Thursday, June 30, 2011

My Review of GSI H2jO! Coffee Filter

Originally submitted at REI

Create great tasting, no-hassle coffee on your next camping trip with this GSI filter.

Got Burned 9 out of 10 times

By lakewood from NYC on 6/30/2011


1out of 5

Pros: None

Cons: Why did I buy this, Uses too much coffee, Bad seal leaks HOT water, Useless, Weak Coffee

Best Uses: Pencil holder, Strain boiled coffee, Paper weight, tea

Describe Yourself: Coffee Aficionado

The seal leaks every time.Pressure built up can burn you. Takes a long time to make mediocre coffee. Will never equal perked!!!!
Pass this one up!


Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Windshield Washer Fluid for Penny Pinchers

Stop buying windshield washer fluid

But 91% alcohol and add it to a gallon of water then to the car,,,,,works great in the winter also just use 3/4 of a gallon... Save those pennies!!!

Friday, April 15, 2011

The Frugal Shoppers Disaster Guide

    The Frugal Shoppers Disaster Guide

Why Do I need a 72-HOUR SURVIVAL KIT?

What will you do if disaster strikes your neighborhood?
A fire, a riot, a flood, a tornado, a hurricane, or an earthquake, economic downturn?
The most critical need for help after the disaster is during the first 72 hours, yet community and government assistance will probably not be available during this period, if not longer. 
With a minimum of expense and trouble it is possible to bring together a few basic items which will ease the stress of a difficult situation and may even save you and your family’s life. 
In any form of emergency situation, several things take place: both physical and emotional.
1 - We will all experience emotional shock and a certain amount of hysteria.
2 - The propensity of accidents increases. 
The greatest threats to loss of life are accidents that lead to severe bleeding or other forms of injury or trauma.
We must keep in mind that in the event of a severe disaster, all familiar public services, including medical, will be immediately over-taxed and as a result, will be basically ineffectual to you as an individual, particularly during the first 72 hours. 
It is important that you take a comprehensive survey of your own family units needs and insure that you have included any special items that are unique to you. Your needs could be very much different than the suggested lists, only you can decide what you and your families needs are based on your resources and experiences. Once you have established and gathered together what you feel are necessary requirements for both an Emergency Preparedness Kit and a substantial First Aid Kit; you will need a container that these items will go in.
1- Fishing Tackle Boxes
2- Tool Boxes
3- Rubbermaid Tote (recommended)
4- Plastic/Metal Garbage Cans 
The items listed above are ideas for storing your emergency kit.
These kits do not have to be complicated! Rather, simple is better than complex, however, the need for quality and durability should be one of the major criteria for any items included.
Don't spend a lot of money.
This is a survival kit. You will want to be comfortable but not extravagant. 
How Can I Afford All This?
Let us not forget the basic survival manual that has been around for about a hundred years. It’s simple to understand for the entire family. It’s the Boy Scout Handbook. This book covers every BASIC topic that a novice can handle and it readily available in almost every bookstore.
It also has a list of scout equipment (stoves, lights, water cans, etc.) that are available in most scout supply centers.
These centers are a little less intimidating than sporting goods stores. 
Another tip is the use of Minute rice. Stock up on Minute rice, take the rice out of the cardboard boxes and put it in mason jars. Cut out the cooking instructions and place them in the jar. This rice makes efficient use of your water reserve and requires no skill to prepare.
Another good food to stock up on is cans of Ravioli. In a time of stress this food can make you feel almost normal.
A Sterno stove and a camp coffee pot can be used to keep water hot for instant coffee (great shelf life) and to clean utensils. Cans of sterno can be purchased at party stores for about a buck a can. Much cheaper than camping stores. They are also a good source of heat. Just remember to use them on a nonflammable surface.
Now we need light, get a Lehmans  catalog ( in it is a good selection of Dietz oil lamps. There is one lamp that has a very large storage capacity and burns at slower rate than most. If you use lamp oil, which I recommend, you can find a cheap source for it in most craft shops. Again much cheaper than camping stores. The 120 hour candles are a great buy and you can use them with the Sterno stove, again this is a basic poor boys approach to survival.

Without spending much money you should have 2 bottles of peroxide (2 year shelf life in a cool dark place) and 2 bottles of alcohol (91%), to this add an antiseptic cream and some Bactine (great for the kid's cuts and bruises.) Along with a box of assorted Band-Aids. Cheap yet it does the job. 
As far as toilet stuff, you have two choices:
1- Sears has an inexpensive port a potty (hey I know it requires water. But it can be filled before time)
2- The garden bucket lined with a WASTE PAPER BASKET TRASH BAG.
Add some water and liquid fabric softener (this will help the waste dissolve) and some Bleach, about a ½ a cup. 
After several uses add kitty litter and tie the bag up in a knot.
It may not look pleasant but it will keep the smell down and the area less prone to disease.
The truth is, not many of us can afford to go out and spend thousands of dollars on survival equipment. Forget about the fully-stocked hideaway and the loaded four-wheel drive you need to get there, how can you afford a good solid stash of food? 
Preparedness is a lifetime journey, and your mental attitude is a key component. The best approach is to start small and build your resources. As time passes, re-evaluate and add to your plan, your stash, your skills and abilities. 
Buying Smart
After shelter, food and transportation are frequently the largest expense a family faces. Buying a few extra months of food can be a burden. But by shopping wisely and adding to your food stash over time, you can make this less expensive.
One of the best resources for large quantities of food is warehouse club stores, such as Sam's, and food co-ops. 
Warehouse Club experience:
In my experience, warehouse club stores generally offer large sizes of items that can be used for survival. While it is sometimes possible to get better buys on some items when they go on sale at the grocery store, you have to shop carefully and watch the sale circulars to catch them. At the warehouse club, prices are constant and sizes large. Just be careful and don't buy so much it spoils, or your savings will evaporate.
Some purchases that I recommend for the stash include: 
Pancake mix (Bisquick). This is great because all the ingredients are ready to go, just add water (Make sure you get the complete mix, you don't want the kind where you have to add eggs.) Muffins and other mixes are also available, but it's a lot easier to cook pancakes over an open fire or camp stove than muffins! 
Powdered potato flakes. OK there not great, they store a long time and whip up fast.
5-pound bags of macaroni and noodles. Always keep a couple bags on hand. Much cheaper buying them in bulk than the tiny boxes on grocery store shelves. Just take them out of the box to avoid insects from getting in and put them in a tightly sealed container. A 3 lb plastic coffee can works great as long as you use some electrical tape to seal the top to the container.
1-pound canisters of peanut butter. A favorite for kids and adults, plus you don't need refrigeration. Don't keep 'em forever or they could go rancid, but a good product to rotate in your every-day pantry. Add some crackers to your stash, too. 
Number 10 cans of canned vegetables or beans. They are generally much cheaper than the small grocery-store cans, which would barely make a meal for one person. They won't keep as long as freeze-dried veggies packed in nitrogen, but they're good for feeding yourself and the hungry neighbors. To ensure rotation, use these for summer picnics. 
Six-packs of canned goods, including pasta, vegetables, meats. You may grimace to think you'll be living on canned Beef-a-Roni or Spam, Vienna Franks, but there just aren't that many canned meats, and they're a heck of a lot cheaper than MRE's.
Some of the pasta-products come in larger cans, too. 
Powdered milk (makes 20-quarts). These' won't last too long (short shelf life).
 A good item to keep in your refrigerator. 
120 13-gallon heavy-duty trash bags. I could probably come up with a whole page dedicated to 1001 uses for plastic bags. But you'll just have to use your imagination. From storing water to lining your emergency potty, you'll need them. 
Pouch noodles. Just add water, boil and viola: pasta Alfredo, shells in creamy garlic sauce or garden rotini. 
Pouch and box drinks. These are great for bug-out packs and survival stashes that could be subject to freezing and thawing.
Paper products, cleaning supplies, candy and personal care products are also available in large quantities at reasonable prices. 
Canned Foods
Let me digress a moment for a comment about canned goods. Traditional canned goods aren't the best for survival because they loose their food value over time. But I think they have a lot going for them nonetheless. They are cheaper and easier to obtain than specialty foods such as MRE's or freeze-dried foods. They also can be heated in their cans. Remove the lid and label, (don't forget to pack a couple of can openers) and plop them carefully on the burner or stove, and the can becomes an instant pot. Also, you can drink the juice off vegetables to preserve your water reserves (as long as it isn't too salty). Plus, you can get a wide variety of foods, and cans are a lot tougher than glass.
So let's say you get an inside scoop that North Korea is going to invade South Korea in the next two days and you are worried about the use of nuclear weapons in such a scenario. You decide to high tail it off to your shelter before it's too late. If you have a survival stash which already includes survival-type foods, these canned goods will be a nice addition and provide some much needed variety. Don't forget canned fruits and vegetables.

Discount Groceries
Somewhere between the traditional supermarket and the Warehouse club lie discount grocers. This could be the "Super ? mart stores" that carries groceries as well as just about anything else you need. There are also similar stores that are a bit like warehouse clubs, only they don't carry anything except food. Becoming a careful consumer and a survival-shopper may require visit to all three types of stores over time. 
Ideas for Food For Emergency Kits
Pick foods your family will enjoy.
You will find that it is very important that you place foods in this kit that your family will eat regardless. You might plan to place foods in your kits that your family particularly enjoys, but that you don't always serve.
Most food comes with expiration dates on it. It will be important to rotate your food according to this schedule so that you do not find yourself in an emergency situation with expired food. Place food in your kits that are easy to prepare or ready to eat. When you need to use this kit, remember you will have in most cases been evacuated from your home either by car or on foot. It will be a stressful time for your family. You may be in a Red Cross Shelter, in a campground or on the road or on the way to relatives homes. You will not have all the luxuries of home. Cooking at best will be difficult. Please keep this in mind as you choose your foods for this 72 emergency survival kit.
This is a start. It can be reviewed with family members.
 Further information is available to you at your local RED CROSS or from FEMA. 
BATTERY POWERED RADIO - Local stations and the Emergency Broadcast System will be the only source of reliable information during an emergency.
If the radio is a permanent addition to your 72 hour kit it should be checked regularly to make sure both it and the batteries are in working order.
FLASHLIGHT - These should be stored outside of the radio and flashlight.
The shelf life can be extended if the batteries are kept in the refrigerator or freezer.
FAMILY RECORDS AND VALUABLES - Birth Certificates, Naturalization Papers, and Diplomas, Insurance Certificates, Genealogy Information, Computer Disks, Passports, etc.
ITEMS FOR STRESS MANAGEMENT - After the initial response to an emergency, the disrupted life style and disorientation can cause undo emotional stress and feeling of insecurity. Items that are emotionally reassuring should be included in the emergency kit.
These can include crayons, coloring books, story books, puzzles, soft small toys for children. Personal items for adults should be included such as books, handiwork, musical instrument, or sports equipment.
PLASTIC BAGS AND TIES - These items can serve as garbage containers, ground cloths, tents, wash basins, broken window cover, and substitute rain coat.
DISINFECTANT - Bleach, Lysol, Betadine can be used to treat sewage, waste water, and refuse to minimize infection. Storage containers for these items must be unbreakable.
IMPROVISED TOILET - Pack a pointed shovel, and a plastic bucket with a tight fitting lid. Sanitation is the most important consideration. You might want to include some cat litter to put after each use.
Remember to also pack the toilet tissue. (1 roll per person per week)
PAPER CUPS, PLATES, BOWLS and DISPOSABLE UTENSILS - This will help you to conserve water and at the same time minimize contamination problems.
SOAP - Liquid soap (soft soap or pump ivory) works best when water supplies are limited.
TOILETRIES - Toothbrush and toothpaste, comb and hair brush, washcloth and towel, deodorant, shaving supplies and mirror, shampoo and mouthwash, baking soda.
FIRST AID KIT - The purpose, therefore, of the items included in the family First Aid Kit is to treat minor injuries so that they do not become a major threat to health during the first few days of an emergency.
WATER STORAGE - General Water Storage is 1 gallon/person/day.
SLEEPING BAGS There must be adequate and appropriate sleeping cover for every member of the family.
CAN OPENER - A manual type must be packed with any canned goods.
UTILITY KNIFE - A sharp versatile knife will come in handy for many purposes.
ADJUSTABLE WRENCH - This must be kept handy to gas and water lines. Each member of the family should be trained how to turn off gas or water in the event of an emergency. Water trapped in the hot water tank and indoor plumbing will stay clean once the main water valve is turned off.
(Remember to drain off the sediment before you use the water)
MISCELLANEOUS - Small Ax, Heavy Gloves, and MATCHES stored in a waterproof unbreakable container. 
During the winter months meteorologists periodically reminded people to always keep in the car: water, candles, matches, chocolate, extra blankets, energy bars and peanut butter. Expecting the unexpected should be embedded in our brains. Preparation is merely good common sense. 
Always plan for the worst-case scenario.

Remember a to have an emergency heat source, wood/kerosene/propane.
CANNED HEAT (STERNO) - This can be purchased at most sporting goods stores as well as most grocery stores. You will need to store 1 large can per person per day.
VAGABOND STOVE - Use a number 10 can. Cut opening around the top of the can and 4 openings around the sides with a can opener punch. This is to provide a draft for your fire. Then cut an opening or make another set of punches, at the bottom of the can large enough to fit a Buddy Burner or a small fire or can of Sterno. Cook on top.
Lighting Equipment
GAS LANTERN (Coleman, two mantle)
KEROSENE LANTERN - (with a 1" wick) (Best Bet)
This device will burn 45 hours on 1 quart. (Dietz Lantern Information)
(Batteries used were well-known brands in testing).
Continuous running on new batteries 7 hours, 7 month old batteries, continuous running - 5 hours.

CANDLES (Burning time)
3/4 diameter x 4" tall - 2 hours and 20 minutes
7/8 diameter x 4" tall - 5 hours
2" square x 9" tall - 7 hours per inch or: 4 inches - 28 hours
9 inches - 63 hours
Heating or Cooking Equipment
TWO PLATE GAS BURNER (Coleman) Liquid fuel
Also propane stoves are more convenient.
With both burners burning for 4 hours per day, the following amount of white gas would be used:
Per day      1 quart
  Per week    7 quarts
           Per month   7 1/2 gallons
        Per year      91 gallons.

Consult distributors of the fuel, who would have information on the proper storage. 
The Civil Defense Bulletin Reads:
"Water to be stored should be drawn into containers before it is needed.
Don't wait until an emergency happens before laying in your supply.
When an emergency occurs, it may be to late to act.
The public water service may already be interrupted or contaminated.
Also, if thousands of households are trying to fill water containers at the same time, they would reduce the pressure in the street mains.
This would make fire fighting more difficult.
Waiting until something happens before you draw and store the water you need could cost you your home or even your life."
Be Careful About Rain Water -
Rain water that has been collected should be treated the same as any other unknown water source. Rain water contains small particulate and acid.
Good Methods of Storing Water -
Store Bottled Water - may be stored up to six months with no detrimental effect or rotation required.
Store Water in Old Bleach Bottles -Rotate every 7 to 12 months.
Lightly rinse the Plastic Clorox Bottles before filling with water. You should not get ill from drinking this water as the residue left in the bottle is probably just the right amount of chlorine to protect the water.
Purchase five gallon water containers from a camping supply store or Army Surplus store.
Keep in mind, however that you will need to transport these, possibly on foot so consider the weight involved if you choose this method.
Water Purification Methods -
Boiling-Most water can be purified for drinking purposes by boiling it for 10 minutes. This will destroy the bacteria. In order to improve the taste it will be necessary to aerate it after boiling. This is accomplished by pouring it from one container to another several times or through a PUR water filter.
This should be done after the water has been allowed to cool.
Chlorination- You can use any commercially available bleach solution.
 It should contain 5.25% Sodium Hypochlorite. And be fragrance free.
Add the following to a clean container in which when the water is added.
It can be thoroughly mixed by stirring or shaking.
4 drops per gallon
20 drops = 1/4 tsp. or enough to purify 5 gallons.

After adding the proper dosage and stirring, allow the water to stand for 30 minutes. It should then have a distinct odor of chlorine. If this odor is not present, add another dose of the solution and let stand for another 15minutes.
The taste or smell or chlorine in water as treated in this manner is a sign of safety. It shouldn't be harmful.
On the contrary, if you cannot detect chlorine in water you are trying to purify by this method, do not drink it. 
Purification Tablets - (recommended)
Tablets that release iodine may be used safely to purify drinking water. These tablets can be found at most drug stores and sporting goods stores. The names vary. Follow the directions on the package. Usually one tablet is sufficient for one quart of water. The dosage is doubled for cloudy water.
Iodine -Ordinary Household Iodine may be used to purify small quantities of water. Add 2-3 drops of Tincture of Iodine to each quart of clear water (8-10 for cloudy water). Mix and allow to stand for 30 minutes.
It is suggested that each member of your household have a minimum of 1 gallon of water per day. This is including infants (nursing mothers will need more). It is suggested then, that you store 5 gallons per member of your family for your 72 hour supply.
Some of you will probably want to put supplies together for a longer period than three days but the idea is that if need be you can pick this up and run.

Poor Boy's
Corned Beef Hash
Roast Beef Hash
Canned Pasta  
Canned Ravioli
Fruit Cups
Vienna Sausages
Bread Sticks
Pudding Cups
Snack Pack Cereal
Canned Milk
Powdered Milk
Fruit Rolls
Fun Fruits
Packages Of Raisins
Packages Of Peanuts
Granola Bars
Campbell’s Hungry/Hearty Soups
Box Juices
Hot Cocoa Mix
Hard Candy
Tang Powered OJ
Trail Mix
Power Bars
Saltine Crackers
Apple Drinks
Bouillon Cubes
Large Cans Of Fruit Juices
Canned Baked Beans
Canned Beef Stew
Fruit Cocktail
Macaroni & Cheese
Rolled Oat Cereal(Instant)
Vegetable Soup
Minute Rice
Scrambled Egg Mix
Dessert Mix
Mountain Stew
Stroganoff Casserole
Spanish Rice Entree
Baking Soda.
Bean Or Lentil Soups
Package Dehydrated Soups
Minestrone And Bean Soups

Baking soda serves many purposes just send away for their (Arm & Hammer) tips book it’s free. 
As each families taste differ you will need to adjust for your own families taste.
If you are unsure how much to stock use the rule of three’s.
For every three items add one item. Trust me it works.
Some of you will probably want to put supplies together for longer than three days but the idea is that if need be you can pick this up and run. The following is a list of disaster survival items.

I have NOT categorized these items to allow flexibility for each family to modify this list to their needs.

$10 roll quarters, $50 in singles or basically what you can afford in small bills
120-hour emergency candle
5-gallon water containers
Ace bandages
Ammonia inhalants
Ammunition if a firearm is selected
Antibiotic cream
Awl -- for sewing leather and canvas
Baby formula
Baby powder
Baby wipes
Backpacker's compact stove and solid fuel pack
Band-Aids, assorted sizes
Bank account numbers
Batteries, alkaline
Batteries, extra (for hearing aids)
Bible or Religious Reading of your choice
Bic lighters
Births, deaths, marriage certificates and decrees
Blanket , spare
Body/hand lotion
Book for pleasure reading
Boots and heavy socks
Bottle 100 Generic Non aspirin and/or aspirin tablets
Bottle vitamins
Bottle water purification tablets
Bottles, spare
Butterfly closures
Can opener
Cans of emergency survival food
Canteens, plastic, 2qt
Cartons bottled water
Charge card account numbers and their "lost or stolen" notification numbers
Children's survival kit
Children's vitamins, pain-reliever, cold remedies, etc.
Children’s coloring books, and activity books
Collapsible basin/bowl/cup
Comb and brush
Compass of good quality 
Complete change of clothing
Cough suppressant
Current prescription glasses
Deck of playing cards
Deeds and contracts
Dental floss
Denture care items
Diapers, disposable
Duct-tape (2 rolls min.)
Dust masks
Emergency blankets
EMT shears
Eye glasses
Felt tip markers (permanent), colored pencils, scissors
Finger splint
Firearm if selected
First-aid cream
Five gallon pail with lid (several)
Flashlight bulbs
Folding shovel
Foot powder
Fork, knife, spoon set
Four-person cooking kit
Gauze pads
Gloves, leather,
Goop tube
Generator (small) with chain and lock to secure it
Ground pad, go under sleeping bag, bedroll, etc.
Hard candy
Heart and/or blood pressure medications
Heat reflective blanket
House and life insurance policies
Infant supplies
Inventory of valuable household items
Jacket, wet weather
Knife, fixed blade
Knife, lock blade
Knife pocket(Swiss)
Latex gloves
Leather work gloves
Leather man tool
Light sticks (2 hour) four
Liners, gloves,
Lip balm
Liquid bleach and eyedropper
Liquid soap for personal washing
Anti acid tablets
Magnifying glass
Map of your local are and areas out to 150 miles
Matches, waterproof/windproof
Medical records including immunizations
Mink oil,
Mirror, stainless steel
Moleskin roll
Mosquito netting
MRE’s (optional) or Mountain House meals (Mountain House has a long shelf life for #10 cans the pouches are 7 years S/L!)
Multi-purpose tool with knife, pliers, screwdrivers
Needles and thread, several sizes of needles
Nylon rope (100')
Nylon thread roll,
Package fuel squares
Pair latex gloves
Pants, wet weather
Paper (waterproof)
Paper clips
Pet care (if applicable)
Pet food and food bowl
Pet leash and collar
Pet muzzle
Pet toys or chew bone
Pet water bowl
Pet water, one gallon (4 liters) per dog per day.
Phone numbers and addresses of friends/family
Plastic comb
Plastic sheeting
Plastic tube tent shelter
Poncho liner
Portable stove (propane / gas / sterno)
Portable water filter pitcher
Pre-addressed, stamped postcards of friends and family out-of-state (if a disaster is widespread, you’ll want to contact someone out of the area)
Pre moistened towelettes
Prescriptions for current medications
Radio (solar, hand cranked or battery powered; include extra batteries)
Razor, disposable
Rolls of toilet paper
Rolls of surgical tape
Rubber bands
Safety goggles
Safety pins, assorted sizes
Mess kit (one per person)
Senior care (if applicable)
Sewing kit
Sharpening stone
Shaving cream
Shelter Tarp (doubles as poncho)
Shirts, long-sleeve
Signal flares
Signal mirror
Signal whistle
Sleeping bag, modular (for use in -20 degrees Fahrenheit to +40)
Small toys
Soap bar (anti-bacterial)
Social Security numbers
Space blanket (reflects up to 90% of your body heat, weighs 20 oz or 500g)
Special dietary items
Stainless steel cups
Sterno stove fuel
Stocks and bonds
Sudafed (or equivalent)
Sun block
Non Sterile Surgical gloves, (these are inexpensive, obtained in discount stores)
Survival manual of your choice
Sutures, general purpose
Swiss army knife
Feminine Hygiene Needs
Teething ring
Tools and handyman items
Towel, cotton
Towelettes, pre-moistened, box
Trash bags (for human waste / misc. and rubbish)
Kitty litter for use in 5 gallon bucket toilet lined with a trash bag
Trash bags, extra (heaviest and largest available for extra misc. use)
Triangular bandage
Tube tent
Tweezers, pointed
Twine/string (100')
Vise grips
Wallet, with extra identification and $200 in small bills (minimum)
Warmer clothing (generally the elderly have trouble with poor circulation and get cold easier.)
Wash cloth and towel
Water canteen on a strap and cup
Water proof a plastic buckets with lids to store these items
Water purification tablets
Water filter with spare filters
Waterproof map case with necessary maps waterproofed
Waxed cotton thread roll,
Work gloves, heavy duty

The majority of people will need to consider seasonal changes. Every season, make sure to update your stored change of clothes for the appropriate weather conditions and check all your supplies for expiration dates, batteries also. For winter, include coats, hats, gloves, thermal underwear, snow boots and clothes for layering.

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