Still, as I sat at my desk one afternoon, eyeing the colorful salads my coworkers were having for lunch, I realized the absurdity of my experiment: I live in a city with 24/7 access to fresh food and work a job that affords me the privilege of eating healthfully most of the time. Even quibbling over the nutritional content of these freeze-dried meals was something of a luxury, because I wasn’t in a position where I actually needed to eat them. Then again, you never know what’s going to happen.

Some people carry both, but most choose one or the other. Multi-tools are nice for everyday utility like opening a bottle or fixing a screw on your sunglasses. There are tons of great options from popular brands like Leatherman and Gerber. But as in most things, the 80-20 rule applies here, and you’ll find that you won’t use most of the features in the extra-gadgety options and should avoid the unnecessary weight.
The adult can use the books or a itablet to teach. I home schooled our children for several years and it was always a read, touching and seeing experience on everything. Not everyone is a reader, but the parents can have the information on hand. If it is in an itablet and has been down loaded already it will still be on the tablet when the net goes down. You just need a solar charger. Math and history along with cursive and English can be taught many different ways. I’ve used sand, shaving cream, chalk, and water to teach.

Of course, this observation ignores one important fact: compared to EU countries, the United States suffers from a markedly elevated (but rapidly falling) rate of homicide. About two thirds of them are committed with guns - but lest we jump to conclusions, the non-firearm-related murder rate alone puts America well ahead of most of Europe, suggesting that the cause may have more to do with societal differences than with the availability of a particular tool. A finding that supports this theory is the fact that upward of 80% of US gun homicides trace back to gang activity and drug trade, often within the disadvantaged or impoverished strata of the society that are far less prominent on the old continent. Another telling observation is that comparisons of overall murder rates across US states or across EU countries with vastly different firearms ownership profiles don't reveal a convincing correlation between the two variables - something you would expect to see if legally owned guns had a causative relationship with violent crime.
Laundry is another (if slightly less pressing) problem that many preppers may have to reckon with. Well-chosen antiperspirants and BZK-based antimicrobal sprays do wonders to control bodily odors and extend the life of undergarments. Beyond that, careful hand-washing and rinsing techniques help minimize waste - but when there is no running water, doing laundry is still going to be a rare luxury for most.
When you have to prep on a budget your food storage plan should be one of your first priorities. Always aim to have at least three days’ worth of food in your possession or in your storage area at all times. The more food you can keep the better. As well as having enough food supplies, you need to have the right ones. There is no point in having three days’ worth of canned fruit, as this alone will not sustain you during a survival situation when SHTF.
Of course, while this approach reduces the odds of being blindsided by a painful problem, it does not make the risk go away: a chipped tooth or a painful abscess can strike with virtually no warning. If you can't see a dentist right away, OTC painkillers can offer partial relief, but no amount of ibuprofen will let you forget about an exposed nerve. Topical benzocaine ointments may work better in some situations, but they don't last very long. Sometimes, swishing some cold water in your mouth, or sucking in air through a carefully positioned straw, can offer decent relief. In the longer haul, amoxicillin can clear up many dental infections, while zinc oxide / eugenol cement can be used for emergency repair of damaged teeth. There are some reports that repeated treatments of cavities with silver nitrate can be beneficial, too - but be aware that the substance is caustic and tends to semi-permanently stain skin (and anything else it comes into contact with).
If you are trekking through the Yukon or trying to cross the Darien gap, you may find it necessary to wait weeks for help to reach you in a survival situation; but if you are just heading off to your local state park, emergency rescuers could probably reach you in a matter of hours. You’ll want to factor this consideration into your kit-building decisions. If you can expect to wait long periods before help will arrive, you’ll need more supplies than if you are heading out to an easily accessed area. Nevertheless, it is always wise to have the supplies to last longer than you think you’ll need them.
1) We’re getting out of the habit of calling them Canneries bc you can’t seal things in #10 cans yourself anymore, it’s all pre-done now. You might hear people refer to “the Storehouse”. While that’s not technically correct (The Bishop’s Storehouse serves a different function and is not open to the public), the 2 entities are nearly always in the same building with the same hours and many Mormons use the terms interchangeably.

You can’t go wrong with instant mashed potatoes, they are a great and inexpensive addition to your food storage. I like Gaye, will use the DAK ham, it is one step up from SPAM. You can add it to a pot of bean soup or fry it up with some potatoes and onions and peppers. I look for versitile foods that are low in sodium and that serve multiple purposes.
Historically, our fascination with the End has flourished at moments of political insecurity and rapid technological change. “In the late nineteenth century, there were all sorts of utopian novels, and each was coupled with a dystopian novel,” Richard White, a historian at Stanford University, told me. Edward Bellamy’s “Looking Backward,” published in 1888, depicted a socialist paradise in the year 2000, and became a sensation, inspiring “Bellamy Clubs” around the country. Conversely, Jack London, in 1908, published “The Iron Heel,” imagining an America under a fascist oligarchy in which “nine-tenths of one per cent” hold “seventy per cent of the total wealth.”
Typically, survival kits are designed to help you get through a situation in which help cannot be secured. However, if you equip yourself with a satellite phone you can contact help from anywhere on the planet. In other situations, a pre-paid cell phone or two-way radio (be sure to find out the frequency the local ranger station or emergency responders use) may be all that you need to contact help when you need it most.
Prepping does represent an element of hope, but it’s a “selfish” hope: that you and yours will be able to survive and make it through because you were ready, even if it’s at the expense of everyone else. There doesn’t seem to be another option, though, when our government itself, with trillions of dollars at its disposal, never seems to be prepared even for emergencies that have high probabilities of occurrence, like Hurricane Katrina’s landfall in New Orleans. Perhaps, as prepping becomes more mainstream, the ideas it brings with it, of self-sufficiency and self-reliance, will provide some positive effect on society overall.
Sure, you could go hardcore right from the start and prepare for a long-term disaster from day one but, as I said, there is a learning curve to this, and you want to minimize your mistakes. It’s much better to prepare for the layers I’m about to give you. But before we get into that, let me just give you the heads up on some of the most common mistakes:

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.
I have a .30-.30 Win. lever action disguised as a Floor lamp with a shade. The shade is glued to a long dowel small enough to go down the barrell. The Butt Stock shoves and fits tight into a weighted block of wood like a christmas tree stand; and its loaded with one up the spout. Just pull out the shade and rod; stand on the base push gun away from yourself and pull up. Only 2 movements in the ready if you don’t count cocking the Hammer. It won’t fire unless you compress the Lever mechanism. Its already cocked anyway.
Check out our full review of the best emergency water storage containers and tips on how to store water. We recommend that you have the two weeks of water ready, sitting in containers. Don’t depend on finding and filtering water, or filling your bathtub, for this two-week period. It’s very likely you’ll have access to portable water filters and other water treatment methods because of your bug out bags, but think of those as a bonus backup.
When most people start thinking about family preparedness, they focus on food. Not shelter, gear, sanitation, power, self-defense or the myriad of other concerns that need to be addressed following an emergency or disaster situation. Quite simply, food is the number one concern people have second only to their concern for having an adequate supply of water.
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 you read though this list, I hope you can visualize the number and variety of meals that can be made by mixing and matching the items listed in the kick-start plan.  How about some rice, salsa and canned chicken cooked into a casserole in your cast iron skillet?  Or pancakes topped with canned peaches and honey?  Then there are pinto beans, combined with rice and corn and topped with a bit of Tabasco for a fiesta-style meal.
Buy dry foods, canned goods and peanut butter, then use the oldest on a regular basis and rotate new stock into the pantry. Too many people buy foods that they will only eat when the SHTF and then since you’re not using it on a regular basis, it’s gone or going bad. If however you buy many of the foods you currently eat for SHTF planning then you can eat the oldest food and rotate new stock into your holdings as a routine part of your meals.
Before they were pets, dogs were workers. They can carry their own supplies without complaint (already making them superior to most humans right now), sniff out food and water, and search for and bring down prey. Some breeds, such as huskies, have been specifically tailored to bust their butts on the barest of rations. Dogs also have a long and storied history of offensive and defensive combat use, making them perfectly suited to attack anyone who thinks they have more of a right to that sweet, sweet snack cake stockpile than you do. Which is to say, your four-legged pal is just a few training sessions and a kickass set of armor away from leading you to your rightful place as God Of The Ragged Desert/Water People.
The preparation you make for a hurricane, earthquake or other short-term disaster will not keep you alive in the event of widespread social collapse caused by pandemic, failure of the grid or other long-term crises. Government pamphlets and other prepping books tell you how to hold out through an emergency until services are restored. This book teaches you how to survive when nothing returns to normal for weeks, months or even years, including:
Where are you going to keep this emergency food? You don't need tons of extra space, but you do need some, ideally in cool, dry place where moisture and pests can't readily get into it. Walk around and check your most-used cupboards, closets, and storage areas. What's in there right now? How much of it do you actually use? Chances are, you have a lot of extra kitchen and home supplies lying around that could find a better home somewhere less readily accessible, like the basement.
Mayday (since 2003) Seconds From Disaster (since 2004) National Geographic Explorer (since 2004) Drugs, Inc. (since 2010) Wicked Tuna (since 2012) Life Below Zero (since 2013) Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey (since 2014) Wicked Tuna: Outer Banks (since 2014) Live Free or Die (since 2014) StarTalk (since 2015) The Story of God with Morgan Freeman (since 2016) Mars (since 2016) Genius (since 2017) The Story of Us with Morgan Freeman (since 2017) One Strange Rock (since 2018)

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.
In fact, even in situations that don't unfold in such a dramatic way, sketching out a plan can help you optimize spending and spot potential problems early on. For example, there may be little merit to stockpiling 50 lbs of rice if you can't possibly store enough water to cook it all. But then, a quick look at the map may reveal that there is a freshwater reservoir within a biking distance of your home. Great - maybe all you need is a bike basket and a pair of spare inner tubes.
That spirit of self-sufficiency runs through the history of American food culture. Lydia Maria Child’s 1829 manual The Frugal Housewife, one of the first American cookbooks ever published, instructed women to contribute to their family’s finances by making sure no scrap of food was wasted: “Nothing should be thrown away so long as it is possible to make any use of it, however trifling that use may be.” The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints* encourages members to keep a three-month food supply on hand at all times, and even sells dehydrated food products on its official website. This Mormon connection may be why Utah is such a freeze-dried food hub: Of 21 freeze-dried food companies I counted online, 16 were from the state, and Bedford told me she first learned about long-term food storage by reading blogs by Mormon women.
Dry survival rations. Sold under several brands, including Datrex, ER Bar, S.O.S., Grizzly, and more. Biscuit-like, less sugary and with a more agreeable taste than energy bars - somewhat reminiscent of shortbread. In my book, S.O.S. and Datrex taste best. Very inexpensive (~550 kcal per dollar) and should last 5-10 years when stored in a cool place. A tolerable choice for short- to medium-term nutrition in an emergency. Easy to pack, giving you ~2,200 kcal per pound.
Of course, while this approach reduces the odds of being blindsided by a painful problem, it does not make the risk go away: a chipped tooth or a painful abscess can strike with virtually no warning. If you can't see a dentist right away, OTC painkillers can offer partial relief, but no amount of ibuprofen will let you forget about an exposed nerve. Topical benzocaine ointments may work better in some situations, but they don't last very long. Sometimes, swishing some cold water in your mouth, or sucking in air through a carefully positioned straw, can offer decent relief. In the longer haul, amoxicillin can clear up many dental infections, while zinc oxide / eugenol cement can be used for emergency repair of damaged teeth. There are some reports that repeated treatments of cavities with silver nitrate can be beneficial, too - but be aware that the substance is caustic and tends to semi-permanently stain skin (and anything else it comes into contact with).
Canned meat, veggies, or fruit. Storage life in excess of 20 years (regardless of "best by" dates). Tasty, relatively cheap (~200-300 kcal per dollar), and the choice is pretty broad. Fruits, veggies, and soups are not very energy-dense (~200 kcal per pound), making them impractical for hiking or bugging out; on the flip side, the syrup may provide some additional hydration. Meats fare much better, tipping the scales at around 1,500 kcal per pound. Canned foods are a good option for longer-term planning, provided that you have enough shelf space.
Grains. Grains are good for making flour or meal. Wheat and corn are the most common. Bear in mind that you will need a grain mill to process these, and I recommend a good hand mill in case power is an issue. By storing whole grains instead of flour or meal you drastically increase storage life. Again you can buy these in ore-sealed buckets, or repackage bulk purchases yourself to save money. If you want to increase the shelf life even more, you can turn them into flour and then into Hardtacks.

These are not your typical 5 gallon buckets from the Home Depot. Food grade buckets are made of a different type of plastic to prevent leaching. They cost a little more than your typical buckets, but are worth it for the added safety and flavor of your food. Food storage buckets should be made with high density polyethylene without BPAs, and be manufactured to meet NMFC, FDA, and UFC requirements. A bucket could have the triangle on the bottom with the number two and the HDPE mark, but not be food grade. This could be due to the construction method, not being able to provide a secure seal, made of reused materials, or even reused themselves after chemicals or paint. HDPE buckets are still porous, and can absorb chemicals stored in it. Make sure that you purchase from a reliable source so you don’t get duped. If you do decide to get used buckets, make sure they have only been used to store food and be prepared to clean them thoroughly.
A decent hemorrhage kit should probably include a generous amount of bandages, a tourniquet ($5-$15), clotting gauze ($40), and some duct tape. You should read the manuals and consult an up-to-date first-aid guide, but the basic idea is to apply lots of pressure to any profusely bleeding wounds. This can be done with bandages, clothing, duct tape, or even your elbow, knee, or hips. Clotting gauze or sponges, when pushed into the wound cavity, can help stop bleeding more quickly and stabilize the victim. Tourniquets used to be frowned upon in the past, but when dealing with major trauma to a limb, they sure beat bleeding out to death; it's just that they cause some tissue injury, and if kept on for too long, necrosis may set in and the limb may have to go.
Make sure your emergency kit is stocked with the items on the checklist below. Most of the items are inexpensive and easy to find, and any one of them could save your life. Headed to the store? Download a printable version to take with you. Once you take a look at the basic items, consider what unique needs your family might have, such as supplies for pets, or seniors.
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