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.
Water. After the 2010 blizzard, I laid in some gallons of distilled water, but they eventually leaked, and—being an easily defeated person—I never replaced them. Google tells me that you want hard-sided, refillable containers. We live in a cramped apartment, so I went for the stacking water bricks that don’t take up a lot of room. You want a gallon per day per person: FEMA says for three days; NYC says a week. I say for as many of those water bricks as I can drape a quilt over and call it a coffee table.
Richard Mitchell Jr., professor emeritus of sociology at Oregon State University, is probably America’s greatest academic authority on prepping. He says modern-day survivalism as we know it is a relatively recent phenomenon, born out of the U.S. real estate boom of the late 1960s and early ’70s and the concurrent rise of guns-and-ammo magazines. Together, he says, these developments gave rise to a baby-boomer fantasy: moving to your second home in the country and learning to protect yourself in the great outdoors.
To answer that question, I found myself in the Siloam Cafe in Siloam Springs, Arkansas, seated across from Martin Fletchall, a disabled veteran who says God called him and his family to the Ozarks from Montana. He prefers to be called Fletch. Fletch is in his 40s, wears a white beard, a camouflage hoodie and matching hat and orders toast, eggs and steak, which costs less than $4. He agreed to meet me after a few weeks of exchanging emails and vetting that I wasn’t actually a “social justice warrior.”
“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.”
It is has been a couple of years since I wrote about some of the mistakes and goofs we all make while prepping. Since then, a lot of things have changed. For one, the mainstream media has caught on to “three-day kit” mania which means more and more families are now ready for short term disasters. On the other hand, threats from wacko foreign leaders have escalated to the point where terrorist-driven EMPs, pandemics, and outright wars have become more of a possibility, if not a probability. Talk about two very different sides of the same coin!
You can definitely see the use for preppers. And to be honest, these aren’t even new items either. When I was growing up, my parents had a pot belly fireplace with a flat surface on top that we’d boil water, pan fry eggs and even cook dinner. Nowadays, I have an electric kettle and electric stovetop. If the electricity was to go, I’d be using my fire stove for everything.
Followers of James Wesley Rawles often prepare for multiple scenarios with fortified and well-equipped rural survival retreats. This group anticipates a near-term crisis and seek to be well-armed as well as ready to dispense charity in the event of a disaster. Most take a "deep larder" approach and store food to last years, and a central tenet is geographic seclusion in the northern US intermountain region. They emphasize practical self-sufficiency and homesteading skills.
In the early ’80s on a job for the State Department to reinforce U.S. embassies and consulates following the 1983 Beirut barracks bombings, Pense says he and other government contractors around the U.S. converged on CIA headquarters at Langley, Virginia. The consortium of engineers traded notes and decided that the U.S. power grid was vulnerable. Inadequate, Pense says, compared to everything that’s been hung on it, and that was three decades ago. Three high-altitude electromagnetic pulses (EMPs) could take the whole thing down. Like New York City’s 1977 blackout, looting and pillaging would rule the streets, and that’s if they can get the lights back on quickly enough—if the power stays off for too long, order is lost forever.
Bombs rain from the skies, alien ships descend with lasers ablaze, improbably proportioned, irradiated sea monsters tear through essential infrastructure. You'd think that running, screaming, and finding clean underwear would top the list of activities likely to improve your chances of living, followed closely by finding a sustainable food source and offering sexual favors to the person with the most impressive arsenal. Unless you were a prepper, in which case you'd be worrying more about the safety of your cigarette stockpile.
Speaking of making mistakes here’s one of mine. One of the first things I ‘put back’ (as my Mom use to say in the fall before my Dad was out of work due to bad weather at the quarry), was a couple of extra bottles of vegetable oil. Well, other stuff got in front of them on the shelf and pretty soon they were 3 or 4 years old. Yes, they were rancid when I opened them. Taught me a good lesson on keeping track of what you have and using it before it goes bad. They are marked ‘not to eat’ and are now used to fuel some lanterns outside when we have cookouts.
The eruption of Mt Fuji will indicate that an east/west fault line has fractured, allowing Northern Honshu to slide into a 6500 metre ocean trench. Earthquakes of the past 90 days in the eastern side of Japan has weakened it’s foundation, a porous sub-structure; a land of a volcanic substance. The resulting tsunamis’ will wipe-out millions of humans in the Pacific region as well as severely destabilizing the Earth’s crust, resulting in the dislodging of the Western & Eastern Antarctic ice sheets. This massive loss of weight from the continent of Antarctica will result in an asymmetric rotation of the Earth and so cause the isostasy (Balance of the Earth’s crust.) to become unbalanced. Crust displacement at Magnitude 12+ will then occur until the Earth’s crust reaches equilibrium, while at the same time hundreds of volcanoes will erupt, lands will disappear and have an extreme destabilizing effect on the climate patterns.
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.
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.