In an ideal world, you’d bring along duplicates for every item in your survival kit. This way, if one breaks, you’ve got a back up at the ready. “Two is one, and one is none,” as the saying goes. But in the real world, your outdoor activities will place weight and space restrictions on the size of your survival kit. You can’t very well bring multiple knives, several flashlights and two pairs of pliers if you are trying to go ultralight camping in the Sierra Nevadas.
As for the remainder of your money, I suggest splitting it across two largely unrelated financial institutions with different risk profiles - say, a big national bank and a local credit union. As long as the deposits are insured by the government (as they normally are in the US and in Europe, up to a per-account limit), this approach greatly increases the availability of your money, and probably doesn't expose you to any substantially new dangers. Keeping all your savings outside the banking system is an option, too, but it's not necessarily a smart choice. With fiat currencies, this move does not truly insulate you from that many longer-term risks, but adds the very real possibility of losing all your funds to fire or theft.
Regardless of where you live or your family situation, become a community with others. Even if your community consists of only two or three persons, these few people will serve as your support group and sounding board for the tactical decisions you will make when things get tough. In addition, you need at least one other person to watch your back as you will watch theirs.
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.
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.
Blame modern diets, blame our longevity, or blame the mistakes of mother nature - but the bottom line is that for most humans, dental problems are a question of "when", not "if". And when excruciating pain strikes at an inopportune time, it's really no laughing matter: in absence of adequate medical care, tooth problems have been known to push some people to the verge of suicide.
Unfortunately for preppers, the management of serious pain in an emergency situation is tricky: virtually all the potent painkillers have narcotic properties and are very illegal to buy or possess without a prescription. Fixing the underlying tooth problem can be similarly elusive: you need expert knowledge and a collection of expensive and bulky tools: high-speed drills, suction units, and so forth. In the end, the best preparedness strategy is just prevention: take good care of your mouth and stop by for a routine checkup at least once a year.
More than 160 million American adults (65.45%) are estimated to have either recently purchased survival gear or, interestingly, are already in possession of survival gear because they always keep them on hand. The remaining 85 million (34.55%) are not preparing for the end of the world as we know it. Of those who report prepping, 36.35% spent up to $400 on survival kits in the past 12 months.
No heating in the middle of a particularly nasty winter can be problematic, too - although it's mostly a matter of comfort, not survival. In most places, with robust shelter and adequate clothing, bedding, and food, it's fairly hard to freeze to death at home (but note that the cold may make some infections or medical conditions worse; you may have to worry about frozen water pipes, too). The situation can become a lot more dire if you are on foot in the middle of nowhere, so truly hardcore, wilderness-minded preppers may have something to ponder about; but hauling a sufficient amount of fuel is typically impractical to begin with, so their best bet would be warm clothing, improvised shelter, and the ability to build a fire. We'll talk about that in the section that deals with camping supplies.
Religion, however, has everything to do with survivalism—there are things about your faith that affect the way you live, Fletch says, offering me an example. “Today, a great deal [on the menu] was the special you had,” he says. “Every one of the specials had pork in it. Well, depending on your belief system and where you’re coming from, Dan, you could’ve made several decisions about me.” He’s right; I could’ve thought he assumed the breakfast was on me, so he ordered the most expensive dish on the menu. And those assumptions, he says, can break up a group. “If 99 percent of the people in your group don’t eat pork, and you bring in some person eating a ham sandwich next to you, that’s going to cause some conflict.”
Robyn Gershon, a public-health professor at N.Y.U. who specializes in disaster preparedness, concedes that, in the age of global warming, it is not so outlandish to be thinking about the apocalypse. Per the “push-pulse theory of extinction”—a theory devised to explain the mass death of the dinosaurs—any strain on an ecosystem leaves the species in it far more vulnerable to cataclysm. Today, climate change and rising sea levels put us at greater risk of being wiped out by a disastrous event, such as a pandemic or a supervolcano.
Now, there are some dangers to life and limb that we simply can't predict or prevent: the occasional falling piano, the murderous roommate, the untimely stroke. Then there are the risks we take willingly, accepting the inherent and unavoidable trade-offs of our hobbies or jobs: the possibility of being snatched by a giant squid while snorkeling off the coast of California, or the near-certainty of lung fibrosis from toiling in a sugar mine. These are the things we can't or don't want to give up - and that's perfectly fine.
The funny thing about freeze-drying is it’s kind of an exception to the rule. Removing all the water from a floret of broccoli, for example, doesn’t turn it into something new; it simply transforms it into a slightly lesser version of itself. “Once you change the physical structure of something by drying it out all the way,” Allen said, “the texture is never really the same.”
Steve Huffman, the thirty-three-year-old co-founder and C.E.O. of Reddit, which is valued at six hundred million dollars, was nearsighted until November, 2015, when he arranged to have laser eye surgery. He underwent the procedure not for the sake of convenience or appearance but, rather, for a reason he doesn’t usually talk much about: he hopes that it will improve his odds of surviving a disaster, whether natural or man-made. “If the world ends—and not even if the world ends, but if we have trouble—getting contacts or glasses is going to be a huge pain in the ass,” he told me recently. “Without them, I’m fucked.”
This award-winning series presents compelling untold stories and covers a wide array of provocative subjects. "Explorer" aired for 25 years -- the longest-running documentary series in cable TV history -- before being relaunched in 2015 after a five-year hiatus. Each monthly episode of the new "Explorer" takes a similar deep dive inside a story from the pages of a recent National Geographic magazine issue, taking viewers not only to the most remote corners of the globe but also to the furthest reaches of the mind and deepest crevices of history -- on urgent missions of discovery.
Tim Chang, a forty-four-year-old managing director at Mayfield Fund, a venture-capital firm, told me, “There’s a bunch of us in the Valley. We meet up and have these financial-hacking dinners and talk about backup plans people are doing. It runs the gamut from a lot of people stocking up on Bitcoin and cryptocurrency, to figuring out how to get second passports if they need it, to having vacation homes in other countries that could be escape havens.” He said, “I’ll be candid: I’m stockpiling now on real estate to generate passive income but also to have havens to go to.” He and his wife, who is in technology, keep a set of bags packed for themselves and their four-year-old daughter. He told me, “I kind of have this terror scenario: ‘Oh, my God, if there is a civil war or a giant earthquake that cleaves off part of California, we want to be ready.’ ”
Out of all of these foods, kidney beans are certainly the cheapest. Rice is especially affordable when you buy it in bulk from wholesale stores. Peanut butter isn’t cheap per-se, but the calorie per teaspoon value means it will last a long time, which means the upfront cost of a large jar soon balances out in a survival situation. Flour is great for experienced preppers as it has dozens of cooking uses.
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.
Now, many "true" preppers would tell you to keep mum about your plans, so that in an emergency, you don't have to fend off armies of freeloaders begging for a slice of your meager supplies - or worse yet, trying to take them by force. I think that this attitude is short-sighted; sure, it makes sense not to broadcast your plans to the entire world, and there is no conceivable benefit to posting Facebook selfies with your stash of freeze-dried food or with a pile of cash. But the clear value of convincing some of your friends to start prepping greatly outweighs the distant possibility that one of them will attempt to raid your home the moment the power goes out.
Recently, I spoke on the phone with Tyler Allen, a real-estate developer in Lake Mary, Florida, who told me that he paid three million dollars for one of Hall’s condos. Allen said he worries that America faces a future of “social conflict” and government efforts to deceive the public. He suspects that the Ebola virus was allowed to enter the country in order to weaken the population. When I asked how friends usually respond to his ideas, he said, “The natural reaction that you get most of the time is for them to laugh, because it scares them.” But, he added, “my credibility has gone through the roof. Ten years ago, this just seemed crazy that all this was going to happen: the social unrest and the cultural divide in the country, the race-baiting and the hate-mongering.” I asked how he planned to get to Kansas from Florida in a crisis. “If a dirty bomb goes off in Miami, everybody’s going to go in their house and congregate in bars, just glued to the TV. Well, you’ve got forty-eight hours to get the hell out of there.”
Because of its very high value-to-volume ratio, physical gold is stored and moved around very easily, but keeping substantial amounts at home can be ill-advised; theft is a very real risk, and most insurance policies will not adequately cover the loss. Safe deposit boxes at a local bank, available for around $20 a year, are usually a better alternative - although they come with some trade-offs; for example, the access to deposit boxes was restricted by the government during the Greek debt crisis in 2015. Non-bank storage services do not have that problem, but cost quite a bit more.
41. Storage Tanks – Water storage tanks are important and can be anything from 1 gallon jugs to 50 gallon barrels or 2000+ gallon water tanks. An important concept is to have a ‘dirty’ water tank and a ‘clean’ water tank. So if you need to collect water from a nearby pond or river, you can store it first in the dirty tank and then filter it to the clean tank.
Start your breakfast with high-quality protein powder and insoluble dietary fibers (about 20-30 grams each; you can mix them together in a cup of cold water). There is fairly clear evidence that fiber and protein can increase satiety and reduce cravings thoroughout the day. Sure, it's not "natural", but it beats making implausible resolutions to organize your life around low-calorie, fiber-rich meals - especially if you don't like veggies or don't usually cook your food.
And it's not all about dying, too: a nasty toothache or a debilitating allergy can make it very difficult to stay productive and alert. With all that in mind, my list of essential and easily available prepper medicines includes ibuprofen ($10, pain relief), cetirizine ($15, allergy management), amoxicillin ($15, broad-spectrum antibiotic), loperamide ($10, anti-diarrheal), meclizine ($7, prevents vomiting), miconazole nitrate ($10, treats fungal skin infections), bacitracin ointment ($5, bacterial skin infections), topical lidocaine ($20, anesthetic), and hydrocortisone cream ($6, anti-itch). For disinfecting your hands and cleaning wounds, benzalkonium chloride wipes ($4) can work pretty well; for burns, many people swear by hydrogel dressings ($5) or hydrogel creams ($13), too. Finally, for treating severe dehydration, try oral rehydration packs ($30).
21. Coffee – This bean is a great all-around thing to have in a doomsday scenario. It gives water a nice taste, increases energy and alertness, and will always be a great bartering item due to many who need their morning fix. Buying the whole green beans is the best option for long term storage. San Marco coffee offers a 25lb. pail with a 10 year shelf life!
No flour/wheat because you need yeast, etc? Not completely true. If you have access to clean water (or milk/yoghurt), you can make Indian flat bread or chapattis! Once you get the hang of making them – basically adding tepid water to the flour until you can make a smooth and elastic dough, then roll it out and cook in a skillet – you can make endless variations! I often dissolve a vegetable or beef bouillon cube (you should stock those too, or instant bouillon) in the water first to add more flavor to the chapattis, but you can use any herbs you like. Getting the hang of making them might seem a little trying at first, but eventually whipping them up is just a breeze! My kids love eating them right out of the pan with a little butter spread on the still hot bread, and we often eat them together with beans, etc. Here’s a handy tutorial for those interested: //indianfood.about.com/od/breadrecipes/ig/How-to-Make-Chapatis/Making-Chapatis—Step-1.htm
They are part of a burgeoning "prepper" movement that believes preparing for the end of civilization is more rational than ridiculing those who do. Once viewed largely as a practice by survivalists on the fringe, prepping has achieved cohesion and community in the Internet age through best-selling writers, bloggers, risk assessors, conspiracy theorists and companies that cater to preppers' needs.
Heat: Emergency blankets made out of a metallic Mylar material are small and handy, and can double as ground cover or tarps for shelter. We like this pack of six Mylatech XL blankets. For a great bonus option, we love this indoor heater that uses the same small propane tanks as the camping stoves. Avoid cheaper ones that aren’t safe for indoor use — two weeks after first publishing this guide, a neighboring tent in our campground caught on fire because of a cheap propane heater that tipped over while a family slept inside.
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.
In tropical areas, a survival kit may have mosquito head netting, additional insect repellent, anti-fungal cream, a machete, water purification tablets, foot powder, matches, a flint strike, a compass, a wire saw, a space blanket, medical equipment (gauze pads, elastic gauze bandage, antiseptic creams, anti-malaria tablets, anti-infection tablets, bandages, etc.), salt tablets, a fishing kit, snare wire, extra socks, a candle, a signal mirror, flares, a sewing kit, safety pins, tinder, tape, a whistle, and rations.