Make sure you cover the basic needs first. What good is 12,000 rounds of ammo, two battle rifles, BDUs, one flashlight, and one case of MREs after the first week? You must have a full plan to survive. Providing for just one year takes some serious dedication to reach that level. A couple of decks of cards, pens, papers, small note books, the list can go on and on and on. You have to be well rounded. Can you skin a buck, run a trap line, drop a tree with a chain saw, plant a garden, protect your garden, preserve your food? Do you have dogs? Do you have enough stored food for them? How about pest control, mice traps, squirrels, rabbits, coons, ground hogs, can sure tear up a garden do you have traps for them? Think it through: Chipmunks, gophers, garden pest, and bug control. Mosquito netting is the best thing you can buy if you plan on being outdoors.
Sit down and try to put a list together for one year of supplies. You know just the basics like where are you going to get water every day. How are you going to cook? How do you heat in the winter? Have you ever tried to chop a years supply of wood? Do you have children? What kind of medicine will you need for them in 1 year? What kind of non power games do you have for them to do? Does you wife sew or crotchet? Do you have some supplies like that put away. A knitted wool hat or mittens sure would be nice if you didn’t have them when you left. How about washing clothes?
You did put away enough toilet paper for a year, right? You also protected this toilet paper with traps or poison so the mice and chipmunks didn’t chew it all, up right? How about feminine products for a year. What about yeast infections? I know not the most pleasant thing to talk about but a must if you are seriously planning to survive. I talked to an old timer once that grew up in the Depression and I asked him what did you use for toilet paper his words “Last year Sears and Roebuck catalog, oh and by the way I sold all my furs to them too.” What would be a good catalog today? How about some thick old city telephone books, might be a good choice to store away for back up toilet paper.
These are some thing you must consider. Walk your land, think about every tree you have, how much open space you have, how much water, wildlife, and shelter you have. A plan cannot be made until one knows what he needs!
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.
When most people get into survival and prepping they are excited. Usually they are smart enough to identify a threat to their family…be it a hurricane, solar storm, or a severe twinky shortage. But they are so overloaded with information that they just don’t know where to start. EDC, BOB, INCH, GHB…..with so many kits all requiring different levels of equipment it’s easy to see why most people just don’t know where to start.
In my quest to make you more prepared I’ve created yet another kit, but this one has a much different purpose. It’s not to get you to or from somewhere, it’s to get you started preparing! I call it the Basic 24. It provides everything you need for a small scale 24 hour event. Most small scale events that do not require evacuation last less than 24 hours. “But it’s only 24 hours. I’ll be fine!” you say. Maybe so but this kit will (1. make you much more comfortable during the event and (2. provide a foundation of prepping that you can easily expand.
So what’s in the Basic 24?
In most events that last less than 24 hours you will be in your home. The exception would be a hurricane or flash floods. In such cases simply take your Basic 24 kit with you when you bug out and adjust as necessary.
1. Water – 1 gallon of water per person. If you live in an apartment or have an instant hot water heater then the easiest thing to do is buy 1 gallon jugs of purified water. If you have a hot water heater then all you need is a small section of hose and a few containers (2-liter bottles, milk jugs, 5 gallon buckets, etc.). Your average hot water heater will have 40 gallons of potable water in it. Simply shut off the valves, flip your breaker, and hook a hose up to the bottom drain. Just remember that the water will be hot for several hours so you will need to let it cool some before using.
2. Food – 3 easy to make meals per person. You’re going to be at home, but you may not have power. You can probably eat what’s in your fridge and on your shelves and be just fine. If you want to make sure you have enough ready to eat food on hand make a point to buy a few cans of tuna or pasta. Just make sure you buy things that don’t need alot of preparing or cooking and that you already eat now. Don’t forget the manual can opener! Your goal here is to provide yourself with a full belly and about 2,000 calories.
3. Lighter – 1 bic style disposable lighter. There’s just something about fire that soothes a man’s soul. You’re going to need some way to make fire and nothing beats a disposable lighter.
4. Candles – 3 pillar candles. You’re going to want light at night, it’s just human nature. Chances are your power will be out and having a few candles on hand will let you add light to any room when you need it. Forget about tea light candles, they are cheap as dirt but they only last about an hour whereas a 3″ pillar candle will last for several days. Get enough so that you can light up a couple of rooms at a time.
5. Flashlight – 1 led flashlight. Make sure you get a flashlight with LED bulbs. They use a tiny amount of your precious battery power and they won’t break like a regular bulb. Stanley makes an excellent flashlight that I just love called the Stanley Tripod LED Flashlight. It’s cheap, practical, and works great. I use mine all the time and I have never changed the dollar store batteries I first put in it over 3 years ago. It’s really amazing. Just, no matter what flashlight you get make sure you keep extra batteries on hand.
6. Small Charcoal Grill – 1 small grill with lighter fluid and charcoals. This is an iffy for some people. You have to decide if the weight and space is worth it. If you’re staying put inside a city then it will mean more to you than if you’re bugging out in the woods. There are also other ways to heat your food, charcoal being just one of them, but it can mean the different between eating cold chef boyardee out of a can or having a nice warm meal in your belly if you live in an apartment with a patio. In most events worthy enough to break out your Basic 24 kit the power will be off and you’ll want some way to warm food or boil unclean water. Remember to keep a small bag of charcoals and lighter fluid on hand but small sticks, pine cones, and twigs work just as well. Personally I like to keep a 12″ Portable Grill handy, but you can also get the grill, charcoal, and lighter fluid pre-packaged in one easy to store grill called the Blue Rhino Insta-Light Disposable Charcoal BBQ Grill. Either way those pork-n-beans will taste a whole lot better on a grill. Just make sure you use it outside and don’t attempt to heat you house with it.
7. Hand Crank Emergency Radio – When something happens the last thing you want is to be completly cut off from the outside world. There’s no worse feeling in the world than being suddenly cut off and left alone, in fact it can demoralize you so bad you can lose all hope of living in long term survival situations. Your emergency radio is your life line to the outside and should be treated as such. It’s one of the few items I recommend splurging a bit on in your Basic 24 kit. A good radio will last years without a bit of trouble and will be the backbone to your more advanced bug out bag. The American Red Cross Self-Powered Weather Radio is a great emergency radio/flashlight/cell phone charger that can be powered by hand crank, batteries, or even solar power. It will keep you and your family safe for years to come.
8. Cell Phone – your cell phone. This is also another important means of communication. While a Emergency radio will let you hear NOAA and other important emergency messages, your cell phone will keep you connected to your family and friends. Just make sure you keep it charged or get a solar cell phone charged just in case. The American Red Cross Self-Powered Weather Radio includes a cell phone charger.
9. Basic First Aid Kit – 1 basic first aid kit. You’re looking for a little bit more than band-aids, but less than a full field kit. You probably won’t need to apply a splint or tourniquet a missing limb but you should be prepared for bites, burns, stings, and general cuts and pains. This is an emergency you’re preparing for, so don’t throw your life so willing to the side just to save a couple of bucks. Buy a kit or it may be the last thing you ever wished you did. You can grab a good kit for just $18 and some change if you get the Outdoor First Aid 205-Piece Kit. It has all the basic essentials to see you through most any small emergency and it even comes with instructions.
10. Extra Blanket/Hand Fan – This one is your call. If it’s the middle of July, then grab a small foldable hand fan. I always hate sitting on the couch sweating like a pig when the power is out and a small hand fan is all it takes to make you a bit more comfortable. Now if you’re in the middle of December it’s a different story. A house without a heater or fireplace can get very cold at night, do not underestimate it! A wool or emergency space blanket can keep you warm all night long. You probably already have a few extra blankets lying around your house so take a moment and put them with your emergency supplies.
There you go, a simple easy to follow preparedness plan that will get you on the right track. The Basic 24 can give you 24 hours of peace and comfort in an otherwise SHTF world. These 10 items will make sure you still feel your best mentally and physically during an emergency plus they are the foundation for a bigger bug out bag in the future. You can also expand your Basic 24 by 48 or even 72 hours by simply adding more food and water.