An urban prepper and rural wannabe, Karen has been working as a freelance writer for a decade and prepping for about half that time. She has gathered a wealth of knowledge on preparing for SHTF, but there is always more to learn and she has a passion for gathering and sharing that knowledge with other like-minded folk. Karen lives in London, Canada with her two children and plethora of cats. In her spare time she is writing the next great apocalyptic novel of our time, full of government conspiracy and betrayal at every level.
The #1 thing you.ve missed is to not store everything in the same place even if you are ‘bugging in’. I lost my home & all it’s contents to a fire on Christmas Day. All my dehydrated (by me plus bought stuff) jars & cans are gone, along with stuff I’d been saving…dog food, bleach, baking soda etc. Luckily I’d stored a little bit in the {untouched} detached garage. I mean a wind storm or flood could cause the same devastation. Just wanted to add that because it’s not something you think about. I know I didn’t til it happened.

I followed the instructions or so I thought but my heater didn’t warm up. I waited the 10 minutes but finally decided to eat my meatballs cold. They weren’t bad at all, but I know they would have been so much better warm. My survival dog certainly loved the taste too when I gave her one of the small meatballs to taste. When I finished eating, I noticed that the warmer was finally getting warm so I placed my Au gratin potatoes in there. Yes, they had Au gratin potatoes and although they didn’t have the slightly burnt edges from being in the oven but they were cheesy and filling. They only needed a little salt and pepper to doctor them up. The heater worked just fine after-all.


A popular way of guarding against this kind of catastrophe is storing food at home. This is called Long Term Food Storage, Emergency Essentials, or Emergency Survival Foods and there are dozens of companies selling food specifically for this purpose. The best, including those listed below, have great tasting products with a long storage life at a reasonable cost. 

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My OCD side has often obsessed over the years about my prepping to the point of actually hurting my progress. See items #12, #13, and #14. Yes, you CAN procrastinate in an OCD manner! As you brought up, you can study study study to the point where nothing actually gets done. A favorite saying of mine is that “I hate do-overs”. I’d rather thoroughly examine a situation and do it right the first time instead of taking four tries to get it right. But that often accomplishes exactly what I’ve suggested…nothing.
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 »
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:

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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.
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 »
Edible landscaping provides another potentially important supplement to your storage foods. Instead of planting ornamental trees, plant fruit trees. Instead of ordinary shrubs, plant blueberry bushes. Fruiting vines, blackberries, and things of this nature are great to have around in the best of times, they can be life savers in the worst of times.
158. Baofeng handheld – If you’re looking for a handheld HAM radio, Baofeng delivers. FCC certified if you want to go HAM without a huge setup this 2 pack handheld is the right way to start. Before you buy a radio and start broadcasting you need to get familiar with the laws and the FCC and consider getting a Technicians license to be able to broadcast legally. You can ‘receive’ with no license, but to broadcast you need to be certified.

The rest of the fire risk will be from all of the things you bring into the bunker. Your power system could spark a fire, and your supplies could provide it fuel. And while you’ll probably (hopefully) also have fire extinguishers in your bunker, even a small fire could be a serious risk for the oxygen levels in your bunker. Fire uses oxygen, and you need to be sure your ventilation system can replenish that oxygen very quickly.
If you’re one who needs to make some adjustments, that’s okay. Look at these suggestions and add the things you’re missing. It’s easy to take a basic storage and add the essentials to make it livable, but it needs to be done. As I did the research for my cookbook I wanted to include recipes that gave help to families no matter what they had stored. As I put the material together it was fascinating to discover what the pioneers ate is the type of things we store. But if you have stored only the 4 basics, there’s very, very little you can do with it. By adding even just a few things it greatly increases your options, and the prospect of your family surviving on it. As I studied how the pioneers lived and ate, my whole feeling for food changed. I realized our storage is what most of the world has always lived on. If it’s put together the right way we’ll be returning to good basic living with a few goodies thrown in.
Great article! It is so helpful to read about the basics again and again. IMHO, the most important guiding point in the article is to prep what you will actually eat. This week my husband cooked DAK ham in a skillet with potatoes and melted cheese. It was just okay. I’m not crazy about the ham and am choosing not to prep it. Proteins have been the most difficult for me. So far, proteins I am SURE I will eat are all kinds of dried and canned beans, shelf-stable tofu (Mori-Nu), and Campbell’s Roadhouse Chili. This chili tastes a lot better than Hormel and tastes great over rice. The Mori-Nu tofu can be heated in a minute in the same pot with a pack or 2 of ramen noodles. I don’t use the seasining pouches b/c of MSG so I add a little soy sauce and dried ginger to the noodle-cooking water. Dehydrated scallions would be good addition but I have not tried dehydrated food yet. Although I do not like canned salmon or regular salmon pouches, I found pouches of grilled salmon and smoked salmon which I’m going to force myself to try this week.
We all know how important clean water is to our survival, and if you’re planning on bugging in at home, something like this is a definite advantage in cases where water supplies may get contaminated during a SHTF-type situation. Yes, you can try to boil water consistently to purify it, but if you have the money to invest into prepper gear that will help you out in the long-term, this is an obvious way to go with your money. APEC makes and manufactures these in the good ol’ USA – they’re high quality, and are pretty much the only brand worth talking about when it comes to reverse osmosis filters; immense value for money in my opinion. If you don’t think these will ever be necessary, you only have to look as far as Flint, Michigan for a cautionary tale.
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.
This one I’ve started doing recently, especially with the foods I’ve been buying online through either Amazon Pantry or Waitrose’s online delivery. Am really happy having this list around as it means I don’t have to remember what I need more of to hit the limit for free shipping or to have enough to get a certain amount off. It also means I don’t miss out on buying things I was running low on, as if there are staples I regularly buy and I forgot about them long enough to miss adding them to a cart, I usually really regret it.
Magazines are a weak point in any gun that uses them. They can get lost or damaged, and springs eventually weaken. This is one advantage of pump shotguns and bolt action rifles – they’re not as dependent on magazines as semiautos. Get as many good quality magazines as you can for any guns that need them, and take good care of them. Then get some weapon spares. Firing pins, springs and backup sights are all good things to have. A chipped firing pin will turn any weapon into junk – you need to have the parts, tools and skills to replace it.

More than 500 bunkers for lease are owned by a ranching company that grazes cattle on the land around them in Edgemont, S.D. Robert 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. Ryan Hermens, Rapid City Journal
Dust Masks or Respirators- Depending on the crisis, air quality may be severely deteriorated. Prevent the worst of the gunk from entering your lungs by investing in quality fitted N95 or N99 respirators and cartridges or disposable dust masks rated for fine particulate and organic vapors.  These are not proper gas masks, as use and selection of protective equipment in preparation for airborne chemical or biological threats is another conversation entirely.
It would be tight in my climate but there are days we could be ok on a gal./per for both cooking and basic hygeine, and days we would be quite stinky…when there is no water. That is the way, you allow something less important to slide a day or part of a day…. For the summer temps of 90 and humidity of 65-80%, no way. Closer to 2 gallons a day for drinking alone. as far as baths…. There is what is called a “pan bath” or “rag bath” One takes a cloth wets it with amount of water to totally wet coth adds soap and washes everything needed…puts a little more water over that rag/ or another and rinses it and ones self wih a second wipe over …Ideal? no ..Where things are not ideal, people learn to make do.
I love my bread machine and hope to use it as well although I do know how to bake traditional bread too. I just baked my first loaf of bread using home-milled flour. I made a 100% whole wheat bread and used a powdered egg plus some vital gluten. It was a bit more dense than normal – I should have added more water to account for the extra gluten (4 TBL). Still, it was quite delicious 🙂
He continues, "My entire world, from the surrounding arid hills to the uniforms and vehicles, was khaki brown or olive green - except for some strangers confined to a stockade on the edge of Igloo, who wore bright orange uniforms and spoke a strange language in rapid-fire fashion. They were Italian prisoners who had been shipped a long way from the front lines of southern Europe to sit out the war in South Dakota.”
Gerald Celente, founder of the Trends Research Institute, noted how many modern survivalists deviate from the classic archetype, terming this new style "neo-survivalism"; "you know, the caricature, the guy with the AK-47 heading to the hills with enough ammunition and pork and beans to ride out the storm. This [neo-survivalist] is a very different one from that".[27]
Thrive Life Foods. This is my favorite of the freeze dried foods for one simple reason- They sell ingredients, not dishes. With this brand, you can stock up on nimber ten cans of ingredients that you use in favorite dishes. You are not constrained and can prepare the meals that your family is used too eating, cooked from your standard recipes. Unopened cans have at least a 25 year shelf life, and some items are available in 5 gallon buckets. Thrive Life foods can be found online.
While media coverage has often focused on a certain gun-toting, masculine segment of the subculture, both women described being drawn to prepping as a form of female self-empowerment. As Bedford sees it, finding yourself unprepared in the midst of a crisis can be a “terrible feeling of weakness” for a mother. “It makes sense to be empowered and trained and have the right supplies—and in this case, to have extra food on hand—because as a mom in particular, your family just relies on you,” she said.
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