Some “survival tips” are downright stupid!


Currently there are a couple survival tips circulating on the internet that I’d like to address.

The first is the “use a kid’s coloring crayon as a candle in an emergency”.

Video found here:


Let me explain some problems with this:

1) If you watch the video, it takes wayyyyy too long to light the crayon on fire.  This is a waste of fuel, which is a precious commodity in a SHTF scenario!  If you are attempting this when you are wet, cold, or in a life or death scenario, it will not serve you well!  Fuel must be conserved and rationed in a SHTF scenario or emergency.

2) Once you manage to get it lit, the crayon is a fire hazard.  It does not stay standing up very well, it is difficult to hold without hot wax dripping on you and burning you, and if the wind blows, it will extinguish itself.  And you cannot just stick the crayon on a stick like its a friggin’ 4th of July sparkler! Crayons tend to crumble easily. Not a very good substitute for a candle or flashlight!

3) Do you really want your kids trying this at home? Or in a SHTF scenario?  Bigtime FAIL here. Definitely not kid safe or mom approved!  Just look at the photo above.  Does that in ANY WAY look safe to use????  You would be better off to make dryer lint and wax balls in a cardboard egg crate before attempting to use a crayon as a candle! Seriously! Who thinks this crap up?

SOLUTION:  Spend $3 bucks at Walmart in their candle aisle and get a pack of  50 tea-light candles.  Much easier to get lit, safer to use, can be put on a plate or in a glass to prevent tipping over, can be used by kids and adults in a SHTF scenario, can be put inside ceramic pots to serve as a make-shift heater, can be used to cook over, and are cost effective.  Lesson Learned– don’t waste money on stupid “survival tips or tricks or hacks”, just buy real candles, or oil lamps, or flashlights, or solar panels, etc.


The second “survival tip” is the “Make hardtack instead of storing flour”.
554px-PensacolaWentworthAug2008HardtackMore info here:

EDIT: Since I seem to have hit a nerve with Claude from Ask A Prepper link above, I will include other websites that suggest making hardtack so Claude doesn’t feel picked on or singled out. *pouty face- somebody got butthurt*

There, now no one is singled out for what I am about to say. 

OK, problems with this “tip”:

1) As someone who has extensively studied the Civil War period in history and is also a Civil War reenactor, let me say this. Hardtack is NOT friggin’ edible!  I have eaten hardtack made several different ways many times. It always tastes like crap! Cardboard would taste better! This stuff is awful for many reasons. First being, that it is HARD…hard enough to break your teeth…hence the name.  You do not need to be eating something that will break or damage your teeth in a SHTF scenario.  Dentists will be harder to find in a SHTF scenario, and take it from someone who has had teeth problems all their life, you do NOT want to be a person with a fractured tooth.  You would rather eat a bullet than suffer a broken tooth in the apocalypse!  Trust me! Second, you might as well use the hardtack as a hockey pock.  Because that is what it is. A hockey puck.  And its home to worms after long storage and improper storage. Hell, weevils and worms are possible even if its stored properly!  Just look at the photo in this post of Hardtack from 1862. That’s right, 1862!  Having long shelf life is one thing, but eating something that is over 150 years old and has no nutritional value and would taste like sandpaper is not my idea of a good, filling, meal!

2) Hardtack, while it seemingly does not rot or spoil because it is made only of flour, water, and salt, it also loses its nutritional value quickly. Any valuable vitamins and minerals will degrade before 1 year is up. Sure you can still eat the hardtack after 1 year (people throughout history have done it), but it does not mean it will provide you with the nutrition your body requires in a SHTF scenario.  When the Civil War soldiers were eating hardtack, it was because their supply lines had been cut and they could not find any normal food. Their rations were limited by war.  Hardtack is a starvation diet.  It keeps your tummy from grumbling, but it does not keep your body from losing fat and muscle loss occurring..  Starvation diet is a terrible thing to suffer. Its the same reason why you cannot survive on rabbit meat alone (rabbit starvation- the meat is so damned lean, that your body spends more energy digesting the protein of rabbit meat with no fat gain to store!) Just look at photos of CW soldiers at the end of the war…they are all skinny as scarecrows and are suffering from scurvy, pox, exposure, and malnutrition.  Not something you want to be suffering from in a SHTF scenario!  And for those who say you can just grind the hardtack back up into flour- you people need to take a basic biochemistry class! Once you bake the hardtack, all protein in the hardtack will be denatured!  There is NO going back once something is cooked, whether it be hardtack, bacon, or onions! Cooked is cooked!

3) Storing flour is better than storing Hardtack.  Hardtack is some of the blandest, dullest crap you could ever eat, even if you soak it in coffee or fry it in bacon grease (like they did in the Civil War).  And you cannot add dehydrated fruit or nuts to the hardtack because that will lower its fabulous shelf life. Flour is versatile.  While flour can lose its nutritional value too over time, you can at least add nutrition back to flour by baking it into cookies, bread, muffins, cakes, puddings, gravies, etc.  You can add in milk, eggs, sugar, raisins/fruit, veggies, nuts, etc to supplement vitamins, protein, and minerals that have degraded in the flour by itself. Flour will be easier to trade and barter with than Hardtack.  Trust me, no one wants to trade a box of ammo for a hockey puck! A pound of flour would be a better trade.

SOLUTION:  Just store flour. And if you don’t want to store it pre-ground, just store the grain itself, whether that beat wheat, oats, groats, barley, rye, etc. You can always mill out how much you need (which will also slow the nutritional loss if you grind what you need, when you need it), instead of storing it pre-ground.  Just make sure its in a water-proof, bug-proof, low/no oxygen environment that is also cool and dark. If you really are hellbent on making hardtack, then don’t devote more than a small bag of flour to making them. Keep the majority of your flour either in grain or flour form, not hardtack form. Also, a good prepper will have seeds stored to grow their own food, whether that be fruit trees, vegetables, or grains!   Lesson Learned: Proper food storage is not hard and there is no reason to store something that will not benefit you.  Always store food that can be used in multiple, versatile recipes. Store what you eat, eat what you store. Store food that others will eat as well, if you have to trade or barter.  And believe me, Hardtack is not what others will eat. Shoe leather would be more appetizing….


2 thoughts on “Some “survival tips” are downright stupid!

  1. No Claude, I “got” your article and I still feel the same. Wasting flour to make hardtack is a stupid idea. And no, you cannot just turn it back into flour. If you knew anything about chemistry, you would know that once you baked the hardtack, you have denatured ALL proteins in the flour. There is NO going back at that point, no matter how finely you grind up the hardtack. It will just be worthless dust at that point. And if you are worried about storing flour, like I said, store grains instead. And you should be prepared to grow your own grains if your SHTF scenario is going to last more than a year. As someone who has been prepping, canning, and storing food for over nearly 40 years now, I am speaking from experience. Hardtack is crap and a sell-out for would-be preppers trying to give advice who have never lived through a true emergency scenario. Sorry you find my post offensive, but we train our students to not follow fads on the internet. And I have eaten many time prepared many ways. It always tastes like crap! A true prepper will have grains and flour stored and will have seeds stored so they can grow their own wheat, oats, or barley for flour. If you really want to store flour already pre-ground, buy the #10 cans that are freeze-dried and nitrogen back-flushed. They will last over 10 years!

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