What’s the bare minimum you need to navigate across land?  For most people, that would be a compass and map.  A basic road map is sufficient to get a rough approximation of the lay of the land.  More detailed relief maps can help plan for elevation and estimate possible water sources but they also take up more room in your pack.  Waterproofed or laminated maps are also extremely helpful.  Lensatic compasses are the most reliable for little money.  If possible, a compass and protractor are also extremely helpful for route planning.  Obviously, not as essential but nonetheless useful.
Some people carry both, but most choose one or the other. Multi-tools are nice for everyday utility like opening a bottle or fixing a screw on your sunglasses. There are tons of great options from popular brands like Leatherman and Gerber. But as in most things, the 80-20 rule applies here, and you’ll find that you won’t use most of the features in the extra-gadgety options and should avoid the unnecessary weight.
From accounts I have read when the Romans invaded England they planted vineyards that flourished and provided wine, so England at that time must have been a little warmer than it is now. Just before the great plague in the 9th century there was a long period of cold and very heavy rain in Europe. I’m talking about years of cold and heavy rain. When the plague hit, the author of the book theorized that the population was already in a debilitated state due to the lack of food from the decades of adverse weather and that at least partially accounted for the lethality of the black plague. I was always under the impression that there was only one episode of plague sweeping Europe but I was very incorrect in that impression. There were several episodes of plagues, some centuries apart from others. In an EOTW situation, rats and other vermin will be common and we could well have another world wide plague, limited only by the movement of people and rats.
Good ole MREs. My fav was chicken and shrimp jambalaya. Absolutely hated Country Captain Chicken. I include them in our 72 hour bags for convenience, but I field strip them for space. I once found an authoritative website with pictures and charts about how MREs stack up in prolonged heat (can’t find it now) and the results were frightening, so I don’t stock up on too many because I live in the desert with temps over 100 for many months and I’d be in trouble if power went out. But a case or two in an interior closet is a… Read more »
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!
In his book Dancing at Armageddon: Survivalism and Chaos in Modern Times, Mitchell, the sociology professor, develops a working theory of survivalism as a response to living in a society where every object we could possibly need is already taken care of for us. “The shelves are full, and the channels are full,” Richard tells me over the phone. “This is a response to a culture that has stripped away from us our sense of efficacy, our capacity to craft culture.”
I know it’s not an incredibly expensive product, but a food dehydrator has been on my prepper wishlist for a long time. They’re so convenient, especially when you have ones with so many racks like the Excalibur on hand. Yes, you can dehydrate foods without one, but it’s not as easy to do, and thus for me, makes it much less likely I’ll actually bother to do it. Major wishlist item here.
Anyway, another thought runnin’ round my brain as of late is a mistake Gaye’s friend did, “Yes, you can use oxygenators and all that stuff. I tried that and I ended up throwing out all the food. It was rancid. I processed $1,200.00 of food at a local church facility in Salt Lake City, Utah. I threw it out one year later. It was a volunteer church group that did not know how many oxygenators to put in each #10 can.” – //foodstoragemoms.com/2015/11/dehydrating-food-for-long-term/
If it’s at all below the level of the water table, it will flood, concrete, steel, or other materials be damned. Sure, there is some top-notch engineering you can do to keep the water out, but it’s expensive. One solution is to put the bunker at ground level and then pile dirt on top of it, but you need very large amount of dirt to protect it from impact.
the seeds from gmo plants are useless, gmo plants are also now linked to organ failure… gmo is not evolution, I think you may be thinking of hybrids which are entirely different. But even hybrid seeds will not produce the same crop the next year as the seeds gathered from hybrid plants revert back to one of the parent plants which may be fine but I wouldnt take the chance in a time when you count on it for survival… So from a sustainability point of view gmo plants are useless, not to mention that many heirlooms are also disease and pest resistant, just naturally. There are also natural ways to control disease and pests for plants. If survival is key then sustainability is also key.
There is a belief that President Trump will soon move to fire Special Prosecutor Mueller. This would result in a large protest within 24 hours of the firing. The protest would be semi-spontaneous and more than  likely to happen on short notice. Based on this information, beginning  tomorrow, April 19, 2018, many police departments' personnel are being  required to bring a full uniform and any issued protective equipment  (riot gear) with them to work until further notice.

Gale, you’re right about the bug eggs. I know it’s a little skeevy to think about but *nearly all* grain products (whole wheat berries, biscuit mix, pasta, cornmeal, anything) already have bug eggs in them. That’s what the dry ice is for; it helps stave off rancidity and it also prevents (ew) hatching! Or you can freeze the items for a week and then store long-term, but that’s a lot more trouble than it sounds like and doesn’t help prolong shelf life.


TIP: FEMA recommends that citizens have enough supplies on hand to get them through 72 hours after a disaster. We know a 72 hours bag is not going to be enough. I have put together a list of items from some of the top survival pros. Their recommendations are a great place start if you are new to prepping. If you are a long time prepper, check if you have these items as part of your survival gear.
Pets can also be part of your security. Our mutt protects our hens. She has killed two possums who got into the chicken run and a fox that was attempting to dig it’s way in. She is also an excellent alarm system. Our hens aren’t pets so eventually they will be food after they egg laying days are over with. Our cat is an excellent mouser and seems a little perverted since she seems to enjoy it to the point of ignoring all else when she senses one in the house. The only pet we have that I consider useless is the Quaker parrot. The rest of them we plan to store feed for.
From accounts I have read when the Romans invaded England they planted vineyards that flourished and provided wine, so England at that time must have been a little warmer than it is now. Just before the great plague in the 9th century there was a long period of cold and very heavy rain in Europe. I’m talking about years of cold and heavy rain. When the plague hit, the author of the book theorized that the population was already in a debilitated state due to the lack of food from the decades of adverse weather and that at least partially accounted for the lethality of the black plague. I was always under the impression that there was only one episode of plague sweeping Europe but I was very incorrect in that impression. There were several episodes of plagues, some centuries apart from others. In an EOTW situation, rats and other vermin will be common and we could well have another world wide plague, limited only by the movement of people and rats.

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.

4. Weather Radios ($35 – $80, alerts are free) or Weather Warning Apps (free) – Weather radios have channels to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The NOAA provide coverage to government-designated weather channels 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Weather radios can be programmed to beep loudly when extreme weather is expected. They can report on multiple counties or just one county. There are also multiple options for the sound alert. Internet and cell service might be interrupted during extreme weather so a battery operated weather radio is a great option.  Click here to learn more about how to get weather warnings from a radio.


Some lights are crank powered like our emergency radio above and having at least one of those is not a bad idea. Alternate light sources are candles, which are cheap but present a fire hazard, or chemlights, which are completely safe and heatless, but also have utility for marking, safety and signaling. Redundancy is a good idea, but emphasize flashlights and headlamps. Both require…
Label everything with the date of purchase.  Sharpie pens were created for this purpose.  However you choose to keep track,  rotate your stored food items the best you can without getting paranoid about it.  Many of the “use by” and “best by” dates on canned and packaged goods are put there by the manufacturer but relate more to taste and texture than actual spoilage.  See the next item.
5. Customized emergency kits.  These kits are sometimes referred to as Bug Out Bags, for getting out of town in a hurry, or 72 Hour Kits, packed with everything you need to survive for 72 hours on your own.  However, I recommend a Vehicle Kit, smaller kits for each member of the family, and a larger kit that contains items that will be needed by the whole family, such as extra food, an emergency toilet, and a wind-up radio.
I don’t have high blood pressure, but am extremely salt sensitive. If I eat a Chinese meal (which I love!), I have to remember to take a couple of potassium tablets afterward, or I will puff up and look like I’ve been on a bender for the last two days! Swollen eyelids, fingers and even toes. Something not working well with my kidneys? Maybe. Hasn’t shown up in any blood work, and the potassium does the trick. So, we have to figure our own bodies out. Let’s be glad we all don’t have to fool around to do that! Good health is a blessing.
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!
The system comprised four dugouts and cabins built of concrete and corrugated metal, and a few other spots where he stashed his provisions and arsenal of guns and ammunition in trash cans and barrels. All the shelters were illegally built across a 2-mile radius on state and federal property outside of Brian Head, Utah, according to a report from the Associated Press. Two of the shelters burned down in a wildfire last June.

So if you feel like the world’s not getting any better, consider saving money to spend for this doomsday shelter project. A regular unit costs around $200,000 while an apartment for multiple families is around $2 million. Radius has been building underground bunkers for three decades now. These are regularly meant for military uses but due to terrorist attacks and nuclear threats, the company created family models too.
@Consco That’s a very good point. There’s nothing really more important than family. We have to define what we mean by “stuff”. Chuck makes a very good point. All the luxuries that we have today can be done without if we have to. They aren’t that important and can be repaired or replaced, if we want, when things get more or less back to normal. What does need to be defended, other than family, are the things that are necessary for our survival. The food. The water. Shelter. Heat. Hygiene products. Necessary medicines. Etc. The things that will help to ensure our survival in the face of an uncertain future. What I would suggest though, is that, if you have info stored on hard drives that you don’t want to lose fill the drive up with what you deem important and put those items in an EMP-proof container. Even a metal garbage can set up properly will do. And one small computer that’s able to access those drives. No matter what happens, or how it happens, a new civilization WILL spring forth from the ashes of the old and then knowledge will help to rebuild it. If you have important books that might come in handy for helping to rebuild then also find some way to secure those.
You must have more than a few magazines or shots worth of ammo for any firearm you are going to depend on for a protracted crisis. Additional options for weapons are things like large “riot-cans” of pepper spray, knives, machetes, axes, fists and feet. Medieval or primitive weapons like swords, spears and bows require a great deal of training and practice to use effectively, and while they do not have a dependency on ammunition, your time and effort is likely better spent learning gun and hand-to-hand skills. If you are already proficient with such weapons, more power to you.
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.”
Last thought. I live in a small subdivision, in a small southern town, and a lot of the stuff I mentioned, are very natural to us, because we grew up around it. I can’t even remember the last time I bought a tomato at the grocery store! Our small community established our own disaster plan in an effort that if there was a great catastrophe or crisis, we can block off our subdivision and go straight into “survival mode”…it is not that hard to do, and remember there is always safety in numbers.
Today, Luther says she keeps a pantry with three different levels of “defense.” The first consists of boxes of cereal, frozen foods, and other items you might fall back on if you couldn’t make it to the grocery store for a week or two. The second, her “short-term” food storage, includes canned goods and other items with a longer shelf life — “Stuff you’d use if perhaps you lost a stream of income and times were tight for a few months,” Luther explains. The third is her long-term food storage: Mylar bags full of dry goods like beans, rice, and wheatberries, as well as some freeze-dried fruits, vegetables, and meat. Layer three, she says, is for “a situation in which all hell has broken loose.”
That doesn’t mean that some companies aren’t marketing freeze-dried food as an innovation. After eating the Wise Company meals for three days, I switched to Thrive Life’s Simple Plate program, a Blue Apron–esque service that teaches you how to cook from the company’s store of freeze-dried ingredients, which customers can also get mailed to them in recurring shipments. Unlike Wise Company, Thrive Life’s website makes no mention of emergency preparedness, instead emphasizing the sorts of qualities, like saving money and avoiding waste, that might have appealed to Lydia Maria Child in her time: “These foods won’t spoil in a few days... You won’t be thawing, degreasing, or cutting raw meat. You won’t be chopping veggies or washing and peeling fruit.” I reached out to Thrive Life’s founders to hear more about their rationale for marketing freeze-dried food for everyday use, but didn’t hear back.
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