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.
"The depth of information that is covered in this book is incredible as is the unique way that the author makes us really think about ideas, situations and resources that are mostly overlooked in the usual short-term survival planning resources. ...This book belongs in the hands of anyone who is concerned with a long-term disruption in society as we know it today. It's practical, common sense approach makes it a valuable asset to all those who wish to not only be prepared, but for those who want to thrive." -- George Romano, Simpler Times Homestead (
First aid: Many of the first aid kits you’ll find in Amazon searches aren’t good enough for survival scenarios (regardless of what their marketing says) because they’re meant for daily use or OSHA work compliance. Invest in a high-quality kit that includes supplies for more serious injuries like broken bones or deep, bleeding wounds. Frankly, we’ve never found an off-the-shelf kit we’re 100% happy with, but a great starter option is this Adventure Medical Fundamentals Kit.
Keep your firearms in a quick-access safe if you have young children or expect people with kids to visit you every now and then. A safe is also a good way to deter opportunistic theft; a clever hiding place will also do, but criminals often have the same ideas as you and know where to look. Be smart about picking the right safe and placing it sensibly: you don't want to have to walk to the other end of the house, or to fiddle with keys or rotary dials, when every second counts. Electronic combination or biometric safes are usually pretty good, unless you go for the bargain bin (don't).
Unfortunately for preppers, the management of serious pain in an emergency situation is tricky: virtually all the potent painkillers have narcotic properties and are very illegal to buy or possess without a prescription. Fixing the underlying tooth problem can be similarly elusive: you need expert knowledge and a collection of expensive and bulky tools: high-speed drills, suction units, and so forth. In the end, the best preparedness strategy is just prevention: take good care of your mouth and stop by for a routine checkup at least once a year.
Keep in mind that Legacy didn’t necessarily intend to create a product only for vegetarians. It was designed as a base for people to add their own protein, salt, seasonings, and ingredients. Which means Legacy requires more “cooking” than many of the other options we looked at, to the point where some of our testers didn’t think it qualified as “emergency food.”
Also, include a good supply of the spices you like to cook with. These flavorings and spices allow you to do many creative things with your grains and beans. Without them you are severely limited. One of the best suggestions I can give you is buy a good food storage cookbook. Go through it and see what your family would really eat. Notice the ingredients as you do it. This will help you more than anything else to know what items to store.
FoodSaver Jar Sealer: Already have a FoodSaver? If so, check out this jar sealer which can be used to vacuum seal your Mason jars. This is a great option for short to mid term storage of items such as beans, rice, sugar and salt. Store your jars in a cool, dark place and you are set with the added advantage of removing a small amount for current use without having to disrupt your large Mylar bag or bucket of food.
Bombs rain from the skies, alien ships descend with lasers ablaze, improbably proportioned, irradiated sea monsters tear through essential infrastructure. You'd think that running, screaming, and finding clean underwear would top the list of activities likely to improve your chances of living, followed closely by finding a sustainable food source and offering sexual favors to the person with the most impressive arsenal. Unless you were a prepper, in which case you'd be worrying more about the safety of your cigarette stockpile.
Acquiring a substantial stockpile is essential for any serious prepper.  However, it also obviously can be a serious financial burden.  Using couponing to your advantage can allow you to acquire your necessary stockpile for free! Try some of these strategies to give you the peace of mind you are looking for without draining your bank account.  Yes, mastering these strategies will take some time and effort, but it will definitely be worth it for your completely free stockpile.
The next area of the book is on water. Every good prepper knows you can only last about 3 days without water. I promise you, you won’t want to go that long. Jim has some great information on finding water sources as well as filtering, purifying, and properly storing it. The next rule of 3 is “3 weeks without food”, so aptly enough, chapter 3 is on food, and how to avoid a starvation diet. Of course food storage is covered, but Jim also talks about the importance of diversification. If water is not in large supply, you’ll need foods that are easily eaten without having to add any water. He also talks a little about gardening, foraging, fishing, hunting and trapping, and how to preserve what food you find. It does you no good to get a deer if you can’t preserve some of that meat to eat at a later time.
I can't claim to have good advice for people who are already in a tough spot: if your household earnings are well below median, you may simply have no disposable income to build a personal safety net. But for most other folks, the ability to prepare for the zero-income contingency is well within reach - and it would be unwise not to give it a go. Sure, even a lifetime of belt-tightening won't make the average middle-class family fabulously rich. But rainy-day funds work in a different way: their purpose is to get you through a rough spell, not to pay for a mansion or a fancy car. Since the amount needed is directly proportional to how much you currently make, it makes relatively little difference if your household brings in $70k or $140k a year. Either way, if you set aside 10% of every post-tax paycheck, you should have a 6-month financial safety net established within 3 years and a change.
At least in theory, the recipe for surviving civilizational collapse is simple: you need to get away from other people and become self-sufficient. It's fairly clear that deprived of their industrial backbone, most of our cities and suburbs wouldn't be able to support even a tiny fraction of their current population densities - and would become horrid death traps. Living off the grid shields you from all but the worst doomsday events.
During a catastrophe, there may be an extended period of time where you need to sustain yourself. For these situations, we offer 3-day personal survivor kits, as well as larger kits for families. Kits are ready to go when emergencies strike and are filled with the supplies you need for fire-starting, tending to medical situations, and ensuring you can get the nutrition you need when food or clean water is not accessible. Our prepacked emergency survival kits are perfect for storing in your car, basement, closet, or cabin to ensure you always have access to life-saving supplies.
It takes just a single downed power line to knock out your furnace, AC unit, cooktop, refrigerator, and to make the lights go out; and when such an outage happens due to a larger-scale natural disaster, repairs can easily take days or even weeks. We think of fuel as a more dependable resource, but if 1979 is any guide, you only need one well-timed revolution in the Middle East to make it nearly impossible to fill up a car in some parts of the United States. Of course, such events are usually inconvenient, not disastrous, so it's perfectly fine not to dwell on them in your plans. At the same time, it doesn't hurt to take a closer look at what's at stake - and what the potential solutions may be.

For hardcore preppers convinced that they may be left with no access to food for a very long time, it would be also important to maintain a robust intake of protein; somewhere around 40-50 g per day is believed to be optimal, although you certainly don't need to observe it religiously. Ready-made protein-rich foods include some energy bars, most dry ration packets, some freeze-dried dinners, canned meat, and military MREs; smaller amounts can be found in some veggies, too. You can also stockpile protein powder - it's bland but relatively cheap ($1 per day). Freeze-dried scrambled eggs, powdered milk, and related products, including long shelf life canned or powdered cheeses and pancake mixes, work well, too. As mentioned earlier, protein and dietary fiber also have a well-established satiating effect, helping you maintain a balanced diet - which can otherwise be tricky when snacking on high-calorie foods. Oh: having some OTC multivitamins may be a good plan, especially to supplement vitamin C.
In practice, the process can be a bit tricky. Freeze-dried meals require that you have potable water lying around, which might not be the case in the event of a serious calamity (some Wise Company kits include water purifiers). The cooking instructions for the Wise products I tested call for using the entire four-serving bag at once, which means that you have to have a container on hand to store what you don’t eat, and a fridge to keep it from spoiling. Even at my office kitchen, the only way I could make it work was by pouring about a fourth of the packet in a mug, filling it with water, and putting another mug on top of it.

In my home county, one of the most rural in Maryland and roughly an hour’s drive outside of Washington, DC, I organized a small meeting of a few people who consider themselves preppers and/or survivalists. The county might be described as 70% conservative and primarily Republican, and 30% liberal and primarily Democrat. Calvert County is a peninsula, 30 miles long and 9 miles wide, no point further than 5 miles from a navigable body of water (the Chesapeake Bay to the east and Patuxent River to the west). It’s mostly farms, parks and deer-filled woodland interspersed with a number of town centers and housing developments.
I use a big Swiss Army knife and multi tool and knife. I would add, spoon, fork, small stove, pot, isobutane, light tent, sleeping bag+pad, compass and if in mountains an altimeter and paper maps of where you think you are going to be. Instead of flashlight and candles, a headlamp with spare batteries. Raincoat, hat, gloves, food, Grayl water purifyer instead of tablets……all together about 30 lbs of weight. Fits into a 50 liter backpack. Just sharing my experience. It always depends what the purpose of the emergency bag is.
Of all the plausible scenarios, another major oil crisis would probably hit most car-owning families the hardest, limiting their ability to get food or to take care of other, everyday needs. Generally speaking, there is no simple fix: keeping a gallon or two in your garage won't make much of a difference, while maintaining significant reserves of gas for personal use can be done safely (and legally) only if you own a large, rural plot of land. Electric vehicles, especially if charged from rooftop solar panels, can offer a wonderful backup in some parts of the world, but they carry a very hefty price tag. The best workaround may be the least inspired one: if you own a car, you can always keep your tank at least half full (a familiar mantra by now), and have enough food and other essentials to be able to wait out the worst.
Chapter 1 talks about things we have learned from historical events that can help us prevent future repeats. Jim discusses, at length, pandemics, famine, economic collapse and other freak occurrences, their impact on society, and how we handled those situations. Speculating an EMP, he says it could occur either by nuclear detonation, or a geomagnetic storm sent via the sun. If you don’t think either of these things are possible, I urge you to research both. Both are more possible than you may imagine. The chapter ends with information on war and terrorism, covering information from Pearl Harbor to 9/11.
Individual pouches: For this use-case, we prefer packages where one pack equals one meal or serving. Pouches are easier to store, can often be used to cook the meal without any other utensils, are more portable, don’t need a can opener, can be traded, and so on. No. 10 cans, which are like big coffee cans, are great for staple ingredients like flour or corn.
The survivalist hard-on (yep, and I'll do it again, too) for prophylactics untouched by chemical pleasure-enhancers is the result of drilling deep (told you) into the magical properties of our latex friends. According to our research, these flexible, durable, waterproof wonders will be as much of a deciding factor in your dystopian longevity as fire and can openers.
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.
Rice. This is an old standby. It can form the base of many tasty and nutritious meals. Be aware that although it requires no processing, it does require quite a bit of water to cook. It is most economical to buy rice in 40 lb bags and repackage it into buckets yourself, a 5 gallon bucket will hold a 40lb bag. For a bit more you can find rice sold pre-sealed in buckets from a number of sources.
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.
Though its light weight and long shelf life are ideal for navigating harsh conditions, freeze-dried food is probably most famous as a cultural curiosity: Like many Americans, I discovered it in a museum gift shop, gawking at the styrofoam-like ice cream that astronauts used to have for dessert. More recently, I encountered it at a disaster preparedness convention in Raleigh, North Carolina, where smiling, gray-haired preppers manned tables piled with plastic bags full of vegetables, meats, and stews.
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.)
Of course, there is no use in worrying about the hypotheticals if we're not going to actually tackle the risks. But it pays to be smart about it, too: when it comes to emergency preparedness, the right mindset can matter a lot more than a small fortune spent on ninja gear and canned cheese. So, before going on a shopping spree, let's talk about several simple, everyday principles that can shield you from harm.
Are you keen to learn how to use a bow, it’s an art form in itself and actually more complicated than many people believe. It’s not just a case of pulling the bowstring back and shooting. You have to think about how you are standing, where you pull the bowstring back to (known as anchor points), how you release the arrow. And finally what your arms do after the arrow has left the bow.
This requires a great deal of research, but it can pay, big time. Let’s take our example from before.  A $1.00 coupon on a purchase of $5.00 means you have to spend $4.00 under normal circumstances. Let’s say, however, that one week, your store is having a sale on that item.  Instead of it being $5.00, it is on sale for $3.50.  Then, you use your $1.00 coupon on this sale price, bringing your overall purchase price down to $2.50.  That’s 50% off, something we normally would consider a great deal! Now, let’s say that it is also double coupon week.  This would mean that the purchase price would be $1.50.  Triple coupon week? You get the picture.

Kimberly – In an electrical power failure you probably have three days. If this is purely local outage then a generator is no problem. If it is a large event with scarce fuel available like hurricane Sandy, then that could be a problem without alt.fuel. If you only had 3 days you could yank meat out and cook it if you have non-electric cooking sources. I wouldn’t depend on more than 20 lbs of meat being useful after electricity failure. Is saving frozen meat beyond what you could cook immediately worth the expense of the generator, fuel, maintenance, etc. in a long term outage?
Everyone in California is waiting for "The Big One," an earthquake with a magnitude of 8.0 or greater that will destroy infrastructure and cause mass panic. Yet when I moved to the Bay Area from the East Coast, I discovered that since most of the people I knew were making do with small apartments and ever-increasing rent, having supplies on hand for a natural disaster required a space premium that many couldn't afford. I began to put together an earthquake kit that would not only serve my household (which over the years fluctuated from one to three other people) but also my neighborhood, if needed. Even with all that work, I didn't consider myself a prepper, just someone who heeded the Red Cross's warnings.
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.

What’s on the list depends on which faction of preparedness you practice, pre-Y2K prepper and Seventh-day Adventist Church pastor Craig Wiles tells me. There are preppers, who anticipate an event like an ice storm or an EMP; there are survivalists, who arm themselves to face an enemy like a tyrannical government; and there are homesteaders, who grow their own food and practice self-sufficiency. 
A survival kit should be considered mandatory equipment for any outdoor enthusiast. You never know when something will go wrong, placing your very life will be in danger. But, if you have a well-conceived survival kit with you, your odds of survival will improve greatly. However, it is important to understand those different people will require different types of equipment in their survival kit, and you must customize your kit to suit your specific needs and the circumstances you’ll likely face. This means you’ll probably want to avoid purchasing a pre-assembled kit, and instead put together your own. Below, we’ll explain some of the most important items to pack in a survival kit, as well as the things you’ll want to consider when assembling your items.