Firearms instructor and survivalist Colonel Jeff Cooper wrote on hardening retreats against small arms fire. In an article titled "Notes on Tactical Residential Architecture" in Issue #30 of P.S. Letter (April, 1982), Cooper suggested using the "Vauban Principle", whereby projecting bastion corners would prevent miscreants from being able to approach a retreat's exterior walls in any blind spots. Corners with this simplified implementation of a Vauban Star are now called "Cooper Corners" by James Wesley Rawles, in honor of Jeff Cooper. Depending on the size of the group needing shelter, design elements of traditional European castle architecture, as well as Chinese Fujian Tulou and Mexican walled courtyard houses have been suggested for survival retreats.
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:
When speaking to preppers like Jennifer, Luther, and Nygaard, it can be hard to separate the more practical aspects of the lifestyle from the enjoyment that comes from doing things yourself instead of paying someone to do them. When I point out that running a small-scale farm and caring for two kids seems like an awful lot of work to do on top of a full-time job, Nygaard demures. “Yeah, it is. But I choose it. I choose to spend it like this because there are things that give me pleasure. I enjoy canning. I love seeing my work on the shelf. You grew that, and you canned it, and you get a source of pride from that.”
What Jennifer, a self-described prepper who declined to share her last name for security reasons, didn’t anticipate was the sheer force of Maria’s rains and 155 mile per hour winds — and how little the storm shutters would do to protect her home. “I was taking water out of the bedrooms, the living rooms, the hallways,” she says. “The house was flooded.” At one point, a piece of debris flew off a neighbor’s roof and got stuck between the outside wall of Jennifer’s pantry and the storm shutters, ripping off a pair of windows in the process.
Thomas spoke about these in his article on purifying contaminated water. Basically, the reverse osmosis water purification systems, like the one featured as #5, will take care of larger contaminents. Couple that with ultraviolet disinfection and the rest of water purification is pretty well taken care of without requiring anything too expensive. Remember that this system requires electrical power, so you’re going to need to take that into consideration. But with a solar panel generator, it’ll do the trick perfectly.
This idea alone was the reason I started prepping in the first place, it was my experience in a flood that made me realize how much I have taken for granted the systems that are controlled by so many others, from transport industries with food and fuel, to power plant operations and clean water. All of this is daily life norms, but when they are switched off, it’s something I was never prepared to deal with.
While survivalists accept the long-term viability of Western civilization, they learn principles and techniques needed for surviving life-threatening situations that can occur at any time and place. They prepare for such calamities that could result in physical harm or requiring immediate attention or defense from threats. These disasters could be biotic or abiotic. Survivalists combat disasters by attempting to prevent and mitigate damage caused by these factors.
Staying at home might not be an option for long, especially in an urban area with lots of mouths to feed and dwindling supplies. A bunker is ideal, and at the very least should be partly belowground, fortified and well-provisioned. Barring that, a cave or a cabin somewhere away from populated areas will do. As a modicum of reduced exposure, a small, foldable tent or plastic tarp might not be a bad investment.
Before fire season, move combustibles away from your house. Fences and dry vegetation give fires a place to grow, says Jonathan Cox at Cal Fire, California’s Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. Hosing down your house won’t help much, either, he says: “The way a lot of these homes burn is through something called ember cast, when embers from the fire fly over and drop little fires everywhere. With a huge ember cast, hosing down your house doesn’t do much.”
For my stockpile, I use several Aqua-Tainers with categorical labels marked on them for drinking water, hygiene water (dishes and showering), toilet water and garden water. My priority is obviously drinking water, but any dishwater I have I reuse as toilet water. While it might seem overkill, keeping an eye on your stockpiles is good practice to get an idea of how much your daily consumption rate is, and where you can find ways to re-use or use less water.
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.”
Don’t let prepping overwhelm you because there are many companies wanting you to buy their product. And I agree with pat Henry, things are not as bad as what many think. I have been listening to doomsday talkers since 2011 about the imminent collapse around the corner and there will always be people saying this. So don’t rush to spend thousands of dollars. Do a little at a time and stay within your means. This is a good article because it gives you general categories such as a means to purify water, then food, then medicine, then security and also… Read more »
This is a box of supplies that we have packed into a bin. It is already to go, and has the basic items needed when camping out like lanterns (solar) bug spray, plates and silverware, small propane bottles, camping stove, coffee pot, fishing gear, extra coats, blankets, clothing, toilet paper, hand sanitizer, etc. This bin would be invaluable to grab because it is already ready to go.
In 2001, Tim Kohler, a professor of archaeology and evolutionary anthropology at Washington State University, set out with a group of specialists to create the Village Ecodynamics Project to figure out the relationship between Ancestral Puebloans and their environment. Did catastrophic drought lead to migrations out of this region, as some had speculated?
Modern-day survivalists aren't generally regarded as the most sane people on the planet. A quick look at any one of the disturbingly common and frighteningly thorough shopping lists they post online drives home the fact that anyone who self-identifies as a "prepper" most likely went off the deep end a long time ago. Sure, it's fine to keep a few extra cans of food and cases of water around for an emergency, but if you start adding body armor and butt paste to your stash, you might want to tell George Miller that it's time to see other people.
If the day of reckoning stretches on beyond a few months, however, the ability to grow one's own food will become paramount. Seeds and gardening tools, therefore, should be on everyone's doomsday supply list. Opt for so-called heirloom seeds. These seeds yield disease-resistant crops that produce yet more seeds season after season, unlike hybrid seeds used for mass-cultivated, commercial crops, which can develop into sterile plants.