Here are just a few choice gems from The Prepper Journal's 11 Ways A Condom Can Save Your Life: starting fires (they're great at protecting tinder from moisture), hunting for food (sexiest slingshot ever!), and transporting up to two liters of water (yes, rule 34 applies; no, we won't provide the link). They also make serviceable stand-ins for rubber gloves and can be used to protect the muzzle of your other essential survival tool (killing it right now).
Cigarettes will also be hugely useful for starting fires and saving coals (as any fan of post-apocalyptic literature knows, this is of great importance). The filters can be used to clean water, although you'll need the patience of Stephen Baldwin to pull it off. If you do manage to live for longer than a few weeks without plumbing and Internet, you'll be able to protect your budding prepper garden by soaking cigarette butts in water and spraying the resulting chemical-laden tobacco juice on your produce. This is a technique already in use by people too impatient to wait for the apocalypse, though it is ironic and entertaining that they consider using cigarette-butt sludge a "natural" way to ward off pests.
By the 19th century, many European countries moved on to a more flexible model where coins were made out of cheaper metals, and banknotes were printed on paper or cloth. To encourage the use of these new instruments and to establish their value, the governments promised to freely exchange such intrinsically worthless tokens for a predefined amount of gold. In other words, as long as people had faith in their rulers, the fundamental mechanics of this new representative currency remained roughly the same as before.

Only suggestion I’d make is for #8 Develop a communications and transportation plan: Add a get home bag to your vehicle or in your office. If you can’t do that, at least have a small every day carry bag that has a few essentials to help you get home if you have to go on foot. I’ll always remember the videos on the news about the hordes of folks walking out of NYC and have to wonder how many of them had more than just a small purse with them. I have GHBs in both cars and another one at my office in case I can’t get access to my car. Just small backpacks with some food, blankets, small first aid kit and a few sundries. Vehicle GHBs add small camping stove and fuel tablets as well as tiny tent and disposable mylar sleeping bag plus a small supply of silver dimes in case I can’t use cash and need to buy my way home.
Legacy Foods 120 Serving Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner Bucket is a great option for vegetarians or people who want more of a bland foundation that you mix with other ingredients. For $299, one bucket covers two people for two weeks at 1,500 calories per day. Although other companies drop the calories to cut costs, Legacy assumed you would add more ingredients to their base, so we thought the relatively low calories per day was acceptable.
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.
Paracord: It’s so handy that many preppers wear a bracelet made of braided paracord that can be pulled apart and used as a normal 20-foot line in an emergency. Some bracelets are just the paracord, others have tools like a compass or whistle built in. If you don’t want to wear it on your wrist, you can tie it to your purse or bag as an accessory. We don’t yet have a specific favorite here, so just shop around.

Tools may include cutting tools such as saws, axes and hatchets; mechanical advantage aids such as a pry bar or wrecking bar, ropes, pulleys, or a 'come-a-long" hand-operated winch; construction tools such as pliers, chisels, a hammer, screwdrivers, a hand-operated twist drill, vise grip pliers, glue, nails, nuts, bolts, and screws; mechanical repair tools such as an arc welder, an oxy-acetylene torch, a propane torch with a spark lighter, a solder iron and flux, wrench set, a nut driver, a tap and die set, a socket set, and a fire extinguisher. As well, some survivalists bring barterable items such as fishing line, liquid soap, insect repellent, light bulbs, can openers, extra fuels, motor oil, and ammunition.


When he gets up to show me about his cabin, Pense stands with the height and permanence of the dignified trees that encircle the property. He doesn’t say “um,” or “well”—the slow, deliberate syllables that emanate from his jowls feel like historical record, perhaps with a sprinkle of Americana, but not quite jingoism. Listening to him talk about his life is like having R. Lee Ermey recite your high school American studies textbook, but gentler.

What you are going to get is a list of 20 items that can easily be purchased at your local grocery store, warehouse club and surprisingly, even online at Amazon.  They can be purchased in one shot, all at once, or you can pick up one item from the list each week over a period of twenty weeks.  The choice is yours.  All I ask is that you consider getting each of the items on the list and that you also consider getting started sooner rather than later.  I promise you that this will be easy.
3) the best part? many of them have something that is not advertised on the Internet: 20-lb paper bags of both red and white hard wheat at an amazing price! No, you can’t #10-can them and they can’t ship them, but if you live in a reasonable drive or a friend is going near one, it’s definitely worth a little effort. Again, call ahead and make sure before going.
As for the remainder of your money, I suggest splitting it across two largely unrelated financial institutions with different risk profiles - say, a big national bank and a local credit union. As long as the deposits are insured by the government (as they normally are in the US and in Europe, up to a per-account limit), this approach greatly increases the availability of your money, and probably doesn't expose you to any substantially new dangers. Keeping all your savings outside the banking system is an option, too, but it's not necessarily a smart choice. With fiat currencies, this move does not truly insulate you from that many longer-term risks, but adds the very real possibility of losing all your funds to fire or theft.
Awesome article. Really useful tool for assessing where I am in the process. And planning the next step. Once again, Gaye, you give us the important information without the fear. Some walk away from the fear and don’t get started. Some, such as me, rush headlong into the fear and then have a panic attack. So the fear is not productive. I appreciate your style.
In theory, both of these systems looked simple and robust. But there was another, somethwat subversive force at play: in the 17th century, many European states have witnessed the emergence of fractional-reserve banks. These private ventures operated according to a simple scheme: they accepted people's money for safekeeping, promising to pay a premium on every deposit made. To meet these obligations and to make a profit, the banks then used the pooled deposits to make high-interest loans to other folks. The financiers figured out that under normal circumstances and when operating at a sufficient scale, they needed only a very modest reserve - well under 10% of all deposited money - to be able to service the usual volume and size of withdrawals requested by their customers. The rest could be loaned out.
This step is imperative, but it is one that a lot of preppers overlook, to their own detriment.  It is absolutely essential for you to know the coupon policies of the stores you frequent. Some stores have a limit on how many copies of one coupon they will accept. Some stores have a policy where they will double any coupon worth less than $1.00.  Some stores have special promotions there they will double all coupons, or triple all coupons, on certain weeks of the year.  Some stores have policies where if you have a coupon worth more than the value of an item, they will pay you the difference, while other stores will not give you anything more than free. You need to know the policies of each store to help you determine which stores have the best deals.  You also need to know when to shop at each store, since you may be able to get a better deal during a double or triple coupon week. This will require some consistent research, but keeping track of store policies can pay big dividends.
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.
Paracord: It’s so handy that many preppers wear a bracelet made of braided paracord that can be pulled apart and used as a normal 20-foot line in an emergency. Some bracelets are just the paracord, others have tools like a compass or whistle built in. If you don’t want to wear it on your wrist, you can tie it to your purse or bag as an accessory. We don’t yet have a specific favorite here, so just shop around.
Thanks for the comment Thomas. Just curious, how do you cook with your dehydrated mushrooms? I like to use frozen vegetables and dehydrate them. Frozen carrots that are cut into the circles dehydrate down to about the size of a pencil eraser. They plump up nice when rehydrated and you can’t tell the difference. Some veggies seem to work better than others.
If you're doing something that's morally reprehensible or socially unwelcome, you are greatly increasing the odds of getting hurt. It doesn't matter if you think it's perfectly legal: if you are a monumental and malicious jerk, a bored prosecutor will probably dream up a felony charge to hit you with. Or perhaps they won't, but one of the people you wronged will lose it and take justice into their own hands. In other words, if you want to escape harm, don't mess with others out of malice, jealousy, boredom, or for petty personal gain.
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