During a prolonged blackout, keeping flashlights, radios, and cell phones running can become a challenge of its own. The most cost-effective approach is to stick to devices that can take regular AA, AAA, or PP3 (9V) batteries; modern alkaline cells have very long shelf lives (10 years), can be bought cheaply in bulk, and will do the trick for almost all portable electronics you can think of. Of course, modern power-hungry smartphones are a notable exception to this rule. For that, you can always try solar chargers ($50) - they work well, but are a bit fragile and may not perform too amazingly in wooded areas or on overcast days. You can also go for hand-crank generators ($30, labor-intensive) or AA power banks ($15, mixed reviews). But ultimately, also allow for the possibility of not being able to call others for a while.

Once you get going, it will be easy to lose track of what you already have.  The best way to overcome the state of confusion you will experience six months down the road is to start keeping track of your stored items now – from the beginning.  Use a spiral notebook, a computer spreadsheet, or a clipboard and a pad of paper.  Update your inventory with the item and date of purchase as it goes into storage and of course, mark it off as it rotates out.
We get that creature comforts will be ever more important as the things that used to make us happy slowly break and crumble around us. But do you really want to put a ton of effort into opening a bakery when everything is going to shit? And we hate to be the bearers of bad news, but no amount of odor elimination is going to stop the uncivilized world from smelling really, really bad.
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!
Luckily for the survivors, the highly radioactive isotopes present in the fallout are also very-short lived; the intensity of radiation will likely drop ten-fold within 6-8 hours, and will decrease a hundred-fold within two days. If you wait a week or two, it should be quite safe to venture out. Of course, it's still best to stay indoors for as long as possible, and when heading out, it's good to keep the trips short, to wear disposable coveralls ($11), and to take care not to track any residues into your home. But you don't need to lock yourself in an underground vault.
Sometimes, you can't avoid a confrontation. Figure out how to react if somebody asks you to get into a car, demands cash, or barges into your occupied home. It would be a complete shock for you, but they have probably done it before - so you gotta rehearse if you want to have the upper hand. Even if they have a weapon trained on you, it's a game of confidence and wits, not just physical force.
Thanks for the comment “Barn Cat”. I do agree that storing canned beans makes it much easier since they are already prepared. That would be a huge help when you need something to eat in a hurry. I am inclined to say that having both dried beans and canned beans would be ideal for food storage. Canned items typically do not last as long. Another fact is that you can also sprout dried beans and it increases the nutritional value. Wheat can also be sprouted, ground into flour to make bread and cooked to make a hot breakfast cereal. Wheat, if stored properly can be stored up to 25+ years. I personally like to have a variety my food storage.
I used to focus only on preparing for earthquakes and other natural disasters. That changed in 2011 when I went to my first protest, an Occupy Oakland action, with a medic bag. I didn't know yet that I'd be out there for hours, so I didn't have supplies I consider basic now — food, caffeine, extra smokes, insoles for my combat boots. I didn't know how aggressive the police would be, and the handkerchief around my neck was more for a punk look than medical necessity. I hadn't received formal training to be a street medic; I just happened to know first aid and CPR and wanted to help. I carried a 15-pound bag on my back, full of medical supplies, mainly gauze and tape but also things like tourniquets that I hoped I wouldn't have to use. I was scared — I'd had rubber bullets shot at me the night before — but I was determined to drop off water to the protesters and make sure that people had sterile supplies.
Bare hands. No deterrent effect, but surprisingly effective when a confrontation can't be avoided - especially when facing a single assailant. Reserved for people who are physically fit and willing to invest a fair amount of time into training. One of the most pragmatic and widely-taught schools is Krav Maga, and there's certainly no harm in checking it out.
Great article. Very informative and insightful. I also think learning how to store the right food most especially for leaner times is very important. For me canning is the best way to store food. But make sure that you can your food the right way. It is also a proven fact that canning as a way of storing and preserving different kinds of foods has been done since the 1800’s.

If there was anything my freeze-dried food experiment taught me, it was how lucky I was to be able to walk down the street and buy a sandwich whenever I wanted to—but also how far I was from being self-reliant in the more quotidian sense. If freeze-dried meals are becoming increasingly popular in America, then maybe it’s because many of us realize that if something really bad happened, we wouldn’t know the first thing about surviving for a week on the ingredients lying around in our pantry. But as we continue to be bombarded by headlines foreshadowing epic floods, economic collapse, and nuclear escalation, there’s nothing wrong with finding a little peace of mind in a bag of dehydrated Chicken A La King.
I can a bunch of meat. I stock up when its on sale then freeze and when I have a slow day (lol) I thaw it and start canning. It is SO much cheaper than canned chicken or beef from the store!!! I also have a generator for my fridge and freezer so if we were going to be with out power for long my plan is to start canning as fast as possible. You can also dehydrate fruits and veggies that you would normally freeze (berries, spinach, almost anything) but that would need to be done before the outage of course.
A thermometer that won't run out of juice. Responding to serious emergencies can be stressful and physically taxing, making it easy to catch nasty infections along the way. To know how bad things have gotten, it's good to have a reliable way to take body temperature; keep in mind that many low-cost axillary thermometers use LR41 batteries, and that you probably don't have any spares lying around. One good choice is this ($35). A traditional glass thermometer will also work, but is more fragile.
So, here's another unorthodox prescription for building a comprehensive preparedness plan: develop useful and marketable secondary skills. A simple and enjoyable way of doing so is to pick a hobby you can get passionate about - and then work hard, be very honest about your own mistakes and shortcomings, and try to get better at it every week. You shouldn't seek immediate profits, since progressing from a hobby to a paid occupation inevitably takes away some of the fun; but try to gravitate toward pursuits that could conceivably morph into viable career choices within a decade or so. If you have a family, help your spouse and children pursue thoughtful hobbies of their own, too.
Inspired by science fiction books and a handful of real-world incidents, some hardcore survivalists worry that their portable electronics or vehicles could be disabled by EMP weapons or solar flares. The concern over solar flares is misplaced; the threat of EMP is a tad more valid, but even if EMP warfare came to pass, small electronics and quasi-shielded automotive circuitry would probably not be permanently affected by anything other than a close blast. Power plants and transmission lines are a different story. Heck, in 1989, solar flares knocked out a good chunk of the Canadian power grid. Still, for that, a surge protector works better than tinfoil.
"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 (SimplerTimesHomestead.blogpost.com)
Follow three New York preppers as they plan their bug-out to escape from a variety of disasters: Cameron Moore, a student is planning to escape a meltdown from a nearby nuclear plant. Margaret Ling is planning to escape in case another hurricane struck her city, having recalled the events of Hurricane Sandy. Last but not least, Jay, remembering the September 11 attacks is planning to escape from another terrorist attack on the city with his family.
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.
When the average person thinks about doomsday preppers, they probably think of paranoid right-leaning wing nuts clinging to a small arsenal of guns and stockpiling toilet paper from Walmart in case their conspiracy theories come true. It's a fair assumption — many television depictions reflect that mind-set, though the fears vary from group to group. Some are afraid of government collapse, others fear a solar flare, still others are preparing for a race war they think is inevitable. When those are the dominant examples, it's easy to dismiss the practice as absurd and hysterical.
The Emergency Essentials Premier bucket is the best short term emergency food product for most people. The $380 three-bucket option covers two people for 15-18 days at a very healthy 2,700-2,275 calories per day. One person can cover two weeks for only a single $130 bucket if you stretch the 27,330 total calories an extra day or two at 1,900 calories per day.

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.

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.


The next obvious step, but one that causes people a fair amount of headache, is actually finding coupons.  Although it may seem hard and it will require a little bit of work, there are countless ways for you to do this.  First, the classic way is to clip them from the weekly paper.  Coupons usually appear in inserts in the Sunday edition of the newspaper.  In order to amass enough to really make a difference, most couponing preppers will order at least a few copies of various Sunday papers.  This gives you quantity and diversity of coupons. If you are looking to save money, you also can find extra copies of newspapers in dumpsters and at grocery stores. Just go in late on a Sunday night and ask for whatever they have left over from that day.  Many stores will give them to you for free, or for a reduced rate.
About a month after I left meetup 2.0 at Pizza Hut, former attendee Garland Fitzhugh called to tell me it’s become more of an ‘eat-up’ than a prepper meetup—fair, considering there’s been no local calamity to keep the survivalist group on its toes. Allen emails meeting suggestions to a prepper listserv, asking them to focus on prepping situations they can actually influence. He may as well type in Wingdings. A former Navy technician, Allen spent most of the meeting on his phone; his ears only perk up when Andrew: says something about naval intelligence that piques his interest. “I try not to do that too much,” he tells me later. 
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.
“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.)
To cope with a true emergency, it's not enough to know the risks and sit on a pile of overpriced survival gear: you need to plan ahead. If your house is on fire, there may be no time to rifle through folders to gather all your vital documents; if the floodwaters are rising or a chemical tanker overturns on a nearby highway, it may a bit late to start thinking about refueling your car. And if you're stranded on a rural road in a broken-down vehicle, you may sorely regret not putting any drinking water in the trunk.
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.
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