One measure of survivalism’s spread is that some people are starting to speak out against it. Max Levchin, a founder of PayPal and of Affirm, a lending startup, told me, “It’s one of the few things about Silicon Valley that I actively dislike—the sense that we are superior giants who move the needle and, even if it’s our own failure, must be spared.”
We keep getting away with all that goofiness, and that only serves to make us more certain that our own transgressions carry no serious risks. But government statistics tell a strikingly different tale: in the US alone, unintentional injuries result in 40 million ER visits and 100,000 deaths every year. Heck, accidental injury is the leading cause of death for people between the ages of 1 and 45 - far ahead of cancer, heart disease, gun violence, and other pop culture bogeymen. And the injuries themselves are very prosaic, too: all you see are falls, cuts, burns, vehicular collisions, poisonings, and so forth. The "idiots" we sometimes watch on Youtube are us. They just happen to have been caught on camera on the day their luck ran out, perhaps aided by downing a couple of beers.
The next area of the book is on water. Every good prepper knows you can only last about 3 days without water. I promise you, you won’t want to go that long. Jim has some great information on finding water sources as well as filtering, purifying, and properly storing it. The next rule of 3 is “3 weeks without food”, so aptly enough, chapter 3 is on food, and how to avoid a starvation diet. Of course food storage is covered, but Jim also talks about the importance of diversification. If water is not in large supply, you’ll need foods that are easily eaten without having to add any water. He also talks a little about gardening, foraging, fishing, hunting and trapping, and how to preserve what food you find. It does you no good to get a deer if you can’t preserve some of that meat to eat at a later time.
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.
However, if some tales of survivalist stockpiling are to be believed, our nutty neighbors have enough of the social lubricant squirreled away to hold the most epic end-of-the-world-party of all time outside of Edgar Wright's social circle. It might not be practical, but who needs practical when you and everyone you know is doomed to die from radiation poisoning or cancer?
Historically, our fascination with the End has flourished at moments of political insecurity and rapid technological change. “In the late nineteenth century, there were all sorts of utopian novels, and each was coupled with a dystopian novel,” Richard White, a historian at Stanford University, told me. Edward Bellamy’s “Looking Backward,” published in 1888, depicted a socialist paradise in the year 2000, and became a sensation, inspiring “Bellamy Clubs” around the country. Conversely, Jack London, in 1908, published “The Iron Heel,” imagining an America under a fascist oligarchy in which “nine-tenths of one per cent” hold “seventy per cent of the total wealth.”
These are all great tips and many I have just practiced as a way of life. Living in rural areas with horses (we don’t refer to horses as livestock lol), l we always have to be prepared to stay where we are sometimes for a month. When that happens it is an experience if the power is out but we get by just fine. Power is always turned on in the cities first with natural disasters. Water is always the biggest concern to have a fresh supply for our horses.
You can mitigate this to some degree by throwing some of these types of food into your everyday menus now. I know these things aren’t quite as healthy as the fresh foods we have the privilege to enjoy daily right now, but if you feel like you are truly going to need to rely on some of these items at some point, by sampling the foods, you can find your family’s favorites and stock up on those.
Things must be simple and easy. You want to limit the number of important decisions you’ll have to make or things you’ll have to remember in a crisis. You should not have to remember where things are, put them together, worry about not having something important, or lose time while you do the work you should’ve done beforehand. You shouldn’t be thinking, “Well, wait, will I need the camping stove I have in the other bag?”
Still, as I sat at my desk one afternoon, eyeing the colorful salads my coworkers were having for lunch, I realized the absurdity of my experiment: I live in a city with 24/7 access to fresh food and work a job that affords me the privilege of eating healthfully most of the time. Even quibbling over the nutritional content of these freeze-dried meals was something of a luxury, because I wasn’t in a position where I actually needed to eat them. Then again, you never know what’s going to happen.
Chapter 1 talks about things we have learned from historical events that can help us prevent future repeats. Jim discusses, at length, pandemics, famine, economic collapse and other freak occurrences, their impact on society, and how we handled those situations. Speculating an EMP, he says it could occur either by nuclear detonation, or a geomagnetic storm sent via the sun. If you don’t think either of these things are possible, I urge you to research both. Both are more possible than you may imagine. The chapter ends with information on war and terrorism, covering information from Pearl Harbor to 9/11.
Forgetting to store spices, salt, oil and basic condiments that are needed for your food storage. How will your famous spaghetti sauce taste without Italian seasoning, salt, olive oil and that pinch of sugar? Beans are a great staple to have on hand and can be seasoned in a variety of ways using salt, cumin, garlic powder, onion powder, soy sauce, ground red pepper and more.
I can't claim to have good advice for people who are already in a tough spot: if your household earnings are well below median, you may simply have no disposable income to build a personal safety net. But for most other folks, the ability to prepare for the zero-income contingency is well within reach - and it would be unwise not to give it a go. Sure, even a lifetime of belt-tightening won't make the average middle-class family fabulously rich. But rainy-day funds work in a different way: their purpose is to get you through a rough spell, not to pay for a mansion or a fancy car. Since the amount needed is directly proportional to how much you currently make, it makes relatively little difference if your household brings in $70k or $140k a year. Either way, if you set aside 10% of every post-tax paycheck, you should have a 6-month financial safety net established within 3 years and a change.
Always store your bulk foods in food storage containers. I have seen literally tons and tons of food thrown away because they were left in sacks, where they became highly susceptible to moisture, insects and rodents. If you are using plastic buckets make sure they are lined with a food grade plastic liner available from companies that carry packaging supplies. Never use trash can liners as these are treated with pesticides. Don’t stack them too high. In an earthquake they may topple, the lids pop open, or they may crack. A better container is the #10 tin can which most preparedness companies use when they package their foods.
The term "survival kit" may also refer to the larger, portable survival kits prepared by survivalists, called "bug-out bags" (BOBs), "Personal Emergency Relocation Kits" (PERKs) or "get out of Dodge" (GOOD) kits, which are packed into backpacks, or even duffel bags. These kits are designed specifically to be more easily carried by the individual in case alternate forms of transportation are unavailable or impossible to use.
I see myself as a modern man (born in 1980) and novice prepper, but dammed if I know anyone who hasn’t got a manual can opener, also storing soda bottles of water behind baseboards in kitchen units is also fairly common amongst people i know. If you have meat in large cuts and steaks in a freezer even once they defrost they keep a lot longer if preserved by smoking or drying, even ground meats can be made into patties and smoked to last longer, vegetables and fruits stored in a freezer can also have their useful lives extended by preserving as pickles and jam’s.
Gaye, I have worked for Green Giant for many years. It is their harvest season now. They have giant warehouses to in which to store their can goods for the next year. They have to get rid of last years cans, to make room for this year’s cans. Have you noticed that in the fall of the year, can fruits and vegetables go on sale. I’m not telling you to not buy them, but keep in mind that most of them are last years crops, and as such, are one year old when you buy them.
15. 20 cans of Soup or Broth. The beauty of canned soups and canned broth is that they are a budget friendly. Soups are an all-in-one meal solution. All you need is a can opener and a spoon and you have a meal ready to go. For an extra satisfying meal, try using a can of soup as part of the cooking water for your rice. Yummy! For a guide to making your own bone broth, see Donna’s guide here.
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!
Luckily for the survivors, the highly radioactive isotopes present in the fallout are also very-short lived; the intensity of radiation will likely drop ten-fold within 6-8 hours, and will decrease a hundred-fold within two days. If you wait a week or two, it should be quite safe to venture out. Of course, it's still best to stay indoors for as long as possible, and when heading out, it's good to keep the trips short, to wear disposable coveralls ($11), and to take care not to track any residues into your home. But you don't need to lock yourself in an underground vault.
And why shouldn’t they? National Geographic Channel’s Doomsday Preppers doesn’t exactly help viewers understand the plight of the average prepper, the one without 60 guns, scuba diving equipment, a bunker and an armored personnel carrier. “I knew going into it that they would try to sensationalize a lot of stuff,” says Allen, a Springfield, Missouri survivalist who refused to divulge his last name; he appeared on the show in 2012 showing off his aquaponics setup. “If Doomsday Preppers had shown typical preppers on a typical day, it would’ve been pretty boring.”
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.
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.
Quick and easy foods help you through times when you are psychologically or physically unable to prepare your basic storage items. No cook foods such as freeze-dried are wonderful since they require little preparation. MRE’s (Meals Ready to Eat), such as many preparedness outlets carry, canned goods, etc. are also very good. Psychological Foods are the goodies – Jello, pudding, candy, etc. – you should add to your storage.
113. Solar cooker/oven – Solar cooking has been around for hundreds of years. They are amazing and you really can cook with the sun, though it does take some patience, think of them as a slow cooker. A proper solar cooker can easily reach degrees of 300F so cooking should be no problem! And what more abundant energy source do you need as the sun. All that is needed is the sun & optimum weather. Here is a solar cooker ready to go. Or you can build your own. Here is a DIY solar cooker from an old satellite dish:
Forums and Facebook groups are littered with the same fundamental questions asked over and over again, but they often give incomplete, conflicting, or even dangerous answers. Then we’d read a blog where the author did some quick googling and cranked out a post just to get some traffic. Or we’d have to dig through crazy propaganda and extreme political opinions in the hopes of finding good advice. It drove us mad — we just wanted the facts and straightforward answers!
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Rifles. Long, heavy guns, often with detachable magazines housing anywhere from 4 to 30 rounds. Rifles fire high-velocity projectiles capable of accurately striking distant targets - and even a complete novice should be able to hit targets 25-50 yards away. With plenty of practice (and expensive optics), some rifles allow reliable hits at 1,000 yards or so.
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 🙂
In addition to assorted tools and hygiene supplies, your car kit should probably include a high-visibility vest ($7); if your vehicle gives up life, it's better to be visible when trying to revive it or walking to get help. I'm less convinced about the benefits of carrying flares or flare guns; while they can be useful in serious emergencies, they also pose some fire risk.
Pense invites me to imagine a world turned lawless when the ninth transformer blows. Fifteen percent of the New Orleans Police Department deserted during Hurricane Katrina—imagine if the entire force lived where the levees broke. Big box stores killed off regional food distribution centers years ago; all we’ve got is what’s inside Walmart and Sam’s Club, and if you thought Black Friday was bad, imagine the crowds when it’s life or death. Drivers fleeing Springfield will hit roadblocks, where mobs will pull people from their vehicles like the LA rioters did to Reginald Denny. You might commit vehicular manslaughter, the preppers tell me, just to get out alive.
I am an engineer by day, but a prepper 24/7. I am an Air Force veteran that developed emergency and disaster plans as an emergency manager and responded to many attacks and accidents as a HAZMAT technician. I have been exposed to deadly chemical agents, responded to biological incidents, and dealt with natural disasters worldwide. Check out my full story here: Rusty's Story
Different locations present different climactic challenges, which you’ll want to factor into your survival-kit-making decisions. Trips through the northern reaches of the globe, for example, will force you to confront very cold temperatures. This may make things like emergency hand warmers and hot chocolate important in your survival kit. By contrast, you’ll want to prepare for heat stroke, snake bite, and torrential rain if you are hiking or camping in the tropics.