It doesn’t even take something exotic like Ebola. A bad strain of the flu could overload our medical system and push society to the edge of collapse – and maybe beyond. Preparedness is going to be essential in any kind of major outbreak. Expect stores to be quickly emptied by panic buying, and then probably looting; hospitals won’t be able to cope, and everyone will be forced back onto their own resources. That’s why it’s vital to have those resources.
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.
On a humid day in early August, I traveled to Wild Abundance, a homesteading and primitive-skills school in the rolling green hills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Founded by Natalie Bogwalker in 2012, the facility in Weaverville, North Carolina, offers courses in gardening, foraging, herbalism, tiny house construction, hide tanning, and any number of practices that might come in handy when living alone in the wilderness. It’s also a functional homestead with a sprawling vegetable garden and a series of charming hobbit-like outbuildings fanned out across a wooded hillside.
Basically I would think in terms of mixed contents for five gallon buckets. I always use Food Grade buckets only combined with good Mylar bags and oxygen absorbing packs. By mixed contents I mean bags of rice (white) beans various types along with pasta products etc. this way you do not expose five gallons of rice or beans all at once. This extends the overall life of your food supplies.
It’s mostly natural disasters we’re preparing for. I’m concerned about a war’s potential knock-on effects on the food chain, although I haven’t dug a bunker in my garden or anything. And then there’s Brexit. If that doesn’t go the right way, who’s to say we’ll be able to get hold of the things we can get hold of now? But, realistically, we are mostly likely to be affected by flooding or severe snow. There have been times when we have been cut off, unable to get out. We’d need to be prepared if that happens again.
@Cycloneous: Learning any martial arts skill takes years. Too many dojos promote people in order to keep them coming back. Elvis Presley was supposed to hold black belt ratings in several different martial arts. I strongly suspect that if he were to engage in a match with even a first class brown belt in any of those disciplines he would have gotten his butt royally kicked.
These are all great tips and many I have just practiced as a way of life. Living in rural areas with horses (we don’t refer to horses as livestock lol), l we always have to be prepared to stay where we are sometimes for a month. When that happens it is an experience if the power is out but we get by just fine. Power is always turned on in the cities first with natural disasters. Water is always the biggest concern to have a fresh supply for our horses.
This is just plain paranoia about neighbors watching you bring in groceries all the time. People shop all the time and order off of Amazon a lot. People and your delivery person don’t always know what you’re bringing into your house. Whose neighbor is really sitting around watching what their neighbors are doing? We’re busy working, doing our own shopping, watching t.v., online, and minding our own business, etc. Just my opinion.
Water is pumped from two water wells, reaching thousands of feet deep into an artesian aquifer, then stored within the massive underground, reinforced concrete water tanks, with a water distribution system being deployed to each bunker. Each bunker is buried and protected under thick berms of earth, with extensive grading for drainage, across the gently sloping grasslands.
It turns out that vitamin B12, which is used in most, if not all, of the body’s systems (like neurological, cardiac, etc.) is only found in animal products. All vegans should therefore take supplements, according to the guidelines. If we are in an emergency situation where we can’t get meat, fish, cheese, yogurt, etc., we probably all would need supplementation! It’s critical to have enough, and the effects of not having it are irreversible. (Try dementia, tardive dyskinesia, and on and on.) Yikes! Add it to the list. Oh, well. B12 is small and really cheap.

To be truthful, my initial goal with this article was to respond to readers who were just getting started and wanted a shopping list of things to buy for their food storage pantry.  I also wanted to compile a checklist that more experienced preppers could use to compare what they had to what they needed.  My goal can pretty much be summed up by saying that I wanted to write about getting started with food storage the easy way.  No frills, no fluff – just a common sense list of food items to get you started.
First aid: Many of the first aid kits you’ll find in Amazon searches aren’t good enough for survival scenarios (regardless of what their marketing says) because they’re meant for daily use or OSHA work compliance. Invest in a high-quality kit that includes supplies for more serious injuries like broken bones or deep, bleeding wounds. Frankly, we’ve never found an off-the-shelf kit we’re 100% happy with, but a great starter option is this Adventure Medical Fundamentals Kit.
They have a huge selection of dehydrated and freeze-dried foods from top brands such as Saratoga Farms, Mountain House, EasyPrep, OvaEasy, Yoders, Datrex, Mainstay, WonderMill, and more. They also have a complete selection of MRE Military Meals. These include self-heating kits with meals like spaghetti, sweet and sour chicken, and garden vegetables in tomato sauce.
21. Coffee – This bean is a great all-around thing to have in a doomsday scenario. It gives water a nice taste, increases energy and alertness, and will always be a great bartering item due to many who need their morning fix. Buying the whole green beans is the best option for long term storage. San Marco coffee offers a 25lb. pail with a 10 year shelf life!
Whether you embrace firearms or shun them, you still need a way to defend yourself, your family and your property.  Consider pepper sprays, martial arts, and other defensive mechanisms in addition to traditional firearms.  It is foolhardy to believe that having some means of defense is not needed because “there is no one out to get you”.  Don’t be naive in this regard!

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 »
Rice. This is an old standby. It can form the base of many tasty and nutritious meals. Be aware that although it requires no processing, it does require quite a bit of water to cook. It is most economical to buy rice in 40 lb bags and repackage it into buckets yourself, a 5 gallon bucket will hold a 40lb bag. For a bit more you can find rice sold pre-sealed in buckets from a number of sources.

Medical is another critical group of items that should be well-stocked for the average and serious prepper alike. The most important thing about this is the individual needs of yourself and your family. Special antibiotics, diabetic medicine, hearts meds etc.. will vary from family to family. Aside from the basics be sure to understand your family’s special needs as well.


In my tours in Afghanistan we used a lot of “connex”/shipping containers for bunkers. Keep in mind that this was AFTER we hardened them with additional steel “I” beams and a lot of extra welding and they were placed above ground surrounded by HESCO barriers and covered on top with about 3 feet of sand bags. The ceiling would bow inward from the weight even in spite of the reinforcement and the bunkers that had been there for several years would leak and the ceiling and walls were warped pretty badly. They worked great for incoming rocket fire and mortars… Read more »

#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.
When I first started prepping, I was making meals in jars, or called “just add water”. They are quick and convenient, but will use up water, fast! So now have home canned meats, fruits, veggies, soups, etc. These will compliment my jar meals because they already have liquid in them. Just use a little common sense and think food prep in everyday life, then think of ways to prep with little to nothing….prep conveniences.
18.  5 pounds of Coffee or 100 Tea Bags.  There are those that will say that life without coffee is not life at all.  Whole bean (assuming you have a hand grinder), ground or instant – take your choice.  Or substitute tea.  Green tea and many herbal teas are quite therapeutic so if you like tea, this may be a good way to go. To learn more about bulk coffee processing and storing for preppers, read this guide here.

7. A selection of non-GMO, heirloom seeds suitable for your climate zone.  Tough times may include expensive produce that’s difficult to come by.  You can grow your own, but there’s a very high learning curve involved.  Stock up on seeds for foods you know your family will eat.  Heirloom seeds are preferred since they haven’t been genetically modified.  Learn how to save seeds from one season to the next, but whatever you purchase,

We talk a lot about the 80-20 rule (the “Pareto principle”) on The Prepared. For example, 20% of the total possible work gets you 80% prepared. To go from 80% to 100% prepared requires a lot more work and money. Another example is that you should prepare for the 80% of likely scenarios, not the unlikely ones like fascist zombies arriving on a radioactive alien asteroid.
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.”

4. A .22 rifle.  This is an inexpensive go-to firearm that is useful for hunting small game and is very budget friendly when it comes to ammunition.  Because the ammo is so cheap, a .22 is ideal for learning and developing marksmanship skills.  You can always move up to more expensive guns, but the skills you develop with a .22 will easily transfer to larger caliber firearms. I also like the .22 handgun as well.
Thanks, Viet Nam Vet. People keep calling us a democracy but that is not our form of government. Our founding fathers were reluctant to have a true democracy because they correctly feared mob rule. It doesn’t bother me that government moves slowly. That keeps it from swaying to and fro in shallow breezes. Congress was supposed to be a deliberative body. The Supreme Court was supposed to be an even more deliberative body. Rapid response is only acceptable in the troops coming to your rescue, not in governments.

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.
This group is concerned with the spread of fatal diseases, biological agents, and nerve gases, including swine flu, E. coli 0157, botulism, dengue fever, Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease, SARS, rabies, Hantavirus, anthrax, plague, cholera, HIV, ebola, Marburg virus, Lassa virus, sarin, and VX.[36] In response, they might own NBC (nuclear, biological and chemical) full-face respirators, polyethylene coveralls, PVC boots, nitrile gloves, plastic sheeting and duct tape.
You might be able to stretch the time food will stay cold, Martin says, “by wrapping [the refrigerator or freezer] in sleeping bags. Wrap it up as best you can and don't open it unless it's absolutely necessary, and when you do, take out as much as you can use that day.” And when time's running out, why not make it a cooking extravaganza? Fire up the grill (outside, remember!) or go ahead and eat that ice cream you were saving.
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.
Check out the full review of the best emergency water storage containers and tips on how to store water. We recommend that you have the two weeks of water ready, sitting in their containers. Don’t depend on finding and filtering water or filling your bathtub for this two week period. It’s very likely you’ll have access to portable water filters and other methods because of your bug out bags, but think of those as a bonus backup.
Laura B. "You have no privacy on the internet, and probably never have."You got that almost rite, all except the word "probably." You have never had any privacy on the internet, and very little anywhere in this country for a lot longer than the internet has been around. Your credit cards track you and your perches. Your drivers license tracks you. Your phone, both cell and home, tracks you. Everything you buy, car, home, property, even the groceries you buy are tracked. Every bill you pay tracks you. The only way to not be tracked is to not have a birth certificate, a social security card, a credit/debit card, never own anything taxable and never pay for anything with anything but gold, silver, or barter. Even the government currency called the dollar has a # on it so it can be tracked. All the things I've listed were put in place for 1 reason, and that is to track. Privacy hasn't been a part of American life for over 100 yrs.
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.
While I keep almost all of my food in the basement, with only a small portion in the kitchen pantry, 98% of my basement food storage is in sealed cans, or in mylar bags stored in 5 gallon buckets. That way if my basement floods I can wash the cans with disinfecting solution (10% bleach solution) and relabel using markers. Upstairs I keep my emergency blankets since they aren’t impacted by summer heat where if I tried to store food in the bedrooms it would be at risk from summer temperatures. But as I write this I realize I need to move my water filter and water BOBs out of the basement and upstairs so they don’t get impacted by a flood. Thanks for making me think of this!
There are a wide range of these available. This is essentially the MRE category. I like the first strike Meals, these are a full day of rations in a single package, the non essentials have been stripped away and they are a pretty compact package for the content. There are a lot of options available, however, so you can pick what works for you. I don’t recommend MREs as a staple of your food storage program. Shelf life is marginal and fluctuates with temperature, they are bulky on a per calorie basis, and they are cost prohibitive. However, they are very convenient and have a place as a supplemental portion of your food storage program.
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