“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.
World tensions are at such heightened levels that even hedge fund managers and Silicon Valley titans are preparing for the worst. But some of the 99% might need “prepper” shopping tips, too. And even if you’re not inclined to start hoarding supplies any time soon, some of the gadgets below can be useful in all sorts of emergencies, like natural disasters. Good luck out there.
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.
Before they were pets, dogs were workers. They can carry their own supplies without complaint (already making them superior to most humans right now), sniff out food and water, and search for and bring down prey. Some breeds, such as huskies, have been specifically tailored to bust their butts on the barest of rations. Dogs also have a long and storied history of offensive and defensive combat use, making them perfectly suited to attack anyone who thinks they have more of a right to that sweet, sweet snack cake stockpile than you do. Which is to say, your four-legged pal is just a few training sessions and a kickass set of armor away from leading you to your rightful place as God Of The Ragged Desert/Water People.
I know that in my own case and also with the majority of the readers on Backdoor Survival, hunkering down and bugging in will always be preferred to taking off into the unknown with our stuff.  For many, the choice to bug in has to do with family, health concerns or financial considerations.  That, plus the availability of stored supplies makes bugging in – or staying at home – the choice when a disaster strikes.

There are a couple of options here. First, I will go with what I use. I recently moved from using a 100w Paxcess battery to use a much bigger Goal Zero Yeti 1200w system which is more capable of powering most household items. While I found the Paxcess really good to use as a backup power source for camping, or for working outdoors, I found that it only powered a few items. The Goal Zero system is much more efficient at powering most of our home needs and is an effective competitor against fuel systems but is much more efficient as it can receive a quick charge from solar panels, and makes next to no sound, unlike fuel-based generators.
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.
It seemed important to know if this all-encompassing negativity was histrionic or appropriate — that is, if the hard-core Preppers I had met were crazy or were, in fact, on to something. Just before the show-and-tell, I came across a news report about Dr. Irwin Redlener, the director of the National Center for Disaster Preparedness at Columbia University, whom Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo had recently named to lead a commission investigating how ready the state was for another Hurricane Sandy-like emergency. I arranged an interview, figuring that he, if anyone, could answer my question.

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.
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