Now, a word of caution: beware of debt. Many of us are taught that owing money is normal, even desirable; indeed, for middle-class folks, some forms of indebtedness may be difficult to avoid. But unnecessarily accrued debt cuts into your bottom line in two insidious ways. First of all, monthly installment payments limit your flexibility in an emergency - so if your income shrinks, your savings will be depleted at a merciless and non-negotiable rate. Secondly, high-interest loans, such as credit cards, amount to giving out a good chunk of your income without earning anything useful in return. They are akin to voluntarily accepting a pay cut.
Just be aware, if you have stored mixes like bisquick or cake mixes which have baking powder in them. Baking powder has a shelf life, after that shelf life, the bp isn’t stable so your product may not rise and/or may taste funny. Depending on what form of dry milk (powder as opposed to instant milk) is used, that can also make your premixes go bad.

Starting any new project, large or small, can be daunting.  Unlike other projects, however, family preparedness and prepping can literally save your life if not your sanity. I have created a beginners roadmap for going forward as I develop each topic in detail in the Twelve Months of Prepping Series, complete with actionable steps that you can take to become a prepper of the highest order while doing so with grace, optimism, and hope.

In the end, ladders, cars, and space heaters are a much greater threat to your well-being than a gun-totting robber or an army of zombie marauders could ever be. So, gleaned from accident statistics, here are some of the familiar-sounding but crucial survival tips. It may sound unlikely, but if something appears on this list, it's responsible for quite a few gruesome deaths or injuries every year; take it to heart.
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.
Chapter 1 talks about things we have learned from historical events that can help us prevent future repeats. Jim discusses, at length, pandemics, famine, economic collapse and other freak occurrences, their impact on society, and how we handled those situations. Speculating an EMP, he says it could occur either by nuclear detonation, or a geomagnetic storm sent via the sun. If you don’t think either of these things are possible, I urge you to research both. Both are more possible than you may imagine. The chapter ends with information on war and terrorism, covering information from Pearl Harbor to 9/11.
One final item that you may want to consider adding to your kit is a “cheat sheet.” A cheat sheet should include any information that may be of value in a survival situation. This may include first-aid procedures, a list of geographical references for navigating without a map, instructions for tying various knots or a list of edible fruits in the area. You’ll likely want to print out such a list and then have it laminated to protect it. However, it will be easier to pack several small cards rather than a single large card, if your list ends up being rather long.
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?

Is it stereotypical that the AARP crowd would be the ones to spend three hours talking about metal detectors and canning and caving at a Pizza Hut on a Monday night? Probably, but that’s what I bore witness to in this event room; its combination of exposed wood and stock-photo decor felt like an Olive Garden inside a pirate ship. Up front, the scraggly white-bearded, Bad Santa–lookalike Andrew: rested one foot on a chair, gripping the mic, just like Randall said he would be. 

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!

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.
If you need some inspiration, perhaps the most iconic and time-tested semi-auto design is the 1911; it was originally a pretty bulky and heavy all-steel firearm, but many manufacturers now make lighter, scaled-down variants that are OK for carrying around. Alternatives include a growing number of more lightweight, polymer-frame guns, such as Glock 43, M&P Shield, or SIG P365. For revolvers, Ruger LCR and Smith & Wesson 642 are probably two very reasonable picks to haul around. Some very futuristic if a tad more expensive revolvers are made by Chiappa, too. Whatever you do, avoid Taurus.
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.
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.

Huffman has been a frequent attendee at Burning Man, the annual, clothing-optional festival in the Nevada desert, where artists mingle with moguls. He fell in love with one of its core principles, “radical self-reliance,” which he takes to mean “happy to help others, but not wanting to require others.” (Among survivalists, or “preppers,” as some call themselves, FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, stands for “Foolishly Expecting Meaningful Aid.”) Huffman has calculated that, in the event of a disaster, he would seek out some form of community: “Being around other people is a good thing. I also have this somewhat egotistical view that I’m a pretty good leader. I will probably be in charge, or at least not a slave, when push comes to shove.”
I also began to realize that I needed to prep for something that's increasingly as likely as earthquakes: large-scale civil unrest, which I witnessed a taste of in the streets that night. I began to think of how people act when they're scared, including and especially law enforcement. I started to think about home security, transportation options if fuel was limited, how to access information without the internet. I studied natural disasters and their repercussions around the world as a way to understand how to keep myself and my community safer.

"I had a dream not long ago that was sort of like God said, ‘I will show you these things,’ and that we’d lost both grids on the East and West Coasts, and I saw trains coming in, packed, standing-room only, from both coasts, and they were just releasing them into Mark Twain and everywhere. Those people were then forming little camps—15, 20 people per camp. And I saw a colored boy and a white boy, youngsters, and they were talking. And the white boy is talking, and he says if you steal wood from any of those people, only take one piece, because if you take more than that they’ll miss it. 
Practical Preppers, LLC is a survival and preparedness consultative company that sells products and services for those interested in advancing their skills and resources. Practical Preppers, Scott Hunt, or any of its affiliates provide these resources as is and under the protection of copyright. The website has been produced and is maintained by Rapptor Studios. Copyright 2015.
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.
Storing food is one of the best ways you can be prepared. The best prepper food storage containers are the ones that preppers have been using for decades and are tried and true. Some have been around for centuries and others only a few decades. Storing food has always been one of the cornerstones of prepping and preparedness. As supply chains become more and more reliant on ‘just in time’ delivery there are less resources available to help when disasters or catastrophes strike. When this happens, food supplies can easily be disrupted and leave a lot of people hungry and looking for food. Keeping food stored is one of the most cost-effective ways to be prepared for these events, and having the proper food storage containers can ensure your success and survival. Whether you are increasing your pantry size or starting a long term food storage supply, the type of prepper food storage containers you use can make all the difference.
Finelli remained at the helm until he came down with pneumonia in late 2016. Months before, an interloper who claimed to have no Social Security number or driver’s license had driven up from Arkansas on nitrogen-filled tires, used to skirt a law requiring licensing for vehicles with air-filled tires. His name is Andrew:—he has no last name; he says adding the colon keeps him from being cataloged in “the system”—and his resourcefulness impressed Finelli, so he offered Andrew: the mic during his absence. He never got it back. 

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.
The fundamental rule is to not be greedy: within the scope of this guide, your goal should be to preserve capital, not to take crazy risks. If you are tempted to put your money into Tesla, Twitter, or some penny stock mentioned by your third cousin, you are not thinking straight. Pick about 10-20 boring companies that seem to be valued fairly, that are free of crippling debt, and that have robust prospects for the coming years. Stay clear of financial enterprises, of highly speculative sectors such as biotech or solar power, and of heavily regulated industries that lack the flexibility to deal with sudden economic shifts (say, airlines). Relatively safe picks can be found in no-frills domains: basic chemicals, staple electronic components, profitable freight railways, mechanical assembly manufacturing, home and office supplies, and so on.
These documents will assist rescue workers and first responders in identification and in providing you with adequate medical care, if needed. It also would not hurt to include some pictures of yourself with family members.  I like to store this information on a flash drive along with other information such as survival manuals, home inventories and such.
Thanks for the comment Thomas. Just curious, how do you cook with your dehydrated mushrooms? I like to use frozen vegetables and dehydrate them. Frozen carrots that are cut into the circles dehydrate down to about the size of a pencil eraser. They plump up nice when rehydrated and you can’t tell the difference. Some veggies seem to work better than others.
When you’re preparing for the moment that SHTF, you need to have a handle on situations you’ll encounter, as well as the best tools and supplies. You also need to get into the right mindset. The Atomic Bear has put together this preppers guide, which will teach you how to plant a prepper garden, put together a go-bag, and the other survival skills you need to know. We’ve also got a meticulously curated collection of survival gear that’ll give you the foundation for what it takes to survive. Follow our blog, and stay tuned for more content to come.
Places on the internet like http://www.doomsdayprepperforums.com are as busy as ever, and contrary to my own initial assumptions, much cooler heads seem to prevail on most online prepping communities. Members work to be helpful to one another and offer a wealth of good advice. Though the common refrain among preppers is that once SHTF (prepper shorthand for when the Shit Hits The Fan) the general mood will be every man for himself, doomsday preppers and survivalists believe that well-meaning people who want to protect themselves, their property and their families deserve some level of support, and they strive to provide that to each other.
Prepping is more about planning, knowledge, and skills than actually purchasing a lot of useless gadgets. I walked away from the consumer lifestyle many years ago and now live on an off-grid homestead. That said, there are always items that preparedness-minded people, like myself, keep their eyes open for. We are always looking for good deals on all things canning, such as jars, lids, pressure canners, and water bath canners. Or perhaps a higher-ticket item, such as a food dehydrator.
At first, the falling dust will be extremely radioactive and even short-term exposure might be lethal - so your best bet would be to seek shelter in the basement, or near the center of mass of any other building. This maximizes the mass between you and the outside world, shielding you from the gamma rays produced by whatever happens to settle on the roof and the outside walls. The density and volume of the shielding material matters more than anything else. It does not have to be lead; mattresses and bulky furniture should do.
The funny thing about disasters is that they seldom unfold precisely as planned. Perhaps you will lose a job and get robbed the same week. Perhaps in the middle of a prolonged outage, you will find out that some of your emergency supplies have been misplaced, damaged, or spoiled. Maybe your plan to walk a mile to get drinking water from a river will get foiled by a broken limb. And maybe a brilliant home defense strategy will prove worthless when standing eye to eye with an angry mob of rioters armed with rocks.
Now, there are some dangers to life and limb that we simply can't predict or prevent: the occasional falling piano, the murderous roommate, the untimely stroke. Then there are the risks we take willingly, accepting the inherent and unavoidable trade-offs of our hobbies or jobs: the possibility of being snatched by a giant squid while snorkeling off the coast of California, or the near-certainty of lung fibrosis from toiling in a sugar mine. These are the things we can't or don't want to give up - and that's perfectly fine.
It takes just a single downed power line to knock out your furnace, AC unit, cooktop, refrigerator, and to make the lights go out; and when such an outage happens due to a larger-scale natural disaster, repairs can easily take days or even weeks. We think of fuel as a more dependable resource, but if 1979 is any guide, you only need one well-timed revolution in the Middle East to make it nearly impossible to fill up a car in some parts of the United States. Of course, such events are usually inconvenient, not disastrous, so it's perfectly fine not to dwell on them in your plans. At the same time, it doesn't hurt to take a closer look at what's at stake - and what the potential solutions may be.
We tried the $85 Instant Loaded Potato & Cheesy Broccoli Soup from Simpli Prepare because soup might be an easy way to supplement the main survival meals. Packaged the same way as the shakes, with shaker bottle and algae oil, and with the same directions. Vendor confirmed this is meant to be a “just add water” product, not a simmer and serve hot sort of thing, and suggests using hot water from the tap if possible.

In my home county, one of the most rural in Maryland and roughly an hour’s drive outside of Washington, DC, I organized a small meeting of a few people who consider themselves preppers and/or survivalists. The county might be described as 70% conservative and primarily Republican, and 30% liberal and primarily Democrat. Calvert County is a peninsula, 30 miles long and 9 miles wide, no point further than 5 miles from a navigable body of water (the Chesapeake Bay to the east and Patuxent River to the west). It’s mostly farms, parks and deer-filled woodland interspersed with a number of town centers and housing developments.
You can survive several weeks without food, but you won't be having a very good time. Food is costly, its supply is fairly easily disrupted, and it's a resource that the government may be much less inclined to deliver to your doorstep when things go wrong. So, with a variety of reasonable scenarios to worry about - anything from natural disasters to economic downturns - it just makes sense to be able to feed yourself even if you can't buy groceries for a while.
CRKT Knives and Karen Hood of Survival.com and Survival Quarterly Magazine are proud to announce the newest in the CRKT line of wilderness survival knives, the HoodWork™ and the HCK1™. While the phrase “Survival…it’s all in your head” is an intrinsic part of everything Karen Hood, Survival.com and Survival Quarterly Magazine, a good knife can also mean the difference between life and death in an extreme situation.
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.

However, a few unintentional similarities to the Quiverfull movement doesn't mean that preppers can't still care about safe sex. Hunting, canning, and digging your own latrines does nothing to make the threat of an STD less real. After all, gonorrhea and genital warts are going to be a whole lot harder to treat without reliable access to medical care. And there must be at least a few survivalists out there rational enough not to want to endure the horrors of premodern pregnancy and birth unless absolutely necessary.


Me? I’ve a hyper insulated home, ground-loop (in the house and green-house) and a trench filled with lots of coal but if it is coming, and it is as bad as the last few times … you’ll need masses of food storage (cold hardy, quick growing crops, a method to manage in a colder climate … or to move south) and there’ll be a disastrous/apocalyptic die-off. Food and water (less as so much will be tied up in ice/snow and changing weather patterns causing, as historically, widespread droughts) and insulated clothing, protection for farm animals and feed will be worth more than gold.
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.

“I’m actually responsible, indirectly, for the end of the meetups,” Dr. Shealy tells me inside his Springfield clinic off Chestnut Expressway, and not just because he thinks the earth is more than 6,000 years old. (Andrew: says you can’t trust anyone who believes that.) He sports a red crewneck, navy blue sweatpants, a stretchy metal watch and rectangular glasses. The 85-year-old—he’s more energetic than most people half his age—specializes in holistic medicine; the first thing he asks me is my birthday, and do I know what my astrological sign means. On my way out, he asks if he can hug me, and when I oblige, a toothy grin pulls wide the spritely doctor’s cheeks. “I believe it’s an important part of human contact,” he says. 
They have a great selection of food storage kits, from 72-hour emergency kits to the Deluxe 1 Year Kit. However, Augason's best offering is the incredible selection of individual ingredients. This includes dehydrated and freeze-dried vegetables and fruits, rice and grains, baking ingredients, powdered milk and eggs, freeze-dried yogurt, beans, gluten-free products.
Many of these foods are simple meals that require you to add water and heat (such as MRE's, or Meals Ready to Eat). However, if you buy individual bulk ingredients you can create more of a gourmet pantry which allows you a much greater range of meals to prepare—powdered eggs, spices, all sorts of flours, honey, etc. These foods are not only great for food storage but also for camping trips, especially if your camp kitchen is serving a large crowd.

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.
A handful of OTC dietary supplements may be useful for treating some chronic conditions in situations where prescription drugs are not available - but if you want to learn more, be prepared to wade through a sea of low-quality research and outright quackery. Preliminary but somewhat plausible findings include the apparent antidepressant properties of saffron and fish oil, the beneficial effects of curcumin on some types of chronic pain, or the utility of berberine and salacia reticulata in managing type 2 diabetes. Again, tread carefully; examine.com is a good starting point for getting the data behind some of the claims.
Sure, you could go hardcore right from the start and prepare for a long-term disaster from day one but, as I said, there is a learning curve to this, and you want to minimize your mistakes. It’s much better to prepare for the layers I’m about to give you. But before we get into that, let me just give you the heads up on some of the most common mistakes:

Civilians such as forestry workers, surveyors, or bush pilots, who work in remote locations or in regions with extreme climate conditions may also be equipped with survival kits. Disaster supplies are also kept on hand by those who live in areas prone to earthquakes or other natural disasters. For the average citizen to practice disaster preparedness, some towns will have survival stores to keep survival supplies in stock.

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