Once you've accounted for safety and health, there's also mental well-being. “You want things to help keep your mind occupied,” Martin says. “When you don't know what to do you get bored and anxious.” Think cards, board games, books, “things to make you comfortable and happy.” It was kind of amazing how much reading I got done in our last bout with no TV.
Luther’s decision to build up a pantry, she says, did more than help the family get by on a tiny budget. Later on, it would also help her through a divorce, the sudden death of her ex-partner at age 40, and getting laid off from two jobs in the automotive industry in the late 2000s. “I feel that it’s the whole reason my my mortgage didn’t go into default when I was unemployed, because I didn’t have to go to the grocery store and buy stuff,” Luther says of her experiences during the recession. “All the limited amount of money I had could go to paying the mortgage and keeping a roof over our head.”
We all know how important clean water is to our survival, and if you’re planning on bugging in at home, something like this is a definite advantage in cases where water supplies may get contaminated during a SHTF-type situation. Yes, you can try to boil water consistently to purify it, but if you have the money to invest into prepper gear that will help you out in the long-term, this is an obvious way to go with your money. APEC makes and manufactures these in the good ol’ USA – they’re high quality, and are pretty much the only brand worth talking about when it comes to reverse osmosis filters; immense value for money in my opinion. If you don’t think these will ever be necessary, you only have to look as far as Flint, Michigan for a cautionary tale.

“It was never offered as a contrary movement to hippies by any means,” Mitchell explains. “I think maybe it was just one more expression of ‘You can try something new now.’” Survivalism was and still is, Mitchell believes, a product of late capitalist consumer society, premised on drumming up panic about various hypothetical catastrophes and furnishing people with products that will allegedly help survive them.


So if you feel like the world’s not getting any better, consider saving money to spend for this doomsday shelter project. A regular unit costs around $200,000 while an apartment for multiple families is around $2 million. Radius has been building underground bunkers for three decades now. These are regularly meant for military uses but due to terrorist attacks and nuclear threats, the company created family models too.
Many books were published in the wake of the Great Recession from 2008 and later offering survival advice for various potential disasters, ranging from an energy shortage and crash to nuclear or biological terrorism. In addition to the 1970s-era books, blogs and Internet forums are popular ways of disseminating survivalism information. Online survival websites and blogs discuss survival vehicles, survival retreats, emerging threats, and list survivalist groups.
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.

Austere Living Techniques- Everything gets harder when modern conveniences, luxuries really, disappear. Avoid feeling overwhelmed and helpless by practicing self-reliance and making do with less, now. Learn how to build cooking and camp fires, maintain hygiene, dispose of waste, control your body temperature and create what you need. This is not just for “bush life,” and will prove valuable when the electricity and gas is cut off.
Thomas spoke about these in his article on purifying contaminated water. Basically, the reverse osmosis water purification systems, like the one featured as #5, will take care of larger contaminents. Couple that with ultraviolet disinfection and the rest of water purification is pretty well taken care of without requiring anything too expensive. Remember that this system requires electrical power, so you’re going to need to take that into consideration. But with a solar panel generator, it’ll do the trick perfectly.
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.
Probably one of the very first things you have ever heard about prepping is that you have to store away large quantities of food. This needs to be prepper food that can be stored away for the long-term, perhaps enough food to last for six months to a year or longer. But what kind of food is this? Have you ever wondered if there is specialty prepper food? The answer to this question is yes and no. Confused? It’s actually more straightforward than it might seem.
It would be tight in my climate but there are days we could be ok on a gal./per for both cooking and basic hygeine, and days we would be quite stinky…when there is no water. That is the way, you allow something less important to slide a day or part of a day…. For the summer temps of 90 and humidity of 65-80%, no way. Closer to 2 gallons a day for drinking alone. as far as baths…. There is what is called a “pan bath” or “rag bath” One takes a cloth wets it with amount of water to totally wet coth adds soap and washes everything needed…puts a little more water over that rag/ or another and rinses it and ones self wih a second wipe over …Ideal? no ..Where things are not ideal, people learn to make do.
It doesn’t even take something exotic like Ebola. A bad strain of the flu could overload our medical system and push society to the edge of collapse – and maybe beyond. Preparedness is going to be essential in any kind of major outbreak. Expect stores to be quickly emptied by panic buying, and then probably looting; hospitals won’t be able to cope, and everyone will be forced back onto their own resources. That’s why it’s vital to have those resources.

Durable packaging: Can it hold up to abuse, floods from storms, etc. For example, the biggest danger during an earthquake is things falling. Since it’s easy to imagine storing supplies like this on the bottom shelf in a garage, consider how it would hold up to stuff falling on top of the container or flood water coming in. Or zombies… those sneaky zombies.


Mountain House, Wise Food, My Patriot Supply, and Ready Store need to get better in this regard. In some cases, we had to call a company and dig deeper than reasonable in order to find out calorie content — or we had to look at individual nutritional labels to reverse engineer the math. In other cases they called something a “1-month bucket” but that was based on silly calorie numbers.
You may feel helpless if you have not been an outdoorsy or rugged person for most of your life, but the most essential lifesaving and survival skills and concepts are easily learned, if not mastered. Below is a list of several core skill sets you should make a point to get trained on and practice when you can. In all but the smallest towns there will be someone who has something to teach you about all of them.
Really enjoy your common sense approach to the prepping lifestyle and hitting on this list. One thing that we found a challenge when we started was financial preparedness; not necessarily a prepping budget, but getting rid of unnecessary, burdensome debt that robs you of the truly important things in life, and preparedness goals. Keep up the good work of sharing!

Any bulk meat I have set aside is canned. If I find a good deal on chicken or even hamburger I can it.I don’t have to worry about a power outage and the loss of a very expensive food item. I know canning isn’t for everyone but the convience of going to the pantry and grabbing a jar of chicken for a salad already cubed and fully cooked has made it all worthwhile. A couple weeks ago I found several packs of italian sausage at the store marked down because it had one day to expiration. I bought what they had, several green peppers, a couple onions. I now have a meal in a jar. All cooked ready to go. throw em in a pan to brown them and warm it all up. Sandwich ready
Yes, another non-necessity, but I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I like having options and redundancies. We have the smaller version of the Solo Stove – the Titan, and it’s great, though we’d prefer a larger size than we’ve got. Solo Stoves are overbuilt, definitely a one-time purchase rocket stove, looks pretty stinkin’ good for what it is, and while, yes, you can totally have a regular fire-on-the-ground, this is one of those things that helps you out in the you-won’t-need-too-much-wood department. And if you’re at all into greyman survival – well you won’t be leaving a mess behind if you use one of these to contain your fire.
If you managed to get everything listed above and a little extra, once you get back home it’s time to take care of your groceries. Storing food for an extended period requires some preparation if you don’t want to waste your money. First, you will need a cool, dry place that is dark even during the day. If you have a basement or cellar, you have the ideal place to store your food as long as it is not too close to the heating installation. And second, make sure that the temperature doesn’t oscillate too much in the place designated as your temporary survival pantry.
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.
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 »
HBCD has been classified as a category 2 for reproductive toxicity.[6] Since August 2010 Hexabromocyclododecanes are included in the EPA‘s List of Chemicals of Concern.[7] On May 2013 the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) decided to include HBCD in the Convention’s Annex A for elimination, with specific exemptions for expanded and extruded polystyrene in buildings needed to give countries time to phase-in safer substitutes. HBCD is listed for elimination, but with a specific exemption for expanded polystyrene (EPS) and extruded polystyrene (XPS) in buildings.
It is hard learning to garden. I just put in my first huge garden a couple of years ago. One thing that I did learn…. is that there are many different ways to garden. There are many books at the library about different types of gardening and of course the internet has a wealth of knowledge. Everyone of course, thinks that their way is the best. Good luck with the garden.

An emergency can strike without warning and unfortunately, most people find out too late that they are missing the essential supplies. Far too many times you’ve seen on the news how people line up in front of grocery stores hoping to get some last minute survival foods. If you end up doing the same, you should at least know what to buy from your grocery store.

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.”
Great article! I’ll be trying out several of these soon, since my family is in a tight spot financially and I’ve made the decision to stop buying dry goods or canned foods for the next several months in order to reduce spending. So we’re eating from long term food storage whenever I can incorporate ingredients into meals — one of our family favorites is canned meat fried up with rehydrated potato shreds & eggs & cheese to make sort of a corned beef or Spam hash! And we’ve already had good experiences with using cheese powder & dehydrated potato slices from the grocery’s “bulk food” section (very similar to the same items in our long term food storage) to make au gratin potatoes.
MREs come in boxes of 12 and each MRE is a different meal. You quickly learn which meals you like and which ones you don’t. If you were unfortunate enough to be the last one to the box you got what everyone else passed over. When I was in the service I think the worst meal was the beef patty. There are some similarities between the meals. They all come with an entrée, some side and a dessert. You get crackers and peanut butter or cheese, a condiment packet and usually a drink mix. We would even come up with our own names for meals that displayed our disdain for the contents. One meal, Meatballs with barbecue sauce was affectionately called ‘Meat nuts with Barf A Shoe’ sauce by myself and the guys in my unit. I am sure there are millions of other creative renames. I actually liked that MRE and I think it was pretty much my go-to meal as long as I could beat everyone to the box.
To start, I suggest purchasing a basic 3 month supply of your everyday foods! Then add a little each time you shop. I have a mix of freeze dried, dehydrated, LDS, Thrive Life, 5 gallon buckets with Gamma Seal lids. It really depends on the item. I actually eat what I store. Be realistic. I buy boxes of red beans and rice, Zatarians, use a freeze dried beans, It cooks super fast and is nutritious. Same with scalloped potatoes. These are easy to cook comfort meals that are good for emergencies. Add a can of Costco chicken and you have a great meal.
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.
Also, what about a bike – perhaps with a electric generator that can couple to it, with a nice rack on the front or back to carry things in it? I really appreciate preparing and actually stepping into a lifestyle more reliant on my own skills and power, rather then something like a diesel generator that would be useless in the event of total system failure.
I think there are stages to prepping. The first stage is awareness. Maybe you experience a major hurricane and have to drive around town freaking out because you don’t have enough bottled water. You think, “Never again.” So you purchase realistic items for your area. The second stage is when you come to realize how much stuff you will actually need and you go out and purchase those items. The third stage is when you realize that no matter how much stuff you have stocked up, it will eventually run out in a grid down situation. That leads to the fourth stage–skills. Do you know how to garden when your life and the lives of your family depend on it? Do you know how to trap and hunt? Can you tell the difference between edible plants and poisonous plants? Do you have a trade like carpentry, plumbing, engineering, canning, bushcraft, herbal medicine? The sixth and final stage (and I am just making this up off the top of my head) is when you realize that no matter how many skills you have, you can’t make it alone. You begin to look for a community.
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.

Fires happen at the best of times—when the SHTF, they are even more likely to happen. You need to be prepared. And you will be with the Firemask as part of your prepper gear This is a respiratory device that will protect against smoke inhalation, fire, and radiant heat. It also protects against carbon monoxide, ammonia, hydrogen sulfide, and other toxic gases.
There’s a really good app called Prep and Pantry. It allows you to create did inventories, including expiration dates. It scans the barcode too so you don’t have to enter it by hand. This helps me know what I have and lets me plan my meals around when food is expiring. I think it’s about $8, but it’s helped me save a lot of money by not throwing food away.
Quick and easy foods help you through times when you are psychologically or physically unable to prepare your basic storage items. No cook foods such as freeze-dried are wonderful since they require little preparation. MRE’s (Meals Ready to Eat), such as many preparedness outlets carry, canned goods, etc. are also very good. Psychological Foods are the goodies – Jello, pudding, candy, etc. – you should add to your storage.
Liz – I’m not normally one to call someone out… But… You’re WRONG! The body ABSOLUTELY cannot survive without carbohydrates. Scientifically impossible! You might want to have a full blood workup done and an exhaustive vitamin panel. No way, no how, you’ve been on a meet and water diet for a year! After a couple of weeks your body would go into ketosis. Not long after that, absence of Carbs would start to affect brain function. Not sure what you’re trying to accomplish with your comment, but you’re “advice” will be sending people to the hospital!
We also have a Cobb Grill for cooking (charcoal). It's about the same as a new outdoor grill to replace the rusted out one and since it's designed for indoor storage and easy transport (it has a carrier bag), it should long outlast anything we would need to leave outside. SHTF or no, it's a good buy for us. Clearly, it is smaller than a full-size grill, but we don't need that anyhow.
Also, I’m not a big fan of eating canned food if I don’t have to. I feel it comes with chemicals and has less nutrients. However, in certain situations, it’s better to do that than starve. It definitely stores well. I like to keep beans and seeds around to sprout when I need them. Sprouts are highly nutritious and it fits better with my taste buds as I eat mostly fresh foods; although I am also keen on the beans and rice idea and I always stockpile 3 months of organic oatmeal if I can. Another thing I do is buy carrots and cabbage in bulk and leave them in the refrigerator as both veggies last a long time and you can eat them for at least a month if not longer. Onions are also a decent vegetable for lasting for a duration and when they start to sprout you have yourself some green onions instead. Potatoes also last fairly well. If you buy spaghetti squash and pumpkin in September, it will usually last until February.
2. At least two ways to cook food in a power down situation.  I’ve used the Sun Oven for years (visit the official website here) and own the Stove-Tec Rocket Stove.  The Eco-Zoom stove is another version of a highly effective, fuel-efficient stove that weighs less than the Stove-Tec.  If the prices of energy skyrocket, and it looks as though that may happen in the near future, it will be a blessing to have alternative ways to cook food without cranking up the gas or electric range.
With this you can can fruits, veggies and even meats. You can do this without the salt or other preservatives and for meats, eating dried or jerked meat gets old fast when you have to eat it instead of it being a snack. The high temp of the pressure canner kills the bacteria that spoils food so it lasts for years. You can make your favorite chicken and beef soups with al the veggies, pasta or potatoes in them.
2.  20 pounds of Pinto Beans.   Like rice, beans are the backbone to every food storage plan.  You may substitute white, kidney or other types of dried beans but honestly, pintos are one of the least expensive dried beans and in my opinion, one of the tastiest.  Need help cooking beans? when you are done here be sure to read Survival Woman Learns to Cook Dried Beans and you should too and  Respect for the Lowly Pinto Bean.
When Kafrina hit a few years ago, it was unbelievable to see the number of people who decided to ride out the storm instead of evacuating. As the “reliality” of the destruction of Katrina was sinking in on TV, what was so horrifying was watching all these “hundreds” of people without water! And nowhere to get it! They were completely cut off from civilization! As the next couple of days passed on, and still, no relief in sight, I watched in horror the actions do these people desperate for water! I wanted so badly to reach through my TV and hand them a bottle of water, but could not do that! I never felt so helpless in my entire life. And they were killing each over in an effort to get to water! With all the technology, with all the electricity, with all of our knowledge, we could not get a bottle of water to these people, and some died on the side of the road in desperation to get to water! I have never forgot how quick a people can destroy theirselves over they lack of water, and also for their lack of taking other precautions to keep themselves alive!
Freeze-dried food is nothing new. As early as the 13th century, the ancient Quechua and Aymara people of Bolivia and Peru pioneered a form of the process by exposing potatoes to the freezing temperatures of the Andes overnight, then drying them in the sun. In 1937, Nestlé used industrial technology to create the world’s first freeze-dried coffee, and in the 60s and 70s, the US military shipped freeze-dried food rations to the troops in Vietnam.
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