When I was 17, Nasa announced the discovery of a far-off planet. News reports hinted at the prospect of the Voyager being deployed, but I never got to hear what the probe actually found. The excitement eventually dwindled and I got on with my life, but the discovery sparked an ongoing interest in space and exploration and, later, in the environment and geopolitics. About 18 months ago those interests led me to prepping.
With that goal in mind, let me say this:  this is not a list of items intended for deep storage. Nor is it a list of items packaged so that they have a 25 year shelf life.  (And in reality, do you really need your stored food to last that long?)  I am also not going to list items that might be foreign to your palate, difficult to find, or too costly to absorb into your weekly shopping budget.

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.

14. Canned Cheese – A little company in Australia, called Bega, makes a wonderful canned cheese that can for a LONG time! The manufacturer says that the shelf life is only 2 years, but canned goods if handled properly can last much longer than that. Here is one prepper who opened them after 13 years, and the cheese still tasted great! Grab some Bega for your next camping trip, and see how you like it, may make a nice addition to your long term food storage plan!


I never saw the other one, but it was described to me a few years ago by the son of the builders after the house was sold and security no longer an issue. He said his father was concerned about nuclear war, and that he was also worried that the house would burn down as a result of the blast. His solution was to have an underground blast shelter built outside the house, with a corridor entrance from the basement and another exit in case the house burned/collapsed. Yes, this was a very high budget bunker.
Actually, the intent of the article was to help readers put together a starter cupboard of food storage items. I wanted things to be simple and uncomplicated without regard to how many mouths these items will feed for “XX” amount of time. So many online food storage calculators are way too overwhelming to deal with. Most of my readers need and want a starting point or simply a list they can go through to check against their existing food storage inventory so that they can fill in the gaps.
A thought on food. We are moving to our long term chunk of land soon. Bunker or similar is long term plan down the road. Meantime as part of us being more self sufficient we have been exploring and getting into Aquaponics. This would require electricity and the right lighting for interior food growth. it would also be something you would want setup before hand. That said, this is a great way to produce long term self sustaining food sources. i would certainly still include the norms for support and back up food. My initial thought process is hiding my entrance within a small aquaponics greenhouse. This allows me to do it within my bunker without suspicion from daily entry. There are also a number of new technological ways to automate and monitor you systems remotely.
Further interest in the survivalist movement peaked in the early 1980s, with Howard Ruff's book How to Prosper During the Coming Bad Years and the publication in 1980 of Life After Doomsday by Bruce D. Clayton. Clayton's book, coinciding with a renewed arms race between the United States and Soviet Union, marked a shift in emphasis in preparations made by survivalists away from economic collapse, famine, and energy shortages—which were concerns in the 1970s—to nuclear war. In the early 1980s, science fiction writer Jerry Pournelle was an editor and columnist for Survive, a survivalist magazine, and was influential in the survivalist movement.[17] Ragnar Benson's 1982 book Live Off The Land In The City And Country suggested rural survival retreats as both a preparedness measure and conscious lifestyle change.

Finally something other than right wing sound bites. There are a lot of us out here that are concerned about survival and where our country is going that DO NOT buy into the baloney that is saying that liberals/progressives are the source of our problems. Yes, people on the left were beaten, imprisoned, and harassed for their beliefs. And yes, there are intolerant jackasses on the left, but the amount of violence, intimidation, denial of rights, and harassment coming from the right far outweighs any other source. I do not care about party labels-right wing democrats in the first 2/3 of the 20th century were responsible for much of the above.Look at the history that does not get taught-Rosewood, Tulsa, Southern Arkansas, and the thousands of lynchings that occurred. These were not done by progressives/liberals. Research history, read about our history, learn what really went on. Then proceed with making survival plans that are positive for our future.
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.
Today, the property would be of interest only to the most ambitious apocalyptic rehabbers. It consists of a launch control center surrounded by three-foot thick concrete, plus the main silo—measuring 180 feet in height and 52 feet in diameter, most of it underground—which the owner can repurposed as needed. Water has leaked into the property for years, but the latest listing states that it has been “cleaned and dewatered.”
Our testers unanimously voted MH the best tasting, even going as far as to buy some to use in everyday life. Nutritionists we spoke with thought MH had the best overall nutritional value, too, with tons of meat-based proteins and fiber. It’s also the most convenient to cook. No external dishes needed, just pour some (ideally boiling) water into the pouch, let it cook, eat, then trash.
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.
Believers in QAnon—a conspiracy theory based on a series of internet clues posted by an anonymous character named “Q” that posits a world in which Trump and the military are engaged in ceaseless, secret war with globalist Democratic pedophiles—think the text could mark the start of “The Storm,” a fantastical MAGA dream in which Trump’s political enemies will be arrested and tried at military tribunals.
If you are in a tight spot and cannot cook or prepare anything, it is a very good idea to have ready to go meals and freeze dried foods on hand. Things like MREs  (meals ready to eat), trail mix, beef jerky, candy and food that make you happy (good for your psychological health) can come in handy in a tight spot. Check out our guide on how to prepare DIY MREs to prepare you for any emergencies.
I know that in my own case and also with the majority of the readers on Backdoor Survival, hunkering down and bugging in will always be preferred to taking off into the unknown with our stuff.  For many, the choice to bug in has to do with family, health concerns or financial considerations.  That, plus the availability of stored supplies makes bugging in – or staying at home – the choice when a disaster strikes.

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.

Laura B. "You have no privacy on the internet, and probably never have."You got that almost rite, all except the word "probably." You have never had any privacy on the internet, and very little anywhere in this country for a lot longer than the internet has been around. Your credit cards track you and your perches. Your drivers license tracks you. Your phone, both cell and home, tracks you. Everything you buy, car, home, property, even the groceries you buy are tracked. Every bill you pay tracks you. The only way to not be tracked is to not have a birth certificate, a social security card, a credit/debit card, never own anything taxable and never pay for anything with anything but gold, silver, or barter. Even the government currency called the dollar has a # on it so it can be tracked. All the things I've listed were put in place for 1 reason, and that is to track. Privacy hasn't been a part of American life for over 100 yrs.

Do you mean clean it so you can drink it or clean it if the electricity goes out and the pump isn't working? If you want to drink the pool water, the best option I know of is to distill it yourself. I just had a reader send me this same question, and she mentioned checking around marine sites to see if there's a product available to remove salt from sea water in an open water emergency. I do know that the Berkey filters will NOT remove the salt. If possible, you're better off storing several 55 gallon drums filled with tap water and several cases of bottled water. I also reuse 2-liter soda bottles by cleaning them, refilling with water, and then storing them under beds and in closets.
One room has a television and comfortable couch; several rooms have beds, including a kids' room with bunk beds; there is a full bathroom with a composting toilet (Vicino said some lessees might install septic systems); and other rooms are empty and open for conversion to whatever purpose a prepper might desire. Each room has carpet or vinyl flooring, and the concrete walls are painted with various colors.
The same goes with flour.  To make flour usable, you also need yeast and baking powder plus the skill and know-how to bake. Not only that, you most likely will need an outdoor oven of sorts – especially if the grid is down post disaster.   That, and more, will come later, but for now, while covering the basics, it is much simpler and far more practical to stick with easy to cook foods that can be combined into interesting meals without the need for much experience other than opening a can or a package.
Water Purification Supplies- If you run out of potable water, you’ll need the capability to make suspect or compromised water safe, or safer, to drink. Filters and chemicals can remove or destroy nearly all of the contaminants and germs that can make you sick or kill you. You must know what your purification solution is capable of, and what it is not. Some will not be able to remove germs or chemicals, and will require second-stage treatment to make the water source drinkable.
So a nuclear war would be bad, but how likely is it? Well, not as likely as it could be. This isn’t 1983; the Cold War is over. On the other hand, it could come back. Russia is smarting from the treatment we gave them during the Clinton era, and they’re steadily rebuilding their military. Russia’s nuclear forces are the most powerful on Earth, and President Putin probably has the starch to use them if he thinks it’s necessary. Putin is also pushing hard to rebuild Russia’s influence in eastern Europe, and there are several places where a small border skirmish could grow into a confrontation between Russian and NATO troops. If that happens, nuclear war is back on the table.

A former army base that was decommissioned in 1967, Vivos xPoint claims to be the largest survival community on earth. Right now, xPoint consists of 575 hardened concrete off-grid bunkers buried in quiet grasslands of South Dakota, near the Wyoming border. The facility may expand to as many as 5,000 bunkers, with features planned like a general store, hydroponic gardens, hot tub spa, shooting ranges, and even a community theater.
The system comprised four dugouts and cabins built of concrete and corrugated metal, and a few other spots where he stashed his provisions and arsenal of guns and ammunition in trash cans and barrels. All the shelters were illegally built across a 2-mile radius on state and federal property outside of Brian Head, Utah, according to a report from the Associated Press. Two of the shelters burned down in a wildfire last June.

@Consco That’s a very good point. There’s nothing really more important than family. We have to define what we mean by “stuff”. Chuck makes a very good point. All the luxuries that we have today can be done without if we have to. They aren’t that important and can be repaired or replaced, if we want, when things get more or less back to normal. What does need to be defended, other than family, are the things that are necessary for our survival. The food. The water. Shelter. Heat. Hygiene products. Necessary medicines. Etc. The things that will help to ensure our survival in the face of an uncertain future. What I would suggest though, is that, if you have info stored on hard drives that you don’t want to lose fill the drive up with what you deem important and put those items in an EMP-proof container. Even a metal garbage can set up properly will do. And one small computer that’s able to access those drives. No matter what happens, or how it happens, a new civilization WILL spring forth from the ashes of the old and then knowledge will help to rebuild it. If you have important books that might come in handy for helping to rebuild then also find some way to secure those.

I’ve known two families with fallout/blast shelters, both 1950s vintage. One was built in the basement of an existing house, and was strictly a fallout shelter. Cement blocks, and and a corridor entrance with two angles, something like the entrances one sees today in airport bathrooms. I don’t remember what they used for the ceiling, tho we used to play in it as kids. It had a hand crank ventilation system, which IIRC used a whale of a lot of arm power for the amount of air it moved.
I know of another room which may have been thought of as a bunker…or maybe not. A couple built a house with a full basement and an attached two car garage which has a concrete slab floor. Under that slab is a ‘storage room’, entered from the basement, but it has a concrete wall between it and the rest of the basement, and a steel door which opens inward. Sound like a bunker?
Any canned foods you purchase at the grocery store will store for a number of years under the right conditions. Canned food makes great prepper food because it can be stored for such a long time and because you can eat it right out of the can if necessary. Canned food will also provide a hot meal when you have the means to heat it and you don’t need any extra water or ingredients. Plus, depending on what you buy, you can get a complete meal in a can (think soups and stews) and you can get almost anything you could want in terms of canned food, including:
My family fashioned an outdoor kitchen under a shed in our backyard with a simple gas stove that we got free, along with a laundry sink, through Craigslist. We have a propane tank from a gas grill connected to the stove and a connection for a water hose for the sink. We even found an old kitchen cabinet for storage and counter space. Throughout the summer, I use our outdoor kitchen for canning parties, picnics and cookouts. This outdoor kitchen is a nice alternative to the heat canning creates in my house. Additionally, I feel secure in knowing I’ll be able to use this kitchen to preserve some of the food from my freezer rather than lose it all during a long-term power outage. 

Based on factors like the proliferation of nuclear weapons, global political tensions, and unchecked climate change, scientists said the symbolic clock was poised at three minutes to “midnight,” a.k.a. doomsday, in 2015 and 2016. That’s considered a very high-risk state of affairs—much worse than 2010 (six minutes to midnight) or the end of the Cold War circa 1991 (17 minutes to midnight).
I would first off go through lists of super-foods, these foods are packed with nutrients. 1 Tablespoon of spiralina powder might have the nutrition equivalence of 2 cups of dried kale/spinach. You have to think about space and weight, as you may end up physically carrying these foods or have limited space. If you are fleeing town, and your car will holds “X” amount of space, you are certainly better off with a light load = use less gas = go farther away from disaster zone.

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.


This was what the residents of Hawaii had feared, and predictably, there was mass panic. Tearful phone calls saying good-bye to loved ones were made by the thousands. People raced toward shelters of any kind — a shopping mall, random building, anything that could provide protection. One video showed parents placing their small children in a storm drain, hoping they, at least, would survive the blast if, indeed, the Hawaii missile alert had been real.
When things go bad, you will want to ensure your family has at least some regular comfort foods and that you can eat real, freshly prepared food for as long as possible. However, if you have no MREs or freeze dried food and you have to bug out and leave all your preps behind, you might have a hard time carrying a lot of canned goods with you. You will also want to avoid something called “food fatigue,” which is when a person gets so bored of eating the same food all the time that they don’t feel like eating that food, even if it’s the only thing they have, combined with the lack of nutritional variety in their food.
One of the “skills” every prepper should learn (and learn this week or next) is foraging for edibles in and around their homes. Search the library or order a book on Amazon…one with pictures…to learn which weeds provide vitamins and minerals and how to spot them (and their poisonous look-a-likes) in YOUR neighborhood. The day MAY come when that is ALL that is available to eat because the mice, rats, birds, cats and dogs have already been dispatched to feed hungry neighbors. Weeds are likely to still be around even after looters have torn out and dug up your gardens in search of food.
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So much of the history of the struggle between good and evil can be explained by Edmund Burke’s observation. Time and again those who profess to be good seem to clearly outnumber those who are evil, yet those who are evil seem to prevail far too often. Seldom is it the numbers that determine the outcome, but whether those who claim to be good men are willing to stand up and fight for what they know to be right. There are numerous examples of this sad and awful scenario being played out over and over again in the scriptures.
We as humans tend to be an angry species nowadays. When I was younger arguments were settled with fists, sticks and stones, or perhaps knives as a last resort? Mortality rates from these encounters weren’t as bad as firing a firearm in anger. I’m just afraid my own anger would cause me to fire first! Combat situations are easy to talk bravodo about but unless you’ve ever killed a live person or had another person shoot at you, you have no idea what you would actually do in a grid down situation.
If you are close to ground zero, the buildings are going down, and I live near mountains so the shock wave would hit twice or more off the mountains. Without shelter, you’ve no protection from secondary fall out, as you’d need to make the shelter air tight. That’s where the plastic comes in. If the building stands, you’d spend that half an hour, shutting off the AC and heat as you don’t want to bring in outside contaminated air. You’d tape off doors, vents etc. You’d need to live in that space, it could be weeks.
Great article. Very informative and insightful. I also think learning how to store the right food most especially for leaner times is very important. For me canning is the best way to store food. But make sure that you can your food the right way. It is also a proven fact that canning as a way of storing and preserving different kinds of foods has been done since the 1800’s.
It helps. I’ve never had to panic-buy when snow’s been threatened and everybody else has raced to the supermarket. And I could cut back on the food shop when my husband was temporarily asked to work three days a week instead of five, reducing his pay. Perhaps it’s hereditary. My parents have a year’s worth of food in their store cupboard, including 50kg of wheat, which they can soak to make a vegetarian supplement or grind to make flour. My eldest daughter keeps a 72-hour bag in her car.
Part of prepping is not just stocking up on items, but also acquiring certain skills and training that will prove useful. Below is a list of many different skills you can learn. While you can’t be a master of all trades, it may be beneficial to focus on 2-3 skills you can become an expertise at. Then you will become the go to guy time and time again 🙂
After 9/11, my dad filled a duffel bag with some energy bars, a couple gallons of water, some penicillin, and a map. Amid scaremongering headlines about imminent anthrax and “dirty bomb” attacks in the city, he wanted to have some supplies on hand in case we needed to get out of Brooklyn fast. Were he to assemble such a bag today, he’d likely stumble on a number of companies promising a more wholesale brand of disaster preparedness: a box full of shelf-stable freeze-dried meals, to be revived from their dessicated state with the addition of boiled water.
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