I would agree that the moral ground of choosing to not have a firearm is great for some people. I have a family and am prepared for our needs with supplies and learned skills and would not expect to need assistance of others. I am currently working on extra supplies that I might be able to distribute to others in need. I like to help others and do not see the world as an evil place. Unfortunately with a catastrophic event law enforcement is often not available. History and current events in less “civilized” areas has proven that without law then anarchy and predatory animals are often unleashed. I feel that it is my moral obligation to protect my family. If I took the stance that I would go firearm free for moral reasons then I don’t think that I could live with myself if I was powerless to stop thugs from overpowering me then stealing our hard earned supplies necessary for our survival and then brutalizing my wife and young daughter when I might have been able to stop it with force. If accepting the risk of being less able to protect your family is acceptable to you and your family for moral reasons then god bless you and I support your decision. Could I live with the “stain” on my soul for protecting my family from predatory animals using force? Yup. How many “stains” could I tolerate….depends on how many predators and how many bullets I have. I do not live in fear and do not think that my commitment to my family protection as a husband and father makes me psychotic, paranoid, pathetic, a coward or a sociopath and feel slighted at the suggestion otherwise in your post. I would say that each of us must make the moral decision themselves about use of firearms for protection. I don’t judge others decisions and wouldn’t expect others to judge mine. I think I am a realist. A protective firearm can be like a fire extinguisher- you don’t have one because you want to use it or expect a problem but stuff happens.
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.

Religion, however, has everything to do with survivalism—there are things about your faith that affect the way you live, Fletch says, offering me an example. “Today, a great deal [on the menu] was the special you had,” he says. “Every one of the specials had pork in it. Well, depending on your belief system and where you’re coming from, Dan, you could’ve made several decisions about me.” He’s right; I could’ve thought he assumed the breakfast was on me, so he ordered the most expensive dish on the menu. And those assumptions, he says, can break up a group. “If 99 percent of the people in your group don’t eat pork, and you bring in some person eating a ham sandwich next to you, that’s going to cause some conflict.” 


Finelli’s not from around here; an adopted Midwestern politeness hardly masks direct, fast-thinking, faster-talking East Coast roots, although he won’t tell me where he’s from exactly. He’s guarded like that. He won’t say where he went to college, only that he graduated from a prestigious undergraduate program and then got an MBA; nor will he say where he worked after, only that he started a company on the West Coast to manufacture satellite communications receivers before a Japanese competitor threatened to kill him. He will say he knows the moon landing was faked. In 1982, he moved back east from California and began designing computer systems for a Fortune 100 credit card company.
“It was never offered as a contrary movement to hippies by any means,” Mitchell explains. “I think maybe it was just one more expression of ‘You can try something new now.’” Survivalism was and still is, Mitchell believes, a product of late capitalist consumer society, premised on drumming up panic about various hypothetical catastrophes and furnishing people with products that will allegedly help survive them.
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?
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.”
I have also heard that a lot of homesteaders stock an air rifle in their prepper gear as it is an easy-to-use gun with very cheap ammunition and much fewer regulations on it. Some time ago I came across a prepper who had a Gamo Hornet Air Rifle in his prepper supply. He said that while this was for allowing him to hunt small and big game, it was also a great weapon for home defense.

I was brought up as a poor country boy. Our family did all the old-fashioned methods of living. We heated with wood, canned food, did the garden and had a well, killed pigs/hogs, and had a cow for milk and butter. Oh yeah, we also had a two-seater for comfort and had that luxury until I graduated from high school. I still appreciate the information you try to get out to upper level folks. It takes me back in time.
he bald snow tires on my ’06 Accord struggled to achieve the grip needed to summit Len Pense’s long, steep driveway. If the grid goes down the way he thinks it will, you’d need a tank to ascend the eroding gravel path because the 83-year-old Army veteran knows exactly which oak tree he’d fell across the route, lest the marauders come for his cache of, among many other things, 44 raised-bed gardens of food. One way in, one way out; that’s what sold Pense and his wife on the 21-acre hilltop property in Strafford some 25 years ago. 
With regards to water purification, am not just considering grid-down scenarios – am also considering solutions for events like Flint, Michigan, where boiling water isn’t practical as you’re still going about your day to day life, though you still have access to the power grid irregardless of contaminated water. Also, yes, it’s expensive to have a system like this with the grid down, but if you’re not talking budget prepping, I don’t feel spending $2500 on a quasi-permanent water purification solution for a home is unreasonable. Again – talking wishlist/big-picture prepping ideals here, not how to maximize your bang for buck with regards to prepper gear to buy. I also don’t need a $2,600 wood burning stove in my house, especially if I’ve got a fine workable one in the garage, but that doesn’t mean I can’t dream about having one.
In his book Dancing at Armageddon: Survivalism and Chaos in Modern Times, Mitchell, the sociology professor, develops a working theory of survivalism as a response to living in a society where every object we could possibly need is already taken care of for us. “The shelves are full, and the channels are full,” Richard tells me over the phone. “This is a response to a culture that has stripped away from us our sense of efficacy, our capacity to craft culture.”
And, of course, people aren't going to stop wanting to get drunk just because they can't pop over to the corner bodega for a six pack whenever the urge strikes. Portability and long shelf-life make liquor of all types a valuable trade good -- people will kill to get a taste of the delicious bottom-shelf leftovers from your local dive bar when their only other option is the equivalent of prison wine.

For now, he broadcasts Monday through Friday, 9 to 11 a.m., and Finelli invites “instructors”—doctors, dentists, survivalists, a man who carries no identification, an Australian woman who talks about seceding from the government—anyone who has something relevant to preparedness. To Finelli, there’s little that isn’t relevant. He doesn’t sell merchandise or accept donations, as fellow GCN hosts such as Jones do. 


Lastly, there are no “EXPERT” preppers that I know of! Just as there should be no one directing, suggesting or quantifying anyone’s efforts toward being ultimately prepared. We are all in different stages with any of the attributes required to be our best, not someone else’s best. There are just way to many factors that have to go into the equation for one person to know it all. I learned a long time ago to never point out a problem without recommending a solution. I feel survival training through this venue is best served by not casting doubt, mistrust and pointing out scary gaps in plans being worked on. Instead, Train skills, knowledge and attitudes. The “How Tos”, “Where to Find Useful Info” and just the considerations of the attitudes. Let the individual prepper decide how it fits into their specific plan.

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?
If the group became indifferent to Finelli’s leadership prior to his ouster, he became just as frustrated with their complacency. Preppers began ignoring his strict no cell phone rule. Few took concrete steps to be more prepared over the years, he says. He’d set out to develop independent thinkers, not apathetic disciples. “I mentioned to the group that at some point, Vinny may not be available,” Finelli says. “So be prepared at a moment’s notice.” That’s why he feels like he failed: He left the preppers unprepared.
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.
What’s on the list depends on which faction of preparedness you practice, pre-Y2K prepper and Seventh-day Adventist Church pastor Craig Wiles tells me. There are preppers, who anticipate an event like an ice storm or an EMP; there are survivalists, who arm themselves to face an enemy like a tyrannical government; and there are homesteaders, who grow their own food and practice self-sufficiency. 
Owning a cabin in a resort town gives the well to do an upper hand. When things get uncomfortable (too hot days in Florida for example) they head out for cooler places like Oregon or Washington). Sometimes younger grown children live year round at these second homes while attending out of State University or they may just have young family’s and parents who gave them huge down payments or the like. Such arrangements benefit all. If you think and act as the wealthy do, you don’t have to think like a bug. I have seen poor people spend thousands of dollars on weddings, even birthday’s, they could ill afford; when they might have provided their children and themselves a place to go for vacation, or, for other reasons.
Jim: do you have a book about surviving in the woods? I understand your recommendation to avoid gong it alone, but simply cannot stomach the idea of crapping in a bucket in a boarded up house, surrounded by humans in survival mode who are just waiting for the opportunity to kill me and my daughter and take everything we have.... The diseases that people have, ugh just all of it. We are woods people! Always will be. Far far away from others, far far away from help too... Sigh.
Cigarettes will also be hugely useful for starting fires and saving coals (as any fan of post-apocalyptic literature knows, this is of great importance). The filters can be used to clean water, although you'll need the patience of Stephen Baldwin to pull it off. If you do manage to live for longer than a few weeks without plumbing and Internet, you'll be able to protect your budding prepper garden by soaking cigarette butts in water and spraying the resulting chemical-laden tobacco juice on your produce. This is a technique already in use by people too impatient to wait for the apocalypse, though it is ironic and entertaining that they consider using cigarette-butt sludge a "natural" way to ward off pests.
What’s the bare minimum you need to navigate across land?  For most people, that would be a compass and map.  A basic road map is sufficient to get a rough approximation of the lay of the land.  More detailed relief maps can help plan for elevation and estimate possible water sources but they also take up more room in your pack.  Waterproofed or laminated maps are also extremely helpful.  Lensatic compasses are the most reliable for little money.  If possible, a compass and protractor are also extremely helpful for route planning.  Obviously, not as essential but nonetheless useful.
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