Thanks for the tips! I was actually thinking of doing a post on this but tweaking it to fit ranches. We had a major freeze this year that left us without power for over a week, and the freeze burnt our pump so we couldn't water. We also had several major wildfires that left us without cell service b/c a tower was disabled. I was totally unprepared. I thought we were going to lose everything in our freezer, I couldn't wash clothes or dishers (not a great experience if you have a house full of kids) and no way to communicate with anyone. And that is when a friend recommended your site. It's been so helpful! I think in addition to your list, one could also use a HAM radio or emergency radio, a solar pump if you have a well, and alternative light sources.
74. Essential oils – Having a good stock of essential oils will be very useful if the system goes down and its hard to find quality medicine. Essential oils are inexpensive and needs no prescription to buy them and can be used for antiseptics, relieve headaches, promote sleep, reduce anxiety, treat wounds, etc … Here is an article on the 25 uses of lavender which is considered the jack of all oils! You will want to have in stock a starter kit of essential oils!
Ned in the comments reminded me that a bike really should be on this list. Of course, I don’t really need to say, but a good mountain bike is incredibly useful in a SHTF situation where fuel is hard to get. Ned mentioned that it’d be a good idea to couple the bike with a carrying rack on the front or back, and if you can, an electric generator. I think that’s a pretty damn great idea; only problem is I haven’t managed to find any electric generators for bikes that actually have good reviews. If you know of one, please recommend one down in the comments section.
I was surprised to read an MRE review here. I’ve had my fair share of them as well. And for the record, if I was the first to the box, my favorite was Menu 3 Beef Ravioli in meat sauce. Not half bad. I never considered them an option for disaster preparedness though because they were always too bulky for what you got in them. Most of the time in Iraq and Afghanistan, we’d open them up, and stow the spoon and the main meal and toss the rest back in the box for others to pick over later. We… Read more »
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.
In addition to this list, may I refer you to the Weston Price Foundation and the book Nourishing Traditions? These two sources will help us to decide on the healthiest versions of all these foods; the end goal is to remain healthy and nourished so that we can enjoy all these things we store! Thanks for the article–it set my mental wheels to turning 🙂
Still, there’s quite a bit of overlap between the two. “There are preppers that are homesteaders, and there are homesteaders that are preppers,” says Levy, who identifies more as a straight-ahead prepper. “If there’s any difference, it’s just a difference in the environment in which we live. If there’s commonality, [it’s that] we still all have this real need to be self-sufficient and not dependent upon others, no matter what happens.”
Basic Dining Utensils- A stash of disposable plates, cups, napkins and cutlery will help reduce water usage and maintain cleanliness. Keep a set of reusable camping style cutlery and mess kits around in case you run out of the former. You might want to keep a small set of steel pots or bowls with your stash to ensure you have suitable vessels for meal prep.
For survival purposes, think calories, not meals per day. An adult will require between 2,000 and 2,400 calories a day nominally, and more if they are active. Children require less, but the effects of malnutrition and starvation hit them harder. You can live for quite a while on reduced calories to make your stores go further, but your activity levels in the aftermath depending on what is required of you may dictate high calorie consumption. Plan accordingly before you hit “rationing” levels of supply.
@Consco That’s a very good point. There’s nothing really more important than family. We have to define what we mean by “stuff”. Chuck makes a very good point. All the luxuries that we have today can be done without if we have to. They aren’t that important and can be repaired or replaced, if we want, when things get more or less back to normal. What does need to be defended, other than family, are the things that are necessary for our survival. The food. The water. Shelter. Heat. Hygiene products. Necessary medicines. Etc. The things that will help to ensure our survival in the face of an uncertain future. What I would suggest though, is that, if you have info stored on hard drives that you don’t want to lose fill the drive up with what you deem important and put those items in an EMP-proof container. Even a metal garbage can set up properly will do. And one small computer that’s able to access those drives. No matter what happens, or how it happens, a new civilization WILL spring forth from the ashes of the old and then knowledge will help to rebuild it. If you have important books that might come in handy for helping to rebuild then also find some way to secure those.
If you are in a tight spot and cannot cook or prepare anything, it is a very good idea to have ready to go meals and freeze dried foods on hand. Things like MREs  (meals ready to eat), trail mix, beef jerky, candy and food that make you happy (good for your psychological health) can come in handy in a tight spot. Check out our guide on how to prepare DIY MREs to prepare you for any emergencies.
Freeze dried food is the other specialty food option when it comes to prepping for survival. These are regular foods that are placed in a special unit in which the moisture is literally frozen out of the food, then it is heated slightly so that the water becomes a gas and can be removed from the food. The food is then vacuum sealed in a moisture- and oxygen-proof bag. These foods are easy to rehydrate, simply by adding water, and they can generally be eaten right out of the bag. There are many different brands of freeze dried foods available, such as:
Buy dry foods, canned goods and peanut butter, then use the oldest on a regular basis and rotate new stock into the pantry. Too many people buy foods that they will only eat when the SHTF and then since you’re not using it on a regular basis, it’s gone or going bad. If however you buy many of the foods you currently eat for SHTF planning then you can eat the oldest food and rotate new stock into your holdings as a routine part of your meals.

I know that you two are really heavily focused on gear, but I think something like having a solid stock of mason jars (various sizes) to fill with preserves would be a far better option then your plastic air tight sealing bags that will quickly run out in most situations. Why not just use ziplock bags if you must? For that matter, you’d probably want to have a big pot and a few key tools to cook your preserving in.
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.

MRE’s are not bad. I would not eat them for an extended period of time. They’re either short term or transitional food. Short term is 1-2 weeks. Transitional is going from whatever came from the grocery store over to your long term storage food. The down side with consuming MRE’s and freeze drieds- they’ll plug you up. Drink plenty of water! Good reason to keep metamusal around. MRE Tabasco is a tiny bottle good for one meal. Alternate MRE heating. Open the salt packet up and sprinkle the salt grains onto a hot flat metal surface, lay your MRE on… Read more »
In his book Dancing at Armageddon: Survivalism and Chaos in Modern Times, Mitchell, the sociology professor, develops a working theory of survivalism as a response to living in a society where every object we could possibly need is already taken care of for us. “The shelves are full, and the channels are full,” Richard tells me over the phone. “This is a response to a culture that has stripped away from us our sense of efficacy, our capacity to craft culture.”
Shields said that the company noticed an uptick in sales in the months leading up to the 2016 presidential election, and, again last year, amid fears of nuclear escalation with North Korea. Like Wise Company's former CEO Aaron Jackson, whom Bloomberg previously dubbed “America’s Survival Food King,” Shields said he likes to think of Wise’s products as “an insurance policy.”
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