“If you’re using it for emergency survival, the fact is you’re going to buy it once, and hopefully you’re not going to use it,” Shields said. “But it’s there as a safety net for you and your family.” That’s what intrigued me about freeze-dried food: You can wait up to a quarter-century to use it, but in an ideal world, you wouldn’t have to eat it at all.
While home storage of water is not hugely complicated, things get a bit dicey when you have to evacuate - or if you end up being stranded away from home. If you have a car, your best bet is to put together a small emergency supplies box that, among other essentials, houses one or two 1-gallon jugs of water - and keep it in your trunk at all times. But without a car, your prospects are less cheerful: in case of a widespread disaster, your range will be severely limited, and even if you take some modest amount water with you, you will need to reach a more hospitable location within 1-2 days. A bicycle, a plan, and a good map will help. A folding cart or a an inconspicuous box of supplies kept at work may be viable choices, too.
Grains. Grains are good for making flour or meal. Wheat and corn are the most common. Bear in mind that you will need a grain mill to process these, and I recommend a good hand mill in case power is an issue. By storing whole grains instead of flour or meal you drastically increase storage life. Again you can buy these in ore-sealed buckets, or repackage bulk purchases yourself to save money. If you want to increase the shelf life even more, you can turn them into flour and then into Hardtacks.
As you read though this list, I hope you can visualize the number and variety of meals that can be made by mixing and matching the items listed in the kick-start plan. How about some rice, salsa and canned chicken cooked into a casserole in your cast iron skillet? Or pancakes topped with canned peaches and honey? Then there are pinto beans, combined with rice and corn and topped with a bit of Tabasco for a fiesta-style meal.
You can’t go wrong with instant mashed potatoes, they are a great and inexpensive addition to your food storage. I like Gaye, will use the DAK ham, it is one step up from SPAM. You can add it to a pot of bean soup or fry it up with some potatoes and onions and peppers. I look for versitile foods that are low in sodium and that serve multiple purposes.
It pays to be prepared for nasty spills or sanitation emergencies. In addition to some of the tools discussed in earlier chapters, a good starting point is a large box of 13 gallon trash bags ($10-$30), another box of thick, 42 gallon contractor bags ($30), a set of disposable vinyl gloves ($4) plus a pair of tough PVC or nitrile ones ($11), some rubbing alcohol ($6), and a bottle of regular laundry bleach ($3). Rubbing alcohol is an excellent solvent and a rapid-evaporating disinfectant; bleach is a potent, long-lasting biocide and a great odor neutralizer. Oh - as noted earlier, an absorbent sock-style barrier may be useful for containing particularly nasty spills, too.
Do some research to make sure you are not wasting your time on implausible risks. How likely is it that you would have to face this particular danger, and how much damage can it conceivably cause? For example, do you live in a 100-year flood zone? In the path of tropical storms? In a high-crime neighborhood? Be sure to search around and study publicly available resources; reaching out to local emergency response organizations can be a good plan, too. Try to focus on reputable sources; the science in doomsday movies and on conspiracy websites seldom checks out.
The preparation you make for a hurricane, earthquake or other short-term disaster will not keep you alive in the event of widespread social collapse caused by pandemic, failure of the grid or other long-term crises. Government pamphlets and other prepping books tell you how to hold out through an emergency until services are restored. This book teaches you how to survive when nothing returns to normal for weeks, months or even years, including:
Three hours after I arrived, Andrew: senses it’s time to wrap up, but not before breaking into one last story about the Bigfoot footprints he keeps in the back of his car. The prints were collected in Arkansas in 1956, he says, and they belong to an adult male, a juvenile female and an adult female. He says he himself came from the “drug scene hillbillies” and that his ancestors had six digits.
Shotguns. Long, heavy, large-bore weapons with tremendous stopping power, variously firing one large metal slug or a swarm of high-energy pellets; less-lethal rubber batons are also sometimes used for crowd or animal control. Aimed as easily as rifles, but because of the less ergonomic shapes of projectiles and their lower velocities, the effective range of a shotgun doesn't extend far beyond 100-200 yards. In places such as Australia or the UK, buying a shotgun is subject to fewer restrictions than other types of firearms.
These are not your typical 5 gallon buckets from the Home Depot. Food grade buckets are made of a different type of plastic to prevent leaching. They cost a little more than your typical buckets, but are worth it for the added safety and flavor of your food. Food storage buckets should be made with high density polyethylene without BPAs, and be manufactured to meet NMFC, FDA, and UFC requirements. A bucket could have the triangle on the bottom with the number two and the HDPE mark, but not be food grade. This could be due to the construction method, not being able to provide a secure seal, made of reused materials, or even reused themselves after chemicals or paint. HDPE buckets are still porous, and can absorb chemicals stored in it. Make sure that you purchase from a reliable source so you don’t get duped. If you do decide to get used buckets, make sure they have only been used to store food and be prepared to clean them thoroughly.
Thrive Life Foods. This is my favorite of the freeze dried foods for one simple reason- They sell ingredients, not dishes. With this brand, you can stock up on nimber ten cans of ingredients that you use in favorite dishes. You are not constrained and can prepare the meals that your family is used too eating, cooked from your standard recipes. Unopened cans have at least a 25 year shelf life, and some items are available in 5 gallon buckets. Thrive Life foods can be found online.
Craig Compeau is a third-generation Alaskan who is prepping for a government takeover. Craig has set up a remote bugout InterShelter in the Alaskan wilderness. We also meet 44-year-old adventurer David Lakota who depends on his intuition and connection to nature to survive a giant tsunami and the mountainous terrain of Hawaii. During the program David and his girlfriend Rachaelle bug out with minimal supplies from the Kalalau Valley on Kaua'i to the 4000' high plateaus above.
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.
Here's my advice: keep the bulk of your savings in cash, stocks, and other assets you can easily liquidate or put to use today; even if you genuinely worry about the apocalypse, plan to spend no more than 2-4% of your money on essential prepper supplies. Sure, when the zombies come, your financial instruments will almost certainly become worthless; but you better believe that the value of your survival gear will increase 100-fold. Zombies or not, your net worth will be safe. Your delicious, tasty brains - well, that's something to worry about!
But unless someone starts asking me personal questions, I simply ignore everyone at the store and don’t ask them if they are prepping…I already know the answer. People will know, and there’s not a lot you can do about it. If asked, I simply say, I’ve been reading about emergencies happening with greater frequency around the globe and say that “I’m not going to get caught without at least some food and water” when it happens here. They don’t need to know I’m prepping for a month-long, six-month-long, or year-long, or multi-year-long event. We don’t keep all our food in our pantry and I’ve told my relations that what we have (be it beans or bullets) is no one else’s business–so keep your yap shut
What you are going to get is a list of 20 items that can easily be purchased at your local grocery store, warehouse club and surprisingly, even online at Amazon. They can be purchased in one shot, all at once, or you can pick up one item from the list each week over a period of twenty weeks. The choice is yours. All I ask is that you consider getting each of the items on the list and that you also consider getting started sooner rather than later. I promise you that this will be easy.
For an hour and 50 minutes, we talk a lot about liberty. The world according to Fletch hinges on the rhetorical question, “Is this going to give me more liberty, or less liberty?” He also assures me that his survivalist group isn’t just white guys running around in the woods with guns. “In my sphere of influence, there are Asians, there are blacks, Native Americans; a person’s race has absolutely nothing to do with anything,” Fletch says.
Also in 2011, Finelli started running the Get Prepared Expo series at the Ozark Empire Fairgrounds, bringing in hundreds of exhibitors and more than 70 preparedness seminars. Before doors opened, he’d host a get-together at Ziggie’s Cafe on North Glenstone, which he soon moved to Jimmy’s Egg on East Battlefield to accommodate the crowd. At Jimmy’s Egg, Finelli found another platform from which to preach preparedness. He started drawing a crowd—more than 330 on expo weekends—so Finelli made Jimmy’s Egg a weekly affair. On Monday nights, his radio instructors showed up or Skype’d in to mold the minds of 50 to 100 students. The meetups—a name borrowed from Ron Paul’s 2012 community get-togethers—were also social events, although Finelli kept the BS to a minimum.
See our review of over 70 of the top portable survival water filters for bug out bags. Because even though water is critical, at more than 8 pounds per gallon, it’s not practical to carry enough to last more than a day — which means you need to be able to make safe water from whatever you can. We break down the best picks (only $25!) and how to use a mix of filters, purification tablets, soft canteens, and hard bottles with filters in your kits.
At the time, Americans were marvelling at engineering advances—attendees at the 1893 World’s Fair, in Chicago, beheld new uses for electric light—but were also protesting low wages, poor working conditions, and corporate greed. “It was very much like today,” White said. “It was a sense that the political system had spun out of control, and was no longer able to deal with society. There was a huge inequity in wealth, a stirring of working classes. Life spans were getting shorter. There was a feeling that America’s advance had stopped, and the whole thing was going to break.”
Communication: Our preferred portable radio is the BeoFeng BF-F8HP 8-watt two-way radio. You don’t need a Ham license to listen to local emergency services and broadcast when SHTF — see our beginners guide to amateur radio. We like this signal mirror instead of the cheap acrylic ones that scratch and fade quickly. Also, try these tiny whistles and signal flare kit.
Either way, when done with the list, be sure to re-read the response plans you drafted earlier on and cross-reference them with this spreadsheet. Iterate until you're happy with both, then print out the docs and place them somewhere intuitive. In a stressful situation, you will be able to quickly review the printouts to confirm that you are not missing anything.
Hall, in his late fifties, is barrel-chested and talkative. He studied business and computers at the Florida Institute of Technology and went on to specialize in networks and data centers for Northrop Grumman, Harris Corporation, and other defense contractors. He now goes back and forth between the Kansas silo and a home in the Denver suburbs, where his wife, a paralegal, lives with their twelve-year-old son.
Oil of oregano. This is my favorite pick for a medicinal herb. This stuff has amazing immune system benefits and antibiotic properties. We use it constantly in my house to wipe out colds and flues, it does the job every time! Capsules are the most convenient form, although you can purchase the oil and add it to beverages (Don’t expect it to taste good!)
Monitor what your family eats for a week and use that as a guideline for getting started. The advantage of doing this is you will learn what your family likes so that you can shop accordingly. You would be surprised at how many people can’t remember what they ate yesterday let alone a week ago. Try to write everything down so that you don’t have to rely upon your memory.
Basically I would think in terms of mixed contents for five gallon buckets. I always use Food Grade buckets only combined with good Mylar bags and oxygen absorbing packs. By mixed contents I mean bags of rice (white) beans various types along with pasta products etc. this way you do not expose five gallons of rice or beans all at once. This extends the overall life of your food supplies.
I still hand wash clothes and hang them out to dry..yes, I do have a washer and dryer, but sometimes I just like sun dry clothes. You can set up a clothes line between two trees, in less of an hour. At the lake, we dry clothes over pallets. By the way, speaking of pallets…they are free and you can use them to start up a fire pit or fire place. Get you some. Pallets are good for LOTS of things. Keep that in mind.
One of the biggest obstacles for new preppers is building a stockpile of food and supplies in case of emergencies. Having enough money to reach a critical mass for the stockpile can take years, causing frustration and burnout. To combat this problem, a lot of preppers turn to couponing, and rightly so. However, a lot of preppers also remain skeptical of couponing.
There are those who are born into familial wealth or who display supernatural business acumen. Then there is the rest of us, perhaps having robust and satisfying careers, but ultimately tiptoeing the line between middle-class prosperity and crushing poverty. It may be a matter of our employer going out of business, it may be a shift in the job market, an illness, or a legal dispute - but in all likelihood, it would not take much to send us over the edge. I have friends who lived paycheck-to-paycheck on cozy Silicon Valley salaries of $100k+ a year, only to lose their cars and homes in the midst of the 2007 financial crisis - having found out the hard way that unemployment benefits in the San Francisco Bay Area max out at $450 a week.
If the group became indifferent to Finelli’s leadership prior to his ouster, he became just as frustrated with their complacency. Preppers began ignoring his strict no cell phone rule. Few took concrete steps to be more prepared over the years, he says. He’d set out to develop independent thinkers, not apathetic disciples. “I mentioned to the group that at some point, Vinny may not be available,” Finelli says. “So be prepared at a moment’s notice.” That’s why he feels like he failed: He left the preppers unprepared.
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Yishan Wong, an early Facebook employee, was the C.E.O. of Reddit from 2012 to 2014. He, too, had eye surgery for survival purposes, eliminating his dependence, as he put it, “on a nonsustainable external aid for perfect vision.” In an e-mail, Wong told me, “Most people just assume improbable events don’t happen, but technical people tend to view risk very mathematically.” He continued, “The tech preppers do not necessarily think a collapse is likely. They consider it a remote event, but one with a very severe downside, so, given how much money they have, spending a fraction of their net worth to hedge against this . . . is a logical thing to do.”
I find surplus ammo cans to be a good storage container with a little work. The large 81mm mortar cans are even capable of holding firearms (Broken down). Most of the cans I get might need some TLC, but making sure the gasket is still intact and usable is a must. I bead blast them to remove any outside and inside rust or corrosion, then repaint them using appliance epoxy (much harder to chip and peel than regular enamel paint).I use several coats (minimum of 3). Depending upon the intended use, I will line the can with 1/2″ closed cell foam. Using a metal can for a Faraday requires some additional work. The top has to be integral to the body. That requires copper tape over the gasket and a ground wire between the can body and lid. I have one can filled with dried rice and beans, that’s been in the ground for 6 years now. I dig it up once a year to check it and it remains bug free and intact still. Metal has one big advantage over the plastic as it is rodent proof. Some very good tips and advice in this column.
As public institutions deteriorate, élite anxiety has emerged as a gauge of our national predicament. “Why do people who are envied for being so powerful appear to be so afraid?” Johnson asked. “What does that really tell us about our system?” He added, “It’s a very odd thing. You’re basically seeing that the people who’ve been the best at reading the tea leaves—the ones with the most resources, because that’s how they made their money—are now the ones most preparing to pull the rip cord and jump out of the plane.”
As you will undoubtedly notice, much of the content in this section has little to do with hardcore prepping; some of the chapters touch on seemingly banal topics, such as financial planning, community building, or the prevention of burglaries and car wrecks. You have heard most of this advice before - but if you are serious about dealing with adversities and shielding yourself and your family from harm, you need to internalize these rules, understand where they are coming from, and actually live by them every day.
Historically, our fascination with the End has flourished at moments of political insecurity and rapid technological change. “In the late nineteenth century, there were all sorts of utopian novels, and each was coupled with a dystopian novel,” Richard White, a historian at Stanford University, told me. Edward Bellamy’s “Looking Backward,” published in 1888, depicted a socialist paradise in the year 2000, and became a sensation, inspiring “Bellamy Clubs” around the country. Conversely, Jack London, in 1908, published “The Iron Heel,” imagining an America under a fascist oligarchy in which “nine-tenths of one per cent” hold “seventy per cent of the total wealth.”
On a cool evening in early November, I rented a car in Wichita, Kansas, and drove north from the city through slanting sunlight, across the suburbs and out beyond the last shopping center, where the horizon settles into farmland. After a couple of hours, just before the town of Concordia, I headed west, down a dirt track flanked by corn and soybean fields, winding through darkness until my lights settled on a large steel gate. A guard, dressed in camouflage, held a semiautomatic rifle.
Dry survival rations. Sold under several brands, including Datrex, ER Bar, S.O.S., Grizzly, and more. Biscuit-like, less sugary and with a more agreeable taste than energy bars - somewhat reminiscent of shortbread. In my book, S.O.S. and Datrex taste best. Very inexpensive (~550 kcal per dollar) and should last 5-10 years when stored in a cool place. A tolerable choice for short- to medium-term nutrition in an emergency. Easy to pack, giving you ~2,200 kcal per pound.
Oh, one more thing: when trying to reform your fiscal habits, it can be useful to think of money as a unit of debt owed to you by the society, awarded in exchange for your hard work (or as a consequence of some other fortuitous event). Despite the popular saying, when allocated wisely, that money can buy you safety, comfort, influence, or true friendship and happiness. It would be foolish to squander it on trinkets - just as it would be foolish to take it with you to the grave. My advice is simple: make every transaction count.
“Next thing I see is, they hanged the colored boy, ’cause they caught him stealing. And they had established, I think, about 1,000 trees in the forest out in Mark Twain to hang people from if they catch them stealing or whatever. And I had a big dog—my dog died of bone cancer of all things two years ago. Buddy was half-Rottweiler, half-German shepherd. He was a dog, and he was with me in this. And I also have a police riot gun, a 12-gauge, that holds eight magnum shells. So I’m seeing all this stuff happening, and then I look around, and my dog’s gone. So I picked up my shotgun and went to look for my dog, and I found five men, and they were already skinning him to eat.”
But in 1961 John F. Kennedy encouraged “every citizen” to help build fallout shelters, saying, in a televised address, “I know you would not want to do less.” In 1976, tapping into fear of inflation and the Arab oil embargo, a far-right publisher named Kurt Saxon launched The Survivor, an influential newsletter that celebrated forgotten pioneer skills. (Saxon claimed to have coined the term “survivalist.”) The growing literature on decline and self-protection included “How to Prosper During the Coming Bad Years,” a 1979 best-seller, which advised collecting gold in the form of South African Krugerrands. The “doom boom,” as it became known, expanded under Ronald Reagan. The sociologist Richard G. Mitchell, Jr., a professor emeritus at Oregon State University, who spent twelve years studying survivalism, said, “During the Reagan era, we heard, for the first time in my life, and I’m seventy-four years old, from the highest authorities in the land that government has failed you, the collective institutional ways of solving problems and understanding society are no good. People said, ‘O.K., it’s flawed. What do I do now?’ ”
Forums and Facebook groups are littered with the same fundamental questions asked over and over again, but they often give incomplete, conflicting, or even dangerous answers. Then we’d read a blog where the author did some quick googling and cranked out a post just to get some traffic. Or we’d have to dig through crazy propaganda and extreme political opinions in the hopes of finding good advice. It drove us mad — we just wanted the facts and straightforward answers!
I set to work. My plan was to keep the fringe thinking to a minimum and just provide basic entry-level survival information: ways to purify and store water, what foods worked well for stockpiling, signaling and first aid techniques, methods of cooking without electricity, and so forth. I had no particular survival expertise, but I could regurgitate reliable reference materials as well as anyone else.
Élite anxiety cuts across political lines. Even financiers who supported Trump for President, hoping that he would cut taxes and regulations, have been unnerved at the ways his insurgent campaign seems to have hastened a collapse of respect for established institutions. Dugger said, “The media is under attack now. They wonder, Is the court system next? Do we go from ‘fake news’ to ‘fake evidence’? For people whose existence depends on enforceable contracts, this is life or death.”
I would like to add something, not necessarily to the list, but more like “food for thought” ideas that could very well save you and your family’s life. Living in the South, you “will almost” grow up around some natural disasters, whether it be a hurricane or tornado, most of us here take “prepping” very serious..and we learn a lot from those disasters also (I.e. Hurricane Katrina). I grew up around great-grandparents, grandparents, parents, other relatives and friends, who have a garden, almost for the entire year. Learning to can and freeze food was as natural as brushing your teeth! During the summer, when school is out, we shelled peas, shuck corn(yeah say that fast!), canned beans and tomatoes, picked berries, smashed berries, and, on occasion, churned butter! I wish I had a dollar for every pea I shelled! I be richer than Midas! Knowing these “techniques” can make a huge difference in feeding your family for several months without electricity. There have been lots of times when we would get lunch or diner straight out of the garden, washed and prepped, cooked, and on the plate in a couple of hours. No storage. No refrigeration! Scraps of food went into the garden or compost. And you can cook this stuff straight over an open fire. Two words…”cast iron”…it is a very good investment…it is great to use anywhere…open fire or stove! You don’t have to wash cast iron(I know it does sound gross, but believe it or not, that is the “beauty” of cast iron)..you wipe it out and keep it seasoned. You can cook anything in cast iron, from biscuits…to a cake! People with cast iron can cook almost forever! I would view it as essential. Enough about the garden.
Use mylar bags when storing bulk items. After about four years the pinto beans started growing mold. It was hard to get the stink out of the bucket even after using bleach. I didn’t have a mold problem with my black beans or other food just the pinto beans. I trashed them and bought more storing them in the same bucket. After two years they became moldy again. I now use one-gallon mylar bags to help:
You can store all sorts of foods in a food grade bucket. Buckets also double as great survival kit items for random uses. Be aware if you use you food grade bucket to hold chemical or anything that could hurt the integrity of the bucket, that you shouldn’t reuse it for food again. While you can probably find good options locally for cheaper, food grade buckets are available online:
In arctic or alpine areas, survival kits may have additional cold weather clothing (winter hats and gloves), sleeping bags, chemical "hand warmer" packets, sun glasses/snow goggles, snowshoes, a collapsible shovel, a snare wire for small animals, a frying pan, a camp stove, camp stove fuel, a space blanket, matches, a whistle, a compass, tinder, medical equipment, a flint strike, a wire saw, extra socks and a tent designed for arctic use.