People in the disaster preparedness community often say they are readying for the “shit hits the fan” moments: some future calamity, however plausible or implausible, when we are forced to fall back on our possessions and ingenuity. Doomsday Preppers, the long-running National Geographic show that popularized the term “prepper,” introduced mainstream America to a slew of quirky individuals — mostly men with a love of pricey gadgets and the Second Amendment — and the highly improbable doomsday scenarios for which they’d chosen to prepare.
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Ten months after the election, “Hillary For Prison” shirts have yet to go out of style, but what sells at any given show largely depends on what’s going on in the world that week. “I have noticed the radiation guys across from us this week,” says Mike Nocks, owner of Lebanon’s White Harvest Seed Company and one of the show’s guest speakers. “In years past, I haven’t seen much radiation stuff, but since the Korean guy has been doing more nuclear stuff, I’m seeing more interest in nuclear detectors.”
With can foods, there seems to always be either a lot of fat, sodium or just a tonne of preservatives in the foods. I live quite an active and healthy lifestyle and I generally eat quite healthy, so the reason I bought a dehydrator is so that I can take my own fruits, vegetables and my own cooked meals and dehydrate them for a later date. This works well for me as I find I am being a bit more frugal by taking my own easily made meals and snacks to work, outdoors and even having them when I am too lazy to cook at home. That, and anyone else in the family that enjoys snacks seems to like it as well.
Disasters have, of course, put pressure on communities for a long time—including in the region now known as Mesa Verde, an area in southwestern Colorado renowned for its astonishing cliff dwellings. An estimated 25,000 to 30,000 people lived at Mesa Verde between 1225 and 1260, and then the population declined rapidly. For a long time, archaeologists had no idea what had become of them. But Pueblo tribes—in what is now New Mexico and Arizona—had, for generations, told stories about an exodus from Mesa Verde, and they claimed the previous inhabitants as their ancestors.
I keep several five gallon gas cans filled and ready for use. I don’t put any gas stabilizers in them, but I have stabilizers on hand. At the end of each quarter, I fill the cars with the gas from these cans, and go and get fresh. If the SHTF, and it looks like more time would be needed for the gas to keep, then and only then would I add the stabilizers to the gas.
Always have a backup. 2m and 70cm are the most popular but they don’t have a long range. Find out what the local repeaters are using and use a rotating schedule that covers different frequencies on different bands at different times of the day because you don’t know what’s going to be available or possible until it happens. Also, see if you can practice it. In theory, this all sounds pretty easy. It’s really not.
Pense tells me this sitting beside the fireplace that heats the furnace-less cabin, necessary in the damp 40-degree weather. He wears a Realtree camouflage jacket, circular wire-framed glasses, gray slacks and black leather shoes. A sign above the fireplace reads: “Invest in precious metals. Buy lead.” Carved in a split log on the mantel is, “A country boy can survive.” The guttered roof deposits 30,000 gallons of Ozarks rainwater into storage tanks outside each year. It’s a prepper’s paradise.
Three hours after I arrived, Andrew: senses it’s time to wrap up, but not before breaking into one last story about the Bigfoot footprints he keeps in the back of his car. The prints were collected in Arkansas in 1956, he says, and they belong to an adult male, a juvenile female and an adult female. He says he himself came from the “drug scene hillbillies” and that his ancestors had six digits.
Pense just sold his company, Gardening Revolution. For 20 years he shipped the proprietary iron, zinc, manganese, copper, sulfur and boron soil blend. Each bed costs $800, after you buy the cinder blocks and mat. On his best year, he shipped $580,000-worth of them. The magazine John Deere Homestead featured him. He’s taught classes on raised-bed gardening and survival in his cabin ever since. “The record on tomatoes is 274 pounds for one plant. Think about that,” Pense says. “That’s a lot of ’maters for one plant.” More than the ’maters, he’s proud of teaching people younger than him to grow their own food.
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.
This is the same ammo can that I use in my portable camping solar power box thingy that I wrote about last year. It’s a tough little box that I use to hold the batteries and electronics so you know it’ll hold whatever you need. It’s made for ammo, after all, and if you’ve ever carried a bunch of it, you know how heavy it can be for just a small amount, let alone what a box like this could carry.
A second motivation comes from the media, which tends to provide nonstop coverage of natural disasters and their aftermath. Mills said nearly every subject mentioned Hurricane Katrina, Hurricane Sandy, or both. Mills' road trip took place in 2014, and Ebola and ISIS both made frequent appearances in the risks mentioned by the preppers (as they might again today).
But mothers like Nygaard, Luther, and Bogwalker probably don’t need to a sociologist to remind them of that: They’re busy taking care of the kids, cooking, cleaning, running their own business, and doing their best to ensure that everyone around them has everything they need. It can be hard to draw the line between being a mom who is a survivalist and simply being a mom who lives her life with an eye to the future, but maybe that’s kind of the point: In giving traditional “women’s work” a name — like prepping or homesteading — they’re simply making that work more visible.
Mr. Patrick, who lives in the East Midlands region of England, says that people need not stock large quantities of food, and that his family has enough for only a week. “This is a case of having some candles as well as a torch, a battery-powered radio, perhaps a solar-powered phone charger,” he said, rejecting any parallel to doomsday preppers who prepare to barricade themselves in remote places with enough supplies for months or years.
It is has been a couple of years since I wrote about some of the mistakes and goofs we all make while prepping. Since then, a lot of things have changed. For one, the mainstream media has caught on to “three-day kit” mania which means more and more families are now ready for short term disasters. On the other hand, threats from wacko foreign leaders have escalated to the point where terrorist-driven EMPs, pandemics, and outright wars have become more of a possibility, if not a probability. Talk about two very different sides of the same coin!
To answer that question, I found myself in the Siloam Cafe in Siloam Springs, Arkansas, seated across from Martin Fletchall, a disabled veteran who says God called him and his family to the Ozarks from Montana. He prefers to be called Fletch. Fletch is in his 40s, wears a white beard, a camouflage hoodie and matching hat and orders toast, eggs and steak, which costs less than $4. He agreed to meet me after a few weeks of exchanging emails and vetting that I wasn’t actually a “social justice warrior.”
Here’s an idea that is very useful. I found at the dollar store some space bags. I used one per person and filled it with winter gear, a multi tool, matches/lighter, a small solar light, a bit of emergency food, an emergency blanket, some basic first aid supplies, etc., then removed the air. If you pack it right, you will be able to fold it over and (I used a bungee cord) place over a strap for easy carry. Now you have an instant (and weather proof) instant kit. I also did this with a pillow (small personal one), blanket, sheet, towel, etc. Not only are they portable and protected, they store in less space.
"Prepping," or getting ready to live without societal support, is apparently a largely American activity, and a recent one. Companies that cater to people who want to be self-reliant for food, water, and power have grown their revenue by about 700 percent over the last decade, and prepper products are now offered in places like Costco, Kmart, and Bed Bath & Beyond.
100% no BS... The Bug Out Roll is My True Blue Survival Gear Organizer. It makes so much sense and the even weight Distribution inside my pack really makes hikes and training far more simple and manageable. Final thought.. Not having to fiddle around between pockets looking for my gear and just hang it/ identify tool/ and work. in seconds... It satisfies my OCD and Quality needs.
Short and sweet. This product works just as it should. Its well made, and well put together. The lanyard cord you may wish to replace with something heavier if you feel the need, but I found the one it came with to work just fine. As for the little whistle that comes with it I could take it, or leave it. Its not that loud of a whistle and sounds a little " cheesy " That being said, the fire starter itself works just fine. I like the way the two pieces fit together when not in use and have a very good water resistant connection point. The striking rod and steel are small but more then enough to do the job. On my first attempt at using I placed a small cotton ball dipped in vasoline under some fine tinder and small dry sticks. Two short quick pulls ... full review
People who carefully and painstakingly prepare for mass extinction don't exactly seem like the type of people who plan great parties. At least, with those vast collections of guns, ammo, and other terrifying armaments, I certainly hope not. Then again, I suppose everyone will need a drink or 10 to get through the inevitable horrors of forever navigating the "what's for dinner" question without Seamless or, you know, realizing that your urban-dwelling family members will probably never arise from the blasted pit of rubble where their apartments once stood.
Your run-of-the-mill shoe stank might not pose much of a survival threat, but trench foot certainly will; baking soda is great at absorbing the moisture that might otherwise literally cause your feet to rot off your legs. As for the health of your teeth -- it will be pretty hard to get through your day's rations of homemade jerky and hardtack without some high-quality chompers. And you certainly don't want to rely on that pesky fluoride that will "kill your brain over time" (um, what?).
Adam Hadhazy is a contributing writer for Live Science and Space.com. He often writes about physics, psychology, animal behavior and story topics in general that explore the blurring line between today's science fiction and tomorrow's science fact. Adam has a Master of Arts degree from the Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute at New York University and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Boston College. When not squeezing in reruns of Star Trek, Adam likes hurling a Frisbee or dining on spicy food. You can check out more of his work at www.adamhadhazy.com.