While lurking on a prepper discussion thread on Tea Party Community, a social network marketed as a conservative alternative to Facebook, I once saw a rousing discussion about navigating the tricky business of armed combat while confined to a mobility scooter. In that particular hypothetical scenario, individuals were discussing the best ways to kill NATO peacekeeping forces. These are real people, and they live in your city. You've seen them around, buying groceries or waiting in line at the DMV—just doing regular old human activities. The only difference is that these people look at society and see the death throes of something grotesque, and they imagine that it is likely enough that they will find themselves thrown into a new mode of living, something primal and vicious and, let's face it, potentially invigorating.
The MPS totes let in a little water when we submerged them. And the tote lid bent a little under the weight testing, but did not collapse or hurt the food. As expected, the cardboard boxes containing Mountain House foods got soggy immediately. But the packets of food themselves are waterproof. The boxes stacked well but didn’t offer nearly the same protection as the buckets.
You can figure 25-30 years storage life for hard red wheat, stored at 60 degrees in a 55 gallon drum, using 1 pound of dry ice to drive out the oxygen (wait 24hrs for the dry ice to “melt” before sealing the drum). 400 pounds of wheat per drum equals 400 man-days of calories, and costs you about $100. Fill 3-4 barrels. It’s Cheap insurance. Add a barrel of Winter Rye for variety. Add a barrel of oats. Then a couple barrels of WHITE rice, and 2-3 barrels of pinto beans. (You need the beans to balance what’s missing from the grains. The beans may be harder to rehydrate after 10-12 years without a pressure cooker, but then you just grind up the dried beans, and bake them in your bread.) For around $1000, you can be prepared to feed your family for close to a decade, if you also garden, keep chickens, and have fruit trees and bushes. Honey is way too expensive to store on a dollar/calorie basis, but consider bee keeping. A drum takes up LESS than 2’X2’. And they stack nicely, at 33” tall. In a 2’X10′ strip along a basement wall, you can have 10 barrels with 4000 pounds of food. Hang a peg board in front of it, and you’ve got very useful space. If you can’t spare that much space in your basement, to protect the lives of your family, think Venezuela .
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.
Typically, survival kits are designed to help you get through a situation in which help cannot be secured. However, if you equip yourself with a satellite phone you can contact help from anywhere on the planet. In other situations, a pre-paid cell phone or two-way radio (be sure to find out the frequency the local ranger station or emergency responders use) may be all that you need to contact help when you need it most.
I strongly disagree with several of the conclusions in this book, such as focusing almost completely on getting to stay in your home, the attitude of 'don't bother worrying about storing food for more than a couple months', etc. I'm just not happy about payin for a book that basically gives me someone's opinions along with incorrect data (veg oils do NOT last longer than other types, for one) and tells me what other books to buy.
Just the 2 months, these little black boxes were located at Krogers, each one either had the .65cent off ONE box of ronzoni ancient grain pasta or the creamette 150 pasta. .65ents off one. Wasn’t “needy” to pay the full shelf price minus the .65cnt coupon so I waited. Eventually each brand went on sale for a buck. After all as said and done, over an 8 week period I was able to purchase pasta for .35 cents a box.
Awesome article. Really useful tool for assessing where I am in the process. And planning the next step. Once again, Gaye, you give us the important information without the fear. Some walk away from the fear and don’t get started. Some, such as me, rush headlong into the fear and then have a panic attack. So the fear is not productive. I appreciate your style.
The preparation you make for a hurricane, earthquake or other short-term disaster will not keep you alive in the event of widespread social collapse caused by pandemic, failure of the grid or other long-term crises. Government pamphlets and other prepping books tell you how to hold out through an emergency until services are restored. This book teaches you how to survive when nothing returns to normal for weeks, months or even years, including:
The commercial wire shelves on big casters I got on Wish.com. I purchased (3) 5 shelf shelve sets. My 5 gallon buckets of sugar, wheat, oats, pasta, beans, rice, pancake mix, powdered milk, powdered eggs, and homemade cake/brownies. I can homemade pasta sauce, chicken chunks, beef chunks, and pork chunks. Hamburger is cooked and dehydrated for skillet meals. I have 5 gallons of raw honey, 2 gallons of molasses. Buy cases of canned veggies when they go on sale and put together zip lock bags of bread ingredients stored in 5 gallon buckets since baked bread is a staple for meals.
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.)
This is a really comprehensive article on food prepping! I was very taken by your last item on “Edible Landscaping.” There is a natural antibacterial, antiviral product called “Sambucol,” that is a syrup (patented) made from black elderberries. There is another syrup similar called “Sambucus,” which is the botanical name for black elderberries. Not only do they taste delicious — like something to top your ice cream sundae with! — they are pretty amazing for coughs, colds, and flu. I am thinking that that might be a good thing to have growing in our yards when SHTF.
Though its light weight and long shelf life are ideal for navigating harsh conditions, freeze-dried food is probably most famous as a cultural curiosity: Like many Americans, I discovered it in a museum gift shop, gawking at the styrofoam-like ice cream that astronauts used to have for dessert. More recently, I encountered it at a disaster preparedness convention in Raleigh, North Carolina, where smiling, gray-haired preppers manned tables piled with plastic bags full of vegetables, meats, and stews.
Float Bag – If your adventures will take place on or near the water, it is a good idea to pack your survival kit in a float bag/waterproof bag, so you can prevent it from sinking to the bottom. Often, it will make the most sense to store your survival kit in a small carrying case, which is then placed inside a float bag, but you could just use the float bag if you prefer.
In addition to the dangers of poor financial planning and the ever-present specter of unintentional injury, another threat we should reckon with is becoming a victim of a crime. Although the risk is not as pervasive as the challenges discussed earlier in this chapter, it still earns a distinction as one of the things that many readers will almost certainly have to face at some point in their lives.
Sure, you could go hardcore right from the start and prepare for a long-term disaster from day one but, as I said, there is a learning curve to this, and you want to minimize your mistakes. It’s much better to prepare for the layers I’m about to give you. But before we get into that, let me just give you the heads up on some of the most common mistakes:
Another complication is that even if you make the right call, many governments impose onerous reporting requirements on foreign assets - and especially in times of economic hardship, they treat them with suspicion and contempt. Host countries are also more cavalier about confiscating foreign deposits, as evidenced by the Cypriot "bail-ins" in 2013. Lastly, the public associates overseas accounts with tax evasion and money laundering, so it may be difficult to garner any sympathy for your case when things go wrong.
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.
In the United States, about one in three adults is obese - that is, are overweight to the point where the condition likely interferes with their health or their daily lives. And while many folks in the prepper community tend to grossly overstate the importance of tip-top physical fitness, there is no denying that obesity is a very real foe. For example, among low-BMI individuals, the incidence of diabetes hovers around 1-4%, but the same number skyrockets to 50-80% for obese folks. Many other, serious metabolic and cardiovascular diseases follow the same curve - and can make it very difficult for the affected families to cope even with fairly prosaic and short-lived emergencies.
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.
Barbara – I know what you mean. It is easy to become both overwhelmed and disorganized at the same time. The nice thing about the list of 20 items is that you can purchase them all at once or one item a week. Then you can set them aside and at least for the short term, consider your food shopping done and move on to the gear or the next major task on your preparedness to-do list.
What is your physical ability? Are you and your spouse able to lift a 50 gallon garbage can full, in case you have to move it? Not everybody can do it alone easily. I met a person who was physicaly strong, but she had days her hands couldn’t open anything because of a chronic sickness. Another one, very strong also, but his back was fragile sometimes.
Pepper spray. An excellent, temporarily incapacitating weapon - very difficult to resist and capable of buying you just enough time to escape. Works quickly and reliably at distances up to perhaps 10 feet; can also stop some animal attacks. Usually not heavily regulated, making it easy to obtain and carry even in places that frown upon other forms of armed self-defense (but check the laws). Pepper spray becomes less effective in strong wind; there is also some risk of blowback, but this is mitigated in narrow-stream products, such as Sabre Pepper Gel ($18).
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.
The fears were different in Silicon Valley. Around the same time that Huffman, on Reddit, was watching the advance of the financial crisis, Justin Kan heard the first inklings of survivalism among his peers. Kan co-founded Twitch, a gaming network that was later sold to Amazon for nearly a billion dollars. “Some of my friends were, like, ‘The breakdown of society is imminent. We should stockpile food,’ ” he said. “I tried to. But then we got a couple of bags of rice and five cans of tomatoes. We would have been dead if there was actually a real problem.” I asked Kan what his prepping friends had in common. “Lots of money and resources,” he said. “What are the other things I can worry about and prepare for? It’s like insurance.”
Of course, no new money was being created in any physical sense: all that banks were doing was engaging in a bit of creative accounting - the sort of which would probably land you in jail if you attempted it in any other comparably vital field of enterprise. If too many depositors were to ask for their money back, or if too many loans were to go bad, the banking system would fold. Fortunes would evaporate in a puff of accounting smoke, and with the disappearance of vast quantities of quasi-fictitious ("broad") money, the wealth of the entire nation would shrink.
While media coverage has often focused on a certain gun-toting, masculine segment of the subculture, both women described being drawn to prepping as a form of female self-empowerment. As Bedford sees it, finding yourself unprepared in the midst of a crisis can be a “terrible feeling of weakness” for a mother. “It makes sense to be empowered and trained and have the right supplies—and in this case, to have extra food on hand—because as a mom in particular, your family just relies on you,” she said.
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.’ ”
The kits provided for Soviet and Russian Cosmonauts are optimised for survival in the temperate and sub-arctic mountains, forests and grasslands in the east of the country. Soyuz spacecraft kits include "food rations, water bottles, warm clothing, rope for making a shelter using the capsule’s parachute, fish hooks and miscellaneous other survival gear". The TP-82 Cosmonaut survival pistol, was provided to defend against predators such as wolves or bears. It was able to fire conventional bullets, shotgun cartridges and flares; the folding stock could be used as a shovel and it also had a fold-out machete.