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.
At a minimum, a good framing hammer, hand saw or hacksaw, medium prybar, axe, shovel, vise grips, screwdrivers, fixed blade general purpose knife, small mechanics kit with wrenches, can of all-purpose lube, sturdy cordage (paracord or accessory line) and duct tape. Ensure you have an adequate wrench or similar tool that can shut off water and gas valves in and around your home.

You'll find staples like powdered butter, freeze-dried meats, cereals, grains, pasta, fruits and vegetables, and baking ingredients. They also offer a great selection of entrees, including popular Mountain House meals like turkey tetrazzini, rice pilaf, and sweet and sour pork. Many of these are included in their emergency kits that will keep you fed for days or months at a time.
I watched a man get promoted to black belt in my grandson’s dojo. He was pitiful. My son and I both agreed thet we hoped he never stood up when someone said, “Shut up.” because he was going to get seriously hurt. It was a mercy promotion done to keep him coming back. He had been going for two years but he still had so many bad faults that he should have still had his beginner’s white belt.
What’s the bare minimum you need to navigate across land?  For most people, that would be a compass and map.  A basic road map is sufficient to get a rough approximation of the lay of the land.  More detailed relief maps can help plan for elevation and estimate possible water sources but they also take up more room in your pack.  Waterproofed or laminated maps are also extremely helpful.  Lensatic compasses are the most reliable for little money.  If possible, a compass and protractor are also extremely helpful for route planning.  Obviously, not as essential but nonetheless useful.
Sigh, yet another ‘prepper’ website with zero to little factual or useful information. I’m convinced none of you fools have a clue. You have no practical experience, no thoughtful knowledge, no real advice. You don’t even know what the MRE consists of or what the heater chemicals were (and it matters, as there is a ton of useful applications here). And your website royally sucks. Girls in bikinis? End of the World advertisements? Celebrity pictures? You’re just like every other reseller out there trying to promote the fear card. No thanks. I’ll shop elsewhere where the propaganda isn’t so incessant… Read more »
The secrecy thing, a must. If you notice I haven’t said how many years of food we have stocked up, or how much ammo to defend it. The ammo is mute though. 1 against 1, great. 1 against 100, not so much. And there will still be laws. So perhaps if you are like us, when the dates get close to the end, donate it to people or churches in need. Perhaps the Daily Bread type thing feeding the homeless. That excess is a tool you have to use now for the future later. Just don’t drop it all off at the same spot or the same time. We don’t grow everything we need and have to buy food too.
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.
Regarding the 2L soda bottles, how long do you store them before changing out the water with fresh water? Would you say that the water stored in this way would only be good for cleaning clothes, washing dishes and bathing and not for drinking or cooking? I have pondered doing the same thing but wondered how long the water would stay fresh and free of bacterial growth etc. (aka safe to use).
Thanks for the comment “Barn Cat”. I do agree that storing canned beans makes it much easier since they are already prepared. That would be a huge help when you need something to eat in a hurry. I am inclined to say that having both dried beans and canned beans would be ideal for food storage. Canned items typically do not last as long. Another fact is that you can also sprout dried beans and it increases the nutritional value. Wheat can also be sprouted, ground into flour to make bread and cooked to make a hot breakfast cereal. Wheat, if stored properly can be stored up to 25+ years. I personally like to have a variety my food storage.
In both his book Rawles on Retreats and Relocation and in his survivalist novel, Patriots: A Novel of Survival in the Coming Collapse, Rawles describes in great detail retreat groups "upgrading" brick or other masonry houses with steel reinforced window shutters and doors, excavating anti-vehicular ditches, installing warded gate locks, constructing concertina wire obstacles and fougasses, and setting up listening post/observation posts (LP/OPs.) Rawles is a proponent of including a mantrap foyer at survival retreats, an architectural element that he calls a "crushroom".[8]
Your list may be completely different from mine, but I believe the items contained in this list of supplies will be common to most people and more importantly will be required if you are going to be as prepared as possible if the manure hits the hydro-electric powered oscillating air current distribution device.  This list is not all-encompassing either. I am probably not going to have blacksmith supplies or leather working tools although I can see the use in each of those. This list is going to be for the average person to get by if we have a SHTF event, not start a new life in the wild west. Please let me know what additional items you would recommend and I’ll keep this list updated so you can print it out whenever you need to purchase items or want to build your supplies out.
I would like to add, buying too much of something at one time. I have lots of water and food stored. Toothpaste, soap, qtips and such. How much medical and bandaid? NONE. Make a list most definitely. But include stuff you HAVEN’T BOUGHT yet. Checkmark items you have with the amounts. Also I have 3 non bullet weapons and have a 4th on the way. A regular size crossbow (with a broad head it will penetrate any class of body armor) A pistol crossbow which is actually more powerful than the large one, but you can’t get broad head for them. They will however penetrate 3/4 pressed plywood particle board. Good for human threat or rabbit get. A wrist rocket slingshot with “hunting” rubbers and I’m waiting on a new item called a “Pocket Shot”. It’s a new type of slingshot that self centers the ammo. You can fire almost twice the ammo in the same amount of time. All 4 will be valuable to be quiet during the first month. After the hordes have been thinned, noise from a gun will bring less attention.

While not all household conditions are perfect, be aware of the six enemies of food storage and do your best to mitigate their effect on your precious food supply.  This means you should avoid storing food in garages that are 90 degrees in summer and 30 degrees in winter.  I am repeating what I said before but it is important: empty your cupboards and closets of excess stuff and stow these items in the basement, attic, or garage.  This will make room for you to store your food inside your main living area where the ambient room temperature is stable.


I know how you feel when you get that urgent feeling that what you have is not enough. Shelly (the Survival Husband) and I were just talking about this last night. In my mind, I know that I have a lot but I keep purchasing more. Luckily, like you I am good at food rotation although I do have a lot of #10 tins and properly packaged buckets in deep storage as well. Those do not get rotated.
If the height of the Concrete shelter is decreased to 8 feet ( the same height of the ceilings in your home), the required depth of the hole is reduced to 10-11 feet and the gross interior area is 1,600 cubic feet. This is still more than a 10 foot pipe of the same length while also providing complete use of the space, as the side walls are not coming in toward the center as they do in a pipe.
I recommend that the very first step you take when prepping is to evaluate the most likely risks specific to your geographical area and your personal domestic situation.  Most, if not all, city, county and state governments will have emergency management websites that will help you sort through the most likely disasters to occur in your area.  Take advantage of these public resources.
thank you for this, it gives me more ideas on what to look at, being married to a filipina we eat lots of rice, we are a family of 5, with younger children. We have enough food for 2yrs put away. but with this list in hand we will put more away.we look at long term, as u do not know what is really going to happen at any given time. while i am still alive i will make sure my family is taken care off and protected..only thing we dont have is a farm and that would be the bee’s knees…lots of people in here give great feed back and some bloody good idea…thank u everyone…for the wonderful comments, the advice never got astray..
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.
I will not stock PAncakes because they are water wasteful. You hydrate something just to boil it off. Also I don’t need the sweetness. Raw, organic honey has enzymes helpful for cuts though. A good medicinal vector I think. NOT for eating. The single most helpful SHTF thing you can do is eat well and get your appetite down before the fact. Eat light to heavy and don’t eat when you are not hungry EVER. Yesterday I only ate one meal and even then not really cause I was hungry but kinda for fun. IT was two potatoes. I had the energy to get shit done all day because I eat veggies when I need to eat. And I take my vitamins: Vitamin A! Vitamin D! And Vitamin K! The holy trinity of eye health, mental health, bone/teeth health and everything else.
afraid i haven’t. my experience has been that the average person will resort to lying, stealing and often violence at the first sign of trouble. there are exceptions, of course, but i haven’t found any reliable way to identify them before the shtf. even longtime friends can turn on a dime; and relatives…well, just consider what happens when some well-heeled person in the family dies! wish i could be more encouraging, but i just don’t see it that way.

Thanks for the comment Thomas. Just curious, how do you cook with your dehydrated mushrooms? I like to use frozen vegetables and dehydrate them. Frozen carrots that are cut into the circles dehydrate down to about the size of a pencil eraser. They plump up nice when rehydrated and you can’t tell the difference. Some veggies seem to work better than others.
FoodSaver Jar Sealer: Already have a FoodSaver? If so, check out this jar sealer which can be used to vacuum seal your Mason jars. This is a great option for short to mid term storage of items such as beans, rice, sugar and salt. Store your jars in a cool, dark place and you are set with the added advantage of removing a small amount for current use without having to disrupt your large Mylar bag or bucket of food.
Anyway, in a general crisis only organized communities are likely to practice formal kinds of ‘execution’ or exiling. For North American urbs, formal reorganizing is initially unlikely; as with the failing Roman Empire, people will attempt to maintain prior forms until it’s clear that those require much more than that which is locally available (ie., records, ‘honest’ record-keeping, knowledge, skills, imported or difficult materials…).
I know there are quite a few things we need to be aware of that could turn our world upside down, but having clean drinkable water does not get the credit it deserves. Is this because we are so used to the water just coming out of the faucet and we take it for granted. There will never be a water shortage on this planet, but there will be a drinkable water shortage. Have a look at this article about the looming water shortage.

Depends on the size of your family and the time period in which you’ll use it. Once mylar or buckets are open, they are susceptible to many organisms that will make your food inedible. Double to triple serving sizes max. Filling tummies is fairly easy. Doing it safely and palateably is different. Also, your family will need variety to keep harmony. Much of our emotional well-being depends on the gut.
74. Essential oils – Having a good stock of essential oils will be very useful if the system goes down and its hard to find quality medicine. Essential oils are inexpensive and needs no prescription to buy them and can be used for antiseptics, relieve headaches, promote sleep, reduce anxiety, treat wounds, etc … Here is an article on the 25 uses of lavender which is considered the jack of all oils! You will want to have in stock a starter kit of essential oils!
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.
We tend to take the power grid for granted, until it fails us. And 'tis the season. “While we love to get outside and enjoy warm weather it's fairly common to experience pop-up thunderstorms and inclement weather,” in the summer, said Liz Pratt, a spokesperson for LG&E and KU, the utility provider in my city. “Utilities, speaking broadly, are continually investing in our electric systems and equipment to make them more resilient. However, during storms, strong winds and storm debris are major culprits that can cause power outages.”
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.

Canned goods are some of the items that disappear first in a crisis. It is normal behavior because everyone wants to add meat to their diet. You should stock up in advance on cans of tuna, ham, and chicken. These canned goods are an excellent source of protein and they should never miss from a survival pantry. Even when you do some last minute shopping, chances are you will still be able to get your hands on a few cans of Spam. Make sure you also look for dried meats like beef jerky. These foods have a long shelf life and they will be a tasty addition to your survival pantry.


Thanks, Viet Nam Vet. People keep calling us a democracy but that is not our form of government. Our founding fathers were reluctant to have a true democracy because they correctly feared mob rule. It doesn’t bother me that government moves slowly. That keeps it from swaying to and fro in shallow breezes. Congress was supposed to be a deliberative body. The Supreme Court was supposed to be an even more deliberative body. Rapid response is only acceptable in the troops coming to your rescue, not in governments.
I just rotated my canned foods and such over the holiday weekend. When you start getting busy it will get away from you. I was able to donate some goods coming up on best buy date to local pantry and of course we prepared some of these items in upcoming meals. I did have to pitch about 8 or 9 cans, so I am getting better at not loosing too much. The goal is not to loose anything! We try very hard to stay abreast of the expire dates and restocking the shelves as frequently as we can.
If you can only afford one gun, get a 12-gauge pump action. The Remington 870 is always a popular choice – militaries around the world value its reliability. A shotgun is the most versatile gun you can own, because it can take a wide variety of game as well as being an awesome home defense weapon. For preparedness it’s far superior to a small-caliber rifle like an AR15.
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!
This is not an actual website but a YouTube video blog of sorts. This channel has many survival videos based around survival tactics and self defense. This video talks about people moving out of the city’s. I agree with his philosophy on this that people will not leave the city until necessary because they will be wain=ting for the government to bail them out. I also wrote an article about how people will react in a disaster situation.
But of the many women I spoke to for this story, none view their lifestyle as non-collaborative. For Andrea Chymiy, a family doctor who lives on an island several miles from mainland Washington and runs a blog called Lefty Prepper Mom, learning about emergency preparedness and writing about prepping is part of a wider commitment to community service: providing others with the emergency first-aid skills and food storage know-how to fend for themselves in the event of an earthquake or other natural calamity.
If you can only afford one gun, get a 12-gauge pump action. The Remington 870 is always a popular choice – militaries around the world value its reliability. A shotgun is the most versatile gun you can own, because it can take a wide variety of game as well as being an awesome home defense weapon. For preparedness it’s far superior to a small-caliber rifle like an AR15.
Is this a complete list of everything you will need to be fully prepared food-wise?  Heck no.  Are the quantities adequate to feed a family for a month, three months or longer?  Perhaps a month but not much longer.  Truthfully, for long term storage you need more food and more variety (read about the top survival food brands here) as well as some packaging methods (Mylar bags or buckets plus oxygen absorbers) to insure that your will food stay viable and pest free for years to come.
This group focuses on surviving brief encounters of violent activity, including personal protection and its legal ramifications, danger awareness, John Boyd's cycle (also known as the OODA loop—observe, orient, decide and act), martial arts, self-defense tactics and tools (both lethal and non-lethal). These survivalist tactics are often firearm-oriented, in order to ensure a method of defense against attackers or home invasion.
I have been storing firewood. I also have two camp stoves, a single burner and a double burner. When things first fall out, my intention is to use the wood in one or more rocket stoves to heat water. Hot water will be a necessity for sanitation, utensil washing and general hygiene. The camp stoves will be used for cooking. That will continue until the fuel is exhausted. By that time I hope to have gained enough experience that I will be able to modulate the wood burning rockets stoves so that cooking on them will not be that much of a problem. I also plan to use wood burning to distill water as I anticipate that we will need to use ocean water for our water supply unless we just happen to have a wet year such as we are experiencing this year. If it were last year, we definitely would be distilling ocean water. Ocean water doesn’t have to be distilled for washing utensils, hands and clothing. It must be boiled however because there will be all sorts of stuff floating in the ocean that you wouldn’t want to touch let along wash with. Drinking water and water for face washing and teeth brushing will have to be distilled as one cannot drink salt water. I would recommend dehydrated foods for getting used to outdoor cooking, but for long term food you are going to need beans and rice. You can store a lot of calories in a small space for a long time with those two items. Beans and rice together release the protein in the beans to supplement the meat you eat. I always wondered why Mexican food featured beans and rice at the same meal. I thought it was overkill on carbs. Then I found out that the rice released the protein in the beans which otherwise was locked and unavailable.

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.


Dust Masks or Respirators- Depending on the crisis, air quality may be severely deteriorated. Prevent the worst of the gunk from entering your lungs by investing in quality fitted N95 or N99 respirators and cartridges or disposable dust masks rated for fine particulate and organic vapors.  These are not proper gas masks, as use and selection of protective equipment in preparation for airborne chemical or biological threats is another conversation entirely.

To be truthful, my initial goal with this article was to respond to readers who were just getting started and wanted a shopping list of things to buy for their food storage pantry.  I also wanted to compile a checklist that more experienced preppers could use to compare what they had to what they needed.  My goal can pretty much be summed up by saying that I wanted to write about getting started with food storage the easy way.  No frills, no fluff – just a common sense list of food items to get you started.

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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