Kit, gear, or whatever you like to call it. The equipment we buy to survive, protect, get home, bug out, etc. Some of us that have served in the military and had to use all kinds of gear for our jobs, realized some of it was excellent and some just didn’t work for us. So we either bought or improvised our gear or kit to ensure we had what worked for us. This article will discuss organizing your survival kit into levels more so than the specific contents. I will discuss each level in more detail in further articles.

When it comes to buying your kit, look at what works for you. Do not go and buy the latest and greatest because of a slick marketing campaign or trend. Always find the biggest bang for your buck. A word of caution, do research and read reviews of those who used and/or tested the gear. You do not want to buy cheap gear that won’t last, but you don’t also have to buy expensive gear that does not work for you. So it is a personal choice. I don’t buy just from a single brand, I own items from various manufacturers like:

  • HSGI taco pouches
  • TAG battle belt
  • 5:11 backpacks
  • Duluth pants
  • Solomon hiking boots
  • Boker knives
  • SOG multi-tools, etc.

I research the items for the specific need I will use and in most cases look at the multipurpose use of the item. I also look for the compatibility of the brands with other brands for modularity. One note to make; be sure to check the fastex buckles on the items, not all brands use the same type of buckle, and make sure they are good for the weight/tension that will be placed on them. You don’t want to be moving through the Appalachians to your bug out location and have your chest rig fail and fall apart at the wrong moment. You will need to be ready to make some field repairs once you establish security. So always have some 550 cord, heavy-duty sewing needles, 100 MPH tape, and/or sturdy safety pins on hand.

 

When I plan out my survival kit or gear, I think of it in levels. Each level has a purpose and compliments the others. One level of kit has duplicate items as the others so you can resupply your lower level kits or it has more robust items that may weigh heavier and require more logistics. In each kit you need the basic sustainment items to build a fire, gather, carry and purify water, build a shelter, signal for help or link up, hunt or trap for food, fix things, and basic medical needs like trauma to colds. The higher the level of kit, the more you have at your disposal.

Level 1 Kit – Think of Every Day Carry (EDC)

Level 1 should be items that you will have on your person no matter what you are doing. Some items are a good knife (folder or fixed), Flashlight, Watch, Wrist compass, Lighter, 550-cord bracelet, Multi-tool, and/or Concealed carry firearm. So imagine walking around the mall with your family, what do you have on your person that can help in a crisis? Medical items can be a CAT tourniquet on your belt or in a pocket to a bandana for an improvised tourniquet. It would be hard to always have that IFAK level of TCCC gear on your person. There are some decent “Patrol” IFAK’s out there that are slim in design.

Level 2 Kit

Should be some kind of load bearing equipment. Like a chest rig, old style LBE, or battle belt (w or w/o suspenders). It is also your get home bag, since this bag is smaller than a bug out bag and only set up to “get you home” it will have supplemental items that are similar to your chest rig. So depending on your scenario, you might only have the GHB and not your chest rig. I will discuss more the GHB in another article.

 

On this level, you can have items that will augment your level 1 kit. Enable you to carry ammunition for your rifle and/or pistol to be readily available. You will have your Individual First Aid Kit (IFAK) attached. You can also add more items for redundancy (2 is 1 and 1 is none). This kit can be kept in your vehicle, place of work, or at your residence.

Level 3 Kit

This kit should be a back pack of some type, about 4,000 to 6,000 cubic inches or 65 to 95 liters. This would be considered a week-long bag. A bug out bag should not only be “72 hrs.” you should have enough gear to last you 5-7 days depending on your skill sets, AOR, and proximity of your other levels of kit. This level 3 Kit is also used as your Bug out Bag, which will be discussed further in another article. Remember, Bugging Out refers to leaving your homestead to another location for an undetermined amount of time. Hopefully you have planned out your scenarios to ensure you have the mindset, skill sets, tactics and kit to make it to where you are going. This kit should be kept in your home, unless you plan on bugging out from your work location etc.

Level 4 Kit

This Kit should be several durable containers or bags that you can load into your vehicle. The containers could be pelican cases, action packers, military kit bags or other type of durable containers. They should not be too large to move by oneself. Your vehicle should be part of this level of kit. Since you can load more fuel, water and gear in and on your vehicle. Your GHB bag, that you take with you to work and trips will become a “bail out bag” if you have to retreat from your vehicle under duress. Level 4 should contain items that will aid you in moving longer distances to get to your destination. Ideally, it is located at your house to aid you if you need to bug out and move to your cabin in the Appalachians.

 

If you are departing from your house, load up your Level 3 Backpack and your level 2 GHB (now bail out bag) and/or Chest rig for additional augmentation depending on the situation. If you have to move on foot due to vehicle breakdown, then you have your Level 3 backpack, level 2 chest rig and GHB is you designed it to attach to your Level 3 BOB. But one thing to remember always make every attempt to stay with and repair your vehicle during a crisis. Your vehicle provides a lot of advantages but also has several disadvantages. It may give you a sense of security, noise, harder to hide, and mobility is restricted to where a vehicle can go.

As you can see, the levels of kit you have, augment and complement each other. Don’t forget your homestead should also have plenty of supplies. You could use this TTP and make your house your level 5. So depending on your scenario, you may not have all levels of kit with you. I normally have my Level 1 (EDC), Level 2 (GHB), and Level 4 (modified) with me whenever I drive my vehicle anywhere within my AOR. If I have to drive further like to another state or across the country, I add more items to my Level 4.

How to use your levels of kit

You should always use your kit from the highest to the lowest, Level 4 to Level 1. So you always have the critical gear on your person if you need to abandon the vehicle or your backpack. If you do use items form your level 1 or 2 use the higher levels to resupply those items. For example while I was in the military it was SOP that we drink out of our 2 QT canteens attached to our rucksacks before we drink out of our 1 QT canteens on our LBE/Chest rig. This way if we did a recon patrol without our rucksack we had full canteens or if we made contact and had to ditch/destroy our rucks we had full canteens.


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Kit, gear, or whatever you like to call it. The equipment we buy to survive, protect, get home, bug out, etc. Some of us that have served in the military

One of the most forgotten areas of prepping is financial preparedness. It’s as if we all think that whenever the brown stuff hits the air movement device, all debt and other financial concerns will disappear. While that might be true in a few situations, like an EMP, it’s not something we can count on. We’re just as likely to be faced with a scenario that causes us all to lose our incomes, while still being stuck with the mortgage on our homes and the loans on our cars.

Planning our finances as preppers can be challenging. We are faced with the problem of planning for the same things our non-prepping friends and neighbors do, while also planning for any number of possible disasters. So we have to have a plan for retirement; a plan to survive short-term disasters and a plan for surviving a TEOTWAWKI event.

 

This makes investing a real challenge. The things most people invest in, stocks and money market accounts, can’t be relied on in a post-disaster world. For that matter, trusting in them in a normal world is a bit dicey, as the stock market can always crash. But that doesn’t eliminate the need for investing; just like everyone else in the world, we need to have our investments in order, both for the good times and for the bad.

This really means investing in such a way as to protect ourselves in the event of a disaster. If we do that, then our investments should carry us through the good times as well. What we need, in addition to our stockpile of supplies, are things that we can invest in, which won’t lose their value, even in a post-disaster world. May I suggest the following…

Gold & Silver

This one is obvious. Perhaps the most classic investment of all time is precious metals, specifically gold and silver. During times of financial crisis, these metals always increase in value, even when everything else is dropping in value. In addition, precious metals are what people are likely to return to when needing some sort of money to trade with. So, as long as you have them, you can do business.

If you want to learn more you can check out this book. It provides specific and essential wealth-protecting ideas, techniques, and strategies.

In this regard, silver is actually better than gold, as its value is less. So when it comes time to barter, you’re not dealing with a one-ounce gold coin, which has a huge value. That might be useful when trying to make a major purchase, but not when trying to buy food.

Land

When I’m talking about the land here, I’m not talking about the typical way of investing in land. What I’m referring to is the land your home is sitting on or land that you can use for homesteading. One of the best investments you can make, especially for surviving a financial collapse, is ensuring that you own your home. That way, it can’t be taken away from you.

Granted, it is hard to pay off your home and the land it sits on; but if you will make an additional payment of say $100 each month, that money will go directly towards the principal on the loan, not the interest. I don’t have the exact figures at hand, but check it out; that could cut your 30 year mortgage down to 15 years or so.

Food

As preppers, we’re already stockpiling food. But we need to realize that our food is an investment too. Even in normal times, the cost of food is rising faster than the inflation rate. So, that food will increase in value faster than a savings account. Of course, in a time of crisis, it will be invaluable.

A Cottage Industry Business

Many major disaster scenarios are serious enough that they affect the world in which we live, as well as the economy. Rather than just investing in things, think about investing in the skills, knowledge, and tools to make a go of it, if your current job falls apart. You don’t want an internet business here, but rather something that you do with your hands.

Repair businesses could be an excellent choice, as they do extremely well after a financial collapse. Many of the old trades would do well after the loss of the grid. Ideally, you want some sort of business that will provide an income after as many types of disasters as possible. Start with the skills you currently have and look at what might work well for you.

Alcohol

People will hang on to their vices, feeding them, more than they will hold on to their most basic needs. in this, I think that Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs is wrong. People will feed their vices, even at the cost of their lives. That’s why alcoholics and drug addicts spend the money they need for food and heat to feed their addictions.

But you don’t have to be an alcoholic to want alcohol. People drink and use drugs to escape their problems. So in a time of severe problems, many will trade away the food they need, just to get a drink. This makes alcohol one of the most powerful barter goods there is.

Tobacco

Tobacco is like alcohol, in that it is a vice. People smoke to deal with stress and in a post-disaster world, there will be plenty of stress. Having a stock of tobacco on hand could be extremely valuable, perhaps even more so than silver.

I wouldn’t recommend investing in cigarettes, as they can go stale. Rather, invest in raw tobacco and rolling papers. If people want to smoke, they’ll learn to roll their own.

Coffee

There are even more coffee addicts in the world than there are alcoholics and smokers. If you want something that people are going to be lusting after, willing to trade just about anything away for, this might be the golden ticket. Just about anyone is going to want coffee.

Whole beans will store better than ground coffee, even if you are keeping them in airtight containers. That means having a grinder on hand as well so that you can grind their coffee for them.

Ammunition

Some have said that ammunition will become the common coin in a post-disaster world, especially in a post-EMP world. There will clearly be shortages, even with all the people who have already built stockpiles of ammo. Concentrate on calibers that are useful for hunting and self-defense. Probably the most popular caliber for trade will be the .22LR.

Gasoline

Gasoline is difficult, as it doesn’t store well for prolonged periods of time. The more volatile hydrocarbons tend to evaporate off and there is some oxidation of other components of the gasoline. Adding a fuel stabilizer to the gas can extend the life, but then only to about a year.

If you can store your gasoline in sealed metal containers, it will last longer than it will in plastic gas cans. I’ve kept gasoline in a sealed steel barrel for over a year, without a problem. And that was without adding fuel stabilizers to it. Even so, I would consider gasoline only a short-term investment, as it won’t last forever. You’ll want to cash in on this investment faster than others.

Toilet Paper

There have always been alternatives to toilet paper. In the pioneering days, they used corn cobs and the Sears & Roebuck catalog. But for those of us who have grown up accustomed to toilet paper, making that switch will be difficult. I’d say that it will be even more difficult for women.

This one is a bit of a gamble, but I think that toilet paper will become highly valuable in a post-disaster world. You just might want a few extra cases, over and above what your family is going to use, that is.

Seed

If it comes down to long-term survival after a TEOTWAWKI event, probably one of the most important things to own will be seeds. Not only will you need it, so that you can plant a large vegetable garden and grow food for yourself and your family, but everyone else will need it too. They’re also going to need your knowledge about gardening so that they can get their gardens going and feed their families.

This is probably only a short-term investment but could have big returns. I say it’s short-term because once they grow their own crops, they can harvest the seed as well. So you shouldn’t have people coming back to you for the next growing season, looking for more seeds.

 

That concludes my mission for the day. Let me know what you think. If you find the time. Or something to add. 

Have a good one! 


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)

One of the most forgotten areas of prepping is financial preparedness. It’s as if we all think that whenever the brown stuff hits the air movement device, all debt and

Having read hundreds if not thousands of articles on preparedness, one of the common themes that I see consistently among all authors on all platforms is the focus on skills. Certainly, the advantages are obvious; if you know how to make a fire, then you’re able to do it the moment without having to break out your boy scout manual and fail multiple times at the moment. You can practice on your own time during a non-emergency, and learn everything there is to know about knots, cooking, preserving, and growing. At the moment, you can’t ask an attacker to pause so you can quickly study up on your Tae Kwon Do, or ask the oncoming floods if they could recede for long enough for you to build an adequate barricade for your home.

That said, as a budding young prepper a few years ago, I found it completely overwhelming having to not only purchase so many supplies but also find the time to learn how to garden, how to start fires, how to build shelters, make home repairs and fire a gun all at the same time. That said, here are some buy-it and forget-it supplies that require nothing more than a few dollars in your pocket and a place to store this potentially life-saving equipment.

  1. Weather Radio

A weather radio, particularly one that includes a hand crank and options for lighting or charging, such as solar, is an essential supply for anyone who has to deal with the wrath of nature from time to time. In case of a power outage, this can charge your phone, light your way through the night, or provide the information you need to make quick decisions for your own welfare. We love this one!

Any good weather radio should be small and offer multiple charging options. It should be easy to program, and you should probably store it with its instruction booklet. Since these devices are so incredibly easy to use, there is almost nothing that you’ll have to do in order to make it work for you, although those who don’t have experience working a radio dial may find it a little difficult to use the old-fashioned technology.

  1. Emergency Cell Phone Batteries

An emergency cell phone battery is exactly what you’d think it is – a portable power source that you can use to charge any device in a pinch. Most of these devices come pre-charged at local stores, although you may have to charge the ones you purchase online. I have one of these at my house for every family member with a device, and we use them so often it’s become second nature for every family member to grab one on their way out the door. In fact, one of our home’s phone charging stations is entirely dedicated to recharging just these battery packs.

What makes these chargers so great is that they function so well on the go. It may look awkward at first to be holding your device with the charger attached, but it works.

It’s also possible to purchase these for your bug out bags, or to keep one in a vehicle, but keep in mind that the battery’s charge will wear off over time. This provides a good opportunity to review your bug out bag every six months or so as you remove the battery packs for charging.

If you do decide to grab some of these, I’d highly recommend getting the highest mAh capacity you can get (this is the measure of how much of a charge a battery can hold). While this will increase the price, and while you may never use the full capacity to charge a device if you’re storing these for emergency use as I described above, then you want to keep the charge for the longest possible time.

  1. Mylar Blankets

It’s an emergency blanket. Not much more needs to be said other than the fact that these make an excellent, lightweight addition to a bug out or get home bag.

  1. Lifestraw (or other portable water filters) and Water Storage tanks

Outside of unwrapping a Lifestraw, there is not much to using it. You simply find some water and suck it on the correct end of the filter.

Other portable water filters are, admittedly, slightly more difficult, but nothing so complicated that you can’t figure it out at the moment. When taking a group of 8th grade students on a camping trip a few years ago, they were all able to use a filter to strain out some clean drinking water without spilling much, and let’s face it, if an 8th grader can do it, so can almost any adult.

Water is a top-3 item that you’ll need to consider when prepping, and having a few portable filters in your home and in your bug-out equipment will help alleviate one of the largest concerns with water. The other concern is equally easy to handle – water storage can be very easily handled by simply purchasing some water bricks or some other convenient storage solution and filling it. No skill is required there.

  1. Long-Term Food Storage

When purchasing supplies for just yourself, I could see the argument behind trying all of the long-term food options before committing to purchasing a huge quantity of flavors you might not enjoy. That said, for a family, any variety pack will likely include enough variety to keep everyone happy. Like the Water Storage equipment, this is as easy as buying, storing, and forgetting.

  1. Car Jumper System

A great buy-and-stash item that you’ll use rather frequently if you drive an old clunky car as I do is a car jumper system to jump your car. This is essentially a high-powered lithium battery that you can charge and store in your trunk. If you need to jump your car, pull out the instructions and follow along with getting your car started. I own three different models (one each for myself, my teenage daughter, and my wife), and each of them has the same three step approach to getting them set up. When you need it, you no longer need to rely on some good Samaritans to stop to help you jump your car.

All of these will bring you some peace of mind so you can sweat the harder stuff.

Having read hundreds if not thousands of articles on preparedness, one of the common themes that I see consistently among all authors on all platforms is the focus on skills.

Thanks to the media, prepping gets a bad reputation. Those who prep — collecting food, water, and equipment to prepare for the inevitable — are portrayed as paranoid at best and crazy at worst. When it comes down to it, though, prepping isn’t such a bad idea — it’s better to have it and not need it, as the old saying goes. You don’t even need a barn or a shed to start prepping. If you’ve got a garage, you’ve got everything you need. How can you turn your garage into the ultimate prepper storage unit?

What Do You Need?

Before you start setting up your garage for storage, how much food, water and other supplies do you really need?

  • Food — Start with at least 72 hours worth of shelf-stable food for each person in your household. Once you’ve got this established, you can start adding to your food storage
  • Water — The average adult needs a gallon of water per day, half for drinking and half for washing and other sanitation needs. Again, start with 72 hours, and then plan for long-term needs, with water filtration, sanitation, and storage
  • Fire building — Even if you’re not storing firewood, make sure you have everything you need to start a fire
  • First aid — Include medicine, first aid supplies, antibiotics — where available — and iodine tablets. The latter only becomes necessary in the event of a nuclear strike
  • Sanitation — Toilet paper, bleach, peroxide, and items for sanitation and waste disposal are necessary, especially in the event of infrastructure collapse
  • Other supplies — In the event of a pandemic, for example, you will need masks, respirators, and other personal protection equipment
  • Equipment — Gather generators and fuel, air compressors for powering tools, and other equipment that you might need to survive until the crisis is over and normality restored.

Now that you have a basic idea of what you need, where are you going to put it all? If you’re limited on space, storage can be tricky. Here are a few ideas to get you started.

First, Declutter

If you’re using your garage to store all the stuff you don’t have room for, your first step is decluttering. Go through your garage and separate everything into three piles: keep, sell and trash. Only keep things that are necessary, that will serve you in the future or that you can’t bear to part with. Anything you can sell, set aside for a yard sale. Anything you’re just hanging onto because you haven’t bothered to get rid of it can go in the trash.

This step has two purposes. First, it gives you more room to store your supplies. Second, you can use the money you make from your yard sale to purchase storage and supplies.

Buy and Prep Equipment

Heavy equipment can take up a lot of space, so it’s a good idea to purchase any equipment first and plan your storage around it.

Generators can help keep your equipment powered, as long as you have fuel. Look for a generator that can easily be stored when not in use but provides all your power requirements.

Air compressors can be useful as well — they can be used to power tools, refill tires and even clean, depending on the adapters you have for them. Make sure you’ve also got everything you need to maintain the compressor — tools, oil, and even repair manuals can be useful to keep your equipment running.

Use All Your Available Space

A decent supply of food, water, and other items will take up quite a bit of space, so the first thing you should do is look at your garage and see what kind of available space you actually have. Don’t just look at the garage itself — look under stairwells, in attics, and even in closets.

In the garage itself, you’ve got walls and even your ceiling that can be altered to use as storage — all while still allowing you to use your garage for its originally intended purpose, parking your car!

Areas that already have equipment in them can still be used for storage — put shelves and storage containers above your washer and dryer and under your sinks for your growing prepper supply without filling your house from floor to ceiling.

You can even store supplies, cash, and important papers in plain sight if you’re clever with how you store them.

Don’t Forget Your Bug-Out Bag

Having a supply of food and water at home is great, but if you’re not able to stay in your home, you might not be able to take all of it with you. Creating a bug-out kit can give you a few days of supplies if you have to pick up and bug out. It should contain everything you’ve collected in your prepping — food, water, medical supplies, communication equipment — in addition to cash, important papers, and anything else you can’t bear to leave behind.

Again you should have at least 72 hours of food and water for each person at your party. If carrying that much water is restrictive due to the weight, include water sterilization tablets or filter straws to protect you from any water contaminants in the water supply or in any natural water that you might find.

Give your bug-out bag its own special storage place in your garage. That way it’s on hand if you should ever need it. All you have to do is grab it, hop in your car and go.

Hopefully, you’ll never need your prepping supplies, but in the event that you do need them, it’s better to be prepared for any and all eventualities. It doesn’t matter if we’re facing a little hiccup or a full infrastructure collapse — having enough supplies could mean the difference between life and death. Even if you don’t opt for all the extra equipment, just having enough food and water and the ability to cook it can make all the difference.

Thanks to the media, prepping gets a bad reputation. Those who prep — collecting food, water, and equipment to prepare for the inevitable — are portrayed as paranoid at best

INTRODUCTION

While we all want to do our best to prepare for a coming crisis, and many of us realize the city is perhaps the worst place to live, very few people are really prepared to pack up the old Winnebago and head for the hills. Most Americans, whether they’re aware or not, are going to stay in the cities.

This is not a hasty decision for most people. Most of us depend on the city for our livelihood, and we can be better prepared by continuing to live in the city, earning a good income, and making preparations for exiting the city at the appropriate time or by staying in the city and living off existing supplies.

This special report explains some of the most critical dangers of living in a city and presents some solutions to surviving them. If you are one of the people who has decided to stay in the city, you’ll benefit greatly from this information.

CITIES ARE ARTIFICIAL

Every city is an artificial construct. Cities formed as people came together to conduct business, participate in social interaction, and benefit from efficiencies in public services (such as schools, sewers, water, etc.) and a common defense. Yet cities cannot survive alone. They need resources from the country; most notably, food, water, and electricity. While electricity and water can sometimes be created or found within city limits, the acreage requirements of food dictate that no city could possibly feed its own people.

Read that last phrase carefully: No city can feed its own people. Not one. Cities are, by their very nature, dependent on the importation of food. The advent of just-in-time delivery systems to our grocery stores means that most cities would run out of food within a week if supplies were for some reason disrupted.

Remember, cities are not self-sufficient. Although they may seem to be in 2013, they have for a long time been entirely dependent on the American farmer for their support, something almost all Americans take for granted (except the farmer, of course.)

 

 

RISKS IN THE CITY

The city presents some serious risks during a crisis. The four most serious ones are:

  1. The collapse of social order (riots).
  2. The failure of the water treatment and delivery systems.
  3. The depletion of food supplies.
  4. The failure of the power grid.

While not every situation will appear in every city, every situation will most certainly appear in some cities. Will that include yours? We’ll tackle these one at a time:

1. THE COLLAPSE OF SOCIAL ORDER

“Social order” is a delicate thing, and it exists as a psychological barrier that could easily collapse under the right conditions. We all saw this during the L. A. Riots following the Rodney King trial verdict as citizens of L. A. set fire to their own town, yanked people from vehicles and beat them literally to death, and even fired guns at firemen attempting to save their buildings! More recently we were all witness to the looting, violence, and total breakdown of society following Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans.

Societal_Collapse

Riots can spring up quickly.

What allowed this to happen? Simple: the simultaneous melting away of the psychological barrier of “order.” Once people realized 911 couldn’t handle the load or was offline, that the local police were helpless or had simply abandoned their posts, “Law and Order” ceased to exist in their minds. They then conducted their lives in the way they always wanted to, but couldn’t because of the police. That is, they ran out to the local stores and just took whatever they wanted (looting). They took out their racial frustration on innocent victims who happened to be driving through the area, and they let loose on a path of destruction that only stopped when men with rifles (the National Guard) were called in to settle things down. In other words, only the threat of immediate death stopped the looting and violence. Rifles work wonders.

Imagine store owners lying prone on the roofs of their stores with AK-47’s, firing at anyone who approached. This is exactly what happened in Los Angeles. But worse, imagine the lawless horde firing at the rescue copters trying to bring in supplies to the desperate masses.

The National Guard eventually got things under control. This event was isolated, however, to one city. Imagine a hundred cities experiencing the same thing. Will the National Guard be able to handle the load? Not likely. What about local police? They aren’t fools; if things look bad enough, they’ll grab their families and head for the hills, just like they did in New Orleans. No pension is worth getting killed for. A few U. S. cities could be transformed into literal war zones overnight. It would require all-out martial law and military force to have any chance whatsoever of bringing order to these streets. And the reality is that there is not enough military in the USA to secure all of the cities if this happens.

This collapse of social order is perhaps the greatest risk of staying in the city during a crisis. What, exactly, would cause this collapse of social order? Lack of three things: food, water, and money. When people run out of food, some will begin ransacking their neighborhood, searching for something to eat. (Remember that in a city, a “neighbor” does not mean the same thing as a “neighbor” in the country. They are not necessarily your friends.) It won’t take long, then, for violence to take over in some cities. While certain regions will certainly manage to keep things under control and people will form lines at the local (depleted) Red Cross shelter, other cities will see an explosion of violence. Imagine the gang-infested regions of L. A., Chicago, New York, St. Louis & New Orleans. Do you think those people are going to stand in line and wait? They already have guns; now they finally get to use them. Pent-up racial tensions & hostilities will simply serve as justification for shooting people of the same or other color in order to get their food.

Even if the food somehow gets into the cities, lack of money (due to the government not sending out checks) could cause the same thing. Eventually, lack of money results in looting and mass theft. As the stealing balloons, it also results in a collapse of social order. Water; the same thing (but faster). The collapse of social order is also very dangerous because it doesn’t require any “actual” collapse of the power grid, telecommunications, transportation, or banking. Social order is a psychological artifact. It is a frame of mind, and any global panic can quickly remove the mental barrier that right now keeps people basically “lawful.”

2. THE FAILURE OF WATER TREATMENT AND DELIVERY SYSTEMS

Will the water treatment facilities fail during a crisis? Many will. Some won’t. The problem lies in figuring out whether yours will. Certainly, they depend on electricity, and testing conducted on some plants has already revealed weaknesses in the system.

In one such test, the water treatment plant released a fatal dose of fluoride into the water system when tested. The computers thought they were 99 years behind in releasing minute doses of fluoride, so they made up the difference. If you happened to be downstream, drinking that water, you were dead. Fluoride, no matter what misinformed dentists tell you, is actually a fatal poison. A major crisis likely to demonstrate this fact in more than one city.

The most important question here, though, is about what will happen when the water stops flowing (or if it is flowing, but it’s not drinkable). As you are probably aware, while people can live without food for long periods of time (2-3 weeks), water is needed on a daily basis. You can go 2-3 days without it, at most, but beyond that, you’ll quickly turn to dust.

That means people will do anything to get water because not having it means death. And guess where it’s going to be the most difficult to actually get water? You guessed it: in the cities. On the first day of the water crisis, many people still won’t figure out what was going on. They’ll figure it’s a temporary breakage of a water main and the government will get it fixed within hours. As those hours stretch into the next day, these people will get very worried.

By the second day, more and more people will realize the water isn’t coming. At that point, you could easily see a breakdown of social order, as described in the previous section (as you can see, these things all tend to cause each other.). People will begin their “search for water,” and the first place they’re likely to go is where they always go for liquids: the grocery store, the local Wal-Mart, the 7-11. The shelves will be cleaned out rather quickly.

Beyond that (because those liquids aren’t going to last long), you’re going to see people engaged in a mass exodus from the cities. They’ll take the gas they have left in their tanks and they’ll leave the city in search of water. Some will go to “Grandma’s house” out in the country where they might at least find a pond or stream to drink from. Others will simply go on an expanded looting mission, stopping at any house they see and asking the residents (with a gun in their face, likely) if they have any water to “donate.”

As a result of all this, if water stops flowing, here are the events you can expect to see in some of the worse-off cities:

  • Looting of all the grocery stores by the second or third day (remember New Orleans?).
  • Minor outbreaks of violence during the looting. Shop owners, for example, may attempt to defend their shops with firearms (ala L. A. Riots).
  • Mass exodus of residents from the city in search of water.
  • Ransacking of any houses or farms within a gas-tank radius of the city.
  • Mass traffic jams on the outbound highways as people run out of gas and abandon their vehicles (if bad enough, this could actually block the highways and trap people in the cities) (Remember Hurricane Rita?).
  • Mass outbreak of water-borne diseases as people use streams and rivers as both a water fountains and a bathroom. People crapping upstream are going to infect the people drinking downstream. Very few have any kind of water filtration device. That last point is really critical. Once the water flow stops, the disease is going to strike.

3. THE DEPLETION OF FOOD SUPPLIES

The food supplies will likely dwindle quickly as we approach a possible crisis due to people stocking up just in case. Once the crisis actually hits, expect to see breakdowns in the transportation sector that will result in major delays in food delivery. This means food may arrive in a sporadic fashion in some cities (if at all).

Once this happens, food suddenly becomes really valuable to people (even though they take it for granted today). And that means any small shipment of food that arrives will be quickly grabbed and eaten or stored. It only takes one week without food to remind people how much they actually need it, so expect the atmosphere to be that of a “near panic” if food is delayed by as little as three days. The level of panic will vary from city to city. Some cities or towns may experience very little difficulty receiving food. Others may face near-starvation circumstances.

empty-shelves

The shelves will be emptied quicker than you can say EBT.

Remember, the cities depend entirely on food shipped in from the farms and food processing companies. Also, note that if there’s a water problem as mentioned in the previous section, and the mass exodus begins, the highways may be jammed up at critical locations, causing gridlock for the trucking industry. If we’re lucky, some trucks will continue to roll. If we’re not, assume that nothing gets through.

A shortage of food ultimately results in the same behavior as a shortage of water. First, people eat what’s in the pantry, then they loot the grocery stores. After that, with all local supplies depleted and no hope on the horizon, they leave the city and start ransacking nearby homes. Some will hunt in nearby forests, but most city-dwellers don’t know how to hunt. In any case, anyone with the means to leave the city will likely do so soon after their food shortage begins.

4. THE FAILURE OF THE POWER GRID

Nothing is as suddenly obvious nor has such a gigantic psychological impact as the failure of the power grid. When the electricity stops, almost everybody knows it at the same instant (unless it happens at night).

Naturally, during the first few hours of the power failure, if it occurs, people will assume it’s a temporary situation. Maybe a tree fell on some power lines, or perhaps a transformer blew up somewhere nearby. They’ll sit tight and wait for the power to come back on.

What if it doesn’t? Then the city faces a severe problem. Without power, obviously, everything shuts down. Within hours, the looting begins in the more crime-ridden cities (we saw this in New York a few decades ago.). The longer the power stays off, the worse the social disorder.

The loss of power will bring the entire city to a halt. While vehicles may get around for a few more days (using whatever fuel they have left), businesses obviously won’t be operating. Houses that depend on electricity for heat will quickly reach Winter temperatures, freezing many occupants to death. While those that depend on electricity for Air Conditioning will just as quickly reach Summer temperatures, resulting in death from heatstroke. Hospitals and police stations may have generators on hand, with a few days worth of fuel, but in short order, that will be depleted, too.

 

But the water treatment plant will almost certainly be off-line without power, causing all the events mentioned in the water section, above. Let’s face it, power is the worst thing to be without in the city. If you have power, you can survive a food shortage, perhaps even a short water shortage. But without power, all bets are off. If you have a “bug-out” vehicle stocked and ready to go (see below), this might be the time to bail.

SOLUTIONS IN THE CITY

Okay, so you’re stuck in the city. You’ve made the decision to stay. You’ve read the problems above, you believe they make sense, and you’re intelligently frightened. What now? You really have two strategies. You can:

  • Stay and defend your house
  • Bug out (leave the city and head for the hills)

Important! This is not an either/or situation. You can begin by staying in your house and assessing the situation. You’ll want to have a “bug-out” vehicle stocked and ready, just in case, if you can afford one, but you may never actually choose to bug out. You’ll have to be the ultimate judge of this. Just remember that when you bug out, you face major risks and disadvantages. Among these:

  1. You’re severely limited in how much you can carry
  2. You have limited range due to fuel
  3. You expose yourself to social chaos, roadblocks, random violence, etc.
  4. Your house will certainly be looted while you’re gone
  5. You run the risk of mechanical breakdowns of your vehicle
  6. You must have a place to go that you know is in better shape than where you currently are.

DSC_0028

Being prepared to defend yourself is necessary.

In general, unless you have a specific, known safe place as your final destination, I don’t advise people to bug out. Just “heading for the hills” is a very poor plan. You might not make it. But heading for Grandma’s house or some known, safe place could be a very good plan indeed, depending on whether Grandma is ready, willing, and able to accept you!

For these reasons (and more), staying and defending your house is sometimes the only reasonable course of action, even if it seems dangerous. For the most part, looters and people looking for food are going to have plenty of easy victims, so if you show a little willingness to use force to defend your property, you’ll likely send people on to the next house.

That is until the next house is already empty and you appear to be the last house on the block with any food and water left. If you’re in a bad enough area, your neighbors may “gang up” on you and demand your supplies or your life. This is truly a worst-case scenario, and unless you literally have a house full of battle rifles and people trained to use them (and the willingness to shoot your neighbors), you’re sunk. This is why the best situation by far is to keep your neighbors informed and help them get prepared. Then you (both your member and non-member neighbors) can act as a group, defending your neighborhood and sharing the supplies you have with anyone willing to help defend you.

When you have this kind of situation going, your neighbors realize you are their lifeline. You supply them with food and water, and they will help support you because they are, in effect, supporting their own lives. The best situation is when your neighbors and other ward members have their own food and water supplies. That way, they aren’t depleting yours, and they have a strong motivation for getting together with you to defend your neighborhood. (More on this below.)

STORING (AND HIDING) YOUR FOOD

Storing food is just as important in the city as in the country, but hiding it is far more important. That’s because, in the worst areas, marauders will be going from house to house, demanding your food or your life. If you’re dumb enough to put everything you own in the obvious places, you might as well not buy it in the first place. They will find it. To count on having any amount of food leftover after the marauders break-in, you’ll need to hide your food.

One alternative is to plan on defending your home with force. If you have enough gun-wise people in the house, and enough firearms and ammo, you can probably pull this off. But most of us aren’t nearly as experienced with firearms as the gang members. A better alternative might be to plan on bringing your supplies to your ward/stake building where all of the Saints can both pool and defend their resources. This of course will depend greatly on your local Bishop and Stake President.

Back to hiding: the best way to hide your food is to bury it. You’ll need airtight containers, long-term food that won’t rot and you’ll need to plan ahead. Bury your food at night so nobody will notice, and make sure you don’t leave the map on the refrigerator door! (Better to memorize it!) Try to get the ground to look normal after you’re all finished. You’ll want to bury your food as early as possible because it gives the grass time to regroup over the spot. If you’re in an area that snows, you’ll have a great concealment blanket! Most food marauders won’t go to the trouble to dig up food, especially if you insist you don’t have any.

Best plan: Have some smaller amount of food stashed around the house, letting them find something. Better to give them something and send them on their way. The art of hiding your food is an ancient one. You’ve got to get creative. Use the walls, the floors, and the structure of the house.

If hiding your food is simply not an available alternative, then try not to advertise it. Keep it put away in your house or garage in as discreet a manner as possible. Don’t make a point of telling people that you have a year’s supply (or more). Word gets around fast that Bro. Jones has a ton of food in his garage. Boxes of food fit nicely under beds, behind furniture, in the attic, etc… Be Creative!!

To sum up the food storage, you really have three strategies here:

  • Store it all in your house and plan on defending it by force.
  • Bury it in your yard in case you get overrun by looters.
  • Store part of it in your house, and hide the bulk of it.
  • Relocate all of it as soon as you recognize a major disaster is in progress.

One of the best ways to store food for burying, although it will only last 2-3 years in high-humidity areas, is to purchase 55-gallon good-grade steel drums. Once you obtain the drums, dump in your grains or other food items. If you purchase bags of food from Walton Feed, this is the perfect way to store it. Don’t leave it in the bags unless you’re actively eating it. [Note: Plastic barrels do not rust.]

Then sprinkle some diatomaceous earth into the drum. You’ll need about two cups to treat a 55-gallon drum, and it must be mixed in well. Diatomaceous earth is made from ground-up seashells, and it kills bugs by getting into their joints.

You want diatomaceous earth that is food grade, and on the bag, it says, “Fossil Shell Flour.”

Once you get these drums filled and sealed, you can then bury them in your yard. This is actually a HUGE UNDERTAKING and is a LOT more difficult than it sounds since you’ll need to dig to a depth of around 5 or 6 feet in order to sufficiently bury these drums. You’re likely to attract a lot of attention unless you do it at night, and you’ll definitely be removing a lot of dirt that you’ll need to find some use for. Because the drums are steel, they will also deteriorate unless you line the outside with plastic (a good idea) and treat the drums with some kind of protectant or oil. (Don’t use WD-40.) Even Vaseline would work well, although you would definitely need a lot to coat a 55-gallon drum.

When you’re all done, you should have your protected grains in 55-gallon drums, buried in your yard, and protected against the humidity of the surrounding earth. It’s a big effort, but then again, the food inside may save your life. You’ll find it much more efficient to bury several barrels at once; side by side.

In reality, it would be faster and easier to simply build a false wall in your garage and seal up your food behind the false wall. Sure, you might lose 2-3 feet of useable space in your garage, but the tradeoff is knowing everything is safe and sound.

STORING EXTRA WATER

Water can be stored in exactly the same way, although you might want to bury the barrel before you actually fill it with water. Make sure you treat your storage water, rotate it, or have filters on hand when you get ready to use it.
WaterIf you don’t have a yard, or it’s not practical to bury your water, you’ll have to store water inside your house. This can get very tricky because water takes up a lot of space and it’s very difficult to conceal. It’s best to get containers made for long-term storage, but in a pinch, you can use almost any container: soda bottles, milk jugs (although it’s very difficult to rinse the milk out), and even rinsed bleach bottles (in that case, you won’t need to add bleach). But a lot of these containers will deteriorate quickly, and they may break easily. Also, consider what happens if your water may be subjected to freezing. Will your containers survive? Be sure to leave enough air space to handle the expansion.

In order to prepare yourself for the water shortage, assuming you’re going to stay in the city, stock at least six months of water at a minimum of two gallons a day per person. That’s nearly 400 gallons of water if you have two people.

Of course, even with the best in-house preparations, you may find yourself depleted of water supplies. In this situation, one of your best defenses is to have a really good water filter that can remove parasites and bacteria from the water. You can also treat your water in other ways (iodine, distillation, silver solution, bleach, etc.). Armed with these items, you can safely use stream or river water (or even pond water) for drinking.

WATER WELLS

By far, the best solution for obtaining long-term water supplies is to drill a well. Buy the best-quality hand-pump available (cast-iron pumps available from Lehman’s) and a good cylinder. They will last a lifetime if installed properly. With this setup, you’ll have a near-unlimited supply of water.

The total cost of doing this, depending on where you live, ranges from about $4000 – $6000. Is it worth it? If you’ve got the money, I think so. However, many cities simply don’t allow the drilling of wells, so you may not be able to get one drilled even if you want to.

The deeper your well, the more expensive it gets. Most well drilling companies charge by the foot. When water is deeper, you also need a bigger pump and a more powerful cylinder, so the costs tend to really grow the deeper you go. If you can find water at 20′, you’re very lucky and it might not cost you even $2000. If you have to go down to 200′, it might cost you $7500, and you’re at the depth limit of hand-powered pumps anyway.

DEFENDING YOUR LIFE AND PROPERTY

Let’s talk about force. No doubt, there are plenty of nice people in this country, and I think that in small towns and rural areas, people are going to find ways to cooperate and get along. I also think, however, that some cities will suffer complete social breakdown and violence will rule. If you happen to be stuck in one of these cities, you’re going to need to use force to defend your house. The section that follows discusses what I consider to be extreme responses to violence in the direst situations. Hopefully, you won’t find yourself in these circumstances, but if you do, the information below may be valuable.

Important: Do not use your lights at night. If you are stocking propane-powered lanterns, solar-powered flashlights, or other unusual supplies, using them at night will announce to everyone within line of sight that you have more than the “usual” supplies. Expect them to come knocking on your door. At most, let a fire burn in the fireplace, but in general, avoid drawing attention to your house.

Defending your house is a crucial element of your stay-in-the-city plan. Make your house your fortress, and hold drills to help other family members practice some of the more common activities such as hiding, defending, evacuating, etc.

Some useful items for home defense include:

  • A guard dog.
  • Pepper spray.
  • Firearms.
  • Smoke bombs (military-grade).
  • Tripwires

Let’s go over these: The guard dog is certainly a welcome addition to any family trying to defend their house. Although he probably eats a lot of food, the investment is worth it. Dogs also tend to sleep light, so let them sleep right next to the food storage areas, and make sure you sleep within earshot. If the dog barks, don’t consider it an annoyance, consider it an INTRUSION.

Pepper spray is a great alternative to the firearm. It will incapacitate people and certainly give them a painful experience to remember. On the downside (potentially), it might just remind them that next time they come back for food, they better kill you first. So understand the limitations of pepper spray.

Firearms are useful for obvious reasons. In the worst-case scenario, when looting is rampant, you may have to actually shoot someone to protect yourself or your family. If you’re squeamish about pulling the trigger under these circumstances, don’t plan to stay in the city. Use the “bug out” plan instead.

Smoke bombs can be useful for covering a planned escape from your house. You can purchase high-volume smoke bombs that will quickly fill up any house with an unbreathable cloud of military-grade white smoke.

Tripwires are great perimeter defenses. You can buy them from Cheaper Than Dirt (they run a few hundred dollars). They will give you an early warning if someone is approaching. You can connect the tripwires to flares, shotgun shells, light sticks, or other warning devices. This way, you can have an audible or visible alert, your choice.

In addition to these devices, you can make significant fortification-style improvements to your home. While none of these are very affordable, they certainly help defend your home:

  • Replace glass windows with non-breakable Plexiglas.
  • Add steel bars to the windows.
  • Replace all outside door locks with heavy-duty deadbolts.
  • Replace all outside doors with steel doors, preferably without windows.
  • Remove bushes and other shrubs where people might hide.
  • Blackout the windows entirely to avoid light escaping at night (similar to what residents of London did during the WWII bombing raids).
  • Build secret hiding places for food, coins, or even people.
  • Create escape hatches or passageways.
  • Rig pepper-spray booby traps.

These aren’t as absurd as they might at first sound. Many people living in rough cities already have steel bars covering their windows, and removing extra bushes and shrubs is a well-known tactic for making your home a safer place.

LIGHT

To light your home when there’s no electricity, try the following:

  • Use LED flashlights and rechargeable solar-charged batteries. You can buy all these items from the Real Goods catalog.
  • Use propane-powered lanterns. You can find these in the camping section of your local Wal-Mart. Be sure to purchase extra mantles and store lots of propane.
  • Purchase quality oil lamps from Lehman’s and stock up on oil. You can also purchase cheap kerosene lamps from the Sportsman’s Guide or Wal-Mart, then simply purchase and store extra kerosene.
  • Buy extra candles.
  • Purchase lots of olive oil. Not only can you cook with it (and besides, it’s a lot healthier than corn or vegetable oil), but olive oil also burns as a clean candle fuel. You can float a wick in a jar half-full of olive oil and light the wick. Viola, a homemade candle. Olive oil is a fantastic item for your storage anyway because even if you purchase all the grains in the world, you’ll still need cooking oil, and you obviously can’t buy powdered cooking oil. Well-stored olive oil can last for thousands of years.

STAYING WARM

Did you know that people won’t steal giant logs? Although they may easily steal wood you’ve already chopped, most people won’t have any way of stealing logs. They’re too heavy, and the vehicles won’t have any gas left. For this reason, your best bet in regards to stocking fuel for your house is to stock up on UNCUT wood logs.

It takes a lot of extra research to find out how to get them (took me a few weeks of asking around), but you can find a source if you look hard enough. Or you can usually get a permit to go out and cut your own. The effort is worth it because this will give you a ready-to-go source of heat and fuel that cannot be easily stolen.

The catch, of course, is that you’ll need equipment to cut and chop the wood. A chainsaw is REALLY nice in this way, but it requires fuel. Fortunately, chain saws don’t use much fuel, so if you have a way to store as little as 50 gallons or so, you’ve got enough to power your chainsaw for a few years (at least!). You’ll need fuel stabilizers, too, which you can buy at your local Wal-Mart. (Be sure to buy extra chains for your chainsaw, too.)

You’ll also need splitting hardware. You can buy log splitters or just buy an ax, a wedge, and a sledgehammer. Better yet, buy all four so you have a choice of what to use. And remember, wood splits much better when it’s frozen, too, so you might just wait until the cold hits in Winter to start splitting your wood. Only split a little at a time, because you don’t want to end up with a big pile of nicely-split wood sitting out in your yard. It will invite theft from people who don’t have any. If you already have trees on your property, you’re all set. Cut down about 4-5 cords right now, so they can start drying out, then chop them as you need them.

A “cord” of wood, by the way, is a volume measurement. It’s 8′ x 4′ x 4′, or 128 cubic feet of wood (stacked). Some people that sell wood will try to rip you off, so make sure you know what you’re buying. If you purchase logs, it’s better to get a price per linear foot, based on the diameter of the log. For example, you might ask for logs that are an average of 10″ in diameter, and you’ll ask how much the charge per linear foot would be. Something in the range of $1 – $2 would be great.

RELATIONS WITH NEIGHBORS

I’ve already mentioned the importance of getting along with your neighbors. It really is crucial to your city-based survival plan. The best situation to be in, as mentioned before, is to have neighbors who are aware of the issue and who are getting ready for it by stocking their own food, water, and other supplies. Every neighbor that becomes self-reliant is one less neighbor or member you’ll have to support.

The range of neighbor situations, from best to worst, is as follows:

  • Best case: your neighbor is aware of and both temporally & Spiritually prepared for an emergency with their own supplies and training.
  • Good case: your neighbor is aware of a potential crisis, and even though they don’t have their own supplies, they’re willing to help defend yours as long as you share.
  • Bad case: your neighbor didn’t prepare for it, figuring they would just steal from you if things got bad. They are aware of YOUR supplies but don’t have their own.
  • Worst case: your neighbor isn’t aware of anything, and he’s a violent, angry neighbor just released from prison. He is going to be caught off guard by the ensuing events and will likely attempt to use violence to get what he needs or wants.

Your decision on whether to stay in the city may depend greatly on the quality and quantity of your neighbors. If you do live in a bad neighborhood, do what you can to relocate. If you live in a good neighborhood, do the best you can to educate and inform your neighbors.

GUN CONTROL IN THE CITIES

No matter how you felt or thought about gun control in the past, it’s time to face disaster-induced reality. The gun-control politicians (and the people who supported them) have placed Americans in a situation where not only can the police not protect us in a timely manner, but we cannot lawfully defend ourselves. Criminals unlawfully have firearms; citizens lawfully don’t. Intentionally or otherwise, gun-control supporters have created a situation where an unfortunate number of innocent men, women, and children are going to be in danger during a crisis simply because they could not obtain the tools of self-defense.

It also happens that the cities where the rioting will likely be the worst are precisely the cities where firearms are most likely to be banned from lawful ownership (and where criminals may wield near-absolute power for a while.). Perhaps when society recovers from it, we can review the fallacy in the cause/effect logic that keeps people voting for gun-control laws, but in the meantime, millions of people are going to have to resort to breaking the law in order to protect their families. And yes, you too will have to resort to breaking the law if you are to acquire a firearm in an area where guns are entirely banned from private citizens (like New York, Los Angeles, etc.).

After the disaster hits, if the rioting gets really bad, we’re going to see local police begging law-abiding citizens for help. Your firearm will be a welcome addition to the force of law and order, believe me. No local cop is going to mind you having a handgun if you’re manning a roadblock protecting a neighborhood of families with children. Act responsibly, tell them what you’re doing, and they’ll probably give you a big thanks. But if you’re carrying a gun while you smash a window of the Wal-Mart and walk off with a stereo; well that’s a different story. Be prepared to get shot.

See, cops don’t mind private ownership nearly as much as we’ve all been led to believe. I know, I work with law enforcement officers in a small town, and I ask them about topics like this. When the crisis hits, they’ll be more than happy to have your cooperation. We’re all going to need as many law-abiding gun-toting citizens as possible in order to fend off the criminals and establish some degree of order.

ONE MORE REASON TO MOVE OUT

If you really feel you need a firearm to protect yourself and your family, your best bet may be to move to a city or state where people are a lot more accepting of firearms. You’d be surprised what a difference the locale makes. Check the gun laws in any state you’re considering moving to. Obviously, “cowboy” states like Arizona, Texas, and Wyoming will have fewer restrictions on firearms (and, interestingly, they have less of a problem with gun violence). States, where the population is denser (like California & New York), tend to have much greater restrictions on private ownership of firearms.

BUGGING OUT

Suppose it’s July 19, 2017, and you’ve changed your mind about this city thing. You happened to be right smack in the middle of one of the worst-hit cities in the country. The looting is getting worse, the power has been out for two weeks, and your water supplies are running low. You still have enough gas in your truck to make it out of town if you can get past the gangs, that is. You’ve decided to BUG OUT!

SOME BASIC POINTERS:

  • Don’t try to bug out in a Chevy Geo. You will likely need a big heavy 4×4 truck in order to go off-road and around stalled vehicles.
  • Get something that can carry at least 1000 pounds of supplies. A big 4×4 pickup will do nicely! Yes, it requires more fuel, but you can carry the fuel as cargo.
  • Don’t bug out unless you can have someone ride shotgun, literally. You will need an armed passenger in case you run into not-so-nice people.

WHAT TO TAKE

Ahh, the bug-out supply list. All this will fit in your truck. Here’s what you should take if you’re preparing to bug out with two people:

  • Your 96 hour kits for each person in the vehicle
  • 20 gallons of water
  • 40 gallons of extra fuel or more (and a full gas tank)

WHERE TO GO

As mentioned earlier, if you have a designated place of refuge (Grandma’s house, a cabin in the woods, etc.), head straight for it. If not, you’re basically driving anywhere you can go, so try to head for an area that forested and near a creek or river where you can get some water.

CONCLUSION

Choosing to remain in the city is a rational choice for many people in many situations. However, as you have seen from the dangers described here, the further away you can get from the population centers in general, the better your chances of surviving.

Most people, perhaps yourself included, have a difficult time actually accepting that a major disaster is going to be as bad as described in this report. And after all, if you leave the city, sell out, quit your job, move to the country, and then nothing bad happens? You will have disrupted your life, and you may find yourself broke, jobless, and homeless. You COULD assume it will be a mild event, which I suppose is also a credible possibility. In that case, surviving in the city will be quite feasible, especially if you have neighbors that can support your efforts and you don’t live in a dangerous city with high racial tensions. However, the very nature of a major disaster means that if only one or two major infrastructure components go down, the ripple effect will quickly create a much worse scenario. It seems there is very little room for “mild” effects unless they are minuscule. The most likely scenario at this point clearly points to massive disruptions, severe shortages in food and water, loss of power in some areas, and a breakdown of social order in certain areas where the population density is high.

But you can survive anything with good planning, an open mind, and plenty of practice. Why not start now?

INTRODUCTION While we all want to do our best to prepare for a coming crisis, and many of us realize the city is perhaps the worst place to live, very few

During the great depression when the dollar collapsed, basic items became currency. Any trip to the market would be better accompanied with items such as tobacco, or alcohol to be used as barter and trade items, rather than a pocket full of dollars purely because of the fact that they were worth so much more.

Bring the clock forward 80 years and we’re still seeing the same high value placed in everyday items over physical cash in countries that have suffered economic breakdowns, or have been crippled by war. Venezuela, currently the world’s worst economic collapse of this time, has seen an extraordinary surge in the value daily items due to its crippling inflation. A pack of popular brand condoms is more than USD$70 in Venezuela’s capital, Caracas. That value, in comparison to Venezuela’s current USD$4 per month minimum wage, gives brand name condoms and almost-golden value.

But they are not the only items that have become valuable for trade and barter in economic collapse environments. In this post we take a trip through time to find what items have been used as trade items instead of hyperinflated currencies, and what, at best, we can predict will be future household items that you should consider stocking, should times start to get tough again.

 

Why do items become more valuable than money in tough times?

Currency resembles a nation’s economic health. In an economic collapse such as the Great Depression, or Venezuela’s economic collapse, the value of currency is damaged. Things become more expensive over time as import, trade and manufacturing sectors weaken. As time goes on, the price of things rise and daily household items become more expensive. When the price of things rise, and the dollar falls, we get inflation.

Inflation is happening to us right now, and for many economically healthy countries, there is still an inflation index. For instance, the 2018 inflation rate for the US is 2.38%. In a year a pack of chewing gum that costs $1 this year, will cost $1.02 next year. According to reports, Venezuela’s inflation rate is more than 4,000%. That means our $1 pack of chewing gum will be $41.

If you couple this, with a supply and trade industry that is ruined by economic collapse, dead markets, and widespread job loss, things start to have a lot of value. This is also interlinked with banks closing down, creditors taking their money out of businesses, and the supply of cash seemingly halting as there is no way to draw money out of that great savings account some people have. As the value of currency declines, but the demand for items that aren’t available as much as they used to be rises, trade and barter in those items starts to occur. For instance, that packet of condoms could buy your groceries for the week. Or a bottle of alcohol could represent a valued trade for a month’s supply of toilet paper.

What do you have with you right now?

For most preppers, looking at what they currently have is important. It is the basis of what we have and what we know right now, that prepares us for anything that might happen tomorrow, next week or next year. For most of us, if an economic collapse happened right now, we’d be in big trouble. A lot of us do the regular shopping every week for household supplies and food to eat, and most of our money, whether it be daily transactions or savings money, is in the bank.

The last thing you want to be left with is an empty kitchen cupboard.

So think about this: if a rapid economic collapse was to occur tomorrow, and banks and food stores were to close, would you have enough supplies to live? What daily things do you use that would you desperately should they run out?

For a lot of preppers, thinking about this circumstance warrants having enough prepper supplies to be well off in a circumstance like this. Most of you who are reading this would have already attempted some form of prepping, whether it be just enough to get you buy for a few weeks, or a whole year’s worth of survival supplies for you and your family.

No matter what size your prepper supply is, the duration of an economic collapse will determine whether you have to start considering trading and bartering for goods and essentials. That is the problem with a financial collapse, we can’t really predict how long they will last or determine their severity. All we can do is make sure that we are best prepared for the issues that they bring.

A lot of what prepping is about is being self-sufficient, so that should something happen where supplies are cut off, you can still eat, drink, wash, cook, drive and live life. It differs from survival in that survival would be the things you do during an event itself. However as preppers, we act before something happens, so that we are ready for it, should it happen.

A lot of what prepping is, and the concept of barter and trade is done between homesteaders, both in the past and in this day and age. Homesteaders live in the country and are the prime example of people able to survive in a downturn as they are able to produce their own food, have their own water solutions, and have a trading system already developed between them and their neighbors.

As a homesteader, trade can be in the shape of helping out a neighbor with certain skills you might possess (carpentry and woodworking for instance), or it could be to trade fresh eggs from your chicken pen in exchange for fresh milk from someone’s cow. In an economic downturn, having skills and assets like this not only gives you the ability to diversify your income but also a way to offer something to trade should you be short of supplies.

How to successfully barter and trade


Let’s say you have something someone needs. There is a big risk that comes with this in a post-collapse as there are people who no doubt feel they don’t have to abide by the rules that create a formal civilization (otherwise known as a world Without Rule Of Law, or WROL).

For the most part, I feel like bartering in a SHTF situation will only be amongst friends, neighbors, and people in your circle. Unless there is formal marketing in a popular street set up where you can run a stall, or barter for foods with your own goods, I don’t think there will be many barter or trade situations with strangers.

That’s good because if word got around that you have stockpiles of supplies lying around, you could be at a real risk of being the target of hungry, desperate scavengers, or just plain old greedy gangs or groups of people. This is the problem with being a prepper, it can be dangerous if you are the one with all of the food in a city or town of starving residents.

While this could be a likely risk in a worst-case collapse, the more realistic risks are those of getting ripped off by someone that is ultimately better at bartering than you are or coming across thieves. How can you avoid the risks of bartering in a post-collapse world? I think there are a couple of things, which might seem obvious to most, that you should ensure you do in any transaction where trade isn’t done with money and where sales are governed by laws of misrepresentation and fraud.

To avoid the risks associated with bartering, one of the most important things you can do is make sure it is in a public environment, or have others with you. Any thieves or just basic intimidators are likely to only try their tactics if there is no one else around. Having that backup would just reinforce the fact that you are there to trade by a fair set of rules.

Know how much you need, and how much you are willing to give before you even think about bartering.

Second, know the value of the things you are trading for. If there is something you don’t know the value of, or to see if it is quality or not, take a specialist with you that knows about it. For instance, if you know nothing about motorbikes, you wouldn’t just buy a motorbike on your own without conducting a load of research or taking someone that knows what is right and what is not. The same applies to bartering, ensure you know the value of the things you are trading for. This is an important factor if you are considering trade as a way to survive in a SHTF situation, as the price of things will inevitably change, and you need to be up-to-date with those prices, otherwise, someone is going to buy things from you, and sell it elsewhere for twice the price.

 

 

When you are negotiating a trade, make sure you have an idea of what you are willing to pay and accept for yours and their items. Make sure you are clear on what it is you need by looking at your current supplies and making a list of what is necessary. No doubt any good trader will try to barter useless items they might say you need or will find useful, scrap them. You are trading for what you need, not what you enjoy.

If you are trading a service, or even just basic items, be clear on the terms of the trade, what you are trading for and the quantity of each item. Having a very clear set of terms is easy when trading items, but when you are doing a service or skill, such as fixing someone’s car, there are a lot of variables that can go wrong, such as if the car stops working a few days after you fix it, if new parts are needed who will pay for them, if it works, but not to your customer’s satisfaction what happens?

When it comes to agreements about services, there is an entire field of contractual disputes and laws. For the most part, having your own set of terms and being clear about them is the best way to be sure of an easy agreement, if it is available, one of the best things you can do is write down the terms, so that should any dispute occur once the agreement has commenced, you can refer to your contract in writing.

The difference between investment items and trade items

A lot of prepper blogs recommend investing in precious metals such as silver and gold. This is primarily because prepping is about investing. You invest time, invest research and invest in a supply that you hope will pay off for you and your family should a natural disaster, economic collapse or any other SHTF situation ever occur.

For precious metals, I don’t think there will be much worth for them during one of these situations. As a trade item, it bears no useable feature, unlike bullets, diapers, condoms, food and water, which are items that are traded as valued items in collapsed economies. But don’t get me wrong, gold is an important item for preppers. Why? Because while gold and silver is not very useful during a SHTF situation, it becomes very useful as society starts to rebuild itself. Seeing gold as an investment to sell is a much stronger and practical preparedness strategy that seeing it as a barter item during the event.

The reason why I use gold as an investment item rather than silver, is that out of the past eight significant biggest economic declines, six of them had significant increases in the value of gold, whereas the value of silver fell. The price of gold correlates with the value of currency. Gold benefits when there is an economic downturn. When stock markets fall, investors buy gold, in turn, driving the price up.

Trade items, however, are different to investment strategies such as gold, as they are survival items used during an event, as a means of exchange, and are a method of investment to ensure that you are able to trade efficiently, should an economic system crumble. There are, however, different investments you can make, rather than just in a stock of supplies.

As a way of bartering, you might be able to trade a service or skill you have, which might be in plumbing, electrical work, woodwork, or some other specific skill you have. Not only can this be done for food and supplies, but you can also trade that skill for cash-in-hand work, which gives the skill the benefit of being able to be used if you were to lose your job in an economic downturn.

So while you are preparing for rough days ahead and checking up on your prepper supply of non-perishables, water, and supplies, it might be worth stocking up on something can actually be free, which is to learn a new skill. There are a lot of valuable skills out there, from gardening, material work, animal husbandry skills, nursing skills, repairs or even defense. Whatever your hobbies might be at the moment could also become a formidable skill, should society change to the point where that skill comes in demand.

What are good bartering items to be used in a SHTF situation?

Cigarettes are a must-have trade item in a post-collapse. They were also a much-needed during the Great Depression and in Sarajevo during the Bosnian War.

I have a lot of things in my prepper supply that would be very valuable should everyday supplies start to run out. But the issue is, do I want to part with them? Probably not, especially if they are something I need.

So it puts me in a hard place where I would have to balance need over the value of trade. But we can prepare for that circumstance by preparing a seperate section in our supplies for trade. This might be a small collection of things you use every day, which can be added upon as time goes on and you find new goods to add to the list.

There are a lot of preppers that keep an excess amount of everything, adequate to what they need, rather than stockpiling a separate pile of tradeable items. However, separating those supplies ensures that you don’t dip into your trade items should the SHTF, and that you can identify how much value you might have in your trader’s wallet, for the lack of a better term.

If you are just starting out in your collection of trade items, or you are looking to add to that supply, I have compiled a list below of 30 items that I have found have found will become valuable commodity items in economic collapse and SHTF environments, and why they would be useful. Many of these items have been used as trade and barter in historical post-collapse events for instance, during the Great Depression, in Venezuela’s economic collapse, or in Sarajevo during the Bosnian War.

 

Medicine: This covers things such as antibiotics, painkillers, and allergy medications. Venezuela’s financial collapse has seen the value of medicine soar, with hospitals having to purchase medication from black market importers just to treat patients. Foods Even in a disaster, food is one of the first things to run off the shelves as most people won’t have a pre-stocked food supply. Things such as non-perishable foods will be the most valuable.

Alcohol: During the Great Depression, alcohol was in prime demand with people distilling rum and gin themselves. As a commodity, alcohol can also have medicinal and hygienic purposes.

Fuel:  As fuel supply lines shut down and stations close, fuel comes in limited supply in SHTF situations. It is important for those using generators and vehicles.

Propane Gas: Many homes rely on gas for hot water and cooking. One small bottle can last for a month with a gas cooker system to boil (purify) water and cook foods.

Batteries: Rechargeable and normal batteries are useful for a number of things, but as the power starts to go out there will be a reliance on flashlights increasing the need for batteries.

Condoms and Contraceptives: As mentioned at the beginning of this post, condoms in Venezuela are going for USD$70 a pack. People are still active when the SHTF

Baby Supplies: Baby food, diapers, baby aspirin, and ointments. All baby supplies are a commodity that is used every day and needs a constant use supply. While reusable diapers exist, things such as nappy rash ointments and baby aspirin are much-needed items.

Chickens: Chickens are egg producers and live off scraps. If you can manage to feed and water them, the eggs they produce will be worth their weight in gold. In 2016, a dozen eggs cost USD$150. If you have a rooster you can produce excess chickens to sell to others.

Feminine Hygiene Products: These are must-have items for personal hygiene that are needed every day in stores. Tampons in Venezuela are the cost of three months’ minimum wage.

Toilet Paper: Life’s luxury in fine white sheets. Toilet paper is hard to replicate with magazines, newspapers, or tissues and is something that most people will run out of very quickly.

Vitamins: The change in diet as people start to eat less, or a void of fresh foods will leave many without access to the right nutrients and vitamins in a healthy diet

First-Aid Supplies: Bandages are not so important in this as any piece of clothing can be used. First-aid supplies needed will be things such as antiseptic wipes, band-aids, antibacterial creams, suture kits, and specialist first-aid treatment equipment.

Tobacco: For some, this is obviously going to be a much more necessary item. I am a non-smoker, however, I can see how, if, in limited supply, tobacco would be a great item to have for those in need.

Soap and Shampoo: Personal hygiene is another commodity that we use every day, and as supply routes slow or stop, stuff that we use to clean our hands and bodies every day will quickly run out.

Seeds: are a trade-able item that works well for those that know how to cultivate good gardens in order to grow their own foods. Give the right person seeds and they can grow a farm and tap a sustainable food supply.

Can Openers: When the SHTF the last thing that’s left after fresh foods run off the shelves or expire are canned foods. For those that don’t have them, cans are a key to food.

Powdered Gravy: Freeze-dried food, non-perishable food, and basic grown foods can taste very bland, but gravy adds a much better taste to things that wouldn’t generally taste great.

Lighters and Matches: Sure, there are a number of ways to light a fire, but in the home, lighting a gas cooker is a lot easier with lighters than two sticks.

Candles: An easy way to provide light at night when the power grid crumbles and a considerable item for SHTF environments.

Powdered Milk: Powdered milk is so scarce in Venezuela that it is sold by black market vendors at 100 times its normal shelf price.

Pasta Pasta: in packets can be kept for quite some time and in Venezuela’s economy, is sold by black market vendors at 200 times the original price.

Shoes: I wouldn’t say it is a good idea to start stocking every pair of shoes, but if you have old ones, it might be worth keeping them. The cost of shoes in Venezuela ranges from 300% to 900% higher than the same brand in The US.

Water Filters: If the grid goes bust and you are caught without a water filter you might be in trouble. There are going to be a lot of people out there without a clean water supply and no way to purify water (without cooking it), so a few cheap water filters will no doubt be worth some money.

Coffee: is a world trade commodity already. Just like smokers will pay for cigarettes and tobacco, coffee is equally an item that can be used to trade and will be rarely available given the lack of country imports in an economic collapse.

Flashlights: At the moment, high-quality flashlights are cheap to pick up (less than $10). But when the grid goes down, everyone is going to be needing them, and it is highly likely not everyone will have one.

Duct Tape: Duct tape is one of those items that is well-known throughout the survival world for its endless amount of uses. Whether it be patching up clothes, fixing leaks, or gaping wounds, duct tape is a good bartering item.

Generators (solar and fuel): If you have recently bought a backup generator, keep the old one for now. When the SHTF everyone is going to want secondary power methods and will be willing to pay a lot for it.

Construction and Repair Tools: As an economic downturn sets in people are going to start doing more of their own projects to increase their self-sufficiency, fix the home, or for car repairs and other odd jobs. You might have the tools they need. But you might want to use these as a way to provide a service.

Solar Lights: Solar lights are a great commodity to stock because they are cheap (at the moment) they are sustainable (no power needed) and they provide what we need at night in a sustainable manner.

 

I have made this list based on research on what items have become valuable in past economic collapses and SHTF situations where supply lines shut off and resources become limited. I am sure that a lot of advanced preppers out there that have a good stockpile of food, water, and supplies will no doubt have many of these items in their stockpiles already. I also have many of these items not only in my own stockpile but in a separate section designed to be a backup, to be used either as a trade or to help out others should they need it. I feel as though a ‘help others’ stockpile is a good way to make a community and build a team of people you can work with to regain existence as a self-sufficient community.

While these items have been seen as valued items in the past, or are currently highly valued items in SHTF places in the world (such as Venezuela), I would not call this list definitive by any means. There are a lot of other items that have had and will have an equal value to these in an SHTF scenario. If you do know of any other items for trade and barter that you have identified, or you believe will become useful in an SHTF situation, please leave a comment below to inform the community.

There are a lot of preppers that keep an excess amount of everything, adequate to what they need, rather than stockpiling a separate pile of tradeable items. However, separating those