Survivalists' concerns and preparations have changed over the years. During the 1970s, fears were economic collapse, hyperinflation, and famine. Preparations included food storage and survival retreats in the country which could be farmed. Some survivalists stockpiled precious metals and barterable goods (such as common-caliber ammunition) because they assumed that paper currency would become worthless. During the early 1980s, nuclear war became a common fear, and some survivalists constructed fallout shelters.
For those that prefer to stuff all of their survival gear in a bug out bag and leave home, it’s not what I have in mind by writing this. These items also don’t cover prepper foods, they are just 8 types of prepper gear that I have acquired and have found other preppers also use just as much as I do. That, and they cover those basic needs for when the modern world hits a speed bump.
Speaking of making mistakes here’s one of mine. One of the first things I ‘put back’ (as my Mom use to say in the fall before my Dad was out of work due to bad weather at the quarry), was a couple of extra bottles of vegetable oil. Well, other stuff got in front of them on the shelf and pretty soon they were 3 or 4 years old. Yes, they were rancid when I opened them. Taught me a good lesson on keeping track of what you have and using it before it goes bad. They are marked ‘not to eat’ and are now used to fuel some lanterns outside when we have cookouts.
His answer was squarely in line with Prepper doctrine. Dr. Redlener said it was rational — indeed, it was recommended — to have a three-day supply of food and water, a working flashlight, a first-aid kit, a radio that runs without batteries and a plan in place to rejoin one’s relatives after a disaster. He talked about situational awareness, a major Prepper mantra. “A prepared citizen is someone who understands how to take care of himself,” he said, “who has amassed the necessary items, who has a plan.”
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.
Onto a folding table came a breathtaking array of disaster swag: compasses and iodine pills, hand-cranked radios and solar-powered flashlights, magnesium fire-starters and a fully charged Kindle with digital road maps of the tristate region. Many of the items on display went far beyond the “10 Basic Pillars of Bug-Out Gear” that Jason Charles, the network’s leader, had passed out in advance through the Internet. A good number were tweaked to fit their owners’ needs and interests. A locksmith in the group had a lock-picking set. A vegetarian had a stash of homemade dehydrated lentils. One man had a condom designed to serve as an emergency canteen; another had a rat trap — to catch and eat the rats.
I am also quite into food prepping in the sense that I like to plan what I eat for the week in a balanced diet, so I use the Excalibur Dehydrator as it lets me do nine trays of foods at the same time, which I generally do on a Sunday afternoon. I’m also a fan of this dehydrator as I can make jerky with it, or if I have had a huge harvest from the garden of a specific fruit, I can dry it all out at once in one bulk session.
Yup, rocket stove DIYs are easy to find, but to each his own and if I can afford to spend $150 on a good knife, I can also afford to spend the same on a rocket stove that’s good looking, lightweight, extremely portable and a one-time buy. It’s the kind of thing I wouldn’t mind pulling out in front of the sheeple to have a BBQ or go camping with, and that makes me happy one way or another. Just like the rain barrel, I could DIY one myself, but it’s unlikely to look even a fraction as good (especially with my incredibly poor DIY skills), and so I’d rather just buy one and be done with it.
When I asked about some of those I had met along the way — say, the geared-up 12-year-old, Leonardo Ruiz Jr., who, dropping his suspicions, later gave his name to a photographer — he gave a forbearing smile. “There’s a spectrum,” Dr. Redlener said. “On one end is mindless complacency. On the other is paranoia. The challenge is to find that place in the middle where you understand that bad things can happen, but it doesn’t consume your life.”

Drinkable water is even more important in the short term than food for making it through a disaster situation. Keep bleach handy to kill bacteria, viruses and other potential pathogens that can contaminate a water supply. "One gallon of Clorox can disinfect 3,000 gallons of water," said Dennis McClung, proprietor of 2012supplies.com, a website offering survival information and supplies pegged to the widespread Mayan calendar myth that the world will end next year. Just add eight drops of bleach to a gallon of water and let it sit for 10 minutes, McClung told Life's Little Mysteries.
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