5.  20 cans of Meat.  Chicken, tuna, shrimp, salmon, Vienna sausages, beef stew and yes, even the ubiquitous Spam will satisfy this requirement.  Did you know that you can even purchase canned roast beef? Again, let your taste and budget guide you – there is lots to choose from. UPDATE: If you are looking for some long lasting but all natural, non-GMO canned meats, check out Wertz’s meats here. You can also read our recent hands-on review.
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.
Here are some basics are things that can be essential to a successful shelter: wood matches, lots of rechargeable batteries for flashlights, battery charger, candles, siphon pump, head lamps, lanterns, lantern oil, generator and generator fuel, a solar panel as a backup source, large gas cans (like 14 gallon), zip ties, chainsaw, shovel, rope, rake, steel pots and kettles for boiling water, large car batteries, and hand saws.
If I can cite the number one reason people become overwhelmed when even thinking about putting aside an emergency food supply, it is the perceived sense of urgency that it all needs to be done right now.  And this, for many, results in complacency and inaction.  Don’t fall into this trap.  Begin with a three day supply and gradually build that up to a week.  After that, add to your emergency food supply week by week until pretty soon, you have three months of food stored away for you and your family.
We have several of the shelves from Costco/ Sam’s Club. They are great! Put the thin bar across the front of your shelves, not the back. We have some shelves from Thrive Life that rotate the food for you too. Love those! Bought on Black Friday sales. In the end, do what works for you and you budget and space. Ours has changed many times over the years.
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.
Also, what about a bike – perhaps with a electric generator that can couple to it, with a nice rack on the front or back to carry things in it? I really appreciate preparing and actually stepping into a lifestyle more reliant on my own skills and power, rather then something like a diesel generator that would be useless in the event of total system failure.
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.

outisde of the local systems, all newer cell phones in the US should be Wireless Emergency Alerts capable (WEA). Check with your carrier to make sure that your phone is capable (there is some variance by carrier on some phone models.) Then make sure that the service is turned on in your phone settings. These alerts are sent by authorized agencies through a dedicated infrastructure, and there is no need to sign up. If you are in a Tsunami affected alert area, you will get the alert, and the phone does not stop the alert until you acknowledge it. It is important to keep your phone on and charged 24/7. If in the US, Warnings will also be broadcast by NOAA weather radio.

The #1 thing you.ve missed is to not store everything in the same place even if you are ‘bugging in’. I lost my home & all it’s contents to a fire on Christmas Day. All my dehydrated (by me plus bought stuff) jars & cans are gone, along with stuff I’d been saving…dog food, bleach, baking soda etc. Luckily I’d stored a little bit in the {untouched} detached garage. I mean a wind storm or flood could cause the same devastation. Just wanted to add that because it’s not something you think about. I know I didn’t til it happened.

This is a very basic guide to bunkers. Many areas such as bomb blast related pressure as it relates to entry door integrity really deserve much more coverage. And the section on construction techniques completely miss the point on culvert strength which is primarily related to earth arching and not the strength of the culvert material - look at the huge plastic highway culverts that are a few feet underground and support multi ton trucks. This book is a start but you need much more information to plan any kind of shelter.


Any canned foods you purchase at the grocery store will store for a number of years under the right conditions. Canned food makes great prepper food because it can be stored for such a long time and because you can eat it right out of the can if necessary. Canned food will also provide a hot meal when you have the means to heat it and you don’t need any extra water or ingredients. Plus, depending on what you buy, you can get a complete meal in a can (think soups and stews) and you can get almost anything you could want in terms of canned food, including:

No flour/wheat because you need yeast, etc? Not completely true. If you have access to clean water (or milk/yoghurt), you can make Indian flat bread or chapattis! Once you get the hang of making them – basically adding tepid water to the flour until you can make a smooth and elastic dough, then roll it out and cook in a skillet – you can make endless variations! I often dissolve a vegetable or beef bouillon cube (you should stock those too, or instant bouillon) in the water first to add more flavor to the chapattis, but you can use any herbs you like. Getting the hang of making them might seem a little trying at first, but eventually whipping them up is just a breeze! My kids love eating them right out of the pan with a little butter spread on the still hot bread, and we often eat them together with beans, etc. Here’s a handy tutorial for those interested: //indianfood.about.com/od/breadrecipes/ig/How-to-Make-Chapatis/Making-Chapatis—Step-1.htm
A lot of prepping is common sense, but there’s very little of it around. The theory goes that it’s psychologically uncomfortable to think about death and dying, so people tend not to. And people often think that a disaster won’t happen to them, so they’re less likely to prepare. But it’s not very difficult, and it’s not expensive – I buy equipment from Amazon: a survival blanket, a sleeping hammock, one of those bottles that filters contaminants found in water. Most of the time you won’t need it. But it’s that one time when you really do, and you haven’t got it, or you haven’t taught yourself how to use it… that’s when it’s too late.
Precious Metals – Investigate this for yourself, but I find the arguments and historical track records against fiat currency and the current rumblings of Government wanting to take care of your investments for you very compelling. Gold is easier to transport with the high cost to weight, but you might have problems cashing a gold coin for a tank of gas. Silver is where I have chosen to invest in precious metals.
Last week our electricity went out for several hrs. We discovered that our oil lamps that had been sitting on the shelf for yrs and yrs, didn’t have oil in them – oops – Not much good with out oil in them. It was cold and snowing, so really didn’t want to walk to the garage (not attached and about 100 ft) to get some. We did have candles and flashlights. We decided we liked using the headlight type of flash light the best – so are picking up a few more. I can make my cell phone into a WiFi spot, other wise there is no connectivity if your system is down. Yes there isn’t much to do if you don’t have TV or your computer – yes we are spoiled. We are lucky that we have a propane heat stove as well as a propane cook stove. So we weren’t cold, and we could have a cup of coffee. Was a good reminder to have things ready.
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.
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.
When preparing food for storage, take into account the need for future food, if long-term emergencies occur. This would include a space for growing your own food, hydroponics, plant food, and good quality heirloom non-GMO seeds, UV lamps, and good quality earth to grow the seeds in. For tips on how to stock a survival garden, see our topic on homesteading to learn more.
Among the original residents was famed television newscaster Tom Brokaw, who lived there when he was just a boy along with his family. Brokaw wrote fondly about his time at Fort Igloo in his memoirs, “While my Dad was at work in igloo, Mother was at home with three boys under the age of four. My youngest brother, Mike, had been born at the base, just fifteen months after Bill. We were confined to that small space during the harsh winter months, and yet I cannot recall any sense of hardship or any bickering between my parents. As my mother likes to remind me, "Everyone was in the same boat."
But if you stay, take note of the time. When the outage strikes, the clock is ticking on the food in your refrigerator and freezer. The USDA says food in a fridge will stay safely cold for four hours if the door isn't opened and a full freezer will maintain temperature for about 48 hours (if it's half full, that's 24 hours) as long as you keep the door closed. And don't rely on just looking — and certainly not on tasting — to see if the food's safe, they say. Instead, keep appliance thermometers in the fridge and freezer. You want to see 40 F or below in the fridge and 0°F or lower in the freezer. When in doubt, take individual foods' temperature with a food thermometer.
If you've been looking for a book on being prepared this one can't be beat. It's a short read so you don't need to have tons of time to try to understand it but it has all the checklists and informative detail that will take you days to hunt down elsewhere. It has checklists for each area of preparedness, lists of things to acquire and the best way to go about doing all of it--all broken down into manageable chunks. This book is thorough, organized, and detailed without being long! I love it! If you follow the steps in the book you will be prepared for just about anything!!!
It turns out that vitamin B12, which is used in most, if not all, of the body’s systems (like neurological, cardiac, etc.) is only found in animal products. All vegans should therefore take supplements, according to the guidelines. If we are in an emergency situation where we can’t get meat, fish, cheese, yogurt, etc., we probably all would need supplementation! It’s critical to have enough, and the effects of not having it are irreversible. (Try dementia, tardive dyskinesia, and on and on.) Yikes! Add it to the list. Oh, well. B12 is small and really cheap.
In an emergency situation, you will be doing some home cooking. You will need oil to get the job done and prepare a hot meal. Lard is long-lasting and high in calories. You can use it to add a bit of flavor to your food. You probably remember even today how good your grandmother’s cooking used to taste. Our grandparents used lard when cooking and a large can would last them for a long time. In case of emergency, you can even use it as a butter substitute and it will provide you with the calories you need to survive.
Lastly, this list is primarily for Sheltering in Place and the requirements/resources the average person would be able to lay their hands on. This doesn’t take more extreme climates into consideration but should still provide a base regardless of where you live. For other lists you can check out our Resources page. For something more specific to the Bug Out Bag checklist, click here. Also this list is going to be missing the specifics of the amounts because each family or individual is different. So without further ado, here we go.
21. Coffee – This bean is a great all-around thing to have in a doomsday scenario. It gives water a nice taste, increases energy and alertness, and will always be a great bartering item due to many who need their morning fix. Buying the whole green beans is the best option for long term storage. San Marco coffee offers a 25lb. pail with a 10 year shelf life!
Mass is what blocks radiation. Concrete is useful because it’s both dense and strong, so it gets used in a lot of bunker construction. Steel is also useful, but it can become radioactive itself by neutron activation. (So close to ground zero, you’ll need to protect the steel from neutrons – boron or water are the most common ways to reduce neutron flux damage to the protected space.) But there is no reason you can’t use lots of dirt, water, stone, etc. Anything that has mass will attenuate radiation.

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.


Although buying provisions like food and water before a disaster is the smartest thing to do, there will always be those who wake up at the last minute. Most people will rush to the store at the last moment. The majority of them are clueless that stores stock less than a week’s worth of food under normal circumstances. The stores are picked bare during emergencies and you will end up waiting in line for nothing. Keeping a healthy stock of survival foods in the house will make sure you overcome unexpected emergencies.
As someone who reads a lot on the internet, you have likely come across many authorities with “expert” advice on one topic or another.  This is where the gray matter between your ears becomes the most important tool in your box of prepper skills.  Think it through before you unilaterally apply someone’s expertise to your own situation.  Let me repeat: this includes advice and suggestions from this website!

While media coverage has often focused on a certain gun-toting, masculine segment of the subculture, both women described being drawn to prepping as a form of female self-empowerment. As Bedford sees it, finding yourself unprepared in the midst of a crisis can be a “terrible feeling of weakness” for a mother. “It makes sense to be empowered and trained and have the right supplies—and in this case, to have extra food on hand—because as a mom in particular, your family just relies on you,” she said.
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