Inspired by science fiction books and a handful of real-world incidents, some hardcore survivalists worry that their portable electronics or vehicles could be disabled by EMP weapons or solar flares. The concern over solar flares is misplaced; the threat of EMP is a tad more valid, but even if EMP warfare came to pass, small electronics and quasi-shielded automotive circuitry would probably not be permanently affected by anything other than a close blast. Power plants and transmission lines are a different story. Heck, in 1989, solar flares knocked out a good chunk of the Canadian power grid. Still, for that, a surge protector works better than tinfoil.
During a prolonged blackout, keeping flashlights, radios, and cell phones running can become a challenge of its own. The most cost-effective approach is to stick to devices that can take regular AA, AAA, or PP3 (9V) batteries; modern alkaline cells have very long shelf lives (10 years), can be bought cheaply in bulk, and will do the trick for almost all portable electronics you can think of. Of course, modern power-hungry smartphones are a notable exception to this rule. For that, you can always try solar chargers ($50) - they work well, but are a bit fragile and may not perform too amazingly in wooded areas or on overcast days. You can also go for hand-crank generators ($30, labor-intensive) or AA power banks ($15, mixed reviews). But ultimately, also allow for the possibility of not being able to call others for a while.
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.”
It used to be that dashcams were prohibitively expensive; but today, the prices start at $50, so it makes sense to give the devices a try. I can recommend Rexing V1 ($100), but there are countless other options to choose from. The bottom line is, if you own a car, it's probably the most affordable and meaningful liability insurance policy you can get.
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.
David Sarti, a YouTube "firearms instructor" and self-taught survivalist, is prepared for an electrical grid failure; Kellene Bishop of Utah has stocked only the finest gourmet survival foods in preparation for financial collapse; Kathy Harrison, "the Doris Day of Doom", has prepared her local community for a New Madrid earthquake; Dennis Evers brings the family together to survive global chaos caused by hyperinflation.
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.
I’m sure I sound like a tin-foil hat wearing paranoid but … this isn’t some worst-case-scenario (return of an ice-age), this has occurred repeatedly over the millennia, is a ‘predictable’ event (possibly/probably) heading right our way. We’ve already seen the early effects but a ‘decades long’ cooling with massively disrupted agriculture and widespread droughts’ could be on the way (estimates vary from 5-15 years).
...what do I need to bring? How much can you realistically take with you when leaving by car, by bike, or on foot? What are the most important items, and will you be able to grab them quickly enough? To simplify things, would it make sense to maintain a small cache of supplies in the trunk of your car or at a friend's place - and if yes, what should be in that box?
Those impulses are not as contradictory as they seem. Technology rewards the ability to imagine wildly different futures, Roy Bahat, the head of Bloomberg Beta, a San Francisco-based venture-capital firm, told me. “When you do that, it’s pretty common that you take things ad infinitum, and that leads you to utopias and dystopias,” he said. It can inspire radical optimism—such as the cryonics movement, which calls for freezing bodies at death in the hope that science will one day revive them—or bleak scenarios. Tim Chang, the venture capitalist who keeps his bags packed, told me, “My current state of mind is oscillating between optimism and sheer terror.”
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.
Then, for two hours, Andrew: just tells stories. The time he went after Jesse James’ buried treasure, the time he was held at gunpoint while prospecting for gold, the time an 8-inch centipede fell on him while caving in Japan—each story adorned with cliffhangers and near misses. Andrew: can talk. If he couldn’t, Darryl, a regular attendee, would’ve napped for longer than he did.
We placed these on heavy-duty shelves, $39–49 at Lowe’s. Plastic totes are great for storing sauce bottles, small cans, etc. just make sure to rotate your stock. If you find someone who is like-minded, you can share things like 50 pound bags of pinto beans, rice, etc. We got corn and wheat from the feed store. No need for expensive freeze-dried MREs. Two IBC totes and a Berkey water filter and you can survive hurricanes, natural disasters and snowbird season here in Florida. Welcome to the world of just common sense.
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.
Is this a complete list of everything you will need to be fully prepared food-wise? Heck no. Are the quantities adequate to feed a family for a month, three months or longer? Perhaps a month but not much longer. Truthfully, for long term storage you need more food and more variety (read about the top survival food brands here) as well as some packaging methods (Mylar bags or buckets plus oxygen absorbers) to insure that your will food stay viable and pest free for years to come.
Shelter: You can make basic shelters with cordage and a tarp. Tarps are very useful in a range of situations. Try this Ozark Trail 8’x10’ camo and green tarp. We need to do more research before determining whether hammocks or tents are better for most people, so sign up for our email newsletter to stay updated if you’re interested in a more dedicated BOB shelter. In the meantime, we love these Kammock Roo hammocks that are about the size of a melon. (For a cordage recommendation, see “Tools,” below.)
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).
Other small kits are wearable and built into everyday carry survival bracelets or belts. Most often these are paracord bracelets with tools woven inside. Several tools such as firestarter, buckles, whistles and compass are on the exterior of the gear and smaller tools are woven inside the jewelry or belt and only accessible by taking the bracelet apart.