When most people start thinking about family preparedness, they focus on food. Not shelter, gear, sanitation, power, self-defense or the myriad of other concerns that need to be addressed following an emergency or disaster situation. Quite simply, food is the number one concern people have second only to their concern for having an adequate supply of water.
Seven Silicon Valley entrepreneurs have purchased bunkers from Rising S Co. and planted them in New Zealand in the past two years, said Gary Lynch, the manufacturer’s general manager. At the first sign of an apocalypse — nuclear war, a killer germ, a French Revolution-style uprising targeting the 1 percent — the Californians plan to hop on a private jet and hunker down, he said.
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.
I agree with the previous comment of Goal Zero being stupidly overpriced. It’s an easy target as they’re in most stores, but if you check out brands like AUKEY, they make the exact same thing for a fraction of the cost. Goal Zero’s Yeti is pretty rad, but there are defn cheaper options. However, having a mobile(ish) PV cell and battery pack is essential. Even in Armageddon I’d want my survival guide PDF I’ve got on my smartphone which wouldn’t work without electricity!
Freeze-dried survival meals and dishes are another space-saving, convenient option, but require a significant amount of water to prepare and can be expensive. MREs are quite popular, extremely calorie dense, come in bomb-proof packaging and have a host of nice pack-ins like sauces, spices and candy, but are expensive, bulky and a steady diet of them will cause serious constipation. Don’t rule out either; just make sure you have good reasons for choosing them.
The man is Robert Vicino, of Del Mar, California. During the past couple of years, it has been widely reported by the Journal and others that Vicino's company, The Vivos Group, is trying to lease 575 former military munitions bunkers in southwest South Dakota to doomsday preppers, for use in case of an asteroid strike, a nuclear war or any other catastrophic event. Lease prices are as much as $25,000 upfront, plus $1,000 annually thereafter, and lessees are expected to outfit the empty bunkers themselves.
I was happy to find something that explained the different types of bunker building materials. But was very disappointed with the jump from building the shell of the bunker and then to filling it with food and supplies. What happened to the mechanics of the bunker? Types of equipment and placements for air, plumbing, and power. Just touching on the fact that it needs air, power and water doesn't really help.
I see myself as a modern man (born in 1980) and novice prepper, but dammed if I know anyone who hasn’t got a manual can opener, also storing soda bottles of water behind baseboards in kitchen units is also fairly common amongst people i know. If you have meat in large cuts and steaks in a freezer even once they defrost they keep a lot longer if preserved by smoking or drying, even ground meats can be made into patties and smoked to last longer, vegetables and fruits stored in a freezer can also have their useful lives extended by preserving as pickles and jam’s.
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!
Obviously, solar panels by themselves are quite useful things to have, and since both Broadwing and Ned in the comments suggested that Goal Zero is quite overpriced, I’d be remiss to leave out mentioning another, more price-sensitive option. Ned recommended Aukey as a brand that makes solar power equivalents to Goal Zero gear for far cheaper. In his words, Aukey “make the exact same thing for a fraction of the cost.”
Some of us may prep a little and others may prep a lot.  Along the way, we may make some of the mistakes I have listed above, and most assuredly there will be others.  At the end of the day, however, we all want to live a life filled with growth, opportunity and the ability to take care of oneself physically, mentally and spiritually.  To me, that is what prepping is all about, mistakes and all.
115. Generator – Generators are great in emergency situations, especially if power is crucial for medical reasons. Long-term however there is debate at how viable generators can benefit as you will need a constant supply of fuel as well as fuel storage. Not to mention if the power has been down for months and would-be scavengers are rummaging the neighborhood when they hear the sound of a generator running?? If you do plan on getting one, look for tri-fuel generators.
I do think there is a near universal “beginner’s checklist”. Regardless of where you live or what disasters tend to occur in your area (hurricanes, earthquakes, volcano eruptions), people still need the same basic supplies–water, food, medical, solid footwear and clothing. If you live in a tropical or subtropic climate like I do, your water needs will be greater than if you live in a cooler climate. I actually recommend the Texas Baptist’s Men’s water filtration system–cf. https://tbmtx.org/. You can pick up a system similar to the Big Berkey for a fraction of the cost. In terms of food, I think the author’s recommendation–that you just buy more of what you ordinarily use–is sound advise. Remember to rotate your food supplies–first in, first out. If you get a few extra cans each week, you can quickly build a three month supply of foods that your family regularly consumes. Once you get to a three-month food supply, it’s time to look into longer term food storage. I think the LDS Online Store is a great value. I think there are certain items every household should have–flashlights, extra batters, a cooler, extra ice in the freezer (I live in hurricane country), at least a shotgun and a handgun, extra ammo, a decent medical kit and so forth.
From the remote road, you first come across a landscape of hundreds of earth-covered domes in perfect rows with their concrete exteriors providing a stark contrast to the lush surroundings. This was Fort Igloo, where for over 24 years the US Army’s Black Hills Ordnance Depot created jobs for thousands of workers and their families. This was a community that many former residents still have fond memories.
Luther understands the need for such a policy. A month after she gave birth to her first daughter, her husband lost his job. “We had absolutely no money coming in for three months,” she recalls. “We had a whole bunch of bagels that I had gotten on sale in our freezer, and we had some peanut butter, and we had some vegetables in our garden in the backyard. And that was absolutely all we had to eat. It’s terrifying when you’ve got a new little one and no money to take care of her.”

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.[7] 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.
15. Red Feather Butter – What can be better than canned cheese than canned butter! Red Feather Butter, coming all the way from New Zealand, is another must have for your storage needs with an equally long shelf life. Not powdered or freeze dried but real creamy butter made from pasteurized cream and salt. Butter & cooking go hand-in-hand, give it a try be sure to have some stocked.
Balance is also something to remember when you are prepping your food storage. There is a better chance of survival when you pack a month or two of a wide variety of stuff than if you have a year’s supply of 2 or 3 items. If an emergency happens, then you would have a better chance of surviving if you count on your 2 month supply of a wider range of items than you would on just wheat flour and rice, for example.
In Eskridge, Kansas, a family lives in what was previously a shelter of a four-megaton hydrogen bomb. Because of this, their 47-ton garage door holds a tremendous defense that can withstand a doomsday blast. After investing some hard work, the site becomes a cozy underground home named Subterra Castle which will shield them from thermonuclear wars, harsh weather, earthquakes, and other crazy apocalyptic event.

Although canned fruit and vegetables don’t offer much regarding survival food, they are an excellent way to supplement your diet. They can become comfort foods when food fatigue sets in. On your last trip to the grocery store before the blizzard sets in, make sure you get some cans of green vegetables and low-acidic fruits like pears because those canned foods have a longer shelf life. If you have kids, pick something they like as well. It will help you deal with those picky eaters when the crisis is in full effect.
It’s impossible to carry all the food you will need for a week unless you’re eating very high density proteins like nuts.  Nuts and dried meat are two of the easiest off-the-cuff meals.  Canned food has a lot of water that is wasted during the cooking process.  Stay away from heavily flavored or salted nuts.  The amount of salt present in the unsalted nut mixes is still sufficient enough to replace electrolytes.
6.  Preparedness Apps (cost: free) – If you’re interested in domestic and international events of significance such military actions, economic concerns, and impending disasters then you should check out the Omega Survival Supply app. The app offers news on current events that preppers would be interested in. There’s also an option to get news updates through text messages.
First up? No matter the emergency, be ready with a disaster supplies kit like that detailed on ready.gov, Martin says. That should include water (one gallon per person per day for at least three days — and don't forget about your pets), at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food, and things like manual can openers, flashlights and extra batteries (including for your cell phone).
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MREs come in boxes of 12 and each MRE is a different meal. You quickly learn which meals you like and which ones you don’t. If you were unfortunate enough to be the last one to the box you got what everyone else passed over. When I was in the service I think the worst meal was the beef patty. There are some similarities between the meals. They all come with an entrée, some side and a dessert. You get crackers and peanut butter or cheese, a condiment packet and usually a drink mix. We would even come up with our own names for meals that displayed our disdain for the contents. One meal, Meatballs with barbecue sauce was affectionately called ‘Meat nuts with Barf A Shoe’ sauce by myself and the guys in my unit. I am sure there are millions of other creative renames. I actually liked that MRE and I think it was pretty much my go-to meal as long as I could beat everyone to the box.
113. Solar cooker/oven – Solar cooking has been around for hundreds of years. They are amazing and you really can cook with the sun, though it does take some patience, think of them as a slow cooker. A proper solar cooker can easily reach degrees of 300F so cooking should be no problem! And what more abundant energy source do you need as the sun. All that is needed is the sun & optimum weather. Here is a solar cooker ready to go. Or you can build your own. Here is a DIY solar cooker from an old satellite dish:
This was an informative article, but I would like to see a bunker industry comparison of bunkers. Perhaps this has been done, but I just haven’t run across it yet. If anyone knows of any credible and objective comparisons, I’d be interested in knowing the link to that info. Right now, I’m considering Rising S, Vivos, or Bombardo. I don’t need an underground city, nor do I like communal life (been there, done that in military). I just want a functional bunker for 4 to 6 people that is reasonably priced and will last for a long time.
Common preparations include the creation of a clandestine or defensible retreat, haven, or bug out location (BOL) in addition to the stockpiling of non-perishable food, water, water-purification equipment, clothing, seed, firewood, defensive or hunting weapons, ammunition, agricultural equipment, and medical supplies. Some survivalists do not make such extensive preparations, and simply incorporate a "Be Prepared" outlook into their everyday life.
I am really enjoying this site that I discovered through Pinterest. You make everything simple and so much easier to follow than most the prepper websites I have seen. I have even ordered the LDS Providential Living, and while the information contained therein is great, it is just not really practical stuff easily affordable on a budget. This startup guide is wonderful and I really enjoy the 12 month breakdown you have provided as well. I have added your boards, but it would be nice if you had a Pinterest pin on your site so that all your archives I could store as well. Thank you so much for all you are doing! I learned some really cheap ways to make fire starters from you.
Thanks for another helpful article, Pat. I’d been wondering about long term food for my preps. I’ve never had MRE’s, although I have eaten “C” & “K” rations (remember those battleship gray-green cans?) an older relative brought home. My question is, how do I determine the best taste/value for my dollar? My goal of having 6 months to 1 year’s worth of food for a family will be significant in terms of money spent. Do you know of any “survival food” vendors who have trial offers for people to taste test BEFORE they plunk down 4 figures for boxes of… Read more »

This group is concerned with the spread of fatal diseases, biological agents, and nerve gases, including swine flu, E. coli 0157, botulism, dengue fever, Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease, SARS, rabies, Hantavirus, anthrax, plague, cholera, HIV, ebola, Marburg virus, Lassa virus, sarin, and VX.[36] In response, they might own NBC (nuclear, biological and chemical) full-face respirators, polyethylene coveralls, PVC boots, nitrile gloves, plastic sheeting and duct tape.


Water should be able to be stored indefinitely provided it is not contaminated in any way. The problem with storing water in a car is the heat or cold. In the summer time, your water could bake. In really hot environments, if your water is stored in plastic, chemicals in the plastic can leech into your water. There could be some debate about what is the greater harm, chemicals or death by dehydration, but it is something to consider. In the same way, water in the winter can freeze, but as long as it isn’t getting contaminated from any other… Read more »
Laura B. "You have no privacy on the internet, and probably never have."You got that almost rite, all except the word "probably." You have never had any privacy on the internet, and very little anywhere in this country for a lot longer than the internet has been around. Your credit cards track you and your perches. Your drivers license tracks you. Your phone, both cell and home, tracks you. Everything you buy, car, home, property, even the groceries you buy are tracked. Every bill you pay tracks you. The only way to not be tracked is to not have a birth certificate, a social security card, a credit/debit card, never own anything taxable and never pay for anything with anything but gold, silver, or barter. Even the government currency called the dollar has a # on it so it can be tracked. All the things I've listed were put in place for 1 reason, and that is to track. Privacy hasn't been a part of American life for over 100 yrs.
Quick and easy foods help you through times when you are psychologically or physically unable to prepare your basic storage items. No cook foods such as freeze-dried are wonderful since they require little preparation. MRE’s (Meals Ready to Eat), such as many preparedness outlets carry, canned goods, etc. are also very good. Psychological Foods are the goodies – Jello, pudding, candy, etc. – you should add to your storage.
This author has taken the general guidelines and used those. This is the recommenations of various agencies. Having that gallon a day would be able to keep people in most climates alive but not thriving. While I agree one will need MORE water, this is the recommendations and a good place to start. Once a person realizes the amount their family NEEDs, they can add additional by saving soda bottles and washing and re filling those, to build a quick cheap supply.

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 first thought was to get my kids and us dressed! And then it was, “Crap! Close the windows!” We have no car here, and nowhere to go, so we were going to shelter in place. As far as I know, we aren’t near any military installations or big cities (we are staying outside of Kona). And then I started thinking about what supplies we have here- which isn’t much at all. And there was a bit of fatalism, figuring that if it is our day to die, then it’s our day, and not much I could do about it. And we were burning up our phones on social media both to get the word out and to find out what was really happening. But it was a good 10-15 minutes of fear.

I just downloaded your lists and I find them to be VERY valuable. So much so that I’ll be having my stay at home wife/co-prepper go through all of our supplies this coming week and populate all of the lists. We already had one for our BOB’s but it makes me realize we need good ones for food beyond just going through the pantry every 6 months and replacing. We need additional for security (ammo, firearms), fuel (white gas for coleman, kindling for BioLite, hardwood for indoor stove), water (we only store about 5 cases of bottled but it does need to rotate. We store so little b/c of space constraints in the big city and we have no less than a homemade Berkey, coffee filters by the 1000’s for pre-filtering the REAL crud out, MSR backpackable and of course a handful of lifestraw’s. We have access to a 120,000 gallon swimming pool and can distill that or we have access to what we firmly believe is a spring fed creek below us, that runs 365 days a year, rain or not. Anyway, thanks for the sheets. We will take the premise and expand on it. I plan to combine them all into one giant workbook kept up to date on a USB key and kept protected in my Faraday. I will be able to use them via PC, laptop, Android phone and tablet that way.
Editor’s Note: This article was generously contributed by Clarence Mason and in it he compares and contrasts two different survival bunker designs. Each have their advantages, but if you are considering building your own survival retreat option in the future, it makes sense to consider what is the best bunker design before you get too far down the planning road.
Honey is one food that never spoils! Although the look of your product will change somewhat over time, it will never actually spoil. It will begin to look yellow and cloudy instead of golden and clear and will get thicker and grainy over time, eventually looking white and hard. But, it is still good. In this form, the honey may have started the process of crystallizing.
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