There are those who are born into familial wealth or who display supernatural business acumen. Then there is the rest of us, perhaps having robust and satisfying careers, but ultimately tiptoeing the line between middle-class prosperity and crushing poverty. It may be a matter of our employer going out of business, it may be a shift in the job market, an illness, or a legal dispute - but in all likelihood, it would not take much to send us over the edge. I have friends who lived paycheck-to-paycheck on cozy Silicon Valley salaries of $100k+ a year, only to lose their cars and homes in the midst of the 2007 financial crisis - having found out the hard way that unemployment benefits in the San Francisco Bay Area max out at $450 a week.
...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?
I set to work. My plan was to keep the fringe thinking to a minimum and just provide basic entry-level survival information: ways to purify and store water, what foods worked well for stockpiling, signaling and first aid techniques, methods of cooking without electricity, and so forth. I had no particular survival expertise, but I could regurgitate reliable reference materials as well as anyone else.
I can a bunch of meat. I stock up when its on sale then freeze and when I have a slow day (lol) I thaw it and start canning. It is SO much cheaper than canned chicken or beef from the store!!! I also have a generator for my fridge and freezer so if we were going to be with out power for long my plan is to start canning as fast as possible. You can also dehydrate fruits and veggies that you would normally freeze (berries, spinach, almost anything) but that would need to be done before the outage of course.
The stories of alcoholic beverages historically being safer to drink than unfermented ones are apocryphal at best; however, as any 17th-century sailor would tell you, the addition of some spirits to potable water that's been sitting around for too long will make it much more palatable. Liquor distillation was originally invented in part for medical purposes, and alcohol can be used as a solvent to dissolve medicinal herbs -- and also to knock out patients during good old-fashioned fallout-shelter surgery. High-proof alcohol can be used as an antiseptic, and it does a great job of cleaning wounds and preventing infection.
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.
It is hard learning to garden. I just put in my first huge garden a couple of years ago. One thing that I did learn…. is that there are many different ways to garden. There are many books at the library about different types of gardening and of course the internet has a wealth of knowledge. Everyone of course, thinks that their way is the best. Good luck with the garden.
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.
You just never know what tomorrow will bring, but don’t wait until the time of a crisis to practice some of these skills. Learn to garden, because fresh food is healthier…make it a natural part of your life. Two tomatoe plants can produce a lot of tomatoes! Learn to fish..for fun with the family! Make a mental note of the people around you (or coworkers) who hunt. Learn to milk a cow(I am not kidding). Learn to sew or knit. Learn to cook over an open fire pit…make sure you build a fire pit! These are little things you can do now…without a computer. Hold practice runs with your community with disaster plans. A manual is not going to help you. What you know on a regular basis, will. What good is 20 lbs of rice going to do without knowing how to cook it without a stove or electricity???! It’s not! And for heavens sake, take a first aid class, and invest in a very good first aid kit. That is something you should do anyway.
I don’t have high blood pressure, but am extremely salt sensitive. If I eat a Chinese meal (which I love!), I have to remember to take a couple of potassium tablets afterward, or I will puff up and look like I’ve been on a bender for the last two days! Swollen eyelids, fingers and even toes. Something not working well with my kidneys? Maybe. Hasn’t shown up in any blood work, and the potassium does the trick. So, we have to figure our own bodies out. Let’s be glad we all don’t have to fool around to do that! Good health is a blessing.
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.
Doug Huffman is prepared, teaching techniques for surviving a second depression based upon America's massive debts.; Dianne and Greg Rogers, dedicated parents in Canada, are concerned with future events affecting their home-life; Ed and Dianna Peden ("still living in the 60's"), of Topeka, Kansas are preparing to survive fully underground in their decommissioned Atlas missile silo when doomsday arrives.
“One misconception about prepping is that you’re always thinking there’s going to be some kind of epic disaster,” she told me over the phone from Virginia. “The most common disaster that we prep for, or that happens to us, is a financial problem.” A longtime single mother, Luther said her interest in food storage grew out of a period of “abject poverty” following the 2008 recession. Lisa Bedford, a Texas-based writer who runs the site The Survival Mom, told me she got into disaster preparedness around the same time, when she wasn’t sure if her husband’s construction business would survive the downturn. (Bedford also works as an independent consultant for Thrive Life, meaning that she promotes their products online, and receives a commission on purchases from customers she refers to the company, as well as a discount on products she buys herself.)
Call ahead to the meat dept.of your store and ask them if they can hold suet or fat for you, what days they ate most likely to have it in inventory, and whether or not it has to be special ordered in the quantity you need. You can also ask for meat trimmings as that is the extra fat that gets cut off the cuts being packaged for the sales floor. There’s often a lot of meat attached to these, and you can get them cheap.
Pepper spray. An excellent, temporarily incapacitating weapon - very difficult to resist and capable of buying you just enough time to escape. Works quickly and reliably at distances up to perhaps 10 feet; can also stop some animal attacks. Usually not heavily regulated, making it easy to obtain and carry even in places that frown upon other forms of armed self-defense (but check the laws). Pepper spray becomes less effective in strong wind; there is also some risk of blowback, but this is mitigated in narrow-stream products, such as Sabre Pepper Gel ($18).
While I’m a big fan of mylar bags and 5 gallon buckets, since my family is just two folks (unless extended family make it to the house in an event), I package things up in 1 gallon mylar bags before placing into the buckets. Allows me to open less food at once to the elements. Sure, I have gamma lids to apply afterwards, and the mylar bags I use have ziplock style tops for resealing, but the less I open to the elements at once the better it will last. To further extend shelf life of opened bags, I have a large supply of small silica gel packs that I can toss a few into open dry good bags. Once I finish the bags I can reuse the packs by gently heating in my Sun Oven.
You may be tempted to go for the most lightweight and highest-powered handgun you can find, but you would have to cope with punishing recoil and potentially blinding muzzle flash, so it's not always a good call. In home defense situations, 9mm pistols and .38 Special+P revolvers are probably the sweet spot. There are countless models to choose from, but the bottom line is that you can't go particularly wrong with Glock, Beretta, SIG Sauer, Ruger, Smith & Wesson, CZ, Heckler & Koch, or Springfield Armory.
Vehicular accidents are depressingly common; while defensive driving can limit your risk, the possibility of injuring another person or causing property damage never really goes away. When you are involved in a car wreck in unclear circumstances, or when your statements do not match the words of another driver, video evidence may be the best way to escape criminal charges or to resolve civil claims.
Prepping does represent an element of hope, but it’s a “selfish” hope: that you and yours will be able to survive and make it through because you were ready, even if it’s at the expense of everyone else. There doesn’t seem to be another option, though, when our government itself, with trillions of dollars at its disposal, never seems to be prepared even for emergencies that have high probabilities of occurrence, like Hurricane Katrina’s landfall in New Orleans. Perhaps, as prepping becomes more mainstream, the ideas it brings with it, of self-sufficiency and self-reliance, will provide some positive effect on society overall.
Your cyber-life matters - or at the very least, your bank account password and your credit card numbers do. To avoid falling prey to hackers, keep your software up-to-date, choose decent and unique passwords for all important websites, don't install sketchy freebies, and don't fall for legit-looking but unexpected messages and prompts. When in doubt, just leave the site you were on, do some web searches to understand what's going on, and maybe try again some time later.
Scott and Josh are both hunters and know each other through mutual friends. Scott owns an AR-15, and Josh is thinking of getting one. Both are avid users of Ham radio — amateur radio equipment. This is very common among preppers of all stripes. In the case of any major emergency, whenever SHTF, it is likely that power and phone lines will be useless, the internet will be out of commission and 911 will be overloaded. Battery or generator-powered radio will be all that remains for long distance communication, so being a part of a radio network will be of great importance.
We liked the Rice Pilaf because it had actual vegetable content! Whole peas and large slices of carrot. No other company has this much vegetable content, not even Mountain House. With chicken broth, white rice, and a surprising addition of orzo, this meal was excellent, especially with some of the freeze-dried chicken included in the Premier bucket.
High-sugar energy bars. Grocery store brands have limited shelf life, but several prepper-targeted, Mylar-packed varieties can last 5-10 years. Such products are inexpensive (~300 kcal per dollar), convenient, and energy-dense (~2,000 kcal per pound). On the flip side, they are probably pretty nauseating as your primary food. Imagine living solely off Jelly Bellies for a week.
It pays to be prepared for nasty spills or sanitation emergencies. In addition to some of the tools discussed in earlier chapters, a good starting point is a large box of 13 gallon trash bags ($10-$30), another box of thick, 42 gallon contractor bags ($30), a set of disposable vinyl gloves ($4) plus a pair of tough PVC or nitrile ones ($11), some rubbing alcohol ($6), and a bottle of regular laundry bleach ($3). Rubbing alcohol is an excellent solvent and a rapid-evaporating disinfectant; bleach is a potent, long-lasting biocide and a great odor neutralizer. Oh - as noted earlier, an absorbent sock-style barrier may be useful for containing particularly nasty spills, too.
For hardcore preppers convinced that they may be left with no access to food for a very long time, it would be also important to maintain a robust intake of protein; somewhere around 40-50 g per day is believed to be optimal, although you certainly don't need to observe it religiously. Ready-made protein-rich foods include some energy bars, most dry ration packets, some freeze-dried dinners, canned meat, and military MREs; smaller amounts can be found in some veggies, too. You can also stockpile protein powder - it's bland but relatively cheap ($1 per day). Freeze-dried scrambled eggs, powdered milk, and related products, including long shelf life canned or powdered cheeses and pancake mixes, work well, too. As mentioned earlier, protein and dietary fiber also have a well-established satiating effect, helping you maintain a balanced diet - which can otherwise be tricky when snacking on high-calorie foods. Oh: having some OTC multivitamins may be a good plan, especially to supplement vitamin C.
After three days eating very little vegetable matter, I was thrilled to dig into Thrive Life’s Tuscan Quinoa Bowl, which included a ratatouille-like sauté combining asparagus, zucchini, and diced tomatoes. The cooking process felt kind of like a science experiment— you fry dehydrated garlic bits in oil, then pour in the dehydrated vegetables and seasoning along with a cup of water—but the result actually tasted like something I might cook at home, minus the strangely firm consistency of the vegetables. The following night, I prepared a Chicken Cranberry Pot Pie, rolling out the dough for the pastry, cooking the filling in a slow cooker, and carefully sealing the pie with the prongs of a fork.
Groceries. Try to shop at less expensive grocery stores and try out lower-shelf brands - especially when it comes to commodities such as cooking oil, paper towels, milk, seltzer water, flour, sugar, or salt. Table salt tastes and works the same, whether you paid $1 at Walmart or $15 for a Sherpa-approved Himalayan variety at Whole Foods. Groceries eat up a good chunk of our monthly budgets, so even seemingly inconsequential savings tend to add up very fast.
Buy dry foods, canned goods and peanut butter, then use the oldest on a regular basis and rotate new stock into the pantry. Too many people buy foods that they will only eat when the SHTF and then since you’re not using it on a regular basis, it’s gone or going bad. If however you buy many of the foods you currently eat for SHTF planning then you can eat the oldest food and rotate new stock into your holdings as a routine part of your meals.
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.
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).
This is by no means an exhaustive or comprehensive list of the items available for your long term food storage program. You can tailor your program to your tastes and your budget. Remember the key elements are calories (LOTS), nutritional value (Vitamins and Minerals), storage life, storage space, and flavor. By consulting this list however, you can get a pretty good idea of how to get going on your program.
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.