In trying times, people always come together and find strength in local communities. Even if you don't expect it, you will almost certainly be able to count on the kindness of strangers. But your odds can be greatly improved by getting to know your neighbors ahead of the time, by cultivating trust and mutual respect, and by getting a sense of each others' toolkits and skills. In a grim situation, being on good terms with a doctor or a veterinarian can quite literally save your life. And heck, some rural communities in the US even maintain communal stashes of emergency supplies!
You may be tempted to go for the most lightweight and highest-powered handgun you can find, but you would have to cope with punishing recoil and potentially blinding muzzle flash, so it's not always a good call. In home defense situations, 9mm pistols and .38 Special+P revolvers are probably the sweet spot. There are countless models to choose from, but the bottom line is that you can't go particularly wrong with Glock, Beretta, SIG Sauer, Ruger, Smith & Wesson, CZ, Heckler & Koch, or Springfield Armory.
Everyone in California is waiting for "The Big One," an earthquake with a magnitude of 8.0 or greater that will destroy infrastructure and cause mass panic. Yet when I moved to the Bay Area from the East Coast, I discovered that since most of the people I knew were making do with small apartments and ever-increasing rent, having supplies on hand for a natural disaster required a space premium that many couldn't afford. I began to put together an earthquake kit that would not only serve my household (which over the years fluctuated from one to three other people) but also my neighborhood, if needed. Even with all that work, I didn't consider myself a prepper, just someone who heeded the Red Cross's warnings.
Another popular pick are bolt-action rifles, including Remington 700, Winchester 70, Ruger Hawkeye, and Ruger Precision Rifle. Although there is a lot of variety, many are chambered for larger cartridges ideal for hunting big game (from .243 Winchester to .50 BMG) and are more suited for long-range shooting. For home defense, overpenetration becomes a significant concern.

In my home county, one of the most rural in Maryland and roughly an hour’s drive outside of Washington, DC, I organized a small meeting of a few people who consider themselves preppers and/or survivalists. The county might be described as 70% conservative and primarily Republican, and 30% liberal and primarily Democrat. Calvert County is a peninsula, 30 miles long and 9 miles wide, no point further than 5 miles from a navigable body of water (the Chesapeake Bay to the east and Patuxent River to the west). It’s mostly farms, parks and deer-filled woodland interspersed with a number of town centers and housing developments.
There are a wide range of these available. This is essentially the MRE category. I like the first strike Meals, these are a full day of rations in a single package, the non essentials have been stripped away and they are a pretty compact package for the content. There are a lot of options available, however, so you can pick what works for you. I don’t recommend MREs as a staple of your food storage program. Shelf life is marginal and fluctuates with temperature, they are bulky on a per calorie basis, and they are cost prohibitive. However, they are very convenient and have a place as a supplemental portion of your food storage program.

Sooner or later, you may find yourself unable to access your bank deposits for a couple of days or weeks. It could be a matter of IT trouble at your bank, of a lost wallet, or of being a victim of identity theft. Heck, take Greece or Cyprus: when the confidence in the nation's financial institutions is shattered, it's easy to get caught up in government-imposed bank closures and withdrawal controls. (Folks in the United States may also recall the forced closure of Washington Mutual in 2008, or several state-level "bank holidays" imposed to combat bank runs during the savings & loan crisis back in the 80s.)
There’s been a general increase in anxiety across the board among people in the U.S. over the past year according to an online poll from Psychiatry.org. About 2/5ths of all adults are more anxious now than they used to be. Of course, you don’t really need to turn to polls or research to have a gut feeling for this. The sheer amount of chaos since the start of 2017 has been steadily increasing. Following a highly divisive presidential election events have spiraled to a point that it can be hard to keep up: claims of fraud, and collusion from both major political parties; an endless parade of hiring and firing of high level officials in the White House and on Capitol Hill; mass shootings; rising tensions with North Korea, Russia, China and Iran; accusations (and confirmation) of sexual harassment of many once-respected individuals; ever-growing racial tensions; the impending end of net neutrality; the big data scandals.
Pairing coupons with sales is the only way to save real money.  It also is the only way that you can get things for free, or get paid for purchasing items.  If an item is usually $2.00, it is on sale for $1.00, and you have a $1.00 coupon, that item is free!  However, if an item is usually $2.00, it is on sale for $1.00, you have a $1.00 coupon, and it is also double coupon week, some stores will actually pay you that $1.00 difference!  This is the key to getting your stockpile for free.  If you shop at stores with good coupon policies and you take advantage of sales, you can acquire all the items you need for your stockpile without spending anything! As you can see, pairing coupons with sales, and using all potential promotions to your advantage, can make all of the difference.

Now, there are some dangers to life and limb that we simply can't predict or prevent: the occasional falling piano, the murderous roommate, the untimely stroke. Then there are the risks we take willingly, accepting the inherent and unavoidable trade-offs of our hobbies or jobs: the possibility of being snatched by a giant squid while snorkeling off the coast of California, or the near-certainty of lung fibrosis from toiling in a sugar mine. These are the things we can't or don't want to give up - and that's perfectly fine.
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.
That said, when we look beyond the dogma, the underlying facts paint an an incredibly nuanced picture of the right to bear arms - putting into question many of the deeply-held and seemingly common-sense beliefs. For example, despite the striking ubiquity of legally owned firearms in the United States - about one per every resident - the country actually enjoys lower per-capita rates of suicide, robbery, assault, or rape, compared to some of its esteemed European peers. This simple fact deals a serious blow to the creed that more guns translate to more crime.
Business titans grew uncomfortable. In 1889, Andrew Carnegie, who was on his way to being the richest man in the world, worth more than four billion in today’s dollars, wrote, with concern, about class tensions; he criticized the emergence of “rigid castes” living in “mutual ignorance” and “mutual distrust.” John D. Rockefeller, of Standard Oil, America’s first actual billionaire, felt a Christian duty to give back. “The novelty of being able to purchase anything one wants soon passes,” he wrote, in 1909, “because what people most seek cannot be bought with money.” Carnegie went on to fight illiteracy by creating nearly three thousand public libraries. Rockefeller founded the University of Chicago. According to Joel Fleishman, the author of “The Foundation,” a study of American philanthropy, both men dedicated themselves to “changing the systems that produced those ills in the first place.”
Imho, (for the most part) nothing bores children more than having to read stale history and math books. The oral tradition of learning history and math is probably The Best way. Combine that with actually doing something and you have a winning hand, i.e. counting sticks or making other calculations as you all collect firewood or dig tiger traps. Make learning into a fun challenge = that’s your challenge. Don’t try and substitute a book for that.
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!
I try to shop just as the supermarkets open if I’m doing a big stocking run. Around here there are usually just a handful of shoppers between 7 AM and 7:30 AM on a Saturday or Sunday, so it’s easier to avoid prying eyes. Then I just joke with the cashiers that it’s such a great price and now I won’t have to buy more for six months until the next sale. Or if I’m seeing a cashier too often I’ll say I’m donating to the food pantry, and while I do donate regularly to the food pantry, most of the stock is going into my personal pantry… If you find your supermarket is crowded just after opening, then try visiting at odd hours if you can to find a time where the store isn’t as busy. Then it’s just the cashiers you have to talk with, unless the store has self-check. I love using self-check since one store near me allows me to scan items as I walk around the store and bag it as I go. When I get to the self-check then I scan my card and the computer knows what I bought. Occasionally they will do an audit to make sure people are keeping honest, but it’s a lot easier to hide mass quantities from prying eyes when you can bag things up before leaving the aisles. 🙂

Alas, most of the popular diets make this task awfully hard: they force their followers to abandon a lifetime of dietary habits, taste preferences, and eating schedules - and stuff themselves full of kale, turnips, quinoa, acai berry, or whatever else happens to be this week's "fat-fighting superfood". To add insult to injury, most of the nutrition fads are not actually backed by real, reproducible science; suffice to say that in the 70s, table sugar was widely touted as a dieting aid. Even today, weight loss advice tends to revolve around robustly debunked concepts - say, the existence negative calorie foods, the alleged superiority of low-carb but high-fat diets, the evils of HFCS and aspartame, or the significance of eating meals on a particular schedule thoroughout the day.


Over the years we have had a number of weevil infestations in our pantry. I finally had the county entomologist share with me that they tend to be in most commercially packed grains and that all you can do is to go through what you buy fast enough to keep from having a full weevil life cycle get out and into your pantry. I have heard of your suggestion to freeze flower and have been told that this only delayed the start of the insect life cycle to when you took it out of the freezer. (The implication was that your freezer couldn’t get cold enough to kill them but only make they go dormant.) I am looking for information about generating CO2 to replace the air in your packing containers and this would either kill them or keep them dormant the entire time you ore storing them. I have seen one description of using a coin size piece of dry-ice inside the mylar bags before final sealing. The dry-ice idea would not be available after the event. There has to be a simple lime-stone and acid in a mason jar with a piece of aquarium tubing????? (Looking for details on this!???)
Every year since 1947, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, a magazine founded by members of the Manhattan Project, has gathered a group of Nobel laureates and other luminaries to update the Doomsday Clock, a symbolic gauge of our risk of wrecking civilization. In 1991, as the Cold War was ending, the scientists set the clock to its safest point ever—seventeen minutes to “midnight.”
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.”

In fact, the influx had begun well before Trump’s victory. In the first ten months of 2016, foreigners bought nearly fourteen hundred square miles of land in New Zealand, more than quadruple what they bought in the same period the previous year, according to the government. American buyers were second only to Australians. The U.S. government does not keep a tally of Americans who own second or third homes overseas. Much as Switzerland once drew Americans with the promise of secrecy, and Uruguay tempted them with private banks, New Zealand offers security and distance. In the past six years, nearly a thousand foreigners have acquired residency there under programs that mandate certain types of investment of at least a million dollars.
When Kafrina hit a few years ago, it was unbelievable to see the number of people who decided to ride out the storm instead of evacuating. As the “reliality” of the destruction of Katrina was sinking in on TV, what was so horrifying was watching all these “hundreds” of people without water! And nowhere to get it! They were completely cut off from civilization! As the next couple of days passed on, and still, no relief in sight, I watched in horror the actions do these people desperate for water! I wanted so badly to reach through my TV and hand them a bottle of water, but could not do that! I never felt so helpless in my entire life. And they were killing each over in an effort to get to water! With all the technology, with all the electricity, with all of our knowledge, we could not get a bottle of water to these people, and some died on the side of the road in desperation to get to water! I have never forgot how quick a people can destroy theirselves over they lack of water, and also for their lack of taking other precautions to keep themselves alive!
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).
Scott says, “My dad was big into having a backup plan. He had a fallout shelter put in when I was a kid, back in the eighties. He was a prepper back before that was the word for it. He worried more about Russia and some kind of invasion. That’s not the kind of thing that would happen now, though. Our enemies outside, they have ways to get in and use our vulnerabilities, like hacking the power grid. That’s more the worry. And the rest of it’s what we’ll do to ourselves.”

Did you know that most people in the United States have less than 2 weeks of food stored in their home?!  If this includes you, it’s time to make a change!  Take a look at your food supplies and estimate how long you could survive on it – for most beginners it’s pretty scary!   Your first goal with food should be to have 1 month worth of meals stored, immediately after that you’re going to get 3 months worth as quickly as possible.  Here is a great place to learn about storing your own food.  Some additional fantastic resources for Food Storage are Everyday Food Storage and Food Storage Made Easy.

In some parts of the world, extreme heat can be far more dangerous than cold. When AC is not an option, it's usually possible to avoid trouble by staying in the shade, drinking a lot, and limiting physical activity. If it gets really nasty, the best way to cool yourself is to wet your clothing and hair, then stand in front of a running fan. You have a bigger problem if you happen to be stranded in a broken down car somewhere in the middle of a desert - but carrying some water and several other supplies in your trunk should help a great deal. More about that soon.
Before you even think about self-medicating or treating wounds, you should get a reasonably systematic understanding of emergency medicine. I recommend getting "Wilderness Medicine: Beyond First Aid" ($10): it is accessible, focuses on situations where diagnostic and treatment facilities are limited, and goes well beyond the basics. Just as importantly, it avoids weird spiritual, homeopathic, or naturopathic claims that often creep up in prepper books.
Sooner or later, you may find yourself unable to access your bank deposits for a couple of days or weeks. It could be a matter of IT trouble at your bank, of a lost wallet, or of being a victim of identity theft. Heck, take Greece or Cyprus: when the confidence in the nation's financial institutions is shattered, it's easy to get caught up in government-imposed bank closures and withdrawal controls. (Folks in the United States may also recall the forced closure of Washington Mutual in 2008, or several state-level "bank holidays" imposed to combat bank runs during the savings & loan crisis back in the 80s.)
Today, we see such worries as absurd. It's not that life-altering disasters are rare: every year, we hear about millions of people displaced by wildfires, earthquakes, hurricanes, or floods. Heck, not a decade goes by without at least one first-class democracy lapsing into armed conflict or fiscal disarray. But having grown up in a period of unprecedented prosperity and calm, we take our way of life for granted - and find it difficult to believe that an episode of bad weather or a currency crisis could destroy almost everything we worked for to date.
You might also check if there is a local cash and carry…that’s a business which sells wholesale to other business/restaurants. You can buy bulk there for almost wholesale prices. They will have bulk items of many things in addition to other items like paper plates, napkins and you get the idea. If you can find a place which sells bulk, then ask your favorite store to special order. Who knows, you might get it cheaper that way. BTW: Gaye, next time you’re on the mainland near Mt. Vernon, check out WINCO for those bulk items.
This one is pretty obvious, but it stands repeating.  When building a stockpile, you want to stick to items that will be able to last on your shelf.  Items like canned vegetables, canned fruit, jars of peanut butter, jerky, and beans are excellent choices for a stockpile, in addition to household items like toothpaste, soap, conditioner, paper towels, and toilet paper.
By and large, all of my clients seemed like nice, normal people, at least via e-mail and on the phone—I never met a single one in person. But in the end, the longer we worked together, the more comfortable the clients tended to become in expressing their more extreme opinions, as if they'd been holding them in. Often, professional decorum (and with it, sometimes basic grammar and spelling) degraded as time went on.
These days, when North Korea tests a bomb, Hall can expect an uptick of phone inquiries about space in the Survival Condo Project. But he points to a deeper source of demand. “Seventy per cent of the country doesn’t like the direction that things are going,” he said. After dinner, Hall and Menosky gave me a tour. The complex is a tall cylinder that resembles a corncob. Some levels are dedicated to private apartments and others offer shared amenities: a seventy-five-foot-long pool, a rock-climbing wall, an Astro-Turf “pet park,” a classroom with a line of Mac desktops, a gym, a movie theatre, and a library. It felt compact but not claustrophobic. We visited an armory packed with guns and ammo in case of an attack by non-members, and then a bare-walled room with a toilet. “We can lock people up and give them an adult time-out,” he said. In general, the rules are set by a condo association, which can vote to amend them. During a crisis, a “life-or-death situation,” Hall said, each adult would be required to work for four hours a day, and would not be allowed to leave without permission. “There’s controlled access in and out, and it’s governed by the board,” he said.
Before they were pets, dogs were workers. They can carry their own supplies without complaint (already making them superior to most humans right now), sniff out food and water, and search for and bring down prey. Some breeds, such as huskies, have been specifically tailored to bust their butts on the barest of rations. Dogs also have a long and storied history of offensive and defensive combat use, making them perfectly suited to attack anyone who thinks they have more of a right to that sweet, sweet snack cake stockpile than you do. Which is to say, your four-legged pal is just a few training sessions and a kickass set of armor away from leading you to your rightful place as God Of The Ragged Desert/Water People.
We have our core. They’ll buy. Cyber Monday is usually the big day for us, but it’s not as huge as you might think. It’s not like Amazon, you know what I mean? When the weekend is over, they’ll do over $10 billion or something. They’re so huge now! But yeah, there have always been ups and downs, business cycles. If we get a Democrat in 2020, business will pick up for us tremendously.
After 9/11, my dad filled a duffel bag with some energy bars, a couple gallons of water, some penicillin, and a map. Amid scaremongering headlines about imminent anthrax and “dirty bomb” attacks in the city, he wanted to have some supplies on hand in case we needed to get out of Brooklyn fast. Were he to assemble such a bag today, he’d likely stumble on a number of companies promising a more wholesale brand of disaster preparedness: a box full of shelf-stable freeze-dried meals, to be revived from their dessicated state with the addition of boiled water.

Business titans grew uncomfortable. In 1889, Andrew Carnegie, who was on his way to being the richest man in the world, worth more than four billion in today’s dollars, wrote, with concern, about class tensions; he criticized the emergence of “rigid castes” living in “mutual ignorance” and “mutual distrust.” John D. Rockefeller, of Standard Oil, America’s first actual billionaire, felt a Christian duty to give back. “The novelty of being able to purchase anything one wants soon passes,” he wrote, in 1909, “because what people most seek cannot be bought with money.” Carnegie went on to fight illiteracy by creating nearly three thousand public libraries. Rockefeller founded the University of Chicago. According to Joel Fleishman, the author of “The Foundation,” a study of American philanthropy, both men dedicated themselves to “changing the systems that produced those ills in the first place.”
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.
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