“That’s a major problem,” says Gene Louis, a New Jersey expat who attended his first meetup in 2013 after moving to Springfield to begin ventures in real estate brokerage and digital marketing. Plus, Jersey is expensive, and he doesn’t like the fact that its residents don’t pump their own gas. “You don’t know what people are going to define as a threat, don’t know what people at survival meetings are going to talk about,” he says. “You can’t prepare for 100 percent of what’s on that list—well, you’d need to be Donald Trump to afford to.” 
For folks who want to focus on the most plausible risks, I suggest stockpiling dry survival rations to last around 2-3 weeks; seven 3,600 kcal packets per person should do the trick. That may sound like a lot, but keep in mind that it may take a while for stores to reopen after an earthquake or a flood - so it's not a bad plan to play it safe. And while eating ration bars for a week sounds bland, you may be in no mood for home cooking when you have to fix a collapsed roof and the utilities are cut off.
These are not your normal cans of beans- these are the big ones. They are the type that many restaurants use, so they are large portions and meant to stack and store. These cans come pre-packaged from many different sources and are one of the best options for food storage. They will not shatter like glass containers and are strong and stackable. They block light, are air tight, and cannot be chewed through easily by rats. All of these attributes make them the go-to for the military. While the cans are not easily reusable, they make a great option for packing away food for long term storage. There is a huge variety of foods available, and most of them taste surprisingly good. Some good vendor that pack #10 cans with some good food include:

I used to focus only on preparing for earthquakes and other natural disasters. That changed in 2011 when I went to my first protest, an Occupy Oakland action, with a medic bag. I didn't know yet that I'd be out there for hours, so I didn't have supplies I consider basic now — food, caffeine, extra smokes, insoles for my combat boots. I didn't know how aggressive the police would be, and the handkerchief around my neck was more for a punk look than medical necessity. I hadn't received formal training to be a street medic; I just happened to know first aid and CPR and wanted to help. I carried a 15-pound bag on my back, full of medical supplies, mainly gauze and tape but also things like tourniquets that I hoped I wouldn't have to use. I was scared — I'd had rubber bullets shot at me the night before — but I was determined to drop off water to the protesters and make sure that people had sterile supplies.
When it comes to comfort and personal hygiene, I would also suggest stockpiling a carton of toilet paper, a pack of old-school soap bars, a bottle of no-rinse body wash and shampoo (to conserve water), some antiperspirant, toothpaste and a toothbrush, nail clippers or scissors, and several disposable razors. At home, such items can come handy only during prolonged emergencies; but as a part of your in-car kit, they are invaluable if you are ever stuck somewhere or forget to take your toiletries with you on a camping trip.

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?)
What programs like Doomsday Preppers have accomplished, or at least contributed to, is turning sometimes well-informed, sometimes totally unwarranted paranoia into a booming prepper-industrial complex. Each year, swap meets pack hundreds of convention centers and fairgrounds across the nation—they’re like camping shows with a dose of military surplus and hands-on instructional sessions. The September 2017 Kansas City Survival Expo & Gun Show, for instance, had tips on seed saving, “Overcoming 900 Health Diseases” and “A Devastating Street Self-Defense System.” The latter was taught by Norman Cantwell, who inspired Patrick Swayze’s character in Roadhouse. You get the feeling that he and Steven Seagal would be friends. 

I set to work. My plan was to keep the fringe thinking to a minimum and just provide basic entry-level survival information: ways to purify and store water, what foods worked well for stockpiling, signaling and first aid techniques, methods of cooking without electricity, and so forth. I had no particular survival expertise, but I could regurgitate reliable reference materials as well as anyone else.


Do some research to make sure you are not wasting your time on implausible risks. How likely is it that you would have to face this particular danger, and how much damage can it conceivably cause? For example, do you live in a 100-year flood zone? In the path of tropical storms? In a high-crime neighborhood? Be sure to search around and study publicly available resources; reaching out to local emergency response organizations can be a good plan, too. Try to focus on reputable sources; the science in doomsday movies and on conspiracy websites seldom checks out.

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.
The way I think of it is, it depends on the food. How long will it last once you open it? Will it last long enough once opened for your family to consume it before it goes bad. Also, only buy foods you know how to use and that you will actually like to eat. No point in buying wheat berries if you dont have the manual grinder to process it and if you don’t know how to cook with it. I have a family of 4 including 2 small children. If I store rice in a 5 gallon mylar, will we use it before it goes bad once it’s opened? Possibly not. So i put it in 1 lb mylar bags. We can pull out smaller amounts at a time.
I will not stock PAncakes because they are water wasteful. You hydrate something just to boil it off. Also I don’t need the sweetness. Raw, organic honey has enzymes helpful for cuts though. A good medicinal vector I think. NOT for eating. The single most helpful SHTF thing you can do is eat well and get your appetite down before the fact. Eat light to heavy and don’t eat when you are not hungry EVER. Yesterday I only ate one meal and even then not really cause I was hungry but kinda for fun. IT was two potatoes. I had the energy to get shit done all day because I eat veggies when I need to eat. And I take my vitamins: Vitamin A! Vitamin D! And Vitamin K! The holy trinity of eye health, mental health, bone/teeth health and everything else.
(For folks who consume coffee or caffeinated beverages daily, and who have near-complete tolerance to caffeine, adrafinil pills can be a viable emergency choice. Adrafinil is a powerful wakefulness-promoting agent with no stimulant properties, and is not a regulated substance in the US and many other parts of the world. Note that daily long-term use carries some risk of liver toxicity and other side effects. Do your homework.)
If you must take regular medications for a medical condition, you’ll likely want to pack an extra set in your survival kit. You’ll need to discuss the issue with your doctor if you require prescription medications, but don’t forget about over-the-counter medications you may need too. For example, if you often suffer from heartburn, you’ll likely want to add some antacids to your survival kit. Similarly, if you have allergies, you’ll want to pack extra antihistamines, and you may even want to include an EpiPen if an anaphylactic shock is possible.
Now, many "true" preppers would tell you to keep mum about your plans, so that in an emergency, you don't have to fend off armies of freeloaders begging for a slice of your meager supplies - or worse yet, trying to take them by force. I think that this attitude is short-sighted; sure, it makes sense not to broadcast your plans to the entire world, and there is no conceivable benefit to posting Facebook selfies with your stash of freeze-dried food or with a pile of cash. But the clear value of convincing some of your friends to start prepping greatly outweighs the distant possibility that one of them will attempt to raid your home the moment the power goes out.
The aforementioned short list aside, there are other substances that may treat conditions such as anaphylaxis (epinephrine), or diseases such as tuberculosis and leprosy (isoniazid), uncomplicated appendicitis (levofloxacin), cholera and anthrax (doxycycline), malaria (artemisinin), typhoid fever, skin infections, and MRSA (TMP/SMX), systemic fungal infections (fluconazole), intestinal parasites (albendazole), and so on. In many places, you could legitimately stockpile them without prescription, and some prepper guides will encourage you to do so; but if you are truly concerned about such emergencies, be very aware of the difficulty of properly diagnosing unfamiliar diseases, and the serious health problems that many of these products may cause.
Medical is another critical group of items that should be well-stocked for the average and serious prepper alike. The most important thing about this is the individual needs of yourself and your family. Special antibiotics, diabetic medicine, hearts meds etc.. will vary from family to family. Aside from the basics be sure to understand your family’s special needs as well.
Even though I have a good start on my food pantry, it is always a good idea to look at others ideas. I had not thought of bulk pancake mix. I am a single person and got a great deal on Bisquick shake and pour ($1.00 each) I bought 2 dozen! I don’t really care for pancakes on a regular basis but once in a while… That all being said, I did purchase a vacuum sealer and have made good use of it. I also have a large dehydrator and visit the farmers market often for goodies to dehydrate and seal. When I have purchased these 20 items, I am then on to other needs such as shelter, etc. I have a lot of camping gear but not a good tent if I should have to vacate. Thank you Gaye – keep up the good work.

That spirit of self-sufficiency runs through the history of American food culture. Lydia Maria Child’s 1829 manual The Frugal Housewife, one of the first American cookbooks ever published, instructed women to contribute to their family’s finances by making sure no scrap of food was wasted: “Nothing should be thrown away so long as it is possible to make any use of it, however trifling that use may be.” The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints* encourages members to keep a three-month food supply on hand at all times, and even sells dehydrated food products on its official website. This Mormon connection may be why Utah is such a freeze-dried food hub: Of 21 freeze-dried food companies I counted online, 16 were from the state, and Bedford told me she first learned about long-term food storage by reading blogs by Mormon women.
Food storage should be an integral part of any prepper’s contingency plans. The best prepper food storage containers should not be overlooked if you want your food stores to last. Storing your food in the right containers can give you peace of mind when it comes to your family’s sustenance. If you are starting from scratch, start small and work your way up. I personally prefer to rotate out my pantry using the first in, first out (FIFO) inventory technique. This ensures that I don’t have much food expire (if any) and gives me good visibility of what I actually have stored. Whether you stash your food for 15 years, or rotate your supply every 6 months- the right prepper food storage containers can give you a leg up with your shelf life. Keep exploring, stay prepared, and be safe.
Coffee and Tea. I am a dedicated coffee drinker and hate the thought of a coffeeless existence! One pound vacuum sealed bricks are the most convenient way to store coffee, they stack well or can be kept in plastic totes efficiently. Tea is another good source of caffeine, and I love a cold glass of iced tea on a hot day. Remember that in a true crisis, you may have to maintain 24 hour watch, and caffeine is a big help in this.
Ask a financial advisor about the possibility, and they will probably recommend keeping some of your funds overseas. But the odds aren't great of correctly picking a currency with more staying power than the one in which you get paid. Historically, the Swiss franc had a reputation for being an exceptionally safe choice, in part because of being the last major currency still quasi-pegged to gold; but Switzerland abolished this requirement in a referendum in 2000.
At home, be very alert around deep fryers and pots of boiling water. Wear eye protection when working with drain cleaners, bleach, and other caustic substances. Learn about the overdose risks of paracetamol (ibuprofen is a much safer pick) and take a critical look at your prescription drugs. If you're ever doing DIY electrical work, learn how to do it properly, and get a non-contact voltage probe to double-check for live wires before you touch anything.

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