Nygaard is a busy woman: In addition to working a full-time job, raising chickens, and growing sweet corn, potatoes, and peppers, she runs a blog called Living Life in Rural Iowa, where she shares bits of wisdom that she’s learned on her prepping journey. Looking back, Nygaard says becoming a prepper encouraged her to develop new skills, including the sorts of home repairs and outdoor work she once counted on her husband to tackle. “Before you get divorced, you’re like, ‘Oh, that’s outside. My husband can take care of that.’ And then when you become a single parent, you’re like, ‘Wow, I have to do outdoors and indoors — why did I think he should take care of all that?’ You have that sense that you can do just about anything you set your mind to.”
Another best practice is to store a variety of foods in a single bucket.  So, for example, instead of creating a bucket filled with a single food type, create a bucket that include a variety of foods plus appropriate condiments.  If you are ever forced to use your food storage, you can pull a single bucket with everything you need to get by instead of riffling through a dozen or more buckets to gather what you need for meal-preparation.
The next thing that you should be aware of is how to use the food that you have prepped and stored. Get familiar with stored-food preparation and the best way to do this is to use it. Get a couple of food-storage cookbooks, or create your own with a little online research. This way you and your family can become familiar with how to use and eat these types of foods.
Next, look at ways to become more self-sufficient in water. If you already have a well you’re sorted. Otherwise consider a rainwater catchment system. If you have a stream or river nearby you could build a large water filter and run a pipe to it from the stream, giving you a constant filtered supply. Be adaptable, but find something – without water, your refuge is unsustainable.
Yup, you’re right about the dehydrated food having around half the daily recommended calorie count for adults – but I still feel they’re valuable if you can afford it. A food stockpile that big will a least help you get by for the year, regardless of whether you’ll be thriving. And it’s easier (in my opinion) to supplement a stockpile than to depend on growing, hunting, trapping, or fishing everything yourself, especially if you’re not used to doing it.
I would contend that most (if not all) “long shelf life” dehydrated/freeze dried food products fail to deliver the calorie and protein count that is required to survive. It is far more likely that you would have to double the quantity and cost to actually achieve any specified duration. If you don’t believe me, just examine the details in their advertising.
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.
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When you find out your buddy or mentor has months and months worth of food, water, medical supplies, tools, weapons and more it is easy to get discouraged before you even begin. This is a mistake. No matter where you are and how much or little you have to work with you can take steps right now, today, to improve your situation over the masses who don’t care or cannot be bothered to do the same.
Water should be able to be stored indefinitely provided it is not contaminated in any way. The problem with storing water in a car is the heat or cold. In the summer time, your water could bake. In really hot environments, if your water is stored in plastic, chemicals in the plastic can leech into your water. There could be some debate about what is the greater harm, chemicals or death by dehydration, but it is something to consider. In the same way, water in the winter can freeze, but as long as it isn’t getting contaminated from any other… Read more »
If you live in a hot and humid environment, you have to store the food a little differently. I live in Florida, and I recommend sealing 1 lbs to 5 lbs in mylar bags and storing those in sealed 5 gallon buckets. It creates a double barrier and smaller bag sizes if you have to open them in an emergency. It might seem more expensive, but it is better than losing everything to water or humidity. It also makes great barter material in a shtf situation.
Many of these foods are simple meals that require you to add water and heat (such as MRE's, or Meals Ready to Eat). However, if you buy individual bulk ingredients you can create more of a gourmet pantry which allows you a much greater range of meals to prepare—powdered eggs, spices, all sorts of flours, honey, etc. These foods are not only great for food storage but also for camping trips, especially if your camp kitchen is serving a large crowd.
15. 20 cans of Soup or Broth. The beauty of canned soups and canned broth is that they are a budget friendly.  Soups are an all-in-one meal solution. All you need is a can opener and a spoon and you have a meal ready to go.  For an extra satisfying meal, try using a can of soup as part of the cooking water for your rice.  Yummy! For a guide to making your own bone broth, see Donna’s guide here.
That is a great idea Scott! When I started writing this article it was my intent to get people thinking about how to cook in an emergency or SHTF situation. While a lot of the readers of Backdoor Survival are experienced at cooking, there are also a lot of folks out there that are just learning how to cook. I am 34 and I have to say that a lot of people my age don’t cook but they are learning. I always have cooked. Mom headed out the door when I was 4 so it was me and my Dad who cooked for me a lot of the time but I had to do some too. Donating food is a great thing to do if you are not able to use what you have stockpiled and it is set to expire. Thanks for a great suggestion as we enter the holiday season!
The next thing that you should be aware of is how to use the food that you have prepped and stored. Get familiar with stored-food preparation and the best way to do this is to use it. Get a couple of food-storage cookbooks, or create your own with a little online research. This way you and your family can become familiar with how to use and eat these types of foods.
Thanks and an excellent article. However, I am convinced that when this nation goes down it is not just going down: It is going under! Therefore we never quit prepping. There is no such thing as having to much food and water. We just keep adding it on and bracing for the day we know will come sooner or later. It may be Greece, Puerto Rico, or and emp etc. Who cares, sooner or later the crutches are going to be kicked from under this country and the Rodney King riots x 1000 are going to burn our cities to the ground. Anyone that is not habitually prepping is committing suicide. thanks
“I was ordered to spend $700,000 on my department, or risk losing funding for the upcoming year even though there was little need for anything. My budget was already substantial, but I ended up buying new computers for the Computer Learning Center, half of which, one month later, were carved with graffiti by the appreciative students who obviously feel humbled and grateful to have a free education in America. (More and more of our tax dollars at work!)”

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?
Don’t fret over that: below I have provided a handy checklist for what I think are think are the most essential supplies to stock and steps to implement if you are starting from zero or close to zero. This article will not be detailed step-by-step guide on any one skill, discussion over what foods have the best calorie-to-shelf-life ratio or the absolute best way to store water. All of that has been discussed in detail with expert input here and elsewhere. What the list will be is your jump-start to taking simple, positive action that will give the you of today better survival odds in a crisis over the you of yesterday.

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.
We also have a Cobb Grill for cooking (charcoal). It's about the same as a new outdoor grill to replace the rusted out one and since it's designed for indoor storage and easy transport (it has a carrier bag), it should long outlast anything we would need to leave outside. SHTF or no, it's a good buy for us. Clearly, it is smaller than a full-size grill, but we don't need that anyhow.

See our review of over 70 of the top portable survival water filters for bug out bags. Because even though water is critical, at more than 8 pounds per gallon, it’s not practical to carry enough to last more than a day — which means you need to be able to make safe water from whatever you can. We break down the best picks (only $25!) and how to use a mix of filters, purification tablets, soft canteens, and hard bottles with filters in your kits.

We have several of the shelves from Costco/ Sam’s Club. They are great! Put the thin bar across the front of your shelves, not the back. We have some shelves from Thrive Life that rotate the food for you too. Love those! Bought on Black Friday sales. In the end, do what works for you and you budget and space. Ours has changed many times over the years.
It is hard learning to garden. I just put in my first huge garden a couple of years ago. One thing that I did learn…. is that there are many different ways to garden. There are many books at the library about different types of gardening and of course the internet has a wealth of knowledge. Everyone of course, thinks that their way is the best. Good luck with the garden.

Time and time again I’ve seen families buy all of their wheat, then buy all of another item, and so on. Don’t do that. It’s important to keep well-balanced as you build your storage. Buy several items, rather than a large quantity of one item. If something happens and you have to live on your present storage, you’ll fare much better having a one-month supply of a variety of items than a year’s supply of two to three items.
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.
But scientists are even more worried in 2017. The newest Doomsday Clock was set at 2.5 minutes to midnight—the closest we’ve been to the apocalypse since the early 1980s—partly because of the “rise in strident nationalism worldwide,” the group stated. In particular, scientists cited serious concern about the U.S. presidential election of Donald Trump, who has “made disturbing comments about the use and proliferation of nuclear weapons and expressed disbelief in the overwhelming scientific consensus on climate change.”

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When you are getting your storage area ready and aim to be a prepper, it can become overwhelming if you don’t know where to start. In this article, we aim to give you as much information as possible to help you in preparing yourself to be a smart prepper. There are a few different things that you should keep in mind in order to be the best food prepper.


Owning a cabin in a resort town gives the well to do an upper hand. When things get uncomfortable (too hot days in Florida for example) they head out for cooler places like Oregon or Washington). Sometimes younger grown children live year round at these second homes while attending out of State University or they may just have young family’s and parents who gave them huge down payments or the like. Such arrangements benefit all. If you think and act as the wealthy do, you don’t have to think like a bug. I have seen poor people spend thousands of dollars on weddings, even birthday’s, they could ill afford; when they might have provided their children and themselves a place to go for vacation, or, for other reasons.
Put dry ingredients in a bowl and sift through. Add liquid and knead for 5-10 minutes. Let dough rest in bowl covered for at least 10 minutes. You can wait a few hours even if you get distracted. Knead again for 5 minutes. At this point you can leave your dough until later or you can shape or roll it out and fill it and let rise for 30 minutes to an hour before baking.
When purchasing preps, some people choose to buy a few items at a time, often due to budgeting issues. However, some people can afford to buy everything at the same time. Whichever way you choose to do it, there are items you should focus on as your top priority. From our experience the following list includes the top purchases that anyone should make when they first start prepping.
Hopefully, you will never have to use it, but you should have it. A self-defense weapon is a critical part of your prepper gear. Sometimes, just showing it is enough to deter people. Obviously, a firearm is the best choice. But there are other options, such as a crossbow or longbow with arrows, a taser, or a knife. Whatever you choose, be sure you are well-trained and practiced and that you have plenty of ammo.
Gaye, I have worked for Green Giant for many years. It is their harvest season now. They have giant warehouses to in which to store their can goods for the next year. They have to get rid of last years cans, to make room for this year’s cans. Have you noticed that in the fall of the year, can fruits and vegetables go on sale. I’m not telling you to not buy them, but keep in mind that most of them are last years crops, and as such, are one year old when you buy them.
Few people get beyond storing the four basic items, but it is extremely important that you do so. Never put all your eggs in one basket. Store dehydrated and/or freeze-dried foods as well as home canned and store-bought canned goods. Make sure you add cooking oil, shortening, baking powder, soda, yeast and powdered eggs. You can’t cook even the most basic recipes without these items. Because of limited space I won’t list all the items that should be included in a well-balanced storage program. They are all included in the The New Cookin’ With Home Storage cookbook, as well as information on how much to store, and where to purchase it.
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.
In his 2016 book, Can It! The Perils and Pleasures of Preserving Foods, Gary Allen, a food writer and adjunct professor at SUNY Empire State College, traces the evolution of food preservation as a source of culinary innovation. “The original food-preservation methods—like salting and drying and all that—actually turned the food into something else,” he told me over the phone. “Cabbage sauerkraut is not the same thing as cabbage. Wine is not the same thing as grape juice.”
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