When purchasing preps, some people choose to buy a few items at a time, often due to budgeting issues. However, some people can afford to buy everything at the same time. Whichever way you choose to do it, there are items you should focus on as your top priority. From our experience the following list includes the top purchases that anyone should make when they first start prepping.


My two cents worth here. Go with 5 gallon buckets. Many purchased from the local donut shop at $1.25. My variation on Mylar bags and oxygen absorbers — a chunk of dry ice, about 3×4 inches. With this on the bottom of the bucket and little piece of paper towel over it, pour in rice or beans or wheat or corn or a mixture of things. Put the lid on, but do not snap it tight. Wait a few minutes until the bottom of the bucket is not real cold and snap the lid on. Dry ice, which is CO2, forces out the air in the bucket. I recently opened rice and a mixed container which had been sealed five years ago. Everything was fine. Obviously we did eight or 10 of these buckets at once. Got dry ice from the local grocery store. Be sure to wear gloves when handling it.
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 rotate my storage a lot and used it last year when my husband was laid off. What I found is that I prefer smaller cans because I usually don’t need larger sizes. We have three kids left at home at this point. We still only cook for 5 people, one meal at a time and if you are in a situation where you don’t have refrigeration you may not want to have to store the large can leftovers.
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.
Thanks for the tips! I was actually thinking of doing a post on this but tweaking it to fit ranches. We had a major freeze this year that left us without power for over a week, and the freeze burnt our pump so we couldn't water. We also had several major wildfires that left us without cell service b/c a tower was disabled. I was totally unprepared. I thought we were going to lose everything in our freezer, I couldn't wash clothes or dishers (not a great experience if you have a house full of kids) and no way to communicate with anyone. And that is when a friend recommended your site. It's been so helpful! I think in addition to your list, one could also use a HAM radio or emergency radio, a solar pump if you have a well, and alternative light sources.
David Dawson is a retired security specialist with over 20 years of experience. He worked for a secret manufacturing facilities and hospitals in Illinois. David's responsibility was to protect people in case of any disaster or cataclysm that might occur. Now he keeps on doing it through teaching others about how to prepare and survive flood, earthquake or even war.
FoodSaver Jar Sealer: Already have a FoodSaver? If so, check out this jar sealer which can be used to vacuum seal your Mason jars. This is a great option for short to mid term storage of items such as beans, rice, sugar and salt. Store your jars in a cool, dark place and you are set with the added advantage of removing a small amount for current use without having to disrupt your large Mylar bag or bucket of food.
Freeze-dried food is nothing new. As early as the 13th century, the ancient Quechua and Aymara people of Bolivia and Peru pioneered a form of the process by exposing potatoes to the freezing temperatures of the Andes overnight, then drying them in the sun. In 1937, Nestlé used industrial technology to create the world’s first freeze-dried coffee, and in the 60s and 70s, the US military shipped freeze-dried food rations to the troops in Vietnam.
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