I got into the prepper foods game quite late in the race. For me, I was more concerned with collecting foods that lasted a long time that you could buy on the shelf. This is what I started with when I started my first three-day emergency supply and it expanded from there. But since getting into making my own long-lasting foods, I can say that a dehydrator is a much better investment.
I am also quite into food prepping in the sense that I like to plan what I eat for the week in a balanced diet, so I use the Excalibur Dehydrator as it lets me do nine trays of foods at the same time, which I generally do on a Sunday afternoon. I’m also a fan of this dehydrator as I can make jerky with it, or if I have had a huge harvest from the garden of a specific fruit, I can dry it all out at once in one bulk session.
But of the many women I spoke to for this story, none view their lifestyle as non-collaborative. For Andrea Chymiy, a family doctor who lives on an island several miles from mainland Washington and runs a blog called Lefty Prepper Mom, learning about emergency preparedness and writing about prepping is part of a wider commitment to community service: providing others with the emergency first-aid skills and food storage know-how to fend for themselves in the event of an earthquake or other natural calamity.
Still, Jennifer says her preps helped her family get through the initial aftermath. Because she’d stored about three days’ worth of food in each of the bedrooms in her house, they were able to get by until a friend in the States sent additional supplies. As month after month rolled on with no running water in the region, the rain-catching and filtration system she’d set up also proved life-saving — especially amid concerns about contaminated water on the island and the mainland’s notoriously slow-moving and inadequate relief efforts.
“How do I tell Dr. Norman Shealy that he was voted out of the meetup?” Finelli asks, rhetorically. “So I told him on-air. I said, ‘Dr. Shealy, they had a vote, and you were voted to be barred from the meeting.’ And he kind of laughed, and I said don’t get all excited, they banned me, too.” He holds no grudges; he says he’s actually glad it happened. Now he knows how his students really felt.
It turns out that when you're down to your last moldy hunk of bread and giardia-laced mud puddle, letting it all melt away in a cloud of smoke for a few precious moments can mean the difference between giving up and giving the rat (eating) race another go. If history has anything to say, it's more common than you think for people to happily give up MREs and gunlord harems in return for hastening their ends with carcinogens wrapped up in tidy paper packages. In traumatic situations like war, cancer sticks are often valued more highly than food. Even in the current (more or less) pre-apocalyptic global economy, cigarettes are one of the stable forms of currency.
For global catastrophic risks the costs of food storage become impractical for most of the population  and for some such catastrophes conventional agriculture would not function due to the loss of a large fraction of sunlight (e.g. during nuclear winter or a supervolcano). In such situations, alternative food is necessary, which is converting natural gas and wood fiber to human edible food.
At first, Huddleston knew very little about prepping, other than what he had seen on the National Geographic channel TV show Doomsday Preppers. “That was everyone’s introduction to prepping, these kind of extremist people living in bunkers in the middle of nowhere with thousands of dollars of gear, waiting for the nuclear apocalypse to come,” says Huddleston. After learning a little more—and realizing that no other anthropologists were investigating this world—he decided to dive in.
So Michael Mills at the UK's University of Kent decided to correct this gap in our knowledge. Mills went on an American road trip, spending time talking to (and butchering animals with) 39 preppers in 18 different US states. Rather than rampant paranoia, Mills suggests, preppers are motivated by non stop media coverage of natural disasters, as well as a government that encourages them to prepare for the worst.
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.
Depending on where you live, whether it be near a reserve or spare land, a crossbow is one of those perfect hunting tools and prepper gear additions that are quiet on the shot, easy to use, have high precision, reusable ammunition, and double as a home defense item should it be needed. There is no doubt that such an item deserves a spot in any household’s prepper gear.
And so, while I don’t think I’m newly paranoid, I am newly...prepared. Fortunately, the internet provides both camaraderie and online shopping for people who can vividly imagine literally every terrible scenario, and I quickly found myself down a rabbit hole of opinions on what I, my husband, and two small kids need, for, say, two weeks in an apartment with no access to food, water, heat, or medical attention. Or what we’ll need for a fast skedaddle out of town. But I persevered, and bought what I think is the bare minimum for health and safety in the event of a disaster. Below, everything I have in either my emergency supply kit or our “go bags,” or both.
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.”
Here are just a few choice gems from The Prepper Journal's 11 Ways A Condom Can Save Your Life: starting fires (they're great at protecting tinder from moisture), hunting for food (sexiest slingshot ever!), and transporting up to two liters of water (yes, rule 34 applies; no, we won't provide the link). They also make serviceable stand-ins for rubber gloves and can be used to protect the muzzle of your other essential survival tool (killing it right now).
The difference between the male prepper stereotype and this softer, more feminine strain of survivalism, Mitchell explains, is that women’s work never stops being useful. “We don’t need the pickup truck and the chainsaw and the assault weapon every day, but every day someone must love the children,” he says. “Every day we must feed ourselves and care for ourselves emotionally. There is no crisis that can possibly exacerbate the [need for] women’s traditional roles, because they’re always needed. Do we need the men? For practical purposes, maybe not.”
“That’s a major problem,” says Gene Louis, a New Jersey expat who attended his first meetup in 2013 after moving to Springfield to begin ventures in real estate brokerage and digital marketing. Plus, Jersey is expensive, and he doesn’t like the fact that its residents don’t pump their own gas. “You don’t know what people are going to define as a threat, don’t know what people at survival meetings are going to talk about,” he says. “You can’t prepare for 100 percent of what’s on that list—well, you’d need to be Donald Trump to afford to.”
And why shouldn’t they? National Geographic Channel’s Doomsday Preppers doesn’t exactly help viewers understand the plight of the average prepper, the one without 60 guns, scuba diving equipment, a bunker and an armored personnel carrier. “I knew going into it that they would try to sensationalize a lot of stuff,” says Allen, a Springfield, Missouri survivalist who refused to divulge his last name; he appeared on the show in 2012 showing off his aquaponics setup. “If Doomsday Preppers had shown typical preppers on a typical day, it would’ve been pretty boring.”
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!
To remove solids such as dirt that are suspended in the water, strain the fluid through a T-shirt or a coffee filter. Portable water filters, like those offered by the camping gear company Katadyn, are also good to have in a pinch, said Rawles, and go at the top of his list because they are useful in "umpteen" different TEOTWAWKI breakdowns. [End of the World? Top Doomsday Fears]