ARE YOU PREPARED? The end of the world didn’t come for Judgement Day followers who expected the rapture in May 2011. But who are these people who continuously fear the end of the world and obsessively prepare themselves and their loved ones for the worst? Meet "preppers" including one man who built an underground bunker where he and his family can retreat during a nuclear attack.
We stopped in a condo. Nine-foot ceilings, Wolf range, gas fireplace. “This guy wanted to have a fireplace from his home state”—Connecticut—“so he shipped me the granite,” Hall said. Another owner, with a home in Bermuda, ordered the walls of his bunker-condo painted in island pastels—orange, green, yellow—but, in close quarters, he found it oppressive. His decorator had to come fix it.
Military MREs. I don't find them particularly tasty, but they are popular among preppers. A bit on the heavy side (usually around 1,100 kcal per pound). Portable warm food with a ton of different menus available - although for the best price, you usually need to buy a variety box and can't cherry-pick. Moderately expensive (~150 kcal per dollar). Shelf life around 5-7 years, depending on the manufacturer and on storage conditions. A good source is TheEpicenter.com.
For powering more serious electrical equipment, a generator is a popular choice for people living in the backwoods. That said, this option comes with an interesting trade-off: if you were ever to face a contingency that may last for a longer while, it may be more important to conserve fuel for driving, cooking, or heating, than to use it for keeping the lights on. A fully-fledged solar installation helps you avoid such dilemmas, but costs an arm and a leg. A possible compromise is a jury-rigged solar setup done at a smaller scale: if you hook up 100W panel ($160) to a deep-cycle lead-acid battery ($60) and a low-cost inverter ($30), you gain the ability to recharge laptops and phones, or even power several desk lamps, a decent-size fan, or a small refrigerator. The whole contraption costs around $250 and is easy to stow away if you're not very short on space.
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.
I rotate my storage a lot and used it last year when my husband was laid off. What I found is that I prefer smaller cans because I usually don’t need larger sizes. We have three kids left at home at this point. We still only cook for 5 people, one meal at a time and if you are in a situation where you don’t have refrigeration you may not want to have to store the large can leftovers.
Great article! It is so helpful to read about the basics again and again. IMHO, the most important guiding point in the article is to prep what you will actually eat. This week my husband cooked DAK ham in a skillet with potatoes and melted cheese. It was just okay. I’m not crazy about the ham and am choosing not to prep it. Proteins have been the most difficult for me. So far, proteins I am SURE I will eat are all kinds of dried and canned beans, shelf-stable tofu (Mori-Nu), and Campbell’s Roadhouse Chili. This chili tastes a lot better than Hormel and tastes great over rice. The Mori-Nu tofu can be heated in a minute in the same pot with a pack or 2 of ramen noodles. I don’t use the seasining pouches b/c of MSG so I add a little soy sauce and dried ginger to the noodle-cooking water. Dehydrated scallions would be good addition but I have not tried dehydrated food yet. Although I do not like canned salmon or regular salmon pouches, I found pouches of grilled salmon and smoked salmon which I’m going to force myself to try this week.
Brent prepares his children and grandchildren because he fears an Electromagnetic Pulse, caused by a nuclear detonation will cripple the national power lines, possibly forever. Instead of bunkers, he has built a medieval castle and teaching his children and grandchildren new tactics of defense and survival. This was spun off into its own series, Doomsday Castle. Meanwhile, in Bear Grass, North Carolina, Derek Price also fears an EMP. He is using his privately owned amusement park, called Deadwood, so that he, his friends and family can survive.
Only buy preps that you use on a regular basis. I have heard of people throwing away their old out-dated food storage because they can’t give it away to the food bank since it has expired. There is a psychological factor if it looks old and not as appetizing as the new stuff then most of us won’t eat it. I have a friend that was diagnosed with a terminal illness. After the diagnosis, she was very particular about what she would put in her body. All expired foods were given away and who can blame her. Rotating your short-term food storage and not buying extras of the things you don’t eat regularly can keep you from wasting money.
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.
Effective preparedness can be simple, but it has to be rooted in an honest and systematic review of the risks you are likely to face. Plenty of excited newcomers begin by shopping for ballistic vests and night vision goggles; they would be better served by grabbing a fire extinguisher, some bottled water, and then putting the rest of their money in a rainy-day fund.
Do you need to secure any supplies or make other arrangements to prepare for this scenario? If you need to stockpile items, do you have enough room? How long would these supplies last in an emergency, and how often would you need to replace them in storage? Are there any additional steps that you want to take to be in a better place a month, a year, or five years from now? Make a detailed list and tally the costs.
Weather-appropriate clothing. A well-maintained stash of warm clothes, including waterproof ponchos and rain boots. In a pinch, you can also use metallized Mylar blankets ($0.80 a piece): tie them with some tape to make improvised rainproof, windproof, or thermally insulating clothing and hats, shoe liners, and more. The blankets cost very little and take up virtually no room, so I strongly suggest keeping some in your car. If you're stranded in an inhospitable place, they could save your life.
I have a .30-.30 Win. lever action disguised as a Floor lamp with a shade. The shade is glued to a long dowel small enough to go down the barrell. The Butt Stock shoves and fits tight into a weighted block of wood like a christmas tree stand; and its loaded with one up the spout. Just pull out the shade and rod; stand on the base push gun away from yourself and pull up. Only 2 movements in the ready if you don’t count cocking the Hammer. It won’t fire unless you compress the Lever mechanism. Its already cocked anyway.
Bob Kay, a nutritional scientist in Southern California, is prepping for environmental destruction due to massive earthquakes; politician Joshua Wander is preparing for a terrorist attack, teaching others about prepping and stocking up kosher foods (matzos and mre's); Ryan Croft is prepping for a global financial crisis by cultivating alternative food sources like spirulina and earthworms.
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.
The very curious consequence of fractional-reserve banking was that it pulled new money out of thin air. The funds were simultaneously accounted for in the statements shown to the depositor, evidently available for withdrawal or transfer at any time; and given to third-party borrowers, who could spend them on just about anything. Heck, the borrowers could deposit the proceeds in another bank, creating even more money along the way! Whatever they did, the sum of all funds in the monetary system now appeared much higher than the value of all coins and banknotes issued by the government.
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.”
For the United States, the switch to fiat money came relatively late, in 1971. To stop the dollar from plunging like a rock, the Nixon administration employed a clever trick: they ordered the freeze of wages and prices for the 90 days that immediately followed the move. People went on about their lives and paid the usual for eggs or milk - and by the time the freeze ended, they were accustomed to the idea that the "new", free-floating dollar is worth about the same as the old, gold-backed one. A robust economy and favorable geopolitics did the rest, and so far, the American adventure with fiat currency has been rather uneventful - perhaps except for the fact that the price of gold itself skyrocketed from $35 per troy ounce in 1971 to $850 in 1980 (or, from $210 to $2,500 in today's dollars).
We talk a lot about the 80-20 rule (the “Pareto principle”) on The Prepared. For example, 20% of the total possible work gets you 80% prepared. To go from 80% to 100% prepared requires a lot more work and money. Another example is that you should prepare for the 80% of likely scenarios, not the unlikely ones like fascist zombies arriving on a radioactive alien asteroid.
For those who are worried about less likely, longer-term contingencies - or who want to limit their future grocery expenses in case of a financial shortfall - a more varied stockpile to cover 3-4 months is a reasonable choice. At that timescale, it's still smart to begin with some number of hassle-free survival rations, but it is important complement them with a more palatable menu: freeze-dried or canned meals, MREs, or cheap home-made food. Crisco aside, some of the nutritious and easily stored staples include Mylar-bagged, oxygen-scavenged white rice, white flour, dried beans and grains, instant mashed potatoes and oatmeal, pasta, sugar, honey, powdered milk, salt, spices, and so forth; when stored properly, all of them can last 5 years or more. Freeze-dried or garden-grown fruit and veggies can add some flavor to your post-disaster cooking, too. Heck, you can even buy supposedly tasty butter, chicken breast, canned bacon, and bread-like crackers with 10+ year shelf life (although they are not cheap).
Scott owns a nice bit of property in the county, over thirty acres, mostly wooded, on which he does some of his own hunting. He had an underground shelter installed somewhere on his land about 8 years ago, a choice that was precipitated by the economic downturn that coincided with Obama’s first term in office. It’s a rather large eight-person, three month shelter, that only his and Josh’s family know about. Even though it was a large investment for him, Scott believes a nuclear or biological threat is less likely that something more along the lines of an EMP strike or total economic collapse. Because of that, much of the shelter acts as secure storage space for a cache of items that would prove valuable in such a scenario: medicine, ammunition, shelf-stable food and common toiletries that will rapidly become luxury items in a post-apocalyptic world. Scott doesn’t think precious metals or cash will be much use if there is no economy to use them in.
There’s a really good app called Prep and Pantry. It allows you to create did inventories, including expiration dates. It scans the barcode too so you don’t have to enter it by hand. This helps me know what I have and lets me plan my meals around when food is expiring. I think it’s about $8, but it’s helped me save a lot of money by not throwing food away.
While not all household conditions are perfect, be aware of the six enemies of food storage and do your best to mitigate their effect on your precious food supply. This means you should avoid storing food in garages that are 90 degrees in summer and 30 degrees in winter. I am repeating what I said before but it is important: empty your cupboards and closets of excess stuff and stow these items in the basement, attic, or garage. This will make room for you to store your food inside your main living area where the ambient room temperature is stable.
Others featured on Doomsday Preppers are more out there — literally. Robert and Debbie Earl, retired Florida chicken farmers, worry about the seas rising. So they are building a home constructed of old tires and sand-filled bottles near Alpine, Texas. Robert Earl describes himself as "Mad Max meets Rube Goldberg with a little bit of Al Gore thrown in."
Mylar bags & Oxygen Absorbers: What I love about Mylar bags and oxygen absorbers is they protect against every single one of the food storage enemies. Prices do vary but for the most part, they are inexpensive and easy to keep on hand. And while you can seal them up with a FoodSaver, some tubing and a common clothes iron, I find it infinitely easier with a cheap hair straightening iron that you can pick up $20 or less.
Based on this crude but honest assessment of the general public's affinity for the common bicarbonate, you'd be surprised by how much survivalists are into it (#2 on the list of "things for preppers to hoard"). They must expect some pretty serious hankerings for tasty leavened baked goods, or they have extensive phobias about the funkiness of their nuke survival backup plans.
Ben had some good ideas. Hiking in the back mountains of Cape Town can sometimes be tricky as being off the beaten track it is not often you will see anyone. I suggest flares to light up the night sky to attract overhead planes. Also a really powerful long range torch (flashlight) is a must as it will also light up a huge part of the mountain and this will ensure one’s safety. Condoms! Yes but it is not what you think – condoms come in handy to waterproof bandages or protect and prevent irritating blisters. Also handy to keep items like your cell phone waterproof. Chapstick – great for soothing burns and bites and takes the itchiness away. Spare socks.
If this particular calamity strikes, what's the step-by-step playbook you would follow, and how much time would you have to carry out the plan? Will you be sheltering at home, or is this a situation where you need to evacuate? If the answer is "it depends", what would be the key factors, and how quickly would you need to make the final call? If you pick the wrong option, how bad would it be?
The reëlection of Barack Obama was a boon for the prepping industry. Conservative devotees, who accused Obama of stoking racial tensions, restricting gun rights, and expanding the national debt, loaded up on the types of freeze-dried cottage cheese and beef stroganoff promoted by commentators like Glenn Beck and Sean Hannity. A network of “readiness” trade shows attracted conventioneers with classes on suturing (practiced on a pig trotter) and photo opportunities with survivalist stars from the TV show “Naked and Afraid.”
While all plastic will eventually leach into the food product, if you cycle what you are storing out at least every six months, it should not be a problem. Plastic containers are great because they do not break as easily as glass, are cheap, and are reusable. If the plastic containers you are using are clear, it is best to store them in a dark closet or room so the light will not degrade your food storage.
Of course, no new money was being created in any physical sense: all that banks were doing was engaging in a bit of creative accounting - the sort of which would probably land you in jail if you attempted it in any other comparably vital field of enterprise. If too many depositors were to ask for their money back, or if too many loans were to go bad, the banking system would fold. Fortunes would evaporate in a puff of accounting smoke, and with the disappearance of vast quantities of quasi-fictitious ("broad") money, the wealth of the entire nation would shrink.
Interestingly, driving and safeguarding your finances have something in common: when you end up hurting another person in an at-fault accident, they may go after your savings or real estate to recoup medical expenses, lost wages, and other costs. So, in addition to driving defensively, have a look at your insurance policy. The minimum liability coverage mandated by the state can be as low as $15,000; relatively few victims will settle with the insurer for that amount if they think that taking you to court could net them ten times as much. Bumping your limit to $250,000 is usually pretty cheap. In fact, if you have collision coverage, you can more than make up for it by increasing your deductible to $1,000.
Every survival kit and emergency preparedness plan should include emergency blankets and lights. Mylar blankets effectively reflect body heat, and can keep you warm throughout a cold night. Their extreme lightweight and compact size make them an ideal part of a survival kit. To ensure you have adequate light in the event of a power failure, chemical snap lights are a convenient solution that doesn’t rely on batteries. Many snap lights last for 12 hours or more, and have a five year shelf life, so you know they’ll be there for you when you need them.
Again, the reason we tend to look sideways at those who get a little too into prepping for an apocalypse is because of their smug optimism. People actually being realistic about a dangerous future would be better served joining the military or ingratiating themselves with high-level government officials than agonizing about a little mouth scuzz or foot fuzz, right?
Learn about bulk foods and cooking methods that your can use when there is no power to your home. Many of the websites selling food will have blogs as well as links to helpful information. Why not use them to increase your overall knowledge and become familiar with additional tactics and strategies for storing food for the long term in a hassle free manner?
18. Freeze Dried Options – Just add water! Nothing beats freeze dried foods & having a nice selection of #10 cans in your storage plan is a wise choice. Lots can be said here, and this option will definitely give you the longest shelf life, but it is the more pricey choice. There are some great food companies that offer freeze dried storage packs. 3 reputable food storage companies are:
How many wealthy Americans are really making preparations for a catastrophe? It’s hard to know exactly; a lot of people don’t like to talk about it. (“Anonymity is priceless,” one hedge-fund manager told me, declining an interview.) Sometimes the topic emerges in unexpected ways. Reid Hoffman, the co-founder of LinkedIn and a prominent investor, recalls telling a friend that he was thinking of visiting New Zealand. “Oh, are you going to get apocalypse insurance?” the friend asked. “I’m, like, Huh?” Hoffman told me. New Zealand, he discovered, is a favored refuge in the event of a cataclysm. Hoffman said, “Saying you’re ‘buying a house in New Zealand’ is kind of a wink, wink, say no more. Once you’ve done the Masonic handshake, they’ll be, like, ‘Oh, you know, I have a broker who sells old ICBM silos, and they’re nuclear-hardened, and they kind of look like they would be interesting to live in.’ ”
That's probably about it... well, all right: this section focused chiefly on the immediate consequences of an outage, but a severe fuel crisis or a long-lasting power grid failure would have profound, cascading effects on the entire economy - probably including out-of-control unemployment, high inflation, product shortages, and more. That said, these are the outcomes we can already prepare for by other means. As for extreme preppers who aspire to long-term energy self-sufficiency, I think it's going to be a difficult feat: even with a solar installation, under constant cycling, the batteries may not last much longer than 5 years. Short of finding a cheap Soviet RTG on eBay, they may simply have to adapt to living without electricity or gas.
Buy dry goods in bulk whereever is cheapest. Transfer into 1 gallon Mylar bags with 1 oxygen absorber per bag. Weight, date and label each bag. Store bags in 2 1/2 gallon food grade frosting buckets available free at any bakery. Each bucket will hold 3 gallon mylar bags. Label each bucket with contents and date. By using these buckets you keep the weight to a manageable level for easy moving. It’s also food grade and water proof. Rotate stock as used. Use the food stoage calculator to figure out what you need and use an excel spreadsheet to keep track of your inventory. Lots of work but you will save thousands in inflation costs and be prepared for almost anything.
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.’ ”
Huffman, who lives in San Francisco, has large blue eyes, thick, sandy hair, and an air of restless curiosity; at the University of Virginia, he was a competitive ballroom dancer, who hacked his roommate’s Web site as a prank. He is less focussed on a specific threat—a quake on the San Andreas, a pandemic, a dirty bomb—than he is on the aftermath, “the temporary collapse of our government and structures,” as he puts it. “I own a couple of motorcycles. I have a bunch of guns and ammo. Food. I figure that, with that, I can hole up in my house for some amount of time.”
Surviving a crisis situation is made easier by being properly prepared. Having a high quality, reliable emergency survival kit can make a significant difference in your ability to get through a crisis. At BePrepared.com, we have a full inventory of prepacked survival kits to handle any emergency -whether evacuation, severe weather events, or accidents.