EARLY IN MY TRAVELS, I was told the man to see for a deeper understanding of prepping in New York was Aton Edwards, founder of the International Preparedness Network and author of the emergency survival guide “Preparedness Now!” Mr. Edwards, 51, is often called the city’s foremost expert in personal disaster preparation — he has appeared on the “Today” show, has taught his “Ready Up!” seminars to hundreds of participants with partners like the Red Cross and has set up, as part of the National Urban Self-Reliance and Preparedness Program, “incident command centers” across New York, like the one he recently created for the hip-hop pioneer Afrika Bambaataa in the Bronx.
"I wasn't really excited when my friend told me about this survival kit, I thought it was just more cheaply made stuff. But he strongly suggested it to me, so I did. When I got it, I was blown away by the quality of this set. First, it comes with everything (except for the fire starter) packed into a sealed plastic box. I was worried that the bracelet would be too small, but it is perfect for my thick man wrists. It's sitting in my truck now as part of my emergency prep kit."
Obviously, solar panels by themselves are quite useful things to have, and since both Broadwing and Ned in the comments suggested that Goal Zero is quite overpriced, I’d be remiss to leave out mentioning another, more price-sensitive option. Ned recommended Aukey as a brand that makes solar power equivalents to Goal Zero gear for far cheaper. In his words, Aukey “make the exact same thing for a fraction of the cost.”
Disclaimer: I haven’t tried this, I don’t think it’s a gimmick, but it’s something that’s on my wishlist to try regardless. Won’t charge much more than a phone, and probably not even that well, but if I have my emergency back up dumb phone on me plus this sucker, I can always call out for help so long as I’ve got the reception to. Even if I forgot to charge my emergency phone. Nice idea.
"If you are a serious prepper—serious about survival, about you and your family's well-being, serious about being warm, being able to light a fire, and you want something to count on—depend on and bet your life on—these simple matches are what you need to get. The matches themselves are tanks. They are tough and dependable. They light up automatically when blown out and burn from eight to ten seconds."
In the wake of these insights, I called a family friend in Ohio, himself half-a-Prepper, and he advised me to purchase a quantity of Silver Eagle coins as an inflation hedge, which I did. Not long after came the hundred-dollar, home-delivered month’s supply of freeze-dried food — in the standard and the vegetarian options — from Costco.com. I bought my wife, which is to say, myself, John Seymour’s homesteading classic, “The Self-Sufficient Life and How to Live It.” I began the conversation about acquiring a gun.
Suppression of firearms is a good idea for night fighting, but do your research about suppressors and suppression before committing to a 3-400 dollar solution as well as the $200 tax stamp per suppressor. For $500 I can build another AR platform rifle or shorty pistol. And don’t forget that suppressors aren’t magic; the piece still makes enough noise for everybody within a half klick on a totally silent night to hear it.
Fletch runs the YouTube channel OzarksTactical Homesteading, the description of which reads, “Liberty-minded, faith-based, pro-Second Amendment, pro–home school.” He posts videos on prepping and reviews tactical gear from his property somewhere in northwest Arkansas. Occasionally, Fletch records rants in the car. The mainstream media and Walmart door greeters—the “door gestapo”—are recent targets of his iPhone manifesto. He’s gained more than 5,000 subscribers since launching the channel in 2011.
Curt Rankin—a Lebanon entrepreneur with the demeanor and looks of Mike Huckabee before he got fat—bought Gardening Revolution in December. In his 50s, Rankin is a kid relishing in his father’s approval as Pense, inside the Strafford cabin, explains why Rankin seemed like the best candidate to keep the company going. The prodigal son is already reworking the website and devising marketing schemes to maintain the momentum, and Pense now teaches missionaries, who will take his raised-bed system across the globe.
His conclusion, then, is that preppers are responding to what they're hearing: "prepping is a phenomenon with clear, previously unacknowledged links to broader risk communications and concerns in the twenty-first century United States." In other words, prepping might be an unusual response to the challenges everyone faces when trying to communicate risks to the public, but it's on a spectrum of responses, rather than being a distinct phenomenon.
2- Listening to these people is an exercise in restraint. They are largely uninformed and base their life-decisions on anecdotal information they glean from the internet and other like-minded people as equally ignorant. They lack the imagination to redirect their energy and efforts to endeavors that could benefit society. Their apocalyptic view of the world is unsupported by real-world events, think Katrina, Sandy, and Fukushima, and provides them with a platform that simply reinforces a mistaken belief that all Americans adhere to or support this behavior.
The stove I have in my prepper gear is a Camp Chef Alpine which is also one of the more popular brands because of its good price, installation, and reliable platform to cook on. These stoves are also very popular with the hunting community, who take these out to fixed campsites when they are out for days or weeks and use the cooker for pan frying fish, boiling water, or cooking steaks from any game they have hunted.
Prepping is more about planning, knowledge, and skills than actually purchasing a lot of useless gadgets. I walked away from the consumer lifestyle many years ago and now live on an off-grid homestead. That said, there are always items that preparedness-minded people, like myself, keep their eyes open for. We are always looking for good deals on all things canning, such as jars, lids, pressure canners, and water bath canners. Or perhaps a higher-ticket item, such as a food dehydrator.
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.