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.
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.
Still, these extraterrestrial-looking foodstuffs seem to be having something of a moment: For the past four years, Costco has been selling pallets of shriveled vegetables, fruits, grains, and meats that promise to feed a single family for up to a year—and if you’re not a member, you can purchase similar survival kits, many of which boast a 20- to 30-year shelf life, at Walmart and Target. One top seller, Wise Company, saw its sales nearly double over the past four years, reaching around $75 million, according to a Bloomberg Businessweek cover story last November. The company’s CEO, Jack Shields, told me he estimates the industry as a whole generates between $400 and $450 million annually in retail.
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