Finelli sits across from me at the food court picnic table inside the Sam’s Club on Sunshine Street, where he requested we meet. The retired computer systems designer-turned–radio show host and homesteader has salt and pepper hair, wears a plaid shirt and jeans and carries a .45-caliber automatic firearm on his person (he won’t say where). Below his strong jawline hangs a leather bag full of crushed sapphire, meant to enhance his overall health.
In the mid to late 20th century, prepping was born in the wake of Cold War fears. People learned about strategies from books and in-person meetings and communicated in Ham radio chains across the country. Since the turn of the century, though, the internet and the rise of reality television that glorifies survival challenges have contributed to a nationwide surge in prepping. The base of hardcore preppers has grown considerably, but the businesses that have traditionally supported them are seeing massive growth as large proportions of average people buy supplies from outdoor and camping stores, freeze-dried food suppliers, and gun and self-defense companies. There is even a new class of retailers, like Emergency Essentials, that have been able to thrive solely due to the “prep-shopper” category.
Catastrophes do occur with regularity—think Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, and Sandy, to name a few—and when they do, there's much to be said for having your own preparations in place as opposed to relying completely on government intervention and large-scale relief efforts. People do fall through the cracks, and working out ways to take your fate into your own hands is a useful exercise in self-reliance.
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.
Only a small percentage of those with high blood pressure are salt sensitive and need to limit their intake. For those without high blood pressure or without that sensitivity, salt is not an issue. This is one of those media maintained myths, such as “eating eggs causes clogged arteries” and “low calorie low protein high sugar diet is great for you”.
In all the years I’ve worked with preparedness one of the biggest problems I’ve seen is people storing food and not knowing what to do with it. It’s vital that you and your family become familiar with the things you are storing. You need to know how to prepare these foods. This is not something you want to learn under stress. Your family needs to be used to eating these foods. A stressful period is not a good time to totally change your diet. Get a food storage cookbook and learn to use these foods!
With the rules internalized, you are extremely unlikely to cause unintentional harm. Keep practicing at least twice a month until you get good, and then go to the range at least several times a year. Try to use practice ammo with lead-free primers and clean bullets (e.g., RUAG Copper Matrix, Magtech Clean Range, Winchester Super Clean, Federal Ballisticlean, Remington Disintegrator, Federal American Eagle TMJ, Federal Power-Shok Copper) and avoid tracking lead residues from indoor ranges back home - especially if you have small kids. Always wear hearing and eye protection, too.
Effective preparedness can be simple, but it has to be rooted in an honest and systematic review of the risks you are likely to face. Plenty of excited newcomers begin by shopping for ballistic vests and night vision goggles; they would be better served by grabbing a fire extinguisher, some bottled water, and then putting the rest of their money in a rainy-day fund.
We have our core. They’ll buy. Cyber Monday is usually the big day for us, but it’s not as huge as you might think. It’s not like Amazon, you know what I mean? When the weekend is over, they’ll do over $10 billion or something. They’re so huge now! But yeah, there have always been ups and downs, business cycles. If we get a Democrat in 2020, business will pick up for us tremendously.
Somewhat counterintuitively, saving money is not just about cutting down expenses; seeing a higher balance on a checking account tends to instinctively make us less frugal, too. To counter this trend, I found it helpful to set up a small, daily transfer to a savings account, in an amount that blends in with daily purchases - say, $10 or so. This method takes much less planning and mental discipline than trying to make one big deposit every month. And hey - when you are comfortable with $10, you can painlessly test the limits by gently ramping the amount up.
Dennis McClung and family show their backyard food production system known as the Garden Pool; Lisa Bedford (The Survival Mom) takes urban preparation to a new level in preparing for a financial collapse; The Kobler and Hunt families combine forces in order to ensure food production through an economic collapse. David Kobler and Scott Hunt are the owners of the Practical Preppers company that provides the expert evaluation in latter episodes.
Around 2011, Finelli sat in the waiting room at KWTO ahead of his radio appearance. He was there to spread the gospel of preparedness to family and friends who he thought needed to know. It was his first time on-air. He was nervous. Springfield pain specialist Dr. Norman Shealy noticed Finelli’s angst after he finished his own radio spot and gave him a few drops of Air Bliss, an essential oil blend he developed to calm the nerves. The remedy worked, and Finelli began wearing his new friend Norm’s sapphire crystals around his neck.
Business for Hardened Structures, an engineering firm based in Virginia Beach, is up roughly 40% since 2005, co-owner Brian Camden says. Some of his clients buy gold and silver and other precious metals as a hedge against a possible collapse of the currency, and they want to be able to protect it and their families, he says. So his company designs ways to build underground bunkers, strengthen walls and improve security systems on homes.
By January, 2015, Johnson was sounding the alarm: the tensions produced by acute income inequality were becoming so pronounced that some of the world’s wealthiest people were taking steps to protect themselves. At the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Johnson told the audience, “I know hedge-fund managers all over the world who are buying airstrips and farms in places like New Zealand because they think they need a getaway.”
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.
Testers felt Soylent beat Tsogo on flavor. However, the Tsogo line has a lot of products, such as fruit and vegetable powders and boost packs (protein, caffeine, energy, green tea), so it’s worth checking out. This might be a line of products you want to work into your regular life, so cycling through your supply before it expires would make the shelf-life less of a concern.
Your emergency medicine book will go into more details about setting bones, applying splints, or even doing field amputations with a knife and a saw. But even just to deal with a sprained ankle, a folding cane ($14) may be good to have somewhere in your stash. Beyond that, bandages are useful for improvising splints; in areas where improvisation may be difficult - say, in the desert or up in the mountains - portable folding splints ($10) can be handy, too.
Plastic Bottles: With a little bit of cellophane, you can turn a two liter bottle into a great way to store rice, beans, sugar, or other pourable items. You will just need to make sure it is clean and thoroughly dry. Wash out the inside with dish soap and hot water. Add a few drops of bleach and then rinse it out and set it out to dry. Check that it is truly PET plastic by checking for the small PET triangle on the bottom of the bottle. When you fill it, put in an oxygen absorber half way up to help improve the shelf life even further. Two liter bottles hold a fair amount of food and are not as heavy as a five gallon bucket, which can make them easier to handle.
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).
All in all, it's OK to reject armed self-defense (or shun guns in particular) on religious or moral grounds - but doing so is probably not a particularly rational decision within the scope of this guide. From a rational standpoint, you should always pick the tools that are best suited for the scenarios you anticipate (provided that the state allows you to). Of course, a firearm is not always the answer, so let's take a broader look at some of the most popular options for shooing away looters or defending yourself:
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.
In addition to the dangers of poor financial planning and the ever-present specter of unintentional injury, another threat we should reckon with is becoming a victim of a crime. Although the risk is not as pervasive as the challenges discussed earlier in this chapter, it still earns a distinction as one of the things that many readers will almost certainly have to face at some point in their lives.
We have our wheat, rice, oatmeal, sugar, beans, etc. in 5 gallon FOOD GRADE buckets. Make sure they are food grade. Our local Winco grocery store sells them. We make sure at least one bucket of each thing has a gamma seal lid on it. If you take the regular lids off and on and off and on they will eventually break then you have a bucket. The gamma seal lids have a screw on/off lid. Never stack buckets with gamma seal lids more than two high. Regular lids can be stacked three high. I know people who stored wheat in 55 gallon drums then found out they had to move. HUGE MISTAKE. We disinfect the buckets with apple cider vinegar then let them air dry before putting food in. We’ve been doing this for 40 years.
I first read this article two years ago, and started laying in the suggested items over a period of several weeks. Reading other articles on this site led me to start stockpiling water, vitamins, and personal-care items; I also took on a second part-time job to add to my emergency savings account. Unfortunately, I lost my full-time job several months ago with no warning and am still job-hunting, but I’m not worried about it. This experience is so much less stressful with a fully stocked fridge, freezer, and pantry, the aforementioned other supplies, and plenty of cash in the bank. Only a few family members know that I prep…everyone else can’t figure out why I’m so calm. Thank you, Gaye!
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.
Some of The Prepared’s experts use and love Soylent in everyday life. But there are plenty of people who dislike the taste, and one of our taste testers compared it to oat batter. The Natural flavor was the best received, followed by Cacao. Almost all of the testers didn’t like the Nectar flavor, saying the scent reminded them of perfume, and the flavor was strong and unpleasant.
Get at least two good-sized ABC fire extinguishers (5-10 lbs or so) and keep one in your bedroom. Learn how to deal with oil fires, don't stockpile excess flammable materials, and be very careful when pouring flammable liquids near open flames. Be smart about where you put space heaters and candles, and don't smoke in bed. Water your Christmas tree and use LED tree lights. Unplug devices with lithium-polymer batteries when leaving home. Don't put grills next to siding-clad walls and don't overload extension cords. When cooking, stay in the kitchen or set a timer to remind yourself that the oven is on.
It is critical that you be able to control your environment in an emergency. The place to start is your home. If you live in an area where it gets very cold in the winter (as in you HAVE to run a heater to survive) then the most critical thing for you is going to be able to heat your home – or rather a section (at least one bedroom) of it. You’ll want to have a kerosene heater to keep a warm spot in your home. Here’s a good place to start learning about heating your home in an emergency.
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.
And now, there are Democrats. Fear of the Trump administration is largely responsible for an urban and liberal renaissance within prepping; left-leaning Facebook groups and urban survivalism YouTube channels brim with freshly paranoid Americans who attend the same expos, talk the same shop and wipe with the same bulk supply of toilet paper as the conservatives who voted the other way. That said, I met no openly liberal preppers in Springfield.
Of course, everybody has some non-perishable food around the house, but it's much better to create a dedicated stash: this way, you can count on the supplies always being at hand, and you can stockpile something more nutritious than stale crackers, a suspect bottle of olive oil, and a rusty can of tomato sauce. With a well thought-out stockpile of ready-made food, it's also a lot easier to hit the road.
You can figure 25-30 years storage life for hard red wheat, stored at 60 degrees in a 55 gallon drum, using 1 pound of dry ice to drive out the oxygen (wait 24hrs for the dry ice to “melt” before sealing the drum). 400 pounds of wheat per drum equals 400 man-days of calories, and costs you about $100. Fill 3-4 barrels. It’s Cheap insurance. Add a barrel of Winter Rye for variety. Add a barrel of oats. Then a couple barrels of WHITE rice, and 2-3 barrels of pinto beans. (You need the beans to balance what’s missing from the grains. The beans may be harder to rehydrate after 10-12 years without a pressure cooker, but then you just grind up the dried beans, and bake them in your bread.) For around $1000, you can be prepared to feed your family for close to a decade, if you also garden, keep chickens, and have fruit trees and bushes. Honey is way too expensive to store on a dollar/calorie basis, but consider bee keeping. A drum takes up LESS than 2’X2’. And they stack nicely, at 33” tall. In a 2’X10′ strip along a basement wall, you can have 10 barrels with 4000 pounds of food. Hang a peg board in front of it, and you’ve got very useful space. If you can’t spare that much space in your basement, to protect the lives of your family, think Venezuela .
This is someone who has embraced the preparedness lifestyle with gusto. These preppers have supplies, knowledge, and skills but are seeking to fine tune their preps with advanced strategies for survival healthcare, living off-grid, and coping with civil unrest. They actively share their own personal experiences with others and offer tips and help other prepper-types learn and grow. I consider myself to be a Dedicated Prepper.
My one consideration/recommendation. Consider ‘splitting’ your bag. I carry ‘the essentials’ in a ‘belt-kit’ (packed in the top bag for easy immediate donning, never to be taken off) – the very basic items I ‘must’ have at all times if SHTF (if you get separated from your bag). The rest is in a(n) (unnoticeable in city street/office) duffle/shoulder bag that is configurable to change to a ‘normal rucksack’ (with waist-belt too) – as someone who has carried many loads you will ‘really’ appreciate that ability if you must carry for any length of time.
As for the appropriate calorie intake: almost all adults can function normally on 1,500 calories a day for extended periods of time, although they will slowly lose weight (probably not more than half a pound a week). If you are skinny or if you're aiming for surviving many months with no access to other food, budgeting 2,000-2,200 kcal per day is a safer bet. Since you would have to exercise portion control, it pays to focus on satiating foods: high-fiber, high-protein, or high-fat.
Another popular pick are bolt-action rifles, including Remington 700, Winchester 70, Ruger Hawkeye, and Ruger Precision Rifle. Although there is a lot of variety, many are chambered for larger cartridges ideal for hunting big game (from .243 Winchester to .50 BMG) and are more suited for long-range shooting. For home defense, overpenetration becomes a significant concern.
When I visited Johnson, not long ago, at his office on Park Avenue South, he described himself as an accidental student of civic anxiety. He grew up outside Detroit, in Grosse Pointe Park, the son of a doctor, and he watched his father’s generation experience the fracturing of Detroit. “What I’m seeing now in New York City is sort of like old music coming back,” he said. “These are friends of mine. I used to live in Belle Haven, in Greenwich, Connecticut. Louis Bacon, Paul Tudor Jones, and Ray Dalio”—hedge-fund managers—“were all within fifty yards of me. From my own career, I would just talk to people. More and more were saying, ‘You’ve got to have a private plane. You have to assure that the pilot’s family will be taken care of, too. They have to be on the plane.’ ”
At the same time, it's not entirely crazy to worry that in some circumstances, the response may not come quickly enough; heck, the Department of Homeland Security says that for the first 72 hours after a disaster, you may be on your own and should have enough supplies to survive. The odds of ending up in a real pickle may be modest, but the stakes are extremely high - and compared to the complexity of preparing to some other contingencies, the cost of stockpiling some drinking water is practically nil. If nothing else, when a calamity strikes, you would have one less thing to worry about.
If you just need to cover one person for two weeks in the cheapest way possible, you can buy one bucket for $130 and stretch the 27,330 total calories an extra day or two at 1,900 calories per day instead of the usual 2,275. Or buy two buckets for the cheapest way to cover two people. But we’d recommend a minimum of two buckets regardless, even for one person, just for redundancy and the unexpected.
Oh, one more thing: when trying to reform your fiscal habits, it can be useful to think of money as a unit of debt owed to you by the society, awarded in exchange for your hard work (or as a consequence of some other fortuitous event). Despite the popular saying, when allocated wisely, that money can buy you safety, comfort, influence, or true friendship and happiness. It would be foolish to squander it on trinkets - just as it would be foolish to take it with you to the grave. My advice is simple: make every transaction count.
Just because we are all gonna die does not mean we need to eat junk …. ditch that high carb and super processed junk food. There are many choices of decent food out there … particularly the foods packed by Mormon canneries. Do a google search for where to find the best deals. Really, get rid of the raman noodles, progresso soups, spagetti-o and other junk … you’ll have enough problems living through SHTF without killing you gut microbio ….
Nail your studs together in lengthwise pairs at a 90-degree angle to form braces. This makes them stronger. Then run three or four braces horizontally across every door, hammering the nails from above and below directly into the frame at a 45-degree angle. If you drive them straight in, they're easier to pop out when somebody kicks the door. Use more braces to secure the drywall over the windows. Try to use longer nails and leave a couple inches of each nailhead sticking out for easy removal. — Clint Carter
Some preppers advocate "hardening" the perimeter of your home. The returns on this investment will vary; for example, high-security locks and reinforced doors may be worthwhile in high-rise apartment buildings, where the front door may be the only way in. For single-family homes, the burglars will probably not bother with the locks at all; forcing open a bathroom window takes much less work. Tall fences and locked backyard gates can help, although their benefits are limited in rural areas or in shady neighborhoods.
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.
Since then, the direction has been inauspicious. In January, 2016, after increasing military tensions between Russia and NATO, and the Earth’s warmest year on record, the Bulletin set the clock at three minutes to midnight, the same level it held at the height of the Cold War. In November, after Trump’s election, the panel convened once more to conduct its annual confidential discussion. If it chooses to move the clock forward by one minute, that will signal a level of alarm not witnessed since 1953, after America’s first test of the hydrogen bomb. (The result will be released January 26th.)
I love my bread machine and hope to use it as well although I do know how to bake traditional bread too. I just baked my first loaf of bread using home-milled flour. I made a 100% whole wheat bread and used a powdered egg plus some vital gluten. It was a bit more dense than normal – I should have added more water to account for the extra gluten (4 TBL). Still, it was quite delicious 🙂
113. Solar cooker/oven – Solar cooking has been around for hundreds of years. They are amazing and you really can cook with the sun, though it does take some patience, think of them as a slow cooker. A proper solar cooker can easily reach degrees of 300F so cooking should be no problem! And what more abundant energy source do you need as the sun. All that is needed is the sun & optimum weather. Here is a solar cooker ready to go. Or you can build your own. Here is a DIY solar cooker from an old satellite dish:
5. 20 cans of Meat. Chicken, tuna, shrimp, salmon, Vienna sausages, beef stew and yes, even the ubiquitous Spam will satisfy this requirement. Did you know that you can even purchase canned roast beef? Again, let your taste and budget guide you – there is lots to choose from. UPDATE: If you are looking for some long lasting but all natural, non-GMO canned meats, check out Wertz’s meats here. You can also read our recent hands-on review.
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.
Even though I have a good start on my food pantry, it is always a good idea to look at others ideas. I had not thought of bulk pancake mix. I am a single person and got a great deal on Bisquick shake and pour ($1.00 each) I bought 2 dozen! I don’t really care for pancakes on a regular basis but once in a while… That all being said, I did purchase a vacuum sealer and have made good use of it. I also have a large dehydrator and visit the farmers market often for goodies to dehydrate and seal. When I have purchased these 20 items, I am then on to other needs such as shelter, etc. I have a lot of camping gear but not a good tent if I should have to vacate. Thank you Gaye – keep up the good work.
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.
Individual pouches: For this use-case, we prefer packages where one pack equals one meal or serving. Pouches are easier to store, can often be used to cook the meal without any other utensils, are more portable, don’t need a can opener, can be traded, and so on. No. 10 cans, which are like big coffee cans, are great for staple ingredients like flour or corn.
Actually, the intent of the article was to help readers put together a starter cupboard of food storage items. I wanted things to be simple and uncomplicated without regard to how many mouths these items will feed for “XX” amount of time. So many online food storage calculators are way too overwhelming to deal with. Most of my readers need and want a starting point or simply a list they can go through to check against their existing food storage inventory so that they can fill in the gaps.
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.
I will not stock PAncakes because they are water wasteful. You hydrate something just to boil it off. Also I don’t need the sweetness. Raw, organic honey has enzymes helpful for cuts though. A good medicinal vector I think. NOT for eating. The single most helpful SHTF thing you can do is eat well and get your appetite down before the fact. Eat light to heavy and don’t eat when you are not hungry EVER. Yesterday I only ate one meal and even then not really cause I was hungry but kinda for fun. IT was two potatoes. I had the energy to get shit done all day because I eat veggies when I need to eat. And I take my vitamins: Vitamin A! Vitamin D! And Vitamin K! The holy trinity of eye health, mental health, bone/teeth health and everything else.
3. The water will slowly filter through the charcoal and drip out of the cap. Put a bandanna or another cloth over the hole to filter out any bits of charcoal. (If you’re experiencing intestinal distress—and you very well might be, since your body goes into different kinds of shock in these situations—eat a little bit of the charcoal. It’ll help bind you back up.)