After a few days in the woods, you’re going to start smelling like a bear. Maybe you don’t care, but the bears might! Here are our 10 best tips for backwoods hygiene.

1. Avoid bacteria and bugs.
Most of the ways that you are going to get sick in the wilderness involve getting bitten by something or drinking tainted water. There are a lot of invisible creatures in water, like Giardia,  and Cryptosporidium. Unless you brought plenty of store-bought water, plan to bring all water to a rolling boil for one minute. At higher elevations, you need to boil for three minutes. Why? Because water boils at a lower temperature at higher elevations, so even though your water is boiling it may not be hot enough to kill all the critters. Using chlorine in the water is not an effective protection against Cryptosporidium.

2. Use hand sanitizer after bathroom breaks and before preparing food.
Unless you’re actually living in the woods, you can probably afford a large bottle of hand sanitizer. Like, a half gallon size from Costco. It’s cheap and it will last you a long time.

3. Swab yourself with some alcohol and cotton balls.
You might have soap, but you might not have enough water to use it. Instead, you can swab yourself down with some rubbing alcohol. It is cleansing, and sanitizing, and again, inexpensive.

4. Wash your sock regularly.
Wearing dirty, crusty socks is uncomfortable. But beyond that, that’s where a lot of your smell is coming from. Take at least one extra pair to change into and wash the worn pair as often as you can. While you’re at it, swab your feet down with that alcohol.

5. Change your clothes at night. 
If you can’t wash your day clothes daily, at least change out of them while you’re sleeping and let them air out a little.

6. Use dental floss. 
You can most likely take a tip from Native Americans and use some tender twigs to clean your teeth daily. Or you can saw off the handle of your toothbrush for an ultralight version. You should also take a container of dental floss. Dental floss is a good thing to have in your bag anyway as it can be used for a number of things. Like…fishing line, binding together poles for a shelter, a small animal snare, a clothes line, a campsite alarm with tin cans and lids ala Walking Dead, a tripwire, a restraint, a shoelace…the list can go on and on.

7. Wear cotton underwear.
This is true for both men and women. Synthetic fabric is not a good choice for underwear because it doesn’t breathe like a natural fiber. It may trap wetness and promote odor as well as chafing. If you’re worried about comfort and chafing, choose undergarments that cover your thighs. Wash your underwear like your socks…as often as you can.

8. Take along some soft, washable cloths.
If you’re a woman, use these both as padding inside your underwear and also to wipe with. Men need something soft to wipe with too. Take along a few squares of a cotton bandanna. While lightweight microfiber cloths like these are easy to wash and quick drying, when dry they are not very absorbent. Cotton absorbs quickly so you can wipe quickly. Attach the cloths to the outside of your pack when you’re not using them.

9. Stay hydrated.
Especially in hot weather, dehydration can be a major cause of illness. Staying hydrated and peeing regularly will help flush your system.

10. Take sunblock and petroleum jelly. 
With these you can prevent sunburn, a major source of discomfort, protect your lips and treat any chafing that may occur from your pack rubbing.

What else do you do when you’re in the backcountry and trying to keep yourself clean?

For whatever reason let’s say you’ve decided to start off 2017 by disappearing. Maybe you’re going off the grid because of society issues or whatever reason. I won’t ask. Here are 10 stupid things to do to when you’re trying to stay hidden.

The obvious stupid things to do when you’re trying to hide.

1. Check your Facebook.
You will need to shut down all social media and email. Say goodbye to Facebook, even under fake names and fake photos. You will have to get off the internet completely. Pretend it’s 1980.

2. Don’t remove your photos and contact information from online.
Before you disappear, Google yourself to see what is out there about you and take whatever steps you can to remove any and all of it.

3. Call people on your cell phone.
Get rid of your cell phone. If you really need to talk to someone, get a pre-paid phone for yourself and the other person and use a pre-paid calling card when dialing. Use this phone strictly and only to talk to your contact.

4. Don’t change your appearance. 
Adopt a different look, different hair color or style. Break all of your old patterns of dress and grooming.

The advanced stupid things to do when you’re trying to hide.

5. Buy things with a credit card or carry cash.
Let’s face it, if you don’t have a job your cash is eventually going to dwindle. Get yourself some gift cards for grocery stores and apparel stores that never expire. Get small amounts so if you lose a card, you’re not losing hundreds of dollars worth of assets.

6. Don’t clear your computer hard drive after you’re done searching for ways to hide.
Don’t just clear it, because that still leaves traces of information dust. Smash it, boil it, then throw it in a landfill.

7. Don’t throw off a fake trail.
Before you’re done going off the grid completely, you could leave a few “clues” as to where you might be doing that are completely opposite of the truth.

Expert ways to hide.

8. Disappear right away. Pay your rent or mortgage up a couple of months ahead of time. Tell your neighbors you’re going on a long vacation to the other side of the country to help your aging parents. Whatever it is, have a story so by the time someone starts looking for you, you have a 2 or 3 month head start.

9. Don’t keep moving. Stay in one place for a while, so you’re leaving traces. Remember, a tracker can tell if someone is hiding out even if you think you’re being cautious. An off-road bicycle might be a good option.

10. Go somewhere you’ve talked about going before. Definitely don’t go to Mexico if you’ve told all of your friends and family your whole life that you want to go to live off the grid in Mexico. That’s the first place they’ll look.

These are some basic ways to hide. What else?

This company, Imaginactive, comes up with some of the coolest things we’ve ever seen. And maybe never will see. Because the things they come up with are strictly ideas but they are the coolest ideas ever. Take this,the Paradoxal. It’s a concept for a commercial supersonic/hypersonic passenger aircraft that can fly at Mach 3 in a sub-orbital trajectory between distant parts of the globe in a fraction of the time a normal place would take.

Check out the video the company made.

I’ll wait while you watch the video. Seriously.

The engine is a Rotary Ramjet air breathing engine, which I had to look up but is apparently an engine propelled by hot exhaust gases and expanded air. Rocket engines, by contrast are propelled by a jet of hot gases caused by fuel combustion. The Paradoxal would be able to fly from Los Angeles to Sydney, Australia, in less than 3 hours, with 50,000-feet-high views of the Earth and space. From that far up you would be able to see the Earth’s curvature.

And you wouldn’t even have to jostle for a window seat. The Paradoxical has a large, theater-like room for passengers that faces forward to the long leading edge of the craft, so everyone would get a great view.

Please make it real.

Image from


Drones. Yeah, they’re becoming more common. They’re cool, in some ways. But the loss of privacy and potential for accidents isn’t so cool.

DroneShield, which provides technology to detect and disable drones, has now developed a drone jamming gun. Available from DroneShield.

The company doesn’t disclose the price of the gun, because at this point it’s not yet available (meaning legal) for civilian use. But by all accounts the gun would cost tens of thousands of dollars. Is that a small price to pay for being able to get notice if a drone approaches you? If you know there’s a drone around, the drone jamming gun is supposed to be able to jam the drone’s signal. This either forces it to land or sends it back to its operator. The gun weighs around 12.5 pounds, and the manufacturer says it works to a range of up to about 1.25 miles (2 km). While a 12-gauge would probably take out a drone just fine, that’s not legal either.

How many keychain flashlights have you purchased or used over the years? I can recall at least 3 that for various reasons I gave up on. One I lost. One was a little laser light thing that wasn’t bright enough to really do anything, and one broke. Another thing…do you want to have your keys jangling every time you want a flashlight? Not necessarily. Here’s to finding a better way.

The Beta-QRV2 Flashlights from Prometheus Lights will help you avoid all these problems. Prometheus Lights lets you use just the small, light but durable flashlight by itself by designing in a quick-release function. Made of 6061 aluminum, the flashlight puts out 15 to 60 lumens on either of two brightness settings. It works with AAA alkaline, lithium or nickel-metal hydride batteries (NiMH).

Its size is an easy-to-fit-in-the-pocket 3.5-inches long and .55-inch diamter, with a split ring on the end, and you’ll hardly even notice you’re carrying it at only .75 ounces. Not bad for $59, and it’s available in different colors including brass, nickel and copper. Purchase the Beta-QRV2 Flashlights from Prometheus Lights and check out the other cool flashlights from this company such as the Foursevens, which can put out up to 11o lumens with a strong magnet for mounting and hands-free use.

There are a lot of reasons to love the invention of tactical pens. If you’re trying to figure out a good gift or stocking stuffer for someone in your life, consider a tactical pen. We got to test one out from UZI recently, the UZI Tactical Glassbreaker Pen ($22) and we think it’s just great. Here’s why.

It’s a smooth writing pen that is also a weapon.
Most of us carry a pen around with us on a daily basis. Women carry them in their purses. Men tuck them in their pockets. There’s always a pen or two in the car’s glovebox. With a tactical pen, no matter whether you’re in the grocery store or in line at the bank, you’ve got a weapon on you. The tactical pen is larger than a typical pen but still the same size and shape of a pen.

The Pen is compatible with Fisher space pen refills which write upside down or in the rain. It can write underwater, in zero gravity, and from below zero to practically the surface temperature of the sun.

It’s affordable.
While prices vary, this particular model is super affordable at only $22.

It’s a glass breaker.
This pen has an integrated glass breaker tip which could help you save someone’s life. Or your own. If you frequently drive around in vehicles that are not your own, this gives you a convenient way to get out of the car if you ever need to.

You can take it on airplanes.
When you’re traveling away from home, it can be a very vulnerable feeling to have to leave your weapons at home. When you get to your destination, you don’t have your EDC or survival gear on your person like you normally would, or your bug-out bag in your car like you normally would. The tactical pen gives you back some of that confidence.

You can carry them where you can’t take other EDC weapons such as knives.
In many workplace environments, guns and knives are not allowed. A tactical pen makes for a self-defense item that no workplace rules can take away from you. You can take a tactical pen into a courthouse, for instance.

It’s easy to hide.

These pens fit into a purse or pocket, suitcase, glovebox, lunchbox, or anywhere you might want to tuck a weapon that could be used as a punching tool. Tactical pens don’t appear as a weapon to most people. You can hold it in your hands and it is not obvious. This can give you the element of surprise in a self-defense situation.

It’s a good conversation starter.
The tactical pen looks enough like a pen that using one does not call attention to yourself. But, if you really look at it and think about it, a tactical pen looks different enough that people who are wondering about it might ask. It’s a great opening for a conversation about self-defense and to let the people around you know that you are not to be messed with.

It’s a jabbing tool.
Tuck it in your pocket and it’s not obvious like a knife or gun might be. It can make puncture wounds similar to a knife. It can gouge eyeballs better than fingers alone. It’s lightweight but solid enough that it can be held in the fist to support a punch.

It’s difficult to get taken away from you.
Tactical pens let you keep a tight grip on them. Because of the size and shape, they fit very well into your hand. It’s difficult for someone to pry your grip off a pen and take it away from you.

They are overlooked in pat-downs.
Because they are the same size and shape as a pen, they are easily overlooked if you are in a crowd such as a concert venue. It’s nice to know that you can retain a weapon just in case you ever need one.

There you go. 10 fantastic reasons to get the UZI Tactical Pen.

There are a lot of external chargers, or power banks, out there. A power bank serves as an extra battery for your phone or other electronic device in case the power goes out or you’re ever in a situation where you can’t charge your devise as your normally would. How do you know what to look for to make sure you’re getting a good one? Here are some qualities of a good external charger that you should look for.

First of all, price is difficult to pinpoint. Most of these chargers are made overseas and are not expensive. We bought one that’s simply called “Smart Power Bank” (made in China) and it was only $17. It works pretty well, but there are some things about it that would have made it even better.

1. Rubberized exterior. The power bank we bought feels flimsy. It feels like if we dropped it if would simply crack apart. There is a protective case on the outside but it’s hard plastic that is not going to protect it in a fall. It would have been a lot better had they rubberized the outside like an Otter Box or some kind of phone case protective material.

2. Manufacturer. Not sure if you’ll actually be able to find one that’s not made in China, but if you can, it will likely have better use instructions. The one I got was riddled with mistakes.

3. Charging options. It should have more than one USB port (which allows you to charge more than one smartphone or device at a time), and you should be able to charge it via the charger that came with your phone or computer USB port. Check for compatibility with other charging ports you may already have. A good one will also allow you to charge it via a solar panel.

4. Know your smartphone’s battery capacity. This might be printed on the battery itself, but was also probably in your manual.

5. Amperage and Real Capacity. The higher the amperage the better, but make sure it really has the amperage that is advertised, as sometimes these items are mislabeled. The capacity of the power bank is measure with mAh, which means milli Ampere Hour. The larger the real capacity, the longer the charging time that may be required. A 2800 mAh power bank can charge a smartphone with a 1,400 mAh battery one time. The only way to test some of these outputs and inputs is with electronic equipment. Without that, a good rule of thumb is to divide the mAh of the power bank by the mAh of your device battery, realizing that a device is not going to be 100% as efficient as it is advertised, for a variety of reasons, such as loss of energy inside the circuit.

6. Lights to indicate remaining power. The power bank should show you visually how much power is left in the device, so you know if the charger itself needs to be charged. Many power banks achieve this by using a series of LEDs that light up or turn off as the power in the device changes.

7. Charging time. Charge speed is determined by the output current, not the capacity. A high capacity power bank will be able to provide more charge than a low capacity power bank over time. A wall charger will charge a device at a faster rate because computers have a smaller charging output. Most computer USB ports provide 500 mA (less than 1 amp). Charging time depends on the battery capacity of the power bank as well as the battery capacity of the device you are charging.

Hopefully this info is helpful to you as you seek out a power bank!

We’ve learned of some amazing ideas and inventions from Kickstarter and IndieGoGo. Here’s one that sounds like it has a big promise to backup . . . A doctor named Todd Rider has invented DRACO, which stands for Double-stranded RNA Activated Caspase Oligomerizers.

This is beyond our biological knowledge, but from the IndieGoGo page we have learned that these are potentially a cure for viruses. These are broad-spectrum antiviral candidates that Dr. Rider developed that have proved safe and effective in treating ALL 18 viruses they’ve been tested on. The anti-viral method works by targeting the long, double-stranded RNA that virtually all viruses make. DRACO looks for this long, double-stranded RNA and binds with it to activate the “suicide switch” that kills it before the virus can replicate itself and spread.

These 18 viruses include two different types of H1N1 influenza (flu), four types of rhinovirus (the common cold), two adenoviruses, dengue hemorrhagic fever, and others have been successfully treated in humans and animal cells and in mice using DRACOs. Check out the published results in the peer-reviewed journal PLOS ONE.

The fundraising campaign is to take the research to the next level and test the virus against the herpes virus family, which includes the sexually transmitted herpes viruses but also other viruses in that family such as chickenpox and shingles (Varicella Zoster Virus), Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV), and Kaposi’s Sarcoma Herpesvirus (KSHV). With further testing, this technique promises to work against other viruses like HIV.

We can’t help but get swept up in what a huge breakthrough eliminating these viruses would be for global health. Your donation can help them rent lab space in sophisticated facilities and purchase more advanced equipment. They want this funding request “to go viral.”

What does that mean, money when there is no money? What we’re talking about is when the day comes when paper money or coin money is meaningless. After a large natural or social disaster, it probably won’t matter how much your house was worth or how much money you had in your savings account. There might not be any difference between a one dollar bill and a hundred dollar bill, because no one will want to be paid that way.

If the banking system as we know it collapses, people will still want to be paid for their goods and services, right? Few people will give away their stored food or water, or bullets or boat rides without expecting to get anything in return. If you have food or services to barter, that’s great. But if you don’t, you’ll still need to offer some sort of payment. If no one wants to take your paper currency, say, to give you a ride somewhere or in exchange for helping you fix something, you simply won’t be able to get that help.

There is something, though, that has historically maintained its value and will always be in demand: metals. There’s a company called CombiBar that makes bars of gold or silver manufactured with predetermined breaking points, so, just like a Hershey bar when you only want to share two squares, you can break off a chunk of gold or silver worth 1 gram. These bars are small enough to fit in a wallet or pocket. CombiBars are available in increments of 50 x 1g gold, 20 x 1g gold, 100 x 1g silver or 10 x 10g silver bars. They are also available in silver as legal tender rectangular coins in increments of 100 x 1g CombiCoin or 10 x 10g CombiCoin (based on Cook Island currency) and as 50g palladium and platinum CombiBars.

Money When There is No More Money

We’re intrigued by this idea and if you don’t trust bank accounts, putting your money in gold or silver certainly seems to make more sense. It can be bought by any metals dealer for current market rates, and if shit does hit the fan, chances are good you can find someone who will take it. The manufacturer of these products is in Switzerland, and the website doesn’t give much (any, really) explanation for why Cook Islands currency was chosen as the coin increment. A little internet research didn’t reveal much more information either other than that these coins are backed by the Cook Island government. And, the coins have a unique Cook Islands scene on them, making the attractive. What do you think? Worth having a 100 gram bar in your pocket or bug-out bag, just in case?

How will you beat the ravening zombie hordes if you can’t see them coming? With Vortex Optics‘s completely redesigned series of Diamondback binoculars, you will never have to worry about that happening. Starting at only $189, the Diamondback series is a high-performance, sleek line of optics that come with an unconditional lifetime warranty.

The short hinge design and low profile makes them easier to hold. An all new optical system with enhanced, dielectric fully multi-coated lenses means that you can see everything in crystal clear vision as if you were looking at it with your own eyes . . .  if your eyes were superhuman.  An ultra-wide field of view that is right alongside the best lets you see maximum area whether you’re looking for birds, deer or the walking undead.

Rubber armored housing features diamond checkering along the sides and perfectly placed thumb holds mean it won’t slip from your hands and you can hold them for hours with comfort, if need be. Everything on this binocular moves smoothly and easily. The binoculars are available in 8 different models depending on your viewing needs: 12×50, 10×50, 10×42, 8×42, 10×32, 8×32, 10×28 and 8×28. Vortex Optics is American-owned, based in Middleton, Wisconsin. Purchase the new Diamondback binoculars for $189 and up.