For Erica Nygaard, an Iowa-based mother of four who started storing and growing her own food after a divorce 11 years ago, the desire to prepare for the future stems directly from the vulnerability one can feel as a single mom. “When you become a single parent, that weight really hits you: I am completely responsible [for my children,] no matter what. No matter what happens, these four people have to be taken care of.”
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.
For experienced preppers like Daisy Luther, founder of the blog The Organic Prepper and the online survival goods store Preppers Market, ready-to-go freeze-dried meals are more of a last line of defense than anything else. Though she insists these products “have their place,” her version of long-term food storage sounds more like a way of life, a process of slowly building up a pantry that will enable her to feed her family as healthfully and economically as possible. Sometimes that means stocking up on the freeze-dried stuff, or buying whatever’s on sale at the supermarket; but it’s also about living in sync with the seasons, growing food in her own garden and using timetested home preservation methods—like canning and dehydrating—to ensure she always has food on hand.
The increased inflation rate in the 1960s, the US monetary devaluation, the continued concern over a possible nuclear exchange between the US and the Soviet Union, and perceived increasing vulnerability of urban centers to supply shortages and other systems failures caused a number of primarily conservative and libertarian thinkers to promote individual preparations. Harry Browne began offering seminars on how to survive a monetary collapse in 1967, with Don Stephens (an architect) providing input on how to build and equip a remote survival retreat. He gave a copy of his original Retreater's Bibliography to each seminar participant.
Hello Ryan. My experience has been that the more that you can keep air (oxygen) away from your food the longer the shelf life. I like to seal packaged food into larger mylar bags with an oxygen packet, then I seal the bag. I store these mylar bags in a 5 gallon bucket with lid. Wal Mart has these buckets for sale that cost $2.97 and the lid is $1.12. I personally like having a few barriers between my food and mice, bugs…etc. Let us know what you decide to do!
Water is the source of life, and is an essential part of survival. In general, it is best to allot 1 gallon of water per person per day. This is including cooking, cleaning and drinking. Now, this is just an approximate amount since different locations and temperatures require different amounts of water. It would be a good idea to have enough water for each person in your family to last you at least 3 days. So, depending on your family size, it could be a lot. For a family of 4 people, it would be a minimum of 12 gallons of water for a 3-day supply.
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.
This is behaviour that can sound extreme, but often it’s forged in reaction to events that could affect any one of us. Some preppers are concerned by natural disasters. Others worry about terrorism, or our financial system, or the repercussions of Brexit, whatever they may be. Survivalism has had a dedicated following in America since the 1970s, swelling during the run-up to the millennium in the 90s and peaking again after 9/11. Trump’s posturing hasn’t helped – the threat of nuclear war can send even the most rational thinkers running to the tinned-food aisle.
“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.
It’s always hard to predict what’s coming down the road, but some things are more likely than others – so it makes sense to put more of our preparedness efforts into making sure we can survive those. A lot of what we do will be useful in any scenario, of course, but it still helps to have an idea of what we might face. Now that we’ve had a couple of months to see how 2018 is shaping up, here are five of the threats I’m most concerned about for the rest of the year.
Regarding the general category of water purification, you have essentially combined reverse osmosis with UV disinfection PLUS the necessity for solar and/or gas generated power. Take away the essential electrical power and you still have to boil your water. If you do the math, you could invest up to $2500 for your version of water purification. That’s a “big ticket” indeed. Once again, there are abundant information sources that provide instruction for long term water purification that cost far less.
In all the years I’ve worked with preparedness one of the biggest problems I’ve seen is people storing food and not knowing what to do with it. It’s vital that you and your family become familiar with the things you are storing. You need to know how to prepare these foods. This is not something you want to learn under stress. Your family needs to be used to eating these foods. A stressful period is not a good time to totally change your diet. Get a food storage cookbook and learn to use these foods!
If there was anything my freeze-dried food experiment taught me, it was how lucky I was to be able to walk down the street and buy a sandwich whenever I wanted to—but also how far I was from being self-reliant in the more quotidian sense. If freeze-dried meals are becoming increasingly popular in America, then maybe it’s because many of us realize that if something really bad happened, we wouldn’t know the first thing about surviving for a week on the ingredients lying around in our pantry. But as we continue to be bombarded by headlines foreshadowing epic floods, economic collapse, and nuclear escalation, there’s nothing wrong with finding a little peace of mind in a bag of dehydrated Chicken A La King.
Keep in mind that Legacy didn’t necessarily intend to create a product only for vegetarians. It was designed as a base for people to add their own protein, salt, seasonings, and ingredients. Which means Legacy requires more “cooking” than many of the other options we looked at, to the point where some of our testers didn’t think it qualified as “emergency food.”
Shelter: You can make basic shelters with cordage and a tarp. Tarps are very useful in a range of situations. Try this Ozark Trail 8’x10’ camo and green tarp. We need to do more research before determining whether hammocks or tents are better for most people, so sign up for our email newsletter to stay updated if you’re interested in a more dedicated BOB shelter. In the meantime, we love these Kammock Roo hammocks that are about the size of a melon.
We get tired of eating the same foods over and over and many times prefer not to eat than to sample that particular food again. This is called appetite fatigue. Young children and older people are particularly susceptible to it. Store less wheat than is generally suggested and put the difference into a variety of other grains, particularly ones your family likes to eat. Also store a variety of beans. This will add variety of color, texture and flavor. Variety is the key to a successful storage program. It is essential that you store flavorings such as tomato, bouillon, cheese, and onion.
When I am going through a grocery store gathering survival food, I get some strange looks from people close enough to hear me muttering under my breath as I discount items. Phrases like “not enough calories”, “needs more fat”, not enough carbs”, and the like roll off my tongue frequently. The truth of the matter is that what we consider to be a healthy diet in normal times is probably inadequate in a high stress, very active, crisis situation. There is a reason we like carbs, and fats, and sugars, and that reason is our body needs these things. The human palate developed in times when being physically active and dealing with life threatening events was the norm, and when a steady supply of food was not a guarantee. Hence the urge to get all we can when we can, which leads to rampant obesity in modern sedentary times but is adaptive to survival in harder times.
1. Something else to consider is a smart phone. My phone has a 32gig memory chip. It can holds LOTS of info. Some paperback books will be good to have. But even off the grid a phone can still access certain apps that have been downloade. I have about 50 books on my phone. A compass. Maps. I can draw a quick map or list with my stylis too. I can easily share documents and file by just tapping my phone on another smart phone. Take pictures and zoom in on them. Great to check progress walking and general references.… Read more »
Midway through December, while temperatures in the UK plummeted, heaps of snow drove transport services into a frenzy and schools into closure. Water supplies froze. Medical assistance slowed, threatening genuine peril. People began to store fuel. Across the Midlands, families were left without power – no electricity, no heat – in some instances overnight. For those of us safely tucked away indoors, or unaffected by the weather, the news could be shocking. It also brought to mind an unnerving question: would you be ready if calamity struck?
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.
Storage is very important. When you are prepping, it is important to store your food in storage containers and NOT in sacks. Moisture is your enemy, as it will lead to mildew, mold, insects, rodents, and germs that you cannot afford to have spread throughout your shelter. If what you are using isn’t food grade, make sure you have food grade plastic lining the buckets or tubs. Food safety and integrity is important to the health of your family. You cannot afford to contaminate your food-stores.
I think that one reason we focus on the big national disasters is that it’s somehow easier for some people to deal with something impersonal that affects everyone. If you focus on your own personal shtf situation, like your spouse dying and leaving you with a mortgage you can’t pay by yourself, it can be too emotionally difficult to clearly assess your preparedness and your needs. Far pleasanter to contemplate slaying dragons than the bear in your back yard.
Our grandparents were the original preppers, really. They could make a chicken last for two weeks. When my wife and I are wandering around the supermarket, I’ll keep my eye out. I’m always looking at a product’s shelf life. I don’t want to buy food that has a shelf life of two weeks; I need five years plus. It’s an attitude, really, but it’s also a fascinating hobby. I’m constantly learning survival techniques: how to forage, hunt, trap, fish, purify water. And I’m informed on larger environmental and political issues by friends in the know. People think I’m a tin hat-wearing nutter, sitting here guarding 3,000 tins of beans, but it’s not all-consuming. It’s like having a spare tyre in your car, or some winter basics: a torch, some candles, a sleeping bag. You can leave it at that, you don’t have to go mad. That’s how I started – I just happened to carry on.
Yup, you’re right about the dehydrated food having around half the daily recommended calorie count for adults – but I still feel they’re valuable if you can afford it. A food stockpile that big will a least help you get by for the year, regardless of whether you’ll be thriving. And it’s easier (in my opinion) to supplement a stockpile than to depend on growing, hunting, trapping, or fishing everything yourself, especially if you’re not used to doing it.
Flours are tricky to substitute and get the right texture. The recipes above use unbleached white flour. If you want to add in wheat or other grains then just be aware that the more heavy grains you add, the heavier the texture. This is why when doing pizza crusts or similar, a lot of people will use half white and half wheat at most for their crust. Any more whole wheat and the crust can just seem too heavy.
My very first concern would be water. Water is essential. Second would be First Aid supplies. Third would be sealing the room or space I am in. Fourth would be protecting food and putting it where it can’t be easily contaminated. Fifth would be setting up communication in a way that doesn’t require electricity or Internet. Sixth would be prepping for nuclear winter. Lots of blankets and warm clothing to cover up with.
This one in particular can get unruly fast, as there’s always plenty you’ll want to do with regards to prepping no matter how much you’ve already got done and under your belt. If you’ve already started one of these, it’s been set up for a while, and happens to be a complete mess, take a look at the article I spoke about before, on re-organizing your prepper to-do list. It will help you sort your list out in an order that makes sense.
Firearms instructor and survivalist Colonel Jeff Cooper wrote on hardening retreats against small arms fire. In an article titled "Notes on Tactical Residential Architecture" in Issue #30 of P.S. Letter (April, 1982), Cooper suggested using the "Vauban Principle", whereby projecting bastion corners would prevent miscreants from being able to approach a retreat's exterior walls in any blind spots. Corners with this simplified implementation of a Vauban Star are now called "Cooper Corners" by James Wesley Rawles, in honor of Jeff Cooper. Depending on the size of the group needing shelter, design elements of traditional European castle architecture, as well as Chinese Fujian Tulou and Mexican walled courtyard houses have been suggested for survival retreats.
My two cents worth here. Go with 5 gallon buckets. Many purchased from the local donut shop at $1.25. My variation on Mylar bags and oxygen absorbers — a chunk of dry ice, about 3×4 inches. With this on the bottom of the bucket and little piece of paper towel over it, pour in rice or beans or wheat or corn or a mixture of things. Put the lid on, but do not snap it tight. Wait a few minutes until the bottom of the bucket is not real cold and snap the lid on. Dry ice, which is CO2, forces out the air in the bucket. I recently opened rice and a mixed container which had been sealed five years ago. Everything was fine. Obviously we did eight or 10 of these buckets at once. Got dry ice from the local grocery store. Be sure to wear gloves when handling it.
The main home is a modest 1,860-square-foot brick structure, with two bedrooms and two bathrooms. But the property, roughly a two-hour drive southwest of St. Louis, consists of a whopping 160 secluded woodsy acres full of wild turkeys, deer, foxes, and squirrels, plus two ponds and multiple storage sheds. Most intriguing of all is the 30-by-60-foot underground concrete bunker, which is reinforced with metal I-beams and comes equipped with electricity, water, and two airshafts. It’s described by the realtor as “practically impossible to find.”
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.
L. Coast Chuck, your absolutely right. A Constitutional Republic was the intended form with checks and balances between the three branches of government. But infiltrate all three branches with the same corrupt exclusive club members (we’re not in the club by the way) and goodbye checks and balances. Hello power consolidation. A Government Accounting Office whistleblower in the 90’s stated, “You used to be able to differentiate the difference between corporate policy and governmental policy. Now there’s no difference.” Hello United States of Corporate Fascism.
Staying cool is a real concern in many parts of the country. I like to say we left for our long-haired dogs' comfort during one lengthy summer power outage, but I was as miserable as they were. We now keep a stash of battery operated fans on hand, clearly labeled in a box in the basement so I can find them easily with a flashlight. It's nothing like having AC, but prop one in a window and it makes a big difference. Speaking of dogs, you can follow their lead. Heat rises, so stay in a low position, Martin saiys. “Think about how a dog will dig down into the earth to get cool.” I might not go that far for a temporary power outage, but in that same vein, anyone with a basement could head there. “They stay pretty cool year round,” Martin adds.
There are a lot of us out here that are concerned about survival and where our country is going that DO NOT buy into the baloney that is saying that liberals/progressives are the source of our problems. Yes, people on the left were beaten, imprisoned, and harassed for their beliefs. And yes, there are intolerant jackasses on the left, but the amount of violence, intimidation, denial of rights, and harassment coming from the right far outweighs any other source. I do not care about party labels-right wing democrats in the first 2/3 of the 20th century were responsible for much of the above.Look at the history that does not get taught-Rosewood, Tulsa, Southern Arkansas, and the thousands of lynchings that occurred. These were not done by progressives/liberals. Research history, read about our history, learn what really went on. Then proceed with making survival plans that are positive for our future. It would be nice to read the many good ideas on here without the political BS.
Potable Water Supply –Your basic supply should be a gallon per day, that will cover drinking and basic sanitation. That is per person, and is a baseline. Hotter climates necessitate more, and some people just need more water. Your next trip out to the grocery, grab at least a 3 day supply. You should have no less than a week’s worth of water on hand for all family members. Get extra if you are storing a lot of food that requires water to prepare.
With freeze dried foods you can get a good selection of nutritionally balanced foods and they are easy to carry, even if you have to bug out. They have a very long shelf-life of up to 25 years. The only drawback is if you don’t have water, you can’t rehydrate your food. Plus, it is ideal to have warm water so you can have a warm meal, so if there is no way to heat your water, then you will be eating a cold meal.
You can figure 25-30 years storage life for hard red wheat, stored at 60 degrees in a 55 gallon drum, using 1 pound of dry ice to drive out the oxygen (wait 24hrs for the dry ice to “melt” before sealing the drum). 400 pounds of wheat per drum equals 400 man-days of calories, and costs you about $100. Fill 3-4 barrels. It’s Cheap insurance. Add a barrel of Winter Rye for variety. Add a barrel of oats. Then a couple barrels of WHITE rice, and 2-3 barrels of pinto beans. (You need the beans to balance what’s missing from the grains. The beans may be harder to rehydrate after 10-12 years without a pressure cooker, but then you just grind up the dried beans, and bake them in your bread.) For around $1000, you can be prepared to feed your family for close to a decade, if you also garden, keep chickens, and have fruit trees and bushes. Honey is way too expensive to store on a dollar/calorie basis, but consider bee keeping. A drum takes up LESS than 2’X2’. And they stack nicely, at 33” tall. In a 2’X10′ strip along a basement wall, you can have 10 barrels with 4000 pounds of food. Hang a peg board in front of it, and you’ve got very useful space. If you can’t spare that much space in your basement, to protect the lives of your family, think Venezuela .
After three days eating very little vegetable matter, I was thrilled to dig into Thrive Life’s Tuscan Quinoa Bowl, which included a ratatouille-like sauté combining asparagus, zucchini, and diced tomatoes. The cooking process felt kind of like a science experiment— you fry dehydrated garlic bits in oil, then pour in the dehydrated vegetables and seasoning along with a cup of water—but the result actually tasted like something I might cook at home, minus the strangely firm consistency of the vegetables. The following night, I prepared a Chicken Cranberry Pot Pie, rolling out the dough for the pastry, cooking the filling in a slow cooker, and carefully sealing the pie with the prongs of a fork.