Fresh Perpetual Stew: Quick, Cheap, & Easy DIY Pots

Fresh Perpetual Stew -- Captain Dave's NewsI overlooked one minor detail when planning my garden—I didn’t think about the cost of dirt and pots. Of course, I knew I would need them, but for whatever reason I was kind of shocked when I got to the store to buy them.


Before I get too far, let’s talk pots. There are pots designed for any needs you may have for your plants. If you want something sturdy you can buy clay pots. If you’re going to frequently move your pots around a space (like I am) then you can buy plastic pots. There are fancy-pantsy painted pots for indoor plants and huge, 50 gallon, decorative rain barrel planter-urns. You can even buy self-watering planters.


One thing you always need to remember when buying pots is that no matter how long the plant lives, the pot will stay with you for a few years provided you don’t break it.


Personally, I feel this is where large home repair stores and nurseries end up cheating gardners. Many times people will justify spending a little bit more money on a decorative pot or a pot that claims to be sturdier than the average container because they know that a pot is an investment. Also, let’s face it, there are a lot of people out there who want to be really decorative and cute with their plants. Since I’m more concerned about the health of the plants rather than the pin-ability of it’s container, I just went looking for plain plastic pots.


Fresh Perpetual Stew || Quickly and easily turn buckets into cheap planters.


Based on my garden design, I needed two smaller pots for my herbs, two larger pots for the veggies, and two rectangular planters for the kale. When I looked at the small pots in the garden section, the 12” x 10.95” round planters were only $5.97, but the plastic was really thin and flimsy. Any sturdier option or larger sized pot and the price would jump $5 or $10.


Fresh Perpetual Stew: Quick, Cheap, & Easy DIY PotsI knew that I wouldn’t be able to justify spending that much money on pots, not without trying to find a better option first. I walked into the main store, looking up and down the aisles when I realized they were everywhere. Bright orange Home Depot promotional painters buckets screaming at me, “LET’S DO THIS.”


A bucket makes a planter I’m thrilled to keep around. White Leaktite 5 gallon buckets are only $4.68 a piece and 2 gallon buckets are $3.85. All you have to do is take a power tool, drill 5 to 7 drainage holes in the bottom, and toss a nice layer of gravel in the bottom. Quick. Cheap. Easy.

Now to most people a few dollars per item isn’t really a big deal, but this trade-off isn’t just about the cash. First, the painters buckets are subtaintially sturdier than a pot of the same size—if you’ve ever worked on a painting project or construction site, you know these buckets can take a serious beating and keep rolling with the punches. They nest in one neat little pile for storage and have handles on the sides to move them around which is a lot easier than moving a traditional pot. Especially with the remnants of the hot summer we’ve been having, the handles have been a relief while moving the plants in and out of the shade three times a day.


Most importantly, let’s think about when SHTF and you’re regretting all of those silly decorative items around your house that don’t serve any purpose besides being cute. Even with the drainage holes in the bottom, a plastic painter’s bucket can haul, tote, cover, and hoist in a diverse range of tasks. Just off the top of my head, here are ten uses for the bucket planter after it no longer has plants in it:

  1. Back-up BOB
  2. Resting stool or stepping stool
  3. Use as an in-ground cooler
  4. Short-term potato storage
  5. Store first-aid supplies
  6. Gathering and hauling firewood
  7. Animal trap
  8. Temporary toilet (while using a trash bag as a liner)
  9. Collect spent brass
  10. Store non-perishibles like rope and paracord

The important thing is to make sure that you have a variety of planters for the needs in your garden. If you want to walk around a home improvement store and get creative with your planters, there are tons of other methods to growing plants. Just remember that all of the items in your house—even planters—should ideally be reusable for survival tasks.

Dave’s Tips: Make the Most Out of Your Paracord


Dave's Tip - Brightly Colored ParacordRight now, there’s 100 feet of paracord in my bug out bag. There’s 100 feet in my car, and there’s a big spool of it in my basement. And I’m not the only prepper who finds Paracord useful. So why is paracord so popular with preppers?


First, when you are trying to improvise a shelter or make repairs, a bit of rope or cord can help. String some paracord between two trees and you have a roof line over which to throw a tarp or even a military style poncho, and your shelter is quickly taking shape. Break a shoe lace or blow out a zipper on your pack? Paracord can help you get up and running again. Need to hang something up, tie something down, or tie a rope a bunch of stuff together? This tough cord can do it.


is so versatile because of its strength and make up. It’s also popular because its affordable. A nylon sheath surrounding 7 thin strands, it has a test weight of 550 pounds, which is why it is often called 550 cord. If necessary, you can pull the thinner white strings out of the paracord sheath and you have a line for fishing, for making a snare, a tripwire, or for sewing up a piece of torn clothing or gear.



A quick Google search will reveal plenty of web sites that tell you how to use paracord for prepping, and provide instruction plans for how to make paracord belts, slings, bracelets and and more. Dave’s tips concentrate on more general guidelines for buying and using paracord in the field:


Dave's Tips: Make the Most Out of Your Paracord || Captain Dave's News & Views



  • Only buy 100% nylon cord, make sure it is Mil-Spec, made in the USA, says it is 550 cord, and has 7 strands inside. Rothco sells excellent 550 cord, but they also sell the polyester stuff for less, so you need to be cautious when you buy it to make sure you are getting the right cord.


  • Don’t cut the cord unless you absolutely must. Let’s say you are in the wilderness and you string some paracord between two trees to make that lean-to or tent. Maybe it takes 20 feet of your 100-foot roll. Don’t cut the 20 feet off the roll. Think: What if the next day you need a 25-foot piece because the trees are further apart? Use knots you can untie, recover the paracord when you strike camp, and you can use it again.


  • When you have to cut the cord and use it for a permanent application, like shoe laces, use the flame of a lighter or small piece of firewood to melt the ends into a solid mass. This will prevent unraveling and make your cord last longer.


  • Don’t expect it to hold your weight. Parachutes use lots and lots of lines — don’t expect a strand or two to hold you up. There’s a reason good climbing and rappelling ropes cost at least 20 times as much as paracord does per foot.


  • Wear all the paracord bracelets and gear you want, but remember that they are there as a last resort. Use the paracord in your backpack or your car trunk before you unravel the bracelet. Save wearable paracord for those emergencies when you don’t have your pack available.


  • You may think that brightly colored paracord is inappropriate for use in a survival situation, but it can be useful to mark trails or call attention to something. Can’t remember exactly where you stashed your backpack? Look for the pink paracord tied to the tree nearby.

Fresh Perpetual Stew: Rules for the Farmer’s Market


In my mind, any urban area that has nice sidewalks and streetlamps counts as “the city.” And don’t get me wrong, I am blessed with a quaint apartment in town. I love having the option to walk to the office, the coffee shop, or the grocery store around the corner, but I always find myself missing the country. I miss seeing the trees growing over dusty gravel roads and passing more tractors than traffic signs. I think about the quiet nights and friendly neighbors and the way you can actually smell the freshness of sunshine.

Fresh Perpetual Stew: Rules for the Farmer's Market || Captain Dave's News & Views


If you’re like most of us, you can’t feasibly quit the city life and move out to a farmhouse right now. But there are ways you can get a taste of country life without jumping all-in. One thing I love to do to get my “country fix” is by going to a local farmer’s market. If you haven’t been to your local farmer’s market, you’re truly missing out.


I’ve found that the state farmer’s market in Raleigh, N.C., is just large enough to be overwhelming, so before I go, I try to stick to one of three missions. I’m either shopping for crafts and baked goods, picking up fresh ingredients for a meal with a friend, or buying plants. I’ve found that setting a goal before going to the market keeps me from getting overwhelmed at all of the interesting booths and allows me to take my time in each section of the market throughout multiple trips.


As I said in my last post, it’s the ideal time to start a fall garden so this trip was strictly for plants, but I still took 20 minutes to stroll around the market. No matter what the mission, follow these rules for success at the farmer’s market:


Scout Around First: Some people think it’s better to go to the market early in the morning while others shop at the end of the day looking for bargains. Either way, you should walk around to see what produce and prices all the merchants have to offer. Some merchants may grow niche variety produce or have special offers depending on how many bundles or pounds you buy. I never spend any money until I’ve seen every stand — that way I can formulate a buying plan that combines the best prices with the most eye-catching items.


Be Friendly: One of the best parts of the market is the social atmosphere. Almost everyone there is having fun, so smile and say hi. Market merchants and other shoppers have tons of wonderful stories and information about their produce and knowledge that they’re happy to share with you. Don’t haggle with the vendors — save that for the garage sale scene — because market sales are a huge portion of their livelihood and you’re already getting great deals.


Bring Cash: I’m really careful when I take out cash, especially when I go to the market. Stay within the budget that works for you, but make sure you bring a little extra. You never know what kind of special finds or treats you may want to splurge on. Also, try your best to bring small bills. When you’re buying produce for $1 or $3 with a $20, you’ll drain the merchant of all their change.



Bring Bags/Boxes for Transport: I admit it, I have tons of plastic grocery bags stored up in the kitchen. Vendors will have bags available for you, but bringing your own plastic bag or a re-usable bag is even better; it is courteous and cuts down on waste. Also consider bringing small cardboard boxes to prevent produce from bruising or provide room for a potted plant. It also keeps dirt from getting all over the floorboards of your car on the way home.



Be flexible: My original plan was to plant snap-beans and dill, but after talking to a few of the vendors I found better options. One grower had some cucumber seedlings 4 for $2 and said they grow really well here in the late summer. Another told me that this summer was so hot that it was too early to start growing dill quite yet, so I decided to grow some rosemary instead. Both of the merchants had been growing plants and herbs in this area for a long time, and were happy to share their local knowledge, allowing me to benefit from their experience.  Whether you are looking for cut flowers or produce, being flexible will help you get the best item because so many items are seasonal and what you saw one week might not be there the next.


I always feel refreshed and creative after spending time at the farmer’s market. Take a break from the rush this weekend and visit your local farmer’s market to see where it can take you. It’s a very different experience than the grocery store or big box store with a greater sense of community and gets you closer to the field and the farmer.


I found the perfect containers for my plants! Want to see how the garden turned out? Check in weekly for updates and articles with a survival twist on gardening, cooking, DIY skills, and more from Fresh Perpetual Stew.


Dave’s Tips: Some Survival Jobs Call for a Hatchet

There a great deal of emphasis put on survival knives these days, and they are featured prominently on survival-related TV shows, often as the primary tool given to a survivalist abandoned somewhere off the beaten track.


Dave's Tip 3We like a good survival knife, and we sell plenty of blades that fit into that category. But we also like the simple hatchet, which has many outdoor and survival uses and is often a better choice than a knife. For example, you may be able to chop down a small tree to make a ridge pole using your knife, but the job will go faster with a hatchet. You may be able to use the butt of your knife as a hammer, but that’s another job for which your hatchet is better suited.


The simple, old-fashioned hatchet, sometimes known as a camp axe, excels at chopping, splitting, and hammering jobs, but when properly sharpened, it can also be used for a wide variety of cutting tasks. While different from a tomahawk, a hatchet can be also used as a weapon in a pinch.


Hatchets are available with wood, metal and fiberglass handles. We prefer wood because it can be replaced in the field and do not like metal because of the extra weight. (A basic hatchet weighs about two pounds, more than half of that being the weight of the axe head.) Fiberglass is an excellent alternative to wood but may be more expensive.


Well before reality TV, the novel Hatchet was a favorite survival tale for young adults. Used correctly, a hatchet will quickly become a favorite tool for outdoor survival, right up there with your knife.

Dave’s Tips:

  • By choking up on the handle or holding it by the head, a hatchet can be used for more delicate tasks such as carving, as a scraper, or to prepare food like you would with an ulu.


  • If you are required to defend yourself with a hatchet, throwing it is a last resort and not recommended. Swing with controlled strokes, catch your opponent’s blade with the head of your hatchet, and remember that you can bash them with the back of the head or the bottom of the handle, as the situation allows.


  • Like a survival knife, using a hatchet improperly or carelessly may result in an injury. Always be careful when you are chopping or splitting wood to avoid chopping your leg or foot if you slip or miss the intended target.


  • Hatchets can be worn on your belt or strapped to your pack. Holsters can be made from kydex, leather or canvas, but a simple twist of paracord can also keep one in place.


  • Keep a hatchet in your vehicle and with your bug out bag. If you find yourself in the wilderness, a hatchet can help you construct a shelter, start a fire, and build other tools.

Fresh Perpetual Stew: An Introduction to Your First Survival Garden

Captain Dave is pleased to welcome columnist NCPrepper.  She plans to report in regularly on her first urban survival garden and share other cooking and food prep tips for preppers in the column Fresh Perpetual Stew. To learn more about perpetual stew and other prepping tips, check out our Captain Dave’s Survival Guide


Growing up in rural Louisiana, I was always helping my mom with her garden. In the spring we’d sit on the couch at night and map out plans on a bright yellow notepad. Basil and rosemary in the front beds, tomatoes and cucumbers in the side yard, and of course new flowers along all four sides of the house. By the time summer rolled around there would be cosmos and zinnias popping up along the raised beds and our kitchen counter would be covered in more ripe, juicy cherry tomatoes and meaty Romas than we’d know what to do with. We’d water in the morning, checking the plants and picking a few veggies, then water again at night and pick a few more. Mom would even go through and pull these large green caterpillars off our tomatoes and squish them between her bare fingers—one of the many pests that loved our tomatoes. As the summer would wind down we’d give a hefty portion of our harvest to our neighbors and friends at church, mom would make basil pesto and freeze tomatoes for sauces in the fall and winter months.


Every year Mom’s garden rolled us through the seasons and every year the garden got bigger. By the time I was in high school, Mom was working at a greenhouse in the next town and bringing home transplants to give to the neighbors and filling our beds with a premium topsoil that was the secret recipe from the owner. From 1992 til 2008, Mom studied the light conditions and rain, read books on homemade fertilizers, and took each season to improve her gardening skills as well as the garden itself.


What my mom didn’t realize is the same thing that many preppers don’t realize—the experience you gain while building out a garden season after season gives you an invaluable set of survival skills. Many survivalists assume that gardening is quick and easy; it’s not.
You can pick up a knife and throw it at a tree, then immediately walk over, grab the knife and practice again. With a garden, practicing is a multi-year process you have to wait a few months to see results and a year before you get another throw.


Figuring out your gardening methods—what plants to grow, how to space out seeds or transplants, fighting off pesky bugs, protecting your plants from extreme elements, even figuring out how to properly water your plants—takes patience and observation. During those years, you learn how to optimize the available land, the best ways to season, cook, and store your yields, and even bartering techniques for fertilizers and more plants.


I’ve decided to get some hands-on practice in my new location by starting my own garden. Since this is the first fall I’ll be living here and my apartment is limited on space, it took a little planning and some research to find out what kind of planting would actually work in Zone 7A. Lucky for me, this weekend is the optimal time for planting a fall garden here in Durham and if you’re new to gardening, this is the perfect time and place to start.


According to the NC State University and NC A&T University Cooperative Extension’s publication Central North Carolina Planting Calendar for Annual Vegetables, Fruits, and Herbs, there are “three optimal growing seasons: spring, summer, and fall.” Furthermore, the publication is the best resource for starting a garden in North Carolina, but if you’re growing in another state, your state university system’s Agricultural department will have similar resources (many will even test the pH levels in your soil). With six pages of succinct and useful information, you’ve got an introduction to the climate, basic plant disease and pest control, and planting dates for bulbs, crowns, seeds, transplants, and tubers that are successful in our region. Look closely at the planting calendar and you’ll see that a long list of fruits and vegetables grow successfully during the North Carolina fall and the majority of your fall garden should be started in the beginning half of August.


Our winters are just slightly too cold for annual plants, so it’s best to opt for growers that will quickly mature through their whole life cycle in only one growing season. Also, from that list choose vegetables that you want to eat or at least pick the veggies that other people in your life will take off your hands. If you want, do a little extra research to see which plants will be the most beneficial to you in a survival situation.



I will be starting my garden very small this year because there are only two mouths to feed in my household, but it’s also good to see how much you can plant in the space you have, how much yield you can sustain at a time, and how much time you’re willing to commit to caring for your plants. I’m planning on growing three heads of kale, two tomato plants, two snap-bean vines, one pot of dill, and one pot of parsley, but depending on space and number of mouths you want to feed, you may decide to grow more. Whatever you choose remember that you’ll always be able to build out in the seasons to come.


I’m planning on buying kale and tomato transplants from a local farmer’s market, but they are often available at Lowe’s and Home Depot and local garden centers.  I will buy seeds for snap-beans, dill, and parsley.  Once I break ground, I may find I also need a few bags of nutrient-rich compost, and I may grow some items in containers so I can move them indoors when frost threatens.  Farmers markets may also be good sources of supplies and I will visit both my local farmer’s market and the state farmer’s market in Raleigh.

These five plants mentioned above are easy growers for beginning gardeners who are limited on space and suitable for fall planting. All five have qualities that make them beneficial for survival gardening and can easily teach you a wide variety of gardening tricks without investing in a huge haul of plants:


I love kale and they don’t call it a super green for nothing. Kale is calcium-rich and contains high levels of vitamins A, C, and K. Low calorie and high in fiber, pairing kale with potatoes means that you can easily and quickly create a well-rounded, satisfying meal. Can it, cook it, blend it in a smoothie, or eat it in a salad, kale is a versatile food. Kale is a perpetuating green which means that you can pluck off a leaf and they keep growing.

Kale takes up space as it grows, but considering how hearty and healthy it is, kale is a great option for any survival garden.  Like most members of the cabbage family, it is cold hardy and thrives in fall gardens.




Tomatoes are a family favorite in my house. Growing up we always had cherry tomatoes, Romas, and better boys in our summer gardens, and late summer in Durham is warm enough to grow another round of tomato plants for the fall. Make sure that you have room for tomatoes to vine up and they’ll grow really well on their own. You don’t have to be Italian to find a million ways to eat tomatoes (although it helps). Slice them raw for sandwiches and salads, cook them into sauces, or can them for storage.

Cherry tomatoes are perfect for those beginning gardeners who are being conservative in their first gardening projects because you’ll get an idea of what it means to care for a hearty plant as well as yield a good sampling of produce.  Pick a variety that has a short maturity date for fall gardens to ensure you can harvest ripe tomatoes before the first frost.



Snap-beans are easy to grow and can easily take over a space. Vine beans grow fast and full so you’ll be able to yield a harvest between 50 and 70 days. If you’re in a survival situtation (or prepping for one) odds are you have dry or canned beans in your stores, but all beans are a little different. By starting with snap-beans, you’ll be able to learn more about growing things from the bean family which will eventually lead to drying and canning.

Fiber, proteins, carbohydrates, and nutrients—the combination of all four in snap-beans make a great meat substitute.



ill isn’t a vegetable, but since we’re starting small, herbs are great plants for a first garden. Dill is formally known as a dill weed and it grows just like that—an aggressive, take-over-everything weed. I’m going to put mine in a pot and away from my other plants so it can have it’s own space without choking out my other plants. Once the weather gets cold, I’ll be able to bring the pot inside and keep it growing all year round. Dill is also great for a survival garden because you can start practicing the process of drying out plants and herbs for long-term storage and they’re great for spicing up bland foods.

Dill weed is also great if you’re planning on getting into canning. Hello, pickles!



I chose this second herb because growing multiple herbs are great for new gardeners. While you can dry parsley and bring it inside for the winter, growing multiple herbs at the same time teaches you how to keep herbs in a small space without cross-contaminating their containers and essentially their flavors. Online you’ll see photos of herbs really close together in these really need growing setups and they end up tasting terrible because if they’re too close, they’ll all taste the same. No one wants a thyme-dill-mint-rosemary-parsley-oregano plant six times over. Yuck. Aside from being easy to grow, parsley complements lots fall and winter soups and sauces like tomato soup, chicken noodle, or even stew. By cooking with parsley, you’ll be mimicking a lot of the same types of meals you’ll be making in a survival situation like perpetual stew.

If you want to teach yourself how to incorporate your homegrown, fresh ingredients into your cooking and maximize all of your stores, parsley is a great place to start.


Even if you decide to just start with one plant you’ll find that growing a garden gives you more than just the benefit of healthy, fresh produce. You’ll save money on your grocery bill. You’ll spend time outside in the sunshine and feel satisfied knowing that you’ve grown something from your own efforts. With every plant you put in the ground, you’ll learn more about your ability to survive and teach your kids the responsibility of caring for their surroundings. You’ll find that gardening is way more than just a hobby—it’s a missing building block in your arsenal of survival and life skills.


Next week I’ll give you an update on this weekend’s planting adventure and what I found at the farmer’s market. Check in weekly for updates and articles on gardening, cooking, and DIY skills with a survival twist from Fresh Perpetual Stew.


Dave’s Tips: Stock Mouse Traps to Protect Your Food from Vermin

Dave's Tips: Stock Mouse Traps to Protect Your Food From Vermin || Captain Dave's News and ViewsIt’s been months since the electricity worked and your survival stash is running low. You head into the pantry to grab a cup of rice to make dinner and you see a hole in the bag and tiny brown mouse turds. Looks like you aren’t the only person eating rice tonight.

A mouse in your pantry today can be annoying, but a family of rodents competing with you for your survival supplies in a TEOTWAWKI situation is much more serious. Not only do they consume the food you were saving for yourself and your family, they can contaminate it with their feces and they can spread germs. In fact, the World Health Organization estimates that 20 percent of food is destroyed annually by rodents. Mice, rats and other rodents can spread disease such as hantavirus and salmonella, while their parasites can spread the Lyme disease, the plague, pox, and typhus:


Dave's Tip: Leave a candy bar out to act like a mouse magnet. Mice and other pests not only eat your food, they can destroy furniture, bedding, and insulation. In a survival situation, where you cannot run out and replace things because the stores are all closed, the destruction cause by mice and rats could spell the difference between life and death.

This is not a time to be humane; it’s time to kill the mice. Dave recommends that you stock the old fashioned “snap traps” like those made by Victor. Their metal petal trap is often available in big box stores and can be purchased in bulk online. These are proven mice killers and can be either disposed of or re-used after a kill. (While you are at it, stock up on some larger traps, too.)

If possible, wear rubber gloves when you handle dead rodents and wash thoroughly afterwards. In areas where the hantavirus has been prevalent, you may want to wear an N95 face mask to help protect you from inhaling the virus while you clean an area frequented by rodents. Clean and sanitize the area after you have removed the infestation and consider spraying an insecticide to eliminate fleas and other parasites that may have tagged along with the mice.



Dave recommends the following tips:

  • If your preps include storing food for emergency use (and they should), plastic containers are rodent resistant, but not as secure as metal and glass.
  • Inspect your food storage area regularly for signs of infestation, especially as the weather turns cooler and mice look for a warm, secure place to nest.
  • Leave a small “fun size” candy bar out in plain sight near the wall. This acts like a mouse magnet and will attract them well before they hit your grains and other stored foods. If the candy bar has been nibbled on, you know it’s time to set and bait the traps.
  • You can help rodent-proof your house, barn or shed by stapling hardware cloth over any openings you find. This metal mesh will keep squirrels out of your attic and mice out of your basement.

Back To School Sale: All Cargo Shorts are 10% Off

According to Dierdre Clement, author of the book Dress Casual: How College Kids Redefined American Style, “In wearing cargo shorts, polo shirts, New Balance sneakers, and baseball hats, we are ‘living out’ our personal identifications as a middle-class Americans.”

And to think, we like cargo shorts simply because it’s hot out and they have lots of pockets so we can carry our stuff.

Whether you need new shorts because you want to express your sense of freedom, make a person style statement, or simply head back to school with the newest camouflage patterns, you can save 10% and get free shipping when you shop our limited-time sale at

From traditional khaki and olive drab cargo shorts to more than 10 different camo patterns, we’ve got you covered with big, baggy cargo shorts that never seem to go out of style.

The Paratrooper Cargo short is a moderately baggy short that ends just above the knee and is great for hiking or hanging out. Want a longer look? Go with the Vintage Utility Cargo short for the ultimate in a relaxed comfortable short that will go below the knee on most guys.

Free shipping is available storewide for customers in the lower 48 states. To get the extra 10% savings, be sure to use the coupon code “Cargo10″ at checkout.

Dave’s Tips: Redundancy and Variety are Critical for Preppers

Redundancy and Variety are Critical for Preppers || Captain Dave's News & Views

“One is none and two is one” is an old saw for most serious preppers. It addresses the fact that if you have only one of something, you may soon have none since it is likely to break or wear out. Redundancy is important, but don’t forget to add some variety to your redundancy.

For example, imagine that you decided to count on a water filter to filter all your water. You go out and by a Katadyn Ceradyn filter or a Big Berkey. Knowing that “one is none and two is one” you buy the spare parts kit and some extra filters. Knowing that you can always boil water if necessary, you figure you are covered.

Dave's Tip || Redundancy and Variety are Critical for PreppersBut having only one approach to water purification is a potential liability. If you need to bug out on foot, you can’t haul a big gravity filter – you need a smaller, portable filter like backpackers use. If you are in the field and need to quickly purify water, you might be better off with a filtration straw or a sports bottle filter. There may be times when having water purification tablets is also a good idea due to their small size and low cost.

The same rule applies to many areas. For example, if you are picking up some heirloom seeds to store, don’t buy only one variety of green beans or squash. What if one variety does not perform well in your zone or your soil conditions? What if a particular mold or pest likes that variety in particular? It’s good to have an alternative to fall back on, because we all know that doing the same thing over and over again while expecting a different result is one definition of insanity. And what harm does buying an alternative variety do? None. If the first variety yields a robust harvest, you can simply save the seeds and replant next year.

I had an incident with a chain saw that illustrates how something can break beyond our ability to repair it. I had been using the same chain saw for 15 years. I had several spare chains, a spare bar, spark plugs and air filters stocked for it. Pretty well prepared for whatever might happen, right? Until one day, I am clearing a tree downed by a storm and the saw started smoking. I shut it off and noticed that my pants are covered in bar and chain oil. The reservoir inside the saw body that holds the oil had cracked and the oil had drained right out, rendering the saw inoperable and leaving me a sticky mess. If I had not had a back-up saw, I would have had to resort to the axe and bow saw to clear the fallen tree.

Even worse, imagine a TEOTWAWKI situation where your saw suffers a catastrophic failure and you have no axe or hand saw. You’d be up the creek without a paddle.

Dave's Tips: Keep backup chainsaws and saws in case you cannot repair a broken one.

Dave’s tips:

  • Have two or more of everything you expect to rely on in a survival situation, but also have two different approaches or methods to do something.
  • Remember: Man plans; God laughs. If Plan A fails, you need to have a Plan B to fall back on.
  • Never have just one way to get to your bug out location, one way to communicate, one way to cook food, or one way to defend yourself.



Product Spotlight: Combat Knives by Spartan Blades

There’s very little that makes us happier than days when new knives are delivered. Okay, so maybe we’re happiest when there are doughnuts on delivery day (hint, hint, Dave), but there’s nothing like cracking open the packaging on a brand new knife, especially if it’s from Spartan Blades. We were especially happy to recieve three brilliantly designed modern interpretations of classic combat knives: the Spartan-George V-14 Dagger, the Difensa, and the Spartan-Harsey Hunter.


A Spartan Blade is a worthy investment for serious serivce members, hunters, outdoorsmen, and knife afficianados because it will thrive for years in harsh settings. Spartan designs are used by elite military units and martial agencies of the U.S. Government and now Canada, and are used in hand to hand combat in Iraq and Afghanistan which means that the knife you buy is held up to the highest of standards. After wiping the drool from our chins we passed the blades over to our knife guy to help us explain our excitement.



This combat knife is one of four collaborations between Spartan Blades and world renowned knife maker, William “Bill” Harsey. Designed for Canadian special operations this knife is designed to perform from the Canadian Wilderness to missions on foreign soil. Spartan-Harsey collaborations are award-winning and the Difensa lives up to the Harsey legacy. Check out the notes from our knife expert:




Difensa by Spartan Blades || Product Spotlight: Combat Knives by Spartan Blades





Most Spartan Blades are fighters first, but the Harsey Hunter is more of a double-duty knife — it can be used as a combat knife but also performs well as a hunting knife. Another collaboration between Spartan and Harsey, the Harsey Hunter was designed so that military personnel could carry it after returning from a tour for hunting, camping, and other outdoor pursuits. Added bonus? Bill Harsey hand grinds every single Harsey Hunter knife from his knife shop in Oregon so it’s the closest thing you can get to a custom knife without going to a custom shop.




Harsey-Hunter by Spartan Blades || Product Spotlight: Combat Knives by Spartan Blades




The dagger symbolizes the elite of military special ops units and intelligence agencies and who better to collaborate on this revamp of the classic style, than prior service Marine, Les George. To overcome issues with the weaker daggers of the past Spartan and George have used better materials and thoughtful design. Hollow grinding creates 4 almost symmetrical bevels, then each blade is vacuum heat treated, double-deep cryogenically treated, and finally double tempered to keep the edge tough. The V-14 is a true combat dagger from blade to grip.V-14 Dagger by Spartan Blades || Product Spotlight: Combat Knives by Spartan BladesOver the course of their  combined 43 years of Special Forces and Infantry experience, the  founders of Spartan Blades, Curtis Iovito and Mark Carey, found that many of the knives they used during their service couldn’t hack it in the field. They set about to change that and every Spartan Blades is made to a high standard that impresses military professionals, knife makers, and steel experts alike. We stock over a dozen Spartan Blades in various models and styles.


These semi-custom knives are made to order and when they sell out, it can take weeks or months to restock.  Stop by our Durham store to put your hands on a Spartan Blade or shop online — where every Spartan blade you see is in stock for immediate shipment.


Captain Dave’s has one of the best selection of knives in the Durham area. You can see our collection of fixed blade knives, folders, multi tools, neck knives, and machetes online or stop in our show room to handle each one.


Ranger Up: Unapollogetically American

Wearing a Ranger Up shirt can be a bold statement for the discerning customer, including veterans, law enforcement officers and patriotic Americans.  And what better time to proclaim your support for the American way of life than right now?


We are proud to offer and recommend Ranger Up shirts and are pleased to put them on sale for a limited time.  Right now, they are as low as $20.95 and every shirt comes with free shipping to the Continental U.S.


Some of our favorite designs are tailored to law enforcement officers. Collections like the popular Sheepdog designs that state “There are wolves. There are sheep. I am the sheepdog.” or “Evil Exists When People Ignore It” pay tribute to often under-appreciated officers. Another favorite is the Thin Blue Line collection that honors officers as the dividing line between “Order” and “Chaos.”


Others are targeted is specifically to combat veterans. including the My Watch Never Ends Army Veteran shirt and the Best of Times Combat Flag shirt.


Patriots will like designs such as the Sons of Liberty, Free Men Don’t Ask Permission, or I Will Never Apologize for Being American shirts, there is probably a design that catches your eye and matches your lifestyle.


And if you can’t find a design that strikes a chord with you, well, we admit that Ranger Up shirts aren’t for everyone, especially the politically correct crowd.  IMG_4245When you put on a Ranger Up shirt, you aren’t just wearing a great product made in the U.S.A., you’re making a statement and wearing a message designed by a team of combat veterans who know exactly what it means to fight, protect, and serve. Ranger Up is founded, owned, and operated by veterans, so their hard-hitting graphics and bold commentary resonate with the true American mindset.


Right now you can get Ranger Up shirts for as low as $20.95 with free shipping on our website and at our storefront in Durham. We offer more than 35 Ranger Up designs on normal fit and vintage style t-shirts.