14 March 2014

Chuckbox Plans - Yes, I Found Them!!

The Chuckboxes
I found the Chuckbox Plans!!! Yah!

I know a little bit juvenile, but I finally found the plans. I have promised to post them as soon as I found them. Well, earlier tonight while searching for a set of pencil crayons, I happened upon the original plans that I used to make the chuckboxes pictured to the right.

You and I both notice right away that the picture to the right and the plans do not match 100%. And for good reason. With penny-pinching embedded deep in my DNA, it was not going to happen that I would purchase any extra sheets of plywood to complete this project. LOL.

I hope these plans help some of you out there. So, you can create your own set of chuckboxes and get out camping.
Page 1 - Chuckbox Plans
 You may notice that I had planned for a few items on page 1, that have not yet materialized on the chuckboxes. Like the holder for paper towel, wax paper, tin foil or plastic wrap. And the reason is, the hinges do not allow the lids to hang pass 90 degrees. Maybe I need different hinges, other than piano hinge.

Page 2 - Chuckbox Plans

 Page 2 shows all the rough measurements I started with.

Page 3 - Chuckbox Plans
 Page 3 has the measurements of the items that HAD to fit into the chuckboxes. And the measurements of the parts of the chuckboxes. You may need to do a similar sheet of the items you need to bring with you on your camping trips. And then customize your chuckbox(es) to fit your gear.

Page 4 - Chuckbox Plans
Finally, Page 4 - the last of the rough figuring before plywood was measured, marked and cut.

I am not a carpenter, and the finishing was rough. If, I were to do it again I would:

Cut out all the pieces and give a quick sand.
Paint all pieces before assembly.
Do a finishing coat of paint after assembly.

I would still use PL-400 construction adhesive and WELDBOND glue where required. 

I would use 3/4" plywood whenever possible. Maybe, use 1" x 6" wide fence boards for the shelves or maybe not. The 1/2" plywood did work well for shelves. The tacking together with finishing nails and/or gyproc screws did work until the PL-400 cured. 

I am not sure if the plans detail it or not, but I used two runners under each chuckbox made from 1"x2" 's. Just to give each chuckbox a little space underneath.

Again, I hope this helps all of you campers and outfitters out there who want to build their own customized camping gear.

Here are the links to the other two articles I blogged earlier:



Always make a plan and follow it.....until it is necessary to modify!


9 March 2014

Four Squares To Resource Management During A Crisis

Not quite what you were expecting?? I am not surprised. Personal hygeine and waste management are not the first item most folks think about at the beginning of a crisis situation, natural disaster or even heading out camping. However, when the need arises - the full magnitude of the oversight becomes a profound life moving moment. Time, may or may not, be of the essence. For some well regulated folks, they will have a few moments to seek, locate and secure an alternative product. However, for some unlucky folks, when it is time-to-go, it is TIME-TO-GO!!!!  Stand clear.

Lightheartedness aside. This is a serious topic and a serious consideration for your planning and operational stages of any disaster management plan - personal, family or community level. It is a natural daily function of the human body to excrete biological waste. So, this must be accounted for in the resources we hold on hand. Like a reserve source of bottled water, food, clothes, light, and a method of lighting fires. We also need a source of toilet paper.

The source of toilet paper I prefer (pictured above) is: Soft & Pure Premium by Kruger Products or Scott. This product comes in 36 rolls per bag for about $22 + GST. Each roll is individually wrapped and has between 480 - 500 (10.7cm x 10.1cm) squares/sheets. 

What does this mean.....well for a family of three (2x males & 1x female), that means 36 rolls lasts just over a year. So, for planning purposes, we have one bag open for use and at least one bag in reserve. Once the bag we are using gets about half empty we replace one bag to our reserve. If we end up being housebound for any reason, we are good for at least 2 years without needing to improvise toilet paper. A year's supply does not take up much space, thus encouraging us to have a few extra rolls around the place. 

Four squares. If you want to start now to educate and convert your family's toilet paper use to a regulated, rationing mindset.......use four squares. For most bathroom visits, a nicely wrapped four square bundle of toilet paper will suffice the cleaning process. By starting with four squares you can determine how much toilet paper your family will need. 

A 500 square roll will provide 125 bathroom visits. A 480 square roll only 120. So, 36 rolls will provide between 4320 and 4500 bathroom visits, depending on the number of squares per roll.

Yes, there will be times that more than four squares will be needed. I, however, suggest getting into the habit of using less of this resource day-to-day, so when you HAVE to ration your toilet paper resources it will not be so difficult. Remember, hand washing after visits to the bathroom is always recommended. Keeping hands clean will prevent the spread of illness or disease, especially fecal-form illnesses.

So, whether you end up on the run and have to use an outhouse, chemical toilet unit or cat-scratch sanitation, always have a supply of your favourite toilet paper on hand.

Stay healthy and happy out there!


23 February 2014

Simple Winter Shelter

Simple Snow Shelter
Just a quick post about Winter shelters for camping or survival. As long as you have snow, you can have shelter.

This shelter is sometimes called a quinzee or quinzhee. It is constructed by making a pile of snow and then hollowing out the interior. This is not an igloo. An igloo is made from wind hardened snow, cut into blocks; that are then stacked to form a dome. 

For those reading other blogs that tell you an igloo is made from ice blocks, best stay clear of such sites. Ice does not have insulating qualities. Snow, on-the-otherhand, is an excellent insulator.
When constructing a snow shelter try to keep in mind that heat rises. Your sleep platforms, ideally, want to be higher than the top of your entrance tunnel. If you do this, you create a cold well in that tunnel - thus all the cold air will stay there.
Interior Sleep Platform

Next you only want to excavate enough space to live in, no extra space. The tunnel in wants to be just big enough for taking snow out and gear in. The sleep platform(s) want to be at right angles from the tunnel. The entrance opening wants to be on the side with the least amount of wind.

When piling the snow allow at least 20 minutes before hollowing out, so the snow crystals can re-form. An hour would be better if you can afford to wait. Once the interior has been hollowed out, put a candle or lantern inside for 15 minutes to warm up, then remove for at least 15 minutes to "ice up" the interior. You are not really trying to create ice, but the heat-chill cycle will help harden and strengthen your shelter. 

These pictures where taken of a snow shelter I built on a pond some 3 weeks earlier. We had had some very warm weather between the build and returning to take photos and I was impressed the shelter had not collapsed. This unexpected discovery sort of removes the notion that a quinzee can only be used for one night as an emergency shelter. 

In my humble opinion, I also believe that having thicker walls and roof will help the shelter survive longer, as long as there is sufficient time for the snow to settle and the snow crystals to weld together.

Remember, knowing how to build a shelter 
will keep you warm and safe.


15 February 2014

Flood Warning Index - Update

Flood Warning Index
Thanks to a little help from my great friends, I am happy to show off my Flood Warning Index. Anyone looking for ideas on how to become more prepared for natural disasters please visit: CanamPreppers.net

If you are at all interested in having folks warned before flood waters swamp a town near you, please share this idea with any and all government types - elected or employed. Maybe one will champion this idea and get it into operation before flood season 2014 begins.  


Well, after speaking with government types and waiting and waiting, it has become evident that if you want something done - you have to do it yourself. Thus the Flood Warning Index. I touched on this topic briefly in an earlier post. Still no action.

So, not wanting another flood season to pass without action I have taken it upon myself to create my own Flood Warning Index. It has a simple colour code - Gray, Yellow, Orange and Red - flood scale. I am currently having challenges getting my spreadsheet image or PDF to paste into my blog. 

The current method of flood warning requests concerned citizens to goto a government website that monitors stream flow in a given geographic region, then select your river basin system and look at a bunch of numbers refering to the volume of water running in the stream. Unit of measure is cubic metres per second. So, the information is out there, but it is far from user friendly. Most folks do not have the time to learn whether 1000 cubic meters a second is a lot of water or not. Unless you are a hydrologist and study water all the time, these numbers are JUST numbers.

In an emergency situation, one of the first parts of the mind to shutdown are the regions used for higher reasoning. Thus, the part of the mind you need most to decipher a stream flow advisory website during a flood is also one of the first parts of the brain that shuts down. When you need it most it is not available.

Flood Warnings, like Hurricane Warnings, Tornado Warnings, Tsunammi Warnings; needs to be easy and very clear to understand. RED = BAD, YELLOW = PAY ATTENTION.

I will edit and update my blog as soon as I can get an image of the Flood Warning Index I created.

Pay attention, most folks don't,



Okay, we have an image to work with for now. This is not ideal, but I will make it work.

The Flood Warning Index contains tools for disaster management folks and the public. How does it work?? Glad you asked.

The Colour Bars on the left edge give the quick flood warning. Red is for floods of extreme volume or extreme speed of change. Gray would be issued with the high stream flow advisory. This lets folks know the rivers, they are a risin'! Yellow and Orange provide increasingly bad conditions of water rising and notify the reduction of time being available to do something about the rising waters.

Flood State is a colour & number system to codify the flood. The 2013 flood of the Highwood River may have been a Red 2 or Red 3. This leaves room for possible worse floods in the future.

Flow Rate is a tool for emegency management types to set the river they manage against the Flood Warning Scale. Thus the amount of water to create a Red 3 flood on the Highwood would barely get the Peace River to the edge of the banks. Thus, the scale can be tailored to each river drainage system, but it has to be done before an event.

Advisory Rate is a recommended time interval between radio annoucements about how much water is in a given river near a given town. The quicker the water levels are rising the more often the townfolks should know what is headed their way. This should continue until peak flow is achieved. After peak flow, this should be monitored, incase weather conditions cause a second rising.

Notice to Move is a method to gauge how ready you the citizen should be in a given flood catagory. You have to use your personal knowledge of your location to know if you need to be gone at the first signs of high water or whether you can wait a few hours.

Readiness is a tool for emergency managers to help decide when to give the notice to evacuate a given location.

Precautions is a suggestion for citizens to be ready to go if forced to evacuate. Of course, local emergency management types could introduce a location specific list for their citizens.

Mitigations is a list of suggestions for making landscapes and communities harder to flood. The lower level floods have more items for the local homeowner, where as, major floods require major projects and co-operation from various government levels and departments.

Finally, Safety & Security is a list of suggestions to be done by the homeowner as they evacuate their property. Local emergency managers could create their own list for their citizens.

Now, we just need to share this idea with those in power, light a match under their butts and get a simple Flood Warning Index into action before the 2014 Flood Season begins. I hope this gets viewed far and wide. Spread the word.

Keep dry out there,


2 February 2014

Book Review by GreyGhost

Evenin' All,

The G.O.O.D. Plan - Get Out Of Dodge is making waves. Thank you GreyGhost for your review. I hope you do not mind that I have re-posted it here on my blog.

Thank you,


PS - Drop by The GOOD Plan Blog, we are being noticed on YouTube as well.

Re: Book Review "The G.O.O.D Plan"

Postby greyghost » Fri Jan 31, 2014 1:34 am
I bought and read "The G.O.O.D. Plan" directly from the author. Very reasonable price and very professional transaction. Also, great guy to deal with.

That being said, you're likely asking was it worth it?

Simple answer, YES!

The author provides a very well thought out publication with a "Canadian" slant to it which I enjoyed. Many of the books out there are most obviously written by Americans whose access and affinity for firearms is quite apparent. The GOOD Plan is very well done, has a great deal of "common-sense" principles and directions. The basics are covered, which is always good, and there are many tips and suggestions that were new.

Good job on the G.O.O.D. Plan. I look forward to further publications if and when they are available.



26 January 2014

Adapt. Improvise. Overcome. A Survival Mindset

Adapt. Improvise. Overcome.

A Survival Mindset

Survival, what is it?? What is survival training?? What do we need to know?? How do we avoid survival gimmicks??

Survival is the art of information management, more specifically the management of knowledge. Survival is a state-of-mind, more than a set of skills. Yes, having skills is important to surviving, but not the most important. The most important tool in your survival kit is your mind!!

It is the training/programming of our mind that is the key to survival in any situation, in any climate, in any season, on any part of the planet Earth. Your mind must be trained/programmed to be constantly observing the world around you, taking in the changing conditions (weather, politics, economics, etc) and constantly assessing what level of risk these change present to you and your family. Your mind needs to be interpreting the risks and devising strategies to avoid or mitigate each risk. This happens hundreds to thousands a time each day, every day.

Should you take a wilderness survival course?? Yes. In fact, you should take every survival course you can afford to take. You should also take courses on first aid, to the highest possible level. Navigation. Languages. Threat analysts & Risk assessments. Communication. Shelters & Construction. Water & Purification. Energy & Generation. History. Politics. Economics. And How Things Work.

As I stated at the beginning, Survival is the art of information/knowledge management. The more you know, the more situations you can survive. Here are two examples:

#1. Lighting a fire. There are hundreds of techniques to light a fire. Fire is important because it can keep you warm in cool/cold climates, it can cook your food and it can be used to boil water to purify it so it is safe to drink. If you only know how to start a fire with a gallon of gasoline and a strike anywhere match, if you do not have a match or gasoline you will not survive. If on the other hand, you have mastered a fire bow, flint & steel or a 9V battery with steel wool, you options for lighting a fire are 300% greater. (Never trust the use of percentages in written material.) So, the more methods of lighting a fire, the better chance you have for success and survival. Thus the skill of fire lighting is important, it is having your mind programmed with as many methods of starting a fire and being able to access that knowledge that is most important.

#2. Driving Routes. What does driving and survival have in common, you may ask. First, it is the process of programming your mind correctly and second, transportation during a crisis or natural disaster may determine who gets to safety and who becomes a statistic. For the purpose of this exercise you live in suburbia or a bedroom community to a major urban centre. On a good day, the commute is 43 minutes from your driveway to the parking lot at work. If you only know one route to work/home and you do not listen to the road reports on the trip to or fro; eventually, there will be a traffic snare-up that causes your route to become clogged with vehicles. The 43 minutes becomes 2 hours and your boss is choked because you missed the meeting with the most important client your firm has ever had. And since you had the presentation on why the partnership would benefit both companies, your absence lost your company the opportunity to grow. Or worse, because you were late getting home your 9 year old daughter, who after waiting for more than an hour sitting on the front porch, accepted an invitation to enter the home of a friendly chap. Seemed like a nice guy, but now pictures of your naked daughter are floating around cyber-space. Cause and effect. It all comes down to managing information and knowledge. If you knew 36 different routes home and listened to the traffic report you could adapt your route to streets with less traffic and you would be home in an hour and a quarter, instead of 2+ hours. Transportation, whether hiking a long trail system or driving a regular route; the more information you have at the time, the better your decisions are for adjusting your route to the current conditions. This is survival thinking, having a survival mindset.

The mind is your survival toolbox, the more tools you put in, the greater chance of survival/success in any given situation. Physical tools can be improvised from the environment around us. Again, the more knowledge you have the better your chances. If you need an axe, one could be fashioned from a chunk of scrap metal and a willow branch, the axe head tied in place with a shoe lace. But if you have no idea how tools are made/constructed, then even having all the components laying around will not help if do not recognize them.

So, what do you need to know?? You need to know what can and will kill you – any day, everyday. We have the rules of three's:

  • 3 minutes without oxygen you die
  • 3 hours without shelter you die
  • 3 days without water you die
  • 3 weeks without food you die
  • 3 months without companionship you die

Base you quest for knowledge on the rule of three's. Learn first aid, to the highest level. If you or someone you care about cannot breathe they die. There is no sugar coating this. Shelter includes the clothes you wear everyday, as well as, any structure you work, play or live-in that provides a controlled environment – constant temperature, protection from the wind, rain or snow. Know how to make water safe to drink. If the water stops coming out of the taps at the kitchen sink you know how-to get water for your family and make it safe for them to drink. Food. This is one of the least important items during a short-term survival situation. The fact is most people in North America and Europe could survival at least 2 weeks without any food at all. Our culture has become fat and lazy, going hungry once in a while would do most folks a whole world of good. Know what it feels like to be hungry. It won't kill you to miss a few meals every now and then. Most folks put more food in the trash each week than the hungry of the world eat each week. Ponder that if you will. Last on our list, companionship, humans are social animals, they thrive with a certain amount of social interaction. Isolation can be made bearable if some form of communication can be established with someone else. Some people require less interaction than others. If you want to test yourself, see how long you can resist watching TV, listening to the radio, checking your Facebook or e-mail, calling on the phone, going out for coffee or any similar activities. Could you stay in your own home for a whole weekend without social contact with anyone else?? Only you can answer this question. If the answer is no. You may want to add to your survival preparations – start/join a community of like-minded folks. So, you can survive with others and then you will not be alone.

You are taking courses, reading, learning, doing. Your mind is a hive of activity. You have plans, back-up plans and plans to back them up, too. You can light a fire on an ice cube in a gale. You can convert a scrapyard into a convention centre. You can even teach others how-to start training their survival mind-set. But what about all that cool gear. Everyone sells it. You can find survival gear on Amazon.com, at the hardware store, the fishing & hunting stores, camping shops, heck, even some grocery stores have a survival section now-a-days. How do I separate the gimmicks from the really useful survival tools?? And what tools do I need?? Let's start by separating the chaff from the wheat, so to speak. No, you do not have to throw your gear into the wind. First, look at the quality of the materials and the quality of the construction. Just cause it costs more does not mean it is made better or made from superior materials. You need the knowledge of how things are made and what constitutes quality materials. Fancy packaging and big claims by marketing firms does not equate to a quality piece of gear. That is just hype. If a product requires hype to sell it, the item is probably a piece-of-crap. Don't buy hype or into the hype.

Quality gear, build/made by quality manufactures will cost more than cheap, assembly-line products from China. But you have to know what to look for on any given piece of gear. Sometimes, the no name made in China product is the exact same piece of gear sold by XYZ Corp from Little Town, USA. If you know your stuff, deals can be had and pitfalls avoided; but that success or failure rests on your shoulders. How you spend your money will determine what gear is available. If it doesn't sell, they stop making it – this is a double-edged sword. If you do not buy quality gear from quality gear makers they will go out of business. If you buy the cheapest gear that crud will never go away. Use your purchasing power wisely. The peak of quality gear is learning how-to make it yourself. Once you can build a knife from scratch, or a backpack/gear vest or a log cabin, you can fend for yourself without Wal-Mart, Costco or the internet.

Adapt. Improvise. Overcome. The three words you hear all the time when you are soldier learning to survive on a battlefield. Failure is not an option. Failure = death, your death. You learn to adapt to your surroundings. Improvise whatever you have in your hands, rucksack or on the ground around you. Overcome any and all obstacles that stand between you and your objective. 

Keep your head in the game,
And you live another day!



18 January 2014

Building Your Own Gear Pouch

Finally, making gear again. Might be short lived, but I am enjoying it none-the-less.

So, if you have recently added new gear to your personal gear inventory and you need to protect that gear between uses......maybe you need to build a custom pouch or case. 

I received this Cree L.E.D. Headlamp and I really like it, but I don't want the lens scratched when I am not using it. Time to build a new gear pouch.

First things first, we need a plan or pattern to work from......
 With the aid of a basic measuring device we discover that the headlamp needs a pouch with an interior about 3" wide and 5" tall and 2" deep. We note this in our notebook. Then we decide how much seam allowance will be needed. Which is about a 1/4" on all sides being sewn.

We also decide that low density foam between the inner and outer layers of Cordura would help absorb shock and a bit of fleece would prevent scratches to the headlamp lens. 

The pouch will employ a Velcro closing belt loop and a side-release buckle for securing the headlamp inside the pouch.

Using tailor's chalk we measure & draw the pieces onto the Cordura. Cut.
Next the fleece is added. Then the foam is sandwiched between the inner and outer layers of Cordura. Since we are just tacking this in-place, you can just zig-zag around the edges. Add any webbing, buckles or similar items to each component - front, back, side.

I like to build each component first. Once all components are complete, then I start to assemble the pouch. First sew the front panel to the sides - lining up top edges and centre line marks, pin in-place.

Next add the sides to the back panel. Once complete, finish the raw edges with nylon seam binding tape.
Once the whole pouch is assembled, do a test fit to ensure that your gear will fit in the pouch. Yeah, it fits!!

Last steps, use a candle flame to remove lose threads and to erase the chalk lines.

There you have it. A couple hours of your time and you have designed and crafted a custom gear pouch from start to finish.

Until next time........If you can't afford it or no one else builds it, build your own custom gear!!