Gale, you’re right about the bug eggs. I know it’s a little skeevy to think about but *nearly all* grain products (whole wheat berries, biscuit mix, pasta, cornmeal, anything) already have bug eggs in them. That’s what the dry ice is for; it helps stave off rancidity and it also prevents (ew) hatching! Or you can freeze the items for a week and then store long-term, but that’s a lot more trouble than it sounds like and doesn’t help prolong shelf life.


Weather-appropriate clothing. A well-maintained stash of warm clothes, including waterproof ponchos and rain boots. In a pinch, you can also use metallized Mylar blankets ($0.80 a piece): tie them with some tape to make improvised rainproof, windproof, or thermally insulating clothing and hats, shoe liners, and more. The blankets cost very little and take up virtually no room, so I strongly suggest keeping some in your car. If you're stranded in an inhospitable place, they could save your life.
In recent years, survivalism has been edging deeper into mainstream culture. In 2012, National Geographic Channel launched “Doomsday Preppers,” a reality show featuring a series of Americans bracing for what they called S.H.T.F. (when the “shit hits the fan”). The première drew more than four million viewers, and, by the end of the first season, it was the most popular show in the channel’s history. A survey commissioned by National Geographic found that forty per cent of Americans believed that stocking up on supplies or building a bomb shelter was a wiser investment than a 401(k). Online, the prepper discussions run from folksy (“A Mom’s Guide to Preparing for Civil Unrest”) to grim (“How to Eat a Pine Tree to Survive”).
Well, that's the bare minimum - but if you have a garage, a basement, or other unused storage space, I would actually recommend going a bit further and grabbing one or two 5 gallon cans ($18) per every household member. Although multi-week water outages are very unlikely, this simply gives you a more comfortable safety margin: if something goes awfully wrong and it becomes clear that help is not coming any time soon, you will still have time to look for alternatives or evacuate. A reserve also puts you in a better situation if it's unusually hot or if you have any urgent hygiene needs. The cans are very easy to use: wash them with a small amount of regular, non-scented laundry bleach, rinse, and fill up with tap water. Rotate the contents every 2-4 years or so.

When he gets up to show me about his cabin, Pense stands with the height and permanence of the dignified trees that encircle the property. He doesn’t say “um,” or “well”—the slow, deliberate syllables that emanate from his jowls feel like historical record, perhaps with a sprinkle of Americana, but not quite jingoism. Listening to him talk about his life is like having R. Lee Ermey recite your high school American studies textbook, but gentler.
Heat: Emergency blankets made out of a metallic Mylar material are small and handy, and can double as ground cover or tarps for shelter. We like this pack of six Mylatech XL blankets. For a great bonus option, we love this indoor heater that uses the same small propane tanks as the camping stoves. Avoid cheaper ones that aren’t safe for indoor use — two weeks after first publishing this guide, a neighboring tent in our campground caught on fire because of a cheap propane heater that tipped over while a family slept inside.
There are key foods that keep well that are also very budget-friendly. In addition to this, it is worth considering making and pickling your own food — this makes your food supplies last longer than simply purchasing cans and placing them on rotation. Remember, just as we wrote in the first article, prepping on a budget is a gradual process, so don’t worry if you feel as though you aren’t quite ready for an emergency situation yet! You will get there eventually, storing food $5-worth a week is still better than nothing at all.
Before fire season, move combustibles away from your house. Fences and dry vegetation give fires a place to grow, says Jonathan Cox at Cal Fire, California’s Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. Hosing down your house won’t help much, either, he says: “The way a lot of these homes burn is through something called ember cast, when embers from the fire fly over and drop little fires everywhere. With a huge ember cast, hosing down your house doesn’t do much.”

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.
Thrive Life Foods. This is my favorite of the freeze dried foods for one simple reason- They sell ingredients, not dishes. With this brand, you can stock up on nimber ten cans of ingredients that you use in favorite dishes. You are not constrained and can prepare the meals that your family is used too eating, cooked from your standard recipes. Unopened cans have at least a 25 year shelf life, and some items are available in 5 gallon buckets. Thrive Life foods can be found online.
“If you’re using it for emergency survival, the fact is you’re going to buy it once, and hopefully you’re not going to use it,” Shields said. “But it’s there as a safety net for you and your family.” That’s what intrigued me about freeze-dried food: You can wait up to a quarter-century to use it, but in an ideal world, you wouldn’t have to eat it at all.

2.  20 pounds of Pinto Beans.   Like rice, beans are the backbone to every food storage plan.  You may substitute white, kidney or other types of dried beans but honestly, pintos are one of the least expensive dried beans and in my opinion, one of the tastiest.  Need help cooking beans? when you are done here be sure to read Survival Woman Learns to Cook Dried Beans and you should too and  Respect for the Lowly Pinto Bean.
A tarp. For actual survival, a generic blue tarp from Lowe’s isn’t going to cut it. I’m looking for something that is specially designed to help you survive in winter, like [the Xenon winter tarp, $140 and the Old Man Winter by Wilderness Logistics, $160]. They can be used as a tent, as ground cover, to catch rainwater, to patch holes, for a trap, and even to drag back heavy animals.

I had one of those terrifying END OF THE WORLD dreams, three months in a row, each a different dream.  After the first, I started getting really serious about prepping.  After the third, I had an intense urgency to get my preps in order.  My prepping began by stocking up on the things we frequently used.  We had five meals that we regularly ate so we stocked up on those food items when I first started prepping which was a couple of years before the dreams.  After the dreams, I realized that having some food wasn’t enough.  I needed at least a year supply of food, water, light/heat, first aid/hygiene supplies, protection supplies, communication supplies, and a financial plan.  I also wanted to become self-reliant in all of these categories.
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.
During the dinner rush, the Pizza Hut on Glenstone Avenue is a kinetic juxtaposition: fast-moving people behind the counter, slow-moving people in front of it. Carbohydrate osmosis, I assumed. Earlier that afternoon in the Starbucks down the road, Randall told me Andrew:’s meetup group might be here. He’d been hosting meetups in the gymnasium of the Seventh-day Adventist Church on Belview Avenue, but the church disinvited the preppers after clergy leader and RN Janis Hall witnessed Andrew: deliver a scathing diatribe against modern medicine. But here, judging by the veterans’ hats, overalls and waistband cell phone holsters crowding the salad bar, I knew I was in the right place. 

17. Spices and Condiments. Adding some spices and condiments to your food storage pantry will allow you to vary the taste of your storage foods, thus mitigating some of the boredom that is likely to occur over time.  The exact mix of spices and condiments is up to you but some suggestions include  garlic, chili, Tabasco (hot sauce), salsa, oregano, thyme and black pepper. For a full list of the best prepper herbs and spices, check out the BDS guide here.
I do not mean to imply that any stage of prepping is a bad thing.  Not at all.  Rather, it is our duty to exercise our own free will to make preparedness decisions that bring sense to our unique situations.  There is no such thing as the one-size-fits-all Prepper.  You may reach a certain stage and feel very comfortable at that point. Not everyone can be a candidate for a reality show, nor does everyone want to do something like that.

Shotguns. Long, heavy, large-bore weapons with tremendous stopping power, variously firing one large metal slug or a swarm of high-energy pellets; less-lethal rubber batons are also sometimes used for crowd or animal control. Aimed as easily as rifles, but because of the less ergonomic shapes of projectiles and their lower velocities, the effective range of a shotgun doesn't extend far beyond 100-200 yards. In places such as Australia or the UK, buying a shotgun is subject to fewer restrictions than other types of firearms.
The whining and crying of the rich cowboy whose ears were damaged due to the lack of firearms training and precautions with proper hearing cover--absurd. This was the episode which ended it for me. No thanks. The person teaching self defense? Erm... in theory, great. But who honestly believes an out-of shape person is going to be able to defend against a well-trained, fit and armed attacker? Or two? Some of these people need to get their reality checked.
Introduced to shooting at young age by her older brother, Suzanne Wiley took to the shooting sports and developed a deep love for it over the years. Today, she enjoys plinking with her S&W M&P 15-22, loves revolvers, the 1911, short-barreled AR-15s, and shooting full auto when she gets the chance. Suzanne specializes in writing for the female shooter, beginner shooter, and the modern-day prepper. Suzanne is a staff writer for Cheaper Than Dirt!

After three days eating very little vegetable matter, I was thrilled to dig into Thrive Life’s Tuscan Quinoa Bowl, which included a ratatouille-like sauté combining asparagus, zucchini, and diced tomatoes. The cooking process felt kind of like a science experiment— you fry dehydrated garlic bits in oil, then pour in the dehydrated vegetables and seasoning along with a cup of water—but the result actually tasted like something I might cook at home, minus the strangely firm consistency of the vegetables. The following night, I prepared a Chicken Cranberry Pot Pie, rolling out the dough for the pastry, cooking the filling in a slow cooker, and carefully sealing the pie with the prongs of a fork.
Of course, everybody has some non-perishable food around the house, but it's much better to create a dedicated stash: this way, you can count on the supplies always being at hand, and you can stockpile something more nutritious than stale crackers, a suspect bottle of olive oil, and a rusty can of tomato sauce. With a well thought-out stockpile of ready-made food, it's also a lot easier to hit the road.

Handguns. This category encompasses a wide selection of small, lower-powered firearms that can be easily carried without attracting attention. Most have a fairly modest stopping power, so-so ballistics, and require quite a bit of practice to accurately hit anything more than 10 yards away. A telling statistic is that in shootouts, the police have a hit rate somewhere between 10% and 30%; contrary to what some gun control supporters claim, an average policeman does not get that much practice, and probably trains less than your typical gun enthusiast - but these numbers are still something to keep in mind.
3. The water will slowly filter through the charcoal and drip out of the cap. Put a bandanna or another cloth over the hole to filter out any bits of charcoal. (If you’re experiencing intestinal distress—and you very well might be, since your body goes into different kinds of shock in these situations—eat a little bit of the charcoal. It’ll help bind you back up.)
From looking at those stats, it might appear as if baby boomers are the least prepared for a doomsday disaster. But perhaps the reason they haven’t recently purchased any survival gear is that a lot of them have long been preparing for it: Baby boomers lead the way (41.28%) in terms of those who haven’t recently purchased survival gear because they already have it on hand. They’re followed by Gen Xers at 37.07% and millennials at 32.79%.

I don’t have high blood pressure, but am extremely salt sensitive. If I eat a Chinese meal (which I love!), I have to remember to take a couple of potassium tablets afterward, or I will puff up and look like I’ve been on a bender for the last two days! Swollen eyelids, fingers and even toes. Something not working well with my kidneys? Maybe. Hasn’t shown up in any blood work, and the potassium does the trick. So, we have to figure our own bodies out. Let’s be glad we all don’t have to fool around to do that! Good health is a blessing.

In addition to this list, may I refer you to the Weston Price Foundation and the book Nourishing Traditions? These two sources will help us to decide on the healthiest versions of all these foods; the end goal is to remain healthy and nourished so that we can enjoy all these things we store! Thanks for the article–it set my mental wheels to turning 🙂
A lot of preppers want to stockpile meat, and you can do this to a certain extent with an additional freezer.  However, coupons for meat and produce are few and far between.  Therefore, the following strategies will rarely work for amassing a meat stockpile. Try to keep your meat freezing separate from your coupon stockpiling, as the strategies for each are different. Also, do not try to stockpile any fresh produce or dairy, as the coupons for these are scarce as well, and you will be wasting your time in terms of expiration dates.  Stick to canned produce and powdered milk, which can be acquired via coupons.
Hall got the idea for the project about a decade ago, when he read that the federal government was reinvesting in catastrophe planning, which had languished after the Cold War. During the September 11th attacks, the Bush Administration activated a “continuity of government” plan, transporting selected federal workers by helicopter and bus to fortified locations, but, after years of disuse, computers and other equipment in the bunkers were out of date. Bush ordered a renewed focus on continuity plans, and FEMA launched annual government-wide exercises. (The most recent, Eagle Horizon, in 2015, simulated hurricanes, improvised nuclear devices, earthquakes, and cyberattacks.)
Oh, one more thing: when trying to reform your fiscal habits, it can be useful to think of money as a unit of debt owed to you by the society, awarded in exchange for your hard work (or as a consequence of some other fortuitous event). Despite the popular saying, when allocated wisely, that money can buy you safety, comfort, influence, or true friendship and happiness. It would be foolish to squander it on trinkets - just as it would be foolish to take it with you to the grave. My advice is simple: make every transaction count.
While home storage of water is not hugely complicated, things get a bit dicey when you have to evacuate - or if you end up being stranded away from home. If you have a car, your best bet is to put together a small emergency supplies box that, among other essentials, houses one or two 1-gallon jugs of water - and keep it in your trunk at all times. But without a car, your prospects are less cheerful: in case of a widespread disaster, your range will be severely limited, and even if you take some modest amount water with you, you will need to reach a more hospitable location within 1-2 days. A bicycle, a plan, and a good map will help. A folding cart or a an inconspicuous box of supplies kept at work may be viable choices, too.
I do not mean to imply that any stage of prepping is a bad thing.  Not at all.  Rather, it is our duty to exercise our own free will to make preparedness decisions that bring sense to our unique situations.  There is no such thing as the one-size-fits-all Prepper.  You may reach a certain stage and feel very comfortable at that point. Not everyone can be a candidate for a reality show, nor does everyone want to do something like that.

I called a Silicon Valley sage, Stewart Brand, the author and entrepreneur whom Steve Jobs credited as an inspiration. In the sixties and seventies, Brand’s “Whole Earth Catalog” attracted a cult following, with its mixture of hippie and techie advice. (The motto: “We are as gods and might as well get good at it.”) Brand told me that he explored survivalism in the seventies, but not for long. “Generally, I find the idea that ‘Oh, my God, the world’s all going to fall apart’ strange,” he said.


Great article! It is so helpful to read about the basics again and again. IMHO, the most important guiding point in the article is to prep what you will actually eat. This week my husband cooked DAK ham in a skillet with potatoes and melted cheese. It was just okay. I’m not crazy about the ham and am choosing not to prep it. Proteins have been the most difficult for me. So far, proteins I am SURE I will eat are all kinds of dried and canned beans, shelf-stable tofu (Mori-Nu), and Campbell’s Roadhouse Chili. This chili tastes a lot better than Hormel and tastes great over rice. The Mori-Nu tofu can be heated in a minute in the same pot with a pack or 2 of ramen noodles. I don’t use the seasining pouches b/c of MSG so I add a little soy sauce and dried ginger to the noodle-cooking water. Dehydrated scallions would be good addition but I have not tried dehydrated food yet. Although I do not like canned salmon or regular salmon pouches, I found pouches of grilled salmon and smoked salmon which I’m going to force myself to try this week.

These are not your typical 5 gallon buckets from the Home Depot. Food grade buckets are made of a different type of plastic to prevent leaching. They cost a little more than your typical buckets, but are worth it for the added safety and flavor of your food. Food storage buckets should be made with high density polyethylene without BPAs, and be manufactured to meet NMFC, FDA, and UFC requirements. A bucket could have the triangle on the bottom with the number two and the HDPE mark, but not be food grade. This could be due to the construction method, not being able to provide a secure seal, made of reused materials, or even reused themselves after chemicals or paint. HDPE buckets are still porous, and can absorb chemicals stored in it. Make sure that you purchase from a reliable source so you don’t get duped. If you do decide to get used buckets, make sure they have only been used to store food and be prepared to clean them thoroughly.
I am really enjoying this site that I discovered through Pinterest. You make everything simple and so much easier to follow than most the prepper websites I have seen. I have even ordered the LDS Providential Living, and while the information contained therein is great, it is just not really practical stuff easily affordable on a budget. This startup guide is wonderful and I really enjoy the 12 month breakdown you have provided as well. I have added your boards, but it would be nice if you had a Pinterest pin on your site so that all your archives I could store as well. Thank you so much for all you are doing! I learned some really cheap ways to make fire starters from you.
During a prolonged blackout, keeping flashlights, radios, and cell phones running can become a challenge of its own. The most cost-effective approach is to stick to devices that can take regular AA, AAA, or PP3 (9V) batteries; modern alkaline cells have very long shelf lives (10 years), can be bought cheaply in bulk, and will do the trick for almost all portable electronics you can think of. Of course, modern power-hungry smartphones are a notable exception to this rule. For that, you can always try solar chargers ($50) - they work well, but are a bit fragile and may not perform too amazingly in wooded areas or on overcast days. You can also go for hand-crank generators ($30, labor-intensive) or AA power banks ($15, mixed reviews). But ultimately, also allow for the possibility of not being able to call others for a while.
Once you get going, it will be easy to lose track of what you already have.  The best way to overcome the state of confusion you will experience six months down the road is to start keeping track of your stored items now – from the beginning.  Use a spiral notebook, a computer spreadsheet, or a clipboard and a pad of paper.  Update your inventory with the item and date of purchase as it goes into storage and of course, mark it off as it rotates out.
Depends on the size of your family and the time period in which you’ll use it. Once mylar or buckets are open, they are susceptible to many organisms that will make your food inedible. Double to triple serving sizes max. Filling tummies is fairly easy. Doing it safely and palateably is different. Also, your family will need variety to keep harmony. Much of our emotional well-being depends on the gut.
Thrive Life Foods. This is my favorite of the freeze dried foods for one simple reason- They sell ingredients, not dishes. With this brand, you can stock up on nimber ten cans of ingredients that you use in favorite dishes. You are not constrained and can prepare the meals that your family is used too eating, cooked from your standard recipes. Unopened cans have at least a 25 year shelf life, and some items are available in 5 gallon buckets. Thrive Life foods can be found online.
In addition to this list, may I refer you to the Weston Price Foundation and the book Nourishing Traditions? These two sources will help us to decide on the healthiest versions of all these foods; the end goal is to remain healthy and nourished so that we can enjoy all these things we store! Thanks for the article–it set my mental wheels to turning 🙂
Every year since 1947, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, a magazine founded by members of the Manhattan Project, has gathered a group of Nobel laureates and other luminaries to update the Doomsday Clock, a symbolic gauge of our risk of wrecking civilization. In 1991, as the Cold War was ending, the scientists set the clock to its safest point ever—seventeen minutes to “midnight.”
There are only 3 million preppers in the USA and I have met about 1500 of them. They are mostly fearful, confused and disorganized individuals who know nothing about organizing to protect their own best interests through collective efforts. They are a truncated version of typical White citizens who are ignorant of just how insane the US, Canadian, Australian, New Zealand, European Union, and Vatican really is. Do you agree with this appraisal?
Balance (Angie’s Extreme Stress Menders Volume 1): This is the latest book to feed my thirst for coloring books.  I must have spent an hour looking at various coloring books before settling on this one.  I am almost done with the first book I ordered and it was nice because it had a wide variety of designs that gave me a good opportunity to decide what I liked, and what I didn’t.  For me, it is the floral design and mandalas that keep my mind focused to the point that stress just melts away!
It's easy to pigeonhole the prepping hobby—and that's mostly what it is, a hobby—as the province of paranoid knuckle-draggers, the kind of people who proudly fly "Don't Tread on Me" flags over their trailers. Who refuse to pay taxes as a matter of principle but complain about perceived wastes of taxpayer money; who anticipate a future race war with what seems frighteningly close to glee; who distrust the president, FEMA, the lamestream media, doctors, and almost anyone else of authority. These people exist.

Lightweight survival kits are generally seen as a backup means of survival; however, these can kits can be extensive, and have come to include tools that are generally found in larger kits as survival technology advances. Some examples of these tools are high power flashlights, rapid use saws, signal devices such as mini signal mirrors, and water purification methods.

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