That spirit of self-sufficiency runs through the history of American food culture. Lydia Maria Child’s 1829 manual The Frugal Housewife, one of the first American cookbooks ever published, instructed women to contribute to their family’s finances by making sure no scrap of food was wasted: “Nothing should be thrown away so long as it is possible to make any use of it, however trifling that use may be.” The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints* encourages members to keep a three-month food supply on hand at all times, and even sells dehydrated food products on its official website. This Mormon connection may be why Utah is such a freeze-dried food hub: Of 21 freeze-dried food companies I counted online, 16 were from the state, and Bedford told me she first learned about long-term food storage by reading blogs by Mormon women.
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.
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 I am going through a grocery store gathering survival food, I get some strange looks from people close enough to hear me muttering under my breath as I discount items. Phrases like “not enough calories”, “needs more fat”, not enough carbs”, and the like roll off my tongue frequently. The truth of the matter is that what we consider to be a healthy diet in normal times is probably inadequate in a high stress, very active, crisis situation. There is a reason we like carbs, and fats, and sugars, and that reason is our body needs these things. The human palate developed in times when being physically active and dealing with life threatening events was the norm, and when a steady supply of food was not a guarantee. Hence the urge to get all we can when we can, which leads to rampant obesity in modern sedentary times but is adaptive to survival in harder times.
You can figure 25-30 years storage life for hard red wheat, stored at 60 degrees in a 55 gallon drum, using 1 pound of dry ice to drive out the oxygen (wait 24hrs for the dry ice to “melt” before sealing the drum). 400 pounds of wheat per drum equals 400 man-days of calories, and costs you about $100. Fill 3-4 barrels. It’s Cheap insurance. Add a barrel of Winter Rye for variety. Add a barrel of oats. Then a couple barrels of WHITE rice, and 2-3 barrels of pinto beans. (You need the beans to balance what’s missing from the grains. The beans may be harder to rehydrate after 10-12 years without a pressure cooker, but then you just grind up the dried beans, and bake them in your bread.) For around $1000, you can be prepared to feed your family for close to a decade, if you also garden, keep chickens, and have fruit trees and bushes. Honey is way too expensive to store on a dollar/calorie basis, but consider bee keeping. A drum takes up LESS than 2’X2’. And they stack nicely, at 33” tall. In a 2’X10′ strip along a basement wall, you can have 10 barrels with 4000 pounds of food. Hang a peg board in front of it, and you’ve got very useful space. If you can’t spare that much space in your basement, to protect the lives of your family, think Venezuela .

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).

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.
Seasoned preppers have storage solutions and creative ways to store food and supplies. Some have root cellars, basements, hidden rooms,storage sheds and even underground bunkers. Those who are just starting out always have questions about storage solutions. There are plenty of people who live in small spaces with little room to store a six-month supply of canned food and bottled water with questions about where to keep that much food. One solution is hiding food storage as pieces of furniture! Here are 10 other storage solutions, suggestions and helpful hints in The Essential Preppers Guide to Storage.
In most jurisdictions, to draft a will, you don't need a lawyer; the only skill that comes handy is the ability to express yourself clearly and unambiguously. There are countless state- and country-specific templates available online; in many cases, to carry legal weight, the will just needs to be co-signed by disinterested parties acting as witnesses - or cheaply notarized.
14. Canned Cheese – A little company in Australia, called Bega, makes a wonderful canned cheese that can for a LONG time! The manufacturer says that the shelf life is only 2 years, but canned goods if handled properly can last much longer than that. Here is one prepper who opened them after 13 years, and the cheese still tasted great! Grab some Bega for your next camping trip, and see how you like it, may make a nice addition to your long term food storage plan!

Chances are that you have these foods in your kitchen right now, and you already intersperse them into your menus on a daily basis. I like to have at least – at least – a one month’s supply of these first layer foods. Having a supply that will see your family through at least a month means that a short-term emergency will hardly be noticeable to your family and that they’ll experience very little difference in the way they normally eat.
Per #17: Consider 25 pounds of sugar, even if like me, you don’t use it; it can become like money because so many have a sweet tooth for it. Next: at least the same amount of salt. (I buy sea salt for the iodine within and it’s a mineral all animals need in their diets so it too, can be used like $$. Third: black peppercorns, in past history this was used as money everywhere along the spice routes. Why? Because they have a very very long shelf life without losing potency. Then buy a pepper grinder, coffee/spice grinder and/or a mortar and pestle.
Some Geiger counters can keep track of the cumulative dose for you, but most will simply display the rate at which you are getting exposed - typically in microsieverts per hour (µSv/h) or microroentgens per hour (µR/h; for gamma radiation, 1 R/h ≈ 1/100 Sv/h). To figure out what the reading means, you need to do the math: for example, at 600 µSv/h, you will hit 100 mSv within a week, and 1 Sv within about two months. (The usual background rate from natural sources hovers around 0.1-0.2 µSv/h.)
Bob Kay, a nutritional scientist in Southern California, is prepping for environmental destruction due to massive earthquakes; politician Joshua Wander is preparing for a terrorist attack, teaching others about prepping and stocking up kosher foods (matzos and mre's); Ryan Croft is prepping for a global financial crisis by cultivating alternative food sources like spirulina and earthworms.
Preppers Survive gets quite a few emails each month.  My favorite emails are from newbie Preppers because they have an intensity and an urgency in their comments and questions.  This intense urgency is how I felt when I first started prepping.  I laboriously looked for articles on prepping for beginners.  It felt like it haunted my every waking thought for months.  I have been prepping for eight years and have learned many lessons over the years.  Perhaps a universal lesson I’ve learned is that there is no magic formula!
Because I couldn’t stop wondering what it would be like to actually live off the stuff, I placed an order for Wise’s Seven Day Emergency Food and Drink Supply, a shoebox-size assortment of breakfast foods, entrées, and dehydrated whey milk substitute, in addition to a few other options I’d discovered online. I wanted to know what an insurance policy tasted like.
A service interruption or a fuel crisis that takes your cooktop out of service for a week or two is the other hardship perhaps worth worrying about. It's not just about eating well: in an emergency, the ability to boil water is one of the best methods of making it safe to drink. While the owners of rural homes with 500 gallon propane tanks may have little to worry about, the rest of us would not be having fun. For those who cook using municipal natural gas, a simple backup is a small, countertop electric burner, costing about $15. Conversely, for people with electric ranges, a portable camping stove ($13) and a handful of dirt-cheap 1 lb propane tanks ($4 at any hardware store) can be a safe, no-hassle choice. A pound of propane can boil around 12 gallons of water; the entire setup is also very easy to put in a backpack if you ever need to leave - so it's basically worth getting either way.
Don’t forget a small stash of your favorite comfort foods to store in the buckets also. Like candy, chocolate, coffee, fruit drink mixes (to make OLD water taste better). I also store the left over fast food restaurants tiny packets of (salt, pepper, ketchup, salsa, taco sauces & other tiny things like–shampoos, soaps, etc.) for bartering in the event of a SHTF scenario. Keep it high up or under lock & key from your ever hungry children. Lol
Out in Colorado the local merchants were so up with this that they donated most all the supplies. we created fact sheets, handouts, recipes, Q&A, bring in other experts, maybe even offer door prizes ( we gave ball canning books 8.50 as door prize.) hands on folks prepped cleaned and bag. The extension office gave brochures, and goodies. They were held on Saturdays and were about 4 hours long.This can be expanded in many ways… and look how it’s helping. The folks who have to go to food banks don’t want too but don’t have the tools.
At the same time, it's not entirely crazy to worry that in some circumstances, the response may not come quickly enough; heck, the Department of Homeland Security says that for the first 72 hours after a disaster, you may be on your own and should have enough supplies to survive. The odds of ending up in a real pickle may be modest, but the stakes are extremely high - and compared to the complexity of preparing to some other contingencies, the cost of stockpiling some drinking water is practically nil. If nothing else, when a calamity strikes, you would have one less thing to worry about.

74. Essential oils – Having a good stock of essential oils will be very useful if the system goes down and its hard to find quality medicine. Essential oils are inexpensive and needs no prescription to buy them and can be used for antiseptics, relieve headaches, promote sleep, reduce anxiety, treat wounds, etc … Here is an article on the 25 uses of lavender which is considered the jack of all oils! You will want to have in stock a starter kit of essential oils!
Based on this crude but honest assessment of the general public's affinity for the common bicarbonate, you'd be surprised by how much survivalists are into it (#2 on the list of "things for preppers to hoard"). They must expect some pretty serious hankerings for tasty leavened baked goods, or they have extensive phobias about the funkiness of their nuke survival backup plans.
Still, if you are worried about the situation changing for the worse, repellents such as DEET and picaridin can provide the first line of defense. Beyond that, more radical solutions may include electric bug zappers (especially when coupled with mosquito attractants, such as octenol or lactic acid), permethrin or pyrethrin insecticide sprays (applied to clothes or to the perimeter), mesh jackets, window screens, and bed nets. For crawling insects, borax and diatomaceous earth can act as a deadly barrier, too.
Being from the south, we eat a lot of cornbread, so I would have to add cornmeal to this list. I think that cornbread would be an excellent option for a grid down situation. It’s very simple to make, cornmeal, and water, plus salt or any extra veggies you may have. I would also add dry pasta, and oil, for cooking and seasoning your cast iron. I may have missed this, but what about peroxide and alcohol? But you thought of a lot of things I never would have. Great list!
Few people get beyond storing the four basic items, but it is extremely important that you do so. Never put all your eggs in one basket. Store dehydrated and/or freeze-dried foods as well as home canned and store-bought canned goods. Make sure you add cooking oil, shortening, baking powder, soda, yeast and powdered eggs. You can’t cook even the most basic recipes without these items. Because of limited space I won’t list all the items that should be included in a well-balanced storage program. They are all included in the The New Cookin’ With Home Storage cookbook, as well as information on how much to store, and where to purchase it.
Now, many "true" preppers would tell you to keep mum about your plans, so that in an emergency, you don't have to fend off armies of freeloaders begging for a slice of your meager supplies - or worse yet, trying to take them by force. I think that this attitude is short-sighted; sure, it makes sense not to broadcast your plans to the entire world, and there is no conceivable benefit to posting Facebook selfies with your stash of freeze-dried food or with a pile of cash. But the clear value of convincing some of your friends to start prepping greatly outweighs the distant possibility that one of them will attempt to raid your home the moment the power goes out.
You have to look at the psychology of this. People can justify pretty much anything when they or their children are starving. And I can understand that to a large degree – who could stand to watch their babies suffering?  But if someone can devolve to the above degree just to because everyone else is doing it, the chaos we saw above is only a tiny sample of what could come if people were truly hungry.
Precious Metals – Investigate this for yourself, but I find the arguments and historical track records against fiat currency and the current rumblings of Government wanting to take care of your investments for you very compelling. Gold is easier to transport with the high cost to weight, but you might have problems cashing a gold coin for a tank of gas. Silver is where I have chosen to invest in precious metals.
Business for Hardened Structures, an engineering firm based in Virginia Beach, is up roughly 40% since 2005, co-owner Brian Camden says. Some of his clients buy gold and silver and other precious metals as a hedge against a possible collapse of the currency, and they want to be able to protect it and their families, he says. So his company designs ways to build underground bunkers, strengthen walls and improve security systems on homes.
All in all, it's OK to reject armed self-defense (or shun guns in particular) on religious or moral grounds - but doing so is probably not a particularly rational decision within the scope of this guide. From a rational standpoint, you should always pick the tools that are best suited for the scenarios you anticipate (provided that the state allows you to). Of course, a firearm is not always the answer, so let's take a broader look at some of the most popular options for shooing away looters or defending yourself:
So, let's start from the beginning! Throughout much of the recorded history, the monetary systems of the western world employed so-called commodity money, generally settling on coins minted out of silver or gold. The two metals were favored because of their nearly universal appeal, and because of their inherently constrained, labor-intensive supply. In this system, early prices likely reflected the worth of a particular good compared to the valuation of the coin as a non-monetary commodity. Over time, the exact "melt value" of the coins started to matter less, and the currency functioned as a more abstract medium of exchange - but its precious metal content stabilized the economy by ensuring that the coinage had an inherent and lasting value, even if the issuing state simply vanished from the map.
You can survive several weeks without food, but you won't be having a very good time. Food is costly, its supply is fairly easily disrupted, and it's a resource that the government may be much less inclined to deliver to your doorstep when things go wrong. So, with a variety of reasonable scenarios to worry about - anything from natural disasters to economic downturns - it just makes sense to be able to feed yourself even if you can't buy groceries for a while.
I have a Kindle loaded up with a bunch of K12 text books for just that reason, and with my solar panels and battery packs I’ll be able to keep it running for years assuming it doesn’t get smashed. And it’s a lot lighter than a bookcase full of books if I have to bug out. 😉 Right now I have over 1000 books loaded on that Kindle, everything from cookbooks to prepping to classic fiction to school books and lots in between. Almost all of them are freebies…gotta love the free book come-ons that happen from time to time to boost a book’s stats. I’m shameless about grabbing them when they’re free….
As Huffman, of Reddit, observed, our technologies have made us more alert to risk, but have also made us more panicky; they facilitate the tribal temptation to cocoon, to seclude ourselves from opponents, and to fortify ourselves against our fears, instead of attacking the sources of them. Justin Kan, the technology investor who had made a halfhearted effort to stock up on food, recalled a recent phone call from a friend at a hedge fund. “He was telling me we should buy land in New Zealand as a backup. He’s, like, ‘What’s the percentage chance that Trump is actually a fascist dictator? Maybe it’s low, but the expected value of having an escape hatch is pretty high.’ ”
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.

Wow Gaye. I read all comments, and I see one from “Katzcradul”, so we know you have a very important web site. (I already knew this) I saw one reader loves cheese and crackers when times get rough. Katxcradul has taught me to “wax cheese” for long term storage, and many, many canning techniques. Everyone should subscribe to Katzcradul’s U-tube videos.
My one consideration/recommendation. Consider ‘splitting’ your bag. I carry ‘the essentials’ in a ‘belt-kit’ (packed in the top bag for easy immediate donning, never to be taken off) – the very basic items I ‘must’ have at all times if SHTF (if you get separated from your bag). The rest is in a(n) (unnoticeable in city street/office) duffle/shoulder bag that is configurable to change to a ‘normal rucksack’ (with waist-belt too) – as someone who has carried many loads you will ‘really’ appreciate that ability if you must carry for any length of time.
Of course, everybody has some non-perishable food around the house, but it's much better to create a dedicated stash: this way, you can count on the supplies always being at hand, and you can stockpile something more nutritious than stale crackers, a suspect bottle of olive oil, and a rusty can of tomato sauce. With a well thought-out stockpile of ready-made food, it's also a lot easier to hit the road.

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.


“I was a computer jockey,” he says. “So for example, when you think of press 1, press 2, press 3 on the phone: I built one of the first systems in banking on the East Coast, and I apologize for that.” Finelli’s company began securitizing debt portfolios, a process that began in the ’80s and fed into the mid-2000s financial crisis. Finelli didn’t like that. “That’s when I had that moment of, ‘This is a house of cards,’” he says. So in the late 1980s, he quit and became a farmer, first out East, then in Grovespring by 2005. 
We placed these on heavy-duty shelves, $39–49 at Lowe’s. Plastic totes are great for storing sauce bottles, small cans, etc. just make sure to rotate your stock. If you find someone who is like-minded, you can share things like 50 pound bags of pinto beans, rice, etc. We got corn and wheat from the feed store. No need for expensive freeze-dried MREs. Two IBC totes and a Berkey water filter and you can survive hurricanes, natural disasters and snowbird season here in Florida. Welcome to the world of just common sense.

Auckland is a thirteen-hour flight from San Francisco. I arrived in early December, the beginning of New Zealand’s summer: blue skies, mid-seventies, no humidity. Top to bottom, the island chain runs roughly the distance between Maine and Florida, with half the population of New York City. Sheep outnumber people seven to one. In global rankings, New Zealand is in the top ten for democracy, clean government, and security. (Its last encounter with terrorism was in 1985, when French spies bombed a Greenpeace ship.) In a recent World Bank report, New Zealand had supplanted Singapore as the best country in the world to do business.
During the Cold War, Armageddon became a matter for government policymakers. The Federal Civil Defense Administration, created by Harry Truman, issued crisp instructions for surviving a nuclear strike, including “Jump in any handy ditch or gutter” and “Never lose your head.” In 1958, Dwight Eisenhower broke ground on Project Greek Island, a secret shelter, in the mountains of West Virginia, large enough for every member of Congress. Hidden beneath the Greenbrier Resort, in White Sulphur Springs, for more than thirty years, it maintained separate chambers-in-waiting for the House and the Senate. (Congress now plans to shelter at undisclosed locations.) There was also a secret plan to whisk away the Gettysburg Address, from the Library of Congress, and the Declaration of Independence, from the National Archives.
In private Facebook groups, wealthy survivalists swap tips on gas masks, bunkers, and locations safe from the effects of climate change. One member, the head of an investment firm, told me, “I keep a helicopter gassed up all the time, and I have an underground bunker with an air-filtration system.” He said that his preparations probably put him at the “extreme” end among his peers. But he added, “A lot of my friends do the guns and the motorcycles and the gold coins. That’s not too rare anymore.”

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.
A get-me-home box. A container always kept in the trunk, small enough so that it doesn't hinder your normal use of the car, but substantial enough to help you survive several days (or cope with other, more prosaic roadside emergencies). The kit should include 1-2 gallons of water, Mylar blankets, rope, and other car supplies discussed earlier in the guide. A collapsible water bottle and a folding daypack can be useful if you have to walk on foot from a broken car to the nearest town. Throwing in some cash - just enough to pay for gas, a meal, a motel room, or a ride home - is also a good plan.
If you can afford to spend more than $50 / week…. DON’T. You’re gonna make a lot of mistakes in the beginning so, the more your read, the less likely you are to buy overpriced food, guns and gear. Sure, you have to buy stuff but knowing which stuff to buy and having the right skills is much more important. Ideally, you should make a budget and then stick to it.
A get-me-home box. A container always kept in the trunk, small enough so that it doesn't hinder your normal use of the car, but substantial enough to help you survive several days (or cope with other, more prosaic roadside emergencies). The kit should include 1-2 gallons of water, Mylar blankets, rope, and other car supplies discussed earlier in the guide. A collapsible water bottle and a folding daypack can be useful if you have to walk on foot from a broken car to the nearest town. Throwing in some cash - just enough to pay for gas, a meal, a motel room, or a ride home - is also a good plan.
That spirit of self-sufficiency runs through the history of American food culture. Lydia Maria Child’s 1829 manual The Frugal Housewife, one of the first American cookbooks ever published, instructed women to contribute to their family’s finances by making sure no scrap of food was wasted: “Nothing should be thrown away so long as it is possible to make any use of it, however trifling that use may be.” The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints* encourages members to keep a three-month food supply on hand at all times, and even sells dehydrated food products on its official website. This Mormon connection may be why Utah is such a freeze-dried food hub: Of 21 freeze-dried food companies I counted online, 16 were from the state, and Bedford told me she first learned about long-term food storage by reading blogs by Mormon women.
They have a huge selection of dehydrated and freeze-dried foods from top brands such as Saratoga Farms, Mountain House, EasyPrep, OvaEasy, Yoders, Datrex, Mainstay, WonderMill, and more. They also have a complete selection of MRE Military Meals. These include self-heating kits with meals like spaghetti, sweet and sour chicken, and garden vegetables in tomato sauce.
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.

Durable packaging: Can it hold up to abuse, floods from storms, etc. For example, the biggest danger during an earthquake is things falling. Since it’s easy to imagine storing supplies like this on the bottom shelf in a garage, consider how it would hold up to stuff falling on top of the container or flood water coming in. Or zombies… those sneaky zombies.


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.
Typically, survival kits are designed to help you get through a situation in which help cannot be secured. However, if you equip yourself with a satellite phone you can contact help from anywhere on the planet. In other situations, a pre-paid cell phone or two-way radio (be sure to find out the frequency the local ranger station or emergency responders use) may be all that you need to contact help when you need it most.
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