You might think it’s silly to grab one of these when you can DIY one yourself, but I do often feel like preps that are ugly are kind of frustrating to have to live with in the long-term. Besides, if you’re trying to hide the fact that you’re a prepper, nothing works better than hiding your preps in a pretty package like this. And you buy them once, how often are you going to replace a rain barrel? Pretty much never!
MRE’s are not bad. I would not eat them for an extended period of time. They’re either short term or transitional food. Short term is 1-2 weeks. Transitional is going from whatever came from the grocery store over to your long term storage food. The down side with consuming MRE’s and freeze drieds- they’ll plug you up. Drink plenty of water! Good reason to keep metamusal around. MRE Tabasco is a tiny bottle good for one meal. Alternate MRE heating. Open the salt packet up and sprinkle the salt grains onto a hot flat metal surface, lay your MRE on… Read more »

Yes, freeze dried food is pricey.  With some care, however, you can find pouches, tins, and buckets on sale.  The advantage of freeze dried food, and meal pouches especially, is they are lightweight and therefore transporatable.  They are quick to prepare and require no planning or thinking.  Add hot to boiling water, stir, let sit for a short time, and eat.


For survival purposes, think calories, not meals per day. An adult will require between 2,000 and 2,400 calories a day nominally, and more if they are active. Children require less, but the effects of malnutrition and starvation hit them harder. You can live for quite a while on reduced calories to make your stores go further, but your activity levels in the aftermath depending on what is required of you may dictate high calorie consumption. Plan accordingly before you hit “rationing” levels of supply.
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.
I had the blessing of knowing my grandparents who lived through the Depression. I was a prepper before it was a ‘thing’. I always had a pantry to rely on. When I actually ‘got into’ prepping, I went overboard, was a bit fanatical, and then I got burned out. Too many ‘doomsday’ articles and sites. I have since changed my approach to more of a ‘homesteader’ mindset. Homesteaders and preppers have a lot in common, and the ultimate goal is the same, to be more self sufficient.
I think most phones get emergency alerts like that for their area codes. I get general warnings and Code Pinks (abducted children) sometimes. But the apps I recommend are both broader and more specific. For example, with Disaster Alert, I not only get tornado and flood warnings in my area, I also get notifications for any severe weather headed towards me and things like medical alerts for flu and whatever.
For ideas, take a look at 12 Months of Prepping: One Month at a Time. Here you will find links to articles that take you though the process of gathering what you need in terms of supplies, gear, tasks, and skills to set you on a positive path of preparedness.  It may not seem like a lot, but at the end of the year you will will be better prepared than 95% of your neighbors.
I bought these candles after we experienced a prolonged power outage. We had headlamps that all had charged batteries so we used those to see in the dark. It became apparent to me that candles are nice because you can place them on a table and have permanent low light where you can sit and work. It is a lot more peaceful than the blinding light of headlamps shining on your face.

But women like Jennifer aren’t preparing for a currency collapse, biowarfare pandemic, or any of the other fantastical global crises that have made America’s prepper subculture synonymous with bunkers, bitcoin, and Infowars conspiracy theories. Instead, they view prepping as a lifestyle — one that has very little to do with defending their territory from hostile invaders and everything to do with the more quotidian business of providing for your family and running a home.


Communication: Radio is still the best way to get emergency info. Unfortunately we’ve had a lot of bad experiences with the $20 to $70 “emergency radios” commonly available on Amazon. Poor reception, awful durability, bloated with unneeded features, etc. So we’re not going to make a recommendation until we’ve done a full product review, but if you’re looking anyway, Kaito and Eton are the two most common brands.
Storing food for an emergency can be challenging but it does not have to be a chore.  Eliminate the panic of attempting to get it all done at once and the process can almost be fun and game-like.  Searching out deals – either with coupons or at sales – can be an adventure in and of itself.  Involve the kids by asking them for suggestions and helping them make selections that they will enjoy eating.
Basic Dining Utensils- A stash of disposable plates, cups, napkins and cutlery will help reduce water usage and maintain cleanliness. Keep a set of reusable camping style cutlery and mess kits around in case you run out of the former. You might want to keep a small set of steel pots or bowls with your stash to ensure you have suitable vessels for meal prep.
These glow sticks were terrific! Individually wrapped (means longer shelf-life), sturdy (none of ours were prematurely activated, which has happened with other glow sticks), gave good light. We purchased for use as interior emergency lighting in case Hurricane Irma hit us (she did) and we lost power (we did). There's no danger of fire and one glow stick in the hallway in front of the bathroom made the kids much happier. The white and yellow and green could be used for reading, or for calculating Yatzee score sheets. The red lights were not as bright as the others, but that's not always a bad thing.
Don’t fret over that: below I have provided a handy checklist for what I think are think are the most essential supplies to stock and steps to implement if you are starting from zero or close to zero. This article will not be detailed step-by-step guide on any one skill, discussion over what foods have the best calorie-to-shelf-life ratio or the absolute best way to store water. All of that has been discussed in detail with expert input here and elsewhere. What the list will be is your jump-start to taking simple, positive action that will give the you of today better survival odds in a crisis over the you of yesterday.
I usually go into lists like this thinking “this person is going to prove how little they know”. But, you just proved how much you know. This list is spot-on, especially the parts about preparing both for and against human nature. IE: in a perfect “bad” situation you want to be that person that is prepared, and can help others learn how to survive by teaching them to hunt, farm, build shelter. But, in a realistic survival situation you need to protect yourself to ensure you’re not just prepping for the big dude down the street with a gun to come over and take advantage of you.

If you’re anything like me, you can easily get sucked into thinking about doing specific things that really won’t help you out all that much. These kinds of tasks could be redundant and repetitive, or even appealing and quite fun, but in actual reality, happen to be way too time consuming for the amount of pay off you’d get from doing them. Don’t let yourself get sucked back in to spending time on these kinds of task if you find they’re absorbing way too much of your time! Stick them on a not to do list to remind yourself to keep your time for things that have a higher pay off!
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The Hawaii false alarm was indeed a wake-up call! Thank you for publishing all this useful information. I’ve always done food storage but there is so much more we need to have on hand. All those little things you need, like knives, compass, a RADIO! – someone mentioned thick soled shoes and of course water filtration. I recently found an awesome 72 Hour backpack I thought was a pretty good deal on costco.com (https://www.costco.com/72-Hour-Tactical-Backpack-Survival-Kit.product.100386699.html?pageSize=96&catalogId=10701&dept=All&langId=-1&keyword=72+Hour+Tactical+Backpack+Survival+Kit&storeId=10301).
Just be aware, if you have stored mixes like bisquick or cake mixes which have baking powder in them. Baking powder has a shelf life, after that shelf life, the bp isn’t stable so your product may not rise and/or may taste funny. Depending on what form of dry milk (powder as opposed to instant milk) is used, that can also make your premixes go bad.

When I first started prepping, I did not mention my new little “hobby” to anyone.  You know, OPSEC and all that.  But about a year into it, I realized that I could not do it all on my own.  There were things I was having trouble grasping and I needed help.  As I tip toed around the edges of my community, I found some like minded people and much to my surprise, I found that I had skills and knowledge that they lacked.
I believe the initial goal amount of food stockpile for someone new to prepping should a year. After a year…they should work towards 2 years, etc. I also tend to agree that it’s better to plan for the worst and hope for the best. So for someone new to prepping a years worth of food is a good 1st goal. Will a years worth of food be enough for a downfall scenario you describe? Probably not, but it will be good for a milder SHTF scenario. My advice is for everyone to start stockpiling as much food as they can…just in case.

As you can see, even the specialty foods are really just your everyday foods that have been prepackaged for you so that they come already preserved and ready to be put on the storage shelf. It just means all the work has been done for you. However, no one type of prepared food is the one and only one to use. The best thing for you to do is have a combination of stocked up regular food and specialty food so that you have the ideal food for any situation in which you might find yourself.
Another possibility is a pre-fab concrete tornado shelter delivered to your site. They can double as storage sheds in good times, including as pool houses. Google ‘precast concrete storm shelter’ and variations on that. Anything which can stand up to a tornado would stand up to a fair blast. Not ground zero, but if you are worried about nuclear war, you probably don’t live at ground zero.

Additionally, some people may want to prioritize skills over supplies, the idea being if you have the skills you can make or find everything else. I will not derail the discussion by delving too far into that, but the fact is having what you need on hand will always save you labor and time. A truly skilled individual can sustain themselves with rudimentary or even no tools in very austere conditions, and there is no substitute for that kind of mastery, but no “lone survivor” who is honest would choose to go without provision or tools when the chips are down and they had a choice.
The difference between the male prepper stereotype and this softer, more feminine strain of survivalism, Mitchell explains, is that women’s work never stops being useful. “We don’t need the pickup truck and the chainsaw and the assault weapon every day, but every day someone must love the children,” he says. “Every day we must feed ourselves and care for ourselves emotionally. There is no crisis that can possibly exacerbate the [need for] women’s traditional roles, because they’re always needed. Do we need the men? For practical purposes, maybe not.”
I usually go into lists like this thinking “this person is going to prove how little they know”. But, you just proved how much you know. This list is spot-on, especially the parts about preparing both for and against human nature. IE: in a perfect “bad” situation you want to be that person that is prepared, and can help others learn how to survive by teaching them to hunt, farm, build shelter. But, in a realistic survival situation you need to protect yourself to ensure you’re not just prepping for the big dude down the street with a gun to come over and take advantage of you.
Testers felt Soylent beat Tsogo on flavor. However, the Tsogo line has a lot of products, such as fruit and vegetable powders and boost packs (protein, caffeine, energy, green tea), so it’s worth checking out. This might be a line of products you want to work into your regular life, so cycling through your supply before it expires would make the shelf-life less of a concern.
The trouble with the prepper movement’s rhetoric of self-reliance, Mitchell says, is that it’s based on a faulty premise. Just as the homesteaders who settled the Great Plains were a lot more interdependent than American mythology typically chalks them up to be — frequently relying on bartering and income from jobs in town to take care of their nutritional needs, rather than growing everything themselves — surviving a true cataclysmic event requires collaboration.
Purchase some thermometers from local home repair stores like Lowe’s, Menard’s, Home Depot, etc. I use one outside to see the outside temperature year round, one in the garage just to see where we stand year round and one in my storage area in the lower level (basement)of the house. Check them on a regular basis. Last winter was so cold and hubby wanted the temperature raised a little more in the house (he is a little older than me and I am going thru the change)but I was worried my food supplies might get too warm or there would be too much up and down changes of temperature. So every day I would go to the lower level (basement), open the door to the storage area and see what the thermometer was reading, if it was too cold I would leave the doors opened a bit and close them back when my readings stayed consistent. There is no heat pumped into this area only what may drift in under the door from the outer area that is heated or air conditioned. I try to keep my food supplies stable around 58 to 62 degrees year round.So far this temperature range is working, the canned food is still maintaining flavor, color and passes the smell test. No signs of critters either. Next step will be to add gallon buckets of food items and I will take into consideration all that I have read from all of you on things that did not go according to plan. Happy Thanksgiving to everyone! Keep on prepping.
We have several of the shelves from Costco/ Sam’s Club. They are great! Put the thin bar across the front of your shelves, not the back. We have some shelves from Thrive Life that rotate the food for you too. Love those! Bought on Black Friday sales. In the end, do what works for you and you budget and space. Ours has changed many times over the years.
Freeze dried food is the other specialty food option when it comes to prepping for survival. These are regular foods that are placed in a special unit in which the moisture is literally frozen out of the food, then it is heated slightly so that the water becomes a gas and can be removed from the food. The food is then vacuum sealed in a moisture- and oxygen-proof bag. These foods are easy to rehydrate, simply by adding water, and they can generally be eaten right out of the bag. There are many different brands of freeze dried foods available, such as:
In addition to a newly built three-bedroom, two-bath ranch home, this 104-acre property in central Wyoming features a heated barn with an extra 800 square feet of living space on the top floor and a 400-square-foot bunker reinforced with tire bunches. The bunker, wedged into the side of a hill, isn’t finished but is hooked up for electricity and water, and everything is powered with a pair of generators connected to an underground 2,000-gallon propane tank. While outfitting the bunker for comfortable living, you can take advantage of the property’s fine farming and hunting possibilities. There are plenty of elk, deer, pheasants, and waterfowl on the tract, which comes with its own well water and equipment that will irrigate 65 acres of land.
20.  Mini LED Flashlight and Extra Batteries.  Okay, this is a cheater item.  It is not food but it is all important and so it will not hurt to stash a miniature flashlight or two along with the edibles in your food storage pantry.  My top pick of the moment is the Blocklite.  This thing just goes and goes and goes plus, it does not take up any storage space.
I confess that  I can go for days eating the same meal of baked potatoes over and over again.  That said, most people need and want variety.  This is especially true for children, the elderly and the infirm who may already be picky eaters.  Plus, you need a variety of foods items in order to get a full complement of nutritional value from your meals.
90. Short range rifle – The .22 LR rifle is regarded as the prepper’s best friend. The ammo is plentiful and extremely cheap and could always double as a barter item, so stock up! The Ruger 10/22 series is a make & model you can’t go wrong with. This rifle can be used for small game and can quite possibly be used for large game if no other rifle is available.
Furthermore, steel shelters, which are typically 3/16- 1/4 of an inch thick, need to be buried DEEP, in order to provide the proper comparative level of protection against radiation. They are typically installed with 8-10 feet of earth covering the top and this presents a considerable number of challenges with regard to the costs for excavating, the need to hire a crane and other issues.
Protecting Yourself Against Identity Theft As A Prepper We live in a world where everyone is at risk of identity theft and being hacked. Identity theft, in simple terms, is where one’s personal information is taken and used without their consent. Each year, tens of millions of Americans become victims of identity theft and hackers, and that number is only growing every year. […] Sep 23, 2018 | 0 Comments
Pat I felt the same way you did about becoming a prepper. One day something inside of me said ok look, it’s time to start making a list and to get going on this endeavor. I started with the basics. I have been prepping for about a year + and have collected quite a lot of supplies. I educated myself in ways to store food. I am a You Tube watching fool, always looking at videos on how to do this or that. I’d like to know how to meet others who are prepping as well. I don’t really know… Read more »

Good article! A few years ago, a medical condition for someone in my family required that I learn how to cook without high fat dairy, no corn products, no fish, and very low sodium. That means almost no packaged or processed foods, no fast food, almost no snack foods, no packaged flavor packets, no bottled flavorings…well you get the idea. Now I visit Costco a couple times a year for rice, beans, pasta, and meat. I grow almost all the vegetables we eat year round. Our grocery bills have gone way down. And now I actually know how to cook almost anything from scratch ingredients that I always have on hand in bulk. The foods many preppers stock up, are foods I never have in my house so I wouldn’t miss them if they suddenly became unavailable. In hind sight I’ve learned that “stuff” isn’t as important as skills. Trust me, cooking is a skill.
MRE’s are not bad. I would not eat them for an extended period of time. They’re either short term or transitional food. Short term is 1-2 weeks. Transitional is going from whatever came from the grocery store over to your long term storage food. The down side with consuming MRE’s and freeze drieds- they’ll plug you up. Drink plenty of water! Good reason to keep metamusal around. MRE Tabasco is a tiny bottle good for one meal. Alternate MRE heating. Open the salt packet up and sprinkle the salt grains onto a hot flat metal surface, lay your MRE on… Read more »
When you are in a stressful situation, it wouldn’t be a good time to have your family, especially small children, get used to eating things a different way. When you are prepping food, it is always good to keep the taste preferences that your family has in mind. This way, you are comfortable in the foods you are using, and like what you are packing.
Here are some basics are things that can be essential to a successful shelter: wood matches, lots of rechargeable batteries for flashlights, battery charger, candles, siphon pump, head lamps, lanterns, lantern oil, generator and generator fuel, a solar panel as a backup source, large gas cans (like 14 gallon), zip ties, chainsaw, shovel, rope, rake, steel pots and kettles for boiling water, large car batteries, and hand saws.
When I point out that her reasons for getting into survivalism sound far off from the “every man for himself” mentality of the macho prepper stereotype, Chymiy mentions a paper by a team of social psychologists from UCLA, published in Psychological Review, about the differences in how men and women react to physical and social stressors. “The traditional fight-or-flight response is apparently based on research done only on men, so when they finally researched women under extreme stress, their response instead of fight or flight was more tend and befriend, apparently,” she explains. “Instead of running away or punching you in the face if you try to mug us, we’ll try to talk you down or try to make a social connection so you know the stressful situation can be diffused. And in neighborhood settings, we try to come together and help each other.”
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).
This group has a primary concern with maintaining some form of legal system and social cohesion after a breakdown in the technical infrastructure of society. They are interested in works like The Postman by David Brin,[48] Lewis Dartnell's The Knowledge: How to Rebuild Our World from Scratch,[49] or Marcus B. Hatfield's The American Common Law: The Customary Law of the American Nation.[50]
You might think it’s silly to grab one of these when you can DIY one yourself, but I do often feel like preps that are ugly are kind of frustrating to have to live with in the long-term. Besides, if you’re trying to hide the fact that you’re a prepper, nothing works better than hiding your preps in a pretty package like this. And you buy them once, how often are you going to replace a rain barrel? Pretty much never!
At $40 for a case of 12, Soylent does a great job replacing solid meals with pre-mixed drinks that can extend your survival food stores by a few days. Each bottle is 400 calories and contains 20% of your daily nutritional needs. Drink five bottles and you’ve got a full day’s worth. They’re also vegan and nut- and lactose-free, with very clear nutritional info.

Good ole MREs. My fav was chicken and shrimp jambalaya. Absolutely hated Country Captain Chicken. I include them in our 72 hour bags for convenience, but I field strip them for space. I once found an authoritative website with pictures and charts about how MREs stack up in prolonged heat (can’t find it now) and the results were frightening, so I don’t stock up on too many because I live in the desert with temps over 100 for many months and I’d be in trouble if power went out. But a case or two in an interior closet is a… Read more »

We can build up our stockpile all we wan’t but what happens when Martial law takes effect and they want what we have, as a christian I don’t believe we should kill anyone in order to protect our stuff , what is a christian supposed to do if we feel to prep now only to have it taken from us then? Should we hide our preps in places away from our home? Thank you
A bug out bag is critical but what do you put in it? When considering disaster preparedness, keep in mind that what survival gear and emergency supplies you add to your bug out bag and then pack for your survival kit can mean the difference between life and death, or at least affect your level of comfort if SHTF and you had to get outta dodge. Read this article to find out what you should consider putting in your bug out bag.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in their "If You See Something, Say Something" campaign says that "the public should report only suspicious behavior and situations...rather than beliefs, thoughts, ideas, expressions, associations, or speech...".[86] However, it is alleged that a DHS list of the characteristics of potential domestic terrorists used in law enforcement training includes "Survivalist literature (fictional books such as Patriots and One Second After are mentioned by name)", "Self-sufficiency (stockpiling food, ammo, hand tools, medical supplies)", and "Fear of economic collapse (buying gold and barter items)".[87][88]
It is has been a couple of years since I wrote about some of the mistakes and goofs we all make while prepping.  Since then, a lot of things have changed. For one, the mainstream media has caught on to “three-day kit” mania which means more and more families are now ready for short term disasters. On the other hand, threats from wacko foreign leaders have escalated to the point where terrorist-driven EMPs, pandemics, and outright wars have become more of a possibility, if not a probability.  Talk about two very different sides of the same coin!

Being from the south, we eat a lot of cornbread, so I would have to add cornmeal to this list. I think that cornbread would be an excellent option for a grid down situation. It’s very simple to make, cornmeal, and water, plus salt or any extra veggies you may have. I would also add dry pasta, and oil, for cooking and seasoning your cast iron. I may have missed this, but what about peroxide and alcohol? But you thought of a lot of things I never would have. Great list!


Thanks for the tips! I was actually thinking of doing a post on this but tweaking it to fit ranches. We had a major freeze this year that left us without power for over a week, and the freeze burnt our pump so we couldn't water. We also had several major wildfires that left us without cell service b/c a tower was disabled. I was totally unprepared. I thought we were going to lose everything in our freezer, I couldn't wash clothes or dishers (not a great experience if you have a house full of kids) and no way to communicate with anyone. And that is when a friend recommended your site. It's been so helpful! I think in addition to your list, one could also use a HAM radio or emergency radio, a solar pump if you have a well, and alternative light sources.

Gale, you’re right about the bug eggs. I know it’s a little skeevy to think about but *nearly all* grain products (whole wheat berries, biscuit mix, pasta, cornmeal, anything) already have bug eggs in them. That’s what the dry ice is for; it helps stave off rancidity and it also prevents (ew) hatching! Or you can freeze the items for a week and then store long-term, but that’s a lot more trouble than it sounds like and doesn’t help prolong shelf life.
The true state of the economy: Kmart, MC Sports, JCPenney, Vanity and  soon Herberger's, a department store. "The mall is pretty sad," says Amanda Cain, a teacher and mother. "Once  Herberger's closes, we'll have no anchors." About two-thirds of Ottumwa's Quincy Place Mall will be empty with  Herberger's loss.  Bon-Ton Stores, of which Herberger's was a part; Toys R Us; MC Sports  and others are bankrupt. JCPenney, Kmart and other department stores are closing unprofitable stores in their struggle to survive against  growing online competition.

Speaking of making mistakes here’s one of mine. One of the first things I ‘put back’ (as my Mom use to say in the fall before my Dad was out of work due to bad weather at the quarry), was a couple of extra bottles of vegetable oil. Well, other stuff got in front of them on the shelf and pretty soon they were 3 or 4 years old. Yes, they were rancid when I opened them. Taught me a good lesson on keeping track of what you have and using it before it goes bad. They are marked ‘not to eat’ and are now used to fuel some lanterns outside when we have cookouts.


Ned in the comments reminded me that a bike really should be on this list. Of course, I don’t really need to say, but a good mountain bike is incredibly useful in a SHTF situation where fuel is hard to get. Ned mentioned that it’d be a good idea to couple the bike with a carrying rack on the front or back, and if you can, an electric generator. I think that’s a pretty damn great idea; only problem is I haven’t managed to find any electric generators for bikes that actually have good reviews. If you know of one, please recommend one down in the comments section.
When preparing food for storage, take into account the need for future food, if long-term emergencies occur. This would include a space for growing your own food, hydroponics, plant food, and good quality heirloom non-GMO seeds, UV lamps, and good quality earth to grow the seeds in. For tips on how to stock a survival garden, see our topic on homesteading to learn more.
I would add just a few things though, if you use creamer in your coffee add a few bottles of the powdered version, some dried fruits or a couple large bags of trail mix, pie fillings in a few fruit varieties (awesome in oats!), crackers are great for kids who won’t eat a tuna, spam or other canned meat sandwich but they may be willing to eat “lunchables” DIY of course!, and other all in one items like spaghetti O’s, canned stew, canned ravioli, and ramen. It may not be the healthiest solutions but if you need these items you will be exceptionally grateful you have them!

For experienced preppers like Daisy Luther, founder of the blog The Organic Prepper and the online survival goods store Preppers Market, ready-to-go freeze-dried meals are more of a last line of defense than anything else. Though she insists these products “have their place,” her version of long-term food storage sounds more like a way of life, a process of slowly building up a pantry that will enable her to feed her family as healthfully and economically as possible. Sometimes that means stocking up on the freeze-dried stuff, or buying whatever’s on sale at the supermarket; but it’s also about living in sync with the seasons, growing food in her own garden and using timetested home preservation methods—like canning and dehydrating—to ensure she always has food on hand.
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