The Organic Prepper: Food Storage – The Prepper’s Three Layer Plan

Daisy Luther at The Organic Prepper talks about three different kinds of foods that you should have in your storage plan in Food Storage: The Prepper’s Three Layer Plan

Three is the luckiest number when it comes to prepping. There’s the old saying, “One is none, two is one, three is better.” There’s the Survival Rule of Three which is that you can hang on for “3 minutes without air, 3 days without water, and 3 weeks without food.” And then there’s the approach that in all things survival, you need a layer of three, including food storage.

For example, Selco wrote an article a while back about layers when it came to bugging out. Basically, you need a layer close to you (as in on your person), a layer for more intense situations within easy reach, and another one someplace in your bag.

The same is true with food. Every prepared family should have multiple layers in their food storage. Let’s take a look at the three layers of food storage. (Don’t forget to take your family’s dietary restrictions into account when building your supply.)

  • Layer 1: Stuff with a shorter expiration date that you’d use if you can’t get to the store for a few weeks
  • Layer 2: Stuff that will last a year or so that you’ll use during power outages or longer-term emergencies
  • Layer 3: Stuff for all-out, apocalyptic long-term events in which there’s no such thing as grocery stores

(Note: Some of the links in these lists are affiliate links. If you buy them, I make a little money at no cost to you. If you don’t want to buy them, no problem at all – you can still take a peek to see the products that I use and recommend.)

My book, Prepper’s Pantry, goes into tons more detail but this is a great starting point. If you want even more information, check out my course, Build a Better Pantry on a Budget.

The First Layer of Food Storage

This is the easy layer. This is the stuff you turn to when something goes a wrong and maybe you can’t get to the store right away. These foods may or may not have an extremely long shelf life and generally require power to store or prepare.

They are the basics that you keep in your freezer, in canisters, and in the kitchen pantry.

A few examples are:

  • Frozen fruits and vegetables
  • Frozen meats
  • Crackers
  • Powdered milk
  • Potatoes
  • Instant oatmeal
  • Breakfast cereal

These are the items you’d substitute for the fresh foods that likely make up a big part of your diet right now. You can easily throw together a great meal if you have an assortment of the foods above that mirror the foods your family normally consumes.

Chances are that you have these foods in your kitchen right now, and you already intersperse them into your menus on a daily basis. I like to have at least – at least – a one month’s supply of these first layer foods. Having a supply that will see your family through at least a month means that a short-term emergency will hardly be noticeable to your family and that they’ll experience very little difference in the way they normally eat.

When a bunch of us did the Stockpile Challenge in January, lots of folks found that they had enough first level foods on hand that their families didn’t even realize they hadn’t been to the store for an entire month.

The Second Layer of Food Storage


The second layer is made up of two parts:

a) scratch cooking ingredients

b) the things that will see you through a totally different type of emergency.

This stuff is generally shelf-stable for at least 6 months, and will most likely be a bit different than how you normally eat.

Scratch cooking ingredients are the items that allow you to bake bread, make pies, thicken sauces, and sweeten your food. Here’s a list of essential scratch cooking ingredients.

As far as “b” above is concerned, this is the stuff you crack into when the power goes out for an extended period of time, what you eat when you’ve gone through all your first layer supplies and things aren’t looking up, and the first foods you’ll go through in an all-out epic disaster that changes the way we live.

A few examples are:

  • Boxed pasta or rice side dishes
  • *Canned beans
  • *Canned chili
  • *Canned fruits
  • *Canned meat and fish
  • Canned pasta and ravioli
  • *Canned soup
  • *Canned vegetables
  • Cooking oil
  • Crackers
  • Dry Milk
  • Granola bars
  • *Jams and Jellies
  • Jarred or Canned Sauces
  • Oats
  • Pasta
  • Peanut butter
  • Popcorn
  • Potato flakes
* indicates that the food could be either storebought or home-canned.

Obviously, you’ll also want to have a can opener on hand.

The thing that most folks these days will find a bit different is the need to eat preserved fruits, vegetables, and meat instead of fresh. Frozen, like in level 1, is pretty similar to how we normally eat, so this could be a challenge for finicky family members.

You can mitigate this to some degree by throwing some of these types of food into your everyday menus now. I know these things aren’t quite as healthy as the fresh foods we have the privilege to enjoy daily right now, but if you feel like you are truly going to need to rely on some of these items at some point, by sampling the foods, you can find your family’s favorites and stock up on those.

The Third Layer of Food Storage


There are sublayers to this, too.

a) Supplies/skills to produce and preserve your own food

b) The stuff that most folks think of when they think of preppers. It’s the longterm foods that will last, literally, for decades.

This layer is for a time when you’re in it for the long haul. Perhaps some world-changing event has occurred, there are no more grocery stores on the horizon, or you’re hunkering down for the foreseeable future.

One thing that lots of folks don’t consider is that no matter how many supplies you have, they’re not going to last forever – at some point, you’ll need to supplement your supplies with food you can grow or acquire. This means things like gardening, raising livestock, hunting, and foraging.   For this, section, not only do you need to stock up on seeds and gardening supplies, but you need to practice these skills right now when you have a grocery store as a backup.

For section b, we’re talking full-on bunker pantry with long-term food that has been carefully packaged and protected.

A few examples:

* Remember that freeze-dried foods are not the same things as the food you dry yourself in a dehydrator.  Home-dehydrated foods will not last for much more than a year, according to many accounts. Commercially freeze-dried food is your best option for long-term unless you have a high-quality freeze-drier like a Harvest Right.

You’ll need a high-quality manual grinder to turn the whole grains like wheat berries and dried corn into flour or meal that you can cook with. I have the Wondermill Junior.

It’s wise to pull a small amount of the long-term ingredients out before you stash them away for the long term so that you can learn to cook with them. Making bread from home-ground flour is a whole different animal than making it from commercial flour.  Do some experimenting now so that you don’t waste food later.

Don’t make this common mistake!

One mistake that I see a lot of new preppers making is that they go straight for the third layer without adding the items for layers one and two. The truth of the matter is, while it’s important to build a long-term stockpile, I believe the first two layers are actually more important.

That probably sounds outrageous on a preparedness blog, but there’s a method to my madness. We have to prepare for the things that are the most likely, not the apocalyptic scenarios that may or may not ever occur. I’ve often written that the number one thing we need to prepare for is personal financial hardship. I’ve experienced it myself and used layers 1 and 2 of my food storage extensively. I never even cracked into layer 3 during those difficult times.

If you’re new to prepping, start with layers 1 and 2 before you move on to prepare for a dystopian event. These items will serve you well during everyday events and if your money is limited, are far more practical.

For more information about building your stockpile, check out my book, Prepper’s Pantry or my course, Build a Better Pantry on a Budget.

What else would you add to the lists?

Obviously, these lists aren’t meant to be comprehensive. Because of different budgets, dietary restrictions, and tastes, that would be impossible. What I hope is that this gives you something to think about when building your stockpile.

The Organic Prepper: How Preppers Have Adapted to These Uncertain Times

Daisy Luther at The Organic Prepper talks about Here’s How 30 Preppers Have Adapted and What They Foresee Happening Next. With various food and supply shortages during the pandemic and extended lockdowns, it is harder to stock up on essential items and individual financial situations may have worsened.

There’s a lot more crazy and a lot less money than usual, and as I’ve written before, the face of prepping has changed. It’s a lot more difficult (and expensive) to go out and stockpile as we did a few years ago, and the event we’ve faced has been a slow-burning SHTF event that has slowly and insidiously taken away financial security from hundreds of thousands of Americans.

I wondered how others have changed the way they prep to adapt to these times so I asked the folks in our Me-We group if they’ve changed how they prep and if so, what changes they’ve made. If you are interested in joining the group, go here, answer four questions, and be sure to change your profile picture from the Me-We basic images. We don’t care what you change them too, we’re just trying to avoid “bot” traffic from prowling through our group.

Here’s how readers have changed the way they prep.

With some of the comments, I’ve added a comment or a link in italics for more information.

Eileen:

I am working on doing even more with even less. I was laid off at the beginning of Covid. Hubby’s paycheck is down a bit. We have been watching the cost of regularly used items skyrocket, yet again. Teaching myself to grow more long term food items this year. At this point, Daisy, just not giving up feels like prepping, even if it’s just to get up tomorrow and try again.

Here’s an article on how to keep going when things feel hopeless.  ~ D

Lynn:

We are getting ready to move. I am using my food preps to see what we really need and what has been hard to use up. Mostly pertaining to food and household essentials. Saving the money to buy fresh preps after the move. We moved a year ago and I had a huge stockpile that had to be moved twice in two months. I think it is better to use it up than move it and then replace it with fresh food and water.

This is a great way to rotate your stock and always have fresher products available. Just pay attention to the things that are in shortage or difficult to acquire. You may not want to go through that supply just yet. ~ D

Jeff:

I have been building up at least a year’s supply of essential items like laundry detergent, shampoo, hand soap, toothpaste, etc. I will be using the stimulus check to add to my freeze-dried food inventory (mostly protein) since I have 1k lbs of dry food stored away. I don’t know if hyperinflation, war, or another pandemic may hit but if it does the goal is to be able to go at least a year without leaving the house.

This is a fantastic goal!

Tami:

After the Texas snowstorm, I’m prepping mainly for life without electricity. I’ve lived off the grid before but had stopped so I’m going back to it. I also realized my need for more stored water .

Here’s an article about preparing for longer-term power outages. It’s a great place to start if you’re new to prepping or if you simply need to make sure you have the things you need. ~ D

Christina:

Prepping mainly for economic upheaval. We kicked up food storage (have a working pantry) January 2020, but it wasn’t an issue to grocery shop in my area, so I slacked off a bit. August of 2020, we put together 6 months of food (again a working pantry I use and replenish), paying off debts, saving money, buying silver, ammo, guns, etc. Anything that will aid us as food and fuel prices goes up or our income goes down. So far, our income has increased since last year, but you never know. I’ll add my pantry includes HH / personal items too.

Stocking up on things other than food is really important. Here’s a list of non-food stockpile items that may inspire you to add to your own supplies. ~ D

Vicki:

We are prepping for civil unrest and skyrocketing inflation. I’ve been watching the groceries I normally buy going up a lot. We are planning to grow more veggies and put in some more fruit trees. We are also making sure we have extras of the tools we use, and enough supplies to fix things(tools, machinery, plumbing, electrical, etc.) that might break. Lumber has also gone up a huge amount, so we are buying extra of that too.

Having spare parts for tools and essential equipment is a vital and often overlooked prep. ~ D

Diane: Everything I can think of from food to security.

Keeping your preps balanced and not focusing too specifically on just one aspect is advised. Toby talks about the vital balance in this article. ~ D

Max:

Building out networks and relationships. Human terrain not “stuff”.

Here’s advice on building community even during a pandemic and be sure to check out Selco’s on-demand webinar about community building. ~ D

Susan:

I think hyperinflation and the possible dollar collapse is more possible now than ever. I am adding canned and dried food stocks to my preps especially items that are predicted to become exorbitantly expensive like corn and coffee. I am also eagerly watching my garden waiting for it to thaw out. Most of the snow and ice is gone except in the woods.

Here are some things you can do right now to get ready for garden season and here’s some advice on how to start planning your garden. ~ D

Sheri:

I’m turning more of my yard into vegetable/herb gardens and will preserve most of the produce. Adding to non-perishables when I see a good sale. Learning basic survival and self-sufficiency skills. Moving toward a simpler lifestyle, so living without modern conveniences will be less of a shock.

This is precisely why my preps are low-tech. ~ D

Stacy:

Survived Texas without blaming the governor or president for leaving me in the cold. We need more stored water. Had enough but saw that I needed more for cleaning. Need larger pots. Fed 7 people easy as my house was only one with gas cooktop. Need cookware to feed 20…and preps to make my own soup kitchen. Need back up potty! Do I have 100 candles? More lamp oil. The little tealight under flowerpot did help to make room cozier. Store for this. A way to wash clothes. A way to take warm shower and wash hair. Prepare a menu, recipes, and storage for meals on the stove top. Prep to share with family. (I live on 20 member family compound.) A way to charge phone. Size c batteries to listen to CDs….more CDs. Hootch. OTC

Awesome learning experience. I can definitely help with instructions for this off-grid kitty litter potty for humans. ~ D

Ezra:

We are working on paying off debts (Dave Ramsey) and materials for life without electricity. We lost power for 4 days during the winter storm here in Texas

Here are a couple of articles you may find helpful regarding debt (one is directly from Dave’s strategies) and here’s an ebook about dealing with power outages. ~ D

Lynn:

We are focusing on our garden this year. Our goal is to be as self-sufficient as possible in regard to produce. I want to save seeds from the garden for the future. We aren’t growing grains, wheat, and oats, though. That is a future project.

Here’s our favorite source for seeds – you can also get a free garden planner at that link and it is a small, family-run business. ~ D

Rob:

The money hasn’t changed for me in the Great White North. I’ve realized, though, that prepping for an event like an EMP is trying to play apocalypse lottery; better to consider the consequences of whatever it is you worry about and prepare for those. It stops you from making assumptions. (Makes an ass of U and umptions). I.e. instead of prepping for an EMP, I’m prepping for a collapse of communication and transportation of goods like food, no matter the cause. I’m expanding my EMP-proof storage still but I’m more prepared to handle, say, a food shortage whereas before my food plans only involved getting out of the city and joining a full farm.

I think there’s a lot of wisdom to what you said there. A lot of folks hyperfocus on just one thing when in fact most disasters are an entire series of bad things. Some useful links might be this one about making a Faraday cage, this one about a communications collapse, and this one about the strain on our transportation system for goods.

Bestsmall country:

Hi Daisy, I’ve been watching everything since early 2018, and the most striking thing is the correlation between Q and the Bible!! I did most of my prepping back then. Long-life food, seeds (I learned how to grow veg). All done under the radar, especially Crypto and PMs. Skills will be the REAL asset. I’m hoping a local viewer of my channel will ‘kidnap’ me because the idiots that wouldn’t listen will be banging on my door

OpSec is more important than ever! Here’s an article that might help others who are thinking like you about doing things under the radar. ~ D

Kamay:

Not much change, if any. Been prepping for the collapse of society, food shortages, and the possibility of a grid failure. We try to do all farming, gardening, preservations without the use of electricity and fancy gadgets. We recycle, upcycle, make do and live outside the box.

Simplicity is key! I like your style :). ~ D

Letia:

I need to get ready for a garden! Strawberries will come back, and I’ll start canning again. I need to check my jars. I have some cases but need to check in case folks are back to normalcy or still canning. I need to practice shooting! I need to work on security with more cameras and change the button lock on my back door. 🙄

DEFINITELY practice shooting. It’s a perishable skill. Here’s an article about creating a safe room at a reasonable price that might be helpful for the security aspect. ~ D

Kris:

Taking care of my animals and plans to raise more meat chickens – so more to feed. Buying feed in bulk and pricing out different feed options, etc.

Have you checked out the fodder method? I took a class on it when I lived in California, but did not set up my own system because we were moving. Here’s a really good article about it. The guy I took the course from had chickens strictly on fodder and free-range. ~ D

Roxanne:

We’re pretty much preparing for our retirement. Then we’ll be on a much lower income. We’ve paid off all our debt except what we use on our credit cards which we pay off every month. We’ve sold off a lot of things which we didn’t need to get rid of the debt. We’re thinking we could be looking at another depression or some other economic troubles. I’ve been trying to grow different vegetables to learn how to do it well. I also have been dehydrating what I can and vacuum sealing them in large mason jars. I plan to learn to pressure can this year so I can take advantage of any sales at the stores on meats and vegetables which don’t grow here.

Here’s an easy how-to for pressure canning, and if you happen to have a glass top stove, some pressure canning options that will work for you.

Heather:

We of the Down Under are keenly aware that we no longer matter with your particular ruling family’s politics. China is now a far more serious threat in the Pacific area. We also no longer refine fuel here, much of it comes from Singapore. We are prepping for blockade/ interruption to supply lines as this would pretty much cripple the country. We have gardens, fruit trees, and are stocking up a bit more on canned goods. We aren’t allowed to store more than a couple of jerry cans of fuel. Also, I have been sure to keep medical checkups and dental checkups very up-to-date for the family as you never know when these things just won’t be available.

You bring up an excellent point with regard to medical and dental care. During the past year of Covid restrictions many people saw health issues getting far worse because they were unable to seek preventative care, or even take care of conditions that arose.  Handling these things while we an is vital. ~ D

Shannon:

I prep for hyperinflation, power grid issues, (due to natural disasters), and civil unrest. I live in the PNW, so we’ve had our share of rioting, unrest, and fluke weather. Prepping food, supplies to deal with no electricity, trying to learn how to cope without electricity. We sold property in Ca. and moved up here and bought property with land.

With the changes you’ve made, you are most likely looking for some suggestions on becoming more self-reliant with the land and new resources you have available. Check out the self-reliance manifesto here. (Some links are no longer working – we’re striving to keep up!) ~ D

Kate:

We’re planning to buy a house/property in the next few years, so we’ve been saving wherever possible. Luckily the covid didn’t affect our income. Cutting back on trips to town. Waiting for the garden to dry out and also waiting for my seeds to arrive. Going to grow mostly for cellar storage this year….potatoes, squashes, carrots, turnips, etc. Jar lids are really hard to find here on Vancouver Island…hopefully, by the fall, I’ll be able to can sauce and V8. Keeping up with buying hard copy books on natural medicine, crafts, foraging.

I’ve really lucked out and gotten some used books on those topics at yardsales. I once spent $100 at a yardsale buying every book the person was selling because her deceased relative had been into food preservation and herbalism. Talk about a motherlode. Another potential goldmine for you is Thriftbooks, which has millions of used books for sale. If you are new to root cellaring, this article may be helpful. ~ D

K:

I’ve spent the last year really focusing on smaller potential SHTF situations (a week to a month type). I feel like I’m in decent shape as far as that goes. Now my focus is more long-term. I want to get sustainable food production set up and keep hounding my kids about the likely change to digital currency in the next few years along with a rise in inflation. I have preached for years that our reliance on food from outside of our areas is going to be a problem in the future. That’s my focus now.

A couple of articles on two topics you mentioned are this one about how our everyday lives would change in a cashless society and this one about why preppers need to localize their food sources. ~ D

James:

Economic misfortune, (job loss, economy downturns) civil unrest, power grid/natural disasters. I am set for two years monetarily, approximately 6 months for comestibles, and a decent self-defense set up although still working on hardening the house. I am also to a lesser extent prepared to bug out home if things really go to s**t, however as I am currently OCONUS I am probably screwed on that part.

That definitely makes things difficult. I think what I would focus on in your shoes is making certain that your family members are able to hang in there for a period of time while waiting for you to make it home. You don’t want them to be in a situation where only you know how to do something important. Redundancies are essential. ~ D

Rita:

We have concentrated more on being self-contained and self-sufficient. We source our needs locally as much as possible. A LOT quieter about accomplishments and acquisitions. For the most part, we no longer have strong public opinions about much of anything. We are becoming more internalized and grey. As we get older, the fighting spirit is still there, but reality says to stock up and shut up. We see civil unrest, and difficult times, if not out and out economic collapse and civil war. The USA is a powder keg right now and some dumba** is going to light the match

Surviving this crazy time does have a lot to do with keeping your thoughts more private. And sometimes the fight you win is the one you don’t participate in. ~ D

Valerie:

Economic collapse is my greatest concern. We are planting a larger garden and stocking up on nonperishable food. I plan to can more this year. In fact, today I scored a lightly used All American 910 canner at the goodwill. $5.99. Scratch that off my bucket list!

Oh my gosh, what a SCORE!!!!!! I’m sure a lot of us reading that are positively green with envy. And the good thing about the All American is there are no parts or gaskets that might need to be replaced. ~ D

Rosemary:

I can’t shake the feeling that we will have a grid-down situation in the near future, so getting prepped for that has been my top priority. Next is food shortages and hyperinflation. Bigger garden & more canning is on my list for this season. I wanted to buy heating mats & lights too this year but didn’t have the extra funds, so I am trying Winter Sowing in gallon water & milk jugs. I have 20+ jugs done so far with lots more to do. Fingers crossed it’s a success!

I’ll be really interested to hear how your Winter Sowing goes! Please keep us posted. Here’s a link to my book on Amazon, Be Ready for Anything. It goes into a lot of detail about long-term power outages in both summer and winter. ~ D

Martha:

Although my area doesn’t normally see really low temps, it does get cold in the winter, and after seeing what happened in Texas, I’m adding a portable heater (either propane or kerosene) to my list of supplies  ASAP.  Just wish AC was as easy to prep for if the grid goes down.  Looking at doing solar with battery backup to keep fridge, freezer running too, and even 1 window ac unit to keep the house at least bearable when it 115 in the summer.

Wow, that sure sounds like some miserable weather to lose power in. Here’s an article about handling hot weather power outages, an article about how to calculate how much power you need to be able to generate, and the off-grid heater I recommend. ~ D

Laura:

In light of the recent hacking into MULTIPLE national security systems, I think the grid down is the biggest threat. Financial collapse would be second after that. I’m using some of the stimulus funds to buy larger ticket items. A respirator/gas mask is next on my list. Additionally, I bought heating pads and fluorescent lights for seed planting this year-going well. Also just bought five 55-gallon water barrels that need washing and set up. Busy time for me trying to keep up with all this.

Here are some thoughts on preparing for a major cyber attack and an article on respirators and gas masks – I hope you find them helpful. ~ D

Daisy:

Yep, it’s me. The thing that I have changed over the past year about my preparedness is paying attention to the local governments and how they’ve responded. I’ve lived in 3 different places over the course of the lockdowns and each place has managed the response to covid very differently. It’s important to understand how your own local government reacts to things because once you do, you can begin to predict what they’ll do in a different situation. I’ve also gotten a lot better at getting information from others without them realizing I’m doing it, and making friends who can be helpful in a variety of events. (Read more in this article.)

Traveling from place to place, I’ve learned to prep fast and I’ve learned how to make due with what’s available, instead of being so choosy. I plan to continue working on my adaptability levels, for I believe that is my most important skill. My primary goal is to avoid trouble in the first place and my secondary goal is to survive if I can’t. I foresee more restrictions after a brief reprieve and a lot more difficulty for those who just want to be left alone to do so without jumping through hoops…

Bear Independent: Family That Won’t Prep

In this video from Bear Independent, TJ Morris (Bear) talks about what you can do when you believe in being prepared, but your family does not. Family could be your spouse, or kids, or parents, or in-laws, brothers, sisters, cousins, whomever you are worried about whom you consider family but is for some reason against taking steps to be prepared, though in the case of this video Bear is mostly discussing family outside of your immediate household.

AYWtGS: First 10 Significant Purchases

Previously, A Year Without the Grocery Store had posted about provident preparedness purchases that cost less than $20. In the article First 10 Significant Purchases a New Prepper Should Make they discuss their top ten items that cost more which should be high priority preparedness items. I don’t have much argument with their selections, as we already have nearly all the items on the list ourselves.

For the first item, the Berkey water filtration system, there are other versions of this product that can be purchased or partly built. The advantage of the Berkey steel design is durability and light weight, but the cost can be high. My wife used a similar filtration system, but with a ceramic body, when she was in the Peace Corps. It was heavy, but because it was a part of every day life it never moved from its place. If she had had to move it often, there could have been a danger of dropping and breaking it.

The second item specifies a single burner butane stove, but you can get a dual fuel single burner stove for about the same price which can use both propane and butane. I obtained one of the dual fuel single burner stoves, and it quickly became my favorite camping stove and my Coleman dual burner stove is often left behind, now.

Their last item is quality outdoor tools. Low quality tools are aggravating, and the expense of a broken tool can be high — not just in purchasing a replacement, but in lost time in maintenance. I’ve had fairly good luck in getting good quality saws, axes, and pickaxe, but most garden tools like rakes, hoes, etc. are hit and miss. The garden tool market seems designed to force replacement every couple of years.

Prepping is first and foremost about situational awareness.  Once situational awareness is achieved, it is about learning and filling your mind with knowledge that will help you and others.  After you’ve got a GOOD start on learning, then you need to start doing.  You should do things to make your house more ready to handle an interruption of any kind – electricity, water, sewage, etc.  You should be working on DOING things that will make you more self-sufficient.  There will come a time; however, that you will need to invest in a significant purchase to move your preparedness efforts along.

Last week, we talked about items under $20 that will help you on your preparedness journey.  Today, we’re going to talk about significant investments that you may want to consider.  These are things that you will need to save for.  While some of them cost less than $100, many of them cost more than that, and some cost significantly more than that.

I am NOT saying that if you skip all the other steps listed in the first paragraph that these things will save you – they probably won’t.  But when you put these things into the perspective of having already done the hard work of being aware, learning, and doing, these things will probably help bring significant comfort to your home if there is ever an interruption in your life – and if you’ve been paying attention, there are interruptions happening all over our country right now or in the last couple of weeks from freak winter storms dumping ice on Texas to tornados in Georgia in February to record-setting cold weather temperatures in Denver, Kansas City, and other places.

I have a friend who lives in Waco who was completely unprepared for a protracted power outage.  No extra food, no way to heat the house, no way to cook food.  My heart aches when people find themselves in situations like this.  I want to help each of you, but jumping in here isn’t the best place to do so.

First 10 Significant Purchases a New Prepper Should Make
Photo Credit: Amazon.com

Significant Purchase #1 – Berkey Water System

In my opinion, the single most important significant purchase you can make for your family’s preparedness is a Berkey Water System.  You can live for about three weeks without food, but you can only live for three days without water.  You need water to drink, to cook some foods, to clean your cooking pots and utensils, to clean your body, to clean your clothes and many other things.  Clean water is a necessity for life.  If you purchase nothing else from this list, please purchase a Berkey Water System.

Significant Purchase #2 – Single burner butane stove

My friend, who lives in Waco would have benefitted greatly from having a butane stove.  These single burner butane stoves are easy to use, cook effeciently, and work effectively.  These are used indoors in many eastern countries, but if you’re to use one, I would make sure that you have a carbon monoxide detector – just in case.  A single burner butane stove will allow you to heat soup, make mac and cheese, mix up and heat a tuna helper.  You can also use this to heat water for hot teas – which are incredibly helpful and warming if you are without power and heat.  You can also boil water so that you can use a french press to make coffee.

Significant Purchase #3 –  Mr. Heater

First 10 Significant Purchases a New Prepper Should Make
Photo Credit: Amazon.com

As I write this, we’re just coming out of the coldest two weeks of the year for us here in Central Illinois which makes this another significant purchase for new preppers.  The week that I write this article, two million Texan households are without power.  A Buddy Heater, depending on which version you use, you can heat up to 450 ft/sq.  As with the butane stove, while some of the Mr. Heater are rated for inside usage, I would keep a carbon monoxide detector going – just in case.

How many people could have been kept warm this week – even without power – if they had something like a Mr. Heater?

Significant Purchase #4 – Seed bank

One of the things that everyone needs to be able to do is to grow their own food.  I’ve heard the objections. One person says, “I live in an apartment.”  Another says, “I live on less than .25 acres of land.” Someone else says,  “I don’t have time to garden.”  And yet, someone else says, “I have a black thumb.”  And those objections will work for today, but they won’t work long-term.  Everyone needs to be able to grow food.

If you live in an apartment, garden on your balcony, on window sills, learn how to grow microgreens, rent land from a friend, buy an odd-shaped parcel of land for $1000 or less (yes, they were selling parcels of land in our city for as little as $500)

If you think you live on too little land, I’ve got wonderful news.  Not only can you homestead on 1/4 acre.  I know of someone who has homesteaded on .1 acres!  So you do a lot no matter how small your yard is.

Our plan – if we hadn’t found a larger parcel of land that was right for us (which we did!) we were going to rent space from a friend who owned 7 acres.  When we rented two different houses in our city in Central Illinois, we used FREE 5 gallon food grade buckets to garden in and we placed them on our driveway.  We grew lettuce, tomatoes, and strawberries in them.  The last two years, we’ve expanded our 100 sq/ft garden by using decorative pots on our back deck.  We’ve grown blueberries, onions, strawberries, chives, potatoes, and carrots in them as well.  Where there’s a will, there’s a way!

Have a black thumb?  I did.  My thumb was as black as they come, but each year, I learn a little more.  Each year, we eat a little more food from our garden.  Every year, we expand just a smidge.  And each year I get just a bit better.  The only way to change the color of a black thumb is to garden – every year – and you’ll find that you get better each year just by doing it.

In order to plant a good garden, having a seed bank is another important significant purchase for new preppers.

10 Significant Purchases that New Preppers Should Invest In

Significant Purchase #5 –  All American Pressure Canner, canning jars, and Tattler Lids

When you grow all that food, you’re going to need a way to preserve it.  While a water-bath canner is definitely cheaper, you can’t use it to can vegetables or low acid foods.  For that, you’ll need a pressure canner – another significant purchase for new preppers –  and in my opinion, the best one out there is an All-American pressure canner.

But in order do to your home canning, you’ll also need canning jars.  At the moment the price on these is over twice what they were two years ago.  You can buy these used from different people.  The problem that I have found with that is that canning jars of questionable quality – or those that have been stored in the garage and have experienced immense temperature swings break VERY easily.  If you decide to go the way of buying your jars used, at least make sure that you do so with your eyes wide open.

And why Tattler lids?  Oh, I’m SO glad that you asked.  Yes, they are more expensive than regular lids.  The difference is that regular lids can only be used ONCE whereas Tattler lids, can be reused OVER and OVER.  When you don’t know what next year looks like – and whether or not you’re even going to be able to purchase ANY lids next year, having Tattler lids is another way to provide your family with immense peace of mind!

Significant Purchase #6 –

Firearm, ammo, and cleaning kit 10 Significant Purchases that New Preppers Should Invest In

I had an interesting conversation recently with the guy who came out to our new farm to inspect our well.  We are currently on “city water” (yes, that’s what they call it – even in the country).  So in the course of the conversation, we found out that we wouldn’t be able to use any of our wells for the house.  He then proceded to tell me that wells are like gold.  If people understand that we have them, if things went bad, we would have to protect them.  (Wink, wink, nudge nudge)  He was telling us that we needed to have firearms (yes, more than one).

But a firearm is useless without ammo.  We discovered a subscription ammo service called Ammo Squared.  You decide what ammo you want each month, how much of your different kinds of ammo you want set aside each month, how often you want it shipped to you.  I really appreciated the service.

Then after you have a firearm and ammo, you need a way to clean EACH of your firearms – whether it’s a handgun or a long gun.

First 10 Significant Purchases a New Prepper Should Make

Significant Purchase #7 –

Portable water filter, Canteen, and Water Bladder

If you ever need to leave home, carrying a Berkey water system with you is just NOT feasible.  Having a portable way to filter quantities of water is a must.  This is our personal portable filter of choice.  We’ve purchased three different ones of this model.

But you need two other things to make your portable water filter worthwhile.  You need a canteen.  This is your short-term water resource.  We’ve purchased this canteen three times.  We keep two in our vehicle and we gave one to our son (for his bug-out-bag) when we took him to college.

The other thing we keep in our vehicle and in a couple of our bug-out bags is a water bladder.  A water bladder holds twice the water of the canteen in less space.

Significant Purchase #8 –

Portable stove and cooking equipment

Just like having a portable way to filter water is important so is having a portable way to cook.  We’ve purchased this particular stove three times – so we know it, love it, and have gifted it.  This particular stove allows you to cook using twigs, leaves, pinecones, wood, paper, and so many other things.  We love that we don’t have to carry fuel with us in our van in order to use this stove!

But the stove itself isn’t enough, so we found a compact, lightweight, durable cooking kit.  This kit includes a nonstick pot and pot Cover, a nonstick pan, 2 bowls, a folding stainless steel spork, a soup spoon, a wooden spoon spatula, and a cleaning Sponge all contained in a nylon travel bag with a drawstring pouch.

First 10 Significant Purchases a New Prepper Should Make

Significant Purchase #9 – Solar oven

This item took us a long time to invest in.  Is it an important part of our preparedness, but I want to talk you through some of the pros and cons to this particular oven.  What I like about it is that I can cook in almost any temperature – even if I do have to wait for the sun.  I don’t need any fuel.  It’s dependable.

This oven does have a downside.  It is heavy.  I mean – my husband needs to move it – heavy.  Yeah.  Big downside, but in my opinion, it’s so important that it’s worth the investment even if I do need to get my very busy husband to move it for me.

It is important to note that this isn’t the only solar oven that we’ve ever purchased.  About five years ago, we also purchased this solar oven.  This solar oven works when it’s in the 60’s or warmer (despite what the information on Amazon says).  It is much lighter than the Sun Oven All American – so that’s a big plus.

Significant Purchase #10 – Quality outdoor tools 

World’s Best Shovel – We purchased this shovel two years ago, and it has been the single best outdoor tool investment that we’ve made.  I love it.  It cuts through the ground easily, doesn’t hurt your feet when you step on it, and easily lefts the dirt.  I wouldn’t be without it.

Axe – If you ever need to split wood, you’ll need an axe to do that.  This is the one that we own.  It cuts wood well and is easily sharpened.

PickAxe –  So the person that we bought the property that we’re getting ready to list to sell did something really stupid.  This property used to have a gravel circle driveway.  Instead of leaving it there or removing the gravel, he covered it up with dirt!  When we wanted to plant some things in that area, we discovered exactly what happened.  To remove just a few square feet of the gravel, we needed to use a pickaxe.

Saw – Whether you’re building or cutting down a tree, you will need a saw.  Having the right tool to do the job, makes it so much easier. And if you’re living through difficult times, having a sharp and well build saw is something that you need to have in your arsenal.

Hand tiller – If you are wanting to grow a garden, and there is a chance that you will need to do it without using gasoline, a hand tiller – while taking much more effort – will get the job done.

Cross-cut saw – If you ever need to fell a tree, it goes so much faster if two people are working together.  A crosscut saw will let you cut down a tree so much faster.

NC Renegade vs Raconteur Report: Stand Up and Fights vs Hold Your Horses

We’ve shared posts from both NC Renegade and Raconteur Reports in the past. Both sites are worthy of reading. NC Renegade recently posted the article Americans Need to Find Their Spine and Fortitude to Stand Up and Fight. It’s Time We Cut This Evil Out From Our Society. A few days later Raconteur Report posted a response titled Hold Your Horses: Crawl, Walk, Run. Again, both are worth a gander. Below is from RR’s response article:

Wes at NC Renegade has some thoughts. That’s today’s lesson topic.
Go read it. I’ll be here when you come back.
At his site, I replied:
Thanks for recapping Why.
At this point:
1) Stand up to Whom?
2) With What and Who?
3) Where, When, and How?
Most people reading this couldn’t write a 5 Paragraph Order, let alone grasp one, and about 90% of them would have to google it to even know what I’m talking about.
They have, on avg., 1/2 a weapon apiece, little ammunition, no time, funds, support, friendly forces, and for 90+% of them, zero training in any meaningful way.
We didn’t invade Normandy on December 8th, 1941.
And we didn’t get here in a day, so we won’t be getting out of it in one either.
I absolutely share your frustration, but one cannot grow a crop faster by pulling on the green shoots.
Now is a time for gathering and preparing, not taking any direct action, and making the most of temporal and financial opportunity while we have it.
“Boy, I wish we’d spent less time in training, and been less prepared and supplied” said no one ever in world history, least of all those entering a battle or embarking upon an entire war.
The first thinning of the herd will be those willing to invest the time and money to get ready for the conflict. That’ll probably move the decimal point of available forces one place to the left, automagically.
One’s time should be spent in
a) being that guy
b) doing the work
c) finding other guys doing the same
d) figuring out what to do, to whom, and when to do it
Unless you’re already a former JSOC ninja with a file cabinet full of CARVER-rated objectives, and a tight-knit vetted cadre of like-minded and capable folks, with an existing support matrix, doing anything more than that is simply a recipe for a short, interesting, and ultimately futile life.
Change my mind.

I’ve posted links to military manuals any half-dozen times for a reason, dammit, and it isn’t nostalgia.

Most of you (95%, by all polling data, though the blog stats here may skew a wee bit higher) never got any closer to a military formation than lining up outside for phys ed classes in school. And that was great in a free country but not so much for a burgeoning banana republic, with all the trimmings, which is what we are, right this minute.

So let’s talk turkey:

There are three undeniable truths operating right now in America.

I. Elections are pointless, worthless, and futile.

If you didn’t get that memo despite what happened in November, and again in GA in January, sorry to break it to you, but it’s nevertheless gospel truth.

Anyone yakking about “We’ll get ’em next time!”, “Vote Harder!”, or any variation on “MOAR Elections!” is an unredeemed delusional jackass suffering a psychotic break from reality. They should be placed in a room in a quiet glen, featuring soft music, soft lighting, soft food, and soft walls. They’re fucking nuts. Don’t waste any further breath on them until they wake up, if ever.

TINVOWOOT: There Is No Voting Our Way Out Of This.

Learn it, Live it, Love it.

Should you still pull a lever ever again? Hell yes. Enjoy whatever simulacrum of freedom you can, and maximize the time and minimize the gradient of the decline, if such be within your power. Primary out RINOs. Use it as a weed-out for whom to ever listen to, and whom to discount, forever. And a platform to shitpost, meme, rabblerouse, and generally send raspberries at TPTB, while you can. But minimize the time, energy, and funds you spend waste on electoral activities going forward, knowing the entire process is as fake as TV News and pro wrestling.

II. We’re at war, within this country, with those who hate fundamental America.

Not a debate. Not an argument. Not a fight. A W-A-R.

They want you dead. They want you rounded up and obliterated, and they want to kill your unborn babies, kidnap your living children, and poison their minds against you. In the interim, they want you unemployed, broke, dispossessed of your goods, lands, and chattels, and treated like sub-human scum, which is what they think of you, to their marrow. And they’ll stop at nothing to do exactly that. When your enemy tells you his true feelings, believe it. Mein Kampf was a blueprint for the Holocaust. Das Kapital was the blueprint and excuse for the Holodomor, the Great Leap Forward, and the Killing Fields.

Scapegoats and counter-revolutionaries will not be tolerated. You are both.

If you’re reading this, that means YOU, to a metaphysical certainty.

But there is a difference between being AT war, and warfare.

Your fight, at this point, is theoretical, philosophical, and moral.

III. You aren’t ready to fight any other kind of actual war. Yet.

As I noted to Wes, above, I share his frustration that this is so. Some of us have been trying to edumacate folks about this for years. As you might have noticed, to date, it hasn’t helped much, other than as a pressure relief valve for those of us watching the trainwreck, transfixed, aghast, and infuriated.

Which brings us to the Teachable moment, and the Action/Implementation Phase.

AIP: Get yourself ready for a war.

A) It’s going to be a shooting war, so you’d better have something to shoot with, and something to load into it. And you’d better get damned good with it. The good news is, even for GED-holding high school dropouts, that only takes a few hours a day for a couple-three weeks, even for Army Rangers and Marines. And a grand total of 260 rounds. Folks, that’s nothing, in the grand scheme. Competence is not mastery, but start with bare competence. If you’re looking for recommendations, there are plenty of good options, but the AR platform is where to start. You’ll do just fine if you pick up a Smith and Wesson MP-15, which is just a civvie M4gery. YMMV, but it’ll get anyone over the age of 12 off on the right foot. Pistol? Learn how to run a Glock. You can upgrade from all of this, (and I hope you do) but that’s the floor.

B) Once you’ve scratched the itch of your inner Gear Whore with that rifle and/or pistol, get your (overwhelming majority of Americans) fat @$$ in shape. PT. 3-5 times/week. Upper body, lower body, aerobic endurance exercise, strength-building. The shorthand for that is push-ups, pull-ups, sit-ups, and running 2-3 miles. Running. Not walking, pedalling, driving, slow jogging, or anything else. Start with less distance, and slower, sure. But get to where you can run 8-minute or less miles, for at least 3 of them. That’s the standard. Two minutes of sit-ups. Max effort, and increase over time. Max push-ups and pull-ups. Lather, rinse, repeat.

C) Get healthy. Stop eating sh*t. Balanced meals, wipe out the sugar, fat, and junk food. Get your teeth fixed. Get anything else you need to taken care of. Get your booster shots for tetanus, etc. Cut back on the alcohol, and junk the nicotine habit. Spend the money you save from those vices on more important supplies. Like stored food, medical supplies, ammo, tools. You can party when you’re using the skulls of your enemies for cups. Until then, self-discipline. Medical care may not be around much longer, and healthy people fight harder, and they’re harder to kill. I repeat, get healthy.

D) Learn what an unconventional warrior needs to know. I don’t know you, or your area, or what you’re up against. You should. Then learn what you’ll need to deal with that. At a minimum, you should be focusing on what the ground forces (Army, Marines) teach their basic recruits. We may have pounded that home with a 2×4 a time or twelve on this very blog. Repetition is a teaching technique. Even if you’re too old/brokedick to participate, you should still have the knowledge in your brainpan. And if that’s the case, learn tradecraft skills: scouting, spying, information-gathering, recording, encryption/decryption, transmission, collection, and analysis. Too scared? Focus on supporting activities: caching, sheltering, running a safe house, supply, small-scale manufacturing, finance, medical support, feeding, transportation (all means: truck/rail/waterborne/pack animal), repair, communications, construction, field engineering (anything from shovels to heavy equipment), and so on. If the Army has an occ field that you could do, you can be useful. On average, it takes 10 people to put one insurgent, supplied, fed, and equipped, into the field. And you’re going to need some of that tradecraft I mentioned above to not be scooped up for aiding and abetting, and winding up dead, or in prison.

E) Find (and VET!!!) other people doing A-D, above. {Hint: Over 50% of those in the @$$clown show that was Malheur were federal CIs. If you get to where your main strategy to avoid prison is jury nullification because you were a jackass about vetting, you’ve screwed the pooch beyond repair, and you deserve to die in prison. Whether or not you do is up to a merciful Deity, because TPTB will have no sense of humor, and Fate is set to Zero Fucks Given when you’re stupid.} Take your time. Sniff around. Check them out, overtly and covertly. Due diligence or die. No one will tell your story alongside that of Patrick Henry. You’ll just be the next Timothy McVeigh. Remember, you’re picking people into whose hands you’re entrusting your own life, and the fate of your family. So are they.

F) As Sam Culper has said, and taught, and teaches (take his classes!) do an Area Study. Look the term up online, find an example, and then wipe out the info paragraphs and pages for the sample you select, and refill the info with the same thing for your town/city, and county at a minimum. If it’s small enough, do your entire state, and push outward if neighboring states are closer to you, for example, than your own state capitol. E.g., New Mexico (and Mexico!) info is going to be a helluva lot more relevant in El Paso than info about Dallas, Houston, and/or Austin. Just saying. If you’re in Rhode Island, you should be looking at all of New England. For a good guideline, stick a pin in a map where you are. Scribe a circle to the limit of a tank of gas – say, 400-500 miles – and look hardest at that. That’s your “area of interest”. Same pin, then a circle of the 20 miles in any direction you could walk in a day: that’s your “area of concern”. You should know both intimately, for all topics in your sample Area Study. This is what Sun Tzu meant when he said “know your enemy” and “know the ground”.

That’s already five more things than most people out there have done, and it’s enough to get you started.

Provided you start getting started.

Whatever you haven’t done, above, is where you are. Get busy with that, FIRST. Leviathan isn’t going to wait all day before taking an interest in you.

The Organic Prepper: How to Prep in Short-Term Locations

Daisy Luther at The Organic Prepper describes How to Prep in Short-Term Locations for people who are traveling, homeless, living in RVs and campers, etc. If you’re interested in the concept of mobile preparedness, you might check into the book Locusts on the Horizon by Plan B Writers Alliance, which talks about the MASH concept – or Mobile Adaptable Sustainable Homestead.

More and more people are living in temporary or mobile locations as the economy continues to falter. As the moratoriums on evictions end, the United States could soon see a wave of homelessness the likes of which has not occurred since the Dustbowl. People will be seeking shelter in temporary locations, in their vehicles, in RVs, and in campers. Many will not be leaving their homes by choice, but due to dire economic circumstances.

While you’re in for a shocking change if a nomadic lifestyle is suddenly thrust upon you, it doesn’t mean that you can’t still be prepared.

I deliberately chose to be a nomad myself. After my youngest daughter left the nest, I decided to sell or give away most of my things and set out to live a nomadic lifestyle. Over the past two years, I’ve been fortunate enough to briefly live in Greece, Northern Macedonia, Montenegro, and Mexico, and I have visited Kosovo, Albania, Austria, Canada, Bosnia, and Croatia, as well as many states in the US. My goal has always been to see the world and immerse myself in other cultures. Despite Covid shutting down many options, I’ve still been able to embrace my wandering spirit and am currently in a sublet in Mexico.

And this has a lot of folks asking me, “Have you given up on prepping?”

You can still prep in temporary locations.

It seems that every interview I do and in at least a couple of emails a day, someone asks me whether I still practice what I preach – preparedness. The answer is absolutely YES.

Prepping looks a lot different when you are in a temporary location or living in an RV/van but it can – and should – still be done.

One very important factor in living a nomadic lifestyle is that if you pay attention, you can avoid a lot of problems. If you live in your RV and you hear that a hurricane or a massive ice storm is coming in a few days, there’s a strong possibility that you can drive to a different location and avoid it altogether. If I was living in Europe when Covid hit, I could have relocated to a different country rapidly with more tolerable lockdown measures or, as I did, return to the US and stay with one of my kids to help her with the bills when she was unable to work. Location independence can really work in your favor.

As mentioned, I’m currently in Mexico, not because I’m trying to avoid a situation in the US, but because it’s very affordable and I get to stay in a place that is relatively warm right on the beach, something I could never afford if I was in the US. Since I’m here for about six months, I have more food stashed away than I would if I was only planning to be here for 4-6 weeks. But even if I was staying a shorter period of time, I’d have enough on hand to keep myself and my pets fed and hydrated for a minimum of one month.

How do you prep when you live in a temporary location?

You prep in a temporary location much like you would in a stationary location, except you pay more attention to space and transportability.

Depending upon space, money, and the length of your stay, your options may be rather different than what you’d choose if you lived in a home with a large pantry or storage room. I find that the fact my expenses are far lower than in the US allows me to donate food that I haven’t eaten without feeling like I just blew a whole bunch of money. For example, here in Mexico, a can of vegetables costs the equivalent of 12 cents US on sale.

When I was traveling around Europe from one country to another, I did not have a vehicle, so everything had to fit in my luggage. Items I always had with me were those little packets of just-add-water soup and oatmeal, nuts, dried fruit, and other lightweight, uncrushable items. With those and a water filter, I could keep myself fed for a few days without heading out to the grocery store. Is that an ideal diet? Of course not! But the point here is to have things on hand regardless of your situation.

Now that I have a place I’ll be staying at for a few months, as well as a vehicle, I have some larger, heavier items. I also bought an inexpensive dehydrator that is running nearly all the time because the fresh produce here is so incredible and I can’t get through my weekly farmer’s market basket before things spoil.

Keep in mind that when living nomadically, you may not have access to the same kind of gear that you would in a temporary location. I don’t have my Mr. Buddy heater, a generator, a Big Berkey, a pressure canner, or buckets and buckets of emergency food. However, I’ve devised workarounds for the things I need and I believe it’s made me a far more adaptable person.

Gear substitutes for mobile preppers

Here are some things I don’t have and what I use instead.

Camp stove: When I went to Selco’s Urban Survival Course in Croatia, I discovered that a lot of those little stoves are not what they’re cracked up to be. It’s very easy to create a makeshift camp stove if you only need to boil water with it. You can find two bricks or two rocks of a similar size, build a little fire between them on a fireproof surface, and set your cooking vessel on top of your rocks/bricks.

I have a cement balcony at my current location and two concrete blocks sitting innocuously on the end of it that could be quickly pressed into duty. Because I’m near the beach there isn’t a whole lot of wood, so I grabbed one bundle of wood sold for firepits from the grocery store and shoved it in the closet to keep it dry. Between that and dry plant material, I can easily build a fire and boil water right on my little patio. Other places I’ve stayed have had more access to wood or other materials I could burn so there, I didn’t need to buy a little bundle of wood.

Heater: The lows here are really not that cold – I think the coldest evening we had got down to 43. Central heating is extremely rare here in coastal Mexico. People use either electric space heaters or propane heaters similar to a Mr. Buddy with a tank the size of the ones you use for your barbecue.

I opted to spend this winter without heat and see if I could toughen up a little. Most days here in the winter range from low 50s to high 60s, so it’s not extreme. I just layer my clothing and use the dryer and oven in the mornings to take off the evening chill. I open the curtains on the southeast side of the house for solar gain and by early afternoon it’s sometimes so warm I need to open a window to cool things down a little. The floors here are tile, so slippers or shoes are a must to keep my feet warm.

On really cold days or during power outages, I take the layering further with fingerless gloves, a stocking hat pulled down over my ears, and I go into my bedroom and shut the door. I get under the covers and snuggle up with my two dogs and we stay cozy that way. When I had Covid, I did borrow an electric space heater from a neighbor because of the chills and fever.

Gravity-fed water filtration device: I’m not going to lug a Big Berkey around with me because it simply takes up far too much space in my vehicle. I have numerous portable options, such as a Sawyer Mini, a Lifestraw, and a Lifestraw water bottle. The one I use the most is the water bottle because I can take it anywhere and it doesn’t scream “prepper.” It just makes me look environmentally friendly.

I also store water. Here in Mexico, the big 5-gallon jugs are popular and they only cost a couple of dollars. I keep 30 gallons on hand and when I empty one jug, I refill it with tap water for my dogs. I also have other beverages on hand, as well as little drink packets. One thing that a lot of preppers don’t realize is that filtered water doesn’t necessarily taste like it came from a fresh mountain stream. Some powdered lemonade mix can help cover a less pleasant flavor.

Generator: I’ve written many times that instead of investing in expensive generators, I prep low-tech, and this has not changed being on the road.

I have a solar charger that is enough to power my laptop and my phone, as well as a portable charger that’s good for a few phone recharges. I can also recharge my devices using the USB ports in my Jeep (and I keep extra fuel on hand.)

Aside from this, I have a few different flashlights, a headlamp in both my backpack and my vehicle, an assortment of batteries, cooling cloths (these came in handy when my Jeep nearly overheated in the desert), a winter rated sleeping bag, and some winter cold weather gear even though I’m in a southern climate. As they recently learned in Texas, you never know when unusual weather might strike, and being prepared for those extremes can be as minor as keeping you comfortable or as major as keeping you alive.

When I’m not traveling in my vehicle, my kit is even smaller. You can check it out here.

What’s in my nomad pantry?

Now that we have the gadgets covered, what about food? When you are nomadic or living in a short-term location, you probably won’t have the same ability to stash away a year’s worth of supplies. I focus on at least a month and I pay attention to my surroundings.

Back when Covid struck the US, I rebuilt a food supply with a couple of trips to the store and about $500. Was it the same supply I would have had back when I had kids at home and a fixed location? Definitely not. I relied on food that didn’t require long cooking times and items I could acquire quickly. Because I did my shopping about a month before the shelves were emptied in the US, I had plenty of options and was able to get a good variety without major limitations. If I noticed an emerging crisis where I was and could not avoid it, I would stock up quickly. Remember, one of the most important parts of being a prepper is your awareness that puts you ahead of the crowd.

I have two different types of food supplies – items for consumption or back up while I’m in transit and items that I stock up on during my stay.

My In-Transit Pantry

When I’m moving more often or traveling lightly, my pantry looks different. I have the following as the basis of my mobile pantry.

  • Flavored instant oatmeal packets
  • Almond or coconut milk (shelf-stable)
  • Dry soup mix
  • Noodle bowls
  • Dried fruit
  • Nuts
  • Peanut butter
  • Crackers
  • Granola bars
  • Tea
  • Instant coffee packets
  • Sugar packets

I can carry all of the above items in my luggage with no issues whatsoever. They’re lightweight, small, and easily portable. Aside from the crackers, none of these things are easily crushed by your other gear, either.

The quality you purchase of the above items depends upon your location and your budget. In some areas, you might be able to easily access organic versions, and in others, you may be looking at Mr. Noodle and Peanut M&Ms. Obviously, this is not a diet to sustain you for a long time, especially if you’re expending a lot of calories, but it would get you through a few days to a week. Your mileage may vary.

My Short-Term Location Pantry

When I arrive at an Airbnb or rental, I sometimes have a meal from the items above on the first night before I go out and search for heartier fare. Once I’m settled in, then I add perishables like fresh produce, bread, and meat. As well, if I’m going to be there for more than a few days, I pick up some inexpensive shelf-stable items at those locations that are too heavy or too fragile to carry around, like some of the items in the list below.

While living in Mexico, the area where I’m staying went “Red” (they have color codes for the level of coronavirus restrictions.). I went to the store the first day and stocked up on a few additional items because here they have checkpoints where you’re asked about your destination, and I was not confident enough in my Spanish to relish such an interaction. So, I’ve gone more than a month on my supplies here without another trip to the store and didn’t feel that I was deprived, although I probably would have chosen different food if going to stores had been viable.

My pantry here is similar to the quick pantry I bought during my covid quarantine prep, just with Mexican versions of the foods.

  • Canned goods
  • Tortillas
  • Pouches of refried beans
  • Crackers
  • Peanut butter
  • Condiments
  • Tuna
  • Cookies or chocolate (If I can’t leave my condo, I need some joy in my life)
  • Long-lasting produce like potatoes, onions, carrots, squash, and cabbage
  • Rice
  • Pasta
  • Meat and veggies for the freezer
  • Seasonings to make everything taste better
  • Coffee
  • Almond milk tetras

Keep in mind that these items do not make up the majority of my diet. These are the things that I have put aside in case I have to hunker down – which certainly paid off here during the lockdown. I still visit the farmstand and bakery weekly and dine out to enjoy the local cuisine. Depending on your situation, you might hit the grocery store to supplement your basic supplies.

It’s all about being adaptable.

One of my major takeaways from my nomadic lifestyle is that adaptability and the willingness to be flexible are essential. And if these traits are essential just traveling, imagine how much more so they are when you’re going through difficult times.

While most folks prefer a full spice rack, a wealth of kitchen implements, and a giant storage room, the reality is that it might not be possible for everyone, particularly as the economy continues to wreak havoc on personal finances and the supply chain continues to erode. As I wrote earlier this year that prepping would look a lot different than before.

There are big changes ahead for many people and surviving may look different than you expected it to. Selco has written about leaving everything behind to survive. Fabian has written about the survival lessons to be learned from the homeless and from the Great Depression. Hopefully, we won’t see anything as extreme as these examples, but just know that even if the way things go is different than you had planned, you can still be adaptable, prepared, and resilient.

Rural Revolution: A Year of Testing

Patrice Lewis of Rural Revolution talks about lessons learned and general preparedness over the course of the past year in A Year of Testing

…If the last year has done nothing else, it has tested a whole lot of people. That testing is still going on today, everything from the hundreds of thousands of small business either closed or struggling, to the current catastrophic situation in Texas (and to a lesser extent, Oregon).

As a result of the myriad issues America has faced in the last year, being prepared is more important than ever. I think we can all agree on that. What’s questionable is whether it’s possible, since so many people are struggling financially. (For those in compromised financial straits, Daisy Luther at The Organic Prepper and its sister site The Frugalite writes a lot about this issue. Her material is well worth reviewing.)

So when I saw an article this morning on Natural News entitled “Fifteen HARD lessons I learned from the ‘Texageddon’ blackouts and collapse of critical infrastructure,” I read it with interest.

I often get impatient with Natural News because it tends toward the “We’re all gonna die!” mindset, but this one was fairly good. The bulk of the advice is in the form of a podcast I didn’t bother listening to, but here are the 15 points synopsized down. My comments are italicized and (in parentheses).

  • Survival is very physical. Expect to exert a lot of physical effort. (Agreed. We had a massive windstorm and subsequent power outage back in 2015, and it was very hard work indeed to maintain livestock, water, etc.)

    • Culture matters. Don’t end up in a community without morals or ethics when it all hits the fan. (Easy to say, not necessarily easy to do. Not everyone can afford to move.)

    • Convergence of two “black swan” disasters can wipe out your best plans, even if you have successfully prepped for any one (standalone) disaster. (Agreed. I’ve always maintained preparedness doesn’t make you immune to disaster; it just gives you a fighting chance.)

    • Some of your preps will FAIL. It’s difficult to consider all possible scenarios, so count on failures striking without warning. (Agreed.Three is two, two is one, etc.)

    • You need LAYERS of preparedness and “fall back” systems that are very low-tech and require nothing more than the laws of physics (gravity, chemistry, etc.). (That’s why I’ve always preferred low-tech options for preparedness.)

    • No one is coming to help you. In many situations, no one can get to you even if they wanted to.

    • Containers (buckets, barrels) are extremely important. Have lots of pre-stored water and fuel at all times.

    • Bitcoin and crypto were all completely valueless and useless during the collapse, since they all rely on electricity. Gold, silver and cash worked fine, on the other hand. (Yay, at last someone gets it! I’ve always thought tangible assets were the way to go. Personally I prefer the “stock” market such as cattle and chickens.)

    • You will likely experience injuries or mishaps due to new, unusual demands on your work activities. Practice safety and be prepared to deal with injuries yourself.

    • Having lots of spare parts for plumbing. Standardize your pipe sizes and accessories. I have standardized on 1″ PEX pipe and all its fittings because PEX is very easy to cut, shape and rework. Plus it’s far more resistant to bursting, compared to PVC. (I take exception to this. We should all have “lots of spare parts” for plumbing? Really? Why not just have an extra house you can keep in your back pocket for any spare parts you need? What happened in Texas was unprecedented, and the whole plumbing issue is vastly more complicated than just what’s under your sink. In other words, while spare plumbing parts are great, this is a “hindsight is 2020” recommendation that seems a little too pat and smacks of blaming the victim.)

    • Investment in food is always a good investment, as prices will continue to climb. No one ever said during an emergency, “Gee, I wish I had less food here.”

    • You can’t count on any government or institution or infrastructure to solve anything. Usually they just get in the way.

    • You MUST have good lights and many backup batteries, or you will be sitting in the dark. You’ll need a good headlamp (I use the PETZL Nao+) and some good 18650-battery flashlights such as Nitecore. (I’m also a big proponent of kerosene lamps.)

    • Guns and bullets are not needed in some survival scenarios, so balance your prepping. Don’t put all your money into ammo and fail to cover other important areas like emergency first aid. (Totally agree! There are too many “Rambo” preppers out there who think that because they have a bristling arsenal, that’s all they need to be prepared. What are they going to do – shoot their way into a closed convenience store to steal what they need whenever the power goes out?)

    • Think about what are stores of energy: Wood, diesel, gasoline, propane, water elevation, etc. Survival is a lot about energy management. (Agreed. To a minor extent, we’re facing that now in our new home. We’re still without the backups we need to stay comfortable during a grid-down situation.)

Anyway, that’s about all the rambling musings I have at the moment. Sorry to sound so incoherent…

Christian Prepper Gal: From the 2020 Pandemic to the 2021 Polar Vortex

Christian Prepper Gal wonders What Have We Learned? From the 2020 Pandemic to the 2021 Polar Vortex.

Have we learned anything yet? With the 2020 pandemic a lot of people realized that preppers were not really all that crazy. They learned that it was pretty smart to have enough food and household essentials on hand to last, at a minimum, a month or so. Even our government(s) started pushing preparedness. Then, just one year later, the Polar Vortex of 2021 hit. Both incidents causing shortages of food and essentials on the shelves. Have we truly learned anything yet?

Okay, so maybe I was a little bit motivated to write this article by the fact that when I placed my grocery order for Walmart Pickup just a couple of days ago, there was no Diet Pepsi (in bottles) available. Can you imagine that?!? No Diet Pepsi? At Walmart?!? I was crushed! (I don’t know if they had cans of Diet Pepsi, as I don’t drink from cans.) Then my daughter came to my rescue and found some bottles of Diet Pepsi for me at another store in our small town. What a hero she was!! She literally saved my day!!

Not my local store, just a photo of soda shevles with no Diet Pepsi for emphasis.

But, the fact that this Diet Pepsi shortage affected me so much made me realize something. Even though I’ve known it for years…I am addicted to Diet Pepsi. Oh, I’ve tried breaking the addiction a few times over the past couple of decades, but to no avail. Then in acknowledging this addiction, I also realized that I am not truly prepared. But, I’m a prepper! Some might say I’m a “die hard” prepper! How can I not be prepared?!? Well, it kind of hit me right in the gut. The realization of it was pretty heavy. I mean, I’ve known it for quite a while now, but it was always in the back of my head…way in the back. You know, something you know, but you just want to ignore and so you do.

You might ask, how does my addiction to Diet Pepsi affect my prepping? Well, it doesn’t really. Not in the literal sense anyway. But yet, it does. How can it not affect it and affect it at the same time? I’ll try and explain. You see, I do not stockpile Diet Pepsi. Therefore, it must not be important to me as a prepper. Yet, when my grocer was out of Diet Pepsi (in the bottles) I pretty much panicked. Ugh. I guess what I’ve deduced from this small and yet very large inconvenience in my life is that I need to stock up on Diet Pepsi. Pronto! No! No! That’s not what I’ve deduced. It’s what I wish I could have deduced. But, it’s not what I deduced.

You see, there would be no way in the world I would have enough room to stock up on enough Diet Pepsi to get me through a long term SHTF situation. And, that’s what I personally prep for…long term SHTF. I would need a warehouse to be able to do that. A very large warehouse. So, what I need to do is wean myself off of this Diet Pepsi addiction. It just seems there’s always something more we need to do in order to be prepared to face and endure whatever this world throws at us.

Wow, that was a very long bunny trail I took! Okay, now to get back on subject. When the coronavirus turned into a world wide pandemic, some very important essentials became unavailable to us. For example, toilet paper. And, food. And, cleaning products. And, garden seeds. And, canning jars and lids. Things that we need in our every day lives to stay alive and well. That’s when the world realized that preppers weren’t so crazy! Well, at first we were accused of hoarding food, and that we were keeping others from being able to buy food. But, then “they” soon realized that we weren’t the ones out grabbing food and essentials off the shelves!! Not us real and bonified preppers. We already had everything we needed right and home. And, we stayed home (or at least we didn’t have to go out and scramble for food) so that those who did not have could have. It was those who had panicked that were hitting the shelves and taking everything they could get their hands on! Without a thought or concern for others. Now, I’m not saying that’s wrong, because it is human instinct. However, I am thankful that many who did that learned that it was better to have extra food on hand at home to ensure that if anything like that ever happened again, they would be prepared. Thus, they became preppers! Yay!!

Then, more recently, we have the 2021 Polar Vortex that hit our country (the U.S.A.). We are still in the middle of that and it’s repercussions as I sit here writing this. This was the reason that I had that Diet Pepsi crisis. I’m pretty sure it was the result of trucks not being able to travel and deliver food on time to many stores. Even UPS and the USPS had to stop deliveries. Once again, food is sparse on the grocery shelves along with necessary essentials. In fact, there were people, down in Texas, standing in lines outside in the cold (that they are not accustomed to) in order to purchase propane because they had no power. Millions of people all across the southern and lower mid western states have been without power for up to 3 days now. In temperatures they are not accustomed to nor were they prepared for. In other words, they did not have the necessary clothing for cold climates, they were not prepared to cook or heat their homes without power, and most were not prepared to dig themselves out of the snow. I’m not blaming them. They do not live in climates where these things are normal. In fact, I’m praying fervently for all who were affected by this polar vortex. They knew it was coming, but they did not know how to prepare for it. That’s why it’s important NOT to wait until the last minute to be prepared.

I am sure that many who have lived through this 2021 Polar Vortex have learned from it. At least, I hope they have. Even if we do not live in a certain type of climate, we need to be prepared for any type of climate. This world has gone crazy, and not just the people! I don’t mean being prepared by just having enough food. Even if those who live in the South did have enough food on their shelves, there are so many other things they need to survive this polar vortex. In fact, there are so many different things that could happen to cause us to be without electricity, water, sewer, and gas for extended amounts of time; not just the weather. You see, prepping is more than just storing up food. (See one of my first articles, There’s More to Prepping Than Food.) It’s about being ready for whatever circumstance may come our way. Whether it be weather related (heat waves or polar vortexes), natural catastrophic events such as fires, hurricanes, tornadoes, volcanic eruptions, flooding; or job loss, unexpected illness, unexpected accidents (such as car accidents), pandemics, EMPs, etc. As a result of the 2021 Polar Vortex, many utility companies, across our great nation, in areas that have not experienced power outages, are having to affect manual blackouts or brown outs in order to prevent complete power outages (which could take several months to repair). The electrical grid cannot handle the stress of these states that are not normally cold climate states. They are using more power than normal to heat the homes. I can’t stress this enough…prepping is more than just food! (See an article I wrote a couple of years ago, A World Without Electronics and Electricity.)

First we had the pandemic, which taught us (or at least should have taught us) the necessity of having shelf stable foods stored up. Then, the polar vortex which is teaching us to be ready to live without electricity, water, sewer, and gas utilities. I can’t help but to wonder what’s next? Maybe it won’t take an EMP to shut down our power grid. Maybe our power grid is already weak and crumbling. Maybe it’s just a matter of time. And, maybe, just maybe, that time isn’t far off.

If we have learned anything from these two occurrences, it should be that we need to be preppers – in every sense of the word.

Here is the dictionary’s definition of a prepper:

prep·per:

a person who believes a catastrophic disaster or emergency is likely to occur in the future and makes active preparations for it, typically by stockpiling food, ammunition, and other supplies.

“there’s no agreement among preppers about what disaster is most imminent”

We all most likely know what it means to stockpile food and ammunition. What might those “other supplies” consist of? Well, that is a topic for another discussion (article). So, stay tuned for that upcoming article. In the meantime, if you are interested in learning and growing as a prepper take the time to browse through my other articles. There’s a lot of information to be gleaned from them.

Thank you for spending a few minutes of your time with me! If you have any questions on this article or prepping in general, please feel free to comment below, or send me an email message by going to the About/Contact page and filling in the contact form there. It is my prayer that you will heed the warnings that God has been sending us with these two incidents, and if you are not already doing so, that you will do all that you can to be prepared; and if you are prepping that you will push forward and keep on keeping on.

Until next time…happy prepping, and God bless!

1 Peter 5, 8-9, “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.” (KJV) 

Economic Collapse Blog: Why Are So Many Americans Stockpiling Guns, Silver And Food Right Now?

Michael Snyder at the Economic Collapse blog asks Why Are So Many Americans Stockpiling Guns, Silver And Food Right Now?

We were told that 2021 would be the year when everything starts to get back to normal.  But that hasn’t exactly been the case, has it?  It has been just over a month, and there is still chaos everywhere.  We have seen a wild riot at the U.S. Capitol, civil unrest has been erupting in major cities from coast to coast, millions of people have filed for unemployment benefits, a president was impeached, and a crazy ride on Wall Street made “GameStop” a national phenomenon.  That would normally be enough for an entire year, but we are still in the first week of February.

All throughout history there have been critical turning points when events have greatly accelerated, and it appears that we have reached one of those turning points.

In fact, this may be turn out to be the biggest turning point of them all.

Millions upon millions of Americans can sense that big trouble is ahead.  For many, it is like a “gut feeling” that they just can’t shake.

Just a few days ago, my wife met a woman from the west coast that just moved here.  This woman and her husband were desperate to leave California, and they felt very strongly that they should move somewhere safe.

What makes her story remarkable is the fact that my wife and I have heard similar stories from others countless times over the past 12 months.

Our nation is being shaken in thousands of different ways, and so many of us can feel that things are building up to some sort of a grand crescendo.

So that is why so many Americans are stockpiling guns, silver and food right now.

They want to be ready for what is ahead.

2020 was a record year for U.S. gun purchases, but instead of slowing down in January, gun sales went even higher

According to the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check (NCIS) data, 4.3 million firearm background checks were initiated in January. That’s the highest number on record, and up over 300,000 in comparison to December 2020. Three of the top 10 highest weeks are now from January 2021.

The National Shooting Sports Foundation’s adjusted background check figure of 2 million, reached by subtracting out background code permit checks and permit rechecks and checks on active concealed carry permits, was a jump from its adjusted figure of 1.1 million in January 2020.

One of the biggest reasons why people feel a need to be armed right now is because crime rates have been absolutely skyrocketing.

In particular, murder rates in our major cities rose by an average of 30 percent last year…

Murder rates in nearly three dozen American cities exploded in 2020, rising 30 percent over the previous year, resulting in 1,200 more deaths from murder last year when compared to 2019, according to a new study examining possible connections between crime, the coronavirus pandemic and protests against police brutality.

‘Homicide rates were higher during every month of 2020 relative to rates from the previous year. That said, rates increased significantly in June, well after the pandemic began, coinciding with the death of George Floyd and the mass protests that followed,’ states a report from the National Commission of COVID-19 and Criminal Justice (NCCCJ), titled Pandemic, Social unrest and Crime in US Cities.

We have never seen an increase of that magnitude from one year to the next, and the brutality of some of these murders has been off the charts.

For example, the recent murder of two women in California deeply shocked people all over the nation

A brother of up-and-coming rapper Uzzy Marcus was arrested in California following an eight-hour standoff with police and charged with murdering two women, whose lifeless bodies were captured in an Instagram Live video.

Raymond Weber, 29, was taken into custody by police in Vacaville at around 8.30am on Saturday and was then booked into the Solano County Jail on two counts of first-degree murder and multiple other felonies, including domestic assault.

In addition to the straight up crime we have been witnessing, endless political violence has also made some of our largest cities almost unlivable at this point.

I honestly do not know why anyone would want to live in downtown Portland or downtown Seattle now.  Of course conditions are not much better in the core areas of many of our other major metropolitan areas.

Meanwhile, our economy continues to be greatly shaken and recent volatility in the financial markets caused a massive run on physical silver

U.S. bullion broker Apmex warned of delays in processing silver transactions because of surging volumes.

Other U.S. dealers, including JM Bullion and SD Bullion, warned customers of shipping delays of five to 10 days. Everett Millman at Gainesville Coins in Florida said they were expecting shipping delays, perhaps until perhaps mid-March, for some products like Silver Eagles and Silver Maples.

Things have calmed down a bit after the craziness of the past few days, but people are going to continue voraciously buying silver.

Precious metals have been a safe haven all throughout human history, and that is especially true during highly inflationary times.

And as I have written about extensively, we are moving into very highly inflationary times.

In addition to gold and silver, Americans have also been feverishly stockpiling food

Wise Company estimated in 2018 that Americans were buying between $400 million and $450 million worth of emergency food supplies per year. And, while Wise declined to release any specific revenue figures, Eriksson tells CNBC Make It that the company saw its food sales surge by “probably five or six times” in 2020 amid the pandemic.

In the long run, I would argue that food is more important than guns or silver, because you can’t eat guns or silver when you are hungry.

And yes, things will eventually get that bad.

Most people don’t understand the specifics of what is coming, but what they do know is that they have a gnawing feeling deep inside that they can’t shake that really bad things are on the horizon.

I would strongly encourage you to use this current period of relative stability to get prepared for the very uncertain times that are ahead of us.

Everything that can be shaken will be shaken, and our society will soon be turned completely upside down.

Christian Prepper Gal: Back to the Past?

Christian Prepper Gal talks about staying on track for spiritual and physical preparedness in Back to the Past?

We need to learn from history!

 

It is often said that history repeats itself. There are those in today’s society who are trying to erase our history. They want to pretend that it never existed. But the wise know that history is there for us to learn from.

When I was growing up history was boring to me. I had absolutely no interest in it. So, I can sort of see why those people in today’s society would want to ignore it, erase it, and pretend it never happened. But, as an adult I have come to understand why it is important for us to know our history.

Hosea 4:6, My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children.

What does this verse have to do with history? Well, with history comes knowledge. Knowledge of how to handle a situation, knowledge of what not to do, knowledge of what to do, knowledge of consequences for our actions (or lack thereof), etc. Not having that knowledge could destroy us, both physically and spiritually.

Even many Christians ignore history. They say we don’t need to store up food to be prepared for what is to come. They say that God will provide. While it is true that God will provide our needs, it is also true that in His providing he has often told His people to prepare themselves for what is to come. A huge example of that in our history is the story of Noah (Genesis 6-8). God warned His people of what was to come but only one man listened to what He was saying. And look what happened. Those who did not listen to God’s warning perished. The one who listened to God’s warning and did what God told him to do to prepare himself and his family lived. How can Christians argue that we do not need to be prepared?!?

As Christians, most of us believe that we are living in the End Times. And sadly, almost as many Christians are not prepared for what will actually happen in the “End Times”. It’s like we are the opposite of the world when it comes to being prepared. We prepare spiritually, but do near to nothing to be prepared physically. Whereas the world (those who are wise enough) will prepare physically, by storing up food and essentials, but do nothing to be prepared spiritually. But, if we look back on the history of our world, we would know that we need to be prepared both spiritually and physically.

If we do not need to also prepare physically by storing food and other provisions, then why did God have Noah prepare food and provisions for his family? Why didn’t God just provide what Noah and his family needed? Wait. He did! By telling Noah what he needed to do to be prepared! This really is deep. Please take a moment to think about it.

Do you remember what happened when the 2020 Coronavirus Pandemic broke out? How the toilet paper disappeared from the store shelves? Quickly followed by hand sanitizers, antibacterial cleaning products, paper towels, flour, yeast, garden seeds, some food products, most survival/emergency foods, and even canning jars and lids? To some that’s already a distant memory. But to me, it is forefront in my mind. Why is that? Because I do not want to forget what happened. I want to remember so that I remember to be prepared in case something like that ever happens again! We experienced and lived through a true SHTF scenario and many people did not even realize it or acknowledge it as being that. It happened so suddenly! And, those who were not prepared were affected the most. While those who were prepared were barely affected by it. Some areas were worse than others. Some countries were worse than others. It could have been worse everywhere. And I thank God it wasn’t. But, we are not out of possible danger from it yet. We are still in the midst of it.

I personally believe that this pandemic was/is a warning of things yet to come. For if we are truly living in the End Times as many believe, there will be many more things that have to happen before our Lord returns to this earth. And, someone will have to live through it. I’m not trying to put fear into anyone by saying this. But, I am doing what God has told me to do and that is to prepare and warn others to do so also. For if we are warned and we listen to and heed said warning then we will be prepared and we will get through whatever it is to come with less suffering. God does not want His children to suffer. But, just as parents warn their children to do or not do something that could harm them, so does our Father in heaven. And in the same way, when our children don’t listen to our warnings they sometimes end up getting hurt, so do we when we do not listen to God’s warnings. And, He’s warning us that we need to be prepared. We need to stock our homes just as Noah filled and stocked the Ark. We need to be prepared physically, just as Noah and his family were prepared physically. Noah was already prepared spiritually, just as many of us are. But, if you are not yet prepared spiritually, then you need to do so. Without being prepared spiritually, all of the preparedness in the world will do no good.

Where was I going with this? That is not a rhetorical question, lol. I got a little sidetracked in my mind. Oh yes…some of us have already forgotten those early days of the pandemic when things were no longer stocked on the shelves of our grocery stores. In our striving to get “back to normal” our minds want to forget what got us in the predicament in the first place. But, please do not forget. Because it was just an example of how we need to be prepared and how things can happen literally overnight.

I know I’ve written this type of blog before. Many times. But, that’s because we need to be reminded often of the need to stay on track with our prepping. It’s easy to forget when things are going well in our lives. Just like it’s easy for some to forget history. But, let’s don’t let history disappear. Let’s be wise and learn from history. Let us be prepared in every way possible for what is yet to come. Because if we truly believe that we are living in the End Times, it will come.

Deuteronomy 31:8, And the LORD, he it is that doth go before thee; he will be with thee, he will not fail thee, neither forsake thee: fear not, neither be dismayed.

So, just as we know that there are things yet to come that we don’t know what they will be, let us also know that if we put our trust in Him, He will guide us and direct us in the way He would have us to be prepared. It is my prayer that you are able to hear him Him when He does.

In the Bible, Jesus tells us that the End Times will be “as in the days of Noah” (Matthew 24:37). So let us be as prepared as Noah was; both spiritually and physically (prepping). Let us learn from history, this time by repeating what was done! No, you don’t need to go build an ark. I meant to be prepared by having food and necessities stored, and getting closer to God. 😊

If you have questions about prepping, or just need to talk, I’m here for you. Just fill out the contact form here and I will get back to you via email.

Until next time…happy prepping, and God bless!

John 16:33, These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace.

In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.  

AYWtGS: Survival Applications and Everyday Uses for Activated Charcoal

This article at A Year Without the Grocery Store talks about the Survival Applications and Everyday Uses for Activated Charcoal

Old Wives’ Tales?

There are so many old wives’ tales about health.  Your grandmother’s chicken soup for a cold.  Feed the flu, starve a fever.  Drink chamomile tea to help you sleep.  Upset stomach?  Try peppermint tea.

But several of those things have more than a shred of truth to them.  Did you know that chicken broth is one of the best items to soothe your digestive tract and give your immune system – which many people believe is centered in your gut – a boost.  Chamomile tea has been proven to help aid in sleep.  And while “Feed a cold and starve a fever came into being in the 1500s, there’s very little truth to it.  But Peppermint tea has been shown to help digestive issues.  In a former article, I discussed eight OTC’s that could save your life.  Activated Charcoal is one of those.

Another Well-Known Remedy 

But there’s another natural remedy that many people tout as almost a cureall – Activated Charcoal.

Activated charcoal was first used by the Egyptians for medicinal purposes as early as 1500BC.  But it was also used by the Phonecians by 400 for its antiseptic properties.  By 50 AD was used by Hippocrates and the Greeks.  But it was lost for a long time during the dark ages.  It re-emerged in the 1700s as a medicinal treatment for many things.

But today, not only does activated charcoal have a ton of every-day applications.  It also has many survival applications.  So let’s jump in!

***There are links in this post.  The FCC wants me to tell you that some of the links may be affiliate links. My promise to you is that I will only recommend the most economical version of the best quality of items to serve you. All of these are the items that I have bought for my own family.  If you click on a link, your price will remain the same.  If you make a purchase, we may make a small commission that aids in covering the cost of running this website.***

Pertinent Info and Cautions

If you are on medicines, Activated Charcoal will nullify any medicines that you’ve taken in the last 4-6 hours.  So if you do decide to use it and you’re on medicines, make sure that you don’t take it with the medicines or even near the time when you took the medicines.

Activated charcoal is NOT the same thing as the charcoal that you find at the grocery store and that you use in your grill.  Not only will they not work the same, but charcoal briquettes have chemicals in them which are harmful.  Please do not mistake the one for the other.

What is it?

Activated charcoal is created when organic materials like wood, bamboo, coconut husks, or coal are burned at temperatures of 600-900 degrees celsius to create a charcoal powder.  Between that and charring it with chloride salts and exposing it to steam, a vast network of pores is created.  It’s this network of pores that gives activated charcoal it’s properties.

So much additional surface area is created during the activation process that 50 grams of activated charcoal (which is about the weight of 20 U.S. pennies) has 17.5 times more surface area than a full-size football field, according to a 2016 study in the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology.

Forms of Activated Charcoal

I personally purchase activated charcoal in two forms.  I purchase it in a powder and in a pill form.  Each has its uses.

Powder form

As you read below, you’ll find that activated charcoal can be used to make poultices for various medical applications.  In order to use activated charcoal in this manner, having a powder form on hand is more than helpful.  This is the one that I personally choose.  It’s USDA Certified organic and food grade.

Pill Form

But at the same time, you may not want to try to drink activated charcoal mixed with water in a powder form because it will temporarily discolor your teeth and mouth.  If you have somewhere to go quickly, but you want to take some activated charcoal, having it if pill form is much more convenient.

So if you’re looking for a convenient pill form of activated charcoal that is highly rated, I’d recommend this one.

Survival Applications 

Before we jump right into this.  I need to remind you all that I am NOT a doctor.  I’ve researched these treatments, but I don’t understand 100% of everything I’m writing about.  Please make sure that you do your own research before you commit to any course of action.  I’m also not suggesting that anyone should use activated charcoal instead of heading to see a doctor.  Survival applications are just that – these are for a time where you can’t get to a doctor either because there are none around that you can find or you’re in a SHTF situation where you can’t leave your house.

1.) Poisoning and Overdose

Activated charcoal has been used to treat poisonings or overdoses since the 1700s.  It’s one of the oldest documented medicinal uses of Activated Charcoal.  Even here in the United States, activated charcoal is used in hospitals to treat poisoning and accidental overdoses.  As far as survival goes, having a way to treat an overdose or accidental poisoning is more than important.

There are certain types of poisonous substances that activated charcoal cannot counteract.  Anything caustic – something that burns on contact, poisonous gasses, lye, petroleum products, metals such as lithium and iron.

2.) Bites/stings

Making a paste of activated charcoal will help draw out the toxins.  I had a friend whose fairly young child (around 3) had gotten a bite, but because it was on the inside of his thigh, she didn’t find it right away.  When she did, it was a weekend, and she didn’t feel it warranted a trip to the ER, so she made a thick paste of activated charcoal and wrapped his leg in saran wrap to keep the moisture in.  It drew out the toxins and left a bit of a crater in his leg – until it filled in, but he healed just fine!

If you’re not living through a survival situation, if you have a snake bite or something else serious, please do seek medical help, though.

3.)  Skin abscesses

Activated charcoal poultices don’t only work on stings and bites, but they also work on other skin problems like abscesses and cysts.

You make a poultice by starting with the dry activated charcoal powder, drip enough water into it to make a wet paste.  Apply the paste to the skin and cover it with something like saran wrap to keep the paste wet.  Change it every 12 hours.

Survival and Everyday Applications for Activatec Charcoal4.) Water filtration

Because activated charcoal has so much surface area and so many pores, it makes a great water filter.  Many companies that make water filters used activated charcoal in the filters – Including Brita.  Just go to Amazon and search activated charcoal water filters.  You’ll find a ton of them.  Brita uses charcoal filters in their pitchers.

5.)  Can improve kidney function in people with kidney disease

Activated charcoal is able to remove excess phosphorus, urea, and other toxins from the blood.  Some patients in end-stage renal disease use it to lessen the time that they have to be hooked up to a dialysis machine.  Since it removes excess urea from your blood, it may also improve/prevent gout.

6.) Digestive issues

These would vary from vomiting to diarrhea to bloating to stomach cramps to gas/flatulence.  Because activated charcoal is able to adsorb (yes, that is the correct word) various contaminants in your digestive system, it is a great way to help quell and calm digestive upset throughout your digestive tract.  When my children have an upset stomach or start throwing up, I will mix 1 capsule (about 1/4 tsp of activated charcoal with some water.  For my littlest one, I will add a packet of stevia.  Then I have them drink the concoction through a straw.  If you don’t use a straw, they’ll have to brush their teeth as you’ll leave your teeth stained by the activated charcoal.

7.)  Lymes disease

Lymes patients often suffer from die off reactions also called herxheimer reactions.  It’s where dying bad bacteria give off toxins as they die.  In research for this article, I went to article, after article, after article which talked about how people with Lyme’s disease benefit from using activated charcoal.

8.)  Mold toxicity

We’ve had several families that used to attend our church that suffered from mold toxicity reactions. We had mold removed from the church, but apparently, the toxins are persistent even if the mold is removed. One of these families said that whenever they left the church building, they would experience reactions to being exposed to these mold toxins.  One family would take activated charcoal every time they left the building.  They said that it helped immensely.

But don’t take my word on their word.  There are studies that have been done that discuss the benefits of taking activated charcoal for mold toxicity.

Survival and Everyday Applications for Activatec Charcoal9.) Deodorant

Activated Charcoal doesn’t just adsorb toxins, it is able to adsorb unpleasant smells.  Besides being able to be used in a refrigerator to remove persistent stenches, it can also do the same with your underarms.  Want to give it a try?  Here’s a DIY recipe for activated charcoal deodorant.

10.)  Plant Poisons

I’m not talking about poisonous plants that you ingest.  I’m talking about plants like poison ivy, poison oak, stinging nettle.  This is another instance that you can create a poultice using activated charcoal and cover the affected area with it.  Wrap it in something that will keep the moisture in (plastic wrap works well) and change it every 6-12 hours…(continues)

National Geographic: Disaster ‘Prepping’ Was Once an American Pastime. Today, It’s Mainstream Again.

In the spring of 1941, guests of the Allerton House in New York City descended 45 feet below ground to check out the hotel’s newly completed air raid shelter. The shelter boasted an auxiliary lighting system in case the building lost electricity. Watching the German bombing campaign over London terrified Americans, and led the government to form civil defense preparations. Photograph via Bettmann/Getty

National Geographic talks about the past, present and possible future of American preparedness in Disaster ‘prepping’ was once an American pastime. Today, it’s mainstream again.

here’s a reason “preppers,” people who plan for the worst-case scenario, like to talk about the zombie apocalypse. The idea of an army of walking dead swarming the country pervades their thoughts because, says Roman Zrazhevskiy, “If you prepare as if a zombie apocalypse is going to happen, you have all the bases covered.” That means: an escape route, medical supplies, a few weeks’ worth of food.

Zrazhevskiy has been thinking about this for decades. He was born in Russia a few months after the nuclear meltdown at Chernobyl. At the dinner table, his family often talked about the disaster and what went wrong. Then, after they relocated to New York, Zrazhevskiy stood on the waterfront outside his Brooklyn high school on September 11, 2001, and watched the World Trade Center towers collapse. Even then, he had a small go-bag prepared with disaster supplies.

Now, he’s the guy who has a kit and a checklist for every occasion, including taking his toddler to the beach. Zrazhevskiy lives in Texas and runs survival outfitters Ready to Go Survival and Mira Safety. In 2019, with protests in Hong Kong, wildfires in Australia, and the threat of war with Iran, business boomed. But when the CDC announced the U.S.’s first confirmed coronavirus case last January, business reached “a whole new level,” says Zrazhevskiy. His companies spent the next couple of months scrambling to fill backorders. The flood of new customers had so many questions that he hired seven full-time staffers just to answer emails. “It’s kind of a customer service nightmare,” he says. “People are really flipping out.”

In a public imagination fueled by reality TV, preppers are lonely survivalists, members of fanatical religious groups, or even wealthy Silicon Valley moguls who buy luxury underground bunkers and keep a getaway helicopter fueled. But in reality preppers range from New Yorkers with extra boxes of canned goods squeezed in their studio apartments to wilderness experts with fully stocked bunkers.

Eight months into the coronavirus pandemic, something has shifted in our collective psyche as we remember empty aisles and medical supply shortages. Firearm sales are up, bread baking and canning are trendy, and toilet paper stockpiles are common. Are we all preppers now?

A forgotten American tradition

The coronavirus pandemic is the epitome of what preppers call a “s*** hits the fan” event. As the country braced for lockdowns and began seeing shortages of crucial supplies last March, people found themselves woefully unprepared. But there was a time in American history when many more civilians were ready for disaster.

In 1979, when Alex Bitterman was in second grade, Sister Mary Jane gathered her students in the gym of their Catholic school. In front of her sat a three-foot-tall gray barrel and she asked the students to guess what was inside. A clown, they thought. Or snakes? The nun opened it and pulled out a wool blanket, a plastic water container, and a large tin of saltines. These items would save them, she said, if the Soviet Union dropped a nuclear bomb on the town of Cheektowaga, New York.

For decades, a barrel like this was no surprise to American schoolchildren. A stockpile sat in the back of Bitterman’s school gym, and a yellow binder in the administration office held a set of hyper-local contingency plans for various disasters. So when COVID-19 reached the U.S., Bitterman, now an architecture professor at Alfred State College in upstate New York who studies how extreme events shape communities, remembered that barrel. Forty-one years later, he realized the country has lost its collective preparedness. “Why are we sitting in our houses waiting for someone to come save us?” he says. “No one’s coming.”

But there was a time when the nation felt that someone would come. The Great Depression birthed the New Deal, which gave Americans a safety net—Social Security, federal housing, and federal unemployment insurance—and instilled the belief that the government would step in when they needed a hand. Helping them prepare for a disaster or attack was part of the deal.

In 1941, after Americans watched British civilians take shelter in the London Tube during German bombardment in World War II, President Franklin Roosevelt formed the Office of Civilian Defense with the aim of helping Americans prepare for a military attack on a local level. A variety of government-mandated civil defense agencies operated from World War II through the Cold War and provided communities with guidelines and resources to keep emergency response local.

This effort manifested in the barrel and binder Bitterman remembers from childhood, as well as things like a national emergency alert system. Starting in the 1950s, designated civil defense radio channels would broadcast information in case of a Soviet attack. For decades, every radio and TV station was required to test the system weekly. The civil defense bible—the 162-page, government-issued “Blue Book”—laid out strategy and instructions for an emergency that often kept the responsibility hyperlocal. A family unit, the authors stressed, was the “basis for organized self-protection.” Soon, the need to be prepared seeped into all aspects of life, from architecture (basement bomb shelters) to education (the infamous classroom “duck and cover” drills).

Two decades later, the Cuban Missile Crisis delivered another wake-up call. A nuclear arsenal aimed at the U.S. from 90 miles off the coast, Bitterman says, eroded the idea that the country was safe from outside threat. The agency’s name would change over the years, but civil defense adapted to the evolving threats of the 20th century. It was, says Bitterman, “the one time in our shared American history when we had a unified, coordinated effort to prepare for disasters of all different kinds.”

As the Cold War thawed, the threat of natural disasters took its place: hurricanes on the east coast, tornados in the Midwest, earthquakes in California. Such problems were too large for local communities to manage on their own. Massive environmental contamination required federal clean-up, and disasters like the 1979 Three Mile Island reactor meltdown in Pennsylvania spooked the public….(continues)

Brushbeater: Ontario Ranger Assault Knife – Best?

My Ontario RAK in a third-party kydex sheath

Here is NC Scout of Brushbeater talking about Ontario’s Ranger Assault Knife: The Best Of All Worlds? Perhaps I’m a little biased because I have one of these knives and enjoy it myself. NC Scout mentions getting a better sheath, and I have a kydex sheath made by someone who doesn’t appear to be making them any more, but here’s a photo of the sheath. There are similar kydex sheaths sold by others available online.

What would be that ‘one knife’, that if the rest of the world went to hell, that you could strap on your side and do just about everything you’d need a fixed blade to do?

That’s a tough question and one I bet more than a few of you battle on a regular basis. I do, and I’ve carried knives I picked into hell with me, only to later find something that fit the bill just a bit better. It seems like with each wilderness trip, class, or hunt I end up with new wants in a blade. It hasn’t got any better since I got that first Air Force Survival Knife (aka the Jumpmaster knife) I borrowed from an AWOL kid’s kit so long ago. Doubt he missed it. That knife did everything I ever asked it to, is easy to sharpen, and doubles as a combat effective fighting knife. And for a long while it served me well, and still absolutely could had I not retired it when I returned from Afghanistan. But would it be my first choice today? Probably not; designs have evolved and I’ve got a number of knives that fit the general purpose bit a lot better, and one of them is Ontario’s Ranger Assault Knife.

Combat knives are always a fun topic of discussion and one that’s often highly personal. That old USAF design was meant to be a jack of all trades and it excelled at a few. Like most of its contemporaries, it is a stick tang short Bowie-type with an integrated handguard to prevent the user’s hands from slipping up the blade during a stab but also to protect against glancing blows. Mine slayed MREs, 550 cord and tubular nylon just like everyone else’s- even skinned a goat we picked up from a local village in Afghanistan. Its also made notches, battoned wood, made fire and processed domestic game with the best of them.

I’ve always loved tactical knives and fighter-type blades. But the reality is that most often a tactical knife, with many serrations, odd grind angles and ultra-hard steel is more a hindrance than an enabler for most mundane survival tasks. What’s basic and simple, at least in my experience, has become the preferred blade to a lot of the more tactical-oriented types. It’s a view that’s neither good or bad, its just personal choice based on what we call on our tools to do. Some of these tasks include:

  • Skinning and processing game
  • Light Chopping
  • Making feather sticks and tinder bundles
  • Striking of Ferro Rods
  • Batoning through small limbs
  • Be easily re-honed in the field

Lets look at the list. Any knife can skin and process game- in fact I’ve skinned more animals with my decade-old Buck-Strider folder than any other knife I’ve owned. And likewise for feather stick making, any sharp knife with decent edge geometry can do that. But for the heavier duty tasks a good fixed blade is what’s needed. For battening through limbs, a full-tang knife is really the best option. I’ve done it with the old USAF knife, but a full tang construction is best. And when striking ferro rods, high carbon steel and a squared spine gets the job done without having to use the knife’s edge. Speaking of, the ability to bring back a good working edge in the field is paramount. S30V, 154CM and the like are excellent for edge retention, but what happens if your edge does take some damage during use? 1095 is easier to bring back even from severe damage while using a small field stone or diamond plate like we use in the First Line Course, along with a small piece of leather as a strop.

So that brings us to Ontario’s Ranger Assault Knife (RAK). Justin Gingrich, founder of Ranger Knives and Green Beret, partnered with Ontario Knife Company several years back to mass produce his tactical and survival blade designs. I’ve used an RD-7 for a number of years now as a general purpose woods blade and its a highly functional design. His knives are a no-frills, hard use utilitarian types over the elegance of say, a Randall Made or Blackjack. These are not exactly lookers, but they will do everything asked of them and probably much more. The Ranger Assault Knife was something of a crossover design; combining the attributes of a functional fighting weapon and qualities you’d want in a simple survival knife.

Even batoning through this large knotty pine, which is generally a no-no, is no problem for the RAK.

The design sports a sabre grind that starts 2/3 of the way up the blade. Even after heavy use, including batoning, there’s no visible damage to the edge.

Looking over the design you’ll notice the spear point of the 6 inch blade. It’s as great for stabbing as it is choking up on the knife and making finer cuts with the tip. Being 3/16in thick and having the full width go to the tip, its very strong for any prying task you might be called on to do in the wild. Fortunately choking up on that blade is made easy by the very large (yuuuge!) choil. It allows you to control the blade for power cuts but also to accommodate the guard as part of the design. It’s one solid piece of 1095 steel, hardened to 53-55rc, which is hard enough to retain an edge a reasonable amount of time while still soft enough to flex when prying or batoning to prevent chipping. And the knife has no issues batoning- hard wood, soft wood, anything reasonable it breaks down pretty easily.

The blade itself sports a thick saber grind with a short, flat secondary bevel. I prefer a full flat grind for pretty much everything I do with a knife, but on this blade it works to the advantage of the design by maintaining the knife’s strength. Since the parameters of the intended use include aircrew survival, that strength is required when possibly cutting through aluminum airframes or punching out glass.  The pointed pommel serves as a glass breaker also, the same way the older RAT 5 and ESEE 5 knives do. And that leads me to my only real complain with it; that spike pommel is borderline obnoxious. Everything else about the knife is excellent, and since I don’t plan on needing to egress from an aircraft anytime soon, I’m thinking of grinding it down a bit. And the stock sheath is a flimsy nylon piece of junk. I threw it in the trash and had a kydex one made. But that’s it; the steel, the heat treat, the edge retention, and the flat out utility of this knife is excellent.

My Final Thoughts

The RAK pictured next to a RAT 5. Compare the glass breaker bevels on both.

For what this blade costs, around $65, it’s an excellent buy and well worth picking up a couple. You’ll need a better sheath but honestly I’m rarely happy with most stock sheaths. The design is definitely a jack of all trades and well thought out as a utility blade for those going into harm’s way. And as easily as it can be used in combat, it finds itself at home with a wide variety of survival tasks. Would it be that ‘one knife’ to use if the world went to hell? I think it could be. You could spend a heck of a lot more money and not come close to what you get out of this blade.

Survivalist/Prepper/Outdoorsman Auction – Naples, ID – Nov. 19-21

JKern Auction Group in Naples, ID is holding an auction of survivalist, prepper, and outdoors gear.

The huge Survivalist, preppers and outdoorsman auction is finally here!! We will be open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. today, Thursday, November, 19 for you to come walk through to view all the items and to pre-register for tomorrow and Saturdays auction. There are some Buy It Now items available for purchase today such as: books, clothing, blankets and holiday items. See you today at 138 Latigo Lane, Naples, Idaho. (Moose Valley Nursery on Highway 95 between Sandpoint and Bonners Ferry).

Preview and registration: Thursday, Nov. 19, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Auction days: Friday, Nov. 20 and Saturday, Nov. 21, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.