Again, the reason we tend to look sideways at those who get a little too into prepping for an apocalypse is because of their smug optimism. People actually being realistic about a dangerous future would be better served joining the military or ingratiating themselves with high-level government officials than agonizing about a little mouth scuzz or foot fuzz, right?
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!
And what better place to prepare than the Ozarks? Strafford got 47 inches of rain last year; the mean temperature was a mild 59 degrees. The Springfield Plateau has a 200-foot-deep aquifer for when rainwater gets scarce. The region is largely insulated from natural disasters—save the odd tornado or benign rumbling from the Bootheel’s New Madrid Fault Line—and the low population density of like-minded folks means preppers, survivalists and homesteaders get left alone. A Lebanon real estate agent tells me remote acreage is an increasingly hot commodity for city dwellers eager to go native. Conversations with locals and time spent on survivalism forums reveal a religious cohort who believe the Ozarks are God’s country—sacred ground upon which one can wage a last stand against the sins of a rapidly globalizing world.
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For example, have you considered the need for feminine products? What about canes, walkers, and manually operated wheelchairs? Pets need food, crates, and toys to keep them occupied while the rest of family members are recovering from chaos. It will be impossible to cover every contingency but be aware of what those needs are now then prioritize those that you deem most important.
If you want to keep the entire home running without any disturbance during a power out situation, there is a huge 20,000w home standby generator by Kohler powered by natural gas or propane and is an asset to a property and starts whenever the power goes out. However, these are quite an investment. There are options for cheaper generators that use fuel such as a Champion 3800w generator which, while much cheaper, make a tonne of noise, which I wasn’t into when shopping around for a generator to add to my prepper gear.
To the extent that one exists, the public image of a prepper is of someone who's getting ready for the collapse of society, at which point money and electric grids, along with all the things that depend on them, will become unavailable. Preppers are ready to purify water to drink, hunt and butcher for meals, and scare off anyone who tries to get a piece of their post-apocalyptic bliss, possibly via gunfire. There may be bunkers involved.
Canned meat: Get about 20 cans of assorted meats. Without refrigeration it will be hard to keep meat from spoiling, and that’s if you can get it in the first place. There are quite a few options, SPAM, Ham, Beef, Chicken, Tuna and sardines, but remember buy what you eat now. Also make sure you have a manual can opener, your electric can opener might not work.
When I first started prepping, I did not mention my new little “hobby” to anyone. You know, OPSEC and all that. But about a year into it, I realized that I could not do it all on my own. There were things I was having trouble grasping and I needed help. As I tip toed around the edges of my community, I found some like minded people and much to my surprise, I found that I had skills and knowledge that they lacked.
Bombs rain from the skies, alien ships descend with lasers ablaze, improbably proportioned, irradiated sea monsters tear through essential infrastructure. You'd think that running, screaming, and finding clean underwear would top the list of activities likely to improve your chances of living, followed closely by finding a sustainable food source and offering sexual favors to the person with the most impressive arsenal. Unless you were a prepper, in which case you'd be worrying more about the safety of your cigarette stockpile.
Most of us have quite good shelter already available to us. If you live in a cold climate you have to be concerned about winter and freezing temperatures if you don't have a fireplace and wood available. If things ever really became bad I would setup a tent inside of my house and burn candles inside of the tent. For most of the continental United States that would keep the temperature inside of the tent above freezing. If you combine that with a zero degree or better sleeping bag you will survive much better than just about anyone around you. It's much easier to achieve this level of heating independence than finding a way of powering your generator for weeks. A little known fact is that most generators recommend changing their oil every 40 hours of use. Storing fuel to keep a generator working is daunting but the oil requirements are almost always forgotten.
When I go offroading/tent camping, I usually bring an ice chest with real food, but one of my friends always brings Mountain House freeze dried food and gives very high ratings for it. So I bought the "classic assortment bucket" just to try out. The meals taste as good as Hamburger Helper with fresh ground beef. The seasoning is spot on and the sodium content fits with the typical American diet which tastes good and helps you retain water. This is good in a survival situation. It's bad for people with heart failure, but it's really good for healthy people that are starving and have limited water supplies. Skeptical that I know what I'm talking about? I'm a molecular biologist and a board certified sub-specialist medical doctor trained at University of Washington, UC Irvine and Stanford (you can Google me). The "per serving" numbers ... full review
“I’m actually responsible, indirectly, for the end of the meetups,” Dr. Shealy tells me inside his Springfield clinic off Chestnut Expressway, and not just because he thinks the earth is more than 6,000 years old. (Andrew: says you can’t trust anyone who believes that.) He sports a red crewneck, navy blue sweatpants, a stretchy metal watch and rectangular glasses. The 85-year-old—he’s more energetic than most people half his age—specializes in holistic medicine; the first thing he asks me is my birthday, and do I know what my astrological sign means. On my way out, he asks if he can hug me, and when I oblige, a toothy grin pulls wide the spritely doctor’s cheeks. “I believe it’s an important part of human contact,” he says.
"This fire starter just exudes value. If this unit was only the fire starter itself, it would still be more than worth the sub-seven dollar price point. Throwing in the compass, whistle, and very comfortable handle and in my humble opinion, this is one of the better survival values on the market. Is the compass tiny? Yes. Does said compass sometimes need some coaxing? Yes. Is it better than a dedicated, large-dialed compass? Of course not. Is it better than not having a compass with you at all? Of course, it is."
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.
I only recently got a cabin stove after a recommendation from another prepper as a way to cook without power or gas. Sure, it’s pretty easy to make a fireplace outdoors with bricks and place a grate over the top, but fire stoves are an innovative tool to regulate cooking temperature, boil water and cook meals indoors. Because of their enclosed design and external chimney, you can fix one indoors with a chimney leading to the outside and have an off-grid cooking platform indoors.
There are two scenarios everyone—prepper or not—should count on: losing power and being stranded in your car. I’m a big believer in backup power. I keep an emergency power supply plugged into an outlet in my apartment; it has a trickle charger so I can forget about it until my block goes dark. In my car, I keep extra blankets, a LifeStraw portable water filter, lighters, and Millennium energy bars. It’s not the Four Seasons, but at least my family will be able to survive 48 hours in our Honda Pilot. One thing to consider: You need to be with your gear when a disaster strikes. When Sandy hit in 2012, our whole family was in Connecticut while all my gear was in Manhattan. My wife had a good laugh. These days, my everyday bag is a waterproof Showers Pass backpack where I stash a small set of screwdrivers, multitool, glass breaker, three flashlights that use the same type of batteries, and a spool of Kevlar thread, all sorted in plastic bags. There’s a spoon and fork in there, too, because if I have to eat an MRE for dinner, I might as well look civilized while I do it.—Wylie Dufresne, Michelin-starred Chef, Owner Of Du’s Donuts, Prepper
Ten months after the election, “Hillary For Prison” shirts have yet to go out of style, but what sells at any given show largely depends on what’s going on in the world that week. “I have noticed the radiation guys across from us this week,” says Mike Nocks, owner of Lebanon’s White Harvest Seed Company and one of the show’s guest speakers. “In years past, I haven’t seen much radiation stuff, but since the Korean guy has been doing more nuclear stuff, I’m seeing more interest in nuclear detectors.”
Not surprisingly, the storm attracted numerous recruits to his group and joined a list of totemic prepping moments that already included the much-hyped Y2K fiasco, 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina. I learned that New York Preppers prep for reasons as varied as their anxieties and experience. “It was a pragmatic response to certain things I know,” said Robert Segal, a wine salesman between jobs, who once worked as an electrical technician on a nuclear submarine. “As an engineer, I’m sort of a student of how things fall apart.”
I strongly disagree with several of the conclusions in this book, such as focusing almost completely on getting to stay in your home, the attitude of 'don't bother worrying about storing food for more than a couple months', etc. I'm just not happy about payin for a book that basically gives me someone's opinions along with incorrect data (veg oils do NOT last longer than other types, for one) and tells me what other books to buy.
About a month after I left meetup 2.0 at Pizza Hut, former attendee Garland Fitzhugh called to tell me it’s become more of an ‘eat-up’ than a prepper meetup—fair, considering there’s been no local calamity to keep the survivalist group on its toes. Allen emails meeting suggestions to a prepper listserv, asking them to focus on prepping situations they can actually influence. He may as well type in Wingdings. A former Navy technician, Allen spent most of the meeting on his phone; his ears only perk up when Andrew: says something about naval intelligence that piques his interest. “I try not to do that too much,” he tells me later.
Ned in the comments reminded me that a bike really should be on this list. Of course, I don’t really need to say, but a good mountain bike is incredibly useful in a SHTF situation where fuel is hard to get. Ned mentioned that it’d be a good idea to couple the bike with a carrying rack on the front or back, and if you can, an electric generator. I think that’s a pretty damn great idea; only problem is I haven’t managed to find any electric generators for bikes that actually have good reviews. If you know of one, please recommend one down in the comments section.
Cigarettes will also be hugely useful for starting fires and saving coals (as any fan of post-apocalyptic literature knows, this is of great importance). The filters can be used to clean water, although you'll need the patience of Stephen Baldwin to pull it off. If you do manage to live for longer than a few weeks without plumbing and Internet, you'll be able to protect your budding prepper garden by soaking cigarette butts in water and spraying the resulting chemical-laden tobacco juice on your produce. This is a technique already in use by people too impatient to wait for the apocalypse, though it is ironic and entertaining that they consider using cigarette-butt sludge a "natural" way to ward off pests.
This one surprised me that it showed up as one of the top sellers but I’ve actually had a few people in the past few weeks asking me about it. This particular one gets stellar reviews too. If you need a bug out bag, this is a great choice. A lot of people get a bag like this for the quality and details and just change the color. It’s pretty easy to do, and that way you’re not skimping on function and form by choosing something else that’s in the color you’re looking for. Here’s a pretty lengthy video on it:
"I'm a big fan of Jim's other book, The Prepper's Complete Book of Disaster Readiness. The advice is practical and Jim writes in an easy-to-follow, chattin'-with-a-friend style. Prepper's Long-Term Survival Guide is no different--another good book with good advice from someone you'd probably consider a good friend." -- Julie Sczerbinski, Home Ready Home (HomeReadyHome.com)
As I got to know him better, Mr. Edwards told me the story of his own interest in disaster preparation, which began, he said, in 1972, when he went to see “Deliverance” on the Grand Concourse in the Bronx. (“I thought it was a camping movie.”) He entered the theater as a relatively normal 10-year-old, but emerged as a Prepper: “I said to myself, ‘Gee, I should get to learning everything possible to prevent that situation from occurring.’ ”
This idea alone was the reason I started prepping in the first place, it was my experience in a flood that made me realize how much I have taken for granted the systems that are controlled by so many others, from transport industries with food and fuel, to power plant operations and clean water. All of this is daily life norms, but when they are switched off, it’s something I was never prepared to deal with.
It’s one thing to have solar panels, another to have a generator, and quite a remarkably nice thing once the best of both worlds are mixed. Yes, this is high up there on my dream wishlist. No, it’s not at all a necessity, but would it make life one heck of a lot easier if you had this even during a power outage – hell yes. Also – “It takes the same amount of time to charge your device from a Goal Zero power pack as it does from the wall.” How cool is that??