Barbara – I know what you mean. It is easy to become both overwhelmed and disorganized at the same time. The nice thing about the list of 20 items is that you can purchase them all at once or one item a week. Then you can set them aside and at least for the short term, consider your food shopping done and move on to the gear or the next major task on your preparedness to-do list.
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.
If you are bugging in over the long-term, you will need a water-collection system of some kind. A rain barrel is the simplest option. Be sure to have at least one or two of these on your property and you can capture rainwater. Even if you live in an apartment with a balcony, you can use a rain barrel to collect water. Just don’t catch it as runoff from the roof as most roofing tiles contain chemicals that can contaminate the water.
3. Basic bulk ingredients with long shelf lives are a must. Wheat, rice, and beans are versatile, when you add a variety of spices, herbs, and other ingredients and will last for decades. There are food shortages around the world, droughts here in the U.S. that are affecting food production, and it’s likely we’ll experience either shortages, much higher prices, or both in the future.
Now that you’ve sorted out a proper food store you can start stocking it. When it comes to storage life and bulk, dry goods are supreme. You can store a few weeks’ worth of canned or packet foods, but with dry goods you can easily be self-sufficient for months or even years. Start your food reserve with 20 pounds of rice (white lasts longer in storage) and 20 pounds of dried beans. Between them those two will give you a solid reserve of carbohydrates and protein, and you can use them as a base for a whole range of recipes supplemented with seasonings, canned or dried ingredients, and food you’ve harvested from nature.
9. Cash. This isn’t exactly a product, but without a supply of cash during an emergency, you and your family could be left high and dry. Set aside some cash each month, in smaller bills, and have it ready to grab if you must ever leave your home in a hurry due to a natural disaster or some other crisis. Figure on having enough to pay for 7 nights at a hotel, 3 or 4 tanks of gas, and enough to pay for a week’s worth of food and other supplies.
You can’t go wrong with instant mashed potatoes, they are a great and inexpensive addition to your food storage. I like Gaye, will use the DAK ham, it is one step up from SPAM. You can add it to a pot of bean soup or fry it up with some potatoes and onions and peppers. I look for versitile foods that are low in sodium and that serve multiple purposes.
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.
Don’t forget to make a list of any other kind you might need; a spare car battery, perhaps, or ones for a GPS or to power a charging pack for other electronic devices. Think it through. Also, do not skimp on quality batteries! They are not made equal; better brands will typically have more juice and longer shelf lives. Alkaline batteries lose a significant amount of power over time, so rotate these like anything else. Lithium batteries have much longer shelf lives than alkaline but are significantly more expensive.
This article from The Art Of Surviving Goes over on of the most important aspects of survival, fire. learning how to start a fire without matches or a lighter could make your life a lot easier in a survival situation…if not save it. even in the desert that temperatures can get down to 0 degrees at night. And there are some animals that you should not eat unless you cook them first. And last but not least boiling water.
When I first started prepping, I did not mention my new little “hobby” to anyone. You know, OPSEC and all that. But about a year into it, I realized that I could not do it all on my own. There were things I was having trouble grasping and I needed help. As I tip toed around the edges of my community, I found some like minded people and much to my surprise, I found that I had skills and knowledge that they lacked.
Maps- Local and regional level road atlases and topographic maps. If you need to move or travel for any reason, things may not be as clear as they once were, or you might necessarily be forced to move across unfamiliar terrain or roadways. Even if you are a long-time local, don’t trust to memory, no matter how intricate. Paper remembers, the mind may forget.
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.