A former army base that was decommissioned in 1967, Vivos xPoint claims to be the largest survival community on earth. Right now, xPoint consists of 575 hardened concrete off-grid bunkers buried in quiet grasslands of South Dakota, near the Wyoming border. The facility may expand to as many as 5,000 bunkers, with features planned like a general store, hydroponic gardens, hot tub spa, shooting ranges, and even a community theater.
Light: It’s fine to have battery-powered flashlights for your home — provided you have some extra batteries around. We love this Mag-Lite XL200 LED flashlight because it’s tough and has multiple modes including SOS and dimmer timer. It’s a good idea to have crank-powered flashlights as well. And make sure you have candles, like this pack of six 115-hour emergency candles.
Dehydrating your food is a fabulous way to preserve it. Provided you have a dehydrator, you can dehydrate fruit, vegetables, and meat. Dehydration means to literally take the water out of the food. Without water, the food stays is less susceptible to spoilage. It can be eaten that way (think fruit leathers or beef jerky) or rehydrated and put into soups and stews and other meals.
The FDA is making significant changes to nutritional label laws that are rolling out over 2017 to 2018. Because some manufacturers have changed early and others haven’t, in some cases we couldn’t be as apples-to-apples in our data analysis as we’d like, particularly around vitamins and minerals. So we did some backdoor math by judging the amount of fruits and vegetables in each meal.
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.
Basic First Aid and Trauma- You cannot count on EMT’s, paramedics, or doctors being able to render aid if you or someone in your group is injured. Take the time to learn CPR, basic wound care, trauma care for major lacerations and penetrating wounds, and how to manage hypo- and hyperthermia. All your nice medical gear you bought up above won’t help you if you cannot employ it correctly and safely.
Time and time again I’ve seen families buy all of their wheat, then buy all of another item, and so on. Don’t do that. It’s important to keep well-balanced as you build your storage. Buy several items, rather than a large quantity of one item. If something happens and you have to live on your present storage, you’ll fare much better having a one-month supply of a variety of items than a year’s supply of two to three items.
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 »
I’ve known two families with fallout/blast shelters, both 1950s vintage. One was built in the basement of an existing house, and was strictly a fallout shelter. Cement blocks, and and a corridor entrance with two angles, something like the entrances one sees today in airport bathrooms. I don’t remember what they used for the ceiling, tho we used to play in it as kids. It had a hand crank ventilation system, which IIRC used a whale of a lot of arm power for the amount of air it moved.
We placed these on heavy-duty shelves, $39–49 at Lowe’s. Plastic totes are great for storing sauce bottles, small cans, etc. just make sure to rotate your stock. If you find someone who is like-minded, you can share things like 50 pound bags of pinto beans, rice, etc. We got corn and wheat from the feed store. No need for expensive freeze-dried MREs. Two IBC totes and a Berkey water filter and you can survive hurricanes, natural disasters and snowbird season here in Florida. Welcome to the world of just common sense.
If you managed to get everything listed above and a little extra, once you get back home it’s time to take care of your groceries. Storing food for an extended period requires some preparation if you don’t want to waste your money. First, you will need a cool, dry place that is dark even during the day. If you have a basement or cellar, you have the ideal place to store your food as long as it is not too close to the heating installation. And second, make sure that the temperature doesn’t oscillate too much in the place designated as your temporary survival pantry.
My very first concern would be water. Water is essential. Second would be First Aid supplies. Third would be sealing the room or space I am in. Fourth would be protecting food and putting it where it can’t be easily contaminated. Fifth would be setting up communication in a way that doesn’t require electricity or Internet. Sixth would be prepping for nuclear winter. Lots of blankets and warm clothing to cover up with.
You can figure 25-30 years storage life for hard red wheat, stored at 60 degrees in a 55 gallon drum, using 1 pound of dry ice to drive out the oxygen (wait 24hrs for the dry ice to “melt” before sealing the drum). 400 pounds of wheat per drum equals 400 man-days of calories, and costs you about $100. Fill 3-4 barrels. It’s Cheap insurance. Add a barrel of Winter Rye for variety. Add a barrel of oats. Then a couple barrels of WHITE rice, and 2-3 barrels of pinto beans. (You need the beans to balance what’s missing from the grains. The beans may be harder to rehydrate after 10-12 years without a pressure cooker, but then you just grind up the dried beans, and bake them in your bread.) For around $1000, you can be prepared to feed your family for close to a decade, if you also garden, keep chickens, and have fruit trees and bushes. Honey is way too expensive to store on a dollar/calorie basis, but consider bee keeping. A drum takes up LESS than 2’X2’. And they stack nicely, at 33” tall. In a 2’X10′ strip along a basement wall, you can have 10 barrels with 4000 pounds of food. Hang a peg board in front of it, and you’ve got very useful space. If you can’t spare that much space in your basement, to protect the lives of your family, think Venezuela .
Didn’t see this on the list and it could be an entire new thread. But first have a olan of what you will do. Think of all scenarios. What to do if you are not at home with the family. Where do you meet? Do you have a bug out site that everyone who needs to know has a map to it and knows when to bug out. Make sure you have what you need from this llist at the bug out site already. Do not try to haul what you need once you get there. You wil never make… Read more »
All the membership or discount cards they give you at stores track every purchase you make and I read somewhere these purchases, n o matter what you buy are tracked by the government. Even your computer tracks you. Have you eve noticed if you purchase an item online a few minutes later you will see a little screen pop up on the side showing what you just purchased and other similar items for sale.
A lot of electric mountain bikes have hit the market lately. I’ve listed one instead of a regular mountain bike because they can help you travel substantially faster than you would be able to without the extra boost. Of course it’s important to get a bike that will continue to work well even after you run out of electricity, in case you only want to use the boost initially, but not waste your precious post-SHTF electricity on bike speed later, which is why the ability to remove the battery off an electric bike completely is very helpful. No one needs to carry dead weight.
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:
I think it depends on the situation. Dollar for dollar, I think you can get more for your money. A case of gov MRE’s is around 75-100 dollars. That’s 12 meals. If you have a family, and if this is your only means of ‘survival’ food, it is not going to last that long. For food on the run, the tactical run, it is an excellent option to have. For a 72 hour grid down fight or flight scenario, also a good option. While I wouldn’t completely write them off as useless or non essential in most survival situations, they… Read more »
Fires happen at the best of times—when the SHTF, they are even more likely to happen. You need to be prepared. And you will be with the Firemask as part of your prepper gear This is a respiratory device that will protect against smoke inhalation, fire, and radiant heat. It also protects against carbon monoxide, ammonia, hydrogen sulfide, and other toxic gases.
This is the easiest way to store emergency water and is ideal for any type of home. As long as you have warning you won’t have or be able to use your water, the waterBOB is indispensable. This is a one-time-use container that holds up to 100 gallons of water. Since we need to store 1 gallon per person per day, the waterBOB provides 100 days’ worth of water for one person.
I will not stock PAncakes because they are water wasteful. You hydrate something just to boil it off. Also I don’t need the sweetness. Raw, organic honey has enzymes helpful for cuts though. A good medicinal vector I think. NOT for eating. The single most helpful SHTF thing you can do is eat well and get your appetite down before the fact. Eat light to heavy and don’t eat when you are not hungry EVER. Yesterday I only ate one meal and even then not really cause I was hungry but kinda for fun. IT was two potatoes. I had the energy to get shit done all day because I eat veggies when I need to eat. And I take my vitamins: Vitamin A! Vitamin D! And Vitamin K! The holy trinity of eye health, mental health, bone/teeth health and everything else.
With that goal in mind, let me say this: this is not a list of items intended for deep storage. Nor is it a list of items packaged so that they have a 25 year shelf life. (And in reality, do you really need your stored food to last that long?) I am also not going to list items that might be foreign to your palate, difficult to find, or too costly to absorb into your weekly shopping budget.
MRE’s are not bad. I would not eat them for an extended period of time. They’re either short term or transitional food. Short term is 1-2 weeks. Transitional is going from whatever came from the grocery store over to your long term storage food. The down side with consuming MRE’s and freeze drieds- they’ll plug you up. Drink plenty of water! Good reason to keep metamusal around. MRE Tabasco is a tiny bottle good for one meal. Alternate MRE heating. Open the salt packet up and sprinkle the salt grains onto a hot flat metal surface, lay your MRE on… Read more »
MREs come in boxes of 12 and each MRE is a different meal. You quickly learn which meals you like and which ones you don’t. If you were unfortunate enough to be the last one to the box you got what everyone else passed over. When I was in the service I think the worst meal was the beef patty. There are some similarities between the meals. They all come with an entrée, some side and a dessert. You get crackers and peanut butter or cheese, a condiment packet and usually a drink mix. We would even come up with our own names for meals that displayed our disdain for the contents. One meal, Meatballs with barbecue sauce was affectionately called ‘Meat nuts with Barf A Shoe’ sauce by myself and the guys in my unit. I am sure there are millions of other creative renames. I actually liked that MRE and I think it was pretty much my go-to meal as long as I could beat everyone to the box.
Clothing and Footwear- Appropriate to your locale and weather. Aside from being able to dress to the environment and weather conditions, you should consider practical utilitarian clothing that will help you succeed. Tough, breathable, flexible, quick-drying clothing paired with gloves and sturdy boots or hiking shoes will help you negotiate dangerous man-made or natural environments and give you a degree of protection against incidental scrapes, pokes and slices.
The difference between me and someone else? Imagine if we both lost our jobs at the same time. Realistically, I haven’t got to spend any money. I’ve got a back-up of food supplies to last six months. I haven’t got to buy wood. I haven’t got to turn the taps on, because I’ve stored rain water and filtered it for drinking. I haven’t got to put the heating on, because I have other means of keeping warm at home. I could be unemployed for a while without it impacting me financially. Whereas someone else, they’re thinking: “Shit, I’ve got a month’s wages. I don’t know how long this can go on for.” That’s a kind of prepping in itself.
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.
No flour/wheat because you need yeast, etc? Not completely true. If you have access to clean water (or milk/yoghurt), you can make Indian flat bread or chapattis! Once you get the hang of making them – basically adding tepid water to the flour until you can make a smooth and elastic dough, then roll it out and cook in a skillet – you can make endless variations! I often dissolve a vegetable or beef bouillon cube (you should stock those too, or instant bouillon) in the water first to add more flavor to the chapattis, but you can use any herbs you like. Getting the hang of making them might seem a little trying at first, but eventually whipping them up is just a breeze! My kids love eating them right out of the pan with a little butter spread on the still hot bread, and we often eat them together with beans, etc. Here’s a handy tutorial for those interested: //indianfood.about.com/od/breadrecipes/ig/How-to-Make-Chapatis/Making-Chapatis—Step-1.htm
Things may not go the same way as your favorite prime time series. Although you can take advantage of the tiniest opportunity to run, find an ally, and make a barricade, your chances of survival above the ground remains at a slim ten to twenty percent. An underground shelter provides a better hiding place, increasing your chances to live through war, pestilence, and famine.
20. Mini LED Flashlight and Extra Batteries. Okay, this is a cheater item. It is not food but it is all important and so it will not hurt to stash a miniature flashlight or two along with the edibles in your food storage pantry. My top pick of the moment is the Blocklite. This thing just goes and goes and goes plus, it does not take up any storage space.
Edible landscaping provides another potentially important supplement to your storage foods. Instead of planting ornamental trees, plant fruit trees. Instead of ordinary shrubs, plant blueberry bushes. Fruiting vines, blackberries, and things of this nature are great to have around in the best of times, they can be life savers in the worst of times.
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.
Dozens of earthquakes gave Hawaii residences a 48 hour warning before the volcano erupted. The average warning time for California wildfires victims was 20 minutes. Japan’s tsunami victims had a 15-minute warning. Being one of the first to know about oncoming dangers can provide you a head-start. Emergency alert systems are a great preparedness resource. There are several companies that provide emergency alerts services and many of them are free. There are also a couple of different ways to receive alerts. Modern technology has given us many different methods to be notified of possible threats. Here are several options to consider.
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…
Then there the question of size. In1962 Anton Geesinck took the judo world by storm at the Kodokan in Tokyo. He won the world championship. The first non-Japanese to do so. He was a giant. The old timers said, “If your spirit had been strong, you would have won. The Japanese judoka who lost to him said, “B.S. if you had been out on the floor with that monster you wouldn’t be saying that.”
Perhaps for that reason, many of the practices that bloggers like Luther and Nygaard describe as prepping seem to blend into the world of homesteading, a brand of self-reliance more closely associated with living off the land. According to Gaye Levy, the Arizona-based writer behind the blog Strategic Living and the founder of Backdoor Survival, one of the longest-running woman-run sites in the space, the two aren’t exactly the same thing. “I think prepping is pretty clear: You’re preparing for a disruptive event that’s gonna turn your day-to-day world upside down. Homesteaders typically will have a plot of land. They attempt to grow their own food, they raise farm animals, and that is their job.”
MREs at the time were pretty much like they are now, but the menus have improved and some minor details have made this meal in a bag much more palatable if you can believe that. I served before they had things like M&M’s or skittles for dessert and hot sauce to flavor your food. We also didn’t have a built-in heater like they do now. If you wanted your MRE warm you were limited only by your creativity. MRE food packets are foil so they are both waterproof and allow you to heat them on almost anything. We would use the heater vents in our trucks, lay them on our stoves in the tent or on the block of our engines.
Thanks for another helpful article, Pat. I’d been wondering about long term food for my preps. I’ve never had MRE’s, although I have eaten “C” & “K” rations (remember those battleship gray-green cans?) an older relative brought home. My question is, how do I determine the best taste/value for my dollar? My goal of having 6 months to 1 year’s worth of food for a family will be significant in terms of money spent. Do you know of any “survival food” vendors who have trial offers for people to taste test BEFORE they plunk down 4 figures for boxes of… Read more »
Legacy Foods 120 Serving Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner Bucket is a great option for vegetarians or people who want more of a bland foundation that you mix with other ingredients. For $299, one bucket covers two people for two weeks at 1,500 calories per day. Although other companies drop the calories to cut costs, Legacy assumed you would add more ingredients to their base, so we thought the relatively low calories per day was acceptable.
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Purchasing survival gear is a necessary part of the prepping process but it should not be done to the exclusion of food, water, and medical supplies. The exception to this rule is water purification and fire-making tools both of which can be acquired for very little cost. For example, consider pool shock for water treatment plus a magnesium fire tool and dryer lint for fire-making.
Batteries- Your primary battery-gobblers will be the above flashlights and battery-powered lanterns. Make sure you have plenty of each type you need for all your lights. You can make your life easy by limiting your battery consumption on lights to two types of cell; perhaps one kind for flashlights and headlamps, and one for lanterns. Or you might have one type for low-output utility lights, and another, perhaps CR123 cells for your high-output work and weapon lights.
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.
Jennifer didn’t get into prepping with a hurricane like Maria in mind. Her own personal SHTF moment — the calamity that spurred her to start stockpiling and growing food in the first place — was one that most people can relate to: the sudden closure of the law firm where she’d worked for several years. “We were down to only one income, so I said, ‘I have to really do something to help us get through this,’” Jennifer recalls.
I usually go into lists like this thinking “this person is going to prove how little they know”. But, you just proved how much you know. This list is spot-on, especially the parts about preparing both for and against human nature. IE: in a perfect “bad” situation you want to be that person that is prepared, and can help others learn how to survive by teaching them to hunt, farm, build shelter. But, in a realistic survival situation you need to protect yourself to ensure you’re not just prepping for the big dude down the street with a gun to come over and take advantage of you.
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Documents and IDs– Create copies of all important documents, things like deeds, titles, driver’s licenses, birth certificates, social security cards, diplomas, degrees, and such to keep either in a sealed, weather protected case or on an encrypted flash drive. Keep it secret and safe! That would be a major blow to your personal security if compromised.
In 1980, John Pugsley published the book The Alpha Strategy. It was on The New York Times Best Seller list for nine weeks in 1981. After 28 years in circulation, The Alpha Strategy remains popular with survivalists, and is considered a standard reference on stocking food and household supplies as a hedge against inflation and future shortages.
4) Ten-year D cells don’t always live up to their name. In a 16-pack, I typically find at least one that is below operating voltage. Now, before going to the trouble of loading 4 new cells into the lantern I use one of those cheap (red) multi-testers from Harbor Freight to ensure each battery indicates slightly above its rated 1.5 volts. In my experience, if any of the 4 batteries indicates 1.25 volts (or thereabouts) the lantern won’t turn on.
Good article! A few years ago, a medical condition for someone in my family required that I learn how to cook without high fat dairy, no corn products, no fish, and very low sodium. That means almost no packaged or processed foods, no fast food, almost no snack foods, no packaged flavor packets, no bottled flavorings…well you get the idea. Now I visit Costco a couple times a year for rice, beans, pasta, and meat. I grow almost all the vegetables we eat year round. Our grocery bills have gone way down. And now I actually know how to cook almost anything from scratch ingredients that I always have on hand in bulk. The foods many preppers stock up, are foods I never have in my house so I wouldn’t miss them if they suddenly became unavailable. In hind sight I’ve learned that “stuff” isn’t as important as skills. Trust me, cooking is a skill.
I believe that the only real weakness in this article is the insistence that needing to add a lot of water is a downside to a particular food. Water is life. If you do not have an essentially unlimited supply of water, you will die when it runs out, and food is entirely irrelevant. If there isn’t an essentially unlimited supply on your property (well, stream, lake, etc), nor a nearby supply you can lug to your property, then you need to abandon your place and go somewhere that has water.