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.
Like all things survival you need to LIVE IT day to day, not just stick it in a closet and hope you never have to use it! If you’re storing wheat and all hell breaks loose….what do you do? Bake bread of course! But do you know how?
If you are new to baking your own bread it can seem like a daunting task but it really isn’t. You don’t need yeast, sugar, baking soda, or really anything but flour and water. Everything else is optional. Here’s a basic recipe to get you started.
Super Easy Survival Bread (SESB)
1 cup of fine whole wheat flour (buy from store or grind your own)
2 tbsp. of olive oil (optional, also regular vegetable oil works too)
1 tsp. salt (optional, add more or less to taste)
1/2 cup of water
Mix all the ingredients in a bowl and scoop it togther into a ball. Lightly dust a cookie sheet, rock, or other flat surface with flour. Pour the dough ball out and knead for 5 mins. Roll out to about 1/8″ thin and bake at 350F for 20 mins.
Powers out? No oven? Put it in a dutch oven instead and cook it over a fire. No dutch oven? Throw it on a heated flat rock – or even in the ashes if you don’t mind some grit and charcoal flavoring - and flip it a couple of times till lightly brown and firm.
This will serve about 3-4 people if eaten as a side with a meal, or make about 2 sandwiches. The below nutritional info is for the entire loaf.
Nutritional info without olive oil
Nutritional info with olive oil
When I was a kid I was always in the woods, I practically grew up in them. I was homeschooled and still remember getting up at 5am every morning so I could finish all my work and be in the woods by noon. I admit when my Pa first told me people could eat acorns, I went right out and cracked open one and poped it in my mouth. YUCK! Talk about bitter! I figured only squirrels could eat something that awful. My Pa assured me that acorns are indeed edible, but they need a bit of work before they are ready for the dinner table.
Eating acorns is nothing new. The Indians here in North America ate them, in fact, they still eat them. They ate them whole, turned them into flour, and even made bread out of them. They’re nutritious and plentiful and if you’re afraid of gathering wild edibles for fear of grabbing the wrong plant, I’m sure you won’t have any problem recognizing acorns. All types of acorns throughout the country are edible.
Over the course of history it has been estimated that many more millions of tons of acorns have been consumed by humans than wheat, rice, and other grains. Preparing and eating them is easier than you might think too. You can make alot of different foods with the simple acorn. Believe it or not, there are recipes for acorn cheesecake and acorn enchiladas.
If you’re looking for acorn recipes then check out Suellen Ocean book Acorns and Eat ‘em. It’s 50 pages of great information. It includes a field guide to oaks, along with modern instructions on how to prepare and cook your acorns and various recipes. The California Oak Foundation is hosting a FREE PDF version of her book. Download it, print it, study it. The knowledge inside may save your life one day.
Preparing The Nuts
There are as many ways to prepare acorns as there are nuts on the ground. No matter how you go about it, the goal is to remove the tannic acid that makes acorns bitter. Some people like to remove the shells, some don’t. Some like to boil them, some like to soak them in running water. I shell and boil mine. A fist sized rock works great as a nutcracker, so does a hammer. It can be a bit of work, but there is a great device by Davebuilt Co that will crack and seperate your acorns with the turn of a handle. You can also put them in a burlap sack, pillow case, or even a ziplock bag and gently hit them with a hammer. After I shell them I like to grind the acorns into smaller pieces before boiling. This allows the tannic acid to be leached out more quickly.
Take the ground acorns and put them into a pot of already boiling water. As the acorns boil the water will become discolored. When the water is dark brown (every ten minutes or so), strain out the acorn meats and switch them to another pot of already boiling water. When switching the acorns from one pot of water to another, make sure the water is boiling before adding the acorns. Switching the acorns from boiling water to cold water can lock in the bitterness.
Continue this process until the acorn paste no longer tastes bitter. Generally speaking it usually takes 3 or 4 water changes. The amount of boiling you do will vary depending on your acorns and your patience. When most of the bitterness is gone lay out the acorn paste and allow it to dry.
Another way to leach out tannins from acorns is to put them in a mesh or burlap sack and leave them in a running stream for a week or so. The length of time and results will vary depending on the acorns, the water temperature and flow rate, and other factors.
Cooking And Storage
The wet meal can be used right away in a bread recipe, or dried and stored as flour is. It will keep as long as flour does if kept dry. You can store it in sealed mylar bags placed inside 5-gallon buckets. Don’t forget the oxygen absorbers. Here’s a great guide I wrote on Long Term Food Storage in case you’re curious.
Acorn is a heavy flour and your bread may fall apart if you don’t add a mixture of flours. You may want to mix a lighter flour such as wheat flour with the acorn meal. White flour, corn flour, cattail flour, and soy flour all will do.
One should prepare in leisure for what we may one day have to do in haste. Don’t wait till it’s too late to learn these skills. The acorns are coming off soon, if you have an oak tree in your yard grab a 5 gallon bucket and collect the fallen ones once they have turned brown. Better yet put a tarp or sheet under the tree and the acorns will nearly harvest themselves. It doesn’t get much easier than that!
I’ve had the opportunity to taste some of the Thrive food products including their sour cream powder, black beans, and the shredded cheddar cheese. I must say I was very impressed with the taste. Check out this video by Shelf Reliance, watch and learn as she demonstrates how to make a tasty black bean & rice salad using beans, rice, and a few other things.
I see A LOT of people (read more than I can count on my toes and fingers) stocking up on 1lb propane bottles. Ask yourself some questions….
Why exactly whould you stock up on propane this way? Why would using a 20lb tank be a problem? Do you plan to grab your stove and run like mad with it on a regular basis? Do you think it will be more portable? If so how will you carry 10-20 bottles?
Either way you should have just one to two 1lb bottles with you if you need to move quickly without a vehicle, you can’t carry 20 bottles with you or one 20lb bottle. And if you do have a vehice loading one tank vs several armfuls is much easier. Once I set my stove up I don’t move it, same mostly for my lanterns. I doubt most people holed up in their BOL will be dismantling their equipment often. If you’re moving lanterns around inside often then it’s a good sign that you need to buy a couple more, with the exception of one “walking lantern” (a LED Cranklight usually work better btw).
Stockpiling 1lb bottles is a bit silly to be honest. If you plan to use it for lanterns or need some propane for your BOB then buy a couple of bottles and a simple 1lb Propane Tank Refill Adapter. Buying in bulk saves your money for other preps, propane is no exception.You can get a 1lb to 20lb Propane Hose Adapter for about $20, and the 20lb tanks are $19 for a refill and $45 for an extra tank at Home Depot. At the average $3 for 1 lb it will cost $60 to buy the same amount in 1lb bottles, not to mention all the extra space 20 bottles will take up vs one tank and a 6ft hose.
Smarter, not harder!
Get the Camp Chef Outdoor Oven for only $155 (suggested retail $249), that’s 40% off!
Unleash 18,000 BTUs of portable cooking power! So you always wanted an Oven for camping? Here it is…the Camp Chef Outdoor Oven, a 2-in-1 combo Stovetop and Oven, so you can create a wide range of mouthwatering morsels. Ahh, the smell of sizzling bacon and farm-fresh eggs, along with sliced potatoes, cooked golden brown on the twin burner Stovetop. Mmmm! Out of the Oven come freshly baked muffins. Of course, you can use the Oven for making cookies, casseroles, Dutch oven dishes, pizza rolls, TV dinners and more.
Enjoy muffins, cookies, casseroles, and Dutch oven dishes in the outdoors with the Camp Chef Outdoor Oven. Despite its lightweight size and design, the Outdoor Camp Oven boasts over 18,000 total BTUs of cooking power for maximum oven temperatures of 400 degrees. Powered by one disposable one-pound can of propane, the Camp Oven can run on high heat for up to five hours, ensuring that you have plenty of power to get your baking done right.
Designed for ease of use and portability, the Camp Chef Outdoor Oven features a lid that folds up to reveal two burners with up to 7,500 BTUs of power each. The burners are easy to get going with convenient, matchless igniters. The stove’s folding lid with side arms doubles as a wind screen to retain burner heat, and the nonstick, enamel cooking surface is easy to clean. The Camp Oven comes complete with an oven thermometer and two oven racks, and can be adapted for use with the Camp Chef Bulk Tank Hose/Adapter (sold separately).
- Range/oven features two 7,500 BTU matchless igniter range burners
- Matchless igniter 3,000 BTU internal oven; comes with two oven racks
- Maximum oven temperature: 400 degrees with built in thermometer
- Cooks for up to 5 hours on high heat with one 1-pound can of propane
- Range measures 21 x 12 inches; oven interior measures 10 x 16 x 10 inches (LxWxH);
- Weight: 35 pounds
- 1-year limited warranty
- Great addition to your emergency preparedness kit
- Powered with a disposable 1-pound propane can or adapt for a bulk tank using the Camp Chef Bulk Tank Hose/Adapter
- Stainless steel construction
- Nonstick enamel cooking surface
- Two oven racks
- Weight: 35 pounds
An apartment size propane cookstove with a small oven is very efficient. Normal everyday usage is from 2 to 5 gallons a month. Now this is not a camp stove but a regular looking small apartment size propane kitchen stove. These small LP ranges are available in both 20″ and 24″ widths. Five gallons of propane is commonly called a 20 pound cylinder and are used on gas grills. They are avaliable at most any store or gas station and a single tank can last 4 months. You can get two 25 gallon cylinders (100 pound) and hook up with automatic switch over when the first tank is empty it switches to the full tank. Hook these up to a propane stove and you have one year supply of cooking for a family of four. This is just an estimate – as with everything survival your results may vary and you should test everything before your life depends on it.
Ooh yeah…in case you were wondering if this is a real tip, when Les Stroud (a.k.a. Survivorman) isn’t 5 days out in the woods eating grubs and spiders he uses one in his off grid log cabin to cook his food. Seriously.
As I write this Hurricane Irene is blasting up the east coast on a path that you don’t see too often. People who have never experienced a hurricane are going to be hit and most of them have no idea what to do. If you are in the path of Irene or any hurricane for that matter here are a few things you should know.
If you live on the coast board up your house with plywood and go inland. Don’t even think about riding it out. Do not go to a FEMA camp unless you have no other choice. You will be much better off if you can stay with a relative or rent a hotel that is out of the storms path. Don’t plan on coming back for 2-3 days (longer if your house is damaged). Make sure you have important papers such as your home owners insurance policy. Take as much ready-to-eat food and water that you can carry and having a Garrity Power 3 LED Crank Flashlight can be helpful. If you are not staying with a relative your biggest prep item during a hurricane is money. You will need enough to eat out for several day, to pay for a hotel and to put gas in your vehicle. $400-$500 should be enough unless your home is damaged and you cannot return for several weeks. In such a case most home owners insurance policies will reimburse you for all of your expences but this can take months and you need the money now.
If you live farther inland and plan to stay then make sure your house is secure and get your supplies ready. Plan to be without power, food and water for up to two weeks. You will need at least 2 gallons of water per person per day. If you live in a house your hot water heater will have about 40 gallons of water in it. Hook a short hose to the bottom drain and put the water in containers. The rest of your water you can store in 5 gallon buckets or plastic 55 gallon drums.
You’ll need a way to cook and have a fire. This can be done outside on the ground or in a charcoal or gas grill. Just remeber to store enough gas or charcoal to last at least two weeks and a lighter or box of matches. After your water sits for a few days remember to bring it to a gentle boil in a pot with a lid before drinking. This will kill any harmful bacteria and freshen the taste of the water. For emergencies I like to keep a 12″ Portable Grill handy at all times. It beats cooking on the ground any day and it can be fueled with charcoal, sticks, pine cones, or whatever you can find. You can also buy prepared food bars such as Datrex 3600 Emergency Food Bars. These are great becuase you don’t have to cook them and they are super portable. Each food bar has a self life of 5 years and provides enough calories for 3 days.
Next on the list is food. Look for easy to prepare foods that make very little mess. You’ll need at least 2 weeks worth as your local grocery store will probably be closed or the roads blocked off. Some good foods to stock up on are Ramen soup, rice, beans, canned tuna, mac and cheese, and canned pasta. These are all cheap, plentiful, and nutritious. If you hate all these foods that’s fine. Don’t buy what you won’t eat no matter how cheap it is. Just look for foods that can be dumped in a pot and heated and don’t plan any five course meals. try to provide 3 square means a day with at least 400-500 calories each meal.
You’re also going to need a Garrity Power 3 LED Crank Light and a 12 LED Hand Crank And Solar Powered Lantern. The American Red Cross Self-Powered AM/FM/NOAA Weather Radio is also worth it’s weight in gold (don’t even think about waiting it out without one!). Don’t forget your cell phone either. Chances are you will still be able to call your family and let them know you are ok and the Red Cross radio also comes with a cell phone charger to keep it all juiced up. Also make sure you stock up on a few 3″ pillar candles. You’ll need 1-2 for each room you use the most (living room, bathroom, kitchen, bedroom). A 3″ pillar candle will burn for days before going out.
Last but not least is a Adventure Medical First Aid Kit. Never underestimate nature or the situation you are in. Having a simple first aid kit can save your life or maybe even your neighbors. Just like the emergency radio, don’t plan on bugging in without a first aid kit.
You have to keep your wits about you in situations like there. Your best bet is usually to get out of the path of the storm but if you’ve made up your mind that you’re going to stay then be prepared. There’s simply no excuse for not being prepared for a hurricane. Make sure you beat the crowds to the store as food, water and emergency supplies sell out quickly. Stay away from doors and windows and make a “base camp” in the interior of your home. With a little bit of preparedness you can make yoursel much safer.