Experts worry most about the grid’s nervous system: 2,000 extra-high voltage transformers. They’re 200- and 300-ton behemoths, individually engineered to meet specific power demands, and on average, they’re 40 years old. Notwithstanding the fact that 85 percent of transformers are imported, the U.S. Department of Energy says it takes between 5 and 16 months to replace a single one. According to the U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Committee, an attack that destroyed nine of the 2,000 transformers would “cause a protracted nationwide blackout.” There’s no national cache of spare transformers. 

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.
The Missouri Information Analysis Center (MIAC) issued on February 20, 2009 a report intended for law enforcement personnel only entitled "The Modern Militia Movement," which described common symbols and media, including political bumper stickers, associated with militia members and domestic terrorists. The report appeared March 13, 2009 on WikiLeaks[88] and a controversy ensued. It was claimed that the report was derived purely from publicly available trend data on militias.[89] However, because the report included political profiling, on March 23, 2009 an apology letter was issued, explaining that the report would be edited to remove the inclusion of certain components.[90] On March 25, 2009 MIAC was ordered to cease distribution of the report.[91]

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“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.”
After examining their new house — “Decent elevation, but not too solar-friendly” — Mr. Edwards issued his analysis. The Dosters rely on electric power for their heat and water, and given the prevalence of long winter power failures in their town, Mr. Edwards recommended a 60-gallon Aquatank water-storage mattress for under the bed. He also suggested at least 10 boxes of Nuvona emergency food and advised the couple to invest in two electric bicycles, energy-saving lights (“If you want to get jiggy with it, try the LEDs”) and a rooftop windmill for alternate generation.

For a lot of us, we are heavily dependant on systems in place to be sure that we have our food in stores, clean tap water, grid power and other conveniences that we’ve come to take granted in our everyday lives. But what happens when we lose those things, say for instance in a natural disaster? What do we do when the modern world switches off? And what prepper gear should we stock to keep those modern comforts?
Some gear items listed here are downright cool, while others are, plainly put – extremely practical. Most are one-time lifetime buys, while others, like the emergency food, you’ll hope you’ll never have to use up, but if/when you do, they’ll of course need to be replaced. Every item on this list is, in my opinion, is extremely valuable to have as a prepper, and while I’m sure there are many more survivalist wishlist-type items on the market, these are definitely the ones I find myself lusting over the most.
The one thing which hits home to me is a reminder to keep following what Frank Herbert wrote in his Dune series. “Fear is a mind killer.” A little fear helps motivate but we, humans, seem to overdo even or especially in our emotions. Whether it’s the ‘net’ or the news, it seems people want to push that fear button to motivate others. So now when it happens, I teach people to take 3 deep breaths in and out s l o w l y. This allows the dino rational self to catch up with the emotional lizard. Having experienced a few ‘events’ in life. This had helped me through. Thanks for the list. Am going through these as an evaluation 😉 and reminder.
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.

The trouble with the prepper movement’s rhetoric of self-reliance, Mitchell says, is that it’s based on a faulty premise. Just as the homesteaders who settled the Great Plains were a lot more interdependent than American mythology typically chalks them up to be — frequently relying on bartering and income from jobs in town to take care of their nutritional needs, rather than growing everything themselves — surviving a true cataclysmic event requires collaboration.


“It was never offered as a contrary movement to hippies by any means,” Mitchell explains. “I think maybe it was just one more expression of ‘You can try something new now.’” Survivalism was and still is, Mitchell believes, a product of late capitalist consumer society, premised on drumming up panic about various hypothetical catastrophes and furnishing people with products that will allegedly help survive them.
A tarp. For actual survival, a generic blue tarp from Lowe’s isn’t going to cut it. I’m looking for something that is specially designed to help you survive in winter, like [the Xenon winter tarp, $140 and the Old Man Winter by Wilderness Logistics, $160]. They can be used as a tent, as ground cover, to catch rainwater, to patch holes, for a trap, and even to drag back heavy animals.
When bands of marauders start roaming the streets, how are you going to keep them out? Tear down a few walls, says Timothy Ferraro, a twenty-five-year construction veteran who's thought about this situation plenty while watching The Walking Dead. "Assuming the attackers don't have a battering ram, you should be able to keep them out using the lumber and drywall already in your home," he says.

Nygaard is a busy woman: In addition to working a full-time job, raising chickens, and growing sweet corn, potatoes, and peppers, she runs a blog called Living Life in Rural Iowa, where she shares bits of wisdom that she’s learned on her prepping journey. Looking back, Nygaard says becoming a prepper encouraged her to develop new skills, including the sorts of home repairs and outdoor work she once counted on her husband to tackle. “Before you get divorced, you’re like, ‘Oh, that’s outside. My husband can take care of that.’ And then when you become a single parent, you’re like, ‘Wow, I have to do outdoors and indoors — why did I think he should take care of all that?’ You have that sense that you can do just about anything you set your mind to.”

This is a great beginner bag for a short emergency. The individual items are ok, not great, but ok. The food and water is as described. That backpack is better quality than I expected it to be. The appealing factor for me was the price and the seemingly completeness of the contents. I felt like this would, at least, keep us fed in the event of an emergency; and it certainly will. But don't think this is a one-stop turn key solution if you are seriously concerned about a problem lasting more than a day or two. The smaller pieces of the package are not robust enough for that - mostly plastic and flimsy. For example the compass on the end of the whistle doesn't even float, so it never points north. The medical kit is literally a few bandaids. The sanitary items are not enough of anything to matter. ... full review
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