We thought about the generator / gas dilema for our filled 2 freezers, and decided to start our venture into solar with generating enough energy to run those. So far so good.We know that as long as we can run them for 12 hours a day, the food inside stays well frozen and safe. New England winters are cold enough at night that it keeps the garage cold where the freezers are, so thats a help. If we only open the freezer long enough to take out enough food for a few days, they can thaw in the fridge and that helps too. I love my freezer, lol.
If you just need to cover one person for two weeks in the cheapest way possible, you can buy one bucket for $130 and stretch the 27,330 total calories an extra day or two at 1,900 calories per day instead of the usual 2,275. Or buy two buckets for the cheapest way to cover two people. But we’d recommend a minimum of two buckets regardless, even for one person, just for redundancy and the unexpected.
Additionally, some people may want to prioritize skills over supplies, the idea being if you have the skills you can make or find everything else. I will not derail the discussion by delving too far into that, but the fact is having what you need on hand will always save you labor and time. A truly skilled individual can sustain themselves with rudimentary or even no tools in very austere conditions, and there is no substitute for that kind of mastery, but no “lone survivor” who is honest would choose to go without provision or tools when the chips are down and they had a choice.
Obviously, solar panels by themselves are quite useful things to have, and since both Broadwing and Ned in the comments suggested that Goal Zero is quite overpriced, I’d be remiss to leave out mentioning another, more price-sensitive option. Ned recommended Aukey as a brand that makes solar power equivalents to Goal Zero gear for far cheaper. In his words, Aukey “make the exact same thing for a fraction of the cost.”
A selection of old communications bunkers and underground data centers are also out there on the market, including a few for sale (where else?) on eBay. They’ll all require extensive TLC before they’re inhabitable. One 8,000-square-foot communications structure in Kansas built in 1958, for example, is listed at $650,000, though it comes with only one bathroom and no bedrooms to speak of. Another doomsday bunker near Tucson, Arizona, consists of a three-story command structure that’s 40 feet in diameter, surrounded by 12-inch-thick blast doors and buried under 10 feet of soil. The raw structure, described as “ready for sandblasting and paint” and shown in the photo with this slide, has a “Buy It Now” price of $550,000 on eBay.

This group consists of people who live in tornado, hurricane, flood, wildfire, earthquake or heavy snowfall-prone areas and want to be prepared for possible emergencies.[34] They invest in material for fortifying structures and tools for rebuilding and constructing temporary shelters. While assuming the long-term continuity of society, some may have invested in a custom-built shelter, food, water, medicine, and enough supplies to get by until contact with the rest of the world resumes following a natural emergency.[31]
Mass is what blocks radiation. Concrete is useful because it’s both dense and strong, so it gets used in a lot of bunker construction. Steel is also useful, but it can become radioactive itself by neutron activation. (So close to ground zero, you’ll need to protect the steel from neutrons – boron or water are the most common ways to reduce neutron flux damage to the protected space.) But there is no reason you can’t use lots of dirt, water, stone, etc. Anything that has mass will attenuate radiation.
Then there the question of size. In1962 Anton Geesinck took the judo world by storm at the Kodokan in Tokyo. He won the world championship. The first non-Japanese to do so. He was a giant. The old timers said, “If your spirit had been strong, you would have won. The Japanese judoka who lost to him said, “B.S. if you had been out on the floor with that monster you wouldn’t be saying that.”
We thought about the generator / gas dilema for our filled 2 freezers, and decided to start our venture into solar with generating enough energy to run those. So far so good.We know that as long as we can run them for 12 hours a day, the food inside stays well frozen and safe. New England winters are cold enough at night that it keeps the garage cold where the freezers are, so thats a help. If we only open the freezer long enough to take out enough food for a few days, they can thaw in the fridge and that helps too. I love my freezer, lol.

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.
Wow Gaye. I read all comments, and I see one from “Katzcradul”, so we know you have a very important web site. (I already knew this) I saw one reader loves cheese and crackers when times get rough. Katxcradul has taught me to “wax cheese” for long term storage, and many, many canning techniques. Everyone should subscribe to Katzcradul’s U-tube videos.
But a new year is really just another twelve-month slice of the future, and it contains dangers as well as opportunities. Obviously we hope none of the bad things the future can hold will come to pass, but we have to be realistic – the world isn’t always a friendly place. Good things will happen in 2018, but bad things can and will happen too. Some of those bad things have the potential to be truly disastrous, and we need to be prepared to face them if they happen.
A very timely article! I’ve been purchasing some basic dehydrated foods to experiment with this past month or so and hope to start cooking with them in the new year. I want to see what I will use and what, if anything, won’t be as popular. I’m starting small, but really looking forward to playing with them. 🙂 Also, there is something very seductive about not having to worry about whether or not I have any fresh eggs or milk or sour cream on hand just when I need them!
Nygaard is a busy woman: In addition to working a full-time job, raising chickens, and growing sweet corn, potatoes, and peppers, she runs a blog called Living Life in Rural Iowa, where she shares bits of wisdom that she’s learned on her prepping journey. Looking back, Nygaard says becoming a prepper encouraged her to develop new skills, including the sorts of home repairs and outdoor work she once counted on her husband to tackle. “Before you get divorced, you’re like, ‘Oh, that’s outside. My husband can take care of that.’ And then when you become a single parent, you’re like, ‘Wow, I have to do outdoors and indoors — why did I think he should take care of all that?’ You have that sense that you can do just about anything you set your mind to.”
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.
The hardest thing to do is to actually get started. An easy way to begin is to go to home depot or Lowe’s and get a supply of 5 gallon plastic containers and a magic marker. Then, when you can go to the store and buy the rice, beans salt and other staples, you have a place to store them that is water, bug and rodent proof. Also look for some oxygen eliminated packets to put in the bottom of these containers. Also good for storing ammo. Use magic marker to label all containers.
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.
Self-Defense- Learn to use your fists, feet and weapons to good effect. Weapons, firearms in particular, can be more hazardous to you and yours than an attacker if you are not trained and practiced in their use. You do not need to master a bunch of different disciplines or types, but you should be a capable hand-to-hand fighter and competent with a gun.
With regards to water purification, am not just considering grid-down scenarios – am also considering solutions for events like Flint, Michigan, where boiling water isn’t practical as you’re still going about your day to day life, though you still have access to the power grid irregardless of contaminated water. Also, yes, it’s expensive to have a system like this with the grid down, but if you’re not talking budget prepping, I don’t feel spending $2500 on a quasi-permanent water purification solution for a home is unreasonable. Again – talking wishlist/big-picture prepping ideals here, not how to maximize your bang for buck with regards to prepper gear to buy. I also don’t need a $2,600 wood burning stove in my house, especially if I’ve got a fine workable one in the garage, but that doesn’t mean I can’t dream about having one.
The one thing which hits home to me is a reminder to keep following what Frank Herbert wrote in his Dune series. “Fear is a mind killer.” A little fear helps motivate but we, humans, seem to overdo even or especially in our emotions. Whether it’s the ‘net’ or the news, it seems people want to push that fear button to motivate others. So now when it happens, I teach people to take 3 deep breaths in and out s l o w l y. This allows the dino rational self to catch up with the emotional lizard. Having experienced a few ‘events’ in life. This had helped me through. Thanks for the list. Am going through these as an evaluation 😉 and reminder.

Broderick isn’t sure if the doomsday preppers have a point. “Are they narcissistic or are they just wise? Is there merit in their capacity to project on to scenarios and to plan to survive them? Well that is for others to judge.” Yet for those still on the fence, he points out that things don’t generally work out well for those who fail to heed the signs.
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.

That is a great idea Scott! When I started writing this article it was my intent to get people thinking about how to cook in an emergency or SHTF situation. While a lot of the readers of Backdoor Survival are experienced at cooking, there are also a lot of folks out there that are just learning how to cook. I am 34 and I have to say that a lot of people my age don’t cook but they are learning. I always have cooked. Mom headed out the door when I was 4 so it was me and my Dad who cooked for me a lot of the time but I had to do some too. Donating food is a great thing to do if you are not able to use what you have stockpiled and it is set to expire. Thanks for a great suggestion as we enter the holiday season!
A selection of old communications bunkers and underground data centers are also out there on the market, including a few for sale (where else?) on eBay. They’ll all require extensive TLC before they’re inhabitable. One 8,000-square-foot communications structure in Kansas built in 1958, for example, is listed at $650,000, though it comes with only one bathroom and no bedrooms to speak of. Another doomsday bunker near Tucson, Arizona, consists of a three-story command structure that’s 40 feet in diameter, surrounded by 12-inch-thick blast doors and buried under 10 feet of soil. The raw structure, described as “ready for sandblasting and paint” and shown in the photo with this slide, has a “Buy It Now” price of $550,000 on eBay.

My dad was a USN Seabee, who’s unit moved into Nagasaki, after the blast. He thought that most people,would find the post blast world extremely traumatizing and physically demanding. His comment re 1960s Hydrogen bomb which has since been eclipsed a thousandfold at least. The article didn’t address dealing with a Neutron bomb, which is designed to leave infrastructure intact, but intended instead to penetrate such deeply, to create cell damage to living organisms.

Storing food for an emergency can be challenging but it does not have to be a chore.  Eliminate the panic of attempting to get it all done at once and the process can almost be fun and game-like.  Searching out deals – either with coupons or at sales – can be an adventure in and of itself.  Involve the kids by asking them for suggestions and helping them make selections that they will enjoy eating.


When the storm of the century is heading your way, know that it is time to evacuate.  Load up your vehicle and go.  As much as you feel that you are better off in your own home, if the authorities tell you to leave – and even if they do not – get out of harm’s way as a precautionary measure.  Do so while you still have the ability to load up your vehicle with supplies and fill the tank with gas.
And I have bought various pantry sized cans of sauces to increase flavor and nutrition. Alfredo sauce, tomato sauce, mild hot sauce, and Italian seasoning mix come to mind immediately. Since those cans are so well sealed, I don’t bother putting them in the buckets. I also have some #10 cans of cheese sauce powder (think boxed Mac and cheese) since I couldn’t find it in a pantry can, but I store lots of ziplock freezer bags (both quart and gallon sizes) and can use my silica packs to keep it fresher – hopefully long enough to use it up. Cheese sauce over pasta, rice or broccoli will be a nice change of taste when things get boring.
Trauma Kit- Items to treat serious trauma and injuries. Nasal airways, occlusive dressings, decompression needles, IV lines and solution, splints, suture kit etc. You must have appropriate skills to utilize these items without causing more harm. If you lack those skills, there is a chance that someone in your group or a good Samaritan might, and having these things on hand may make the difference between life and death.
What research have you done on this? Are you simply making assumptions, because that's what it sounds like. The needs of someone trying to grow a couple tomatoes so the kids can see what they look like growing on the vine one summer are verrrrry different from the concerns of preppers who are thinking in terms of potentially supplying food for their family for many years.
Of course you'll also need light when the power's out. Martin recommends keeping a stock of cheap candles on hand so you don't burn through your pricier good-smelling candles. More practical, though, are LED flashlights (be sure you have extra batteries and know where they are) and another product called a Mule Light. Like a hybrid of a glow stick and flashlight, he explained, “it's designed to save on battery power.” Why not have them all? Martin suggests having two to four sources of light.
The reason the vacuum sealing system’s up on this list is because I feel food has a much longer “shelf life” so to speak when its vacuum sealed before being thrown in the freezer. Used to have a lot of power outages when we lived in Toronto, and each time our food would thaw out a little it’d taste worse and worse – except for the one vacuum sealed slab of meat we got from a neighbour which I think withstood 2-3 power outages (one which lasted 4-5 days) and tasted as though it was vacuum packed the day before. I’ve also heard of people vacuum packing rice into smaller one-serving portions, and have always thought that a great idea for cases you might want to throw a bunch into a pack and go, or just generally extend the shelf life of your food/prevent rats and mice from getting into things. Necessary? No. Definitely still something I want, though.
A majority of new cell phones have an Emergency Alert App already installed on them. It’s a national public service to warn us of imminent threats, extreme weather conditions, and Amber alerts. I was able to find this app on my Android cell phone under Settings, Notifications, Apps, Emergency Alerts. You can see how to find this app on an iPhone by watching the News Channel 15 video below.
“One misconception about prepping is that you’re always thinking there’s going to be some kind of epic disaster,” she told me over the phone from Virginia. “The most common disaster that we prep for, or that happens to us, is a financial problem.” A longtime single mother, Luther said her interest in food storage grew out of a period of “abject poverty” following the 2008 recession. Lisa Bedford, a Texas-based writer who runs the site The Survival Mom, told me she got into disaster preparedness around the same time, when she wasn’t sure if her husband’s construction business would survive the downturn. (Bedford also works as an independent consultant for Thrive Life, meaning that she promotes their products online, and receives a commission on purchases from customers she refers to the company, as well as a discount on products she buys herself.)
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