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?
Blame modern diets, blame our longevity, or blame the mistakes of mother nature - but the bottom line is that for most humans, dental problems are a question of "when", not "if". And when excruciating pain strikes at an inopportune time, it's really no laughing matter: in absence of adequate medical care, tooth problems have been known to push some people to the verge of suicide.
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.
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!

Don't just keep that stuff in your home; it's actually more important to have such a kit in your car (ideally in the center console) and carry something equivalent when biking, hiking, climbing, hunting, or engaging into other injury-prone sports. There are some lightweight ready-made kits ($19) that may do the trick, although making your own is always a better choice.


Generally speaking, the more outdoor experience you have, the fewer items you’ll need in your survival kit. Those who are quite skilled at starting campfires may not need to bring matches and emergency tinder; as a simple fire starter will suffice. Similarly, experienced outdoor enthusiasts may elect to bring items like garbage bags, rather than ponchos, as they can be used for a variety of different purposes, which outdoor novices are unlikely to have mastered.
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?

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.

As for drinking untreated water: contrary to popular beliefs, in temperate climates, you are generally not taking huge risks by drinking from a backcountry lake or a creek; if it looks and smells all right, it's quite likely fine. On the flip side, a bout of diarrhea is probably the last thing you want to experience in such a situation, so it's good to take precautions if you can. Boiling your drinking water is a very robust method of eradicating microscopic wildlife (more about that soon). When boiling is not an option, adding several drops of regular, old-fashioned laundry bleach per gallon of water, then letting it sit for 30-60 minutes, will have a roughly comparable effect. Note that bleach has a limited shelf life; you will need to rotate it every 5 years or so. When on the go, sodium dichloroisocyanurate pills can be more convenient than liquid bleach and work just as well.


Now I am obviously a big fan of couponing, but it can come at a price.  One of the classic dilemmas about couponing is whether or not to use a coupon on a brand-name item, or to just buy the store-brand item.  This decision will almost always be circumstantial.  Sometimes, the store-brand item will be a better deal than the brand-name plus coupon.  If you are new to couponing, it can be quite frustrating, as it seems like you are spending more money than you did before just to get all of the deals.  This may be true, and it may cause you to want to switch to store-brand items.  While this is not always a bad idea, as inexperienced couponers can end up spending a lot of money, make sure you do the comparison to find the better deal.  Also, always remember, particularly for a stockpile, that timing matters!  The store-brand may be the better deal this week, but next week might be double coupon week, meaning you could get that item for free next week as opposed to paying a little for the store-brand this week.  Doing your research on a case-by-case basis and remaining patient are keys for amassing a completely free stockpile.
I don’t know how to advise you on preparing for low temperatures and snow/ice problems: one thing’s for sure, back when Quebec had its massive ice storm, it took them SIX WEEKS to get the power back on. But having electricity will be moot if the hydroelectrics are frozen, not to mention the distribution problems. As for 60 below, it doesn’t matter which scale you use: it’s COLD.

As for the remainder of your money, I suggest splitting it across two largely unrelated financial institutions with different risk profiles - say, a big national bank and a local credit union. As long as the deposits are insured by the government (as they normally are in the US and in Europe, up to a per-account limit), this approach greatly increases the availability of your money, and probably doesn't expose you to any substantially new dangers. Keeping all your savings outside the banking system is an option, too, but it's not necessarily a smart choice. With fiat currencies, this move does not truly insulate you from that many longer-term risks, but adds the very real possibility of losing all your funds to fire or theft.
I don't usually write book reviews, but I feel like this is important. Book seems to have been written off the top of author's head, from memory. First, it is not "Long Term" survival at all. I have a lot of questions that I am searching for answers to, but there are areas that I am quite knowledgeable and experienced in and I found a number of careless errors in what is written in this book (particularly in food and medicine). This causes me to not trust the author's recommendations in areas I DON'T know about. Also, most information is not detailed enough to be much of any kind of guide for survival. I've seen other reviews complimenting Mr. Cobb on other book(s) he has written-regarding home defense-for the sake of those looking for accurate information for times of emergencies, he needs to stick with what he knows, or do better research before writing books that people might depend on for survival.
With that goal in mind, let me say this:  this is not a list of items intended for deep storage. Nor is it a list of items packaged so that they have a 25 year shelf life.  (And in reality, do you really need your stored food to last that long?)  I am also not going to list items that might be foreign to your palate, difficult to find, or too costly to absorb into your weekly shopping budget.
As a matter of practicality, don't worry too much about your existing mortgages or student loans: they are difficult to repay early, tend to have very low interest, and confer special tax benefits. But use your initial savings to pay off credit card balances, and do it quick. Be careful with new obligations, too. Unless you already have a very generous safety net, a home loan that eats up more than 15% of your paycheck over the course of 30 years is a very risky deal; and going over 30% is almost certainly dumb, at least as far as financial continuity planning goes.
High-sugar energy bars. Grocery store brands have limited shelf life, but several prepper-targeted, Mylar-packed varieties can last 5-10 years. Such products are inexpensive (~300 kcal per dollar), convenient, and energy-dense (~2,000 kcal per pound). On the flip side, they are probably pretty nauseating as your primary food. Imagine living solely off Jelly Bellies for a week.
Civilians such as forestry workers, surveyors, or bush pilots, who work in remote locations or in regions with extreme climate conditions may also be equipped with survival kits. Disaster supplies are also kept on hand by those who live in areas prone to earthquakes or other natural disasters. For the average citizen to practice disaster preparedness, some towns will have survival stores to keep survival supplies in stock.
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