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.
Many books were published in the wake of the Great Recession from 2008 and later offering survival advice for various potential disasters, ranging from an energy shortage and crash to nuclear or biological terrorism. In addition to the 1970s-era books, blogs and Internet forums are popular ways of disseminating survivalism information. Online survival websites and blogs discuss survival vehicles, survival retreats, emerging threats, and list survivalist groups.
“Everybody thinks about prepping as this big doomsday thing, like when the zombie apocalypse happens,” Luther says. “But really it’s a lot more likely that someone’s going to lose their job or that you’re going to have a major expense you weren’t expecting, like your car breaks down or a medical expense. So if you think of prepping as something to get you through those situations, it’s really almost like an insurance policy.”
The reason the vacuum sealing system’s up on this list is because I feel food has a much longer “shelf life” so to speak when its vacuum sealed before being thrown in the freezer. Used to have a lot of power outages when we lived in Toronto, and each time our food would thaw out a little it’d taste worse and worse – except for the one vacuum sealed slab of meat we got from a neighbour which I think withstood 2-3 power outages (one which lasted 4-5 days) and tasted as though it was vacuum packed the day before. I’ve also heard of people vacuum packing rice into smaller one-serving portions, and have always thought that a great idea for cases you might want to throw a bunch into a pack and go, or just generally extend the shelf life of your food/prevent rats and mice from getting into things. Necessary? No. Definitely still something I want, though.
By his own estimate, Pense says there are a few thousand people in the Springfield area who have listened and who are ready. The preppers. Most don’t like to be called preppers because of the connotation that they’re crazy; Chicken Little wasn’t well-received by his people, either. Most don’t even like to talk about it, but a few of them do. So for three months toward the end of 2017, I sought out the doomsday survivalists to find out: Is it really crazy to live like the sky is falling?
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.
Perhaps for that reason, many of the practices that bloggers like Luther and Nygaard describe as prepping seem to blend into the world of homesteading, a brand of self-reliance more closely associated with living off the land. According to Gaye Levy, the Arizona-based writer behind the blog Strategic Living and the founder of Backdoor Survival, one of the longest-running woman-run sites in the space, the two aren’t exactly the same thing. “I think prepping is pretty clear: You’re preparing for a disruptive event that’s gonna turn your day-to-day world upside down. Homesteaders typically will have a plot of land. They attempt to grow their own food, they raise farm animals, and that is their job.”
Drinkable water is even more important in the short term than food for making it through a disaster situation. Keep bleach handy to kill bacteria, viruses and other potential pathogens that can contaminate a water supply. "One gallon of Clorox can disinfect 3,000 gallons of water," said Dennis McClung, proprietor of 2012supplies.com, a website offering survival information and supplies pegged to the widespread Mayan calendar myth that the world will end next year. Just add eight drops of bleach to a gallon of water and let it sit for 10 minutes, McClung told Life's Little Mysteries.