A Guide to Surviving the Zombie Apocalypse

 

Zombie-Protection

Surviving an onslaught of zombies doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg! In fact, you can keep all your limbs neatly intact with just a few select items from Harbor Freight Tools. From weapons to equipment, Harbor Freight is the one stop shop for all your survival needs, but you can’t carry everything when you’re on the run from the undead! So, this handy guide will run down the most essential tools you need to get to the military outpost/survivor camp/shopping mall stronghold alive.

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First things first, you need a weapon.  Getting anywhere will be dangerous at best and suicide at worst. If you want any chance at all, you’ll need to be equipped with a weapon that is lightweight, powerful and doesn’t require reloading. For this situation, the 20 oz. Solid Steel “Antishock” Pro Rip Hammer (Item #: 60517) will serve you best. The oil-resistant comfort grip minimizes muscle fatigue so you can handle a whole group of zombies with ease. And the solid steel rip claw is designed to withstand rigorous use, even if it’s smashing zombies in the noggin. Be careful here because most people might be tempted to go with the 8 oz. Stubby Claw Hammer (Item #: 95929) because of its portability. However, while the Pro Rip Hammer might be a bit heavier, it has the leverage you need to break through the skulls of the undead or to pry open boarded up windows in a hurry. In fact, it couldn’t hurt to pick up two hammers, either as an extra for a partner or one for each hand so you can deal out double the carnage.

Another great choice is the 18″ Machete with Serrated Blade (tem #: 62113). The razor sharp machete also features a nonslip comfort grip and can be easily accessible when stored in the included nylon sheath. This weapon is ideal for hacking through foliage as well as zombie necks. And speaking of hand to hand combat, you can’t go wrong with the 8″ Survival/Hunting Knife (Item #: 90714).  The shorter blade offers more control over the machete which can come in handy in case you need to remove clothing to tourniquet a wound while the built-in compass will keep you and your group on track. You’ll need to keep these blades sharp too so be sure to pick up a Combination Sharpening Stone (Item #: 7345) as well. Dull blades can easily become stuck in a skull or other decomposing body part, leaving you helpless and without a weapon.

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Survival is all in the details. In a world where rules and laws no longer have any meaning, you need to be on constant alert for threats both alive and undead. The Ultra Ear Sound Amplifier (Item #:  66577) fits comfortably behind either ear and provides ultra sensitive hearing to prevent anyone (or anything) from sneaking up on your camp. This handy device features tone and volume adjustment so you can keep an ear out in almost any environment. Granted, the amplifier is battery operated, which brings up another good point…

Batteries. You can’t have too many. You never know what type of tool or equipment might require batteries and in a zombie apocalypse, batteries will basically be like currency. Luckily, Harbor Freight carries a wide variety. The 24 Piece AA Alkaline Batteries (Item #: 61271) are good general purpose batteries to have on hand but you’ll want to pick up at least a few packs of the 4 Piece AA NiMH Rechargeable Batteries (Item #: 61269) as well. They’re environmentally friendly (which is still important even in a zombified world) and these batteries can be recharged up to 800 times. Along with the 5 Watt Foldable Solar Panel Charger (Item #: 60449), all you need is direct sunlight to get those batteries back to full capacity. Harbor Freight offers the following size batteries to fit a variety of needs in both alkaline and rechargeable NiMH:

You also need to think about protection from the elements and debris as well as from the vicious undead so be sure to pick up some Cold Weather Work Gloves (Item #: 96606 and 96612). There’s a very good chance you’ll be outdoors at least until you find some shelter and the 40 gram fleece Thinsulate lining on these gloves provides 10 times the warmth of standard fleece. These gloves are perfect for reloading your shotgun quickly in windy, cold or wet conditions. Also grab a pack of 100 Nitrile Powder-Free Gloves (Item #: 68498) for any less pragmatic survivors you may come across. The Nitrile hand gloves offer three times more puncture resistance than latex and vinyl, providing extra protection against sharp metal objects in dilapidated city ruins as well as zombie bites. The last thing you need is an infected person in your group. That won’t end well, trust me.

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The bottom line is you can never be too careful when it comes to prepping for the zombie apocalypse. Here are some miscellaneous items that could be life-saving without taking up much space in your pack:

With this handy list of essentials, you’ll have a fighting chance at escaping the zombie horde while protecting your group of survivors… if you’re lucky enough to find any. Whatever you do, don’t get caught unprepared. Get to your nearest Harbor Freight store now to stock up and save a bundle!

Tale of the Tape

Sometimes the simplest tools can be the most effective.  Any do-it-yourselfer knows how essential tough, reliable tape can be and no self-respecting handyman would be caught without it.  Duct tape and electrical tape both are two indispensable items that you can never have enough of.  And, when it comes to high quality expendables, Harbor Freight Tools has everything you need.  Whether it’s traditional duct tape or electrical tape, with these handy items, you’ll be able to handle any sticky situation.

There’s no denying that duct tape is one of the most versatile and useful tools in the world.  If you don’t have a roll somewhere in your toolbox or garage, there’s a good chance you’ll find yourself in a tight spot at one point or another and wish you did.  For just $4.29, you can pick up a big roll of 2” x 50 Yard Cloth Back Silver Duct Tape (or 4 rolls for $14.99) and be ready for just about anything.  From the more traditional uses like repairing air ducts and handling small household projects to more unique applications like patching a hole in a tarp or fixing broken hoses, duct tape can be a life-saver as well as just unbelievably useful.

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“Incredibly strong, durable and very long lasting. I can honestly say it is the best duct tape I have ever used.” – by PRIMETIME from Houston, Tx

“I recently bought a roll of this tape and I am really impressed with its performance. It sticks as good as duct tape costing two times the price.” – by ironduke from Parts Unknown

So what about you electricians out there?  Need to stock up on electrical tape?  Of course you do because this stuff is the cousin of duct tape and just as important to have on hand.  Heavy duty electrical tape not only provides insulation for wiring jobs but also handles other tasks in a pinch.  With a tight grip and the ability to conform to sharp contours, electrical tape is pretty handy as just regular old tape too.  How many rolls of 60’ x 3/4″ Industrial Grade Electrical Tape do you think you could get for $4.99?  How about 10?  Only Harbor Freight sticks by that kind of deal.

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“I recently had to cut open some wire looms I’d taped up a few years back to move some harnesses and I noticed how well this stuff held up under the hood, through Michigan winters and salt. It’s about time to buy more so I figured I’d go ahead and review it. I like it!” – by EvilSteve from Warren, MI

You don’t have to be a professional grade contractor or run a repair shop to benefit from duct tape or electrical tape.  These are items that anyone should have readily available, just in case.  Even if they don’t provide a permanent solution, reliable tape can solve lots of problems temporarily and allow you to get some professional help if necessary.  But, if you like to handle things yourself, don’t hesitate to load up on this terrific tape.

The Quest for Fire Just Got Easier

Everyone knows that one of the essential components to camping (and surviving the elements) is the ability to make fire.  Sure, there are a few ways to go about it and if you really want to impress someone with your ingenuity and machismo, you can go down the rubbing two sticks together route.  But , if you just want to get warm and start heating up some food for the evening, you can do it the easy way, with the Magnesium Fire Starter from Harbor Freight Tools!

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Pocket-size and waterproof, the Magnesium Fire Starter is one tool that’s better to have and not need than the other way around.  With built-in flint, a striker knife and shaving saw, this handy tool has everything you’ll need in order to get a fire started quickly, even in damp or windy conditions.  And at just $2.79, it could be an inexpensive life-saver.  Wanna see it in action?

In case you need further evidence of this fire starter’s usefulness, here are a couple customer reviews to help spark your interest:

“I now always carry a magnesium fire starter when in the woods. About 10 years ago I was forced to spend an unplanned frigid night in the woods. I found a semi sheltered spot, improved it with some found materials, then gathered fire materials and pulled out my waterproof match tube. The supposed waterproof tube had allowed enough humidity in to turn the match heads to a brittle crust. None of them lit. It was now about 10 degrees F and pitch dark. I always carry 2 methods of fire starting, a lesson learned from my dad many years ago. I pulled out my BIC lighter and with cold numbed fingers flicked it several times until the spark wheel separated from the lighter and was lost somewhere in the leaf litter. It was a v-e-r-y long, v-e-r-y cold night, but a valuable lesson was learned. When it comes down to such a basic need, the method must be simple and bulletproof. This item meets that requirement. “ – by Veeguy from Wisconsin

“I started using this product more than 10 months ago. Since then, I have bought several more to keep in storage and packs whenever they go on sale, not that they are expensive anyway. I have tested many other similar fire-steel only and fire-steel plus magnesium bar combos, even some designed for special forces, and still haven’t found anything that beats this. The original magnesium fire starter I purchased was moved to my key chain right away and has withstood the stresses of daily wear. I still use it as I have found no need to find a replacement. The striker’s flat side produces the best sparks and shaves the magnesium the easiest, while the serrated side produces saw dust style tinder in a pinch. I have been able to take nothing but this fire starter and produce a good fire with everything from sticks up to medium-sized felled branches. It would of course be easier to use a knife and hatchet to make fire wood and tinder but as I said, this tool is able to do it if you have nothing else, and that proves its worth. The original fire starter still on my keychain is used and mistreated often, but the fire-steel is still solidly attached and the only material lost is the deep saddles I’ve carved in from using it so much. I would suggest it for anyone from avid hunters and survivalists to preppers and emergency kit builders.
– Perfect for storing away in packs without taking up much room.
– Handy chain to keep together when not in use.
– A simple, no frills, straightforward tool!
– Must have!” – by Andrew the Enthusiast from Virginia

As mentioned by Mr. Vee and Mr. Enthusiast, the Magnesium Fire Starter is a great survivalist tool that is a perfect addition to any pack, whether you’re just going out for a hike or for an extended excursion.  While you’re stocking up, be sure to also check out the 8” Survival Knife with a compass built right onto the handle.  The handle also contains a survival kit which includes a sewing kit, safety pins, buttons, fishing line and hook, 6 matches, and fire-starting paper. With these two tools in your pack, you’ll be prepared to handle just about any situation, all for under $15!

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

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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.

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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