So it’s time. You’re convinced. You know you need to prep…but where do you start? Beginning prepping is like a train. It’s har to get started but once it’s rolling it’s hard to quit! Everyone succesful at prepping has started from somewhere, and that somewhere is usually a bug out bag or maybe a victory garden. For most taking care of your basics is the best place to start, but before you can understand what bacis you will need you should consider the following.
How Long And What For
How long you prep for obviously affects what you stock, and how much of it you stock. So does your reason for prepping. Those getting ready for a economical collapse would have little use for a Faraday Cage, for example. Nor would prepping for a long term senerio with only a weeks worth of water do you much good.
All the things you could possibly prep for is so varied that it’s impossible to cover them all in this article. If you have a particular scenario in mind I recommend you read more about what others are doing to prepare for it and add the extra things you may need to a basic starter plan.
Thankfully determining how long you sould prepare is much easier (sorta). There are a lot of guidelines and well laid out plans for each timeframe. Here are the most popular ones.
72 hours – This is the start for most. Your best bet for any 72 hour event is a Bug Out Bag. Most start here and expand as needed.
2 weeks – At this point you basically want to make sure you have enough water and food to last over and above the contents of your BOB. Most natural disasters fall into this catagory.
1 month – Again, this is mostly more water and food over and above a BOB, but you should also include a way to Cook Your Food and Heat Your Home without power. Get foods that can be easily prepared with very little clean up.
6 months – Now you are into long-term preps. You will want to Build A Stockpile of food as well as Have Enough Water on hand for everyone. Also consider Becoming More Self-Sufficient in case whatever event you are planning for last longer than expected.
1+ years – This is when your best bet is to become self-sufficient and start a homestead. You can stock up on a year’s supply of food, and if you can’t buy any land or live you in a city then this is still your best bet…although I highly recommend you get out of any populated area quickly and Get To Your Bug-Out Location.
If you think you may go a 6 months or more in any sort of SHTF scenario you should sit down and consider all that is required to live a daily life, and the amazing amount of stuff you would need. It would be almost impossible for a single person to do it all. Consider talking to your friends about it and see if you can build a comunity of preppers who can rely on each other in dire times.
This is Part 1 of a Multi-Part Article. Stay Tuned for Part 2. I will link it here when it’s complete.
In part 2 we’ll cover one of the best places to start prepping – Food.
So you’ve had to abandon your home or BOL (or was not at it when the fan blades turned brown) and now you’re on the last day of your bug out bag, what now? The first thing you should do is STOP and take a minute to reflect. Check through your bag and see what’s still usefula nd what’s low or gone. For the most part everything inside your bag will last for weeks or even months if it has to. Your firestarter should still be in good shape, your emergency blankets are ok, you still have a tent….but what about your food and water? AAH yes! These are the real dangers. You still have heat, shelter, and light but without food and water, espeically water, you will die all warm and toasty.
Without food you’ll begin to feel hungry and run down in a day or two but you’re still ok for about another three weeks. Assuming you have a destination you’re trying to reach where you can resupply you won’t starve if you make it there in time.
Without water however you’re in much worse shape. You have 2-3 days before your body shuts down and you eventually die on about the 4th day. I have heard stores of people living 5 days, and even 7 without water but the average and the rule of thumb is 3 days.
What To Do
Examine your suroundings and weight your options. If your goal is to get where ever you’re going and you know for sure that you can reach it in 1-2 days, then start marching. Don’t stop except to rest at night. Try to conserve all the water you can by not sweating.
If you don’t have a place to go or you’re more than 2-3 days out for a BOL, then you need to start looking for water. If you’re in the wilderness look and listen for signs of water and head in that direction. Signs can be green spots of vegitation in the distance (you may have to do for it), naturally occuring valleys between hills, or something as obvious as a creek bed.
If your survival senario puts you in an arid enviroment such as a desert you should start planning now for your water, not after the shtf. Have a plan and a place to go and carry enough water to get you there otherwise you will surely die. If possible drive the area now while you can think and plan things out. It may be possible to cache some extra supplies in a hidden spot along your path, but you have to do this beforehand.
If you’re in an urban enviroment (which most will be) remember that there is probably water all around you, although it may not be drinkable. It would be hard to imagine a house without at least one can of pop or a bottle of water somewhere inside. Hopefully you will find someone who can spare a bit.
Spigots on houses (beware the owners), ditches, man made lakes, and swimming pools are all great sources. If all hell has truely broke loose then take refuge inside of an abandoned house and look for water in water heaters, the BACK of toilets (not the bowl), and sink traps. They will all hold some water. Just remember that this water will more than likely be contaminated so filter and boil it first.
Once your water is restocked either hunker down and build a temp base camp until you can locate food, or keep moving to your BOL. If you’re in luck your senario may be over by then and you can begin going back to a normal life. If not I hope you are learning self sufficient skills now as well as basic long term survival.
It’s getting close to the anniversary of 9/11 so I want to cover an important survival and preparedness topic that most of us overlook, I’m going to show you how to make a Work Emergency Bag (WEB) that you should store at work in the event of an emergency to keep you safe and prepared.. An emergency situation can happen at any time. It doesn’t matter where you are, you may be on your own and forced to improvise. Natural, terroristic, and man made disasters can force offices full of workers to evacuate. In big cities a disaster may also affect public transportation and congest the streets. Your workplace emergency kit should be in a single, easy-to-carry container in case you are evacuated from your workplace.
Discuss with your family what you may do in an emergency if they can’t reach you by cell phone and make sure you write down a list of emergency contact numbers. Evaluate where you work and how far you live from work. Coordinate with your trusted co-workers and exchange ideas for creating individual WEB’s ideal for your situation, urban area, and workplace.
Preparing Your Work Emergency Bag (WEB)
- Canvas Bookbag - Get a large, canvas, water resistant backpack with several compartments and padded shoulder straps. Attach a luggage tag with your name, address, and phone number.
- Water - Keep one gallon of water, preferably in a something easy to carry like a Camelbak or High Sierra Hydration Pack.
- Food - Your food stores should be simple and require no cooking. S.O.S. Food Bars taste great, are full of calories and nutrients, and store for up to 5 years. They’re cheap too!
- Flashlight - You need a small, powerful, and dependable flashlight. The Nebo Redline Tactical Flashlight With S.O.S Strobe fits the bill perfectly. It’s one of my favorite flashlights and is super tough! Also the American Red Cross Hand Crank Weather Radio with Flashlight and Cell Phone Charger is a great combo item that can provide you with light, information, and power in one little package.
- GloSticks - Having a couple of glow sticks is a nice extra in most kits, but it’s important to have them in a WEB. Gas leaks could be everywhere in an urban enviroment and using a flashlight or other electronic device could spark an explosion. Make sure you grab a few as you’ll need a new one every night. The 12 Hour Emergency Glow Sticks (4 Pack) are cheap, made for emergencies, and glow very brightly.
- Emergency Radio - Having a way to communicate to the outside world and keep up to date with what’s going on is vital in an emergency situation. The best emergency radios are hand crank and the best one I have seen is the American Red Cross Hand Crank Weather Radio I mentioned above. It’s really a little marvel.
- Emergency Blanket - Mylar sheets (a.k.a. space blankets, emergency blankets) are lightweight, waterproof and very thin. They come tightly packed (they come in insanely small boxes), and should be left in their original packaging until you need to use them. They’re very hard to refold once opened and you’ll end up just stuffing it in your pack.
- Whistle - A whistle will allow you to make noise for hours if you become trapped. Yelling for long periods of time will dry out your throat and force you to use up your water, if you have any. The higher pitch will also carry better than your voice. The Storm Safety Whistle (a.k.a. the worlds loudest whistle) is the way to go. At $5 and some change it’s no dollar store toy, but neither is your emergency kit.
- PryBar - A prybar is a great tool for your kit and no WEB should be without one. Not only is it great for getting yourself out of a building, but it also makes a decent weapon against a would be assailant. The Big Ugly Emergency Combo gives you a prybar, hammer, and razor sharp axe all in one. A note here, there’s a cheapo chinese copy of the Big Ugly that you can find for about $5. Use it at your own risk, it’s a real work of crap and is known to snap very easily…the last thing you want your one and only prybar to do.
- Running Shoes And Socks - Most dress shoes are so uncomfortable it’s impossible to walk several miles in them. You could even end up with feet so blistered you simply could not walk any more. Don’t believe me? Try running a mile in them and see for yourself! Make sure you have some good athletic running shoes and socks in your bag ready to go or you’ll regret it later, don’t take this one for granted.
- First aid Kit - You can make your own first aid kit or buy a pre-packaged kit. A pre-made kit will usually cover a wide range of emergencies. The best thing to do is buy a pre-made first aid kit and then add to it with your own items.
- Poncho - A poncho is easy to carry and super light. Protecting yourself from getting wet is important and a poncho is all you need. Hypothermia can set in faster than you think and having wet clothes can be a death sentence in cold weather.
- Dust Mask - Make sure you pick up a pack of dust masks. As 9/11 proved there is ALOT of dust and smoke during most emergencies. A dust mask can protect your lungs from cancer causing particles such as abestos and also keep some smoke out too. The best masks form to fit your face and have a valve for breathing, such as the 3M Valved Dust Mask. You can also go for a full Civilian Gas Mask if you don’t mind the odd looks. I pack a full gas mask because I know those at Ground Zero would have given anything for a full mask. The odd looks by stranges mean nothing when the entire sky is grey with posionous dust and smoke.
- Maps - Ever tried walking miles home from work during a total SHTF moment? I bet not. Imagine for a moment your disoriented and in shock, and maybe hurt too. Everything is covered in grey dust (including road signs)…Can you remember to count how many roads there are or pick out any landmarks (which could have been destroyed too) until your next turn? If your work is in the city but your house is in suburbia, what if you have to get off the road and into the woods? Don’t count on your cell phone GPS working during an emergency. Not only could your providor be overwhelmed but an EMP or solar flare could render it useless. Pull up Google Maps and print out a map from your work back to your house. highlight the route and also note any important places, such as a hospital, police station, or some place where you can safely rest at night. If you can find a map of your building make a copy of it too, espeically any building with more than 5 floors.
- Cell Phone - You’ll probably have this on you already, just make sure it’s handy and charged.
- Cell Phone Charger - A dead cell phone is useless and luck always has it that it will be dead right when you need it. Plus a two day walk out of town can be enough to finish off your phone. The best cell phone charger works every time and can be used for more than charging a phone. Again the American Red Cross Hand Crank Weather Radio fits both these needs. Told ya it’s a real marvel.
- Money - Keep a few dollars in your WEB, about $20-50 in small bills. Make sure you hide your money in your bag somewhere. The cardboard bottom of your backpack is a great place. Fold your money up and tape it to the bottom of the cardboard, no one will think to look there.
- Moist Wipes - A pack of baby wipes works well. Make sure you don’t open them untill you need them or they will dry out.
- MultiTool Knife - You need a knife, don’t underestimate it’s uses. Getting a multitool instead of a tatical knife gives you a lot of options, like having a screwdriver and pliers. A good multitool can be expensive though, upwards of $150, but you can get a decent Leatherman (the creators of the multitool) for under $30 on Amazon that fits all your needs. This is another place where you wouldn’t want to buy a cheapo china-made version. You can put a good multitool through hell, but a chinese made one will bend or dull with just a few minutes use. Check out the Leatherman Pocket Multi-Tool with Leather Sheath for example.
- Extra Keys - Keep extra keys to your house and car in your kit. You should tape these to the same place you put your cash, the bottom of the hard coardboard piece in the bottom of your backpack. Make sure you don’t mark them in any way.
- Documents - Make sure you have some form of identification on you. Also grab any special papers or photos you may have at your desk.
I’ve had scores of people asking how to get started prepping, or explain how they have to “sneak” preps from their spouse or they simply “don’t have the money” to prep so I thought I would put together a list of items that can be bought cheap, about $5 each. The goal of this list is to demonstrate that prepping can be done for as little as $ 5.00 per week. I don’t know anyone who can’t spare five bucks a week to invest in the ability to save your life and the life of your family in an emergency and it’s pretty easy to explain where $5 went to the wife, although I suggest getting your spouse on your side when it comes to prepping.
A quick side note…your spouse or kids can’t see the need to prep? Here’s a fun game you can play with the whole family! Go to your main breaker and shut it off and cut your water off at the main valve for a full 24 hours. I know of no better way to convice someone they are unprepared for even a small event. Now, back to the topic on hand…..
Some of the items below go for less than five bucks, some may go for slightly more. You can buy whatever you want whenever you want, this isn’t a strict list. Splurge and spend $10 a few weeks and double up, or just look for what’s on sale that week. For just $ 5.00 +/- you can buy the following storable things:
- Five packages of Idahoan instant potatoes (flavored)
- A case of ramen noodles (20 pkgs)
- five cans of sardines
- five gallons of purified water
- nearly two cases of bottled water
- four cans of peaches, pears or fruit cockatail
- 2 jars of mandarin oranges
- five pounds of rice
- three to four pounds of spaghetti
- Two cans of spaghetti sauce
- three bags of egg noodles
- eight packages of gravy mix
- four cans of whole or sliced new potatos
- four cans of green beans or at least three cans of carrots, greens, peas or mixed veggies
- Two cans of Yams
- six cans of pork and beans
- one 40 ounce can of Dinty Moore Beef Stew
- Two 12 ounce cans of chicken, tuna or roast beef
- One 1lb canned ham
- three cans of refried beans
- three 12 oz cans of raviolis or spaghetti O’s.
- Two 12.5 ounce cans of Salmon
- Five pounds of Oatmeal
- Four packages Dinty Moore heat and eat meals
- five packages of corn bread mix
- Four pounds of Sugar
- Five pound of Flour
- 1.5 quarts of cooking oil
- three one pound bags of dry beans
- two cans of apple juice
- a jar of peanut butter
- two boxes of yeast
- two bags of generic breakfast cereal
- 10 8 oz cans of tomato paste/tomato sauce
- four cans of soup
- four cans of Chunky soup
- 8-10 pounds of Iodized salt
- two bottles of garlic powder or other spices
- Two boxes of kool aid
- A can of coffee
- 2 bottles of powdered coffee creamer
- one manual can opener
- two bottles of camp stove fuel
- 100 rounds of .22lr ammo
- 25 rounds of 12 ga birdshot or small game loads
- 20 rounds of Monarch 7.62×39 ammo
- a spool of 12lb test monofilament fishing line
- 2 packages of hooks and some sinkers or corks.
- artificial lure
- two packages of soft plastic worms
- three Bic Lighters or two big boxes of matches
- A package of tea lights
- 50 ft of para cord
- a roll of duct tape
- a box of nails or other fasteners
- a flashlight
- two D-batteries, four AA or AAA batteries or two 9v batteries
- a toothbrush and tooth paste
- a bag of disposable razors
- eight bars of ivory soap (it floats)
- a box or tampons or bag of pads for the ladies
- two gallons of bleach
- needles and thread
- a ball of yarn
OTC Medications (at Dollar General)
- 2 bottles 1000 count 500 mg generic Tylenol (acetometaphin)
- 2 bottles 500 count 200 mg generic advil (ibuprofen)
- 2 boxes 24 cound 25 mg generic Benadryl (diphenhydramine HCI)
- 4 bottles 500 count 325 mg aspirin
- 2 boxes of generic sudafed
- 4 bottles of alcohol
- a box of bandages (4×4)
There you have it, for roughly $5 you can buy anything on this list. Commit yourself to buy one item a week, or even one a day if you can and pretty soon you’ll have a nice collection of survival gear.
Mouse traps are one of the most overlooked but essential survival tools. Maybe it’s so overlooked because no one really wants to think about eating a rat. The truth is in SHTF anything goes, and a rat trap (homemade or store bought) can be used to catch alot more than common mice. Depending on the bait you use you can catch snakes, rabbits, squirrels, opossums, armadillos, racoons, and even birds. Mouse traps are also vitally important for keeping your food stores clean and rodent free. If you don’t want to eat them at least use them for bait for bigger animals.
The easiest way is to buy a couple of the large Wooden Rat Snap Traps from amazon or home depot. To give yourself the most variety of meat make sure you buy the large traps and not the small ones made for mice only. Drill a hole in one corner large enough to run about a 10′ section of Paracord through and tie it up. Secure the other end of the paracord to a tree or post, apply a small dab of bait on the trap, camouflage it the best you can, and set it. A trap like this will work for you while you do something else, like tend your fire or collect water.
Different types of animals like different types of baits. The best all around bait is peanut butter. You can catch mice, rats, squirrels, raccoons, opossums, and armadillos with peanut butter. A small piece of meat or fish will also work wonders for opossum, racoons, and armadillo’s and even turtles. Some grass, seeds and berries will attract rabbits and birds. Snakes are a bit finicky but can be caught. If you hate the thought of eating a mouse then try catching one and setting it as bait for another animal such as a snake or coon.
A note on eating armadillo meat. They have been shown to spread leprosy to humans so eat with caution. The armadillo may have no outward signs of leprosy and still spread it to humans. The same can be said for eating racoon meat. They are know carriers of rabies so you have to be careful and make sure you cook your meat thoroughly. I would not eat an armadillo or racoon unless I had no choice. But if it’s either eat or starve then you’re better off taking your chances and eating the dang thing.
No Traps? No Problem!
If you don’t have a mouse trap then you can improvise. All you can really catch are mice but it’s very simple to build. All you need is a 5 gallon bucket, a piece of wood to act as a ramp (optionally you can bury the bucket flush with the ground), some peanut butter, a 1 liter bottle or aluminum can, and some wire.
Run a legnth of wire through an aluminum can and attach each end of the wire to the top of the bucket. Smear peanut butter on the can and fill the bucket with about 3-4″ of water. Then either bury the bucket flush with the ground or prop a piece of wood against the bucket to act as a ramp for the mice. The mice will come in to get the peanut butter then fall in the water and drown. It’s simple and very effective.
You can catch one to two mice a day with such a trap if you set it up in the right place. Around food stores, in attics, and around grassy fields are great places.
Don’t Take My Word For It
Here’s a great video from Dave Canterbury of http://www.wildernessoutfittersarchery.com (you probably also know him from the hit show Dual Survival) explaining how he always carries two large mouse traps with him, or as he likes to call them “common man traps”.
The Small Common Man Trapping Kit
This is your typical Keyboard Commando (a.k.a. noob, a.k.a. sheeple)….don’t be like this guy. Learn now what you REALLY need before you sound like this guy! Don’t be a sheeple, be a wolf.
For those new to survival all the acronyms can be hard to wade through so I thought I would post a short list of common acronyms that you find on many popular survival related sites, including this one. Let’s get started!
BOB: Bug Out Bag. Your main survival kit. There should be enough supplies to last 3 days, or 72 hours, whichever comes first .
GHB: Get Home Bag. A small kit designed to get you home, back to your BOB. This should include minimal supplies, it’s only use is to give you just enough survival items to enable you to make it back to your longer term preps, roughly 12-24 hours worth. It may go hand in hand with your EDC.
INCH: I’m Never Coming Home kit. This is it, the BIG one, the big daddy kit. Most INCH kits include a little bit of everything. This kit is designed to enable you to start life over at your BOL (or elsewhere) should you have to evac and never look back. You must give consideration to the weight of your INCH kit, since most likely it will be everything you have, and you may have to carry it several miles.
BOV: Bug Out Vehicle. Your method of transportation for bugging out, usually from home to your BOL or maybe to the ends of the earth. No minivans allowed.
BOL: Bug Out Location. Your main survival location. This is where you go when your home is no longer safe and must be evacuated. Plans must also be made in case your primary BOL is inaccessible or becomes compromised. Having a backup BOL and even a third is a smart idea indeed!