I THOUGHT YOU SAID “DUCK” TAPE…

Duct-Tape-300x300Confession: the first time I heard someone mention duct tape, I thought they were saying “duck” tape. All sorts of questions came to my mind… Why would you need to tape ducks together? Was there a special adhesive that worked better on feathers compared to Scotch tape or masking tape? If two ducks were taped together in the forest and no one was around, would they still quack? The more I thought about these questions, the more I questioned my own existential being. Surely, the reason for duck tape reached beyond the practical need to bind ducks together. I dropped out of chiropractic college, sold my Vespa and traveled east in search of answers. After 10 years, I was in Nepal and had hired a Sherpa named Peter (his parents were huge Easy Rider fans) to take me to a remote peak in the Himalayas that was reputed to be the vortex of mysterious and powerful energies. I sat in meditation for 8 days and nights, no food and the only water I drank was from the melted frost that formed on my upper lip. Nothing happened. No answers regarding duck tape were revealed to me. Perhaps my soul was marred and unworthy of such revelation. Perhaps there were mysteries that were not meant for mortal man to discover. Perhaps the answers were right in front of me but beyond my personal understanding.

Just when I had given up all hope, a strong wind picked up and seemingly out of nowhere, a mailer from Harbor Freight Tools blew right into my face. As I removed the mailer featuring the latest specials and discounts, I noticed a coupon for Duct Tape. DUCT tape. And then the revelation hit: it’s tape for ducts. Ducts do come apart and need repair. And you need an adhesive that works better on sheet metal compared to Scotch tape or masking tape. Only one question remained: if a duct breaks in the forest, does the escaping air make a sound? That last one almost sent me back on another decade-long journey but then I realized there aren’t any ducts in the forest. Whew! I returned to the states, completed my chiropractic training and investing heavily in soy commodities. I made a fortune and today I live like a king, but I still do my own home repairs. And being a do-it-yourselfer, I always have several rolls of 2 in. x 50 yd Cloth Back Sliver Duct Tape from Harbor Freight Tools on hand. The all-purpose duct tape has thousands of uses around the workshop, jobsite and home. The polyethylene backed, rubber base adhesive duct tape is great for quick and easy repairs, labeling, sticking items together (sans ducks) and sealing. Resistant to water and abrasions, this general-purpose duct tape is a must have for the professional and do-it-yourselfer alike. And the great news is that you don’t have to travel half way around the world, hire a guide named after an actor whose heyday was in the 70s and drink melted frost from your upper lip to acquire  2 in. x 50 yd Cloth Back Sliver Duct Tape. With over 500 locations nationwide, just visit your local Harbor Freight store or get it at harborfreight.com.

(Disclaimer: No ducks were harmed in the writing of this article.)

2 in. x 50 yd Cloth Back Sliver Duct Tape
Sku: 94714
$4.29

There’s No Need to Fear… Predator Is Here!

inverter generator 2500

Was I the only little kid who thought Sweet Polly Purebred was a fox? Well, I’m sure she was a canine of some sort. Anyway, it’s Underdog Day, and far be it for me to neglect a day that honors the heroes in stories who don’t get the credit they deserve. Take, for example, Sean Parker. Who, you ask? Why, the creator of Napster and the reason why we’re shvitzing on the elliptical with an iPod instead of a Walkman (he says, you’re welcome). How about Philo Farnsworth, the inventor of television? He was born in a small log cabin in Indian Creek, Utah (you can’t make this stuff up). So next time you get your U-verse bill, give him a big air-kiss of gratitude. The underdog I’d like to showcase, however, is the humble, yet powerful, Predator 2500 Peak/2200 Running Watts, 4.7 HP (125cc) Portable Inverter Generator, a new addition at Harbor Freight Tools. Utilizing built-in inverter technology, the inverter generator produces a cleaner power curve, that makes it deal for your more sensitive electronics. Designed more efficiently, it gives you more power with lower fuel consumption– about 20% lower!– and weighing less than conventional generators, the inverter generator is ideal for RV, camping and boating excursions! Inverter generators have some other real advantages over conventional generators. For instance, they’re quiet. So in scenarios where you’ve opted not to use a generator because of the noise, this baby’s the bee’s knees. Not just for camping and early-morning garage projects, but also at work sites and tailgate parties! Also, I mentioned sensitive electronics. While a conventional generator can run a computer, too, when it comes to things like lighting and sound systems, you don’t get any of that flickering with the inverter generator. This is really the cleaning, coolest peace-of-mind you’re going to find in both remote and emergency situations. Here’s what actual customers had to say about the Predator Inverter Generator from Harbor Freight Tools:

“The first pull I wanted to go very slowly to turn it over a few times first. IT STARTED. I was startled. I’ve never had a mower, generator or anything start that easy. After letting it warm up I turned on a 1500 watt heater and the generator barely felt it. I powered up the refrigerator to see how it would respond. My 2000 watt Generac inverter nearly dies when the refrigerator comes on. This Predator inverter generator started the refrigerator and ran it with very little effort. Very powerful generator I’m completely satisfied with it so far.”  Hammer Time – North Carolina

“Competitive price, it is very quite comparable to the Honda 1000i. Amazing deal!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”  Falcon – New Jersey 

So, as with all true blue Underdogs, so it is with the Predator Inverter Generator: “When help is needed, I am not slow; for it’s hip-hip-hip and AWAY I GO! ”   Predator 2500 Watt 4.7hp Inverter Generator: SKU #61169, $499.99

The Camouflage Utility Blanket, Projectile Cantaloupe and Haute Couture Fashion

utility-blanketThe 72″ x 80″ blanket is big enough to wrap around most furniture and thick enough to protect finishes. Double-stitched for durability, the blanket is ideal for moving, placing items in storage or protecting furniture during construction. Customers love this blanket though we have to admit, there have been a lot of questions about why the blankets have a camouflage design. It all started back in the early 2000’s. Fashion icon Valentino was reviewing fabrics for his spring line.

While pondering a bolt of raw silk, he was suddenly struck in the head with a cantaloupe (long story, but will suffice to say never stand within throwing distance of your personal assistant who’s on her third day of the Scaresdale diet). He was temporary rendered unconscious. While unconscious, he dreamed that he was a general in the fashion army and wore a camouflage field uniform, a.k.a. fatigues. He was meeting with his two military advisors, Giselle Bündchen and Kate Moss, to plan an all-out offensive on Michael Kors for selling out to Target. In his dream, he turned to Giselle and said “Darling, why do they call what I’m wearing fatigues?” To which she responded, “Because, darling, camouflage is so bourgeois, you feel fatigued just wearing it.” Valentino woke from his dream with two things: a nasty lump on his head from the projectile cantaloupe and the commitment to integrate camouflage into haute couture fashion.

As coincidence would have it, Valentino’s stepsister’s second cousin once removed was friends with the first cousin of the ex-wife’s niece of the woman who happened to be married to a buyer at Harbor Freight who was forced to go to a fashion show while vacationing with his wife in New York where Valentino’s new line of camouflage fashion was being revealed. On the way home from the fashion show, he too was struck by a cantaloupe (long story, but will suffice to say never stand within throwing distance of a malfunctioning mechanical orangutan at a produce stand). He woke up with two things: a nasty lump on his head from the cantaloupe and, well, you can figure out the rest… The 72″ x 80″ Camouflage Utility Blanket from Harbor Freight Tools—the perfect integration of function and fashion.

The Apartment Prepper’s Predator Generator Review

survivalist apt prep
When imagining the emergency prepper– or survivalist (is there a difference? Not sure.)– you might think of a thick-bearded misanthrope in a rural or semi-rural environment, with a steel-reinforced cabin, a bush-camouflaged bunker, gas masks hanging from coat racks and arsenals stashed in hollowed-out redwoods– kind of like John Malkovich in “Red,” but not as eloquent. He recites the Pledge of Allegiance with his family every day in their basement and teaches his kids CB slang in case the power grid goes down.

On the most part, this perception is way off. Closer to the norm are the legions of ordinary families in all types of settings– rural, suburban and, yes, even urban– preparing for what they feel will be an inevitable disruption in society, either by social upheaval or natural disaster. They store food, water, fuel, portable wealth, clothing and blankets, alternative power, communication and first aid supplies. History has shown what can happen when the system breaks down, and these Americans don’t want to fall victim to the consequences. It’s all good fun, watching them on cable reality shows, going through their drills and stockpiling their tarps… but then something else sinks in: a lot of what they’re saying makes uncomfortable sense.

apartment prepper mast

Which brings me to that survivalist of the urbane world, the Apartment Prepper . The city-dwelling survivor can prepare for emergencies, much like their more countrified brethren, save it be for some environmental modifications. One thing they do share is the need for sustainable power in the event of a crisis. If you’ve ever experienced a blackout or disaster, you know how quickly the wheels can fly off the wagon around the neighborhood.

8750 Watt Generator

Recently, Harbor Freight Tools delivered a Predator 420cc, 8750 Watts Max/7000 Watts Rated Portable Generator to the good people at The Apartment Prepper so they could put it to the test. They published their findings on their blog in “Setting Up a Generator”, an extremely helpful guide for a fledgling survivalist to choose and set up their generator for those SHTF moments.

First, deciding which one you need:

Every generator includes the wattage it is rated for, and the maximum watts you can use with it.  In this case, the Predator Generator is ’7000 rated watts; 8750 maximum watts.’ What does this mean? This means there is a bit of calculation involved when deciding which devices you will be using with the generator.  This is to make sure that the items you want to plug in are below the rated and maximum wattage ratings of the generator The manual included a Wattage Calculation Table, along with Wattage Calculation Charts, which gave the “Running Watts” and the “Additional Startup Watts” for common household appliances.  For example, you want to use a combination of appliances:

  • computer with monitor, it will need 800 running watts, but 0 additional startup watts.
  • A refrigerator/freezer needs 700 running watts, and 1500 startup watts.
  • Window AC needs 1200 running watts and 600 additional startup watts

If you wanted to use these three things at the same time, you add 800+700+1200=2700, well under the 7000 rated watts of the Predator Generator.  For the Startup Watts, you only take the highest startup watts, in this case, it’s 1500.  2700+1500=4200, which is under the 8750 maximum wattage the generator can handle.”

Great information to have when you’re getting ready to shop. They then offered several pointers on setting up before you operate the generator. These included:

  1. Determine a well-ventilated spot to park the generator.
  2. Ground the unit before you start using it.
  3. Get the proper fuel and oil for the unit.
  4. Get a battery for electric starts.
  5. Drain the gas and oil from the generator when not in use.

There’s obviously a lot more to each step, but I didn’t want to hijack all the good stuff. Click through to the article and prepare to be educated.

After setting up, they proceeded to test the generator on a microwave oven, and then the hijink ensued! You can read all about it on The Apartment Prepper blog site.

To find the best deals on emergency generators, get to your local Harbor Freight Tools today– or they’re just a click away at www.harborfreight.com.

 

 

My Super Sweet 16 DIY Solar Panel Kit Videos

Thunderbolt Magnum 45-Watt Solar Panel Kit

If you’ve been batting around the idea of picking up a Thunderbolt Magnum45-Watt Solar Panel Kit #68751, now’s the time to strike, my friend. This Friday-Sunday, March 8-10, the legendary Harbor Freight Tools Sidewalk Sale is running, with the solar panel kit going for a cool $139.99! And if you miss the sale, no worries– between now and Monday, March 18, the kit remains on sale for just $149.99. Talk about Daylight Savings Time (that’s OK, you’ll get it later…)!

Perhaps you’ve thought that the idea of setting up a solar system would be cool, but also a little intimidating. What’s in the kit? How do you put it together? What else do you need? How much do you need to know? The truth is, you don’t have to be a whiz kid to put something functional and efficient together for your home, garage, barn, shed, RV, camp or bug-out shelter.

First, what’s included in the kit, and what can it do? Not long ago, Dan Rojas, owner of Green Power Science put out a series of YouTube videos, explaining it pretty well.

In his first video, he goes over what the kit includes and also points out that you’ll also need at least one 12-volt battery (2 or more would be better– he recommends deep cycle) and a power inverter to make the system fully useful. For his demonstration he uses the Cen-Tech 750 Watt Power Inverter, but in the spirit of “More Is Better”– that is, if you intend to use the solar system for larger machinery or appliances– I suggest getting the Chicago Electric 1500/3000 Power Inverter. Of course, it depends on what you need the solar energy for. If you’re in a cabin and intend to occasionally vacuum or use a microwave, the 750 watt inverter won’t cut it.

Chicago Electric 1500/3000 Watt Power Inverter

 

Here’s a general guide of determining how big of an inverter you might need:

 

Appliance   Est. Watts   Appliance   Est. Watts
Cell phone 24 CD player 400
iPod 120 Toaster 1200
TV 25″ 175 Jig saw 350
Laptop computer 65-90 Circular saw 1250
Computer & monitor 400 1/2″ drill 700
Printer 75 Refrigerator 500
VCR 50 Vacuum 750
CPAP 200 Sub pump 1000
Blender 400 40″ fan 1100
Space heater 1000 Iron 1000
Coffee maker 800 Satellite dish 75
Microwave 1250 PS2, Xbox 125

Dan posted other informative videos, including 3-Solar Panel DIY Wiring and Solar Panel Wiring Configurations. You can catch his whole YouTube series here.

If you are really considering putting together a solar kit, one of best DIY solar websites to get acquainted with is the Do It Yourself Solar Energy Forum. This terrific site is a wealth of information with tips,  tutorials, videos and plain old general knowledge. Chances are good if you have a question, it’s been asked and answered on this forum. There’s a lot of coverage on the Harbor Freight 45-watt solar panel kit, too. Videos include everything from assembly, set-up, add-ons and plenty of personal mods from folks looking to build the better mousetrap. There are even videos on solar panel kit performance during rain and snow. My favorite video on this site was made by Larry “The Solar Toolman” Taylor:

I don’t think there’s a more practical and informative DIY video on home solar power set-ups out there. Larry followed this first how-to video with a Workshop #2 and a three-part Workshop #3. If you want to get some insight of just what you can do with your newly-harnessed solar power, definitely check these out.

Preppers represent a good number of the solar kit shoppers, which only makes sense. Nobody anticipates contingencies like a prepper. Only two weeks ago I wrote about Chappy from NewSurvivalSkills.com and how he employed a Harbor Freight solar panel briefcase to get power in the wild.

Another prepper clip I came across was from a guy with the moniker, ncprepper1. He uses three solar panel kits to run a 36″ TV (even in the event of a zombie apocalypse, you gotta have your TV), laptop, lights, a camera system, and more. To make room for even more solar kits, he shows how to build a wooden rack that can add three, making a total of 18 solar panels . Not to be outdone, LDSPrepper installed 4 solar panel kits (180 watts) on the side of his house with a 1500 watt power inverter,  and poses a convincing argument for why he decided to go with Harbor Freight solar panels.

Incidentally, LDSPrepper– who actually has a whole series of solar panel videos worth plowing through– repeatedly credits another YouTuber, econewpower, for helping him get started. This guy supplies his own treasure trove of solar panel kit how-to videos: I recommend starting with his How To Install Harbor Freight Solar Panels Part 1 . I think there are five parts in this series, plus he has other DIY solar videos on hand.

With the advent of spring fast approaching, it’s a great time to get started on your solar system project. Whether it be for emergencies, saving electricity costs or going green, solar is a solid alternative energy that, in extreme cases, could potentially save you and your family from losing creature comforts, food supplies or even lives.

Check out these and other videos on DIY solar panel kits and projects online!

New Survival Skills with Harbor Freight Solar Tools

In the late 60′s, high school teacher Eliot Wigginton and his students created Foxfire, a chronicle of traditional folk culture of the Southern Appalachians. The first Foxfire book introduced the colorful Aunt Arie and her fellow mountain folk, dispensing  their homespun knowledge of log cabin building, hog dressing, hill people crafts and food, and “other affairs of plain living.” It was soon followed by several other volumes, offering instructions on wagon making, midwifing, hide tanning, moonshining, knife making, rudimentary water systems, dressing wounds, and countless other tips on living off the land.


Now, call it a shift in political climate, call it social polarization, call it the writing on the wall: there is a renewed growing interest in personal emergency preparedness and self-reliance these days. This interest has manifest itself in everything from food storage to family disaster drills to bunkers in the woods, and there’s a new wave of voices disseminating information on how to be prepared. A lot of what’s being shared can be found in the Foxfire books, but a lot won’t. Much has been learned and developed over the past 50 years, and our ability to “fend for ourselves” has suddenly expanded and virtually become a mainstream industry.

Spotted him in my backyard this morning…

Enter the team of New Survival Skills, a hardcore, practical group of instructors that teaches greenhorns how to live in the wild. Visit their Facebook page and you’ll quickly see these guys are no boy scouts: ”We are former or active U.S. Special Forces, Marines, Navy, Air Force, Law Enforcement and Fire Fighters who are now training people in survival skills.”

Team leader “Chappy” McKinney, made NSS’ mission clear:

“I want more people to see that life in the city may be hard, but life in the wilderness could kill you if you don’t know what you are doing. The skills you learn to stay alive in the wilderness relate so perfectly to everyday life. I am not saying that you will breakout with a bow drill and start a fire in your office, but you will be able to see things in such a different light that you may feel that you have been blind to the truths of everyday life.”

Recently, New Survival Skills accepted Harbor Freight’s challenge to test the Thunderbolt Magnum 13-Watt Briefcase Solar Charger (#68750), Portable Battery Solar Charger (#68690) and 1-Watt Solar Power Pack with multiple adapters for cell phones and mp3 players (#68691),  in the wild. After several days, they returned with this report:

It was awesome to learn some practical survival applications using Harbor Freight’s solar gear. I was particularly impressed how Chappy kept his cell phoned charging while hoofing it in the woods. I’m also glad he pointed out what a treasure trove of useful gear Harbor Freight Tools provides for survivalists. Even this morning, he reported from somewhere in the wilderness:

“Right now, here where I am it is 52°F with light showers, completely overcast….I have the THUNDERBOLT MAGNUM SOLAR 13 Watt Briefcase Solar Charger, from Harbor Freight Tools- item#68750 siting outside with a thin sheet of plastic sheeting over it and it is still producing 18 volts at the 12 volt setting and 33 volts on the 24 volt setting….I highly recommend this product to everyone!”

It’s easy to think that survival skills in the wild is an outdated talent for people like us. Yet, just a glance at the footage of Sandy, Katrina, Haiti and so many of Nature’s other targets, we would be fools to assume that we were invulnerable. The New Survival Skills’ leader offers another very persuasive pitch for taking their course:

“My life was changed for the better when I went into the woods as a camper.  I was put into a group with six other boys who had never met each other before and we were assigned a counselor who had the pleasure of our company in the wild for two whole weeks. We learned things that city boys did not know, like how to fish with just a line, hook and a worm, which we had to find in the dirt. We learned how to start fires without matches, how to find water, use a compass, how to ride horses and most of all we learned that survival in the woods was no game, but a test of one’s skills.  The one skill that I know was most important one taught to us was the ability to work together as a team to overcome some of the harshest country in the U.S. Later in life I had more hands-on training in wilderness survival from some of the best in the business with the U.S. Military, and put my skills and training in the wild to work as a Wildland Firefighter for a few years on a hand crew in Northern California. Now, I feel today more than ever before, that the same skills I  learned in the woods gave me the leadership skills to be a success in my professional life as well as opening my eyes to the things that have become of interest to me. I love and respect the outdoors and anything wild. My heritage is also Native American (Oglala, Lakota Sioux) and I feel a deep draw to the wilderness and doing what I can to help others see what beauty there is in it and how to respect it.”   Chappy