This weekend the Self Reliance Expo made its stop in the north Texas area. Sarah and I managed to sneak over for a few hours to see what was going on. This was a pretty big feat for me since I had to violate a personal rule about crossing into Dallas County. Dallas has a lot to offer and a lot of cool things going, for most people. It’s there if I need it, but I can generally make due without the massive 6 lane freeways and the 5 mile long interchanges that involve half of the major interstate highways in Texas. Couple that with all the drivers that feel like they aren’t moving unless they are passing you. Yeah, I generally avoid the big city unless something really cool is going on. Fort Worth can be crazy, but Dallas is usually pure insanity. That “something cool” was there this past weekend.
We didn’t get to make it out that way until around noon on Saturday. I like getting to events much sooner to the opening than that, but with prior obligations we got there as soon as we could. I was hoping that showing up halfway into the second day of a two day event would still allow me to see everything available and meet the folks I was hoping to run into. I wasn’t disappointed in the least. We made it just in time to catch the presentation from Doctor Bones and Nurse Amy from Doom and Bloom. It didn’t take long before they had our full attention. For an hour they covered medical care for collapse situations. Everything from broken bones to lacerations was covered in detail with a great slideshow presentation. I’ve sat in on medical presentations in the past that bordered on boring. A few have crossed over into true slumberland. Not this round. Doctor Bones and Nurse Amy are both good presenters and enjoy interacting with their audience. Not once did I get the feeling that they were dragging. I’m looking forward to getting my hands on their new book, The Doom and Bloom Survival Medicine Handbook. I was planning on getting one at the expo, but Doctor Bones explained that they managed to sell every copy they brought with them.
Once the presentation was over it was time to hit the aisles and see the vendor booths. Food and water are always popular items at events like this, so I got to get myself familiar with the product offerings for both. Berkey water filtration seemed to be a hit, so it took me a few minutes to get up to the booth and ask a few questions. I was surprised as the number of options available for filtering water. I knew about the big countertop units Berkey offers, but discovered they have other options as well. Of note were water bottles with integrated ceramic filters. Sarah pointed out this might be a good gift option for friends of ours that spend a few months each year in research in the jungles of Central America. To say the water should be avoided down there is an understatement!
Next we were on to the food vendors. The normal offerings were available including Mountain House, Wise and Thrive brand long term foods. Sarah discovered Thrive’s freeze dried grated cheese. We’re both a little leery of long term dairy, but this stuff was pretty good. We’ll be adding some of that to the long term storage. The hit of the day for me was the booth for OvaEasy Whole Egg Crystals. I’ve had dried eggs in the past and the results were less than stellar. After asking the important question… “Are these just powdered eggs?” I was presented with a fork full of scrambled egg. That answered the question. “NO” these are not just powdered eggs. They tasted like eggs, but more importantly, they had the texture of eggs. Gonna have to add this one to the long term storage grocery list.
There were several booths extolling the virtues of alternative energy at the expo. That’s a subject I’m interested in, but the product prices in that field are pretty much off limits for the prepping budget in the short term. I didn’t spend much time in those booths, but will be sure to the next time the expo comes through town. I spent a little more time with the custom knife makers, but their wares were out of the budget as well. My lust for a custom knife will have to wait until more important items are procured.
The folks at Ready Made Resources were there showing off some of their cooler products. I only got to speak with the proprietor for a minute since his booth seemed to be one of the most popular that afternoon. They were showing off a solar power pack that looks incredibly portable and useful, but I didn’t get a chance to ask many questions thinking I could find it on their website. No luck yet, so it looks like I need to give them a call.
On our way out the door, we paused to talk with the folks from Backwoods Home Magazine. I’ve been a fan of theirs for a long time, so I really enjoyed getting to meet Dave Duffy, the editor. Since I think they do a lot of great work for the Survival and Homestead community, I decided to go ahead and get a magazine subscription. They make a ton of info available on their website for free, so I wanted to support them on the side of the business that pays their bills.
Overall, I was impressed with the Self Reliance Expo. I think it was well worth the ticket price to get in the door. I hope the show was successful enough to expand to other cities, and I certainly hope to see it again in north Texas. Now I I can just talk them into moving it a little west to Fort Worth so I don’t have to break my “No Dallas” rule again!