Magazines are a weak point in any gun that uses them. They can get lost or damaged, and springs eventually weaken. This is one advantage of pump shotguns and bolt action rifles – they’re not as dependent on magazines as semiautos. Get as many good quality magazines as you can for any guns that need them, and take good care of them. Then get some weapon spares. Firing pins, springs and backup sights are all good things to have. A chipped firing pin will turn any weapon into junk – you need to have the parts, tools and skills to replace it.

The irony of this didn’t escape me: While I’d been drawn to freeze-dried food as a convenient way of preparing for a cataclysm that may never come, there I was, toiling away for hours in the kitchen to prepare a dish I’d be eating that night and the next day. It was the most fortifying meal I’d eaten all week, and a minor achievement: Thanks to the premeasured portions and easy-to-follow instructions, I’d learned how to make a chicken pot pie from scratch.

Don’t forget to make a list of any other kind you might need; a spare car battery, perhaps, or ones for a GPS or to power a charging pack for other electronic devices. Think it through. Also, do not skimp on quality batteries! They are not made equal; better brands will typically have more juice and longer shelf lives. Alkaline batteries lose a significant amount of power over time, so rotate these like anything else. Lithium batteries have much longer shelf lives than alkaline but are significantly more expensive.


What is your physical ability? Are you and your spouse able to lift a 50 gallon garbage can full, in case you have to move it? Not everybody can do it alone easily. I met a person who was physicaly strong, but she had days her hands couldn’t open anything because of a chronic sickness. Another one, very strong also, but his back was fragile sometimes.
I’ve always thought the UK was sheltered from major natural disaster. But when I returned from LA I reconsidered, and I started to identify situations for which prepping might give me a bit of an advantage. It’s basic stuff: having a first aid kit in my car, storing extra food, carrying a power bank for my mobile phone – things a lot of us do naturally. Think of mothers with young kids: they’ve all packed a first aid kid, some water, some food. That’s a go-bag.
If you just need to cover one person for two weeks in the cheapest way possible, you can buy one bucket for $130 and stretch the 27,330 total calories an extra day or two at 1,900 calories per day instead of the usual 2,275. Or buy two buckets for the cheapest way to cover two people. But we’d recommend a minimum of two buckets regardless, even for one person, just for redundancy and the unexpected.
I prep on two levels: first, for events that might cause a bit of social unrest and all of the food in my local supermarket to quickly disappear – a financial collapse, say – and, second, for something bigger: a national pandemic, a major environmental catastrophe. For the first scenario I’ve organised a reliable supply of clean water and a store of long-shelf-life food, and then some practical stuff: stitches for wounds, analgesics, antibiotics, a whole range of meds you wouldn’t normally have, various kinds of equipment needed to start a fire. I have go-bags at home and in my car, because you never know where you’ll be when something happens, and I’m part of a prepping community that has an equipment cache stored in a secluded spot near to my house. If there’s some kind of cataclysm? I’ve organised escape routes, away from the general population. You’ll find me above 900ft – or out of the country.

1.  20 pounds of Rice.  As boring as it may sound, rice is one of the backbones of every food storage plan.  It is filling, nutritious  and with the use of  varied seasonings and condiments, highly adaptable in a variety of tasty meals.  The choice of white, brown or a combination of the two is up to you.  White rice has a longer shelf life but brown rice has more nutritional benefits.  In my own household, I like to combine the two along with some Jasmine, Basmati and Calrose sticky rice. NOTE: Be sure to check out recent guide on how to remove arsenic from rice.
That spirit of self-sufficiency runs through the history of American food culture. Lydia Maria Child’s 1829 manual The Frugal Housewife, one of the first American cookbooks ever published, instructed women to contribute to their family’s finances by making sure no scrap of food was wasted: “Nothing should be thrown away so long as it is possible to make any use of it, however trifling that use may be.” The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints* encourages members to keep a three-month food supply on hand at all times, and even sells dehydrated food products on its official website. This Mormon connection may be why Utah is such a freeze-dried food hub: Of 21 freeze-dried food companies I counted online, 16 were from the state, and Bedford told me she first learned about long-term food storage by reading blogs by Mormon women.

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."
#4 Knowing the right time to G.O.D is an ongoing struggle for me. I know there is no pat answer to this one. Rather, it takes observation and that “sixth sense” or “gut feeling” we are all born with but don’t always rely on. In fact I’m infamous in my family for saying, “You’ve just got to trust me on this, I’ve got a gut feeling”. Have saved myself & family from a few unpleasant issues with my “gut feeling”. It’s that whole idea of not leaving too soon but yet not waiting too long either that I struggle with.
Many years ago, while living in Australia, I was bitten by a snake. I’d gone walkabout and wasn’t carrying medical supplies, but I met a few locals who very quickly rustled up a remedy to ease the pain and stop the swelling. That was the first time I realised the importance of thinking ahead, and I’ve prepped in a small way ever since. About 10 years ago I got into prepping seriously. I started to analyse “what-if” scenarios: what if something went wrong near to where I live? What would I do? How would I survive?
Some of The Prepared’s experts use and love Soylent in everyday life. But there are plenty of people who dislike the taste, and one of our taste testers compared it to oat batter. The Natural flavor was the best received, followed by Cacao. Almost all of the testers didn’t like the Nectar flavor, saying the scent reminded them of perfume, and the flavor was strong and unpleasant.
You may feel helpless if you have not been an outdoorsy or rugged person for most of your life, but the most essential lifesaving and survival skills and concepts are easily learned, if not mastered. Below is a list of several core skill sets you should make a point to get trained on and practice when you can. In all but the smallest towns there will be someone who has something to teach you about all of them.
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.

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.
The 3 most important immediate needs are water availability, water purity and food to feed the family. I am starting a business to be an authorized dealer for items that meet these needs – as a way to help out friends, neighbors who have not started preparing for immediate needs if the power goes off for more than a week. Hand pump on the well head, Water purifiers and a home freeze dryer which will pay for itself in a year or 2 based on the prices of freeze died foods. I really, really want to freeze dry my own highly nutritious food without preservatives instead of buying commercial freeze dried foods.
In addition to this list, may I refer you to the Weston Price Foundation and the book Nourishing Traditions? These two sources will help us to decide on the healthiest versions of all these foods; the end goal is to remain healthy and nourished so that we can enjoy all these things we store! Thanks for the article–it set my mental wheels to turning 🙂
Although peanut butter can get expensive if stockpiled alongside your other survival foods, it is a tasty source of protein and much-needed fat. If you are forced to do some last minute shopping, make sure you get some peanut butter as well. You’ll be glad to have this quick snack on hand during an emergency. You could survive only on hardtacks and peanut butter if you are required to do so. Peanut butter can last for years past its expiration date if stored properly.
The 3 most important immediate needs are water availability, water purity and food to feed the family. I am starting a business to be an authorized dealer for items that meet these needs – as a way to help out friends, neighbors who have not started preparing for immediate needs if the power goes off for more than a week. Hand pump on the well head, Water purifiers and a home freeze dryer which will pay for itself in a year or 2 based on the prices of freeze died foods. I really, really want to freeze dry my own highly nutritious food without preservatives instead of buying commercial freeze dried foods.
I believe the initial goal amount of food stockpile for someone new to prepping should a year. After a year…they should work towards 2 years, etc. I also tend to agree that it’s better to plan for the worst and hope for the best. So for someone new to prepping a years worth of food is a good 1st goal. Will a years worth of food be enough for a downfall scenario you describe? Probably not, but it will be good for a milder SHTF scenario. My advice is for everyone to start stockpiling as much food as they can…just in case.

I giggled about your reason for not including wheat berries. I agree that many have few or no backing skills or how to make flour but…. I like the idea of wheat because if it is properly stored it can last 30 years and when I first started prepping I told my self that I wasn’t looking for a part time job rotating short lived stock. With my first 5 gal buckets of wheat (from a farmer friend) I also got a manual flour mill. Lots of fun and good exercise. I make some version of whole wheat bread every week. (Don’t want to be heavily invested in prepping and not know how to use what I got!) One season we had a complete wheat failure so I picked up a couple of buckets of soybeans. Another learning curve but eventually made pretty good bean dishes. Question for you and yours, during general internet research I found some articles on Trypsid inhibitor (TI)in beans and how it could be a real problem. Most of the articles appeared to be aimed at telling farmers to not feed soybeans directly (with out some processing) to pigs – in time it can kill them. The TI is neutralized when sufficiently heated. So the hours of boiling beans would take care of this condition but it doesn’t answer questions like:

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.  These varieties will help to balance out your cooking options and even add a variety of textures and flavors.  Another take on this point, is to not store all of your food storage in one location.  Instead of having all of your food storage in one location, it may be wise to have other hiding locations.  False walls, under floor boards, another building on your property, at your emergency bug out location or even a storage facility.
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
The #1 thing you.ve missed is to not store everything in the same place even if you are ‘bugging in’. I lost my home & all it’s contents to a fire on Christmas Day. All my dehydrated (by me plus bought stuff) jars & cans are gone, along with stuff I’d been saving…dog food, bleach, baking soda etc. Luckily I’d stored a little bit in the {untouched} detached garage. I mean a wind storm or flood could cause the same devastation. Just wanted to add that because it’s not something you think about. I know I didn’t til it happened.
Canned meat: Get about 20 cans of assorted meats. Without refrigeration it will be hard to keep meat from spoiling, and that’s if you can get it in the first place. There are quite a few options, SPAM, Ham, Beef, Chicken, Tuna and sardines, but remember buy what you eat now. Also make sure you have a manual can opener, your electric can opener might not work.

A lot of us don’t truly appreciate how much spices can add to our dining experience until we don’t have them. While they don’t have a lot of calories, I think they are important for preppers to put back. A lot of spices can be bought by the pound for a low cost. I cook every day and sometimes it takes a few years to go through a 1 lb of some spices! 


We are prepared to shelter in place. In our area, one road east bottlenecks about 1 mile from my house, and a road north is 2 lanes out of town for miles before it hits a 4 lane highway or wider. Unless we got several hours advance warning and assuming nobody else did, there would be no way to evacuate – at least not safely. We’ve always planned to shelter in place.
If you are in a tight spot and cannot cook or prepare anything, it is a very good idea to have ready to go meals and freeze dried foods on hand. Things like MREs  (meals ready to eat), trail mix, beef jerky, candy and food that make you happy (good for your psychological health) can come in handy in a tight spot. Check out our guide on how to prepare DIY MREs to prepare you for any emergencies.
One major upside of freeze-dried food is its convenience. Since all its water content has been removed—via a process that involves exposing food to subzero temperatures, while removing the resulting water vapor with a vacuum—it’s easier than canned goods to transport on the fly. To “cook” Wise Company’s six-grain Apple Cinnamon Cereal, you just boil three and a half cups of water, dump in the powdery contents of the bag (minus the oxygen absorber), and cover the pot for 12 to 15 minutes.
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