That's probably about it... well, all right: this section focused chiefly on the immediate consequences of an outage, but a severe fuel crisis or a long-lasting power grid failure would have profound, cascading effects on the entire economy - probably including out-of-control unemployment, high inflation, product shortages, and more. That said, these are the outcomes we can already prepare for by other means. As for extreme preppers who aspire to long-term energy self-sufficiency, I think it's going to be a difficult feat: even with a solar installation, under constant cycling, the batteries may not last much longer than 5 years. Short of finding a cheap Soviet RTG on eBay, they may simply have to adapt to living without electricity or gas.
I buy dry beans and can them myself. I know it sounds like a lot of work but its super easy and MUCH cheaper than store bought canned beans. I tend to have some empty canning jars so to keep as many full as possible I fill the empties with beans and have even canned water. An empty jar is just taking up space and provides NOTHING. The dry beans are good for long term and the self-canned are great for quick meals. The best of both worlds!
Plastic Bottles: With a little bit of cellophane, you can turn a two liter bottle into a great way to store rice, beans, sugar, or other pourable items. You will just need to make sure it is clean and thoroughly dry. Wash out the inside with dish soap and hot water. Add a few drops of bleach and then rinse it out and set it out to dry. Check that it is truly PET plastic by checking for the small PET triangle on the bottom of the bottle. When you fill it, put in an oxygen absorber half way up to help improve the shelf life even further. Two liter bottles hold a fair amount of food and are not as heavy as a five gallon bucket, which can make them easier to handle.
Only buy preps that you use on a regular basis. I have heard of people throwing away their old out-dated food storage because they can’t give it away to the food bank since it has expired. There is a psychological factor if it looks old and not as appetizing as the new stuff then most of us won’t eat it. I have a friend that was diagnosed with a terminal illness. After the diagnosis, she was very particular about what she would put in her body. All expired foods were given away and who can blame her. Rotating your short-term food storage and not buying extras of the things you don’t eat regularly can keep you from wasting money.
All right. Financial systems are messy. Fiat money and fractional-reserve banking, although wildly successful, can fail in interesting and horrific ways. Foreign trade, neglected here but absolutely vital for most European countries, adds even more variables to the mix. So, let's talk about what can be done to protect your rainy-day funds against some of the most likely or most talked-about risks.
Lastly, this list is primarily for Sheltering in Place and the requirements/resources the average person would be able to lay their hands on. This doesn’t take more extreme climates into consideration but should still provide a base regardless of where you live. For other lists you can check out our Resources page. For something more specific to the Bug Out Bag checklist, click here. Also this list is going to be missing the specifics of the amounts because each family or individual is different. So without further ado, here we go.
Use mylar bags when storing bulk items. After about four years the pinto beans started growing mold. It was hard to get the stink out of the bucket even after using bleach. I didn’t have a mold problem with my black beans or other food just the pinto beans. I trashed them and bought more storing them in the same bucket. After two years they became moldy again. I now use one-gallon mylar bags to help:
Be in this for the long haul. Effortlessly losing 1-2 lbs per week while slowly developing better habits is far more meaningful than starving yourself for a month to get immediate but short-lived results. Get an accurate bathroom scale, take daily measurements first thing in the morning, calculate key milestones, and put it all in a spreadsheet to keep yourself honest and motivated. It will probably take 6-9 months to get the outcome you want; daily or weekly weight fluctuations are almost completely meaningless, but you should be seeing a consistent and predictable biweekly drop.
I had one of those terrifying END OF THE WORLD dreams, three months in a row, each a different dream. After the first, I started getting really serious about prepping. After the third, I had an intense urgency to get my preps in order. My prepping began by stocking up on the things we frequently used. We had five meals that we regularly ate so we stocked up on those food items when I first started prepping which was a couple of years before the dreams. After the dreams, I realized that having some food wasn’t enough. I needed at least a year supply of food, water, light/heat, first aid/hygiene supplies, protection supplies, communication supplies, and a financial plan. I also wanted to become self-reliant in all of these categories.
There's 1 small thing and 1 large thing that, for me, saved it from being a 1 star. First the small thing, the mention of herbs and spices - I think this may be an item that many people forget about, but can make a poor situation go from "surviving" to "doing good". Secondly, the section on entertainment and education - I think this is an oft-overlooked aspect that will actually be very important, and again will affect whether one just survives or thrives.
Unfortunately, some outdoor enthusiasts find themselves being threatened by nefarious people or dangerous animals. This leads some to keep a weapon or self-defense tool in their survival kit, in order to be better prepared for a worst-case scenario. Your self-defense tool may take the form of a knife or gun, but be sure to consider less-than-lethal items too. This would include things like stun guns, pepper spray, and telescoping batons. Just be sure to follow all local laws and regulations before packing any type of weapon or self-defense tool in your survival kit.
See our review of over 70 of the top portable survival water filters for bug out bags. Because even though water is critical, at more than 8 pounds per gallon, it’s not practical to carry enough to last more than a day — which means you need to be able to make safe water from whatever you can. We break down the best picks (only $25!) and how to use a mix of filters, purification tablets, soft canteens, and hard bottles with filters in your kits.
Now I am obviously a big fan of couponing, but it can come at a price. One of the classic dilemmas about couponing is whether or not to use a coupon on a brand-name item, or to just buy the store-brand item. This decision will almost always be circumstantial. Sometimes, the store-brand item will be a better deal than the brand-name plus coupon. If you are new to couponing, it can be quite frustrating, as it seems like you are spending more money than you did before just to get all of the deals. This may be true, and it may cause you to want to switch to store-brand items. While this is not always a bad idea, as inexperienced couponers can end up spending a lot of money, make sure you do the comparison to find the better deal. Also, always remember, particularly for a stockpile, that timing matters! The store-brand may be the better deal this week, but next week might be double coupon week, meaning you could get that item for free next week as opposed to paying a little for the store-brand this week. Doing your research on a case-by-case basis and remaining patient are keys for amassing a completely free stockpile.
What is your physical ability? Are you and your spouse able to lift a 50 gallon garbage can full, in case you have to move it? Not everybody can do it alone easily. I met a person who was physicaly strong, but she had days her hands couldn’t open anything because of a chronic sickness. Another one, very strong also, but his back was fragile sometimes.
I’m sure I sound like a tin-foil hat wearing paranoid but … this isn’t some worst-case-scenario (return of an ice-age), this has occurred repeatedly over the millennia, is a ‘predictable’ event (possibly/probably) heading right our way. We’ve already seen the early effects but a ‘decades long’ cooling with massively disrupted agriculture and widespread droughts’ could be on the way (estimates vary from 5-15 years).
Most break-ins are purely opportunistic: thieves are in and out within five minutes, quickly rummaging through all the places where people usually keep valuable stuff. You can bank on them going through every nook and cranny of your bedroom, looking under the mattress, peeking into every drawer - and grabbing everything that looks shiny and is easy to lift. Their usual targets include phones, cameras, tablets, laptops, jewelry, firearms, loose cash, checkbooks, credit cards, and prescription meds. Vital documents that may be useful for identity theft or benefits fraud, such as drivers licenses, passports, and SSN cards, are also a fair game.
For folks who want to focus on the most plausible risks, I suggest stockpiling dry survival rations to last around 2-3 weeks; seven 3,600 kcal packets per person should do the trick. That may sound like a lot, but keep in mind that it may take a while for stores to reopen after an earthquake or a flood - so it's not a bad plan to play it safe. And while eating ration bars for a week sounds bland, you may be in no mood for home cooking when you have to fix a collapsed roof and the utilities are cut off.
Freeze-dried food is nothing new. As early as the 13th century, the ancient Quechua and Aymara people of Bolivia and Peru pioneered a form of the process by exposing potatoes to the freezing temperatures of the Andes overnight, then drying them in the sun. In 1937, Nestlé used industrial technology to create the world’s first freeze-dried coffee, and in the 60s and 70s, the US military shipped freeze-dried food rations to the troops in Vietnam.
Sooner or later, you may find yourself unable to access your bank deposits for a couple of days or weeks. It could be a matter of IT trouble at your bank, of a lost wallet, or of being a victim of identity theft. Heck, take Greece or Cyprus: when the confidence in the nation's financial institutions is shattered, it's easy to get caught up in government-imposed bank closures and withdrawal controls. (Folks in the United States may also recall the forced closure of Washington Mutual in 2008, or several state-level "bank holidays" imposed to combat bank runs during the savings & loan crisis back in the 80s.)
Water is truly the staff of life, without it, you will die in just a few days. Assume that for whatever reason, your taps won’t work – there is no water coming into your home. What else do you have? Do you have bottled water somewhere? Did you know there is about 50 gallons of water stored in your water heater? There’s also a few gallons in the tank of your toilet! If you have an outside water source – such as a lake, creek or storm drain – do you have a way to filter it? Your first goal with water should be to be able to provide your family with 2 weeks worth of water and a way to continue filtering found water after that. Here is a great place to start learning about water.
Great article. Very informative and insightful. I also think learning how to store the right food most especially for leaner times is very important. For me canning is the best way to store food. But make sure that you can your food the right way. It is also a proven fact that canning as a way of storing and preserving different kinds of foods has been done since the 1800’s.
To get it right, make a list of all your emergency gear, along with expiration dates where applicable. Next, go through the list marking all the "stays home" stuff - the supplies that are impractical to haul around or not particularly essential when evacuating. Make sure that all the tactical gear - such as flashlights, fire extinguishers, first-aid kits, and self-defense weapons - are in a logical and easily reached place. For the remaining "stay home" items, just find an unobtrusive location, stow them away, and write the spot down in your spreadsheet.
Time and time again I’ve seen families buy all of their wheat, then buy all of another item, and so on. Don’t do that. It’s important to keep well-balanced as you build your storage. Buy several items, rather than a large quantity of one item. If something happens and you have to live on your present storage, you’ll fare much better having a one-month supply of a variety of items than a year’s supply of two to three items.
(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.)
Biking on public roads? Wear a helmet and bright-colored clothing, stay well clear of the doors of parked vehicles, move in a straight line instead of weaning in and out of the traffic, and watch for cars trying to make right turns. Scan for cross traffic at intersections and signal all turns. Don't run red lights - it's not worth the seconds shaved off your commute. Don't ride without holding the handlebars; it makes you look very hip, but when you do that, a single rock or an unnoticed pothole can throw you right under the wheels of a passing bus.
An American hedge-fund manager in his forties—tall, tanned, athletic—recently bought two houses in New Zealand and acquired local residency. He agreed to tell me about his thinking, if I would not publish his name. Brought up on the East Coast, he said, over coffee, that he expects America to face at least a decade of political turmoil, including racial tension, polarization, and a rapidly aging population. “The country has turned into the New York area, the California area, and then everyone else is wildly different in the middle,” he said. He worries that the economy will suffer if Washington scrambles to fund Social Security and Medicare for people who need it. “Do you default on that obligation? Or do you print more money to give to them? What does that do to the value of the dollar? It’s not a next-year problem, but it’s not fifty years away, either.”
It used to be that dashcams were prohibitively expensive; but today, the prices start at $50, so it makes sense to give the devices a try. I can recommend Rexing V1 ($100), but there are countless other options to choose from. The bottom line is, if you own a car, it's probably the most affordable and meaningful liability insurance policy you can get.
Above all, the nice thing about it is that camping gear doesn't need to just sit in your closet, collecting dust on the off chance that something bad may happen a decade from now. You can simply grab it and head out for the weekend every now and then; camping is fun, doubly so for kids. It's also a great opportunity to test some of your other equipment, and spot potential flaws in your preparedness plans.
The funny thing about freeze-drying is it’s kind of an exception to the rule. Removing all the water from a floret of broccoli, for example, doesn’t turn it into something new; it simply transforms it into a slightly lesser version of itself. “Once you change the physical structure of something by drying it out all the way,” Allen said, “the texture is never really the same.”
Coffee and Tea. I am a dedicated coffee drinker and hate the thought of a coffeeless existence! One pound vacuum sealed bricks are the most convenient way to store coffee, they stack well or can be kept in plastic totes efficiently. Tea is another good source of caffeine, and I love a cold glass of iced tea on a hot day. Remember that in a true crisis, you may have to maintain 24 hour watch, and caffeine is a big help in this.
The fallout threat tends to be overblown, too. For one, air bursts, which are preferred because of their improved blast radius, do not produce that much of it; far more tends to be released during nuclear power plant meltdowns or ground bursts. In any case, whatever gets kicked up in the air can travel hundreds of miles before settling down. So, in the aftermath of an incident, getting indoors and sealing your home should be your first instinct. Basic respiratory protection can help, too.
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.
20. Mini LED Flashlight and Extra Batteries. Okay, this is a cheater item. It is not food but it is all important and so it will not hurt to stash a miniature flashlight or two along with the edibles in your food storage pantry. My top pick of the moment is the Blocklite. This thing just goes and goes and goes plus, it does not take up any storage space.
You might also check if there is a local cash and carry…that’s a business which sells wholesale to other business/restaurants. You can buy bulk there for almost wholesale prices. They will have bulk items of many things in addition to other items like paper plates, napkins and you get the idea. If you can find a place which sells bulk, then ask your favorite store to special order. Who knows, you might get it cheaper that way. BTW: Gaye, next time you’re on the mainland near Mt. Vernon, check out WINCO for those bulk items.
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.
Again, the reason we tend to look sideways at those who get a little too into prepping for an apocalypse is because of their smug optimism. People actually being realistic about a dangerous future would be better served joining the military or ingratiating themselves with high-level government officials than agonizing about a little mouth scuzz or foot fuzz, right?
Ask a financial advisor about the possibility, and they will probably recommend keeping some of your funds overseas. But the odds aren't great of correctly picking a currency with more staying power than the one in which you get paid. Historically, the Swiss franc had a reputation for being an exceptionally safe choice, in part because of being the last major currency still quasi-pegged to gold; but Switzerland abolished this requirement in a referendum in 2000.
It doesn’t really matter which political side you are on during this. The heat and confusion and shock is felt by both equally. Driven by a ravenous news media that feeds on ratings, every nook and cranny is probed to the greatest extent possible and conflict is intentionally sought after and indulged in. Every last scrap of meat on the bones of democracy will be picked away.
Do people buy them? Sure they do. Sales aren't the goal, though. The idea here is to induct people into a lifestyle, because these same people sell things like wilderness survival courses, subscriptions to survival food delivery services, tools and weapons, and vitamins. Prepping is big business, with Yahoo! Finance reporting that as many as 3.7 million Americans identified themselves as "preppers" in 2013, fueling demand for a multi-billion dollar industry.
Mason jars are versatile glass jars that are widely available and commonly used for food storage. They have been used for over a century, so you know they are tried and true. You can store dry goods in mason jars or you use them for canning. To use them for dry storage, just load it up with the rice, beans, sugar, or whatever you are storing up to about ½ and inch from the top and then put in an oxygen absorber. Always use a new lid when you store food in a mason jar so you can get a good seal. Put the lid in hot water to soften the seal ring. Then pull it out and thoroughly dry it and screw it down tight on your jar. Using jars for canning is a whole process on it’s own. If you are interested to learn how to preserve food using canning, you should pick up the Complete Book of Home Preserving, the highest rated canning book on Amazon. You will want to store mason jars in a dark closet, since the jars are clear and do not block light. Use sturdy shelves when storing mason jars because the weight can add up very quickly. If you use wooden shelves, you can make your mason jar storage more secure by tacking a strip to the front of your shelves to create a lip. Even if you are not in an area that sees earthquakes often, it is best to be safe with your food storage. You don’t want to create an avalanche of mason jars on accident, and the lip can help prevent this. As another precaution to prevent broken mason jars everywhere, it is always better to build more shelves than to stack mason jars- don’t rely on those slippery glass bottoms!
Me? I’ve a hyper insulated home, ground-loop (in the house and green-house) and a trench filled with lots of coal but if it is coming, and it is as bad as the last few times … you’ll need masses of food storage (cold hardy, quick growing crops, a method to manage in a colder climate … or to move south) and there’ll be a disastrous/apocalyptic die-off. Food and water (less as so much will be tied up in ice/snow and changing weather patterns causing, as historically, widespread droughts) and insulated clothing, protection for farm animals and feed will be worth more than gold.
Read up on the safety rules pertaining to your weekend hobbies and to your daytime job; ask others about their horror stories, too. Be very careful around select power tools, such as chainsaws, table saws, angle grinders, lathes, and nail guns - they have quite a penchant for taking fingers off and eyes out. (Table saws in particular are responsible for about 30,000 serious injuries annually, or about 40% of all workshop accidents.)
If you must take regular medications for a medical condition, you’ll likely want to pack an extra set in your survival kit. You’ll need to discuss the issue with your doctor if you require prescription medications, but don’t forget about over-the-counter medications you may need too. For example, if you often suffer from heartburn, you’ll likely want to add some antacids to your survival kit. Similarly, if you have allergies, you’ll want to pack extra antihistamines, and you may even want to include an EpiPen if an anaphylactic shock is possible.