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.”

An April 2018 poll run by YouGov and HuffPost shows that the top concern of voters going into this year’s midterm elections are health care availability and costs, the economy, gun policies and immigration. All of these issues are highly divisive, and the current iterations of them have roots in the past ten to twenty years: Obamacare, the recent recession, rising incidence of large-scale gun violence, and the fallout from 9/11. Though the majority of voters in the 18–34 age bracket still identify as liberal, almost 40% continue to be registered as independent while white men in that age range have flipped to show a majority as registered Republican since the 2016 elections. Millennial voters are the most flexible voter demographic, and the rapidly evolving problematic issues facing them have created an atmosphere of uncertainty in the future that only seems to be growing.
Since then, the direction has been inauspicious. In January, 2016, after increasing military tensions between Russia and NATO, and the Earth’s warmest year on record, the Bulletin set the clock at three minutes to midnight, the same level it held at the height of the Cold War. In November, after Trump’s election, the panel convened once more to conduct its annual confidential discussion. If it chooses to move the clock forward by one minute, that will signal a level of alarm not witnessed since 1953, after America’s first test of the hydrogen bomb. (The result will be released January 26th.)
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.)
This is true, Kat. Babe, it doesn’t even need to be a true crisis… There are lots of times your stash will come in handy. Unexpected company. Your kid telling you the night before the bake sale that he needs 3 dozen brownies to take to school the next morning. You get out of work late and are too tired to make a grocery run. Everyone in the family gets the flu and you can’t get to the store. The list goes on but the point is that you should be rotating, using and enjoying your stash as part of normal living. A cookbook you might find useful is “The Prepper’s Cookbook” by Tess Pennington. Lots of ideas for setting up your base stash and great recipes too.
That probably sounds outrageous on a preparedness blog, but there’s a method to my madness. We have to prepare for the things that are the most likely, not the apocalyptic scenarios that may or may not ever occur. I’ve often written that the number one thing we need to prepare for is personal financial hardship. I’ve experienced it myself and used layers 1 and 2 of my food storage extensively. I never even cracked into layer 3 during those difficult times.

Many food products will market themselves around a 4 week / 30-32 day / 1 month timeline for one person. Which was fine for us, because we standardize against two weeks but assume that an average household is two people. So it’s easy to buy a “30-day supply for one person” — assuming the calories per day are appropriate — and use it as a two-week supply for two people.

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.


Plastic Bottles: With a little bit of cellophane, you can turn a two liter bottle into a great way to store rice, beans, sugar, or other pourable items. You will just need to make sure it is clean and thoroughly dry. Wash out the inside with dish soap and hot water. Add a few drops of bleach and then rinse it out and set it out to dry. Check that it is truly PET plastic by checking for the small PET triangle on the bottom of the bottle. When you fill it, put in an oxygen absorber half way up to help improve the shelf life even further. Two liter bottles hold a fair amount of food and are not as heavy as a five gallon bucket, which can make them easier to handle.
In all the years I’ve worked with preparedness one of the biggest problems I’ve seen is people storing food and not knowing what to do with it. It’s vital that you and your family become familiar with the things you are storing. You need to know how to prepare these foods. This is not something you want to learn under stress. Your family needs to be used to eating these foods. A stressful period is not a good time to totally change your diet. Get a food storage cookbook and learn to use these foods!

The movement received another boost from the George W. Bush Administration’s mishandling of Hurricane Katrina. Neil Strauss, a former Times reporter, who chronicled his turn to prepping in his book “Emergency,” told me, “We see New Orleans, where our government knows a disaster is happening, and is powerless to save its own citizens.” Strauss got interested in survivalism a year after Katrina, when a tech entrepreneur who was taking flying lessons and hatching escape plans introduced him to a group of like-minded “billionaire and centi-millionaire preppers.” Strauss acquired citizenship in St. Kitts, put assets in foreign currencies, and trained to survive with “nothing but a knife and the clothes on my back.”
For folks interested in getting a nice, compact Geiger counter, Radex One ($120) is pretty hard to beat; it is tiny, inexpensive, and can be hooked up to a PC to continuously monitor the environment (and send e-mail or SMS alerts). The one caveat is that similarly to many other low-cost units, this device maxes out at 1 mSv/h - enough to know that something is very wrong, but not enough to tell if you're going to receive a life-threatening dose in an hour or somewhere within the next six months. In other words, some of the more hardcore preppers may want to invest in a more capable unit, such as ADM-300 (which goes all the way to 100 Sv/h) or RAD-60R (3 Sv/h). Decommissioned military and civilian devices in excellent working condition can be found on eBay for around $200.
The communications equipment may include a multi-band receiver/scanner, a citizens band (CB) radio, portable "walkie-talkies" with rechargeable batteries, and a portable battery-powered television. The power supplies may include a diesel or gasoline generator with a one-month fuel supply, an auto battery and charger, extension cord, flashlights, rechargeable batteries (with recharger), an electric multi meter, and a test light. Defense items include a revolver, semi-automatic pistol, rifle, shotgun, ammunition, mace or pepper spray, and a large knife such as a KA-BAR or a bowie knife.
Buy dry goods in bulk whereever is cheapest. Transfer into 1 gallon Mylar bags with 1 oxygen absorber per bag. Weight, date and label each bag. Store bags in 2 1/2 gallon food grade frosting buckets available free at any bakery. Each bucket will hold 3 gallon mylar bags. Label each bucket with contents and date. By using these buckets you keep the weight to a manageable level for easy moving. It’s also food grade and water proof. Rotate stock as used. Use the food stoage calculator to figure out what you need and use an excel spreadsheet to keep track of your inventory. Lots of work but you will save thousands in inflation costs and be prepared for almost anything.
Don’t despair. This is your ultimate guide to becoming a prepper, complete with some assessments to help you figure out where you’re at right now, and the steps you need to take to get to where you need to be. Best of all, this is a guide that doesn’t require you to drop $11,298.36 (aka big bucks) today to become prepared in one fell swoop. Many of these to-dos are absolutely free!
If I can cite the number one reason people become overwhelmed when even thinking about putting aside an emergency food supply, it is the perceived sense of urgency that it all needs to be done right now.  And this, for many, results in complacency and inaction.  Don’t fall into this trap.  Begin with a three day supply and gradually build that up to a week.  After that, add to your emergency food supply week by week until pretty soon, you have three months of food stored away for you and your family.
Recently, I spoke on the phone with Tyler Allen, a real-estate developer in Lake Mary, Florida, who told me that he paid three million dollars for one of Hall’s condos. Allen said he worries that America faces a future of “social conflict” and government efforts to deceive the public. He suspects that the Ebola virus was allowed to enter the country in order to weaken the population. When I asked how friends usually respond to his ideas, he said, “The natural reaction that you get most of the time is for them to laugh, because it scares them.” But, he added, “my credibility has gone through the roof. Ten years ago, this just seemed crazy that all this was going to happen: the social unrest and the cultural divide in the country, the race-baiting and the hate-mongering.” I asked how he planned to get to Kansas from Florida in a crisis. “If a dirty bomb goes off in Miami, everybody’s going to go in their house and congregate in bars, just glued to the TV. Well, you’ve got forty-eight hours to get the hell out of there.”

Legacy Foods 120 Serving Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner Bucket is a great option for vegetarians or people who want more of a bland foundation that you mix with other ingredients. For $299, one bucket covers two people for two weeks at 1,500 calories per day. Although other companies drop the calories to cut costs, Legacy assumed you would add more ingredients to their base, so we thought the relatively low calories per day was acceptable.
Mindset is everything. Mental preparation comes first. I would change number 12 to number 1 and say,”practice, practice, practice…”. A wilderness solo for a few days (after you “practice, practice, practice…” for a while) will cause a dramatic change in your self reliance level. It did mine and that’s why almost everything I acquire has multiple possible uses. For instance, my business card case is metal and has possibilities as a weapon and a signaling mirror. “Wildwood Wisdom” by Ellsworth Jaeger is a good place to start. He shows how to “think” survival like no one else.
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.
I’m sure I sound like a tin-foil hat wearing paranoid but … this isn’t some worst-case-scenario (return of an ice-age), this has occurred repeatedly over the millennia, is a ‘predictable’ event (possibly/probably) heading right our way. We’ve already seen the early effects but a ‘decades long’ cooling with massively disrupted agriculture and widespread droughts’ could be on the way (estimates vary from 5-15 years).
Just because we are all gonna die does not mean we need to eat junk …. ditch that high carb and super processed junk food. There are many choices of decent food out there … particularly the foods packed by Mormon canneries. Do a google search for where to find the best deals. Really, get rid of the raman noodles, progresso soups, spagetti-o and other junk … you’ll have enough problems living through SHTF without killing you gut microbio ….
You just never know what tomorrow will bring, but don’t wait until the time of a crisis to practice some of these skills. Learn to garden, because fresh food is healthier…make it a natural part of your life. Two tomatoe plants can produce a lot of tomatoes! Learn to fish..for fun with the family! Make a mental note of the people around you (or coworkers) who hunt. Learn to milk a cow(I am not kidding). Learn to sew or knit. Learn to cook over an open fire pit…make sure you build a fire pit! These are little things you can do now…without a computer. Hold practice runs with your community with disaster plans. A manual is not going to help you. What you know on a regular basis, will. What good is 20 lbs of rice going to do without knowing how to cook it without a stove or electricity???! It’s not! And for heavens sake, take a first aid class, and invest in a very good first aid kit. That is something you should do anyway.
Awesome article. Really useful tool for assessing where I am in the process. And planning the next step. Once again, Gaye, you give us the important information without the fear. Some walk away from the fear and don’t get started. Some, such as me, rush headlong into the fear and then have a panic attack. So the fear is not productive. I appreciate your style.
Wow Gaye. I read all comments, and I see one from “Katzcradul”, so we know you have a very important web site. (I already knew this) I saw one reader loves cheese and crackers when times get rough. Katxcradul has taught me to “wax cheese” for long term storage, and many, many canning techniques. Everyone should subscribe to Katzcradul’s U-tube videos.

Just be aware, if you have stored mixes like bisquick or cake mixes which have baking powder in them. Baking powder has a shelf life, after that shelf life, the bp isn’t stable so your product may not rise and/or may taste funny. Depending on what form of dry milk (powder as opposed to instant milk) is used, that can also make your premixes go bad.


Jim: do you have a book about surviving in the woods? I understand your recommendation to avoid gong it alone, but simply cannot stomach the idea of crapping in a bucket in a boarded up house, surrounded by humans in survival mode who are just waiting for the opportunity to kill me and my daughter and take everything we have.... The diseases that people have, ugh just all of it. We are woods people! Always will be. Far far away from others, far far away from help too... Sigh.

This is someone who has embraced the preparedness lifestyle with gusto.  These preppers have supplies, knowledge, and skills but are seeking to fine tune their preps with advanced strategies for survival healthcare, living off-grid, and coping with civil unrest.  They actively share their own personal experiences with others and offer tips and help other prepper-types learn and grow.  I consider myself to be a Dedicated Prepper.
While many outdoor enthusiasts consider the color of a survival kit to be of minor importance, it actually makes good sense to think about this important characteristic. For example, it will be much easier to find your survival kit in an emergency if it is brightly colored or reflective. By contrast, you may find yourself in a situation in which you’ll want to keep a low profile, such as if you are trying to avoid dangerous people. In these cases, you’ll want a black or earth-toned survival kit to help avoid drawing attention to yourself. There are no right or wrong answers in this regard, but you’d be wise to think through the issue carefully before making your choice.
There are several other water purification techniques, including iodine, various types of filters, or even ridiculously expensive desalination systems. The recent Flint water crisis highlights the value of permanently installed and well-maintained RO units. But for short-term survival, my take is that most of the filtration systems targeted at preppers increase costs without offering clear-cut benefits. And really, don't overthink it: if the choice is between dehydration and drinking straight from a scummy pond, drink from the pond.
For some, it’s just “brogrammer” entertainment, a kind of real-world sci-fi, with gear; for others, like Huffman, it’s been a concern for years. “Ever since I saw the movie ‘Deep Impact,’ ” he said. The film, released in 1998, depicts a comet striking the Atlantic, and a race to escape the tsunami. “Everybody’s trying to get out, and they’re stuck in traffic. That scene happened to be filmed near my high school. Every time I drove through that stretch of road, I would think, I need to own a motorcycle because everybody else is screwed.”
While many outdoor enthusiasts consider the color of a survival kit to be of minor importance, it actually makes good sense to think about this important characteristic. For example, it will be much easier to find your survival kit in an emergency if it is brightly colored or reflective. By contrast, you may find yourself in a situation in which you’ll want to keep a low profile, such as if you are trying to avoid dangerous people. In these cases, you’ll want a black or earth-toned survival kit to help avoid drawing attention to yourself. There are no right or wrong answers in this regard, but you’d be wise to think through the issue carefully before making your choice.

Still, there's a grassroots aspect to it. Big corporations like Walmart and Costco may sell products like the Chef's Banquet Food Readiness Kit, which contains 390 servings of dehydrated meals, but there are scores of online retailers aimed specifically at the prepper demographic: Doomsday Prep, Practical Preppers, Wise Company, and The Ready Store, to name only a few. Notably, the majority of online stores like these either sell their own branded guides or offer them for free.
Pairing coupons with sales is the only way to save real money.  It also is the only way that you can get things for free, or get paid for purchasing items.  If an item is usually $2.00, it is on sale for $1.00, and you have a $1.00 coupon, that item is free!  However, if an item is usually $2.00, it is on sale for $1.00, you have a $1.00 coupon, and it is also double coupon week, some stores will actually pay you that $1.00 difference!  This is the key to getting your stockpile for free.  If you shop at stores with good coupon policies and you take advantage of sales, you can acquire all the items you need for your stockpile without spending anything! As you can see, pairing coupons with sales, and using all potential promotions to your advantage, can make all of the difference.

It turns out that when you're down to your last moldy hunk of bread and giardia-laced mud puddle, letting it all melt away in a cloud of smoke for a few precious moments can mean the difference between giving up and giving the rat (eating) race another go. If history has anything to say, it's more common than you think for people to happily give up MREs and gunlord harems in return for hastening their ends with carcinogens wrapped up in tidy paper packages. In traumatic situations like war, cancer sticks are often valued more highly than food. Even in the current (more or less) pre-apocalyptic global economy, cigarettes are one of the stable forms of currency.
Starting a food storage plan with canned goods is a great way to bring non-preppers, family or friends, on board. This tactic allows for families that normally would not have extra food to easily add food to their pantry in a way that is very normal to them. Buying a few additional canned goods while you are at the grocery store is a simple first step, and one that could pay off big time. (Do you know how to open a can even if you don’t have a can opener?)
In fact, the influx had begun well before Trump’s victory. In the first ten months of 2016, foreigners bought nearly fourteen hundred square miles of land in New Zealand, more than quadruple what they bought in the same period the previous year, according to the government. American buyers were second only to Australians. The U.S. government does not keep a tally of Americans who own second or third homes overseas. Much as Switzerland once drew Americans with the promise of secrecy, and Uruguay tempted them with private banks, New Zealand offers security and distance. In the past six years, nearly a thousand foreigners have acquired residency there under programs that mandate certain types of investment of at least a million dollars.

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.


Josh came to the U.S. in 1991 from Puerto Rico with his parents. They lived in Baltimore for a while and moved south into Calvert County when Josh was in elementary school. “Being around people here is what really got me into the whole idea of survival, you know? Learning to hunt and fish and live with the land instead of just going to a corner store for everything,” he says. Josh married a few years ago, and the couple just had their first child in 2017, a few months after Trump took office. He began to take the idea of preparing for the worst very seriously at that time, and began learning about prepping from Scott.
When I first started prepping, I was making meals in jars, or called “just add water”. They are quick and convenient, but will use up water, fast! So now have home canned meats, fruits, veggies, soups, etc. These will compliment my jar meals because they already have liquid in them. Just use a little common sense and think food prep in everyday life, then think of ways to prep with little to nothing….prep conveniences.
It’s clear that we’ve come to another dark place in the history of our United State. What isn’t so clear is whether we are just at the beginning of this era or if we might be nearing its end. The prepper philosophy always assumes the worst case scenario might be right around the corner. If we give in continually to those thoughts, however, we need to ask ourselves how much it is costing us to ignore the opposite side of that coin — hope? Hope is what got us through the worst of times in our past. If we lose all hope, we’re left only with despair.
Again, the reason we tend to look sideways at those who get a little too into prepping for an apocalypse is because of their smug optimism. People actually being realistic about a dangerous future would be better served joining the military or ingratiating themselves with high-level government officials than agonizing about a little mouth scuzz or foot fuzz, right?

CRKT Knives and Karen Hood of Survival.com and Survival Quarterly Magazine are proud to announce the newest in the CRKT line of wilderness survival knives, the HoodWork™ and the HCK1™. While the phrase “Survival…it’s all in your head” is an intrinsic part of everything Karen Hood, Survival.com and Survival Quarterly Magazine, a good knife can also mean the difference between life and death in an extreme situation.
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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