Although we are entering the realm of extremely unlikely events, if you genuinely worry about encountering an overturned chemical tanker while driving down the highway, 3M 5512 escape respirators ($16) offer decent short-term protection against many threats. In addition to low price, their major advantage is their small size; you could conceivably have one for every occupant, and just store that gear in the vehicle.
No heating in the middle of a particularly nasty winter can be problematic, too - although it's mostly a matter of comfort, not survival. In most places, with robust shelter and adequate clothing, bedding, and food, it's fairly hard to freeze to death at home (but note that the cold may make some infections or medical conditions worse; you may have to worry about frozen water pipes, too). The situation can become a lot more dire if you are on foot in the middle of nowhere, so truly hardcore, wilderness-minded preppers may have something to ponder about; but hauling a sufficient amount of fuel is typically impractical to begin with, so their best bet would be warm clothing, improvised shelter, and the ability to build a fire. We'll talk about that in the section that deals with camping supplies.
We have our wheat, rice, oatmeal, sugar, beans, etc. in 5 gallon FOOD GRADE buckets. Make sure they are food grade. Our local Winco grocery store sells them. We make sure at least one bucket of each thing has a gamma seal lid on it. If you take the regular lids off and on and off and on they will eventually break then you have a bucket. The gamma seal lids have a screw on/off lid. Never stack buckets with gamma seal lids more than two high. Regular lids can be stacked three high. I know people who stored wheat in 55 gallon drums then found out they had to move. HUGE MISTAKE. We disinfect the buckets with apple cider vinegar then let them air dry before putting food in. We’ve been doing this for 40 years.
The aforementioned short list aside, there are other substances that may treat conditions such as anaphylaxis (epinephrine), or diseases such as tuberculosis and leprosy (isoniazid), uncomplicated appendicitis (levofloxacin), cholera and anthrax (doxycycline), malaria (artemisinin), typhoid fever, skin infections, and MRSA (TMP/SMX), systemic fungal infections (fluconazole), intestinal parasites (albendazole), and so on. In many places, you could legitimately stockpile them without prescription, and some prepper guides will encourage you to do so; but if you are truly concerned about such emergencies, be very aware of the difficulty of properly diagnosing unfamiliar diseases, and the serious health problems that many of these products may cause.
I'm not quite crazy enough to say that epinephrine will help you survive the inevitable zombie apocalypse (you can go here for that). I'm just suggesting in a roundabout way that if you happened to be in a situation where something was trying to eat you, the increased heart rate and blood flow to your muscles brought on by a well-timed dose might just save your life.
The value of such a step extends beyond the mere task of shielding you from glacial shifts in the job market: if a major disaster suddenly cripples the local economy, there may be no more jobs for insurance claims adjusters or account executives, but carpentry or metalworking skills could be in high demand for the coming year or two. You can never predict it exactly, but the more you can do, the better you can cope with whatever adventures come your way.
Communication: Our preferred portable radio is the BeoFeng BF-F8HP 8-watt two-way radio. You don’t need a Ham license to listen to local emergency services and broadcast when SHTF — see our beginners guide to amateur radio. We like this signal mirror instead of the cheap acrylic ones that scratch and fade quickly. Also, try these tiny whistles and signal flare kit.
“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.

We keep getting away with all that goofiness, and that only serves to make us more certain that our own transgressions carry no serious risks. But government statistics tell a strikingly different tale: in the US alone, unintentional injuries result in 40 million ER visits and 100,000 deaths every year. Heck, accidental injury is the leading cause of death for people between the ages of 1 and 45 - far ahead of cancer, heart disease, gun violence, and other pop culture bogeymen. And the injuries themselves are very prosaic, too: all you see are falls, cuts, burns, vehicular collisions, poisonings, and so forth. The "idiots" we sometimes watch on Youtube are us. They just happen to have been caught on camera on the day their luck ran out, perhaps aided by downing a couple of beers.
Time and time again I’ve seen families buy all of their wheat, then buy all of another item, and so on. Don’t do that. It’s important to keep well-balanced as you build your storage. Buy several items, rather than a large quantity of one item. If something happens and you have to live on your present storage, you’ll fare much better having a one-month supply of a variety of items than a year’s supply of two to three items.
There’s a really good app called Prep and Pantry. It allows you to create did inventories, including expiration dates. It scans the barcode too so you don’t have to enter it by hand. This helps me know what I have and lets me plan my meals around when food is expiring. I think it’s about $8, but it’s helped me save a lot of money by not throwing food away.
It pays to be prepared for nasty spills or sanitation emergencies. In addition to some of the tools discussed in earlier chapters, a good starting point is a large box of 13 gallon trash bags ($10-$30), another box of thick, 42 gallon contractor bags ($30), a set of disposable vinyl gloves ($4) plus a pair of tough PVC or nitrile ones ($11), some rubbing alcohol ($6), and a bottle of regular laundry bleach ($3). Rubbing alcohol is an excellent solvent and a rapid-evaporating disinfectant; bleach is a potent, long-lasting biocide and a great odor neutralizer. Oh - as noted earlier, an absorbent sock-style barrier may be useful for containing particularly nasty spills, too.
Disrupted access to water, food, energy, or transportation. Substantial and prolonged outages happen everywhere; many of us will experience at least one at some point in our lives. A week without electricity may be just inconvenient and scary, especially in a high-rise or in a seedy neighborhood; but even a single hot day without potable water is universally bad news.

This obviously means you’ll have to balance your use of redundant items with your carrying capacity. However, you can address both of these competing forces by trying to bring along items that serve multiple purposes. This way, you aren’t really bringing items that are duplicates of each other, but you still benefit from having some backup options. For example, duct tape is often included to repair clothing or camping gear, but you can also use it as a band-aid in a pinch. Safety pins are another good multi-purpose supply, as they can be used for clothing repairs, bent into fishhooks or used to sew up a wound if need be.
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.
Always store your bulk foods in food storage containers. I have seen literally tons and tons of food thrown away because they were left in sacks, where they became highly susceptible to moisture, insects and rodents. If you are using plastic buckets make sure they are lined with a food grade plastic liner available from companies that carry packaging supplies. Never use trash can liners as these are treated with pesticides. Don’t stack them too high. In an earthquake they may topple, the lids pop open, or they may crack. A better container is the #10 tin can which most preparedness companies use when they package their foods.
I think in addition to dry beans, rice and such, that I would have some home canned versions of these in case water is at a premium. Beans, rice, quinoa, etc., require lots of water, and if it is in short supply you are going to be in trouble. Having HOME canned versions of these will mean that until water is more readily available, you can eat and have protein available to you. I’ve heard of others ‘canning’ water, too!

1. Something else to consider is a smart phone. My phone has a 32gig memory chip. It can holds LOTS of info. Some paperback books will be good to have. But even off the grid a phone can still access certain apps that have been downloade. I have about 50 books on my phone. A compass. Maps. I can draw a quick map or list with my stylis too. I can easily share documents and file by just tapping my phone on another smart phone. Take pictures and zoom in on them. Great to check progress walking and general references.… Read more »
Pepper spray. An excellent, temporarily incapacitating weapon - very difficult to resist and capable of buying you just enough time to escape. Works quickly and reliably at distances up to perhaps 10 feet; can also stop some animal attacks. Usually not heavily regulated, making it easy to obtain and carry even in places that frown upon other forms of armed self-defense (but check the laws). Pepper spray becomes less effective in strong wind; there is also some risk of blowback, but this is mitigated in narrow-stream products, such as Sabre Pepper Gel ($18).
When I visited Johnson, not long ago, at his office on Park Avenue South, he described himself as an accidental student of civic anxiety. He grew up outside Detroit, in Grosse Pointe Park, the son of a doctor, and he watched his father’s generation experience the fracturing of Detroit. “What I’m seeing now in New York City is sort of like old music coming back,” he said. “These are friends of mine. I used to live in Belle Haven, in Greenwich, Connecticut. Louis Bacon, Paul Tudor Jones, and Ray Dalio”—hedge-fund managers—“were all within fifty yards of me. From my own career, I would just talk to people. More and more were saying, ‘You’ve got to have a private plane. You have to assure that the pilot’s family will be taken care of, too. They have to be on the plane.’ ”
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.
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“One misconception about prepping is that you’re always thinking there’s going to be some kind of epic disaster,” she told me over the phone from Virginia. “The most common disaster that we prep for, or that happens to us, is a financial problem.” A longtime single mother, Luther said her interest in food storage grew out of a period of “abject poverty” following the 2008 recession. Lisa Bedford, a Texas-based writer who runs the site The Survival Mom, told me she got into disaster preparedness around the same time, when she wasn’t sure if her husband’s construction business would survive the downturn. (Bedford also works as an independent consultant for Thrive Life, meaning that she promotes their products online, and receives a commission on purchases from customers she refers to the company, as well as a discount on products she buys herself.)

The fears were different in Silicon Valley. Around the same time that Huffman, on Reddit, was watching the advance of the financial crisis, Justin Kan heard the first inklings of survivalism among his peers. Kan co-founded Twitch, a gaming network that was later sold to Amazon for nearly a billion dollars. “Some of my friends were, like, ‘The breakdown of society is imminent. We should stockpile food,’ ” he said. “I tried to. But then we got a couple of bags of rice and five cans of tomatoes. We would have been dead if there was actually a real problem.” I asked Kan what his prepping friends had in common. “Lots of money and resources,” he said. “What are the other things I can worry about and prepare for? It’s like insurance.”

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.


However, if some tales of survivalist stockpiling are to be believed, our nutty neighbors have enough of the social lubricant squirreled away to hold the most epic end-of-the-world-party of all time outside of Edgar Wright's social circle. It might not be practical, but who needs practical when you and everyone you know is doomed to die from radiation poisoning or cancer?
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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