Prepping

30 Amazing Prepper Tips

starting a fire

Believe it or not, prepping has become more and more mainstream over the last decade. Increasingly more people are worried about what the future could hold. This fear is driving more people to look for ways to be prepared to protect their families and to survive if life as we know it is altered by some major crisis.

Because of this increased interest, prepping has become an industry just like anything else. Prepper websites, prepper forums, and survivalist TV shows are more prevalent than ever before. This means you may start to see the same prepper tips over and over again.

In this article we’ll give you a list of tips for new preppers, some less common tips, and some tried and true tips for preppers.

10 Tips for New Preppers

1. Get out of debt! If you have any kind of debt in a SHTF situation, you could find yourself and your family fighting to hold onto assets in addition to trying to survive. Start paying off debts now. Dave Ramsey has a great program to help individuals become debt free quickly. Use cash whenever possible and avoid credit card debt for any future purchases.

2. Maintain your vehicle and keep your gas tank full. If you’re one of those people who waits until your gas light comes on before you get gas, change that habit now. In an emergency that requires you to evacuate, you won’t want to waste time stopping for gas and it could very well not be available depending on the crisis.

Get in the habit of refueling whenever your tank is less than half full and make sure you do regular maintenance of your car so it’s reliable when you need it to save your life.

3. Customize your preps for your geographical area. One mistake many new preppers make is to buy a premade bug out bag (BOB). You must make sure that the BOB you have is adequate for the threats you may face in your area. Those in cold weather climates will need more supplies to stay warm whereas those who live in hot climates will need more supplies to stay cool and keep hydrated.

4. Make a plan and follow it. Many new preppers go all out and try to purchase everything under the sun they may need in a SHTF event. Not only is this an expensive method, it’s just not practical. Start small and plan first to survive in your home during a 24 hour emergency, then 72 hours and then a week.

Handle your bug out supplies the same way. Plan first for what you need to carry to get from work to home in an emergency. Then add what you would need to survive 24 hours away from home and increase gradually from there.

5. Practice using your preps. This is perhaps one of the most important tips for new preppers. Having the gear you need and not being able to get it to work right when your life and the lives of your family are in danger is the most helpless feeling.

Make sure you practice using your gear and supplies frequently in different scenarios and weather conditions so you can be confident in your skills when your life depends on it.

6. Learn multiple ways to start a fire. The ability to build a fire is a critical skill for any prepper. If you can start a fire, you can stay warm, cook, signal for help, dry out wet clothing, etc.

7. Stockpile on more water than you think you’ll need. One of the most critical resources for you and your family in just about any emergency is the ability to access clean water. The average person can survive only around 3 days without fresh drinking water. Learn how and where to collect water, how to filter it and how to purify it to make it safe for drinking.

8. Learn basic first aid techniques. In an emergency or crisis, emergency services personnel and professional medical help will be overwhelmed or could be inaccessible for various reasons.

Make sure you know the basics for treating not only minor cuts and illnesses but critical medical issues such as dehydration, deep wounds, broken bones, burns, choking, and shock. The more you know, the better you can protect yourself and your family until help is available.

9. Rotate your food stockpile regularly to keep food and supplies from expiring. You can’t just buy a bunch of food and stick it in the back of your pantry or closet. Having a rotation system for your food and other supplies is critical to making sure you won’t be left with spoiled food and expired medicine when a crisis hits.

10. Be cautious about sharing details of your preps with other people. Even the nicest of neighbors could become desperate enough to be violent if faced with the choice between their family starving or taking supplies they know you have.

A casual comment to the mailman, a cashier, or co-worker about how well you are prepared for the end of the world can come back to haunt you and make you a target when crisis happens.

10 Less Common Prepper Tips

11. Purchase a big bottle of iodine solution (5 to 10%), divide it up into smaller spray bottles to use in your first aid kit for your car, house, or any other locations.

You’ll have iodine for cleaning minor cuts and wounds as well as for purifying water in a crisis situation. This is a great inexpensive way to be prepared for life’s little emergencies while also preparing for a more widespread or extended event where you may need to purify water.

12. Buy extensions for the gutter down spout and collect water in 55 gallon barrels. If you start doing this now, before you need to rely on it, you’ll have mastered rainwater collection, and will have a significant stockpile of water if a SHTF event occurs. Even if you stockpile sufficient drinking water, your collected rainwater can be used for gardening, personal hygiene, and watering livestock.

13. Use gallon size ziploc bags to store extra rolls of toilet paper under the sink, in the garage, and in your car. You’ll have some toilet paper available as a backup if you run low in your home but you’ll also have TP in any emergency no matter where you end up taking shelter.

14. Include fishing snubbers in your fishing kit and in your car BOB. They can be used to add needed flexibility if you are forced to fish using a pole made of a branch or stick. The risk when using a stick for a fishing pole is that the weight of the fish will break the stick and allow the fish to get away. The snubber attached to the end of the pole provides some flexibility and increases the chance that you will catch dinner when you need to.

15. Learn to drive a stick shift vehicle. When SHTF, transportation is going to be at an all time demand. Your odds of getting away from danger and to a safer location may be greater if you have access to a vehicle.

According to U.S. News and World Report, the number of United States drivers that can drive a stick shift in some states is as low as just 18%! Many millenials may have never even seen a stick shift.

If you want to increase your odds of being able to find some kind of transportation when you need it, learn to drive a stick shift vehicle. Those people who can’t drive a stick shift will bypass those cars, trucks, and tractors, leaving them available for you.

This also means if you have a stick shift vehicle as your BOV, there will be a great number of people who won’t steal it, simply because they don’t know how to drive it!

16. Instead of adding to the landfill, save those old keys and turn them into arrowheads you can use for hunting when SHTF. You may not be able to get your hands on commercially manufactured arrows due to the disruption of shipping, transportation, other retail services.

With just a few tools purchased in advance, including a jeweler’s saw, jeweler’s bench pin, a double cut file and a couple C-clamps, your old unused keys can become arrowheads that will help you put food on your table after SHTF.

Even if your stockpile includes enough arrowheads for your own hunting needs, you can use this skill to provide a service to others who need to hunt and can’t get access to manufactured arrowheads.

17. Stash a bottle of baby oil in your prepping supplies or in your bug out bag to help prevent frostbite in cold weather. Hypothermia and frostbite can be a very real threat even in normal times.

In a SHTF situation, you may get caught in the cold without proper cold weather gear. When baby oil is applied to the face and exposed skin, it creates a barrier against the cold.

18. Need to carry several gallons of water at one time? Use a long branch or even an old hockey stick to help you carry several jugs of water in one trip. Simply slide the handles of the jobs over the stick.

Balance the weight by alternating the jugs. A full size hockey stick can hold six or seven gallon milk jugs of water easily. On even ground you should be able to slide the stick which will also save wear and tear on your back.

19. Make a bow from an old bicycle so you can put food on your table following a SHTF event. In an extended SHTF situation, your ability to make what you need from found materials could help you survive when others perish. This skill could also serve as a post-SHTF service you can provide to barter for other things you need to survive.

20. Make a mini battery using a lemon with a copper penny and galvanized nail. As you’ll see in the video, you can create enough electricity to power a small calculator:

It’s not a long term solution, but this trick could provide a small amount of power if you find yourself in a critical situation.

In the video below, multiple lemons were used to actually charge a cell phone, which could give just enough power for you to get out an emergency text message or call if cell networks are still working.

10 Tried & True Prepper Tips

21. Print out and protect valuable information. This includes not only identification documents such as birth certificates, social security cards, etc. but also important information about how to perform first aid techniques, serial numbers for possessions, maps of where to find shelter locations and sources of freshwater in your area, how to maintain or repair your car or RV, how to identify trees, wild edibles, medicinal plants, etc. All of this information is easily available online but it may not be if the internet and electronic equipment is malfunctioning.

22. Save your dryer lint to use for fire starting material. For even better results, dip in petroleum jelly and tuck into an empty toilet paper tube. Store in zip lock bags for always ready tinder in your BOB.

33. Perfect your everyday carry (EDC) kit so you will be prepared for little inconveniences or accidents as well as larger emergencies, no matter where you are.

34. “Two is one and one is none”. Make sure you have multiple methods for starting a fire, for purifying water, for building a shelter, etc. so that if your BOB or EDC is comprised in any way, you will still be prepared.

35. Use Altoid tins to organize mini kits to keep like supplies together. Create a fishing kit, sewing kit, individual first aid kit, personal hygiene kit, etc. Use mini kits as part of your EDC, in your BOB, or in your car to serve as a backup to your other supplies.

36. Keep a “go” bag or get home bag (GHB) nearby at all times. Store it under your bed at night in case of an emergency in the middle of the night. Make sure to add a spare pair of shoes, extra car and house keys, socks, at least 24 hours of personal medications, a change of clothes, tactical flashlight, emergency blanket, a spare cell phone, knife, and water.

37. Email copies of important documents to yourself and keep backup copies on a flash drive. If your home is destroyed due to fire, flood, etc. you can quickly access important account numbers from a friend’s computer, from work, or from the library.

38. Freeze a container of water and add a coin to the top. If you open the freezer and the coin is trapped within the ice, you know your power was off long enough to at least partially thaw food items.

39. Don’t keep all your preps in one place. This tip is one of the most tried and true. You may think your house is the safest place for your preps because you are there to guard them. But in truth there are so many things that can go wrong.

What happens if your house burns down while you are at work or on vacation? Keep your preps in multiple places including your home, car, work, your boat, a bug out retreat, hidden caches along your bug out route, etc. to help prevent losing everything at once.

40. Get physically fit now because your life may depend on it. Emergency situations can place a huge amount of physical and emotional stress on the body, no matter how prepared you are.

Not only must you be ready to physically travel on foot for long distances, you need to be fit enough to do other survival tasks too such as chopping firewood, hauling water, moving debris off a trapped family member, etc. The more physically fit you are, the better you can protect yourself and your family.

So…

What are some of your tried and true methods for prepping? Are any of these prepper tips new for you? Is there an amazing, juicy prepper tip you know about that we didn’t include here?

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Megan Stewart

About Megan Stewart

A mother of four and grandmother of nine boys and one girl, Megan is living the lifestyle any prepper would want. Gardening, homesteading and constantly planning for emergencies big and small, she's a beacon of knowledge in the prepping community.
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4 thoughts on “30 Amazing Prepper Tips

  1. Megan,

    What are some of your tried and true methods for prepping? Are any of these prepper tips new for you? Is there an amazing, juicy prepper tip you know about that we didn’t include here?

    None of these were new; but, I’ll need some time to digest everything once again and add my thoughts on the subject.

  2. Megan,

    Believe it or not, prepping has become more and more mainstream over the last decade. Increasingly more people are worried about what the future could hold.

    I not only believe it, I’ve been part of that movement for the past 40 years, with formal training and outreach for the past 20 with our county EMA.
    FEMA (ready.gov), Red Cross, and state and county emergency managers have been pushing this hard for quite a while, pointing it out on national media whenever there is an event, like the recent earthquakes in California. Pointing out the value of that 72 hour (minimum) kit and explaining that in a large event, help may not be coming for at least those 3 days, you may be on your own and best be prepared to deal with it.
    I am also seeing an uptick in the CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) training and the basic preparedness sessions we run for the public have been well attended, with participants often asking revealing questions.

    10 Tips for New Preppers

    Debt
    Other than a car payment we’ll pay off this year, we’ve been out of debt (no mortgage) for more than 20 years and our retirement income not only easily covers all expenses, it allows us some significant monthly savings, all of which took decades of planning, saving, and frugal living.

    Dave Ramsey has a great program to help individuals become debt free quickly. Use cash whenever possible and avoid credit card debt for any future purchases.

    Note that credit card debt is not the same as no credit cards. We use a single credit card heavily; but, always pay off the full amount each month to avoid any interest. This allows more manageable cash flow, and the points earned get us rewards, that we usually exchange for Home Depot gift cards that are essentially free. This amounts to thousands of dollars of gift cards over the years that equate to resources for the homestead, with no income tax consequences.

    We recently purchased a new 14×24 foot building for the property for a bit more than $5000.00. We put half on the card with half when the building is delivered, all timed to our billing and payment cycle. Money for the entire building is available; but, this allows the money to gain a bit of interest and then gets us additional free gift cards.

    We keep the tanks on all vehicles nearly full all of the time, and have used the mantra ”Half is empty” for decades. For those who have a tight budget and only put in a few dollars at a time, you can still do that prior to being empty, with the only cost being that one filled tank of gas, so there are no good reasons or ”excuses” for not doing this.

    A BOB, GO Bag, vehicle kit, or whatever you may call it, not only is less expensive to do on your own, in temperate climates the contents should be checked and changed in part for each of the various seasons. Often an inexpensive gym bag or backpack filled with inexpensive items you may already own, or pick up a few at a time from dollar stores or yard sales allows you to make something flexible and tailored to your own needs.

    To make your plan, do the threat matrix I will describe at the end of this comment and then follow the plan, keeping in mind that it may need to be modified from time to time as your situation and budget changes.

    Practicing is important and can be as simple as a weekend camping trip, or turning off the main breaker to your residence. When you hit a snag, don’t turn the power back on; but, try and work around it, noting what needs to be added or changed. If things really go south, you can turn the power on and be back to mostly normal, having gained knowledge of what may need to be corrected.
    In my engineering career, we often called this method ”Wash, Rinse, Repeat”, that is basically a cycle of testing and tuning for the best outcome by making minor but significant corrections.

    6. Learn multiple ways to start a fire. The ability to build a fire is a critical skill for any prepper. If you can start a fire, you can stay warm, cook, signal for help, dry out wet clothing, etc.

    I’ve been teaching this skill for decades and want to point out the difference between building a fire and starting a flame. When people mention the ways they can start a fire, they often mean flame without knowing it or thinking about it.

    I was teaching a group how to use flint & steel and bow drill and a few of them were so exuberant that they had flames going quickly; but, had neglected to gather additional tinder, kindling and fuel, so their little flame went out with no place to put it and thus no fire.
    There are many methods one should consider such as:
    1. Flint & Steel & charcloth
    2. Fire piston & charcloth
    3. Butane lighter
    4. Butane torch
    5. Propane torch
    6. Bow drill
    7. Hand drill (not at all easy)
    8. Magnifying glass
    9. Steel wool and a battery
    10. Potassium permanganate and glycerin
    11. Road flare
    12. Fire saw if you have bamboo available

    Do you have any that I missed?

    For potable water one should at least consider filters, many of which may be constructed from purchased filter elements and a few 5 gallon food grade buckets.

    For food rotation the buy what you eat & eat what you buy with some can copying works well for most. Our investment in the Thrive Life Cansolidator system has been an easy way to both rotate stock and manage inventory.

    10. Be cautious about sharing details of your preps with other people. Even the nicest of neighbors could become desperate enough to be violent if faced with the choice between their family starving or taking supplies they know you have.

    This is usually called OPSEC (Operational Security) and is essential. Taking some people you trust into your confidence can however be a good thing. Our neighbors for instance are a Fire Chief paramedic and his Nurse Practitioner wife and are on board with us. We can offer resources they don’t yet have, and they offer skills where we are weak.

    10 Less Common Prepper Tips

    In your First Aid kit you should have things that perhaps you may not be able to use, such as Suture Kits, since those may be tools others could use if available, and perhaps could be used to save you and yours.

    We have rainwater collection; but, also have a creek on the property and farm ponds within walking distance. You should note all potential sources of water long before you may need them.

    13. Use gallon size ziploc bags to store extra rolls of toilet paper under the sink, in the garage, and in your car. You’ll have some toilet paper available as a backup if you run low in your home but you’ll also have TP in any emergency no matter where you end up taking shelter.

    If you purchase the rolls with no cardboard tube in the core they compress more tightly and if you have a Foodsaver or other vacuum sealing device, they can squish down very tightly.

    I love stick shift vehicles and saved money in the past, since those vehicles often sat unsold, just waiting for someone like me to make a deal.

    Stash a bottle of baby oil in your prepping supplies or in your bug out bag to help prevent frostbite in cold weather. Hypothermia and frostbite can be a very real threat even in normal times.

    That same baby oil (mineral oil) will also burn quite well and help fend off cold related maladies as another easy to use heating fuel.

    20. Make a mini battery using a lemon with a copper penny and galvanized nail. As you’ll see in the video, you can create enough electricity to power a small calculator:

    That’s a cute elementary school science fair trick if you need to power a calculator; but, in truth not all that practical. The lemon would be best kept for its vitamin C or its acidic qualities, and rechargeable batteries with multiple ways to charge them should be part of your preps.
    Unless you live in Florida, or someplace where lemons are available cheap, that money could easily purchase ”real” batteries that will last longer and work better.

    In the video below, multiple lemons were used to actually charge a cell phone, which could give just enough power for you to get out an emergency text message or call if cell networks are still working.

    IMHO your time and effort would be better spent with a more tangible way to charge your phone. The Kaito Voyager radio runs on a crank, USB power, or a built in solar panel; but, that same crank can be used to charge batteries and tablets with more control & reliability than spare and potentially expensive lemons.

    10 Tried & True Prepper Tips

    21. Print out and protect valuable information

    Not a bad idea; but, having digital copies on FLASH media you can take with you is also another nonexclusive option.

    22. Save your dryer lint to use for fire starting material. For even better results, dip in petroleum jelly and tuck into an empty toilet paper tube.

    Dryer lint is OK; but, unless you wear only cotton and other non-synthetic clothing, the lint can contain plastics that don’t burn well. Better to save the real cotton balls from medications or simply purchase some extra for this use, since you’ll need some in your FAK anyway.

    33. Perfect your everyday carry (EDC) kit . . .

    Like the BOB and other kits, these may need to have some contents changed for seasonal variations.

    35. Use Altoid tins to organize mini kits to keep like supplies together.

    When I first saw an Altoids package, I had no idea what they were; but, purchased one for the tin. I have made radios and numerous kits; but, use them primarily for making char cloth.

    37. Email copies of important documents to yourself and keep backup copies on a flash drive. If your home is destroyed due to fire, flood, etc. you can quickly access important account numbers from a friend’s computer, from work, or from the library.

    This depends on your email system and how it’s managed. My email is downloaded from several email servers every 10 minutes and is then only available locally using a system called POP3. If you use webmail or IMAP you can leave email on the server; but, unless you run encrypted email, having your account and other access credential stored ”in the cloud” is IMHO very poor OPSEC.

    40. Get physically fit now because your life may depend on it. Emergency situations can place a huge amount of physical and emotional stress on the body, no matter how prepared you are.

    As we age, this has become one of the hardest things; but, going slow & steady and knowing your own limits (Thanks Dirty Harry) can probably get you through.

    And as promised for making that plan:
    ”The Threat matrix revisited”
    Something you might want to do to organize your start is a technique called
    ”The Threat Matrix” , that I will describe here. This tool is not hard or complex; but, will take some clear and honest thinking as you create it, and once it’s completed, you’ll have a map to start you on your way with some semblance of organization, and perhaps a little less stress. You can use paper and pencil, a dry erase board or Post-it Notes, or a spreadsheet or word processor, if you’re comfortable with one of those tools. Here is how you construct the one for your situation.
    Start with a list of threats in prioritized order, with loss of your income, death in the family, or sudden acute illness at the top. Add global nuclear war and life ending asteroid strike at the bottom. Fill in the middle with the threats you and your family could actually face. As an example, in my location we can have blizzards and tornados; but, are not concerned with earthquakes or hurricanes and generally not much with floods or wildfires at my actual physical location, so be honest with yourself for your area, location, and situation.
    Next, starting at the most likely / highest priority event, make a list of the resources required to mitigate that threat. A resource in this case would be Materials, knowledge, and/or skills.
    Keep in mind also that often people confuse information, knowledge, and skills with each other. There is; however, a simple way to understand the difference and that is the application of each to your own situation. A library with all of its books or the internet with all of its web pages, podcasts, & videos, contains absolutely no knowledge. That content is only information. When you apply that information by reading, listening, or watching, then you gain knowledge when you start to understand the concepts.
    That act of absorbing and understanding information does not however make a skill until you then apply that knowledge by ”doing” something to create a skill, and then practice that skill to become proficient. One additional concept to keep in mind is that the old maxim, ”Practice Makes Perfect” is only partially correct, since only ” Perfect Practice Makes Perfect” , especially when doing things that could be dangerous, like chopping or splitting wood or running a chainsaw, so take your time.
    Once you have made your threat list, and added the knowledge, skills, and resources required to mitigate that threat, move on down to the next one on the list. What you will find is that as you move down the list, you start needing to add fewer & fewer items, since they have already been covered in the levels above. Once the matrix is complete, you have a plan with a map for the supplies, knowledge (books and other information), and skills to acquire, and like any journey, it just gets easier with a map to the destination.
    Also, note that as you prepare your way down this list, other things you missed will pop into your head; but, be assured that this is normal, and as you move on this journey in an organized fashion, you should occasionally stop and smell the flowers, looking back for just a minute to see how far you’ve come. Always looking ahead will only tend to disappoint you, because this journey like life itself never has a final destination. I’ve been seriously on this journey and lifestyle for 50+ years, and still on occasion wonder what I’m missing.
    Your journey forward into preparedness will be constantly changing as you acquire new resources or skills, many of which will then equip you to think of and ask questions that might not even have been thought of at the start, since we are often sometimes to ignorant to even ask the right questions. One of those resources are the incredible people here who are not too proud to admit ignorance and ask a question and often have the knowledge or skills to answer one., so don’t be shy and ask or answer.
    Sometimes not knowing what we don’t know is our biggest problem; but, as you move forward, often very obvious things will pop into your head, at which point you go back and rework the matrix; but, I think you’ll find that it will only get easier and you will eventually gain some peace of mind.

  3. I have taken to only saving the lint from my ‘cotton’ loads. Learned that the hard way. At the time I made that decision, I hadn’t even considered ‘plastics’. It was based on the ‘burnability’ (is that even a word LOL) and smell.

    I agree that this is a common list, but it is a good starting point for someone new to being prepared.

    I would add stockpiling heirloom garden seeds as well as learning how to garden. Seeds won’t mean anything if you don’t know how to tend a garden.

    Cacheing supplies is a good thought if you have a designated BOL, and trusted ppl along the way, but that is a more ‘advanced’ skill that I don’t think newbies should be bothered with. Most folks are planning to ‘bug in’, and caching on location might be helpful, but let’s not overwhelm folks with this aspect if they are just beginning.

    I totally agree with knowing how to drive a stick shift. Back in the day, I HAD to learn how, I bought one not knowing how, but it has been a distinct advantage to this day. I actually prefer to drive a stick in the snow. And while I have never done it, it puts me at a distinct advantage in having to drive heavy equipment, since they are often stick shift.

    1. Grammyprepper,

      I have taken to only saving the lint from my ‘cotton’ loads. Learned that the hard way. At the time I made that decision, I hadn’t even considered ‘plastics’. It was based on the ‘burnability’ (is that even a word LOL) and smell.

      In today’s era of the mangled English language, since ”burnability” can be both spelled and pronounced, it must be a word and brings to mind the lead in to a comedy sketch from some years ago. The comedian was talking about his age, being back before ”party” was a verb. LOL

      I would add stockpiling heirloom garden seeds as well as learning how to garden. Seeds won’t mean anything if you don’t know how to tend a garden.

      For someone new, you can cover this one with the purchase of a ”Survival Seed Vault” containing 21 Varieties of USDA Certified Organic Heirloom Seeds with the seed packages individually-sealed in re-sealable heavy-duty Mylar all in a metal can that also includes a detailed growing & seed-saving guide. I have 2 of these; but, I did not pay full price for either of them, grabbing them when they were on sale, at least one time on woot.com – LOL.

      Caching supplies is a good thought if you have a designated BOL, and trusted ppl along the way, but that is a more ‘advanced’ skill that I don’t think newbies should be bothered with. Most folks are planning to ‘bug in’, and caching on location might be helpful, but let’s not overwhelm folks with this aspect if they are just beginning.

      I agree, since the likelihood of people in general needing to shelter in place and use their supplies will be for a short term event, like a power outage, ice storm, etc. One should however be aware of the potential threat events at your location, and be prepared to bug out to short term shelters for the duration. This is of course more likely where widespread events may affect you, like earthquakes or hurricanes.

      I totally agree with knowing how to drive a stick shift. Back in the day, I HAD to learn how, I bought one not knowing how, but it has been a distinct advantage to this day.

      I learned at age 17 with my grandpa’s old 50’s vintage Ford pickup. Once you mastered 3 on the tree with double clutching, everything else was a piece of cake. I got a real deal on a good used vehicle once, since it had been sitting on the lot for a long time, due to one deficiency, the clutch that no one wanted or knew how to use. I had dealt with the dealership for years, and when they saw me coming looking for another vehicle, there was a big smile and the ”Have I got a car for you”. I ended up with that vehicle later that day.

      I actually prefer to drive a stick in the snow. And while I have never done it, it puts me at a distinct advantage in having to drive heavy equipment, since they are often stick shift.

      I could not agree more, since all too often an automatic transmission will shift at the wrong time when trying to get loose from spinning tires on the snow and lose traction.
      As for heavy equipment, I’ve driven numerous tractors and knowing how to use a clutch and stick is nearly always a requirement. I was at an event at a fairgrounds once and when they needed a big tractor moved, they asked me to move it, since I was the country boy. It was bigger than any I had driven before; but, after a few minutes to orient myself to the controls and shift pattern, I moved it without a problem, so this can be a very handy skill to have.

      BTW, Grammy. They are delivering our new building Friday afternoon, more than a week early.

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