Suburban Survival

Body Armor Guide For Dummies

Our friends over at have graciously provided us with a guest post this week.  They have shared with us a prepper’s guide to body armor.  I am sure you will find it very informative.  Feel free to visit their website and tell them what you think. -SP

Guide to Body Armor

Body Armor With SAPI Plate Pocket

Body Armor With SAPI Plate Pocket

There’s no doubt that you know that the federal US government seems to intentionally violate US residents’ integral right for self-defense. Body armor can at times be a crucial prep for people who want to secure themselves from an unfortunate event. This article, this guide, is meant to be a simple explanation and introduction to body armor for the average person. This is for anyone who is not familiar with body armor. It is designed to help you choose the appropriate body armor for your specific needs.


Body Armor Rating System

There are two protection levels for stab proof armor that are managed by Home Office Scientific Development Branch of the UK, whereas protection levels for bullet proof vests range from level IIA to level IVA and are managed by the US National Institute of Justice. In general, body armor is manufactured from three materials: Kevlar, steel, and ceramic.


Kevlar Body Armor

Kevlar was created by DuPont back in 1965. This material is the most common one used in soft body armor. Kevlar is an aramid, a polymer chain, which aligns parallel to the fiber. The extra strong chemical bindings permit the fiber to be incredibly strong elastically relative to weight. These fibers are joined into a thick cloth, creating the layers that are employed in modern Kevlar body armors.

Most of the time, Kevlar is good at stopping bullets. The material is much lighter, comparing to any other material used in body armor, and is mostly reputed for stopping rounds from a handgun. For example, an IIIA protection level body armor set is able to stop up to a .44 Magnum bullet from permeating it. Kevlar is flexible and adjusts to the bodyshapes of its owner, when worn. Kevlar body armor is concealable, so it might be worn regularly.Body Armor Levels



Ceramic Body Armor

The majority of ceramic plates (frequently referred to as trauma plates) are manufactured of a boron-carbide blend. This material’s structure is crystalline. Ceramic plates are very hard and are known for absorbing bullet’s impact.

Generally, ceramic plates are rated III and IV by the NIJ. They can absorb the impact of bullets that range between .308 and .3006. The impact to the body is highly reduced by the body armor that breaks up and absorbs the impact. This is referred to as “fracturing”. Also, ceramic is much lighter, comparing to steel, so wearing ¾ inch plates ads about 4 lbs. less, than steel. Ceramic isn’t affected by moisture or heat and doesn’t spoil very much with the lapse of time.


Steel Body Armor

Barely any introduction is needed for steel. The only thing that should be noted is that a wide range of steel trauma plates are manufactured from AR500 steel.  Among the available hard armor, steel plates are the most elastic. Numerous strikes to steel plates won’t compromise armor’s integrity. Steel isn’t fragile and won’t crack, if shot at or dropped. Also, steel is cheaper, than ceramic and is obtainable from a broader band of manufacturers.

Body Armor


Should You Get Yourself Body Armor?

It is advisable, but there are a few cautions. In extreme situations, like WROL, a bullet wound will probably be a death warrant. Unless it’s a clean subcutaneous wound, it is improbable that most people would have the skills or tools needed for recovery. Fragments of bullets and tissues of bone, muscles, and organs would have to be removed or fixed to avert sepsis or even death from bleeding, not to mention the recovery of a limb’s or organ’s function. Slow moving ammo is known to tear clothes and bringing their fragments into the wound, increasing infection risk even more. How many people have a shotgun that is loaded with several shells? Also, consider the fact that the person attempting to treat you could be your friend or family member with limited first-aid knowledge and could easily overlook some of the birdshot grains stuck in you. Lead isn’t a vitamin you should be taking for better brain function.

Like all good preppers know always prep the essentials before anything. Never buy body armor before getting food, water, medical supplies, and firearms. Prep wisely, before getting a million rounds ammo, make sure you have enough food and water to feed your family. You must know your priorities. You won’t be able to eat Kevlar for lunch and bullets won’t keep you hydrated. Body armor is a great item to have when you need it but don’t over look the essentials.

Kevlar’s lightweight properties make this type of armor ideal for children, women, the elderly and for those who want to avoid carrying an extra 20 pounds on them. Kevlar prices ranges from $150 to $300+, Prices vary from each manufacturer and the type of carrier in the set. When buying Kevlar, don’t forget to check the manufacture date. There are quite a few different Kevlar Made Body Armor options for all current occupations or requirements.

The more robust individuals can carry serious hard armor protection with carriers, most of which have MOLLE webbing. Ceramic plates cost about $200 per plate, so a set would cost about $400+ and don’t forget about at least $75 for the armor carrier. Steel armor certified by the NIJ costs about $100 per plate, in general, which means they cost about half the price of ceramic armor. Most of the steel and ceramic armors isn’t protected from spalling.

Stealth Body Armor

Stealth Body Armor


What Armor Should You Get?

There’s no magic body armor that will protect you 100%. The perfect body armor is the right balance of protection and mobility. It must protect against incoming fire and at the same time keep you mobile.

For suburban preppers that live in suburban areas, where you are in minimal risk of being shot at with larger caliber rounds, you can choose to wear soft body armor for its concealment features and mobility. However, in a rural area, where many people are hunters, the probability of rifles and larger calibers increases and makes the use of hard body armor a better choice. Hard armor is also a better option for a firefight, where you can’t disengage, stationary security, or reconnaissance over flat land or in an unfriendly environment.

For more information please visit online in the United States or for UK residents.

Posted on by Suburban Prepper in Suburban Survival, Survival Gear, Survival Kits 1 Comment

3 Things You Should Always Carry With You

Ka-Bar Becker BK2 Campanion Fixed Blade Knife

Ka-Bar Becker BK2 Campanion Fixed Blade Knife


3 Things You Should Always Carry With You

An emergency is a serious, unexpected and often times dangerous situation that in most cases requires immediate action on your part, action that can save your life or the life of others. Everyone hopes that he or she will react in the right way, and will know exactly what to do. However, knowing what action to take and having the necessary tools, or equipment to accomplish that action is another thing altogether.  I will give you my top three items you should always carry with you.  Let me know your top three items in the comments below.


1. Quality Knife and Multi Tool

A knife is one of the most versatile tools you can carry. It can be used for personal defense, extraction from a vehicle or building and can be used to make other tools.

Leather man Multi toolIn a wilderness survival situation, a quality knife will ensure you have a shelter, protection and food. You can make spears for fishing, hunting and self-defense. Your knife can also be used to help start a fire by creating a spark when struck against other steel or a hard stone.

Knives can be used for emergency extraction from buildings by cutting through dry wall and wood paneling. Keep a knife close in your vehicle to cut seatbelts or use the handle to smash window glass. Carry a multi-tool knife on your key chain, the tool blades can be used for many projects such as cutting wire, sawing through rope and wood and cutting plastic wrists restraints.

The file blade can be used to sharpen other tools to include knives and axes, and most multi-tools will have several screwdriver heads for emergency repairs to other tools and equipment.

Know the laws in your particular state or city on the legalities concerning carrying certain types of knives. In many cases, there will be a restriction on the blade length.


2. Communication devices

Motorola Walkie TalkieThere are various ways to receive and transmit information today. In an emergency, you may need to receive emergency instructions/information and to transmit information as well. Most cell phones today allow you to receive information either through a web browser that connects to the Internet or through certain applications.

Use the camera on the phone to document an emergency or to pass relevant information to others. There have been reported cases where kidnap victims have been able to text to law enforcement or to families that they have been abducted.

Some cell phones have Global Positioning Systems (GPS) integrated into the system (or use an application) where rescue personnel can track you and in some cases, you can retrieve your longitude and latitude from the phone to give to rescue personnel. Use the GPS system to find your way if you do become lost. Know the longitude and latitude of your city or home and store the coordinates in your phone. Some cell phones have a flashlights built in or you can use the lighted screen as an illumination device.

Walkie-Talkies (two-way radio) can be carried in your car, kept in your office, purse, or clipped on your belt. You would have one device and the other would be at home where the device can be monitored or carried by a spouse/partner. In certain emergencies, the cell phone towers may be not be operational so a backup communication device is recommended.


3. Bandanas

Camo BandanaYou can carry other types of material (cloth) but bandanas are sized for various applications such as for slings to immobilize sprained or broken limbs. You can easily carry several in a purse, pocket or store in a glove compartment. Use a bandana as a compression bandage to stop bleeding by folding into a square and securing directly over the wound.

Bandanas can be used as an emergency water filter, and for carrying items. Wrap items in the bandana and leave enough of the ends free to tie together to form a handle and you have essentially made a small satchel for carrying water, food or other items.

Use your bandana, for head protection from the sun or cold winds and place around the neck to keep warm in cold weather. Wrap the material around your hands to protect the knuckles and hands if you have to break glass or handle sharp objects.

In certain situations, you can use a bandana to collect morning dew for hydration by absorbing the moisture off surfaces and squeezing the moisture into your mouth. Use a bandana to restrain the hands and feet of an individual. The uses for a bandana are only limited by your imagination.




Posted on by Suburban Prepper in Survival Gear, Survival Kits 7 Comments

How To Prepare Your Vehicle For Emergencies

emergency vehicle PrepsPreparing Your Vehicle for Emergencies

Many of us living in suburbia that commute to and from work sometimes take for granted one of the most important preps, YOUR CAR.  It is critical that you remember that your vehicle in a survival situation is your shelter and it will protect you from the elements, insects and predators. There has been case after case of people becoming stranded in their vehicle because of a mechanical breakdown, or they took a shortcut, got lost and their vehicle became stuck.

In many of these cases, individuals left their vehicle to find help, and succumbed to hypothermia, dehydration or from injuries. They simply could not find their way back to civilization. Rescue personnel only managed to find an empty vehicle because the occupants decided to abandon their shelter. One of the reasons they may have left their vehicle is because they did not have any provisions such as food, water and blankets. Read more

Posted on by Suburban Prepper in Get Home Bag, Prepping 101, Survival Gear, Survival Kits, Vehicle 4 Comments

Survival Kit Ideas

Survival Kit Ideas

Have you ever wondered what exactly you need in a survival kit. In this article we will share some essential survival kit ideas with you. The survival kit or the bug-out-bag (BOB) may have evolved from the “bail-out-bag” used by military pilots. The kit was typically carried on their person so once they bailed out they had the necessary survival gear with them to survive on the ground. The term bug-out is military jargon used to describe a rapid deployment from one defensive position to another. Other names used to describe an emergency bag include “72-hour kit”, “get out of dodge bag”, “go-bag” and “grab-bag”. See 72 hour kit example here

The main purpose of the bag today is for rapid evacuation from a disaster area. The bag is kept packed and ready to go so families and individuals do not have to take the time during a crisis to pack. The supplies are usually enough for 72-hours. Typically, each member of the group or family would have his or her own bag. Each person having their own bag allows for better distribution of supplies and it ensures the survival of each member if they become separated from the group. It is recommended that each kit (bag) have identical supplies. You do not want one bag full of food and another full of water while someone else carries a shelter and fire starting materials. If one bag was lost or damage it would jeopardize the evacuation.

You may receive several answers as to why you should have at least 72-hours worth of supplies in your bag. One answer is derived from disaster relief organizations and their management that state they expect to have boots on the ground, providing help within 72-hours of any disaster. Another answer to this question is that you simply cannot carry anymore than three days supplies on your back. Water weighs 8.5lbs/3.8kg per gallon. Using the recommended one-gallon per day for each person means your 72-hours supply of water alone weighs over 25lbs/11kg. Then add food and other necessities and you have about all anyone could carry.

Survival Kit Ideas: Contents

People tend to be optimistic and convince themselves that the Red Cross or FEMA will be on the ground within three days. This may or they may not be the case, and they will always go to the hardest hit areas first, so it can be weeks in some cases before you ever see them. This means you will deplete your food and water source if you have to evacuate on foot because you simply cannot carry anymore. Where does this leave you then?

To be able to survive and take advantage of natural resources you will have to carry tools, supplies and materials that allow you to collect and purify a water source and to forage, fish and trap food. You will also need the tools to construct a shelter from what you find in your environment.



Before anything else goes in your bag make, sure you have the means to make a shelter. Have several lightweight nylon tarps, emergency thermal blankets and rain ponchos. You will need a small camp axe and/or machete/wood saw along with 550 paracord. Each item will roll up inside a nylon tarp or poncho, which can then be secured to the straps on the outside of your pack. Leave the thermal blankets in their package until ready to use because they will be much more compact this way.

Tents can be carried if you have the room for when you get to a safe haven/base camp. It is not recommended that you set up tents along your evacuation route. You can become trapped in a tent if your camp is overrun and your line of sight is restricted. The same thing applies to sleeping bags. You can be trapped in one. Carry them if you have the room for when you set up a more permanent camp.


Each person will require one gallon/four liters daily and this amount considers person hygiene to include oral care. You will need however, a way to also collect and purify water sources along your route. For hydration, only adults will need at least 2qts/liters of water daily.

ChlorineYou will need water purification tablets and it is recommended that you carry chlorine dioxide tablets because they have been proven effective against giardia and cryptosporidium, two very dangerous waterborne contaminates. The chlorine dioxide tablets do however require a four-hour wait period after treatment before you can drink the water. Iodine tablets are also a water disinfectant recognized by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Military. Iodine typically only requires a 30-minute wait after treatment.

Filtration is important so filter any surface water source using coffee filters, sand, charcoal, cheesecloth or any clean cotton material. Filtering can remove waterborne cysts that harbor giardia and cryptosporidium. Iodine and chlorine based tablets will destroy bacteria, parasites and pathogens, but may not destroy all waterborne cysts, so it is important that you filter the cysts out. Cysts can be best described as microscopic sized seedpods or spores.

Boiling your water after it has been filtered is always the preferred choice, but you may not have the means to start a fire nor have a vessel in which to boil water, so make sure you always have water purification tablets.


Magnesium Stick

Magnesium Stick

Carry magnesium sticks, Ferro rods and waterproof matches. Always have more than one means to start a fire.

Ferro Rod

Ferro Rod

Ferro rod is not to be confused with a magnesium stick the Ferro rod is made from a manufactured material called Ferrocerium and it is capable of producing a spark at a temperature of 3,000ᵒf/1,650ᵒc. It can be used to ignite a fire just from the spark when using dry tinder.

Magnesium stick, magnesium is a mineral and while in mass form, cannot be ignited by conventional means but once scraped into particle form is highly flammable.


It is recommended you either carry military issued Meals Ready to Eat (MRE’s) or the civilian version. Each meal is self contained and will have the traditional condiments and eating utensils. You may also get coco powder, coffee, sugar and chewing gum. Each meal is approximately 1,200 calories and they can be eaten cold or submerged in hot water for heating. The packages are lightweight and three days worth can easily fit into any pack. The recommended amount is two meals per day for each adult.

Civilian version MRE average price is around 7.00USD.

Military issue MRE available on the Internet and in most military surplus stores. Average price is around 7.00USD per package, does not include shipping costs or taxes. Either version is adequate and comparable in price and nutritional value. Can be purchased individually, or by the case, which has 12 meals

Additional Items

  • Fixed bladed knife as well as a multi-tool
  • 20 to 24 gauge wire for animal snares
  • First aid supplies
  • 15 to 20 pound fishing line along with assorted hooks and tackle
  • Compass and maps of the area, state and country
  • Flashlights
  • Communication devices such as two-way radios and/or Citizens Band (CB) radios, cell phone towers may not be operational so you cannot depend on cell phones
  • Personal protection
  • Personal hygiene items
  • Gloves, bandanas, lip balm, hand sanitizer, sunglasses and hats for sun protection
  • Insect repellent, consider liquid instead of aerosol cans
  • Signal mirror

These survival kit ideas can of course be adapted for your personal preferences and you must have clothing appropriate for the seasons or any upcoming weather events you may encounter. The basics to survival are, shelter, water, fire and food. Once again, each person should have their own pack with the above listed items in them.


When to Bug Out

There is a lot of emphasis placed on bugging out and given some of the information on the Internet, people may just naturally assume they must always bug out during a disaster. Your current home is your shelter and you should not be quick to give up your shelter and supplies.

  • Leave immediately if there is a mandatory evacuation order, leave before you become stranded and cut off from emergency help
  • Move away quickly from your area if you know there has been a nuclear, chemical or biological accident or purposeful attack and/or there has been a release of airborne contaminates
  • Evacuate if there is civil unrest that includes city wide looting, rioting or violent demonstrations

Think it through carefully before you decide and stay informed by any means possible. Panicked neighbors speculating that a nuclear device detonated in the center of the city needs to be verified before you panic and flee your home. You have to remember that once you do set out, there will be thousands of others citizens on the highways and roadways. Highways, bridges and tunnels will be a disaster area in and of themselves.

Most survival experts will always go with bugging in before bugging out unless there is a clear and present danger. Sheltering in place is usually the safest.


If you Do Have to Evacuate Where Do You Go

You have to get away from other people because the biggest danger aside from the disaster itself is your fellow citizens. You want an area that has natural resources, such as water, a place to set up a shelter and wild game to include fish. Use the Internet and programs (Google Earth free version) that offer satellite imagery so you can have a spot picked out before disaster strikes. You will be able to determine population density, identify water sources and infrastructure in the area by looking at aerial/satellite maps. Look for national or state parks within a 50-mile radius. The natural resources in the parks will have been protected so you would not have any problem finding water and game and many parks have cabins and tents sites in remote areas that you may be able to use.

However, before bugging out make sure you have the skills and mindset to be able to collect water, build a shelter and forage for food in a remote area. It does you no good to leave one disaster to find yourself in another. Know what you are capable of before you flee your home because once you leave you may not be able to get back for days or even longer.

Any vehicle can be a bug out vehicle however; some have features that will make evacuation easier. Having a four-wheel drive vehicle with high ground clearance will allow you to get off road to shelter overnight. You do not want to set up camp close to roads or highways because you should avoid others if possible in the initial days of the crisis. Vehicles with trailers offer extra space for supplies and can be used as a makeshift shelter along the route.

Unless you have, the means to carry extra fuel such as in a trailer, your destination must be close enough so you can get there and then back home on one tank of gas. Fueling stations are not likely to be available during a major crisis. Do not carry fuel inside the passenger compartment of any vehicle.

Bugging out on foot is dangerous and it will conceivably take you 72-hours just to clear the danger zone. People not used to hiking for hours at a time with a pack will overestimate their abilities. The average adult human can walk about three miles per-hour under ideal conditions. You cannot walk that fast during an evacuation especially if there is more than one person in your group. You will only walk as fast as the slowest person will in your group. You may have children or older parents with you as well. It would take you between four and five days to cover 50 miles.

Consider obtaining a vehicle for bugging out if you do not currently have one.

You can carry enough supplies for several weeks in a vehicle and it can be your shelter. However, vehicles do break down and run out of fuel so always have bug out bags packed so if you do have to abandon your vehicle you can do so with little fuss.


Additional Considerations

A crisis will always bring out the best and the worst in people, so keep certain plans to yourself for your protection. The ones that did not prepare will be searching out those that did and if everyone knows how well prepared you are, you are a target. You simply do not know how neighbors and even friends will react under stress. After three or four days of limited to possibly no supplies people will turn to violence to feed themselves and family during a crisis. Stay off of everyone’s radar as much as possible.


Posted on by Suburban Prepper in BOB, Evacuation, Survival Kits 13 Comments

Inexpensive Yet CRITICAL Prep? GLOVES!

Prepper GlovesThank you to those readers who emailed me asking if I was ok… I am. As many of you know prepping is a hobby and not a job so when time gets tough – prepping falls into second place. I apologize and appreciate my loyal readers!

I was moving some furniture around this weekend. Not your run of the mill “does the table look better here or here?”-type moving, but move, load, transport, unpack and relocate type moving. Of course, as any good prepper would – I had my gloves. In fact, I have at least 5 pairs of quality gloves in the house at any time. Just in case… well, I don’t need to explain it to you! Read more

Posted on by Suburban Prepper in Survival Gear, Survival Kits 2 Comments