Military MREs. I don't find them particularly tasty, but they are popular among preppers. A bit on the heavy side (usually around 1,100 kcal per pound). Portable warm food with a ton of different menus available - although for the best price, you usually need to buy a variety box and can't cherry-pick. Moderately expensive (~150 kcal per dollar). Shelf life around 5-7 years, depending on the manufacturer and on storage conditions. A good source is TheEpicenter.com.
Ask a hardcore prepper for advice on this matter, and they will probably tell you to start practicing hand-to-hand combat, get a knife, or carry a gun. But in reality, we need a more nuanced and proportional approach to threats, and one that emphasizes avoidance and de-escalation, rather than the ability to resolve each and every conflict with a single well-placed shot. Sure, a self-defense weapon can save your butt in some life-or-death situations, but these are comparatively rare; such a tool won't deter a pickpocketer, won't stop a burglar from ransacking your place while you are at work, and won't prevent a hacker from emptying your bank account while you're busy watching the reruns of Gilmore Girls.
There are only 3 million preppers in the USA and I have met about 1500 of them. They are mostly fearful, confused and disorganized individuals who know nothing about organizing to protect their own best interests through collective efforts. They are a truncated version of typical White citizens who are ignorant of just how insane the US, Canadian, Australian, New Zealand, European Union, and Vatican really is. Do you agree with this appraisal?
Good article! A few years ago, a medical condition for someone in my family required that I learn how to cook without high fat dairy, no corn products, no fish, and very low sodium. That means almost no packaged or processed foods, no fast food, almost no snack foods, no packaged flavor packets, no bottled flavorings…well you get the idea. Now I visit Costco a couple times a year for rice, beans, pasta, and meat. I grow almost all the vegetables we eat year round. Our grocery bills have gone way down. And now I actually know how to cook almost anything from scratch ingredients that I always have on hand in bulk. The foods many preppers stock up, are foods I never have in my house so I wouldn’t miss them if they suddenly became unavailable. In hind sight I’ve learned that “stuff” isn’t as important as skills. Trust me, cooking is a skill.
The adult can use the books or a itablet to teach. I home schooled our children for several years and it was always a read, touching and seeing experience on everything. Not everyone is a reader, but the parents can have the information on hand. If it is in an itablet and has been down loaded already it will still be on the tablet when the net goes down. You just need a solar charger. Math and history along with cursive and English can be taught many different ways. I’ve used sand, shaving cream, chalk, and water to teach.
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.
Just because we are all gonna die does not mean we need to eat junk …. ditch that high carb and super processed junk food. There are many choices of decent food out there … particularly the foods packed by Mormon canneries. Do a google search for where to find the best deals. Really, get rid of the raman noodles, progresso soups, spagetti-o and other junk … you’ll have enough problems living through SHTF without killing you gut microbio ….
The preparation you make for a hurricane, earthquake or other short-term disaster will not keep you alive in the event of widespread social collapse caused by pandemic, failure of the grid or other long-term crises. Government pamphlets and other prepping books tell you how to hold out through an emergency until services are restored. This book teaches you how to survive when nothing returns to normal for weeks, months or even years, including:
“The answer is you probably could,” she said. Though research suggests it might cause a mild depletion of vitamin C and other antioxidant chemicals, she explained, freeze-drying fruits and vegetables doesn’t have any significant impact on their nutritional value; packaged as stand-alone ingredients, they can even make for a healthy alternative to more caloric snack foods.
Light: It’s fine to have battery-powered flashlights for your home — provided you have some extra batteries around. We love this Mag-Lite XL200 LED flashlight because it’s tough and has multiple modes including SOS and dimmer timer. It’s a good idea to have crank-powered flashlights as well. And make sure you have candles, like this pack of six 115-hour emergency candles.
Of all the plausible scenarios, another major oil crisis would probably hit most car-owning families the hardest, limiting their ability to get food or to take care of other, everyday needs. Generally speaking, there is no simple fix: keeping a gallon or two in your garage won't make much of a difference, while maintaining significant reserves of gas for personal use can be done safely (and legally) only if you own a large, rural plot of land. Electric vehicles, especially if charged from rooftop solar panels, can offer a wonderful backup in some parts of the world, but they carry a very hefty price tag. The best workaround may be the least inspired one: if you own a car, you can always keep your tank at least half full (a familiar mantra by now), and have enough food and other essentials to be able to wait out the worst.
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.)
Starting a food storage plan with canned goods is a great way to bring non-preppers, family or friends, on board. This tactic allows for families that normally would not have extra food to easily add food to their pantry in a way that is very normal to them. Buying a few additional canned goods while you are at the grocery store is a simple first step, and one that could pay off big time. (Do you know how to open a can even if you don’t have a can opener?)
Good article! A few years ago, a medical condition for someone in my family required that I learn how to cook without high fat dairy, no corn products, no fish, and very low sodium. That means almost no packaged or processed foods, no fast food, almost no snack foods, no packaged flavor packets, no bottled flavorings…well you get the idea. Now I visit Costco a couple times a year for rice, beans, pasta, and meat. I grow almost all the vegetables we eat year round. Our grocery bills have gone way down. And now I actually know how to cook almost anything from scratch ingredients that I always have on hand in bulk. The foods many preppers stock up, are foods I never have in my house so I wouldn’t miss them if they suddenly became unavailable. In hind sight I’ve learned that “stuff” isn’t as important as skills. Trust me, cooking is a skill.

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.
This is a really comprehensive article on food prepping! I was very taken by your last item on “Edible Landscaping.” There is a natural antibacterial, antiviral product called “Sambucol,” that is a syrup (patented) made from black elderberries. There is another syrup similar called “Sambucus,” which is the botanical name for black elderberries. Not only do they taste delicious — like something to top your ice cream sundae with! — they are pretty amazing for coughs, colds, and flu. I am thinking that that might be a good thing to have growing in our yards when SHTF.
Pat I felt the same way you did about becoming a prepper. One day something inside of me said ok look, it’s time to start making a list and to get going on this endeavor. I started with the basics. I have been prepping for about a year + and have collected quite a lot of supplies. I educated myself in ways to store food. I am a You Tube watching fool, always looking at videos on how to do this or that. I’d like to know how to meet others who are prepping as well. I don’t really know… Read more »
Mary lives on what I would call a family compound, with 4 generations represented. Half of the food they consume is from produce and animals they have on their property, and they keep stores of preserved food along with other supplies in the basements or storm cellars of the five homes on their eighty-plus acres. Mary is mostly concerned about weathering some kind of general social collapse, whether economic or racial in nature. “I’m mostly just worried that things were just too good for too long,” she says. “We live in the best country in the world. Everywhere else you look, there are wars happening where they live or right next door. But we have it great here, and now it just feels like we’re getting ready to come apart at the seams.”
Hello Ryan. My experience has been that the more that you can keep air (oxygen) away from your food the longer the shelf life. I like to seal packaged food into larger mylar bags with an oxygen packet, then I seal the bag. I store these mylar bags in a 5 gallon bucket with lid. Wal Mart has these buckets for sale that cost $2.97 and the lid is $1.12. I personally like having a few barriers between my food and mice, bugs…etc. Let us know what you decide to do!
While home storage of water is not hugely complicated, things get a bit dicey when you have to evacuate - or if you end up being stranded away from home. If you have a car, your best bet is to put together a small emergency supplies box that, among other essentials, houses one or two 1-gallon jugs of water - and keep it in your trunk at all times. But without a car, your prospects are less cheerful: in case of a widespread disaster, your range will be severely limited, and even if you take some modest amount water with you, you will need to reach a more hospitable location within 1-2 days. A bicycle, a plan, and a good map will help. A folding cart or a an inconspicuous box of supplies kept at work may be viable choices, too.
Also, include a good supply of the spices you like to cook with. These flavorings and spices allow you to do many creative things with your grains and beans. Without them you are severely limited. One of the best suggestions I can give you is buy a good food storage cookbook. Go through it and see what your family would really eat. Notice the ingredients as you do it. This will help you more than anything else to know what items to store.
protect the food – by separating the food into sealed smaller bags it protects them from the air and contaminates each time I open the bucket to get food out.  I’ve noticed that the bulk popcorn gets less fluffy and a little crunchier over the years as there is more air in the bucket as the popcorn gets lower.  When I buy new popcorn I will seal it in smaller bags to keep it fresher longer.
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.
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