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.
There are two scenarios everyone—prepper or not—should count on: losing power and being stranded in your car. I’m a big believer in backup power. I keep an emergency power supply plugged into an outlet in my apartment; it has a trickle charger so I can forget about it until my block goes dark. In my car, I keep extra blankets, a LifeStraw portable water filter, lighters, and Millennium energy bars. It’s not the Four Seasons, but at least my family will be able to survive 48 hours in our Honda Pilot. One thing to consider: You need to be with your gear when a disaster strikes. When Sandy hit in 2012, our whole family was in Connecticut while all my gear was in Manhattan. My wife had a good laugh. These days, my everyday bag is a waterproof Showers Pass backpack where I stash a small set of screwdrivers, multitool, glass breaker, three flashlights that use the same type of batteries, and a spool of Kevlar thread, all sorted in plastic bags. There’s a spoon and fork in there, too, because if I have to eat an MRE for dinner, I might as well look civilized while I do it.—Wylie Dufresne, Michelin-starred Chef, Owner Of Du’s Donuts, Prepper
It may not be legit prepper gear, but for the money a pair of Crocs is an excellent value as a camp and walking shoe. Sure, they’re ugly as sin. So were my last three girlfriends, and like them I came to love the Crocs through long experience. They go for about $30, are easy to put on, keep on, dry out, and maintain. Even though I’d much rather have a good pair of boots, Crocs are a great “prepper” shoe since they’re light, cheap, durable, keep the top of your feet from getting sunburned, and are an ENORMOUS relief when you have a blister that moleskin won’t handle (ask me how I know). Get the ones WITHOUT the holes though. If you need more airflow drill a couple holes on the sides, not the top. Also, unlike your “go boots” which you have to wear occasionally to keep to the shape of your feet, you don’t have to break them in. Leave them tied to the outside of your BOB and when “IT” goes down, just grab your bag and head out.
James England is a former United States Marine Signals Intelligence Operator and defense contractor with over two tours spread over the Al Anbar province and two more operating across Helmand and Baghdis. He is presently a writer focused on Western foreign policy and maintains an avid interest in firearms. A graduate of the University of North Carolina at Wilmington, he presently resides in New Hampshire – the “Live Free or Die” state. He is finishing up his first novel, “American Hubris”, which is set to hit shelves in Fall of 2015.