Nygaard is a busy woman: In addition to working a full-time job, raising chickens, and growing sweet corn, potatoes, and peppers, she runs a blog called Living Life in Rural Iowa, where she shares bits of wisdom that she’s learned on her prepping journey. Looking back, Nygaard says becoming a prepper encouraged her to develop new skills, including the sorts of home repairs and outdoor work she once counted on her husband to tackle. “Before you get divorced, you’re like, ‘Oh, that’s outside. My husband can take care of that.’ And then when you become a single parent, you’re like, ‘Wow, I have to do outdoors and indoors — why did I think he should take care of all that?’ You have that sense that you can do just about anything you set your mind to.”
"Why stock this Mountain House meal? If the electric grid went down due to a solar flare, people would attack our stores and you would be out of food in several days. If you don't carry cash, it would be impossible to purchase things with a credit card. In short, I believe this could be a lifesaver and the best thing is that the food is delicious!"
There is one important aspect of planning your freeze dried food storage: try some sample meals before you invest in a six month or one year supply of one particular brand. I have my own preferences that you are welcome to use as a guideline (check out Mountain House or Legacy Foods) but there are others. Also keep in mind that some kits are chock full of sugary drinks and other fillers. Yes, you will need some beverages but they should not comprise 40% of your daily caloric intake.
During his presentation, Mr. Charles suggested that a well-prepared bug-out bag was only part of the equation; just as important was knowing where to go. “Bugging out will not be easy,” he explained. “It might take three or four hours to get out of the city. If the bridges are blocked, you might have to use a raft to get across the river. Everyone’s situation will be different.”
One of the best survival items you can get is a multi-tool – and it’s a Leatherman. It gives you knives, scissors, pliers, screwdrivers, and a saw in one little pouch. If you could only have one item with you in a survival situation, I’d be hard-pressed to think of anything better to have. This particular one has absolutely fantastic reviews and is similar to the one that the Army gave me when I went to Afghanistan.
In his professional opinion, the next big development in prepping will be the arrival of entrepreneurial capitalists, and this made me think of Fabian Illanes and Roman Zrazhevskiy, two men in their 20s I met at the show-and-tell. Former classmates at George H. Hewlett High School on Long Island, Mr. Illanes and Mr. Zrazhevskiy have been prepping since their teens and recently created Readytogosurvival.com, a Prepper Web site that sells prepacked bug-out bags with paramilitary names like the Tactical Traveler ($439.99) and the Covert Defender ($629.99). They told me that they had been visiting Prepper meetings across the New York region in order “to discover their customers.”
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in their "If You See Something, Say Something" campaign says that "the public should report only suspicious behavior and situations...rather than beliefs, thoughts, ideas, expressions, associations, or speech...". However, it is alleged that a DHS list of the characteristics of potential domestic terrorists used in law enforcement training includes "Survivalist literature (fictional books such as Patriots and One Second After are mentioned by name)", "Self-sufficiency (stockpiling food, ammo, hand tools, medical supplies)", and "Fear of economic collapse (buying gold and barter items)".
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.”
In fact, one of the subjects specifically told Mills that "it’s not like on [National Geographic’s] Doomsday Preppers." They weren't preparing for the total collapse of society. They were getting ready to deal with a local collapse of services that might last a few months. It's less Armageddon and more Hurricane Irma—which hadn't hit yet while Mills was doing his interviews but has since suggested that preparing for a couple of months without key services may be badly underestimating needs. Prepper supplies would typically be enough to only hold out that long, and Mills said they often referred to these caches as "more than they'd ever need."
There are so many potential disasters that could happen at any moment, and you want to do your best to be prepared for all of them. This list of prepper supplies and gear isn’t meant to cover every single item that you would want to have in these situations (I’m sure blacksmithing equipment would be nice to have but I’m not including that on the list!).
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.
I know it’s not an incredibly expensive product, but a food dehydrator has been on my prepper wishlist for a long time. They’re so convenient, especially when you have ones with so many racks like the Excalibur on hand. Yes, you can dehydrate foods without one, but it’s not as easy to do, and thus for me, makes it much less likely I’ll actually bother to do it. Major wishlist item here.
Potassium iodide. This was actually not my idea, and on the paranoia scale I think this one’s pretty high up. During the George W. Bush administration, my former boyfriend’s mother, a M.D. who had trained to care for people who’d survived war and other traumas, insisted we keep a packet of potassium iodide, which provides some protection to the thyroid in the event of a dirty bomb. After the breakup, I kept the Le Creuset, and he kept the KI. So it’s paranoid, whatever, potassium iodide is cheaper than Le Creuset.
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.
As for food, she said that she thinks she would be able to get local produce if shipping were disrupted, but admitted that she had became concerned at the end of last year, when Brexit negotiations were stalling. So she started buying extra cans and more dried food and fruit — items with a long shelf life — when she went shopping every two weeks. Then she added pet food (both her cat and her dog require special diets), and bought seeds to grow fruit and vegetables in the garden.
There is one final preparation that you should start working on now: yourself! Get in shape because you're going to have trouble saving yourself if you're out-of-shape to the point that walking a few miles in a few hours would be a serious challenge. Now is the time to start. Most preppers have awesome bug out bags that they couldn't carry for a mile. Don't be that person!
When I met Mr. Edwards in Brooklyn this month, I found a hulking man dressed entirely in black, sitting in front of a laptop and giving an Internet tutorial on bug-out-bag preparedness to members of Evolver. net, the “global community of cultural creatives” established by Daniel Pinchbeck, a proponent of last year’s Mayan apocalypse phenomenon. In between displaying items like his Chinese-made survival shovel with the saw blade and nail-puller, Mr. Edwards said: “Daniel just wants his people to be ready. Even if you’re cosmically conscious, you still need to prepare for what it’ll be like with no food or water.”
World tensions are at such heightened levels that even hedge fund managers and Silicon Valley titans are preparing for the worst. But some of the 99% might need “prepper” shopping tips, too. And even if you’re not inclined to start hoarding supplies any time soon, some of the gadgets below can be useful in all sorts of emergencies, like natural disasters. Good luck out there.