First, bring needed items into the main building and prepare to shelter in place. After going through Prepper University, we have window kits in each room to seal windows and doors. Get out radiation detectors and radios. Test radios with neighbors. take a shower and wash clothes, then start filling tubs with water and prepare to shut off water to the house to prevent contamination. Might be the last shower for a while. Pray. Those are the only things left, given time.
Editor’s Note: This article was generously contributed by Clarence Mason and in it he compares and contrasts two different survival bunker designs. Each have their advantages, but if you are considering building your own survival retreat option in the future, it makes sense to consider what is the best bunker design before you get too far down the planning road.
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.
2.  20 pounds of Pinto Beans.   Like rice, beans are the backbone to every food storage plan.  You may substitute white, kidney or other types of dried beans but honestly, pintos are one of the least expensive dried beans and in my opinion, one of the tastiest.  Need help cooking beans? when you are done here be sure to read Survival Woman Learns to Cook Dried Beans and you should too and  Respect for the Lowly Pinto Bean.
Vivos or any contractor can provide the components and equipment systems required. Vivos can also provide a totally turnkey shelter. New owners decide if they want solar or wind power to back up generators; a nuclear, biological and chemical (NBC) air filtration system; back-up battery power and an inverter; a hydroponic and aquaponics garden area; geothermal heating and cooling; low voltage lighting systems; a full kitchen, the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, dining and living areas, a theatre, flooring and wall finishes, the size of your storage area, private security safe(s) for your valuables and toys, satellite service, virtually everything to meet your personal requirements and concerns. The bunkers will be a blank canvas to prepare as much, or as little as you like, with no restrictions on when you can use it, or how many people will share it with you when catastrophe hits.
FEMA and its federal partners understand that improving the EAS is a process that takes time. IPAWS has compiled experiential lessons learned and best practices from the Alaska EAS Tests in 2010 & 2011 as well as through the EAS rebuilding effort and tsunami live-code test in the U.S. Virgin Islands (located in the EAS Tests and Demonstrations section).  Laboratory research is also being conducted at IPAWS.
Ned in the comments reminded me that a bike really should be on this list. Of course, I don’t really need to say, but a good mountain bike is incredibly useful in a SHTF situation where fuel is hard to get. Ned mentioned that it’d be a good idea to couple the bike with a carrying rack on the front or back, and if you can, an electric generator. I think that’s a pretty damn great idea; only problem is I haven’t managed to find any electric generators for bikes that actually have good reviews. If you know of one, please recommend one down in the comments section.
Survivalists maintain their group identity by using specialized terminology not generally understood outside their circles. They often use military acronyms such as OPSEC and SOP, as well as terminology common among adherents to gun culture or the peak oil scenario. They also use terms that are unique to their own survivalist groups; common acronyms include:
Hello Ryan. My experience has been that the more that you can keep air (oxygen) away from your food the longer the shelf life. I like to seal packaged food into larger mylar bags with an oxygen packet, then I seal the bag. I store these mylar bags in a 5 gallon bucket with lid. Wal Mart has these buckets for sale that cost $2.97 and the lid is $1.12. I personally like having a few barriers between my food and mice, bugs…etc. Let us know what you decide to do!

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Stored food, even buckets of emergency food, mean you will eat well. But you need fresh food and that is tough to get in emergency situations. Having sprouting seeds on-hand will allow you to grow sprouts with just a little water. This isn’t about growing a garden—it’s about having fresh greens to eat every day. Examples of the types of seeds you can use include mustard seeds, mung beans, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, and lentils.
Hi Chuck. Another book you might find interesting is “The Third Horseman – Climate Change and The Great Famine of The 14th Century” by William Rosen. There was a period of global cooling that led to massive crop failures, famine and an outbreak of bubonic plague combined with warfare that killed one eighth of Europe’s population. Depressing as hell but very interesting as it shows how all of these things are interrelated.
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.[11][12] 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.[13][14]
For those who want bread with their meals, make tortillas , their is a product called Pioneer flour tortillas mix , my wife and I tested a bag of it by storing it in a cool dark cellar for ten years, then we opened it up to test to see if it was still good, my were we surprised, we checked for bugs in the flour, NONE what so ever. Then we made ten tortillas over an iron flat plate, one that can also be used on an open fire. We cooked them up and they were great. I could not believe it, neither could my mother in law , 80 yrs old at the time she thought they were good . What I came to find out later that the same flour mill that made that brand made also an even better tasting flour tortilla mix that is ready to go by just adding water, is called White Wings flour tortilla mix .

Buckets are great! We have some with regular lids. Some, that we would open frequently have the Gamma Seal lids. (These lids allow you to have a screw-on, airtight lid on the opened bucket, rather than having to pry off the bucket lid every time you need to access the food.) #10 cans are also good. Go to www.providentliving.org and look up food storage, then find information on the LDS Home Storage Centers. BTW, you do not need to be LDS to buy food there.
We tried the $85 Instant Loaded Potato & Cheesy Broccoli Soup from Simpli Prepare because soup might be an easy way to supplement the main survival meals. Packaged the same way as the shakes, with shaker bottle and algae oil, and with the same directions. Vendor confirmed this is meant to be a “just add water” product, not a simmer and serve hot sort of thing, and suggests using hot water from the tap if possible.

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.


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.


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.
Mass is what blocks radiation. Concrete is useful because it’s both dense and strong, so it gets used in a lot of bunker construction. Steel is also useful, but it can become radioactive itself by neutron activation. (So close to ground zero, you’ll need to protect the steel from neutrons – boron or water are the most common ways to reduce neutron flux damage to the protected space.) But there is no reason you can’t use lots of dirt, water, stone, etc. Anything that has mass will attenuate radiation.
And I have bought various pantry sized cans of sauces to increase flavor and nutrition. Alfredo sauce, tomato sauce, mild hot sauce, and Italian seasoning mix come to mind immediately. Since those cans are so well sealed, I don’t bother putting them in the buckets. I also have some #10 cans of cheese sauce powder (think boxed Mac and cheese) since I couldn’t find it in a pantry can, but I store lots of ziplock freezer bags (both quart and gallon sizes) and can use my silica packs to keep it fresher – hopefully long enough to use it up. Cheese sauce over pasta, rice or broccoli will be a nice change of taste when things get boring.
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.
Water is the source of life, and is an essential part of survival. In general, it is best to allot 1 gallon of water per person per day. This is including cooking, cleaning and drinking. Now, this is just an approximate amount since different locations and temperatures require different amounts of water. It would be a good idea to have enough water for each person in your family to last you at least 3 days. So, depending on your family size, it could be a lot. For a family of 4 people, it would be a minimum of 12 gallons of water for a 3-day supply.
2. At least two ways to cook food in a power down situation.  I’ve used the Sun Oven for years (visit the official website here) and own the Stove-Tec Rocket Stove.  The Eco-Zoom stove is another version of a highly effective, fuel-efficient stove that weighs less than the Stove-Tec.  If the prices of energy skyrocket, and it looks as though that may happen in the near future, it will be a blessing to have alternative ways to cook food without cranking up the gas or electric range.
This is a very basic guide to bunkers. Many areas such as bomb blast related pressure as it relates to entry door integrity really deserve much more coverage. And the section on construction techniques completely miss the point on culvert strength which is primarily related to earth arching and not the strength of the culvert material - look at the huge plastic highway culverts that are a few feet underground and support multi ton trucks. This book is a start but you need much more information to plan any kind of shelter.
Very, very well said MissKitty. You’ve reminded me of some of the natural disasters that have happened which did have a direct effect on us. The Yellowstone Caldera is a real worry but what can we really do about a potential disaster of that magnitude. That would almost be a planet killer. And I do agree 100% with you about “THEM” trying to keep “US” distracted and divided. Hegelian tactics. Bread and circuses. Cause and affect. Then solution. Cause the problem and then miraculously provide the solution. Orwell may have had it pretty much correct but I don’t think even he realized how really bad it could get. Even in recent memory I recall the Iceland volcano disrupting air travel and that was a very small event. Some of the other ones that effected the climate were Mt. Pinatubo in the Philippines which dropped global temps for 2 or 3 years. The 1883 explosion of Krakatoa. That was not that long ago. The four years following the explosion were unusually cold, and the winter of 1887-1888 included powerful blizzards. Record snowfalls were recorded worldwide. You mentioned Tambora in 1815. It produced mid-summer frosts in New York State and June snowfalls in New England, Newfoundland and Labrador. In 1600, the Huaynaputina in Peru erupted. Tree ring studies show that 1601 was cold. Russia had its worst famine in 1601-1603. From 1600 to 1602, Switzerland, Latvia and Estonia had exceptionally cold winters. The wine harvest was late in 1601 in France, and in Peru and Germany, wine production collapsed. Peach trees bloomed late in China, and Lake Suwa in Japan froze early. These are just some of the worst volcanic events and if people are interested they can go to wikipedia and look it up themselves. For me the point of this is that the global weather system is rather fragile and delicate and doesn’t take all that much to disrupt it. I’m sure the “planners” have taken this into account before they start throwing a whole bunch of nukes around and stirring up so much dust that we have an extended nuclear winter. Unless their plan IS to try and get rid of as many of us as they can in one fell swoop. I’ve heard figures of 500 million bandied about as the ideal population limit for this planet but as I can’t get anyone to confirm, who knows. The best that any of us can do is to be as well prepared for the potential disasters that we CAN deal with.
Pat I felt the same way you did about becoming a prepper. One day something inside of me said ok look, it’s time to start making a list and to get going on this endeavor. I started with the basics. I have been prepping for about a year + and have collected quite a lot of supplies. I educated myself in ways to store food. I am a You Tube watching fool, always looking at videos on how to do this or that. I’d like to know how to meet others who are prepping as well. I don’t really know… Read more »
Gluten free flours are another tricky cooking skill to master. One of our close friends and neighbors eats a gluten free diet so I have learned to cook some things without wheat but when it comes to baking I usually just buy the gluten free baking mixes that you can use just like regular flour. For SHTF, you may want to mix up your own mix and vacuum seal it for easy use.
FEMA, the FCC, and NOAA’s vision for improving the EAS is incremental, which means testing the readiness and effectiveness of the EAS as it currently exists today is the first step. A more effective and functional EAS requires continual testing to identify necessary improvements so that all levels of the system can better serve our communities and deliver critical information that will save lives and property.

Lastly, this list is primarily for Sheltering in Place and the requirements/resources the average person would be able to lay their hands on. This doesn’t take more extreme climates into consideration but should still provide a base regardless of where you live. For other lists you can check out our Resources page. For something more specific to the Bug Out Bag checklist, click here. Also this list is going to be missing the specifics of the amounts because each family or individual is different. So without further ado, here we go.


Stockpiling food has another advantage that you didn’t mention. You will be buying tomorrows food at today’s prices. Food prices are not going to go down. Also by stockpiling food it allows you to buy when you want to ( on sale ) not when you need to. Many things can happen that a food storage could be put to an advantage. Job loss, Hours cut,medical or car repair bill not expected or planed for. All of these things could be used as a reason to stockpile food.
3. Basic bulk ingredients with long shelf lives are a must.  Wheat, rice, and beans are versatile, when you add a variety of spices, herbs, and other ingredients and will last for decades.  There are food shortages around the world, droughts here in the U.S. that are affecting food production, and it’s likely we’ll experience either shortages, much higher prices, or both in the future.
I think the FaceBook comment, “the electric company knew days in advance the ice was coming and THEY did not prepare.” perfectly demonstrates Mr. Martenson’s approach…..”the ‘Crash Course’ was the problem definition….but, “the book, Prosper, is the solution space.” Some saw the ice storm coming, but seemingly did not prepare (mentally, physically or spiritually); expecting the electric company to make it somehow disappear…..(normalcy bias?)
I find generators that can be transported easily to be a way better idea than just regular generators – don’t know why and let me know if you agree/disagree in the comments. Thanks to the fact that generators have been around for a long time (unlike solar panels I mean), you can get some great products for what’s, in my opinion, a perfectly reasonable cost. And while I’d prefer to have a solar generator like the one listed at #6, something like this is much more affordable, and gas is easy to get, so I will likely end up with a portable gas generator first.
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.
I do think there is a near universal “beginner’s checklist”. Regardless of where you live or what disasters tend to occur in your area (hurricanes, earthquakes, volcano eruptions), people still need the same basic supplies–water, food, medical, solid footwear and clothing. If you live in a tropical or subtropic climate like I do, your water needs will be greater than if you live in a cooler climate. I actually recommend the Texas Baptist’s Men’s water filtration system–cf. https://tbmtx.org/. You can pick up a system similar to the Big Berkey for a fraction of the cost. In terms of food, I think the author’s recommendation–that you just buy more of what you ordinarily use–is sound advise. Remember to rotate your food supplies–first in, first out. If you get a few extra cans each week, you can quickly build a three month supply of foods that your family regularly consumes. Once you get to a three-month food supply, it’s time to look into longer term food storage. I think the LDS Online Store is a great value. I think there are certain items every household should have–flashlights, extra batters, a cooler, extra ice in the freezer (I live in hurricane country), at least a shotgun and a handgun, extra ammo, a decent medical kit and so forth.
@Loonejack That WAS strange weather, wasn’t it. One storm after the other after the other. No relief for those poor people. Good idea not to live on the east coast. There are some saying that we are overdue for an Ice Age and that it could be here in the next decade or so but does any one REALLY know. It really does come down to speculation. There was a mini ice age in Europe from about the 16th to the 19th centuries. They’re not quite sure about the exact times. There were three particularly cold intervals: one beginning about 1650, another about 1770, and the last in 1850, all separated by intervals of slight warming. Everything goes in cycles, especially the sun, and if we do experience a true ice age then we’ll just have to deal with it. I would think in a situation like that people would come together for mutual survival.

I find generators that can be transported easily to be a way better idea than just regular generators – don’t know why and let me know if you agree/disagree in the comments. Thanks to the fact that generators have been around for a long time (unlike solar panels I mean), you can get some great products for what’s, in my opinion, a perfectly reasonable cost. And while I’d prefer to have a solar generator like the one listed at #6, something like this is much more affordable, and gas is easy to get, so I will likely end up with a portable gas generator first.
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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.
Suppression of firearms is a good idea for night fighting, but do your research about suppressors and suppression before committing to a 3-400 dollar solution as well as the $200 tax stamp per suppressor. For $500 I can build another AR platform rifle or shorty pistol. And don’t forget that suppressors aren’t magic; the piece still makes enough noise for everybody within a half klick on a totally silent night to hear it.
I can a bunch of meat. I stock up when its on sale then freeze and when I have a slow day (lol) I thaw it and start canning. It is SO much cheaper than canned chicken or beef from the store!!! I also have a generator for my fridge and freezer so if we were going to be with out power for long my plan is to start canning as fast as possible. You can also dehydrate fruits and veggies that you would normally freeze (berries, spinach, almost anything) but that would need to be done before the outage of course.
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 »

I know that in my own case and also with the majority of the readers on Backdoor Survival, hunkering down and bugging in will always be preferred to taking off into the unknown with our stuff.  For many, the choice to bug in has to do with family, health concerns or financial considerations.  That, plus the availability of stored supplies makes bugging in – or staying at home – the choice when a disaster strikes.

This group has a primary concern with maintaining some form of legal system and social cohesion after a breakdown in the technical infrastructure of society. They are interested in works like The Postman by David Brin,[48] Lewis Dartnell's The Knowledge: How to Rebuild Our World from Scratch,[49] or Marcus B. Hatfield's The American Common Law: The Customary Law of the American Nation.[50]


Some products are no different than a normal box of mac and cheese: you boil water in a pot, mix the packaged product into the pot, turn the heat to a simmer, cook, and serve. Others are as simple as pouring boiling water in the pouch and waiting a few minutes. In some cases, the water doesn’t even need to be hot (although flavor and texture is better if it is).
One of the biggest issues with GMO food is the allergy cross-over. Because genes from nuts, fish, soy and other highly allergenic plants/animals are used in the to give the need seed the desired characteristics, they can trigger serious allergic reactions in people who had no way of knowing the food was dangerous or even which food it was that caused it! If that wasn't bad enough already, it will certainly only be worse in a grid-down situation where medical care is limited at best.
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.
Big week. We have the Presidetial nationwide mobile alert system 30  minute "test" on the 3rd, which many say will coincide with an event,  possibly a grid-off crackdown. We also have chatter about Feinstein  being taken down, or even suicided -- naturally all of this is  unconfirmed conjecture. Bottom line is a lot of balls in play this  week. Some say the Kavanaugh thing was a set up...giving people ropes  to hang themselves with. Time will tell. Stay frosty!
There are a lot of us out here that are concerned about survival and where our country is going that DO NOT buy into the baloney that is saying that liberals/progressives are the source of our problems. Yes, people on the left were beaten, imprisoned, and harassed for their beliefs. And yes, there are intolerant jackasses on the left, but the amount of violence, intimidation, denial of rights, and harassment coming from the right far outweighs any other source. I do not care about party labels-right wing democrats in the first 2/3 of the 20th century were responsible for much of the above.Look at the history that does not get taught-Rosewood, Tulsa, Southern Arkansas, and the thousands of lynchings that occurred. These were not done by progressives/liberals. Research history, read about our history, learn what really went on. Then proceed with making survival plans that are positive for our future. It would be nice to read the many good ideas on here without the political BS.

In an end of the world situation, we won’t have to worry about too much salt or too much sugar. Our main concerns will be keeping warm, getting potable water and enough to eat. A steady diet of tuna fish, canned meats, pasta, bean and rice will quickly get old. You will be happy to have the sugary canned fruit which will add very necessary calories to your diet and provide energy. The high salt which is dangerous now will provide necessary salts when you have otherwise run out of salt for cooking. In addition, most of the prepared foods are prepared to appeal to our taste buds. Food companies spend big money on making “convenience”

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