Thursday, April 17, 2014

Happy Easter 2014


Texas Bluebonnets

Hope everyone has a nice Easter Holiday and gets a chance to spend some time with friends and relatives this weekend. It's time to take a break from taxes and spring cleaning and concentrate on spending some quality time with family.

God bless you and keep you safe!

Staying above the water line!

Riverwalker

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Emergency Supply Kit

One of the basic tenets of living the survival life is to always be prepared. After all, you never know when a simple hike in the woods can turn into a life-threatening situation or when a natural disaster will turn your comfortable home into a bunker. Being prepared means always having basic survival gear with you at home or on the road, no matter where you're headed or how brief the trip.

A basic emergency supply kit for survivalists should include the following:

Basic Emergency Supply Kit for Survivalists

1. Water. Although people can survive without food for quite a while, water is essential to basic day-to-day survival. Because of this, it is recommended to have one gallon per person per day available (enough for two days at home and enough for three days away from home.) A pocket water purifier is also a good idea, so you can replenish your water supply.

2. Food. Non-perishable, easy-to-prepare food items are also part of a complete survival kit. Again, enough for two days at home and enough for three days away from home.

3. Flashlight and extra batteries. You can't count on electricity in a crisis or emergency situation. Having a flashlight and a good supply of batteries stored in a plastic bag is essential.

4. Hand-crank radio. Having a radio can keep you apprised of an emergency situation a lot more reliably than a cell phone or mobile device that is dependent on reception issues and having the batteries fully charged.

5. First aid kit. Sprains, cuts and other emergency health situations can happen anywhere. Being prepared includes having a basic first aid kit on hand. It is advised to include bandages, antibiotic ointment, sterile gloves, scissors, aspirin, a blanket, tweezers and a non-glass thermometer.

6. Extra cash. In an emergency, such as a hurricane or other natural disaster, you likely won't be able to use credit cards or get to an ATM machine. Our "cash-less" society shuts down when there isn't any electricity.

7. Medications. In an emergency, you may not be able to get to your supply at home or to re-fill your prescriptions at the pharmacy. It is recommended to have a seven-day supply on hand at all times and make sure to rotate that supply regularly so you don't have expired medications in your emergency supply kit.

8. Family and emergency contact information. If you're separated from your family members in an emergency situation, you'll want to be able to call them to let them know you're okay. Equally, you may need police, fire or emergency medical personnel. It's wise to keep those numbers at hand, also.

Putting it together in an emergency supply kit helps you have the materials you need in the event of an emergency situation. It's all part of living the survival life, and such a kit will help you have peace of mind that you can handle whatever life has in store.

About the Author

At Survival Life our mission is to provide a vast array of knowledge, tactics, and skills in the survival and preparedness fields, to any and all who wish to become more prepared for whatever may come. We will take a logical and no nonsense approach to survival without bias in hopes of dispelling the myth that anyone who prepares themselves is crazy or paranoid. Click
here to visit our site and learn more.


Staying above the water line!

Riverwalker

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Predator 4000 Generator - Update #2 - Hour Meter Installation and 12 Volt Test



If you make changes to a piece of equipment that is still under warranty, you risk voiding the warranty even though the changes you made weren't the cause. Unfortunately, all the “bells and whistles” aren’t included on most equipment and there are times when the simple addition to a piece of equipment will insure it functions properly.

Many generators don’t come with an hour meter. Hour meters are great for keeping track of run times on equipment and to help you keep track of service intervals for your equipment. This will help you get the maximum life out of your equipment. Adding an hour meter in the wrong way by altering the equipment (like drilling holes for a gauge) can effectively negate your warranty. Companies don’t like you altering their equipment, even if it serves a worthwhile cause.



Most generators include a 12 volt outlet on their control panel. Using a 12 volt plug-in adapter and a fairly strong magnet, you can easily hook-up an hour meter to your generator without making any modifications to your generator. This works on other types of equipment also. You can also use double sided self-adhesive tape or plastic zip ties. Use whatever is handy and avoid making any permanent modifications to your generator to avoid loss of your warranty.













To accomplish this you will need a DC hour meter, a 12 volt male plug-in adapter, a short piece of wire( two strands), a single gauge mounting panel ( 2 inch in this case) and a flat magnet (an old key holder works great!). You will also need a pair of pliers (needle nose pliers work best), a knife to strip the insulation from the wires and some electrical tape. I also used a small drill to make two holes to mount the gauge holder to the magnet case. Hook the connectors (included with the hour meter) to one end of your two strand wire and the 12 volt male plug-in adapter to the other end of your wire. I used a male plug from an old 12 volt air compressor that had died and was sitting in the garage for a couple of years. Knew it would come in handy for something.





If possible, try to find a double wire that has a black with white stripe and a plain black wire. The wire with the white stripe should be used for the positive connections (+). This keeps the polarity correct and in accordance with current 12 volt wiring standards.






You might want to use a double outlet plug-in that will allow you to use your 12 volt connection to power items other than your hour meter. In this case I used the additional outlet to power a two speed 12 volt fan that can be used to provide additional cooling to the engine on hot days or if it is in an enclosed space (generator box).



Prior to installing on my generator, I plugged the finished assembly into the power outlet on my truck until 2.4 hours had been registered to update the meter reading to include the hours run on the generator at this time. After final testing, the meter read 2.6 hours which indicated a total test time of about 15 minutes. Total cost for this non-invasive hour meter installation is about $35 and can be done for less if you scrounge a few old parts.

This completed my final test on the generator and everything worked as expected. The only item left is an oil change since the initial engine break-in period has been completed.

Got hour meter?

Staying above the water line!


Riverwalker

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Predator 4000 Generator Update - Wheel Kit Installation and Heavy Load Test



In my prior review of the Harbor Freight Predator 4000 Generator, there was only a light load test conducted during the initial break-in period. I’ve since installed a wheel kit and conducted a heavy load test. 



The wheel kit from Harbor Freight is amazingly easy to install and only a quick reference to the included instructions were necessary during the installation of the wheel kit. Note: You will need a set of metric wrenches for the installation.



Blocking It Up








To facilitate the wheel kit installation, I simply blocked the generator up with a short length of a 4X4 wood block. This provided adequate clearance to install the axles and the wheels. Once the wheels were installed, the other end of the generator was raised in a similar fashion. This allowed the front levelers to be attached easily and quickly.



The handle was easily attached with four bolts. You don’t need nuts on the bolts as stated in the instructions. Just make sure to orient the handle bracket properly to allow adjustment of the handle. It includes a pin with a lanyard to lock in the adjustment desired on the handle position.



Total wheel kit installation time was less than 15 minutes and in no time it was ready to go. A wheel kit will make moving your generator a very simple and easy process.



I also conducted a heavy load test on the generator afterwards. I used a couple of halogen lamps that draw a steady 10 amps when plugged in. The generator gave a slight burp when the lamps were hooked up but smoothed out quickly. It was run for an hour with this load without any problems. All that’s left to do is a break-in oil change of the unit.

Got wheels?

Staying above the water line!
                                                                                          

Riverwalker

Friday, February 28, 2014

Riverwalker’s Book Review - The Simple Survival Smart Book by Patrick Shrier



A former US Army Cavalry Scout, Patrick Shrier seeks to put the essential “need to know” items in a simple and easy to follow format. He places a lot of emphasis on survival planning (short and long term) and having the necessary items in your preparedness kits to facilitate your survival planning. He includes the steps of the decision making process to help you in planning for your survival.
                                                                                                               
In addition to information on planning and preparedness kits, Patrick includes a strong emphasis on first aid, map reading and navigation, and outdoor survival skills (acquiring food and water, making fire, and building shelter). He also includes a section on a variety of knots that can be very useful in a survival situation. He also includes an appendix on foodborne illnesses which could come in quite handy.

Patrick Shrier also includes a section on Combat skills that will probably have a greater appeal to ex-military or law enforcement than the average person but could still be handy in a worse case scenario. His section on map reading and navigation is one of the best I’ve seen in any survival book that is currently available. Of course, you would expect a former Cavalry Scout to be really good when it comes to being able to navigate any terrain in a proficient manner.

If you are looking to add a survival manual to your BOB, you might want to consider The Simple Survival Smart Book by Patrick Shrier.

Staying above the water line!

Riverwalker


Monday, February 24, 2014

RW Visits Destiny Survival

Last Tuesday I had the opportunity to be a guest on John Wesley Smith’s radio program. It had been a while since I had been on his show. You can find a link to the radio program on his site and a brief overview of the many topics we discussed including “underground preppers” here:



Staying above the water line!

Riverwalker


Thursday, February 20, 2014

Riverwalkers Gear Review - The Predator 4000 Generator from Harbor Freight Tools



If the grid goes down for more than a few hours, you could wind up suffering a bigger loss than your lights or TV. That fridge or freezer full of food items can be a total loss if you don’t have a means of auxiliary power to protect your food investment. If the power stays off for an extended period of time, you will probably need a portable generator to prevent a catastrophic loss.

The Predator 4000 generator from Harbor Freight Tools has received a lot of very positive reviews from numerous individuals. This made the Harbor Freight 4000 peak/3200 running watts-6.5 hp (212cc) gas generator #69676 an excellent choice for a survival gear review. 

Here is a list of the Predator 4000 generator main features:


212cc 6.5 HP air-cooled OHV gas engine

10 hours run-time @ 50% capacity

Low oil indicator and low oil shutdown

Heavy duty 1" steel roll cage

UL listed circuit breakers

Recoil start

Four 120 volt, 20 amp grounded receptacles

One 240 volt, 30 amp grounded receptacle

One 12 volt DC cigarette lighter port


First Impressions

1.) The generator unit I received arrived in a very timely fashion in only 7 days. The shipping time was estimated at 7 to 10 days. This was within the time frame specified.

2.) Straight out of the box I was very impressed by the fit and finish of the Predator 4000 Generator. A check for sharp edges, loose bolts or missing parts turned up negative. The paint job was excellent and exhibited no major flaws or defects.

3,) It also came with a small tool kit (Philips head screwdriver, spark plug wrench and an open end wrench), an Instruction Manual and a Quick Start Guide.

Straight out of the box this unit gets a solid 5 star rating.

Operational and Maintenance Features

One of the most important things about a piece of equipment is its ease of operation and the ability to perform routine maintenance in an easy and simple manner. The Predator 4000 Generator comes out very “user friendly” in this regard with only one exception.




1.) The Fuel Tank - The top-mounted fuel tank with a capacity of four gallons makes refueling an easy task. It includes a tank vent, top-mounted fuel gauge, a debris strainer and a large fuel cap with a retention chain. The large opening on the fuel tank made fueling the generator a very quick and simple process. 



2.) The Control Panel - The On/Off switch, the outlet receptacles, circuit breakers and low oil warning light are all located in a panel on the front side of the unit. This keeps everything together and makes it easy to access and check.





3.) The Spark Plug, Air Filter and Carburetor - The spark plug is easy to access and can be cleaned or changed easily with the spark plug wrench supplied in the tool kit that came with the unit. The air filter on this generator (foam) was easy to access without additional tools, very simple to clean (soap and water) and then re-install. The carburetor also included a drain plug to assist with long term storage. This makes the maintenance of these items a simple task without any extra hassle. 



4.) Oil Fill and Drain - This is the exception when it comes to operation and maintenance of this generator. Access to the oil fill plug is somewhat of a hassle. You will need a funnel with a long “flexible” spout or an oil squirt can (my choice) to add oil to the unit. Draining the oil also requires the unit to be tilted. This is something that could be easily corrected with the addition of an oil drain plug to the engine.

Overall, I would rate the operation and maintenance of this generator 4 out of 5 stars. While the majority of operation and maintenance is a simple task, the process of filling and changing the oil is simply not as “user friendly” as it could be for what will most likely be a fairly frequent task.

The Load Test

After filling the generator with the required amount of oil (approximately 3/4 quart or .6 liter) and adding approximately 2 1/2 gallons (half a tank by the fuel gauge) of treated fuel with a stabilizer additive, it was time to pull the handle and crank this new generator up. 



1.) Light Load - The unit cranked on the third pull and the engine smoothed out very quickly in less than a minute. It was allowed to operate about 15 minutes without a load. It was then shut down and re-started. It cranked on the first pull and was allowed to run about 5 minutes before a light load was applied.

A small lamp was hooked up to the init and worked well with no noticeable increase in the load on the generator. All power outlets on the unit were then checked and found to be functioning properly. The generator was run with this light load for approximately 45 minutes.



An LP14-30 cord was then connected and a light load used to check the four prong outlet on the generator. This was also found to be operating correctly.

2.) Heavy Load - A heavy load was not placed on the unit because the unit requires a break-in time of about 3 hours and was only operated about 2 hours during this initial use. 

Here is an update with the results of a heavy load test and the installation of a wheel kit: 


Final Impressions

1.) The Predator 4000 Generator is a very “user friendly” piece of equipment and all features worked properly.

2.) Its cost is relatively inexpensive and can be found on sale frequently which makes it an even better buy. The fit and finish of this generator was also excellent straight out of the box.

3.) Most of the operation and maintenance chores on this generator are easy to accomplish. The only exception is the oil fill and drain issues noted previously.

4.) The generator unit is heavy (128 pounds). Unless you are planning a more permanent installation, you will probably need to order the wheel kit that is available for this generator. This will make moving it to various locations an easier task.

5.) You also need to add a torpedo level to the tool kit. This will allow you to check the level of the unit. Units that are not level can cause problems with the low oil shutdown feature or affect how efficiently fuel feeds from the gas tank.

6.) Make sure to read the Owner's Manual and Instructions prior to operating this unit.

The Predator 4000 Generator makes an excellent and very affordable addition to your preparedness gear.

Got generator?

Staying above the water line!

Riverwalker


Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Riverwalker’s Gear - UST Bug Tent and Tarp - Emergency Shelter Combo for Your Daypack



Normally on a day hike, you don’t really think about carrying shelter. The weather in Texas can fool you and it usually means someone is going to get wet. Although temperatures stay fairly warm through most of the year, there is a big chance of getting caught in a rainstorm. You might also want to stay out overnight if your sightseeing kept you from completing the entire hike you had planned.









The UST Bug Tent and Tarp make a great lightweight addition to your day pack. It will work to keep you dry (drier?) until the rain lets up or give you a place to rest without feeding those blood-sucking mosquitoes all night. These work great for use as an emergency shelter when day hiking. 




The tent poles can be easily folded and strapped to the side of your pack. You can also opt to carry the tarp only. I also carry a small nylon tarp to use as a ground cloth (see pic) to protect a lightweight sleeping bag that I also carry. With a little food and a full water reservoir, my day pack weighs slightly less than 15 pounds on average. Regular backpacking or a colder climate would require something more substantial. My regular backpacking bag runs about twice the weight of my day pack (30 to 32 pounds).

It’s a lightweight combination that can be easily carried in your day pack and be there if you need it. Never hurts to have a backup plan in case nature decides to hand you a different set of circumstances on a sunny day.

Got shelter?

Staying above the water line!


Riverwalker

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