and single shot. Here are a few off-the-top-of-my-head suggestions:

Pump

The Remington 870 and the Mossberg 500 are long time favorites for their time-tested quality and reliability and the fact that both can be purchased new for less than $400 and used for as little as $150. Both have a wide variety of aftermarket accessories available such as pistol grips, folding stock, extended magazines and barrels. One note about the Mossberg though, it’s safety is located on the back of the receiver instead on near the trigger and this can take a little getting used to. Practice will take care of that.

Auto

I’ve been hearing good things about the Linberta G2 Tactical Semi-Auto. Available in 12 and 20 gauge, they’ve been made in Turkey for over 20 years but have just recently begun showing up over here. New about $400 and comes with a free 25 shell bandolier!

Double & Single Shot

Honestly, not what I would recommend but they’ll certainly get the job done and they have simplicity of use on their side. No U.S. manufacturers are currently offering a double so you could buy an older one or check out the Stoeger Double Defense Shotgun, set up for tactical use with picatinny rails and high-visibility sights, new $350-$400. The New England Arms Pardner has been around a long time and is a fine choice for a single, short and easy to handle, great for smaller people and kids. And only $99.

For home defense a shorter barrel is best for use in hallways and other confined areas, 18” is the legal limit.

Recoil is one of the disadvantages of a shotgun so if this is a factor consider going with a 16 or 20 gauge instead of a 12, there’s really not much difference at short ranges. And it’s not necessary to use 00 buckshot either, it’s very effective but will also travel through drywall into the next room or apartment. #3 or #4 shot is often preferable.

Handguns

Since we’re talking about guns for home defense concealability isn’t really an issue. One of the advantages of handguns is the ability to store them in small, easily accessed spots around the house, I’m a big believer in having one in the bedroom, near the front and back doors, and in the office.

Obviously if you have small children in the home this might not be an option. But their small size makes them perfect for the confinement of the home, they can be used with either hand if necessary, and they’re hard for a bad guy to take away from you.

Semi-auto or revolver is a matter of personal preference, both are effective and have their pros and cons. But if you’re going to use a handgun for home defense, you’ll need to practice a lot, and it’s a grand idea to get some instruction. Choose one with a 5 or 6 inch barrel for a longer sight radius and the most velocity from your loads. You’ll want at least a .380, .38 or 9mm though larger calibers are fine too. Some recommendations:

Glock

This gun emerged from the search by the Austrian Armed Forces for a new service arm and was first introduced in 1982. Since then it has been adopted by innumerable police and military forces around the world. It has earned a reputation for flawless reliability and function and is available in a variety of calibers. $500-$600 new.

Smith & Wesson Model 10 .38 Special

Born in 1899 and battle tested in every war since, the Military and Police model is no longer in production but can easily be found used in good condition. Called the Victory Model in WWII, over 500,000 were produced for the U.S. military and our allies and these can be found dirt cheap. Nothing fancy, just a reliable and effective weapon. My wife loves hers.

Rifles

Every home should have at least one rifle in a readily available caliber. For home defense a .223 or a .30 caliber rifle is a good choice, we’re not talking long range sniping here. A shorter, carbine type rifle is ideal. As usual, regular practice is an absolute necessity and with the higher velocities and longer ranges extra attention to surroundings is a must.

AK and SKS

The most recognizable arms in the world, legendary for reliability and effectiveness. Easy to find and still reasonably priced, though prices have risen in recent years. The 7.62X39 or .30 caliber round is acceptably accurate out to medium ranges, with the SKS having a slight edge over the AK in accuracy because of it’s longer barrel.However the SKS must be loaded with a stripper clip while the AK uses a detachable magazine and can be loaded much faster.

The More the Merrier

All of these types of firearms are appropriate for home defense, and you should have all of them handy to be prepared for different situations. It’s really hard to have too many guns.

Mainstream Preppers is extremely interested in hearing what you have to say about the best guns for home defense. Weigh in below with your personal recommendations, observations and experiences. Share your expertise. We want to hear from you!

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PACE Plan Basics – How to Prepare Using PACE

Preppers are adept at planning, but do you know what a PACE Plan is? If not, you should. Being flexible is important, but for you and your family to have the best chances of survival, careful planning is key.

If you’ve ever seen an Army field manual, you know how thoroughly the military plans. The reason the Special Forces are so successful is because they plan, plan, drill, and then plan some more. They practice so many times that they can execute automatically, almost at will. If things go wrong, they have a fall-back/backup plan that kicks in without the need to communicate it. Survival success is all about planning, practicing, and more planning.

A PACE Plan is an excellent all-purpose solution to being fully prepared in an organized but flexible way.

A viable, well-practiced plan can assist in security, communications, when SHTF or for general operations, but you also need to have backup plans in case things go wrong. Realities often change when you actually hit the ground running; a PACE Plan is an excellent all-purpose solution to being fully prepared in an organized but flexible way.

What is a PACE Plan?

PACE is an acronym that refers to a hierarchy of sub-plans. The letters in PACE stand for:

• Primary
• Alternate
• Contingency
• Emergency

We’ll take a look at each of these components individually:

Primary

“Primary” refers to the best overall plan of action you and your loved ones can take, the system to use based upon the most likely damaging scenario you stand to deal with. It’s your “Plan A,” and it’s valuable — but sadly, in terms of planning, this is where most people tend to stop. Your Primary plan may be a solid plan, but unless it considers different disaster scenarios and the things that could go wrong, how good can it really be?

An example Primary plan would be that in the event of a disaster scenario, your family members would contact each other via cell phone. However, flexibility is needed, and backups are invaluable. Primary plans should be specific, but withflexibility built in. In this example, any party could initiate a call and each party should have at least two ways to access all phone numbers. However, this plan is not fool-proof; what if some parties lose their cell phone service or their cell phones?

Alternate

In theory, your “Plan B” (Alternate) plan will be as viable (or nearly as viable) as your “Plan A,” or Primary plan. Why have an Alternate plan? Because “things” happen, especially in a crisis situation. Your exact alternate plan will be is situation-dependent, but in general:

Avoid creating what amounts to a secondary version of Plan A. Determine the most likely problems of your Primary plan and create a plan that won’t be affected by those issues. Look for any holes in your Primary plan and find an alternate that covers those potential pitfalls.

Continuing with the example, if a family member is without a cell phone, the alternate plan shouldn’t require one. Gmail’s instant message, Facebook chat and Skype could be viable communication alternatives. However, you shouldn’t stop there, as Internet connection can be spotty; remember to always remain as flexible as possible.

Contingency

A Contingency plan refers to what you’ll do if Plan A and Plan B do not work, for any reason. The Contingency plan usually isn’t as good as A and B, but backups to your backups are crucial. Your Contingency plan should be something that doesn’t rely on what the Primary and Alternate plans require. For example, if cell phones and internet are no longer viable, driving to one anothers‘ primary locations could be the next step. If no one is there, leave a note and head to the next person’s residence or workplace. Presumably, the others in your group would be doing the same.

Emergency

The Emergency plan is the one you initiate if all else fails. The Emergency plan may be very good, but the main key is that it be highly flexible and have the highest chance of succeeding, regardless of circumstances. It may not be the most convenient plan, but it should be as “fool-proof” as possible. Perhaps your Emergency plan would involve using a ham radio, assuming all parties have one? (Be sure everyone has gotten their ham radio licenses; arrange regular checks with all parties.)

Now you know the basics of a PACE Plan. With just four steps involved, every prepper can take the time to create a comprehensive PACE Plan.

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Concealed Carry Is Great But: Should I Carry Chambered?

You can survive 3 weeks without food. You can survive 3 days without water. You can even survive for 3 minutes without air. But if you’re about to be attacked with a lethal weapon, you may not even have 3 seconds to survive. Milliseconds can count when you need to draw your concealed firearm and protect the life of yourself or another. This is not the time to ask yourself, “Should I carry chambered?”

This always brings up the debate of whether carrying a gun with a round chambered is safe or sensible. Granted, there is no doubt that a firearm is “safer” when a round isn’t in the chamber, but if you aren’t able to use it when you need it, you may not get the chance when it matters most. Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of carrying chambered:

Pros – Immediate Access

Having a round chambered means if you carry an automatic, all you have to do is flick off the safety and you’re ready to go. Most revolvers have no safety, owing to the need to either cock the hammer or for the user to cope with a “double throw” trigger system which means when you pull through the trigger mechanism, it will cock and release the hammer for you.

Cons – Accidental Discharge

Chambered rounds can accidentally discharge due to unforeseen impacts. This can result from a drop, the gun being knocked out of your hand or from improper handling due to panic or physical altercations. When a gun fires, the hammer pin strikes through a faceplate, striking somewhere on the bullet shell, forcing the primer to ignite the gunpowder in the shell. This could be a “center fire” primer or one where the hammer “pinches” the rim of the shell to create an ignition point with the primer in the shell. For revolvers, the hammer rests on these points as a matter of course unless the hammer is cocked. This means a drop could easily discharge the gun, resulting in random and horrific results.

With that said, the safety in an automatic stops the trigger mechanism from responding to a pull. Many automatics even have the firing pin “loose” instead of resting against the shell as they are in many revolvers. This means you have two layers of “protection” against an accidental discharge due to a drop. Also, the need to either cock the hammer or to deal with a heavy “double throw” pull is often more than enough to prevent an accidental pull for a revolver.

Don’t toss a gun in your glove box or under your seat and expect it to be effective. If you’re going to carry, chambered or not, keep it on you.

This is especially true if there are children around. If you conceal/carry, keep it close. Don’t toss a gun in your glove box or under your seat and expect it to be effective. Too many seconds will elapse before you can get to it and too many people have the ability to get to those areas without permission. If you’re going to carry, chambered or not, keep it on you. Belt clip, ankle holster, shoulder rig or even in a pocket, if your gun is on you, not only do you have primary control of it but keeping it out of the control of others is a lot easier.

Carrying concealed can be a liability if your attacker disables you or searches you before you have an opportunity to access your weapon. If that occurs, it won’t matter if you carry chambered or not. This means you have to take advantage of those milliseconds, whether you block your attacker with one hand while you draw and fire with the other, or back away to give yourself time to prevent a physical confrontation.

Police and military personnel are trained to use firearms as a part of their jobs and wouldn’t dream of carrying without a round chambered and if you carry concealed, you should have training as well. However, you have to balance your life and carrying concealed with a round chambered is a choice you have to make. There are hazards to keeping a round ready under the hammer, especially if children are around. However, there are hazards to consider if you don’t. If you’ve made the choice to carry concealed, you have to make the choice of what you carry and whether it has a round ready when you pull it out or not. Choose wisely. That choice can make a difference and second chances rarely happen.

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