Despite a lull following the end of the Cold War, survivalism has gained greater attention in recent years, resulting in increased popularity of the survivalist lifestyle, as well as increased scrutiny. A National Geographic show interviewing survivalists, Doomsday Preppers, was a "ratings bonanza" and "the network's most-watched series", yet Neil Genzlinger in The New York Times declared it an "absurd excess on display and at what an easy target the prepper worldview is for ridicule," noting, "how offensively anti-life these shows are, full of contempt for humankind."
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.
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).
Most of us have some sort of toolkit around the house, but if you want to be prepared you need to make sure it’s ready for anything. At a minimum you’ll need a good carpenter’s hammer, a heavier ball peen hammer, wood saw and hacksaw. Other essentials include a monkey wrench, measuring tape, square and level. Cordless drills are great, but a hand drill is also good to have – what if your generator goes and you need to fabricate a replacement part? A set of good screwdrivers is also vital – don’t rely on an electric one. Make sure you have wrenches to fit all bolts on your vehicles and equipment, too.
Many municipal water supplies are disinfected with chloramine now, not chlorine. (That's Texas law, for example.) The difference is that chlorine evaporates, while chloramine does not. It can only be removed by chemical reaction or charcoal filtration. For that reason, I avoid tap water as much as possible. But one nice thing about it in a survival situation is that, based on personal experience at least, it does not go bad.