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.

The irony of this didn’t escape me: While I’d been drawn to freeze-dried food as a convenient way of preparing for a cataclysm that may never come, there I was, toiling away for hours in the kitchen to prepare a dish I’d be eating that night and the next day. It was the most fortifying meal I’d eaten all week, and a minor achievement: Thanks to the premeasured portions and easy-to-follow instructions, I’d learned how to make a chicken pot pie from scratch.
Some products are no different than a normal box of mac and cheese: you boil water in a pot, mix the packaged product into the pot, turn the heat to a simmer, cook, and serve. Others are as simple as pouring boiling water in the pouch and waiting a few minutes. In some cases, the water doesn’t even need to be hot (although flavor and texture is better if it is).
Having a medium-size bucket ($8) at home is a must, too. If you own a bicycle and are expecting to use it in emergencies, it would be wise to throw in a bike tool ($20), several tire levers ($5), a patch kit ($5), one or two spare tubes ($10), and a portable pump ($10). Finally, for those who are worried about the decidedly unlikely prospect of having to escape home and fight off radscorpions in the wilderness, a a lightweight hatchet ($25), a folding saw ($20), a larger fixed-blade knife ($24), a folding shovel ($25), a compass ($9), and some matches or a lighter in a waterproof container can come handy in several ways.

Pense tells me this sitting beside the fireplace that heats the furnace-less cabin, necessary in the damp 40-degree weather. He wears a Realtree camouflage jacket, circular wire-framed glasses, gray slacks and black leather shoes. A sign above the fireplace reads: “Invest in precious metals. Buy lead.” Carved in a split log on the mantel is, “A country boy can survive.” The guttered roof deposits 30,000 gallons of Ozarks rainwater into storage tanks outside each year. It’s a prepper’s paradise.


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.


Things must be simple and easy. You want to limit the number of important decisions you’ll have to make or things you’ll have to remember in a crisis. You should not have to remember where things are, put them together, worry about not having something important, or lose time while you do the work you should’ve done beforehand. You shouldn’t be thinking, “Well, wait, will I need the camping stove I have in the other bag?”


Oil of oregano. This is my favorite pick for a medicinal herb. This stuff has amazing immune system benefits and antibiotic properties. We use it constantly in my house to wipe out colds and flues, it does the job every time! Capsules are the most convenient form, although you can purchase the oil and add it to beverages (Don’t expect it to taste good!)

Seasoned preppers have storage solutions and creative ways to store food and supplies. Some have root cellars, basements, hidden rooms,storage sheds and even underground bunkers. Those who are just starting out always have questions about storage solutions. There are plenty of people who live in small spaces with little room to store a six-month supply of canned food and bottled water with questions about where to keep that much food. One solution is hiding food storage as pieces of furniture! Here are 10 other storage solutions, suggestions and helpful hints in The Essential Preppers Guide to Storage.
Our testers unanimously voted MH the best tasting, even going as far as to buy some to use in everyday life. Nutritionists we spoke with thought MH had the best overall nutritional value, too, with tons of meat-based proteins and fiber. It’s also the most convenient to cook. No external dishes needed, just pour some (ideally boiling) water into the pouch, let it cook, eat, then trash.

For folks who want to focus on the most plausible risks, I suggest stockpiling dry survival rations to last around 2-3 weeks; seven 3,600 kcal packets per person should do the trick. That may sound like a lot, but keep in mind that it may take a while for stores to reopen after an earthquake or a flood - so it's not a bad plan to play it safe. And while eating ration bars for a week sounds bland, you may be in no mood for home cooking when you have to fix a collapsed roof and the utilities are cut off.
So Southwick and his wife, Kara, also 40, and their six children, ages 13-21, have stored 700 pounds of flour, 600 pounds of sugar, 800 pounds of wheat, water, gas, diesel fuel, chemical suits, coal, charcoal, 14 guns and eight chickens. They're ready to haul it in trucks and trailers to a cabin redoubt 90 minutes from their home in the West Jordan suburb of Salt Lake City if calamity hits.
“Methamphetamine is 95 percent addictive the first time you try it,” Pense likes to say. “My gardening system is 100 percent addictive.” Pense gardened all his life, but when he moved to Springfield, the rocky Ozarks soil stumped him. “I discovered that you can buy land here and not get any dirt with it,” he says. So he experimented with gardening out of an 8-by-8 foot sandbox, mixing sand, compost and fertilizer. The plants grew, and with them, the idea for a raised-bed gardening system complete with top-notch soil that would enable people around the world to grow their own food.
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.”

Now, when it comes to fitness per se, I firmly believe that there is no need to go overboard; good health is far more important than Rambo skills. While getting buff may be a fun pastime for some young folks, there are very few emergencies that would force you to run 30 miles or climb a 20 foot wall. Being able to walk or bike for several hours is likely good enough to deal with all practical scenarios we talked about thus far.
When the average person thinks about doomsday preppers, they probably think of paranoid right-leaning wing nuts clinging to a small arsenal of guns and stockpiling toilet paper from Walmart in case their conspiracy theories come true. It's a fair assumption — many television depictions reflect that mind-set, though the fears vary from group to group. Some are afraid of government collapse, others fear a solar flare, still others are preparing for a race war they think is inevitable. When those are the dominant examples, it's easy to dismiss the practice as absurd and hysterical.
Pasta Primavera … wow! Huge hit. Generous amount of vegetables and a creamy Parmesan sauce. Unlike its competitors, the pasta in this dish isn’t mushy, but has a great, chewy texture in a surprisingly delicious sauce. All testers would eat this as a regular meal, and thought it would be good to just keep on hand as a pantry staple. “The kind of food that makes you hope the power goes out!”

Do people buy them? Sure they do. Sales aren't the goal, though. The idea here is to induct people into a lifestyle, because these same people sell things like wilderness survival courses, subscriptions to survival food delivery services, tools and weapons, and vitamins. Prepping is big business, with Yahoo! Finance reporting that as many as 3.7 million Americans identified themselves as "preppers" in 2013, fueling demand for a multi-billion dollar industry.
My number one tip, though, is to go through your cupboards and closets and remove those items that are duplicates, that you rarely use, or that you do not use at all.  For example, in your kitchen, how may different pots and pans do you need?  My guess is that you use the same two or three over and over again.  Stow the extras in the basement, attic, or garage, or give them away to charity. Trust me, they will not be missed.  The same thing applies to seldom used clothing, shoes and sports equipment.

While lurking on a prepper discussion thread on Tea Party Community, a social network marketed as a conservative alternative to Facebook, I once saw a rousing discussion about navigating the tricky business of armed combat while confined to a mobility scooter. In that particular hypothetical scenario, individuals were discussing the best ways to kill NATO peacekeeping forces. These are real people, and they live in your city. You've seen them around, buying groceries or waiting in line at the DMV—just doing regular old human activities. The only difference is that these people look at society and see the death throes of something grotesque, and they imagine that it is likely enough that they will find themselves thrown into a new mode of living, something primal and vicious and, let's face it, potentially invigorating.


People who carefully and painstakingly prepare for mass extinction don't exactly seem like the type of people who plan great parties. At least, with those vast collections of guns, ammo, and other terrifying armaments, I certainly hope not. Then again, I suppose everyone will need a drink or 10 to get through the inevitable horrors of forever navigating the "what's for dinner" question without Seamless or, you know, realizing that your urban-dwelling family members will probably never arise from the blasted pit of rubble where their apartments once stood.
You’ll obviously need to tailor your survival kit to the number of people who will depend upon it. If you are going out for a solo camping trip, you won’t need as many supplies as if you are heading out with an 8-person team. The number of people depending on the kit won’t affect some of the items in the kit, but it will affect others. For example, you’ll only need one fire starter, no matter how many people are in your party. By contrast, you’ll obviously need to adjust how many space blankets are included with the kit, depending on the size of the group.
Ten months after the election, “Hillary For Prison” shirts have yet to go out of style, but what sells at any given show largely depends on what’s going on in the world that week. “I have noticed the radiation guys across from us this week,” says Mike Nocks, owner of Lebanon’s White Harvest Seed Company and one of the show’s guest speakers. “In years past, I haven’t seen much radiation stuff, but since the Korean guy has been doing more nuclear stuff, I’m seeing more interest in nuclear detectors.” 
For muggings, keeping several $10 or $20 bills in your front pocket (and having real valuables somewhere else) can be enough to send them on their way; in busy locations, you should also be able to just ignore the mugger and briskly walk away. For more serious incidents, it may be useful to respond with something that is non-threatening but catches the assailant off guard. Simply feigning a panic attack or initiating a startling conversation ("hey, are you a friend of CJ? Pretty sure we've met last year!") can throw them off balance - allowing you to fight back or get away. Of course, you also need a plan for that next step; that's where your running skills, your bare-hands self-defense talents, or your weapons proficiency can come into play. But again, you need to actively practice and develop approaches that have a chance of working in real life; there's no verbal diversion strategy in the world that would give you enough time to fumble through your purse to find an old, gummed up can of pepper spray.
Hall led me through the garage, down a ramp, and into a lounge, with a stone fireplace, a dining area, and a kitchen to one side. It had the feel of a ski condo without windows: pool table, stainless-steel appliances, leather couches. To maximize space, Hall took ideas from cruise-ship design. We were accompanied by Mark Menosky, an engineer who manages day-to-day operations. While they fixed dinner—steak, baked potatoes, and salad—Hall said that the hardest part of the project was sustaining life underground. He studied how to avoid depression (add more lights), prevent cliques (rotate chores), and simulate life aboveground. The condo walls are fitted with L.E.D. “windows” that show a live video of the prairie above the silo. Owners can opt instead for pine forests or other vistas. One prospective resident from New York City wanted video of Central Park. “All four seasons, day and night,” Menosky said. “She wanted the sounds, the taxis and the honking horns.”

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.
My number one tip, though, is to go through your cupboards and closets and remove those items that are duplicates, that you rarely use, or that you do not use at all.  For example, in your kitchen, how may different pots and pans do you need?  My guess is that you use the same two or three over and over again.  Stow the extras in the basement, attic, or garage, or give them away to charity. Trust me, they will not be missed.  The same thing applies to seldom used clothing, shoes and sports equipment.
If there was anything my freeze-dried food experiment taught me, it was how lucky I was to be able to walk down the street and buy a sandwich whenever I wanted to—but also how far I was from being self-reliant in the more quotidian sense. If freeze-dried meals are becoming increasingly popular in America, then maybe it’s because many of us realize that if something really bad happened, we wouldn’t know the first thing about surviving for a week on the ingredients lying around in our pantry. But as we continue to be bombarded by headlines foreshadowing epic floods, economic collapse, and nuclear escalation, there’s nothing wrong with finding a little peace of mind in a bag of dehydrated Chicken A La King.

If a crisis persists for a long enough period of time, it is very difficult to have an extended comprehensive food stock pile. Having the ability to grow vegetables is a great supplement to your stored foods. Be sure to have varieties that do well in your area, in your soil, and that you know how to grow. Have seeds for medicinal herbs and flavorful spices as well.

In tropical areas, a survival kit may have mosquito head netting, additional insect repellent, anti-fungal cream, a machete, water purification tablets, foot powder, matches, a flint strike, a compass, a wire saw, a space blanket, medical equipment (gauze pads, elastic gauze bandage, antiseptic creams, anti-malaria tablets, anti-infection tablets, bandages, etc.), salt tablets, a fishing kit, snare wire, extra socks, a candle, a signal mirror, flares, a sewing kit, safety pins, tinder, tape, a whistle, and rations.
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