Single-serving burn gel

I’m a big fan of the Water Jel burn relief product. This stuff is the most awesome thing in the world for taking the pain out burns. Years ago I made the mistake of picking up a lawnmower by the exhaust manifold. Ow. I literally could not sleep unless my hand was clutching a bag full of ice cubes, the pain and ache was that strong. Nowadays, I slap some of this stuff on it and -presto- the pain goes away. Nothing magical, its just a topical anesthetic, but when you burn yourself, especially on parts of the body that really make you feel it…like fingertips…the stuff is a wonder.

20150605_181355I keep the large bottle of it around the house but thats really too large for most first-aid kits. Fortunately, they offer single-serving ‘ketchup packets’ of the stuff. Several of these are going into the various FAKs that go in the hunting/fishing bags. Nine times out of ten the burns I get outdoors are the simplest and stupidest ones….those stupid wire handles on the canteen cup. Its a long day of chasing Bambi, you stop to heat some water on the esbit stove to mix up some lunch, your hands are a little cold so you don’t notice how hot the wire handles are at first, and…ouch. And while burns are never fun, the ones on fingers..esp fingertips….really suck. So…a couple packets of this stuff will go into each FAK.

As I was ordering the stuff up offa Amazon I noticed they even make a ‘military’ kit that is suitable for white phosphorus injuries. Kinda cool, although if I’m in a situation where there is a genuiune risk of Willy Pete injuries then things have truly gone off the rails.

I’d posted a while back about Water Jel but didn’t mention the extremely convenient single-serve packets. I ordered them up a few days ago and they just arrived. Figured I’d mention it because it is some really awesome stuff and there’s really no excuse for not having some in your kits when you can get it in something as convenient and small as the single-serving packets.

 

Fixing first aid kit foibles

As you may (or may not) remember, a few posts back I described how the first aid kit I left in my bicycle pannier turned into something less-than-optimal as a result of being left out over the winter.

The problem was that it’s a tough balancing act to have a first aid kit in a watertight/airtight container of some fashion but still be quickly accessible with one hand when youre trying to keep all the red stuff inside you. Turned out that the bicycle pannier may not have been nearly as weather resistant as I thought and as a result my first aid kit suffered a great deal of moisture damage. (Although, to be fair, the items that were wrapped in plastic or sealed in foil fared just fine.)

Okay, spring is (somewhat) here and I’m back to riding my bicycle more. Time to replace that first aid kit. On my bike, my needs are simple – I need some stuff to patch up scrapes/cuts/tears from me being suddenly introduced to the road surface by that great facilitator of ouchies – gravity.

An assortment of gauze, pads, bandaids, some tape, and some antibiotic ointment should do it. Lets see what we have:

20150405_120652It’s just for a bicycle accident, not a splenectomy….the skin stapler, betadine and other over-the-top stuff is in the other kit. For the most common boo-boos related to me flying over the handlebars, this’ll handle most of it. Now, to package it up so it stays clean and dry. In this case, we’ll go with a heavy mylar foil resealable bag. With a reasonable amount of care, and a modicum of force, everything fit into the pouch and left enough room to have a bit of extra material to form a seal:

20150405_121911Make sure the jaws of the sealer are hot enough, slide the open end of the pouch between ’em, squeeze jaws shut for a ten-count, and…voila:

20150405_122632I have a rather…exhaustive….supply of first-aid supplies from an episode of eBay purchasing that may have been a bit over-the-top. I’m dead serious…I’ve got something on the order of 9,600 band aids. Since I had to buy the mylar bags in quantity to get a discount, I should probably but together a dozen similar packages, label ’em appropriately, and pass ’em out as Paratus gifts this fall.

Anyway, I’ll toss this in the bag on the bike and be good to go. Should be watertight, airtight, and pretty much impervious to just about any environmental concern.

MH deadline approaches,TacPack,MilitaryMorons,Wilderness belt,gas piston ARs,Savage Scout

Not to come off as a spammer, but… this Wednesday is the last day to get in on the Mountain House pouch order. After that, the next opportunity will be a #10 can buy around June. Heres the original post with link if anyone is interested. Unlike the #10 cans, these pouches are practical for shorter term emergencies (although rated shelf life is 7+ years) and are great for camping, hunting, vehicle kits, three-day bags and other applications.
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Found this little jewel while cruising the MilitaryMorons.com website. Theres a write-up about them here. They do mention that there is a quantity discount available so perhaps if theres enough interest a group purchase may be in order.
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Clinton vs. Obama, Obama vs. Clinton, and who knows who else wants to get in on the action. Even if Im 110% wrong about the Democrats and their gun control agendas in the coming elections (what are the odds, hm?) do you really think you’ll regret having stocked up on mags and other related materials? Of course not. So, really, skip eating out this week and buy some magazines and ammo. If you’ve got a decent paying job and haven’t wiped out your Christmas bonus yet, pick up some AR lowers.
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I’ve been wearing the Wilderness Instructors belt for a month now and must say that as a gunbelt I’m pleased with it. I’d replaced my DeSantis gunbelt after almost twenty years of daily use with another DeSantis, but I’d been wanting the Wilderness belt for a while now. I like the ‘infinite adjustment’ provide by the Velcro closure and, although this is totally irrelevant, it looks really good. The ability to use it to ‘tie in’ for certain applications (which I’ll probably never do) has some appeal but overall it’s a good piece of gear. I hope I get 20 years use out of it. By the by, it was a Chrismahanakwanzakah gift from the always thoughtful girlfriend.
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The more I read about them the more I think I want to try on of the new gas-piston AR uppers. I’d love to get my hands on an HK416 upper but I would imagine those are big money when you can find one. Anyone have any experience with any of the other AR uppers out there?
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Speaking of boomsticks, it appears Savage has reintroduced their Scout rifle, now with AccuTrigger. $432 dealer cost. I dunno, I’d be tempted but I think the Ruger version might be the better value in terms of workmanship and durability. I’ve heard that the Savage’s had issues with detachable magazines not fitting the guns properly. Usually the mag(s) that came with the gun were fine but if you ordered spares they often didn’t fit without some modification.

Discount meat, politics, Bactine wipes, Battle Bag

Not a bad shopping day yesterday. Hit the bargain meat bin and found 1# bricks, vacuum sealed, of 85/15 (85% lean) Angus ground beef marked down to $1.99. Sealed up nice and tight and in a very convenient brick shape that makes stacking the frozen flesh quite easy. It gets the date written on the package and then its off to the deep freeze. Mmmmm…beefy goodness.

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I do believe I’m ready to give up on the prospect that government will become nicer and less intrusive. The Patriot Act reauthorization is bad enough, but theres a host of other legislation going on that just makes a bad situation worse. Technically, politics isn’t that important to my preparedness except when it conflicts with my ability to get gear… but the more federal police powers that are thrown about the more likely it is that guys like me are going to get under the microscope for ‘suspicious’ behavior. Low profile seems the only recourse.

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Im a bit annoyed with the Bactine antiseptic wipes that I purchased last year. These things are packaged like a little hand-wiping towlette you get with an order of ribs. Little foil pouch (like a condom) and inside is a wet towelette saturated with Bactine. Figured it would be perfect for my first aid kits. Apparently, after time, the packaging degrades to the point that the Bactine starts seeping through the foil paper. Grrrr… so I either have to replace it every year or find something else to use as an antiseptic wipe. Very annoying. Plus, Ive always liked that Bactine smell.

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Blackhawk has a new product out that might solve my quest for a bag for my .308 gear. Its their “Battle Bag”. Lets get this out of the way and call it what it is: it’s a man purse. It’s a shoulderbag with pockets for magazines , radios, etc, etc. Might be just what I need to keep all my .308 gear in one place. No mention of it having webbing but otherwise it seems like an interesting product. Sugg. Ret. Is $100 but who pays retail in this world? Usual colors, but I think I’ll go with the goes-with-everything OD.

first aid kit musings, waterproof, kitchen cabinet, battery size standardization

Generally, if you have an injury that can be fixed with a band-aid, you dont have an injury. In perusing some of the ‘first aid’ kits at the local shops it seems like theyre mostly band-aids, a couple 1×1 gauze pads and an aspirin. If you have a problem that requires any of those, its not really a problem…its an inconvenience. Does that mean I dont carry band-aids and itty-bitty gauze pads in my kit? Nope..I carry ’em, but I carry alot more than that. Historically, my injuries are usually enormous weeping scrapes and abrasions from bicycle accidents, various stitch-requiring tears and cuts, and the infrequent burn. (I’ve been quite lucky in the osteo department…no broken bones.) In looking at prepackaged first-aid kits it seems they are either way too weenie (anything worse than a deep laceration and youre screwed) or way to extensive and expensive. Now, I have to admit, the first aid kits I carry or keep are not designed for ‘I cut myself in the garage and need a bandage’…certainly, they are good for that sort of thing. Rather, theyre designed for ‘whatever is in this bag is the only medical access Im going to have for at least x amount of days’ so it tends to carry things like rubbing alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, betadine, lotsa 4x4s and tape, various non-OTC things, burn gel, lotsa antibiotics, compress bandages, etc, etc. And lotsa stuff to keep injured areas clean and germ-free. To my mind, the most common injuries that Im going to face in an unpleasant sudden ‘wheels fly offa western civilization’ scenario are various cuts and puncture wounds, maybe some burns, the possible gunshot. I cant fix a gunshot wound (except maybe a graze or through-and-through) but I can deal with it alot better with my own kit than some puny 2×2 gauze pads and 1/4″ tape.

Band-aids are necessary, esp. since a small cut can become an infected major problem in short order if its not taken care of……but just band-aids and bactine? Bleah. I (and you) can put together something much more comprehensive for not much more money.

By the way, if you do decide to build your own kit, its alot easier to buy multiples of the contents and make several kits at once. The advantage is that if they are all stocked equally and arranged identically, it makes things easier than making another kit later on when you realize you need one for the car, one for work, one for home, etc. Its also cheaper.

My point is, figure out what possible injuries youre going to sustain and build around that…and especially take into consideration ‘can I get into this bag and open these pouches/packages with my weak hand in the dark when Im bleeding?’. Seriously. ‘Cause if its just you by yourself and you’ve got a problem with your good arm or hand youre really gonna want a kit that you can access easily.
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Post-Katrina New Orleans is rapidly becoming my paradigm for theoretical failure testing…I ask myself “would this be a good [item/strategy/plan] if I were camping out on a rooftop in a flooded out wasteland of a city?”
Its also stressing the importance of portability of items and ,very importantly, waterproofing of containers and items. The ubiquitous GI ammo can gets big nods for being near-bombproof in terms of protection and waterproofing. Loses a couple points for weight and size, though. Pelican cases are great, as are other hard-side waterproof containers. Of course, its also nice if your gear is generally unaffected by moisture. (My Glock and AK, for example, can pretty much be left in a mud puddle for a faw days with virtually no ill-effect.) Critical electronics, though, are easily worth the $ youre going to spend for a good, hard, waterproof case. Pelican makes some small fairly affordable cases that are ideal for small electronics like radios, GPS, palmtops and that sort of thing. And, naturally, if youre going to get a little waterproof hardcase for your electroninc goodie be sure to leave some room in there for some spare batts.
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After the canned goods shopping spree at Albertsons last week I needed to make some space in the kitchen cabinets. My top cabinets are have no shelves and thus items must be stacked and the space isnt utilized as well as it could be. (Jars of spaghetti sauce stacked on top of each other three jars high is just asking for trouble.) Fortunately for $10 a couple shelf standards and brackets were had and some scrap 3/4″ plywood was cut down to fit and the next thing you know -presto- adjustable shelving is in the formerly shelfless cabinet. This frees up a good amount of space since I can now store more in that particular cabinet than I could before. Which means other cabinets now have more room since stuff was taken from them to put in the newly-shelfed cabinet. Moral: utilizing available storage space as efficiently as possible can be cheap and pay off big in terms of giving you more usable space to store things.
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Speaking of batts…..

My plans revolve around exactly two sizes of battery for personal devices: “D” and “AA”. If a device doesnt take them, I find one that does or I modify them to take them. Why? Here’s an example….I was tromping in the boonies earlier this year and the batteries on my GPS were going out on me. I pulled my LED 4-AA flashlight out of my bag and swapped the batteries. The LED light works fine even with near-dead batteries since the power requirements are so small and the GPS continued to chug along for the rest of the day. All because my gear used a common battery size. To be honest, with the advent of LED technology I could probably eliminate the “D” batts from my gear since they are used almost exclusively for MagLites….but there are a few other devices that use them (my AN/PS1 seismic intruder system system, for one). “C” batteries? Getting to be pretty uncommon. The only thing I’ve seen taking C-batts in a long time are vibrators and not much else. 9-volt? Sure, lotsa devices out there use them but I try to stick to the AA’s for those devices. Although they are sometimes hard to find in “D” size, “AA” and 9-volt lithium batts are available at Lowe’s/HomeDepot…. theyre very much worth the extra money. Theyre far more resistant to the affects of temperature extremes and, most importantly, they store for years with little if any degradation of power….meaning that a lithium batt thats sat on the shelf for ten years should still have almost all its original power.

The Japanese are supposedly coming out iwth a new battery technology thats supposed to be even better than lithiums, but I havent found much in the way of details.

So, if you can get your flashlight, GPS, radios, and other goodies to all take one common battery size……..well, you can see the advantages, right?

layout, case for the cheap .38, customer cards, BP

Changed the layout a bit but, more importantly, added tags for those who keep track of such things.
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Know what one of the staples of the various ‘survival’ and gun magazines is? Usually its some sort of ‘versus’ article…things like ‘9mm vs. .45acp’ (very popular), ‘autmatics vs. revolvers’, etc, etc. Another staple that you’ll see thrown onto the pages every year or so is the ‘selecting a [handgun/rifle/shotgun] for self defense’.  Nothing wrong with these articles, while theyre usually informative theyre far from conclusive. My take on it? Theres alot of truth to the old axiom about how ‘any gun is better than no gun’ and that the ‘first rule of gunfighting is have a gun’. Remember the saying ‘in the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king’? Well, in the land of the machete-wielders the man with a HiPoint carbine is king. The point here is that if you have any gun youre several orders of magnitude better off than those who don’t have one. Don’t think so? Theres dozens, if not hundreds, of people in whats left of Louisiana who would disagree.

Of course, its not as simple as just buying a gun, a box of ammo, sticking them in the closet and calling it done. Honestly, thats what alot of people who arent ‘into’ guns do. They buy a gun, fire maybe a box or two of ammo, and then lose interest, put the gun on the top shelf of their closet and say ‘I’m ready’. Hey, its a busy world…we dont all have time to go shooting two or ten times a month. Its a fact that alot of people who buy guns for ‘protection’ arent ‘gun nuts’ and arent interested in a lifestyle, they just want some peace of mind. I can respect that.

So ,you’ve seen the footage of people huddled in their homes, fearful of looters from New Orleans and decided that you want a gun but you dont think you’ll shoot it very much. You want something simple, reliable and of reasonable quality. It should have the ability to dissuade attackers but not be intimidating in recoil. And you dont want to spend alot for something thats going to sit in a closet for most of its life.

Cheap, reliable, effective – select two.

Youre generally not going to get a gun that fits the above criteria for less than $100. Sure, you might luck into someone who wants to unload his .357 in a hurry because he forgot his wife’s birthday and needs to get flowers but those episodes are few and far between. Once youre willing to shell out about $150-$200 youre in the ballpark. Between $200-$300 the offerings become more numerous. In the $300-$400 range theres even more to be had and once you pass the willingness to spend over $500 you can pretty much have anything.

Whats my suggestion? For someone who isnt likely to practice much, just wants something to ‘keep around the house’, and is reluctant to part with much money I’d have to recommend a .38 or .357 revolver. Used police trade-in guns are usually around $160-$200 and are dependable performers. What about those cheap Makarovs, Cz-52s, and Stars? Theyre probably more complicated than the incidental gun owner is willing to put up with. Explaining slide releases, mag releases, chambering a round, safety on, safety off, clearing malfunctions, limp wristing and the like is pretty intimidating for a novice. Handing them the familiar looking S&W and saying ‘point and shoot’ is far less likely to overwhelm the novice.

For less than $200 you can usually find a used .38 (preferably S&W, Ruger, Taurus or Colt…anything else is dropping down the quality/dependability scale).and a box of ammo. So you have a pistol and fifty rounds of ammo. That can be your ‘gateway drug’ gun….take it to the range, preferably with a friend who knows a bit about shooting to show you the ropes, and shoot a bit. If you enjoy it you can always get another gun later, a different caliber, or just something different for fun. Keep your ‘learner’ gun and use it for showing friends how to shoot, as an extra for the spouse, or just as something to enjoy on the weekends. If you discover you dont enjoy shooting you can keep the one gun and know that you have it and can use it if necessary and youre only out $200.

Why not a single-barrel shotgun for $99 at WalMart? Well, any gun beats no gun and if its a choice between no gun or a single-shot shotgun, well, pass the shells.  Even shortened (whcih makes recoil a bit excessive) a shotgun is still pretty big for use around an apartment or house. Great stopping power, no doubt there…..but a one-hand, multiple-shot firearm that can be carried easily and used one-handed seems a better choice.

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Today is the last day on the 10/$10 deal on canned goods at Albertson’s. But here’s the fun part, if you have their ‘savings card’ you get another 50% off…so “10 for $10” becomes “20 for $10”. Needless to say, I’ll be doing more re-arranging in the kitchen cabinets.

The store ‘preferred customer’ cards seem like a good thing. I know alot of people feel that there are privacy issues involved but I dont see it. I found my card on the ground of the parking lot outside the store….so I use it. But the application process that Ive seen doesnt ask for ID or anything even close. Fill in “Sven Gomez” at “4321 Galts Gulch” and a phone number to some pizza joint and -presto- you get your card. Now, there probably is a running tally of what youve purchased kept somewhere but so what? Without a name they cant really trace it to you, right? I suppose if they really, really wanted they could flag things so that when you went through the checkout the clerk would be alerted as he swiped your card and he could then wave to the nice police officer whose been standing around patiently all day waiting for the card to turn up but that seems pretty unlikely, dontcha think? If you really wanna take it a step further, get a dozen cards and rotate them. At my local Albertsons you can give your phone number and they’ll use that if you forgot your card. Pretty easy to remember the phone number of the person in line ahead of you and use it at a later date.

I dont feel that, in this case anyway, my privacy is threatened and it gets me twice as much food at the same price.
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Stethoscope and sphg..sphygo..spyh….blood pressure cuff arrived in the mail today. Next addition to the skillset: taking blood pressure. Should be quite the trick since I’ll be practicing on the bunkerbabe who has skinny arms and necrotishly low blood pressure. If I can get an accurate reading off of her, I should be able to get one off of anyone. (Anyone with a pulse, anyway.)