Perhaps the most unusual thing about the female prepper lifestyle is that it suggests a counterintuitive movement through time: a return to a slower, more elemental way of life, one that eschews the conveniences of modern consumer society in favor of the empowerment that comes from doing things yourself. Some of the women I spoke to said being a prepper helped them carry on the same old-fashioned life skills — like gardening, canning, and smart budgeting — that helped their mothers and grandmothers during the Great Depression. Others harkened back to the homesteaders of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, whose pioneering settlement and cultivation of the Great Plains form the backbone of the American myth of self-reliance.
Regarding the general category of water purification, you have essentially combined reverse osmosis with UV disinfection PLUS the necessity for solar and/or gas generated power. Take away the essential electrical power and you still have to boil your water. If you do the math, you could invest up to $2500 for your version of water purification. That’s a “big ticket” indeed. Once again, there are abundant information sources that provide instruction for long term water purification that cost far less.
I live about an hour outside Manchester. It’s not the back of beyond, but there are things that could happen, especially as we’re approaching winter: a delivery drivers’ strike, an oil strike, floods. I store a bit of extra food in case the food and petrol chains crumble. I travel with a blanket and thermals in case I break down in snow, lose a phone signal and am too far away from home to walk. My husband once got stuck in poor weather on a motorway. He was grateful for the self-heating food packages I’d packed.
Speaking of making mistakes here’s one of mine. One of the first things I ‘put back’ (as my Mom use to say in the fall before my Dad was out of work due to bad weather at the quarry), was a couple of extra bottles of vegetable oil. Well, other stuff got in front of them on the shelf and pretty soon they were 3 or 4 years old. Yes, they were rancid when I opened them. Taught me a good lesson on keeping track of what you have and using it before it goes bad. They are marked ‘not to eat’ and are now used to fuel some lanterns outside when we have cookouts.
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.
Just like rice, pasta is a great way to get carbohydrates. I love pasta and I’ve learned to improvise all sorts of meals using it. This is one of the cheapest survival foods you can find and there are many possibilities to stretch a meal using pasta. You can make pasta with tuna, with canned vegetables and I’ve even had pasta fried in lard with pieces of beef jerky seasoned with cayenne pepper. It is really worth stocking up on pasta. Make sure you buy some when you get at the grocery store.

Salt, pepper, some chili powder, mustard, sugar, honey – the list is endless.  These items do not need to cost a lot nor do they need to take up an extraordinary amount of space.  When push comes to shove, however, your eating experience will be greatly enhanced by having a variety of flavor enhancers on hand to enliven the taste of your stored food stuffs.

This list by necessity is very basic, and I am not claiming to cover every contingency or even a specific common threat in your area. I have weighted this list in general order of importance to let you hit the important things first and go from there, but depending on your locale and situation some elements may be more important or less. This is a guide; use your head and common sense.


To your closing, I’d like to add something that Solomon said in the book of Proverbs: “The prudent man sees danger and takes refuge, but the simple keep going and suffer for it.” So, we all should work, as Claude said, to keep making our personal situations stronger, and safer. God gave us incredible minds. Lets put them to good use. I like to do something every day; no matter how small it may be. Because, when you add up the little things, it turns into a great accomplishment.
Per #17: Consider 25 pounds of sugar, even if like me, you don’t use it; it can become like money because so many have a sweet tooth for it. Next: at least the same amount of salt. (I buy sea salt for the iodine within and it’s a mineral all animals need in their diets so it too, can be used like $$. Third: black peppercorns, in past history this was used as money everywhere along the spice routes. Why? Because they have a very very long shelf life without losing potency. Then buy a pepper grinder, coffee/spice grinder and/or a mortar and pestle.

You may feel helpless if you have not been an outdoorsy or rugged person for most of your life, but the most essential lifesaving and survival skills and concepts are easily learned, if not mastered. Below is a list of several core skill sets you should make a point to get trained on and practice when you can. In all but the smallest towns there will be someone who has something to teach you about all of them.
No, an EMP would be much less devastating than a nuclear attack. With a major nuclear strike you’d get the EMP as well, because every weapon would create a localized pulse. Then on top of that you’d have the physical destruction, potential climate effects, and of course radiation. I’d be much happier learning to live without electronics than riding out the fallout.
The Cold War era civil defense programs promoted public atomic bomb shelters, personal fallout shelters, and training for children, such as the Duck and Cover films. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) long directed its members to store a year's worth of food for themselves and their families in preparation for such possibilities;[3] but the current teaching advises only a three-month supply.[3]
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.

After three days eating very little vegetable matter, I was thrilled to dig into Thrive Life’s Tuscan Quinoa Bowl, which included a ratatouille-like sauté combining asparagus, zucchini, and diced tomatoes. The cooking process felt kind of like a science experiment— you fry dehydrated garlic bits in oil, then pour in the dehydrated vegetables and seasoning along with a cup of water—but the result actually tasted like something I might cook at home, minus the strangely firm consistency of the vegetables. The following night, I prepared a Chicken Cranberry Pot Pie, rolling out the dough for the pastry, cooking the filling in a slow cooker, and carefully sealing the pie with the prongs of a fork.
17. Spices and Condiments. Adding some spices and condiments to your food storage pantry will allow you to vary the taste of your storage foods, thus mitigating some of the boredom that is likely to occur over time.  The exact mix of spices and condiments is up to you but some suggestions include  garlic, chili, Tabasco (hot sauce), salsa, oregano, thyme and black pepper. For a full list of the best prepper herbs and spices, check out the BDS guide here.
The eruption of Mt Fuji will indicate that an east/west fault line has fractured, allowing Northern Honshu to slide into a 6500 metre ocean trench. Earthquakes of the past 90 days in the eastern side of Japan has weakened it’s foundation, a porous sub-structure; a land of a volcanic substance. The resulting tsunamis’ will wipe-out millions of humans in the Pacific region as well as severely destabilizing the Earth’s crust, resulting in the dislodging of the Western & Eastern Antarctic ice sheets. This massive loss of weight from the continent of Antarctica will result in an asymmetric rotation of the Earth and so cause the isostasy (Balance of the Earth’s crust.) to become unbalanced. Crust displacement at Magnitude 12+ will then occur until the Earth’s crust reaches equilibrium, while at the same time hundreds of volcanoes will erupt, lands will disappear and have an extreme destabilizing effect on the climate patterns.
I first read this article two years ago, and started laying in the suggested items over a period of several weeks. Reading other articles on this site led me to start stockpiling water, vitamins, and personal-care items; I also took on a second part-time job to add to my emergency savings account. Unfortunately, I lost my full-time job several months ago with no warning and am still job-hunting, but I’m not worried about it. This experience is so much less stressful with a fully stocked fridge, freezer, and pantry, the aforementioned other supplies, and plenty of cash in the bank. Only a few family members know that I prep…everyone else can’t figure out why I’m so calm. Thank you, Gaye!
Stockpiling food has another advantage that you didn’t mention. You will be buying tomorrows food at today’s prices. Food prices are not going to go down. Also by stockpiling food it allows you to buy when you want to ( on sale ) not when you need to. Many things can happen that a food storage could be put to an advantage. Job loss, Hours cut,medical or car repair bill not expected or planed for. All of these things could be used as a reason to stockpile food.
The second point you should know is this — suppose you do manage to die a quick, merciful death. What about your kids? Your grandkids? What kind of future will they face on their own? Foraging for food, drinking tainted water, becoming easy targets for human predators…is that really the future you would wish upon them? For that reason alone, it makes sense to become educated about nuclear events, how to prepare for them, and how to survive them.

The irony of this didn’t escape me: While I’d been drawn to freeze-dried food as a convenient way of preparing for a cataclysm that may never come, there I was, toiling away for hours in the kitchen to prepare a dish I’d be eating that night and the next day. It was the most fortifying meal I’d eaten all week, and a minor achievement: Thanks to the premeasured portions and easy-to-follow instructions, I’d learned how to make a chicken pot pie from scratch.

Many books were published in the wake of the Great Recession from 2008 and later offering survival advice for various potential disasters, ranging from an energy shortage and crash to nuclear or biological terrorism. In addition to the 1970s-era books, blogs and Internet forums are popular ways of disseminating survivalism information. Online survival websites and blogs discuss survival vehicles, survival retreats, emerging threats, and list survivalist groups.
Label everything with the date of purchase.  Sharpie pens were created for this purpose.  However you choose to keep track,  rotate your stored food items the best you can without getting paranoid about it.  Many of the “use by” and “best by” dates on canned and packaged goods are put there by the manufacturer but relate more to taste and texture than actual spoilage.  See the next item.
Personal hygiene is even more important in emergency situations than during everyday life. We have so many conveniences at our disposal in our society. Yet many people don’t realize the challenges when those conveniences are no longer available. Personal hygiene is really about keeping clean and avoiding unsanitary conditions that can lead to illness.
2. At least two ways to cook food in a power down situation.  I’ve used the Sun Oven for years (visit the official website here) and own the Stove-Tec Rocket Stove.  The Eco-Zoom stove is another version of a highly effective, fuel-efficient stove that weighs less than the Stove-Tec.  If the prices of energy skyrocket, and it looks as though that may happen in the near future, it will be a blessing to have alternative ways to cook food without cranking up the gas or electric range.
Basic First Aid and Trauma- You cannot count on EMT’s, paramedics, or doctors being able to render aid if you or someone in your group is injured. Take the time to learn CPR, basic wound care, trauma care for major lacerations and penetrating wounds, and how to manage hypo- and hyperthermia. All your nice medical gear you bought up above won’t help you if you cannot employ it correctly and safely.

I think the FaceBook comment, “the electric company knew days in advance the ice was coming and THEY did not prepare.” perfectly demonstrates Mr. Martenson’s approach…..”the ‘Crash Course’ was the problem definition….but, “the book, Prosper, is the solution space.” Some saw the ice storm coming, but seemingly did not prepare (mentally, physically or spiritually); expecting the electric company to make it somehow disappear…..(normalcy bias?)


I very much agree the article was amazingly detailed but i am neutral about the permits…on one hand you can get them and the county will have on paper where your bunker is which by the way the general public can look at or take the risk of no permits and guarantee that no one other then yourself and whoever you choose knows the location of you bunker….personally i would take the risk….
We also have a Cobb Grill for cooking (charcoal). It's about the same as a new outdoor grill to replace the rusted out one and since it's designed for indoor storage and easy transport (it has a carrier bag), it should long outlast anything we would need to leave outside. SHTF or no, it's a good buy for us. Clearly, it is smaller than a full-size grill, but we don't need that anyhow.

No, an EMP would be much less devastating than a nuclear attack. With a major nuclear strike you’d get the EMP as well, because every weapon would create a localized pulse. Then on top of that you’d have the physical destruction, potential climate effects, and of course radiation. I’d be much happier learning to live without electronics than riding out the fallout.

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!
Some lights are crank powered like our emergency radio above and having at least one of those is not a bad idea. Alternate light sources are candles, which are cheap but present a fire hazard, or chemlights, which are completely safe and heatless, but also have utility for marking, safety and signaling. Redundancy is a good idea, but emphasize flashlights and headlamps. Both require…
The final piece of advice is to test-drive the foods you have chosen as your emergency food, especially if it isn’t your usual grub. You want to be sure everyone likes the foods you stock up and that they like all the regular food you have stored away. The next time you have a power outage at home, break out some freeze dried meals and see how they go down. This will also help you compare different brands and meal types.
My very first concern would be water. Water is essential. Second would be First Aid supplies. Third would be sealing the room or space I am in. Fourth would be protecting food and putting it where it can’t be easily contaminated. Fifth would be setting up communication in a way that doesn’t require electricity or Internet. Sixth would be prepping for nuclear winter. Lots of blankets and warm clothing to cover up with.
I just read your article, its great your helping folks out like this sharing your knowledge and experience. Ive been prepping now for about 5 years slowly growing our preps for our family but I noticed a couple of items I really think you should add to your list if you dont mind my suggestions. Not that I know anything you dont but if we all share ideas we can help each other. which is my first point. If you have a couple of friends you can trust, work with them and each work on specific lists to grow your… Read more »
If you’re anything like me, you can easily get sucked into thinking about doing specific things that really won’t help you out all that much. These kinds of tasks could be redundant and repetitive, or even appealing and quite fun, but in actual reality, happen to be way too time consuming for the amount of pay off you’d get from doing them. Don’t let yourself get sucked back in to spending time on these kinds of task if you find they’re absorbing way too much of your time! Stick them on a not to do list to remind yourself to keep your time for things that have a higher pay off!
During this crisis, I have followed the local electric company’s FaceBook page and it is very disconcerting how unprepared people seem to have been. People wrote, “the electric company knew days in advance the ice was coming and THEY did not prepare.”……and, “I pay THEM to handle problems like this”…..and, “This is not the Stone Age, this should not happen”. All I could think of was Katrina and the New Orleans’ Superdome.
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 🙂
“Everybody thinks about prepping as this big doomsday thing, like when the zombie apocalypse happens,” Luther says. “But really it’s a lot more likely that someone’s going to lose their job or that you’re going to have a major expense you weren’t expecting, like your car breaks down or a medical expense. So if you think of prepping as something to get you through those situations, it’s really almost like an insurance policy.”
Still, as I sat at my desk one afternoon, eyeing the colorful salads my coworkers were having for lunch, I realized the absurdity of my experiment: I live in a city with 24/7 access to fresh food and work a job that affords me the privilege of eating healthfully most of the time. Even quibbling over the nutritional content of these freeze-dried meals was something of a luxury, because I wasn’t in a position where I actually needed to eat them. Then again, you never know what’s going to happen.
×