Although buying provisions like food and water before a disaster is the smartest thing to do, there will always be those who wake up at the last minute. Most people will rush to the store at the last moment. The majority of them are clueless that stores stock less than a week’s worth of food under normal circumstances. The stores are picked bare during emergencies and you will end up waiting in line for nothing. Keeping a healthy stock of survival foods in the house will make sure you overcome unexpected emergencies.
It’s always hard to predict what’s coming down the road, but some things are more likely than others – so it makes sense to put more of our preparedness efforts into making sure we can survive those. A lot of what we do will be useful in any scenario, of course, but it still helps to have an idea of what we might face. Now that we’ve had a couple of months to see how 2018 is shaping up, here are five of the threats I’m most concerned about for the rest of the year.
A popular way of guarding against this kind of catastrophe is storing food at home. This is called Long Term Food Storage, Emergency Essentials, or Emergency Survival Foods and there are dozens of companies selling food specifically for this purpose. The best, including those listed below, have great tasting products with a long storage life at a reasonable cost.
A lot of prepping is common sense, but there’s very little of it around. The theory goes that it’s psychologically uncomfortable to think about death and dying, so people tend not to. And people often think that a disaster won’t happen to them, so they’re less likely to prepare. But it’s not very difficult, and it’s not expensive – I buy equipment from Amazon: a survival blanket, a sleeping hammock, one of those bottles that filters contaminants found in water. Most of the time you won’t need it. But it’s that one time when you really do, and you haven’t got it, or you haven’t taught yourself how to use it… that’s when it’s too late.
I love my bread machine and hope to use it as well although I do know how to bake traditional bread too. I just baked my first loaf of bread using home-milled flour. I made a 100% whole wheat bread and used a powdered egg plus some vital gluten. It was a bit more dense than normal – I should have added more water to account for the extra gluten (4 TBL). Still, it was quite delicious 🙂
People can get quite uncivil when starving or in trouble therefore force multipliers like night vision/thermal scopes using solar recharged batteries on suppressed rifles can let you avoid trouble or end a threat like nothing else can. Walkie talkies with ear buds and whisper microphones can also be force multipliers. That equipment should be protected in faraday cage. An early model (EMP resistant) diesel tractor with fuel can help grow food and offer transportation (with a wagon) and might save the day for your family or community.
MREs are a very convenient prepping food because aside from the pudding they do not require the addition of water. These meals also include a built-in heater so that you can warm up your meal no matter where you are and eat right out of the bag. They are easy to carry with you, making them a good addition to your bugout bag, and they come as a complete meal, even down to the salt and pepper.
Both the air rifle and crossbow are on my wish list as I have qualms about having a firearm although I recognize they are useful. My personal weapons consist of a large machete, surival knifes, a SPAX axe, hatchet, several fighting knives, and a slingshot for now. Yes, I know I might need a rifle, shotgun, and pistol. I’m ex miItitary, and have used all three. I’m just hesitant for safety and personal reasons.
You might think it’s silly to grab one of these when you can DIY one yourself, but I do often feel like preps that are ugly are kind of frustrating to have to live with in the long-term. Besides, if you’re trying to hide the fact that you’re a prepper, nothing works better than hiding your preps in a pretty package like this. And you buy them once, how often are you going to replace a rain barrel? Pretty much never!
There’s a really good app called Prep and Pantry. It allows you to create did inventories, including expiration dates. It scans the barcode too so you don’t have to enter it by hand. This helps me know what I have and lets me plan my meals around when food is expiring. I think it’s about $8, but it’s helped me save a lot of money by not throwing food away.
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).
Cash and Gold/Silver- Cash speaks, and only the direst of calamities will see people forsake the almighty greenback. Assume you will not be able to get any at all, anywhere, after the balloon goes up. Have a good wad hidden away in your stash for a rainy day, and forget about it until it is needed. Don’t raid it for any reason; treat it like the life-saving utility it is.
This isn’t the end of the world prepping. If the end of the world is happening there is no need to prepared. What you just described is a good way to die really fast. You think you’re going to wait until something happens and hold down a store for supplies? Last place you want to be is in the middle of a situation happening. Looting and stealing supplies while a disaster or incident is happening good way to die. Why? Because there’s going to be thousands of other people doing the exact same thing. Anything happens, i’m going to sit… Read more »
Our grandparents were the original preppers, really. They could make a chicken last for two weeks. When my wife and I are wandering around the supermarket, I’ll keep my eye out. I’m always looking at a product’s shelf life. I don’t want to buy food that has a shelf life of two weeks; I need five years plus. It’s an attitude, really, but it’s also a fascinating hobby. I’m constantly learning survival techniques: how to forage, hunt, trap, fish, purify water. And I’m informed on larger environmental and political issues by friends in the know. People think I’m a tin hat-wearing nutter, sitting here guarding 3,000 tins of beans, but it’s not all-consuming. It’s like having a spare tyre in your car, or some winter basics: a torch, some candles, a sleeping bag. You can leave it at that, you don’t have to go mad. That’s how I started – I just happened to carry on.
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.
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.
Being from the south, we eat a lot of cornbread, so I would have to add cornmeal to this list. I think that cornbread would be an excellent option for a grid down situation. It’s very simple to make, cornmeal, and water, plus salt or any extra veggies you may have. I would also add dry pasta, and oil, for cooking and seasoning your cast iron. I may have missed this, but what about peroxide and alcohol? But you thought of a lot of things I never would have. Great list!
Still, there’s quite a bit of overlap between the two. “There are preppers that are homesteaders, and there are homesteaders that are preppers,” says Levy, who identifies more as a straight-ahead prepper. “If there’s any difference, it’s just a difference in the environment in which we live. If there’s commonality, [it’s that] we still all have this real need to be self-sufficient and not dependent upon others, no matter what happens.”
If the height of the Concrete shelter is decreased to 8 feet ( the same height of the ceilings in your home), the required depth of the hole is reduced to 10-11 feet and the gross interior area is 1,600 cubic feet. This is still more than a 10 foot pipe of the same length while also providing complete use of the space, as the side walls are not coming in toward the center as they do in a pipe.
Sanitation Supplies- You definitely don’t want to overlook this! You don’t need to have everything you take for granted on a daily basis, but you need to take care of the basics. Most obviously get plenty of toilet paper, wet wipes and feminine products for cleanliness. Get more TP than you think you’ll need; trust me, the first time you have to use improvised material or technique to clean your rear, you’ll remember me, and women need more than men do at any rate. You may yet have to switch to pinecones, but let’s forestall that as much as we can, eh?
An urban prepper and rural wannabe, Karen has been working as a freelance writer for a decade and prepping for about half that time. She has gathered a wealth of knowledge on preparing for SHTF, but there is always more to learn and she has a passion for gathering and sharing that knowledge with other like-minded folk. Karen lives in London, Canada with her two children and plethora of cats. In her spare time she is writing the next great apocalyptic novel of our time, full of government conspiracy and betrayal at every level.
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 »
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.”
Do you mean clean it so you can drink it or clean it if the electricity goes out and the pump isn't working? If you want to drink the pool water, the best option I know of is to distill it yourself. I just had a reader send me this same question, and she mentioned checking around marine sites to see if there's a product available to remove salt from sea water in an open water emergency. I do know that the Berkey filters will NOT remove the salt. If possible, you're better off storing several 55 gallon drums filled with tap water and several cases of bottled water. I also reuse 2-liter soda bottles by cleaning them, refilling with water, and then storing them under beds and in closets.
EMP attacks, both natural and otherwise, are genuine threats. Once considered “conspiracy theory,” EMP attack threats have been featured in mainstream media publications such as Business Insider and Bloomberg. Natural EMP threats are proven as well. The sun’s solar flares have (and will again) wreaked havoc on our planet during non-technology eras. In 2012, it almost happened again.
Still, Jennifer says her preps helped her family get through the initial aftermath. Because she’d stored about three days’ worth of food in each of the bedrooms in her house, they were able to get by until a friend in the States sent additional supplies. As month after month rolled on with no running water in the region, the rain-catching and filtration system she’d set up also proved life-saving — especially amid concerns about contaminated water on the island and the mainland’s notoriously slow-moving and inadequate relief efforts.
“Before the nuclear age, it was thought that only a wrathful deity or natural force (pandemic, planetary collision, etc) would bring about the end of the world,” he says. “But some time in the 1980s, it became clear that there were so many nuclear weapons on the planet that we could literally bring about the end, not only of Homo sapiens but pretty much extinguish most life on Earth through a nuclear exchange,” he says.
You know the feeling, and it's a bad one. Suddenly everything in the house goes silent and dark. Power's out. You run outside to see if it's just you, and check your breaker box. Meanwhile you're wondering: How long is it going to be out? A few minutes is one thing. A few hours, even. But if you're without electric for days on end — or longer — the throwback appeal of reading by candlelight quickly loses its charm.
If I’m bugging out, I want a lightweight stove such as an Esbit, alcohol or fuel tab is adequate to boil water, not a large wood burner stove as I don’t need the extra weight in my BOB or GHB. JIf really needed I can build a rocket stove using empty cans and a metal hole punch or my leatherman tool. If I’m bugging in I have a BBQ or two I can use with charcoal, or wood.
Jennifer had already taken the necessary precautions the night Hurricane Maria came barreling through the Caribbean. The 46-year-old stay-at-home mom, who lives on two acres of land with her husband and four children atop a mountain in Manati, Puerto Rico, was ready to make use of the filter she’d purchased for sterilizing rainwater in case the taps ran dry. And she didn’t have to worry about food, because her pantry was already stocked with two-and-a-half years’ worth: giant buckets of lentils, flour, and rice; shelves lined with mason jars of fruits and vegetables she had grown and canned herself.
Don’t stop there. Take a hard look at demographics. Are you in a city where gangs, mobs or terrorist attacks are likely? Do you live in a remote area where the failure of transportation systems or the lack of fuel will cut you off from supplies arriving from the rest of the world? Is your employment situation tenuous requiring that you build up some cash reserves to get you by just in case the job goes away?
Bunkers are either 1,590 or 2,120 square feet, at a cost of $25,000 to lease for 99 years, plus $1,000 annually, and the cost is the same no matter how many residents wind up using the space. One reason the price is so low is because each space is a blank canvas: Each leaseholder is responsible for installing all services and amenities, including plumbing, electricity, air filtration, and exhaust.
But wheat is not the only survival basic that may be unfamiliar. Beans of all types, as well rice, are two food storage staples. Learn to cook these items now, so you have an arsenal of recipes ready to go when and if the time comes. Both beans and rice are inexpensive and work well with a variety of condiments making them ideal additions to the survival food pantry.
This one I’ve started doing recently, especially with the foods I’ve been buying online through either Amazon Pantry or Waitrose’s online delivery. Am really happy having this list around as it means I don’t have to remember what I need more of to hit the limit for free shipping or to have enough to get a certain amount off. It also means I don’t miss out on buying things I was running low on, as if there are staples I regularly buy and I forgot about them long enough to miss adding them to a cart, I usually really regret it.
I’ve seen a few people saying that an EMP attack would be more destructive than a nuclear war. It wouldn’t. An actual nuclear war would cause unimaginable devastation. Major cities would be flattened and burned by multiple strikes. Airports, harbors and military bases would be hit. Smaller warheads would take out freeway intersections and rail junctions. Parts of the country would be blanketed in fallout. Dust and smoke pumped into the atmosphere by the explosions would block the sun’s light for weeks, adding cold weather to all the other hazards. Then, on top of that, you’d have the EMP as well. Every weapon would cause local EMP damage, and it’s almost certain that high altitude EMP bursts would be included in the strike to maximize the chaos. A major nuclear war would be a lot worse than an EMP. Short of an impact from a slate-wiper asteroid it would be worse than anything I can imagine.
I can’t agree with your solution for water purification. If the argument is to “also” include scenarios where boiling isn’t practical, there are other options that fit the bill. For us, we’ve been using a Berkey filter system in our home instead of something that needs water pressure or power to serve in both bug out and Flint, MI like scenarios. We use it day to day today. Not cheap upfront but the cost per litre/gallon over time is a fraction of what you’ve proposed – with all due respect.
Mylar bags & Oxygen Absorbers: What I love about Mylar bags and oxygen absorbers is they protect against every single one of the food storage enemies. Prices do vary but for the most part, they are inexpensive and easy to keep on hand. And while you can seal them up with a FoodSaver, some tubing and a common clothes iron, I find it infinitely easier with a cheap hair straightening iron that you can pick up $20 or less.
This country is one of the safest in the world. We have no killer animals. We don’t have earthquakes. There are no major tsunamis. We don’t really have to prep for a huge natural disaster – and there’s very little you could do to prepare for a nuclear event even if you wanted to – so we prep more pragmatically. Suppose you lose your job and money’s an issue. Or the electrical grid goes out and the food chain goes down and all of a sudden every man and his dog is arguing over a bag of sugar. Do you have your own supplies? Do you have the means to cook? And what about keeping warm – could you make a fire? Some of us buy food through an app; groceries are delivered to our front doors. Do people know how to survive without electricity?
afraid i haven’t. my experience has been that the average person will resort to lying, stealing and often violence at the first sign of trouble. there are exceptions, of course, but i haven’t found any reliable way to identify them before the shtf. even longtime friends can turn on a dime; and relatives…well, just consider what happens when some well-heeled person in the family dies! wish i could be more encouraging, but i just don’t see it that way.
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 »
Still, as I sat at my desk one afternoon, eyeing the colorful salads my coworkers were having for lunch, I realized the absurdity of my experiment: I live in a city with 24/7 access to fresh food and work a job that affords me the privilege of eating healthfully most of the time. Even quibbling over the nutritional content of these freeze-dried meals was something of a luxury, because I wasn’t in a position where I actually needed to eat them. Then again, you never know what’s going to happen.