Editor’s Note: This article was generously contributed by Clarence Mason and in it he compares and contrasts two different survival bunker designs. Each have their advantages, but if you are considering building your own survival retreat option in the future, it makes sense to consider what is the best bunker design before you get too far down the planning road.
Few people get beyond storing the four basic items, but it is extremely important that you do so. Never put all your eggs in one basket. Store dehydrated and/or freeze-dried foods as well as home canned and store-bought canned goods. Make sure you add cooking oil, shortening, baking powder, soda, yeast and powdered eggs. You can’t cook even the most basic recipes without these items. Because of limited space I won’t list all the items that should be included in a well-balanced storage program. They are all included in the The New Cookin’ With Home Storage cookbook, as well as information on how much to store, and where to purchase it.
Here are some basics are things that can be essential to a successful shelter: wood matches, lots of rechargeable batteries for flashlights, battery charger, candles, siphon pump, head lamps, lanterns, lantern oil, generator and generator fuel, a solar panel as a backup source, large gas cans (like 14 gallon), zip ties, chainsaw, shovel, rope, rake, steel pots and kettles for boiling water, large car batteries, and hand saws.
The Emergency Essentials Premier bucket is the best short term emergency food product for most people. The $380 three-bucket option covers two people for 15-18 days at a very healthy 2,700-2,275 calories per day. One person can cover two weeks for only a single $130 bucket if you stretch the 27,330 total calories an extra day or two at 1,900 calories per day.
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.
Expert advice isn’t always as expert as we’d like to believe. There have been many times when I tried to follow how-to advice, only to get frustrated that I can’t seem to do what they did, or I sometimes figure out a more efficient method on my own anyway. This is especially true for the prepper lifestyle. When the internet started exploding with prepper advice a few years ago, most of the bloggers and self-proclaimed experts were learning as they go along with their readers.
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.
This is the mainstay of what I have except for a couple of items I am missing. Be careful with the pancake mix as it has a short shelf life and make sure to rotate it often. This article has helped a lot. I was worried I did not have enough but have a much larger quantity and feel so much better. I also have variety of other items mixed in and this goes way beyond my every day pantry. With 70 lbs of rice and 15 of beans and 10 of oats as a basis. Working on the beans, I have about 24 cans of meat. A ton of cans of veggies and fruit and cases soup in cans, mixes, cubes etc. I have 15 lbs of matzoh and 5 of crackers. I have about 8 cases of ramen noodles. I have bread mixes, cake mixes, honey, tea, coffee, powdered milk, spices, at least 10 lbs of salt. I have sugar at least 25 lbs but I think more. I have flour. I have at least a dozen pasta and sauces. I have 8 giant sized jars of peanut butter and rotate them out, five giant cans of drink mix(tang and iced tea) This is all besides my regular pantry that would easily last a month and I rotate my groceries from this so they do not expire. I have 200 gallons of drinkable water plus filtration and tablets and bleach for much more. I have all this but still I have the urgent feeling that it is never enough and when I grocery shop am always trying to add one or two items. I know I have six months of survival for 3 adults but thinking maybe it is more.
Rice. This is an old standby. It can form the base of many tasty and nutritious meals. Be aware that although it requires no processing, it does require quite a bit of water to cook. It is most economical to buy rice in 40 lb bags and repackage it into buckets yourself, a 5 gallon bucket will hold a 40lb bag. For a bit more you can find rice sold pre-sealed in buckets from a number of sources.
I use Bob’s Red Mill Buttermilk Powder.It is about $10 a bag but it goes a very long way. It will make 45 cups of sweet cream buttermilk. I did some research and vacuum sealed buttermilk powder can last up to 10 years. Of course this is dependent on storage conditions. Keeping it out of direct sunlight and extreme heat is required to get a long shelf life. Even under mediocre conditions I would expect 5 years. There is a lot of varying opinions on shelf life unfortunately. Thanks for reading!
It helps. I’ve never had to panic-buy when snow’s been threatened and everybody else has raced to the supermarket. And I could cut back on the food shop when my husband was temporarily asked to work three days a week instead of five, reducing his pay. Perhaps it’s hereditary. My parents have a year’s worth of food in their store cupboard, including 50kg of wheat, which they can soak to make a vegetarian supplement or grind to make flour. My eldest daughter keeps a 72-hour bag in her car.
thank you for this, it gives me more ideas on what to look at, being married to a filipina we eat lots of rice, we are a family of 5, with younger children. We have enough food for 2yrs put away. but with this list in hand we will put more away.we look at long term, as u do not know what is really going to happen at any given time. while i am still alive i will make sure my family is taken care off and protected..only thing we dont have is a farm and that would be the bee’s knees…lots of people in here give great feed back and some bloody good idea…thank u everyone…for the wonderful comments, the advice never got astray..

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.
I would like to add, buying too much of something at one time. I have lots of water and food stored. Toothpaste, soap, qtips and such. How much medical and bandaid? NONE. Make a list most definitely. But include stuff you HAVEN’T BOUGHT yet. Checkmark items you have with the amounts. Also I have 3 non bullet weapons and have a 4th on the way. A regular size crossbow (with a broad head it will penetrate any class of body armor) A pistol crossbow which is actually more powerful than the large one, but you can’t get broad head for them. They will however penetrate 3/4 pressed plywood particle board. Good for human threat or rabbit get. A wrist rocket slingshot with “hunting” rubbers and I’m waiting on a new item called a “Pocket Shot”. It’s a new type of slingshot that self centers the ammo. You can fire almost twice the ammo in the same amount of time. All 4 will be valuable to be quiet during the first month. After the hordes have been thinned, noise from a gun will bring less attention.
The Vivos Europa One shelter, located in Rothenstein, Germany boasts lavish amenities such as grand swimming pools, gyms, theaters, restaurants, customized apartment units, outdoor service, and even a helicopter service. It also features its own roadways, railways, tunnel chambers, top-notch security system, blast-proof doors, self-contained water system, and power generators.
No one wants to get sick, let alone contract a disease that may go untreated due to the lack of available medical facilities or medical personnel.  One of the best ways to avoid sickness is to maintain good hygeine and to properly dispose of human waste.  This is not as easy as it sounds because traditional waste systems may be inoperable due  to the lack of water and or ruptured sewer lines.
One thing younger preppers may want to consider too is babies. Assuming prescription birth control will not be available, it will be important to have other methods on hand to ensure that you can prevent pregnancy (if you want to). Additionally, some people may want to network with local midwives and doulas (or even become one yourself!). This is an invaluable skill to have in an emergency SHTF scenario. Every family is different, but as a currently pregnant woman, it’s something that I’m thinking about right now. 🙂
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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.”
I am a fan of the dollar store. Having been hit by a car while walking across a street by a nut on a cell phone. I have continuous pain in my back and gets worse on wet days. Enough of my aches. I use the stick on pain patch that works and gives relief. It is the container however that I want to talk about. it is made of aluminized mylar and cutting off the top it has a resealing edge. I have tried the seal with a cracker under water for a week and it kept it dry as a bone. It is also light tight and recovered film my camera ate and put it inside to have a man with darkroom develop them. the package has a smell of menthol but if left open dissipates in a few days. This package can provide waterproof flat storage for anything so I thought all might like to try it. The patches are also good for sprain’s as well. If you don’t think it isn’t worth it you are out a dollar. go to dollar tree where all is a dollar. No advertisment intended.
But this is a situation where we can achieve a lot through a simple ranking system. If we prepare for the far most likely disaster to strike us (for me it’s a tornado or extended power outage during winter time since I live in Alabama in the infamous “Dixie Alley”), we will find a pleasing truth…we will generally be prepared for many of the other types of disasters on our list by default, already.
James England is a former United States Marine Signals Intelligence Operator and defense contractor with over two tours spread over the Al Anbar province and two more operating across Helmand and Baghdis. He is presently a writer focused on Western foreign policy and maintains an avid interest in firearms. A graduate of the University of North Carolina at Wilmington, he presently resides in New Hampshire – the “Live Free or Die” state. He is finishing up his first novel, “American Hubris”, which is set to hit shelves in Fall of 2015.
“I estimate that well over 50% of these students are obese or at least moderately overweight. About 75% or more have cell phones. The school also provides day care centers for the unwed teenage pregnant girls (some as young as 13) so they can attend class without the inconvenience of having to arrange for babysitters or having family watch their kids. (More of our tax dollars at work!)

Yes, that is true. Many years ago I was all into reading tarot cards, reading palms and crap like that. I relied mostly on my wit & street smarts, mainly because I have always been a loner most of my adult life, just me & the animals. About 10 or so years ago, I started praying, sporadically at first, then everyday, just because I could see that I was no longer in control of things, even though I worked like mad to ‘fix’ my environment/job/health life, etc…. I was trying to ‘will’ things to happen, just by sheer determination, but I just couldn’t do it alone anymore….. It is still hard, some days. You try to do the right thing, speak “up” speak “out”, protect the weak, old, infirm, nurture the environment and all it’s beautiful creatures, & and at the same time keep your ego in check….
Now that you’ve sorted out a proper food store you can start stocking it. When it comes to storage life and bulk, dry goods are supreme. You can store a few weeks’ worth of canned or packet foods, but with dry goods you can easily be self-sufficient for months or even years. Start your food reserve with 20 pounds of rice (white lasts longer in storage) and 20 pounds of dried beans. Between them those two will give you a solid reserve of carbohydrates and protein, and you can use them as a base for a whole range of recipes supplemented with seasonings, canned or dried ingredients, and food you’ve harvested from nature.
Peter Thiel, the billionaire co-founder of PayPal, ignited an uproar when he was granted citizenship after spending just 12 days in the country, prompting allegations that New Zealand’s passport was for sale. Thiel, 50, owns a $13.8 million home on 477 acres (193 hectares) in the lakeside town of Wanaka, with views of snow-capped mountains, and purchased another property in Queenstown, outfitted with a safe room.
In all the years I’ve worked with preparedness one of the biggest problems I’ve seen is people storing food and not knowing what to do with it. It’s vital that you and your family become familiar with the things you are storing. You need to know how to prepare these foods. This is not something you want to learn under stress. Your family needs to be used to eating these foods. A stressful period is not a good time to totally change your diet. Get a food storage cookbook and learn to use these foods!
If the men on the blog Doomsday Preppers seem inordinately preoccupied with some distant future in which everything falls apart, he explains, it’s because that imagined scenario represents a moment when they get to feel like they’re actually useful. “I’ve got a chainsaw and a pickup truck and a little cabin in the woods and I can get my assault weapon out and I can be important,” he explains of the mindset. “I’m not really useful until something goes wrong.”
Great list 🙂 The only thing I would suggest to add would be applied knowledge- for example there is no point in having seeds if you don’t know how to grow what you’ve got. Even if you don’t have access to land or a garden atm try growing crops in pots. Learn about the different soil and nutrient requirements for your selected plants, how to make fertlisers etc. If you are collecting tools know what to do with them, if you have info on foraging apply it now or go on foraging walks with local groups. Whatever skills you think… Read more »
With this you can can fruits, veggies and even meats. You can do this without the salt or other preservatives and for meats, eating dried or jerked meat gets old fast when you have to eat it instead of it being a snack. The high temp of the pressure canner kills the bacteria that spoils food so it lasts for years. You can make your favorite chicken and beef soups with al the veggies, pasta or potatoes in them.
Once you get going, it will be easy to lose track of what you already have.  The best way to overcome the state of confusion you will experience six months down the road is to start keeping track of your stored items now – from the beginning.  Use a spiral notebook, a computer spreadsheet, or a clipboard and a pad of paper.  Update your inventory with the item and date of purchase as it goes into storage and of course, mark it off as it rotates out.

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.
I recommend that the very first step you take when prepping is to evaluate the most likely risks specific to your geographical area and your personal domestic situation.  Most, if not all, city, county and state governments will have emergency management websites that will help you sort through the most likely disasters to occur in your area.  Take advantage of these public resources.
The next things to add are powdered milk, rolled oats and cooking oil. Add some bulk herbs and spices – in an emergency you can use what’s already in the kitchen, but it’s good to have a proper reserve too. Don’t forget the most important seasoning – salt. Get at least five pounds of that. As you move forward you can add pasta, dried vegetables (this is a great excuse to get a dehydrator and vacuum sealer) and of course more rice and beans.
Disturbing news from the Southern Carribean.  The World Bank just “ruled” against Venezuela in favor of oil giant ConocoPhillips, saying they could “seize” their government owned oil assets.  All this while Russian nuclear bombers and naval vessels have been sighted in the area.  Venezuela, already on the verge of collapse, may be the next flash point in the world.  Lawsuit Article Link
Water Purification Supplies- If you run out of potable water, you’ll need the capability to make suspect or compromised water safe, or safer, to drink. Filters and chemicals can remove or destroy nearly all of the contaminants and germs that can make you sick or kill you. You must know what your purification solution is capable of, and what it is not. Some will not be able to remove germs or chemicals, and will require second-stage treatment to make the water source drinkable.
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!
I’ve gotten a lot of flour sugar, stuff for scratch cooking, something like bullion cubes, evaporated milk, yeast, can veggies you can throw together all kinds of soups. I ordered powdered eggs and butter, biscuits and gravy, homemade beans, I have done some canning, of meats and made some spatgetti sauce for canning. Think camping, I got a dutch oven-good for cakes and breads.
For global catastrophic risks the costs of food storage become impractical for most of the population [54] and for some such catastrophes conventional agriculture would not function due to the loss of a large fraction of sunlight (e.g. during nuclear winter or a supervolcano). In such situations, alternative food is necessary, which is converting natural gas and wood fiber to human edible food.[55]
All good questions and points. Shipping containers are definitely not a good option. They are typically made of 16 and 14 gauge corrugated steel (.065 and.075 inches respectively) and the amount of retrofitted fortification that would be required to withstand the weight/pressure of several feet of earth is considerable. The container would have to be buried fairly deep(as most steel shelters are) since it offers little protection, in and of itself, against radiation, heat or even small arms fire due to it’s light construction. Then of course there would be waterproofing required(although they are made to be exposed to weather,they… Read more »
In his 2016 book, Can It! The Perils and Pleasures of Preserving Foods, Gary Allen, a food writer and adjunct professor at SUNY Empire State College, traces the evolution of food preservation as a source of culinary innovation. “The original food-preservation methods—like salting and drying and all that—actually turned the food into something else,” he told me over the phone. “Cabbage sauerkraut is not the same thing as cabbage. Wine is not the same thing as grape juice.”
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