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.
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.
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.”
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.”
An argument can be made that even in an emergency, potable water is never too far away; after all, most human settlements have been erected near natural reservoirs: rivers, lakes, or easily reached underground aquifers. But this is an oversimplification. In rural areas, water supply can be fairly meager and vulnerable to weather fluctuations and other cyclic phenomena. For cities, it is true that many of them are seated on the banks of major lakes or rivers, but suburban sprawl can easily put some residents 10-20 miles away from the nearest reservoir; on top of that, some of the 20th century settlements in semi-arid and desert climates rely on water hauled from tens or hundreds of miles away.
A rubber mallet is a great tool to have to seal food grade buckets. Place the lid in its place on the filled bucket, and whack the lid into place around the perimeter of the lid. Once you have secured the lid, you can test for a good seal by picking the bucket up by the lid. The weight of the food stored is a pretty good test for whether the lid is securely attached.
Finelli sits across from me at the food court picnic table inside the Sam’s Club on Sunshine Street, where he requested we meet. The retired computer systems designer-turned–radio show host and homesteader has salt and pepper hair, wears a plaid shirt and jeans and carries a .45-caliber automatic firearm on his person (he won’t say where). Below his strong jawline hangs a leather bag full of crushed sapphire, meant to enhance his overall health.
For some, it’s just “brogrammer” entertainment, a kind of real-world sci-fi, with gear; for others, like Huffman, it’s been a concern for years. “Ever since I saw the movie ‘Deep Impact,’ ” he said. The film, released in 1998, depicts a comet striking the Atlantic, and a race to escape the tsunami. “Everybody’s trying to get out, and they’re stuck in traffic. That scene happened to be filmed near my high school. Every time I drove through that stretch of road, I would think, I need to own a motorcycle because everybody else is screwed.”
Laundry is another (if slightly less pressing) problem that many preppers may have to reckon with. Well-chosen antiperspirants and BZK-based antimicrobal sprays do wonders to control bodily odors and extend the life of undergarments. Beyond that, careful hand-washing and rinsing techniques help minimize waste - but when there is no running water, doing laundry is still going to be a rare luxury for most.
This is someone who has embraced the preparedness lifestyle with gusto. These preppers have supplies, knowledge, and skills but are seeking to fine tune their preps with advanced strategies for survival healthcare, living off-grid, and coping with civil unrest. They actively share their own personal experiences with others and offer tips and help other prepper-types learn and grow. I consider myself to be a Dedicated Prepper.
In all likelihood, if you are obese or slowly getting there, you know quite well that losing some weight is not really the hard part: if you were to stop eating for a week, you would likely shed 5-10 pounds or more. But it would be a miserable experience, and one almost guaranteed to be followed by an even faster rebound. So, the real challenge of weight management is coming up with a long-term strategy that does not amount to torture - and does not leave you constantly craving for familiar foods.
Still, this does not mean that the survivors of a nuclear war would have to choose between starvation and death. Water and food stored in closed containers will not become radioactive - people would just have to be mindful of the dust on top. Crops can be grown after removing several inches of topsoil, and most rivers, streams, and creeks become safe quite rapidly (shallow bodies of standing water are a different animal). In other words, with basic precautions, it's quite possible to thrive in the aftermath of even the worst nuclear war. All it takes is some luck and a bit of knowledge; blast-proof bunkers are not a must.
Mountain House, Wise Food, My Patriot Supply, and Ready Store need to get better in this regard. In some cases, we had to call a company and dig deeper than reasonable in order to find out calorie content — or we had to look at individual nutritional labels to reverse engineer the math. In other cases they called something a “1-month bucket” but that was based on silly calorie numbers.
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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.
He points to the cash registers over his left shoulder. “I’ll bet you there’s not one thing you bought today that didn’t use electricity in the transaction,” he says. Before Y2K, Finelli says he owned a small computer manufacturing company and personally upgraded 8,000 operating systems so the dates would roll over from 1999 to 2000. “Because they wouldn’t,” he says. “There was a defect. I know that computer systems are frail because I built them.” He says a widespread power outage would cripple us—no electricity, no trading debt portfolios, no buying wholesale taquitos on credit.
I can't claim to have good advice for people who are already in a tough spot: if your household earnings are well below median, you may simply have no disposable income to build a personal safety net. But for most other folks, the ability to prepare for the zero-income contingency is well within reach - and it would be unwise not to give it a go. Sure, even a lifetime of belt-tightening won't make the average middle-class family fabulously rich. But rainy-day funds work in a different way: their purpose is to get you through a rough spell, not to pay for a mansion or a fancy car. Since the amount needed is directly proportional to how much you currently make, it makes relatively little difference if your household brings in $70k or $140k a year. Either way, if you set aside 10% of every post-tax paycheck, you should have a 6-month financial safety net established within 3 years and a change.
Depends on the size of your family and the time period in which you’ll use it. Once mylar or buckets are open, they are susceptible to many organisms that will make your food inedible. Double to triple serving sizes max. Filling tummies is fairly easy. Doing it safely and palateably is different. Also, your family will need variety to keep harmony. Much of our emotional well-being depends on the gut.
protect the food – by separating the food into sealed smaller bags it protects them from the air and contaminates each time I open the bucket to get food out. I’ve noticed that the bulk popcorn gets less fluffy and a little crunchier over the years as there is more air in the bucket as the popcorn gets lower. When I buy new popcorn I will seal it in smaller bags to keep it fresher longer.
If you must take regular medications for a medical condition, you’ll likely want to pack an extra set in your survival kit. You’ll need to discuss the issue with your doctor if you require prescription medications, but don’t forget about over-the-counter medications you may need too. For example, if you often suffer from heartburn, you’ll likely want to add some antacids to your survival kit. Similarly, if you have allergies, you’ll want to pack extra antihistamines, and you may even want to include an EpiPen if an anaphylactic shock is possible.
Finelli’s not from around here; an adopted Midwestern politeness hardly masks direct, fast-thinking, faster-talking East Coast roots, although he won’t tell me where he’s from exactly. He’s guarded like that. He won’t say where he went to college, only that he graduated from a prestigious undergraduate program and then got an MBA; nor will he say where he worked after, only that he started a company on the West Coast to manufacture satellite communications receivers before a Japanese competitor threatened to kill him. He will say he knows the moon landing was faked. In 1982, he moved back east from California and began designing computer systems for a Fortune 100 credit card company.
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.