You need two gallons of water per person per day. This is actually higher than is strictly necessary but you will be very unhappy if you ever have to restrict yourself to this amount. I store enough water for everyone in my household for a bit more than two weeks. Get a WaterBOB because it is so inexpensive and easy. Once you have those basic levels you then have to have a means to filter more water for your use. I highly recommend getting at least two Sawyer Squeeze and consider getting something like a Big Berkey. Find a way of collecting rainwater if you can. If you live in a desert, unfortunately you're going to have to find a way to store a lot of water.
A HAM radio, provided you know how to use it, turns a prepper into a vital asset in any emergency where the communication grid has gone down. They are completely reliable transceivers and are worth more than gold when the SHTF. I personally only hold a BaoFeng BF-F8HP portable HAM radio in my prepper gear as it still provides a means of two-way communication when the communication grid is down is my area, works well when I am on the move, and is much less expensive than a traditional fixed HAM radio.
Some gear items listed here are downright cool, while others are, plainly put – extremely practical. Most are one-time lifetime buys, while others, like the emergency food, you’ll hope you’ll never have to use up, but if/when you do, they’ll of course need to be replaced. Every item on this list is, in my opinion, is extremely valuable to have as a prepper, and while I’m sure there are many more survivalist wishlist-type items on the market, these are definitely the ones I find myself lusting over the most.
The reason the vacuum sealing system’s up on this list is because I feel food has a much longer “shelf life” so to speak when its vacuum sealed before being thrown in the freezer. Used to have a lot of power outages when we lived in Toronto, and each time our food would thaw out a little it’d taste worse and worse – except for the one vacuum sealed slab of meat we got from a neighbour which I think withstood 2-3 power outages (one which lasted 4-5 days) and tasted as though it was vacuum packed the day before. I’ve also heard of people vacuum packing rice into smaller one-serving portions, and have always thought that a great idea for cases you might want to throw a bunch into a pack and go, or just generally extend the shelf life of your food/prevent rats and mice from getting into things. Necessary? No. Definitely still something I want, though.
We all know how important clean water is to our survival, and if you’re planning on bugging in at home, something like this is a definite advantage in cases where water supplies may get contaminated during a SHTF-type situation. Yes, you can try to boil water consistently to purify it, but if you have the money to invest into prepper gear that will help you out in the long-term, this is an obvious way to go with your money. APEC makes and manufactures these in the good ol’ USA – they’re high quality, and are pretty much the only brand worth talking about when it comes to reverse osmosis filters; immense value for money in my opinion. If you don’t think these will ever be necessary, you only have to look as far as Flint, Michigan for a cautionary tale.
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.
One of the “skills” every prepper should learn (and learn this week or next) is foraging for edibles in and around their homes. Search the library or order a book on Amazon…one with pictures…to learn which weeds provide vitamins and minerals and how to spot them (and their poisonous look-a-likes) in YOUR neighborhood. The day MAY come when that is ALL that is available to eat because the mice, rats, birds, cats and dogs have already been dispatched to feed hungry neighbors. Weeds are likely to still be around even after looters have torn out and dug up your gardens in search of food.
Revealingly, however, many doomsday preppers’ fears are not based on speculative, sci-fi-style catastrophes but on disasters that have already happened. “Watch a documentary about Katrina. Look at something about Sandy, years afterwards. Look at Puerto Rico right now,” Scott Bounds, a member of N.Y.C. Preppers, says. “You have to realize that people are not going to come take care of you. You really have to be able to take care of yourself.”
By his own estimate, Pense says there are a few thousand people in the Springfield area who have listened and who are ready. The preppers. Most don’t like to be called preppers because of the connotation that they’re crazy; Chicken Little wasn’t well-received by his people, either. Most don’t even like to talk about it, but a few of them do. So for three months toward the end of 2017, I sought out the doomsday survivalists to find out: Is it really crazy to live like the sky is falling?
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.
If worse came to worse and I had to leave the house, this would probably be one of the things I would throw in the car just because it filters treated and untreated water, so if I was camping outdoors and unsure of the water, I could easily filter large amounts of water. Of course, some would prefer to use a Lifestraw or Sawyer filter, but they are small devices that are only really suitable for hikers or survivalists who are expecting to travel on foot for long distances.
I get the weight “issue,” however, I’ve been a fan of Leatherman since my first one in 1995. It accompanied me through my last 6 years in the Marines and beyond. Haven’t looked back since. The saw EASILY cuts through a 2×4 and with little effort. I do recommend a model that has flat surfaces to grip. My first one didn’t and could be a bit painful when really gripping hard on an item. Also, as do many others, Leatherman has an incredible warranty. If repairable they will repair. If not they will send a new or refurbished one to replace it. On my first warranty return (screwdriver chipped), they replaced with the most current model. It is a supertool. Not a Craftsman heavy duty fix anything short of a dozer, so common sense apples. But for the size and functionality, you can’t beat a Leatherman!
The format is fairly standard for a "reality documentary". It does go with the more extreme folks rather than the more common folks who are just putting some things aside for rougher times. But that's OK, in most of the cases. I found many of the people to be pretty ingenious in how they've approached what they perceive to be The End Of The World As We Know It. Maybe they're right, maybe they're wrong. A few might even be slightly over the top (well, there are a few that I think put a step ladder on the top and went from there...) But they have what they consider to be valid reasons for doing what they're doing, so who am I to argue?
When I point out that her reasons for getting into survivalism sound far off from the “every man for himself” mentality of the macho prepper stereotype, Chymiy mentions a paper by a team of social psychologists from UCLA, published in Psychological Review, about the differences in how men and women react to physical and social stressors. “The traditional fight-or-flight response is apparently based on research done only on men, so when they finally researched women under extreme stress, their response instead of fight or flight was more tend and befriend, apparently,” she explains. “Instead of running away or punching you in the face if you try to mug us, we’ll try to talk you down or try to make a social connection so you know the stressful situation can be diffused. And in neighborhood settings, we try to come together and help each other.”
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.
We get that creature comforts will be ever more important as the things that used to make us happy slowly break and crumble around us. But do you really want to put a ton of effort into opening a bakery when everything is going to shit? And we hate to be the bearers of bad news, but no amount of odor elimination is going to stop the uncivilized world from smelling really, really bad.
Also, what about a bike – perhaps with a electric generator that can couple to it, with a nice rack on the front or back to carry things in it? I really appreciate preparing and actually stepping into a lifestyle more reliant on my own skills and power, rather then something like a diesel generator that would be useless in the event of total system failure.
Being from the south, we eat a lot of cornbread, so I would have to add cornmeal to this list. I think that cornbread would be an excellent option for a grid down situation. It’s very simple to make, cornmeal, and water, plus salt or any extra veggies you may have. I would also add dry pasta, and oil, for cooking and seasoning your cast iron. I may have missed this, but what about peroxide and alcohol? But you thought of a lot of things I never would have. Great list!
Dozens of websites and books offer advice on supplies to have on hand and in stock if "the end of the world as we know it" – TEOTWAWKI, as it's known in survivalist circles – comes to pass. Here, then, is a rundown of the supplies you'll need to ensure that this proverbial "end of days" is not an end for you and yours, but rather a new beginning. [Could Cockroaches Really Survive a Nuclear Blast?]