How many wealthy Americans are really making preparations for a catastrophe? It’s hard to know exactly; a lot of people don’t like to talk about it. (“Anonymity is priceless,” one hedge-fund manager told me, declining an interview.) Sometimes the topic emerges in unexpected ways. Reid Hoffman, the co-founder of LinkedIn and a prominent investor, recalls telling a friend that he was thinking of visiting New Zealand. “Oh, are you going to get apocalypse insurance?” the friend asked. “I’m, like, Huh?” Hoffman told me. New Zealand, he discovered, is a favored refuge in the event of a cataclysm. Hoffman said, “Saying you’re ‘buying a house in New Zealand’ is kind of a wink, wink, say no more. Once you’ve done the Masonic handshake, they’ll be, like, ‘Oh, you know, I have a broker who sells old ICBM silos, and they’re nuclear-hardened, and they kind of look like they would be interesting to live in.’ ”
It is worth noting that many personal finance experts advise against hand-picking your investments. Instead, they advocate a process known as "indexing": buying into an investment vehicle comprising hundreds of stocks, structured to represent the stock market as a whole. The proponents of indexing have a point: most people who try to pick individual winners in the stock market usually fare no better than an index fund. But in the context of prepping, I think this is advice is flawed. To remain calm in tumultuous times, it is important to maintain a firm grasp of the merits of your investments. One can convincingly reason about the financial condition, the valuation, or the long-term prospects of a paper mill; the same can't be said of an S&P 500 index fund - which, among other things, contains the shares of about a hundred global financial conglomerates.
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.
Check dried goods: rice, flour, grains – frequently for bug infestation. You can mix food grade diatomaceous earth in with dried goods and it will kill pantry moths and weevils. It is safe for humans and pets (as long as it is food grade). It works by shredding the exoskeletons of any soft bodied bug. It is used in grain silos to keep bugs from infesting grain. You can probably get some through a feed store. Some garden centers carry it. You can also order it online, but check the shipping cost. Pantry moth larva and weevils can squeeze through some very tight fitting lids. We’ve been fooled often by them.
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.
There is also a more utilitarian way of looking at it. From an individualistic, survival-focused point of view, the social costs (real or imagined) are basically moot: if you live in a place where guns are readily available to criminals, it's hard to think of a violent confrontation where not owning a firearm would put you at an advantage. There is a body of fairly compelling research showing that defensive gun uses happen in the US at a rate of somewhere between 500,000 and 1,500,000 times a year, with almost all confrontations resolved without firing a single shot. The inherent dangers of owning a firearm are often overstated by gun control advocates, too: unintentional injury or death due to having a gun at home is surprisingly rare.
And what better place to prepare than the Ozarks? Strafford got 47 inches of rain last year; the mean temperature was a mild 59 degrees. The Springfield Plateau has a 200-foot-deep aquifer for when rainwater gets scarce. The region is largely insulated from natural disasters—save the odd tornado or benign rumbling from the Bootheel’s New Madrid Fault Line—and the low population density of like-minded folks means preppers, survivalists and homesteaders get left alone. A Lebanon real estate agent tells me remote acreage is an increasingly hot commodity for city dwellers eager to go native. Conversations with locals and time spent on survivalism forums reveal a religious cohort who believe the Ozarks are God’s country—sacred ground upon which one can wage a last stand against the sins of a rapidly globalizing world.
It takes just a single downed power line to knock out your furnace, AC unit, cooktop, refrigerator, and to make the lights go out; and when such an outage happens due to a larger-scale natural disaster, repairs can easily take days or even weeks. We think of fuel as a more dependable resource, but if 1979 is any guide, you only need one well-timed revolution in the Middle East to make it nearly impossible to fill up a car in some parts of the United States. Of course, such events are usually inconvenient, not disastrous, so it's perfectly fine not to dwell on them in your plans. At the same time, it doesn't hurt to take a closer look at what's at stake - and what the potential solutions may be.
Stocking a survival kit is a very personal procedure. Your life may depend on your choices at some point, so you’ll want to ponder the potential disasters you may face and do your best to assemble the items that will help you survive. But, if you start with the items listed above, add in those which will address your personal needs and carry them in a sensible container, you’ll likely keep yourself alive and return home with a great story.
Tim Chang, a forty-four-year-old managing director at Mayfield Fund, a venture-capital firm, told me, “There’s a bunch of us in the Valley. We meet up and have these financial-hacking dinners and talk about backup plans people are doing. It runs the gamut from a lot of people stocking up on Bitcoin and cryptocurrency, to figuring out how to get second passports if they need it, to having vacation homes in other countries that could be escape havens.” He said, “I’ll be candid: I’m stockpiling now on real estate to generate passive income but also to have havens to go to.” He and his wife, who is in technology, keep a set of bags packed for themselves and their four-year-old daughter. He told me, “I kind of have this terror scenario: ‘Oh, my God, if there is a civil war or a giant earthquake that cleaves off part of California, we want to be ready.’ ”
Some people carry both, but most choose one or the other. Multi-tools are nice for everyday utility like opening a bottle or fixing a screw on your sunglasses. There are tons of great options from popular brands like Leatherman and Gerber. But as in most things, the 80-20 rule applies here, and you’ll find that you won’t use most of the features in the extra-gadgety options and should avoid the unnecessary weight.
Some products are no different than a normal box of mac and cheese: you boil water in a pot, mix the packaged product into the pot, turn the heat to a simmer, cook, and serve. Others are as simple as pouring boiling water in the pouch and waiting a few minutes. In some cases, the water doesn’t even need to be hot (although flavor and texture is better if it is).
The whining and crying of the rich cowboy whose ears were damaged due to the lack of firearms training and precautions with proper hearing cover--absurd. This was the episode which ended it for me. No thanks. The person teaching self defense? Erm... in theory, great. But who honestly believes an out-of shape person is going to be able to defend against a well-trained, fit and armed attacker? Or two? Some of these people need to get their reality checked.
Shotguns. Long, heavy, large-bore weapons with tremendous stopping power, variously firing one large metal slug or a swarm of high-energy pellets; less-lethal rubber batons are also sometimes used for crowd or animal control. Aimed as easily as rifles, but because of the less ergonomic shapes of projectiles and their lower velocities, the effective range of a shotgun doesn't extend far beyond 100-200 yards. In places such as Australia or the UK, buying a shotgun is subject to fewer restrictions than other types of firearms.
Some preppers look at all of the potential work involved in finding coupons, price matching, finding sales, etc., and get overwhelmed. Yes, there is a lot of money to be saved on accumulating a stockpile with coupons, but the work might hardly seem worth the difference. Depending on your financial situation, this could be true, if there were not a secret: coupon blogs. There are dozens of couponing blogs out there that match current coupons to current sales promotions at most major stores. Some of these are specifically prepper websites, but there are many more directed towards housewives, college students, etc. Do some research and find a coupon blog that is tailored toward your desired products and your desired stores. Yes, you will still need to find the coupons on your own, but you can usually get someone else to do all of the research for you, making couponing for your stockpile a no brainer.
There are many other ways to get returns on your capital, but most are associated with limited liquidity or significant outlay costs. One well-known exception are publicly traded companies. Businesses usually go public because they want to expand their operations - say, build a new factory or hire more workers. Instead of getting an expensive loan, they put themselves up for sale, allowing people to purchase and trade fractional ownership in the company. The investors' willingness to pay for this privilege depends on two factors: the intrinsic value of the enterprise (its assets, debts, operating profits) and the "hype premium" - the faith in the company's long-term prospects and the health of the entire industry. For some companies, the intrinsic value is modest, and the premium is huge; their shares are usually subject to violent price swings on even seemingly minor macroeconomic news. For other, less exciting businesses, the situation may be the opposite.
Gadget upgrades. If your older phone, laptop, or a TV set are still working fine, keep them for another year or two. Sure, it's fun to play with a new toy, but the excitement wears off quickly, and being a bit behind probably won't make your life feel hollow and pointless. All things considered, you are not impressing your friends that much by showing them that you had $500 or $1,000 to throw away.
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:
Buckets are great! We have some with regular lids. Some, that we would open frequently have the Gamma Seal lids. (These lids allow you to have a screw-on, airtight lid on the opened bucket, rather than having to pry off the bucket lid every time you need to access the food.) #10 cans are also good. Go to www.providentliving.org and look up food storage, then find information on the LDS Home Storage Centers. BTW, you do not need to be LDS to buy food there.
If you find yourself in trouble and forced to walk to a local town or service station, you’ll want to be sure you have a small amount of money to help solve problems and allow you to get back home. You needn’t bring along thousands of dollars, enough to pay for a hotel room and some food is probably adequate. Be sure you convert your funds to local currency if you are traveling abroad. Always keep paper money in sealed plastic bags to protect it. You may even consider using a pre-paid debit card or a credit card in your survival kit, instead of cash.
For habitual snacking in front of a computer or a TV, see if you can substantially reduce calories while still sticking to satiating and tasty treats. This can be easier than it sounds: say, helping yourself to a nice serving of salted popcorn (110 kcal), preparing a cup of buttery mashed potatoes (110 kcal), grabbing some quick oatmeal (130 kcal), or sipping some hot instant chicken soup (50-80 kcal), is an excellent alternative to Cheetos, M&Ms, or even supposedly healthy peanuts (easily 600-800 kcal). If you enjoy pickles or raw sauerkraut, they are extremely low-calorie, so have as much as you want; in the same vein, carrots are a pretty guilt-free choice. Chewing gum can keep you occupied between meals, and if you are downing multiple cans of sugary drinks a day, artificially-sweetened sodas offer a good alternative.
“Methamphetamine is 95 percent addictive the first time you try it,” Pense likes to say. “My gardening system is 100 percent addictive.” Pense gardened all his life, but when he moved to Springfield, the rocky Ozarks soil stumped him. “I discovered that you can buy land here and not get any dirt with it,” he says. So he experimented with gardening out of an 8-by-8 foot sandbox, mixing sand, compost and fertilizer. The plants grew, and with them, the idea for a raised-bed gardening system complete with top-notch soil that would enable people around the world to grow their own food.
If there's another powerful and low-cost burglary prevention tool at your disposal, it's being careful not to attract targeted theft. Be mindful of who you invite into your home, who handles your keys, and how much you signal about your financial status to your more distant family, random acquaintances, or strangers parked across the street. If you have children, teach them about the virtues of modesty, too. If you tell them that the thieves will probably take their game console, they may even listen to what you have to say.
Tupperware: Sealable plastic bins have changed the world. If you are prepping food for your weekly meals, or transporting food to a friend’s house, plastic storage bins can get the job done. They are dirt cheap these days and are very easy to use. While they can leach, stain, and scratch, as long as you use it for short term storage as intended they are nearly unbeatable.
Religion, however, has everything to do with survivalism—there are things about your faith that affect the way you live, Fletch says, offering me an example. “Today, a great deal [on the menu] was the special you had,” he says. “Every one of the specials had pork in it. Well, depending on your belief system and where you’re coming from, Dan, you could’ve made several decisions about me.” He’s right; I could’ve thought he assumed the breakfast was on me, so he ordered the most expensive dish on the menu. And those assumptions, he says, can break up a group. “If 99 percent of the people in your group don’t eat pork, and you bring in some person eating a ham sandwich next to you, that’s going to cause some conflict.”
One final item that you may want to consider adding to your kit is a “cheat sheet.” A cheat sheet should include any information that may be of value in a survival situation. This may include first-aid procedures, a list of geographical references for navigating without a map, instructions for tying various knots or a list of edible fruits in the area. You’ll likely want to print out such a list and then have it laminated to protect it. However, it will be easier to pack several small cards rather than a single large card, if your list ends up being rather long.