There are two scenarios everyone—prepper or not—should count on: losing power and being stranded in your car. I’m a big believer in backup power. I keep an emergency power supply plugged into an outlet in my apartment; it has a trickle charger so I can forget about it until my block goes dark. In my car, I keep extra blankets, a LifeStraw portable water filter, lighters, and Millennium energy bars. It’s not the Four Seasons, but at least my family will be able to survive 48 hours in our Honda Pilot. One thing to consider: You need to be with your gear when a disaster strikes. When Sandy hit in 2012, our whole family was in Connecticut while all my gear was in Manhattan. My wife had a good laugh. These days, my everyday bag is a waterproof Showers Pass backpack where I stash a small set of screwdrivers, multitool, glass breaker, three flashlights that use the same type of batteries, and a spool of Kevlar thread, all sorted in plastic bags. There’s a spoon and fork in there, too, because if I have to eat an MRE for dinner, I might as well look civilized while I do it.—Wylie Dufresne, Michelin-starred Chef, Owner Of Du’s Donuts, Prepper
I'm not quite crazy enough to say that epinephrine will help you survive the inevitable zombie apocalypse (you can go here for that). I'm just suggesting in a roundabout way that if you happened to be in a situation where something was trying to eat you, the increased heart rate and blood flow to your muscles brought on by a well-timed dose might just save your life.
Barbara – I know what you mean. It is easy to become both overwhelmed and disorganized at the same time. The nice thing about the list of 20 items is that you can purchase them all at once or one item a week. Then you can set them aside and at least for the short term, consider your food shopping done and move on to the gear or the next major task on your preparedness to-do list.
From looking at those stats, it might appear as if baby boomers are the least prepared for a doomsday disaster. But perhaps the reason they haven’t recently purchased any survival gear is that a lot of them have long been preparing for it: Baby boomers lead the way (41.28%) in terms of those who haven’t recently purchased survival gear because they already have it on hand. They’re followed by Gen Xers at 37.07% and millennials at 32.79%.
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.
If a crisis persists for a long enough period of time, it is very difficult to have an extended comprehensive food stock pile. Having the ability to grow vegetables is a great supplement to your stored foods. Be sure to have varieties that do well in your area, in your soil, and that you know how to grow. Have seeds for medicinal herbs and flavorful spices as well.
During his 45th Infantry Division, Pense taught field wiring, instructing G.I.s on setting poles and stringing wires to rig together a communications network from scratch. After the war, he was an electronics engineer in the private sector, sometimes on military contracts, learning the frailty of the nation’s power grid firsthand. On one government contract, he witnessed a nuclear warhead knock out power in Hawaii after detonating high above the Pacific.
Clothing: There’s a reason why characters in military movies refer to socks so often — they’re critically important and often overlooked. We love Darn Tough socks because they’re wool and a lot more durable than other brands like Smartwool. Grab a boonie hat, too; they’re easy to throw in your bag and provide better protection than most other options.
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.
This option requires the least amount of work and time investment. You can stock up on these regular sized cans on each trip to the grocery store for one of the easiest ways to build a stocked pantry. Grocery cans range in size from 12 ounce cans to #2.5 cans, so you have different portion sizes to choose from. There is a big variety, they are widely available, and they are cheap- so they naturally are a good choice for those looking to begin prepping. Canned meats, vegetables, and fruits are all great building blocks for a food stash. Check the labels for calories and nutritional value, and try to get high calorie cans as well as balanced variety of nutritional values. Some cans label multiple servings inside the same can, so you may need to do a little math to get the total values. Ready-to-eat canned foods are good to have around for small disasters since they are less of a hassle to prepare. You can concentrate on more important matters if you just heat and pop open a can of soup or chili.
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.
In some parts of the world, mosquitoes, flies, and other biting insects are major vectors for extremely serious diseases, such as malaria, African sleeping sickness, dengue fever, or lymphatic filariasis. The same is not a grave concern in more temperate climates; although malaria used to be a problem in some of the southern states, it has been eradicated by 1951. Today, some of the most serious incidents in the US and in Europe are the occassional cases of Lyme borreliosis or the West Nile virus.
Still, this does not mean that the survivors of a nuclear war would have to choose between starvation and death. Water and food stored in closed containers will not become radioactive - people would just have to be mindful of the dust on top. Crops can be grown after removing several inches of topsoil, and most rivers, streams, and creeks become safe quite rapidly (shallow bodies of standing water are a different animal). In other words, with basic precautions, it's quite possible to thrive in the aftermath of even the worst nuclear war. All it takes is some luck and a bit of knowledge; blast-proof bunkers are not a must.
A veritable industry has sprung up around the prepper movement. James Rawles, author of the non-fiction book How to Survive the End of the World as We Know It and a pair of best-selling novels on survival, says 130,000 people regularly read his survivalblog.com, where he and numerous contributors provide tips on how to prepare. The former Army intelligence officer has 40 advertisers selling everything from seeds to silver, and 30 more advertisers on a waiting list.