I had one of those terrifying END OF THE WORLD dreams, three months in a row, each a different dream.  After the first, I started getting really serious about prepping.  After the third, I had an intense urgency to get my preps in order.  My prepping began by stocking up on the things we frequently used.  We had five meals that we regularly ate so we stocked up on those food items when I first started prepping which was a couple of years before the dreams.  After the dreams, I realized that having some food wasn’t enough.  I needed at least a year supply of food, water, light/heat, first aid/hygiene supplies, protection supplies, communication supplies, and a financial plan.  I also wanted to become self-reliant in all of these categories.

When I am going through a grocery store gathering survival food, I get some strange looks from people close enough to hear me muttering under my breath as I discount items. Phrases like “not enough calories”, “needs more fat”, not enough carbs”, and the like roll off my tongue frequently. The truth of the matter is that what we consider to be a healthy diet in normal times is probably inadequate in a high stress, very active, crisis situation. There is a reason we like carbs, and fats, and sugars, and that reason is our body needs these things. The human palate developed in times when being physically active and dealing with life threatening events was the norm, and when a steady supply of food was not a guarantee. Hence the urge to get all we can when we can, which leads to rampant obesity in modern sedentary times but is adaptive to survival in harder times.
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.
So Southwick and his wife, Kara, also 40, and their six children, ages 13-21, have stored 700 pounds of flour, 600 pounds of sugar, 800 pounds of wheat, water, gas, diesel fuel, chemical suits, coal, charcoal, 14 guns and eight chickens. They're ready to haul it in trucks and trailers to a cabin redoubt 90 minutes from their home in the West Jordan suburb of Salt Lake City if calamity hits.
I stored Flour, Sugar (white & Brown) along with yeast, baking soda/powder and crisco. My plan is to use a Bread machine to make bread. I have a large generator to power essential items. I also have a small generator (very quite) to power things during night time hours or my camper that has an oven we could use in an emergency. The best thing you can do now is to sit down and go thru some various scenarios in your head with varying degrees of severity. Then, write it all down on paper in note/bullet statement format. When you’re stressed-out is not the time to formulate a plan.
Mylar bags and oxygen absorbers will allow you to preserve many staple grains — rice, beans, and flour — for 30-plus years. Titan Survivorcord is a paracord that includes fishing line, snare wire, and a strand of jute twine infused with wax, for fire-starting. The Inergy Kodiak power generator is one of the most advanced lithium power generators on the market.
It’s clear that we’ve come to another dark place in the history of our United State. What isn’t so clear is whether we are just at the beginning of this era or if we might be nearing its end. The prepper philosophy always assumes the worst case scenario might be right around the corner. If we give in continually to those thoughts, however, we need to ask ourselves how much it is costing us to ignore the opposite side of that coin — hope? Hope is what got us through the worst of times in our past. If we lose all hope, we’re left only with despair.

We tried the $85 Instant Loaded Potato & Cheesy Broccoli Soup from Simpli Prepare because soup might be an easy way to supplement the main survival meals. Packaged the same way as the shakes, with shaker bottle and algae oil, and with the same directions. Vendor confirmed this is meant to be a “just add water” product, not a simmer and serve hot sort of thing, and suggests using hot water from the tap if possible.
Once you get going, it will be easy to lose track of what you already have.  The best way to overcome the state of confusion you will experience six months down the road is to start keeping track of your stored items now – from the beginning.  Use a spiral notebook, a computer spreadsheet, or a clipboard and a pad of paper.  Update your inventory with the item and date of purchase as it goes into storage and of course, mark it off as it rotates out.
In the mid to late 20th century, prepping was born in the wake of Cold War fears. People learned about strategies from books and in-person meetings and communicated in Ham radio chains across the country. Since the turn of the century, though, the internet and the rise of reality television that glorifies survival challenges have contributed to a nationwide surge in prepping. The base of hardcore preppers has grown considerably, but the businesses that have traditionally supported them are seeing massive growth as large proportions of average people buy supplies from outdoor and camping stores, freeze-dried food suppliers, and gun and self-defense companies. There is even a new class of retailers, like Emergency Essentials, that have been able to thrive solely due to the “prep-shopper” category.

All in all, it's OK to reject armed self-defense (or shun guns in particular) on religious or moral grounds - but doing so is probably not a particularly rational decision within the scope of this guide. From a rational standpoint, you should always pick the tools that are best suited for the scenarios you anticipate (provided that the state allows you to). Of course, a firearm is not always the answer, so let's take a broader look at some of the most popular options for shooing away looters or defending yourself:
Break-ins are difficult to prevent, especially in suburban single-family homes with secluded backyards and street-level windows and doors; tall fences and window bars can work, but they are expensive and tend to draw the ire of your neighbors. The most cost-effective solution may be to keep your windows and doors closed when away, but beyond that, just optimize for hassle-free outcomes. You can leave some less important goodies in plain sight - say, some cheap jewelry, a modest amount of cash, and a beat-up phone - and put all the real valuables in a much less obvious or less accessible spot. A heavy safe will usually do; diversion safes are pretty cool, too, if you trust yourself not to accidentally throw them away.
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 you need to secure any supplies or make other arrangements to prepare for this scenario? If you need to stockpile items, do you have enough room? How long would these supplies last in an emergency, and how often would you need to replace them in storage? Are there any additional steps that you want to take to be in a better place a month, a year, or five years from now? Make a detailed list and tally the costs.

I hope this makes sense to you. It sounds like you have already figured out that with a growing teen and two additional children in the household, this will be a good start but that more will be needed over time. By doubling these quantities my guess is that you will be better prepared, food wise, than 90% of the population. And even without doubling the quantities, you will be better prepared.

Most preppers don’t actually have bunkers; hardened shelters are expensive and complicated to build. The original silo of Hall’s complex was built by the Army Corps of Engineers to withstand a nuclear strike. The interior can support a total of seventy-five people. It has enough food and fuel for five years off the grid; by raising tilapia in fish tanks, and hydroponic vegetables under grow lamps, with renewable power, it could function indefinitely, Hall said. In a crisis, his SWAT-team-style trucks (“the Pit-Bull VX, armored up to fifty-calibre”) will pick up any owner within four hundred miles. Residents with private planes can land in Salina, about thirty miles away. In his view, the Army Corps did the hardest work by choosing the location. “They looked at height above sea level, the seismology of an area, how close it is to large population centers,” he said.
Your run-of-the-mill shoe stank might not pose much of a survival threat, but trench foot certainly will; baking soda is great at absorbing the moisture that might otherwise literally cause your feet to rot off your legs. As for the health of your teeth -- it will be pretty hard to get through your day's rations of homemade jerky and hardtack without some high-quality chompers. And you certainly don't want to rely on that pesky fluoride that will "kill your brain over time" (um, what?).
First aid: Many of the first aid kits you’ll find in Amazon searches aren’t good enough for survival scenarios (regardless of what their marketing says) because they’re meant for daily use or OSHA work compliance. Invest in a high-quality kit that includes supplies for more serious injuries like broken bones or deep, bleeding wounds. Frankly, we’ve never found an off-the-shelf kit we’re 100% happy with, but a great starter option is this Adventure Medical Fundamentals Kit.
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.
Judging by that rationale—“people are not going to take care of you”—the impulse to prep is as much a response to governmental failings as it is to apocalyptic fantasies. During Hurricane Harvey, Houston residents relied on the “Cajun Navy”—generous volunteers with boats—to evacuate them. After Hurricane Maria, a Harvard study found that the Trump Administration’s neglect of Puerto Rico caused four thousand six hundred and sixty-five deaths, many because of interruptions to medical care. And, this week, as historic fires engulfed huge areas of California, the President accused the state of “gross mismanagement of the forests.” Charles, outlining his vision of a doomsday scenario, says, “It’s when law enforcement stops going to work, that’s when the breakdown begins. Now you’re talking about a free-for-all, every-man-for-themselves kind of deal.” Whether or not the apocalypse comes, it seems like that breakdown is already under way.
If this particular calamity strikes, what's the step-by-step playbook you would follow, and how much time would you have to carry out the plan? Will you be sheltering at home, or is this a situation where you need to evacuate? If the answer is "it depends", what would be the key factors, and how quickly would you need to make the final call? If you pick the wrong option, how bad would it be?
Boxed evacuation essentials. Camping and survival supplies to get you through at least one week, in case you need to leave home and can't be sure about finding a hospitable location right away. The gear should be boxed or bagged to make it easy to load into your vehicle. Include some amount of water and food, and make sure that the entire kit actually fits into the car. For many US cars, 56 quart storage totes ($19) work very well.
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?)
16.  One large jug of Oil. Choose olive oil, coconut oil or some other cooking oil, but definitely get some.  Oil is essential for good health, fueling our energy stores and providing support for fat-soluble vitamins and nutrients as they work their way through our system. Not only that, but a bit of fat in your diet adds flavor and makes you feel satisfied when you are done eating.
Mayday (since 2003) Seconds From Disaster (since 2004) National Geographic Explorer (since 2004) Drugs, Inc. (since 2010) Wicked Tuna (since 2012) Life Below Zero (since 2013) Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey (since 2014) Wicked Tuna: Outer Banks (since 2014) Live Free or Die (since 2014) StarTalk (since 2015) The Story of God with Morgan Freeman (since 2016) Mars (since 2016) Genius (since 2017) The Story of Us with Morgan Freeman (since 2017) One Strange Rock (since 2018)

One major upside of freeze-dried food is its convenience. Since all its water content has been removed—via a process that involves exposing food to subzero temperatures, while removing the resulting water vapor with a vacuum—it’s easier than canned goods to transport on the fly. To “cook” Wise Company’s six-grain Apple Cinnamon Cereal, you just boil three and a half cups of water, dump in the powdery contents of the bag (minus the oxygen absorber), and cover the pot for 12 to 15 minutes.
Now, a word of caution: beware of debt. Many of us are taught that owing money is normal, even desirable; indeed, for middle-class folks, some forms of indebtedness may be difficult to avoid. But unnecessarily accrued debt cuts into your bottom line in two insidious ways. First of all, monthly installment payments limit your flexibility in an emergency - so if your income shrinks, your savings will be depleted at a merciless and non-negotiable rate. Secondly, high-interest loans, such as credit cards, amount to giving out a good chunk of your income without earning anything useful in return. They are akin to voluntarily accepting a pay cut.
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.
Semi-automatic pistols. Typically capable of firing somewhere around 6-17 rounds from a removable magazine; reloading is very fast, provided that you carry another magazine with you. Their user interface is relatively complex, and some knowledge is needed to deal with potential misfires, jams, or to avoid negligent discharges - although the probability of any such issues is generally very low. (It's wise to avoid discount ammo and magazines.)
Acquiring a substantial stockpile is essential for any serious prepper.  However, it also obviously can be a serious financial burden.  Using couponing to your advantage can allow you to acquire your necessary stockpile for free! Try some of these strategies to give you the peace of mind you are looking for without draining your bank account.  Yes, mastering these strategies will take some time and effort, but it will definitely be worth it for your completely free stockpile.
(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.)
I just read your article, its great your helping folks out like this sharing your knowledge and experience. Ive been prepping now for about 5 years slowly growing our preps for our family but I noticed a couple of items I really think you should add to your list if you dont mind my suggestions. Not that I know anything you dont but if we all share ideas we can help each other. which is my first point. If you have a couple of friends you can trust, work with them and each work on specific lists to grow your… Read more »
I giggled about your reason for not including wheat berries. I agree that many have few or no backing skills or how to make flour but…. I like the idea of wheat because if it is properly stored it can last 30 years and when I first started prepping I told my self that I wasn’t looking for a part time job rotating short lived stock. With my first 5 gal buckets of wheat (from a farmer friend) I also got a manual flour mill. Lots of fun and good exercise. I make some version of whole wheat bread every week. (Don’t want to be heavily invested in prepping and not know how to use what I got!) One season we had a complete wheat failure so I picked up a couple of buckets of soybeans. Another learning curve but eventually made pretty good bean dishes. Question for you and yours, during general internet research I found some articles on Trypsid inhibitor (TI)in beans and how it could be a real problem. Most of the articles appeared to be aimed at telling farmers to not feed soybeans directly (with out some processing) to pigs – in time it can kill them. The TI is neutralized when sufficiently heated. So the hours of boiling beans would take care of this condition but it doesn’t answer questions like:

This, of course, is easier said than done. We tend to scale up our living expenses in proportion to earned income, so even in the $100k+ bracket, people living paycheck-to-paycheck are not a rare sight. And it's usually not the big-ticket stuff that gets them: we're far more likely to overspend on all the smaller, habitual purchases, because their cumulative cost is less apparent - and potential savings are much easier to miss. The patterns to look for will depend on your lifestyle and on how much you make, but here are several suggestions for where to search for that 10%:

If you going to Cache with Electronics Inside the Container. Consider a 55-Gallon Open Top Drum. Steel Container will Act Like a “Faraday Cage” protecting the Electronics Within. Also consider a Poly-Pheyleneterephtalamide (C14H10N2O2/or simply Kevlar 49) Container Bag to Guard A Against Long Term Corrosion on the Steel 55-Gallon Drum. Kevlar, is Non-Biodegradable and will last for 10,000-years or Longer. But than Again Food Inside Probably WON’T…

Your emergency medicine book will go into more details about setting bones, applying splints, or even doing field amputations with a knife and a saw. But even just to deal with a sprained ankle, a folding cane ($14) may be good to have somewhere in your stash. Beyond that, bandages are useful for improvising splints; in areas where improvisation may be difficult - say, in the desert or up in the mountains - portable folding splints ($10) can be handy, too.


Young’s observations rang true: Though the Wise Company meals would keep me alive in the event of an emergency, they were simply a lot more carbheavy, with a lot less animal protein and a lot fewer vegetables, than what I eat on a typical day (many of the Wise meals I bought substituted small globules of vegetable protein for actual meat). For the next two days, I supplemented my diet with freeze-dried vegetables, fruit, and yogurt I’d bought from another company, called Thrive Life, and felt the low-bloodsugar sensation dissipate. (Wise Company also sells individual ingredients, in addition to full meals, but I thought I’d diversify my sources.)
Shields said that the company noticed an uptick in sales in the months leading up to the 2016 presidential election, and, again last year, amid fears of nuclear escalation with North Korea. Like Wise Company's former CEO Aaron Jackson, whom Bloomberg previously dubbed “America’s Survival Food King,” Shields said he likes to think of Wise’s products as “an insurance policy.”

If you are trekking through the Yukon or trying to cross the Darien gap, you may find it necessary to wait weeks for help to reach you in a survival situation; but if you are just heading off to your local state park, emergency rescuers could probably reach you in a matter of hours. You’ll want to factor this consideration into your kit-building decisions. If you can expect to wait long periods before help will arrive, you’ll need more supplies than if you are heading out to an easily accessed area. Nevertheless, it is always wise to have the supplies to last longer than you think you’ll need them.
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