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. 
For those reliant on imported medication, a disorderly Brexit is a particular worry, and the government has asked pharmaceutical companies to store six weeks’ supply of medication, though what would happen after that remains unclear. Supplies might be flown in, bypassing clogged ports, but experts say a no-deal exit could also interfere with air travel, grounding many flights from the European Union.
“Next thing I see is, they hanged the colored boy, ’cause they caught him stealing. And they had established, I think, about 1,000 trees in the forest out in Mark Twain to hang people from if they catch them stealing or whatever. And I had a big dog—my dog died of bone cancer of all things two years ago. Buddy was half-Rottweiler, half-German shepherd. He was a dog, and he was with me in this. And I also have a police riot gun, a 12-gauge, that holds eight magnum shells. So I’m seeing all this stuff happening, and then I look around, and my dog’s gone. So I picked up my shotgun and went to look for my dog, and I found five men, and they were already skinning him to eat.”

To find out, Mills placed ads on some popular prepper websites, recruited his cohort, and started his road trip. His goal wasn't a quantitative study; it was ethnography, which is largely talking to people, spending time with them, and seeing whether there are commonalities in how they think. It's important to note that regardless of how popular these prepper sites are, they probably won't produce a full cross-section of the prepper community, either, nor will selecting people based on willingness to talk to a researcher. That said, you'll still probably get more depth than you would by selecting for great TV.


While I keep almost all of my food in the basement, with only a small portion in the kitchen pantry, 98% of my basement food storage is in sealed cans, or in mylar bags stored in 5 gallon buckets. That way if my basement floods I can wash the cans with disinfecting solution (10% bleach solution) and relabel using markers. Upstairs I keep my emergency blankets since they aren’t impacted by summer heat where if I tried to store food in the bedrooms it would be at risk from summer temperatures. But as I write this I realize I need to move my water filter and water BOBs out of the basement and upstairs so they don’t get impacted by a flood. Thanks for making me think of this!
I am also quite into food prepping in the sense that I like to plan what I eat for the week in a balanced diet, so I use the Excalibur Dehydrator as it lets me do nine trays of foods at the same time, which I generally do on a Sunday afternoon. I’m also a fan of this dehydrator as I can make jerky with it, or if I have had a huge harvest from the garden of a specific fruit, I can dry it all out at once in one bulk session.
Finelli’s not from around here; an adopted Midwestern politeness hardly masks direct, fast-thinking, faster-talking East Coast roots, although he won’t tell me where he’s from exactly. He’s guarded like that. He won’t say where he went to college, only that he graduated from a prestigious undergraduate program and then got an MBA; nor will he say where he worked after, only that he started a company on the West Coast to manufacture satellite communications receivers before a Japanese competitor threatened to kill him. He will say he knows the moon landing was faked. In 1982, he moved back east from California and began designing computer systems for a Fortune 100 credit card company.
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.
I connected with Jennifer through Daisy Luther, the Virginia-based writer and survival preparedness expert behind the blog The Organic Prepper, which boasts more than 30,000 followers on Facebook and roughly 32,000 monthly visits on Pinterest. Jennifer says she learned a lot about prepping from the site and is a member of its affiliated private Facebook group, which Luther says is nearly 77 percent women. (Luther and other bloggers I spoke with for this story say that while they approach survivalism from a female perspective, they’ve encountered no small number of men who are interested in these practices as well.)
In both his book Rawles on Retreats and Relocation and in his survivalist novel, Patriots: A Novel of Survival in the Coming Collapse, Rawles describes in great detail retreat groups "upgrading" brick or other masonry houses with steel reinforced window shutters and doors, excavating anti-vehicular ditches, installing warded gate locks, constructing concertina wire obstacles and fougasses, and setting up listening post/observation posts (LP/OPs.) Rawles is a proponent of including a mantrap foyer at survival retreats, an architectural element that he calls a "crushroom".[7]
What’s the bare minimum you need to navigate across land?  For most people, that would be a compass and map.  A basic road map is sufficient to get a rough approximation of the lay of the land.  More detailed relief maps can help plan for elevation and estimate possible water sources but they also take up more room in your pack.  Waterproofed or laminated maps are also extremely helpful.  Lensatic compasses are the most reliable for little money.  If possible, a compass and protractor are also extremely helpful for route planning.  Obviously, not as essential but nonetheless useful.
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