I’m a grandfather now and I’m a positive person, but being a prepper can be tough. It’s difficult to get others on board, for most it’s a no-go subject. A lot of my friends think I’m barking mad. It’s taken me three years to convince my daughter and her family to take more of an interest and, before she eventually became a full-blown enthusiast, my partner used to humour me politely.

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.
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.
Things may not go the same way as your favorite prime time series. Although you can take advantage of the tiniest opportunity to run, find an ally, and make a barricade, your chances of survival above the ground remains at a slim ten to twenty percent. An underground shelter provides a better hiding place, increasing your chances to live through war, pestilence, and famine.
There’s no real point in having lots of guns – and if they’re in different calibers they become an actual liability. Get the guns you need, then if you’re tempted to buy another, spend the money on ammunition or reloading components instead. A gun can be maintained and repaired; once ammunition’s been fired, it’s gone. Reloading is a great idea and can stretch your supplies but even then your reserves or propellant, bullets and primers won’t last forever. You need to start with a lot of ammo.
There are so many potential disasters that could happen at any moment, and you want to do your best to be prepared for all of them. This list of prepper supplies and gear isn’t meant to cover every single item that you would want to have in these situations (I’m sure blacksmithing equipment would be nice to have but I’m not including that on the list!).
Freeze-dried survival meals and dishes are another space-saving, convenient option, but require a significant amount of water to prepare and can be expensive. MREs are quite popular, extremely calorie dense, come in bomb-proof packaging and have a host of nice pack-ins like sauces, spices and candy, but are expensive, bulky and a steady diet of them will cause serious constipation. Don’t rule out either; just make sure you have good reasons for choosing them.
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.
Prepping isn’t just for the zombie apocalypse. I live in costal New England and you can bet that there will be at least two or three situations where you won’t have power or won’t be able to get to the store for a while. Blizzards, hurricanes, etc. Also personal crises like losing a job or unexpected car repairs can leave you looking at zero food budget. Always good to have emergency rations to live off of until things return to normal.
“Everybody thinks about prepping as this big doomsday thing, like when the zombie apocalypse happens,” Luther says. “But really it’s a lot more likely that someone’s going to lose their job or that you’re going to have a major expense you weren’t expecting, like your car breaks down or a medical expense. So if you think of prepping as something to get you through those situations, it’s really almost like an insurance policy.”
Great article! It is so helpful to read about the basics again and again. IMHO, the most important guiding point in the article is to prep what you will actually eat. This week my husband cooked DAK ham in a skillet with potatoes and melted cheese. It was just okay. I’m not crazy about the ham and am choosing not to prep it. Proteins have been the most difficult for me. So far, proteins I am SURE I will eat are all kinds of dried and canned beans, shelf-stable tofu (Mori-Nu), and Campbell’s Roadhouse Chili. This chili tastes a lot better than Hormel and tastes great over rice. The Mori-Nu tofu can be heated in a minute in the same pot with a pack or 2 of ramen noodles. I don’t use the seasining pouches b/c of MSG so I add a little soy sauce and dried ginger to the noodle-cooking water. Dehydrated scallions would be good addition but I have not tried dehydrated food yet. Although I do not like canned salmon or regular salmon pouches, I found pouches of grilled salmon and smoked salmon which I’m going to force myself to try this week.
Today, Luther says she keeps a pantry with three different levels of “defense.” The first consists of boxes of cereal, frozen foods, and other items you might fall back on if you couldn’t make it to the grocery store for a week or two. The second, her “short-term” food storage, includes canned goods and other items with a longer shelf life — “Stuff you’d use if perhaps you lost a stream of income and times were tight for a few months,” Luther explains. The third is her long-term food storage: Mylar bags full of dry goods like beans, rice, and wheatberries, as well as some freeze-dried fruits, vegetables, and meat. Layer three, she says, is for “a situation in which all hell has broken loose.”
But a new year is really just another twelve-month slice of the future, and it contains dangers as well as opportunities. Obviously we hope none of the bad things the future can hold will come to pass, but we have to be realistic – the world isn’t always a friendly place. Good things will happen in 2018, but bad things can and will happen too. Some of those bad things have the potential to be truly disastrous, and we need to be prepared to face them if they happen.
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I first read this article two years ago, and started laying in the suggested items over a period of several weeks. Reading other articles on this site led me to start stockpiling water, vitamins, and personal-care items; I also took on a second part-time job to add to my emergency savings account. Unfortunately, I lost my full-time job several months ago with no warning and am still job-hunting, but I’m not worried about it. This experience is so much less stressful with a fully stocked fridge, freezer, and pantry, the aforementioned other supplies, and plenty of cash in the bank. Only a few family members know that I prep…everyone else can’t figure out why I’m so calm. Thank you, Gaye!
Basic First Aid and Trauma- You cannot count on EMT’s, paramedics, or doctors being able to render aid if you or someone in your group is injured. Take the time to learn CPR, basic wound care, trauma care for major lacerations and penetrating wounds, and how to manage hypo- and hyperthermia. All your nice medical gear you bought up above won’t help you if you cannot employ it correctly and safely.
Don’t let prepping overwhelm you because there are many companies wanting you to buy their product. And I agree with pat Henry, things are not as bad as what many think. I have been listening to doomsday talkers since 2011 about the imminent collapse around the corner and there will always be people saying this. So don’t rush to spend thousands of dollars. Do a little at a time and stay within your means. This is a good article because it gives you general categories such as a means to purify water, then food, then medicine, then security and also… Read more »
I know it’s not an incredibly expensive product, but a food dehydrator has been on my prepper wishlist for a long time. They’re so convenient, especially when you have ones with so many racks like the Excalibur on hand. Yes, you can dehydrate foods without one, but it’s not as easy to do, and thus for me, makes it much less likely I’ll actually bother to do it. Major wishlist item here.
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.
Shields said that the company noticed an uptick in sales in the months leading up to the 2016 presidential election, and, again last year, amid fears of nuclear escalation with North Korea. Like Wise Company's former CEO Aaron Jackson, whom Bloomberg previously dubbed “America’s Survival Food King,” Shields said he likes to think of Wise’s products as “an insurance policy.”
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