The conundrum of owning stock is that it serves as a hedge against inflation only in an otherwise viable economy. At the first sight of serious economic trouble, the premiums paid on corporate stocks take a nosedive and not recover for months or years; in a genuine downturn, the intrinsic value of many companies will also shrink. Since a downturn is probably the time when you will need your rainy-day money the most, it's important to play it safe. Putting somewhere around 30-40% of your emergency stash into the stock market may be a good call. Going all in is a very risky bet, since in an economic crisis, it's not rare to see stock indices plunge 50%.
My guess is that most folks believe that the government will step in. Yeah right; just like they did with Katrina and Superstorm Sandy. We all know how well that worked out. The victims of Katrina waited days for aid while thousands were housed in the Superdome without supplies, and the victims of Sandy sat huddled in dark, stinking apartments, then stood in long lines for hours to get their allotted bottle of water and an MRE.
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.
I called a Silicon Valley sage, Stewart Brand, the author and entrepreneur whom Steve Jobs credited as an inspiration. In the sixties and seventies, Brand’s “Whole Earth Catalog” attracted a cult following, with its mixture of hippie and techie advice. (The motto: “We are as gods and might as well get good at it.”) Brand told me that he explored survivalism in the seventies, but not for long. “Generally, I find the idea that ‘Oh, my God, the world’s all going to fall apart’ strange,” he said.
A subset of this is also worth keeping in a car. It's not just about zombies or life-and-death situations: if you hit something in a parking lot and your bumper cover comes off or your liftgate won't stay shut, it's nice to be able to tie it down and get back on the road. Similarly, a shovel can help you get back on the road after getting stuck in snow or mud. But speaking of survival: a pocket knife, kept within reach (e.g., in the center console), can be used to cut seat belts if you get into a wreck; and in a pinch, it will double as a self-defense tool. Belt cutters can also fulfill that first task, and may be easier to operate if you are hurt - although they are less useful for other purposes. I'd also recommend getting an automatic center punch - it's a neat $7 tool that effortlessly shatters tempered glass (i.e., side and rear windows) when the doors won't budge. It works way better than many of the specialized car escape devices sold on the Internet.
In shopping malls, on mass transit, and in other crowded settings, don't carry your most precious valuables in front or back pockets; a purse is also a clear no-no. Inner pockets of jackets, and breast- or knee-level pockets of pants and shirts, are much harder to muck with. Discreet, slim waist packs or under-the-garments neck wallets work even better. Emphasize to your friends that you are wearing such fashion accessories only ironically; who knows, maybe you will start a trend.
Per #17: Consider 25 pounds of sugar, even if like me, you don’t use it; it can become like money because so many have a sweet tooth for it. Next: at least the same amount of salt. (I buy sea salt for the iodine within and it’s a mineral all animals need in their diets so it too, can be used like $$. Third: black peppercorns, in past history this was used as money everywhere along the spice routes. Why? Because they have a very very long shelf life without losing potency. Then buy a pepper grinder, coffee/spice grinder and/or a mortar and pestle.
Dry survival rations. Sold under several brands, including Datrex, ER Bar, S.O.S., Grizzly, and more. Biscuit-like, less sugary and with a more agreeable taste than energy bars - somewhat reminiscent of shortbread. In my book, S.O.S. and Datrex taste best. Very inexpensive (~550 kcal per dollar) and should last 5-10 years when stored in a cool place. A tolerable choice for short- to medium-term nutrition in an emergency. Easy to pack, giving you ~2,200 kcal per pound.
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.
Vehicular accidents are depressingly common; while defensive driving can limit your risk, the possibility of injuring another person or causing property damage never really goes away. When you are involved in a car wreck in unclear circumstances, or when your statements do not match the words of another driver, video evidence may be the best way to escape criminal charges or to resolve civil claims.
Craig Compeau is a third-generation Alaskan who is prepping for a government takeover. Craig has set up a remote bugout InterShelter in the Alaskan wilderness. We also meet 44-year-old adventurer David Lakota who depends on his intuition and connection to nature to survive a giant tsunami and the mountainous terrain of Hawaii. During the program David and his girlfriend Rachaelle bug out with minimal supplies from the Kalalau Valley on Kaua'i to the 4000' high plateaus above.
Some products are no different than a normal box of mac and cheese: you boil water in a pot, mix the packaged product into the pot, turn the heat to a simmer, cook, and serve. Others are as simple as pouring boiling water in the pouch and waiting a few minutes. In some cases, the water doesn’t even need to be hot (although flavor and texture is better if it is).
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.
In most jurisdictions, to draft a will, you don't need a lawyer; the only skill that comes handy is the ability to express yourself clearly and unambiguously. There are countless state- and country-specific templates available online; in many cases, to carry legal weight, the will just needs to be co-signed by disinterested parties acting as witnesses - or cheaply notarized.
It takes just a single downed power line to knock out your furnace, AC unit, cooktop, refrigerator, and to make the lights go out; and when such an outage happens due to a larger-scale natural disaster, repairs can easily take days or even weeks. We think of fuel as a more dependable resource, but if 1979 is any guide, you only need one well-timed revolution in the Middle East to make it nearly impossible to fill up a car in some parts of the United States. Of course, such events are usually inconvenient, not disastrous, so it's perfectly fine not to dwell on them in your plans. At the same time, it doesn't hurt to take a closer look at what's at stake - and what the potential solutions may be.
Bob Kay, a nutritional scientist in Southern California, is prepping for environmental destruction due to massive earthquakes; politician Joshua Wander is preparing for a terrorist attack, teaching others about prepping and stocking up kosher foods (matzos and mre's); Ryan Croft is prepping for a global financial crisis by cultivating alternative food sources like spirulina and earthworms.
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!
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.’ ”
For now, he broadcasts Monday through Friday, 9 to 11 a.m., and Finelli invites “instructors”—doctors, dentists, survivalists, a man who carries no identification, an Australian woman who talks about seceding from the government—anyone who has something relevant to preparedness. To Finelli, there’s little that isn’t relevant. He doesn’t sell merchandise or accept donations, as fellow GCN hosts such as Jones do.
Individual pouches: For this use-case, we prefer packages where one pack equals one meal or serving. Pouches are easier to store, can often be used to cook the meal without any other utensils, are more portable, don’t need a can opener, can be traded, and so on. No. 10 cans, which are like big coffee cans, are great for staple ingredients like flour or corn.
Josh came to the U.S. in 1991 from Puerto Rico with his parents. They lived in Baltimore for a while and moved south into Calvert County when Josh was in elementary school. “Being around people here is what really got me into the whole idea of survival, you know? Learning to hunt and fish and live with the land instead of just going to a corner store for everything,” he says. Josh married a few years ago, and the couple just had their first child in 2017, a few months after Trump took office. He began to take the idea of preparing for the worst very seriously at that time, and began learning about prepping from Scott.
About a month after I left meetup 2.0 at Pizza Hut, former attendee Garland Fitzhugh called to tell me it’s become more of an ‘eat-up’ than a prepper meetup—fair, considering there’s been no local calamity to keep the survivalist group on its toes. Allen emails meeting suggestions to a prepper listserv, asking them to focus on prepping situations they can actually influence. He may as well type in Wingdings. A former Navy technician, Allen spent most of the meeting on his phone; his ears only perk up when Andrew: says something about naval intelligence that piques his interest. “I try not to do that too much,” he tells me later.
A popular way of guarding against this kind of catastrophe is storing food at home. This is called Long Term Food Storage, Emergency Essentials, or Emergency Survival Foods and there are dozens of companies selling food specifically for this purpose. The best, including those listed below, have great tasting products with a long storage life at a reasonable cost.
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!
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.