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What happens when you have eaten through all your supplies of dehydrated, canned, and stored food?  Even the most optimistic among us should not begin eating on your stores of food without giving a thought as to what comes next. What if the next emergency lasts two years?

When your freeze dried food or packaged foods and stockpiles of hard red winter wheat are gone, you will have to have a plan for keeping your family fed. Not only do you have to worry about where the food will come from, but there won’t be any nutritional labels anymore if we are “eating off the land”.

Thinking about food differently than what we have been used to, for what have amounted to decades of prosperity in the United States is not always easy. Maintaining a proper balance of food may be difficult or even impossible. What if you are barely able to get enough food to survive?

 

What I want to discuss is planning for renewable food options that will give you a balanced nutritional supply to keep everyone in your group healthy.

The essentials

Foods are broken down into three groups:  carbohydrates, fats, and proteins.  You need a balance of each of these things to maintain a high level of health. Some foods may contain mixtures of both groups. Nuts, for instance, are primarily a source of fat and protein.  Providing these and other vital foods to your body cuts down on the stress your body must endure in a survival situation, allows your brain to function and keeps your immune system from being vulnerable to viral and bacterial attacks.

When you have to reduce the amount of food you are taking in, the body starts reverting to using the energy you already have stored. Your body stores energy in the muscles and fat.  This is where the body pulls its energy from if you are forced to go without food for any period of time. Ideally, you are not pulling from your body’s reserves at any time, but providing your body the fuel it requires for survival.

Sources of Protein

It is important to plan now for a renewable source of each of the different types of nutritional elements you will need to stay healthy.

Meat of course, canned meats or dehydrated are the simplest options, but once they are gone what will you eat? I know a lot of people who say they are going to walk into the nearest state park and hunt for game. This will work well for a few people until all of the big game has moved on or has been killed.

 

The easiest way for most people to have their own renewable source of protein is raising chickens and rabbits. Chickens pull double duty as egg layers and a source of meat. Rabbits are prolific at reproducing. That’s why there are several sayings that have rabbits at the heart of the pun… Rabbits are easy to raise and don’t take up much room.

In the garden, beans are wonderful because they are relatively easy to grow and you have the seeds for next year’s crop right there. I also recommend these for stocking up initially as they have a long shelf life. Beans are also one of the most economical items to stock up on as you can buy a 10 pound bag for a few dollars. That same bag will give you a lot of meals if you augment the beans with other supplies.

Barley also contains protein, but few people would be able to grow enough barley to feed their family. If you have a large plot of land, this may be a good option.

Nuts are a wonderful natural source of protein and nut trees can be grown in most climates.  You have to harvest quickly, though, because there will be other hungry critters out there trying to get to your nut tree first.

Important note: If you are rationing water supplies and still searching for a clean drinkable source, you will want to cut down on your protein intake.  Proteins produce urea which your body flushes out of the kidneys.  In order to process the urea properly, your body must have ample amounts of water.  Therefore, lack of water would be problematic if combined with a night of indiscretion where you find yourself consuming large quantities of jerky and salt pork and chasing it with the only bottle of Macallan whiskey left on the planet.   Living like this on your final rations would cause you to die of dehydration before starvation.

Sources of Fat

Fresh meats contain fat. Wild animals will have less of this and rabbits as I mentioned above are actually very lean so you wouldn’t want to rely on that meat for your daily fat intake. Chickens aren’t the same and are wonderful sources of both protein and fat. Fishing is a good source if you live near a body of water that isn’t polluted or over fished by the others who don’t have a supermarket to go to anymore.

 

Avocados, nuts, and flax seed are great sources of healthy fat also.  Avocado can be grown in some climates, nuts and flax seed can be stored, but do not have a long shelf life.  Again, growing your own is your best bet.

Sources of Carbohydrates

All fruits and vegetables and this is the primary reason behind your own garden. Depending on where you live, there will be a sufficient variety of vegetables that can be grown to provide you with all of the Carbs you need. Making sure you have this taken care of before the SHTF is a crucial item to consider. You aren’t going to go dig up your back yard very easily and plant a bumper crop of Martha Stewart worthy veggies your first year.

Grains and rice or any foods that contain these items or are made with flour (grains such as wheat are best kept in their whole wheat berry form; it can keep for up to 30 years in its raw state in a vacuum sealed container or bucket). Growing wheat is a great option if you live in the mid-west as a rule. This won’t be feasible for city dwellers in sufficient quantities unless you take over a golf course or a football field and re-purpose them. Not that this isn’t possible, but grains would be lower on my list of possible replacements.

Sugars and honey (honey is the best for storing because it has a virtually endless shelf life; it may crystallize over time, but it is still good). This is one reason why so many Preppers raise bees. They not only pollinate the garden and your fruit and nut trees, but they make wonderful honey.

Simple Rules to Remember

  1. Simple sugars like candy are carbohydrates, but they break down very quickly.  They may give you a boost of quick energy, but you will quickly hit a wall and be depleted and useless.
  2. In the event  you find yourself without a good source of heat to keep your body warm, simple carbs will be your friend.  The body uses them to tap into fat reserves and it will cause you to burn more calories, thus keeping you warmer.  You should graze simple carbs to maintain your body temperature.
  3. Fats should be included in every small meal because fat combined with carbs gives your body a slow and steady burn of nutrients.  You won’t hit a wall as quickly if you add fat to your meal.
  4. In higher altitude, cut back fat consumption because fat requires oxygen to oxidize their components. High fat intake increases the risk of altitude illness.
  5. Protein is necessary for the building and repair of body tissues.  It regulates body processes such as: water balance, transporting nutrients, and making muscles work better.  Proteins also aid in preventing the body from becoming easily fatigued by producing stamina and energy.

You can calculate your body’s protein needs with this formula: Weigh in pounds divided by 2.2 = weight in kg.  Multiply weight in kg X o.8-1.8 and this will tell you how many grams of protein must be consumed.

 

Gorp Anyone? 

What is the perfect food, you may ask?  Good Old Raisins and Peanuts, or Gorp for short.  The Native American Indians had survived many harsh winters and lived off the land well before we brought our refrigerators and local markets.  They ate berries and nuts because this is the perfect mixture of all three components your body needs to survive.  The berries or fruit provide essential carbs and nuts give your body the fats and proteins for sustained energy and strength.  If you find yourself on the go and have to carry your food with you this is one of the best food sources available.  I also recommend M&Ms even though I am pretty certain the Indians didn’t have access to them.  They are a source of simple carbohydrates and they are delicious, too!


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What happens when you have eaten through all your supplies of dehydrated, canned, and stored food?  Even the most optimistic among us should not begin eating on your stores of

In a protracted crisis, we’ll be missing a lot of our usual conveniences. While some may already make their own sandwich bread for slicing and render their beef and hog tallow, a lot of folks don’t. Early on, a lot of folks may not yet have the time or energy to do so, and some may be torn between cookware and grinders, dehydrators, saving for a move, and stocking up on food and water supplies, along with all the rest that goes along with preparing for disasters big and small, personal to global.

Having options for cooking that are typically inexpensive and-or easily acquired can open up options for what we store, whether we’re new or experienced. Thinking through what we prepare food in can save us labor in various ways. Both can help us prioritize for purchases moving forward.

Ovens & Stove-tops

The advantages of the clay ovens come from not heating the house, but also from being able to use a single “burn” to cook a number of dishes. James Townsend & Sons have several videos using and making clay ovens, and he’s nice enough to go through the progression of dishes used in the latter half of the video in this one.

 

Another type of cooker that limits the amount of heat we have to produce and fuel we have to burn is a purchased or homemade WonderBag or a wonder box cooker. They basically take any ceramic, cast iron or steel pot and turn it into a crock pot/slow cooker. All we have to do is burn enough to bring it to a boil.

They don’t work that well on kidney beans that really do have to simmer for a while, even after a pre-soak and a pre-boil, but they work on most other beans, lentils and grains, even the ones like wheat and barley that resist softening sometimes. (If doing beans, simmer them in a “fast soak” method first.)

It can take a little while to figure out timing and liquids with both WonderBags/Boxes and solar ovens, but the same is true of a regular crock-pot, too.

 

You can get complicated with mirrors, black paint and larger clear containers to go over them or you can go simple and just stick glass pickle and pasta sauce jars that aren’t really appropriate for home canning and have some nice size to them in a black bag in the sun.

Image: A pickle or spaghetti jar of water and grains or pre-simmered beans can be hung in any black bag, to absorb heat like a solar camp shower and decrease the need to burn fuel for cooking.

The times of year the glass-jar option are good for are somewhat limited to mid-spring through autumn, but even when food’s not getting piping hot, soaking in jars in the sun can help limit the amount of time it takes prepare food.

Sticking water in black jars or jars in black bags, pots inside bags, or systems as simplistic as a pot inside a tire and under a window pane are also great ways to just heat water. That water can then be used for tea, coffee, instant foods, to get a head start on the time it takes to boil or simmer water over fires, or for washing up.

The last cooking method are all the many varied types of candle cookers and space heaters, from the clay pots to the trays of tea lights, and even using standard emergency candles or Crisco candles inside a home oven (where the cracked oven retains some of the heat and makes them more efficient).

*Please use bricks or a bread pan plus bricks, or an overturned brownie pan as a base for candle-clay pot heaters and cookers, not skinny little tubes that will shimmy and fall.

I just don’t see them in off-grid cooking methods all that often, so they bore repeating. They do use a consumable, either Crisco or candles, but they create options, especially for those in urban and some suburban areas, rental homes, or very small homes. They also provide us with an additional backup, especially for times we don’t want to go outside, produce much smoke, or create a great deal of heat in summertime.

Non-Fire Cooking Methods

There are a couple of shared advantages to the non-fire cooking methods listed here and in other articles.

One, they’re infinitely and easily renewable, which lets us save non-renewable (or very slowly renewable) and labor-intensive fuels for the seasons where the sun isn’t going to be much help.

 

Two, they lessen the labor. If we’re only hauling enough wood for a rocket stove or to bring food to a boil, we’re spending less time and energy than if we needed more fuels to cook over directly. That can let us concentrate on producing food to cook and can, and on replacing and stockpiling fuels for when we want them for heat.

Three, while food scent carries – more than you might imagine if you’ve never done long-range packing or been in isolated areas, or just hungry as you pass Fast Food Row – charcoal and wood smoke carries even further. And with a few exceptions, wood smoke can leave a visual trail as well.

Thermal Mass & Reflectors

If you’re a woods-survivalist or a through-packer, you’ve probably heard of the concept of a reflector for fires in an emergency, or of creating a mound or even a loose screen as a wind break in front of your shelter entrance even if you aren’t going to have a fire.

The goal there is to help us stay warm. It either blocks and diffuses wind, which will eddy through and carry our heat away even in a small shelter, or it helps bounce warmth back.

There’s also the thermal mass and insulation theory from survival and backpacking folds. If you build a thicker debris hut or lean-to, you tend to stay warmer, just like you can find a sun-warmed stone bank to put your back against if you’re in the right territory, and it helps by holding onto the heat longer in the day.

Those two are the same theories as are applied to the idea of using a Dakota pit to cook in, as well as the WonderBag and similar slow-cooker methods, and Thermal Mass Heaters that have a cook-pot basin built-in.

The benefits from a screen, reflector and thermal mass can be achieved in any outdoor cooking setup, though, permanent structure or temporary.

Even just a couple extra logs set up on the windiest side can help reduce the amount of time it takes to prepare a meal over a fire or coals. It can also help make sure food is still hot and warm when it’s served, like turning off the ceiling fan over a dinner table while it’s being set.

Stone, thick timbers, brick, and things like a steel barrel or defunct metal washer or filing cabinet on one side of our fire, forming a right angle, or forming a three-sided semi-circle – ideally on the windy side – can help us with thermal mass or the equivalent of a debris hut of loose leaves.

 

The air space or mass warms, and forms a more oven-like environment on top of preventing the heat from being whipped away. As with a survival campsite reflector, they also help bounce heat on the foods we’re consuming.

It doesn’t even have to be a campfire. The methods can be applied with grills and rocket stoves as well. A rearward reflector or a heat sink like a tire can make our solar ovens more efficient and effective, too, and extend their useful seasons.

Even if a bug-out is the last thing on our minds, the decrease in time and increase in efficiency for when we want to cook outdoors instead of heating up the house can make a big difference.

Cookware

Sometimes cookware gets its due, and sometimes not. When I do see cookware in various lists and articles, it seems to mostly be dedicated packing sets or cast iron.

I have family that will make pterodactyl noises if you touch their woks or cast iron with a steel scrubby. Maybe that’s less of an issue in other houses.

To avoid the scrubby, though, the non-ceramic-coated cast iron requires a fat to help foods not stick. Fats are one of the expensive, short-lived storage items for preppers. While they’re necessary (and another one that seems to not get their due as much as I’d like to see), using them as non-stick assistants seems painful to me.

Sunflair Portable Solar Oven Deluxe with Complete Cookware, Dehydrating Racks and Thermometer

Steel and copper cookware have big advantages, especially the ones that have nice, thick bottoms (helps heat efficiently and prevents hotspots in pans). They can be hit with steel wool, and with a metal handle can go from fire to stovetop to solar oven. They don’t need the oiling and oober-drying and maintenance care the cast iron gets in my family, even the small camping Dutch ovens.

But they do still need an oil if you’re going to be doing something like eggs or potatoes.

Because of that, I have started using a stone-lined pan set that came home as a nothing present (he lived). Mine’s Crofton (if it’s inexpensive, tell me; if it’s expensive, hold your tongue so he continues to live).

They’re sturdy and oven safe, they have nice metal handles that are well attached, and those images of just sliding an egg out … yeah, that’s legit, at least with my set. Even oopsed rice just oozes off with a two-minute soak and a regular sponge.

*Tip from the candy makers: Fill an “oopsed” pot or casserole dish with water and boil it while scraping if it’s going to need more than just a little time and a little elbow grease. Smarter, not harder. At least, while water is cheap and copious.

 

The only thing I’d change is that the pans lack the quarter-inch of solid metal base that creates an even cooking surface. The flip side to that, though, is that it’s far lighter.

Metal baking pans have also become obsolete in my kitchen. Oh, they’re stocked back in case of breakage, but I largely do my roasting and baking in Corning and Pyrex, and a fair bit of it in $3 glass bread pans.

That’s about me being lazy.

I can use that steel wool on them without removing coatings and then fighting rust. Most of the time, I don’t even need steel wool.

Most of the time, things I’d have once soaked or boiled on the stove because even Bissel the Labrador couldn’t get the baked-on goo off, I don’t even pre-wash at all. They go straight in the dish washer.

That means that in a crisis, I’m spending less energy/labor on cleaning up, I can conserve more fats and oils for consumption instead of lubrication, and I use less water and cleaning soap.

They also cross-purpose between various cooking methods, and since they’re not metal, they’re non-reactive when I have recipes for cheese that don’t like steel or aluminum or copper.

Cooking in Disasters

Big or small, some disposables are good. And I’ve been poor. I understand that for some, a good casserole dish and a single good pan require the same budgeting as Aimpoints and gennies. Prioritize these, as with anything else, although the daily-life ease the cookware offers may make them worth asking for as a holiday or birthday present.

With any luck, some of the inexpensive food-heating and water-heating options listed above can help with the budget, opening up the ability to build or source other things, or just with creating redundancy in our systems.


Other self-sufficiency and preparedness solutions recommended for you:

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

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Liberal’s hidden agenda: more than just your guns

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

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

Secure your privacy in just 10 simple steps

 

In a protracted crisis, we’ll be missing a lot of our usual conveniences. While some may already make their own sandwich bread for slicing and render their beef and hog

One of the biggest hurdles to actually doing something that can save your life is getting started. I know many people who research topics, watch movies, create lists and pages and pages of bookmarked websites that they can pull up at a moment’s notice. For every idea they have a source. For every plan, they have written information, sourced in binders with color coded tabs. This could be the same for you and your food supplies that are all written neatly in a binder or on a downloadable excel spreadsheet or parked on a DVD you bought online from a survival expert.

My question is what if the world as you know it ends tomorrow? What if the proverbial poop hits the fan and all your lists are just that; worthless words on pieces of paper. What if your highly organized blueprint for survival is nothing more than electrical impulses burned to a hard-drive that will never run again? What if in your efforts to be thorough, you didn’t actually do anything and now you family is looking to you for guidance? Since you have been talking about Prepping for 3 years, you have something prepared for this day, right?

I know that this isn’t the majority of people who read Final Prepper, but there are those out there that become overwhelmed by information and keep thinking over the details in their mind of what they want or need to do until it’s too late. We call this analysis paralysis and in the world of survival, this can get you killed. If you haven’t begun storing food for your family because you haven’t finished watching a DVD or your excel spreadsheet isn’t completely accurate with the quantities and current prices for all 1000 food items you need, you should try something else. What I want to give you is a simple food supply plan that can feed a family of 4 for a month, can be purchased in about one trip out and will cost you a few hundred dollars. Use this plan if you haven’t started anything yet or simply need a jump start on your emergency food supply list for your home. Trust me, your family will appreciate this if something terrible happens and you will be able to look them in the eye again.

What Foods to Buy?

Rice is a cheap and easy emergency food supply

Rice – Rice is one of my favorite storable foods because it is relatively easy to buy even in big quantities and I don’t know if I have ever met anyone who wouldn’t eat rice. Rice stores easily as long as you keep it cool and dry just in the bag. For longer storage you can seal your rice in Mylar bags, throw them in buckets and you are looking at years of shelf life. For your emergency needs though I would go to Sam’s or Costco and by a 50 lb. bag of rice or two. A 50 pound bag contains 504 servings of rice and will lay flat on your shelf for years. We use our rice though so it is always in rotation. Cost – Approximately $20

Beans – Beans, beans the magical fruit. Beans are another food that has a long storage life and is relatively cheap. Beans are the first part of Beans, Bullets and Band-Aids for a good reason. Beans don’t need too much care and like rice store easily for years. You can use them for a good source of fiber, but you should make plans to deal with excess gas if everyone is going to start eating beans once a day… A 10 lb. bag of beans costs around $7 and makes 126 servings. Buy several bags for your pantry and don’t forget the chili and soup mix.

Canned Meat – The best way to cheaply store meat is in cans and for a little variety and additional flavor for your meals, we stock up on canned tuna and chicken. Depending on the size you will need about 35 cans to cover your family for 30 days but these stack nicely and you can always work them into your weekly meals. Canned chicken will easily store for longer than a year so rotation shouldn’t be a problem.

Canned Veggies – 40 cans of your family’s favorite vegetables will give you the nutrition they need and something they will eat. Make sure you aren’t buying mushrooms or olives (unless your family loves them) if you don’t want to see turned up noses when the power has been out for a week and you are trying to get creative with dinner. 40 cans of vegetables will cost roughly $40 and like the meat will store for years.

Canned Fruit – Some people purchase other items for dessert, but canned fruit has a long shelf life and I have to recommend this for your sweet tooth over most other things outside of fresh fruit. I purchased 5 big #10 cans of pears, peaches, and mixed fruit. Each has about 25 servings and will be a nice addition to the rice, bean and chicken stew… 5 cans will cost around $25.

Oatmeal – Breakfast is served, unless that is you are raising chickens and already have fresh eggs everyday which I also highly recommend if you have the ability to do so. Oatmeal is great for breakfast cereal, its cheap and will store a pretty long time. Oatmeal needs a little more care than your rice or beans, but if you have this stored in Mylar you would have breakfast for years. The old cardboard tubes of Oatmeal has 30 servings, costs about $2 each. Buy 4 and you only need water to make this edible. Unless you have the next item.

Honey – Honey as you probably know has been called the perfect survival food. This is because it has an infinite shelf life. That isn’t something we usually have to worry about though because it gets used as a sweetener to replace sugar in tea, over that oatmeal above and you can even use honey to treat wounds. The normal 5 lb. jar of honey is about $15 right now and has 108 servings. Buy two of these.

Salt/Seasoning – Salt is another good storage item because if you keep it dry it will also last forever. Salt is needed by your body and in my opinion; it makes almost everything taste better. You can buy a case of salt in 4 lb. boxes for about $12. Buy a case and you will have enough for a year of seasoning. You can also purchase pepper and other spices you normally use to make that soup or chili above taste better.

Vitamins – The experts say vitamins don’t help you but I tend to believe that some nutrients even in vitamin form are better than nothing. If you aren’t able to maintain perfect nutrition, a simple multivitamin could keep you healthier than not. If you have kids get them some chewable gummy vitamins to keep their health up too. A bottle for each of you would cost about $8.

Water – I know this list was about emergency food supplies, but I will throw water in here too because if you are going to the trouble of taking care of food, you should knock out water at the same time. Each person needs about 1 gallon per day (assuming you aren’t working in the heat all day) for normal hydration and hygiene. A family of 4 would need 120 gallons of water to live for 30 days so you can either buy a whole bunch of bottled water or get 5 gallon plastic water storage containers. If you have the space, a fifty gallon water barrel would be easier, but you won’t be able to move that once it is in place.

What Next?

If you purchase all of the food supplies above it will set you back around $500 buy will cover your family as far as food and water for 30 days. Is this enough to weather any disaster? No, but it is that start you were looking for and you can really knock out all of these items in one day. One day of shopping and storing water would give you the peace of mind you need to ensure your family is taken care of. Can you go out and buy a 30 day supply of freeze-dried food just as easily? Maybe but the key is to do something now. Act before you need this food and take care of your family.

Next steps would be to work on medical supplies, and security. Once you have those, there is also other lists of prepper supplies you should consider. If you want to read a more comprehensive plan, you can also check out our Prepping 101 – Step by Step plan for How to get started Prepping.

One of the biggest hurdles to actually doing something that can save your life is getting started. I know many people who research topics, watch movies, create lists and pages

When you read the various Prepper and Survival blogs and comments on Prepping, it’s hard to avoid the constant chatter about guns and defensive warfare… Hollywood has done an excellent job of glamorizing the use of guns and warfare to the point where some people actually believe that by simply owning lots of guns their problems will be mitigated. And nothing could be farther from the truth!

What’s even more interesting is that some of these same people own scoped rifles that aren’t even sighted-in! And if you were at a shooting range and handed them a rifle that was all dialed-in, they couldn’t put a single round on the paper (target) down-range under ideal circumstances, let alone if they were in crisis-mode.

Please don’t misunderstand me; I am 100% for the Second Amendment and the right to own and bear arms. I own guns myself and I grew up shooting and hunting for food in the mountains of Southern Oregon.

It seems however that there are a few people who think that survival (Prepping) is all about owning lots of guns and paramilitary training and tactics. And it’s my opinion that these beliefs are based upon defective logic when it comes to the primary objective of Prepping, which is survival, as in ‘staying alive‘ long-term.

If any given Prepper truly believes that there are bonafide risks to their families and friends, which might stem from any one of a host of credible natural and made-caused disasters, then taking a purely logical approach to minimizing those perceived risks requires that Preppers must do what is necessary at the moment such action becomes necessary. This, of course, requires a plan of action that is in place, as well as the equipment, supplies, and tactics that support such an action.

Any tactics supporting any plan that increases potential risks for casualties are defective because it violates the core objective; ‘don’t get dead’.

The superior plan of action is the one that removes as much risk as humanly possible. When you compromise this logic, you also compromise your odds of ‘staying alive’.

Almost anyone with a minimum of training using even marginal equipment can survive off the grid and in the wilderness for a week or even two. How well you fare in such matters will depend greatly upon your fitness, training, experience and the type, amount and quality of the equipment you employ.

However, when you are forced to survive for months and possibly years totally ‘off the grid‘, that’s a whole different subject and few people have the know-how based upon the actual experience that is required to help others prepare for such a challenge.

Few of the so-called ‘experts’ who are providing information into the Prepper community have themselves actually survived off-the-grid in remote locations for many months at a time. And having never been in that kind of a situation, they have no first-hand knowledge or appreciation of what the long-term challenges actually are, let alone the solutions. Surely some of these experts are making many assumptions and educated guesses.

Other experts focus on short-term survival; I recall an episode of Bear Grylls where he is shown squeezing the liquid out of Elephant dung into his mouth as a means of obtaining water in survival mode. Of course, he has the ability to check into a hospital after the show to deal with all the micro-organisms that would readily sicken him, and if left unchecked, potentially kill him in the long-term. These are not the kind of methods that will serve most Preppers very well but are taught in some military survival courses.

Most if not all expert advisers naturally teach what they know best; hopefully based upon their own actual experience. There are a few so-called experts who are writing books and posting information on Blogs who have very little if any actual meaningful or relevant experience.

Should other Preppers be making critical plans and adopting tactics based upon the guesswork of someone else, who may have only read some books?

Living ‘off the grid’ at a farm or ranch is really not ‘survival experience‘. I am not saying that the experience gained from such a lifestyle is not relevant or beneficial, in fact, it is. However, in the case of remote rural living, when a problem or need is encountered, you have the option of driving into town or reaching-out for what you need using the telephone (on our ranch, we would even occasionally ride our horses into town for supplies).

However, as in an actual disaster, where logistical support and travel are cut-off, an Expedition Sailor has no such options. That’s because when an Expedition Sailor has a problem, it is serious since he/she may be hundreds of miles (by sea) away from any outside help (medical, parts, tools, expertise, equipment, etc.). This mandates that Expedition Sailors must be self-reliant in real-life on a daily basis, long-term. It’s not some theoretical or academic exercise, it’s for all the marbles. When you are at sea or anchored at some remote location, separated from the nearest land by water, you can only look to yourself for solutions. This also means having planned ahead in provisioning all the ‘right stuff’ on-board the boat, before leaving port. This is what prepping on land is about; having all the ‘right stuff’ before a disaster hits.

There are some survival experts who have gained their ‘survival’ experience from duty in the military. To make my position crystal-clear; I have the utmost respect and appreciation for our military men and women (my son-in-law is a serving U.S. Marine and we are very proud of him). Some former military personnel who are now advising Preppers tend to teach/preach what they know best….guns, ammo, and military tactics. And a few of these ’experts’ seem to universally fail to acknowledge or even recognize that their success in the field was the result of the guy on the right and on the left, and the extensive training that they all had received in combination with the team of people in the rear, who were providing and fulfilling all kinds of support missions. Preppers will not have access to that training or the specialized training environment, nor the logistics support that is provided by the military.

A few former military operators who have become ‘experts’ on Prepping fail to continue to appreciate that every bullet, MRE, stitch of clothing, intel, transportation and mechanical support that supported their operations in the field were provided by many other trained people in the rear. And without these mission support personnel, the operators on the front line and downrange wouldn’t fare nearly as well as they do in achieving their military objectives. There are exceptions of course in that there are Special Forces who through highly advanced training programs can and do improvise and adapt in the field down-range (damn few!). Here again, Preppers will not have access to anything close that level of training and experience, as it was provided by the military and designed to train that personnel, who were already pre-qualified, screened and selected for that specialized training. In the world of civilian survival and prepping, it’s the Prepper who has to understand and incorporate many mission skills and parameters into their own survival paradigm. If you don’t, you will likely fail.

Nobody has all the answers and no one particular survival paradigm is perfect for everyone. Each Prepper needs to identify his own potential problems and goals and then using the best information from many reliable sources, form a custom survival paradigm to suit.

It’s extremely important to maintain a clear understanding of the vast differences between ‘military objectives’ and the tactics and training to achieve those objectives, and ‘Prepper objectives‘, which are purely related to ‘staying alive’ and long-term disaster survival. Any form of combat, at any level, will lead to casualties on ‘both’ sides of the conflict.

Aside from being fully prepped (supplies, equip, etc.), the most logical approach to survival is to plan to avoid risk when the SHTF.

Should a major large-scale disaster occur, one that may for instance take the entire U.S. electrical grid down, or some other catalyst that would cause a collapse of the supply-chain infrastructure (food, fuel and supplies into cities), there will be masses (in some areas millions) of Un-Prepped people that will be dislocated from the cities and towns and who will relocate themselves to the rural areas in search of resources (food, water, etc.).

Many of these un-prepped survivors (keep in mind, we are talking about millions of people) will be armed and desperate. If Preppers attempt to shelter in place within range of these survivors, regardless of the preps and tactics used, they will likely be ultimately overcome by their sheer numbers. Any argument to the contrary is simply illogical (none of us are John. J. Rambo). If you truly want to survive (as in ’staying alive’), then a realistic relocation plan is of paramount importance.

The thousands (and more) of un-prepared and desperate survivors who will be migrating outward from towns/cities during post-disaster conditions are what some Preppers refer to as ‘Zombies’; I call them the ‘Un-Prepped’. These are the people who are post-disaster survivors and through their desperation pose a real danger to others, akin to a drowning man who will quickly push another person under the water in his desperate attempt to survive.

So what are the legitimate options?

First of all, 24/7 situational awareness is absolutely key for people living in the cities, given that relocation may only be possible just before any disaster/event and/or immediately after (within minutes). If you are already living off-grid in a remote area, you are in the best situation and have much more time to consider the situation as it unfolds.

Second, you’ll need a relocation plan in place that will get you to a prepped facility that is at a secure distance from migrating masses, as in ‘out of reach‘ and remote. Distance is your ally, since many Un-Prepped survivors will be on-foot (vehicles will be grid-locked, fuel will be unavailable), and they can only walk about 10-20 miles in a day. Doing the math, and giving them the benefit of the doubt, the average ‘Un-Prepped’ may be able to travel as far as 2-3 days away from any towns/cities. This gives an effective maximum ‘Un-Prepped Radius’ of about 60 miles (maybe more) from any towns/cities. Therefore, I would expect that if your relocation facility was 75-150 miles away from the nearest major town/city, you would minimize possible contact with the Un-Prepped, and thereby minimize your risks of dealing with these desperate people.

Clearly, there is still some vulnerability being on land. This stems from the fact that some Un-Prepped may nonetheless reach your position on foot, and possibly using vehicles. The ones who reach your location will likely be the most resourceful of the Un-Prepped, since they will have obviously survived the initial chaos and made it out of the towns/cities, and likely have already engaged in lethal combat.

Being under-siege in a fixed location can be a real problem and due to the duration of such sieges, some fixed position facilities ultimately fall. It’s a function of how well prepared you are as compared to the threat that is presented by any hostile force.

There is also another option that is best suited for those people who are living in, or close to a city on the coast, which precludes the need for potential defensive combat and the risks posed by the Un-Prepped.

Bugging-Out in comfort on a boat is a very realistic solution for some people. In fact, Expedition Sailors such as myself do it for fun and have done it for many years with our families, friends, and pets!

Once you leave port and are over the horizon heading to a preselected safe destination, you are out of sight and out of mind, leaving 99.99% of everyone else in the city behind competing for the dwindling resources. The risks at sea and at a preselected remote location (an island with zero or limited population) are far less than those that must be endured long-term on the continent in and around cities. Of course, this paradigm may not be suitable for many people, for a host of reasons.

Over the course of several decades, among other commercial marine operations, I have personally handled all of the logistics, planning, engineering, and operations, including the customization of the vessels that were required for two separate multi-year sailing expeditions that each covered thousands of miles at sea. Each of these expeditions ultimately required that I provide all of the know-how that allowed my family (wife, two children, and two dogs) and I to successfully reach distant remote locations and then live off the grid at uninhabited desert islands in the Sea of Cortez.

The success of these long-range multi-year expeditions was not by chance. The technical know-how that I have accumulated over decades involves detailed knowledge of many disciplines, including but not limited to:

Power collection, generation and storage systems, communications and navigation systems, meteorology, water production-collection and storage systems, provisioning, food storage and long-term field supplementation, life support and safety systems, security, defense systems and tactics, surveillance and counter-surveillance, sanitation systems, equipment and clothing for personnel, advanced first-aid and medical supplies. And all the tools, parts and supplies to maintain and repair all mission-critical equipment, which must function long-term as they must in any ‘Prepper’ survival mission.

The bottom line is this:

When you have actually lived and survived off the grid long-term in challenging conditions you learn what works and what doesn’t work, and I have certainly earned some of that knowledge, by ‘living the preps‘. It would be a huge mistake for Preppers to learn the hard lessons under actual survival-disaster conditions.

For example; equipment fails over time; some much sooner than others and you have to know in advance which equipment is best and why…that knowledge only comes from actual use over time in the field. Morale is another critical matter in both short-term and long-term survival and through actual experience, many lessons are learned and genuine solutions have been developed.

When you read the various Prepper and Survival blogs and comments on Prepping, it’s hard to avoid the constant chatter about guns and defensive warfare… Hollywood has done an excellent