Firearms. A very effective and supremely intimidating weapon, with lethality ranging from 20% for handguns to 80% for shotguns; for a novice user, the effective range is somewhere between 10 and 100 yards. Guns are heavily regulated in much of the world, but widely available in the US - although there are several states or municipalities that make it very difficult to get a permit unless you are a celebrity or a prominent donor.
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.
To answer that question, I found myself in the Siloam Cafe in Siloam Springs, Arkansas, seated across from Martin Fletchall, a disabled veteran who says God called him and his family to the Ozarks from Montana. He prefers to be called Fletch. Fletch is in his 40s, wears a white beard, a camouflage hoodie and matching hat and orders toast, eggs and steak, which costs less than $4. He agreed to meet me after a few weeks of exchanging emails and vetting that I wasn’t actually a “social justice warrior.” 
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.

Food supplies in a bug-out vehicle include hundreds of pounds of wheat, rice, and beans, and enough honey, powdered milk, canned goods, bottled fruit, vitamins, dehydrated fruits and vegetables, salt, pepper, spices, and oil for several months. In addition, the kits often contain high-calorie energy bars, a cooking kit, utensils, liquid soap, and towels. The water supplies may include bottled water, filtering kit, bottles, collapsible water containers, and chlorine bleach for water purification. Food preparation and washing equipment may include items such as a grain grinder, a bread mixer, a strainer, a manual can opener, a steam canner with canning jars and O-rings, cutlery, knives, an electric 12-volt cooler icebox, kerosene lamps and heaters, kerosene or propane stoves, extra fuel, a clothes wringer, a foot-operated treadle sewing machine, and an electric hot plate (which would require an inverter to operate off a car battery).
Freeze-dried dinners. Popular with hikers. Extremely lightweight (up to 2,500 kcal per pound) and surprisingly tasty. The most reputable brand is Mountain House. Fairly expensive on a calorie basis (100-150 kcal per $1), but you get a choice of raspberry crumble, chicken with dumplings, bacon and eggs, and everything in between. Storage life in excess of 15 years. The drawback is that they need some boiling water to reconstitute (cold water will also work, but not make a tasty meal).

Freeze-dried dinners. Popular with hikers. Extremely lightweight (up to 2,500 kcal per pound) and surprisingly tasty. The most reputable brand is Mountain House. Fairly expensive on a calorie basis (100-150 kcal per $1), but you get a choice of raspberry crumble, chicken with dumplings, bacon and eggs, and everything in between. Storage life in excess of 15 years. The drawback is that they need some boiling water to reconstitute (cold water will also work, but not make a tasty meal).

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.


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.
I would like to add something, not necessarily to the list, but more like “food for thought” ideas that could very well save you and your family’s life. Living in the South, you “will almost” grow up around some natural disasters, whether it be a hurricane or tornado, most of us here take “prepping” very serious..and we learn a lot from those disasters also (I.e. Hurricane Katrina). I grew up around great-grandparents, grandparents, parents, other relatives and friends, who have a garden, almost for the entire year. Learning to can and freeze food was as natural as brushing your teeth! During the summer, when school is out, we shelled peas, shuck corn(yeah say that fast!), canned beans and tomatoes, picked berries, smashed berries, and, on occasion, churned butter! I wish I had a dollar for every pea I shelled! I be richer than Midas! Knowing these “techniques” can make a huge difference in feeding your family for several months without electricity. There have been lots of times when we would get lunch or diner straight out of the garden, washed and prepped, cooked, and on the plate in a couple of hours. No storage. No refrigeration! Scraps of food went into the garden or compost. And you can cook this stuff straight over an open fire. Two words…”cast iron”…it is a very good investment…it is great to use anywhere…open fire or stove! You don’t have to wash cast iron(I know it does sound gross, but believe it or not, that is the “beauty” of cast iron)..you wipe it out and keep it seasoned. You can cook anything in cast iron, from biscuits…to a cake! People with cast iron can cook almost forever! I would view it as essential. Enough about the garden.
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It turns out that vitamin B12, which is used in most, if not all, of the body’s systems (like neurological, cardiac, etc.) is only found in animal products. All vegans should therefore take supplements, according to the guidelines. If we are in an emergency situation where we can’t get meat, fish, cheese, yogurt, etc., we probably all would need supplementation! It’s critical to have enough, and the effects of not having it are irreversible. (Try dementia, tardive dyskinesia, and on and on.) Yikes! Add it to the list. Oh, well. B12 is small and really cheap.
Float Bag – If your adventures will take place on or near the water, it is a good idea to pack your survival kit in a float bag/waterproof bag, so you can prevent it from sinking to the bottom. Often, it will make the most sense to store your survival kit in a small carrying case, which is then placed inside a float bag, but you could just use the float bag if you prefer.
Doug Huffman is prepared, teaching techniques for surviving a second depression based upon America's massive debts.; Dianne and Greg Rogers, dedicated parents in Canada, are concerned with future events affecting their home-life; Ed and Dianna Peden ("still living in the 60's"), of Topeka, Kansas are preparing to survive fully underground in their decommissioned Atlas missile silo when doomsday arrives.
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Buckets are great, but rats can chew through them. Store them where you think you can protect them from rodents. Also, plastic is somewhat air permeable, so mylar bag inserts are a really good idea. For basics, the LDS site is the best. You can get flour, wheat, beans, rice, sugar and some pasta already processed in #10 cans and boxed by the 6 can case. All my beds are on these case lot boxes so they take up zero extra room in my house. The prices are extremely reasonable since the church only covers its cost. I wouldn’t store anything in garbage cans just because the sheer weight of the thing will be prohibitive…unless you have a forklift lying around!
This obviously means you’ll have to balance your use of redundant items with your carrying capacity. However, you can address both of these competing forces by trying to bring along items that serve multiple purposes. This way, you aren’t really bringing items that are duplicates of each other, but you still benefit from having some backup options. For example, duct tape is often included to repair clothing or camping gear, but you can also use it as a band-aid in a pinch. Safety pins are another good multi-purpose supply, as they can be used for clothing repairs, bent into fishhooks or used to sew up a wound if need be.
Finally, when prepping for food, meticulously keep an eye out for coupons. This may mean that you purchase dozens of beans one week and tons of rice the next. However, if you set yourself a budget of $10/mo and max this out as much as you can, you will soon see your food supplies growing. That would be $120 worth of seeds, food, and canned goods that you could have at the end of the year. We’ve said it a number of times already, but preparing even a little bit at a time is better than nothing at all.
In addition to such immediately necessary supplies, some prepper guides recommend purchasing sutures, along with tissue forceps and hemostatic clamps. Such equipment may be useful for neatly closing major wounds in situations where bandages won't do - but suturing correctly requires a fair amount of practice and know-how. For gnarly cuts, skin staplers or skin closure strips + benzoin swabs tend to involve less hassle - and are harder to mess up.
Rope, look at AmSteel-Blue (it’s the diameter of paracord but much, much stronger 8.5 mm is rated at 1600 lbs) it’s light, easily packed and available in larger, stronger sizes too (maybe Gaye can link it on Amazon?). I ‘found’ it as I prefer hammocks in forested areas (the favourite of ultra-light hikers) as it’s used for Whoopie loops (I just bet you’ll have to google that).
5.  20 cans of Meat.  Chicken, tuna, shrimp, salmon, Vienna sausages, beef stew and yes, even the ubiquitous Spam will satisfy this requirement.  Did you know that you can even purchase canned roast beef? Again, let your taste and budget guide you – there is lots to choose from. UPDATE: If you are looking for some long lasting but all natural, non-GMO canned meats, check out Wertz’s meats here. You can also read our recent hands-on review.
If you live in a hot and humid environment, you have to store the food a little differently. I live in Florida, and I recommend sealing 1 lbs to 5 lbs in mylar bags and storing those in sealed 5 gallon buckets. It creates a double barrier and smaller bag sizes if you have to open them in an emergency. It might seem more expensive, but it is better than losing everything to water or humidity. It also makes great barter material in a shtf situation.
Partly that’s because here (northern moor and heath) ‘living off the land’ is an almost impossibility (SERE trains us how to ‘survive’ in similar places, but crucially only until escape or rescue, but even then that isn’t ‘living’ it’s ‘existing’). I’d guess from (saw and camo) you’re in an arboreal forest area. Life is ‘possible’ there (I’ve spent many a summer in northern Norway/Sweden (I have Sami friends) with nothing but a rifle, knife, axe, saw, fire-starter, water-bottle and tin mug, tarp and the clothes on my back … but that isn’t in winter, and it isn’t when thousands of others may be doing the same thing. Surviving with only what you can carry in, even in a large vehicle, is a short term option at best, I think. (Remember, even Grizzly Adams nearly, would have, died without help and a store to get supplies from).

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!
Break-ins are difficult to prevent, especially in suburban single-family homes with secluded backyards and street-level windows and doors; tall fences and window bars can work, but they are expensive and tend to draw the ire of your neighbors. The most cost-effective solution may be to keep your windows and doors closed when away, but beyond that, just optimize for hassle-free outcomes. You can leave some less important goodies in plain sight - say, some cheap jewelry, a modest amount of cash, and a beat-up phone - and put all the real valuables in a much less obvious or less accessible spot. A heavy safe will usually do; diversion safes are pretty cool, too, if you trust yourself not to accidentally throw them away.
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.
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.
Every family should have a survival checklist and an updated survival kit on hand. At BePrepared.com, we make it easy to have all of the emergency kit items you need, conveniently packed and waiting. Each emergency kit is filled with durable supplies including flashlights, batteries, first aid kits, and tools. Some kits also contain MREs (Meals Ready to Eat) for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks. Kits are packed in a sturdy backpack for easy mobility.
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