Good article! A few years ago, a medical condition for someone in my family required that I learn how to cook without high fat dairy, no corn products, no fish, and very low sodium. That means almost no packaged or processed foods, no fast food, almost no snack foods, no packaged flavor packets, no bottled flavorings…well you get the idea. Now I visit Costco a couple times a year for rice, beans, pasta, and meat. I grow almost all the vegetables we eat year round. Our grocery bills have gone way down. And now I actually know how to cook almost anything from scratch ingredients that I always have on hand in bulk. The foods many preppers stock up, are foods I never have in my house so I wouldn’t miss them if they suddenly became unavailable. In hind sight I’ve learned that “stuff” isn’t as important as skills. Trust me, cooking is a skill.
I don’t know how to advise you on preparing for low temperatures and snow/ice problems: one thing’s for sure, back when Quebec had its massive ice storm, it took them SIX WEEKS to get the power back on. But having electricity will be moot if the hydroelectrics are frozen, not to mention the distribution problems. As for 60 below, it doesn’t matter which scale you use: it’s COLD.
Liz – I’m not normally one to call someone out… But… You’re WRONG! The body ABSOLUTELY cannot survive without carbohydrates. Scientifically impossible! You might want to have a full blood workup done and an exhaustive vitamin panel. No way, no how, you’ve been on a meet and water diet for a year! After a couple of weeks your body would go into ketosis. Not long after that, absence of Carbs would start to affect brain function. Not sure what you’re trying to accomplish with your comment, but you’re “advice” will be sending people to the hospital!
At a rate of 4%, inflation will halve the purchasing power of your savings in about 17 years; at 6%, the process will take just 11 years and a change. Worse yet, depending on your location and lifestyle choices, the inflation rate you experience can be much higher than the nation-wide government numbers imply. For example, the skyrocketing housing prices in the SF Bay Area have halved the purchasing power of some renters and would-be homeowners in a matter of five years or so.
For a while they became my primary source of income, and every single time I was hired by a company that catered to the survivalist market, not a traditional publisher. Each time, the company's name would be listed instead of an author. There are thousands of prepping guides available on Amazon right now— 2,849 in the "Survival and Preparedness" category alone and 4,214 matches for the keyword "prepper" across categories—and only a small percentage are produced by dedicated book publishers. Companies that sell survivalist products and services produce the lion's share, and on any given day, if you peek at freelancing sites like Upwork, you'll see at least a couple of ghostwriting projects dedicated to survivalism being advertised.
Finelli remained at the helm until he came down with pneumonia in late 2016. Months before, an interloper who claimed to have no Social Security number or driver’s license had driven up from Arkansas on nitrogen-filled tires, used to skirt a law requiring licensing for vehicles with air-filled tires. His name is Andrew:—he has no last name; he says adding the colon keeps him from being cataloged in “the system”—and his resourcefulness impressed Finelli, so he offered Andrew: the mic during his absence. He never got it back.
Of course, this observation ignores one important fact: compared to EU countries, the United States suffers from a markedly elevated (but rapidly falling) rate of homicide. About two thirds of them are committed with guns - but lest we jump to conclusions, the non-firearm-related murder rate alone puts America well ahead of most of Europe, suggesting that the cause may have more to do with societal differences than with the availability of a particular tool. A finding that supports this theory is the fact that upward of 80% of US gun homicides trace back to gang activity and drug trade, often within the disadvantaged or impoverished strata of the society that are far less prominent on the old continent. Another telling observation is that comparisons of overall murder rates across US states or across EU countries with vastly different firearms ownership profiles don't reveal a convincing correlation between the two variables - something you would expect to see if legally owned guns had a causative relationship with violent crime.
When buying food, don't fall for "diet", "reduced fat", "low sugar", or "low carbs" ice cream, yogurts, cakes, pizza, pasta, and so on - the differences are so minor that you might as well have the real thing and stop fooling yourself. Watch out for deceptive portion sizes, too. For example, Cheetos are labeled as 150 kcal per "serving", but there are almost 10 servings in a regular bag! Frozen fries are another great example: they look pretty low-cal until you realize that a serving is just 10-15 pieces or so - certainly not enough to make you feel full.
Jim Cobb is the author of Prepper's Home Defense (2012) and Prepper's Complete Guide to Disaster Readiness (2013). He has been a prepper for most of his life and has worked almost twenty years in the security management and investigation fields. He also is the owner and lead trainer for DisasterPrepConsultants.com. Jim's primary home online is found at SurvivalWeekly.com. He lives and works in the Upper Midwest, sequestered in a fortified bunker with his lovely wife and their adolescent weapons of mass destruction.
However, a few unintentional similarities to the Quiverfull movement doesn't mean that preppers can't still care about safe sex. Hunting, canning, and digging your own latrines does nothing to make the threat of an STD less real. After all, gonorrhea and genital warts are going to be a whole lot harder to treat without reliable access to medical care. And there must be at least a few survivalists out there rational enough not to want to endure the horrors of premodern pregnancy and birth unless absolutely necessary.
Now, chances are, if you follow the advice contained in this section, you will not feel an urge to ramp up spending the moment you hit the 6-month mark. So, keep going; with the initial rainy-day fund established and good fiscal habits in place, you can start treating the extra funds with more flexibility - for example, "borrowing" against them to self-finance larger purchases, or aiming to retire a bit earlier and a bit more comfortably than the government expects you to. And by the time your savings are sufficient to get you through a full year of unemployment, I bet that your outlook on life, work, and personal finance will change in an interesting way.
Lastly, this list is primarily for Sheltering in Place and the requirements/resources the average person would be able to lay their hands on. This doesn’t take more extreme climates into consideration but should still provide a base regardless of where you live. For other lists you can check out our Resources page. For something more specific to the Bug Out Bag checklist, click here. Also this list is going to be missing the specifics of the amounts because each family or individual is different. So without further ado, here we go.
Buy dry foods, canned goods and peanut butter, then use the oldest on a regular basis and rotate new stock into the pantry. Too many people buy foods that they will only eat when the SHTF and then since you’re not using it on a regular basis, it’s gone or going bad. If however you buy many of the foods you currently eat for SHTF planning then you can eat the oldest food and rotate new stock into your holdings as a routine part of your meals.
Interestingly, the legal bar for claiming self-defense is typically no different whether you are using a less-lethal weapon or lethal force. But of course, the legal and psychological consequences of being wrong can be far more severe if you kill a person, versus just making their eyes itch. There are no easy answers, so do some soul-searching first. If you can't imagine killing another person to protect your family - and living with the consequences - don't get a knife or a gun.
What is your physical ability? Are you and your spouse able to lift a 50 gallon garbage can full, in case you have to move it? Not everybody can do it alone easily. I met a person who was physicaly strong, but she had days her hands couldn’t open anything because of a chronic sickness. Another one, very strong also, but his back was fragile sometimes.
Grains. Grains are good for making flour or meal. Wheat and corn are the most common. Bear in mind that you will need a grain mill to process these, and I recommend a good hand mill in case power is an issue. By storing whole grains instead of flour or meal you drastically increase storage life. Again you can buy these in ore-sealed buckets, or repackage bulk purchases yourself to save money. If you want to increase the shelf life even more, you can turn them into flour and then into Hardtacks.
The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend that the average homeowner should store at least three to five days of water and three days of food in case of an emergency or natural disaster. However, assembling an emergency kit, especially if you’re not entirely clear on what to purchase, can be a challenge. Wise Food Storage, thankfully, offers a line of emergency kits for the home and the car that are perfect for surviving emergency situations. Wise Food Storage specializes in preparing long-term, ready-made emergency meals and snacks. From freeze dried meats to dehydrated vegetables, Wise Food Storage carries a number of easy-to-prepare food items that prepared to last for years. Many of the food items are stored in specially designed pouches and extra-durable buckets that effectively seal out moisture and heat—in fact, when stored correctly in a dark, cool environment, Wise Food Storage meals and snacks can last for decades. Wise Food Storage offers a number of different emergency kits to meet a variety of different needs, including a five-day, one-person emergency kit as well as a survival kit that can meet the needs of six people for five days. The five-day kit for a family of six features nearly everything a person could need to survive during an emergency event, including 32 gourmet, ready-made, long-term entrees, water, a stove, cups, flashlights, first aid kits, blankets, matches, playing cards, and five extra-rugged backpacks. Wise Food Storage also offers emergency kits for particular needs or situations, as well. For example, the hunting survival kit features everything an outdoors enthusiast may need to survive in the woods, including an emergency sleeping bag, waterproof matches, an emergency candle, rope, a shovel, a first aid kits and a 4-in-1 flashlight. Wise Food Storage also carries a car emergency kit, which features jumper cables, robe, a first aid kit, duct tape, a survival whistle and a emergency blanket. By storing a few basic supplies in your home or car, you can ensure that you and your loved ones will remain safe and healthy in the event of a natural disaster or unforeseen situation.
There are a wide range of these available. This is essentially the MRE category. I like the first strike Meals, these are a full day of rations in a single package, the non essentials have been stripped away and they are a pretty compact package for the content. There are a lot of options available, however, so you can pick what works for you. I don’t recommend MREs as a staple of your food storage program. Shelf life is marginal and fluctuates with temperature, they are bulky on a per calorie basis, and they are cost prohibitive. However, they are very convenient and have a place as a supplemental portion of your food storage program.
Even though I have a good start on my food pantry, it is always a good idea to look at others ideas. I had not thought of bulk pancake mix. I am a single person and got a great deal on Bisquick shake and pour ($1.00 each) I bought 2 dozen! I don’t really care for pancakes on a regular basis but once in a while… That all being said, I did purchase a vacuum sealer and have made good use of it. I also have a large dehydrator and visit the farmers market often for goodies to dehydrate and seal. When I have purchased these 20 items, I am then on to other needs such as shelter, etc. I have a lot of camping gear but not a good tent if I should have to vacate. Thank you Gaye – keep up the good work.
Jay Blevins is a former law enforcement officer who is prepping with his family and neighbors for a global economic collapse. Brian Murdock and his Colombian wife-to-be Tatiana are preparing to relocate from suburban Somerville, Massachusetts to somewhere in Upstate New York. Tatiana overcomes her initial reluctance to Brian's prepping ways. Bryan and Lacey May are Indiana preppers preparing for an earthquake along the New Madrid Fault Line. They are stockpiling uses silver and gold to barter with, they also have a Massive Battery Backup to run their home with Wind and Solar Power and Stock food and antibiotics.
At $40 for a case of 12, Soylent does a great job replacing solid meals with pre-mixed drinks that can extend your survival food stores by a few days. Each bottle is 400 calories and contains 20% of your daily nutritional needs. Drink five bottles and you’ve got a full day’s worth. They’re also vegan and nut- and lactose-free, with very clear nutritional info.
There are those who are born into familial wealth or who display supernatural business acumen. Then there is the rest of us, perhaps having robust and satisfying careers, but ultimately tiptoeing the line between middle-class prosperity and crushing poverty. It may be a matter of our employer going out of business, it may be a shift in the job market, an illness, or a legal dispute - but in all likelihood, it would not take much to send us over the edge. I have friends who lived paycheck-to-paycheck on cozy Silicon Valley salaries of $100k+ a year, only to lose their cars and homes in the midst of the 2007 financial crisis - having found out the hard way that unemployment benefits in the San Francisco Bay Area max out at $450 a week.
Is this a complete list of everything you will need to be fully prepared food-wise? Heck no. Are the quantities adequate to feed a family for a month, three months or longer? Perhaps a month but not much longer. Truthfully, for long term storage you need more food and more variety (read about the top survival food brands here) as well as some packaging methods (Mylar bags or buckets plus oxygen absorbers) to insure that your will food stay viable and pest free for years to come.
Groceries. Try to shop at less expensive grocery stores and try out lower-shelf brands - especially when it comes to commodities such as cooking oil, paper towels, milk, seltzer water, flour, sugar, or salt. Table salt tastes and works the same, whether you paid $1 at Walmart or $15 for a Sherpa-approved Himalayan variety at Whole Foods. Groceries eat up a good chunk of our monthly budgets, so even seemingly inconsequential savings tend to add up very fast.
When it comes to comfort and personal hygiene, I would also suggest stockpiling a carton of toilet paper, a pack of old-school soap bars, a bottle of no-rinse body wash and shampoo (to conserve water), some antiperspirant, toothpaste and a toothbrush, nail clippers or scissors, and several disposable razors. At home, such items can come handy only during prolonged emergencies; but as a part of your in-car kit, they are invaluable if you are ever stuck somewhere or forget to take your toiletries with you on a camping trip.