I do think there is a near universal “beginner’s checklist”. Regardless of where you live or what disasters tend to occur in your area (hurricanes, earthquakes, volcano eruptions), people still need the same basic supplies–water, food, medical, solid footwear and clothing. If you live in a tropical or subtropic climate like I do, your water needs will be greater than if you live in a cooler climate. I actually recommend the Texas Baptist’s Men’s water filtration system–cf. https://tbmtx.org/. You can pick up a system similar to the Big Berkey for a fraction of the cost. In terms of food, I think the author’s recommendation–that you just buy more of what you ordinarily use–is sound advise. Remember to rotate your food supplies–first in, first out. If you get a few extra cans each week, you can quickly build a three month supply of foods that your family regularly consumes. Once you get to a three-month food supply, it’s time to look into longer term food storage. I think the LDS Online Store is a great value. I think there are certain items every household should have–flashlights, extra batters, a cooler, extra ice in the freezer (I live in hurricane country), at least a shotgun and a handgun, extra ammo, a decent medical kit and so forth.
The trouble with the prepper movement’s rhetoric of self-reliance, Mitchell says, is that it’s based on a faulty premise. Just as the homesteaders who settled the Great Plains were a lot more interdependent than American mythology typically chalks them up to be — frequently relying on bartering and income from jobs in town to take care of their nutritional needs, rather than growing everything themselves — surviving a true cataclysmic event requires collaboration.
Freeze-dried survival meals and dishes are another space-saving, convenient option, but require a significant amount of water to prepare and can be expensive. MREs are quite popular, extremely calorie dense, come in bomb-proof packaging and have a host of nice pack-ins like sauces, spices and candy, but are expensive, bulky and a steady diet of them will cause serious constipation. Don’t rule out either; just make sure you have good reasons for choosing them.
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.
Survivalists' concerns and preparations have changed over the years. During the 1970s, fears were economic collapse, hyperinflation, and famine. Preparations included food storage and survival retreats in the country which could be farmed. Some survivalists stockpiled precious metals and barterable goods (such as common-caliber ammunition) because they assumed that paper currency would become worthless. During the early 1980s, nuclear war became a common fear, and some survivalists constructed fallout shelters.
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.
Things must be simple and easy. You want to limit the number of important decisions you’ll have to make or things you’ll have to remember in a crisis. You should not have to remember where things are, put them together, worry about not having something important, or lose time while you do the work you should’ve done beforehand. You shouldn’t be thinking, “Well, wait, will I need the camping stove I have in the other bag?”
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?)
First up? No matter the emergency, be ready with a disaster supplies kit like that detailed on ready.gov, Martin says. That should include water (one gallon per person per day for at least three days — and don't forget about your pets), at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food, and things like manual can openers, flashlights and extra batteries (including for your cell phone).
Where there used to be occasional forays into the bush with minimal equipment to test his mettle, now there are several buried caches in specific but remote bug-out locations on public land. The caches include dried beans, rice, water purification and fire-starting devices. “Some people say – well, what if you never use it. But it doesn’t cost much and, if we do need it, it is there.”
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.
7. A selection of non-GMO, heirloom seeds suitable for your climate zone. Tough times may include expensive produce that’s difficult to come by. You can grow your own, but there’s a very high learning curve involved. Stock up on seeds for foods you know your family will eat. Heirloom seeds are preferred since they haven’t been genetically modified. Learn how to save seeds from one season to the next, but whatever you purchase,
Do you mean clean it so you can drink it or clean it if the electricity goes out and the pump isn't working? If you want to drink the pool water, the best option I know of is to distill it yourself. I just had a reader send me this same question, and she mentioned checking around marine sites to see if there's a product available to remove salt from sea water in an open water emergency. I do know that the Berkey filters will NOT remove the salt. If possible, you're better off storing several 55 gallon drums filled with tap water and several cases of bottled water. I also reuse 2-liter soda bottles by cleaning them, refilling with water, and then storing them under beds and in closets.
Ed, I was thinking about the box culverts as I reasd the article. As a Civil Engineer, I have used them in numerous applications as a cost effetive alternative to poured in place concrete. I would expect a bunker design would be an easy adaptation of the typical box culvert instalation. The ends can be precast solid or with openings for addition of steel or aluminum doors. Openings can also be cast in the sides or tops for hatch or vent installation with some size limitations. 12′ x 12′ x 4′ running length is as big as you can truck… Read more »
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.
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.
Even though I have a good start on my food pantry, it is always a good idea to look at others ideas. I had not thought of bulk pancake mix. I am a single person and got a great deal on Bisquick shake and pour ($1.00 each) I bought 2 dozen! I don’t really care for pancakes on a regular basis but once in a while… That all being said, I did purchase a vacuum sealer and have made good use of it. I also have a large dehydrator and visit the farmers market often for goodies to dehydrate and seal. When I have purchased these 20 items, I am then on to other needs such as shelter, etc. I have a lot of camping gear but not a good tent if I should have to vacate. Thank you Gaye – keep up the good work.
I’ve seen a few people saying that an EMP attack would be more destructive than a nuclear war. It wouldn’t. An actual nuclear war would cause unimaginable devastation. Major cities would be flattened and burned by multiple strikes. Airports, harbors and military bases would be hit. Smaller warheads would take out freeway intersections and rail junctions. Parts of the country would be blanketed in fallout. Dust and smoke pumped into the atmosphere by the explosions would block the sun’s light for weeks, adding cold weather to all the other hazards. Then, on top of that, you’d have the EMP as well. Every weapon would cause local EMP damage, and it’s almost certain that high altitude EMP bursts would be included in the strike to maximize the chaos. A major nuclear war would be a lot worse than an EMP. Short of an impact from a slate-wiper asteroid it would be worse than anything I can imagine.
As with everything in life, don’t take prepping to the excess. Hoarding is not the same as prepping and the accumulation of useless or marginally useful items can take up every spare corner of your home or apartment. Although it is wise to keep extra on hand for barter purposes. be realistic about your ability to prep for the long term while maintaining a clutter free home enviroment.
Hopefully, you will never have to use it, but you should have it. A self-defense weapon is a critical part of your prepper gear. Sometimes, just showing it is enough to deter people. Obviously, a firearm is the best choice. But there are other options, such as a crossbow or longbow with arrows, a taser, or a knife. Whatever you choose, be sure you are well-trained and practiced and that you have plenty of ammo.
When I am going through a grocery store gathering survival food, I get some strange looks from people close enough to hear me muttering under my breath as I discount items. Phrases like “not enough calories”, “needs more fat”, not enough carbs”, and the like roll off my tongue frequently. The truth of the matter is that what we consider to be a healthy diet in normal times is probably inadequate in a high stress, very active, crisis situation. There is a reason we like carbs, and fats, and sugars, and that reason is our body needs these things. The human palate developed in times when being physically active and dealing with life threatening events was the norm, and when a steady supply of food was not a guarantee. Hence the urge to get all we can when we can, which leads to rampant obesity in modern sedentary times but is adaptive to survival in harder times.
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.
After 15 minutes, I was startled to discover that the cereal had puffed up into a Kashi-like multitude of grains, flecked with tiny pieces of apple, complete with green peel, that looked just-chopped. It didn’t taste as good as it appeared: Eyeballing a fourth of the bag had resulted in a poor distribution of seasoning, yielding a flavor I can only describe as water laced with traces of cinnamon and sugar, though subsequent attempts tasted better.