Many hardcore preppers spend their time fantasizing about heroic survival in the endless, pristine wilderness, equipped with nothing more than a bug out bag, a trusty rifle, and their own iron will. But even in far more realistic situations, being able to set up a camp can be a valuable skill. During mass evacuations, there is always a good chance of being stuck on a congested highway for a day or two, or reaching your destination only to find out that all the hotels and motels are full. The benefits are clear for some small-scale emergencies, too: if backed-up sewage makes your home uninhabitable for a while, setting up a tent in a friend's backyard can be much cheaper than staying in a hotel for several weeks.
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.
Imho, (for the most part) nothing bores children more than having to read stale history and math books. The oral tradition of learning history and math is probably The Best way. Combine that with actually doing something and you have a winning hand, i.e. counting sticks or making other calculations as you all collect firewood or dig tiger traps. Make learning into a fun challenge = that’s your challenge. Don’t try and substitute a book for that.
When it comes to comfort and personal hygiene, I would also suggest stockpiling a carton of toilet paper, a pack of old-school soap bars, a bottle of no-rinse body wash and shampoo (to conserve water), some antiperspirant, toothpaste and a toothbrush, nail clippers or scissors, and several disposable razors. At home, such items can come handy only during prolonged emergencies; but as a part of your in-car kit, they are invaluable if you are ever stuck somewhere or forget to take your toiletries with you on a camping trip.
Being from the south, we eat a lot of cornbread, so I would have to add cornmeal to this list. I think that cornbread would be an excellent option for a grid down situation. It’s very simple to make, cornmeal, and water, plus salt or any extra veggies you may have. I would also add dry pasta, and oil, for cooking and seasoning your cast iron. I may have missed this, but what about peroxide and alcohol? But you thought of a lot of things I never would have. Great list!
Disrupted access to water, food, energy, or transportation. Substantial and prolonged outages happen everywhere; many of us will experience at least one at some point in our lives. A week without electricity may be just inconvenient and scary, especially in a high-rise or in a seedy neighborhood; but even a single hot day without potable water is universally bad news.
"I had a dream not long ago that was sort of like God said, ‘I will show you these things,’ and that we’d lost both grids on the East and West Coasts, and I saw trains coming in, packed, standing-room only, from both coasts, and they were just releasing them into Mark Twain and everywhere. Those people were then forming little camps—15, 20 people per camp. And I saw a colored boy and a white boy, youngsters, and they were talking. And the white boy is talking, and he says if you steal wood from any of those people, only take one piece, because if you take more than that they’ll miss it.
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