The Ultimate Prepper Gift Guide

prepper gift guide

It’s hard to believe, but 2015 is almost over. Along with the end of another year comes the holiday season – a beautiful time of year where love and togetherness are celebrated, pretty lights cover the streets, and families get together for long overdue reunions.

However, the holidays can also be stressful, especially when trying to find the perfect gift for that picky prepper on your list.

Not to worry, The Bug Out Bag Guide has you covered! We’ve compiled our annual list of the top survival gear any prepper would be thrilled to receive. We’ve spent the year reviewing all things survival and have evaluated each item to narrow down our list to the top gifts that are perfect for any prepper on your list.

If you happen to be the picky prepper, consider sending this link out to friends and family as a helpful hint!

prepper gift guide

Leatherman Skeletool

Ultimate Prepper Gift Guide

prepper gift guide

The answer to the question, “What does the prepper in my life need?” really depends on the answer to the question, “What problem is he/she trying to solve?” When it comes to survival, there are a multitude of scenarios and tasks to consider, and having the right tool for each specific task is crucial.

In our Ultimate Prepper Gift Guide, we’ve evaluated all the essential prepper tools and determined which ones best fit the needs of preppers while minimizing weight and size, and maximizing functionality.

Always remember, when shopping for prepping gear, it is not always the most expensive item that will best suit your purposes, but there is no substitute for quality. Ensure you invest in high quality gear that is built to last – you’re investing in more than items, you’re investing in your ability to survive.

Gift IdeaGreat ForWhy It's GreatLearn More
Eagles Nest Outfitters JungleNest Sleep System
Bug out bag
Get home bag
This hammock set includes everything you need to sleep comfortably anywhere! DoubleNest Hammock, Guardian Bug Shield, Rain Tarp, Atlas Suspension Straps, Steel Carabiners, Aluminum Stakes, all tucked in a stuff sack for easy transport.Bug-Out Hammock:An Essential Addition To Any BOB
Mountainsmith Morrison 2 Person 3 Season Tent
Bug out bag
Get home bag
Weighing just 5 lbs, this 2 person tent is perfect for outdoor life. Bathtub floor and taped seams keep the rain out, while mesh panels allow for ventilation. The dual doors make it easy to get in or out without disturbing each other.How To Choose The Best Lightweight Tent For Camping, Recreation, and Bugging Out
Ambient Weather WR-111B Radio
Bugging in
Bug out bag
Get home bag
Multiple power options make this emergency radio great for home or travel. It comes with mini, micro, and USB adaptors for charging cell phones and other devices. The LED flashlight provides an emergency light source, as well.Stay Connected: How To Choose An Emergency Weather Radio
Leatherman Skeletool CX
Every day carry
Bug out bag
Get home bag
A well-designed multitool strong enough for any job yet light enough for EDC. The blade is located on the outside for quick, one-handed access. Inculdes 4 universal driver bits, pliers, wire-cutter, and intergrated carabiner to clip to a belt loop or strap.Best Multitool For Backpacking & Survival
Wartech 8" Assisted Open Folding Tactical Survival Pocket Knife
Every day carry
Bug out bag
Get home bag
This survival knife is loaded with extra features, such as a glass breaker, seat belt cutter, and LED light. The blade opens with the touch of a lever and stays locked when in use. It is a sturdy pocket knife with many survival applications, making it a great tool for experienced and novice preppers.Survival Pocket Knives – Our Top 10
Gerber Impromptu Tactical Pen
Every day carry
Bug out bag
Get home bag
I get a lot of compliments on this pen. Its rugged yet inconspicuous design and Rite In The Rain cartridge lend well to daily use. Click operation means no cap to drop or lose. I have used the glass breaker tip on 1/2 in thick window glazing with no trouble.Finding The Best Tactical Pen For Your Kit
Salomon Men's Quest 4D GTX Backpacking Boot
Bugging out
These boots provide ultimate support and protection. Lined with waterproof Gore-Tex, with a gusseted tongue for sealing out water and debris. Control flex design provides ankle support and relieves muscle strain, which is essential for long hikes.Gear Up: Top Rated Survival Boots For Men And Women
Salomon Women's Quest 4D GTX Hiking Boot
Bugging out
Lightweight and flexible enough for trail running, with a cushioned gusseted tongue to alleviate lace pressure. The braking pattern on the outsole provides extraction traction when descending steep terrain.Gear Up: Top Rated Survival Boots For Men And Women
5.11 Tactical Women's TacLite Pro Pant
Bugging out
When you're on the move, you need clothing that moves with you. These tactical pants fit the bill, with breathable ripstop fabric, action wasteband, and reinforced seams. Hip mounted D-ring provides quick access to keys or tools.Gear Up: How To Choose the Best Tactical Pants
5.11 Tactical #74273 Men's TacLite Pro Pant
Bugging out
These pants are designed for comfort and performance. High stress areas feature extra layering and triple stitching for durability. Seven pocket configuration holds all your gear close at hand. Fabric is teflon treated to repel stains and spills.Gear Up: How To Choose the Best Tactical Pants
Military Issue Tri-Fold Shovel
Bug out bag
Bugging in
Use it around the campsite for burying waste, building shelter, and clearing the firepit. A shovel can also serve as a back-up self-defense weapon. Folds to fit into a slim carry case, with a total weight less than 3 lbs.How to Customize your Bug Out Bag Contents for a Wilderness Survival Kit
CRKT Kangee Tomahawk
Bug out bag
Bugging in
Our top pick for a survival tomahawk! Forward weighting adds force to each swing while its light weight makes it easy to carry. Highly durable and versatile as a tool or self-defense weapon. How To Choose The Best Survival Tomahawk For Your Bug Out Bag
Flint & Steel Striker Set #7
Bug out bag
Get home bag
A handmade fire making kit that includes a handforged striker, tinder box, piece of flint, jute twine, and a manual with step by step instructions for striking a fire.PrimitiveFireMaking Store
Catatonk Atlatl
Bug out bag
A unique gift for sharpshooters! Engineered specifically for hunting, the hammer grip tranfers more power to the arrow while the moderate shaft flex improves control.Comparison of Ranged Survival Weapons
Click the images to view current price on Amazon.
prepper gift guide

Takes a licking and keeps on clicking… Gerber Impromptu Tactical Pen.

Fully Equipped Kits

Have a prepper to shop for but don’t know the first thing about prepping? Consider buying a fully-equipped kit. Your prepper will love it and you can rest assured that your gift has just the items he/she is looking for. Alternatively, if you’ve already embraced the benefits of prepping but have someone in your family who needs a little encouragement, start off their prepping journey with one of these fully-equipped kits. When it comes to gifts, it’s the thought that counts, and what could be more thoughtful than arming your loved ones for survival?

The Ultimate Urban Survival Kit

The Ultimate Urban Survival Kit TUUSK

Click to view TUUSK in our store.

TUUSK (The Ultimate Urban Survival Kit)  was custom designed in collaboration with Ready To Go Survival. Weighing only 16 pounds, it is packed with carefully selected, high quality gear to enable you to survive an urban disaster. Included in the kit are means of protection, self-defense, communication, first aid, fire starting, shelter, water purification, and more.

Wise Company Deluxe Survival Kit

This kit has many of the features of a basic kit, such as a first aid kit, hand powered flashlight, and an emergency shelter as well as some of the more advanced, “kitchen sink” options such as a multitool, water filtration bottle, and a stove and fuel. It also has 44 portions of food which will keep a survival party going for a long time. Click the image to view on Amazon.

Stocking Stuffers

prepper gift guide

What, you don’t hang your bug-out bags on the mantle?!

You’re never too old to hang a stocking for Santa! We’ve got a ton of great stocking stuffer ideas including some that are completely FREE (simply pay shipping)! For all those little gifts that will surprise and delight the prepper in your life, or to share the joy of prepping with those you love, stock up on our top stocking stuffers!

Gift IdeaWhy It's Great
LifeStraw Personal Water Filter
Never be without clean drinking water! Removes over 99.9% of bacteria and parasites without the use of harmful chemicals. Filters up to 1000 liters.
Black Diamond Positron Screwgate Carabiner
Carabiners have endless survival applications. They are great for clipping gear to a belt or pack for easy access, hanging a hammock, securing food out of reach of wildlife, as well as climbing and rappelling.
Nitecore EC11 LED Flashlight
Every prepper needs a dependable flashlight for their EDC and BOB. This one is waterproof IPx-8, with multiple beam size and intensity settings. Charger, case, clip, and bonus LightJunction keychain included.
Klean Kanteen Stainless Steel Bottle
Aside from the obvious benefit of a BPA-free way to transport water, single-walled stainless steel bottles can also be used to boil water or heat food in a survival situation.
Swiss Army Tinker Knife and Sharpener Set
A classic survival tool, featuring two blade sizes for handling a variety of tasks. Screwdrivers, bottle opener, tweezers, and more. Includes a keychain sharpener to keep the blades in top condition.
Click the image to view on Amazon.
prepper gift guide

The Everstryke Pro Waterproof Lighter from SurvivalLife is available FREE by clicking HERE.

prepper gift guide

Survival Life FireKable Paracord Bracelet is available FREE by clicking HERE.

Books and Media

Books and media make the perfect gift for both experienced preppers and those just starting out. Check out our list of the top prepping resources including our own Ultimate EDC Kit ebook, Run Prepper Run, and Aquaponics. Each of these fantastic resources provides a unique set of prepping knowledge to help readers prepare for survival as well as an entertaining read.

  • The Every Day Carry Guide ebook makes a great gift for preppers who want to build or enhance their EDC kit. It is packed with information on daily preparedness, assessing threats, and choosing the right gear for their needs.
  • Start off the new year with a prepper workout! Run, Prepper, Run! is a gradual fitness program specially designed to build strength and endurance for survival.
  • Learn how to grow your own endless food supply! Easy DIY Aquaponics will teach you how to get started with aquaponics, how to maintain your system, and how to make crucial improvements and adjustments to accommodate your family’s changing needs.

prepper gift guide


Here at The Bug Out Bag Guide, we wish you and your family a very happy holiday season and hope that you stay warm, safe, and most importantly, prepared!

Your Thoughts

Do you have a perfect holiday prepper gift you didn’t see on our list? Tell us about it in the Comments section and we’ll be sure to check it out for our 2016 list!

everstryke pro review

Everstryke Pro Review: A Compact Waterproof Survival Lighter

everstryke pro review

When I was growing up, my parents taught me that the three basic things I would need to live are food, clothing, and shelter. As I grew older and began to learn more and more about outdoor survival preparedness, I revised that list to include the three absolute necessities for outdoor survival: Shelter, water, and heat.

I’m going to leave solutions for shelter and water for another time and focus this review on how to establish a heat source with one product in particular: The Everstryke Pro fire starting kit (Click HERE now to see how to get a FREE Everstryke).

everstryke pro review

Click on the image to see how to get your FREE Everstryke

Everstryke Pro Review

At its essence, the survival life Everstryke lighter is a capsule lighter, which is basically a miniaturized kerosene candle with its own starting mechanism. In order for the Everstryke Pro to be effective, a source of fuel must be supplied, but I’ll elaborate more on that in a second.

everstryke pro review

I’ll begin my Everstryke Pro review with a general description of the product. Closed up, it’s slightly larger than a .44 magnum cartridge and includes a clip for attaching to your gear (such as the zippers and clips featured on the Advanced Tactical Hip Bag). In total, it weighs about as much as the aforementioned round of ammunition.

everstryke pro review

Shown next to a .22 LR, you can see how compact the Survival Life Everstryke is.

everstryke pro review

The capsule length is about 2 inches, including the housing for the clip.

The top of this survival life firestarter screws off, revealing the wick and striker wheel, which throws sparks quite profusely and makes this a great tool for igniting tinder, even in a long-term survival scenario with no fuel.

everstryke pro review

Unscrew the cap of the Everstryke Pro lighter to access the striker wheel and wick.

The main lighter housing features an O-ring at the base of the point where the cap screws down, keeping the wick from getting waterlogged if it happens to be immersed in water, making this lighter waterproof. In fact, you can CLICK HERE to see a video of the Everstryke Pro being submerged into a FISHBOWL for an hour and then being taken out and lit with no problem at all. The nice, quality case and O-ring also help keep fuel from evaporating.

everstryke pro review

The black O-ring seals out water and prevents fuel from evaporating.

How To Fill A Capsule Lighter

The striker and wick are mounted on a hollow cylinder that fits inside the lighter housing, which, when you remove it and flip it upside down, reveals foam that you saturate with fuel to feed the wick, as well as a screwdriver-adjustable flint.

everstryke pro review

The hollow cylinder slides out for refilling with fuel and adjusting the flint.

everstryke pro review

The foam is shaped to seat around the flint, which can be adjusted using a flathead screwdriver.

everstryke pro review

The foam (on right) pops out, revealing the wick.

To fill the lighter, remove the internal cylinder, take lighter fluid (the sort you use for charcoal barbeques) and carefully fill the housing halfway – it doesn’t take much. Then, slowly re-insert the internal cylinder. The foam should sop up the fuel, and in short order, the wick should get wet with fuel; the lighter is now ready to use. However, as with any reliable lighter, use caution when filing it.

everstryke pro review

Adding fuel to the housing.

To avoid getting lighter fluid all over the place in the event of an overflow, fill your Everstryke Pro lighter over a sink or outdoors. Always ensure you wash your hands and give the lighter a wipe-down before attempting to light it.

Field Testing The Everstryke Pro Lighter

I tested out this product under two real-life conditions: The first, lighting a wood stove at a shop I’m painting; and the second, burning trash in an incinerator. After testing it out for a few weeks, I found it to be a fairly capable fire starter with one clear advantage over matches in that the wick creates a flame that is wider than your typical match, giving you a better chance of igniting tinder or kindling.

everstryke pro review

Provides a wider, steadier flame than a match and won’t burn down to your fingers.

For those accustomed to butane lighters, this unit can seem reticent to light, at most taking up to about a dozen strikes to light the wick. However, this is about on-par with flint and steel fire starting kits, and doesn’t include the hassle of collecting fine tinder to light it.

One potential disadvantage, especially for those who live as far north as I do, is the potential for fuel to evaporate at colder temperatures. The butane found in disposable cigarette lighters has a temperature limit of around -0.5℃. This may be problematic for the heavier fuel used in the Everstryke Pro, although this would affect any lighter of this type, including a Zippo.

everstryke pro review

The Survival Life Everstryke fits easily on a keyring and unclips for quick access when needed.

It yields a sizable flame, about two to three times that of a match, and, of course, burns longer. It’s modestly weatherproof, maintaining a hot flame in light snow and a moderate breeze. Of important note is that, much like a Zippo, the Everstryke Pro lighter may not light the very first time you strike it. This is a function of a reliable lighter that uses lighter fluid instead of a butane-based, BIC-type lighter. Slower ignition time is just one of the trade-offs made when choosing a refillable lighter over a disposable one.

everstryke pro review

Had to give it dunk to see for myself.

everstryke pro review

After being submerged for 10 minutes, no water had leaked into the cap and it was ready to light.

Summing It Up

As a concluding point for my Everstryke Pro review, its compact size, simple design, and affordability make it a useful addition to any EDC, camping, or survival kit.

Click Here To Get Your Everstyke Pro Lighter Today!

Your Thoughts

How many sources of fire do you currently have in your bug-out bag? Are you interested in seeing more reviews like this? Tell us in the Comments section below, thanks!

diseases after shtf

Dealing With Diseases After SHTF

diseases after SHTF

Note: This article was contributed by James Smith. Read more in the About The Author section below.

Apart from preparing, planning and thinking for an SHTF situation, have you ever wondered what the most likely threat is for people? As common sense suggests, when people know a SHTF situation is eminent today or sometime soon, they will go mad stocking food and water and prepare survival tools and kits. But there is something more than this – diseases after SHTF. Even the most prepared survivalists can be faced with illness in the aftermath of disaster.

Doctors are the people who first come into our minds when it comes to any condition like this, but in a disaster situation, the doctors would be facing the same survival challenges and after all they won’t be leaving their families.

In the aftermath of disaster, people might fear for starvation the most, which can lead to death, but in actuality the real reason that increases the probability of mass deaths is even worse. Can you imagine a situation where you have prepared enough for your survival and have a very-well planned strategy for defense too? The tools, the stocked food and water, everything is enough to keep you alive – starvation does not seem crucial here. If you have thought over it, the bigger threat is of contracting diseases after SHTF!

It is likely that people might not put much thought into it so here are the details that will help you keep aware of and prepare for disease after SHTF.

Common Sources Of Diseases After SHTF

diseases after SHTF

You made it this far- now learn how to protect your loved ones from diseases after SHTF. Image via Mitch Barrie on flickr.

Water Sanitation And Poor Hygiene

The clean drinking and tap water that we use in our daily lives to fulfill human requirements is taken for granted by everyone. Imagine a situation where public water supplies cease to function – inevitably, there will be a rise in deadly disease then.

diseases after SHTF

Without purification methods, improvised water supplies can easily become contaminated. Image via SuSanA Secretariat on flickr.

When proper sanction becomes no longer a simple thing, here is when you should fear for lives. Water supplies will be contaminated in a SHTF situation causing an outbreak of typhoid, diarrhea, cholera, hepatitis A, gastroenteritis and diphtheria. People might not know what to do then and this is one of the reasons why you are advised to keep a water purifier kit.

diseases after SHTF

Flooding poses an even greater risk to sanitation.

Diseases Caused By Insects

The best place to breed for insects is dirty and contaminated water and what can be better for them when you are facing SHTF disasters. I guess they would be the least bothered creatures on Earth then. Sounds funny, but is as dangerous as threatening the people’s lives.

diseases after SHTF

Small but deadly! Mosquitos are responsible for spreading severe diseases, such as Malaria and West Nile Virus.

Mosquitos, bugs, fleas, ticks, midges, rats and flies – almost like non-existent creatures could play the role of being the biggest creatures in a SHTF disaster by making you sick and that too, to such a severe extent that if not treated properly, people may die! Malaria, Lyme’s disease, Murine typhus, West Nile Virus and other contagious and life-threatening diseases spread like fire in the woods.

diseases after SHTF

Avoid camping near swamps and marshes, if possible. These areas attract insects.

It is important to have the knowledge beforehand and learn to keep clean drinking water and food. An insect repellant, non-prescribed anti-biotic medicines and hygiene accessories are therefore recommended to keep in a kit of emergency survival supplies. In areas of high risk for insect-borne diseases, be sure to include a mosquito net in your bug-out bag.

diseases after SHTF

Sleeping under the protection of a mosquito net is an effective way to prevent contracting insect-borne diseases. Image via Christian Haugen on flickr.

Respiratory Diseases And Infections

Respiratory infections and diseases are a major concern as they spread really quickly in disastrous situations. Cold, cough, flu and sore throat can still be treated through non-prescribed medicines (recommended to keep in a first-aid kit) however it becomes more threatening as there are certain bacteria and viruses that are drug-resistant. In a situation where all you can do is carry your own self safely; non-prescribed medicines will be of no use and won’t cure them.

diseases after SHTF

The flu virus is highly contagious and difficult to contain when living in close quarters.

These bacteria and viruses cause upper respiratory tract diseases such as bacterial pneumonia. It could be a major reason for massive death –imagine the unlimited food and water you’ve stocked, would it be of any help? Of course not, so is the reason why diseases are a bigger concern in the aftermath of SHTF.

diseases after SHTF

Dealing with diseases after SHTF will be challenging without access to modern medicine.

When fighting for their survival, survivalists live in groups with their families that increase the chances of transmission of air-borne diseases and infections from one person to another. Infants, elderly, and immune-deficient people are more susceptible to catching infections. The simplest example can be, you cough and then use the water-bucket that is shared, the other person uses it and here’s how he catches the disease.

diseases after SHTF

Take extra care to prevent infants from exposure to illness and disease.

Practicing good hygiene, like covering your cough, washing hands frequently, and avoiding shared utensils whenever possible will help reduce the spread of respiratory viruses. If a member of your group becomes ill with a respiratory infection, it is best that they rest and limit interactions with others until they recover.

diseases after SHTF

Ah-choo! Catch your sneeze or cough to minimize airborne pathogens.

Wounds And Infections

In a SHTF scenario, it gets extremely crucial to take proper care of wounds and infections as tetanus shots and antibiotic medicines aren’t available. To clean them, you of course won’t be able to rely on other sources of water too being unsure about its contamination. Infections lead to conditions like sepsis and gangrene.

diseases after SHTF

One thing you can prepare is a well-stocked first aid kit for tending to injuries.

Prevention is better than cure and here would be the time to practically implement it. A simple wound in such a situation can lead to long-term disabilities, chronic wounds, infections in bone and unfortunately Death! Having knowledge and learning medical skills before such disastrous situations can help survivalists save their lives. Learning about medical emergencies, cleaning and sterilization will also help prevent infections.

diseases after SHTF

Important essentials for cleaning and bandaging wounds.

In order to be able to address wounds and injuries, you will need a well-stocked first aid kit. It should include bandages, antiseptic, and tools to help you quickly tend to injuries and prevent infections. For help with planning your first aid kit, CLICK HERE.

Food-Borne Diseases

While food plays an important role in your survival, it can also be a source for harmful bacterial infections. It is better to skip a meal and continue to look for food than to consume something that is questionable. Food-borne diseases can be deadly, especially without access to immediate medical intervention.

Foods that come from animal sources, such meat, eggs, and dairy products, may be contaminated with Salmonella bacteria. Also, cross-contamination can occur with other foods, such as produce. In a survival situation where sanitation is compromised, it can be difficult to maintain cleanliness and thoroughness when cooking. Do not consume undercooked meat or eggs! The resulting infection can cause fever, diarrhea, and cramps lasting several days. Depending on the person’s health, this can become very severe.

Another danger may be lurking in your pantry. Food-borne botulism can be contracted from canned foods that are not processed properly. Untreated, botulism can progress into paralysis of the arms, legs, torso, and even respiratory muscles. To help prevent contracting this disease, boil canned foods for ten minutes before consuming. For more information on canning safety, CLICK HERE.

canning safety guidelines


Your strategy for health is a major component of your survival. Dealing with diseases after SHTF requires planning ahead by educating yourself about disease prevention and treatment. Be aware of sources of contamination. Know how to recognize symptoms and do not dismiss them – even mild symptoms can be a sign of a more serious problem, especially when resources are limited. And always pack a first aid kit in your bug-out bag!

About The Author

James Smith is a survivalist, who loves to write about survival skills and techniques. He has extensive knowledge about different survival kits and other survival supplies which he loves to share with others by writing blog. Follow him on twitter @jamessmith1609.

Your Thoughts

Can you think of any other diseases that may arise post-disaster? Are you taking extra steps to prepare for disease after SHTF? Tell us about them in the Comments section below, thanks!

canning safety guidelines

Safety Guidelines for Canning Your Own Food Supply

canning safety guidelines

Learning to preserve food through canning is a great step towards self-sufficiency. By canning your own food supply, you can prepare a stockpile of survival food for your pantry, develop your cooking skills, and use all of your harvested produce.

Canning is a great way to store healthy, homegrown food; here is a quick list of the benefits of home canning:

  • A simple, time-tested concept that has a wealth of how-to and recipe resources available
  • Less expensive than purchasing factory canned goods
  • Better for long-term storage than aluminum as glass decreases the risk of leaching chemicals
  • You can incorporate your own recipes, ingredients, and food to ensure your family will enjoy the meals and that there are no harmful additives – only the wholesome, organic ingredients you have selected
  • Preserves surplus from home garden harvests to reduce waste
  • Saves freezer space and is actually superior to freezing in that food will not spoil if the power goes out
canning safety guidelines

Imagine a pantry full of your favorite home-cooked foods! Image via on flickr.

As with any food-related project, the key to success with canning lies in following the proper canning safety guidelines. By following the proper canning safety guidelines to keep your canned food safe, you will ensure that your hard work is not wasted and that your healthy, homemade food supply keeps for as long as possible.

In this article, we will cover the ‘Dos’ and ‘Don’ts’ of safe canning practices so that you can rest assured your canned food is safe for your family and can all enjoy the many benefits of home canning.

Why Canning Safety Is A Top Concern

Whether canning for survival or recreation, canning safety guidelines should be your top priority. If bacteria, even in small amounts, is present in canned goods, it can result in foodborne botulism, which is caused by consuming the toxins produced by Clostridium botulinum bacteria. The repercussions of foodborne botulism can be quite nasty with worst-case untreated cases resulting in paralysis of the arms, legs, torso, and even respiratory muscles.

Early symptoms include blurred vision, slurred speech, dry mouth, and muscle weakness; however, symptoms may take hours to appear, with most appearing 18-36 hours after consumption. By the time you realize canned goods are contaminated, your whole family may have already consumed the toxic food.

While the spores of Clostridium botulinum bacteria are present on many foods, they remain dormant and harmless unless the right conditions exist – conditions that are precisely those present in canned goods – with the bacteria thriving in areas with moisture, low acidity, less than 2% oxygen, and a temperature between 40-120℉. This is why it is essential that you follow proper canning safety guidelines when canning for survival or recreation.  

For more information on the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of botulism, please read this article from the CDC.

Quick Canning Safety Guidelines Reference

canning safety guidelines

Canning Safety Guidelines – Make Sure Your Food L.A.S.T.S.

To ensure your canned goods are safe, you’ll want to address the following areas: Lids, altitude, size, time, and storage.


A tightly sealed lid is a must for canning safety; in order to preserve freshness, food must remain vacuum sealed. To ensure a vacuum seal, process your filled jars in a hot water bath or pressure cooker/canner and then allow them to cool. Once the jars have cooled to room temperature, check the seal and examine the jars for any leakage.

Before canning, carefully inspect the rims of the jars you will be using for any chips or imperfections. Defective jars should not be used; however, they don’t have to go to waste – they can be repurposed as a vase for fresh herbs or as an LED lantern.

canning safety guidelines

Jar lids that come pre-treated with paraffin are for one-time use only; do not reuse the disks after they have already been heated. The heating process used in canning deforms the paraffin to create a seal, and once deformed, it will never be effective at sealing again. However, the metal rings or bands can most definitely be reused as long as you purchase extra paraffin-coated disks.

canning safety guidelines

The silicon gasket in this Tulid Mason Jar Lid is removable for ease of cleaning. Click the image to view on Amazon.

There are reusable lid kits available that consist of rubber or silicon gaskets to create a seal. Given proper care, they can be used many times; however, ensure they are BPA-free.

Canning Jar LidsKey Features
Ball Regular Canning or Mason Jar Lids, 8 dozen
• Single use lids work with standard mason jars and rings
• Value pack includes 96 BPA-free lids
Tattler Reusable Regular Size Canning Lids
• Gasket rings and lids are dishwasher safe and reusable
• BPA-free material also resists acid corrosion
Tulid Wide Mouth Mason Jar Lids (Pack of 3)
• Reusable lids fit wide-mouth Ball and Kerr mason jars
• BPA-free and dishwasher safe with writable surface for labeling
Click the images to view current prices on Amazon.


The altitude at which you are boiling your canned foods is important as altitude affects boiling time and temperature. At high altitudes, boiling temperature is lower and therefore more time is needed during the boiling phase as water will not exceed its boiling temperature no matter how high the burner is set; starting at 2,000 feet above sea level, adjustments will need to be made. For more information, please read this article from the United States Department of Agriculture.

canning safety guidelines

The pressure dial on the Presto Pressure Canner allows you to carefully monitor each batch. Click the image to view on Amazon.


When choosing jars for canning, look for jars that are tall, thin, and hold a smaller volume. As it is extremely important that all of the contents in the jar reach the desired temperature, taller, thinner and less voluminous jars will ensure uniform heating. If your jars are too wide, the outer contents will overcook or the inner contents will not get properly sterilized, resulting in a loss of food and effort.

canning safety guidelines

Using smaller jars also helps reduce waste when you are ready to consume your canned goods as you can adjust portions. Once a can is opened, it will need to be consumed and any leftovers will need to be refrigerated. If the power goes out, throw away any leftovers. Well portioned jars will help avoid excessive leftovers and reduce waste.

Canning Jars 
Ball Canning Regular Mouth Half Pint Canning Jar 8 oz. 12-Count
Ball Regular Mouth Quart Jars with Lids and Bands, Set of 12
Kerr 1 Pint Canning Jar Regular Mouth 12-Count
Jarden Wide Mouth Ball Jar, 32-Ounce, Case of 12
Click the images to view current prices on Amazon.


The time involved in processing while canning will depend on the type of food you are canning as processing time is a function of the acidity of the food. Highly acidic foods (those with a pH of less than 4.6) will require a shorter processing period (anywhere from 5-85 minutes depending on the type of food) as they naturally inhibit bacteria.

canning safety guidelines

Once processed, carefully remove jars from the water and allow to cool. Image via on flickr.

Conversely, low acid foods (those with a pH of more than 4.6) will require a longer processing time that can range from 7-11 hours and must be at a temperature of 240-250℉.

Always make sure that you carefully follow the instructions for your pressure cooker to ensure you have the correct time and pressure settings for your recipe, and make sure to set a timer to keep track of cooking times.

Pressure CannersKey FeaturesCapacity
Presto Pressure Canner and Cooker
• Extra large capacity fits bigger jars and batches
• Full range pressure meter allows for precise readings, especially helpful at high altitudes
• Heavy-gauge aluminum heats evenly and resists warping
23 quarts
All American Pressure Cooker/Canner
• Processes 19 pint jars or 7 quart jars at once
• Metal to metal sealing system using tightening screws with no gaskets to replace
• Processes at 5, 10, and 15 PSI with an automatic overpressure release
21.5 quarts
Granite Ware Pressure Canner and Cooker/Steamer
• Smaller size great for homes with limited storage space
• Durable hard anondized aluminum construction
• Secondary backup safety valve sounds whistle alarm while releasing excess pressure
12 quarts
Click the images to view current prices on Amazon.


When it comes to storage, you’ll want to consider two factors: Storage conditions and shelf life.

Storage Conditions

After following proper canning safety guidelines while preparing your food, ensure the temperature of wherever you are storing your stockpile of canned foods is kept at a steady temperature, somewhere between 50-70℉. Avoid storing your canned food in areas that border heating vents, electronics, or any other devices that emit heat, as higher temperatures can affect the integrity of the seal, causing food to spoil.

You will also want to store your canned food in an area with low humidity and dark lighting. Low humidity is best for maintaining the metal lids as it prevents them from rusting and darkness is preferable as sunlight should be avoided completely – UV rays will degrade nutrients and can cause spoiling.

canning safety guidelines

Another consideration is the integrity of your storage shelving. It would be a shame to go through all the proper canning safety guidelines and properly preserve your food only to lose it due to faulty shelving or stacking. Always make sure that the shelf you are using is secure and that the weight of the cans is equally distributed. Rather than piling unsteady stacks, opt for single-layer storage and additional shelves to avoid the risk of your cans toppling over. For more ideas on storing your food preps, CLICK HERE.

Shelf Life

Generally, home-canned foods have a shelf life of one year. High-acid foods, such as tomatoes or vinegar, can typically last for 12-18 months while low-acid foods can last anywhere from 2-5 years (but this is typically for store bought versions).

When deciding whether or not food is safe to eat, always err on the side of caution. Look for things such as mold, discoloration, leakage, bulging lids, and putrid smells as an indication that the food has spoiled and should be discarded. If you find even one jar that has spoiled, make sure to check all the others from the same batch in case there was a problem with the canning process. When in doubt, throw it out – never taste food to determine whether or not it is safe to eat.

canning safety guidelines

To keep yourself organized, make sure you mark each lid with the canning date and organize your shelves so that the oldest canned food sits at the front and the newest at the back.

While it may be tempting to stockpile as much canned food as possible, a better strategy is to stockpile 1-2 months worth of food and then rotate out the older jars as you add new ones. By following this process, your family will become accustomed to eating the canned foods, but more importantly, you will prevent waste and ensure your supply stays fresh. If you want to build a supply that will last beyond several months, add more new cans than what you will consume.

Additional Canning Safety Tips

Choosing Food

When choosing food to can, always start with high quality, fresh ingredients. Ensure all foods to be canned are thoroughly washed and any seeds and stems are removed. For most recipes, you will be instructed to peel certain ingredients such as carrots, potatoes, and fruits.

canning safety guidelines


Always ensure you allow enough time for yourself to complete the canning process from start to finish. The less time your prepared foods spend exposed to air, the better. When filling your jars, make sure to fill them individually and close the lid before moving on to the next jar as this will minimize air exposure.

canning safety guidelines

The Presto 7 Function Canning Kit includes a timer for keeping track of cooking duration. Click the image to view on Amazon.

Air Bubbles and Heating

Get rid of any air bubbles by tapping the jar to move all air bubbles to the top – you do not want to trap air in the contents as this will rot the food. Before heating, make sure to leave about 1” of headspace at the top of the jar to allow for expansion during the heating process. Always keep a clean rag on hand to wipe the rim and threads of the jars so that no food can become trapped in the lid.

canning safety guidelines

Cooking Your Canned Foods

As an extra precaution, never consume your canned foods directly from the can. Boil your food for at least 10 minutes before consuming in order to kill any bacteria and destroy any toxins that may be present.

Helpful Canning Accessories

Canning AccessoriesKey Features
Bellemain 6 Piece Canning Tool Set
• Stainless steel tools have vinyl coating for improved grip
• Jar lifter allows you to safely remove jars from hot water
• Includes wrench for easily opening canned food lids
Presto 09995 7 Function Canning Kit
• Funnel fits in both regular and wide mouth jars
• Lid lifter is magnetized for removing lids from hot water
• Includes timer for keeping track of cook time
Norpro Small Canning Rack
• Keeps jars off of the direct heat and allows water to circulate for even cooking
• Vinyl grip handles fold flat for easy storage
• Holds 2 quart jars or 4 pint/halfpint jars
• Fits most pressure canners (8.25 inch diameter)
JarBox Canning Jar, Pint, Semi-Clear
• Stores and protects canned food
• Easily organize jars by contents, or plan a few day's meals
• Stackable and transportable for moving or sharing
Ball Jar Sure Tight Band Tool
• Be sure lids are tightened properly with less strain on wrists
• Also serves to unscrew rings, with integrated lid lifter for opening jars
Mirro 9605000B Stainless Steel Canning Accessories Food Press with Wooden Pestle Cookware, Silver
• Mash and strain fruits and vegetables, remove skins
• Stainless steel press seats in rack for convenience
• Pestle is shaped to fit for effectiveness
Click the images to view current prices on Amazon.


There are myriad benefits to canning your own food, including the ability to enjoy fresh, healthy foods year round and moving yourself closer to self-sufficiency. Canning is a tried and tested process that reduces waste and costs less than store-bought canned goods. However, the importance of practising canning safety guidelines while preparing your canned foods cannot be understated. Safety is of utmost importance, but when canning safety guidelines are followed, you will be rewarded with healthy, delicious meals that you and your family can enjoy year round.

If you haven’t canned your own food before, why not give it a try? Now that you know how to can your own food safely, it is the perfect time to give it a go and see if canning will work for your family as a means to develop a more self-sufficient household.

Your Thoughts

Do you plan on making canning part of your prepping plan? Are there any aspects of the canning process that intimidate you? Have you had an experience canning food on your own? We look forward to hearing from you in the Comments section below, thanks!

outdoor boot outdoor boots

Gear Up: Top Rated Survival Boots For Men And Women

survival boots

In our last post, Alex Park from covered the key steps to choosing the best outdoor boot, discussed how to break them so you do not cause damage to your feet, and provided great care tips for making them last. We followed his advice and searched for survival boots that stood up to vigorous wear and tear in a variety of environments. In this article, we discuss which boot features are most essential to survival, define boot anatomy terms, and list our top picks for men’s and women’s survival boots.

Getting Started

When it comes to boots, there are loads of options. For survival, the weather resistance and durability will play a significant role. Also, you need to consider the long-term comfort, as you will be spending long days on your feet.

The upper can be made of leather or nylon blends. A combination of leather and synthetic mesh offers good structural support and is lighter than an all-leather upper. For keeping out rain and snow, make sure the boot is rated waterproof and has a gusseted tongue to prevent seepage through the lace holes.

Many boots offer some type of breathable liner that draws moisture away from your feet. This, in conjunction with a secure fit, will help prevent chaffing and blisters from forming.

The best fit will need to be supported by a strong lacing system. Check the way the eyelets, D-rings, or hooks are fastened to the boot, as they will need to withstand repeated stress. However, even the strongest hardware is nothing without a sturdy pair of laces, such as 550 paracord.

To choose the best type of sole, consider the terrain you will most likely be traversing. If you plan on a lot of up-and-down on steep trails, you may want to look for heel and toe brakes. Self-cleaning treads will prove helpful in muddy or rocky areas. Also, shock absorbency and flexibility for running and jumping may come in handy.

In order to properly compare different boot designs, it’s important to know the terminology. Here are the terms most commonly encountered when researching survival boots:

Key Terms To Know When Looking For Boots

survival boots

Image via Chris Greeveblester on flickr.

Collar – runs around the top of the shaft. The collar can have internal or external padding, both of which serve to protect the ankle from impact, keep debris from getting in, and provide comfort.

Carbon Rubber – a chemically altered form of rubber that is more durable, lightweight, and provides good shock resistance.

Crampon/Snowshoe Compatibility – some survival boots are specifically designed to integrate with crampons or snow shoes.

EVA  – ethylene-vinyl acetate, it is a high-density durable foam that absorbs shock.

Gore-Tex – a multi-layer lining material that is designed to create a dry environment inside by shedding internal moisture from perspiration and blocking external moisture from getting in. Can be used in warm-weather gear to shed heat or can be insulated for colder temperatures to trap heat.

survival boots

Image via Adam Kahtava on flickr.

Gusseted Tongue – a tongue that is sewn to the boot behind the lace eyelets to form a barrier to debris and water.

Heel Brake – a tread design that provides a better grip when descending steep areas.

Heel Cap/Heel Counter – cradles the heel and prevents the foot from slipping up and down when walking.

Insole – the layer in direct contact with the bottom of the foot. Often removable and can be specialized for antimicrobial, anti-shock, or pressure relief performance.

Midsole – the layer above the outsole that provides structural support to the bottom of the foot using shanks.

Neutral Foot Position – when the ankle and feet form a straight vertical line and weight is evenly distributed. This reduces strain on feet, as well as the joints of the knees, hips, and back.

Outsole – the bottom most part of the boot that touches the ground. It can be stitched, cemented, or stitched and cemented to the upper.

Rand – seen in waterproof and water resistant styles, the rand is the rubber strip that overlaps the seam between the boot upper and the sole. Most survival boots will have this feature.

Self-Cleaning Treads – a tread pattern that utilizes the natural flex of your step to open the space between the treads and shed debris, such as pebbles and caked mud.

survival boots

Image via Russ on flickr.

Shaft – the part of the boot that goes up the leg. Shaft height is measured from the point where the boot meets the sole to the maximum height up the leg. Occasionally, the circumference measurement will also be given, which is the distance around the widest part of the shaft.

Shank(s) – supportive metal or plastic strips that shape the arch of the boot. Can be a full shank, which runs the entire length, or a ¾ shank which ends at the ball of the foot.

Suede vs Nubuck vs Leather – Suede is the softest of the three, created by brushing the inside surface of leather. Nubuck is made by roughing the outside or grain surface of leather, making it stronger than suede and more resistant to abrasion and water. Full grain refers to leather that has not been brushed or roughed on either side, making it more stiff than nubuck or suede.

Toe Cap –an extra piece of material that protects the front of the boot from abrasion.

Torque/Torsion Control – how well the boot’s structure resists twisting at the ankle.

Vibram Outsole – refers to a patented diamond tread pattern, also known as a Lug Sole, that is recognized for providing excellent traction.

Vulcanized Rubber – natural rubber that has been chemically altered to resist deformation and loss of elasticity with change of temperature, making it harder, longer lasting, and more durable.

Survival Boots For Men

Mens Survival BootsKey Features
KEEN Men's Targhee II Mid Waterproof Hiking Boot
• ESS shank provides ankle stability
• Dual-density EVA foam midsole is contoured for comfortable support
• Keen.Dry membrane lends a breathable barrier against rain
Danner Men's Radical 452 GTX Outdoor Boot
• Toe cap resists abrasion in rough terrain
• Ultra strong GORE-TEX insulates against snow
• Terra Force technology supports from all sides and prevents torsion
Salomon Men's Quest 4D GTX Backpacking Boot
• Keeps out debris with gusseted tongue
• Heel and toe reinforced with rubber to protect against wear
• Lace locking system allows for independent tightening of each section
Garmont Men's Zenith Mid GTX Trail Hiking Shoe
• Hardware is rust-resistant
• Excellent traction, even on wet rocks and mud
• Gore Tex lining provides breathability in heat and insulation in cold
Rocky Outdoor Boots Men S2V Substratum Direct Attach
• Waterproof nubuck and ripstop nylon exterior for flexible durability
• Tall 8" shaft for a higher fit
• Crampon and snowshoe compatible
• Laces are 550 military grade paracord
Rocky Men's S2v Jungle Boot
• Ideal for hot, humid climates
• Drainage holes allow water to shed quickly
• Ultra lightweight design offers support without excessive padding
McRae Footwear Men's Hot Weather Desert Boot
• Deep treads shed mud and debris
• Vulcanized rubber outsole is engineered for durability
• Fast drying Suede/Cordura upper is padded for comfort
Belleville TR960ZWP KHYBER Lightweight Waterproof Side-Zip Tactical Boot
• Discrete style tactical boot for urban bug-out
• Side zip closure allows for easy-on/off
• Lightweight athletic fit enables freedom of movement
Ariat Men's Terrain Hiking Boot
• Lower profile style includes Torque Stability composite shank
• EVA midsole absorbs shock on impact
• Removable gel orthotic for long-lasting comfort when on your feet all day
Click on the image to view current price on Amazon.

Survival Boots For Women

Womens Survival BootsKey Features
KEEN Women's Targhee II Waterproof Hiking Boot
• Toe cap protects against impact
• Keen.Dry membrane is waterproof yet breathable for comfort
• ESS shank prevents ankle rolls on rocky terrain
Ahnu Women's Montara Boot
• Neutral positioning of the foot encourages balance and reduces strain over long hikes
• Exterior padding on collar protects ankles from bumps
• Gusseted tongue locks out rain and snow
Ariat Women's Terrain Hiking Boot
• Lining keeps feet dry with moisture wicking
• Duratread outsole is self-cleaning for optimal traction
• Shock absorbing midsole reduces strain on joints
Lowa Women's Renegade GTX Mid Hiking Boot
• Full-length nylon shank adds extra support on rough terrain
• Climate control lining draws moisture away to prevent blisters and chaffing
• Heavy duty Vibram outsole is also shock-absorbent
Salomon Women's Quest 4D GTX Hiking Boot
• Braking pattern in the rear outsole gives extra traction when descending
• Lightweight and flexible for trial running
• Cushioned gusseted tongue alleviates lace pressure
Belleville F390 Women's Hot Weather Combat Boot
• Lightweight and breathable for trekking through hotter climates
• Running shoe outsole provides ease of manuvering
• Deep treads power through mud
Danner Women's Danner Light II Outdoor Boot
• Patented Stitchdown construction provides a durable and sturdy fit
• Gore-Tex lining breathes well while locking out water
• Superior wet and dry traction with Vibram outsole
Hi-Tec Women's Ohio WP Hiking Boot
• Outsole is carbon rubber for lightweight durability and traction
• Collar and tongue are padded to provide comfort and support
• Cushioned EVA insole is also removable for a customized fit
Oboz Women's Sawtooth Mid BDRY Hiking Boot
• Natural roll of outsole propels each step
• Molded rubber heel and toe stand up to rocky terrain
• BDry membrane is both waterproof and breathable to keep feet dry and comfortable
Click the image to view current price on Amazon.


outdoor boot outdoor boots

Click the image above for great tips on choosing survival boots and how to take care of them to maximize their performance.

Your Thoughts

Do you look for boots for a specific climate or prefer all-weather survival boots? Are there any other key terms we should add as a reference? Let us know in the Comments section below, thanks!