When walking around town, keep scanning your surroundings and be mindful of people around you. If your spidey senses are tingling, just bail: make a sharp turn and sprint away. Don't worry that some random dude closing up on you at night might be perplexed or offended by your move. Don't freeze up if somebody hollers or authoritatively barks an order at you - complying is a very powerful instinct, and some assailants know to exploit it.
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.
As for the appropriate calorie intake: almost all adults can function normally on 1,500 calories a day for extended periods of time, although they will slowly lose weight (probably not more than half a pound a week). If you are skinny or if you're aiming for surviving many months with no access to other food, budgeting 2,000-2,200 kcal per day is a safer bet. Since you would have to exercise portion control, it pays to focus on satiating foods: high-fiber, high-protein, or high-fat.
Pense invites me to imagine a world turned lawless when the ninth transformer blows. Fifteen percent of the New Orleans Police Department deserted during Hurricane Katrina—imagine if the entire force lived where the levees broke. Big box stores killed off regional food distribution centers years ago; all we’ve got is what’s inside Walmart and Sam’s Club, and if you thought Black Friday was bad, imagine the crowds when it’s life or death. Drivers fleeing Springfield will hit roadblocks, where mobs will pull people from their vehicles like the LA rioters did to Reginald Denny. You might commit vehicular manslaughter, the preppers tell me, just to get out alive.
Of all the plausible scenarios, another major oil crisis would probably hit most car-owning families the hardest, limiting their ability to get food or to take care of other, everyday needs. Generally speaking, there is no simple fix: keeping a gallon or two in your garage won't make much of a difference, while maintaining significant reserves of gas for personal use can be done safely (and legally) only if you own a large, rural plot of land. Electric vehicles, especially if charged from rooftop solar panels, can offer a wonderful backup in some parts of the world, but they carry a very hefty price tag. The best workaround may be the least inspired one: if you own a car, you can always keep your tank at least half full (a familiar mantra by now), and have enough food and other essentials to be able to wait out the worst.
Different locations present different climactic challenges, which you’ll want to factor into your survival-kit-making decisions. Trips through the northern reaches of the globe, for example, will force you to confront very cold temperatures. This may make things like emergency hand warmers and hot chocolate important in your survival kit. By contrast, you’ll want to prepare for heat stroke, snake bite, and torrential rain if you are hiking or camping in the tropics.
A subset of this is also worth keeping in a car. It's not just about zombies or life-and-death situations: if you hit something in a parking lot and your bumper cover comes off or your liftgate won't stay shut, it's nice to be able to tie it down and get back on the road. Similarly, a shovel can help you get back on the road after getting stuck in snow or mud. But speaking of survival: a pocket knife, kept within reach (e.g., in the center console), can be used to cut seat belts if you get into a wreck; and in a pinch, it will double as a self-defense tool. Belt cutters can also fulfill that first task, and may be easier to operate if you are hurt - although they are less useful for other purposes. I'd also recommend getting an automatic center punch - it's a neat $7 tool that effortlessly shatters tempered glass (i.e., side and rear windows) when the doors won't budge. It works way better than many of the specialized car escape devices sold on the Internet.
A large pen drive. Computer hardware failures are far more common than space zombies or mutant superbugs. Because of this, one of your best investments can be a decent 128 GB pen drive ($30) with a copy of all your important files; in case of bank mix-ups, throw in copies of recent account statements, too. And hey, if want to feel like a cyber-ninja - you can always grab a copy of Wikipedia. It will undoubtedly come handy for rebuilding the civilization, and it's just 12 GB.
One suggestion to consider. Have you tried carrying a bow saw blade? They ‘curl’ up quite small in a tin/pan and can be easily used to construct a frame for a bow or even buck saw (how to is in multiple youtube videos and bushcraft books such as Richard Graves or Ray Mears) – which makes those woodland chores so much easier than with a small folding saw.
Good article! A few years ago, a medical condition for someone in my family required that I learn how to cook without high fat dairy, no corn products, no fish, and very low sodium. That means almost no packaged or processed foods, no fast food, almost no snack foods, no packaged flavor packets, no bottled flavorings…well you get the idea. Now I visit Costco a couple times a year for rice, beans, pasta, and meat. I grow almost all the vegetables we eat year round. Our grocery bills have gone way down. And now I actually know how to cook almost anything from scratch ingredients that I always have on hand in bulk. The foods many preppers stock up, are foods I never have in my house so I wouldn’t miss them if they suddenly became unavailable. In hind sight I’ve learned that “stuff” isn’t as important as skills. Trust me, cooking is a skill.