The Smart Prepper

Life is hard, it's harder if you're stupid – John Wayne

October 26, 2015

10 Best Lanterns for Camping

Lanterns for Camping

There are so many lanterns for camping available on the market. What qualities do lanterns need to have to be considered in the list of 10 best lanterns for camping. Unfortunately you can’t just take the best of every attribute because some attributes are inversely proportional to each other. If you increase one attribute another will decrease. For example if you want the brightest lantern then you can’t have it battery powered.

Brightness: The brighter the camping lamps the better you can see at night – that’s the reason to have a camping lantern in the first place. Camping lantern LEDs can be very bright, but the most lumens are generated by fuel based lanterns. Lumens are a standard of measurement to talk about how bright the light emitted from the lantern is. Today with LED and halogen lights that use very low watts compared to standard traditional light bulbs you can’t use watts as your measurement of brightness.

Energy Source: There are two types of energy sources for most camping lanterns. The first is a traditional fuel source, which is normally propane. The second is an electric battery. You can either buy and replace the batteries or have a camping lantern rechargeable battery. A battery is measured in milliamp hours. The larger the capacity the longer the lights usually last, or the brighter you can have your light bulbs.

Extra Features: Not all lanterns for camping are created equal. You will have to decide what features are the most important to you. Some camping lanterns are waterproof whereas others may have a compass built into them. One lantern is meant for hanging from a ceiling and others have a rechargeable battery you can tap into for charging usb devices. In the list below each lantern has at least one unique feature.

Number 10:

Number 9:

Number 8:

Number 7:

Number 6:

Number 5:

Number 4:

Number 3:

Number 2:

Number 1:


October 15, 2015

Best Emergency Radio

What does an emergency radio need to be?

  • Water resistant – If you get rained on the radio needs to continue to function.
  • Self powered – Solar cells or hand crank.
    • Hand cranked should be a positive turn usage, meaning you should not have to crank the power for one minute to just get ten seconds of usage. Even a 1 to 1 ratio is exhausting.
    • Solar isn’t as important to have high efficiency cells because you can just leave the radio in the sun while walking or driving. It can charge all day and be ready when you need it.
  • Rechargeable battery – If a power source is available then you should be able to plug into it and get fully charged.
  • Portable battery – Should be able to use the battery built in to charge other devices like your cell phone.
  • AM/FM/NOAA – The radio needs to be able to tune to both frequency and amplitude modulations. More importantly being able to tune into NOAA broadcasts for severe weather or emergency updates is crucial in an emergency.
  • Small – Portability is key in an emergency situation. You need to keep everything you carry as light as possible. A large emergency radio will only add unnecessary weight.
  • Flashlight – Like my dad has always said, “A person can never have too many flashlights.”
  • EMP – If you are worried about any type of electromagnetic pulse causing circuits to surge and break, having a radio that can still hear what is going on around you would be vital to have. There really are no radios or electronics that are EMP proof. You can either build a giant lead case for your electronics, or protect your electronics by building a faraday cage. They are pretty simple concepts and there are a lot of great instructions on the internet on how to build a faraday cage. You can use these for any electrical device you want to protect.
  • Cheap price – You don’t want to break the bank for an a good quality emergency radio.


October 12, 2015

Number 1 choice of hunting video cameras

What is the number one choice of hunting video cameras?

Safety is the highest priority when you are out hunting. When you have a weapon in your hands you should not be trying to toggle your phone camera and weapon at the same time. This is for your safety and the safety of everyone in your hunting party. If you want to capture your hunting expedition then you need a hunting video camera that is hands free. The best practice for making a video to capture the hunt is to just have a camera rolling the entire time. You can easily download the video file and edit out all the parts you don’t want – thus making the movie shorter and covering only the highlights that you want to share with everyone. The GoPro camera listed below even comes with software to make your editing experience trivially easy. The GoPro HERO4 SILVER is the most used camera for all sorts of outdoor activities and this is the best choice of all the options for hunting video cameras. They are very robust, can handle getting dropped, and even waterproof for wetter days. Because the GoPro cameras are so popular there are some excellent accessories. The accessories allow you to strap the camera to your head, chest, weapon, or trusty hunting dog. Being able to record the thrill of the hunt and preserve it in video is like taking a snapshot in time that you can enjoy forever.


October 11, 2015

Ham radio call signs

ham radio call signs

What are ham radio call signs

ham radio call signs
In broadcasting and amateur radio there are call signs, which are unique letters and numbers to identify the broadcaster. Hammies (Ham Radio Operators) are required to be licensed to use the various frequencies available to ham radios. To get licensed a person needs to take the ham radio test by licensed volunteers. After you pass the test the FCC will issue your ham radio call sign. According to the FCC: Each call sign has a one letter prefix (K, N, W) or a two letter prefix (AA-AL, KA-KZ, NA-NZ, WA-WZ) and a one, two, or three letter suffix separated by a numeral (0-9) indicating the geographic region. Certain combinations of letters are not used. When the call signs in any regional-group list are exhausted, the selection is made from the next lower group. The image to the left shows the numerical region of each state. When you get issued your ham radio call sign from the FCC you will have the number in your call sign. My call sign is KG7WHM because I received my license in the state of Utah. The suffix is a set of letters that are incremented with every new license issued.  When you broadcast on any radio frequency your license is good for you must broadcast your call sign at the end of every transmission or in ten minute intervals. If there is ever an emergency you can broadcast over a ham radio on any channel even if you are not licensed. Being prepared however it would be good to regularly practice transmitting over a ham radio, which means you should get your license. The license is very easy to get. The link earlier for the ham radio test has the exact test you will take and it’s just a matter of memorizing all the possible answers. Also note that if you get more than just the first license (Technician Class License) then you can become eligible for a vanity call sign (meaning you can chose it to some degree).