The communications equipment may include a multi-band receiver/scanner, a citizens band (CB) radio, portable "walkie-talkies" with rechargeable batteries, and a portable battery-powered television. The power supplies may include a diesel or gasoline generator with a one-month fuel supply, an auto battery and charger, extension cord, flashlights, rechargeable batteries (with recharger), an electric multi meter, and a test light. Defense items include a revolver, semi-automatic pistol, rifle, shotgun, ammunition, mace or pepper spray, and a large knife such as a KA-BAR or a bowie knife.

Pense was born in the Dust Bowl during the Great Depression. He was 5 years old when the bombs fell over Pearl Harbor. His food was rationed. He got bronchiectasis during Black Sunday as an infant and “forgot to tell” the Army so he could serve; he stayed in the service until the doctors found out. He’s a product of a generation when people were prepared, not because it was stylish or social, but because it was what you had to do. He tells me all this as his still-strong arm puts another log on the fire, and I can’t help but wonder what the world will be like when resilient people like him are gone. 
The answer to the question of safeguarding your wealth lies in the solution to another riddle: the mechanism by which the society determines the worth of a piece of money to begin with. It's a puzzle central not only to everyday financial planning, but also to any attempts to decipher and meaningfully evaluate countless mainstream conspiracy theories and doomsday predictions related to the financial world.
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.

(For folks who consume coffee or caffeinated beverages daily, and who have near-complete tolerance to caffeine, adrafinil pills can be a viable emergency choice. Adrafinil is a powerful wakefulness-promoting agent with no stimulant properties, and is not a regulated substance in the US and many other parts of the world. Note that daily long-term use carries some risk of liver toxicity and other side effects. Do your homework.)

Edible landscaping provides another potentially important supplement to your storage foods. Instead of planting ornamental trees, plant fruit trees. Instead of ordinary shrubs, plant blueberry bushes. Fruiting vines, blackberries, and things of this nature are great to have around in the best of times, they can be life savers in the worst of times.

You’ll obviously need to tailor your survival kit to the number of people who will depend upon it. If you are going out for a solo camping trip, you won’t need as many supplies as if you are heading out with an 8-person team. The number of people depending on the kit won’t affect some of the items in the kit, but it will affect others. For example, you’ll only need one fire starter, no matter how many people are in your party. By contrast, you’ll obviously need to adjust how many space blankets are included with the kit, depending on the size of the group.

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Folks without a car are at a marked disadvantage, but should still try to put together a 72-hour "bug out bag" - and ideally, keep it somewhere within a walking or biking distance of their home (say, at work or at a friend's place). It's best to keep it light; some cash, 2-4 quarts of water, a 3,600 kcal emergency ration, and a raincoat will be almost certainly more useful than a gun and a collection of throwing knives.

Some preppers have considered ramping up efforts since President Obama's re-election last week, convinced it means the economy will soon collapse in a cascade of debt. Some are convinced Iran or another enemy is developing an electromagnetic pulse weapon that would wipe out the power, communication and transportation grids, rendering useless any device with a microchip.


Rifles. Long, heavy guns, often with detachable magazines housing anywhere from 4 to 30 rounds. Rifles fire high-velocity projectiles capable of accurately striking distant targets - and even a complete novice should be able to hit targets 25-50 yards away. With plenty of practice (and expensive optics), some rifles allow reliable hits at 1,000 yards or so.

Of course, there are situations where prompt medical attention is simply a necessity; for example, although it may be theoretically possible for an untrained enthusiast equipped with an anatomy handbook to perform appendectomy, the odds of the patient surviving are pretty damn low. That said, outside the domain of major surgery, the outlook is not necessarily as grim - so even when professional help is not available right away, not all hope may be lost.
Though its light weight and long shelf life are ideal for navigating harsh conditions, freeze-dried food is probably most famous as a cultural curiosity: Like many Americans, I discovered it in a museum gift shop, gawking at the styrofoam-like ice cream that astronauts used to have for dessert. More recently, I encountered it at a disaster preparedness convention in Raleigh, North Carolina, where smiling, gray-haired preppers manned tables piled with plastic bags full of vegetables, meats, and stews.
When it comes to dangers such as break-ins, fires, or earthquakes, be sure to walk around the house and take note of anything that unnecessarily exacerbates the risk. Perhaps throwing out old junk, reorganizing the contents of kitchen cabinets, adding earthquake latches, or fixing a broken lock would be a better use of your time than ordering space-age prepper gadgets from Amazon.
I called a Silicon Valley sage, Stewart Brand, the author and entrepreneur whom Steve Jobs credited as an inspiration. In the sixties and seventies, Brand’s “Whole Earth Catalog” attracted a cult following, with its mixture of hippie and techie advice. (The motto: “We are as gods and might as well get good at it.”) Brand told me that he explored survivalism in the seventies, but not for long. “Generally, I find the idea that ‘Oh, my God, the world’s all going to fall apart’ strange,” he said.
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