Few people get beyond storing the four basic items, but it is extremely important that you do so. Never put all your eggs in one basket. Store dehydrated and/or freeze-dried foods as well as home canned and store-bought canned goods. Make sure you add cooking oil, shortening, baking powder, soda, yeast and powdered eggs. You can’t cook even the most basic recipes without these items. Because of limited space I won’t list all the items that should be included in a well-balanced storage program. They are all included in the The New Cookin’ With Home Storage cookbook, as well as information on how much to store, and where to purchase it.
Popular at this particular show were bug-out bags, the vendors tell me, because the casual interloper can purchase a lot of peace of mind all at once. For $449, Lenexa, Kansas retailer Game Plan Experts sells a bag with waterproof matches, a flint fire-starter, energy bars, utensils, a camp stove, water pouches and filtration, a first-aid kit, masks, a survival whistle, a pry bar, a folding shovel, an emergency blanket, toilet paper, a toothbrush, a hand-crank radio, survival candles and more. For the über paranoid, they’ll find a discreet contractor in your area to dig a hole in your yard and install a doomsday bunker.
It is critical that you be able to control your environment in an emergency. The place to start is your home. If you live in an area where it gets very cold in the winter (as in you HAVE to run a heater to survive) then the most critical thing for you is going to be able to heat your home – or rather a section (at least one bedroom) of it. You’ll want to have a kerosene heater to keep a warm spot in your home. Here’s a good place to start learning about heating your home in an emergency.
For personnel who are flying over large bodies of water, in additional to wearing a survival suit over cold water, a survival kit may have additional items such as flotation vests, sea anchor, fishing nets, fishing equipment, fluorescent sea marking dye, pyrotechnical signals, a survival radio and/or radio-beacon, formerly a distress marker light replaced by a flashing strobe, formerly a seawater still or chemical desalinator kit now replaced by a hand pumped reverse osmosis desalinator (MROD) for desalinating seawater, a raft repair kit, a paddle, a bailer and sponge, sunscreen, medical equipment, a whistle, a compass, and a sun shade hat.
Kevin lives in eastern Washington and is prepping his family for a volcanic eruption using multiple bug-out vehicles. We also meet Captain Bill Simpson, who has built a bunker sailboat, made mostly of iron so that he could retreat out to sea in case of a massive solar flare which could send an energy wave, in the form of an Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) which could damage today's technology.
Tools may include cutting tools such as saws, axes and hatchets; mechanical advantage aids such as a pry bar or wrecking bar, ropes, pulleys, or a 'come-a-long" hand-operated winch; construction tools such as pliers, chisels, a hammer, screwdrivers, a hand-operated twist drill, vise grip pliers, glue, nails, nuts, bolts, and screws; mechanical repair tools such as an arc welder, an oxy-acetylene torch, a propane torch with a spark lighter, a solder iron and flux, wrench set, a nut driver, a tap and die set, a socket set, and a fire extinguisher. As well, some survivalists bring barterable items such as fishing line, liquid soap, insect repellent, light bulbs, can openers, extra fuels, motor oil, and ammunition.
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
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.
But you don't generally thread it throughout the entire guide. In the case of the 2012 guide, for example, I was eventually asked to explain the Nibiru cataclysm theory but to avoid addressing it until the last chapter. That's because when the world didn't end in 2012—and at least part of Dimitri knew it wouldn't—you'd be able to easily take out the section on Nibiru theory and insert a new chapter about whatever the hot new doomsday theory is, which these days appears to be the threat of an electromagnetic pulse.
Time and time again I’ve seen families buy all of their wheat, then buy all of another item, and so on. Don’t do that. It’s important to keep well-balanced as you build your storage. Buy several items, rather than a large quantity of one item. If something happens and you have to live on your present storage, you’ll fare much better having a one-month supply of a variety of items than a year’s supply of two to three items.
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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.
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.
You’ll obviously need to tailor your survival kit to the number of people who will depend upon it. If you are going out for a solo camping trip, you won’t need as many supplies as if you are heading out with an 8-person team. The number of people depending on the kit won’t affect some of the items in the kit, but it will affect others. For example, you’ll only need one fire starter, no matter how many people are in your party. By contrast, you’ll obviously need to adjust how many space blankets are included with the kit, depending on the size of the group.
Whether you like it or not, you may eventually have to defend yourself, so be sure to understand the law. You shouldn't take such advice from random people on the Internet, but as far as I can tell, in much of the US and in many other western countries, you have no duty to run away from an attacker and can use deadly force if you have a reasonable and immediate reason to fear for your life or the lives of others. But there are exceptions; for example, despite recent reforms, a duty to retreat exists in some form in several northeastern states and in some corners of the Midwest. There are also differences in how seemingly similar self-defense statutes get interpreted by the police, by prosecutors, and by courts in different parts of the world.
Fear of disaster is healthy if it spurs action to prevent it. But élite survivalism is not a step toward prevention; it is an act of withdrawal. Philanthropy in America is still three times as large, as a share of G.D.P., as philanthropy in the next closest country, the United Kingdom. But it is now accompanied by a gesture of surrender, a quiet disinvestment by some of America’s most successful and powerful people. Faced with evidence of frailty in the American project, in the institutions and norms from which they have benefitted, some are permitting themselves to imagine failure. It is a gilded despair.
Legacy Foods 120 Serving Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner Bucket is a great option for vegetarians or people who want more of a bland foundation that you mix with other ingredients. For $299, one bucket covers two people for two weeks at 1,500 calories per day. Although other companies drop the calories to cut costs, Legacy assumed you would add more ingredients to their base, so we thought the relatively low calories per day was acceptable.
Once you’ve considered what you’re at risk for, we’re going to shelve that information for a bit. The federal government provides some good starting points for considering how to protect yourself (you’ll want to do a lot of research later about how to be safe and survive that scenario). We’re going to move on to a personal assessment of what you currently have.
As mentioned earlier, water outages can create an unpleasant problem with the disposal of human waste. While a bucket with a trash bag can be used as an impromptu toilet, to keep the conditions sanitary, some form of waste treatment is a must. A cheap option is pouring a layer of clumping (bentonite-based) kitty litter over it after every use; other budget solutions include cement and lime. More expensive choices are gelling agents and RV waste digestants.
165. Toilet Paper – If stores close down, toliet paper will skyrocket in demand, store up on some now. Get those commercial rolls, with 1000 sheets. A simple way to gauge your needs for 1 year, is to mark how many rolls do you go through in a week. Then multiply this number by 52. If you use 2 rolls per week in your household, then you will need 104 rolls. Remember this will always be a great bartering item.
For now, he broadcasts Monday through Friday, 9 to 11 a.m., and Finelli invites “instructors”—doctors, dentists, survivalists, a man who carries no identification, an Australian woman who talks about seceding from the government—anyone who has something relevant to preparedness. To Finelli, there’s little that isn’t relevant. He doesn’t sell merchandise or accept donations, as fellow GCN hosts such as Jones do.
I have a Kindle loaded up with a bunch of K12 text books for just that reason, and with my solar panels and battery packs I’ll be able to keep it running for years assuming it doesn’t get smashed. And it’s a lot lighter than a bookcase full of books if I have to bug out. 😉 Right now I have over 1000 books loaded on that Kindle, everything from cookbooks to prepping to classic fiction to school books and lots in between. Almost all of them are freebies…gotta love the free book come-ons that happen from time to time to boost a book’s stats. I’m shameless about grabbing them when they’re free….
Another complication is that even if you make the right call, many governments impose onerous reporting requirements on foreign assets - and especially in times of economic hardship, they treat them with suspicion and contempt. Host countries are also more cavalier about confiscating foreign deposits, as evidenced by the Cypriot "bail-ins" in 2013. Lastly, the public associates overseas accounts with tax evasion and money laundering, so it may be difficult to garner any sympathy for your case when things go wrong.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the likelihood of someone spending money on survival gear appears to increase with household income. Of those with a household income of up to $25,000 a year, an estimated 2 in 5 (40.43%) won’t spend any money on survival gear. In comparison, only 1 in 4 (24.59%) people with a household income of $100,000 to $150,000 didn’t spend any money on survival gear.
Even with adequate shelter and with limited physical activity, losing access to water means certain death after a couple of truly rotten days. Thankfully, in the developed world, this is a very uncommon fate: emergencies that leave communities without potable water are not rare, but when they happen, the government practically trips over itself to immediately restore service or to get water trucks on the road.
Ask a hardcore prepper for advice on this matter, and they will probably tell you to start practicing hand-to-hand combat, get a knife, or carry a gun. But in reality, we need a more nuanced and proportional approach to threats, and one that emphasizes avoidance and de-escalation, rather than the ability to resolve each and every conflict with a single well-placed shot. Sure, a self-defense weapon can save your butt in some life-or-death situations, but these are comparatively rare; such a tool won't deter a pickpocketer, won't stop a burglar from ransacking your place while you are at work, and won't prevent a hacker from emptying your bank account while you're busy watching the reruns of Gilmore Girls.
One measure of survivalism’s spread is that some people are starting to speak out against it. Max Levchin, a founder of PayPal and of Affirm, a lending startup, told me, “It’s one of the few things about Silicon Valley that I actively dislike—the sense that we are superior giants who move the needle and, even if it’s our own failure, must be spared.”
Doug Huffman is prepared, teaching techniques for surviving a second depression based upon America's massive debts.; Dianne and Greg Rogers, dedicated parents in Canada, are concerned with future events affecting their home-life; Ed and Dianna Peden ("still living in the 60's"), of Topeka, Kansas are preparing to survive fully underground in their decommissioned Atlas missile silo when doomsday arrives.
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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.
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.
Groceries. Try to shop at less expensive grocery stores and try out lower-shelf brands - especially when it comes to commodities such as cooking oil, paper towels, milk, seltzer water, flour, sugar, or salt. Table salt tastes and works the same, whether you paid $1 at Walmart or $15 for a Sherpa-approved Himalayan variety at Whole Foods. Groceries eat up a good chunk of our monthly budgets, so even seemingly inconsequential savings tend to add up very fast.
30. Paper goods, plates, cups, utensils – In addition to the above, having a nice stock of paper plates, cups, and utensils will be extra convenient. Next time you see a super sale on these items at Costco’s or Sam’s try to shoot for a 1 month supply. These can always be used in a short-term crisis, as well as for the first month in a long term to eliminate washing while other critical things needs to be done.
I believe that the only real weakness in this article is the insistence that needing to add a lot of water is a downside to a particular food. Water is life. If you do not have an essentially unlimited supply of water, you will die when it runs out, and food is entirely irrelevant. If there isn’t an essentially unlimited supply on your property (well, stream, lake, etc), nor a nearby supply you can lug to your property, then you need to abandon your place and go somewhere that has water.
Though its light weight and long shelf life are ideal for navigating harsh conditions, freeze-dried food is probably most famous as a cultural curiosity: Like many Americans, I discovered it in a museum gift shop, gawking at the styrofoam-like ice cream that astronauts used to have for dessert. More recently, I encountered it at a disaster preparedness convention in Raleigh, North Carolina, where smiling, gray-haired preppers manned tables piled with plastic bags full of vegetables, meats, and stews.
When most people start thinking about family preparedness, they focus on food. Not shelter, gear, sanitation, power, self-defense or the myriad of other concerns that need to be addressed following an emergency or disaster situation. Quite simply, food is the number one concern people have second only to their concern for having an adequate supply of water.
Ugh, what a bummer! Your $250,000 underground compound was ready and rarin’ to go, a nuclear bomb was detonated and caused an EMP just like you said it would, but you didn’t get to say “I told you so,” because you died along with all of the idiotic unprepared. Just bad luck you weren’t near your EMP-safe bunker when this happened. You’re there 22 hours of the day, what are the odds? Hey world, I’d like a mulligan please!
Awesome article. Really useful tool for assessing where I am in the process. And planning the next step. Once again, Gaye, you give us the important information without the fear. Some walk away from the fear and don’t get started. Some, such as me, rush headlong into the fear and then have a panic attack. So the fear is not productive. I appreciate your style.
Fletch runs the YouTube channel OzarksTactical Homesteading, the description of which reads, “Liberty-minded, faith-based, pro-Second Amendment, pro–home school.” He posts videos on prepping and reviews tactical gear from his property somewhere in northwest Arkansas. Occasionally, Fletch records rants in the car. The mainstream media and Walmart door greeters—the “door gestapo”—are recent targets of his iPhone manifesto. He’s gained more than 5,000 subscribers since launching the channel in 2011.
There is also a more utilitarian way of looking at it. From an individualistic, survival-focused point of view, the social costs (real or imagined) are basically moot: if you live in a place where guns are readily available to criminals, it's hard to think of a violent confrontation where not owning a firearm would put you at an advantage. There is a body of fairly compelling research showing that defensive gun uses happen in the US at a rate of somewhere between 500,000 and 1,500,000 times a year, with almost all confrontations resolved without firing a single shot. The inherent dangers of owning a firearm are often overstated by gun control advocates, too: unintentional injury or death due to having a gun at home is surprisingly rare.
Before I headed back to Wichita, we stopped at Hall’s latest project—a second underground complex, in a silo twenty-five miles away. As we pulled up, a crane loomed overhead, hoisting debris from deep below the surface. The complex will contain three times the living space of the original, in part because the garage will be moved to a separate structure. Among other additions, it will have a bowling alley and L.E.D. windows as large as French doors, to create a feeling of openness.
This obviously means you’ll have to balance your use of redundant items with your carrying capacity. However, you can address both of these competing forces by trying to bring along items that serve multiple purposes. This way, you aren’t really bringing items that are duplicates of each other, but you still benefit from having some backup options. For example, duct tape is often included to repair clothing or camping gear, but you can also use it as a band-aid in a pinch. Safety pins are another good multi-purpose supply, as they can be used for clothing repairs, bent into fishhooks or used to sew up a wound if need be.