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!
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.

Next, look at ways to become more self-sufficient in water. If you already have a well you’re sorted. Otherwise consider a rainwater catchment system. If you have a stream or river nearby you could build a large water filter and run a pipe to it from the stream, giving you a constant filtered supply. Be adaptable, but find something – without water, your refuge is unsustainable.

There’s going to be a fire risk in your bunker, and it could even be in the walls. Many professional companies use Expanded Polystyrme (EPS) foam blocks which, according to Clarence Mason of Tempest Building Systems, are highly flammable and full of toxic chemicals in an attempt to make it less flammable. They should, ideally, be encased with something that is not flammable, but because they’re used in part to reduce costs, you might be tempted not to.
Thanks for the comment Thomas. Just curious, how do you cook with your dehydrated mushrooms? I like to use frozen vegetables and dehydrate them. Frozen carrots that are cut into the circles dehydrate down to about the size of a pencil eraser. They plump up nice when rehydrated and you can’t tell the difference. Some veggies seem to work better than others.

9. Cash.  This isn’t exactly a product, but without a supply of cash during an emergency, you and your family could be left high and dry.  Set aside some cash each month, in smaller bills, and have it ready to grab if you must ever leave your home in a hurry due to a natural disaster or some other crisis.  Figure on having enough to pay for 7 nights at a hotel, 3 or 4 tanks of gas, and enough to pay for a week’s worth of food and other supplies.
Clothing: There’s a reason why characters in military movies refer to socks so often — they’re critically important and often overlooked. We love Darn Tough socks because they’re wool and a lot more durable than other brands like Smartwool. Grab a boonie hat, too; they’re easy to throw in your bag and provide better protection than most other options.
This was an informative article, but I would like to see a bunker industry comparison of bunkers. Perhaps this has been done, but I just haven’t run across it yet. If anyone knows of any credible and objective comparisons, I’d be interested in knowing the link to that info. Right now, I’m considering Rising S, Vivos, or Bombardo. I don’t need an underground city, nor do I like communal life (been there, done that in military). I just want a functional bunker for 4 to 6 people that is reasonably priced and will last for a long time.
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.
I purchased a 30 day supply for 2 people of freeze dried food – that was when I had a basement to store it in. Now i live in the Arizona desert with no basement. I considered purchasing additional food storage but then realized, I for some reason I have no power, it’ll most likely be very hot (especially if summer time), therefore not way to regulate temperature. Any storage food I did purchase would be ruined ( I assume). Anyone else have this issue when thinking about the unthinkable?
Buy the best flashlight models you can afford, and focus on a blend of output and runtime. Variable mode and output lights are more complicated to use, but their power-saving features and different color LED’s may be worthwhile. Lights are useful for signaling anytime there is low or no light, and powerful ones can be easily seen for miles, so don’t skimp on output.
Just be aware, if you have stored mixes like bisquick or cake mixes which have baking powder in them. Baking powder has a shelf life, after that shelf life, the bp isn’t stable so your product may not rise and/or may taste funny. Depending on what form of dry milk (powder as opposed to instant milk) is used, that can also make your premixes go bad.
So a nuclear war would be bad, but how likely is it? Well, not as likely as it could be. This isn’t 1983; the Cold War is over. On the other hand, it could come back. Russia is smarting from the treatment we gave them during the Clinton era, and they’re steadily rebuilding their military. Russia’s nuclear forces are the most powerful on Earth, and President Putin probably has the starch to use them if he thinks it’s necessary. Putin is also pushing hard to rebuild Russia’s influence in eastern Europe, and there are several places where a small border skirmish could grow into a confrontation between Russian and NATO troops. If that happens, nuclear war is back on the table.
I think there are stages to prepping. The first stage is awareness. Maybe you experience a major hurricane and have to drive around town freaking out because you don’t have enough bottled water. You think, “Never again.” So you purchase realistic items for your area. The second stage is when you come to realize how much stuff you will actually need and you go out and purchase those items. The third stage is when you realize that no matter how much stuff you have stocked up, it will eventually run out in a grid down situation. That leads to the fourth stage–skills. Do you know how to garden when your life and the lives of your family depend on it? Do you know how to trap and hunt? Can you tell the difference between edible plants and poisonous plants? Do you have a trade like carpentry, plumbing, engineering, canning, bushcraft, herbal medicine? The sixth and final stage (and I am just making this up off the top of my head) is when you realize that no matter how many skills you have, you can’t make it alone. You begin to look for a community.
Many municipal water supplies are disinfected with chloramine now, not chlorine. (That's Texas law, for example.) The difference is that chlorine evaporates, while chloramine does not. It can only be removed by chemical reaction or charcoal filtration. For that reason, I avoid tap water as much as possible. But one nice thing about it in a survival situation is that, based on personal experience at least, it does not go bad.
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.
In a Saturday, May 13, 2017 photo, Kenneth Young, of Queens, N.Y., walks up the side of one of the bunkers that Vivos is trying to lease at xFest, a three-day gathering for people who want to convert the site's bunkers, which formerly housed bombs, into shelters for protection against tyranny, anarchy, nuclear war, the end times or any other calamity that might befall civilization, in Igloo, S.D. (Chris Huber/Rapid City Journal via AP) Chris Huber / Rapid City Journal
MREs are a very convenient prepping food because aside from the pudding they do not require the addition of water. These meals also include a built-in heater so that you can warm up your meal no matter where you are and eat right out of the bag. They are easy to carry with you, making them a good addition to your bugout bag, and they come as a complete meal, even down to the salt and pepper.
Anyway, in a general crisis only organized communities are likely to practice formal kinds of ‘execution’ or exiling. For North American urbs, formal reorganizing is initially unlikely; as with the failing Roman Empire, people will attempt to maintain prior forms until it’s clear that those require much more than that which is locally available (ie., records, ‘honest’ record-keeping, knowledge, skills, imported or difficult materials…).
Forums and Facebook groups are littered with the same fundamental questions asked over and over again, but they often get incomplete, conflicting, or even dangerous answers. Then we’d read a blog where they did some quick googling and cranked out a post just to get some traffic. Or we’d have to dig through crazy propaganda and extreme political opinions in the hopes of finding a right answer. It drove us mad — we just wanted the facts and straightforward answers!

18. Freeze Dried Options – Just add water! Nothing beats freeze dried foods & having a nice selection of #10 cans in your storage plan is a wise choice. Lots can be said here, and this option will definitely give you the longest shelf life, but it is the more pricey choice. There are some great food companies that offer freeze dried storage packs. 3 reputable food storage companies are:

“Title-1 schools are on the free-breakfast and free-lunch program. When I say free breakfast, I’m not talking about a glass of milk and a roll. But a full breakfast and cereal bar with fruits and juices that would make the Marriott proud. The waste of this food is monumental, with trays and trays of it being dumped in the trash uneaten. (Our tax dollars at work!)
In an emergency situation, you will be doing some home cooking. You will need oil to get the job done and prepare a hot meal. Lard is long-lasting and high in calories. You can use it to add a bit of flavor to your food. You probably remember even today how good your grandmother’s cooking used to taste. Our grandparents used lard when cooking and a large can would last them for a long time. In case of emergency, you can even use it as a butter substitute and it will provide you with the calories you need to survive.
For ideas, take a look at 12 Months of Prepping: One Month at a Time. Here you will find links to articles that take you though the process of gathering what you need in terms of supplies, gear, tasks, and skills to set you on a positive path of preparedness.  It may not seem like a lot, but at the end of the year you will will be better prepared than 95% of your neighbors.
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.

Cooking fats can be substituted in most cases with the exception being frying. Some oils and fats have a lower smoke point than others. I have never had any luck using olive oil for trying to fry potatoes to a crispy state but grape seed oil, peanut oil, or lard does just fine. Pie crusts made from lard, flour, salt, and a little water are really good. You really don’t need butter to make a flaky crust if you have lard.
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!

Don’t stop there. Take a hard look at demographics.  Are you in a city where gangs, mobs or terrorist attacks are likely?  Do you live in a remote area where the failure of transportation systems or the lack of fuel will cut you off from supplies arriving from the rest of the world?  Is your employment situation tenuous requiring that you build up some cash reserves to get you by just in case the job goes away?

Barbara – I know what you mean. It is easy to become both overwhelmed and disorganized at the same time. The nice thing about the list of 20 items is that you can purchase them all at once or one item a week. Then you can set them aside and at least for the short term, consider your food shopping done and move on to the gear or the next major task on your preparedness to-do list.
The USA is one of the world’s great democracies, but too many Americans don’t seem to respect the process anymore. The media is full of arguments about the Second Amendment, but in many ways growing disrespect for the First Amendment is a lot more worrying. Far-left gangs violently shut down any speaker they don’t approve of. Millions of people flat-out deny President Trump’s right to be president – they don’t see any need to respect the election result if it wasn’t what they wanted. Political agitators constantly whip up tension and hatred between races, between men and women, between red and blue states.
Monetary disaster investors believe the Federal Reserve system is fundamentally flawed. Newsletters suggest hard assets of gold and silver bullion, coins, and other precious-metal-oriented investments such as mining shares. Survivalists prepare for paper money to become worthless through hyperinflation. As of late 2009 this is a popular scenario.[37][38][39][40] Many will stockpile bullion in preparation for a market crash that would destroy the value of global currencies.
Honey is one food that never spoils! Although the look of your product will change somewhat over time, it will never actually spoil. It will begin to look yellow and cloudy instead of golden and clear and will get thicker and grainy over time, eventually looking white and hard. But, it is still good. In this form, the honey may have started the process of crystallizing.