I've been prepping for TEOTWAWKI for about a year now and I figured I'd take inventory of what I've amassed as far as food, water, seeds, and survival items. Tomorrow I will post a list of websites I've found useful for how to build fires, debris shelters, how to make compost, grow gardens, organic pest control, etc. I've been told you shouldn't advertise your survival preparations, but like I said, I live in an urban area, nobody really knows who I am, and this blog is fairly anonymous - I doubt the douchebag next door who plays his hip-hop music way too loud is reading this.
The first, easiest, and most accessible items for prepping are storable foods. In a survival situation, most expert survivalists will tell you that sustenance - calories, fat, proteins, carbohydrates - is more important than things like making sure your food is GMO-free, and has no HFCS or MSG, etc. But I found myself storing mostly whole foods regardless.
It certainly helps having a membership to a wholesale outlet, like Sam's or BJ's. I'm a member of BJ's but their selection of storable foods is a little wanting. A trip to Sam's is definitely in my future. But with them I've amassed a sizable collection of pastas and sauces, as well as plenty of Velveeta Shells and Cheese for the kids. If you knew my kids, you'd know that they'd probably starve rather than eat a bowl of black beans.
Speaking of beans, I have about half a storage bin full of beans. The bagged kind are far more economical and space efficient, even though they're harder to prepare. Suck it up. I have about an equal amount of black beans, navy beans, lentils, green split peas, and black-eyed peas. These are high in protein and complex carbs, and are very filling. For long-term food I have about 20 different varieties of organic heirloom seeds - about 6,000 altogether. I plan on buying a few more of these - I am told that in a severe economic collapse these seeds can be more valuable than gold.
As odds and ends, I have two 10 packs of toothbrushes, a large bottle of organic olive oil, and a large two-pack of aluminum foil. I plan on getting more of these items.
I've collected a decent amount of books on survival and self-sufficient living:
- An excellent book on low-budget eating is Strategic Eating: The Econovore's Essential Guide. You'd be amazed by how well you can eat on just a few dollars a day - if you don't mind doing your own prep and cooking. But if you're up to speed on just how bad processed foods are, this shouldn't be a problem.
- When I first dabbled in survival prep, two words jumped out at me: self sufficiency. And in looking for a book on the subject I came across The Self-Sufficient Life and How to Live It by John Seymour. Following this book will allow you to live completely off the grid, free and independent of the outside world for all your basic needs - food, water, energy, waste. In it is information on everything from growing a garden or small farm with or without livestock to killing and cleaning game to making bricks to curing bacon and canning fruits and vegetables. I don't know if this is the best book on the subject but I've found it extremely useful.
And for hard-core survival techniques I picked up three books:
- The Outdoor Survival Handbook by Raymond Mears. This is the first book I bought and I'm not sure how it compares to others. I still have a handful in my wishlist that I'm planning on scooping up, just because, like any subject I choose to learn about, I want to know everything.
- SAS Survival Handbook by John Wiseman. This seemed to come highly recommended and has sold a million copies.
- Emergency: This Book Will Save Your Life by Neil Strauss. Another best seller.
In my wishlist I have
- Survival Retreat: A Total Plan for Retreat Defense by Ragnar Benson
- Survivalist's Medicine Chest by Ragnar Benson
- A bug-out bag allows you to move out at a moments notice with the confidence that you have all you need to survive for at least 72-hours. Every member of your group should have a Bug Out bag or kit handy at all times, wherever they are.
- Leatherman 830039 New Wave Multitool
- Buck Alpha Hunter Knife
- 10-Pack 12 Hour Light Sticks
- Eureka Timberline Two-Person Tent
- The "Summit Collection" Pacific Poncho from Charles River Apparel
- Timberline 6013 4" Ss Compact Survival Hatchet
- Life Gear LGLPK01 LifePack Personal Safety Pack
- Teton Sports Celsius XL 0-Degree Sleeping Bag
- Texsport Stainless Steel Mess Kit
- Swedish Firesteel - Army Model
- Aquamira Frontier Emergency Water Filter System
- Woodland Camouflage 550lb Nylon 100 Foot GI Enhanced Paracord Rope
I still feel like I have a lot to do to be fully prepared for when TSHTF, but if it were to happen tomorrow I feel like I have enough of the basics to get by. Maybe there won't be an economic apocalypse - I am 1000% certain there will be. But it's better to be ready and not need it, than to need it and not have it. Don't sit on your hands. Be prepared.
Tax return time is here and it's always a good opportunity to hook yourself up with some items you don't have. My bugout bag is pretty much set, except I (finally) bought a proper hiking backpack (Teton Sports Scout 3400 internal frame backpack) to put it all in (I previously had it all stored in a dufflebag in the trunk of my car...convenient enough until I run out of gas!). I also added a Brunton 27 LU Compact Pin-On Mirrored Compass With Luminous Points & Sun Watch, a Fiskars 7861 Axe and Knife Sharpener, a 4-in-1 foldable survival camping tool (shovel, pick, saw, bottle opener (got this from Daily Steals, here's a similar one from Amazon.com)) and a Digital Camouflage Boonie Hat. I've filled my bag with various flashlights and laser pointers I bought for almost nothing from Daily Steals. Most of the stuff they offer isn't really worth buying, but every once in a while they offer some gems.
In addition to my bugout bag, I've begun preparing for a SHTF situation at home, where I don't need to bug out but basic necessities - food, water, power, etc - are no longer available to me. Of course I plan on utilizing a garden to grow vegetables and herbs (bought my seeds here), but these don't grow too well in the winter. Canning and dehydrating is the way to go, especially if you don't have a viable source of off-the-grid power (which I don't (yet)), so I picked up a Presto 23-Quart Aluminum Pressure Cooker/Canner. It's not really necessary to get a pressure canner, but from what I read it's safer than conventional canning, and canning is an exact science! You probably want to pick up a decent food dehydrator - solar if you can. My wife already has one so I didn't pick one up, although I will probably look into buying or building a solar model for obvious reasons. Earlier in the year I picked up a Berkey Light water filter, which we absolutely love. It filters 6,000 gallons; an absolute must-have.
In the highly unlikely (in my opinion) event that we maintain a relatively normal economic situation in this country, I'm going to start up a market garden business - grow enough food for my own consumption and sell the rest. I'd also like to sell homemade marinara, ketchup, and other items if possible. I'm hooked on chipotle peppers so I picked up a smoker and a grain mill. Endless spice possibilities with those. I'd also like to try my hand at producing my own seed oil, so I picked up a manual seed and nut oil expeller press. Probably gonna have to grow a buttload of sunflowers and peanuts but I'm gonna give it hell. And finally, I picked up a Hurom HU-100 Slow Juicer. It's pricey but it's supposed to be one of if not the best juicers on the market, and it makes almond milk, which I'm addicted to.
So, essentially, the only things I'm missing is a decent source of animal protein (deer hunting and chickens in the yard are in my future) and a source of power. I'll be looking into learning how to build my own solar panels and possibly a wind turbine.
This will all sound crazy and excessive to most people. In my life I have done nothing for an occupation that's produced anything of benefit to myself or society. There is no shame in this, as I have kept a roof over my children's head, food on their plates and clothes on their backs. Even in the event things do not get bad as I am certain they will, I will live more simply, more cheaply, and hopefully provide myself with a modest source of income by providing healthy, safe and delicious food products for other people. In my opinion, rather than 400 television channels, this is true freedom. This is true living. Best of luck to everyone.