Task & Purpose: How to Layer Your Survival Kits for a Real-world Disaster

U.S. Air Force Senior Airmen Brittany Cup Choy, 20th Operations Support Squadron aircrew flight equipment journeyman, packs an ACES II ejection seat survival kit at Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., March 7, 2018. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Christopher Maldonado)

In How to layer your survival kits for a real-world disaster U.S. Air Force Senior Airmen Brittany Cup Choy, discusses five basic survival kits to help you prepare for real world disasters. Read the entire article at Task & Purpose with more pictures.

Zombies, an alien invasion, or any other of your favorite apocalyptic scenarios are often used to spur interest in survival planning because each one forces you to think about being self-reliant. While it’s fun to plan for unrealistic situations, a good layered survival system actually prepares you for known and likely scenarios.

What would you do if your car slid off of an icy road at night in an area without cell service? How would you prepare if your house was built in a wildfire area? Or, will you be ready if you’re unlucky enough to have your house destroyed by a tornado? 

If any of those questions apply to you and you don’t have answers, keep reading because we’ve got you covered. In this article, we’ll show you how to create a survival system for real-world disasters. We’ll cover things like layering survival kits, general safety tips and best practices, and overall preparedness.

Why you should trust us

During my 17 years as an Army infantryman, I’ve had to survive in environments with extreme temperatures and severe weather with limited gear for extended periods of time. I’ve also graduated from Survive Evade Resist and Escape (SERE) school, and now I train military advisors. I’ve also applied this training in my everyday life for everything from flat tires to power outages to tornados. Through all of these experiences, I’ve developed a survival mentality in which I understand the importance of a layered survival system. The following information was based on training, experience, rehearsals, and extensive research. 

A layered survival system

A layered survival system means preparing a survival kit for the situations you are most likely to encounter. You probably have some kind of layered survival system in place already. Most people have an everyday carry (EDC), a road kit in their vehicle, and a go-bag in their house. But an optimal layered survival system is more than just a bunch of kits adding up to a bunch of stuff. It’s a way of planning and thinking to get the most out of your system, so you end up with gear that you actually need and redundancies you could actually use. In this article, we’ll cover five basic types of survival kits, which will prepare you for most real-world disasters. These include:

  • Everyday carry
  • Vehicle loadout
  • Cache
  • Go bag
  • Weapons package

In the survival community, we’re guided by a saying: “We live out of our bag, fight out of our kit, and survive out of our pockets.” The point of the saying is to prompt you into thinking about your relationship — both literally and figuratively — with your gear. 

In layman’s terms, to “live out of your bag” means that you should pack an actual bag so you and your family can survive for an extended period of time. A good standard is to pack so you’re covering all your needs for 72 hours. 

To “fight out of your kit” refers to protection. It’s a kit designed solely to protect you and your family from harm. This kit often consists of a firearm, ammo, and armor, as well as a trauma kit or medical pouch. 

Finally, to “survive out of your pockets” means having the necessary gear for survival on your person. This involves developing a proper everyday carry, which is your first and probably most important survival kit because it may be all you have if you cannot access your other kits. 

Everyday carry

Your everyday carry, or EDC, refers to the items you carry on a daily basis. They’re different for everyone, and if you’re anything like me, you might add, remove, or upgrade items every once in a while. A full EDC looks something like this: 

  • Money: Always carry some form of payment like a credit or debit card and cash. While cash is king, you can get away with about $100 of local currency. That should cover basic needs like transportation, information, food, etc. 
  • Knife: A good folding knife or small fixed blade. Think of it as a tool rather than a weapon. Survival should always be at the forethought of your choices. 
  • Cordage: A piece of paracord is monumental in making traps, lashing, or repairing things. Five to six feet of cord is more than enough. Braided keychains are very useful. 
  • Flashlight: A light source always comes in handy whether you need to signal for help or just need to see in the dark. A small penlight is more than sufficient.  
  • Handgun: If you decide to carry for self-defense, find a pistol or revolver you’re comfortable with using and carrying, which means training and finding the right holster. 
  • Reload: If you end up carrying a weapon, you should carry a reload as well, like a spare magazine or moon clip.  
  • Lighter: Always carry a fire-making device. Stormproof matches, butane lighters, etc. If not, a small ferrocerium rod will throw a spark even in the wettest of conditions.  
  • Jacket: Always take a warm- or wet-weather layer with you (even if you just stash it in the car). Even in the desert, you can become hypothermic. Your clothing is always your first layer of shelter. 
  • SnackA protein bar, energy bar, nuts, dried fruits, etc. This could be a mental gain or give you the energy to keep going. At the very least, it could calm the kids while you plan your next move.
  • Water bottle: Water is life. The average person needs about two to three liters a day to maintain good health. I recommend a water bottle with a built-in water filter.  

If you make everything on this list part of your EDC, you will be able to find a practical solution to almost any small-scale problem you encounter. Now, you might think that it’s a lot of stuff to carry, and you wouldn’t be wrong. If you do decide to carry everything on this list, you might want to consider getting a sling bag or fanny pack. 

Vehicle loadout 

Your vehicle loadout should prepare you not just for a flat tire or dead battery, but also for what you might encounter or, depending on your location, what you might not encounter (like a gas station). You might have enough gear to get by in most towns or cities, but what if you’re in a rural area and you: get two flat tires; run out of gas; hit a deer; experience an electrical fire: or get stuck on the side of the road on a freezing night? Will you be ready for any of those situations? If the answer is no or maybe, the following lists will ensure you are prepared. 

Recovery kit

  • Jack with a locking bar
  • Full spare tire and wheel package
  • Breaker bar or battery-powered impact gun
  • Fix-a-flat and/or tire-plug kit
  • Portable power station with air compressor and jumper cables
  • Wheel chock
  • Work gloves
  • Warning triangles
  • Flares

Spare fuel package

  • 2.5- or five-gallon fuel can
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Vehicle-specific fuel inlet funnel (if applicable)
  • Shop towels

First aid kit

  • Burn gel or bandages
  • Chest seal
  • NPA (Nasopharyngeal tube)
  • Tourniquet
  • Gauze
  • Iodine tincture
  • Disinfectant wipes
  • Assorted band-aids
  • Israeli bandage
  • Medical shears or seatbelt cutter
  • Applicable medications
  • Medical tape
  • Splint

Sustenance

  • Snacks or emergency rations
  • One gallon of water

Shelter

  • Extra set of clothing
  • Cold-weather jacket
  • Camp hammock or tent
  • Tarp

Miscellaneous

  • Road atlas
  • Traction mats
  • Shovel
  • Toilet paper and baby wipes
  • 3.5 pounds of baking soda (for fuel spills, battery explosions, and brushing your teeth)

NOTE: Before you go loading your vehicle with everything on this list, you should know that some of the items (like gasoline) can be extremely dangerous to store inside your vehicle. They can be even more dangerous if you’re in an accident. Therefore, you should take proper precautions and comply with state and local ordinances regarding such issues.  

An emergency cushion

Preparing a cache of emergency supplies is just good practice. It doesn’t matter if you stick it in a hole in your backyard, inside an old storage unit, or in a safety deposit box at the bank — an emergency cushion will help if you’re in a jam. You might be wondering what kind of jam am I in? In pop culture, such things are used when a character decides to go on the lam. Instead, think of a small disaster like a house fire or tornado. Those sorts of things can take a while to sort out, so for an emergency cushion, you’ll want:  

  • Money: $500 to $1,000 as a general rule. Certainly, enough to get you into a hotel and feed the family until you can figure out the next step.
    • You also might want to store items of value for bartering
  • Copies of keys, if applicable, for storage units, friend/family home, transportation, etc. 
  • Personal documents like insurance information, licenses, medical information, etc.
  • Communication tools like a prepaid cell phone, or a satellite phone with a plan, which is useful if in an area where fires or weather can damage cell towers. 

Go bag

Although there’s a lot of overlap, a go bag is very similar to a bug out bag. One is meant for a temporary evacuation of your residence while the other is meant for a long journey. While the difference between the two might be semantics, it’s important to understand the differences before you pack it. 

For this article, we’re focusing on go bags. It’s something you stow by your front door or inside your car and fill with essentials meant to get you to a temporary shelter or back home. The packing list might be similar to a day hike. They include: 

Shelter

  • Poncho
  • Poncho liner
  • 25-foot cordage

Fire

  • Ferro rod
  • Stormproof matches
  • Lighter
  • Cotton balls soaked in Vaseline

Water

  • Bottle filtration system
  • Iodine tablets
  • Water bottle

Food

  • Emergency food rations
  • 10-foot snare wire
  • 50-foot fishing line 16 pounds test
  • Small to medium fishing hooks

Medical

  • Burn gel or bandages
  • Suter kit
  • Tourniquet
  • Israeli bandage
  • Medical tape
  • Band-aids
  • Quick-clot gauze
  • Alcohol wipes
  • Personal hygiene items

Navigation

  • Compass
  • Local map

Tools

  • Folding saw
  • Settlers tool
  • Multitool
  • Fixed-blade knife
  • Canteen cup
  • Headlamp
  • Hatchet

Miscellaneous

  • Electrical tape
  • Zip ties
  • Sewing kit
  • Batteries

By now, you have probably noticed some overlap between the go-bag and vehicle loadout. It’s true, there are some, but the reason for the redundancies is if one system fails for whatever reason — lost go-bag or missing car — you have the backup. It’s another layer in your layered survival kit.

Weapons package

A weapons package should be designed to prepare you for the worst-case scenario. Think about a natural disaster that disables critical infrastructure and outpaces government resources. A good example is Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Many all over the Gulf Coast were left stranded without electricity, running water, or protection by local authorities. And since then, multiple states have loosened carry laws during a state of emergency. With that being said, a weapons package in this setting is intended for protection and defense (rather than offense). A weapons package typically consists of three weapon systems: an emergency EDC, a backup, and a main gun. 

Emergency EDC

  • Sub-compact to full-sized handgun (tailored to attire)
  • IWB holster
  • Extra mag/speedloader/shells

Backup

  • Compact to full-size handgun
  • Gun belt with holsters and a survival knife
  • 2x magazine pouch or more, plus ammo for the main gun
  • Small medical pouch (built for hemorrhage/gunshot wounds)

Main gun (trunk gun) 

  • Long gun
  • Fighting load carrier or plate carrier
  • Extra magazines or shells (no more than 3x magazines/35 shot shells)

Additionally, whenever you’re handling weapons, you should practice proper gun safety and comply with all local, state, and federal laws… (continues)

TACDA: Preparing Your Neighborhood for Emergencies

The following video is a recording of a webinar presented by The American Civil Defense Association earlier this year on Preparing Your Neighborhood for Emergencies. It goes over getting your neighbors on board, planning for possible emergencies, HELP and OK signs, training, and how the neighborhood responds. As it is a recording of a webinar, there are questions and answers throughout the presentation.

The Organic Prepper: Hits Against the American Food Supply System Keep On Coming

Spokane Valley firefighters responded to a fire at Spokane Seed (Courtesy of the Spokane Valley Fire Department)

Jeff Thompson at The Organic Prepper writes about ongoing problems in the food supply system with Hits Against the American Food Supply System Keep On Coming. The Organic Prepper previously wrote about these problems with Why Do All These Food Facilities Keep Catching Fire? While it may or may not be related (Food Processing says not), in April the FBI warned the food and agriculture sector about cyber attacks (link opens a pdf file).

Continuing the discussion on the current happenings within the American food supply chain, we have a series of strange events that have taken place over the course of the past week or two that you may want to catch up on.

Perdue Farms catches fire in Chesapeake, Virginia.

April 30 at 8:30 PM, a fire was reported at the Perdue Farms grain processing and storage facility in Chesapeake, Virginia. When firemen reported to the scene, they found a large soybean processing tank that was on fire. Crews were able to get the fire under control within an hour, and no injuries to employees of the facility were reported.

According to the plant manager, the damage from the fire will have a “minimal impact” on the facility’s production or operation capacities.

Spokane Seed Co catches fire in Spokane, Washington

Early on April 29, the Spokane Seed Co in Spokane, Washington, reported a fire just after midnight. The fire was in a multi-story seed storage silo. The company is known for its processing of chickpeas, peas, and lentils. Firemen responded to the scene and were able to contain the fire in two hours but apparently had a difficult time in doing so.

According to the fire department, “The difficulty involving the fire was that it was located in multiple locations as the origin was the auger unit that moved material from ground level and delivers it to the top of the silo; therefore, there was smoldering material located at the bottom of the auger and burning material that had been delivered to the top of the silo.”

(For the record, Powder Bulk and Solids published two pieces of late on April 26 and April 28 claiming that the uptick in fires at food processing facilities was a myth. They then reported the Spokane Fire on April 29 and the Chesapeake fire on May 2. They appear to have largely used Snopes to determine that the uptick in food processing fires was a myth and declared that “the continued spread of the rumor in the news media and on social media is perhaps attributable to a lack of awareness of industrial fire safety issues among the general public.”)

Oklahoma reports highly pathogenic avian influenza and will now monitor backyard chicken flocks.

According to the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry, as well as the US Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), a case of HPAI was found in Sequoyah County, Oklahoma, at a commercially run chicken farm.

As of this past Sunday, all chicken swaps, sales, and exhibits have now been declared by these two agencies to be illegal in the state of Oklahoma until July 30. Oklahoma says that it is “working diligently with federal partners to prevent further spread of the virus.”

Both state and federal officials will now begin to conduct surveillance of all poultry flocks in the area around the Sequoyah County case – both commercial and backyard flocks.

Officials are asking chicken owners to alert them if their birds produce strange eggs, don’t produce eggs, have diarrhea, cough, sneeze, have low energy, die, or show signs of respiratory distress. (continues)

For more on worldwide dangers of food shortages, you may refer to Bayou Renaissance Man and his article The food crisis is showing the first signs of real famine.

Here in North America, we’re unlikely to face the full effects of the worldwide famine that appears to be developing, and that we’ve discussed in these pages on several previous occasions.  However, it’s biting hard in several regions and countries, and getting worse.  For example, see these articles (selected at random from many others I could have linked):

Even though I think we’ll probably still have food on US supermarket shelves, there are almost certain to be local and regional shortages of various products;  greatly increased prices;  and disruptions in normal consumption patterns, as people are forced to buy what’s available rather than what they really want.  It’s not going to be easy for anybody.

A few days ago, Michael Yon stuck his neck out with a more dire warning than he’s ever issued before on this subject.  I hope he’s wrong . . . but given his very extensive background in reporting around the world, I’m sure he absolutely believes what he’s saying.  Given my respect for his track record, I’m taking him seriously…(continues)

Parade: Here Are the Groceries You Might Be Missing On Store Shelves Due to Food Shortages In 2022 

(iStock)

This mainstream news item from Parade details many items which may be in short supply in grocery stores in 2022, including canned goods, meat, toilet paper, and more. Here Are the Groceries You Might Be Missing On Store Shelves Due to Food Shortages In 2022 

If you’ve seen your local grocery store with empty shelves, you’re not alone: Food shortages are still haunting us in 2022. Find out below what food shortages are most common, why there’s a grocery shortage, and why shelves may be empty where you shop.

Food shortages 2022

“Shortages may depend on where you buy your groceries as there are regional differences in supply,” Josh Brazil, VP of Supply Insights at project44, a supply chain visibility solution, says. That means some of you may be lucky enough to not have any food shortages at all!

What’s missing from local grocery shelves may vary depending on where you live, as well as the climate where you live: Winter storms slow down supply chains in the short term (plus everyone rushing to buy bread and milk before a blizzard hits). Different regions may have shortages of different things, especially depending on whether you shop at big box stores or other shops, like local farmer’s markets.

Related: 100+ Non-Perishable Foods

Grocery Stores Shortages

There are a number of variables at play in the grocery shortages we’re seeing this year. “It is a combination of factors: supply chain issues and driver shortages, scarcity of packaging, labor shortages at manufacturing and production plants as the workforce has not returned as facilities restarted from COVID closures,” Keith Daniels of Carl Marks Advisors told us. And, yes, COVID-19 plays a huge role, especially the latest variants.

“Omicron infections impacting employees reporting to work at manufacturing and grocery stores, higher demand from consumers—particularly impacting the last few weeks as consumers revert to eating at home from restaurants out of fears of Omicron,” Daniels said. “The recent, abrupt winter weather is also slowing down distribution.”

Current Food Shortages

Meat shortages, especially beef and poultry, will plague us again in 2022.

Daniels says that meat and poultry are in short supply in many supermarkets. This is due to several factors, with manufacturing plant labor shortages causing most of the issues. Beef will likely see the most shortages because work in beef plants is more labor-intensive, according to Food Business News.

Related: How to Save Money on Gas

Dairy may be in short supply this year.

A combination of expensive crops to feed livestock and chickens, combined with high transportation costs and shortages of packaging materials (especially plastics) may cause dairy shortages at your local supermarket. In addition to material shortages, labor shortages may also impact grocery shelves in terms of transportation workers as well as grocery workers to stock the dairy case. As a result, you may have fewer options in terms of your usual purchases of milk, cheese (especially cream cheese), yogurt, and other dairy items.

There may be an egg shortage in 2022.

iStock

(iStock)

Similar to other food shortages we’ve encountered, COVID-related supply chain issues have interrupted the business side of commercial egg production. Increased expenses (feed, freight, labor costs), supply shortages, and government regulation have put a strain on the overall bottom line. As a result, producers may be reducing flock sizes, stopping shipping to some states, or selling eggs previously sold to consumers to manufacturers who use them as ingredients in other products, thus reducing the eggs available in supermarkets.

Related: Having Trouble Finding A New Ride? What’s Behind the Car Shortage—And When It May Finally Be Over

Sorry, vegans: Plant-based proteins may be in short supply this year.

If you thought not eating meat or dairy would spare you from shortages, sorry to burst your bubble! Rick Williams, practice lead—operations and supply chain of JPG Resources, says that plant-based proteins (think tofu, almond milk, soy-based cheeses, etc.) has seen shortages, explaining, “Plant-based saw a huge rise in demand as animal-meat processors were forced to shut down operations.”

We may see shortages of fruits, vegetables, and other goods made with produce…(continues)

19fortyfive: The Ukraine Crisis Could Spark A New Cold War (Or A Nuclear War)

What will be the long term term effects of the Ukraine-Russia war for which an American may need to be prepared? In the article excerpted below, Doug Bandow of the Cato Institute writes for 19fortyfive about how The Ukraine Crisis Could Spark A New Cold War (Or A Nuclear War). While much has been written over time on nuclear war survival and preparedness, what are the effects of a cold war? While many of have lived through at least part of the recent cold war between the US and the Soviet Union, would a new cold war even look the same?

Some of the main domestic effects of the last cold war were increased military spending (and attendant rise of the military-industrial complex) and high taxation. Toward the end of the cold war, during the Reagan presidency, the populace had become upset with high taxes and the administration switched from high taxation to high borrowing. High levels of government borrowing has continued to the present. High taxation leads to poor business conditions which leads to a weak economy as seen in the US in the late 1970s. High government borrowing leads to strange market and economic conditions, the result of which has yet to be realized, but in the worst case leads to financial/political crisis.

That said, would a new cold war necessarily be the same? Post World War 2 the US was in an enviable economic situation and was headed into its years of vast economic growth in world trade. The US was entering into its years of world hegemony, powerful and strong. Now, the US is a weakened nation and is coming out of two years of COVID-induced economic weakness with many citizens out of work or having closed businesses. There is little domestic support for a new war, cold or hot. A party that attempts to raise taxes or debt in order to finance a new cold war may not stay in power for long.

I am no expert on these matters, so my conclusions may be incorrect. I don’t know if the US is capable of sustaining a cold war like the continuous military buildup that occurred during the cold war with the Soviets. But it does appear that we entering a time of at least increased hostility and competition with Russia and China.

If China moves to establish control over Taiwan (which may be considered an invasion), will the US defend Taiwan or will we stand by as we have with Ukraine? Some people believe that the US is obligated to defend Taiwan, but there is actually no agreement to do so, and the US has followed a policy of strategic ambiguity in that regard. Failure of the US to defend either Ukraine or Taiwan may lead to further reduced US influence worldwide and reduced trust in US assurances. Reduced trust and influence may result in more rapid de-dollarization, all of which would have their own effects on the US economy for which to prepare.

From 19fortyfive:

Having sown the wind in Ukraine, Russia is reaping the whirlwind.

Its aggression is criminal and unprovoked. The US and its allies contributed to the conflict. But the decision for war—which already is resulting in significant death and destruction—was Russian President Vladimir Putin’s.

If there is one lesson of Moscow’s brutal and unjustified invasion, it is that aggressors should choose their victims carefully. As the Balkan Serbs learned decades ago, it is best not to attack people in Europe, which guarantees heavy media attention in Western capitals. This may be the first conflict in which the public is driving sanctions and boycotts, in this case against all things Russian, including individuals who had nothing to do with their government’s decision for war.

In contrast, Washington has been bombing and invading nations in the Middle East, North Africa, and Central Asia for years. Despite wrecking entire states and ravaging their peoples, US policymakers have never been held accountable. The total number of victims in these wars—killed, wounded, displaced—the number in the millions. Washington typically tires of fighting and either downgrades its role or simply leaves, as in Afghanistan, without even apologizing. But no American has ever faced economic sanctions or been charged with war crimes.

Today Ukrainians and to a lesser degree, Russians are suffering. The long-term consequences for Americans and Europeans will be serious as well. No one knows how the fighting will end, but Washington should begin planning for the aftermath…

Washington’s chief responsibility today is not to save Ukraine but to prevent the US or allied involvement and possible war, especially nuclear war, with Russia. Washington and Moscow avoided such a cataclysm during the Cold War when the stakes were global and civilizational. Moscow’s brutal attack on Ukraine is a moral outrage but does not pose the same level of threat as the Soviet Union. There is no excuse for risking their societies and the planet’s survival today…

Finally, Washington should prepare for the endgame. The world is headed toward another Cold War, with a new Iron Curtain likely to rise wherever the reach of Russian troops ends.

Facing domestic unhappiness over the human cost of the war, deceptive cover-up, and impact of Western sanctions, the Putin regime likely will become even more repressive. Observers indicate that the situation already approaches martial law. Moreover, diplomatic retreats, economic penalties, and cultural bans have dramatically deepened Russia’s isolation. Some countries would make the West’s economic war essentially permanent. Opined Poland’s ambassador to the US, Marek Magierowski: “We have to be ready and determined to uphold the sanctions. Perhaps even for a decade or for 15 years or for 20 years, in order to see the real effects.”

Although Russia is a much-reduced version of the Soviet Union, significant dangers would remain. It likely would respond to a new Cold War by reinforcing its military. Most notably, what has been largely a political struggle would turn into an enduring military confrontation.

If so, Russia might become something akin to a giant North Korea, only better developed and with many more nuclear weapons. With less at stake in the international system and greater resentment toward adversaries turned enemies, Moscow would be more dangerous than today. Frontline European states would be even more insistent on American military protection. Violent competition would intensify in battleground areas elsewhere, such as Syria and Africa…(continues)

The Organic Prepper: How to Prep for the Ukraine-Russia War

What’s going to happen with the Ukraine-Russia War and how will it affect us here in the USA? Some things are hard to predict, while others can already be seen. Provocations on all sides seem to be increasing. BCA Research, an independent global investment research firm, recently wrote in a strategy report “we would assign an uncomfortably high 10% chance of a civilization-ending global nuclear war in the next 12 months.” So, many unlikely scenarios, recently thought unthinkable, are now being thunk.

Here is an excerpt from an article by Aden Tate at The Organic Prepper on How to Prep for the Ukraine-Russia War…and What Comes Next

…As has been pointed out here at The Organic Prepper before, the United States is going to experience a fertilizer shortage this year, and that is going to be just one factor impacting our food supply. I’ve discussed the other factors HERE.

Yes, I do think that stocking up on seed for your garden is a good prep idea, but I also think that you really need to consider canned goods at the moment. They’re ready to eat, they’re highly portable, and they store well. They make good barter currency, to boot. Canned goods don’t have to worry about radioactive fallout, as does a growing corn crop, either.

I’m a fan of freeze-dried meals, but I sincerely think that cyberattacks against our power grid are highly likely in the near future. You need warm water to make those. With a power outage likely (Cyber Polygon, anyone?), boiling water is just another step between you and eating a meal. If you are forced to shelter in place, inside, without power, this makes for a bit of difficulty with meal preparation.

MREs are another fine food item to consider at the moment. I have no knowledge as to whether or not the heat packs for MREs give off dangerous gasses as they heat up the food. (Let me know in the comments!)

This food supply not only allows you to shelter in place but helps you to avoid probable food riots in the future. Read history. Literally, every single time there is a shortage of food, violence increases.

(For more information on prepping your food, check out our free QUICKSTART Guide on building your 3-layer food storage system.)

Should you prep water?

Life without water sucks (haha, but not for long). You need it to stay alive, for cleaning, for cooking, and more. If you are forced to shelter in place without any access to power, are you going to have water to drink? A gallon jug of water currently sells for around a dollar. Why would you not pick up a few and stow them away?

I would look at solar options for keeping your well running if that is your primary water source as well. If you rely on city water, at the very least, have an EPIC Nano filter. I would highly recommend looking into Berkey filters right now as well. Neither of these is a radiation-reducing option, but instead are used to keep you in clean water should your city no longer have the electricity needed to create pure water.

If you are forced to evacuate, let’s say, from fallout being brought via wind, do you have water filtration that is portable?

Prep your communications.

China is one of the largest sources of electronics to the United States. We’re already seeing problems getting many electronic components because of a shortage of chips.

This is likely to continue in the near future, and should China invade Taiwan, you are going to see worldwide sanctions be leveled against China. The US will be no exception. When this happens, those supply lines are going to dry up overnight.

Your ability to get radios will then vaporize…

Having proper information can be the difference between staying alive and dying. Right now, you need to pick up a copy of Cresson Kearney’s Nuclear War Survival Skills. You do not want to be caught in the same situation as many Hawaiians did years ago when they found themselves at a loss for what to do when they received alerts via text that an ICBM was on the way.

PDF versions are available online for free, but I highly recommend picking up a print copy as well. Then, read it. This is an easy prep to accomplish.

I recommend looking into a shortwave radio as well. Should the grid go down within the US, you are going to want to be able to pick up information from the outside world so that you have some notion of what is going on. Anne Frank wrote about the importance of their radio and the hope it brought in her journals…

Practical Self Reliance: Cooking with Animal Fat

Ashley Adamant at Practical Self Reliance has a good article up on Cooking with Animal Fat. In some sort of long term disaster scenario, it will be easier for most people to procure animal fats than vegetable fats. Lard, as one example of animal fat, is shelf stable for four to six months at room temperature, which also happens to be the same amount of time that it took for pioneers to travel the Oregon Trail. A family of four on the Oregon Trail would take around two hundred pounds of lard with them for the journey. An excerpt from the Practical Self Reliance article is below:

Animal fats can be a healthy part of any diet, especially from a grass-fed and pasture-raised animal.  Learning to cook with lard, tallow, and schmaltz is easier and healthier than you might think.

Whether you’re rendering fat from scratch or buying good quality animal fat, there’s never been a better time to reintroduce this classic kitchen staple back into your culinary repertoire.

Animal fats have been through a lot in the last 30 years. Once a staple in kitchens across the country, lard and tallow were largely eliminated from American cuisine in the early 90s when fat-free diets became popular.

At the time, margarine and vegetable shortening became the new popular kids on the block — it was down with natural fats and in with super-processed, high-in-trans-fat alternatives! 

We now know that those synthetic, processed trans fats have nasty health consequences, and studies are now confirming the wisdom of a traditional diet with plenty of natural animal fats. (And grass-fed bone broth too!)

Now the pendulum seems to be swinging in the opposite direction and animal fats are making a resurgence. Maybe you’ve noticed the appearance of duck fat-fried potatoes on your local bistro menu or you’ve made an astonishingly perfect pie crust using lard instead of shortening.

Or perhaps you’ve read about the health benefits of using animal fats, many of which are rich sources of vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids. Whatever your reason for wanting to introduce more animal fats into your diet, there are plenty of reasons and resources to get you started. 

BENEFITS OF ANIMAL FATS

Animal fats have been vilified for so long that it’s refreshing to see a resurgence in public interest around the once-taboo ingredient’s many health and culinary benefits. Both lard and tallow are high in vitamin D and omega 3 fatty acids and lack any of the trans fats which are prevalent in commercially prepared vegetable shortenings. 

Depending on the recipe, food that has been prepared using animal fats tends to be crispier, flakier, and ultra-flavorful. If the fat is prepared properly before rendering, that is, all the meat has been removed, it should be fairly flavorless and odorless.

Instead of introducing a “gamey” flavor, the rendered fat should work to enhance the natural flavors of the remaining ingredients.

Readily available animal fat is an added bonus of the tip-to-tail lifestyle, it would be incredibly wasteful to dispose of fat instead of finding a use for it — whether that’s in the kitchen or elsewhere.

Even small animals like squirrels are a potentially good source of animal fat, I’ve found it largely comes down to trial and error in terms of which fats are best for cooking with. 

TYPES OF ANIMAL FATS

The world of animal fats is vast and varied, with many different factors contributing to taste, texture, and usage.

The type of animal is top of the list, but other factors include where on the animal’s body it’s harvested from, how and what the animal is fed, and the season it’s harvested…(continues at PSR)

Coffee or Die Magazine on Ukrainian Civilian Preparedness

Inside a bomb shelter in Kyiv, Ukraine, in December 2021. Photo by Nolan Peterson/Coffee or Die Magazine.

‘Emergency Suitcases’ and Mass Evacuation Plans: Ukraine Preps for Worst-Case Russian Attack appeared in Coffee or Die Magazine in January. It’s a lengthy piece detailing Ukrainian civilian preparations and preparedness recommendations as the country faced the build up to the current Russian invasion. Some recommendations seem fairly optimistic such as recommending that a citizen’s emergency suitcase not exceed 50kg (110lb). This must assume a vehicular evacuation, as that is far in excess of what most civilians could carry very far. Some portions of the article are excerpted below.

The walls are freshly painted inside this Cold War-era fallout shelter located deep underground in Ukraine’s capital city. Even so, the aged wood paneling, as well as an outdated rotary phone, offer evidence that this facility was one of hundreds built by Soviet authorities in Kyiv during the 1950s and 1960s at the height of the Cold War. At that time, an American nuclear strike against the Soviet Union was the looming threat. On this day in late December 2021, the threat of a Russian blitz has spurred Kyiv city authorities to designate this shelter, and thousands more across the city, as places where civilians can seek refuge.

Standing inside a ventilation equipment room, Anatolii Lazurenko, civil security chief of the Kyiv City Council’s Shevchenko District, reflected on the historical irony of this shelter’s contemporary utility.

“You understand that life moves very fast,” Lazurenko told Coffee or Die Magazine. “We — the Soviet Union — used to see the United States as our enemies, but now they are our friends. And now our so-called Russian brothers are our enemies. This is unfortunately our reality.”

Situated beneath a district government building across the street from the 19th-century National Opera of Kyiv, this emergency shelter was originally designed to house 60 people. Yet, in a pinch, the facility can hold some 300 people, Lazurenko said. From ground level, a nondescript metal door opens into a staircase that descends multiple stories underground. The shelter has a special air ventilation room (originally intended to protect against radioactive fallout) and is connected to the city’s water main. Lazurenko said daily deliveries of food and medical supplies would sustain occupants in the event of a drawn-out Russian bombardment or siege.

“This security structure is ready to be used as intended,” Lazurenko said…

The Kyiv City Council has posted an interactive online map, which shows the locations of the roughly 5,000 official locations where residents can shelter from a military attack. Of that number, 514 shelters are purpose-built facilities dating back to the Cold War where people can remain for days on end.

Known as dual-use facilities, the remaining 4,500 shelters include basements, underground parking lots and passageways, as well as Kyiv’s 47 metro stations.

However, many of Kyiv’s ad hoc, dual-use shelters have fallen into disrepair and are not ready for use in an emergency. And for the shelters that are available, many are only useful for immediate safety during an attack — they are not equipped to house occupants for more than a few hours…

On its website, the State Emergency Service of Ukraine outlines in detail the steps civilians should take in the event of “emergency situations of a military nature.”

Each citizen should prepare an “emergency suitcase” ahead of time, the service advises. This should be a backpack with a capacity of at least 25 liters, a little more than 6.5 gallons, containing “clothing, hygiene items, medicines, tools, personal protective equipment, and food.” The service also recommends carrying important documents and cash in the backpack.

“The emergency suitcase is intended for the fastest possible evacuation from the zone of emergency,” the service says, adding that the bag’s overall weight should not exceed 50 kilograms, or about 110 pounds…

The [State Emergency] service also advises citizens to stock up on food and first-aid supplies, as well as flashlights, candles, cooking gas, and lamps. Important documents should be consolidated and packed away in advance…

Supply Chain Woes and Related Shortages Continue

Supplies of many types of items continue to be uncertain or lacking in many areas of the economy as difficulties with supply chains continue. Seed shortages are reported nationwide. Vehicles can’t be built because of computer chip shortages. Appliances and computer shipments are delayed for months or years. Even teachers and substitutes, and many other kinds of employees, are in short supply in some places.

Reuters reports that it could be next year before chains start to mend, in World’s damaged supply chains brace for painful recovery.

Signs are growing that a global supply chain crisis which has confounded central bank inflation forecasts, stunted economic recoveries and compressed corporate margins could finally start to unwind towards the end of this year.

But trade channels have become so clogged up it could be well into next year before the worst-hit industries see business remotely as usual – even assuming that a new turn in the pandemic doesn’t create fresh havoc.

“We’re hoping in the back half of this year, we start to see a gradual recession of the shortages, of the bottlenecks, of just the overall dislocation that is in the supply chain right now,” food group Kellogg CEO Steve Cahillane told Reuters.

But he added: “I wouldn’t think that until 2024, there’ll be any kind of return to a normal environment because it has been so dramatically dislocated.”

The global trade system had never contended with anything quite like the coronavirus…

Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds said in a letter to customers:

1) Unbelievable demand for seeds is causing national shortages. Our growers and our in-house production team are redoubling their efforts to produce more rare seeds, but global demand is causing many items to be temporarily unavailable. We apologize that many popular items are again selling out.

2) The volume of orders have been a challenge for our packing and fulfillment teams, who now work 24 hours a day in three shifts. We are working harder than ever to ship a record amount of orders, and we apologize for any delays you may have experienced in the last month.

3) Global paper shortages will greatly affect catalogs this year. We expect the paper costs for our 2023 catalogs to increase by 110%; we also face the possibility of having a supply shortage. The cost of seed packets, paper mailers, etc. is also quickly rising, and supplies are very short. We are currently out of both of our seed catalogs and copies for 2023 will again be limited…

KSAT/ABC: COVID-19 pandemic, supply chain issues change car-buying experience, dealers say

Bloomberg: Goldman Commodity Veteran Says He’s Never Seen a Market Like It

“I’ve been doing this 30 years and I’ve never seen markets like this,” Currie said in a Bloomberg TV interview. “This is a molecule crisis. We’re out of everything, I don’t care if it’s oil, gas, coal, copper, aluminum, you name it we’re out of it.”

Parade: Here Are the Groceries You Might Be Missing On Store Shelves Due to Food Shortages In 2022 

There are a number of variables at play in the grocery shortages we’re seeing this year. “It is a combination of factors: supply chain issues and driver shortages, scarcity of packaging, labor shortages at manufacturing and production plants as the workforce has not returned as facilities restarted from COVID closures,” Keith Daniels of Carl Marks Advisors told us. And, yes, COVID-19 plays a huge role, especially the latest variants.

“Omicron infections impacting employees reporting to work at manufacturing and grocery stores, higher demand from consumers—particularly impacting the last few weeks as consumers revert to eating at home from restaurants out of fears of Omicron,” Daniels said. “The recent, abrupt winter weather is also slowing down distribution.”

American Partisan: Building Mutual Assistance Groups

Crusoe at American Partisan has several articles about building mutual assistance groups (MAGs) which may be worth your time to read. Crusoe mentions this, but know that the examples of standards and equipment which he mentions are what his specific group decided. Your MAG may have different goals which will dictate more or less stringent standards or entirely different standards and/or equipment.

Mutual Assistance…So You Want to Build a MAG

Excerpt:

I believe it is important to build a mutual assistance group (MAG) based upon sound principles and shared values.  Using history as a guide, it was bands of people who gathered that ensured survival.  Quite frankly, hiding in a bunker by yourself is one of the quickest ways to get rolled up, all your stuff taken, and ultimately killed.  Humans are tribal by nature and require community to function optimally.  We were not made to exist within a digital world, and it is human-to-human interaction that brings out the best in us.   I commonly say, “practice analog leadership in a digital world.” For a great (and fun) book to read that illustrates the need for community defense check out Warwolf by Hermann Lons.

Building a MAG takes a lot of work, but in the end will be worth every minute you spend building it.  Whether you are creating a new one or trying to gain purpose with your existing group there are key steps to take.  For the purpose of this article, I will talk about the initial steps of building a charter and why this is important.

A charter is nothing more than the guidelines on how your group is structured and expectations of each member.  It really is not rocket science; it just takes a lot of thinking to get it right.  If building a new group, I would recommend you start with only a couple founding members that share your values and basic expectations.  When trying to do anything with numbers greater than that it quickly devolves into ‘group think’ and bickering over minor details.  Remember…this is your group, and the end results will be influenced by these first steps.  The ultimate goal is to build professionalism which spurs deliberate actions.  Professionalism is also how you will recruit worthwhile members as they will see you are not a bunch of old fat men who only shoot guns and talk about the impending apocalypse.  Instead, they will see you as squared away and thinking about the bigger picture.

When starting to write your charter I recommend you buy a big white board and brainstorm your purpose.  If you have read any of my other articles you will know I am a proponent of defining requirements before doing anything. Ask the questions: Why are we building this MAG?  What is our overall purpose?  What does the end result look like? and What do we value?  From this mental exercise the next steps are to build mission and vision statements.  This is important because it will define what it is you are trying to accomplish.

Mutual Assistance Groups: Defining Values

Mutual Assistant Groups: Decision Making

Mutual Assistance Groups: Vetting New Members

Mutual Assistance Groups: Standards

Mutual Assistance Groups: Removing the Dead Wood

Mutual Assistance Groups: Team Building

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.