Prepping 101: Live Well! Tips to Make Survival Not Suck!

I forget which zombie movie it is, maybe World War Z? One of the characters says something to the effect that if you stay put in one place, you die. That may be true of real zombies, but that will not be true of the zombies who surround us and who aren’t preparing for the collapse. For the most part, people are decent. And though they may be confused by the fog that their anti-depressants and reality TV put them in, when they finally figure out that one day late was too late, they are going to try to run to where they think they can be saved. That may be a rumor of where a FEMA truck is supposed to show up with food and water. That may be a distant relative that must be able to help them. Ultimately what it means is that the streets will be full of people seeking to get out, or just to find resources, and the street is where you don’t want to be for a long time. But survival is boring, and the food is bland. These are some tips that I thought of that make a lot of sense if you are compiling a bare bones prepper/survival list. They aren’t too expensive and they will add a certain “quality” to life that is 100% better than just surviving.

Survival is boring. Go to a local used bookstore, flea market, yard sale, or buy bulk books on Ebay to put away. You'll be glad you did.

Survival is boring. Go to a local used bookstore, flea market, yard sale, or buy bulk books on Ebay to put away. You’ll be glad you did.

Books by the Box

Even if you aren’t a big fan of Tom Clancy or romance novels, they sure will kill a lot of time and keep your brain from farting out when you are on guard duty. For those of us who have an actual physical used book store in town, go down to the store and ask the owner about buying a bunch of dead stock for a set price. She may tell you that you can have a whole bunch of books for not a lot of money, because it helps her to get them out of the way. This is also great for flea market dealers. They don’t make a killing off of their books, so offering $50 for a whole bunch of them will generally get you a big smile and a car full of books. Just bring boxes. Yard sales are even better.

Craigslist would be the obvious other local place to find books. Estate sales and moving sales will often yield huge collections of books that you can have almost or entirely for free. The guy who runs my mini-storage facility saw that I had thousands of books in storage (a whole other story) and offered me his mother’s entire book collection for free, because “she puts notes in the margins” believe it or not.

Ebay is also a resource, and one I have used to buy collections of just one author who I would love to read “some day.” Recently I snuck a few Ann Rice books out one lot I bought on Ebay from the Interview with the Vampire series that was slated for survival. Hey, if the collapse never shows up I’ll be tickled happy, but I don’t want to miss reading those books if I happen to die in the “great event” that may be coming.

This entire set of Encyclopedia Brittanica was going for $25 as of yesterday on Ebay. You can often get books for less than the cost of shipping them to you.

This entire set of Encyclopedia Brittanica was going for $35 as of yesterday on Ebay. You can often get books for less than the cost of shipping them to you.

Encyclopedia sets are also something I would suggest. The entire Encyclopedia Brittanica can be bought on Ebay for little more than the cost of shipping them to you. It has not been totally rewritten since the 80s, and they stopped printing it years ago after only printing the update books for a decade or so. Print is dead, but it won’t be after a collapse. World Book Encyclopedia and Colliers are another couple you might search for. They are all good, and all different.

Handyman books are also valuable. There are actually handyman encyclopedias. Also check out gardening books and cookbooks. They can all help your survival experience succeed.

This Vortex hand blender is all over the web for about $100. If you plan to make smoothies for meals, it is a good investment.

This Vortex hand blender is all over the web for about $100. If you plan to make smoothies for meals, it is a good investment.

Blenders and Mixers!

If you read the article we did on survival food, nonfat dried milk is one of the best things you can buy that adds up to lots of calories and lots of food value for the money and for the space. If you add to that freeze dried fruits, a life of smoothies could be part of your future.

There are two types of survival blenders. One is a sturdy hand crank and it sells for roughly $100 all over the web. We are also hoping to review an almost $500 larger hand crank system that is more of a food processor from Cottage Craftworks. It appears to be able to mix bread even, and they have a Kitchenaid mixer conversion kit as well as $40 bread machine. Cool off grid stuff!

For big money you can even get whole food processors that run on a hand crank.

For big money you can even get whole food processors that run on a hand crank.

Tailgate blenders come in a wide variety of cost options. If you just search Google for 12 volt blender you’ll find a number of them under the Waring name ranging from $99 to $149. There is also a battery powered Margaritaville mixer, and the $359 Tailgator gas powered blender (they actually exhibit at SHOT Show).

Waffle & Pie Irons

This brand new stovetop waffle iron will provide trouble free great hot food you can cook over just about any heat source.

This brand new stovetop waffle iron will provide trouble free great hot food you can cook over just about any heat source.

You can’t ever discount the emotional benefit of hot food, and the easiest way to heat food is with an open fire. We are going to review some specific cooking options, but at the end of the day, you can certainly cook with an open flame, and you should plan to. As per our advice in the food article, one of things you can store is flour, and besides bread, a killer meal from flour is waffles. Search Ebay on cast iron waffle and you’ll see that historically, the cast iron waffle iron has been a fundamental kitchen implement in the homestead. Today you can buy these old irons, but is also a very good copy being sold under the name Texsport for $40-$50. It has a swivel base that is very important for even cooking. Keep your fire low and be patient. Survival food doesn’t have to suck, and waffles with sugar (another storage item we suggest), don’t suck.
Rose Pie Irons come in all kinds of shapes and sizes, and they can be put right into an open fire for great hot food on the go.

Rose Pie Irons come in all kinds of shapes and sizes, and they can be put right into an open fire for great hot food on the go.

The other thing you may already have to take camping. They are called Pie Irons, and they are made primarily by a company called Rose. They can be found on Amazon and Ebay, as well as the camping and Amish stores around the web. Pie irons are cheap, and with a little bit of oil and bread, you can make interesting creations from TVP and reconstituted veggies that will not pale to the food you eat today. The most important thing is that they only need an open flame. If your solar oven can’t get enough sun and your propane ran out two weeks ago, pie irons give you the tool you need to make yourself a hearty hot meal.

12 Volt Lights, Fans, etc.

We are going to get back into solar very soon in this series, with a much more elaborate system. If you plan to run solar (or wind), your power is going to be saved in increments of 12 volts, with batteries. You can, as we already explained in our introductory solar article, invert that 12 volts DC into 120 volts AC, and run regular lights and appliances. The problem is, an inverter is essentially just a power transformer with some control circuitry, and transformers eventually fail. Even transformers that sell for 100s of dollars and that are used correctly eventually fail, and if you are using an inverter, it will eventually fail. Have a backup inverter of course, but also plan to store 12 volt lightbulbs, fixtures to hold them, and other 12 volt appliances, like fans if you live in a hot location. You can only store how much power you can hold in your batteries, so you might as well use some day to day for convenience. I don’t, however, suggest that you use your inverter for convenience needs. How would you feel if you blew your converter while running a 120 volt electric box fan? How stupid will you feel? Since Ham radios primarily rely on 12 volt power supplies, there are very few actual 120 volt things that you will absolutely need that you can’t find on 12 volts. I was in Home Depot the other day and they even had 12 volt refrigerator bags. That would be great to use if you have some spare power. You can kill game and save some for tomorrow without having to worry about it spoiling. Find everything you can in 12 volts and buy it now, before it is too late.

Toilet Paper, Feminine Hygiene, Soap, Dandruff Shampoo, Hair Scissors and Razors

Hygiene is a huge deal in a survival environment. If you are currently on a septic system and not city sewer, you should be able to use your toilet for the foreseeable future. Just manually pour non-drinkable water into the rear tank and flush it as usual. If you are on city sewer you should get a back up camping toilet of some kind. There are lids for 5/6 gallon buckets that are a toilet seat and they work great. But in either case, you really need a good supply of toilet paper. I haven’t found the bulk Costco paper to be that much more of a value by the foot, and if you are on septic, beware that toilet paper made from recycled paper can become an issue for your drain field. If you can afford it, buy the bulk packs of virgin fiber toilet paper. Get enough for a long time, and tell everyone in a survival atmosphere to use it sparingly.

If you have a menstruating or soon to me be menstruating female among your group, you have to buy a good supply of pads or tampons. Both options take up a lot of space for how long they cover you for, but they are absolutely required if you hope to keep your girl healthy and happy. Don’t leave this out.

You should also have a good supply of soap and shampoo. If you currently use dandruff shampoo, make sure to have a good supply of it on hand, and again, use it sparingly. The human body doesn’t like to be dirty and as I’ve seen in some lectures, we kind of spoil. Stay clean, and if you have the money to put away the deodorant you use in bulk, get some of that too.

A pair of hair scissors and a whole bunch of disposable razors should also be in your supplies. It will be hard to keep spirits up in a survival situation, and a regular haircut and shave are simple things that can keep you feeling like yourself. I even put away a rechargeable hair clipper that hopefully I could use with my solar.

Plan to have dental issues while surviving, and if you don't want to have to yank a tooth out with one of these, get yourself some toothbrushes, toothpaste and floss.

Plan to have dental issues while surviving, and if you don’t want to have to yank a tooth out with one of these, get yourself some toothbrushes, toothpaste and floss.

Toothbrushes, Toothpaste, Floss

I actually bought some tooth extraction pliers on Ebay for my medical kit because teeth are one of those things that can really mess you up without a dentist around. There is a book, “Where There Is No Dentist.” You don’t want to go there if you don’t have to, so take care of your teeth and the teeth of others. Even if you don’t currently floss every day, buy a ton of dental floss and do so in survival. That is even more important than brushing for problem free teeth.

If you are in mosquito country, plan to get a mosquito suit, or at least a head net. Repellant is expensive.

If you are in mosquito country, plan to get a mosquito suit, or at least a head net. Repellant is expensive.

Mosquito Issues

If you live in a area of the country that is hit hard by mosquitoes, be prepared to protect yourself from them in survival. Bug repellant is expensive, but you should have some that has Deet in it, and get the squeeze bottle not the aerosol. It goes further per ounce. Also consider investing in mosquito head nets and even a mosquito suit. They work great, and face it, guard duty happens in survival. You are going to have to contend with mosquitoes, so you might has well be prepared. Like any other bio-weapon that the banker slave shadow government may see fit to unleash on us, malaria is a reality for much of the southern US. Just because you don’t see it now doesn’t mean you won’t see it after “the perfect storm” puts America in 3rd world country territory.

Laundry Detergent & Larger Sized Kid Clothes

There is a cheap cheap laundry detergent at Walmart with spanish writing on the bag. It works great, and you can buy a ton of it for $30. Clean clothes should be a priority for you in survival, and you don’t need drinkable water to wash them.

Also, if you have kids that are due for a growth spurt, it wouldn’t hurt to take a duffle bag down to your local thrift store or flea market and fill it up with the next size up, especially in shoes. Remember the whole point of this is to make it so you don’t have to leave the house for anything. Kids outgrow clothes within the window that you may be holed up, and having those larger clothes on hand won’t hurt. That also goes for small clothes for you if you are overweight. Surviving on beans and rice, with others, you won’t be eating more than you need anymore and you will get smaller. A few outfits that fit you won’t hurt a bit, and used clothes are pitifully cheap.

Over the Counter Medications

There is no describing how nice it is to have some children’s ibuprofen on hand when a kid gets a fever. You feel like you scored the winning touchdown at the Superbowl when the kid is feeling much better ten minutes later. In survival, why not have some basics for your medical kit that everyone occasionally needs. Immodium, Ex-Lax, Tylenol, Pepcid, etc. They all come in store brands that are much cheaper these days and that work just as well.

Canning Supplies

If you plan to stay in one place glass canning jars are fine, but make sure to get a bunch of extra lids they can only be used once.

If you plan to stay in one place glass canning jars are fine, but make sure to get a bunch of extra lids they can only be used once.

We covered this a bit in a prior article, but if you plan to garden, or you have the ability to hunt wild animals or slaughter farm animals for food, a pressure canner is an absolute must. I suggest the All American Canner because it has a metal to metal fit and no plastic gasket to break. But in the prior article I suggested that you get a can sealer and use steel cans. If you are planning to stay in one place, glass Mason jars are fine, but you have to make sure you have plenty of lids, because unlike the jars, the lids can only be used once for a proper seal. A pressure canner is required for everything except pickles and tomatoes because it brings the temperature above 212 degrees. Botulism can live at 212, but not much higher, and that is the primary cause of sickness from canned food. Follow time and pressure directions carefully with canning. Your life could depend on it.

What’s On Your List?

Please add suggestions in the comments below. There are plenty of things that some people are going to forget, like an extra few packs of wooden matches and disposable lighters. But please, make sure you have at least looked at the topics we have already covered. Prozac infused comments like “you don’t need toothpaste you need food” don’t do anyone any good, and believe it or not, we’ll delete at least a few of those this week. If you are among the awake that are taking all of this deadly serious, you are in the absolute minority, and we are surrounded by people who will wish they had listened when they had the chance. If you have something helpful to share with us please do. Once you get to the point where you accept that it might be your own responsibility to just live, the next step is to live well.

{ 29 comments… add one }
  • chris January 2, 2015, 9:36 am

    use of parafin wax can be used in the canning process if one runs out of lids.

  • John October 1, 2014, 8:15 am

    Blocks of salt. Can be used for cooking and preserving meat. Feed corn stored in containers can be used for planting or grinding for baking and food. TP and aluminum foil. Bleach for cleaning and purification of water.

  • AK_RENEGADE September 17, 2014, 12:43 pm

    Pump Jack (like you see in campgrounds and parks for those of you who don’t know what I am talking about). If you have a well, you are better off than the city folk, but you will need to be able to use that resource without electricity. A little arm work and you have all the fresh water you will need. Long time reader, first time writer. Good articles and site.

  • Jasper September 16, 2014, 3:11 pm

    “Ultimately what it means is that the streets will be full of people seeking to get out, or just to find resources, and the street is where you don’t want to be ”
    Best quote in the entire article!!
    Also, the most overlooked fact by so many.
    I was asked once, which direction would be the best one from our city to go, in the event of a collapse, so they could find food?
    My response kind of surprised them until they thought about it. “Any direction you think you can survive, because food will not be the problem!”
    It took them a minute to ask my reasoning for such a statement. I told them it was really simple enough, we live in a desert environment, people will be heading north, south, east and west, attempting to flee, many are going to perish along the way for all manner of reasons. Many will run out of gas and become stranded along the road and die in anything from several hours to a couple of days, depends on the time or year. They become food, if not for one’s delicate stomach, then for the wild life and you can eat the wildlife.
    I have no real problem with cannibalism, as it has been practiced for eons. May put some off, but survival is survival and there are numerous stories of people living today, that survived by eating those that had perished.
    The fact is most of those that “bug out” with their expensive bug out bags, bug out vehicles and bug out mentality will perish for a multitude of reasons. If you are in the pre-first wave, you will have a chance, those coming later will mostly die. Few people understand just how chaotic a mass migration of frightened people becomes. Once the roads clog and people realize they are burning their gas not moving, with no more fuel to be found, they start to shed their veneer of civility, as panic sets in. 🙁
    It only takes one accident on a freeway to turn it into a parking lot, with no escape. Even many other roads can and will become blocked by accidents, with few people able or willing to find a way around the wreckage. Once many are faced with not being able to complete their plan, they will stop thinking rationally and it only takes a few to screw it up for most.
    Figure out how to hide in place, figure out how to cook if you must, without any of the smell going out of the house. Never let light out at night! Both will get you uninvited, hungry, panicking guests! You will not have enough bullets to stop a mob. 🙁
    The way to stay alive if things go to pot, is maintain the lowest possible profile you can, tread as lightly as possible if you need to go out. Work at becoming hermits if you live in a population center. Eventually, things might loosen up, then use your stored fuel reserves to escape, but know before hand if you really will have some place to escape to, or you will join those along the road.

    • Muhjesbude September 17, 2014, 12:47 pm

      Good reality check on bugging out, Jasper. I’m in the Midwest and part of a CERT group because in the rural areas fire depts and such are volunteers. And i occasionally have survival classes and i’m getting people from the major cities like Chicago who have cabins/land up here who sometimes attend and the ask me about best routes out of the city and all that when all goes to hell and having once had a previous past life in Chicago I sadly tell them that if they are NOT Already bugged out and hunkered down safely elsewhere when the shtf in places like Chicago, it’s likely more likely than not, as you said, that it’s too late to try and they won’t make it.

      The main thing, as you suggest, is that even if you have enough supplies and spare gas in your BOV to make the trip. the few will take down the rest by accidents or quickly running out of gas (how many always drive around with at least a half tank?) before they’re even out of the city limits blocking major arteries. It’s a fact that most people will wait until the last second when the news announces that ER’s in hospitals are closing their doors to the influx of sick people, and the panic sets in, You remember that flash ice/snow storm in ah, was it Atlanta? last year or before where they never had experienced that and only a couple inches shut the whole freeway down with accidents and running out of gas, and the National Guard had to be brought in for rescues?

      My final advice to all my students is if you worry about stuff like this, and you should, Then do it the RIGHT way, not half assed. If you have to live in any major city, you are already at a serious disadvantage. A generation ago the neighborhood community people even in the big city would have stuck together and helped each other, even taking in strangers who needed help in a local disaster. And police would easily take care of any increase in the criminal element to protect the citizens by cancelling days off and special patrols.

      Those days are gone, now, for the most part. Police can’t even handle normal city life anymore. And everybody is a lot less ‘friendly’ than back in the days, and gangs of predators are now actually organized, and prepping in a different way. They are actually waiting for social disruptive events…too TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THEM! Just look at Ferguson.

      A big part of major survival training is being AWARE of what’s going on in order to BE prepared correctly. If you research my past posts in other venues i saw the Ebola outbreak coming years ago. Not because i’m an disease expert, but because i’ve studied and elevated my ‘awareness’ on this particular subject intensively and put the pieces of the puzzle picture in place to form a ‘reality scene’ and can see certain advance indicators others can’t on some things. Anybody can do this. But they don’t.

      if your plans are to bug out of the city when the shtf, you MUST make sure you are actually out, or at least well on your way out, BEFORE the reality of the drama hits EVERYBODY. Otherwise you’re going to be in a nightmare you might never wake up from. Your last thoughts will be “but i never thought it would be that bad?”

      Remember, it’s better to be laughed at and called ‘over reactive’ while you’re sitting in your cabin or camper out in the woods safely somewhere, drinking a nice cup of JD spiked hot chocolate, listening to the emergency radio/tv if nothing happens, than to be trapped like a desperate rat in the rapidly falling apart city if this time it was the ‘big one’. (but if you were discreet and prepped enough nobody would even know you ‘hit it for safety’ in the first place)

      Suburban survivalists might have a slight advantage over the inner big cities. but rural is best.

      And one last, but all important mindset to develop. While, yes, in theory and advantageous pragmatism, even a small organized ‘group’ is ‘better’ than going it alone in ‘making it easier’ sense, at least. That’s why, of course, the original family units evolved to expanded community. And under certain circumstances even an ad-hoc spontaneous hook up of a few people at the last minute would be better than a desperate nothing. But as someone here pointed out, there’s a big risk there as one bad apple could destroy the whole group anyway.

      It all comes down to Trust and Reliability. This can only be known to a workable extent by previous knowledge and experience with your people. And even then you still might never be sure if you can count on them when the chips are down and the game suddenly turns ugly dirty and deadly.

      So always keep the hard cautious mindset in emergencies, , not the emotional relief attitude of mutual companionship. Do your survival prepping with the caveat that ultimately, you can count on and rely upon…ONLY yourself. And plan accordingly first and foremost, even when there are others involved with you.

      • Administrator September 17, 2014, 7:36 pm

        You might want to check out the book strategic relocation by joel skousen.

  • SmokeHillFarm September 16, 2014, 2:45 am

    I began to add “Bic lighters & a lot of dry kindling” until I realized this was about health & comfort items. Definitely agree about the books. I have around a thousand books around most of which I’ve read, but can certainly read again. I have a couple of sets of handyman encyclopedias, and books on useful skills like dressing game, first aid, wartime surgery in the field, and old-time farm devices and techniques. I need to get some on edible plants & berries, too. In a moment of desperation, one could always pull out some of the blank end pages, or bibliographies, from books to get a fire started. We do keep about 50 lb of old newspaper, though. We heat with wood, but in warm months will be cooking mostly with a rocket stove made by stacking up bricks (Youtube has some examples).

    Clorox is fine for killing the nasty wigglies in water, but it has a really short shelf life. Look up the use of HTH (a powder used in swimming pools) for the same purpose. It’s cheaper, takes up less space, and lasts forever if kept dry. Keep in mind that the SHTF may go on for many months, or more, and plan accordingly.

    Toothpaste won’t last forever, so catch it on sale and stock up. Even if no emergency ever occurs you’ll have stocked up at cheap prices & it won’t go to waste. I keep about ten big tubes under the sink, and a half dozen sale-price toothbrushes.

    In your food locker, keep a lot of raisins, honey, and other things that will brighten up an otherwise bland oatmeal (or similar) “meal.” Dry milk will store in those envelopes for years, if kept dry & in a stable temperature. A bit of fruit adds food value & makes the meal a treat.

    The 12-volt advice is EXCELLENT. Since I have six vehicles around, and three are diesel vans with dual batteries, I’ve invested in a few of those Harbor Freight 12-volt solar battery chargers. I don’t expect fuel to be available for long, but those batteries can keep 12-volt bulbs burning in the house to stretch the candles we’ve stockpiled. I have about ten auto-type bulbs saved, and lots of wire, but really need to get more bulbs. Those who know absolutely nothing about electricity need to read up on simple 12-volt basics, of course. It’s easy, simple, and SAFE (unlike house current).

  • Doug Noland September 16, 2014, 1:46 am

    Peanut butter is super high in calories and calories are what you need when survival is necessary. It will keep for a long time unopened or opened. Also honey is natures purest food and will keep basically forever. Is a good anti bacterial ointment too if needed. A 30 lb. tank of propane will last nearly a month if used frugally. I’m no expert but just know a little. Hope this adds to the list.

    • Russ September 16, 2014, 2:03 pm

      Good tip, and probably worth the weight.
      Thanks Doug

  • Russ September 16, 2014, 12:15 am

    Well, thanks for the reminder on the soap, scissors, tooth brush and paste.
    Mike’s—-nail clippers.
    Muhjesbude’s—-Duct tape, spare glasses and how to make some out of cardboard.
    All the growing food; grains, fruit, vegetables, fish, animals, water would be done at home.
    If I bug out, I don’t trust people, so I’m going alone or in a small family pack.
    I would tune into nature for survival and relaxation or stimulation of my mind.
    Guns, Ammo, Blades will be my primary concern.
    If others are with me, their duty will be to mind the other stuff.
    But let me add What I would have that I didn’t see listed;
    1. Hooks & line
    2. various zip ties. I have many, from small thin 3″ to 28″ thick & strong handcuff type. (many uses)
    4. 9 volt battery and fine steel wool. (starts a fire very positively and with intensity)
    3. Now don’t laugh, but different spices like cinnamon, salt & pepper, Poultry seasoning, cajon spice. ( I want to enjoy my fish, squirrel, crow, and crawdads ) Maybe some sweet-n-low packs on my vegetation.
    Anyway thanks for the tips and reminders from the writer and readers.

  • GrouchyJohn September 15, 2014, 11:19 pm

    Reading an article from a survivor from the former Russian satellite countries, he mentioned the lack of cleaning supplies, especially items for disinfecting. A cheap disinfectant is alcohol. It is also a multi-purpose item. Not only will it clean and disinfect by killing almost any bacteria and many virus, it also burns. Using an alcohol burner – or a kerosene lamp – you can cook with it, provide some light and, as it burns cleanly, provide heat. It also can act as a solvent for removing unwanted labels and glues. Soaked into cotton balls, it will burn long enough to start an uncooperative wood fire. It will also combine with water in contaminated gasoline and diesel fuel, allowing the water to be “burned off”. One use that may be very welcome – not so much to you as to others – it can be used in place of an underarm deodorant. The old Right Guard deodorant was approx 60% alcohol with a propellent charge to make it spray…. but simply dampening a corner of a wash cloth and wiping down your “pits” and your crotch area will kill the bacteria that actually causes B.O..
    Various percentages of alcohol are available, from 50% on up to 90%, in sizes from half pint to quart in stores like CVS and Walmart. The higher percentage you get, the better. Just remember, rubbing alcohol is toxic, so don’t think about drinking it. I have a couple of gallons sitting on a back shelf, it doesn’t take up much room.

    Continuing on with the subject, garbage bags were one of the items mentioned as lacking but desired. Trash/garbage bags of various sizes are also multiple use items… “tote” sacks, water proof storage containers, rain coats, body bags (God forbid you need one for this) and even window covers for blackout conditions. Heavy duty bags can be used to patch holes in leaky roofs. Finally, they can be used for what they are intended for, hauling out the garbage.

  • Mike September 15, 2014, 10:46 pm

    You forgot the most important thing to survive. You can last only 3 days without water. One to two gallons a day. You do the math. Have a renewable source or filter. Also heat. You can die of exposure. In the Midwest it gets blistering cold and a few minutes and you are frost bitten. Southern climates maybe not but winters here are long cold and snowy. Means of cooking food other than outside. Smells of food can drag in 2 legged predators. Of course having every little thing for every disaster known to man will do you no good if you can’t defend it and somebody steals it. Plenty of weapons both loud and those of the whisper death mode if you get my meaning. Don’t judge me on this one. In a survival situation it is you and your family or the predator. Which way you want the outcome to be? The most important survival thing you can have is a good head on your shoulders. Don’t panic or rush into decisions that you might not live thru to regret. It is okay to stop and think for alittle bit if the situation permits. That’s about all I got but people please keep posting. I love to read what other people are doing to prep and enjoy reading the ideas you all come up with. Be safe and keep looking around and up

  • OldRed September 15, 2014, 8:46 pm

    Two thing I see left out of prepping. Fishing and raising a garden now!. They are two skills that aren’t easy to learn but can both feed you a lot better than trying to hunt something to eat.

    One should also lean how to breed plants and bank ever seed they can get their hands on, even the patented ones. Keep careful records on the patented seeds and don’t plant them until the patent runs out or until the rule of law no longer applies. We may need all the genetic variation we can find things go down the tubes. I am not saying not to keep heritage seeds am saying keep them all.

    Dad fed himself fishing on the Texas Gulf Coast when the fishing was a low poorer than it is now. I had a landlord that not only fed his wife and himself from a 3 acre garden he save up $100,000 off the garden and social security when food cost 20% what it does today.

    If you plan to bug out to hills you best build a strong relationship with the people there now or you won’t find yourself welcome in hard times. It would be best if you brought skills they need.

    “Four things greater than all things are,
    Women and Horses and Power and War” -Kipling

    • Administrator September 15, 2014, 9:09 pm

      We have a very good article on getting started gardening. That was the purpose of the instruction. So you don’t look silly.

  • Good Partriot September 15, 2014, 4:40 pm

    join your local militia. I have and they are a great sum of people.individuals from fire to e.m.s.,Army,Marines,doctors,scientists. They have taught me a great deal of knowledge of medial preparations and procedures to proper techniques to assist a bad scenario. California State Militia will help you in you survival needs and knowledge. Its nice to have a group you could one day rely on to protect your family while you get some sleep for you security detail and hunting party. Brings a good sense of mind to know my kids are to be growing up with a awesome bunch of adults and youth that all have the will and determination to live on.

  • LA September 15, 2014, 2:00 pm

    As for the mosquito repellant – grow mint. If you grab a handful of leaves and run it over arms and legs the bugs leave you alone – all of them.

  • MrSaints69 September 15, 2014, 1:41 pm

    Survival books are worth gold but only if you read them and go out and practice, it can actually be a fun learning experience and just could save your life. I have several and I ‘am an Army vet so it helps a little. I have this one book that I think is awesome and i’ve used it to train my girls and my son. Its called ” The ultimate guide to U.S Army survival. Skills, tactics and techniques.” Its not the greatest book ever written or possibly the best but it covers a lot of areas you’ll need as to food, shelter, water and fighting techniques. Id check it out and stick it in your library along with topography maps of your area, a good compass just in case you have to leave or need to know for hunting or planning. Also if you cant read a map or use a compass? Learn, take a class. Id also look into a good book on medical emergencies and procedures, Davis drug guide wouldnt hurt. Good luck to you all.

  • Robert P in San Antonio September 15, 2014, 12:16 pm

    Excellent topics; I would like to see more on 12v DC lights and appliances. Commentators have good ideas on topic. Here is my suggestion since I do not plan to escape my home in urban America. I am creating three containers that are dedicated to these items: One is for things made of cloth and paper. Examples are gauze, reference books, and n95 masks. One is dedicated to things liquid. Examples are peroxide, silver ion, alcohol, and Clorox. And one is dedicated to drugs. Examples are items for potential barter, aspirin, vitamins, prescription drugs, emergency battery operated radios, and Benadryl. In addition to those three plastic boxes are a large supply of jugs of water and dry foods. I tend to think of building neighborhood networks because it my opinion that team will make better choices than one person alone. It will tend to truncate the extreme positions and the paranoids. Besides, who wants a neighbor who has a shoot first ask questions later attitude? Nothing scares us more than someone wearing camos all the time, a scruffy beard, and extremist stickers on his truck. Self proclaimed tough guys who like to exhibit aggressive highway behavior, giving you the finger for doing nothing more than following the posted speed limit, and honking their horn because you are not racing to leave the passing lane fast enough. I think we all know know those types. (Perhaps if we did not want to follow the law, we could make those tough guys cry like a little girl besides the road. But we follow the law and have to put up with their nonsense. But then, I would have trade in my dockers and polo golfing shirt along with my SUV so that I too could look like a Rambo wannabe.) In summary, great topic and great article with super comments by readers.

    • Jasper September 16, 2014, 2:45 pm

      While your plan of making “neighborhood networks” has a nice ring to it, you would be well advised to do some research into how well they have fared in the past. It will disappoint you. 🙁
      It only takes one to ruin everyone’s planning in a permanent manner. It is extremely hard to find a group of dissimilar people whom are able to cooperate for any period of time. Just look at how HOAs are run, and how many hard feelings are generated by the actions of the HOA.
      Can you imagine a HOA being responsible for your survival? It is the same group of people you know.

  • Mike September 15, 2014, 10:40 am

    People seem to forget things like fingernail clippers, petroleum jelly, towelettes, hair scissors. These do not take up much space but grooming and cleaning up in a water shortage will help. I also put about 2 kitchen trash bags in a Ziploc baggies in case there is not way to get rid or trash or in worst case use them in a bucket for waste. Then bury them if needed.

  • Muhjesbude September 15, 2014, 8:52 am

    First of all, everybody who is, shall we say, typically ‘socialized’ with abundant family and friends, should NOT be telling ANYBODY, even their immediate family, about their prepping if they can get away with that, (because they’ll then be able to tell someone) . I know some will disagree with that. But they’ll wish they did that in a real bad scenario. Yes, people are basically decent, BUTT, and that’s a big fat stanky one you’ll have to forcibly remove from your camp that just ain’t the same person you once knew and liked anymore! It’s the nature of the ‘survival beast’.

    The only exception to that is if you have some kind of community with a very high level of survival discipline and specific type organization. A few of these do exist, They take a lot of work to set up. Almost nobody can rise to the adequate occasion these days, and most will also fall apart eventually from within unless they almost exist as a military paradigm and have a lot of good advanced self reliance resource prep in terms of food and security. Otherwise, it’s best for a small unit/family to get set up in the lowest profile off the beaten path privacy retreat you can afford, at least as a bug out location, and hunker down for the duration, as the article says here.

    Along with spare reading glasses, don’t forget Sunglasses! And of course you can make your own reading and sunglasses in an emergency with cardboard and pinholes poked in where you would read from.

    My favorite ‘do alot’ single item was store bought Grain alcohol like Everclear @ 180 or 90 proof. Besides the obvious being a powerful stress libation at the end of a rough day killing Zombs and surviving, it is a disinfectant/cleaner/sterilizer and it is a mouthwash (but don’t you dare spit it out!), you can use it as alcohol lamp fuel for light and heat, AND you can use it as gas in your vehicle (shamefully) in an emergency. Problem is, due to the fringe moronic elements of our ‘yutes’ at places like Spring Breaks and such abusing this useful substance, I hear they banned or restricted commercial bottled moonshine and no such high alcohol contents anymore? So whatever is on the store shelves is all that’s left. Hmmm, that means my current stock is ‘worth it’s weight!’

    Well, better put one of those nice little moonshine, oops, i mean distilled water, stills on my list

    Yes, and don’t forget the DUCK TAPE!

    • joe September 15, 2014, 10:01 am

      It’s “DUCT TAPE” used for heat and a/c duct work. dot duck tape!!!!!! The brand “duck” is capitalizing on the mispronunciation.

      • Muhjesbude September 17, 2014, 11:00 am

        Oh, thank you, sir sooo much for the colloquial grammar and syntax correction. I’m certain nobody knew what i was talking about until you ‘edifuckated’ us. Wasting time we might not have on proper English is much more important than getting the message across to help others. Are you one of those nit pickers who won’t use a round in your AR if it’s .223 Remington instead of 5.56 Nato, lol,?

        • dink winkerson September 17, 2014, 3:21 pm

          Perhaps you were talking about the brand DUCK. Sure his grammar will go a long way when SHTF.

    • DRock September 15, 2014, 5:41 pm

      Great article, just a note from an OCD physician.
      “botulism can live at 212”
      Well, botulism isnt alive. It’s a condition caused botulinum toxin, which is produced by the bacteria Clostridium botulinum. You can kill the bugs, but you cant kill the toxin they make.
      Clostridium bacteria are anaerobes, meaning they dont require oxygen to grow. They can live happy, toxin producing lives inside your canned goods.
      Botulinum toxin is a nerve agent which causes a flaccid paralysis. It is the same toxin as Botox, commercially used in small amounts to flatten movie stars frown lines.
      You can also contract Botulism from deep, infected wounds, similar to gas gangrene, which is caused by a similar anaerobe, Clostridium perfringens. Rarely, a person’s bowels can be colonized by Clostridium botulinum and they can contract Botulism from the toxins made in their own digestive tract.
      So pressure cook those canned goods, maintain personal hygiene, and especially avoid any deep wounds!

      • Muhjesbude September 17, 2014, 11:29 am

        Hey ‘D’ (stands for Doc?’) You’re welcome to move into our hood? We have a nice peaceful community spirity of egalitarian enlightenment emphasizing privacy and security and admire persons who ‘know’ things, for a change, as opposed to those who ‘think’ they do– who always are the precursor to irritable bowel syndrome–for those of us who do. It will be pretty nice and comfy when the ‘time comes’.

        But i have a profound question for you. When you say avoiding ‘deep wounds’, are assholes included in that advice?!

        Anyway, There are a couple of alternate/complimentary ‘medicines’/chemicals that have a pretty good record of validity for sanitation, prophylaxis, and even some amazing cures in application despite the traditional mainstream medical ignorance, and should be part of the prudent prepper’s stash. H202 in the concentrated 35% food grade standard, is well worth the small investment to have on hand for its myriad of flexible usage. (fifty bucks or so i think for a half gallon which would last a long time) Search ‘The One Minute Cure’ and check it out.

  • Silveressa September 15, 2014, 4:18 am

    Spare glasses. Even if you wear contacts a spare set of eye glasses can prove a life saver down the road with contact lens fluid gives out, and an extra set of your current prescription for regular eye glass wears can be every bit as essential. A few packs of those rubber back straps to help hold your eye glasses in place can also prove helpful when you find yourself working in hot and humid environments without air conditioning or running/swimming on your hunts for food. (Glass cleaner and kleenex/;ens wipes to keep your primary method of seeing clearly clean will also prove beneficial.)

    Also socks, like Forrest Gump said, clean/healthy feet are crucial to long term health, especially in a survival situation where blisters or athletes foot could severely hinder your ability to forage for food or escape a hostile environment. Having a couple dozen pairs on hand (With some thicker ones if you live in colder environments) are a must, and they can also be used in emergencies as filters, covers for wound dressings (When clean) or even filled with pebbles as a make shift sap/dead weight for a snare.

    • Russ September 16, 2014, 1:59 pm

      Good tip Silveressa

    • Tim October 21, 2014, 6:02 pm

      Absolutely great information…possibly even a lanyard system to keep you from loosing your glasses as well. As far as clean footwear, you are hitting the tones. History has shown that a lot of casualties were from foot rot or hypothermia in wars past. I took note from your suggestions that maybe we should look real hard at things we take for granted, normal everyday things and re-evaluate their usefulness in a SHTF scenario. Thanks for posting

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