Pense invites me to imagine a world turned lawless when the ninth transformer blows. Fifteen percent of the New Orleans Police Department deserted during Hurricane Katrina—imagine if the entire force lived where the levees broke. Big box stores killed off regional food distribution centers years ago; all we’ve got is what’s inside Walmart and Sam’s Club, and if you thought Black Friday was bad, imagine the crowds when it’s life or death. Drivers fleeing Springfield will hit roadblocks, where mobs will pull people from their vehicles like the LA rioters did to Reginald Denny. You might commit vehicular manslaughter, the preppers tell me, just to get out alive.
Keep in mind is that temperature fluctuations can be as bad as a sustained high temperature.  I don’t claim to know the science but what I have found is that food stored at a constant 80 degrees will hold better than food stored at 30 in the winter and 90 in the summer.  Anecdotally, this is especially true of canned goods I have stored in my home.
Stored food, even buckets of emergency food, mean you will eat well. But you need fresh food and that is tough to get in emergency situations. Having sprouting seeds on-hand will allow you to grow sprouts with just a little water. This isn’t about growing a garden—it’s about having fresh greens to eat every day. Examples of the types of seeds you can use include mustard seeds, mung beans, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, and lentils.
But women like Jennifer aren’t preparing for a currency collapse, biowarfare pandemic, or any of the other fantastical global crises that have made America’s prepper subculture synonymous with bunkers, bitcoin, and Infowars conspiracy theories. Instead, they view prepping as a lifestyle — one that has very little to do with defending their territory from hostile invaders and everything to do with the more quotidian business of providing for your family and running a home.
Among those features: the waterproof tarpaulin bag is airtight and capable of acting as a floatation device, it has an integrated flashlight for hands-free illumination while wearing the pack, and the exoskeleton frame becomes snowshoes or splints. Inside are silk-screened first aid and emergency instructions, plus more than 30 tools and supplies like a radio, USB charger, food, water filter, sunscreen, hand warmers, and more.
This group focuses on surviving brief encounters of violent activity, including personal protection and its legal ramifications, danger awareness, John Boyd's cycle (also known as the OODA loop—observe, orient, decide and act), martial arts, self-defense tactics and tools (both lethal and non-lethal). These survivalist tactics are often firearm-oriented, in order to ensure a method of defense against attackers or home invasion.
“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.
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.
×