Home2019October (Page 2)

Raising chickens is a relatively low-cost and trouble free way to provide fresh eggs or meat for your family. Right now when everything is fine they not only provide more nutritious and flavorful eggs for my home, but they are cheaper than store bought eggs as well. Should some disaster strike we would be able to rely on them for a source of food that with some attention and care could even be self-sustaining. I would just need to speak to the guy with the Rooster down the road and arrange some form of barter.

The trouble free aspect of this is less of a hard and fast rule and more of a guideline. I say this because on most days you really don’t have to fuss with the chickens at all. We have feeders that hold enough food to last for about three days. I have built an automatic chicken waterer that holds 5 gallons of water for them and this lasts at least a week even in hot weather. We have nine chickens now but only 5 of laying maturity and my normal routine is to simply go out to the coop and gather up fresh eggs.

About the only place we run into any kind of maintenance outside of cleaning the coop once a week and the regular feeding and watering is what I like to call escapee patrol. Our coop is completely contained with a 12 foot run surrounded by chicken wire on all sides. I have a door from the chicken coop to our garden though so when that door is open the chickens also have free range of the garden which is only secured by a four foot high fence. We have one chicken that flies over this four foot fence almost daily. I have taken to calling her Ginger from the lead character in the movie Chicken Run about a hen that tries unceasingly to escape from her own coop.

Ginger isn’t concerned with running away obviously as she never really leaves our yard. She keeps relatively close to her sisters on the other side of the fence, but she can’t stand to be trapped in there apparently. This wouldn’t really be a problem if she would just fly her white butt back into the garden every night but that is one trick she does not seem to want to perform. If I am here, around dark she will start pacing back and forth waiting to get inside the coop again. I walk out there and she runs up to greet me like I am her savior and as I let her back in the coop I imagine the other hens mocking her for trying to escape every day and never going anywhere.

When I haven’t been home, Ginger will some nights choose to escape the ground into a nearby Cherry tree that we have. I have pulled her out of that tree a few times too and I would really rather just not have to deal with her exploits anymore. I know her egg production is off and can’t imagine where she might be laying eggs when she is out all day. It certainly isn’t in our coop.

It was because of Ginger that I started to research how to clip the wings of your chicken for ideas and found that the process is very simple. Clipping the wings on your chicken simply prevents them from flying over the garden fence but they do grow back eventually. We have to do the same for the indoor bird too so it was my turn to experiment with trimming the wings on our chickens.

The process

The process is simple and I was able to find a video online that shows just how easy it is from . You basically just need a pair of sharp scissors to perform the wing trimming.

Step 1 – Get the chicken obviously. I don’t know if I would ever be able to capture Ginger unless I got her into a corner, but she does have a weakness for Mealworms. All I need to do is shake the container of Mealworms and she will come back into the coop as soon as I open the door.

Step 2- Fan out the Wing – You are going to want to cut the 10 primary flight feathers only and at a point below the major coverts that are closest to their body. The video below will show you clearly what to cut. Some people recommend only cutting a third of the primary wings, but this would seem to give you less time on the ground for your hen. I would prefer to cut them as far back as is healthy for the bird but still guarantees they wont be able to fly. Additionally, some people argue for cutting both wings while others maintain that only cutting one is sufficient. I am going to try just one wing to see how that goes.

That’s it! Simple process that should keep Ginger grounded for several months at a minimum and back in the coop laying eggs where she is safer and more productive for us. What chicken stories or advice do you have?


Other self-sufficiency and preparedness solutions recommended for you:

Healthy Soil + Healthy Plants = Healthy You

The vital self-sufficiency lessons our great grand-fathers left us

Knowledge to survive any medical crisis situation

Liberal’s hidden agenda: more than just your guns

Build yourself the only unlimited water source you’ll ever need

4 Important Forgotten Skills used by our Ancestors that can help you in any crisis

Secure your privacy in just 10 simple steps

Raising chickens is a relatively low-cost and trouble free way to provide fresh eggs or meat for your family. Right now when everything is fine they not only provide more

The number one thing I prepare for is a POWER OUTAGE when SHTF. Every SHTF series of events, includes the inevitable power outage. In fact, whenever the power goes out, even temporarily, I wonder if SHTF has arrived. I lived through several hurricanes in Houston, Texas where the power went out for a week. I’ve also traveled to Beirut, Lebanon several times where I learned how they deal with daily rolling power outages. I find it interesting that Beirut has black outs each day and people manage to persist with their normal daily lives. One day, in Beirut, I was having my hair cut when the power went out, but the hairdresser simply pulled out a flashlight and continued my hair in the semi dark.

I’m not going to discuss basic prepping in this article. Instead, I am going to present a list of things to consider which relate directly to short-term, long-term and permanent power outages. In fact, as you develop your preps and preparation plans it is essential to consider every aspect of your preparations with regard to short-term, long-term and permanent SHTF situations. I’d not have considered all these things if I didn’t have the experiences without power. I hope these ideas help others in their preparations.

Plan ahead for living through a power outage

1. Getting stuck in an Elevator. One of the number one concerns of residents in Beirut is not getting stuck in the elevator each day during their power outage. They often live in buildings with many floors of stairs but most people opt to take the stairs rather than risk the elevator. I witnessed someone nearly every day trapped in the elevator. Unfortunately, some of the elderly cannot climb stairs. I learned never to take the elevator after this experience because you really never know when you could get trapped. People die or become seriously injured sometimes because they try to get out and fall in the elevator shaft. Consider the number of people in elevators each day at any given moment! One day, unknown to anyone, the power could go out and strand all those people inside the elevator. I justify taking the stairs as not only the safe option, but an opportunity to get a little exercise.

stairs

Make sure you take the stairs if you don’t want to be stuck in the elevator.

2. Rig your house to have back up lights. In Beirut many people have cleverly put strings of lights all around the house attached to a car battery. There are two light switches so when the power goes out they simply flip the other switch. I’ve thought of a series of variations for this same idea. In addition to LED string lights, I also have solar string lights. In addition to a car battery, I also have a solar generator and solar power sources. I found solar lights are generally listed as gardening decor. After experiencing Beiruit’s daily power outage, I realized no matter how many candles and matches you store, these will run out one day. Keeping your solar items in Faraday cages is most likely the only long-term lighting solution for a variety of SHTF events.

 

3. Keep keys with you to your home/business/buildings instead of relying on electric card keys. Not everyone needs to worry about card keys but If you do rely on a card key to enter your apartment or buildings this could be a grave problem. You certainly don’t want to get locked out during an emergency so it is wise to keep regular keys with you even if most of the time you rely on card keys.

4. Make sure you own some manual Tools. You need a variety of manual tools and back up tools in case they break. During a hurricane I couldn’t find my manual can opener and panicked searching around for it for over an hour one day. Now I have six can openers. I try to find very sturdy, all metal manual tools. The cheap ones are not reliable or worth the risk. I want to purchase a wringer washer like my grandma used to use. It is a shame that we lost contact with manual tools and how to use them. During hurricanes I’m amazed how fast dirty clothes accumulate, especially if the weather is hot and you have difficulties getting clean. I can only imagine how smelly people will become in SHTF.

5. Prepare your refrigerator and freezer. Learn which foods spoil first so you know what order in which to eat the food during the power outage. Eggs can last longer outside the fridge if you coat them in olive oil. During the hurricanes I had about 30 jars of pickles in my fridge. Pickles can last outside the fridge so long as every day you skim the top of the jar. I have a butter saver which is the old-fashioned way to preserve butter. The butter saver is a ceramic cup that you fill with butter and place inside another cup with cold water; you have to change the water each day to keep it fresh. If you keep water bottles in the freezer you can prolong the time your freezer will keep the food cold and then switch some of the refrigerator food into the freezer. You don’t want to open the fridge or freezer too much when the power is out so you have to know what is inside, plan carefully and close the door quickly.

 

Also, you don’t want to throw away your food. During a hurricane people often get together and grill the contents of their freezer with their neighbors. In Beiruit I was surprised to see how people cook and save leftovers without relying constantly on power. I didn’t know many things really don’t need refrigeration if you eat it by the next day, like rice or cheese. People with gas stoves fare better than those with electric stoves during hurricanes.

poweroutageukraine-1

Power outages are too common for you not to be prepared for them.

6. Keep lots of fresh fruit in your house if you think a power outage is coming. Fresh fruit really doesn’t need to be kept chilled and this is one of my last second hurricane preps. During hurricane season I constantly have extra fresh fruit around the house just in case. I think this is a great SHTF practice all the time.

7. Utilize the last drops of water. Being without a fresh source for water becomes an issue much more quickly than you imagine. Obviously you need water for so many daily activities! When I learn a hurricane is on the way the first thing I do is fill every single container I have with water and cover them with plastic wrap. I put containers of water in the bathrooms and by the bed. I have an old-fashioned water and pitcher which is great for hand washing. I save the old water too, and reuse it for some other purpose. I have a Water Bob that I use to store last-minute water in the bathtub. Also, when the water goes off you can still suck a few more cups out of the pipes for flushing the toilet. If you are lucky enough to foresee any kind of power outage, I can’t stress this last-minute collecting enough. When you think you have enough, think again and keep filling those containers.

I have a water barrel for long-term water needs but I plan to rely on that after my short-term water supply is finished. I learned from hurricanes that when the water goes out, you must beware of the first water out of the tap because it is contaminated. I filter my water anyway, but people always get sick drinking contaminated water after the hurricane. Get in the habit of drinking the juice from the can of fruit and cooking with the water from the can of vegetables.

Make cleaning up easier in a Power Outage

8. Baby wipes and Facial Wipes. I stock up on baby wipes before a hurricane because without the power it is hard stay clean. I really appreciate face wipes so I can wash my face without using any water. This prep clearly doesn’t last forever but I figure that the longer you can maintain a ‘normal’ life the better. I plan to prolong ‘normal’ as long as possible, especially for my children.

9. Have Paper plates, napkins and silverware. These are a staple for the hurricane. Again, this isn’t a long-term prep but it maintains a normal feeling. It takes a lot of water to wash your plates and silverware. Also, it is a good idea to have lots of trash bags because the paper plates end up creating more garbage. The garbage piles up very badly even during a week-long power outage.

10. Flush the Toilet with a bucket of water. If you save the water you use, reuse the water to flush the toilet as long as you can. You’ll eventually need a camping toilet or a bucket. Cat littler is a good idea for the toilet/bucket. Plus, it is essential you bury the contents of the toilet. However, I was pleased that my toilet flushed during outages. The easiest thing to do is scoop water from a nearby pool and flush the toilet. I keep a large glass jug (old wine jug) by the toilet for the hurricane. During hurricanes there are always reports of people in apartment complexes around Houston who go to the bathroom in the hallways. You have to wonder what is wrong with people who can’t figure out a plan for a week without power when they knew a hurricane was coming in advance and had an opportunity to prepare. The lesson here is that people will do surprisingly disgusting things not long after SHTF.

PAKISTAN-ENERGY-ELECTRICITY

This picture taken on February 24, 2013 shows Pakistani youth crossing a street during a nationwide power blackout in Karachi. Pakistan was hit by a nationwide blackout for more than two hours after the breakdown of a major plant caused power stations to stop working across the country, officials said on February 25. AFP PHOTO/Asif HASSAN

11. Stores will become EMPTY faster than you can imagine. If people notice a need to prepare in advance and that they are not prepared, the food and supplies will disappear within seconds. When we experienced our first hurricane we didn’t understand the need to prepare. By the time we went to the grocery store there was NOTHING there but a can of squeeze cheese. The squeeze cheese has become a family joke of what happens if you fail to prepare in time. I’ve been to stores immediately after a hurricane. It is so weird to see stores as they start to restock but the power is still out or unreliable. The credit card machines don’t work and they only accept cash. Gas won’t pump. Some unethical venders raise the prices even though it is illegal. I’ve been to stores before a hurricane and seen people fighting over cans of food. Right before a hurricane in Houston it is impossible to find a bottle of water. I read that statistically people have only three days worth of food in their house. Once, at a Denny’s, a waitress was lamenting to me that a thief came and emptied the contents of her kitchen, which she said was in total: a package of Funyuns, a six-pack of orange Slice and a package of Marlboro Lights. I fear that this woman’s testimony of her kitchen supplies is more typical than I would imagine. In Beruit even the poorest survivors of the recent wars always stock rice and powered milk.

 

12. Life without 911. It is not a comforting feeling knowing that you are completely on your own regarding medical problems and safety. I put burglar bars at my house just because I needed that extra feeling of security, especially during hurricanes. I can’t imagine a power outage without self-defense. I’ve heard of looting and rioting in other areas immediately when a power outage begins. I’m proud to say that my neighborhood in Houston has signs that say residents are armed. I’ve never once heard of reports of looting during hurricanes here. I’m certain that the reality of armed citizens keeps away looters and others who would take advantage of a power outage. Also, if you know that you can’t go to the hospital, and maybe the hospital generators are about to go out too, you learn to be extra careful. During the power outage you have to be able to put out a fire yourself, so stock up on fire extinguishers. Fireproofing your home is a good idea.

13. People die doing weird things when the power goes out. After a hurricane there are always a strange series of reports on the news about how people died in dumb ways. Once, a lady cleaned her bathroom with the windows and door closed and the chemical fumes killed her. She was found dead after the hurricane because she lived alone. The lesson here is that when the power goes out, especially if you are alone, take extra precautions with your safety. The elderly always die during hurricanes because they fail to regulate their temperatures or run out of medicine. This means, if you are at risk you really need to make sure you don’t run out of medicine, have a solar fan or some way to keep cool/warm. When I believe a power outage is pending, I check up on my elderly neighbors and offer to help them get supplies. After hurricanes people drive into water and drown. During the power outage, people play in water outside and it turns out that the water is filled with fire ants, rats, roaches, dead cats, dead dogs, worms, fleas, snakes and the occasional alligator. Some people become immediately unhinged when the power goes out and are ready to kill someone over a can of food.

bangladesh_blackout_ap_650

14. Beware of mass evacuations. I’ve witnessed multiple mass evacuations out of Houston. First, people become panicked. Second, everyone runs out of gas. Third, the gas stations run out of gas. Fourth, the freeways become parking lots. In one mass evacuation a bus from a nursing home exploded into flames because it over heated. One of my friends was in an evacuation and he mentioned that he, his wife, his five kids and two dogs all became over heated and suffered from heat sickness complete with gastrointestinal issues. Basically, avoid mass evacuations by trying to find another route if you must leave. I think more people died in the mass evacuation than the hurricane itself.

15. Create a ‘last minute’ shopping list. It is possible you might get the opportunity to do some quick last second preparations before SHTF. Have in mind a list of warning signs which indicate when you will run out for last-minute supplies. Tell you family if they see certain events begin to happen that they should immediately stock up on water. For example, my family knows that if North Korea bombs South Korea or if a nuke goes off anywhere in the world they promised to immediately stop at the store and buy extra water. This is one of my triggers, along with if I know a hurricane is coming or if some huge terrorist attack happens in the USA. Even if the lights don’t go out, it is never stupid to have bought extra water. In Beirut the people who have survived the recent wars are very paranoid about leaving the house if they suspect any sort of violence is possible. Thus, if they need last-minute supplies they refuse to travel further than about a block from home.

16. Act like everyone else during SHTF. You certainly don’t want everyone around you to become aware that you are not suffering from a lack preparations like they are. When the government comes after the hurricane to hand out water and bananas I always get mine like everyone else. Even if you only accept a hand out in order to trade it later, just act in need like everyone else. I do not have a plan to accept vaccinations if the government insists we take them during SHTF. I feel they could easily taint medicine, food and water. I also believe that if certain things happen in SHTF the government might offer food if you trade in guns.

 

17. Beware of FEMA shelters. Luckily I have not been to a shelter during a power outage in Houston but I know multiple people who shared their experiences. They didn’t feel safe sleeping in a giant room with strangers, there is not enough privacy and there are always reports of rapists and thieves at these shelters. They never have enough supplies. After Hillary mentioned ‘fun camps for adults’ I always wonder if they really want to help you with these shelters or if they will use the crisis to create concentration camps or reconditioning camps. In Houston, these FEMA shelters pop up for a variety of reasons; power outages, flooding, chemical spills and large apartment fires. They round people up onto buses and deliver them to a make shift FEMA shelter at a school or a giant sports stadium. I’ve seen some schools have watch towers like prisons. Sometimes they relocate students from public schools to a shelter without parental notification until later. Whatever the case is about these FEMA shelters, now or in the future, I do not plan to ever go to one for any reason.

18. Boards for your windows. During hurricanes everyone puts boards on their windows in order to keep debris from breaking them. I think boards are a great prep for power outages because you’d not want to have a broken window, they deter people from breaking in and it secures privacy. I also like large wooden privacy screens and wooden shutters. Black out curtains would become essential for a long-term power outage so that you don’t draw attention to yourself.

19. Own backup Radios. After hurricanes I realized how important crank radios are for news and a connection to the outside world. I know this is a common preparation but I’m stressing the need to have back up crank radios with phone chargers. It will be important to remain updated as much as possible and any information you can gain about what is going on during SHTF will be helpful.

20. Plan family activities and fun when the black out starts. When everyone is nervous, obsessed over the news and the power outage begins it is easy to just sit there, waiting and fretting. I always feel sick to my stomach with anxiety when the hurricane starts. Having been through multiple power outages, I find that especially for the well-being of my kids, it is a good idea to make an effort to have a family dinner with candles, play some games and celebrate the time you have together. Plus, when you plan a family night in reaction to a power outage you don’t feel like a victim and you can de-stress a little. Some of my favorite family memories actually happened during power outages.


Other self-sufficiency and preparedness solutions recommended for you:

Healthy Soil + Healthy Plants = Healthy You

The vital self-sufficiency lessons our great grand-fathers left us

Knowledge to survive any medical crisis situation

Liberal’s hidden agenda: more than just your guns

Build yourself the only unlimited water source you’ll ever need

4 Important Forgotten Skills used by our Ancestors that can help you in any crisis

Secure your privacy in just 10 simple steps

The number one thing I prepare for is a POWER OUTAGE when SHTF. Every SHTF series of events, includes the inevitable power outage. In fact, whenever the power goes out,

Being prepared means being prepared all the time; at least in my book it does. That can be a bit challenging at times, especially since we don’t really know what life is going to throw our way. That’s why I always carry a complete survival kit as part of my EDC, along with emergency equipment in my car. This includes a variety of food items, so that I always have something to eat with me.

Granted, there are few places where you can drive in this great land of ours, where you aren’t going to find food to eat. Even so, I’ve been in a few. I’ve also been stranded in my car a number of times, whether because of mechanical failure or simply being stuck in traffic. At those times, it’s nice to have something to eat, especially something for the kids to eat. They just don’t understand phrases like, “There isn’t a McDonald’s here in the middle of nowhere.”

Keeping food in your car can also help out with a number of other emergency and semi-emergency situations, such as low blood sugar, heat exhaustion and just low energy. So it really makes sense to keep food in the car, even if you’re not thinking bug out or getting stranded. Now the only question is, what to keep? Here are the types of things I find useful to keep in mine.

Water

I always start out by putting a couple of gallons of water in the car. I know some people prefer to use bottles, but I find that I can carry more water in less space, if I use gallons. If I need to drink that water, I can easily pour it into water bottles; but if I need to use it for the car, gallons are more convenient.

The water bottle in this picture is aluminum. I always use metal water bottles, because they can be put in the fire. So, I can use this water bottle to purify water, to heat up water for coffee and to heat up water for soup. That’s a whole lot better than using a plastic water bottle and needing to have something extra for heating up water.

Gatorade Powder

I live in a hot part of the country, so it’s not unusual to overheat and become dehydrated from sweating too much. Many people deal with that here by drinking copious amounts of Gatorade. Carrying liquid Gatorade in bottles is one option, but it takes up space. Since I’m carrying water anyway, I tend to carry the powdered Gatorade, rather than the bottles.

Of course, the container of powdered Gatorade is pretty large too; about the size of a number 10 can. So for the car, I just dump some of it into a labeled. This jar held pickles at one time, until I cleaned it out and repurposed it for my Gatorade. A plastic container would work too.

You might want some instant coffee, as well as your Gatorade, especially if you do a lot of driving at night. With the metal water bottle and a way to start fires, you’ll be all set to make yourself a cup of coffee, even if you are in the middle of nowhere.

Jerky

My favorite snack food is jerky. Nutritious, low calorie and it is meat; what more could you ask for? The American Indians made jerky as survival food and our early ancestors learned that from them. While there are other places in the world which make something similar, our jerky tradition goes back to those early Indians.

Jerky also provides you with something that you can make a meal out of. Mix it with Ramen noodles and come dried veggies and you’ve got a fairly decent soup; something that can keep you going and warm you up on a cold night.

Just remember that you will need to replace your jerky periodically, if you don’t eat it. Heat will draw the oils out of it, drying it even farther.

Ramen & Dried Vegetables

Good old Ramen is the college staple. I think every college student goes through a time when they live off of it. It’s a great source of carbohydrates to give you energy to keep you going. Mix it with some cut up jerky and some dehydrated vegetables and you can have a much heartier soup.

This kind of Ramen comes with the dried vegetables already mixed in. I usually dry my own, but I’m out of them until harvest time, so I bought the kind that comes with veggies. While a bit more expensive, it really doesn’t cost all that much. Besides, it comes with a cup to mix it in.

Dry Fruit

Speaking of carbohydrates, fruit is another excellent source for them. If you have someone with low blood sugar, giving them fruit is much safer than giving them a candy bar. The natural fructose sugar is much easier for the body to digest and won’t shock their system like candy will.

Dried fruit also provides you with something that’s easy to take along, if you have to leave your car for any reason; whether due to emergency, taking a hike or for work. A bag of dried fruit in your pocket can keep away hunger pains for the whole afternoon.

Canned Fruit

Canned fruit, like dried fruit, is a great source of carbohydrates and sugar. Some people prefer it. I wouldn’t want to carry this around in a backpack, due to the extra weight; but last I checked, that much weight isn’t going to bother anyone’s car.

These mandarin oranges and applesauce are “canned” in plastic cups, with foil lids. That works well for short-term canning; but not for long-term (more than a year). The plastic might release some chemicals into the fruit during hot times, so you want to be careful about that. Even so, canned fruit can be much more refreshing than dried when you need something to eat.

Granola Bars

I’m almost as big a fan of granola bars for emergency food as I am of jerky. It’s worth spending the money to buy the better brands, even though they are considerably more expensive. But the amount of nutrition you get from those better brands makes them worth the money.

Granola bars are great, in that they are an ideal pick-me-up sort of snack, packing a lot of carbohydrates into a small amount of food. Watch out for the ones with chocolate or yoghurt, as those ingredients can melt, making a mess for you to deal with.

Nuts & Sunflower Seeds

Nuts are a good source of both fats and protein. Of all the nutrients we eat, protein is one of the most important, as the body can’t really synthesize it well, without having consumed proteins to break down into amino acids. Fats digest slower than carbohydrates, providing you with long-term energy to burn. Eating a combination of fats and carbohydrates together will keep you going for hours.

I always keep sunflower seeds on hand, as well. Like nuts, they provide you with protein and fats, but they also do something else; they help keep you awake. If you’re driving long distances, especially at night, eating sunflower seeds while you are driving will keep you active enough that you can probably keep driving all the way through the night.

Hard Candies & Gum

These might be a bit surprising, but I have good reason for keeping them in my car. First of all, hard candies are great for that quick burst of sugar, when you need some energy. They’re a whole lot safer to eat than taking energy drinks too. But they also work to help you if you have a sore throat and don’t have any throat lozenges around. Sometimes, I just carry the throat lozenges, and use them as hard candy.

Peppermint is also useful for settling an upset stomach or relieving pain. Peppermint essential oil is one of the best ways to relieve headaches there is. So if you’re in pain, have a headache or have indigestion, mints are nice to have.

The gum isn’t as much for use as candy, as it is for relieving the pressure in your ears, when changing altitude quickly. If you’ve spent any time traveling by air or in the mountains, you’re familiar with the need to pop your ears every once in a while. Chewing gum helps with that. It can also help to keep you awake while driving at night, just like the sunflower seeds.

Breakfast Cereal

This is for the kiddies. If you have small children, breakfast cereals, especially sweet breakfast cereals are one of the easiest ways of quieting them down, when they are hungry. Not only do they like the taste, but they like eating the cereal out of these cool little containers. Yeah, you can put it in baggies too; but for the price, these are worth it.

Doritos

Many people have touted Doritos as a fire starter. Actually, what they are is a good tinder for a fire.

The combination of the dried corn and the oils they are cooked in, make the chips burn well. You can even ignite the with a spark, let alone using a flame to get them going.

If you don’t need them for a fire, I suppose you can always eat them. Doritos, like any other chips, are a good source of carbohydrates.

Being made of corn, rather than potato, they probably digest a little slower; so they’ll help you feel full longer, than if you were just eating potato chips.

Spices

This is another one that you might think is a bit strange; but there is good reason for it.

Whether you’re in an actual survival situation or you’re just stranded somewhere, there’s a good chance that you’ll end up eating things that you might otherwise not want to eat.

But when you’re hungry, you go for what’s available, right?

But that doesn’t mean that you have to choke it down if you don’t like it. Rather, bring some spices with you, so that you can make it more appealing. It’s amazing what you can do with just a few spices, especially if they are stronger flavors that you like.

Both of the container styles shown below were bought on eBay.

The ones with the red stoppers are small test tubes and the others are just miniature containers. I wrote on them with a Sharpie marker and I’d recommend covering that with tape, so that the marking doesn’t wipe off. Put the closed containers in a small zipper bag, so that nothing can rub against the lids and open them.


Other self-sufficiency and preparedness solutions recommended for you:

Healthy Soil + Healthy Plants = Healthy You

The vital self-sufficiency lessons our great grand-fathers left us

Knowledge to survive any medical crisis situation

Liberal’s hidden agenda: more than just your guns

Build yourself the only unlimited water source you’ll ever need

4 Important Forgotten Skills used by our Ancestors that can help you in any crisis

Secure your privacy in just 10 simple steps

Being prepared means being prepared all the time; at least in my book it does. That can be a bit challenging at times, especially since we don’t really know what

In the scenario where you and your family members would have to be able to rely on yourselves for a while or maybe even an indefinite time, first aid and home medical care should be among the skills you possess. That’s why making sure you acquire them should be among your key interests if you’re getting prepared for the worst that may come. No one is saying you should gain the skills of a neurosurgeon overnight, of course, but being able to craft up some home remedies and knowing a thing or two about what home care strategies to use for common ailments isn’t that hard. Luckily, the online community is ripe with advice and recipes for home remedies, so there are plenty of sources to learn from.

But while there’s an abundance of knowledge on what home remedies can be used for plenty of common health problems or injuries and such, not everyone learning about these things thinks about the needed tools too. If you read up on the various natural home remedies you can use for each type of common illness, you will see that some of them don’t really require much props besides a bandage, some massage and maybe a good night’s sleep.

We’re not going to go through all that here and now. Anyone can pretty much figure out how to massage a strained wrist or how to put a tight bandage over a light wound. The challenging part lies with crafting your own natural remedies out of plants and household ingredients. Most people only read up on this when they are already dealing with the issue. But since preppers always think things ahead and being ready for the down to earth practicalities of it all, you should also have a very clear image of the how-to involved, together with the tools and everyday household items needed for most of these natural cures. Here are our top picks, as well as the things you can use them for.

A Mortar and Pestle is excellent for grinding up herbs to be used in home remedies.

1. Mortar and pestle

This is the basic tool needed for crushing the plants or other medicine ingredients together into a form which is better absorbed by the human body. You will be able to use the mortar and pestle for a wide variety of cooking needs as well, not to mention the medical ones. If you make yourself a hefty supply of basic pills (like aspirin), you will be able to use the mortar and pestle for much more than natural remedies. For example, crushing some aspirin into a fine powder and applying it onto a bandage before putting it on a wound can greatly speed up the healing.

Related Content: Medicine to stock up on for when there is no doctor around

2. Salt and Vinegar

Salt and vinegar are substances you’d better stock up on as well. You can use them as carriers for a wide variety of natural extracts (which you craft using the mortar and pestle mentioned above, together with alcohol and bottles, as we’ll explain below). Salt can also be used for disinfecting areas in your house, killing flea eggs and thus keeping infestation at bay, (or even disinfecting small infected areas of your skin, like a nasty itch or a flaky scalp, in the absence of fancy shampoos).

Vinegar is also a good carrier for plant extracts, and can be used for good old fashion rubs (when dealing with a bad flu) as well. You can also help keep household items free of rust by treating them with vinegar (and oil).

3. Alcohol

After crushing the plant parts you need for crafting up a particular remedy, you need to put them to macerate in alcohol so that the liquid extracts and preserves the beneficial substances into a cure you can effectively use. Not to mention the other things alcohol is good for, from disinfecting wounds to sterilizing tools you will need for sewing up a medium cut and so on. As unpleasant as the thought may be now, you will be content to know everything there is to know if the situation should ever arise.

4. Brown glass bottles and vials

Those plant extracts you can use as natural remedies, crafted with the help of the mortar and pestle and alcohol, need to be stored somewhere. Glass vials and small glass bottles are your best bet, even if they tend to be fragile when hauled around. When preparing for any bad times which may come, choose recipients made out of brown glass (also called amber glass), since it protects the content from direct sunlight, which can damage the precious plant extracts inside and make them less effective.

5. Oils

Oils are also one of the best carriers for substances you extract for home remedies. Not only that they are able to preserve the active substance well, but they also are ideal for carrying them inside your body (through rubs). You can even add a few drops to your food whenever you feel sick and want to use the matching remedy if you previously crafted it (if the base oil you used is edible). So stock up on vials and some canola or olive oil before reading up on what remedies you can make like this.

6. Sugar

Sugar has plenty of uses besides its culinary ones: it can be used for scrubbing away dirt and harmful substances, and if you add a few drops of a plant-based home remedy to it you can also use it as a cure. Sugar can be used either externally (as a scrub infused with natural medicine, especially effective for skin irritations or funguses), or internally, to make certain bitter remedies more palatable (especially if there are kids in your family too).

7. Pocket knife

You will need the knife for several kinds of survival tactics, as any prepper is already well-aware, but you will also need it to carefully cut away the parts of plants you will use for home remedies. A smaller knife brings more precision to this task, which is why a pocket knife is the best fit, as long as it’s properly sharpened up. You will also use the knife for cutting up bandages, gently scraping up some solid substances you may need for the remedies, and so on.

8. Two stove kettles (one smaller and a good fit on top of the bigger one)

Finally, if you really want to do a good job with improvising natural medical remedies, you should have two small-ish kettles that you can use over a campfire as well as a stove and the likes. One of them should be smaller than the other one, so it can be placed over the larger (medium-sized) one. The procedure is similar to a bain-marie from cooking. The idea is that in the smaller stove some delicate substances extracted from plants should be cooked together for a cure at a smaller temperature than by using direct heat. Hence, the medium kettle will be filled with simmering water to distribute a more delicate and constant heat to the smaller one. Quite ingenious. This last technique is pretty advanced, but don’t worry, most natural home remedies you can make and use don’t require anything that complicated.


Other self-sufficiency and preparedness solutions recommended for you:

Healthy Soil + Healthy Plants = Healthy You

The vital self-sufficiency lessons our great grand-fathers left us

Knowledge to survive any medical crisis situation

Liberal’s hidden agenda: more than just your guns

Build yourself the only unlimited water source you’ll ever need

4 Important Forgotten Skills used by our Ancestors that can help you in any crisis

Secure your privacy in just 10 simple steps

In the scenario where you and your family members would have to be able to rely on yourselves for a while or maybe even an indefinite time, first aid and

There are few things more likely to start a fight than the discussion of firearms and more specifically, what the best options for a defensive weapon are if you are just starting your emergency preparations. There are entire survival forums on this subject alone and if you want opinions, there are lots of places to find them. Similar to the conversation regarding Bugging Out Vs. Hunkering down, there are a lot of options, opinions and reasons why you should or should not do one or the other given by everyone.

Speaking of opinions, I have my own on the subject of the best weapon you can buy and I will share it now along my rationale for having said opinion and I welcome anyone to comment if you agree or if you disagree. One of the purposes of this prepper website is to provide information and if we have to settle some of this in the comments, that’s fine by me.

To frame the case for my belief on this subject a little more clearly, I will throw out the disclaimer that when I make this recommendation I am speaking to people who do not have any other firearms currently. If you are realizing just now that you may need a firearm for home defense and are looking for the best weapon to purchase first, this post is intended for you.

For the person who has nothing, I am going to go out on a limb now and describe what I think the best weapon you can purchase “right now” for a lot of various factors. The factors for deciding this weapon are based upon current events and the political climate to no small degree.

To cut to the quick, I will say that if you don’t buy any other weapon, a 12 gauge shotgun is the absolute best option you have right now. I honestly believe that when all else is considered, it is the best gun for home defense. Let the cussing begin! Why do I say a shotgun and not a pistol or machete or AR or AK? I’m glad you asked!

Cost

A 12 gauge shotgun is about the cheapest gun you can buy when you consider that most handguns now are selling for over $500 unless you buy a .380 concealed carry. Can you spend $3500 on a fancy shotgun that will be a collector’s piece? Of course you can but that isn’t what I am talking about. If you have a ton of money you would obviously not stop here, but for the average person trying to make wise decisions with their finances, a shotgun is practical and affordable for most of you out there.

Cleaning supplies are an important consideration for SHTF.

When people start looking for a defensive or tactical shotgun the focus turns to 2 main models, Remington and Mossberg. The Remington 870 is a legend and is the standard issue shotgun for a lot of police departments and armed forces. That alone drives the cost up. Adding all sorts of cool hardware like Picatinny rails, fore grips and pistol grips run the cost up too. You don’t need all of that stuff. Not now anyway. You need something to protect your family and the nice Benelli semi-auto isn’t called for here either.

I recommend buying a used shotgun that you don’t pay more than $300 for. Go to your local gun show and you will find lots of options. If you are looking in the right place you can get a new Mossberg for less than $200 but with each passing day that gets harder and harder. Is the Mossberg any good? Yes they are. Is it better and more reliable than a Remington 870? I don’t know. Here is what I do know though and that is if you do not have anything, you will wish you had something, even an old Mossberg when the Zombies or bad guys start coming in the front door.

If you are curious, there are lots of reviews on YouTube comparing the two and you can make your own mind up. There is an entire review comparing the Mossberg 590A, the Remington 870 and the Winchester 1300 defender by Nutnfancy that I highly recommend for its thoroughness. Either one is going to work just fine for you and you might find another model entirely. The brand isn’t the point so much as the type of weapon.

Availability

This is an easier one to deal with. Unless you have been living underground in your own doomsday bunker, you know that guns and ammo are flying off the shelves. If you were waiting to purchase an AR, you will have a while to wait if you are lucky. If you aren’t lucky, you might be SOL on the AR front. Shotguns however do not have the attention of the gun grabbers yet and they are still available. This availability results in cheaper prices as mentioned above. You can still go into your local sporting goods store an easily find a shotgun. You can’t say the same for an AR.

Ease of purchase

Shotguns or long guns generally don’t have the ridiculous licensing requirements that purchasing a handgun does. After a quick call and some paperwork, (provided you have a clean background) you can walk out with your very own 12 gauge piece of mind to add to your security preparations. You can go on your lunch hour and bring a brand new present home to your spouse after work. It’s better than flowers!

Availability of ammo

Just a quick check online finds plenty of ammo for the 12 gauge. You can’t say that for most common pistol calibers especially with the DHS purchasing 1.6 billion rounds for their own use. Another plus is there is a pretty wide variety of ammunition you can use in most shotguns. Most shotguns accept either 2 ¾ inch or 3 inch shells. Some, like my particular Mossberg model accept both. You then have Buckshot which is the most deadly, Slug, steel shot, bird shot, turkey or varmint loads and target loads. So many choices, so little time!

You can easily buy a few boxes and have plenty of security for most any scenario. Now, in a total grid-down, end of the world apocalypse you will wish you have millions of rounds stored up, but we have to start somewhere. I like to buy a box of each caliber that I have (when I can) whenever I go to a sporting goods store and keep it locked away.

Usefulness

A 12 gauge shotgun is one of the most versatile weapons you can have if the SHTF. You can of course use this as your defensive weapon and you can hunt small and even large game with it. A 12 gauge with bird shot is good for most small critters or birds but you want to be careful you don’t blow them to pieces.  Throw some buckshot in there and you can go after the lone doe after all of the other deer are gone. A .22 is similarly good at plinking and shooting small game, but I wouldn’t want to face down a gang of intruders with a .22.

Accuracy

One good thing about shotguns from the perspective of someone defending their home is that you don’t have to be as accurate as you do with a handgun. A shotgun has a nice blast pattern that will hit anyone in the general direction down range to a certain extent. The flip side is that a shotgun is not generally relied on for its accuracy or range. This is a close quarters type of defensive weapon so you won’t be picking off the bad guys at 100 yards with this. When the Mutant Zombie Motorcycle gang rolls into your town, they will need to get a little closer before you can take them out, but that is for a different post. Another consideration since we are discussing accuracy is that you have to practice common sense. If someone is in your house and you shoot a shotgun, those rounds will go through sheet-rock walls and could hit someone on the other side. This is no different from just about any other type of common round though.

Ease of Use

A good shotgun is pretty simple; point and shoot. In some cases, the wracking part to get another round into the chamber takes a little practice. You want to make sure you don’t eject the good shell you had in the chamber so it isn’t perfect, but with practice this can be minimized. Most people will recommend a 20 gauge for a woman because they kick less but I guarantee you that your wife won’t mind the kick at all if someone is coming after her and she is forced to fire. A shotgun is easily handled by a woman and has less moving pieces to remember when you are stressed. That goes for guys too. Just the simple act of racking the shotgun and the unmistakable sound that causes may prevent you from having to use it in the first place.

So for all of those reasons, the 12 gauge is my hands down favorite for your first defensive weapon for the home. If you have more money, there is a few other items I would recommend for your survival battery of arms, but I will save that for later too.

Please let me know if you have any thoughts on the best weapon for the person who has nothing.


Other self-sufficiency and preparedness solutions recommended for you:

Healthy Soil + Healthy Plants = Healthy You

The vital self-sufficiency lessons our great grand-fathers left us

Knowledge to survive any medical crisis situation

Liberal’s hidden agenda: more than just your guns

Build yourself the only unlimited water source you’ll ever need

4 Important Forgotten Skills used by our Ancestors that can help you in any crisis

Secure your privacy in just 10 simple steps


 

There are few things more likely to start a fight than the discussion of firearms and more specifically, what the best options for a defensive weapon are if you are

If you start to raise chickens to be more self-sufficient, you want them to be as productive as possible. But what if they aren’t laying as many eggs as you’d hoped?

The most common reasons that chickens aren’t laying eggs is because they are too young, too old, the hours of daylight are too short, it is molting or the feeding is not of sufficient nutritional value. You might not be able to affect those first points, but you can help contribute to a stress-free environment for your chickens while keeping them healthy and well.

Chickens will typically lay one egg or less during a day and that will decrease with age. Their egg-laying years will typically last for 2-3 years.

If you are experiencing a low yield of eggs from your chickens, check out these tips below to see what you can do to help them lay more eggs.

Quality Feed
You don’t have to go crazy with some cutting-edge feed that’s guaranteed to make your chickens produce eggs the size of a garden gnome. It’s recommended that you use a diet of premium laying mash or pellet, along with occasional fresh fruit. vegetables, mealworms and other healthy treats. If you’re going to change your chicken’s feed, do it gradually substituting it in slowly.

Clean Nests Boxes
One of the most important factors in helping chickens lay eggs is a clean nesting box area with comfortable bedding. You can also make a soft surface with recycled-newspaper pellets which also are easy to toss and replace.

Open Areas
The idea behind free-range chickens is that if they are more comfortable, they will produce more healthy eggs. While free-range chickens might not be a possibility for some urban homesteaders, it’s a great idea to have a larger area with enough area for the chickens to graze on a lawn while still being protected from hawks or other predators.

Calcium
Egg-laying takes a lot of calcium from a hen’s body. Be sure to provide them enough calcium in their diet to keep a steady flow of eggs. Besides a high-quality feed, you might consider mixing crushed oyster shells in a cup of feed. Or even placing a cup of oyster shells in the coop for the chickens to eat when they need it.

 

Inspect Regularly
Try to handle your hens often checking for problems. If they have large cuts, broken bones, etc. it will give you a better idea of how you can help. Are they uncomfortable? Have they been pestered by predators? Handling your hens on a regular basis will help you know how to best help them.

Coop Security
Along with the previous point, make sure your coop is secure from predators. Make sure that animals like raccoons, cats, and other animals can’t burrow or find their way into the coop.

Fresh Water
To stay healthy, chickens need constant access to water. Change the water every day. It might be a chore to do it every day but it will lead to healthier chickens who will lay more eggs.

Parasite Control
Parasites love to prey on chickens. Mites are the most common and can take control of your coop without you even realizing it. Make it a habit to inspect your chickens at night when mites are most active. Mites are a small, reddish-brown insect that scurries around a chicken’s head. If you do have a mite infestation, use a dose of ivermectin (available from a veterinarian) for each chicken.

What Have You Found?
How have you helped your chickens lay more eggs? Comment below to help us know what we can do to make our chickens more productive.


Other self-sufficiency and preparedness solutions recommended for you:

Healthy Soil + Healthy Plants = Healthy You

The vital self-sufficiency lessons our great grand-fathers left us

Knowledge to survive any medical crisis situation

Liberal’s hidden agenda: more than just your guns

Build yourself the only unlimited water source you’ll ever need

4 Important Forgotten Skills used by our Ancestors that can help you in any crisis

Secure your privacy in just 10 simple steps

If you start to raise chickens to be more self-sufficient, you want them to be as productive as possible. But what if they aren’t laying as many eggs as you’d

There are many great reasons to start down the road of being prepared to take care of yourself in an emergency or crisis. When you feel that is something you need to do personally, it usually begins a search on what you need to be prepared. This searching can lead to checklists of prepping supplies which can provide guidance or a place to start but in reality; the process is different for each person. The answer to the question of what you need to do in order to get prepared isn’t something that anyone else can answer for you and in the end, is almost wholly dependent on what happens and where you are when “it” happens to you.

I have often sat down and compiled lists of things I need to accomplish in the main areas I focus on with prepping. My very first list had dozens of items and now, since I have been prepping for a little over 8 years, my lists aren’t quite as expansive. I have been acquiring the needed supplies and making preparations so that I don’t need as much as I thought I needed in the beginning. One thing I have learned though is my list overall still contains the exact items I thought I would need back in 2007, just the quantities of what is left to do have gone down.


The concept of making lists again made me think of the question I have asked before of myself. Are you prepared enough for what you think is coming down the road? Have I made the best plans you could have made knowing what I know? Have I made the right fiscal decisions to put me in the most advantageous position should the economy collapse? Have I shared enough information with my family and in my own small way, the rest of the world? Have I done enough? Am I prepared?

Are you prepared enough?

How much preparation can anyone do that we could consider the level of those same preparations to be sufficient? I have stated before that prepping is a journey, not a destination and I still subscribe to that theory, but depending on the situation; I could have more than I needed. What if there was a regional storm that caused minor flooding in my town and the utilities were out as well as roads for a month. Would I have enough supplies to last? Yes, I certainly would.

What if there was a crisis that lasted two years? Would I have enough?

Getting back to how much you need, it all comes down to what the emergency is, what your situation is at the time and how other influences impact you after the crisis begins. You could have enough food to last you for a year, but add in 6 family members who you take in and that amount of time could go down to 2 months. You might not have enough in your eyes, but the hungry family might think you are prepared enough. What if you have 2 years’ worth of food stored safely in your basement but you are away on vacation and a tornado rips right through your town and sucks everything you have been working on up into the air?

We can make as many plans as we want but if something happens outside of our plans we will have to adjust. Thinking that you have the answers to all of the different scenarios posed in your head is well and good, but you should account for contingencies. More importantly, you have to face the reality that you might walk into TEOTWAWKI with nothing but the shirt on your back.

You are asking yourself the wrong question

You can inventory all of your prepping supplies and make lists; I do it too. I use these lists to gauge what I have left to accomplish in my mind. I check items off so that my imaginary supply room of everything I need, will be filled with precisely what I think will be the minimum necessary but I try not to ever think I have enough. Does this mean I am stocking supplies up as much as possible? Does this mean I keep buying ammo or food or weapons until I have no money left? No and I think if you are looking to reach some level where you can say, “I think I have enough to last…” you might be looking at this the wrong way.

There is a danger in thinking that there is ultimate security in your supplies. Why do I say that? For one thing, your supplies can be taken away from you. Your supplies will eventually go bad if left unused or in the right conditions. Your supplies, if you have to rely on them will eventually dissipate down to nothing. Having a 6-month supply of food or a few thousand rounds of ammo and some gasoline stored doesn’t mean I am any better prepared than the neighbor down the street when the time comes. It does certainly mean I have put some thought into this that the average bear might not have considered, but does that make me better prepared?

When my family asks me questions like, how much food do I have or basically, how long could we live on what we have stored, I have to guess. Sure, I know roughly how much food is stored and I have calculated how long we could eat on that food but I don’t consider myself prepared really. I am looking at this as a stop-gap measure. Could my preparations buy me and my family some time? Yes, very possibly we could be sitting pretty while others go hungry, at least for some time. Does that mean I am prepared enough? Not hardly.

Prepping isn’t about storing up supplies and quietly riding out Armageddon from the comfort of your easy chair, happily eating your MRE’s and enjoying reruns of the office on your Solar Powered DVD player. The steps you are taking today might not be enough for the disaster you face. Are they better than nothing? Absolutely, but don’t become complacent and cross the last item off your list and sit back and wait. Prepping should be constant movement, preparation, consideration of your environment and the world around us and you have to reevaluate what is happening all of the time. We shouldn’t think we know what is coming, even though we can prepare for certain scenarios.

When you start asking yourself the question of are you prepared enough, the answer is it really depends on what you are forced to go through. Looking back after you have made it through alive is the only way to answer that question. Making it through alive should be what we are striving for.


Other self-sufficiency and preparedness solutions recommended for you:

Healthy Soil + Healthy Plants = Healthy You

The vital self-sufficiency lessons our great grand-fathers left us

Knowledge to survive any medical crisis situation

Liberal’s hidden agenda: more than just your guns

Build yourself the only unlimited water source you’ll ever need

4 Important Forgotten Skills used by our Ancestors that can help you in any crisis

Secure your privacy in just 10 simple steps

There are many great reasons to start down the road of being prepared to take care of yourself in an emergency or crisis. When you feel that is something you

In almost every post we talk of preparing for disasters or emergencies and the simple steps you can take ahead of time to become prepared. Being prepared for specific or even general instances is a worthy goal, but once you get beyond the basics of survival what else is needed? The basics of survival are food, water, shelter and security and we lay out a lot of ideas and recommendations for how to cover those four bases in our how to start prepping article. But does that advice make sense for you in your situation when someone asks you the question what are you prepping for? In some cases, are the basics really basic? What constitutes a disaster to you and is there only one path to becoming “prepared” for anyone and everyone?

What are you prepping for?

There are some really great prepping checklists out there and the general idea is that you can print out these lists of items to purchase or gather together and when you have completely checked off everything on the checklist, you will be all set. It’s so simple when you look at it this way, but the problem or at least something to consider with any checklist is how it pertains to you and your situation. Does this checklist make sense and more importantly, will it help you get prepared for what you think is coming down the road?

I think the answer could be no in certain situations and that is what I wanted to discuss today. Just because you have a list of survival items, it doesn’t mean that you will survive. Having gear doesn’t guarantee you will make it through anything better than anyone else, but they can be useful tools that could assist you in a survival scenario. I could have all the mountain climbing gear that the professionals own and still not possess the skills to make it up or down a mountain if I had to rely on the gear I didn’t know how to use. Could I use the rope somehow to help me down a sheer face? Possibly, but is getting that type of gear going to help me in my home in suburbia?

I think before you start compiling lists of items and wearing out your credit card on Amazon.com or the local camping store it is important to frame your efforts by getting a general picture of your end destination prior to jumping in and going in directions that might not help you get there in the fastest way. Before you start gathering a ton of gear for your bug out bag, ask yourself the question, what am I prepping for? Doomsday preppers does this every week and they let the preppers state what they are preparing for. You will hear in their own words everything from super tornadoes to massive earthquakes, tsunamis, nuclear war, economic collapse, government tyranny, global pandemic and dozens of others. These preppers have all put a figurative face on what it is they are preparing for and they can state what that is.

It’s important to have something you can visualize I believe because every decision after that can be viewed from the standpoint of is this going to help me prepare for X. Is this box of MRE’s going to help me prepare for an EMP attack from North Korea? Will this shotgun protect me from a super volcano? Will these heirloom seeds protect me from an earthquake? You aren’t limited to one thing either and for a lot of us, we see a few different scenarios that could happen and we prepare accordingly for both. Knowing what you are preparing for will help you identify what you need to do and putting these into a priority order will assist you when you ask yourself the next question of what to do first. The priority is up to you based upon what you know.

What will you need to be able to survive that threat?

After you know what it is you are prepping for, the next step is to make those lists that will help you cope with whatever disaster you are envisioning. If you could lay out everything you think you need on the floor to deal with that disaster you identified above, what would that list of items be? I will say that the four basics of Food, Water, Shelter and Security would be at the top of any list for the simple reason that you have to have all of those to live. You must have food or you will die in three weeks. You must have clean water or you will die in three days and you must have shelter from the elements or you could die in three hours. Those are pretty universal and should be at the top of anyone’s prepper list of supplies if you plan on any disaster that will prevent you from easily accessing these items for some duration.


I include security in my 4 basics because history shows again and again that in bad times, bad people will do bad things. Even some good people will do bad things out of desperation. I don’t want to have to defend my home with a can of green beans so I have firearms to protect my family.

But what else? The other items on your list begin after you have taken care of the basics. What does your disaster scenario tell you about your preps? What are the gaps between what you have and what you believe you need to survive a disaster?

Inventory what you currently have

When people ask me how to start prepping, there are a lot of things you could potentially need to take care of but in most cases, you already have some supplies.

One of the misconceptions about being a prepper is that the first thing you need to do is run out and get some camouflage pants and buy a gas mask, hop on your 4-wheeler and go tearing through the woods. Leave that to the people who are on Doomsday Preppers. The average family doesn’t do anything like that but again it goes back to what you are prepping for and if those camo pants or that gas mask could help you with your envisioned disaster. Let’s say you are prepping for something that happens every year in every state and that is a temporary loss of electrical power due to storms. What items would you need to deal with a blackout? What items on your lists do you already have and what do you need to consider acquiring?


For starters you should consider light. Most people already have flashlights, some may have lanterns and almost everyone can scrounge up a candle from somewhere. Do you have any way to prepare the food you have stored? Can you cook if the power has gone out? What about backup power? Do you have a generator or solar panels and batteries? Do you have a car? If so, an easy way to provide power in a blackout is to run an inverter off your car into your home. This will give you enough juice to power small electronics and charge things like cell phones and laptops. The only thing you would need really is the inverter and plenty of fuel that has been stored properly to run your car. For my lists, I write down everything I have as well as everything I need so that all items can be considered as part of my plan. This way I can identify where I have some redundancy built in.

Who are you prepping for?

Many of you are prepping for families and most of the items you would need to consider for any type of disaster could benefit everyone in your home, but there are some items you will need to be specific about. Do you have small children who are still in diapers or are drinking formula? Do you have pets that will need to be fed if the disaster prevents you from making it out to the store? What about taking your pets with you during a disaster? Do you have elderly relatives that may need to stay with you? Does anyone have medications that need to be kept cool? Do you have enough of these medications to last the duration of the disaster?


One thing I have tried to balance is my family’s needs versus their fashion sense. In my family, I am the only guy so it isn’t easy getting the women in my life to buy rugged 5.11 tactical pants. I can’t convince them that their trendy footwear is all but worthless and they should buy more substantial shoes that could actually last if we had to walk a hundred miles. I already know that any thoughts of us bugging out into the woods would not go as smoothly as I hope, even if I thought that was a good idea. The amount of gear they can handle, the intensity of work they might be asked to do and their general morale needs have to be considered in a disaster or else you could have meltdowns when you are already stressed to the breaking point. If you are planning to survive, you have to plan for everyone’s needs and their limitations as well. This will further help you know what you need to focus on and what should get priority.

What skills do you have to survive?

Thinking about your disaster that you are planning for, visualize what life will be like in the immediate aftermath. What situations can you see happening to your family that you would be relied upon to deal with since you are the one who was ‘into prepping’ in the first place. Could you offer basic first aid? Do you know how to properly use the firearms you want to purchase? Do you already have a garden for those heirloom seeds? Do you know how to address sanitation issues and keep your family healthy so that an easily preventable bug doesn’t kill them?

In our society that has everything functioning, we stopped worrying about all the things we used to worry about. Clean (relatively) water comes out of the tap and washes our waste away never to be seen again. We have washers and driers to get our clothes clean and dishwashers to clean our dishes. Warm showers keep us clean and if we get injured we have ambulances and hospitals. What if you take all of that away?


Skills in living without the conveniences of life might trump knowing how to start a fire with a fire plough if you have plenty of lighters. You might need to figure out how to take care of everyone’s bathroom needs sooner than you think so don’t assume you need to be a ninja medic and that’s it. Survival isn’t always Rambo running through the woods of Washington state making booby traps. Survival is the small but important things too and knowing how to deal with number 2 might be more practical to know than how to make a booby trap.

How long?

Lastly, once I have all the supplies listed that I think I need, start adding time to the duration. Are you planning for a power outage that lasts 3 days? What if it lasted 3 weeks? We have had that before with winter storms so it is certainly possible. That global pandemic? What if you had to stay in your home for 6 months? How would that affect your supplies?

You can start off small and cover the basics and build as you go. As you build out your supplies, you should be able to weather longer durations of the disaster. How long do you plan for? That is really up to you and your resources. FEMA recommends being able to live in your home for 3 days. I think a wiser goal that should account for 98% of all events would be more like 6 months. Do your supplies allow you to do this?

Hopefully this helps any of you who are trying to formulate a disaster plan. If you have any questions or suggestions please let me know in the comment below and good luck!


Other self-sufficiency and preparedness solutions recommended for you:

Healthy Soil + Healthy Plants = Healthy You

The vital self-sufficiency lessons our great grand-fathers left us

Knowledge to survive any medical crisis situation

Liberal’s hidden agenda: more than just your guns

Build yourself the only unlimited water source you’ll ever need

4 Important Forgotten Skills used by our Ancestors that can help you in any crisis

Secure your privacy in just 10 simple steps

In almost every post we talk of preparing for disasters or emergencies and the simple steps you can take ahead of time to become prepared. Being prepared for specific or

No, this isn’t a trick question and I do think there are very big differences between someone who calls themselves a survivalist and someone who prefers to use the term Prepper. Regardless of what I think though these two terms are interchangeably used to describe a wide swath of people. These people all have different motivations and philosophies on what they are doing and why. Survivalists and Prepper are just labels. Labels like this though can pigeon-hole people into thinking they need to act a certain way or it can cause assumptions from others based upon their own perceptions of what these words mean.

How are Survivalists and Preppers alike?

Let’s start with the easy stuff first. What do people who call themselves Survivalists have in common with a Prepper? I think at their core, Survivalists, and Preppers both have a deep desire to live. This is not a fear of dying but rather a strong yearning to live life on their own terms. You will find tenacity in both Preppers and Survivalists to try to see the options they have before them. If you give up easily or become defeated too quickly you probably don’t deserve to call yourself a member of either team just yet.

Both Survivalists and Preppers like to prepare for unforeseen events, but I do believe Survivalists have a slightly more cavalier attitude about their chances for survival. Survivalists may give more weight to learning how to forage in the woods and eat grubs while their Prepper cousins might be more comfortable storing food to last as long as possible or creating a garden with heirloom seeds. The grub worms and fiddle-head fern salads can wait as long as possible, thank you.

Along with the desire to live I think Preppers and Survivalists both have a positive mental attitude towards overcoming obstacles when it comes to survival. They both hold a belief that with the right training, mental outlook and circumstances, no situation is ever more than they can bear. I have spoken to a lot of people who seem to want to shut down in the face of adversity or impending doom. Their response to my questions about prepping are usually something like “well we are all gonna die anyway, so what’s the point?” and this is 180 degrees from how I think we as humans should be.

What if the early settlers of our country just said, “I quit.”? They faced starvation, disease, death on a daily basis and still managed to carve a country out of the wilderness with zero government assistance, WIC vouchers, National Healthcare, MRE’s, GPS, Bug Out vehicles or smartphones. Do you think they had a desire to live and a positive mental attitude? We come from those same people who braved the elements, sailed across seas for months and landed in a foreign land with not much more than the clothes on their backs. They were the original Survivalists and Preppers and their blood runs through our veins.

How are they different?

As I said above, I think these terms get used interchangeably all of the time and in certain context, the meaning may be blurred. For instance, there are a lot of websites that have Survival in the name that I look up to and respect greatly. They offer a ton of useful information on Survival, and I have linked to several of them on our resources page. I am not referring to the word Survival here because I think we all want to survive something.

When I speak of “Survivalists” with a capital S I am referring to people who will label themselves as such. I think Survivalists lean more toward the ideal that Bear Grylls and Les Stroud have promoted with their respective TV shows showing how they both can survive in the wilderness on all manner of strange tricks and skills that the normal person would never be in a place to use. I think some Survivalists see themselves as being deserted in a jungle somewhere with only a rusty coke can and a bandana to survive. Now, if this happens to you, would all of those Bear Grylls skills come in handy? Absolutely, but to base your entire understanding of the possibilities of what this life can throw at you on a couple of reality shows seems to miss the point to me.

To quote our current President, “Now, let me be clear” I love watching Bear Grylls and Les Stroud and other shows I can’t remember. Those shows do pass along knowledge that you can use and this applies just as much to the suburban prepper as it does to the Survivalist. I just prefer to take that knowledge and try to apply it to a different potential reality.

Preppers, on the other hand, do not seem to have most of the same scenarios in mind when they are preparing for an uncertain future. Preppers typically have one or more situations they view as inevitable and they make plans to mitigate the bad effects you could be faced with in that situation. For example, if a Prepper lived in Tornado alley, they would rightfully be concerned and their preps would almost certainly start with safety should a Tornado strike. They could go one past that and plan for survival after the tornado with food, water and shelter options that could help them and their neighbors in the days and weeks after any type of natural disaster like that.

Preppers also do not seem to make plans with only themselves involved. Preppers like to form groups and communities and try to get others involved, engaged and on-board when it is prudent to do so. I know there are survivalist groups as well, but they still seem to be more likely to want to be away from people before there is any actual need to.

Survivalists that I have run across definitely have a different way they present themselves when the subject of hypothetical grid-down scenarios are presented. I do get the sense that in some cases, they seem to have a “let them go to hell” mentality and I don’t think that is what Preppers would agree with on the surface. Now, I will freely admit that I haven’t met everyone, don’t know what is in anyone’s heart but mine and I could be very guilt of gross stereotyping here. If that is the case I apologize and I would love to hear your side in the comments below. I am not trying to pick a fight, just comparing and contrasting some people/themes based upon my observations.

Lastly, Preppers seem to be looking for a lifestyle change on top of their preparations. Eating more Organic food, living healthier lives, becoming more self-sufficient are common themes and this transcends any natural disaster. It shows a desire to have a better life and that is something I think we could all use.

Which one is best?

I don’t think it is as black and white as I have made it out to be in the paragraphs above. I certainly think that if the SHTF we would all be in for a huge reality check and there is no telling how we each might act. Who knows what type of situations we may be faced with and what will be necessary in order to live and keep our families safe. We might all end up being in the same boat, bashing each other over the head with the last broken oar. I hope not.

I like to identify with Preppers, but I do know that if faced with certain triggers, I might fall squarely into the Survivalist camp that I was painting with a broad brush a little earlier. I guess we are just two sides of the same coin, but we are both made of the same mettle. I don’t think there is anything wrong with that at all.

No, this isn’t a trick question and I do think there are very big differences between someone who calls themselves a survivalist and someone who prefers to use the term

When SHTF, you better be in shape and your fitness level now is probably not as great as you will wish it was in a survival situation. In emergencies, our bodies are going to be called into action that a lot of us aren’t used to, there will be more stress, less rest and more muscle strength required. Even if you are physically active now, the routine chores that you could find yourself doing will tax your muscles and stamina in a way that in the best case scenario will take some getting used to.

When finding food isn’t achieved by walking to the fridge or pulling around to the drive-thru and cleaning up involves a lot more than jumping in the shower, your body will need to adjust. That doesn’t even get into the possibilities of running for your life or defending yourself from violence. Now is the time to make sure that your survival fitness levels are as good as they can be.

Here is what every single survivalist should know about getting fit and staying strong before the apocalypse strikes.

Strength

You don’t need a fancy weight room or home gym to get stronger. You can improve your strength with nothing more than the items that you already have at home. Filling socks with grains or rice can make for weights. Cans of soup work just as well, too. Chopping wood also builds up your strength.

 

Even your bug out bag, which should have supplies like clothing, food, water and other necessary items like sunglasses and replaceable lenses, weapons and electronics, can come in handy for a home workout to improve your strength. Strap it on — don’t take anything out — and do your workout. This way you’re even more prepared for TEOTWAWKI since you’re training with your full pack.

Home workouts are just fine. But if you’re searching for something more intense, other workouts, like CrossFit, can challenge all of your muscle groups. In addition to challenging you physically, the group fitness program also challenges you mentally. Find a CrossFit box to join in your community and get fit with a like-minded community of fitness fanatics.

Stamina

You’re going to be counting on your endurance in any survival situation, and that goes for surviving the end of the world, too. Stamina gives you the necessary power to boost you through any physical activity at your peak. Stamina depends on a healthy, lean diet, regular fitness and an overall healthy lifestyle.

Aerobic activities that work all of your muscles and get your heart pumping, like running or riding a bike, can help boost your endurance and should be done regularly. The American College of Sports Medicine reports that weight training also benefits stamina. Sleep is also crucial to building up your endurance.

Flexibility

Yoga isn’t just for green-juice-drinking hippies. It can make you stronger and more flexible. And believe it or not, these things can help you survive the world’s end. Yoga can help you develop a strong core, which gives you more power and control over your body, and it also improves your balance. If your body is flexible, you are going to be less likely to suffer from a pulled muscle when you’re out in the field. Yoga can even make you more agile.

men-1179452_640

You don’t even have to leave your house to learn yoga, you just need an Internet connection. Man Flow Yoga has online classes that are structured just for men.

Speed

You’ve got to be able to outrun the enemy. And newsflash, you’re not going to be able to do that if you’re sitting idle on the couch. You need to start running. Do something that works for you. If you’re comfortable running for 30 minutes at a consistent pace, it’s time to do something that makes you faster. Add more mileage to your runs, but remember that you still need to take days off from your training.


Other self-sufficiency and preparedness solutions recommended for you:

Healthy Soil + Healthy Plants = Healthy You

The vital self-sufficiency lessons our great grand-fathers left us

Knowledge to survive any medical crisis situation

Liberal’s hidden agenda: more than just your guns

Build yourself the only unlimited water source you’ll ever need

4 Important Forgotten Skills used by our Ancestors that can help you in any crisis

Secure your privacy in just 10 simple steps

When SHTF, you better be in shape and your fitness level now is probably not as great as you will wish it was in a survival situation. In emergencies, our

Last week on National Geographic’s American Blackout we got to see a lot of common problems presented as the result of a power grid collapse that lasted 10 days. One problem that everyone faced, but didn’t receive a lot of air time was the lack of drinking water.

National Geographic did not demonstrate any methods for obtaining water other than going to the store, or as in the case of the people trapped in the elevator and eventually the roof of a building, collecting some from a bucket that had been left in the rain. Since water is one of the most important elements for our survival I wanted to go over some methods of storing water and treating water that could help you in a disaster situation. You must have water if the grid goes down and you expect to live.

Read more: Knowledge to survive any medical crisis situation

If you find yourself without power as they did in American Blackout, food and water were their priorities. Safety and security weren’t big issues until people started living without food and water. The nice veneer of society will vanish in a few days max even if we are only living through a power outage. Can you imagine if there was sickness or a disease pandemic? Can you envision how chaotic a hurricane knocking your town into the ocean would be? The situation presented in American Blackout gave us a lot to learn I think, but as far as disaster goes, a power grid failure would not be anywhere near as severe as a lot of other possibilities.

Now, I am not try to trivialize the scenario at all. A national power grid failure would be catastrophic but only because people aren’t prepared. I think it’s very telling when you consider how many lives might be altered forever just by not having some electricity. I think it is sad that our world is so dependent upon electricity that millions potentially would starve, riot and die because they were forced to live like our not too distant relatives did. Can you imagine the pioneers if you presented this situation to them? OK, just imagine how horrible it would be if there was no electricity… No what?

Where to find water

Water is everywhere normally unless you live in the desert. That is one reason why not too many people I know recommend living in Phoenix if the grid goes down. For the rest of us that live in closer proximity to lakes, rivers, ponds and streams we have a lot of options for finding water if we are faced with the task of collecting enough to drink. In American Blackout, the people who lived in the city had no water in the pipes because the electricity needed to pump water up into tall buildings was nonexistent. That doesn’t mean there isn’t any water in the city though.

Read more: Build yourself the only unlimited water source you’ll ever need

I was surprised they did not have someone manning a hydrant letting people fill up jugs of water. The sheer volume of water contained in the fire hydrant systems of large cities if used properly could have probably lasted a week. Could you have taken showers and washed your car? No, but it is a source of water that could have been tapped into if you pardon the pun.

 

Water Hydrants are a source of water in an emergency

I could go into making a solar still or collecting the condensation off the leaves of plants with a bag or getting water from a tree even, but that is for another post. I want to talk to the majority of us that have water all around us and we simply need to get it and make it safe for drinking. In that I’ll start with the obvious and that is you should have water for everyone in your family on hand at all times. Water is cheap (relatively) and it is easy to find. You drink it every day now and there is no reason to be without a minimum of one week worth of water no matter who you are or where you live.

I talked about ways to store water in our Power Blackout checklist post last week and you should have a similar plan right now for your family. Don’t wait until the power goes out to run to the store and try to find a gallon or two.

Water in a suburban setting is most easily collected from rain. Once you have rain barrels set up you don’t have to do anything. When it rains, your barrels will fill up and all you would have to do is make sure it is filtered or disinfected. Water can be used from any stream or creek or lake. What about the golf course down the street? You can drain your water heater in a pinch just by opening the drain valve at the bottom. The trick is to look around you for locations that have water in your neighborhood that you might need to access in a grid down scenario, but don’t neglect stocking up on your own. The stream down the road might be dry.

How to carry water

A cart like this with some modification is an excellent option for carrying heavy water with easy

A cart like this with some modification is an excellent option for carrying heavy water with ease.

Humans on average need a gallon of water per day to stay hydrated and provide cooking and hygiene. I think that amount is slightly off because it can’t be the same amount for small children, but who cares. We will use it for a guideline and obviously that guideline has to be adjusted for the scenario you find yourself in. If it’s the middle of summer, temperatures are soaring and you are doing a lot of manual work that amount could easily double. What if you are sick and are throwing up? It’s best to always have more than the average amount of water on hand and you need to have a plan for getting water and bringing it back to your location.

Let’s say you live near a body of water (lake, stream, well, fish pond) and the power is out. How are you going to get water to drink? You could just walk down there and fill up your Nalgene bottle and walk back, but that is going to take a lot of time and energy for something that won’t last long. You need a way to carry a considerable amount of water at one time to reduce your trips and cut down on your risk of being caught out.

You need to plan now for containers that will hold several gallons of water at a minimum, but carrying these will be difficult without a wagon, cart or improvised method of weight distribution. One of my readers commented that they were planning on using a deer cart to tote their bug out gear and I think that makes a great option for carrying water too. Like the woman in the picture above, running out for a drink of water might not be as simple as it used to be. You have to plan to carry enough back so that you won’t need to go out for another couple of days hopefully.

How to treat water

There are many ways of filtering water and making it safe to drink and I have listed several down below.

 

Berkey Filters are excellent Prepper resources.

Filters – Hands down my favorite method of treating water. Why? Because it is the simplest and takes the least amount of energy for the return on investment. I recommend two types of filters to be part of your preps. For my home, I use a Berkey Light water filter. I simply dump a couple of gallons in the top and clean water comes out the bottom. Obviously, you want to ensure you are filtering as much gunk out of your water before you bring it into your filter so as to keep your filter elements clean for as long as possible.

Read more: The vital self-sufficiency lessons our great grand-fathers left us

For portable alternatives, I have a pair of MSR water filters. These work great and have kept us in plenty of cool clean water on several backpacking trips with our family. You just pump the water through the pump and clean fresh water is delivered to your water bottle.

Boiling Water – Boiling is probably the oldest method of disinfecting water but it works! All you need is a container (preferably not plastic) and heat. Bring your water to a boil and let the water boil for a couple of minutes and that’s it. The boiling will kill any bacteria and you can drink the water. Let it cool off first

Ultra violet light – there are UV pens that they sell for camping that are supposed to kill any bacteria in water. I have never used these so my assumption is that it may kill the bacteria, it won’t help the taste or make the water technically cleaner. Saving your life is what is most important though so if you have to drink some water that has stuff floating in it…as long as you don’t die from a water borne illness you can live to fight another day.

Chlorination – Chlorine Bleach is probably the most common household item that you will have that can be used to disinfect your drinking water but it is a little tricky. Chlorine is affected by the temperature of the water you are treating. Always try to filter any water that may be cloudy with contaminants such as lake water first. You can use paint filters or a bandana if necessary. If the water is room temperature (meaning not cold or hot) you would add two to four drops of chlorine bleach per quart. Shake well and let the container sit for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, smell the water. It should smell like chlorine and this is normal. If it doesn’t smell like chlorine add another drop or two and let it sit for 30 additional minutes. By drops we are talking about an eye-dropper size drop, not a dollop.

Distillation – Distillation is another option but requires more equipment than the average person will be able to acquire much less put together in an emergency. Another option is the SODIS method which uses UV light (sunlight) to treat water stored in clear containers. There is a lot of information about this method online and here.


Other self-sufficiency and preparedness solutions recommended for you:

Healthy Soil + Healthy Plants = Healthy You

The vital self-sufficiency lessons our great grand-fathers left us

Knowledge to survive any medical crisis situation

Liberal’s hidden agenda: more than just your guns

Build yourself the only unlimited water source you’ll ever need

4 Important Forgotten Skills used by our Ancestors that can help you in any crisis

Secure your privacy in just 10 simple steps

Last week on National Geographic’s American Blackout we got to see a lot of common problems presented as the result of a power grid collapse that lasted 10 days. One

To the individual who is either interested in Prepping or already knee-deep into preparing for any number of potential emergencies or disasters, security has to be one of your primary concerns. This is not any truer if you have a family than if you are all alone. The simple fact of life is that when people are scared, hurting or in some other way seriously under duress, the niceness of society disappears quickly. Someone who used to be your best friend will kill you if you are standing between food and their baby is starving.

It should be clear from any number of recent disasters where looting happened within days that you and your family need to plan for security wherever you are. Firearms are most commonly (and for good reason) associated with security. Are there other options? Sure, but I would rather have my trusty shotgun as opposed to a baseball bat and harsh language if there were a bunch of people trying to knock down my door any day. So, with that in mind, below are my list of the top 5 firearms you need to get your hands on now. This of course assumes you don’t have any firearms for personal protection and you aren’t philosophically opposed to defending your family’s life with deadly force if it comes to that.

#1 Shotgun

As I explained in my earlier post, if you only have the time or means to purchase one firearm to defend yourself and your family it should be a shotgun. Shotguns are everywhere and they are relatively inexpensive to purchase. Where is the best place to purchase a shotgun? You can walk into just about any Wal-Mart and pick up a reasonably priced shotgun without too many people even blinking.

Shotguns are pretty simple to use, hold on average 5-6 shots and come with a variety of ammunition options. For home defense or close quarters, a shotgun is very forgiving with respect to nervous aiming. By that I mean you don’t have to be very accurate with a shotgun to do some damage. Even the sound of racking the slide up and down can be an effective deterrent. The two most common calibers are .12 and .20 gauge. The .20 gauge is usually recommended for women and smaller kids because the recoil is less.

In addition to home defense, a shotgun is perfectly suited for hunting both small game and larger animals with the right type of ammunition. Another plus is that shotguns are plentiful and the ammunition isn’t 4 times as high now with the recent talk of gun confiscation by the federal government. You can still pick up plenty of ammo and a nice new shotgun fairly easily. For the tactical minded prepper, you can even augment your shotgun with lots of accessories similar to your pistol or AR-15.

#2 AR-15

Boston’s excellent gun bible. If you want to know the best survival weapons, this book is worth a read.

Speaking of AR-15’s… This would be my second choice if you have a shotgun already. There are several reasons for making an AR-15 next on your purchase list. The first is that this is the weapon you want to use in a variety of other solutions and its strengths lie outside of the shotgun’s sweet spot. The AR-15 chambered in .556 (will also shoot .223) gives you a highly flexible weapon platform. The AR-15 holds a higher capacity of ammunition so you will need to reload less often. When would you possibly need 30 rounds of ammunition? What if your home was being overrun by 50 people who had wandered off the highway from the town 20 miles away and they were deadly intent on taking your home and your possessions away from you? Or on the other end of the spectrum, what if a whole bus load of zombies was walking across the parking lot towards you. Wouldn’t you rather be able to take out 30 of the closest ones before you had to reload? The AR-15, unlike a shotgun is a medium distance hero. Where the shotgun is good for close quarters, you wouldn’t expect to hit anything with any real power above 30-40 yards. The AR-15, in a competent shooter’s hand is excellent up to 300 meters on any day. I would rather take care of the bad guys when they are very far away from me and my family.

On top of its usefulness at taking out bad guys, it uses the same ammunition that your local police department, National Guard, military and now Homeland security use and are buying more of every day. The chance that you will be able to acquire some ammunition that is compatible with your AR-15 is very high in certain conditions. Now, the rub is that because of the recent antics by some in our Congress, AR-15’s and the ammunition that go in them is harder to come by. It isn’t impossible though and you can still get an AR-15 for your very own personal use in most locations if you are willing to look around and wait a while. Where can you purchase an AR-15? You can still find quite a few at gun shows everywhere and even at places like Gander Mountain and Cabella’s. Dicks Sporting goods is not stocking them anymore I believe.

Read more: Liberal’s hidden agenda: more than just your guns

Pawn shops and gun stores also have them in stock, but you will be paying a premium now unfortunately. I don’t believe this will change any time soon. If you are waiting for the price to go back to what it was last summer I think you will be out of luck. There are also places online you can purchase them and have them shipped to your local FFL dealer. The dealer will usually charge you a small fee ($25 is normal) for the transaction and long wait times are still going to be a factor. Ammunition is tougher to get and more expensive but it is still out there. Shop around online and go to your gun shows. My research shows that the prices are just about the same, once you add in shipping. Know what the price of 500 and 1000 rounds are before you go to the gun show so you can be a savvy shopper.

#3 Full-size Semi-automatic Pistol – .45 or .40

Pistols are usually the first firearm people choose for a few reasons. They are easier to handle, easier to hide and less wieldy in general. They are the weapon most of the good guys use in the movies so the natural inclination is to get a pistol and you will be all set like Bruce Willis in Die Hard. Pistols definitely have their place, but they would come after an AR-15 and a shotgun in my opinion. Why is that? A wise man once said that “a pistol is what you use to get back to your rifle”. Pistols are for close quarters and you want that to be a last resort. You don’t want to be that close to any bad guys. However, it happens and pistols are an important aspect of your survival battery of arms. Run out of ammunition in your shotgun or AR-15 and then you grab the pistol. Bad guy kicks in the door while you are asleep then you reach for the pistol close to the bed.

Why am I recommending .45 or .40 and not a .9mm? It comes down to stopping power really and I know I may get some blow-back on this topic. I have all three calibers, but if I could only buy one and I was buying this for home defense it would be a .40 caliber. Why not a .45? Well, for the simple fact that you can hold more rounds in the magazine of most .40 calibers because the rounds are a little smaller. That is also why I recommend a full-size and not a sub-compact if you only have one. My 1911 .45 holds 8 rounds and my .40 holds 14. It’s just that I like options and having a few more rounds gives you more options. What about the .9mm you ask? It can hold up to 17 rounds. Yes, and like I said, I have .9mm also, but if you put a big freaked out psychopath in front of me with a machete and told me to pick one gun to use to take him down I would pick up the .45 or .40 before the .9mm.

Where is the best place to purchase a pistol for home defense? Pistols are not as in demand as AR-15’s yet. I was just at Gander Mountain last week and they still had full cases of pistols in all calibers and models. The prices still looked consistent with what I would expect at that store and the only shortage I saw was of Glock. They only had one G27 on display. I personally like purchasing handguns from a gun show but you have to know what you are looking for and the price range you are willing to pay. At a gun show you have a lot more people competing for your business. I recommend finding the gun you are after at every booth, talking to the seller and getting a price. I found $200 worth of difference the last time I went for the same make and caliber of handgun so you should shop around.

Read more: The reason why the US Government is so eager to disarm the American people

Ammunition for handguns is ridiculous now and it’s running about 4 times as expensive as what it used to last year this time. My advice is to get two 50 rounds boxes of hollow-points at a minimum and put those away. After that, go to places like ammunition.com and order in bulk to build up your supply. Make sure you have 4 magazines for each gun also.

#4 Long-Range Rife

When it comes to a long-range rifle, I am talking about between 300 and 600 yards now and this is primarily for hunting. They can also be used to take over where your AR-15 begins to fall short. If you start going too far past 300 yards, your AR-15 will need a little help. Can you still hit targets at that range? Sure but I would rather have a caliber that isn’t slowing down already. My personal recommendation for a long-range rifle is a .30-06.

For one reason, the .30-06 is capable of taking down any big game in North America. You won’t run into an animal that can’t be hunted successfully with a .30-06. Are there other calibers that can do the job? Of course, but in addition to being a great all around hunting weapon, the .30-06 is also a common sniper caliber for police forces.

Where can you purchase a good hunting rifle? They are everywhere from Wal-Mart, Dicks, Cabella’s, Gander Mountain and the local neighborhood pawn shop. You don’t generally need a license to purchase a long rifle and they have lots of use. The ammunition is going to be more expensive, but if you are hunting with this rifle, you will need less; unless you are a horrible shot.

#5 .22 (Pistol and Rifle)

The .22 is great for two things in my mind. In a rifle, the .22 is perfect for small game or varmints. A pistol is great for practice or for use by smaller children. A .22 is a great addition because you can use this to practice your accuracy and not spend a fortune on ammunition. While it is still way more expensive than it used to be you can buy hundreds of .22 ammunition for a fraction of the more common calibers. Additionally, if they ever do try to take away guns, they might leave you with a .22 and something is better than nothing.

Honorable Mentions – Also known as if you have money left over… try these on for size.

Mosin Nagant

The Mosin is a Russian rifle used primarily during WWII and routinely runs around $100 each. For the life of me, I could never find too many of them but if you have no other option, a Mosin is a great rifle to have and could pull dual duty as a hunting rifle or a backup battle rifle. Of course, there are many limitations with the latter approach.

Concealed Carry (.380)

Yes, I do believe every legal firearm owner should carry concealed. In my recent post on the subject I explained all of the reasons I think this is wise and good for society, but it would be one of the last firearms I chose. The reason is that for most people, carrying concealed isn’t really an option unless you have a much smaller weapon. The .380 is perfect and can easily fit in a pocket or purse, but the capacity and stopping power are much lower.

To those of you, who actually finished this post, thank you for reading! I am eager to hear any comments from you on my opinions and what ideas you have for your own personal top 5.


Other self-sufficiency and preparedness solutions recommended for you:

Healthy Soil + Healthy Plants = Healthy You

The vital self-sufficiency lessons our great grand-fathers left us

Knowledge to survive any medical crisis situation

Liberal’s hidden agenda: more than just your guns

Build yourself the only unlimited water source you’ll ever need

4 Important Forgotten Skills used by our Ancestors that can help you in any crisis

Secure your privacy in just 10 simple steps

Plus the reason why the US Government is so eager to disarm the American people.