Armor, Ammo, and the Kitchen Sink: The Secret to Deployment Bags and how to Pack them

“Survival of the fittest” is a term that is thrown around liberally, but what does it mean? The meat of the phrase means that those who are most prepared, equipped and alert will be the ones that will come out on top of the pack. Going into a battle situation, it is to your benefit to give yourself every advantage you can think of which means to more than satisfy the criteria of the definition of being “fit.”

The secret to being prepared and equipped is having with you everything you may need in any given situation. This can be challenging when you have to carry all of your gear. However, with the right TA-50 or deployment bag, you can have enough room for everything you need, and if you pack carefully, perhaps even a small kitchen sink! The perfect deployment bag begins with essentials in an orderly arrangement. Essentials will be different for everyone, but at the core should be your body armor, some ammunition and a small first-aid kit. Here are some tips for packing the perfect bag:

1. Combinations are KEY! Try combining articles such as putting gloves, a pair of socks and a couple extra rounds in the cavity of the body armor. This will enable there to be more room in the bag as well as keeping things that you will need to use together also packed together so there is no time or energy lost in grabbing something you need. Body armor is bulky and odd shaped for packing, and chances are that if you need one piece, that you will need the same things each time so put them together in a way that they all work together. For example, if you have an extra pair of shoes to pack, consider putting something else that you will be using at that same time in the shoe to save room in your bag.

2. Zip tight bags are awesome! Water leakage inward to your bag (if it’s not waterproof or if it gets a hole in it somehow) or liquid/gel leakage outward of a container can prove to be a huge problem if you are traveling or on deployment. Zip tight baggies can save your day! Put shirts or outfits, socks, underwear into gallon size baggies if you are going to be deployed to a wet area with a lot of rain or will be trekking through water. If not, zip tight sandwich baggies around your toiletry items individually can prove extremely helpful. If one thing spills then it doesn’t get on each item turning it into a gooey mess. Also, with the use of zip bags, you will know that socks are always in one bag, underwear is always in another bag, and so on alleviating wasted time spent rearranging or hunting down items that you need NOW. Time spent hunting should be for your adversary instead of for your socks.

3. You can pack your kitchen sink and your bathroom medicine cabinet. Just because you are deployed or traveling does not mean that you have to go without necessities due to lack of space anymore. There are some deployment bags out there that are so ultra-roomy and sturdy that you can pack what you need; one of which is a safety/medical kit. Keep a few bandages, muscle pain patches, minor pain meds in travel packages, snap-light fishing glow sticks, all in one mini-tool, and snap-released hand warmers. Maybe put those in a round of duct tape or a funnel and put that in a zip baggy or just in a little toiletry case.

4. Why leave strategy to the battlefield? To win the war on clutter and mess, you have to plan a method of attack. Strategize and think about putting together your bag right the first time. What will be easiest for you and save you time? What will be something that you will actually do and maintain? Will zip baggies be something that you can do? Will arranging socks with socks work better for you rather than arranging whole outfits together? Does it make sense to pilfer through your bag each time you need something? Plan what you are going to do and then keep it up so you know exactly where everything is! Arrange things considering shape and frequency of use. Does it make sense to put something you use three times daily on the bottom of the stack? Arranging in slices instead of stacks helps. Think bread slices in a bag. That way you don’t have stacks of stuff to look under but rather can see a small sliver sample of each thing you have. Planning your bag will make your time more efficient and lower your stress level because you are more prepared in a shorter amount of time.

Incorporating a few of these ideas or using them as a holistic system really can aide you in being more prepared, more equipped and more “fit” than your counterparts or competition. Saving time, energy and mental stress will aide you in keeping your performance at an optimum while still not compromising your personal comfort. Performance levels at their optimum will ensure you are among the most “fit” and will help to guarantee your success at your mission, both on the battlefield and beyond.

Cheap Kitchens – Creating The Best For Your Money

The most common rooms that are remodeled in a home are the bathroom and kitchen. With kitchen remodeling being so expensive, home owners are looking for ways to produce cheap kitchens. This short, and informative guide will help you through the process.

Before taking any action, it is important to know how much you are willing to spend. This will determine what you can get for the new kitchen. Apartment complexes are the best example of getting the most for your money where a kitchen is concerned. They use a specific type of kitchen in their units. These fitted kitchens are easy to build and are usually designed to be the same in every unit. Visit a friend who has an apartment or trailer to see what the layout is like.

This layout is designed with ease of access and food preparation in mind. They are constructed of low cost materials that are made to look like their more expensive cousins. Don’t worry about durability though. These components are also designed to be durable. Sometimes they stay in tact better than the expensive stuff.

When you have chosen your design, and materials, it’s time to figure out who is going to do all the work. While you might want to do it all yourself, it’s probably not a good idea. Getting a professional to help you design and install your kitchen is better.

Look around your local hardware store to see if there is a list. Some stores keep them, and others don’t. However, most stores do keep a bulletin board. Check it out for business cards of contractors. Most will leave them there in hopes of getting a little bit of business.

Have a meeting with him or her to make sure they can do what you need them to do. Have them look at your space to determine if your vision can be made reality. They will have some suggestion to improve upon or adjust your vision so that it fits as closely as possible.

When the meeting is over, get everything you discussed in writing. This will make everything official, and will protect you in the long run. Make sure to get a phone number too. This will be handy in case of inquiries that pop up after the contractor leaves.

At the completion of the renovation, you will have accomplished your goal of finding out about cheap kitchens. The kitchen should be elegantly done. Pay your contractor, and pass his business card around if you liked their work. This will be greatly appreciated.

Selecting a Kitchen Sink: 4 Things to Consider

When potential homeowners look at homes, they often look first at the kitchen and the bathrooms. Kitchen remodels often get the highest return on investment of any home project you can do. For this reason, many sellers will do at least minor renovations. They routinely get upwards of 85%, with the national average being 87%. This means you’ll get 87% of what you spend added to the overall home value, and it obviously makes your home sell quicker, often making up for that 13%.

Or maybe you’re not selling and are simply wanting a new look for your kitchen. Your sink will often be the focal point of the room, and what you end up using the most. Since you will be using it multiple times per day, you want to make sure you are getting the right sink for you and your family based on what you hope and need to get out of it. Here are four things to consider to make that decision just a little easier.

1. Use. The number one thing you need to ask yourself when considering a new sink for your kitchen is how you plan to use it. Are you an amateur chef? Are you a busy business professional making mostly frozen meals? Are you a stay-at-home mom with three messy kids? Do you have some extra money saved up or are you on more of a budget and need a quick fix? The answers to these questions will likely determine most of the following decisions you need to make regarding your new sink.

2. Material. This decision is the initial and foundational choice you will need to make. There are generally four options that people go with for material.

Stainless Steel – This is far and away the most popular choice for kitchen sinks. If you get a lot of use from your sink, stainless is the most durable and highest quality option. If you have kids who might be hard on the sink, this will be the best fit for your family. It is also a classy and elegant look that many homeowners choose when going for the modern feel.

Solid Surface – This is the second most common option for sink material. Solid surface means there is no lip between the counter and sink – it is all one. Corian is the most popular for this style, but there are multiple options. This makes clean up a breeze, as you can just wipe things right into the sink. They are very low maintenance compared to other materials, so this might be most handy for the busy professional types. It also, obviously, creates a seamless look in your kitchen.

Composites – There are several composite sinks coming up on the market. There are many colors available and are at a relatively cheap price point, so this is likely to be a popular choice in years to come. Beware, however, as the quality matches the pricing. This would be for those on a budget and looking for a quick fix.

Cast Iron – These were the most popular choice many years ago, but have largely faded from newer homes. Some people will say this is the prettiest looking option, but the material wares and fades over time. Heavy sink users should probably stay away from this option, and may be more ornamental in nature.

3. Gauge. This one will only apply to those who decide to go with stainless steel for your material. Gauge simply means the thickness of your steel sink. Most people consider many other things before thinking about gauge, but this should be high on your list. The lower the number, the thicker (and higher quality) your sink is. They range from 14 (very high quality) to 24 (low quality). Most chain home remodel stores (Home Depot, Lowes) offer stainless sinks in the 20s. Higher-end manufacturers will offer a sink gauge in the teens.

4. Bowls/Basins. The vast majority of sinks have two basins. This makes it especially easy for washing dishes, as you have one basin for cleaning and the other for an easy drying rack. These days, however, we are seeing a great variety spring up in bowls. You can get a single basin sink, which you will usually see for power cooks. These large sinks make cooking and cleaning large dishes a bit easier. Drying dishes is harder, but you can get drying racks that sit on your counters. You can also get a triple bowl. This will have two larger basins on the outside, and a smaller shallow basin in the middle that is usually used for washing fruits and vegetables. Another popular option is a single basin with a small secondary shallow basin. There are endless combinations of these to suit any of your needs and desires.

You may think you can just go into a store, pick a fancy looking sink that is on sale, get it into your kitchen and live happy ever after. If only it were that easy. The options are many, and the choices are often critical to the happiness of you and your family. Hopefully, you are now well-informed enough to make a good decision for the needs of your home.