Don’t stop there. Take a hard look at demographics. Are you in a city where gangs, mobs or terrorist attacks are likely? Do you live in a remote area where the failure of transportation systems or the lack of fuel will cut you off from supplies arriving from the rest of the world? Is your employment situation tenuous requiring that you build up some cash reserves to get you by just in case the job goes away?
Religion, however, has everything to do with survivalism—there are things about your faith that affect the way you live, Fletch says, offering me an example. “Today, a great deal [on the menu] was the special you had,” he says. “Every one of the specials had pork in it. Well, depending on your belief system and where you’re coming from, Dan, you could’ve made several decisions about me.” He’s right; I could’ve thought he assumed the breakfast was on me, so he ordered the most expensive dish on the menu. And those assumptions, he says, can break up a group. “If 99 percent of the people in your group don’t eat pork, and you bring in some person eating a ham sandwich next to you, that’s going to cause some conflict.”
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Personal hygiene is even more important in emergency situations than during everyday life. We have so many conveniences at our disposal in our society. Yet many people don’t realize the challenges when those conveniences are no longer available. Personal hygiene is really about keeping clean and avoiding unsanitary conditions that can lead to illness.
I would like to add, buying too much of something at one time. I have lots of water and food stored. Toothpaste, soap, qtips and such. How much medical and bandaid? NONE. Make a list most definitely. But include stuff you HAVEN’T BOUGHT yet. Checkmark items you have with the amounts. Also I have 3 non bullet weapons and have a 4th on the way. A regular size crossbow (with a broad head it will penetrate any class of body armor) A pistol crossbow which is actually more powerful than the large one, but you can’t get broad head for them. They will however penetrate 3/4 pressed plywood particle board. Good for human threat or rabbit get. A wrist rocket slingshot with “hunting” rubbers and I’m waiting on a new item called a “Pocket Shot”. It’s a new type of slingshot that self centers the ammo. You can fire almost twice the ammo in the same amount of time. All 4 will be valuable to be quiet during the first month. After the hordes have been thinned, noise from a gun will bring less attention.
Yes, freeze dried food is pricey. With some care, however, you can find pouches, tins, and buckets on sale. The advantage of freeze dried food, and meal pouches especially, is they are lightweight and therefore transporatable. They are quick to prepare and require no planning or thinking. Add hot to boiling water, stir, let sit for a short time, and eat.
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.”
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Onto a folding table came a breathtaking array of disaster swag: compasses and iodine pills, hand-cranked radios and solar-powered flashlights, magnesium fire-starters and a fully charged Kindle with digital road maps of the tristate region. Many of the items on display went far beyond the “10 Basic Pillars of Bug-Out Gear” that Jason Charles, the network’s leader, had passed out in advance through the Internet. A good number were tweaked to fit their owners’ needs and interests. A locksmith in the group had a lock-picking set. A vegetarian had a stash of homemade dehydrated lentils. One man had a condom designed to serve as an emergency canteen; another had a rat trap — to catch and eat the rats.
The No. 1 emergency that most people are going to face is a financial problem, and that isn’t necessarily gonna be the collapse of the American economy. It’s more likely that someone in your family will lose their job, or you’ll have a huge medical expense that you weren’t expecting and can’t pay for. I’m a single parent. About 10 years ago, I lost my job. The fact that my pantry had enough food for several months meant I was able to use my savings and my unemployment payment to keep my mortgage paid.
He points to the cash registers over his left shoulder. “I’ll bet you there’s not one thing you bought today that didn’t use electricity in the transaction,” he says. Before Y2K, Finelli says he owned a small computer manufacturing company and personally upgraded 8,000 operating systems so the dates would roll over from 1999 to 2000. “Because they wouldn’t,” he says. “There was a defect. I know that computer systems are frail because I built them.” He says a widespread power outage would cripple us—no electricity, no trading debt portfolios, no buying wholesale taquitos on credit.
If the fire is around you and you can’t escape, you don’t have many options, says Shane Hobel of the Mountain Scout Survival School. If there’s a pool or a pond nearby, jump in and try to wait it out there. Otherwise, if you have time, dig a trench that’s two to three feet deep and long enough for you to lie in. Soak a blanket in water, wrap it around yourself, and lie down in the trench. It’s risky, but at least you’ll have a chance.
Most preppers, Huddleston found, are male, white, and between the ages of 25 and 45. The reason for the racial divide might be self-reinforcing, he notes. “If you see a bunch of white guys in tactical clothing jump out of an armored van, a young black man or woman is not going to be like, ‘Hey, that looks cool. I want to go over there.’ They’re going to run the other way,” he says.
I’m sure I really don’t have to explain why a crossbow would make for a great prepper gear item to add to your stockpile. Hunting and defense applications when things get really bad – oh and regardless, practicing with one of these would be so much fun in and of itself. Regardless of prepping, this is one cool item to have and train yourself to use. As a side note, since we live in the UK, this one of the easiest long-range hunting tools we can obtain.
Hopefully, you will never have to use it, but you should have it. A self-defense weapon is a critical part of your prepper gear. Sometimes, just showing it is enough to deter people. Obviously, a firearm is the best choice. But there are other options, such as a crossbow or longbow with arrows, a taser, or a knife. Whatever you choose, be sure you are well-trained and practiced and that you have plenty of ammo.
Pense just sold his company, Gardening Revolution. For 20 years he shipped the proprietary iron, zinc, manganese, copper, sulfur and boron soil blend. Each bed costs $800, after you buy the cinder blocks and mat. On his best year, he shipped $580,000-worth of them. The magazine John Deere Homestead featured him. He’s taught classes on raised-bed gardening and survival in his cabin ever since. “The record on tomatoes is 274 pounds for one plant. Think about that,” Pense says. “That’s a lot of ’maters for one plant.” More than the ’maters, he’s proud of teaching people younger than him to grow their own food.
Luther’s decision to build up a pantry, she says, did more than help the family get by on a tiny budget. Later on, it would also help her through a divorce, the sudden death of her ex-partner at age 40, and getting laid off from two jobs in the automotive industry in the late 2000s. “I feel that it’s the whole reason my my mortgage didn’t go into default when I was unemployed, because I didn’t have to go to the grocery store and buy stuff,” Luther says of her experiences during the recession. “All the limited amount of money I had could go to paying the mortgage and keeping a roof over our head.”
If you spend enough time on the survivalist internet, you’ll stumble upon a number of woman-run blogs specializing in a softer side of prepping, one that combines aspects of survivalism, healthy eating, and home economics. They have names like Survival Mom, Apartment Prepper, and Organic Prepper and can boast Facebook and Pinterest followings in the tens and hundreds of thousands. Together with a number of online forums and private Facebook groups, they form the basis of a loose-knit community with a shared interest in a constellation of traditional and contemporary domestic practices, including long-term and short-term food storage, growing and preserving food, frugal grocery shopping, family first aid, and basic self-defense. It’s a community found primarily online, but it also includes the occasional in-person trade expo or foraging class. For Jennifer and other mothers who partake in this feminine strain of survivalism, being prepared is more than a means of shoring up for some unseen future disaster. It’s a form of self-empowerment in the present.
A portable, 2.6 pound stove fueled by naturally occurring scraps sure would come in handy after society breaks down. Voila: the BioLite Camp Stove. Feed it biomass like twigs, pinecones, or wood pellets, and the resulting smokeless fire from this portable grill can get a pot of water boiling in under five minutes. It also generates enough electricity to charge a mobile phone or other gadgets with a USB port. Included is a USB-charged FlexLight, a light with bendable stem that can be positioned to illuminate the cook surface.
When the storm of the century is heading your way, know that it is time to evacuate. Load up your vehicle and go. As much as you feel that you are better off in your own home, if the authorities tell you to leave – and even if they do not – get out of harm’s way as a precautionary measure. Do so while you still have the ability to load up your vehicle with supplies and fill the tank with gas.
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Remember when I wrote about wheat in Why You Should Store Wheat for Survival? For heaven’s sake, do not purchase wheat if you do not know how to use it. Of course, it would not hurt to learn about wheat. Freshly ground, it makes a heavenly loaf of bread the only problem being that it is so good you may eat too much and gain 50 pounds which would be another problem entirely.
DIY home surgeons will be excited to know epinephrine can actually be used with lidocaine (a numbing agent) to restrict blood vessels for faster wound repair. (Note: Cracked in no way condones performing self-surgery.) When sanitization resources become limited, the speed with which a wound can heal will have a drastic impact on survival rates. The longer a wound stays open and bloody, the more likely you are to get infections. Infections have historically been some of the most deadly and difficult-to-treat medical conditions, and even today they are not always easily survivable.
Pense was born in the Dust Bowl during the Great Depression. He was 5 years old when the bombs fell over Pearl Harbor. His food was rationed. He got bronchiectasis during Black Sunday as an infant and “forgot to tell” the Army so he could serve; he stayed in the service until the doctors found out. He’s a product of a generation when people were prepared, not because it was stylish or social, but because it was what you had to do. He tells me all this as his still-strong arm puts another log on the fire, and I can’t help but wonder what the world will be like when resilient people like him are gone.
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.
Potassium iodide. This was actually not my idea, and on the paranoia scale I think this one’s pretty high up. During the George W. Bush administration, my former boyfriend’s mother, a M.D. who had trained to care for people who’d survived war and other traumas, insisted we keep a packet of potassium iodide, which provides some protection to the thyroid in the event of a dirty bomb. After the breakup, I kept the Le Creuset, and he kept the KI. So it’s paranoid, whatever, potassium iodide is cheaper than Le Creuset.
And while most of them will tell you they got into survivalism out of an interest in self-reliance, that spirit by no means excludes a sense of cooperation. It’s there in the endless churn of blog posts, advice columns, Pinterest boards, Facebook groups, online classes, and digital marketplaces these women use to connect and swap information every day. And it’s here at Wild Abundance, in the open-air living room, where a woman with short hair and tattoos balances two tall boards of wood on the ground as another starts screwing in the shelves that will connect them into a bookcase.
Long time lurker here... How do you prep for staying with family? I’ve got my own bag in the car but that’s not enough to ensure my extended family is safe and comfortable for several days in the woods. How do you have conversations with people and family who are generously hosting you about being prepped? Do you roll in with as much gear as reasonable? Do you decline invites and insist on hosting? What if you’re flying in? Thanks in advance for any help.
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]