Clothing and Footwear- Appropriate to your locale and weather. Aside from being able to dress to the environment and weather conditions, you should consider practical utilitarian clothing that will help you succeed. Tough, breathable, flexible, quick-drying clothing paired with gloves and sturdy boots or hiking shoes will help you negotiate dangerous man-made or natural environments and give you a degree of protection against incidental scrapes, pokes and slices.
Your next trip to the grocery can yield extra provision to add to your emergency supply. The next time you have a couple hours of spare time you can scout rural routes out of town, or get in some practice on any number of skills. Even so, it is easy to feel overwhelmed and bewildered staring down all the possible disasters that may occur and all the varied skills to learn and supplies to gather.
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.
8. Basic camping gear. In the case of an evacuation, take this with you in case hotels are already filled. Additionally, camping skills double as survival skills. Learning how to locate the best camping spot, how to pitch a tent, how to cook over a fire, and how to enjoy nature are important for every member of the family to learn. A good quality tent, sleeping bags, sleeping pads (for us older folks!), and a campstove are good basics to begin with.
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.
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.