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?
In the previous decade, preparedness consultant, survival bookseller, and California-based author Don Stephens popularized the term retreater to describe those in the movement, referring to preparations to leave cities for remote havens or survival retreats should society break down. In 1976, before moving to the Inland Northwest, he and his wife authored and published The Survivor's Primer & Up-dated Retreater's Bibliography.
So sorry D Clark. Somehow a few typos snuck in here. Thanks for pointing it out so I can get it fixed. Just in case the site doesn’t update it right away, here is how it should read! I will try to make sure to look over articles after they go through the editing process. Sometimes either on my end or the other something slips past. Thanks for reading!

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.”
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.
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 »
8. Oats – Another staple, that is super cheap & easy 30 year storage option. Oats are perfect for the prepper because they only require boiled water to prepare, then just add some cinnamon or sugar and you have breakfast. It also helps to control blood sugar and cholesterol. Oats can also double as feed for most animals. Here are 10 reasons you should store oats.
Only a small percentage of those with high blood pressure are salt sensitive and need to limit their intake. For those without high blood pressure or without that sensitivity, salt is not an issue. This is one of those media maintained myths, such as “eating eggs causes clogged arteries” and “low calorie low protein high sugar diet is great for you”.
I think it depends on the situation. Dollar for dollar, I think you can get more for your money. A case of gov MRE’s is around 75-100 dollars. That’s 12 meals. If you have a family, and if this is your only means of ‘survival’ food, it is not going to last that long. For food on the run, the tactical run, it is an excellent option to have. For a 72 hour grid down fight or flight scenario, also a good option. While I wouldn’t completely write them off as useless or non essential in most survival situations, they… Read more »
Expert advice isn’t always as expert as we’d like to believe. There have been many times when I tried to follow how-to advice, only to get frustrated that I can’t seem to do what they did, or I sometimes figure out a more efficient method on my own anyway. This is especially true for the prepper lifestyle. When the internet started exploding with prepper advice a few years ago, most of the bloggers and self-proclaimed experts were learning as they go along with their readers.
Batteries- Your primary battery-gobblers will be the above flashlights and battery-powered lanterns. Make sure you have plenty of each type you need for all your lights. You can make your life easy by limiting your battery consumption on lights to two types of cell; perhaps one kind for flashlights and headlamps, and one for lanterns. Or you might have one type for low-output utility lights, and another, perhaps CR123 cells for your high-output work and weapon lights.
4) Ten-year D cells don’t always live up to their name. In a 16-pack, I typically find at least one that is below operating voltage. Now, before going to the trouble of loading 4 new cells into the lantern I use one of those cheap (red) multi-testers from Harbor Freight to ensure each battery indicates slightly above its rated 1.5 volts. In my experience, if any of the 4 batteries indicates 1.25 volts (or thereabouts) the lantern won’t turn on.

The way I think of it is, it depends on the food. How long will it last once you open it? Will it last long enough once opened for your family to consume it before it goes bad. Also, only buy foods you know how to use and that you will actually like to eat. No point in buying wheat berries if you dont have the manual grinder to process it and if you don’t know how to cook with it. I have a family of 4 including 2 small children. If I store rice in a 5 gallon mylar, will we use it before it goes bad once it’s opened? Possibly not. So i put it in 1 lb mylar bags. We can pull out smaller amounts at a time.
People who are not part of survivalist groups or apolitically oriented religious groups also make preparations for emergencies. This can include (depending on the location) preparing for earthquakes, floods, power outages, blizzards, avalanches, wildfires, terrorist attacks, nuclear power plant accidents, hazardous material spills, tornadoes, and hurricanes. These preparations can be as simple as following Red Cross and U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) recommendations by keeping a first aid kit, shovel, and extra clothes in the car, or by maintaining a small kit of emergency supplies, containing emergency food, water, a space blanket, and other essentials.
“Title-1 schools are on the free-breakfast and free-lunch program. When I say free breakfast, I’m not talking about a glass of milk and a roll. But a full breakfast and cereal bar with fruits and juices that would make the Marriott proud. The waste of this food is monumental, with trays and trays of it being dumped in the trash uneaten. (Our tax dollars at work!)
Very useful information. Thank you for sharing that. We are hunters as we as grow a garden, we can most everything. I also have fruit trees and bushes, and that is canned as well. We have emergency kits stashed in a few locations, undisclosed, and money. I pray we will never need to use any of it but I am prepared. I really appreciate your helpful articles and will make sure to tell others about this site.
Emergency Radio- Even a very severe disaster is unlikely to obliterate communications grids entirely. Pickup one of the hand-cranked or battery-powered emergency radios so you will always be able to passively receive information so long as authorities are transmitting. Some nicer models include a flashlight or even USB charging ports. So long as you have the muscle, it will have power.

If you're looking for the most complete first aid kit, while also keeping affordability in mind, these are for you. They slide nicely into the back pocket of most cars' front seats, so you can be sure to have it handy wherever you go. Not that much extra weight to take backpacking either. This is more than a first aid kit. It's a survival kit. If you want to customize it further, you can. I added more gauze, a little tube of triple antibiotic ointment, and a few water purification tablets. I purchased several, so we always have them wherever we are.
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.
Up until that time there had been no weight categories. As a result of his stunning victory, weight categories were instituted world wide in judo. Unless you are a highly advanced black belt, advanced in inter-club competitions to the seventh or eight degree the first guy who comes along who outweighs you by probably 50 or more pounds is going to stomp you. Anyone who has had experience in street brawls is going to stomp you. There is a reason why people say, “God didn’t create all men equal, Samuel Colt did.”
I use Bob’s Red Mill Buttermilk Powder.It is about $10 a bag but it goes a very long way. It will make 45 cups of sweet cream buttermilk. I did some research and vacuum sealed buttermilk powder can last up to 10 years. Of course this is dependent on storage conditions. Keeping it out of direct sunlight and extreme heat is required to get a long shelf life. Even under mediocre conditions I would expect 5 years. There is a lot of varying opinions on shelf life unfortunately. Thanks for reading!
I made the mistake of trying to wake people up to my concept of what the country was coming to. My view of shtf and how i thought it was going to happen. I also told people about my prepping and how i believed it would help. Now i’m pretty sure if anything did occur i would have a few or more uninvited guests. The one guy literally said “Im coming to your house if shit goes down” No the hell you aren’t. I tell people these things so they will prepare themselves. Or help them awaken to the things… Read more »
Most likely, 2018 will pass without any of these things happening. Then again, most likely it’ll pass without you having a traffic accident – but you still pay for car insurance. If I’m ready to cope with any of the things I fear most in the coming year I’ll also be able to handle anything else that goes wrong, and that’s what prepping is all about.
You might also check if there is a local cash and carry…that’s a business which sells wholesale to other business/restaurants. You can buy bulk there for almost wholesale prices. They will have bulk items of many things in addition to other items like paper plates, napkins and you get the idea. If you can find a place which sells bulk, then ask your favorite store to special order. Who knows, you might get it cheaper that way. BTW: Gaye, next time you’re on the mainland near Mt. Vernon, check out WINCO for those bulk items.
You might also check if there is a local cash and carry…that’s a business which sells wholesale to other business/restaurants. You can buy bulk there for almost wholesale prices. They will have bulk items of many things in addition to other items like paper plates, napkins and you get the idea. If you can find a place which sells bulk, then ask your favorite store to special order. Who knows, you might get it cheaper that way. BTW: Gaye, next time you’re on the mainland near Mt. Vernon, check out WINCO for those bulk items.
I can sleep at night because I’m well on way to having a year’s worth of the highest quality food freeze dried with a 20 year shelf life. I also am a huge fan of Berkey Water filters. We live in an intense chicken, turkey, hog barn agribusiness area – lots of potential harm to our water supplies besides roundup. Berkey is king if you read the independent lab reports – it does the best job purifying the water while keeping the needed minerals in the water your body needs.
You'll find staples like powdered butter, freeze-dried meats, cereals, grains, pasta, fruits and vegetables, and baking ingredients. They also offer a great selection of entrees, including popular Mountain House meals like turkey tetrazzini, rice pilaf, and sweet and sour pork. Many of these are included in their emergency kits that will keep you fed for days or months at a time.
Other newsletters and books followed in the wake of Ruff's first publication. In 1975, Kurt Saxon began publishing a monthly tabloid-size newsletter called The Survivor, which combined Saxon's editorials with reprints of 19th century and early 20th century writings on various pioneer skills and old technologies. Kurt Saxon used the term survivalist to describe the movement, and he claims to have coined the term.[9]
the seeds from gmo plants are useless, gmo plants are also now linked to organ failure… gmo is not evolution, I think you may be thinking of hybrids which are entirely different. But even hybrid seeds will not produce the same crop the next year as the seeds gathered from hybrid plants revert back to one of the parent plants which may be fine but I wouldnt take the chance in a time when you count on it for survival… So from a sustainability point of view gmo plants are useless, not to mention that many heirlooms are also disease and pest resistant, just naturally. There are also natural ways to control disease and pests for plants. If survival is key then sustainability is also key.
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.
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.

2.  20 pounds of Pinto Beans.   Like rice, beans are the backbone to every food storage plan.  You may substitute white, kidney or other types of dried beans but honestly, pintos are one of the least expensive dried beans and in my opinion, one of the tastiest.  Need help cooking beans? when you are done here be sure to read Survival Woman Learns to Cook Dried Beans and you should too and  Respect for the Lowly Pinto Bean.
I stored Flour, Sugar (white & Brown) along with yeast, baking soda/powder and crisco. My plan is to use a Bread machine to make bread. I have a large generator to power essential items. I also have a small generator (very quite) to power things during night time hours or my camper that has an oven we could use in an emergency. The best thing you can do now is to sit down and go thru some various scenarios in your head with varying degrees of severity. Then, write it all down on paper in note/bullet statement format. When you’re stressed-out is not the time to formulate a plan.
Once you've accounted for safety and health, there's also mental well-being. “You want things to help keep your mind occupied,” Martin says. “When you don't know what to do you get bored and anxious.” Think cards, board games, books, “things to make you comfortable and happy.” It was kind of amazing how much reading I got done in our last bout with no TV.
Mel doesn’t subscribe to the “every man for himself” philosophy that is a hallmark of many preppers’ Cormac McCarthy-styled nightmares. “My grand plan is that I will build a community around me, rather than think that I will be in a post-apocalyptic bunker where I have to do everything. You don’t want to be scared of your neighbours and worry about whether they will take your stuff."
One last tip, don’t forget to store easy to prepare foods to help you get through on difficult days.  Even though they may not be on your list of required food storage foods, you may want to reconsider puddings, juice boxes, instant packaged foods, coffee, candy, muffin mixes, cake mixes, Hershey’s chocolate syrup (lasts a long time without refrigeration), brownie mix and other specialty comfort foods.

You should be doing your homework and putting in practice ahead of the fateful day, not counting on whipping out your manual in the middle of a crisis, but knowing how to best deal with any given situation is too good to pass up. In lieu of first-hand experience, a good set of instructions can help carry the day. I really like the Pocket Ref guides for general knowledge and skills, as they are tiny and positively packed with useful info.
@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.
I’m afraid I’m going to have to disagree with you there. NT Wright, one of today’s most respected theologians, wrote in his book Luke for Everyone, about the Last Supper and how frustrated Jesus was when he tried to explain about the things that we’re going to happen. The apostles, Knuckleheads that they were, we’re just not getting anything he was trying to convey. Just before the statement about the swords, Jesus had pointed out that he had sent them out without purse or bags or sandals and that they were not short of anything. And then he said that in the future anyone who has a purse should take it and the same with the bag. And anyone who doesn’t have a sword should sell his cloak and buy one. As NT Wright put it, when Jesus says “That’s enough!”, he isn’t suggesting that two swords would be sufficient for the job in hand. What could that possibly mean? What he is doing is wearily putting a stop to the entire conversation, in which at every point they seem determined to misunderstand him. This discussion can be on pages 264 through 267 of the aforementioned book. NT Wright is not known as a gun rights person but rather as a theologian of high rank.
87. Shotgun – Many will argue if you could only have 1 weapon for home defense, the shotgun would it. The ammunition is inexpensive, is a long gun so there are less background checks when purchasing one, and can always double as a hunting gun. Also, if someone is in your home, and they hear the pump of a shotgun, it will scary any would-be intruder and for close range encounters.
I would add just a few things though, if you use creamer in your coffee add a few bottles of the powdered version, some dried fruits or a couple large bags of trail mix, pie fillings in a few fruit varieties (awesome in oats!), crackers are great for kids who won’t eat a tuna, spam or other canned meat sandwich but they may be willing to eat “lunchables” DIY of course!, and other all in one items like spaghetti O’s, canned stew, canned ravioli, and ramen. It may not be the healthiest solutions but if you need these items you will be exceptionally grateful you have them!
Put dry ingredients in a bowl and sift through. Add liquid and knead for 5-10 minutes. Let dough rest in bowl covered for at least 10 minutes. You can wait a few hours even if you get distracted. Knead again for 5 minutes. At this point you can leave your dough until later or you can shape or roll it out and fill it and let rise for 30 minutes to an hour before baking.

While I keep almost all of my food in the basement, with only a small portion in the kitchen pantry, 98% of my basement food storage is in sealed cans, or in mylar bags stored in 5 gallon buckets. That way if my basement floods I can wash the cans with disinfecting solution (10% bleach solution) and relabel using markers. Upstairs I keep my emergency blankets since they aren’t impacted by summer heat where if I tried to store food in the bedrooms it would be at risk from summer temperatures. But as I write this I realize I need to move my water filter and water BOBs out of the basement and upstairs so they don’t get impacted by a flood. Thanks for making me think of this!


2) LED lanterns vary greatly in quality and endurance. I bought several brands and even though they claim the same lumens some are better and brighter than others. Some are flimsy and have broken and are now duct-taped. Others are poorly designed and have to be tipped away from your face to be used effectively. Most are made out of plastic and can’t withstand the “drop test”. I have used four varieties for camping and they all get used regularly. I won’t recommend a particular brand, but I do not recommend the Coleman (the one i bought is housed in a red plastic case).
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.
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.
Light: It’s fine to have battery-powered flashlights for your home — provided you have some extra batteries around. We love this Mag-Lite XL200 LED flashlight because it’s tough and has multiple modes including SOS and dimmer timer. It’s a good idea to have crank-powered flashlights as well. And make sure you have candles, like this pack of six 115-hour emergency candles.
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.
That doesn’t mean that some companies aren’t marketing freeze-dried food as an innovation. After eating the Wise Company meals for three days, I switched to Thrive Life’s Simple Plate program, a Blue Apron–esque service that teaches you how to cook from the company’s store of freeze-dried ingredients, which customers can also get mailed to them in recurring shipments. Unlike Wise Company, Thrive Life’s website makes no mention of emergency preparedness, instead emphasizing the sorts of qualities, like saving money and avoiding waste, that might have appealed to Lydia Maria Child in her time: “These foods won’t spoil in a few days... You won’t be thawing, degreasing, or cutting raw meat. You won’t be chopping veggies or washing and peeling fruit.” I reached out to Thrive Life’s founders to hear more about their rationale for marketing freeze-dried food for everyday use, but didn’t hear back.
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