...where would I go? Is the location sufficiently far away to be unaffected by the event you're running away from? If you are driving, will you have enough gas to get there? (Again, would it help to have a habit of keeping the tank at least half full?) Are the roads likely to be congested or blocked? How many people will think of exactly the same location? What if the destination proves to be inaccessible, overcrowded, or unsafe?
To be truthful, my initial goal with this article was to respond to readers who were just getting started and wanted a shopping list of things to buy for their food storage pantry. I also wanted to compile a checklist that more experienced preppers could use to compare what they had to what they needed. My goal can pretty much be summed up by saying that I wanted to write about getting started with food storage the easy way. No frills, no fluff – just a common sense list of food items to get you started.
A popular way of guarding against this kind of catastrophe is storing food at home. This is called Long Term Food Storage, Emergency Essentials, or Emergency Survival Foods and there are dozens of companies selling food specifically for this purpose. The best, including those listed below, have great tasting products with a long storage life at a reasonable cost.
Prepping isn’t just for the zombie apocalypse. I live in costal New England and you can bet that there will be at least two or three situations where you won’t have power or won’t be able to get to the store for a while. Blizzards, hurricanes, etc. Also personal crises like losing a job or unexpected car repairs can leave you looking at zero food budget. Always good to have emergency rations to live off of until things return to normal.
But there are also the "hold my beer" moments: the unnecessary displays of bravado, overconfidence, or thoughtlessness. We recognize them from cringeworthy yet hilarious Youtube clips of people getting hurt - but we are guilty of the same: we get honked at for carelessly changing lanes, we end up climbing more than a fair share of rickety ladders and office chairs, and every now and then, we all get a bit cavalier with lawnmowers, escalators, ATVs, or other power tools.
I know how you feel when you get that urgent feeling that what you have is not enough. Shelly (the Survival Husband) and I were just talking about this last night. In my mind, I know that I have a lot but I keep purchasing more. Luckily, like you I am good at food rotation although I do have a lot of #10 tins and properly packaged buckets in deep storage as well. Those do not get rotated.
Forums and Facebook groups are littered with the same fundamental questions asked over and over again, but they often give incomplete, conflicting, or even dangerous answers. Then we’d read a blog where the author did some quick googling and cranked out a post just to get some traffic. Or we’d have to dig through crazy propaganda and extreme political opinions in the hopes of finding good advice. It drove us mad — we just wanted the facts and straightforward answers!
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.
When I am going through a grocery store gathering survival food, I get some strange looks from people close enough to hear me muttering under my breath as I discount items. Phrases like “not enough calories”, “needs more fat”, not enough carbs”, and the like roll off my tongue frequently. The truth of the matter is that what we consider to be a healthy diet in normal times is probably inadequate in a high stress, very active, crisis situation. There is a reason we like carbs, and fats, and sugars, and that reason is our body needs these things. The human palate developed in times when being physically active and dealing with life threatening events was the norm, and when a steady supply of food was not a guarantee. Hence the urge to get all we can when we can, which leads to rampant obesity in modern sedentary times but is adaptive to survival in harder times.
This, of course, is easier said than done. We tend to scale up our living expenses in proportion to earned income, so even in the $100k+ bracket, people living paycheck-to-paycheck are not a rare sight. And it's usually not the big-ticket stuff that gets them: we're far more likely to overspend on all the smaller, habitual purchases, because their cumulative cost is less apparent - and potential savings are much easier to miss. The patterns to look for will depend on your lifestyle and on how much you make, but here are several suggestions for where to search for that 10%:
A tarp. For actual survival, a generic blue tarp from Lowe’s isn’t going to cut it. I’m looking for something that is specially designed to help you survive in winter, like [the Xenon winter tarp, $140 and the Old Man Winter by Wilderness Logistics, $160]. They can be used as a tent, as ground cover, to catch rainwater, to patch holes, for a trap, and even to drag back heavy animals.
I think the point of the quicky foods like the ravioli is actually good thinking. You may not have access to water right away, or run out. The other foods require water to cook. I have thought about that issue myself. what if you don’t want the whole neighborhood coming to your house when they smell the food. Precooked canned food can be eaten cold. No smells in the air to give you away. Think about that one. Please.
Your run-of-the-mill shoe stank might not pose much of a survival threat, but trench foot certainly will; baking soda is great at absorbing the moisture that might otherwise literally cause your feet to rot off your legs. As for the health of your teeth -- it will be pretty hard to get through your day's rations of homemade jerky and hardtack without some high-quality chompers. And you certainly don't want to rely on that pesky fluoride that will "kill your brain over time" (um, what?).
Add any extras for your situation: For example, here’s our guide on prepping with food allergies and how to store EpiPens without power. Also consider special needs for pregnant women, small children, pets, people with disabilities or significant medical issues, etc. If you have poor eyesight, always have a pair of backup glasses and contacts in your emergency supplies.
Josh came to the U.S. in 1991 from Puerto Rico with his parents. They lived in Baltimore for a while and moved south into Calvert County when Josh was in elementary school. “Being around people here is what really got me into the whole idea of survival, you know? Learning to hunt and fish and live with the land instead of just going to a corner store for everything,” he says. Josh married a few years ago, and the couple just had their first child in 2017, a few months after Trump took office. He began to take the idea of preparing for the worst very seriously at that time, and began learning about prepping from Scott.
Peanut oil AND peanuts go rancid fairly quickly. I found out the hard way one year trying to store it in bulk. I had to throw all I stored (in white buckets with oxygen absorbers) out. The only way I found it keeps is if I buy peanut butter in jars – and then the shelf life is still limited. Even among freeze dried companies they recommend using up the PB powder within five years while everything else is rated at 20. If you want an oil with a proven shelf life get either coconut oil or olive oil. All the rest will go bad and ultimately make you sick.
Luckily for the survivors, the highly radioactive isotopes present in the fallout are also very-short lived; the intensity of radiation will likely drop ten-fold within 6-8 hours, and will decrease a hundred-fold within two days. If you wait a week or two, it should be quite safe to venture out. Of course, it's still best to stay indoors for as long as possible, and when heading out, it's good to keep the trips short, to wear disposable coveralls ($11), and to take care not to track any residues into your home. But you don't need to lock yourself in an underground vault.
There are key foods that keep well that are also very budget-friendly. In addition to this, it is worth considering making and pickling your own food — this makes your food supplies last longer than simply purchasing cans and placing them on rotation. Remember, just as we wrote in the first article, prepping on a budget is a gradual process, so don’t worry if you feel as though you aren’t quite ready for an emergency situation yet! You will get there eventually, storing food $5-worth a week is still better than nothing at all.
In an ideal world, you’d bring along duplicates for every item in your survival kit. This way, if one breaks, you’ve got a back up at the ready. “Two is one, and one is none,” as the saying goes. But in the real world, your outdoor activities will place weight and space restrictions on the size of your survival kit. You can’t very well bring multiple knives, several flashlights and two pairs of pliers if you are trying to go ultralight camping in the Sierra Nevadas.
Got a car? Don't go too fast, keep a three-second distance to the vehicle in front of you, and always scan for cross traffic when approaching intersections or making turns: other drivers may be less attentive than you. Be very careful when changing lanes, do it slowly, and be sure to adjust your mirrors to eliminate blind spots (you don't really need to see the sides of your car). Slow down for cars stopped in other lanes - they may be letting a pedestrian through. Wear seat belts, keep children in fitting car seats, get some rest on longer trips, and don't talk on the phone - it doesn't matter that it's hands-free. Avoid frequent rides with people who drive badly, too.
Tupperware: Sealable plastic bins have changed the world. If you are prepping food for your weekly meals, or transporting food to a friend’s house, plastic storage bins can get the job done. They are dirt cheap these days and are very easy to use. While they can leach, stain, and scratch, as long as you use it for short term storage as intended they are nearly unbeatable.
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.)
Experts worry most about the grid’s nervous system: 2,000 extra-high voltage transformers. They’re 200- and 300-ton behemoths, individually engineered to meet specific power demands, and on average, they’re 40 years old. Notwithstanding the fact that 85 percent of transformers are imported, the U.S. Department of Energy says it takes between 5 and 16 months to replace a single one. According to the U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Committee, an attack that destroyed nine of the 2,000 transformers would “cause a protracted nationwide blackout.” There’s no national cache of spare transformers.
When writing this document, describe your "ideal" scenario, but also think about all the complications that may crop up and derail your plan. For example, what if both you and your spouse die, but your children survive? Or, who should get what share of the money if your spouse is badly hurt and can't resume caring for the kids, so they end up in the custody of a relative? What if your designated executor or custodian is unable or unwilling to perform the duties? And in an extreme case, if there are no surviving relatives, do you have any favorite charity?
Patrick is a Christ follower, the father of a special needs daughter with a brilliant personality and two musically talented sons, the husband of a beautiful and incredibly wonderful woman, an avid cook and gardener, a craftsman, and a hopeful homesteader with a passion for researching. He and his wife live as frugally as possible and try daily to live as God intends them to live.
Alas, most of the popular diets make this task awfully hard: they force their followers to abandon a lifetime of dietary habits, taste preferences, and eating schedules - and stuff themselves full of kale, turnips, quinoa, acai berry, or whatever else happens to be this week's "fat-fighting superfood". To add insult to injury, most of the nutrition fads are not actually backed by real, reproducible science; suffice to say that in the 70s, table sugar was widely touted as a dieting aid. Even today, weight loss advice tends to revolve around robustly debunked concepts - say, the existence negative calorie foods, the alleged superiority of low-carb but high-fat diets, the evils of HFCS and aspartame, or the significance of eating meals on a particular schedule thoroughout the day.
Every family should have a survival checklist and an updated survival kit on hand. At BePrepared.com, we make it easy to have all of the emergency kit items you need, conveniently packed and waiting. Each emergency kit is filled with durable supplies including flashlights, batteries, first aid kits, and tools. Some kits also contain MREs (Meals Ready to Eat) for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks. Kits are packed in a sturdy backpack for easy mobility.