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.
Of course, some extreme preppers will settle for nothing less than a military-grade gas mask rated for chemical, biological, and nuclear warfare. While it is true that such masks offer much better protection against nerve agents and similar extremely harmful substances, it's not a likely concern in most parts of the world - and either way, it's doubtful that you would have enough time to suit up once the symptoms kick in.
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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.


For personnel who are flying over large bodies of water, in additional to wearing a survival suit over cold water, a survival kit may have additional items such as flotation vests, sea anchor, fishing nets, fishing equipment, fluorescent sea marking dye, pyrotechnical signals, a survival radio and/or radio-beacon, formerly a distress marker light replaced by a flashing strobe, formerly a seawater still[4] or chemical desalinator kit now replaced by a hand pumped reverse osmosis desalinator (MROD) for desalinating seawater, a raft repair kit, a paddle, a bailer and sponge, sunscreen, medical equipment, a whistle, a compass, and a sun shade hat.
These differences manifest in how the regulators around the globe approach anything from knives to pepper spray - but of course, no topic is more contentious than firearms. The debate about the social benefits and costs of gun ownership is hopelessly polarizing and clouded by emotion; I'm certain that roughly half of the folks reading this document have a very visceral, negative reaction to the very idea that a private person should be allowed to carry a gun - and I do not honestly expect to change their minds.
Say what you want about the "characters" involved in the various episodes, but the bottom line is this - are you prepared? Likewise, do you have any friends or colleagues who you have bounced ideas off to create and assemble your emergency reaction plan? Probably not, is my guess. On the other hand, with these videos, you can extract the good and bad, the essential and non-essential, and develop your own plan. The program presents 2-4 different groups of individuals in each episode with a different crisis focus. For example, some preppers focus on EMP (Electronic Magnetic Pulse) disasters, other focus on the results of an economy meltdown, others on natural and man-made disasters. In any case, the concept each prepper conveys is the Boy Scout motto of "Be Prepared". My thinking is that anyone who watches this series (at least this 1st season) will have a better chance to formulate their own ideas of whether making any emergency plans is worth their while. And if so, it's quite easy to filter through the sometimes odd personalities who've made the show what it is. Thing is, after an emergency, the issue of odd personalities will be a moot point. As they say, would you rather be six months too early or one-day too late in your emergency planing? My thinking is that everyone should analyze their own exposure to disaster (e.g., hurricanes, storm surges, tsunamis, nuclear radiation leakage, earthquakes, floods, and of course the darker concept of whether or not these United States of America will always be acceptably free and that our way of life will never be challenged). In any case, be prepared, patriots.
Still, these extraterrestrial-looking foodstuffs seem to be having something of a moment: For the past four years, Costco has been selling pallets of shriveled vegetables, fruits, grains, and meats that promise to feed a single family for up to a year—and if you’re not a member, you can purchase similar survival kits, many of which boast a 20- to 30-year shelf life, at Walmart and Target. One top seller, Wise Company, saw its sales nearly double over the past four years, reaching around $75 million, according to a Bloomberg Businessweek cover story last November. The company’s CEO, Jack Shields, told me he estimates the industry as a whole generates between $400 and $450 million annually in retail.
The reëlection of Barack Obama was a boon for the prepping industry. Conservative devotees, who accused Obama of stoking racial tensions, restricting gun rights, and expanding the national debt, loaded up on the types of freeze-dried cottage cheese and beef stroganoff promoted by commentators like Glenn Beck and Sean Hannity. A network of “readiness” trade shows attracted conventioneers with classes on suturing (practiced on a pig trotter) and photo opportunities with survivalist stars from the TV show “Naked and Afraid.”

Three is the luckiest number when it comes to prepping. There’s the old saying, “One is none, two is one, three is better.” There’s the Survival Rule of Three which is that you can hang on for “3 minutes without air, 3 days without water, and 3 weeks without food.” And then there’s the approach that in all things survival, you need a layer of three, including food storage.
As you read though this list, I hope you can visualize the number and variety of meals that can be made by mixing and matching the items listed in the kick-start plan.  How about some rice, salsa and canned chicken cooked into a casserole in your cast iron skillet?  Or pancakes topped with canned peaches and honey?  Then there are pinto beans, combined with rice and corn and topped with a bit of Tabasco for a fiesta-style meal.
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.
If there's another powerful and low-cost burglary prevention tool at your disposal, it's being careful not to attract targeted theft. Be mindful of who you invite into your home, who handles your keys, and how much you signal about your financial status to your more distant family, random acquaintances, or strangers parked across the street. If you have children, teach them about the virtues of modesty, too. If you tell them that the thieves will probably take their game console, they may even listen to what you have to say.
In many states, even with an uncontested will, it may take many months for the probate process to be wrapped up. If you are the sole provider for your family, make sure that they will have the means to survive in the meantime. The right kind of a shared bank account ("joint tenancy with right of survivorship") can do the trick. There are several other approaches to this problem, too, but they tend to be more dicey from the legal perspective - or more costly and more time-consuming to set up.
A service interruption or a fuel crisis that takes your cooktop out of service for a week or two is the other hardship perhaps worth worrying about. It's not just about eating well: in an emergency, the ability to boil water is one of the best methods of making it safe to drink. While the owners of rural homes with 500 gallon propane tanks may have little to worry about, the rest of us would not be having fun. For those who cook using municipal natural gas, a simple backup is a small, countertop electric burner, costing about $15. Conversely, for people with electric ranges, a portable camping stove ($13) and a handful of dirt-cheap 1 lb propane tanks ($4 at any hardware store) can be a safe, no-hassle choice. A pound of propane can boil around 12 gallons of water; the entire setup is also very easy to put in a backpack if you ever need to leave - so it's basically worth getting either way.
I giggled about your reason for not including wheat berries. I agree that many have few or no backing skills or how to make flour but…. I like the idea of wheat because if it is properly stored it can last 30 years and when I first started prepping I told my self that I wasn’t looking for a part time job rotating short lived stock. With my first 5 gal buckets of wheat (from a farmer friend) I also got a manual flour mill. Lots of fun and good exercise. I make some version of whole wheat bread every week. (Don’t want to be heavily invested in prepping and not know how to use what I got!) One season we had a complete wheat failure so I picked up a couple of buckets of soybeans. Another learning curve but eventually made pretty good bean dishes. Question for you and yours, during general internet research I found some articles on Trypsid inhibitor (TI)in beans and how it could be a real problem. Most of the articles appeared to be aimed at telling farmers to not feed soybeans directly (with out some processing) to pigs – in time it can kill them. The TI is neutralized when sufficiently heated. So the hours of boiling beans would take care of this condition but it doesn’t answer questions like:
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.

The irony of this didn’t escape me: While I’d been drawn to freeze-dried food as a convenient way of preparing for a cataclysm that may never come, there I was, toiling away for hours in the kitchen to prepare a dish I’d be eating that night and the next day. It was the most fortifying meal I’d eaten all week, and a minor achievement: Thanks to the premeasured portions and easy-to-follow instructions, I’d learned how to make a chicken pot pie from scratch.
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.
After 15 minutes, I was startled to discover that the cereal had puffed up into a Kashi-like multitude of grains, flecked with tiny pieces of apple, complete with green peel, that looked just-chopped. It didn’t taste as good as it appeared: Eyeballing a fourth of the bag had resulted in a poor distribution of seasoning, yielding a flavor I can only describe as water laced with traces of cinnamon and sugar, though subsequent attempts tasted better.
Ask a financial advisor about the possibility, and they will probably recommend keeping some of your funds overseas. But the odds aren't great of correctly picking a currency with more staying power than the one in which you get paid. Historically, the Swiss franc had a reputation for being an exceptionally safe choice, in part because of being the last major currency still quasi-pegged to gold; but Switzerland abolished this requirement in a referendum in 2000.
Based on this crude but honest assessment of the general public's affinity for the common bicarbonate, you'd be surprised by how much survivalists are into it (#2 on the list of "things for preppers to hoard"). They must expect some pretty serious hankerings for tasty leavened baked goods, or they have extensive phobias about the funkiness of their nuke survival backup plans.
Handguns. This category encompasses a wide selection of small, lower-powered firearms that can be easily carried without attracting attention. Most have a fairly modest stopping power, so-so ballistics, and require quite a bit of practice to accurately hit anything more than 10 yards away. A telling statistic is that in shootouts, the police have a hit rate somewhere between 10% and 30%; contrary to what some gun control supporters claim, an average policeman does not get that much practice, and probably trains less than your typical gun enthusiast - but these numbers are still something to keep in mind.
People who carefully and painstakingly prepare for mass extinction don't exactly seem like the type of people who plan great parties. At least, with those vast collections of guns, ammo, and other terrifying armaments, I certainly hope not. Then again, I suppose everyone will need a drink or 10 to get through the inevitable horrors of forever navigating the "what's for dinner" question without Seamless or, you know, realizing that your urban-dwelling family members will probably never arise from the blasted pit of rubble where their apartments once stood.
Above all, the nice thing about it is that camping gear doesn't need to just sit in your closet, collecting dust on the off chance that something bad may happen a decade from now. You can simply grab it and head out for the weekend every now and then; camping is fun, doubly so for kids. It's also a great opportunity to test some of your other equipment, and spot potential flaws in your preparedness plans.
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