Subscription services. Small monthly fees add up to gargantuan sums over the years. Do you really need cable TV, or can you watch most of the same shows online for less? Are you still paying for a landline or for that AOL account? How often are you using that gym membership? Can you try out lower speed for your Internet service? Or slightly increase the deductible on your car?
In addition to this list, may I refer you to the Weston Price Foundation and the book Nourishing Traditions? These two sources will help us to decide on the healthiest versions of all these foods; the end goal is to remain healthy and nourished so that we can enjoy all these things we store! Thanks for the article–it set my mental wheels to turning 🙂
A thermometer that won't run out of juice. Responding to serious emergencies can be stressful and physically taxing, making it easy to catch nasty infections along the way. To know how bad things have gotten, it's good to have a reliable way to take body temperature; keep in mind that many low-cost axillary thermometers use LR41 batteries, and that you probably don't have any spares lying around. One good choice is this ($35). A traditional glass thermometer will also work, but is more fragile.
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.
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.’ ”
What you are going to get is a list of 20 items that can easily be purchased at your local grocery store, warehouse club and surprisingly, even online at Amazon. They can be purchased in one shot, all at once, or you can pick up one item from the list each week over a period of twenty weeks. The choice is yours. All I ask is that you consider getting each of the items on the list and that you also consider getting started sooner rather than later. I promise you that this will be easy.
An argument can be made that even in an emergency, potable water is never too far away; after all, most human settlements have been erected near natural reservoirs: rivers, lakes, or easily reached underground aquifers. But this is an oversimplification. In rural areas, water supply can be fairly meager and vulnerable to weather fluctuations and other cyclic phenomena. For cities, it is true that many of them are seated on the banks of major lakes or rivers, but suburban sprawl can easily put some residents 10-20 miles away from the nearest reservoir; on top of that, some of the 20th century settlements in semi-arid and desert climates rely on water hauled from tens or hundreds of miles away.
Starting any new project, large or small, can be daunting. Unlike other projects, however, family preparedness and prepping can literally save your life if not your sanity. I have created a beginners roadmap for going forward as I develop each topic in detail in the Twelve Months of Prepping Series, complete with actionable steps that you can take to become a prepper of the highest order while doing so with grace, optimism, and hope.
In recent years, survivalism has been edging deeper into mainstream culture. In 2012, National Geographic Channel launched “Doomsday Preppers,” a reality show featuring a series of Americans bracing for what they called S.H.T.F. (when the “shit hits the fan”). The première drew more than four million viewers, and, by the end of the first season, it was the most popular show in the channel’s history. A survey commissioned by National Geographic found that forty per cent of Americans believed that stocking up on supplies or building a bomb shelter was a wiser investment than a 401(k). Online, the prepper discussions run from folksy (“A Mom’s Guide to Preparing for Civil Unrest”) to grim (“How to Eat a Pine Tree to Survive”).
17. Spices and Condiments. Adding some spices and condiments to your food storage pantry will allow you to vary the taste of your storage foods, thus mitigating some of the boredom that is likely to occur over time. The exact mix of spices and condiments is up to you but some suggestions include garlic, chili, Tabasco (hot sauce), salsa, oregano, thyme and black pepper. For a full list of the best prepper herbs and spices, check out the BDS guide here.
I don’t know how to advise you on preparing for low temperatures and snow/ice problems: one thing’s for sure, back when Quebec had its massive ice storm, it took them SIX WEEKS to get the power back on. But having electricity will be moot if the hydroelectrics are frozen, not to mention the distribution problems. As for 60 below, it doesn’t matter which scale you use: it’s COLD.
Our testers unanimously voted MH the best tasting, even going as far as to buy some to use in everyday life. Nutritionists we spoke with thought MH had the best overall nutritional value, too, with tons of meat-based proteins and fiber. It’s also the most convenient to cook. No external dishes needed, just pour some (ideally boiling) water into the pouch, let it cook, eat, then trash.
Shelter: You can make basic shelters with cordage and a tarp. Tarps are very useful in a range of situations. Try this Ozark Trail 8’x10’ camo and green tarp. We need to do more research before determining whether hammocks or tents are better for most people, so sign up for our email newsletter to stay updated if you’re interested in a more dedicated BOB shelter. In the meantime, we love these Kammock Roo hammocks that are about the size of a melon. (For a cordage recommendation, see “Tools,” below.)
Shelter. The usual combo is an appropriately-sized, waterproofed tent, a set of sleeping bags & pads, and possibly some compressible or inflatable pillows for comfort. In cold weather or during heavy rainfall, it's also possible to shelter in your vehicle, with Mylar blankets serving as a substitute for sleeping bags; and on a hot day, the same material and some rope can be used to improvise a shade. Again, the blankets are worth having in your car at all times.
So, here's another unorthodox prescription for building a comprehensive preparedness plan: develop useful and marketable secondary skills. A simple and enjoyable way of doing so is to pick a hobby you can get passionate about - and then work hard, be very honest about your own mistakes and shortcomings, and try to get better at it every week. You shouldn't seek immediate profits, since progressing from a hobby to a paid occupation inevitably takes away some of the fun; but try to gravitate toward pursuits that could conceivably morph into viable career choices within a decade or so. If you have a family, help your spouse and children pursue thoughtful hobbies of their own, too.
Knives. Very lethal and dangerous at close quarters, but only provided that you have the element of surprise on your side. They require some degree of physical fitness and training to use well. Their value is diminished when facing multiple assailants or dealing with a gun-wielding individual: even if you stab them, you are probably still gonna get shot. In a handful of places, carrying a knife may be illegal or subject to somewhat confusing restrictions, so perform due diligence if you want to take this route.
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.
After his instructional on seed saving, Nocks tells me that in 2006, God told him to move his family from a 5,000-square-foot home in Lee’s Summit to a simpler life in the Ozarks, where he now has the supplies to last himself, eight adults and nine children at least six months. “God was just leading us to be more simple-minded,” he says. Nocks isn’t alone in his migration. Preppers fear marauders: Being robbed by unprepared neighbors and even family members is a universal concern. To survive a catastrophe, Nocks says, move out of town and shut up about your stash.
For many, the singular strategy for dealing with such dangers is to pray for the government to bail us out. But no matter if our elected officials prefer to school us with passages from Milton Friedman or from Thomas Piketty, the hard truth is that no state can provide a robust safety net for all of life's likely contingencies; in most places, government-run social programs are severely deficient in funding, in efficiency, and in scope. Large-scale disasters pit us against even worse odds; from New Orleans in 2005 to Fukushima in 2011, there are countless stories of people left behind due to political dysfunction, poorly allocated resources, or lost paperwork.
Barbara – I know what you mean. It is easy to become both overwhelmed and disorganized at the same time. The nice thing about the list of 20 items is that you can purchase them all at once or one item a week. Then you can set them aside and at least for the short term, consider your food shopping done and move on to the gear or the next major task on your preparedness to-do list.
You can store all sorts of foods in a food grade bucket. Buckets also double as great survival kit items for random uses. Be aware if you use you food grade bucket to hold chemical or anything that could hurt the integrity of the bucket, that you shouldn’t reuse it for food again. While you can probably find good options locally for cheaper, food grade buckets are available online:
Jack Matthews, an American who is the chairman of MediaWorks, a large New Zealand broadcaster, told me, “I think, in the back of people’s minds, frankly, is that, if the world really goes to shit, New Zealand is a First World country, completely self-sufficient, if necessary—energy, water, food. Life would deteriorate, but it would not collapse.” As someone who views American politics from a distance, he said, “The difference between New Zealand and the U.S., to a large extent, is that people who disagree with each other can still talk to each other about it here. It’s a tiny little place, and there’s no anonymity. People have to actually have a degree of civility.”
In tropical areas, a survival kit may have mosquito head netting, additional insect repellent, anti-fungal cream, a machete, water purification tablets, foot powder, matches, a flint strike, a compass, a wire saw, a space blanket, medical equipment (gauze pads, elastic gauze bandage, antiseptic creams, anti-malaria tablets, anti-infection tablets, bandages, etc.), salt tablets, a fishing kit, snare wire, extra socks, a candle, a signal mirror, flares, a sewing kit, safety pins, tinder, tape, a whistle, and rations.