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.
Shelter: You can make basic shelters with cordage and a tarp. Tarps are very useful in a range of situations. Try this Ozark Trail 8’x10’ camo and green tarp. We need to do more research before determining whether hammocks or tents are better for most people, so sign up for our email newsletter to stay updated if you’re interested in a more dedicated BOB shelter. In the meantime, we love these Kammock Roo hammocks that are about the size of a melon. (For a cordage recommendation, see “Tools,” below.)
This book covers everything people should know about water after a disaster, whether they are a notice or expert at prepping. Detailed instructions are provided on how to dig a well, collect rainwater, and find how to purify water from natural resources such as lakes and rivers. Readers will also learn how to properly store water including what containers are safest, where to store them, and how to keep it fresh and potable.
That probably sounds outrageous on a preparedness blog, but there’s a method to my madness. We have to prepare for the things that are the most likely, not the apocalyptic scenarios that may or may not ever occur. I’ve often written that the number one thing we need to prepare for is personal financial hardship. I’ve experienced it myself and used layers 1 and 2 of my food storage extensively. I never even cracked into layer 3 during those difficult times.
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).
Why do our dystopian urges emerge at certain moments and not others? Doomsday—as a prophecy, a literary genre, and a business opportunity—is never static; it evolves with our anxieties. The earliest Puritan settlers saw in the awe-inspiring bounty of the American wilderness the prospect of both apocalypse and paradise. When, in May of 1780, sudden darkness settled on New England, farmers perceived it as a cataclysm heralding the return of Christ. (In fact, the darkness was caused by enormous wildfires in Ontario.) D. H. Lawrence diagnosed a specific strain of American dread. “Doom! Doom! Doom!” he wrote in 1923. “Something seems to whisper it in the very dark trees of America.”
Interestingly, driving and safeguarding your finances have something in common: when you end up hurting another person in an at-fault accident, they may go after your savings or real estate to recoup medical expenses, lost wages, and other costs. So, in addition to driving defensively, have a look at your insurance policy. The minimum liability coverage mandated by the state can be as low as $15,000; relatively few victims will settle with the insurer for that amount if they think that taking you to court could net them ten times as much. Bumping your limit to $250,000 is usually pretty cheap. In fact, if you have collision coverage, you can more than make up for it by increasing your deductible to $1,000.
During the dinner rush, the Pizza Hut on Glenstone Avenue is a kinetic juxtaposition: fast-moving people behind the counter, slow-moving people in front of it. Carbohydrate osmosis, I assumed. Earlier that afternoon in the Starbucks down the road, Randall told me Andrew:’s meetup group might be here. He’d been hosting meetups in the gymnasium of the Seventh-day Adventist Church on Belview Avenue, but the church disinvited the preppers after clergy leader and RN Janis Hall witnessed Andrew: deliver a scathing diatribe against modern medicine. But here, judging by the veterans’ hats, overalls and waistband cell phone holsters crowding the salad bar, I knew I was in the right place.
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!
I'm not quite crazy enough to say that epinephrine will help you survive the inevitable zombie apocalypse (you can go here for that). I'm just suggesting in a roundabout way that if you happened to be in a situation where something was trying to eat you, the increased heart rate and blood flow to your muscles brought on by a well-timed dose might just save your life.
If you worry about releases from chemical plants or overturned ammonia tankers, 3M multi-gas cartridges ($17) and half facepieces ($12) may offer robust protection when sized and fitted properly. That said, in most cases, it's more important to develop a plan for sealing your home; walk around and take note of any crawl space inlets, bathroom and kitchen exhausts, chimneys, fireplaces, and any other gaps. In an emergency, you can cover them with trash bags and duct tape.
Tim Chang, a forty-four-year-old managing director at Mayfield Fund, a venture-capital firm, told me, “There’s a bunch of us in the Valley. We meet up and have these financial-hacking dinners and talk about backup plans people are doing. It runs the gamut from a lot of people stocking up on Bitcoin and cryptocurrency, to figuring out how to get second passports if they need it, to having vacation homes in other countries that could be escape havens.” He said, “I’ll be candid: I’m stockpiling now on real estate to generate passive income but also to have havens to go to.” He and his wife, who is in technology, keep a set of bags packed for themselves and their four-year-old daughter. He told me, “I kind of have this terror scenario: ‘Oh, my God, if there is a civil war or a giant earthquake that cleaves off part of California, we want to be ready.’ ”
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.
At seventy-seven, living on a tugboat in Sausalito, Brand is less impressed by signs of fragility than by examples of resilience. In the past decade, the world survived, without violence, the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression; Ebola, without cataclysm; and, in Japan, a tsunami and nuclear meltdown, after which the country has persevered. He sees risks in escapism. As Americans withdraw into smaller circles of experience, we jeopardize the “larger circle of empathy,” he said, the search for solutions to shared problems. “The easy question is, How do I protect me and mine? The more interesting question is, What if civilization actually manages continuity as well as it has managed it for the past few centuries? What do we do if it just keeps on chugging?”
And it's not all about dying, too: a nasty toothache or a debilitating allergy can make it very difficult to stay productive and alert. With all that in mind, my list of essential and easily available prepper medicines includes ibuprofen ($10, pain relief), cetirizine ($15, allergy management), amoxicillin ($15, broad-spectrum antibiotic), loperamide ($10, anti-diarrheal), meclizine ($7, prevents vomiting), miconazole nitrate ($10, treats fungal skin infections), bacitracin ointment ($5, bacterial skin infections), topical lidocaine ($20, anesthetic), and hydrocortisone cream ($6, anti-itch). For disinfecting your hands and cleaning wounds, benzalkonium chloride wipes ($4) can work pretty well; for burns, many people swear by hydrogel dressings ($5) or hydrogel creams ($13), too. Finally, for treating severe dehydration, try oral rehydration packs ($30).
3) the best part? many of them have something that is not advertised on the Internet: 20-lb paper bags of both red and white hard wheat at an amazing price! No, you can’t #10-can them and they can’t ship them, but if you live in a reasonable drive or a friend is going near one, it’s definitely worth a little effort. Again, call ahead and make sure before going.
In many states, even with an uncontested will, it may take many months for the probate process to be wrapped up. If you are the sole provider for your family, make sure that they will have the means to survive in the meantime. The right kind of a shared bank account ("joint tenancy with right of survivorship") can do the trick. There are several other approaches to this problem, too, but they tend to be more dicey from the legal perspective - or more costly and more time-consuming to set up.
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.