Nature N3rd is Back


As you all have noticed (please notice), that I have been on hiatus for about a year.

This was due to some personal stuff going on in my life, but that’s all taken care of and I’m back!

Over the last weekend, I did my Zombie Survival presentation at All-Con 2016

It was a blast to see so many folks still interested in learning a little survival.

If you attended the panel and want to know what was in my Bug Out Bag, here is that article

This year I will be doing more. Plans include a survival podcast, more gear reviews, and a new product (keep it secret, keep it safe).

I can’t wait to get back to the wild.

Be Smart and Be Safe

Nature N3rd

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The Walking Dead – Live Tweeting Tonight’s Show




Tonight is the mid-season premiere of The Walking Dead.

Whereas I know that it’s fantasy, there are a lot of survival elements on the show. I will be live tweeting to call out any survival tips/tricks that Rick, Carl, and Daryl do. I’ll also be sure to mention if they do something wrong or something they could do better.

Be sure to follow me on twitter @NatureN3rd

Be Smart and Be Safe


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Gear Review – Enerplex Packr, Stackr and Slate


Hello Everyone,

I got to do a video review for a few Enerplex products. All of the items sent over to me performed very well. The Packr even produced a charge in overcast conditions with the plastic sheet still covering the solar panel.

Check out how well they performed here:

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Gear Reviews – EnerPlex Jumpr Stack 3 and Jumpr Stack 6

I know I’ve mentioned this a lot, but I cannot stress how important it is to have spare power in a survival situation.

Whereas it is important to not rely on technology, today’s technology make getting through a survival situation so much safer.

Your smart phone has so many ways to help you though a survival situation, it’s worth taking it with you. Even if you don’t have a cell signal (for instance, lost in the wilderness) your cell phone can be a source of light, a rescue signal, a compass, a map, etc, etc.

The only absolute requirement is a power source.

We all know that even with increases in rechargeable battery technology, cell phones will drain that battery in a day.

That is why you need to carry a battery pack in your survival gear (along with your solar panels reviewed here).

EnerPlex sent over two of their Jumpr Stack battery packs, the Jumpr Stack 3 and the Jumpr Stack 6 for me to review.

The Jumpr Stack series are extremely well thought out battery packs.

The case is a hard shell plastic. It feels durable, like it’s not going to break with normal use. You’re really going to have to go out of your way to break this thing.

There are safety orange highlights on it. Which will make it much easier to find in low light or if dropped in high grass.

The best part about the case is the built in flex cables. Right there on the battery pack is a micro-USB and Lightning cable connector. This eliminates the need to carry extra cables in your survival pack.

Aside from built in cables, there is a standard USB output port in case your device doesn’t take Micro-USB or Lightning connectors.

The Lightening connector works perfectly on an iPad Air using iOS8.

The Lightening connector works perfectly on an iPad Air using iOS8.

The recharge port is a micro-USB input slot.

The Jumpr Stacks also have a battery meter and an on/off switch. Makes it easy to do power management.

The best feature of the Jumpr Stack series is the stacking ability. Each Jumpr Stack has a magnetic plate integrated onto the front and back of the pack. This allows the battery packs to snap together and stack. Each battery case has an indention on one side and the bump on the other side. You just match up the bump to the indention and the magnets will take it from there. In each bump/indention there are (respectively) either contacts or pins. The contacts/pins allow the Jumpr Stack batteries to daisy chain their power.

There is really no limit to how many Jumpr Stacks batteries you can stack.

Battery Centipede - Image courtesy of

Battery Centipede – Image courtesy of

The Jumpr Stack 3 has a 3200 mAh battery; the Jumpr Stack 6 has a 6200 mAh battery; stacked together, they make a 9400 mAh battery. To put that into perspective, the new iPhone 6 Plus has a 2915 mAh battery. That means my stack can do over 3 full recharges before I need to recharge those batteries.

In testing, each battery performed the same, with the only difference between the 2 models was the size of the case and the battery capacity.

Each battery was able to output 5.18 V consistently. On charge, the maximum I was able to draw was 1.1 A. This is actually a little better than the specification listed (5v/1A).

The Lightening connector is Apple certified and should work on all the latest iOS devices. Apple is very picky about who can make 3rd party connectors and EnerPlex did their homework.

The only downside I see are the exposed pins. If those pins get broken, then it’ll break the stacking ability. Although, the design team at EnerPlex thought to set the pins on the indention side, which should minimize exposure. Also, if if the pins get damaged, these batteries are still functional. You just lose the stack capability.

The Enerplex Jumpr Stack 3 and 6 are getting a permanent placement in my Bug Out Bag. Having power in a survival situation is a must now a days, and these battery packs make it easy to have the power always available.

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Survival Tips – Securing Utilities


If there is some kind of disaster or emergency near your home, you may need to shut off your power, gas or water.

It’s always good to know where your shut off valves are and what tolls you need to turn them. Also know where your main power line comes in so you can turn off the power if there is an emergency.

My friends at wrote this article explaining the needs and the hows to shutting off your utilities in an emergency.


Securing Utilities in Times of Disaster

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Camping – 7 Cast Iron Skillet Myths

Image courtesy of

Image courtesy of

If you’re like me, you use cast iron all the time.

I use it at the camp site and at home. My Lodge cast iron skillet is my favorite pan to use.

I knew the basics when it came to use and care, but I didn’t realize there was some nuance that I was missing.

Check out this article on cast iron skillet myths

7 Cast Iron Skillet Myths 

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Survival Tips – Winter Storm Astro

Did I prepare for winter?

Did I prepare for winter?

The first big winter storm is quickly approaching. In many areas, the storm is already there and dropping ice and snow.

It’s Winter Storm Astro

Rut roh

Rut roh

Aside from having to shovel a bunch of snow and keeping up on school closings, there are some immediate dangers to be prepared for.

You’ll need to take some precautions in your home and in your car. Many of these items will be for areas that are prone for ice and snow.

What do I know...?

What do I know…?


If you’re in an area prone to heavy snow, you’ll want to make sure your home is winter ready.

  • Check your heating system – If you haven’t run your heat this season, you don’t know if anything is broken. Check it now to make sure it works. For those who are new to HVAC, there is usually a faint smell of burning dust when you first turn on the heating. That’s normal, don’t call the fire department.

    Yep, it's totally broken.

    Yep, it’s totally broken.

  • Get your space heaters out – Need to warm up a room quickly or your central heat not working properly? Get your space heaters out. Don’t have one, I’d suggest picking one up. I have several Holmes space heaters in my home.
  • Prepare your faucets – Cover them up with a styrofoam cover or let them drip. You don’t want burst pipes.
  • Get out the fluffy blankets – If the heaters can’t warm things up enough, wrap yourself up in fluffy blankets. The fluffier, the better. All that trapped air in the blankets makes an excellent insulator.
  • Check your fireplace – If you have a fireplace and firewood, make sure your floo opens properly and there is nothing obstructing your chimney.

    Especially this guy

    Especially this guy

  • Stock up water and food – Make a stop and get some canned food and water jugs for at least 3 days. Although it’s not likely that the cold will knock out power, gas or water, but if you can’t get out due to road conditions, you’ll want to make sure you and your family are taken care of.

    Don't go overboard. It's a cold snap, not the sequel to The Day After Tomorrow

    Don’t go overboard. It’s a cold snap, not the sequel to The Day After Tomorrow

  • Get your ice melt – This is for the areas that get a lot of snow/ice. Make sure you have some ice melt on hand so that you can make sure any landings/driveways are ready for use.


The biggest issue will be with driving, especially in the areas with snow and ice. Although you may not live in a snow/ice area, you’ll want to change your emergency supplies for cold weather. If you get stuck in the snow, break down or have an accident, you’ll need to keep warm and get help.

  • Mylar blankets/space blankets/solar blankets – They have many names, but keep a few in your car. The mylar emergency blankets are excellent at keeping body temperature in and wind/water out.
  • Ice melt/kitty litter – If your car gets stuck in the snow or ice, make sure to have some ice melt or kitty litter to help get traction on the ice/snow.
  • Multi-Tool – This should be a mainstay of your emergency kit. If you don’t have one, get one ASAP.
  • E-Tool or Small Shovel – For areas prone to snow/ice, make sure to have an E-Tool or a small shovel to dig out if you need to.
  • Flashlight – Make sure to get a bright flashlight with fresh batteries. Keep a spare set of  batteries available.
  • Hand warmers – If you’re suck in the car for a prolonged period of time, having a few sets of chemical hand warmers will keep your fingers and toes warm.
  • Wool blanket – Wool has a very special property, it stays warm even if wet. Keep one rolled up in your car.
  • Spare battery pack for your phone w/ cable – If your car’s battery dies, you’ll want your cell phone charged up for all the emergency calling you’ll need to do. Make sure to keep a spare battery charger with the proper cable.

Of course, you should always we evaluate your emergency supplies in your home and your car on a regular basis. Although you may not have the items on the above lists, you can always find a similar item if you scrounge around.

This storm is going to be tossing a lot of cold air at the U.S. for many days, if you can make it to a home goods store or order off of Amazon (links included above), then you’ll have your items quickly and ready to go for the whole winter.

What else do you keep in your home or car specifically for winter storms?

Let me know in the comments below.

Be Smart and be safe.

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Opinion – The State of Survival

Greetings Nature N3rdlings,

I felt it was time to address something that I’m seeing more and more of in the survival, prepper, and camping world. There are too many of these sites that are posting about topics that have nothing to do with survival, camping, or hunting.

There are too many Facebook pages and blogs out there that are talking about news events, political affiliations, religion, and pop culture. Now I understand that sometimes survival will intersect with news, etc., that’s not what I’m talking about.

I’m talking about when a Survival page posts a popular video floating around social media, or posts diet advice, or any other click-bait. If it’s the trend du jour, then many of these pages and blogs are posting it.

Do you really want to get religious, scientific, diet, relationship, political advice/opinions from a survivalist?

Here’s the issue. Most of the stuff floating around social media is garbage. Articles being passed off as “facts” are hardly factual. Most of the drivel floating around has no actual data and has not been peer reviewed. Most of the posts don’t even bother with citing any sources.

Then there is the opinion topics: religion, politics, parenting, etc. None of this stuff can be substantiated. Also, if you are looking for religious advice, go see your respective clergy-person, don’t opt for an article. If you need political analysis, go to an actual Political Analyst, not some op-ed writer on [insert your News channel of choice].

The reality of it, these folks are trying to get their clicks up. If their site gets X number of visitors or page likes, then that can be leveraged into advertisement dollars.

To be honest, I’d love to get my numbers up to, but I’m not going to it by re-posting the latest fear-mongering click bait link floating around Facebook.

I want a site dedicated to just camping, survival and (occasionally) hunting. When you come to my Blog/Facebook page/Twitter Feed/Tumblr/etc. you set your expectations to be just the topics I know about.

And it will not be about the latest social media garbage floating around.

But I do want know what you think. Do you want to get non-survival/camping/hunting articles/posts/etc from a blog like mine?

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Giveaways – Gerber Steady Tool

Enter to win a Gerber Steady Tool

Enter to win a Gerber Steady Tool

Greetings Nature N3rdlings,

I’m doing a giveaway of some of my overstock gear! Enter now to win this gently used Gerber Steady Tool.

Enter to Win Here

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Survival Tips – Facts About the Ebola Outbreak

Don't Panic

Don’t Panic

Greetings Nature N3rdlings,

I’ve seen a lot of posts on social networking about the Ebola outbreak in West Africa and how it has landed in other countries. I’ve seen everything from scientific perspectives to “WE’RE ALL GONNA DIE!!!”

The biggest concern I have seen is the lack of knowledge and some irrational fear that is present in some of the posts.

With any emergency situation, whether it be natural disaster, civil unrest or epidemic, it’s important to stay calm and rational. Make sure to gather facts and weed out supposition.

As a member of the local CERT team, it is part of my responsibilities to help educate and guide people through disasters. This is no exception.

To help calm this down, let’s go over what Ebola is and how it is transmitted. I’ll use official sources of information to keep supposition and hearsay out of the conversation.

What is Ebola HF?

Ebola HF is a highly aggressive viral infection. When I say aggressive, that is only in respect to how fast it infects the host, not in how well it spreads. On average, symptoms begin 8-10 days after infection, but can be as soon as 2 days.

In comparison, Ebola is not quite as aggressive as Influenza. The Flu, on average, shows symptoms in 1-4 days after infection.

Ebola is not quite as aggressive as The Flu, but still fairly aggressive.

This is important because it allows doctors to identify infected individuals quickly. This is vital in containment efforts. The infected can be identified and quarantined (usually) before spreading the virus to others. Although, this short time frame is obviously bad for the infected person.

Those infected have a 60% fatality rate.

There are no known treatments for Ebola infections.

What are the Symptoms?

The symptoms of Ebola are not pretty. Here is the list of symptoms from the CDC:

Symptoms of Ebola HF typically include:

  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Joint and muscle aches
  • Weakness
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Stomach pain
  • Lack of appetite

Some patients may experience:

  • A Rash
  • Red Eyes
  • Hiccups
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Chest pain
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Bleeding inside and outside of the body

The difficult part of diagnosing Ebola infection is the similarities the symptoms have with other infections. To fight against that factor, when doctors see symptoms that are anywhere near the above list, they are now asking about the patient’s travel history. If they have been anywhere near the Ebola epidemic, they start treating it as a possible Ebola infection. It’s better to be safe than sorry in this case.

How Would Someone Contract Ebola?

The good news in all of this is that contracting Ebola is fairly difficult. It is only transmitted though touching bodily fluids of an infected person or exposure to a contaminated object (like a needle). It is not airborne nor it is digestible.

The other facet that makes it harder to contract is that it only become contagious when symptoms appear. So if someone is infected, but not expressing symptoms, then they cannot transmit the virus.

The bad news is that Ebola can live on infected objects and in infected fluids for several days outside of the host. This tends to be a major issue when it comes to containment. Since the virus can survive outside the host for extended periods of time, it becomes crucial to keep the infected contained and not allow them or any of their infected objects or fluids to escape quarantine.

How Do You Protect Yourself?

The best protection is to stay away from areas that have known infections. If you suspect anyone may have Ebola in your area, please advise them to see a doctor immediately.

Please do not accuse anyone of being infected until it is confirmed. You do not want to spread any panic. The panic is worse. It will hurt more people and can make containment efforts more difficult.

The only caveat to the above is if someone is expressing symptoms of Ebola, has recently traveled to West Africa, and refuses to see a doctor. The CDC has this recommendation:

If you or your family members become ill with fever or develop other symptoms such as chills, muscle
aches, nausea, vomiting, or rash, visit a health-care provider immediately and inform them that you may
have been in contact with someone with Marburg hemorrhagic fever. The nearest U.S. Embassy or
Consular Office can help you find a provider in the area. You are encouraged to identify these resources
in advance. When traveling to a health-care provider, limit your contact with others. All other travel
should be avoided.

Ebola dies when exposed to boiling temperatures for 5 minutes. This can help with sterilizing objects if you suspect an object has been exposed to Ebola.

More Information

If you want more facts, please visit the CDC’s website on the Ebola virus. It is updated regularly by health professionals and not reporters or, to be fair, bloggers like me.

I also found a lot of information on the Canadian Public Health Agency site.

Again, I want to help clear up any misconceptions about Ebola. This is meant as a service announcement to help prevent irrational behavior. Once we are able to remove panic and irrational thinking we can then start helping those who are at risk, preventing any further infections.


UPDATE – 10/1/14


Since there has been a confirmed case of Ebola in Dallas, I have been getting a lot more traffic to this article.

I wanted to update this with another info graphic from the CDC for Health Care professionals on how to protect yourself if you think you are dealing with an Ebola case (click to view):


If you need to get some face masks and gloves, you can find them on Amazon here:

3M 8511 Particulate N95 Respirator with Valve, 10-Pack

Liberty T2010W Nitrile Industrial Glove, Powder Free, Disposable, 4 mil Thickness, Large, Blue (Box of 100)

Again, please don’t panic or go overboard. The above supplies are just a precaution. In almost any situation I’d recommend that your first-aid kit or B.O.B. have N95 Face Masks and Nitrile Gloves (these are standard issue in our CERT kits).


UPDATE – 10/15/14


Another confirmed case of Ebola in Dallas.

The current tally of Ebola cases in Dallas is now at 3. But this has sparked a huge uproar on social media. So I thought I’d list out a few misconceptions that I’m seeing a lot of:

Q: Can Ebola become airborne?

A: Highly unlikely. Viruses can mutate and can take on any number of attributes due to a mutation. So whereas becoming airborne is possible, it’s just as possible for it to become neon colored or taste like chocolate. W.H.O. scientists “…are unaware of any virus that has dramatically changed its mode of transmission.”



Q: How did the hospital staff catch Ebola if they wore the protective gear/suits?

A: No suit is fool proof. Also, if any of the infected fluids made it out of the quarantine zone, then it can be touched without knowing and if there is a method to get into the blood stream, then it can infect. Bottom line is, every nurse and doctor on the planet knows that protective gear is just a preventative measure, it is not a force field. And even if the suit does it’s job there are countless ways the virus can escape the confines of the quarantine.



Q: Why aren’t the hospital staff under quarantine?

A: That one, I don’t know for sure.



Q: Why did the 2nd hospital worker board an airplane if she had been exposed?

A: Again, I don’t know. Although I would expect that a hospital professional would know about the incubation period and not take the risk of locking herself up with several people in a small metal tube.



IMPORTANT NOTE: The 2nd hospital worker was on the flight one day before she started showing symptoms. That means while there is a possibility that she left infectious fluids on the airplane, it’s a low probability. That is because Ebola is only contagious once the host starts showing symptoms.

Please don’t panic. Use the facts to stay safe and to keep your loved ones safe.


UPDATE 10/16/14


Edit – I noted above that there is no known treatment for Ebola. Although the vaccine is being worked on. Also, there is experimental treatments using anti-bodies of people who have beaten Ebola on their own. Ms Pham (the first person to catch Ebola on U.S. soil) received a plasma transfusion from Dr. Brantly (who has beaten Ebola that he caught in West Africa). Please note, that these are not known for sure to work in all cases (or even most). It’s still considered experimental and is also contingent on having compatible blood type with someone who has beaten Ebola.

Just know that treatments are being worked on and studied. Ebola can be beat, it’s just a matter of time.



There seems to be a lot of confusion around the transmission of Ebola and if it is, or is not, an airborne pathogen.

The short answer is: It is NOT an airborne pathogen.

The confusion, at least what I’ve noticed, is that some people consider things like a sneeze a method of being “airborne.” That is a layman’s definition. As with all things, certain fields of study may use a definition of a thing that is not common. This is one of those times.

In the medical world, this is the definition of Airborne Transmission:

Airborne transmission refers to situations where droplet nuclei (residue from evaporated droplets) or dust particles containing microorganisms can remain suspended in air for long periods of time. These organisms must be capable of surviving for long periods of time outside the body and must be resistant to drying. Airborne transmission allows organisms to enter the upper and lower respiratory tracts. Fortunately, only a limited number of diseases are capable of airborne transmission.

Diseases capable of airborne transmission include:

  • Tuberculosis
  • Chickenpox
  • Measles

Source: Mount Sinai Department of Micobiology

Please note that while Ebola may be transmittable via the droplets in a sneeze, once it’s dry, the pathogen no longer has a mode of transport. That is a major factor in airborne vs non-airborne transmission.

Be Smart and Be Safe.

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