For folks interested in getting a nice, compact Geiger counter, Radex One ($120) is pretty hard to beat; it is tiny, inexpensive, and can be hooked up to a PC to continuously monitor the environment (and send e-mail or SMS alerts). The one caveat is that similarly to many other low-cost units, this device maxes out at 1 mSv/h - enough to know that something is very wrong, but not enough to tell if you're going to receive a life-threatening dose in an hour or somewhere within the next six months. In other words, some of the more hardcore preppers may want to invest in a more capable unit, such as ADM-300 (which goes all the way to 100 Sv/h) or RAD-60R (3 Sv/h). Decommissioned military and civilian devices in excellent working condition can be found on eBay for around $200.
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When doing a mixed container, I put the Ziploc bag with various condiments from Taco Bell and other places, salt, pepper, hot sauce soup mixes and lots of things which can be put in the cracks and crevices in there. Also, put in the Ziploc with matches( in a small spice bottle) a couple of boxcutters and a manual can opener. Sam’s had tomato sauce, crushed tomatoes, etc. for three dollars and change per #10 can.
Partly that’s because here (northern moor and heath) ‘living off the land’ is an almost impossibility (SERE trains us how to ‘survive’ in similar places, but crucially only until escape or rescue, but even then that isn’t ‘living’ it’s ‘existing’). I’d guess from (saw and camo) you’re in an arboreal forest area. Life is ‘possible’ there (I’ve spent many a summer in northern Norway/Sweden (I have Sami friends) with nothing but a rifle, knife, axe, saw, fire-starter, water-bottle and tin mug, tarp and the clothes on my back … but that isn’t in winter, and it isn’t when thousands of others may be doing the same thing. Surviving with only what you can carry in, even in a large vehicle, is a short term option at best, I think. (Remember, even Grizzly Adams nearly, would have, died without help and a store to get supplies from).
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.
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%:
Over the years we have had a number of weevil infestations in our pantry. I finally had the county entomologist share with me that they tend to be in most commercially packed grains and that all you can do is to go through what you buy fast enough to keep from having a full weevil life cycle get out and into your pantry. I have heard of your suggestion to freeze flower and have been told that this only delayed the start of the insect life cycle to when you took it out of the freezer. (The implication was that your freezer couldn’t get cold enough to kill them but only make they go dormant.) I am looking for information about generating CO2 to replace the air in your packing containers and this would either kill them or keep them dormant the entire time you ore storing them. I have seen one description of using a coin size piece of dry-ice inside the mylar bags before final sealing. The dry-ice idea would not be available after the event. There has to be a simple lime-stone and acid in a mason jar with a piece of aquarium tubing????? (Looking for details on this!???)
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.
Gale, you’re right about the bug eggs. I know it’s a little skeevy to think about but *nearly all* grain products (whole wheat berries, biscuit mix, pasta, cornmeal, anything) already have bug eggs in them. That’s what the dry ice is for; it helps stave off rancidity and it also prevents (ew) hatching! Or you can freeze the items for a week and then store long-term, but that’s a lot more trouble than it sounds like and doesn’t help prolong shelf life.
This obviously means you’ll have to balance your use of redundant items with your carrying capacity. However, you can address both of these competing forces by trying to bring along items that serve multiple purposes. This way, you aren’t really bringing items that are duplicates of each other, but you still benefit from having some backup options. For example, duct tape is often included to repair clothing or camping gear, but you can also use it as a band-aid in a pinch. Safety pins are another good multi-purpose supply, as they can be used for clothing repairs, bent into fishhooks or used to sew up a wound if need be.
About a month after I left meetup 2.0 at Pizza Hut, former attendee Garland Fitzhugh called to tell me it’s become more of an ‘eat-up’ than a prepper meetup—fair, considering there’s been no local calamity to keep the survivalist group on its toes. Allen emails meeting suggestions to a prepper listserv, asking them to focus on prepping situations they can actually influence. He may as well type in Wingdings. A former Navy technician, Allen spent most of the meeting on his phone; his ears only perk up when Andrew: says something about naval intelligence that piques his interest. “I try not to do that too much,” he tells me later.
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 think in addition to dry beans, rice and such, that I would have some home canned versions of these in case water is at a premium. Beans, rice, quinoa, etc., require lots of water, and if it is in short supply you are going to be in trouble. Having HOME canned versions of these will mean that until water is more readily available, you can eat and have protein available to you. I’ve heard of others ‘canning’ water, too!
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.
Finally, when prepping for food, meticulously keep an eye out for coupons. This may mean that you purchase dozens of beans one week and tons of rice the next. However, if you set yourself a budget of $10/mo and max this out as much as you can, you will soon see your food supplies growing. That would be $120 worth of seeds, food, and canned goods that you could have at the end of the year. We’ve said it a number of times already, but preparing even a little bit at a time is better than nothing at all.
Most preppers don’t actually have bunkers; hardened shelters are expensive and complicated to build. The original silo of Hall’s complex was built by the Army Corps of Engineers to withstand a nuclear strike. The interior can support a total of seventy-five people. It has enough food and fuel for five years off the grid; by raising tilapia in fish tanks, and hydroponic vegetables under grow lamps, with renewable power, it could function indefinitely, Hall said. In a crisis, his SWAT-team-style trucks (“the Pit-Bull VX, armored up to fifty-calibre”) will pick up any owner within four hundred miles. Residents with private planes can land in Salina, about thirty miles away. In his view, the Army Corps did the hardest work by choosing the location. “They looked at height above sea level, the seismology of an area, how close it is to large population centers,” he said.
I am still fairly new with prepping. This site and the emails have helped me to focus. I also have many prepper friends. I don’t buy store eggs any more because so many people have them for sale. I want to get chickens, but the town where I live does not allow them. I am more organized now than I was a year ago. One thing I’ve done was buy the little book Live on Wheat, which is also about beans and sprouts. I do have wheat and a mill, but I want to develop the lifestyle as well as gather the “stuff.”
This is true, Kat. Babe, it doesn’t even need to be a true crisis… There are lots of times your stash will come in handy. Unexpected company. Your kid telling you the night before the bake sale that he needs 3 dozen brownies to take to school the next morning. You get out of work late and are too tired to make a grocery run. Everyone in the family gets the flu and you can’t get to the store. The list goes on but the point is that you should be rotating, using and enjoying your stash as part of normal living. A cookbook you might find useful is “The Prepper’s Cookbook” by Tess Pennington. Lots of ideas for setting up your base stash and great recipes too.
When walking around town, keep scanning your surroundings and be mindful of people around you. If your spidey senses are tingling, just bail: make a sharp turn and sprint away. Don't worry that some random dude closing up on you at night might be perplexed or offended by your move. Don't freeze up if somebody hollers or authoritatively barks an order at you - complying is a very powerful instinct, and some assailants know to exploit it.