I used to focus only on preparing for earthquakes and other natural disasters. That changed in 2011 when I went to my first protest, an Occupy Oakland action, with a medic bag. I didn't know yet that I'd be out there for hours, so I didn't have supplies I consider basic now — food, caffeine, extra smokes, insoles for my combat boots. I didn't know how aggressive the police would be, and the handkerchief around my neck was more for a punk look than medical necessity. I hadn't received formal training to be a street medic; I just happened to know first aid and CPR and wanted to help. I carried a 15-pound bag on my back, full of medical supplies, mainly gauze and tape but also things like tourniquets that I hoped I wouldn't have to use. I was scared — I'd had rubber bullets shot at me the night before — but I was determined to drop off water to the protesters and make sure that people had sterile supplies.

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.
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.

I can't claim to have good advice for people who are already in a tough spot: if your household earnings are well below median, you may simply have no disposable income to build a personal safety net. But for most other folks, the ability to prepare for the zero-income contingency is well within reach - and it would be unwise not to give it a go. Sure, even a lifetime of belt-tightening won't make the average middle-class family fabulously rich. But rainy-day funds work in a different way: their purpose is to get you through a rough spell, not to pay for a mansion or a fancy car. Since the amount needed is directly proportional to how much you currently make, it makes relatively little difference if your household brings in $70k or $140k a year. Either way, if you set aside 10% of every post-tax paycheck, you should have a 6-month financial safety net established within 3 years and a change.
I rotate my storage a lot and used it last year when my husband was laid off. What I found is that I prefer smaller cans because I usually don’t need larger sizes. We have three kids left at home at this point. We still only cook for 5 people, one meal at a time and if you are in a situation where you don’t have refrigeration you may not want to have to store the large can leftovers.

This military food solution is a prepper favorite. These prepper food storage containers obviously come filled, and are one of the preferred grab-and-go solutions for many mobile kits. MREs were first served to soldiers in 1980 and have been appetizing and disgusting servicemen ever since. I find it odd how polarizing these little packs are and have met people that can’t stand them and other that love them. I always found that the included Tabasco sauce makes any of them easy to hold down. They are designed to have approximately 1300 calories each, broken up into 55% calories from carbs, 35% from fat, and 15% from protein. MREs are pretty resilient, with a shelf life of 3+ years at 80 degrees Fahrenheit. At 60 degrees they last over 10 years. They are meant to be mobile and lightweight, which makes them great to include in bug out bags and get home bags. You can grab and go with the best of them with an MRE- no need to set up camping stoves or scrounge up utensils. The included heaters, utensils, and condiments come in handy because the entire contents is encapsulated in a pouch. If you don’t need these items, some MREs are available without the chemical heater at a lower cost. The heaters are pretty neat, and work when one ounce of water is added to the pouch holding magnesium iron. This makes the water boil, and heats up all the chili mac you put next to the heater. Many MREs are sold to civilians without heaters due to shipping regulations, so it is best to have another way to heat them up if that is the case with yours. Even if the MREs you get do include heaters, it is always best to have a backup plan anyways. You can buy a case of twelve MREs with heaters online for relatively cheap:
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.
Don’t despair. This is your ultimate guide to becoming a prepper, complete with some assessments to help you figure out where you’re at right now, and the steps you need to take to get to where you need to be. Best of all, this is a guide that doesn’t require you to drop $11,298.36 (aka big bucks) today to become prepared in one fell swoop. Many of these to-dos are absolutely free!
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.
The very curious consequence of fractional-reserve banking was that it pulled new money out of thin air. The funds were simultaneously accounted for in the statements shown to the depositor, evidently available for withdrawal or transfer at any time; and given to third-party borrowers, who could spend them on just about anything. Heck, the borrowers could deposit the proceeds in another bank, creating even more money along the way! Whatever they did, the sum of all funds in the monetary system now appeared much higher than the value of all coins and banknotes issued by the government.
If a crisis persists for a long enough period of time, it is very difficult to have an extended comprehensive food stock pile. Having the ability to grow vegetables is a great supplement to your stored foods. Be sure to have varieties that do well in your area, in your soil, and that you know how to grow. Have seeds for medicinal herbs and flavorful spices as well.

Barbara – I know what you mean. It is easy to become both overwhelmed and disorganized at the same time. The nice thing about the list of 20 items is that you can purchase them all at once or one item a week. Then you can set them aside and at least for the short term, consider your food shopping done and move on to the gear or the next major task on your preparedness to-do list.
If you’re one who needs to make some adjustments, that’s okay. Look at these suggestions and add the things you’re missing. It’s easy to take a basic storage and add the essentials to make it livable, but it needs to be done. As I did the research for my cookbook I wanted to include recipes that gave help to families no matter what they had stored. As I put the material together it was fascinating to discover what the pioneers ate is the type of things we store. But if you have stored only the 4 basics, there’s very, very little you can do with it. By adding even just a few things it greatly increases your options, and the prospect of your family surviving on it. As I studied how the pioneers lived and ate, my whole feeling for food changed. I realized our storage is what most of the world has always lived on. If it’s put together the right way we’ll be returning to good basic living with a few goodies thrown in.
We thought about the generator / gas dilema for our filled 2 freezers, and decided to start our venture into solar with generating enough energy to run those. So far so good.We know that as long as we can run them for 12 hours a day, the food inside stays well frozen and safe. New England winters are cold enough at night that it keeps the garage cold where the freezers are, so thats a help. If we only open the freezer long enough to take out enough food for a few days, they can thaw in the fridge and that helps too. I love my freezer, lol.
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 .
My family fashioned an outdoor kitchen under a shed in our backyard with a simple gas stove that we got free, along with a laundry sink, through Craigslist. We have a propane tank from a gas grill connected to the stove and a connection for a water hose for the sink. We even found an old kitchen cabinet for storage and counter space. Throughout the summer, I use our outdoor kitchen for canning parties, picnics and cookouts. This outdoor kitchen is a nice alternative to the heat canning creates in my house. Additionally, I feel secure in knowing I’ll be able to use this kitchen to preserve some of the food from my freezer rather than lose it all during a long-term power outage. 
Having been raised old school. I was taught bout to hunt,fish,live off the land. Bust best of all I am a 5th generation greenhouse grower. Get lots of seeds for a seed vault. Great to use and as barter. Learn how to cook over a fire in any weather.Guns are great but I have black powder, when you are out of bullets, I can make more with ease. Using a bow or snares will bring fresh meet. Teach these things to kids, one day they may save you. Just a few things from a country ridgerunnerme.
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.
Kevin lives in eastern Washington and is prepping his family for a volcanic eruption using multiple bug-out vehicles. We also meet Captain Bill Simpson, who has built a bunker sailboat, made mostly of iron so that he could retreat out to sea in case of a massive solar flare which could send an energy wave, in the form of an Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) which could damage today's technology.

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.
Still, there's a grassroots aspect to it. Big corporations like Walmart and Costco may sell products like the Chef's Banquet Food Readiness Kit, which contains 390 servings of dehydrated meals, but there are scores of online retailers aimed specifically at the prepper demographic: Doomsday Prep, Practical Preppers, Wise Company, and The Ready Store, to name only a few. Notably, the majority of online stores like these either sell their own branded guides or offer them for free.
In addition to this list, may I refer you to the Weston Price Foundation and the book Nourishing Traditions? These two sources will help us to decide on the healthiest versions of all these foods; the end goal is to remain healthy and nourished so that we can enjoy all these things we store! Thanks for the article–it set my mental wheels to turning 🙂
For Mike Mester, civil unrest is just around the corner and he aims to get everyone ready; Colorado computer programmer Preston White has collected over 11,200 types of seeds and plans for biosphere living in a Fukushima-irradiated future while friends Shane and others provide supportive help; Riley Cook spends his days working close to home and with the prepper society building underground structures.
"Over the years I've found Jim's advice on his blog and other books to be sound, practical, and budget-friendly. This book continues that same down-to-earth tradition and is an enjoyable read. His writing style is pleasant and conversational, even when tackling difficult subjects, such as how deep to bury a corpse!" -- Lisa Bedford, The Survival Mom (TheSurvivalMom.com)
A get-me-home box. A container always kept in the trunk, small enough so that it doesn't hinder your normal use of the car, but substantial enough to help you survive several days (or cope with other, more prosaic roadside emergencies). The kit should include 1-2 gallons of water, Mylar blankets, rope, and other car supplies discussed earlier in the guide. A collapsible water bottle and a folding daypack can be useful if you have to walk on foot from a broken car to the nearest town. Throwing in some cash - just enough to pay for gas, a meal, a motel room, or a ride home - is also a good plan.
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.
In arctic or alpine areas, survival kits may have additional cold weather clothing (winter hats and gloves), sleeping bags, chemical "hand warmer" packets, sun glasses/snow goggles, snowshoes, a collapsible shovel, a snare wire for small animals, a frying pan, a camp stove, camp stove fuel, a space blanket, matches, a whistle, a compass, tinder, medical equipment, a flint strike, a wire saw, extra socks and a tent designed for arctic use.
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