In the previous decade, preparedness consultant, survival bookseller, and California-based author Don Stephens popularized the term retreater to describe those in the movement, referring to preparations to leave cities for remote havens or survival retreats should society break down. In 1976, before moving to the Inland Northwest, he and his wife authored and published The Survivor's Primer & Up-dated Retreater's Bibliography.

One last tip, don’t forget to store easy to prepare foods to help you get through on difficult days.  Even though they may not be on your list of required food storage foods, you may want to reconsider puddings, juice boxes, instant packaged foods, coffee, candy, muffin mixes, cake mixes, Hershey’s chocolate syrup (lasts a long time without refrigeration), brownie mix and other specialty comfort foods.
The fortress does not only showcase its dreamy amenities, but it also guarantees safety against asteroids, chemical attacks, nuclear explosion, zombie outbreak, and more. Its three-foot upgraded concrete walls can withstand a 20-kiloton nuclear blast. It is also equipped with decontamination showers, solar power backup, private water systems, secure air intake and HVAC.
Actually, the intent of the article was to help readers put together a starter cupboard of food storage items. I wanted things to be simple and uncomplicated without regard to how many mouths these items will feed for “XX” amount of time. So many online food storage calculators are way too overwhelming to deal with. Most of my readers need and want a starting point or simply a list they can go through to check against their existing food storage inventory so that they can fill in the gaps.
We all know how important clean water is to our survival, and if you’re planning on bugging in at home, something like this is a definite advantage in cases where water supplies may get contaminated during a SHTF-type situation. Yes, you can try to boil water consistently to purify it, but if you have the money to invest into prepper gear that will help you out in the long-term, this is an obvious way to go with your money. APEC makes and manufactures these in the good ol’ USA – they’re high quality, and are pretty much the only brand worth talking about when it comes to reverse osmosis filters; immense value for money in my opinion. If you don’t think these will ever be necessary, you only have to look as far as Flint, Michigan for a cautionary tale.
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.
Using resinous woods (such as pine) for interior heating and cooking fires a very bad idea. As smoke cools on its way up a chimney, flammable resins accumulate in chimney flue(s). Eventually, months or years later. when someone builds another fire (say, during a cold Winter night), those resins ignite, and you have an upside-down solid-fuel rocket engine. Flame may gush sideways out of cracks in chimneys, igniting an entire abode.
I bought these candles after we experienced a prolonged power outage. We had headlamps that all had charged batteries so we used those to see in the dark. It became apparent to me that candles are nice because you can place them on a table and have permanent low light where you can sit and work. It is a lot more peaceful than the blinding light of headlamps shining on your face.
You make good sense about starting with a years supply of preps. Without putting any emphasis on myself it is easy for me to forget that I was born in 1953. What we call prepping is what my grandparents called normal living. They never stored water, of course we had plenty of it back then, but food, preserved, canned, dehydrated, powdered, and in just about every other form was everywhere in their lives. And they were not big farmers, just small timers with no bills, no agenda, no nothing except the ability to have plenty in the toughest of times. Those people taught me a lot and I thank Christ for them every day. Well, that’s enough about me. Best wishes to you and keep up the good work.
My favorite thing about this emergency radio is that it has 3 different ways to charge it: cables, solar, and hand-crank. I tried all three ways, and they all work well, but my favorite is using the hand-crank. It's not difficult to crank it, it doesn't take long to charge, and when you're finished, the crank tucks into the back of the device. The strip on the top allows the device to be charged by placing it in sunlight. Solar charging seems to take a while, but I think it's awesome that I have that option. I've even noticed the light on, when it's in indirect sunlight. When the device is charging, a little red light comes on. I love that there's no need for batteries, since the thought of running out, during an emergency, makes me nervous.
113. Solar cooker/oven – Solar cooking has been around for hundreds of years. They are amazing and you really can cook with the sun, though it does take some patience, think of them as a slow cooker. A proper solar cooker can easily reach degrees of 300F so cooking should be no problem! And what more abundant energy source do you need as the sun. All that is needed is the sun & optimum weather. Here is a solar cooker ready to go. Or you can build your own. Here is a DIY solar cooker from an old satellite dish:
Durable packaging: Can it hold up to abuse, floods from storms, etc. For example, the biggest danger during an earthquake is things falling. Since it’s easy to imagine storing supplies like this on the bottom shelf in a garage, consider how it would hold up to stuff falling on top of the container or flood water coming in. Or zombies… those sneaky zombies.
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.

I would add just a few things though, if you use creamer in your coffee add a few bottles of the powdered version, some dried fruits or a couple large bags of trail mix, pie fillings in a few fruit varieties (awesome in oats!), crackers are great for kids who won’t eat a tuna, spam or other canned meat sandwich but they may be willing to eat “lunchables” DIY of course!, and other all in one items like spaghetti O’s, canned stew, canned ravioli, and ramen. It may not be the healthiest solutions but if you need these items you will be exceptionally grateful you have them!
Check dried goods: rice, flour, grains – frequently for bug infestation. You can mix food grade diatomaceous earth in with dried goods and it will kill pantry moths and weevils. It is safe for humans and pets (as long as it is food grade). It works by shredding the exoskeletons of any soft bodied bug. It is used in grain silos to keep bugs from infesting grain. You can probably get some through a feed store. Some garden centers carry it. You can also order it online, but check the shipping cost. Pantry moth larva and weevils can squeeze through some very tight fitting lids. We’ve been fooled often by them.

In 2014 there was a major outbreak of Ebola hemorrhagic fever in West Africa. This was far larger than all earlier outbreaks combined, because people are getting more mobile and the disease reached larger towns and cities. Horrifyingly, it also managed to reach out across the Atlantic and infect four people in the USA. We were lucky; all the cases were caught before they could spread further. We might not be lucky next time – and the virus is still out there in Africa. All it takes is one sick person to get on a plane and we could be facing a major epidemic.
Really enjoy your common sense approach to the prepping lifestyle and hitting on this list. One thing that we found a challenge when we started was financial preparedness; not necessarily a prepping budget, but getting rid of unnecessary, burdensome debt that robs you of the truly important things in life, and preparedness goals. Keep up the good work of sharing!
I just read your article, its great your helping folks out like this sharing your knowledge and experience. Ive been prepping now for about 5 years slowly growing our preps for our family but I noticed a couple of items I really think you should add to your list if you dont mind my suggestions. Not that I know anything you dont but if we all share ideas we can help each other. which is my first point. If you have a couple of friends you can trust, work with them and each work on specific lists to grow your… Read more »

Mel doesn’t subscribe to the “every man for himself” philosophy that is a hallmark of many preppers’ Cormac McCarthy-styled nightmares. “My grand plan is that I will build a community around me, rather than think that I will be in a post-apocalyptic bunker where I have to do everything. You don’t want to be scared of your neighbours and worry about whether they will take your stuff."
Don’t fret over that: below I have provided a handy checklist for what I think are think are the most essential supplies to stock and steps to implement if you are starting from zero or close to zero. This article will not be detailed step-by-step guide on any one skill, discussion over what foods have the best calorie-to-shelf-life ratio or the absolute best way to store water. All of that has been discussed in detail with expert input here and elsewhere. What the list will be is your jump-start to taking simple, positive action that will give the you of today better survival odds in a crisis over the you of yesterday.
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.
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.
Testers felt Soylent beat Tsogo on flavor. However, the Tsogo line has a lot of products, such as fruit and vegetable powders and boost packs (protein, caffeine, energy, green tea), so it’s worth checking out. This might be a line of products you want to work into your regular life, so cycling through your supply before it expires would make the shelf-life less of a concern.
Good point. But if you do have your drives and at least one very simple computer stashed away in an emp-proof container it will once again become useful when they eventually get the lights turned on again. And make no mistake about it. We will rebuild our civilization. Up to that point, yes, I entirely agree with you that hard copy is easier to deal with.

When preparing food for storage, take into account the need for future food, if long-term emergencies occur. This would include a space for growing your own food, hydroponics, plant food, and good quality heirloom non-GMO seeds, UV lamps, and good quality earth to grow the seeds in. For tips on how to stock a survival garden, see our topic on homesteading to learn more.


In the end, it’s a good thing to have multiple tools or ways to accomplish something. Most preppers take a “two is one, one is none” approach with backups and redundancies. Following this guide is an efficient way to have those backups. Rather than having three med kits in your basement collecting dust, each one is serving a purpose at all times by being ready in your home, bug out bag, and get home bag.
I need to organize my food in a similar manner. I started prepping about a year or so ago, but it took months of talk and giving my wife articles to read, but I finally got her on board with buying a couple of extra cans/items each time she went shopping. I now have an overflowing panty that is disorganized. I’m sure I have items approaching their “best buy” date. Part of my “problem” is the size of our pantry area…too easy to cram things in and forget about them or forget where they got placed. We have an adequate 3-month supply, but nothing yet for long-term storage…that seems hard to get figured out (what to store, where to store, quantity to store, “best” storage method, etc.).
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..
81. Potassium/iodide tablets – it’s wise to store Potassium iodide or KI in your medical emergency kit. This is a type of salt that cab be used to combat radiation poisoning. Potassium Iodide will block radioactive iodine from being absorbed by the thyroid gland. KI (potassium iodide) is a salt of stable (not radioactive) iodine that can help block radioactive iodine from being absorbed by the thyroid gland, thus protecting this gland from radiation injury. The thyroid gland is the part of the body that is most sensitive to radioactive iodine.
I buy dry beans and can them myself. I know it sounds like a lot of work but its super easy and MUCH cheaper than store bought canned beans. I tend to have some empty canning jars so to keep as many full as possible I fill the empties with beans and have even canned water. An empty jar is just taking up space and provides NOTHING. The dry beans are good for long term and the self-canned are great for quick meals. The best of both worlds!

I see myself as a modern man (born in 1980) and novice prepper, but dammed if I know anyone who hasn’t got a manual can opener, also storing soda bottles of water behind baseboards in kitchen units is also fairly common amongst people i know. If you have meat in large cuts and steaks in a freezer even once they defrost they keep a lot longer if preserved by smoking or drying, even ground meats can be made into patties and smoked to last longer, vegetables and fruits stored in a freezer can also have their useful lives extended by preserving as pickles and jam’s.
In Eskridge, Kansas, a family lives in what was previously a shelter of a four-megaton hydrogen bomb. Because of this, their 47-ton garage door holds a tremendous defense that can withstand a doomsday blast. After investing some hard work, the site becomes a cozy underground home named Subterra Castle which will shield them from thermonuclear wars, harsh weather, earthquakes, and other crazy apocalyptic event.
I opened my MRE and noticed that everything was still pretty much the same. You have food in foil packets although my packets weren’t in separate boxes. They did include the nutritional insert though and I never understood why they had the extra boxes anyway. Another thing we didn’t have when I was in was the handy ration heater. The ration heater is activated by placing a little water in a bag. The water mixes with an element and causes a chemical reaction that generates heat. You wrap your entrée in the bag,  and in 10 minutes you are supposed to have a hot meal. It didn’t work that way for me.
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These have a pull ring pop top. The ones I bought have a 3 year expiration date. I have eaten lots of things that were expired. These will still be good years after that. The Wal-Mart Great Value brand costs a little less but the Libby’s tastes better. I eat these right out of the can. I have also added them to soup and pasta. Cost: $0.50. (11 cents per oz). 40 cans for 20 dollars
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