Many years ago, while living in Australia, I was bitten by a snake. I’d gone walkabout and wasn’t carrying medical supplies, but I met a few locals who very quickly rustled up a remedy to ease the pain and stop the swelling. That was the first time I realised the importance of thinking ahead, and I’ve prepped in a small way ever since. About 10 years ago I got into prepping seriously. I started to analyse “what-if” scenarios: what if something went wrong near to where I live? What would I do? How would I survive?

Today, the property would be of interest only to the most ambitious apocalyptic rehabbers. It consists of a launch control center surrounded by three-foot thick concrete, plus the main silo—measuring 180 feet in height and 52 feet in diameter, most of it underground—which the owner can repurposed as needed. Water has leaked into the property for years, but the latest listing states that it has been “cleaned and dewatered.”


The Hawaii false alarm was indeed a wake-up call! Thank you for publishing all this useful information. I’ve always done food storage but there is so much more we need to have on hand. All those little things you need, like knives, compass, a RADIO! – someone mentioned thick soled shoes and of course water filtration. I recently found an awesome 72 Hour backpack I thought was a pretty good deal on costco.com (https://www.costco.com/72-Hour-Tactical-Backpack-Survival-Kit.product.100386699.html?pageSize=96&catalogId=10701&dept=All&langId=-1&keyword=72+Hour+Tactical+Backpack+Survival+Kit&storeId=10301).
If the kids were home, I would have them fill the water bags designed to go in the tubs and get as much potential flying debris as possible secured to minimize the chances of things flying through the doors and windows. No way to make it zero, but five minutes of tossing things into the gazebo or truck bed (under the bed cover) could save more than enough damage to make it worthwhile. Also, make sure everyone is wearing shoes with good soles to protect them from glass from any blown out windows we do get.
“If you’re using it for emergency survival, the fact is you’re going to buy it once, and hopefully you’re not going to use it,” Shields said. “But it’s there as a safety net for you and your family.” That’s what intrigued me about freeze-dried food: You can wait up to a quarter-century to use it, but in an ideal world, you wouldn’t have to eat it at all.
19. Coconut Oil – What substitutes for cooking oil, butter, & health salve? Coconut oil! Most cooking oils will go rancid in a very short time. However, extra virgin coconut oil can last 2-4 years if stored properly. It has many uses including cooking, dry skin, energy boost, reduces inflammation, and even heals diaper rash, but my favorite is to use it for popping popcorn. Gives it a nice buttery flavor.
At a minimum, a good framing hammer, hand saw or hacksaw, medium prybar, axe, shovel, vise grips, screwdrivers, fixed blade general purpose knife, small mechanics kit with wrenches, can of all-purpose lube, sturdy cordage (paracord or accessory line) and duct tape. Ensure you have an adequate wrench or similar tool that can shut off water and gas valves in and around your home.
The same goes with flour.  To make flour usable, you also need yeast and baking powder plus the skill and know-how to bake. Not only that, you most likely will need an outdoor oven of sorts – especially if the grid is down post disaster.   That, and more, will come later, but for now, while covering the basics, it is much simpler and far more practical to stick with easy to cook foods that can be combined into interesting meals without the need for much experience other than opening a can or a package.
The FDA is making significant changes to nutritional label laws that are rolling out over 2017 to 2018. Because some manufacturers have changed early and others haven’t, in some cases we couldn’t be as apples-to-apples in our data analysis as we’d like, particularly around vitamins and minerals. So we did some backdoor math by judging the amount of fruits and vegetables in each meal.
When speaking to preppers like Jennifer, Luther, and Nygaard, it can be hard to separate the more practical aspects of the lifestyle from the enjoyment that comes from doing things yourself instead of paying someone to do them. When I point out that running a small-scale farm and caring for two kids seems like an awful lot of work to do on top of a full-time job, Nygaard demures. “Yeah, it is. But I choose it. I choose to spend it like this because there are things that give me pleasure. I enjoy canning. I love seeing my work on the shelf. You grew that, and you canned it, and you get a source of pride from that.”
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.
Prepping isn’t just for the zombie apocalypse. I live in costal New England and you can bet that there will be at least two or three situations where you won’t have power or won’t be able to get to the store for a while. Blizzards, hurricanes, etc. Also personal crises like losing a job or unexpected car repairs can leave you looking at zero food budget. Always good to have emergency rations to live off of until things return to normal.
With this method, you needn’t worry about where to get water to add and since your food is cooked in the caning process, you can even eat cold if necessary. Imagine a jar of pork in your favorite marinade sauce. Terriaki beef or chicken. Strips of flank steak marinated in A1 and a touch of hot sauce. Heat this up on a forman grill or charcoal grill. The menu is limited by ones imagination only. Much healthier than all the salt in canned or freeze dried food. They put in the salt only to insure they do not lose a penny in sales as a result of in mass production, a batch does not cook long enough, or a product sits on the shelf too many decades.
All good questions and points. Shipping containers are definitely not a good option. They are typically made of 16 and 14 gauge corrugated steel (.065 and.075 inches respectively) and the amount of retrofitted fortification that would be required to withstand the weight/pressure of several feet of earth is considerable. The container would have to be buried fairly deep(as most steel shelters are) since it offers little protection, in and of itself, against radiation, heat or even small arms fire due to it’s light construction. Then of course there would be waterproofing required(although they are made to be exposed to weather,they… Read more »
I know how you feel when you get that urgent feeling that what you have is not enough. Shelly (the Survival Husband) and I were just talking about this last night. In my mind, I know that I have a lot but I keep purchasing more. Luckily, like you I am good at food rotation although I do have a lot of #10 tins and properly packaged buckets in deep storage as well. Those do not get rotated.
Don’t let prepping overwhelm you because there are many companies wanting you to buy their product. And I agree with pat Henry, things are not as bad as what many think. I have been listening to doomsday talkers since 2011 about the imminent collapse around the corner and there will always be people saying this. So don’t rush to spend thousands of dollars. Do a little at a time and stay within your means. This is a good article because it gives you general categories such as a means to purify water, then food, then medicine, then security and also… Read more »
I think the author adds in the high processed food for variety. He clearly states that the stew would be for a time when you couldn’t cook a real meal. some of the others could be eaten in an emergency when there was no way to cook such as the ravioli ect. Not all SHTF situations are world ending, You could simply have a power outage and no alternative cooking method
Each week as we scour the internet for interesting articles we come across so many the deserve a little more attention than they get. This week we found some articles about preparing for an economic collapse, the show Doomsday Preppers, Starting a fire in less than ideal situations, having the right mindset when you are preparing for SHTF, and one often overlooked aspect of prepping, where to go…and I don’t mean bugging out.
2. Supplies for sanity: Just because the SHTF doesn’t mean we need to depend on the bare essentials and feed our family beans and rice every day. When the SHTF we are going to be stressed enough as it is so having some supplies like coffee and sweets will help take the edge off, at least until you become more accustomed to the new lifestyle that was forced upon you.
The Emergency Essentials Premier bucket is the best short term emergency food product for most people. The $380 three-bucket option covers two people for 15-18 days at a very healthy 2,700-2,275 calories per day. One person can cover two weeks for only a single $130 bucket if you stretch the 27,330 total calories an extra day or two at 1,900 calories per day.
One of the “skills” every prepper should learn (and learn this week or next) is foraging for edibles in and around their homes. Search the library or order a book on Amazon…one with pictures…to learn which weeds provide vitamins and minerals and how to spot them (and their poisonous look-a-likes) in YOUR neighborhood. The day MAY come when that is ALL that is available to eat because the mice, rats, birds, cats and dogs have already been dispatched to feed hungry neighbors. Weeds are likely to still be around even after looters have torn out and dug up your gardens in search of food.
It’s mostly natural disasters we’re preparing for. I’m concerned about a war’s potential knock-on effects on the food chain, although I haven’t dug a bunker in my garden or anything. And then there’s Brexit. If that doesn’t go the right way, who’s to say we’ll be able to get hold of the things we can get hold of now? But, realistically, we are mostly likely to be affected by flooding or severe snow. There have been times when we have been cut off, unable to get out. We’d need to be prepared if that happens again.
Each of us has personal fears. It might be poor health. It might be a precarious job situation. There are a great number of individual calamities that can befall us, however, the fact that you have just been fired from your job, while I am concerned as I would be for anybody who has lost employment through no fault of his own, it doesn’t affect me. It doesn’t affect my neighborhood. It doesn’t affect the distribution of food and utilities.
EVACUATION & LAST SHOPPING TRIP LISTS: I also have evacuation lists (or long term bug-out), including things to do at the house, and things to pack and where they are located (in case we have friends or family helping). We also have lists of things to buy if we have time when SHTF. Hubby’s list includes lumber, fuel, nails, car parts, etc. My list is food products, animal feed etc. We keep cash for the last run. We try to maintain good supplies, but if we can get more at the time, we will.
I believe the initial goal amount of food stockpile for someone new to prepping should a year. After a year…they should work towards 2 years, etc. I also tend to agree that it’s better to plan for the worst and hope for the best. So for someone new to prepping a years worth of food is a good 1st goal. Will a years worth of food be enough for a downfall scenario you describe? Probably not, but it will be good for a milder SHTF scenario. My advice is for everyone to start stockpiling as much food as they can…just in case.
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.
The MREs from Meal Kit Supply tasted better than the food I ate many years ago so I am happy to recommend them to anyone looking for an MRE supplier. You can get a box of 12 MRE’s yourself from Meal Kit Supply and try them out or just place them aside for an emergency. MRE’s are another good food option that will store for a long time and could save your life.
58. N95 masks – if there is ever a pandemic, having a mask can be invaluable. Flu, sars, ebola, etc… when the crises hits these be will go fast, so stock up on some before they are needed. It is suggested to get the N95 quality valved respirators, although there is some debate on their effectiveness. A full face respirator will settle the question!
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.
Suppression of firearms is a good idea for night fighting, but do your research about suppressors and suppression before committing to a 3-400 dollar solution as well as the $200 tax stamp per suppressor. For $500 I can build another AR platform rifle or shorty pistol. And don’t forget that suppressors aren’t magic; the piece still makes enough noise for everybody within a half klick on a totally silent night to hear it.

I just wanted to comment about an important thing that people need to remember (mistakes happen more often during stressful times): some of the advice given here have to be done AFTER the blast and the aftershock, not BEFORE them. You have to use the few minutes you have to get all the gear you can muster in such a short delay and run to the shelter you want to hide in.
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.
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