"So you know, I'm not a survivalist nor am I really very outdoorsy in general. I'm basically a relative novice prepper, but what I was looking for with this book was more like "have a plan after the plan" resource. I got to thinking that survival would be necessary after an emergency, but at some point, it would need to become how to live your life with whatever changes there had been in the world. So this was more like an "ok, I survived, what do I do now?" pick for me."
Because I cook a lot, I use an AeroGarden Harvest Elite to keep my herbs growing in the kitchen all year round. Sure, I can pop the herbs in a temperature-regulated greenhouse outdoors, but when it’s in the kitchen growing at a rapid rate, I can’t resist using them. I chose this specific AeroGarden unit as it is a simple stainless steel design and provides what I need. There are much more expensive versions of the AeroGarden but I don’t need the functions they provide. That, and it’s only for herbs, outdoors I prefer to grow a more yearly stable edible crop of various goods.
So Michael Mills at the UK's University of Kent decided to correct this gap in our knowledge. Mills went on an American road trip, spending time talking to (and butchering animals with) 39 preppers in 18 different US states. Rather than rampant paranoia, Mills suggests, preppers are motivated by non stop media coverage of natural disasters, as well as a government that encourages them to prepare for the worst.
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.”
I know that in my own case and also with the majority of the readers on Backdoor Survival, hunkering down and bugging in will always be preferred to taking off into the unknown with our stuff. For many, the choice to bug in has to do with family, health concerns or financial considerations. That, plus the availability of stored supplies makes bugging in – or staying at home – the choice when a disaster strikes.
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.
Most of us have quite good shelter already available to us. If you live in a cold climate you have to be concerned about winter and freezing temperatures if you don't have a fireplace and wood available. If things ever really became bad I would setup a tent inside of my house and burn candles inside of the tent. For most of the continental United States that would keep the temperature inside of the tent above freezing. If you combine that with a zero degree or better sleeping bag you will survive much better than just about anyone around you. It's much easier to achieve this level of heating independence than finding a way of powering your generator for weeks. A little known fact is that most generators recommend changing their oil every 40 hours of use. Storing fuel to keep a generator working is daunting but the oil requirements are almost always forgotten.
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:
As you can see, a big thing for my prepper gear consists of the essentials of water, food and more good food items. When it comes to actually getting that food, I can not live off freeze-dried food or long-lasting tin food, I know my family can’t either. We are too used to eating fresh, gourmet, homegrown meals, and in all honesty, if the SHTF, I’d like to think I would be sitting back still eating herb-doused chicken wings.
Mylar bags and oxygen absorbers will allow you to preserve many staple grains — rice, beans, and flour — for 30-plus years. Titan Survivorcord is a paracord that includes fishing line, snare wire, and a strand of jute twine infused with wax, for fire-starting. The Inergy Kodiak power generator is one of the most advanced lithium power generators on the market.
Ned in the comments reminded me that a bike really should be on this list. Of course, I don’t really need to say, but a good mountain bike is incredibly useful in a SHTF situation where fuel is hard to get. Ned mentioned that it’d be a good idea to couple the bike with a carrying rack on the front or back, and if you can, an electric generator. I think that’s a pretty damn great idea; only problem is I haven’t managed to find any electric generators for bikes that actually have good reviews. If you know of one, please recommend one down in the comments section.
In a lot of emergency situations, the grid and/or the internet will be down. It will be difficult to get the information you need in these situations. Your best option is to have hard copies of all the information you might need. You can print out a bunch of information from the internet or you can get a bunch of books, including the SAS Survival Guide.
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.
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.