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Water is life. As a prepper, as an outdoors person, and even as a human, this fact has been drilled into our heads over and over. It’s a cornerstone of the “Rule of Threes.” Three days without water and the human body starts to suffer the consequences. Water has a big place in our preparations, and it rightly should.

Water is important not only for drinking, but for cooking, for washing, and especially for hygiene. (And harvesting rainwater is a great way to have it be readily available!) My beautiful wife loves to go camping and has lived out of a backpack for weeks at a time, but the elimination of bodily wastes in the woods is not a favorite activity for her. Or for anybody, I think!

One of the most cost-effective ways to store larger amounts of water is in food-grade barrels. The barrels are strong, compact, and are relatively inexpensive. Aside from their weight when full, the other drawback to storing water in barrels is the inconvenience of getting the water back out of them.

But what if there was a way to use your emergency water storage barrels to run your household in a nearly normal fashion during a grid down event?

Would it make you happy to use your indoor plumbing as usual, without going outdoors to some out-of-the-way spot to defecate or urinate? What if you could do dishes in the sink, almost like normal? Get a glass of drinking water from the kitchen tap? I have developed a system for my home that allows me to do just that.

My inspiration for this emergency water storage system came from a power outage, timed coincidentally with a day when the entirety of my in-laws had descended upon our home. A squirrel had met its end at an electrical substation, causing power outages in the local village, extending into the rural area where we live. Although I owned a small generator at the time, it was nowhere near large enough to run the well pump.

I had water stored in several 55-gallon barrels, and initially thought I had finally found a chance to prove my foresighted genius for my wife and her family. I took a 5-gallon camping water jug (you know, the kind with the spigot?) down to my water barrels, anticipating finally having a payoff for my hard work in preparation for a day like this. I assembled the plastic water hand pump (purchased in 1998 for Y2K), and that’s when my troubles began.

The pump had threads that were different than the threads on my barrel. It wouldn’t screw in, and thus, I had to hold the pump in one hand and pump with the other, while my third handheld the jug to….uh oh: I needed more hands! After I recruited my brother-in-law to hold the jug, I found out the suction hose on the pump was also missing a part, too. The hand pump was out of order. Shaker siphon? Dang. I last saw that on my camping trip a few months ago. In the end, I used a new-in-box drill pump and a battery operated drill. It was an OK ending to the water problem, but not ideal.

What finally evolved from that occurrence and some experimentation is an emergency water storage system that I am pretty happy with. In fact, one problem may be that it is too convenient, not discouraging water use.

emergency water storage

The system is simple and – aside from the battery and pump – inexpensive.

Currently, my indoor emergency water storage consists of two 55 gallon barrels. I have a small 3 gallon per minute RV water pump attached to a couple of valved pickup tubes, and leading to a spigot that I installed in the water line coming into the house from the well pump. The RV water pump is powered by a small 35AH gel cell connected to a float charger, so the battery is always topped off. It can also be recharged by the 50W solar panel and small charge controller I already have.

In the photo, you will notice that there are two spigots, with a valve between them. This was so I could completely isolate the well and pressure tank from the house plumbing: If the foot valve on the well pump went out, and I tried to pump water into the house plumbing, water from my barrels would be pumped back down my well. That’s no good! The valve, hose, and fitting between the pickup tubes in the photo is the inlet where I fill the barrels.

emergency water storage

The clear hose (far right) connected to the upper spigot. Note the isolation valve between the two spigots.

Hooking up the water tanks to the spigot is a snap. I have placed valves in line to allow me to draw from one or the other, or both barrels. With a flick of a switch, the pump is activated. Since it is an RV pump, it has its own pressure sensor, which activates the pump when a faucet is opened. When someone flushes the toilet, the pump kicks on and refills the toilet tank. When someone opens the kitchen tap to wash hands, prepare food, or get a drink, the pump kicks on and delivers the water.

This system also routes the water through our whole-house water filter. also At 3 gallons per minute, it is very nearly the same as having our normal well pump working. The flow is noticeably less, but not by a huge amount. Just for fun, I took a shower with the backup system, and it was very acceptable. My water heater does not use electrical power to heat water, so it was even a hot shower! See what I mean about the system being too convenient? It does not really encourage water conservation.

emergency water storage

The simple PVC pickup tubes. The transparent tube in the center is for filling the barrels.

During one of the “Grid Down Weekend” exercises that our family performs, with no attempt at water conservation, we easily went through more than 60 gallons of water per day. We have a larger, 220V generator now, able to run the well pump. During the Grid Down Weekend, I ran the generator for about two hours a day. We let the refrigerator and freezer run, charged batteries, and ran the well pump for laundry, took showers and refilled the water storage barrels. This actually worked pretty well, letting us use water as “normal” without running the generator. If we were unable to run the generator for some reason, we would definitely want to implement methods to reduce the water usage.

emergency water storage

This 50-watt panel recharges the battery in just a few hours

Materials and cost breakdown for my project:

RV pump: eBay, used, $40 shipped
Clear food-safe tubing: 6 feet @ $1.50/foot
Garden hose “repair end,” female: $3.50
Misc. 1/2″ PVC fittings, valves, tubing: $15
Hose Clamps, stainless steel:  3 @ $1.24/piece
Battery: Used, free. New they are about $55
Float Charger: $20, Amazon
Wire, terminals, switch, etc.: $10

The drawbacks to this emergency water storage system are fairly minimal. As I pointed out, you have to keep an eye on your water use. You also have to make sure that your hose ends are kept clean. You have to make sure your stored water is clean. You may find yourself “stealing” that battery for other needs. Other than those limitations, I think it’s a great system that makes living without grid power a bit easier.

Oh, I did finally get the hand pump repaired and figured out. You know, just in case.

 

Other self-sufficiency and preparedness solutions recommended for you:

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Water is life. As a prepper, as an outdoors person, and even as a human, this fact has been drilled into our heads over and over. It’s a cornerstone of

Thanks to modern food processing technology, building up a stock of survival rations is easier than it’s ever been. From cheap tinned goods to tasty dehydrated meals that let you eat well even when you’re living out of a rucksack, modern survival foods make prepping easy.

Even your freezer is a powerful survival tool (as long as you can keep it working).

What do you do if you can’t benefit from all these modern options, though?

Maybe you’re pretty much self-sufficient in food, don’t want to buy what you can grow yourself, but can’t afford a full-scale food processing factory to turn out your own Mountain House meals?

Or what if the crisis has already hit and you’re trying to build up a reserve to get you through the next winter?

There are plenty of ways you could find yourself trying to put together a survival food reserve without the benefits of modern foods, but the good news is it’s easier than you might expect. After all, just a few generations ago our ancestors were building up food stores without most of the foods we rely on today.

They weren’t doing it as a precaution against a possible crisis, either; it was a vital part of survival from one year to the next. If you lived on the old western frontier, or anywhere rural until the early 20th century, you better have a good supply of preserved food laid up by the time the first snow fell or your chances of making it through to spring weren’t that good.

Considering that, it’s no surprise that previous generations had their own ways of putting up food that would last a long time. As recently as our grandparents’ generation most people knew how to preserve their own food.

Those skills are just as useful for modern preppers as they were for our predecessors, so let’s look at some of the survival foods your grandmother would have made.

Kielbasa

5 Survival Foods Your Grandmother Used To Make Kielbasa

Ham is one way to preserve pork; sausages are another. Many of our ancestors came to the USA from central and eastern Europe, where pork sausages are a major part of the diet. There were two reasons for that. One is that sausages could be made from scraps and poorer cuts of meat; the other is that, properly cured and air-dried, they can be stored for months in a cool, dark place.

While the hams were soaking in brine, pounds of pork would be forced through my grandmother’s mincing machine, seasoned, then packed into sausage skins. Then the strings of sausages were smoked and hung up to cure.

Once they were dry they would last through the winter and well into the next year; grilled, or cut up and cooked in stews or soups, they were a tasty and versatile source of storable protein.

The truth is, our grandparents and great-grandparents grew up in a world where home refrigeration was a luxury. They needed food that could be stored for the long term, because crops and livestock were mostly available for processing on an annual basis.

That meant pretty much anything they canned, cured or otherwise preserved was good for at least a year. So, if you have your grandmother’s old recipe books around the house, dig them out and take a look; there could be a lot of great survival food ideas in there.

Head Cheese

5 Survival Foods Your Grandmother Used To Make Head Cheese

Don’t be misled by the name – this old delicacy isn’t a dairy product (although it does usually have bits of head in it). Originally from Europe, it was popular for generations in the USA, too. In fact it’s still popular in some areas, mostly in Cajun and Pennsylvania Dutch country.

In the mid-20th century almost every rural family would lay up a stock of it after the slaughtering was done. One great thing about head cheese is it can be made from almost any animal; a calf or pig is the usual choice, but cows, sheep and deer work fine too.

Head cheese is a great way of not only using up tricky cuts, but also of preserving meat for long-term storage. It’s made by taking the head of an animal, removing the brain, eyes and ears, then slowly simmering what’s left in a pan of seasoned water. This process doesn’t just cook the meat; it extracts natural gelatin from the head.

After a few hours, depending on the size of the head, the meat is stripped off and chopped into small pieces.

The gelatin-rich stock is simmered a bit more to reduce it, then the meat is put in a mold or jar and the stock is poured over it. When it’s cooled you’re left with a meat jelly that can be eaten cold. For long-term storage it was made in jars, then canned while the stock was still hot. That way it would last in the root cellar for months.

Ham

Ham’s one of those things we pick up in the grocery store and the label says “Once opened use within 3 days”. Ham isn’t so delicate, though. In fact it originated as a way of storing meat through the winter – and sometimes well into the next year, until a new batch of hogs were ready for slaughter.

When my grandparents butchered their hogs, that was the cue for ham curing to start. Some hams would be buried in salt then pressed to get the blood out, washed, and hung in the root cellar to dry.

Others would be soaked in brine for a week or two, then hung up. The brined ones were ready to eat as soon as they’d dried; the others developed a richer flavor, but had to be left to cure for months.

Lard

How To Stockpile Lard, The Calorie Rich Survival Food Of The Great Depression

If there’s one thing this site seems to love as much as articles about surviving an EMP attack, it’s articles about lard. That makes perfect sense to me, because lard is a great survival food. It’s healthier than a lot of modern spreads, and even butter.

It’s versatile, and can be used for frying, baking and general cooking, as well as an ingredient in some delicious baked goods. It can be used to preserve meat. It’s rich in calories and also has plenty of essential fatty acids and fat-soluble vitamins. Best of all, it’s easy to make and stores for a long time.

My grandmother made her own lard every fall when the hogs were slaughtered. Butcher a well-fed hog and you’ll end up with plenty of fat. To the horror of today’s health-conscious foodies this wasn’t thrown away.

It was cut into small cubes, put in a pan with a little water, then slowly rendered down over a low to medium heat. After a couple of hours she was left with a basket of delicious pork cracklins and pints of lard. Poured into jars, pressure canned and stored in the root cellar, that lard would last a year or more.

Maple Syrup

5 Survival Foods Your Grandmother Used To Make

Nutritionists might hate sugar, but it’s a great survival food. Easy to digest, packed with calories and useful for preserving other foods, sugar is something we all stockpile.

Our reserves won’t last forever, though, and what do we do once the last spoonful of sugar is gone?

Not many of us want to go through the hassle of growing, then cutting, sugar cane and building a press to extract the juice. Luckily there’s an alternative sweetener that’s much easier to produce.

My grandfather used to tap a couple dozen maple trees for their sap every spring. Once he’d filled enough buckets with sap my grandma would slowly boil and skim it until it was reduced to a thick, sweet syrup. We ate that on pancakes, but it’s also a great all-round sweetener.

Sauerkraut

Fermented cabbage isn’t to everyone’s taste, but if you can’t get your hands on fresh greens for a while you’ll be grateful for a source of essential vitamins. Sauerkraut was developed as a way of preserving cabbage for long-term storage, and it used to be a regular item in the fall canning season.

If your food reserves are based around dry goods and canned meat, digging out your grandmother’s old sauerkraut recipe will let you add some much-appreciated vegetables to your diet.


Before you go, you may also like:

The Lost Ways (The vital self-sufficiency lessons our great grand-fathers left us)

Survival MD (Knowledge to survive any medical crisis situation)

Backyard Liberty (Liberal’s hidden agenda: more than just your guns…)

Alive After the Fall (Build yourself the only unlimited water source you’ll ever need)

The Lost ways II (4 Important Forgotten Skills used by our Ancestors that can help you in any crisis)

The Patriot Privacy Kit (Secure your privacy in just 10 simple steps)

Have you ever wondered what’s wrong with society? Why is so hard to find and cook a good healthy meal?

It is finally December and for me and all of the other procrastinators out there, it’s time to consider Christmas gifts for those around you. Fortunately for me, my wife handles the lion’s share of gift selection and acquisition for our family and children. I get off relatively easy in that respect so long as I take care of paying the bills and her gifts of course, which I would rather do any day than shopping.

Speaking of shopping, I am not a person who doesn’t like to be around other people, but I would just about rather take a kick in the head than go anywhere near a mall in December. For me, shopping online is much preferable to dealing with some of the madness this time of year so with that in mind, I decided this year again to put together a list of prepper gift ideas you can purchase for that special prepper in your life.

One of our readers frequently talks about the gift of prepping. They give their friends and family gifts that can also help them survive as a way of both passing out survival gear, but hopefully engendering an interest in the subject of preparedness as well. If you have that type of person on your Christmas list, this buying guide was designed for you. I broke the list down below into three sections depending on the type of prepper you are shopping for, but there should be something here for everyone.

Prepper Gift Ideas

Gear

Morakniv Hatchet $58 Do you have a hatchet? Have you ever considered how this survival tool, long used throughout history could benefit you? I used to primarily look at knives as the go to survival blade but when it comes to heavier tasks in the outdoors (like in a bug out scenario) a hatchet’s worth is immediately recognizable.

 

Morakniv, the makers of the famous survival knife have their own version of the hatchet. The Morakniv Boron steel camping axe is lightweight, ships sharp as any knife and comes with its own protective sheath. The Mora hatchet is perfect for your bug out bag or next camping expedition and it will easily chop decent sized logs for fires or for making shelter. Yes, you can do that with a good survival knife and batoning also, but the hatchet is a much better tool for the purpose.

Paratus Pack from 3VGear

3V Gear – Paratus 3 Day Operator’s Pack $79.94 – Many preppers start with a bug out bag for several reasons and one of the questions I hear frequently is “what is the best bug out bag?”. The answer to that question really depends on a lot of factors, not the least of which is what are you planning to put in that bug out bag. Assuming your prepper doesn’t have anything yet, the Paratus 3 Day Operators pack is worth considering.

I was given one of these packs to review and when you look at the features and cost, is really impressive. For about what some people spend on a good survival knife alone, you can have a rugged bag to throw a lot of gear in. The Paratus 3 Day Operators pack also makes a great all around pack with a tactical look even if you don’t plan to bug out.

Range Finder – NIKON Aculon $149 – Does the prepper on your shopping list have just about every gadget you can imagine? They might not have a range finder. The Nikon Aculon range finder is a simple tool that gives you the range to a target using a laser. This can be beneficial when making long-range shots so you can adjust your elevation. When I am out hunting, there are some shots that my rifle can make, but the distance is something I would have to guess at. With a range finder, I can easily target the game and see how far the shot is. Knowing my bullet’s drop, I can adjust the reticle placement for the target in my scope to compensate and make a more accurate shot calculation. It can also be used to set range markers out when creating defensive positions in a Mad Max world if it ever comes to that.

Morakniv Survival Knife $63 – No self-respecting Prepper would be caught without a decent survival knife and Morakniv has long been touted for its line of cost-effective but well-designed knives. Morakniv’s basic model is a best seller in Amazon’s fixed blade category. The latest addition to their line continues in the Morakniv tradition with a nice thick Carbon Steel Blade and the traditional sheath, but the Survival version includes a sharpener to keep the blade’s razor edge while performing various survival tasks as well as a fire starter.

Morakniv Survival – 3 pieces of gear in one.

The Morakniv Survival Knife has the basics you need for defense, utility in creating shelter or cutting various items as well as starting fires –  necessary for survival in some cases, all in a nice compact package.

Binoculars – Bushnell PowerView $49 – Binoculars are one item that I think many preppers overlook that can really be force multipliers. I discussed these in my post on neighborhood security and it should go without saying that the earlier you are able to detect a threat the better off you will be. But binoculars don’t have to sit on the shelf until the zombie hordes are moving down your street, or the mutant biker gang sets their sites on your small town. Binoculars, like many other prepping items have so many uses.

Headlamp $26 – Everyone can appreciate the importance of having light when the power goes out, or when you are outdoors at night and desperately need to see. Flashlights are a great gift idea, I even mention an excellent model below, but when it comes to the best option, headlamps are at the top of my list.

A good headlamp allows you to free up your hands to take care of other tasks. It shines where your head turns automatically and it is much harder to drop. If you have to navigate a dark area and perform tasks like cooking or collecting water, a good headlamp is a great option. I have several for various uses. I keep one in my get home bag in my car and another for hunting.

Tulster Concealed Carry IWB holster

Tulster Concealed Carry Holster $60 – If your prepper has a need for a concealed carry holster, there are many options and I wrote a post about many of the different ways to carry concealed. Each has their benefits and drawbacks, but for many Inside the Waistband (IWB) carry is preferred.

I purchased a Tulster Concealed Carry holster IWB when I got my new Glock and have been very pleased with the comfort and design. This is the best holster I have used personally for IWB although I haven’t tried them all.

Fenix PD35TAC Flashlight $71 – If you carry a flashlight as part of your EDC, there are many models and manufacturers to choose from. For years, I have carried Fenix lights because of their durability, brightness and cost. The PD35 is amazingly bright and puts out a whopping 1000 lumens. I was lighting up treetops from a hundred feet away and entire fields were illuminated.

This flashlight is a little larger than the normal PD25 I carry on my belt, but it is still small enough to fit in a pocket. Right now, it is riding in my truck until I figure out a better place for it, but if your prepper needs a good flashlight that will send darkness packing, try out the Fenix PD35. At $71, it is less than half of some other comparable brands.

 

Osprey Men’s Atmos 50 AG Backpacks – $172 – I mentioned one bug out bag pack option above, but if you have more money and weight is important to you, the Osprey Atmos 50 AG could be a great mix of features and weight savings.

The pack only weighs 4 pounds and the Anti-Gravity Suspension (AG) makes the bag feel like it is floating on your shoulders. The hip belt grips your waist like a spider monkey and makes carrying heavier loads much easier. You still have to pay attention to what you are packing and careful consideration should still go into both what you bring and how much it weighs, but a lighter pack can make hauling any gear much more enjoyable.

Survival

resqhammer $15 – Survival isn’t limited to being trapped alone in the wilderness. Everyday trips to the store can turn deadly in a worst case scenario. The resqhammer is the modern emergency escape hammer from a brand you can trust. It comes with a practical mounting bracket, making it easy to install in your car with double face tape included in the box. This innovative escape tool can be attached in various locations around the vehicle to ensure it will be within reach in case of emergency.

Windows are harder to break than you might expect and the resqhammer easily shatters windows with a minimum of force. A child can use this. It also includes a seat-belt cutter if your release won’t work. You don’t have to be trapped underwater to use this tool, your car or the car of someone you love could have flipped over in an accident. If there is a fire, seconds count and the resqhammer might be the tool that could save their life.

Bonus Tip: Don’t just buy this and leave it in the glove box wrapped in plastic. Install the resqhammer in a convenient location. I have a relative who is a mechanic who shared with me that he frequently sees these in the box in the glove compartments.

UCO Titan Stormproof Match Kit – $9 – Having a fire starter like the Swedish Firesteel is an excellent emergency backup fire creation device, but it does require a little practice and the right blend of tinder and conditions to work. For a less persnickety option, regular matches or a Bic lighter are often much easier. The flare gun of matches would have to be the UCO Titan Stormproof matches.

These survival matches burn very hot and even burn if you dunk them in water! The container comes with a small amount of tinder, about 12 matches and a backup striker. All sealed in waterproof goodness that can help easily light a fire when your life depends on it.

Esbit CS585HA 3-Piece Lightweight Camping Cook Set – $22 – So you have your bug out bag laid out with food, water and shelter, but how are you going to heat up the water for those awesome freeze-dried meals? You could pack your own alcohol stove you made with two soda cans or get the Esbit Camping set. The Esbit stove uses solid fuel cubes that won’t spill or leak in your bag. One cube in the stove will heat 1 pint of water in about 8 minutes.

True Utility FireStash Keyring Lighter – $10 – I know, it seems simple, but this is an amazing piece of gear. Its small size can fit on my key-chain easily and would likely go with me everywhere as opposed to only when I am packing my bags. I don’t always have a lighter on me since I no longer smoke, but the Keyring lighter is right there when I need it.

Titan Survival Cord – $25 for 100 feet – I told readers about this new take on the venerable paracord in our email newsletter some time ago, but I am impressed with the Titan Survival Cord’s creative take on a prepper staple. In addition to the regular Mil-spec 550 Paracord that has 7 interior strands that can be used for everything from gear repairs to survival snares, Titan Survival Cord also has mono-filament fishing line to go along with your survival fishing kit, Waxed Jute for starting fires and copper wire for strong snares.

Titan Survival Cord is far superior to regular paracord and could make a nice prepper gift idea for that special person on your list.

Books

100 Deadly Skills – $12 – I reviewed 100 Deadly Skills but I think this book is a great read for that prepper who might be interested in more of the secret agent/ operative side of life. Even if he isn’t a Navy Seal, 100 Deadly skills lays out so many helpful tips that regular people can employ that can save your life.

 

 

Land of Promise – $12 – The long-awaited new series from James Wesley Rawles is available! Patriots was the first prepper fiction book I read and I learned so much from the story and was able to think creatively about my own prepping needs from the scenarios outlined in the pages. He followed that novel up with 4 others (Founders, Survivors, Expatriates and Liberators) that covered the same story from the standpoint of different people.

Land of Promise is an entirely new story that posits the establishment of a Christian nation of refuge, in response to the establishment of a global Islamic Caliphate in the near future. I am reading it now and will post a full review in the future, but if you liked the other JWR novels, this latest one could make a great gift.

One Year After –  $ 6 – The sequel to the best seller, One Second After, which told the story of a small town in Western North Carolina after EMP devastates the nation. One Year After continues with the same cast of characters who have largely survived after the raid from the Posse only to face new threats, this time from the provisional government. I recently finished this one and hope to be able to review it for you soon.

Surviving an Urban Disaster – $15 – For the person who wants just the basics without a lot of fluff, Surviving an Urban Disaster is a great resource that will help you get prepared with the most important things. We reviewed this book from Richard Duarte and it is a great book it you want to have survival tips in quick, easily digestible groups.

So there are a few prepper gift ideas for you that hopefully make your Christmas shopping a little easier. Good luck!

It is finally December and for me and all of the other procrastinators out there, it’s time to consider Christmas gifts for those around you. Fortunately for me, my wife

Gathering together with friends and family during Christmas time can be a prime opportunity to introduce preparedness into their lives – or expand on a small interest in survival and the skills they already possess.

We can do far more than simply hand our loved ones an ALICE (all-purpose lightweight individual carrying equipment) packed filled with gear that costs us a small fortune and they won’t know how to use, anyway. Giving a gift, no matter how nice and well-intended, will not help save the lives of those we care about if it is simply tossed into a closet to gather dust.

Sure, they might recalled where the bag or similar item, was tossed a few years back, but grabbing the gear when in the midst of panic because the SHTF, is definitely not the time to open it up and try to figure out how to use all the survival supplies still packed carefully inside.

Top Ways To Give the Gift of Preparedness This Christmas

Give Multi-Purpose Gifts

Instead of wrapping up a gas mask to give a non-prepping loved one, buy or make a gift that is an essential part of living a prepared life, but does not necessarily wreak “SURVIVALIST.” Teaching those folks we want to live through a doomsday disaster how to do it will require baby steps, if they are not at all currently inclined to embrace our self-reliance mindset.

• Car emergency kit in a caddy you make or buy. This is a perfect preparedness gift for a teenage driver, an adult child going off to college, or someone who has a lengthy commute to work, or drives long distances for vacation.

Several years ago my husband bought white 5-gallon buckets, painted a red cross on them, and carefully packed a bunch of emergency car items inside, for all of the teenagers and young adults in the family. They all loved the gift, and enjoyed digging through their buckets and asking questions about all of the treasures they found inside.

He included a small amount of silver so they could barter for gas or other essentials during an emergency situation.

 

 

• Bread machines also make great preparedness gifts. Learning how to make bread, even if using electricity to do it, will help enhance the self-reliance skill set of a loved one. You can buy or make (printed recipes placed in a binder) a bread making cookbook that is filled with pioneer style recipes that also offer instructions on how to make bread and baked goods the old-fashioned way, without the aid of modern technology.

• Buy a sewing machine and some basic supplies, including a binder full of free patterns downloaded from the internet. Learning how to sew using modern technology will still teach the basic skills needed to sew by hand or using a manual machine. I recently scored one at an auction for a cheap price, parts are still available for them and they are really a lot easier to use than I thought.

• Build or buy a small forge to introduce the basics of blacksmithing to a loved one.

• If the loved one lives on property that has ample firewood available, yet the person does not have a fireplace, buy or build an attractive fire ring or self-contained patio version of the same and a nice ax (decorate the ax by adding an engraved or wood burnt design on the handle) to start introducing outdoor skills to the loved one.

• Solar charger that can handle powering a cellphone, emergency radio, or similar electronics.

• A set of handheld radios for a couple.

• A gardening kit in a bucket. Sew a tool caddy onto the bucket and put some seed packets, a gardening book (printout in binder) and some planting hand tools inside. The introduction to growing your own groceries could inspire the loved one to expand their gardening skills further.

• Give the loved one a chicken – ok, maybe not to take home with them, but buy or hatch a chick that belongs to them – and so will all the eggs the hen produces. Give a photo of the chick to the love one to keep and email or text photos and videos of the chick as it grows. Hopefully, the love one will be intrigued by their gift and start coming over to your homestead/prepper retreat to spend time with the chicken and collect their own eggs. Present the gift with some of your own farm fresh eggs inside an attractive egg-collecting basket.

• Make a target or an entire target range, for friends and family who enjoy shooting guns and bows. You can paint a deer onto a piece of plywood, make hanging and moving targets out of painted tin cans and milk jugs. Paint interesting targets on an old sheet, cut them apart, and secure them to a bale of straw for a cheap and fun bow target.

• Forage some seasonal goodies from the woods and put them in an attractive container along with a field guide the loved one can use to find their own free food. If possible, make a delicious smelling soup, stew, or meat rub using the forage food to include with the gift.

• Buy a dehydrator and fill several Mason jars with food you have dehydrated from your garden. Include a dehydrator recipe book with the gift, as well.

• Make a batch of mead or wine in your still and give it along with either a complete still or directions on how to make one, to a love one you want to inspire to become more self-reliant.

• Using an old pallet, make a vertical herb garden and gift it to a non-prepping loved one.

• Build a cold frame out of scrap wood an an old window and gift it along with a bucket of compost and seeds to a gardening fan who would enjoy learning how to start their own seeds or expand their growing season.

• Need a big gift for an adult child or their entire family? Dig them a pond and stock it with fish. Present a homemade gift card for the stocked pond along with a fishing pole or cookbook designed for anglers.

• Buy a tent and or camping supplies and give it along with a gift card for a nearby state park.

• Have a loved one that already enjoys gardening but doesn’t can their harvest? Get them started with a basic set of canning tools and a cookbook filled with recipes – or a printout of your own recipes placed inside of a binder.

• Build a bench, cabinet, or piece of outdoor furniture and present it to the loved one with a gift card for free woodworking training sessions.

• Put a compass, binoculars, emergency whistle, a homemade walking stick and handmade map inside of an Alice pack. The map will lead the loved one to the rest of their gift that you have hidden in the woods.

• Make an attractive wood crate and fill it with canned and dehydrated goodies from your garden. Present it with a photo of an outlined patch of dirt with the loved one’s name spray painted on the grass to mark the area you are gifting them during the next growing season.

• During your annual Christmas party, feed the guests only long-term storage food to eat. Give each loved one their own packet of long-term storage food to take home with them.

• Give a sampler of essential oils and spices in an attractive basket or wood box along with a printed guide of how to use them to make natural home remedies.

• Make a health and beauty kit filled with homemade toothpaste, shampoo, household cleaners, skin care items, chap stick, and similar items along with directions for how to make the natural care and cleaning items themselves.

• Hand tools, like a manually-powered drill, pocket augers, etc. for the men on your Christmas list that love tools, but only know how to use the kind that plug into the wall.

• A set of cast iron cookware and a cookbook on how to use and season their indoor/outdoor cookware.

• Attractive composting pail with a lid and a printout of how to cultivate quality soil, how to test the soil, and the best items to compost.

• A grinding mill with a cookbook full of recipes to use when making your own wheat flour, cornmeal, and acorn flour – along with a delicious fresh out of the oven bread you made after grinding your own flour. Present the gift with an attractive bag of dried corn, wheat berries, or acorns.

• Oil lamps. Fill them with colorful oil, put a pretty lamp cover on them, and include a printout that details how to make lamp oil using olive oil, vegetable oil, and how to make your own wicks.

• A miniature fruit tree or non-native dwarf fruit tree in a container that can be moved indoors during the winter.

Cut starts from your own native fruit trees and berry bushes and present them with an attractive wood sign that can be staked into the ground. Put a catchy phrase, the loved one’s name, or other personal message on the sign that will be placed at the entrance to the fruit grove. If only a single tree or a few bushes can be planted due to the smallness of the loved one’s yard, that is fine too, and still worthy of an attractive sign as part of the gift.

• Give a fermentation crock along with a cookbook of recipes that can be made using the crock.

• Expand the knowledge of an avid canner in your family by giving them a cookbook that will teach them Amish or off grid methods of food preservation – along with some extra Mason jars or lids, can’t ever have too many of those!

• Fill a bucket or basket with homemade fire starters for the folks on your list who have a wood burner or fireplace, or already enjoy camping. Give a printout with directions on how to make your own fire starters.

• Give a squeeZo food mill along with a cookbook teaching them how to make their own jams, jellies, and tomato juice.

• Expand upon the woodworking or wood cutting outdoors skills a loved one already has and buy them a portable sawmill attachment for his or her chainsaw so they cut their own boards.

• Have a loved one that already keeps chickens? Spend just a few dollars to purchase plans detailing how to build their own egg incubator – add a gift card for the supplies required if it fits your budget.

• Give a dinner and a movie – a survival movie and a complete meal comprise only of long-term storage food, including a powdered drink and ice cream or some other sweet dessert.

Arts and Craft Survival Skill Building Kits

While having fun making something cool, any man,woman, or child who receives these kits will be learning a new skill that can come in handy after the SHTF.

• Leather craft kit
• Knife making kit
• Pottery wheel
• Bow making kit – you can make a recurve or even a compound bow, out of PVC pipe and a few other easy to find and cheap materials.
• Buy a reloading kit for the guy and gals that already like to target shoot and hunt. Help them take their skills to the next level by learning how to make their own ammo.
• Cheese making kit
• Soap making kit
• Candle making kit
• Basket making kit
• Weaving kit
• Herbal salve making kit
• A tabletop butter churn and related supplies.
• Rope making kit
• Knot tying kit
• Lap loom kit
• Chap stick making kit
• Sling shot making kit and target
• Solar cell making kit
• Solar mechanics kit
• Weather station kit
• Soldering iron with mini projects kit
• Moccasins making kit
• Make your own knife sheath kit
• Make your own wallet kit
• Make your own gun holster kit
• Build your own transistor radio kit
• Build your own tool belt kit
• Build your own picnic table kit – hardware but wood not included with the kit, add a gift card to the local hardware store.
• Build your own solar light kit
• Make your own fishing lures kit
• Make your own cat condo or tower kit for the feline lovers on your Christmas list.
• Sew your own dog bed or dog car seat cover kit for the canine lovers on your shopping list.

Self-Reliance Gifts Especially For Kids

While none of these gifts are likely on the top of the Christmas list for the children in your life because they are not advertised during cartoon television shows, they will inspire and intrigue the little ones and quite possible become one of their most memorable presents. You can find these toys, or the supplies to make them, from a vast array of both brick-and-mortar and online retailers. I chose specific titles for each toy that matched the ones used on most big box store websites, including Amazon.

• Build an off road car kit – for kids

• Build your own fairy house or dollhouse kit – get the girls in the family interested in woodworking and using tools.

• Tin can microphone kit – teach children how to communicate without the use of technology and how sound travels.

• Build your own engine play set for kits – for ages 10 and below about $25

• Build your own V8 engine kit – less than $60 from most retailers

• Build your own internal combustion kit – less than $50 from most retailers

• Build your own robot kit

• Simple machines making kit

• Child’s sewing machine with kits or free downloaded patterns for making their own doll clothes, pillows, and other simple beginner projects.

• Make your own catapult kit

• Build your own car kit

• Make a no-sew blanket kit

• Make a metal detector robot kit

• Water science kit

• Build a power air rocket launcher

• Build your own guitar kit

• Child gardening kit – make this yourself and save a lot of money while providing a much larger gift. After purchasing the standard gardening tools and gloves available at most farm and garden stores, add a whimsical tool caddy to a small bucket and fill it with items similar to the ones used in the adult version. You could also include small clay pots and art supplies so the child can decorate their own gardening containers to put outside or in a windowsill.

• Build your own blue tooth speaker

• Take apart car or motorcycle kit

• Fishing pole and tackle box

• Homemade coupon book for learning sessions or field trips designed to get them outdoors and learning.

• Child appropriate shooting range to go along with a BB gun, Nerf gun, bow with suction cup arrows, or even a squirt gun. I made a kiddo shooting range on our prepper retreat and it is a hit with kids of all ages. When using squirt guns, I fill the guns with colored water so the children can track who hits what target and where.

• Glow in the dark paracord bracelets kit

• Barbie and similar dolls with outdoor and hunting accessories – these only became readily available last year. Tractor Supply and Rural King are a great place to find these type of non-traditional dolls for little girls.

• Survivor Kid: A Practical Guide to Wilderness Survival book

• Make an obstacle course out of wood, tree stumps, rope, old tires for your children or grandchildren. The children will be building strong bodies and learning how to overcome obstacles while competing against each other or their own previous completion times.

• Built a wood playhouse or clubhouse WITH your children or grandchildren. They children can learn how to use tools safely, how to design a simple structure. How to sand wood, sew curtains, make simple furniture to go into the playhouse or clubhouse, and how to “power” their play structure using solar lights. Print off a photo of a one or more of the many playhouse or cubby houses, and use it as part of a homemade gift card to unwrap when presenting the gift.

• Purchase make-believe camping gear – cook stoves, lanterns, and even glowing campfires complete with wood that can be “chopped” with a toy ax, are available online. You can also make your own pretend fire, logs, and an ax – as well as play camping food, out of felt.

After looking at the high price for felt pretend camping and food items online, I decided to make my own, and they were (and still are) a huge hit with the grandchildren. I used toilet paper and paper towel rolls to give shape and weight to the stuffed ax and knife that I made out of felt. I also made a fishing pole (same type of handle crafting) with a magnetic end, felt fish with magnets inside, and a fold out pond themed play mat to introduce fishing skills to the toddlers and preschool age children who frequent the playroom at our house – and for rainy day fun for children of all ages.

Survival Related Games

Ok, so these gifts will shout “PREPPER!” in the minds of the recipient, but the box coverings are enticing enough that even someone who mocks your self-reliant lifestyle won’t be able to resist opening it up and playing just once. That one time will likely get them hooked, even if they don’t want to admit it.

The preparedness game recipient will start to learn about survival skills from inside the comfort of their own homes. Playing the games will surely get your love ones thinking about how they would handle the situations they are presented with and leave them pondering the many possible types of disaster scenarios and responses that, being non-preppers, they really hadn’t paid any mind to before.

City of Horror – Game players have to battle a marauding horde of zombies that are invading their city. This game not only touches upon the technical aspects of survival related to the presented scenario, but the mental and emotional ones as well. To win…survive, you may have to choose to forge partnerships you would prefer not to enter into or betray your friends.

Players can control more than one City of Horror game character at one time and capitalize on their respective abilities. During the game, which typically takes about an hour and a half to play, participants search for a zombie vaccine, while scavenging for supplies, as they attempt to reach an evacuation helicopter before becoming a snack for the walking dead. This survival board game is designed for three to six players.

Wildcraft! An Herbal Adventure Game – This cooperative fun for the whole family preparedness board game teaches players about 25 of the most important medicinal and edible plants they will find in the woods. Players connect icon on the challenge and “trouble” cards with the appropriate plant card.

The players must use strategy during the drama-filled game if they are going to make it up the mountain safely and reach Huckleberry Patch – and then get back to grandma’s house, before darkness falls. If the you don’t make it back on time, you will still survive, because grandma is a loving soul and will go out into the wilderness to find you.

The storytelling aspect of the game should entertain both children and adults. Wildcraft! An Herbal Adventure Game is designed for 1 to 4 players and comes complete with a story download that enhances the board game experience.

Oh No… Zombies! – In this competitive game, your character is trapped inside a building that is surrounded by zombies . Modern conveniences, such as cellphones and landlines, are no longer worker. If you get bit while trying to escape, you turn into zombie and attempt to attack the other players. If you get out of the building, you must try to make your way to a store and find available supplies, which include a gun and a radio. The game takes about 30 minutes to play and is designed for 2 to 4 players.

Harvest Time – This family game teachers how important it is to work together to complete an important task. All of the players have to do their part to harvest all the crops out of the garden before the weather turns col enough to frost and ruins all of their food. Harvest Time is designed for 2 to 4 players who are ages 3 to 7 – and the adults who love them. Players work together to complete the harvest before winter comes

The Appalachian Trail Game Backpacking Edition – Players must learn how to identify both plants and animals, garner the concepts of camping skills, basic first aid, in order to make it off the trail successfully and safely. The game is appropriate for at least middle elementary school age children, but remains an engaging learning experience for adults, as well. Players learn about the history of the Appalachian Trail while playing the game. To win the game, you must use all the gear in your backpack to make it from one end of the trail to the other.

Let’s Go Hiking – This is another cooperative family style game where all players work together to overcome obstacles. The playing group enters the woods with only minimal equipment and most track as many animals as possible. If the characters are too loud or are not camouflaged enough, they will not be able to find the players and “take their picture.”

The players can become injured while in the woods and require first aid. The game, which is designed for 2 to 6 players, takes about 30 minutes to play and also educates about various aspects of life in the woods, including plant life.

Outdoor Survival – This cooperate game is an ideal way to introduce the concepts of preparedness to older children and non-prepping adults. The group of players are lost way out in the middle of a vast wilderness. They must battle the elements, wild animals, find potable water, and food, in order to survive. It takes about 40 minutes to play Outdoor Survival. The game is designed for 1 to 4 players.

Conflicted – If your family and friends are more into card games than board games, check out the Conflicted – all of which inspire thought-provoking learning and fun
Each scenario in the various decks presume the SHTF and the world is in the midst of complete chaos.

The cards are dealt to each player and they take turns reading a question to the person sitting next to them. The player has only 3 minutes to explain how he or she would deal with and survive the situation presented. The other players rank their response and the person with the most points at the end of the game, wins.

SHTF Books Non-Preppers Should Receive for Christmas

Many survival book designed to teach or expand preparedness skills overall or on a specific topic exist and are worthy of our hard-earned money. But, for a non-prepper gift, a scenario driven SHTF book will be a better fit.

The reader will learn from the survival action successes and failures of the characters – but will not be subjected to material that is over their heads, could be essential buy rather dry reading, or would immediately turn them off and convince them to close the book and toss it back up on the shelf…forever.

Survival books, especially Dr. William R. Forstchen’s One Second After, also make excellent gifts for non-prepping friends and family. This book, the one that caused Forstchen to be dubbed the “Father of the Prepping Movement,” teaches awareness, in an often heart wrenching way through the scenarios the heroes and villains, and a folks in between, go through in order to survive and hold onto power.

One Second After begins just shortly before disaster strikes and allows the reader to become fully immersed in the life of the main character, his family, and small town community as the full impact of life post-apocalypse unfolds.

Even non-preppers should find the book almost impossible to put down. Thankfully for folks coming to One Second After more than a decade after it was written, there are now equally great sequels that bring more thought provoking scenarios to ponder about what happens post-SHTF once “order” is restored to at least some parts of America. The book is also available in audio book format.

Lights Out Saga is another excellent scenario driven book. The storytelling focuses on what life is like as the doomsday disaster is happening. The confusion that something really bad is actually going and the desire to remain stationary and wait for the government show up to help, by the general populace, should inspire non-preppers to become more self-reliant after they finish the book – likely before they get to chapter 3!

David Crawford’s characters are extremely easy to relate to for both preppers and non-preppers.

If you make or buy any of the gifts for non-preppers on this list, whether for Christmas or another gift giving occasions, please share their initial reaction and any future preparedness actions that ultimately resulted from your inspiration gift, in the comments section below.

Gathering together with friends and family during Christmas time can be a prime opportunity to introduce preparedness into their lives – or expand on a small interest in survival and

I haven’t been able to understand why the expression “to live like an Amish” has a pejorative meaning. Not until I started to love like a prepper. They are simple folk, trying to live a very simple life; some may call them minimalists, but I can’t see why they’re mock just because they chose to live without electronic gadgets, electricity, and as far away as possible from the hustle and bustle of the city. I would be lying If I were to say that I’m envious about their life choices.

Yes, I am a prepper and, even more than that, a person who’s ready to sacrifice comfort for safety, if the situation demands it, but not willingly. Sure, I can make do without a tablet, the latest Samsung Galaxy with four motion-triggered cameras or going to the cinema every weekend to see a movie, but there are some things I just can’t part with (well, not right away).

Anyway, the other day, as I was taking my daughter back from school, I stopped at a light downtown. Even though it was well after two o’clock, the traffic was downright infernal – you know what that means; lots and lots of patience. So, while standing there, waiting for the green light, I noticed that the driver on my right side kept sliding his hand out of the window in an attempt to snap a picture.  Nothing curious about that considering that, sometimes, becoming stuck in a traffic jam brings out the artist inside all of us.

However, the man kept on doing this, whilst talking to someone on the driver’s seat. When I looked in the direction of his camera I saw the embodiment of ‘screw you, I do what I want with my life.’ Standing in the dicky of four-wheeled coach, there were two men – father and son, I gathered. Both of them were dressed in black from head to toe, had these thick, bushy beards, glasses, and clergymen hats.

What amazed me was the fact that although most of the drivers were snapping pictures and mocking them, they went on about their business as if nothing was wrong. I can’t imagine being that calm when someone is calling me names. But, then again, I can very well assume that this isn’t the first, nor the last time that they had to deal with people staring at them as if they were zoo animals.

Well, long story short, once I got home, I started to read a bit about the Amish community.  And, as you’ve probably guessed it by now, the article you see before you is the result of, shall I call it, an exploration into America’s most conservative community. So, without further ado, here are 6 life and survival lesson I’ve learned from the Amish. Enjoy!

Family and togetherness mean a lot more than all the treasures of this world

Last time I paid my folks a visit, I sort of got one of those Hollywoodian flashbacks. More than 20 years ago, I was in the living room with my mom, dad, and grandma. ‘Twas around the time of the prom. I wanted to tell my parents that right after the party, I was going to hit it off with my girlfriend and two classmates.

As you would imagine, my parents were not too thrilled about this. Dad was adamant about me getting back home. Guess he would have rather seen me hitting the books for my college entry exam then reenacting Adam’s intro of Summer of ‘69. Long story short, we argued, a lot, and everything ended with me saying some very nasty things about my family.

This is one of the things I kinda envy the Amish – no matter how shitty things are; they stay together. Everything they do, they do for the family. More than that, they do not believe in stuff like “hey, I have this thing, but you can’t have it, because you will have to work for it just like I did.” Nope. If one family makes more than it needs, it will wholeheartedly share with the rest of the community, especially with the more unfortunate ones.

I can’t say that my family is perfect. No, we don’t argue all the time, scream at each other, say things like “I’m going to leave you and take the kids with me,” but tempers do flare from time to time. In those moments I come to realize that we have everything we need and we should try to play nice with each other. I mean, the Amish communities are like stepping into a time machine and ending up in pre-colonial America- no electricity, no Internet, no gadgets. And yet, they still have more tightly-knitted families than 90 percent of the people I know or grew up with.

You really don’t need to become a member of the Amish community to figure out the meaning of “family.” Just talk or read some books about them. Trust me – after doing this, you won’t be that eager to raise your voice at your wife, punish your kids for stuff they didn’t do or laugh in your neighbor’s face when he asks for help. Remember the saying: “give an inch and take a mile.”

The Amish rehashed “self-reliance.”

There’s no such thing as being too self-reliant, whether it refers to cooking your own meals, washing your stuff or learning to make things rather than buying them from the store. Emerson’s Walden may have been a good read for a lot of preppers, but for the Amish, that book’s almost sacred. Imagine living in a very small community with no money, no debit or credit cards, and no stores. Sounds interesting, does it not? Well, in traditional Amish communities, a family’s only way to obtain certain goods they need around the house, say lamp oil, is trading. And yes, everything being trading within the boundaries of this community is produced or manufactured there.

And let me tell you, those people really know their business – I’ve seen Amish canned goods, oil lamps, furniture, tobacco, bread, coffee, and even toys for the little ones.

There’s a lesson in this, folks – when you do decide that it’s time to drop off the grid, you must ensure that you know how to make stuff. Otherwise, it’s just what I like to call prepping with benefits.

Treating your livestock as if it’s part of the family

Can’t really say that I like livestock that much – sure, baby goats and horses are gorgeous, but not as cute as kitten or puppies. What struck me the most when watching YouTube videos about the Amish community is the bond they share with their livestock. When I was a kid, my grandma used to tell me these stories about her parents keeping animals like baby horses, goats, sheep or chicklings inside the house during the winter.

Sure, it’s a heartwarming story, but I didn’t take it for granted. However, after seeing these people care for their livestock, I kind of began to believe in them. If there’s one worthy takeaway, it’s learning how to see if your livestock is healthy or there’s an illness running amok.

Overcomplicated farming is not a recipe for success

We are literally surrounded by supermarkets, farmer market’s, and hypermarkets, yet all the food we eat tastes like cardboard. Granted, we have the means to feed millions of people thanks to the advancement in farming technology, but all this stuff doesn’t mean anything if the final product lacks the very stuff our bodies so desperately need. I wholeheartedly recommend viewing a video on Amish farming methods. To say that it’s fascinating, would be a major understatement. They have no need for trucks, tractors, cultivators, subsoiler, rollers or spike harrow – they toil from dusk till dawn to sow the ground with horse-pulled plows. That’s it! Yes, I know that it’s very hard work, but, my God, their veggies are astounding. I’ve seen cantaloupes the size of a basketball and beets as big as my beer belly. Their secret – plenty of hard work, dedication, and using all-natural solutions.

Hand sewing is not just something you see in the movies

Nowadays, nobody pays too much attention to sewing – if your parka needs stitching, you just take it to tailor’s shop, and that’s basically it. If I were to ask someone about hand sewing, he would probably look at me as if I’m from another planet or something. The only thing close to actual hand sewing was this old lady who had a stand at an exposition hosted by our local history museum. She could make anything from tunics, socks, underpants to carpets and upholstery. However, for the Amish, hand sewing is a vital skill. Although the women do the heavy lifting, the men also know how to sew back a ripped button or patch a hole in their shirts.

I am well aware of the fact that hand sewing clothes and other things is not a skill that can be learned overnight. Heck, some members of the Amish communities spend half a century honing their skills and perfecting their techniques. So, the next time you see an Amish couple in your hometown, don’t mock their sense of fashion – just remember that everything they wear is made by the head. The same thing cannot be said about us town folk, who buy every piece of garment from Mall stores.

That hard work is a virtue, not just a 9-to-5 undertaking

The next time you complain that your cushy 9-to-5 is exhausting, think about the fact that the regular Amish workday begins at five in the morning and ends well after sunset. And it doesn’t matter if the weather’s nice or really bad or if that person woke up with a major headache because he drank too much last night – for the Amish community, work is sacred. And, dare I say, the results speak for themselves. I’ve never seen an Amish home in disarray or a family that has nothing to eat or to wear.

If that’s not enough for you, get a load of this – Amish don’t work just for themselves. They work for the entire community. Sure, your land and livestock are important, but so is the rest. For instance, if a new couple moved into ‘town,’ the entire community helps them settle in. Yup that means even giving them a hand to raise a house or a barn.

By the way, if you need new furniture, you may want to try out your local Amish store or get in touch with a member of the community. Why? Because their furniture’s all-wood, not that cheap crap manufacturers use to whip up low-quality beds or couches. It’s a win-win.

That about wraps it up for life and survival lessons learned from the Amish. What do you think about this topic? Hit the comments section and let me know.

I haven’t been able to understand why the expression “to live like an Amish” has a pejorative meaning. Not until I started to live like a prepper.

Ever since I bought my very first computer back in the odd ‘90s, I sort of became a hoarder of everything related to tech – I kid you not when I say that the back of my garage is filled to the proverbial brim with outdated components like CPUs, motherboards, video cards, monitors, and boxes of CDs, DVDs, and floppy disks.

Sometimes I feel the urge to pop open my PC’s optical drive just to see what’s on them. Unfortunately for the computer geek in me, half of that stuff has stopped working long ago. As for the CDs and DVDs, not even wishful thinking can restore them to their former glory. Still, that doesn’t mean I should throw them away.

Even the thought of parting with a single CD would break my hear. So, as usual, I paid a visit to my old pal Google to see what other people have done with their optical disk collection. I was stunned to see just ingenious people get when it comes to repurposing stuff.

And yes, even though all the threads began with “do, I really need to throw them in the garbage?”, they usually ended in a lighter note – great homesteading projects and some of them carried out by guys who haven’t even head the word “prepping.”

So, if you are the proud owner of a huge CD or DVD collection, here are X clever ways to use them around the house.

  1. Building a gigantic solar cooker

I simply love outdoor cooking, no matter if it’s barbequing or watching others prepare food. Anyway, this one thread was speaking about creating a solar cooker from CDs or DVDs. Yes, I know it sounds crazy. That was my first impression as well. However, the math seemed to be right, and since the weather’s nice, I tried to see if it works.

Now, keep in mind that you will need around 100 or 200 CDs and DVDs for this project and old parabolic antenna (the biggest you can find). If you don’t want to invest too much cash, you can always pay a visit to your junkyard to scavenge for parts (that’s where I found the antenna). Here’s what you will need to do in order to create your solar cooker.

Place the antenna in the yard’s hottest spot (that would be around the back). Using a nail gun or zip tie, attach the CDs to the antenna. Make sure that you don’t leave any gaps. When you’re done, take a small grill and attach it just below the receiver (I used a couple of metal pieces which I secured to the receiver using screws).

Wait for the grill to get hot, then BBQ your meat of choice. If the weather’s holding out, you should be able to get at least 700 degrees Fahrenheit. Now, if the temp’s too high for you, simply remove a couple of CDs to lower it.

  1. Creating a retro-futuristic night lamp for your off-grid cabin

Everything can be solved with a little illumination. If you’re a big fan of DIYs and repurposing, you should definitely try out this simple and neat project. The result is a cool, retro-futuristic night lamp that’s brighter than anything you have around the house. Even neat is the fact that it won’t cost you a dime.

Here’s what you’ll need to do – salvage a bulb socket from an old lamp. Search around the house for an LED bulb (there’s bound to be one somewhere, especially if you’re committed to stockpiling survival items).

Take a closer look at the wires coming out of the socket. If they’re too far gone, replace them with new ones. Now grab a handful of CDs (I used about 50 for my project) and some epoxy. Stack and glue them together. Place the socket inside the stack, screw in the bulb, draw the wires, attach a plug, and have fun with it.

  1. Keeping pests away from your veggie garden

I like birds and bees and flies as much as the next man, but not while they’re tearing apart my veggie garden and my corn. Still, I can’t find it within me to take out my hunting rifle and shoot those birds down. And no, I won’t even consider using chemical pesticides. While reading about CDs and DVDs, I came across a thread which suggested that old optical supports can be used to keep pests away.

Didn’t believe it for a second, but I hung up a couple of ones at the edge of my garden just to see what happens. Don’t know how or why, but those crows seemed to be scared shitless of the light reflected by those old CDs. What can I say? Win-win.

  1. A hiding place for docs and jewelry

Not enough dough for a strongbox or a safe? No problem. You can use a stack of old CDs or DVDs to create a hiding place for your valuables. Here’s what you will need to do. Get ahold of one of those mini-CDs (you’re going to use this as a reference point). Place it over a bunch of old CDs (at least 50) and draw the mini disk’s outline using a marker.

Now here comes the fun part: using a hacksaw, cut on the ‘dotted line.’ When you’re done, glue all of them together to create a miniature tower. It’s now time to put everything together. Place one CD on the bottom of the plastic holder.

Glue the stack to the base. Now put a holder inside your mini safe (I used an old muffin mold). Place another CD on top, screw the plastic lid in place and, voila, your project’s completion.

That’s it for my four neat ways of repurposing old CDs and DVDs. Now, I know there are tons of other ways to make use of disks, and I would really like to know your thoughts on this. So, hit the comment section and let me know.


Other self-sufficiency and preparedness solutions recommended for you:

The Lost Ways (The vital self-sufficiency lessons our great grand-fathers left us)

Survival MD (Knowledge to survive any medical crisis situation)

Backyard Liberty (Liberal’s hidden agenda: more than just your guns…)

Alive After the Fall (Build yourself the only unlimited water source you’ll ever need)

The Lost ways II (4 Important Forgotten Skills used by our Ancestors that can help you in any crisis)

The Patriot Privacy Kit (Secure your privacy in just 10 simple steps)

Ever since I bought my very first computer back in the odd ‘90s, I sort of became a hoarder of everything related to tech – I kid you not when

Eating your vegetables can help you to grow stronger – and taller! My mama used to say.

That is, if they were properly stored.

Whether you are looking for a long-term food storage solution to become self-sufficient, save money, or want an abundance of home-produce to last until you need it, putting by vegetables for future use is easy and rewarding. To stockpile vegetables, you won’t need to spend money on specialized equipment or be an expert in the kitchen. With planning and common sense, you can take pride in a larder filled with a tasty, nutritious harvest that will last a year or longer.

To keep the roots, leaves, and fruits of vegetables for future consumption, we must prevent decay. While freezing is an option, it depends on electricity and the availability of storage space. Fortunately, there are other efficient and practical ways to stockpile them for prolonged periods.

A word of warning – ripe fruit such as pears and apples give off a gas called ethylene, which stimulates other fruits and vegetables to ripen in turn. It is best not to store fruit near vegetables that are stockpiled for long-term use.

Vegetables That You Can Store for a Year or Longer and How to Do It

#1. Winter squash and Pumpkin

Winter squash and pumpkin are nutritious and can be used in many recipes during the months when fresh vegetables are scarce. Leave a short stub of the stem when you cut ripe fruits from the vine, wipe the pumpkin with a damp cloth to remove soil, and store on open shelves or in baskets in a cool dark room such as a basement.

#2. Arrowroot

10 Vegetables That You Can Stockpile Without Refrigeration For A Full Year

Arrowroot is a water plant with tuber-like roots which grow in soft mud. Compared to other vegetables, arrowroot delivers a meagre harvest and requires some effort to process.

However, it’s an essential addition to your stockpile because of its unique benefits. Because it’s so easily digestible, arrowroot is a suitable food for babies and for adults recovering from a digestive disorder. You can harvest young roots of the plant for eating in spring and early summer. When peeled and cooked, arrowroot tastes like slightly mealy potato. Later in the growing season, the roots become fibrous and inedible and are only good for processing into arrowroot flour.

Peel the roots thoroughly to get rid of the outer layer (it will make your food taste bitter) and pound them to a pulp.

Strain the pulp through a coarse cloth and pour the liquid into a container with a large surface area.

Set the container in the sun or close to a heat source until all the liquid has evaporated and only powder remains.

You can store Arrowroot powder almost indefinitely. For daily cooking, arrowroot powder is an excellent substitute for cornstarch in baking and sauces, and it will make battered fried food deliciously crisp.

#3. Cabbage

The only way to keep cabbage and some other vegetables fresh is to fool them into thinking that they’re still growing. Dig cabbages out of the ground roots and all. Trim the outer leaves and plant each cabbage in a few inches of damp soil or sawdust in a bucket or bin with a lid. Store in the basement; 30 – 45 degrees Fahrenheit is ideal. You can preserve celery and leeks the same way.

#4. Carrots

10 Vegetables That You Can Stockpile Without Refrigeration For A Full Year

Like cabbage, carrots are fleshy and will start decaying soon after you dig them up. Throughout summer and autumn, harvest only what you can eat within a few days and leave the rest in the ground.

As soon as winter frost starts damaging the tops of the plants, pull up the rest of the crop to prevent it from freezing in the ground and cut off the foliage. Fill buckets or bins with three to four inches of moist sand, lay carrots horizontally almost to the top, then cover over with another layer of sand.

Store your produce in the basement or garage, and you can pull out fresh carrots throughout winter when you need them. This storage method gave rise to the name ‘root cellar’, and you can store tubers such as sweet potato, cassava and yam in the same way.

#5. Parsley and Celery

Parsley and Celery are varieties of the same Mediterranean plant and you can stockpile them as a vital source of vitamin B and C, iron, and dietary fiber for periods when other nutrient-rich vegetables are scarce.

Most people think of these plants as a leafy seasoning in dishes such as soups and stews, but did you know that all parts of parsley and celery plants are edible? You can enjoy the leaves and stems fresh in salads during the summer, and dried for winter together with other savory herbs.

You can store and use parsley and celery roots in the same way as carrots; when you are ready to eat them, scrape clean with the back of a knife and add the chopped roots to the pot.

#6. Jerusalem Artichokes

Jerusalem Artichokes are not only tasty and nutritious, but also easy to grow and each plant delivers a prodigious crop of roots which you can harvest in autumn and store in the same way as carrots.

The plants are a type of indigenous North American sunflower and even when planted in pots, the roots will develop well. For the most nutritional benefit, boil Jerusalem artichokes in the skin, like jacket potatoes, and peel once cooled. They can also be fried or used to thicken soups.

#7. Tomatoes

10 Vegetables That You Can Stockpile Without Refrigeration For A Full Year

Italians call tomatoes the ‘essence of summer’ and there’s nothing better to add flavor and color to food on cold winter days. Cut ripe tomatoes in half lengthways and lay down well-spaced on suspended netting to make sure that there’s good airflow around the fruit. You can dry tomatoes in direct sunlight.

Turn the tomatoes every day for three to seven days until they’re evenly dehydrated.

Dried tomatoes can be stored in a cool place in airtight containers for six months, or up to two years if you layer them in oil in sealed containers. You can also preserve mushrooms and onions in this way.

#8. Potatoes

Unlike carrots, once a potato harvest is ready, it needs to be dug up, washed and stored at once. This is not a job you can leave until the frosts start; potatoes need to cure before you can stockpile them. Store the potatoes in cardboard boxes or paper bags at temperatures between 45 and 60 degrees Fahrenheit and 80 – 100% humidity for a week. During this period the potatoes’ skin will thicken, preserving them for future use.

After 7 to 14 days, you can transfer the potatoes to a dark, cool room such as a basement for long-term storage. Be careful to discard any potatoes with soft spots, broken skin, or other blemishes. Like the proverbial rotten apple, one spoiled potato will start a chain reaction in your stash.

#9. Onions

Suspend your onion crop from the ceiling. Air can circulate between hanging onions, and it prevents excess moisture from causing rot. A string of braided onions is not only practical but looks beautiful in a corner of your kitchen.

Harvest onions on a warm, dry day and let them cure for up to a week by spreading them out in a single layer on the ground. Once the tops have wilted but before they become dry and brittle, braid the onions into a string. Tie off the top with a piece of twine, which you can use to hang them. Garlic can also be stockpiled this way, and a corner of the pantry or the basement is a good place to store them.

#10. Salsify

10 Vegetables That You Can Stockpile Without Refrigeration For A Full Year

Never heard of it? That’s probably because it’s such an ugly-looking root. In the age of photogenic food, it’s fallen out of vogue, but during the 18thand 19th century, salsify was a staple in the US and Europe, and today it grows wild on uncultivated land.

Salsify is a hardy relative of the dandelion, easy to grow, and the roots are resistant to disease and most pests. It’s a good source of dietary fiber, vitamins B and C, and minerals such as iron, calcium, and potassium. As a bonus, you will probably love to eat this taproot.

Greengrocers call salsify the oyster plant and compare the taste to sea mollusks. The flavor intensifies the longer you store it. Stockpile salsify roots in the same way as carrots.

This article is written by guest contributor April K.

 

So, what do you think? Any experiences you want to share? Please do so, it will only help others. And this is exactly why we are here.

If you want to keep your produce fresher for longer, follow these tips.

Daylight’s boring. But when the darkness comes crawling, that’s when things start to get interesting. As a person who lives in a city where blackouts are more common than acne on a teen’s face, I can state for the fact that there’s no such thing as doing too much research on alternative ways of getting light back into the home.

One of the tricks would be to melt bacon and use the resulting grease to make emergency candles (be sure to check out my article if you haven’t done so already). However, apart from the fact that your home will smell like a slaughterhouse, those things tend to attract a lot of unwanted attention – I was referring to flies and mosquitos, of course.

Well, if you don’t want to spend any of that precious and yummy-yum-yum bacon, I have just the thing for you – a good, old lantern which runs on vegetable oil. Seems like a prepper’s dream come true, doesn’t it? Believe it or not, anyone can whip up one of these beauties regardless of how weak their DIY game is. So, without further ado, here’s how you can build your own oil lamp.

 

Mustering up the materials and ingredients

For this project, you’re going to need a couple of items. Don’t worry about spending too much moolah; the chances are that you already have all the items on the list. So, head to your garage, cellar or pantry and grab the following items:

  • One cork (if you don’t have spare ones, you can always salvage one from a wine bottle, after drinking it, of course).
  • A mason jar (if you don’t have one to spare, you can always use a small bowl).
  • Pair of scissors.
  • A sharp knife.
  • A hammer and a couple of nails.
  • Lamp wick (in case you don’t have any wicks, you can replace with a piece of cloth. Make sure that it’s 100% cotton. Otherwise, it won’t burn.
  • Olive oil (you can also use sunflower seed or any type of veggie oil you have around the house).
  • One glass of tap water.

Are you done gathering the ingredients and materials? Splendid! Here’s what you will need to do in order to construct your first oil lamp.

DIY Oil Lantern

Step 1. Drink wine, throw away the bottle, and salvage the cork.

Step 2. Grab your knife and cut a small cork piece. Make sure that the bottom is flat. Otherwise, the cork piece will tumble, and out goes the flame (it should be at least two inches in length).

Step 3. It’s now time to mount the wick. Using your hammer and a small nail, find the center of the cork piece and make a hole. Keep in mind that the nail has to go all the way through. You may need to do this a couple of time to ensure that the hole is wide enough. When you’re done, draw the wick through the hole.

Yes, I know it’s frustrating to try and get that wick through that tiny hole. However, when you feel like giving everything up for Lent, grab a needle and use it to draw the wick. It’s super simple, and it works.

Step 4. Once you’re done with the wick, use a pair of scissors to cut the excess string from one side of the cork. When I got around to trying out this project, I left out one and a half inches of string (yes, you can also use plain cotton string if you don’t have anything else at your disposal).

Step 5. Put the cork and wick inside the mason jar. Remember that the long part has to stay inside the jar, while the shorter one must remain above the surface at all times.

Step 6. Time to add some fuel to your DIY lamp. Fill the mason with your veggie oil of choice. Make sure you pour the oil from the sides to avoid the wick (it will still burn, but the smoke itself will drive everyone out of the room).

Step 7. Use a lighter or match to set fire to the wick and enjoy!

More thoughts on homemade oil lamps

Although this kind of DIY oil lamp can be made with just any kind of veggie oil, I would advise you to use olive oil. Yes, I know that you want to save that for your Caesar salad, but the truth of the matter is that compared to other types of oils, the olive variety doesn’t smell that bad when you set it on fire. And don’t worry about using too much of that stuff – for a six-hour candle, I used half a bottle of olive oil.

Now, if you want to make your oil lamp last longer, you can try mixing the oil with some water. That will give you another hour or two, at best. Moreover, this would be a good call if you don’t have that much oil to spare. There’s another trick you can use to add another couple of hours to your oil lantern.

Before placing the wick inside the cork piece, fill a bowl with apple cider vinegar, and let the wick soak for a couple of minutes. Take it out and allow it to dry. You can use it after that to create your oil lamp. This very simple procedure gives you an extra four hours of light.

You’re probably wondering how to carry that thing around the house. Well, if your mason jar comes with a handle, it should be no problem taking the oil lamp to another area of the house. If it doesn’t, just put the jar on a plate or something. I would advise you to keep your DIY lamp on a wooden board when you’re using it. Apart from the fact that it has a rustic appeal to it, the support will also prevent the jar from leaving a scorch mark.

Hope you’ve enjoyed my article on making an oil lamp. Any thoughts on this project? Head to the comments section and let me know.

 

 


Other self-sufficiency and preparedness solutions recommended for you:

The Lost Ways (The vital self-sufficiency lessons our great grand-fathers left us)

Survival MD (Knowledge to survive any medical crisis situation)

Backyard Liberty (Liberal’s hidden agenda: more than just your guns…)

Alive After the Fall (Build yourself the only unlimited water source you’ll ever need)

The Lost ways II (4 Important Forgotten Skills used by our Ancestors that can help you in any crisis)

The Patriot Privacy Kit (Secure your privacy in just 10 simple steps)

Daylight’s boring. But when the darkness comes crawling, that’s when things start to get interesting. As a person who lives in a city where blackouts are more common than acne

Here, at Final Prepper, we believe in common sense. There are no doomsday scenarios here, just tips and advices for what now has become, our everyday life – hurricanes, power shortages, food and water shortages, you name it. So we are not sharing info fearing there will be no tomorrow – on the contrary – we do it so that we could all be here tomorrow.

That being said, sit back, and have some fun reading this funny article.

I like to think I have a pretty good sense of humor most days. Having a sense of humor I feel is necessary to get through life and on some days, your sense of humor could be the only thing saving you from losing it completely. Everyone has different ideas of what is funny but I hope you can agree with me that you must be able to laugh from time to time. Even if the source of that laughter is yourself and/or what you are doing. It was with that frame of mind that I read an article on the Huffington Post from Robbie Pickard.

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I have included his entire post in this article because I wanted to comment on it, but felt that to be fair, I should have all of the context of his words together with my observations/comments.  Robbie Pickard is a writer and a comedian who along with writing for HuffPo, has a brilliantly funny website called “Open Letters to Strangers” . I recommend checking that out if you aren’t offended easily and it helps to have an offbeat sense of humor. As a comedian, humor is funniest I think when you are skewering people big time and take normal traits or behaviors to the absurd to heighten the effect. The article he wrote is no exception and the subject that Robbie has chosen to set his sights on this time is Doomsday Preppers.

I want to start off by saying that his article didn’t offend me at all and I don’t think it should offend anyone reading it here. In fact it made me laugh (not as much as the Open Letters site, but still). I am not posting this out of anger or outrage or the feeling that prepping is being mocked. I am posting it because it gives me an opportunity to make a few points. The title was what caught my attention and Robbie goes on to point out in a pretty sarcastic fashion how he feels Preppers will lose no matter what happens.  He says that all of these so called Preppers are spending our whole life “getting ready for an event that probably won’t happen”.

 

Naysayers like this are not something new to anyone who has been prepping for a while and I imagine that a lot of you have had to defend these same positions with family and/or loved ones.

 

Robbie’s article is below.

The 3 Ways Doomsday Preppers Will Die

**DISCLAIMER: I just purchased an earthquake kit on Amazon.com. You can never be too careful, guys.**

Have you thought about what you’d do if a movie like Armageddon or The Day After Tomorrow came to life? Do you have a “bug-out” vehicle? An underground bunker with at least 100 days worth of nonperishable food? C’mon, tell me you’ve at least got a self-sustaining aquaponics system to feed your family!

Whether by the hands of God, nature, or man himself … 22 percent of Americans believe the world will end during their lifetime.

Seriously?

I was just watching a particularly cringe-worthy episode of National Geographic‘s Doomsday Preppers, where some dipstick from Boston informed his new mail-order bride from Columbia that he is a prepper. Her reaction? A very predictable, “¿Qué?”

I’ve never felt worse for someone. She came to America in search of a better life, and within a day of arriving he’s got this poor woman learning to purify water using a plastic bag. Didn’t she just marry this moron to escape that kind of life?

Every prepper I’ve seen on this show seems like they’re not just prepping — they’re hoping.

They hate their lives and fantasize about a world where they could be a hero. Melvin from Accounting can’t wait for catastrophe so he can become Melvin the Survivor! He’s praying for a complete economic collapse so he can look his boss and say, “I made 40k a year, but now I’m the post-apocalyptic king! I have all the SpaghettiO’s and I won’t lower my drawbridge to give you any! Muhaha!”

Spending your whole life getting ready for an event that probably won’t happen doesn’t make a lot of sense, especially when there are only three outcomes for a doomsday prepper:

1. Nothing Happens, You Die

Okay, so you spent your whole life preparing for something that never happened. So what? You have more canned goods than anyone in your zip code! And if something would’ve happened … everyone totally knows you would’ve been the last one standing!

Who cares if you spent your entire life savings on survival supplies instead of taking vacations with your family or sending your kids to college? They got a real education when you took them into the woods every weekend to teach them how to set booby traps for when the zombie neighbors invade! They can pass on that knowledge to their children! See, it wasn’t a waste!

Your kids will still thrive, even in a world that doesn’t fall apart. You’ve taught them fantastic social skills, so long as that social situation takes place in an underground bunker and the topic of conversation is about how honey is the only food that will never spoil. I smell future beekeepers!

2. Something Happens, You Die Anyway

Ugh, what a bummer! Your $250,000 underground compound was ready and rarin’ to go, a nuclear bomb was detonated and caused an EMP just like you said it would, but you didn’t get to say “I told you so,” because you died along with all of the idiotic unprepared. Just bad luck you weren’t near your EMP-safe bunker when this happened. You’re there 22 hours of the day, what are the odds? Hey world, I’d like a mulligan please!

3. Something Happens, You Survive! (Until You Die)

Ding! Ding! Ding! You hit the lotto! Your dream scenario played out, and the world as we know it has been destroyed. That moat around your house is put to good use, as the unprepared pathetically attempt to gain access to your compound. Bodies float in your moat, and you and your family get to laugh (party because it rhymes).

Those who foolishly tried to enjoy their lives before the apocalypse slowly die off, while you and your family feast on the bounty of dehydrated food you put in the cellar years ago.

Slowly, you realize that you now live in a world where the entire population consists of Doomsday Preppers. It’s terrible. You beg for a second apocalypse.

OK, so what did you think? I thought the article had its funny parts as I said and I can laugh at some of the absurdities presented in here. For comedic affect he has taken the extremes and used those as his normal and that is what I wanted to talk about. So with that, here are some comments to his 3 scenarios above.

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1. Nothing Happens, You Die – This example makes three assumptions. First, that Preppers want something bad to happen and second that we do not do anything else with our lives but glance furtively out the blinds at our neighbors waiting for some end of the world boogeyman. Lastly it assumes we spend our entire income on prepping.

For me personally this is the outcome I am hoping for – that nothing happens. I want to live to a ripe old age, retire if I can and lead a quiet life surrounded by children and great grandchildren and the rest of my family. Prepping to me isn’t about hoping for the apocalypse day and night. It is about making sensible preparations and trying to get as many people as I can to make some of those same decisions in their lives. Prepping is not something that requires voluminous amounts of time, but when you look at the preparations some people have made I can see how an outsider might think so. Preppers might be less interested in the usual diversions of TV so we use our time in different ways.

To make a correlation with what the author is trying to imply, I will use the car insurance example I have by now beaten to death. Does anyone mock you if you go your entire life and never have an automobile accident? No, but you could logically have and pay for car insurance for 50 or 60 years, right? You and millions of other people pay every month “just in case”. Actually it is the law that you have car insurance in case something happens you will have a means to take care of it. Why is Prepping for a different kind of accident looked at as stupid? I would bet money that I haven’t spent anywhere near the amount on prepping as I have on car insurance and yet my supply of food makes me a money waster?

2. Something Happens, You Die Anyway – This example isn’t realistic because I wouldn’t believe more than 1% of the top 1% of people have bunkers anyway. I know I would love to have one, but they aren’t something I can see ever purchasing. Now, if I win the lottery, look out!

Even with a bunker people die. People die every day and Preppers aren’t saying that they will live forever just because they have food stored up are they? Are you? I don’t look at prepping as some type of magic spell that is going to make flood waters divert around my property, make me bulletproof or protect me from anything bad ever happening. That is simply not logical.

Prepping to me is about just simple steps I can take to make sure I have some means of self reliance. I don’t want to be the person who goes hungry because I didn’t have any food stored and a drought causes crops to fail and food prices to increase. I don’t want to be the person who is at the mercy of the cold if a winter storm snaps the power on my street for two weeks. I could still die, I just don’t want to die for the sake of not being prepared. I guess that too makes me an idiot.

3. Something Happens, You Survive! (Until You Die) – This would be the worst scenario in my opinion because I think the horrors of any type of calamity will be worst for the people who survive. Robbie tries to paint this also as a dream scenario for some Preppers. I will admit that there are some idiots who fantasize about this, but the public at large doesn’t have the same dreams. The Preppers I know and associate with worry about nut jobs who just want to destroy and kill. Part of the reason we prep is to take steps to deal with people like this as best we can.

I do think that if you have taken the time to make simple preparations you could conceivably live through the initial phases of any crisis like this. You may be those people the author describes as wishing for another apocalypse to get rid of the evil that survived along with you. This may be what happens to everyone reading this. All I know is that I have been given a will to survive. I have been given some form of motivation to make sure my family is prepared and we will deal with the hand we are dealt. I have said it before that I don’t want anything bad to happen. I would really love to face the end of my days at some point very far in the future with people telling me that the events I feared never materialized and that I was a sucker. That would make me very happy.

I am betting that I am not wrong though and there is nothing stupid about taking steps to prepare your family. Does that make me the butt of some jokes? Maybe, and I am OK with that. I would rather be on this end taking the jokes and smiling than on the other end if I am right. Your mileage may vary.

Naysayers like this are not something new to anyone who has been prepping for a while and I imagine that a lot of you have had to defend these same

New to prepping?

What is prepping?

The practice of making active preparations for a possible catastrophic disaster or emergency, typically by stockpiling food, ammunition, and other supplies.

OK, so you have decided that you want to take steps to protect your family from unseen events. You may not know what events to plan for or you could have a much defined idea of the threats you see, but regardless you recognize a need.

There are people who come to the Final Prepper after they read something on another prepping blog or they may have been visiting our site for a year. The newer visitors are usually just getting starting in this crazy world of Prepping and if they are anything like I was at the beginning, knowing where to start can be pretty daunting.

Prepping isn’t the same for everyone but most people eventually look for a simple guideline to follow so I have pulled together this prepper’s list of supplies.

How is this list of supplies you need going to be different than any of the 523 million other lists out there? Maybe it won’t be, but I am going to try and go in order of importance so you can follow along at home and let me know what I missed or what should have received priority.

Your list may be completely different than mine, but I believe the items contained in this list of supplies will be common to most people and more importantly will be required if you are going to be as prepared as possible if the manure hits the hydro-electric powered oscillating air current distribution device.  This list is not all encompassing either. I am probably not going to have blacksmith supplies or leather working tools although I can see the use in each of those. This list is going to be for the average person to get by if we have a SHTF event, not start a new life in the wild west. Please let me know what additional items you would recommend and I’ll keep this list updated so you can print it out whenever you need to purchase items or want to build your supplies out.

Lastly, this list is primarily for Sheltering in Place and the requirements/resources the average person would be able to lay their hands on. This doesn’t take more extreme climates into consideration but should still provide a base regardless of where you live. For something more specific to the Bug Out Bag checklist, click here. Also this list is going to be missing the specifics of the amounts because each family or individual is different. So without further ado, here we go.

Water

  • Method of Disinfecting or Filtering Water
    • Big Berkey Light or similar gravity fed water filter (capacity 2.25 gallons). It doesn’t get much easier than this. The capacity in only one of these units might not be enough for a family of 4 in the summer though so plan accordingly. You can also buy the filters and make your own water filter much cheaper.
    • Paint or coffee filters – to remove sediment prior to filtering. This will keep your filters working much longer if your source is murky. Bandannas or old t-shirts can be used too.
    • Backpacking/ Camping Water Filters – MSR Miniworks, Sawyer for individual use or travel. Gravity filters like the Platypus are fastest and have less moving parts to break.
    • Bleach – Non-scented or Calcium Hypochlorite is a better long-term option that won’t go bad. For additional instructions on treating water, you can read this article.
    • Boiling water over a fire will kill organisms, but will not remove chemicals.
    • SODIS Method which you can read about online.
    • Water purification tabs – These are last on my list because they do not last long.
    • Polar Pure is an iodine based disinfection method that will last far longer than any water tablets.
    • How to purify water with Charcoal
    • Other safe drinking water strategies for preppers
  • Method of carrying water
    • Plastic Nalgene Bottles or Stainless Steel water bottle for each individual if you plan on needing to boil water for individual use.
    • 5 Gallon water jugs – These are pretty heavy when full. Get the heavy plastic ones not the collapsible bladder type. These will need to hold up to a lot of abuse.
    • Yard wagon or wheel barrow to haul the water jugs and reduce trips to your water source if it is remote.
    • How to store and carry water in a survival situation

  • Methods of obtaining/Storing additional water
    • Assuming you don’t have running/well water on your property…. Rain Barrels are best in most climates if you plan ahead.
    • Find additional water sources by exploring your neighborhood
    • 55 Gallon Storage barrels are easy to set up and forget.
    • WaterBOB is great for emergencies with warning you are about to lose water.


Food

  • Short Term Food Items – This should be the food you eat every day. Just ensure you have 30 days’ worth of food storage at all times at the minimum. Build out to one year as your resources allow.
  • Long Term Food
    • Canned vegetables, fruits and meat (chicken/Tuna/Spam if you can stand it)
    • Hard Red Winter Wheat
    • Rice
    • Beans
    • stored in sealed Mylar bags
  • Staples (Food to make food taste better)
  • Ultra-Long Term Food
    • Freeze Dried foods would be the last item to stock up on unless you have an abundance of money and zero time. The benefit with these are super long shelf life and virtually zero work so even with the added cost, they are a really smart choice if you have the other bases covered first.
  • Misc
    • Canning Jars
    • Pressure Canner
    • Water Bath Canning pot (all of these are reasonably purchased at Walmart or Amazon)

Security

  • Personal/Home Defense
    • Identify what you will use to protect your family if a bad guy is beating down the door. For me I have chosen several firearms and you can read what I consider are the top 5 firearms you need here, the best gun for home defense if you can only afford one and how to find the best handgun for self-defense in other articles on the Final Prepper.
    • Door Security – EZ Armor Door Security Kit
    • Sandbags – great for protection from water and bullets.
    • Barbwire
    • Camouflage clothing – This can have multiple advantages
    • Body Armor in either Soft or Hard panels
    • Heavy Duty Knife
    • Holster for Pistol
    • Ultra bright flashlight
    • For firearms purchase additional ammo and use our Ammo inventory spreadsheet to help keep track of what you have
    • Firearm Safe bolted to the floor

  • Extra weapon cleaning supplies
    • Gun Oil
    • Cleaning Solvent
    • Spare brushes
  • Financial Security
    • Personally I would store most of my extra cash outside of the bank. Your mileage may vary and this is not without risks. This doesn’t prevent a currency devaluation but it does circumvent blank holidays or power outages.
    • 14 ways money can save your life when SHTF
    • Precious Metals – Investigate this for yourself, but I find the arguments and historical track records against fiat currency and the current rumblings of Government wanting to take care of your investments for you very compelling. Gold is easier to transport with the high cost to weight, but you might have problems cashing a gold coin for a tank of gas. Silver is where I have chosen to invest in precious metals.]
    • Search for gold on your property
    • Pay off bills – move now to ensure you won’t be in debt if the economy collapses.

Shelter

  • Clothing
    • Make sure you have appropriate clothing to be outdoors. Trendy stops when you have to live outside in the elements. This goes for children too.
    • Layers are key in winter, wicking garments in the summer. If you have plenty of camping gear you should be set.
    • Sturdy Work Boots
    • Heavy Duty Socks – Wool Blends like Merino are my favorite for winter.
    • Heavy Duty Gloves
  • Repair Materials if needed
    • Spare wood – Plywood and 2 x 4’s will handle a lot of different repairs until you can get the right materials.
    • Tarps
    • Plastic Sheeting – Good for blacking out light or making an infection barrier.
    • Duct Tape
    • Nails
  • Temporary Shelter
    • Camping tents and tarps can be used to effectively keep the elements off you if needed.
    • Bivvy Bags are great emergency shelters, but not meant for extended use.
  • Heat Source
    • Kerosene Heater
    • Wood Burning Stove
    • Propane Heater
    • Fuel for either in abundance. For Kerosene, you can treat it so that it will store for much longer.
    • Fire Extinguishers

Hygiene /First Aid

I have plenty of hygiene items but it is not my major focus/worry. If you can shower every couple of days and wash your hands before eating and after touching anything nasty you should be fine.

  • Shampoo
  • Soap
  • Toothpaste
  • Comb/Brush
  • Clippers
  • Floss
  • Razors
  • Vitamins
  • Fish Antibiotics – In a grid down situation a healthy supply of these could save a life. Also get this Survival Medicine Book to know how to use them.
  • Hand Sanitizer – Also good for lighting fires
  • Sunscreen
  • Chap-stick
  • Feminine Products
  • Alcohol and Hydrogen Peroxide
  • Calamine Lotion – Benadryl
  • Children’s Fever Reducer
  • Neosporin or Fish Antibiotics
  • Plenty of bandages
  • Latex or Nitrile Gloves (these are cheap so buy two boxes)
  • Face-masks (regular and N95)

Sanitation

  • Quick Lime
  • Spare 5 Gallon Bucket with Toilet Lid
  • Trash bags
  • Hand Sanitizer
  • Bleach – Non-scented or Calcium Hypochlorite is a better long-term option that won’t go bad. 
  • Latex or Nitrile Gloves
  • Camping Shower

Cooking

  • Gas Grill
  • Camp Stove
  • Rocket Stove like the EcoZoom
  • Fire pit
  • Solar Oven
  • Spare Propane Cylinders
  • Disposable lighters/ Matches
  • Manual Can Opener
  • Butane Stove – Spare fuel Canisters
  • Cast Iron Cookware – The best option for cooking when the grid goes down.
    • Dutch Oven
    • Skillet

Lighting/Power

  • Rechargeable Batteries X 2 for the important items (radio, lights)
  • Battery Charger w/ solar or vehicle adapter for batteries and cell phones
  • 1000 Watt Inverter connected to car battery for charging devices/running small appliances
  • Spare fuel to run vehicle (min 25 gallons)
  • 5 – 5 Gallon gas cans
  • PRI – G gas treatment for long-term fuel storage.
  • 3000 W Generator
  • Tri-fuel generator (gas, propane, natural gas)
  • Spare fuel for generator (min 90 gallons)
  • 7 – 14 gallon gas cans
  • 100 Watt Solar Panel kit
  • Deep cycle Batteries
  • Siphon pump to acquire additional fuel
  • LED Flashlight with spare batteries – 1 per person
  • Candles – 15 Hour Emergency candles
  • Battery powered lantern for common areas
  • Headlamps for each individual – infinitely easier and more practical than flashlights. Allows for hands free tasks.
  • Propane lanterns – great outdoor lighting option or use within well-ventilated area.
  • Oil lamps – the right kind can provided plenty of light and last longer than batteries, or should according to use.
  • Lamp Oil

Tools/Misc.

For tools, these will be basic and not specialized. There are a lot of people who don’t live where there are any trees for example and most will not be building their own log cabin even if they do. Buy the best quality you can afford. You will feel the pain in your wallet one time, but the tool should last long enough to offset that.

  • High quality non-GMO seeds.
  • Shovels
  • Large Pry Bar
  • Med-Large Bolt Cutters
  • Plastic Zip Ties – Various sizes
  • Plastic Bins – 5 Gallon buckets
  • Chain Saw – Good for clearing roads or closing roads.
  • Heavy Work Gloves – Several Pairs
  • Oils and lubricants – Chain oil, motor oil, two cycle oil, WD40
  • Wheel Barrow or Yard Wagon
  • Clamps
  • Full set of wrenches (metric and standard)
  • Good Hammer
  • Ratchet Straps
  • Bungee cords
  • Rope
  • Rake
  • Hoe
  • Pruning shears
  • Loppers
  • Limb Saw
  • Hand Saw
  • Pick Axe or Mattock
  • Post Hole Digger
  • Metal Tubs
  • Full set of Screwdrivers
  • Allen wrenches
  • Pipe Wrench
  • Spare PVC and PVC cement
  • Garden Hose
  • Nails
  • Screws
  • Spare Lumber
  • Chain

Communications

  • Entertainment World Band Radio
  • Ham Radio – HT (BaoFeng BF-F8HP 8W High Power)
  • Antenna
  • Base Station Short Wave Radio
  • Spare Batteries for HT and Radio
  • Solar Charger
  • Games
  • Books
  • DVD on battery operated player
  • Cards
  • Frisbee
  • ball and bat

So there is the list. I know that I missed a million things that people will think is important. Please let me know and we’ll grow this list so it covers everything.


Other Self-sufficiency and Preparedness solutions recommended for you:

The Lost Ways (The vital self-sufficiency lessons our great grand-fathers left us)
Survival MD (Knowledge to survive any medical crisis situation)
Backyard Liberty (Liberal’s hidden agenda: more than just your guns…)
Alive After the Fall (Build yourself the only unlimited water source you’ll ever need)
The Lost ways II (4 Important Forgotten Skills used by our Ancestors that can help you in any crisis)
The Patriot Privacy Kit (Secure your privacy in just 10 simple steps)

Prepping isn’t the same for everyone but most people eventually look for a simple guideline to follow. I love lists. They make my life easier.

A frequent topic in Preparedness and Survival circles is the subject of Bugging Out and more specifically the question of whether you plan to Bug Out or will you Hunker Down. This simple question easily elicits all manner of responses and you will rarely find consensus on which is the better option. The only good thing about this question is there are only two options and one of those has to be the correct one in someone’s eyes. A 50/50 shot of getting this right isn’t too shabby if you are looking at odds, but there will be those who maintain an absolute position on one option or the other.

To Bug out or not bug out, like most questions that we must ask ourselves as we prepare for emergencies is an individual question and there is no universal wrong or right. This question is probably only second in notoriety to “What caliber is the best defensive round”.

If you can imagine going into a big underground bunker full of Preppers who are getting ready for the next Emergency and shouting that question; you will get as many answers as you have people. In reality, there are only a few common calibers but each person will have their own reason, preference or bias toward one and they will tell you in a very matter of fact tone, their choice and more importantly why you should take their word as the Gospel. Actually, it is probably simpler but just as much fun to pose this question in a survival forum and watch the sparks fly.

The factors that drive each person to reach their own personal decision are too numerous really to discuss in detail, but I will attempt to add my own opinionated two cents to the (already well covered, I know) argument and in doing so, completely invalidate everything I just said above. The reason is that I believe there is only one real answer to this question in almost any situation and my way is the right way. Most of the time.

Before I get too far ahead of myself, you may be asking “What the heck is he talking about?” so a quick definition is called for here. “Bugging Out” is the act of packing up your supplies and leaving home to go to another location. This may or may not coincide with the belief that you will never come back. A common example for Bugging Out is people who are forced to leave town due to a natural disaster like flooding or a Hurricane. They pack up their cars and get out of dodge. This is one of the reasons FEMA and other places recommend having a Bugout Bag or BOB with supplies that will keep you alive for 72 hours so that you can leave at a moment’s notice.

 

 

Bugging In or Hunkering Down is the complete opposite of Bugging Out. When you Bug-In you are staying put in your home with your supplies intending to ride out the storm or chaos that is coming. Thus the question is asked in preparedness circles usually in the context of political, biological or terrorism types of chaos: “Will you Bug out or Hunker down?”

To answer this for yourself, you have to ask several questions to determine which is the better option for you in your circumstance. The questions are pretty basic and revolve around:

  • Your Situation – What pushes your button internally that says “We have to leave”?
  • Your Location – This can apply to both where you are and where you plan to go
  • Your Health – Are you physically able to leave and possibly walk the distance
  • Your Dependents – small children or old relatives. Pets?
  • The Threat – What is the threat we are planning to leave for?
  • Your Destination – Where is the place you are going to?

 

Your Situation – can greatly affect the decision to Bug-Out or not and you have to decide when you will actually make the choice to go. If you are planning for an economic collapse, what events will trigger you leaving home and heading somewhere else. How bad would things need to get before you made that call. What if you are away from home? In that case you will be more concerned with getting home. What will your family do until you arrive? Is it the middle of winter and there is 2 feet of snow on the ground? Do you have a means of defending yourself and your family?

Your Health – Are you physically able to get up and strap a backpack to your back, walk out the door and never come back? Would you be able to run if needed? Do you require medication that must be refrigerated or taken daily? In some cases you simply won’t have a choice, you will need to Bug-In and plan accordingly.

Your Dependents – Do you have smaller children who may not be able to travel long distances. Are your children still in diapers or do they have special needs? Even healthy children below the age of 10 would have a tough time coping with a Bug-Out situation if the event lasted a long time and there was no stability. Are you pregnant? Do you have pets that you would never leave in a million years or that you would not be able to transport?

Your location – Are you located in a major city or a rural area with miles around you and nothing to look at. Do you live in a place that would allow you to live if the grid came crashing down tomorrow? I am not discussing whether or not it would be difficult, but could you plant a garden or do you live in a high-rise apartment in Chicago? Would you possibly need to walk with millions of other people out of the city? If this is the case, where would you go?

The threat – This one may be the easiest to answer but you will most likely have more than one answer given the specific threat. If we are talking about a flood or natural disaster and you have plenty of notice you may decide to leave. If we are talking about a viral outbreak or Mutant Zombie Bikers from Mars you may decide to stay. Has your city descended into chaos with riots and fires and mobs of people looting?

Your destination – Where are you heading? Do you have a place to go with a survival kit filled with supplies to last you? If the threat is a natural disaster like a hurricane and you have time, you can probably go stay with relatives for a few days. This may be one of the first things you should think of. Will you pack up the family, load down the car and hit the highway? Where will you go? For me I think this was the first factor I built all of my other choices off of. I do not live on a retreat in Idaho with 50 acres of land and an underground bunker complete with livestock and solar power. I do live near a large pond in a relatively small city with enough land to have a garden that would feed my family. I don’t have any retreat property (yet) so I don’t know where I would go. I would not go driving off into the sunset to try and live off the land unless I was desperate. This may be the circumstance that you are facing too and when the time comes you have to decide.

 

 

 

One factor I really like about the Preparedness and Survival community is the wealth of knowledge and experience we have out there. Just like me, everyone has an opinion. Some are based upon experience and others have made decisions after much reflection. Regardless of the experience one has you have to ask yourself questions when making a decision like this as it could affect everything you have and/or love. No expert can tell you what will work best for you and your family in your situation.

Taking all of the criteria above into consideration, I think for the average person with no place to go Bugging in is the best option. You will not be able to walk into the forest, kill deer and squirrels and live like a boss. That simply isn’t happening for the “average” person. For one thing you wont be alone. There could be millions of others with you too.

I have thought long and hard on this question and I know that if circumstances in my life were different I would most likely have a different answer. As it stands now, my vote is for Bugging In. I have all of my supplies here and we live in a relatively rural area. I am not naïve to believe that we would be insulated from the chaos but I think we would have a better chance here with some shelter as opposed to walking in the woods sleeping under a tarp. As much as I like camping, a home is a better place to defend.

Could that change tomorrow? Sure it could. I am constantly evaluating my situation and when things change, my plans change. Who knows, I might update this site before it’s all said and done with one last message.

“So long folks! I am outta here.”

A frequent topic in Preparedness and Survival circles is the subject of Bugging Out and more specifically the question of whether you plan to Bug Out or will you Hunker

With the approaching winter season and headlines like “Monster Storm on the Way” it’s time to consider your auto preparedness with a winter survival kit. I am not talking about your bug out vehicle, but I guess that is relevant. If you are stranded in your car, will you have basic supplies to stay alive? By taking simple steps now you can ensure that no matter where you live, you are better prepared this winter season if you are forced to survive overnight or possibly two days in your car.

A winter car survival kit is simple to pull together and a lot of these items you probably already have either in your home or your car or garage. This article we are going to pull all these items together into one container you can store in your car and make sure that you won’t be stranded with nothing more than the clothes you left work in. For a simple reference, you can print this list out.

What items do you need in your winter car kit?

shovelingout

For snow removal/general purpose

  • Shovel – If you need to dig out of snow, it sure helps to have a shovel unless you want to try and use your windshield scraper. SOG makes an Entrenching tool that is the perfect price for your car survival kit.
  • Windshield Scraper – If you get stuck in a snowstorm and are forced to wait, you will likely need to scrape off your windows.
  • Tow Rope – Many times a call to the tow truck isn’t necessary if someone with a four wheel drive can pull you out. If you simply slide into a shallow ditch but can’t move due to traction (this happened to me), wrap a tow rope around your axle and get back on the road.
  • Gas Can– If you don’t follow the advice of every single other prepping blog out there and keep a minimum of a half tank of gas, you might need to get some and bring it back

  • Jumper Cables – Self explanatory
  • Can of Fix a Flat– Of course a full size spare tire is best but you might be in conditions that don’t permit a jack easily. These temporary solutions save time and money on the road, but be sure to get the tire repaired quickly.
  • Cat litter – No, this isn’t if you have to go to the bathroom, it is for traction. Just last year I decided to see if I could make it out of my neighborhood in my front wheel drive car. Guess what? I couldn’t so the cat litter was deployed under the front tires to help me get traction.
  • Emergency Flares – Great for signaling others if there is an accident or for help. Flares can be seen for a long distance so if you need to get someone’s attention these could do the trick.

winter-wonderland-dressing-for-the-cold-a-woman-with-high-heels-walking-through-the-snow

High Heels look great, but they don’t make sense in the snow.

To stay warm

  • Sturdy Shoes – Most of the time this applies to women more so than men. Ladies, do you want to break down in a blizzard and be forced to try and walk to safety wearing those cute high heel shoes you have on? Keep a backup pair of sturdy shoes or boots if you are forced to walk.
  • Warm Gloves – Gloves will keep your paws warm which will make you feel warmer as well.
  • Hand warmers – If the gloves aren’t enough some hand warmers are amazing. They will safely store in your trunk for years. Great for sporting events too!

  • Wool Blanket or Sleeping Bag – A good wool blanket will keep you incredibly warm. A good sleeping bag like Elite Survival Systems Recon 3 packs small and can be used for camping as well.
  • Fleece Toboggan – You lose a lot of heat through your head, so wrap that bad boy up in something warm.

To stay comfortable

  • Flashlight/Headlamp– Let’s face it. Being in the dark alone on the side of the road sucks out loud. Just having some light makes a world of difference. I prefer headlamps for their hands free simplicity. Make sure you have spare batteries too.
  • Battery powered radio– Or hand crank if you prefer. This serves two purposes. It can entertain and inform you. Good to have one of these around the house as well if the regular communication methods are down and this won’t wear down your cell phone battery.
  • Water – two days’ worth – Throw 2 gallons of water in your car and you are golden.
  • Snack Food – two days’ worth – Something that won’t easily go bad and doesn’t need preparation. Snack bars, jerky, power bars, trail mix.

Just in case

 

  • Matches or Lighter – I prefer the cheap Bic lighters. I doubt that you would need to start a fire in your car, but you never know…
  • First aid kit – Something that has more than band aids. Chances are if you are stranded and hurt it will be more than a Hello Kitty band aid can fix. Make sure you can stop blood lose and medicate for pain until help arrives.
  • Knife– I see some people packing a big survival knife in their car. I guess if the grid goes down, you are forced off the road and into the woods for survival this could be necessary, but we are talking about getting stuck and spending a day or two in the car. Not becoming Rambo. A nice folder will do the trick for just about anything you could need it for.
  • Any medications you need for daily use – Pack two days worth of your regular medicine in a travel container and always have it with you.
  • Whistle – It is easier than yelling “Is there anyone there? Help Me!!!”
  • Cell Phone Charger– This is the last on the list because if you are stranded and your can still runs, you should be able to charge your phone unless you don’t have a charging cable in your car, or you ran out of gas.

Where do you put your winter car survival kit?

Once you have all the items assembled, remove them from their packaging and estimate the size container you would need to stow all of the materials. Some of the basic automobile items like jumper cables and road flares might have their own container. Hop over to your local store and buy a simple plastic bin with a lid on it, load up all of your survival gear and place it in the trunk.

Good luck and I hope you never need to use it.

 

 

With the approaching winter season and headlines like “Monster Storm on the Way” it’s time to consider your auto preparedness with a winter survival kit. I am not talking about