I live about an hour outside Manchester. It’s not the back of beyond, but there are things that could happen, especially as we’re approaching winter: a delivery drivers’ strike, an oil strike, floods. I store a bit of extra food in case the food and petrol chains crumble. I travel with a blanket and thermals in case I break down in snow, lose a phone signal and am too far away from home to walk. My husband once got stuck in poor weather on a motorway. He was grateful for the self-heating food packages I’d packed.
I connected with Jennifer through Daisy Luther, the Virginia-based writer and survival preparedness expert behind the blog The Organic Prepper, which boasts more than 30,000 followers on Facebook and roughly 32,000 monthly visits on Pinterest. Jennifer says she learned a lot about prepping from the site and is a member of its affiliated private Facebook group, which Luther says is nearly 77 percent women. (Luther and other bloggers I spoke with for this story say that while they approach survivalism from a female perspective, they’ve encountered no small number of men who are interested in these practices as well.)
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.
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.
The difference between the male prepper stereotype and this softer, more feminine strain of survivalism, Mitchell explains, is that women’s work never stops being useful. “We don’t need the pickup truck and the chainsaw and the assault weapon every day, but every day someone must love the children,” he says. “Every day we must feed ourselves and care for ourselves emotionally. There is no crisis that can possibly exacerbate the [need for] women’s traditional roles, because they’re always needed. Do we need the men? For practical purposes, maybe not.”
Let’s face it, practical and usable space quickly becomes a valuable commodity when you are going to spend a significant amount of time in the shelter before venturing topside, and that environment should be comfortable, healthy and space efficient. You are going to be stressed enough if you are in there, and the last thing you need is the additional stress of a cramped, unfriendly environment.
When country leaders fail to stop a nuclear war or a mad scientist spreads an airborne virus that can turn every living being into a flesh-eating zombie, a perfectly shielded underground place filled with complete amenities is exactly where everyone would want to be trapped into. Surprisingly, such dreamy, luxurious, and sci-fi-like underground bunkers exist in different parts of the world.
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.
If it’s at all below the level of the water table, it will flood, concrete, steel, or other materials be damned. Sure, there is some top-notch engineering you can do to keep the water out, but it’s expensive. One solution is to put the bunker at ground level and then pile dirt on top of it, but you need very large amount of dirt to protect it from impact.
Disturbing news from the Southern Carribean. The World Bank just “ruled” against Venezuela in favor of oil giant ConocoPhillips, saying they could “seize” their government owned oil assets. All this while Russian nuclear bombers and naval vessels have been sighted in the area. Venezuela, already on the verge of collapse, may be the next flash point in the world. Lawsuit Article Link
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.
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.
In his book Dancing at Armageddon: Survivalism and Chaos in Modern Times, Mitchell, the sociology professor, develops a working theory of survivalism as a response to living in a society where every object we could possibly need is already taken care of for us. “The shelves are full, and the channels are full,” Richard tells me over the phone. “This is a response to a culture that has stripped away from us our sense of efficacy, our capacity to craft culture.”
The Silo Home in Saranac, New York up in Adirondack Mountains makes another incredible underground shelter that will keep you alive when a nuclear bomb hits the big city. The property costs around $750,000 listed on the Saranac real estate. At the site, you will see a regular, cabin-like home serving as a decoy house. However, the real home lies underneath the closet.
Over the phone from the company’s headquarters in Salt Lake City, Shields attributed the spike to the onslaught of natural disasters that left thousands of Americans without food in 2017, and rattled many more. “You got the hurricane that hit Florida, you got the hurricane that hit the Houston area, you got the hurricane that devastated Puerto Rico,” he said. “Geologists are coming out and saying that California is severely overdue for a big earthquake. You got these major events that are taking place that affect mainstream America. So how do you protect your family?”