Make Emergency Preparations or Prepare for Adventure with These Homesteader-Tested Products

These products make the difference in an emergency situation, whether because of a crisis or for adventure outdoors.

Reader Contribution by John Ivanko
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Photo courtesy Think Tank
Think Tank Rotation Pro Camera Backpack.

Like many Mother Earth News readers, we continue to expand our capabilities to adapt and build homestead resiliency and up our emergency preparedness. We’ve doubled our freezer capacity for food storage and have doubled down on our wood supply, just as national natural gas rates seem to be taking off.

Inflation looks to be anything but “transitory” or “temporary,” despite the messaging from the politicians. So, we made an investment in Monroe Money for local future purchases, where we received $20 bonus on every $100 invested; turns out, that’s a 20-percent guaranteed return. We also stocked up on some provisions, like rice and coffee — plus flour for our home-based food product business under our state’s cottage food law.

Again, it’s looking like most of these items will be from 5 to 20 percent more expensive in six months, assuming we can even find them on the shelves. And the next wave of covid-19 currently hitting Europe will likely hit the U.S. this winter, now that our borders are much more open to international travelers.

We’ve also invested in a few more products that may make the difference in an emergency situation, or if we have to go on the road for some reason, whether because of a crisis or for adventure outdoors. After the assault on the nation’s Capital and the big freeze in Texas that exposed electric grid vulnerability, anything seems possible, at least to my wife Lisa Kivirist and I. So, we keep preparing. The following list are a few new items we’ve added to our stash.

Protecting Gear While on the Move with the Think Tank Rotation Pro 50L Camera Backpack

As a photographer, I’ve been on the lookout for a versatile, rugged and innovative backpack for my gear. In fact, I even have written media credentials from Mother Earth News when I opt to get into the field to cover disasters or other calamities. While testing out the Think Tank Camera Backpack with my photo gear, I quickly realized it’s perfectly designed as a survival or “bug out” bag, too, with its water-resistant coated fabrics, abrasion resistant nylon and other features.

Photographer With Vintage Red Tractor

Think Tank Rotation Pro Camera Backpack.

Photo courtesy Think Tank

What makes this well-built and super comfortable backpack unique, however, is its innovative Rotation 180 technology of the backpack allows a spacious storage compartment to be rotated around from the backpack, to access the compartment contents quickly and without removing the backpack. The main central compartment of the backpack offered roomy space for food, clothing, hiking essentials and other gear.

As a bonus to comfort, besides the perforated back panel for airflow and breathability, there’s a 10-point adjustable harness, to customize how I could carry my load. Pockets were mindfully designed to accommodate a water bottle, quick access to a flashlight and daisy chain attachment points where I can attach items, like my solar-charged light. There’s a padded spot to stow up to a 16-inch laptop.

Because I been caught in severe weather more than once, I opted for a rain cover for the backpack. Similar Think Tank bags some in smaller sizes, like their 34L, which is accepted as a carry-on bag by most major airlines.

Small Wallet Shaped Bag

 GoDark Faraday Bag

Photo courtesy Go Dark

Privacy and Security for your Phone with the GoDark Faraday Bag

It’s becoming harder than ever before to protect and maintain your digital security and privacy while on the move in our connected world. For our family’s one cell phone, we’ve reached for a GoDark Faraday Bag for added protection. From potential credit card Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) skimming to ubiquitous location tracking and potential data theft attacks, cybersecurity threats are becoming all too real. A localized digital attack could result from a simple, but nefarious, bump we might experience at a café or outside on the street.

Now we’re covered, as long as our phone is inside the GoDark Faraday Bag. Every day, we discover a new potential issue, like the “airplane mode” for our phone only preventing it from transmitting, not receiving. Plus, our location history is still recorded by our phone even if it’s off, then transmitted later when we reconnect.

When our cell phone is zipped up inside, the GoDark Faraday Bag protects our electronic device from hacking, location tracking and possible damage resulting from external electrical magnetic frequencies, or EMFs. The GoDark Faraday Bag blocks all outgoing and incoming EMF signals between 600 MHz and 6 GHz, including cell phone, wi-fi, Bluetooth and GPS signals. We tested it on our homestead and found it on par with our homemade EMF-box in terms of blocking cellular connections. GoDark has vetted the effectiveness of the bag through third party lab testing.

As long as our cell phone is inside the Faraday Bag, it’s like we turned off the phone and removed the battery. It’s a little surprising to us that so-called “burner phones,” cheap, prepaid and disposable cell phones, are still legal. A Faraday Bag may be the only option when the day arrives that burner phones are nowhere to be found after the government decides to clamp down on this disposable technology, often used by people who do not want to be tracked for whatever reason.

The super-durable outer shell of the GoDark Faraday Bag is both water and puncture-resistant; as a testament to its quality, it has a lifetime warranty. The inner felt liner protected our phone and actually did a better job at preventing accidental screen activation than when I walk around outside with just the phone in my front pocket.

Pen Water Filter Over Stream

Roving Blue O-Pen Water Filter

Photo Courtesy Roving Blue

Purifying Water with the Roving Blue O-Pen Ozone Water Purifier

No matter what the situation, access to safe drinking water is essential for survival. Roving Blue has managed to compress their Ozone technology and process — electrolytic ozone — into a convenient, portable, light and effective Roving Blue O-Pen Filter. It can purify 16-ounces of water in less than a minute.

The O-Pen so small, it fits in a pocket. But don’t let its small size mislead. By infusing water with a cloud of ozone gas, this filter is highly effective against dangerous bacteria, cysts and viruses, including giardia, salmonella and E. coli. Unlike other water purification options and more powerful than chlorine, there is no foul taste, odor or residue after the water has been purified with the Roving Blue O-Pen. When the process is completed, the ozone reverts to oxygen quickly, so there’s no chemical residue. Fully charged, the O-Pen can purify about six gallons of water, after which the unit is recharged with a USB cable.

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TrailHeads Cold Weather Gloves

Photo by John Ivanko

Getting a Better Grip with TrailHeads Cold Weather Running Gloves

I’ve learned the hard way, my snowmobile gloves and other work gloves have limitations when it comes to doing certain tasks in the cold weather months. As a result, I’ve been forced to take them off when I often shouldn’t.

TrailHeads Cold Weather Running Gloves, however, provided the warmth, comfort and waterproof protection I needed while providing the needed finger freedom required to get the job done safely. The gloves are also touch screen compatible, so I can always access a smart phone without removing the gloves. The convertible black gloves allow me additional warmth with the slip-over mitten covering, but retain the finger access when dealing with small projects where more finesse is needed.

They’re now a permanent part of my emergency preparedness kit and bug-out bag. I’ve found they work great, too, when operating my camera and drone in cold weather shooting conditions. Their Hi-Vis slip-over mitten feature could come in handy if I need to remain visible in dark situations.

John D. Ivanko, with his wife Lisa Kivirist, have co-authored Rural Renaissance, Homemade for Sale, the award-winning ECOpreneuring and Farmstead Chef along with operating Inn Serendipity B&B and Farm, completely powered by the sun. Both have been speakers at the Mother Earth News Fairs. As a writer and photographer, Ivanko contributes to Mother Earth News, most recently, Living with Renewable Energy Systems: Wind and Solar and 9 Strategies for Self-Sufficient Living. They live on a farm in southwestern Wisconsin with their son Liam, a 10.8 kW solar power station and millions of ladybugs.

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