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  • Clan DireWolf
    Re: Survivalism 101

    Top 10 Preparedness Oxymorons
    Posted September 29, 2012 | By Andrew J. Jackson


    As a Military Intelligence officer I generally cringe when anyone uses the term ‘Oxymoron’ because it’s usually followed by a moronic statement that disparages the noble and honorable profession of Military Intelligence. Before we look at the Top 10 Preparedness Oxymorons let’s review the definition of an oxymoron and some non-preparedness examples:

    Oxymoron: a combination of contradictory or incongruous words (as cruel kindness); broadly : something (as a concept) that is made up of contradictory or incongruous elements via Oxymoron – Definition and More from the Free Merriam-Webster Dictionary.

    Some additional examples of oxymorons from the folks over at include: anarchy rules, abundant poverty, border control, centrally planned economy, congressional accountability, free rent, great depression, government efficiency, honest politician, politically correct, United Nations, withheld contribution, zero deficit and my favorite… communist party (Stalin, Tito and Mao were probably more effective as boogie-men than at boogieing down).

    We generate and perpetuate our own oxymorons in the preparedness movement and media…here are the Top 10 Preparedness Oxymorons:

    Completely Safe: Because nothing is. Just because ‘completely safe’ isn’t possible doesn’t mean that our society and each successive layer of our government isn’t trying to protect us from everything… up to and including our own decisions. Roll yourselves in bubble wrap; never go outside; don’t try anything new, novel, or heaven forbid…dangerous and you are guaranteed not to grow as a person or a prepper…and you won’t enjoy life much for that matter.

    Totally Prepared: No such thing. That’s why we discuss preparedness as a journey to a destination that can’t be reached…doesn’t mean that the journey isn’t useful, important, necessary, interesting or potentially life saving.

    Disaster Preparedness: Hey, it isn’t such a disaster if you’re prepared…right!

    Total Security: Also unbreakable security, complete security, impenetrable security. You must do the best with what you have right now…then keep improving. Improve your tools, knowledge, skills, network of like minded folks and most importantly mindset. Knowing that something can happen leads you to develop ways to keep it from happening.

    Self Reliant: I strive every day to become more self reliant but like preparedness…it’s a journey to an unreachable destination…but what a journey!

    Good OPSEC: Military technical shorthand for “Effective Operational Security.” OPSEC briefings and awareness campaigns are used to remind servicemembers to keep the military secrets they know to themselves. The problem is that as soon as you share a secret with someone else it’s only a matter of time before your ‘good OPSEC…isn’t. The more people who you share your preparedness secrets with the quicker your secret…isn’t. So, keep your preps to yourself and a very, very small group of confidants who are along for the ride on your journey towards preparedness and self reliance.

    Doomsday Ready: See Totally Prepared.

    Long Term Wilderness Survival: I love it when a guy tells me he’ll strap on his backpack and head for the hills to live off the land when society begins to break down…anyone who thinks that they can survive by themselves in a wilderness setting is traveling with a fool. I love those survival shows where guys with names like Bear, Cody, Les & Dave try to keep themselves healthy and fed for a week or so out in the wilderness. Usually by the end of the week the experts are weak, half starved and often sick. Now imagine what happens in the second week, the third and the twenty-third. Sooner or later you’ll have an accident, get sick run or run into crazed, banjo playing hillbillies. For a great book on wilderness living (with a periodic lifeline to civilization) read Dick Proenneke’s book One Man’s Wilderness: An Alaskan Odyssey and check out the footage Proenneke filmed on PBS or here.

    Ultimate Bug-out Vehicle: Unless you have a crystal ball and know the future how can you know that your ‘ultimate bug-out vehicle’ (UBOV) is the right one for that particular peril or disaster? The UBOV for an EMP event will vary from the UBOV for a period of civil unrest or an earthquake or a nuclear attack or a food riot. Maybe the UBOV isn’t a vehicle at all…maybe you’ll need to walk out.

    …and just so we’re clear…even though the terms in the list above are oxymorons doesn’t mean I’ll stop using them. Sometimes something a little moronic is all you’re likely to get out of me! Anyway, that’s my list…feel free to use the comments tool to add your own self reliance and preparedness oxymorons

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  • Clan DireWolf
    Re: Survivalism 101

    25 Must-Have Foods For An Emergency Stockpile
    Written by: Rich M Extreme Survival November 11, 2013

    Most preppers start out by building a stockpile of food and other supplies to use in case of emergency. That makes sense, as without the right supplies it’s hard to make it through any crisis situation. Of course, that raises the question of what to stockpile. While that may seem like an easy question to answer, it’s really not. Several books have been written about the subject, none of which offer exactly the same advice.

    The biggest problem in deciding what to stockpile is that there is no way of knowing for sure what type of disaster is likely to strike; so there is no clear way of determining what to buy. Because of that, most preppers base their purchases on the assumption that nothing will be available, so they’d better have it on hand. If you think about it for a minute, that’s the only way to do it, which really makes sense.

    This stockpile is based on you bugging-in, rather than bugging-out. Most people will end up bugging in during a crisis, so it makes sense to have the appropriate food stockpile in your home. If you have a secure, private bug-out location, you’ll want to duplicate your home stockpile at that location as well.

    When selecting food for a survival situation, there are several things that need to be taken into consideration. This isn’t buying your regular week’s groceries multiplied by 10, but rather buying food that you will use instead of your regular groceries. That may require eating things that your family isn’t used to eating. Nevertheless, eating strange food is better than not eating anything at all.

    As you are selecting foods for your emergency stockpile, you need to consider the following:

    You may not have electrical power, so your refrigerator and freezer may not work.

    Most foods aren’t packed for long-term storage, with the exception of canned foods.

    You want foods that will give you the maximum nutrition for the minimum bulk.

    Avoid all types of “snack foods” as there is no way to store them for long periods of time.

    Most food you buy in the grocery is packaged with the idea of you buying it and using it within a relatively short period of time, let’s say a couple of months. Therefore, you’ll have to repackage most of what you buy, in order to prevent spoilage. However, even with repackaging, not all foods will keep well for long periods of time. Generally speaking, the more a food is processed, the worse it is for long-term storage.

    Could Famine And Hunger Come To America?

    What you really need to store are staple foods. You can make a fairly nutritious diet out of grains, beans and canned goods. Properly packaged for storage, these foods will keep for years, and still be as tasty and nutritious when you take them out; as they were the day you bought them.

    Here is my list of foods that you should stockpile to get your family through a crisis:

    Pasta – High carbohydrates and stores extremely well. You can make a lot of different dishes with pasta, from Italian food to casseroles.

    Whole grains – Flour doesn’t store well, but whole grains do. If you have a grain mill and whole grains, you can make your own bread, pancakes, cakes, cookies and other baked goods.

    Rice – Rice is a great source of carbohydrates, which will store well. Buy the whole grain rice, not the quick rice. Quick rice has a very limited shelf life. Like pasta, there are a lot of things you can do with rice.

    Breakfast cereal – This falls into the category of comfort food, especially for kids. Don’t buy the sugary children’s cereals, but the more basic ones, like Cheerios. Properly packaged, this will keep well for a long time.

    Beans – Dried beans of all types store incredibly well for long periods of time, are easy to cook, nutritious and one of the few non-meat sources of protein around.

    Canned meat – You can buy chicken, tuna, salmon and other meat products which are canned. Spam, while being something that many people make fun of, is a nutritious meat product. Meat will be the hardest type of food to find during a crisis, so stock up well.

    Beef (or turkey) jerky – Dried meat, whether jerky or dehydrated meat, is great for long-term storage. If you make your own jerky, be sure to trim off all fat and salt it heavily for preservation. When it’s time to use it, you can reconstitute the jerky in soups. It will absorb the water, flavoring it at the same time.

    Summer sausage – Summer sausage, like many “cured meat products” (what we call lunchmeat) is created to keep for a long time. Typically it is vacuum packed as well, making it ideal for long-term storage. During survival time, it can be eaten plain, or cut up to be put in soups and casseroles.

    Cheese – Another great source of protein. To store cheese, it needs to be triple dipped in wax, making an airtight seal around the cheese. In this form, it can be kept, without refrigeration, for years. Even if cheese forms mold, it will only be on the surface. Simply cut that part off and the rest of the cheese is still good.

    Canned vegetables and fruit – Provides essential vitamins and keeps for a long time. Don’t throw the packing water away, as it will contain vitamins as well. Instead, use it for making soup stock.

    Powdered milk – While most people don’t particularly like the flavor of powdered milk, when you don’t have any access to other milk, it’s wonderful. It’s also necessary for baking and provides needed calcium for proper bone growth.

    Spaghetti sauce – With pasta and spaghetti sauce, you’ve got the start of a meal. Add what you want to finish it out.

    Soups – The nice thing about making soup in a survival situation is that you can make soup out of almost anything. I’m not talking about stocking up on Chicken Noodle soup here, but rather soups like cream of mushroom, which can be used for making casseroles.

    Bullion – This is another necessity for making soups. Dry bullion powder stores well, takes minimal space and can add a lot to your homemade soups.

    Sugar – While most mothers try and keep their kids from eating too much sugar, it is an essential ingredient in making jams and jellies, and preserving fruit. You will also need it for baking. Sugar will keep pretty much indefinitely if stored properly.

    Honey – Whereas sugar will keep pretty much indefinitely, honey will really keep forever. You can’t beat nature’s methods for making things that are both good and good for you.

    Salt – Salt is an essential for survival. It’s also the main needed ingredient for many types of food preservation, especially for preserving meats. With a good stockpile of salt, you can make cured meats, salt fish and smoke meats as well.

    Spices – Your family may have to get used to eating different things than what they are used to. Spices allow you to mask flavors or add flavor to things that are too bland. Be sure to stock up on the types of spices that your family likes, so that you can make food that they’ll like.

    Baking essentials – Since you won’t be able to run down to the corner for a loaf of bread, you’ll probably be baking your own. Make sure you have a stock of baking powder, baking soda and yeast on hand.

    Peanut butter – Okay, this is pure comfort food. However, it is also quite nutritious. CDW-ONLY IN GLASS JARS FOR LTS

    Dried fruit – A great way to keep fruit on hand. Properly dried and packaged, it can store for several years.

    Nuts – Another good source of protein, as well as fats. Nuts store amazingly well and add a lot to baked goods, vegetables and even meat dishes.

    Cooking oil and vegetable shortening – Necessary ingredients for cooking and baking. CDW-ONLY COCONUT OIL FOR LTS

    Coffee and Tea – Once again, comfort food, but this time for the adults. Many of us don’t function well before our second cup of coffee in the morning.

    Hard candies – Great as a reward for kids and also for energy when you need it. Hard candies keep for years as long as they are protected from moisture.

    I realize that this list seems rather extensive, but I’m assuming that you’re going to be stockpiling enough food to last you several months, if not a year. While you can get by for short periods of time with much less, for a prolonged period of time you’ll need to have a well-balanced diet. You’ll also need variety in your family’s diet, as that is important to keep everyone’s morale up.

    Before buying anything, take the time to figure out about how much of each food type you’ll need. In other words, if your family uses a loaf of bread every two days, and your survival plan includes that much bread, then how much of each of the ingredients do you need to make that much bread?

    One system that works out very well for determining how much to buy is to develop a two-week menu for your family. With that in hand, you can easily total up how much of each type of food you’ll need to prepare everything for two weeks. Multiplying that out will give you an idea of how much food you need to last your family for any period of time.

    Whatever you do, don’t try to run out and buy a year’s worth of food in one week. Take your time. Start by building a two-week stockpile; then increase it to a month. Keep adding, a month at a time, until you reach the point that you feel you need. Keep your eye open for sales as well, as that will provide you with needed opportunities to save money.

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  • Clan DireWolf
    Re: Survivalism 101

    Preparedness 101: Pets
    November 1, 2013 by Josh

    The first focus in preparedness has to be the humans in your group, always. But if you’re taking all of the time, expense, and effort to be totally prepared, you should spare a thought for your pets as well to ensure that they can be taken care of too.

    Getting your mindset right

    Before you start looking into what your pet needs, you have to be sure you’re looking at the situation properly. Ask yourself a few questions, like:

    Is your pet useful during a disaster? A dog or cat can still have a purpose if the power goes out or chaos strikes, but I doubt you’d find a use for your pet gerbil. Be realistic, and don’t expect an animal that lacks training to perform miracles just because it’s an emergency situation. A useful animal can be given a little more time and expense, since it will actually help you deter intruders or kill rodents.

    Can your pet survive the transition? Setting aside exotic animals that require expensive feed and enclosures to survive in hostile climates, remember that most pets don’t live very long compared to people. Age, illness, and even genetic defects could make it impossible for your pet to survive without climate controlled environments, specialized medical devices, or medications. Don’t spend time, money, and effort preparing to feed and house an animal that can’t possibly make it.

    Do you have the ability to care for it? This can sound callous, but it is something you have to look into. Given where you live, your level of preparedness etc is a pet really a responsibility you are willing to accept when society is going haywire? Your dog will still bark and your cat will still be underfoot even if looters are charging down the street, so think long and hard about this.

    Who will deal with your pet if the worst comes to worst? If Ol’ Yeller comes down with rabies, who is given the task of putting him down? If food is scarce and you can’t afford to continue to feed your pet, can you kill it or will you drive it off to roam the wilderness, possibly becoming a deadly hazard? This is easily the hardest task relating to your pet, but also the most vital of all. No pet preparedness plan should be completed without delegating this sad task.

    In a short term emergency

    For the short term, you can keep many different animals alive. A simple localized power outage, hurricane, tornado or earthquake, or even localized rioting and unrest can be survived reasonably well by most pets. Here’s a basic list of things you may need for a shorter emergency:
    Keep some extra dry food for your pets so that they'll be well fed in an emergency.

    Keep some extra dry food for your pets so that they’ll be well fed in an emergency.

    At least 1 month worth of food. An extra can of fish pellets or a couple bags of stored dog food can greatly extend the time you have to keep your pets fed. To ensure proper rationing, devise a measuring cup that will keep portions consistent.

    Clean water supplies for drinking. This need not be as clean as water people use, but drinking out of contaminated rivers and other water sources is still a bad idea even for animals. A month of clean water is ideal, but be sure to clearly label “animal drinking water” if you use a different source from your own drinking water.

    Leashes, collars, and other controlling paraphernalia. This is actually a two-part step, since you really need to break your pet in to these controlling devices long before any emergency occurs. Always make sure to have an extra leash and collar waiting just in case your current one should wear and snap.

    For smaller animals, a crate. Any animal should have a place to hide if things get intense since it keeps them out of your way, but a mobile crate for cats and smaller dogs is great for quarantine if the animal is injured and quick transport if bugging out suddenly becomes a priority.

    Extra medication. A short term emergency can even be survived by an elderly or sickly pet, so keep few extra meds on hand just in case you can’t get any for a bit.

    A plan for dealing with waste. Animals that can just do their business outside may be alright, but if filters stop working in the fishtank or there is no trash pickup for rabbit cage litter, know what you will do to get rid of the feces. For example, a manual tank cleaning apparatus could do for the tank, and you can tip your rabbit’s soiled bedding into your own outdoor latrine if you have one. Be creative!

    Legal documents and vet papers. These will indicate ownership, and provide bona fide information about the vaccines your pet has and whether it has been “fixed” or not. This could be valuable if animals are being destroyed to eliminate a particular illness that your pet is vaccinated for.

    During a long term emergency

    At this point, there is a very limited subset of animals that are worth bothering about. Forget fish, hamsters, most reptiles, and any other pet that requires climate control, electronic filtration, or specialized foods. Primarily speaking, you’re looking at dogs and cats in this situation. Although the list below has some points related to this, know that long-term pet preparedness is largely about finding natural means to care for and feed your pet. Dog food only lasts so long after all, and eventually Captain Fluffywhiskers won’t have any more cans of Fancy Feast left. If you can know what kind of naturally recurring foods your pet can eat, you won’t have to worry so much about that deadline when the food bag from Wal-Mart runs empty.

    Prior training. If you’re going through the significant expense to keep your pet alive for several years during a disaster, make sure you get some use out of them. Train your dog to guard and/or hunt, and let your cat practice mousing before a disaster strikes.

    1 year’s worth of stored food and a supply of water. There is a limit how much stored water you can stock unless you’re willing to fork over a good deal of cash, so at some point you’ll need to find a water source sufficient for your pet’s drinking water. If worst came to worst, you could work up a basic boiling routine and then let the water cool before giving it to your pet, but that entails extra work and may burn additional fuel. Weigh the resource cost vs the reward.

    A natural food source. For cats, vermin, birds, and many other small delectables are on the menu, while a dog will do best on any meat it can catch. Be aware that you should allow time for the animal’s stomach to adjust to a natural diet. Ideally, mix the meat in with the last 2-3 month’s worth of prepackaged food, slowly reducing the portions of dry food as the supply dwindles.

    A separate shelter. It might seem like a good idea to keep your animal near you, but generally speaking it’s better to give them their own shelter apart from you for sleeping. Not only does this give the animal a place to hide when not needed in a dangerous situation, it also keeps their diseases, fleas, and other nasties away from you.

    Follow these basic guidelines, apply them to your situation, and you’ll have the beginnings of a solid plan to be prepared for the non-human members of your family.

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  • Clan DireWolf
    Re: Survivalism 101

    9 “Crazy Simple” Tips To Build Your Emergency Food Supply
    By Gaye Levy on August 19, 2013

    These days, it seems as though everyone has something to say about emergency food and emergency food storage.

    You will find advice telling you not only what to buy, but how much to buy, where to buy it, how to store it and to a lesser degree, how to eat it.

    For the food storage newbie, all of this information can be overwhelming.

    And for the experienced food storage maven, every new piece of advice will have you wondering whether you have done it right or whether there is a better way.

    To use one of my favorite laments, it can all be too much!

    Today I am going to do us all a favor and offer 9 crazy simple strategies for for building an emergency food supply.

    Shall we get started?

    1. Take Your Time and Go Slow:

    If I can cite the number one reason people become overwhelmed when even thinking about putting aside an emergency food supply, it is the perceived sense of urgency that it all needs to be done right now. And this, for many, results in complacency and inaction. Don’t fall in to this trap. Begin with a three day supply and gradually build that up to a week. After that, add to your emergency food supply week by week until pretty soon, you have three months of food stored away for you and your family.

    Remember, it is perfectly okay to pick up only 4 or 5 extra cans of meats, fruits or vegetables during your weekly trip to the supermarket. Do what you can at a pace that your are comfortable with and ignore any message you get from others (including prepping forums and websites) to do it all at once.

    2. Spend Your Money Wisely:

    There is no reason to break the budget while building an emergency food supply. Before heading out to the supermarket, view the local ads and find specials that will allow you to purchase more for less. If you are so inclined, use coupons and if allowed, shop on “double coupon” days.

    Warehouse clubs such as Costco have coupons too so don’t overlook those booklets that are sent out monthly. Often times the savings are huge. If you do not belong to a warehouse club, perhaps you can tag along with a friend or call ahead and see if they will give you a one-day shopping pass.

    Don’t overlook shopping at one of the many Dollar Stores or even in the back aisles of the drugstore. Bargains abound as I recently learned when I picked up a half dozen cans of DAK ham for less than $3 each.

    3. Scope Out and Optimize Your Storage Space:

    Finding a place to store your emergency food supply can be a challenge, especially if you live in a small home or apartment. Get creative, starting with a walk around tour of you living spaces. Places often overlooked are under beds, way up high in closets where you can add another shelf, and under dressers, desks and sofas.

    My number one tip, though, is to go through your cupboards and closets and remove those items that are duplicates, that you rarely use, or that you do not use at all. For example, in your kitchen, how may different pots and pans do you need? My guess is that you use the same two or three over and over again. Stow the extras away in the basement or storage locker or give them away to charity. Trust me, they will not be missed. The same thing applies to seldom used clothing, shoes and sports equipment.

    If you are truly serious about finding the space for your emergency food supply, you will toss those miscellaneous items that are only used once every three years in order to free up space for some additional canned or dried foot items.

    4. Stick to the Basics:

    Monitor what your family eats for a week and use that as a guideline for getting started. The advantage of doing this is that you will learn what your family likes so that you can shop accordingly. You would be surprised at how many people can’t remember what they ate yesterday let alone a week ago. Try to write everything down so that you don’t have to rely upon your memory.

    Keep in mind that bulk foods such as beans, rice, oatmeal and powdered milk are staples in the survival food pantry. Relatively speaking, they are all (with the exception, perhaps of the milk) inexpensive. These are basics, yes. But if you are just getting started, why not begin with the food your family eats – but only in canned form?

    Also, do not forget to store at least one gallon of water per person per day along with your emergency food supply.

    5. Don’t Make it a Chore:

    Storing food for an emergency can be challenging but it does not have to be a chore. Eliminate the panic of attempting to get it all done at once and the process can almost be fun and game-like. Searching out deals – either with coupons or at sales – can be an adventure in and of itself. Involve the kids by asking them for suggestions and helping them make selections that they will enjoy eating.

    Continue the adventure by learning to cook with traditional storage items such as the bulk food items mentioned above (beans, rice, oatmeal and powdered milk). Adding condiments of various types will result in delicious meals not only now, but after an emergency when good tasting food will be a comfort.

    6. Pay Attention to Storage Conditions:

    Notwithstanding finding the space for your emergency food supply, consider the storage conditions in your home. The enemies of food storage are temperature, moisture, oxygen, light, pests and time. Then there is the two legged variety (such as teenagers!) who eat everything in sight, including your emergency food.

    While not all household conditions are perfect, be aware of the six enemies of food storage and do your best to mitigate their effect on your precious food supply. This means you should avoid storing food in garages that are 90 degrees and summer and 30 degrees in winter. Empty your cupboards and closets of excess stuff and stow these items in the garage. This will make room for you to store your food inside your main living area where the ambient room temperature is stable.

    7. Rotate Out and Replenish In:

    Nothing lasts forever, so periodically go through your emergency food supply and rotate out the oldest items. You can do this once a year or even every two years. Just remember to replenish what you remove.

    The exception to this rule is if the food items have been packaged for long term storage, either by the manufacturer or yourself. How to package for the long term is beyond the scope of this article but you will find plenty of tips in the following three articles here on Backdoor Survival:

    Food Storage Part I – A Primer on Oxygen Absorbers
    Food Storage Part II: Unraveling the Mystique of Mylar Bags
    Food Storage Part III: Food Grade Buckets, Lids and Gamma Seals

    8. Keep Track of Your Stuff:

    Once you get going, it will be easy to lose track of what you already have. The best way to overcome the state of confusion you will experience six months down the road is to start keeping track of your stored items now – from the beginning. Use a spiral notebook, a computer spreadsheet, or a clipboard and a pad of paper. Update your inventory with the item and date of purchase as it goes into storage and of course, mark it off as it rotates out.

    Another good idea is to use a sharpie or a colored label to mark the purchase date on each item. That is the crazy, simple way of using the FIFO method of food rotation (FIFO = First In, First Out).

    9. Do Your Homework:

    Resources abound. With a modest amount of computer knowledge, you can Google around the internet to find all sorts of emergency food and food storage advice. Be an informed consumer. Learn about the foods that store well and also about pre-packaged meals that only require a bit of hot water to create a good-tasting and satisfying food experience.

    Learn about bulk foods and cooking methods that your can use when there is no power to your home. Many of the websites selling food will have blogs as well as links to helpful information. Why not use them to increase your overall knowledge and to become familiar with additional tactics and strategies for storing food for the long term in a hassle free manner?

    The Final Word:

    While it is true that an unexpected disaster could happen at any time, the reality is that we prepare for far more than a natural disaster. A sudden illness, unemployment and even expensive car repairs may all contribute to the need to prepare and to have food and supplies at the ready.

    Learning to overcome the feeling of being overwhelmed as you begin to store food for an emergency or for the long term does not have to be daunting. Start with these crazy simple tips and you will be well on your way to becoming an emergency food storage maven.

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  • Clan DireWolf
    Re: Survivalism 101

    Time Management in Food Storage
    Written by Cin

    Everything to process wholesome food and to create a long term storage plan takes more time than running to the store and grabbing a roasted chicken for dinner, or a frozen entrée to pop in the microwave.

    There are other ways to build the larder – buying extra goods on grocery runs, and buying from the companies that sell freeze dried meals in a bucket that will feed a person for a month. Both of these ways are not as cost effective as producing your own in the long run, but they do work. But what happens when you don’t have the money to spare for someone else to do the work for you? You need to consider doing it yourself.

    Here is our typical day.

    We get up at 6:30 this morning. After feeding animals, feeding ourselves, making the bed, and getting dressed for the day, it is time (8:30) to walk the dogs. We walk two miles each morning for exercise.

    We return about 9:15 and put the harnesses/paraphernalia away. We carry a modified BOB for walks, because living rural one never knows what will be encountered. Certain things have to be returned to secure locations because of animals and children. By now, its 9:30.

    My plan today was to cut up ten pounds of chicken and put together as many freezer meals as I could. In between, I have two loads of laundry to do and some work around the house to be done. Husband has yard work to do (we have 4 acres).

    I dived right in and chopped vegetables, concocted sauces and marinades, cut the chicken, and put together the meals. When I was done, I had 6 meals – 2 packages of almond chicken, 2 packages of sweet and sour chicken, and 2 containers filled with fried chicken nuggets. I worked non-stop, and it is now 3:00 p.m.

    Husband and I still have to put 50 pounds of flour in buckets/mylar bags, and seal them. Fortunately, Husband has already put the gamma seal rings on the buckets, so we only have to screw the tops on when we’re finished.

    Then dinner needs to be made.

    The animals are to be fed at 5 p.m.

    What’s my point?

    Making food from scratch, prepping for future meals, dehydrating and canning takes time. Lots of time.

    When dehydrating, I always make sure I have enough food to fill the dehydrator. This means about 2 hours minimum of prep time, to cut up or prepare the food. Once the food is in the dehydrator, one can leave and do other chores. Dehydrating is one of the less time intensive pursuits of making your own food. If you have a meat-slicer this task goes quicker, but I can’t afford that, so I cut food with my trusty kitchen knives (and cleaning the meat slicer may take as long as the prep).

    When water bath canning, I generally take about half a day – part to prepare the food, the rest of the time to can. Water bath canning doesn’t usually require more than about 30 minutes, so a total of about 2 ½ to 3 hours should do it as far as time.

    Pressure canning takes all day for 12-14 jars of food if you have a smaller canner (I do). The canner has to heat up to the desired temperature, maintain that temperature for 70-90 minutes, and then spend an hour cooling down. At that point, the lid can be removed, and the food is set out to seal. The entire process generally takes 3 hours from start to finish, for a single batch. If you have more than a single batch, that’s where the all day comes in.

    When Husband and I do a bulk food store run, it is an all day event, and sometimes bleeds over into the next day. The store is 2 hours away. So figure 4 hours driving time, and maybe an hour in the store. Then we return home and must put the food up – into buckets which must be brought in from the LTS area, sometimes packed with mylar/oxygen absorbers, and then put away. We have multiple buckets of stuff to pack away. Then we generally burn the packaging (OPSEC). This takes well into the evening.

    Those are the 3 main ways of prepping/storing food. Although packaging food for smaller portions is a whole other event. And then there is the cooking – whether you cook ahead of time (I do a lot of that), or cook whenever cooking needs to be done, there is prep, and then the actual cooking.

    And then there is the gardening. Gardening can suck up hours, maintaining, weeding, watering, harvesting, prepping for storage, etc.

    What am I trying to say here?

    When some preppers talk about not having spouses on board, perhaps one of the factors is that the spouse has already thought out some of the effort required, and in addition to their already busy lives, cannot fathom where they will get to the time to devote to building up and managing a deep larder.
    So, what are the solutions?


    I know, it sounds funny to realize you have to “prepare to prepare,” but it’s true.

    The first thing you need to determine is how you plan to store the goods, and where. 2-liter bottles? Start drinking your soda. Buckets? How many? Home Depot sells buckets and gamma lids. A 50 pound sack of flour fills 2 buckets. A 50 pound sack of rice fills 2 ½ buckets. If you use 2-liter bottles, 8 ½ cups of rice fit in the bottles. Not sure how many bottles a 50 pound bag fills (that was Husband’s job). Planning to use that flour anytime soon, or is it Long Term Storage to be rotated? If it’s LTS, you should pack it in mylar bags with an oxygen absorber. Do you have either?

    Where are you putting your LTS? Can you put it in a closet? Under the beds? In a spare room? The garage? Do you need shelves? Is the area free of pests?

    There are lots of lists on the Internet of the food required to feed a family of four. You will also have your own favorites that should be stocked. The primary, number one goal is to START SMALL. You might be able to find 50 buckets for free at some restaurant or doughnut shop, but don’t think you need to fill them all in a week and then you’ll be set. The cost alone would hamper you (unless you happen to have an emergency fund already just for such things – and that’s another plan, another post).
    So, here is your agenda for time management in food storage.

    Storage area cleared, cleaned and made pest-free (this includes keeping out dogs, cats and children who might get into things). Shelving units, if necessary. Under-bed plastic boxes, too.

    Storage items on hand (buckets, lids, bottles, canning jars).

    Actual food items – the extra packaged goods you’ve been buying one or two of on every shopping trip will now have a home. You have been buying a little extra each trip, right? These will be dated with a marker, and stored on the shelves, in the buckets, or in the under-bed boxes.

    Determine what kind of bulk food you are going to store. There are food calculators, food lists, and food reviews on American Preppers Network, and even a thread on where to start. Rice and beans are usually the first bulk foods, because they are nutritious for a long amount of time (sprouting beans adds more nutrition) and can be found in bulk easily. However, other bulk foods can include flour, wheat (also can be sprouted), oatmeal, corn, noodles, sugar, baking soda, salt, and so on.

    Again, START SMALL. The old saying, “beans, bullets, bandaids” applies here. Build food stores first. Create a list of goals and create an end time for each goal on the list. So, say you found 3 buckets and have three lids on Monday. By Friday, you should have bought a 50 pound bag of rice, and put it in the buckets. Voila! You now have 150 servings of rice (1 cup for one person per day). For a family of 4, that’s 37 days of rice. Now, hopefully, you’ll eat more than rice each day, but at least you have a month supply on hand.

    Do the same with each of your food items. If you break the tasks down into a weekly goal, you will have enough food for yourself and your family within months.

    By showing a consistent pattern of provision, and by having LTS on hand, those reluctant spouses might see that a) you mean to provide for them and b) you are doing a lot of the work yourself and are willing to work WITH THEM to bring the LTS up to the standard you’ve set.

    Just remember, LTS is a FAMILY-oriented goal. Everyone in the family should be doing some sort of prep, and a lot of it requires together-time – you cannot expect a spouse to be on board if you just give him/her a list and say, “Go do this.” You have to be ready to heft 50 pound bags, procure buckets by driving around all day to various places, and divide food out into storage on your own if no one is around to help.

    You can also give individuals tasks – such as giving a teenager money and asking them to pick up 4 cans of sale tomatoes since they’re passing right by the store on their way to the movies. Even if they aren’t on board with the prepping itself, they can run errands that are involved in prepping.

    In conclusion, create a list, create a time-sensitive goal, and then follow-through. Ask family members to help you in small steps, proceeding to larger tasks as money/time becomes available. You do the work, to show them how committed you are. Don’t be afraid to ask for help as you work, so they can not only see you prepping, but can do some things with you. Even if they never get truly involved, they can still do tasks that progress your goals.

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  • Clan DireWolf
    Re: Survivalism 101

    A Year of Supplemental Food Storage for $300 for my family of FOUR !!

    I have come across an amazing find, thanks to a FB friend; I have learned how to add enough food to my storage to feed us (2 adults and two kids) for a year! This is a combination of legumes, grains, beans etc that provides balanced, nutritious meals daily very cheap. The thing I love about this recipe is that it can be changed in many different ways by adding left over meats, vegetables, dry vegetables, TVP, potatoes, etc.

    This recipe has been around the internet for years now, but this is the first time I have seen it. I have researched for hours on ways to get a year of supplemental food storage for $300 for my family of FOUR for a reasonable cost and finally found it, so I thought I would share it with all of our APN readers.

    Note: Please feel free to share this with everyone you know. I feel it will greatly benefit anyone that has food storage, struggles with food storage, or is just beginning. I know for me, the thought of trying to get enough food for a year was sooo overwhelming, but with this plan, it created a *baseline* for me to build on so I felt secure knowing I had at least some basics to make a meal for my family. This will last a year if you ration it properly, but you will want/need to add things like meat and other vegetables (canned or dehydrated) to your pot of food. Lets face the facts, no one wants to eat the same thing over and over day in and day out. So you will want to build on this once you have it.

    I am going to list the things needed and what you are supposed to do so you have an easy list at hand and instructions to add to your buckets.

    What you will need:


    4 x 22 pounds of rice. Any kind of rice will do. (Four 20 pound bags + 8 one pound bags) OR two 50lb bags at Sam’s.
    2 x 11 pounds of Kidney Beans. (22 one pound bags)
    2 x 11 pounds of barley. (22 one pound bags)
    2 x 11 pounds of yellow lentils. (22 one pound bags)
    1 x 5.5 pounds of split green peas. (6 one pound bags)
    1 x 5.5 chick peas/garbanzo beans. (6 one pound bags)
    30 pounds beef or chicken bouillon. (or both) It will be added to each batch as you cook it.


    Four/Five 5 gallon buckets for the rice. (rice usually settles if you shake it down so its give or take here)
    One 5 gallon bucket for kidney beans.
    One five gallon bucket for the barley.
    One 5 gallon bucket for the yellow lentils.
    One 1 gallon bucket for the split green peas.
    One 1 gallon bucket for the chick peas/garbanzo.
    Thirty-two oxygen absorbers

    Total of six 10 gallon buckets and two 1 gallon buckets.

    Approximate Cost Where I Live: (Revised note 2013: The links attached to the items are not the cost I paid buying them on sale. I am adding the links upon request of the readers to bulk options of the food items listed.)

    Rice @ Sam’s: 2 x $16.48 = $32.96 (two 50 lb bags)
    Kidney Beans /sale: 22 x $0.67 = $14.74
    Pearl Barley /sale: 22 x $0.59 = $12.98
    Lentils / sale: 22 x $0.45 = $9.90
    Green Split Peas / sale: 6 x $0.40 = $2.40
    Chick peas (garbanzo) / sale: 6 x $0.58 = $3.48

    Beef Bouillon: $65.49 (Revised Note 2013: I have been asked about a link to bouillon in bulk. Here is one option. It is 2 dollars higher per pound due to inflation in 2013.)

    Total Food: $141.95

    Ten 5 gallon food grade buckets: $51.10 (free shipping) You can also check with your local Sam’s or grocery store bakeries for free buckets. We go to fire house sub and pay $2.00 for them when they have them because ALL proceeds go to the local fire departments.

    Ten Gamma lids: $69.70(pick up in store)
    One Gallon Buckets & lids: $15.25 (have to order a min of five, $15.25 is total cost)
    Shipping for buckets and lids: $7.90
    Oxygen Absorbers: Sixty 300CC = $9.97 (3 packs of 20)

    Total Hardware: $153.92

    Total combined cost: $295.87

    Note: The reason the title says for $300 is to give some room based on cost of living in your area.


    Put split green peas and the chick peas in a separate 1 gallon bucket, add 1 OA (Ooxygen Absorber) to the bucket, seal.

    Put Barley, Kidney beans, and lentils in separate 5 gallon containers adding 5 OA per bucket, seal.

    Divide rice up in remaining 5 gallon buckets with 5 OA in each bucket, seal.

    How to make your soup:

    8 oz of rice
    2 oz of red kidney beans
    2 oz of pearl barley
    2 oz of lintels
    1 oz of split green peas
    1 oz of chick peas/garbanzo’s
    Bouillon to taste

    Take the 16 oz dry mixture and add 6-7 quarts of water with a spoon of butter or olive oil (optional) to prevent the water from boiling over. Add 3 tablespoons bouillon or to taste. Then add any other meats, vegetables, potatoes or seasonings you’d like to. I personally love to add garlic and Lima beans. DO NOT add onions. They will spoil the mixture. Bring to a boil and then let simmer for two hours. You should have enough to feed 4 people for two days if rationed correctly.

    Note: Onions ferment too quickly and will cut the time you are able to store the already cooked soup mixture. There is always the option of dried onions and you can add it to smaller batches you know will be eaten on the first day.

    On the second day you will need to add more water and a tablespoon of bouillon because it will thicken in the refrigerator overnight. Boil for a min of ten minutes to kill off any potential bacteria, especially if you’re not able to store it in the refrigerator because you’re without electricity.

    You will be full off of ONE large bowl of this delicious soup. The kids usually eat about a half a bowl with bread. That’s what makes it so great. If able to, bake some bread or corn bread to go with it.

    If there is any mixture left on the third day, then just add it to the new mixture you make. (If making a new mixture on the third day) As time goes by you will learn to tell how much of each ingredient you need to fit your family’s needs.

    With the exception of dairy and Vitamin B 12, this should take care of your nutritional needs. Maybe not all of your wants, but once you get this out of the way, you can concentrate on adding the stuff you want to your food storage knowing you have enough for a year already if you half to use it.

    I hope this helps you all to begin or expand your food storage like it has me!

    Keepin It Spicy,

    Jalapeño Gal

    Note: These prices may or may not go up a little with inflation after 2013.

    Leave a comment:

  • Clan DireWolf
    Re: Survivalism 101

    Identify what you are going to carry in the bag

    If I am being honest, one of the shallow pleasures of prepping for anything is getting new gear. Yes, I will admit that I like buying gear and trying it out. This has nothing to do with vanity, I like to consider myself a gear geek only to the point that trying out new and interesting items that have multiple purposes and could save your life appeals to me. In the beginning as I was getting my pile of gear together that would save our lives I thought more about what I was acquiring that thinking about what I needed. I found all sorts of bug out bag checklists, some of them pages and pages long. Sometimes, I would sit there and listen to YouTube videos and write down everything was said. When it was all said and done, I had a huge pile of gear and my bank account was a lot lighter.

    Going camping was a huge eye opener for me and it taught me more about what I needed to pack than any YouTube video could. Well, in truth it put the lists I had been compiling into perspective. It’s funny how life has a habit of doing that when you are packing almost 70 pounds of gear on your back. I recommend that anyone who has plans for a bug out bag take this camping for two nights in the woods. You don’t have to go 50 miles in the wilderness, but take this bag with all of your stuff and hike (so you are forced to carry the bag) into the woods and set up camp. You will be surprised at how quickly you realize the items you have but don’t need and the items you wish you had.

    Once you have a better idea of what you need to put into your bag, lay all of those items out on a table because the size of your bag is going to need to fit all of that gear. Can you get by with a day backpack or do you need a larger 4,150 cu size pack to fit everything. It may be helpful to try out a friends backpack first if you don’t have one yourself or go to the store and try them on in person.

    Identify your price range

    This may sound like it shouldn’t be important. I mean how can you put a price on your survival? Well, it should be because if you are like most preppers I know (including me), this will not be your last bag. Take time to shop around for bags and don’t necessarily believe all of the hype that surrounds the mil-spec types of bags. By that I mean the bags that look like they are ready to go to war on the back of some soldier in Afghanistan. These routinely come with price tags over $200 and I don’t think that is necessary for a bug out bag.

    Remember, if this is truly going to be a bug out bag that is ready for you, you should have it packed at all times and ready for you to grab and walk out the door. Do you want to spend upwards of $500 and then shove it in the closet for a year?

    The opposite is true also because my first bag was very cheap. I purchased a used army Alice pack from Ebay for around $20. These were just like I remembered and are roomy enough to hold anything you can probably need. They aren’t the most comfortable though and if you are trying to stay discrete, having a military style backpack isn’t usually the first thing that comes to mind. I chose this bag because the use is perfect and the price was incredible. In the end I didn’t use it though. Instead, I take my alice pack with me when I go hunting and it is perfect for that. I just don’t want to lug it around if I am bugging out.

    OK, now what?

    So you are asking yourself, when is he going to get to the part about how I can find the perfect bug out bag? OK, here are the steps I would take in order to help you select your bug out bag.

    Understand what you need the bag for. Is this to get to a neighbor’s house on the other side of town or family two states away? Are you going to be on the water with this bag? This will help you with size, features and function. Most bags simply hold varying amounts of stuff.

    Knowing that, figure out how much gear you need to carry. Backpacking trips are excellent practice. You may need to buy some camping gear, but this will teach you what works and what doesn’t. It will additionally let you know how much room and weight you should plan for.

    Choose your price range and shop within 20% plus or minus from that point. Craigslist and eBay have great deals, but you may end up spending more time (on Craigslist) or end up getting inferior product (eBay). I would stay away from higher end bags unless you find an unbelievable sale. LLBean for example makes great bags for very reasonable prices but you can find great closeout prices on last year’s models too.

    Go into a store with backpacks and try them on before you buy. It is also important to measure yourself to get the right pack for your body.

    Once you have your bag, pack it with all of your gear and go hike for a couple of miles. Doing this in the neighborhood might seem odd, although we have a lady here in our neighborhood who does much stranger stuff. If the neighborhood won’t work, take your pack to the closest hiking trail. Nobody will know you aren’t training for an extreme hiking trek and it will either show you that you need to lighten the pack or affirm that you have done this part correctly.

    Plan for a dry run. Cut the power to your house and live out of the pack for 3 days. If you do all of the above successfully, you have a perfect pack. Now lock it in the closet and start some other preps!

    Leave a comment:

  • Clan DireWolf
    Re: Survivalism 101

    How to Find the Right Bug Out Bag

    I am frequently asked questions around the subject of Bug Out Bags. There is certainly a lot of interest and for good reason. Seeing as how we are in the middle of Hurricane season (regardless of whether we have seen a significant one yet) it makes sense especially for those living near coastal areas to have a plan to evacuate. That plan will undoubtedly require packing supplies that you may be forced to live on of for an extended amount of time. Even if you live in the middle of the country and the closest coast is a thousand miles away, some emergency event might require that you pack up and leave with very little advance warning. This is when having a bug out bag will come in handy.

    To those who are new to the concept of a Bug Out Bag, or Survival Bag it is simply a bag with food, water, clothing and shelter enough to last 72 hours on average. This bag is almost always in the form of a backpack because that is designed to be worn easily if you need to walk on foot. Also, this configuration is best for holding weight that all of that food clothing and shelter is going to incur on your back. Additionally, the bag is going to hold your entire bug out gear to accompany the rest of your supplies. There are a myriad of resources online and YouTube for bug out bag lists or you can read our post on the subject for more detailed information on what to pack in your bug out bag. A bug out bag is different from a Get Home Bag, but they serve similar needs. A Get Home Bag should give you what you need to make it home from wherever you are, usually work or school.

    Do you need to worry about a Bug Out Bag? That’s a great question but it really comes down to the individual and the situation you are faced with. Do you live in a big city or in the country near a chemical plant? Do you have a place to go if you had to trek on foot away from everything you own? Is your health good enough that if you strapped 50 pounds of gear to your back, could you walk 3 days if needed? Do you know how to use anything you have spread out on the floor for your bag?

    I talk about the reasons for and against the actual act of Bugging Out in the face of most scenarios but I like to say that reality always gets a vote. Regardless of whether you have any intention of leaving the safety of your home, circumstances you haven’t even thought about might compel you to ditch your plans and strap on that bug out bag to walk into the sunset. If that event happens, it is wise to be prepared.

    Identify what you need the bag for

    When I first started officially prepping back at the end of 2008 I was like so many other people and the overwhelming need to get a bug out bag packed and ready to go was an all-consuming thought. I researched a ton of blogs and forums, read books and watched dozens of videos until I knew or thought I knew everything about a bug out bag. I had my first bag all packed up and ready to go and then I tried it on. It was very shortly after that my plan started changing and it is with the hindsight of a few more instances like that that I want to share with you some of my mistakes so that it may help you avoid making them yourself.

    I was overly focused on “the stuff” I needed to go into my Bug Out Bag and didn’t give as much thought as to what I needed the bag for in the first place. Knowing where you are going and what you are going to do is packing 101 stuff, right? If you want to pack for a business trip let’s say; you lay out everything if you are like me according to what you are going to do on the trip to make sure you are covered for every contingency. This makes packing anything easier.

    I didn’t do that with my personal bug out bag. What I did do was make a list of everything I needed to have and then I went out and bought it or consolidated it into my bug out pile. My pile was larger than the pack I had chosen and when it came time to put everything into the bag I realized I needed to rethink some things.

    Most of you are building a bug out bag as something you can grab and go out the door never to return again and this would be consistent with what the general consensus is for having a bag like this in the first place. However, we are almost never in any situation, flying out the door blindly running down alleys. That is unless you are Jason Bourne and well, that’s the movies.

    If you are forced to pack up, you should know where you are going. This may be to a friend’s house or an old college roommate in another state or Aunt Bunny who lives an hour away. What does this bag need to hold in it to make your life bearable at Aunty Bunnies house? Do you need that entrenching shovel, hiking poles and a camp axe? Maybe not. Do you need 2 gallons of water and your winter snowshoes? Maybe you do. Knowing where you are most likely going is going to help you with the next decisions.

    Once you know what you need the bug out bag for, you will know what type of bag is right for your needs.

    Leave a comment:

  • Clan DireWolf
    Re: Survivalism 101

    Prepping 101 – A Step By Step Plan for How to Get Started Prepping – pt.5

    This is the fifth in a series for the beginning prepper on how to get started Prepping. In part one of this series we covered defining your priorities and making sure you have a sufficient store of water. The second article covered planning for long-term food storage and selecting the best firearm for self-defense. In the third installment, we dealt with financial security and having appropriate medical supplies to treat basic injuries. The fourth installment begins to discuss backup power options and how your family can be ready with lifesaving power if the grid goes down.

    Step 8 – Home Security

    So far we have dealt primarily how to keep you alive from the standpoint of basic human needs. If an emergency situation occurs, you now have a plan to prepare to feed your family and make sure they have water. This outside of other factors will keep them alive. We also delved into medical supplies for minor injuries that don’t necessarily require a physician’s care and plans for backup power to give you most of the major conveniences of life. At least we should be able to maintain a balance of health with these supplies.

    We also got into Firearms in the second article, but this section will deal with the larger threat posed by disaster and that is keeping your home safe. Firearms are certainly a tool we can use, but your home is where most of you will be. This is your castle and there are bad guys out there who might try to take what you have or do harm to you because they don’t have the Rule of Law anymore to stop them. Having a plan for how to make your home as secure as possible is the next step you should prepare for.

    Most of us don’t have an underground bunker. We live in subdivisions or cities. Our neighbors, whether we really know them or not are within rock throwing distance from us. Our homes are mostly built with wood or metal frames wrapped in Plywood and covered with siding. These are not castles with stone walls, high towers, a moat filled with starving crocodiles and a long wooden bridge separating us from intruders. Most modern homes can easily be broken into. Even if you don’t have to go through a door, the siding in most common homes can be punched in with a few strikes from a sledge-hammer. We have windows on just about every surface and cheaply made doors. If someone wants to get in, they don’t need a battering ram powered by 50 scruffy Vikings. They only need a little time and some basic tools.

    So, knowing all of this, you might be asking yourself “What’s the point”? If your home is so easy to break into, why bother hiding in there and defending it? There are lots of good reasons.

    Your home is a castle. It is actually your castle; it’s just that our ideal of castles has changed drastically over the years. Your home is the easiest place to seek shelter. It has most if not all of your supplies and offers familiar surroundings. Your home, whether it is paid for or not is yours and it is worth defending. Your home can keep your family safe from harm in a lot of circumstances and until you are forced to bug out, your home is the best place to be in an emergency.

    There are a few relatively simple things you can do to keep your home more secure and keep bad people out or at least significantly delay them from getting in until you are ready for them.

    Analyze weaknesses

    The two most glaring weaknesses are the doors and windows. Can someone get in by punching a hole in your wall? Of course, but that is not the path of least resistance. In most scenarios, the opportunist is going to be looking for easy ways to get in and get what they want.

    If I could have my dream home I would have a door about 6 inches thick mounted on vault hinges with metal plating on the outside. As it is, I don’t even know if my house would hold that door, but there are some tricks you can use to make your door more secure. For starters, a metal door with a metal door frame is much stronger than wood. The frame is only as strong as the screws holding it in though so extra-long screws give you more holding capacity. Your door bolt should be longer than normal as well.

    Let’s say that you don’t have the budget to replace your exterior doors with the latest model from Castles R Us, what can you do? There probably isn’t a good way to keep people out of a cheap wooden door or one with decorative glass panels, but you can use as system like Bar-Ricade to give your doors extra rigidity and impact resistance. Another relatively cheap method is to hang cargo netting around the door frame. This will allow someone to enter, but the netting will keep them tripped up long enough for you to get there. Heavy cargo area nets for vehicles have a lot of give so they will spring and cause a good bit of havoc. This isn’t a good solution for every day security, but could save you vital seconds in a collapse type of scenario.

    Windows are just about the easiest item to destroy if you are looking to break into someone’s home with a quickness. I think they are second only to large patio doors in terms of overall weakness. There are of course security windows out there, but they are very pricey. An aftermarket option would be security window film. 3M has a line of security window film that you may want to check out. This not only resists break-ins but can keep your windows from caving in heavy winds associated with tornadoes and hurricanes. AND, they can be tinted to keep your home cooler as well.

    Even being able to delay people from getting into your home can give you a huge advantage. It might not prevent their intrusion but may just give you the time you need to get there with your trusty firearm and deal with the person. We cover a lot more about Home Security in our article on that subject.

    Step 9 – Hygiene and Sanitation

    This is one of the most talked about subjects (no seriously) when it comes to a grid-down type of scenario for a couple of reasons. These are really two separate subjects but they are so closely related I through them together. Hygiene is the practice of keeping yourself clean and disease free. Sanitation is basically the removal of waste so that you can stay in good hygiene. Also known as the toilet paper dilemma.

    Everyone has either thought about or heard someone say “Stock up on toilet paper” and this seems like good advice, right? Who hasn’t been in the bathroom after a decent session of perusing the Readers Digest only to discover there is no toilet paper? Talk about a sinking feeling, but is this the end of the world? Certainly not, but TP is one of those things we consider necessities. Like water, this is something that most of us use every day and should be easy to stock up on, but is one of the first things we run low on. You don’t want your last-minute dash to the store to be for Toilet paper but in the bigger scheme of things, having plenty of Charmin is the least of your problems.

    In the Pixar movie, Finding Nemo, they said “All drains lead to the Ocean” and that isn’t quite right. All drains unless you are on septic lead to the water treatment plant. If for some reason, the drains get damaged or clogged or you don’t have any water to flush, the drains go nowhere. You need a plan for dealing with waste removal if this happens to you.

    There are a lot of options for alternative toilet facilities from using your existing toilet to digging a cat hole or a slit trench. It all depends on your situation. If you have water to spare and the lines still work, you can use your toilets just as you would normally. All you need is a bucket of water to pour into the bowl and this will flush everything down just like nothing happened. For long term disasters, this may not be feasible and you may be forced to adopt more “natural” methods. Time of year has a great influence on what those methods will be also, because not many people love the idea of going into the yard when it’s dark and freezing outside. The simplest method in my opinion is to have a 5 gallon bucket with a toilet seat lid and some small trash bags. Cleanup is easy and you can stay in the comfort of your house.

    Hygiene is a little different but you should easily be able to stay clean enough to inhibit bacteria and germs with a few simple preparations. I would not count on just a bottle of hand sanitizer to keep you clean and fresh. Baby wipes are a simple and effective method to clean up that doesn’t require a lot of space to store and the wipes themselves can actually be thrown in the fire when you are done.

    Camping showers make a great addition to preps as well as extra soap, toothpaste and toothbrushes. With just a bit of advanced planning you can give everyone a method of staying clean and healthy. Getting them to take a shower in the backyard might be a little trickier.

    I hope this series was helpful and informative. I haven’t covered everything I know, but I feel these articles would give your average person a lot of great ideas to consider if they are new to prepping. Just covering the bases in these 5 articles could drastically change your ability to come through a lot of emergency situations in much better shape.

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  • Clan DireWolf
    Re: Survivalism 101

    Solar Power

    On the other hand, noise is not something you have to worry about with solar power. You also don’t have to worry about storing fuel or oil and unless we really do face TEOTWAWKI (The End of The World As We Know It), the sun will keep on shining every day.

    Solar panels have different needs than generators though as the power that is generated from the photovoltaic cells needs to be stored. As well as the solar panels, you will need a bank of batteries. The most commonly recommended batteries are Deep Cycle, lead-acid batteries. These are ideally suited for these applications because of their long, reliable life and low-cost of ownership.

    Once you have panels sending power to your batteries you will need an inverter to convert that electricity back to 12V for use in your home. This is what you will plug your appliances into. There are kits you can purchase for about the same cost as a basic generator that have the panels and usually a cheap inverter. The batteries are extra and a good quality inverter is recommended. Also, with solar you have a little more set up than with a generator, but there are loads of advantages. You can read about one kit in another article we have about solar kit installation.

    For starters, unless the sun has been blacked out by us humans hoping to keep the machines from taking over (cheesy Matrix reference) there will always be sunlight. Sure, the sun is supposed to gobble us all up at some point, but I am not worrying about 5 years from now much less 5 million years. This means that you should have an unlimited supply of fuel for your little photovoltaic cells to run on. This is superior to generators for the obvious reason that you can never store enough gasoline to last forever. Sunlight doesn’t usually blow up when it comes in contact with a stray spark either, so it is safer and wont go bad without using fuel additive treatments.

    There is no noise to contend with using Solar Power and this helps you in two ways. First, it will prevent people from finding you that you didn’t want coming to dinner. Secondly, it will not be so noisy that you can’t hear what is going on around you. Win Win!

    Solar panels and the hardware associated with them can be mounted to a roof which makes them harder, but not impossible to steal. I have seen several applications where the panels are mounted to a pole in the yard. This makes installation easier, but they can just as easily be uninstalled by the bad guys at night while you are sleeping under the soft noise of your fan powered by your batteries.

    Solar isn’t perfect though. The panels are all made differently so there are quality issues to be aware of. Also, to be truly efficient, the solar panels need to adjust daily for the suns movement or more precisely, the earths movement in relation to the sun. Additionally, the panels need to be very clean or else they do not receive as much light and their power output is reduced. Also, the panels can be damaged by rocks, strong winds, hail or falling branches. Once damaged, there won’t be too many options for repair.

    The most perfect scenario in my mind is one in which you have both options. Ideally a tri-fuel generator that has a natural gas hook-up, with a backup propane tank and one hundred gallons of gas feeding to your daisy-chained battery bank of 20 deep cycle batteries for cloudy days. On sunny days, your 5,250 watt solar panels feeding into the same batteries giving you the best of both worlds. Maybe you can swing this, but most of us can’t.

    The reality might be more like a used 4,500 watt generator and 20 gallons of gas with an RV set up 140 watt panel and two batteries. We all have to start somewhere and there isn’t anything wrong with that. Research which options work best for you and then take care of your back-up power needs.

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  • Clan DireWolf
    Re: Survivalism 101

    Prepping 101 – A Step By Step Plan for How to Get Started Prepping – pt.4

    This is the fourth in a series for the beginning prepper on how to get started Prepping. In part one of this series we covered defining your priorities and making sure you have a sufficient store of water. The second article covered planning for long term food storage and selecting the best firearm for self-defense. In the third installment, we dealt with financial security and having appropriate medical supplies to treat basic injuries. The fourth installment went a little longer than I anticipated so I will deal with Home Security and Communications in the next one.

    Step 7 – Backup Power

    As you begin to make preparations for your family, these articles are trying to help you begin to lay out a strategy that deals with preparedness items in a logical order of importance. As I said at the beginning, this assumes you have nothing right now which isn’t always the case. Most people to some extent have pieces of equipment around the house that can be the basis for an emergency survival kit, but may not have assembled them before or thought of these disparate pieces as part of a single system. In looking at our priorities, we have addressed the basics of what you need to stay alive (food & water) as well as protect yourself (firearms). After these core items we began to look at items that can give you an edge; where you don’t necessarily need these to live, but they could be vital in contributing in a good way to your personal survival experience.

    Using our hypothetical disaster scenario, you are alive and have plenty of food and water to last you some duration. Power isn’t necessary in most cases, but it sure can make living much easier. In some cases, having power is vitally important to your survival. Diabetics who need insulin for example, will need to have their medication cooled or else it goes bad quickly. If you are a type one diabetic, and aren’t able to get insulin, your health is impacted immediately and death is unfortunately not far away.

    Power is necessary for a lot of items in our homes and is a welcome comfort after a survival situation or short-term emergency. Power can help keep the food in your refrigerator fresh longer. This will allow you to eat what you have in the fridge and freezer potentially before dipping into your survival food stores. I have heard tons of stories of people during a long-term power outage having huge block parties where they grill up all of the steaks, chicken and fish they had stored in their freezers. This at least allows you to get some use out of the food you have and it can be a huge morale booster.

    Outside of the obvious requirements to keep your coolers running, there are different needs in the summer as opposed to winter. Actually, in winter, you are often able to let Mother Nature keep the food cold. If you have a chest type freezer, it is better to keep it as stocked as possible. A fully stocked freezer will keep the food colder for a longer period. The mass of frozen food is just expensive blocks of ice and when you don’t have a lot of dead air space in there, the food keeps itself cold for a couple of days minimum depending upon the insulation factor of the freezer obviously. A fully stocked freezer should keep meat safe for up to 72 hours. I haven’t experimented with this personally and hope not to, but the concept is sound.

    A key to ensuring this type of time is to keep the freezer closed. Every time you open it, you are letting cold air out and warm air in. Chest freezers are better at keeping the cold air in because it settles to the bottom. Regular upright freezers lose air at the bottom every time you open the door. You can also increase the insulating capacity of your freezer by covering it in heavy blankets after the power goes out. Much more than 72 hours is probably not going to be possible though so you might find yourself hosting one of those block parties if you don’t have any backup power.

    The two most common options for backup power are solar panels and generators. Both options have their advantages and disadvantages and a fully well-rounded approach would be to have both. These aren’t the only solutions of course as there are water and wind options, but those are not viable for most people unless you have near perfect conditions so I will focus on the two main sources.


    Generators come in a wide variety of styles, power outputs and fuel choices. It isn’t uncommon to see generators fly off the shelves at the first sign of a major storm or immediately after a disaster. I have heard of unscrupulous people buying all of the generators at your local big box store and selling them for 4 times as much on the street to desperate individuals. I am all for capitalism, but you don’t want to be on the receiving end of this entrepreneurial spirit when I really need power.

    Whichever generator you have it will need fuel and oil most likely and generators aren’t shy about using both. Their usefulness ends as soon as the fuel runs out and if you don’t have enough oil, the engine could seize so planning for storing fuel has to be considered equally with the decision to purchase a generator.

    Your generator will be rated at certain wattage. The higher the wattage, the more devices you can power with your generator, but unless you have installed a huge 14,000 watt home generator you will have to be selective about what you are going to plug-in. Some appliances require extra power to start-up, while others maintain the same power requirements constantly.

    To calculate your power needs correctly, you need to know which kind of load you are dealing with. (A load is defined as the device that you are powering.) There are two kinds of loads, Resistive and Reactive.

    Resistive loads are pretty simple: they require the same amount of power to both start and run the equipment. Many resistive loads are involved in heating or making heat of some kind. Examples of resistive loads include light bulbs, coffee makers and toasters.

    Reactive loads contain an electric motor, which requires additional power to start, but significantly less power to run once it gets going. Typically starting power is 3 times the amount of power to run the application. Examples of reactive loads include refrigerators / freezers, Furnace fans, well pumps, and Air conditioners. Knowing how much power you are going to need is important when choosing your generator wattage and you can easily figure this out by purchasing an inexpensive appliance load tester at your local hardware store.

    Unless money is not an issue, I would recommend getting a generator that will power a few devices but not count on your entire house being lit up with running AC in the middle of a summer power outage or winter storm. You should easily be able to run your refrigerator or freezer for a few hours during the day and power several lights, small appliances and charge your cell phones at night with a moderately priced generator. You can tie your generator into your home’s electrical system with a relatively simple kit, but you want to ensure that this is done in a way that doesn’t fry the electric company technician when they are working on your line.

    A few other considerations on a generator are noise and safety. For obvious reasons, your generator should be in a well vented area. The engine spits out noxious gas just like your car, so don’t bring it into the house with you. If it is outside, it can be stolen though and this has been a problem in large disasters. You may want to consider having a way to bolt your generator down to a concrete surface. This brings up another issue of safety and that falls into OPSEC.

    If you are looking at a total collapse of society, the noise from your generator will be heard from a pretty good distance away. We recently went through a minor power outage of only 4 hours, but when the electricity is off, it gets really quiet. After our power went off, I went outside and quickly heard two of my neighbors’ generators starting up. If you are worried that someone will know you have power, a generator’s noise makes this a less than ideal option.

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  • Clan DireWolf
    Re: Survivalism 101

    Long Term Hedge against inflation – Assuming you have been paying even 1% attention to the global economic news, the policies of the Federal Reserve, the IMF and its ripple effects in other countries, you may question the security that the experts in our financial system are claiming to have preserved. If you are concerned about an economic collapse, I would seriously suggest you hold some physical gold or silver. The benefits of precious metals are well documented out there and this is not something that can be artificially inflated or deflated with a printing press. Research whether this is a good option for you and if it is, make sure you hold those metals in your hands. Having them stored with another company is just as useless as having money in a bank. If you don’t have it in your hands, they can refuse to give you access to what should be rightfully yours. I really think the days of storing money in mattresses or coffee cans might be making a return on some level. I don’t suggest this is where you hide money, but having physical possession of your asserts in a liquid form certainly seems safer in a lot of ways now.

    Bartering supplies – Assuming there is a giant cataclysm of society where the SHTF in a big way, money even gold might not be depended on but people will still want to trade goods for services. Bartering has been foreseen as what could potentially be the method that people choose to conduct commerce in a future dystopian society. Bartering is not without risks but if you have supplies you can trade others then you will have a form of currency. Ideas for bartering are household cleaning supplies, cigarettes, alcohol, tools, ammunition; pretty much anything that will be of value to those who are just trying to survive. I wouldn’t plan on selling your X-box if there is no power.

    I do imagine that eventually in a total collapse, groups will form and bartering will be more common. This is an extremely dark view of society. You can also look at supplies you store to barter as a resource to give away in charity. Some people have suggested small care packages that you can hand out to people who are very down on their luck. For natural disasters, this could be small food, medical and hygiene items. In a end of the world scenario these will be worth just as much as cash to someone.

    Step 6 – Medical Supplies

    As we begin to prepare our homes and families for surviving after an emergency, whether natural or man-made, wars or famine, a highly important consideration is staying healthy. The biggest threat to health, notwithstanding a plague type of incident is injuries and infections. If emergency services are overwhelmed during a disaster, you may have to be your own first line of defense on medical care as well. Having the supplies you need to treat mild to major injuries could be the difference between life and death.

    Humans are incredibly resilient creatures and our bodies have the capacity to heal themselves in a large variety of circumstances. What you need to consider are how you can apply first aid to your family or group in the absence of the family doctor, calls to 911, trips to the emergency room or the local clinic down the street. My first aid supplies are mainly focused on stopping blood loss and treating infection so that any wounds can heal.

    I have seen hundreds of first aid kits on the market out there and even own a few myself that claim to have 250 pieces of lifesaving gear. This sounds great until you look deeper and find that 150 of those pieces are band aids and another 25 or so are things like aspirin. While these kits are great for the car or as general use on vacations or to have around the house, these are not something that will do you much good in a total collapse scenario. I do have some of these first aid kits, but they aren’t what I am depending on if all hell breaks loose.

    If you look at what soldiers carry into battle, you will get a good indication of two primary threats they are worried about. The IFAK which stands for Improved First Aid Kit or sometimes Individual First Aid Kit is fairly small and each soldier wears one on their gear. The main items are a combat tourniquet and a nasopharyngeal airway tube. The Army knows that the two main killers are loss of blood and not being able to breathe. You will see a couple of bandages in here, but no band aids. No anti-itch cream, no moist towelettes.

    Soldiers in the military have the benefit of highly trained medics and a rear area with trauma doctors. In a real emergency you likely won’t have those luxuries. Knowing how to perform basic lifesaving will be a tremendous advantage. If possible, take a wilderness first aid course, advanced CPR or survival first aid. This will give you some training and experience with saving lives. You won’t know how to do surgery, but just getting someone stable, stopping a major blood loss or clearing an airway could save a life.

    For the first aid kit, I have two major kits. The first is a wilderness first aid kit that I purchased online. This has more supplies than the basic first aid kits you get for your car, but I augmented this with a field surgery kit, extra bandages, blood clot and blood stopper tourniquets. This is for the house. My other kit is a Combat Lifesaver kit complete with all of the gear and supplies that comes with it. I also added extra blood stoppers, and sutures to this kit but it was pretty stocked already. This was a nice find at a gun show about a year ago. Since we are on that subject, you can usually find tons of first aid gear and supplies at a gun show relatively cheaply. This bag goes with me on any car trips.

    Reference materials in the form of medical manuals are also something to get now. You don’t want to rely on a web site to show you how to suture a wound or treat a sucking chest wound when a family member is slowly drowning in their own blood. I also bought a book titled Emergency War Surgery as a reference. This is not something I have memorized by any stretch, but could be used as a reference guide if needed. With these supplies, some training and a little help you should be able to stabilize most blood loss injuries. I would also recommend stocking up on antibiotics. Topical ointments work well for minor skin lacerations, but more serious infections will require real antibiotics.

    Some prepping websites advocate the use of fish antibiotics. I don’t doubt this could work well enough to fight infection, but urge you to do your own research on this to decide if this route makes sense for you. There are also a ton of natural remedies so the resource section of your library should include a book on using herbs and flowers to make medicines or treatments for a wide variety of ailments.

    Lastly, if you have medications that you need to live, now is the time to stock up. You may have to speak with your doctor regarding a longer prescription but even this will run out if the disaster is wide spread or lengthy.

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  • Clan DireWolf
    Re: Survivalism 101

    Prepping 101 – A Step By Step Plan for How to Get Started Prepping – pt.3

    This is the third in a series for the beginning prepper on how to get started Prepping. In part one of this series we covered defining your Priorities and making sure you have a sufficient store of water. The second article covered planning for long term food storage and selecting the best firearm for self defense.

    Step 5 – Financial Security

    I chose to add financial security as the next most important consideration because unless there is no concept of money or value of goods anymore, you will need some form of currency in which to trade for services or goods. When everything goes south, in almost every scenario, money can still buy you out of a jam so to be dependent on getting your money if it is stored somewhere else is a huge liability. Financial Security used to mean owning stocks and bonds or having T-bills or a really nice 401K or pension fund. Recent events have shown that all of these vehicles are prone to risk and by risk, I mean outright theft. You need to have a plan that falls outside of the norm for society, because if society collapses, you want to have your own source of wealth that you can access regardless of what is going on in the financial markets. I have broken this into three areas.

    Emergency Fund – I think everyone needs to have some money that they can get their hands on quickly and no I am not talking about the ATM at the bank down the street. For a wide variety of reasons, you can’t count on banks to either have or be willing to let you access your money anymore. You only have to look at the dozens of bank failures this year alone, or the recent bank crisis in Cyprus where banks shut down for almost two weeks and no one was allowed to take their money out. As long as your money is in someone else’ hands, they control whether or not you can access it and when. This puts you at the mercy of the holder of your money’s good will. Trust is fine and dandy until one party fails to live up to their promise.

    Without going into all of the details of fractional reserves or high volume trading (which I can’t coherently explain anyway), I will simply recommend you have a fairly decent portion of money where you can get access to it whenever you want. I would suggest several thousand dollars if possible. Why this much? You may have to live on this money and nothing else if you are unable to get your money from a bank for weeks. Think of this reserve of cash as your monetary survival kit. If for some reason, the banks are closed but the grocery stores are still open accepting cash, you want to be able to purchase items you need. I know that ideally, you would have everything, but look at this as another layer of protection. Another example where cash might help you is bribing people for access of favors. I know this goes against most peoples morals, but if you can bribe a corrupt official to turn a blind eye instead of throwing you in jail, what will you do?

    There are a lot of places you can hide your money but this, as with banks isn’t completely risk free. Even if you have money saved and can access it, our money could be worthless due to an economic collapse and even thousands of dollars won’t be able to buy you a loaf of bread. This is exactly what happened in the Wiemar Republic of Germany after World War I. Regardless, I personally would rather have the money just in case. If we have an economic collapse, I think the cost of everything will skyrocket first so you may need to pay more for necessities. Having a fairly large supply of cash could come in handy. There are a lot of people who say you should have small bills and change and I think that would be good if you are faced with some type of emergency that happens and our economy is still functioning relatively normal. If the economy goes bust, it may cost several hundreds of dollars for a few gallons of gas. You really never know what could happen, so again, having a supply of cash could help you. The trick is to put his money away in a safe place and not use it for the family vacation to Disney World.

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  • Clan DireWolf
    Re: Survivalism 101

    Lastly and I might say more importantly, you need to plan for self-sufficiency when it comes to your food. If we have some catastrophe that lasts a very long time, you will run out of food. What if the grocery stores are never going to be operable again? What if you have purchased a 2 year supply of freeze dried food, but the disaster or event lasts longer than two years? What if 20 family members show up to your house and start eating your supplies?

    Having a working garden now will be the best thing you can do to augment your store purchases with healthy fresh foods and it will allow you to continue feeding yourself if for some reason we can’t rely on grocery stores in the future. I know this is a very bleak sounding future, but not something that is out of the realm of possibility. It is important to purchase and store heirloom seeds for your garden and learn how to harvest and keep seeds from your vegetables, but it is even more important to start your garden now. Gardening is not goof-proof and it is foolish to believe that you can go into your back yard, dig up some dirt, plant some seeds and feed your family. If this is your plan, they will likely starve before the first fruits are visible.

    Try your hand at gardening now so you have the area, experience and hopefully crops that will feed your family all year. This will be a fairly decent sized undertaking for a family of 4 people. If you plan to feed a larger family, a garden can’t wait. Gardening takes preparation and tools that you may not be able to acquire if the grid-goes down for some reason. If you are worried about the impending disaster, do you think you will remember to run to the hardware store and buy shovels, rakes and hoes? Do you realize how long certain vegetables take to fully mature so that you can harvest them? What if some disaster happens in the middle of winter? You will not be able to start a garden for several months and you won’t get food out of that garden for many more months. Gardening is not a suitable quick solution to food needs, but it is probably the best long term solution and this should be something you consider if you have a means to create a garden on your property.

    If you have the ability, raising your own livestock will give you just one more advantage when it comes to feeding your family. Raising chickens for eggs or rabbits for meat are two of the simplest ways to augment your long-term food supply.

    You can read more about how you can stock up 30 days of food for your family in this article.

    Step 4 – Firearms for self defense

    So by now you should have a plan for water and food to last you through most normal emergencies, the next shoe to drop in a SHTF scenario is to plan for security. This is simple common sense to most people and I am often asked what the best gun for home defense is. I surmise this is because people know like I said in the first part, that in a disaster; the rules get thrown out the window quickly and you may be left to defend yourself against looters or people who just want to take advantage of the situation. If you are really prepared with enough survival equipment and disaster supplies to last you through the emergency, chances are that you could become a target for people who did not plan.

    Human nature is funny, but it is predictable in a lot of instances. Desperate people do desperate things. A mother who has starving children will do things for their benefit that she never would otherwise. In the same capacity a father who has a sick or starving family will act with their interests above all else, including his. This can lead to incredibly dangerous encounters and it is a good idea to anticipate these and plan for them.

    Having a selection of good firearms and being trained in their use is going to give you a greater ability to defend your family and your possessions in a true collapse or grid-down type of disaster. I think that anyone who does not have a means to defend themselves will eventually become the victim of some form of theft or violence. History is just too full of examples of this type of atrocity happening to otherwise good people. My philosophy in cases like this is to pray for the best and prepare for the worst.

    If you don’t have any firearms at all, the current political climate and government meddling may have stirred in you a sense of angst to acquire some means of defending yourself with a firearm. You could be on the other end of the spectrum and believe that all guns should be banned and people should all just “get along”.

    There is no real reason for me to try and change the opinion of any true pacifist. I will only say that no law ever stopped a law breaker. The only people who won’t carry guns if you make a law are the law abiding citizens and it is foolish to believe that a law will stop either guns or violence from being tools used by bad people.

    For the rest of you out there who want a firearm, I would recommend you read our article on the Best firearm for self-defense and if you have the means, I wouldn’t stop there. Once you have the most basic method of defending yourself, you should expand and our post on the Top 5 firearms you need to get your hands on now offers a pretty good argument for and the specific types of firearms I think each family should optimally have to weather a total societal collapse or a power outage of a few days.

    Ammunition is the next important thing to get because without bullets, those firearms you purchased for self-defense will be just about worthless. As of right now, Ammo prices are incredibly high and inventories are low. This makes finding ammo hard because everyone is out there looking to replace and augment what they already have. If you are just starting, I would have no less than 2 boxes of hollow-point ammo for any handguns regardless of the cost. You just have to bite the bullet (no pun intended) and get enough for basic protection. Shotgun ammo is still in relatively good supply so make sure to stock up on shotgun ammo as much as possible. You will probably never regret spending money on guns or ammo if you ever get to the point of needing them for security. You will definitely regret not having anything.

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  • Clan DireWolf
    Re: Survivalism 101

    Prepping 101 – A Step By Step Plan for How to Get Started Prepping – pt.2

    This is the second in a series for the beginning prepper on how to get started Prepping. If you want to read part 1, you can view that article here. In the first article we covered defining your Priorities and making sure you have a sufficient store of water.

    Step 3 – Food Storage

    Now that you have water taken care of, the next thing you should take care of is food. Food is the number one thing that most people simply do not have enough of. In the not too distant past, most had their own gardens, canned their own foods, got milk and cheese from the local farmer or dairy if they didn’t raise it themselves and our diet was much different. Since the advent of bigger cities, grocery stores, refrigeration and processed foods, our knowledge and dependence upon nature to provide us food has quickly disappeared. The local farms have disappeared as they have been purchased and combined into approximately 5 national conglomerates that provide almost all of the food in grocery stores today. Grocery stores themselves have evolved from local family run stores to national chains with complex distribution systems and warehouses. Your local grocery store relies on trucks shipping food in every few days to maintain inventory and this system right here is one that is highly prone to disruption.

    The average family doesn’t have a 5 day supply of food on hand. We have become accustomed to running to the store to buy what we need for the week or even an individual meal. In the case of a disaster or inclement weather being forecast, the first things to disappear from the grocery shelves are food . This is partly due to panic, but mostly because people simply don’t have enough food to last them comfortably through the duration of whatever event is anticipated.

    At the first sign of some impending crisis, the store shelves are wiped out within hours or days. It might start out as simply a trip to get a gallon of milk or some chicken, but quickly turns into a full on buying frenzy as shoppers see the quickly dwindling supplies and the faces of other worried shoppers in the crowded store.

    This should not happen to you.

    Food is something that you are always going to need and there are several strategies for stocking up on food items that you can use depending on your preference. For most people, the simplest option is to buy more of what you use every day. Groceries aren’t cheap and I hated the idea of spending extra on groceries but I could see the value and benefit in having a stocked pantry. We started with our normal grocery store run and began to add more of the items we eat a lot of. Items like spaghetti sauce, noodles, canned tuna and chicken, beans, coffee and tea, soups and canned vegetables were something we already ate, so we just added more. The trick is to buy extra food when you go to the store and not simply buy food when you are out of a particular item. If you can add a couple of cans to what you normally purchase, you will start to see the amounts you have increase. You will need to ensure you have some system to rotate your food storage because you don’t want to have a bunch of cans of grossly out of date food when you need it the most.

    Purchasing more store bought food is great for short-term, but for longer term preparedness it is good to supplement with freeze dried food or dehydrated foods sealed in Mylar bags and stored in heavy duty food grade buckets. These food items will typically last years and can be your reserve supply of food that you don’t have to worry about rotating as much. There are a lot of suppliers of long term food that you can find out there and if you have the money and would rather purchase your food and forget about it (for a long time) then this may be a good option. I recommend having a balance of the two types of food. Store bought foods that you already eat everyday and freeze dried so that you have the most flexibility.

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