SHTF Loadout For Rapid Response Action

Watching the news everyday continually reminds me why everybody needs to consider their SHTF loadout. Shootings are becoming commonplace to the point where the American people are numb to the news. Emotional intelligence has taken a backseat to knee jerk violent reactions. Man is slowly reducing himself to the violent ape and the general population lives in terror of his neighbor. Even our own government clearly doesn’t have our back as demonstrated by policies which line the pockets of rich politicians. Cops have Carte Blanch to do as they please and shoot who they want with no repercussions. On top of this we have a population spiraling out of control and live in a world of finite resources.

All these things come together to create chaos and disorder. How do you prepare for such chaos? In this post I’m going to cover a few SHTF loadout configurations. These various setups will help you understand what type of loadout is best for you.

What is an SHTF loadout?

First off, what the hell is an SHTF loadout? An SHTF loadout is the gear you strap to your person when TSHTF. It’s the gear you put on when all hell has broken loose and your only option is blasting through the madness like Kurt Russel in Escape From New York. Your loadout is there to give you rapid access to ammo and supplies and protect you from the violent environment around you.

Choosing a Weapon

best-shtf-weapons

The best SHTF weapon to have during a full blown SHTF situation is the one you have on you. The second best is the one you prepared to use and practiced with. Without a weapon all you have is a bug out bag (hopefully) and a greatly reduced chance of survival. Your weapon is your first line of both defense and offense. Even a fake weapon is better than nothing as you introduce an element of intimidation to the crazy people around you.

You can find lot’s of discussions online about what kind of gun is best in an SHTF scenario. The truth is, they all have their merits. In this post I won’t confuse you by giving you a thousand choices. I’m going to tell right now to go out and grab yourself an AK-47. Why? Because it’s a damn good weapon with serious stopping power and reliability. You’d be hard pressed to find anybody who denies the power of the AK.

The AK is a high capacity and high powered rifle. You really don’t want to be using a weapon that doesn’t have 30 round mags. This means constant reloading and downtime during firefights. The very nature of the piston driven design makes the AK extremely reliable even when submerged in sand. The AK is also one of the cheapest rifles around and you can find them for roughly $500 bucks depending on where you look. It also doesn’t matter where you find one or the manufacturer. Get one from Yugoslavia, China, Russia, or wherever. Ammo is also cheap and readily available. There’s also something about the AK that signals danger to those around you. Nobody is going to mess with a man wielding an AK-47.

And here’s the secret…

You don’t have to use the AK.

What matters most is your skill and comfort level with whatever gun you have. If you can hit a target 200 yards away with a shotgun then by all means use the damn shotgun! YOU are the weapon and the gun is the tool. However, if you’re starting from ground zero and on a budget (who isn’t these days) the AK represents a powerful weapon and delivers the most bang and versatility for the buck.

The setup and loadout for an AK-47 is drop dead simple. Get a folding stock to move through buildings and fight in close quarters. Get a good set of optics for increased accuracy. Attach a tactical flashlight to the rail mount. Aside from these basic mods make sure to have plenty of mags and ammo. Once again, practice shooting your weapon as much as you can. Your skill level is the most important factor. Mods and the other fancy things you can do to your weapon matter very little. A man who is skilled with a crossbow will easily take down a man with a gun who has never shot one in his life.

This leads us into the next part of the loadout…

Lightweight SHTF loadout

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The light as a feather Camelbak Mule. Hydration ready and perfect for bugging out quick on your feet.

When speed is of the essence you can’t load yourself down like a pack mule. When you need to get from point A to point B ASAP you cannot afford the extra weight of all those survival widgets. You may be able to come back for your gear but at this point all that matters is MOVEMENT. Especially when on foot you’ll need to make good use of those chevrolegs.

Now, if this means bugging out of your home the answer is simple. Grab your weapon of choice along with as many mags you can carry on your belt. Molle mag pouches attach straight to your belt and hold any type of magazine you can imagine.

What about a backpack? Sure, but let’s keep it light.

I personally have found the Camelbak Mule to be a loyal lightweight companion out on the trail. It’s a 12.5 liter pack with a 3L hydration bladder. Throw in a couple Clif bars and a water filter and you have yourself a powerful lightweight survival B.O.B. The hydration bladder means you don’t need a water canteen and the filter gives you the ability to replenish your resources. Sure, you might be hungry but man can survive a long time without food. water? Not so much. Plus in a fully blown SHTF situation your security is the most important element of survival. Everything else takes a backseat behind your physical safety. This is why you need to be packing heat.

The compact size of the pack means you can only pack essential survival items. There’s no room for a tent and sleeping pad in this setup. This is a raw SHTF loadout with only the essential pieces of survival gear.

This setup will keep you light on your feet and ready for rapid movement.

The SHTF Battle Belt Loadout

shtf-loadout-battle-belt

In this setup we expand upon the lightweight loadout by adding a battle belt. A battle belt is usually a MOLLE compatible belt you can use to attach compatible pouches, magazines, and other storage containers. It’s a versatile setup giving you easy access to ammunition and other supplies. Your waist is the best spot to store your gear because of the natural center of gravity. This is still a lightweight loadout and does a good job at not restricting your movement or weighing you down. Range of motion is crucial when using and weapon especially longer rifles.

A battle belt will make good use of Molle pouches to stow crucial gear:

The Plate Carrier Loadout

shtf-plate-carrier

Now here is where things get heavy duty. A plate carrier like the Condor MOPC is a Molle compatible vest which supports steel ballistic level plates. These plates are designed to protect both your back and chest from pistol and rifle rounds. In the event you get shot at, most people aim for the chest. In fact, even police and military forces are trained to put 2 in your chest first before they go for other vitals like the head. Center mass shooting training is effective against unarmored assailants but ineffective against someone with plate armor.

The plate armor gives you a defensive advantage against enemy shooters. Downsides include the weight of the vest of course. A fully loaded carrier vest can weigh up to 50 pounds and reduce your speed and ability to run fast. The vest could however save your life especially in a combat zone where you’re taking heavy fire. If you’re going to take this route I recommend wearing the vest and going for runs and hikes. This will acclimate your body to the weight and chisel you into shape.

A good plate carrier vest will have Molle webbing allowing you to attach other pieces of gear to both the front and the back. If you’re in shape this is a serious loadout. Like the battle belt you can attach a med kit, multiple ammo magazines, a good knife, and spare supplies. The plate carrier would make an excellent addition to a bug in setup where you’re being over run by hoards of lunatics. Strap that thing on and prepare to give them hell (final stand style) knowing you’re fully protected and ready to go.

Weapon + Bug Out Bag Loadout

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The 5.11 Rush 72 Hour Tactical Pack. Grab and go bug out bag for your loadout gear.

 

Lot’s of preppers are big fans of the above loadouts. If you’re anything like me though you prefer to keep things simple. I find a high powered rifle and a basic bug out bag to be a very effective setup. Sure, you don’t have armor plates protecting your vitals but I value speed and versatility over chest protection. The lightweight loadout above is a great option but I find it lacking in crucial gear. I have confidence in my physical ability to move quickly even with a bag on my back. One of the best SHTF tips I can give is get in shape. Going for daily runs and hikes will put you in the top 10% of people who will actually have a chance of outrunning danger.

Moving right along, I have a number of gear items in my bug out bag:

One thing to note is you can purchase backpacks with the Molle webbing. One of my favorite tactical backpacks is the 5.11 Rush 72. This thing is loaded with Molle webbing and built durable. You could throw it threw a wood chipper and watch it come out the other side unscathed. This is great for people who like the Molle setup but don’t want to wear the battle belt or the vest.

SHTF Loadout Summary

Here’s a few bullet points to memorize about your loadout setup:

Pair this loadout with a solid SHTF plan and you have yourself a tasty recipe for survival.

 

SHTF Planning | Creating A Blueprint For Survival

Planning for a full blown SHTF event is both simple and complex. Simple because the elements of survival are basic. Water, food, shelter. If you can provide these basic elements of survival you’ve successfully won the game. Complex because there are so many variables it’s impossible to prepare for everything. However, with a little knowledge and some basic planning you can be sure to see yourself and your family through any SHTF situation.

Now, when I mention SHTF I’m talking about FULL BLOWN SHTF. This isn’t a guide to get you through a short duration power outage. This is a plan and blueprint to survive a true SHTF event. We’re talking full scale looting and watching your fellow man turn to shit slinging apes because the food trucks have stopped running. We’re talking about the EMP blast taking out the electronics and everything electrical. The decisions you make in these types of events will determine if you’ll see another sunrise.

The SHTF Planning Blueprint

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When planning for an SHTF event you must first determine the following – do you live in a relatively safe area? Do you have the means to defend yourself and bug in until things have returned to normal? If you live in the country and own your own home then the answer is yes. If you live in the city on the top of a high rise apartment building then the answer is probably no.In the latter case it makes sense to have a secondary location you can go to where you have supplies and protection. It should be noted that no situation is perfect and those of you living in the country might even have to bug out yourselves.

Let’s go over when it makes sense to bug in vs when it makes sense to bug out.

Bugging in plan

In many SHTF events it’s going to make sense to stay put. In the first world an SHTF event is not going to last long especially in places like the United States. There is no agenda in Washington benefiting from the system completely collapsing despite what many paranoid preppers might have you believe. Riots, food shortages, EMP blasts (solar flares), are all situations which will dissipate given enough time and effort on the part of local law enforcement and government intervention.

Planning for these types of events is simple. Make sure you have enough food and clean water. Keep at least a weeks worth of food stocked and ready to go in case of emergencies. Purchasing a water filter will ensure you have access to clean water even if your own supply runs out. Ample lighting and heat should also be a priority. LED flashlights are cheap and in most places you can get away with extra layers and clothes for warmth. Propane powered heaters are a great option if you have good ventilation and fireplaces are an obvious solution. Propane is a solid source of power to have on hand and can fuel everything from heaters to grills without electricity. This means you can still cook and stay warm even without electricity.

Let’s cover some of the basic bug in supplies you need to plan on stocking to survive an SHTF scenario.

Food – A good supply of freeze dried food. The food should be ready to eat or easily made with heated water. Perishable food should be avoided in case of a power outage. In which case, eat all the food in your fridge first before it goes bad. My favorite survival food options are the long term food storage products from companies like Wise Foods or Mountain House. Mountain House makes very tasty meals for backpackers and hikers and you can purchase kits pre packaged with an entire weeks worth of food. Wise is long term oriented and makes packages with up to an entire years worth food. This is probably overkill for most stations but do yourself a favor and taste test until you find a brand you like. Then stock up for a rainy day.

Water – The most important element of survival. I like to keep a few 5 gallon water cooler containers in stock along with a Berkey water filter. If you have a nearby source of water you can filter the supply with the Berkey. This makes sense if you have a family and need to provide a large amount of clean water. If you’re a single guy or gal then I recommend something like the Sawyer Squeeze. Keep a couple of these in the house and in your go bag. This way if you run out of your original supply you can always obtain more even from dubious sources.

Security – Shelter and and your physical security are of top priority when TSHTF. If you have guns and ammo that’s great. If you don’t, consider picking something up even if it’s an airsoft rifle. In a full blown SHTF situation the monkeys will be rampaging through the streets looking for supplies and acting out in extremely aggressive and violent ways. When they bust through your door and see your supplies you think they’re going to go away because you asked nicely? When the apes begin to eye your wife and kids as victims what will you do?

If you have a lot of SHTF supplies but no way to defend yourself you’re only gathering a bunch of stuff for the strongest ape on the block.

I bet you any attacker would think twice about ravaging your home if you had a shotgun in your hand. In fact, if you buy one single weapon for home defense I recommend the shotgun hands down. It’s got a good spread and does serious damage in close quarters. Make meat out of any monkey who tries to bust through house – or at least make them shit their pants as they run for dear life. Check out my post on the best SHTF weapons for more info on choosing a gun.

If you have a lot of SHTF supplies but no way to defend yourself, you’re only gathering a bunch of stuff for the strongest ape on the block. A powerful gang can sweep through and take anything you have. It’s best to make sure you have some way to defend yourself and your family so you don’t fall victim to the brutality of the streets.

Communications – When the cell towers go down how are you going to communicate with the world around you? How will you know what’s happening with the situation? At the bare minimum you need an emergency radio to listen in on the emergency NOAA channels and other local radio stations. These channels can alert you to the state of the area and inform your next decisions. If the situation sounds like it’s getting worse you can make the decision to bug out. If it sounds like things are resolving themselves you have the peace of mind knowing you can safely stay in until normalcy is restored. Without this data you are quite literally left in the dark without a damn clue about what to do.

Next up you have to ask yourself how you will communicate with your loved ones in other parts of the city, state, or country. Close quarters you can get away with a couple high quality walkie talkies but you’ll need to explore more advanced modes of communication for anything else. Gray Wolf Survival has a great post on how to communicate when the grid goes down. I suggest you read that post and familiarize yourself with the technology. Long story short you’re going to need a HAM radio and some operational knowledge to get your messages out when there is no grid. Grab a couple of these and get to work studying the internet on how to use them for long range comms. With those radios you can also scan your local fire and police frequencies. This is more data you can use to make efficient and informed decisions.

To summarize this part of the SHTF planning procedure – stock food, water, survival supplies, and defend yourself and your family with whatever weapons you have.

Bugging Out Plan

The situation around you may become so bad you have to bug out of your own home to survive. If this is the case your plan is going to look a lot different than the bugging in plan. There are two crucial parts to your bug out plan – where you’re going and how you’re going to get there. You might have a fortress in the desert but how are you going to get there from where you are now? How will you blast through the traffic?

Secondary bug out location – your secondary bug out location represents your safe haven from the madness of your current location. It’s a place owned by you or by a close family member or friend. It has all the supplies you need to survive and protect yourself. Most importantly, it should be largely unaffected by whatever SHTF event is currently effecting your area. Think about where you can go if the shit hits the fan and then work out how you’ll get there.

Extraction ops – So you’ve got your secondary bug out location. Great. Now how are you going to get there? Are there multiple exit routes you can take? What backroads can you hop on if all the main roads are blocked or impassable? Leaving by car is not always a viable option due to congestion and extreme traffic conditions. In this case perhaps you can establish a line of communication with a family member or friend and arrange to meet them on foot. Once again, think about how you would establish a line of communication with someone even when the cell towers are down (Read above.)

The bug out bag

The bug out bag is a crucial part of the SHTF planning process. In the bug out bag is a number of items you’ll need to blow through any survival situation. It’ll have 3 days worth of food and water and a bunch of survival supplies to aid your successful escape from the SHTF situation. I’ve created a bug out bag checklist you can read to get an idea of what you need. It’s very similar to the go bag but contains a few more items for longer treks and hairier survival situations.

The bug out bag is there to get you to your secondary bug out location safely. It’s a bag you can grab which will temporarily sustain you in the short term. It also includes gear you can use to secure your own food if you run out of your stocked supplies. This of course takes skill so try to get to safety as soon as possible. I can tell you it’s not going to be easy hunting, fishing, or trapping without ever having practiced those skills in your past.

SHTF Planning Summary

My advice is to plan on bugging in AND planning on bugging out. Prepping for both situations adds versatility into your arsenal and increases the chances of survival. On a mental note. Put together your SHTF plan, get all the gear and supplies you need and then stop worrying. Too many people endlessesly worry about when the next SHTF event is going to take place. The purpose of putting a plan together is to give you peace of mind knowing you are prepared.

Do what you need to do to prepare and then put your mind at east. Worrying increases cortisol which not only causes your body to store fat but increases the chances of making a wrong decision. If you can stay calm your mental faculties will be firing on all cylinders – and you’ll need your mind more than anything if you want to survive.

 

 

 

The Complete Go Bag List For Getting Out of Dodge

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Every able bodied human being needs to have a go bag in case of emergency. Your go bag will contain everything you need for at least 72 hours including some gear for long term survival. Let’s explore the elements of a go bag with a basic packing list of survival supplies.

The Go Bag Itself

rush-72-survival-backpack
The 5.11 Rush 72 Hour Tactical Pack

You’ll need a decent bag to grab in case TSHTF. Maybe you were thinking about using that ratty old Jansport you’ve kept since college. This is fine if that’s all you have but consider making an investment into something that isn’t going to bust the moment you crawl under a barbed wire fence. The go bag carries all your gear and I recommend looking into a quality pack. Read my post on the best Molle packs. Long story short, the 5.11 Rush 72 is a perfect go bag and features tactical elements not seen in other bags.

The Go Bag Survival Gear List

Here’s a quick and dirty list of the essential gear you need in the go bag. I’ll go over each of these items below the list.

  • 72 hours worth of food and water
  • Critical documents (ID, Passport, etc)
  • $100 spare cash
  • LED Flashlight
  • Camping cup
  • Knife
  • Multi Tool
  • Light poncho or trash bag
  • Duct tape (not a whole roll)
  • Lighters and fire starters
  • Water filter (either a Lifestraw or Sawyer squeeze)
  • Drinking canteen
  • Basic first aid
  • Emergency radio
  • USB charging bank for smartphone
  • Chargers for electronics (Micro USB or Iphone)
  • Paracord
  • Change of clothes

The logic Behind The GO Bag

A lot of the bug out bags (go bags) I see are completely overloaded. They include tents, sleeping bags, compasses, and a bunch of other crap you don’t need. You see, the go bag isn’t designed for the end of the world. It’s there to assist you in getting to a safe destination. Maybe your car broke down in a storm or your house got flooded. Perhaps a fire ripped through your area and a mandatory evacuation was issued. The go bag in these cases will see you through a temporary situation. In most cases you won’t be camping in the woods or living off pigeons in the city like some of these apocalyptic crackpots will have you believe.

GO Bag Tips

Food and water will be your number one priority here. While true that lack of shelter will kill you faster in some environments, in most cases you’ll just be hungry and thirsty. This can lead to you making wrong decisions or even death in some extreme cases. A solid GO bag has 72 hours worth of food and water. Think about food you would take hiking. I like the Mountain House packets because they’re easy and they taste good. You can also include other non-perishable items like dried fruits and nuts, peanut butter, tuna packets etc.

Mountain-House-Foods
Mountain house makes great go bag goodies. Just add water and chow down.

Documents and cash are crucial to you not getting hassled by cops and paying for things when there might not be any electricity. You should always keep things like your passport and a spare ID in your GO bag for situations where the originals are at risk for getting destroyed. Your documents give you access to services and can verify your identity to the authorities and possible medical personnel.

go-bag-spare-cash

Electronics will of course come into play. A spare prepaid burner phone is a good idea along with all the chargers you need. A battery bank to recharge a dead cell can be a life saver. You have surely felt the fear of a dead cell phone in normal circumstances – only imagine the level of fear in a full blown SHTF situation!

smartphone-battery-charger

Basic survival gear like the stuff they give to the boy scouts. These include pieces of gear used to make fire and purify water. With fire you can stay warm and cook food. With water you can cook and also keep yourself hydrated. Also having a method to purify dubious water sources is crucial. I like the Lifestraw as a cheap option but prefer something more robust like the Sawyer squeeze. Added to this section of the list is a knife, a multi tool, a first aid kit, and a good LED flashlight.

go-bag-survival-gear

The Enhanced GO Bag List

It’s easy to go beyond what is on this list and overload your pack with useless junk. For instance, most people don’t even know how to use a compass but pack one anyways. Why? In most cases you need a map and general sense of where you are for a compass to be reliable. Tents and sleeping bags sound like solid “shoe ins” for the go bag but only weigh you down. Like I said, the likelihood of you having to bug out to the woods is very unlikely if you live in the first world. These are nice to have just in case but they serve little purpose in a go bag.

However, if you’re one to go all out I can recommend some “advanced” pieces of gear not needed but nice to have.

  • Compass
  • Map of your area
  • Fishing kit
  • Trapping kit
  • Ham radio
  • Tent / Sleeping bag
  • Shovel
  • Sewing kit
  • Tactical gloves
  • More food than 72 hours worth

As you can see the pack is starting to get very heavy at this point. Think about the likelihood of you ever needing any of these things. Firstly, who knows how to fish and trap game in the modern world? If you have the skill than obviously include these things. But for the average Joe, the reality is that even with the best fishing or trapping gear it’s very unlikely you’ll catch anything more than a hook to your own lip.

Same goes for the compass and ham radio. These are all items requiring a certain level of skill to be effective. If you don’t have these skills than do your back a favor and don’t add them to the GO bag.

Conclusion

Having a GO bag around might just save your ass one day. If anything you’ll have the peace of mind knowing you’re prepared to make a long trek across town or through a storm and survive. With a good GO bag you’ll have 3 days worth of food and water and the gear required to secure more. It’s very easy to filter water if you’re in a pinch. Put one of these together as soon as you can to ensure your safety during an emergency

The Ultimate Preppers Guide For The Average Joe

preppers-guide

Strap into your booster seat because this is going to be a long one. In my years of prepping I’ve come across a lot of information, some of which is good, most of which is bad. Lot’s of prepper guides go far too deep into the tin foil hat zone and these guides quickly unravel from the reality of a realistic situation. Plus, many guides are far too short to provide any decent information about what it actually takes to start prepping in a sensible way. They fail to answer basic questions and leave the reader worse off than they were before.

At best, you come out of the guide thinking “okay, I guess I should just buy food and ammo.” This is the advice typically thrown around the internet.

In this guide however I’m going to cover in great detail the exact steps you need to take to start prepping. If you follow this guide and take action you will be prepared for well over 98% of possible disasters.

The preppers mindset

It is important to discuss the key mindset of a prepper in order to move forward. With the wrong mindset every action you take will be wrong. With the wrong mindset you may very well descend down a rabbit hole of paranoia, essentially digging your own grave with negative thoughts and unreasonable expectations.

The mindset of the prepper is one of rationality and reasonable caution. The prepper does not give in to self defeating or self destructive thoughts. He does not believe the man on the street corner who shouts about the end of the world. His steps are measured and his actions are backed by research and reason. He has a life outside of his preps. His preps do not consume him. He makes his preps and then leaves them alone, occasionally refreshing his memory of the overall plan.

He does not worry himself by watching the news everyday nor is he toxic with his words. The prepper is a man living under his own rules and laws, never allowing the toxic environment of mass media to inform his decisions.

This does not mean the prepper is a blind folded fool. He knows the world is full of risks. He knows that governments collapse, food runs out, supplies run low. He preps  for these situations without letting these potential risks rule his mind. He doesn’t even call himself a prepper because even that is taking it too far.

He is a man of reason who is simply preparing for the safety of himself and his family. As a provider and protector he feels this sense of duty.

Self sufficiency

At the core of the prepper is a strong sense of self sufficiency. Prepping is all about becoming totally independent from the system, grid, or however else you want to refer to the modern world. The majority of society goes to the grocery store for their food. They live in stacked apartment complexes in major cities. They haven’t a clue about how the water comes out of the faucet but lo and behold there it is everytime they need it.

It is the duty of the prepper to understand the process of becoming self sufficient. He knows that one day he might not be able to count on the modern system. He knows that relying on the government is a recipe for disaster. You see, most people have been so conditioned by the first world there is little chance they would make it without the system.

Like a muscle, their self sufficiency has atrophied because they haven’t been exercising. Has your sense of self sufficiency atrophied? If you’re reading this guide chances are it has. Don’t worry. The muscle might be weak now but one day it will be strong. You will become strong overtime as your familiarize yourself with self sufficient habits.

Prepping for the small things

It’s very unlikely you will ever experience something as catastrophic as an EMP blast or even a full scale riot. I understand the prepping community loves to preach doomsday, but the facts are that experiencing anything on that level is very unlikely. A true prepper knows when there’s a snake in the grass. How many preppers go full blown doomsday mode without making sure they have a spare tire in their car?

How many preppers hardly make enough money to buy every doomsday widget that comes out, but they do it anyways? Many of you reading this are one, maybe two paychecks away from going completely broke. Do you think financial security should be part of your preps?

It’s counter intuitive but I say that yes, having money to sustain yourself for at least a year without work should definitely be part of your overall prepping plan. Do everything you can to put away as much currency as possible. Prepping is not about blaming the man or the government for your lack of financial security. It’s about finding opportunities and putting in the work to secure you and your families future.

Prepping OOP (Order of operations)

It only makes sense to prep for the common situations first and then move your way up to the less likely but more disastrous scenarios. There are 3 major situations to prep for, the first being the most common and the last being the least likely to occur:

  • Personal scope situations – These are situations effecting only you and your immediate situation.
  • Regional situations – Scenarios effecting your local town or city.
  • Global disasters – True SHTF scenarios effecting the entire human population.

Almost everybody in life loses their job at one point. Unemployment is not a flashy aspect of prepping yet it’s the most common scenario and the least discussed in the community. Are you prepping for an alien invasion but don’t even have a fallback job in place or secondary source of income?

Almost everyone will experience mechanical problems with their car or have a major household appliance take a complete dump. Do you have money to fix these things when they break? What would happen if your car broke down today? How would you get to work, pick up the kids, or otherwise get to the places you need to be? Is there alternate transportation? A secondary car? These are the things you need to be thinking about. That way when something happens you already have a plan in place. This is the essence of prepping. It’s preparing for a situation in advance so you know exactly what to do. Prepping gives you peace of mind knowing you have what it takes to see a situation through.

Doing some research and identifying the local bus routes could help you in case you run into car problems etc. Think about other tiny yet probable situations that could effect your daily life operations. Money can solve most of these minor problems so make sure finances are at the top of your priorities. Money makes the world go ’round and solves a lot of little bullshit problems that crop up. That’s just the way it is!

Regional disasters are next on the list. While they do have an effect on more people than global disasters, they are still an uncommon occurrence unless you live in a disaster area. For most people a regional problem is no worse than an extended power outage. Storms ranging in severity will have an effect on local power and whether or not you can drive through the main roads. More serious occurrences such as hurricanes, floods, earthquakes, and hurricanes effect only a small population living in specific regions. If you live in a major city such as NYC you can add protests and the occasional riot to the list of probable situations to prep for.

Global disasters occur every few centuries and are very unlikely to have an effect in our lifetime. In fact, there isn’t much you can do to prep for a global disaster. Just ask the dinosaurs!

It is up to you to take stock of where you live and prep for these types of scenarios. In the next section I will give you a few general pieces of advice you can apply to many situations.

How to prep

80% of prepping is using your creative faculties to predict probable problems in your life and then having a plan set in place to correct the problem. The other 20% is having the right gear around to help you through these situations and ones you couldn’t predict. The following is the bare minimum of things you should have on hand at all times.

At the bare minimum you need 72 hours worth of food and water for yourself and your family. Most situations will resolve themselves in 3 days. The power can go out, you could get trapped in a nasty storm etc. This tiny bit of padding can see you through a rough patch. I recommend keeping this gear in a bug out bag in case you have to leave. A bug out bag is a great idea from a tactical standpoint – you can easily throw the bag on and get out of dodge at a moments notice.

What should you pack in a bug out bag? Here’s a quick and dirty list of some essential bug out bag gear:

  • Backpack (I recommend the Rush 72)
  • 3 days of food and water (Clif bars, fruits and nuts, peanut butter, tuna packets, Mountain House pouches, etc)
  • Important documents (ID, Passport, etc)
  • Map of your local region
  • Medication (Any serious medication you take)
  • Change of clothes (Especially socks and underwear)
  • Lighters, matches, other fire starting gear
  • Hygeine kit (TP, toothbrush, toothpaste, etc)
  • Chargers for your smart phone
  • Spare cash
  • A good knife (Check out my guide to choosing a good one)
  • Flashlight
  • Paracord
  • Stainless steel water bottle (for both boiling and storing water)
  • First aid kit

Read my post on creating the ultimate bug out bag.

What to keep around the house

Yes, at the bare minimum everybody needs a 72 hour bug out bag. Once this basic precaution is in place you can begin to expand your preps into the long term. To start, keep a weeks worth of food stocked. When a food item is about to go bad you can eat it and rotate with fresh supplies. Since food is perishable it’s a good idea to look into freeze dried or canned options. Freeze dried foods can last up to 25 years and retain most of the nutritional properties of the original food. Canned foods also hold up for a long time.

You can freeze dry your own food. However, because freeze drying is an expensive process most opt for a pre packaged solution. Companies like Mountain House and Wise Foods offer affordable long term food options. Simply purchase a kit and you’re good to go. These packages implement advanced technology to seal the food from moisture and air. You can purchase kits and store them away for many years.

Food for thought…

Think about items which would come in handy during a power outage. Think about how you would get by without power. Since the lights won’t work you’ll need some kind of lighting. These can be as basic as tea candles or advanced as a generator system. I recommend you start with a few flashlights and spare batteries. These are a cheap and reliable way to navigate in the dark. Headlamps are a good idea especially since you’ll be working with your hands a lot. I don’t like candles because they pose a fire hazard. However, they can be very effective and add a little ambiance to your situation. Be sure you get the unscented type so you don’t become nauseous over time!

Moving on…

How will you cook your food? No electricity means no source of heat and definitely no microwave. Have a pantry well stocked with non-perishable foods and snacks. Things like Clif bars, nuts, MRE’s, and canned foods are good stock to keep around. If you want to cook you can use a portable hiker stove or keep a couple propane tanks around to fuel a barbecue or propane powered stove top.

Get a 5 gallon buck to refill your toilet tank. Very basic but necessary preps indeed.

Best prepper foods

Certain foods lend themselves well to long term storage. The ideal food for the prepper not only has a long shelf life but includes a dense nutritional profile containing lots of carbs, proteins, and fats. I’ve created an entire post on the best prepper foods but will include a shortened list here for your convenience.

  • Grains – barley, oats, quinoa, corn, wheat, etc
  • Canned foods
  • Flour – a staple ingredient for making bread and a bunch of other things
  • Rice – there’s a reason rice is consumed across all cultures. It’s a staple. Can be stored up to 10 years.
  • Coconut oil – useful for cooking. Most cooking oils have a shelf life of 2 years but coconut oil is good for 3. The oil can also be used to make shampoo and for oil pulling making it more versatile than traditional oils.
  • Peanut butter – Lots of calories and very tasty
  • Coffee – Just because THSHTF doesn’t mean you have to give up your daily fix! Coffee is not only a great source of immediate energy but it lifts the spirits and enlivens the mood. It can also be bartered in the post Apocalypse.
  • Ramen Noodles – This classic powerhouse meal from the college days finds a secondary use as a great food for preppers. The noodles undergo a dehydration process making them ideal for long term storage.
  • Seasonings – A little salt and pepper goes a long way. Many of these bulk food items taste God awful without an extra kick.
  • Powdered milk – Stores up to 20 years and has most of the nutritional value found in normal milk.
  • Whey powder – whey protein powder provides a lot of nutrients to the body in the form of protein and fortified vitamins. Bodybuilders have been using this stuff for years to provide their body with everything it needs to repair itself.
  • Honey has an indefinite shelf life and boasts a number of benefits. It provides the body with quick energy in the form of glucose and mixes well into many foods and drinks.
  • Vodka – Vodka is another survival item with a variety of uses. You can disinfect wounds, cook, drink, and barter Vodka. You can easily stock up in the cheap stuff.
  • Crackers – Saltine crackers last up to a year and add a tasty crunch to many of your canned food and ramen meals.
  • Chocolate – Don’t forget something sweet to take the bite of boring survival food!

Prepackaged foods like Mountain House make great supplements to your standard stock. In fact, many of their freeze dried foods are downright tasty and heavily consumed by hikers and backpackers. Simply add hot water and you have yourself a tasty feast fit for a king. Check out one of their 3 day supply kits to sample the goods.

Prepper skills

The skills you and knowledge you acquire are far more valuable than the gear you own. In fact, you’ll need a certain level of skill to use a lot of the equipment you’ll gather over time.

Here’s a list of skills you should become familiar with:

  • Finding / purifying water – water is a crucial resource for human survival. Finding water and learning to purify water are fundamental survival skills. I’ve written a short guide on this here.
  • Firemaking – Learning how to make and sustain a fire is another critical element of survival. Fire purifies water and cooks food. The original foreman grill!
  • Shelter building – In extreme conditions a lack of shelter can kill you faster than anything. You don’t need to be an expert bushman but at least learn how to rig up a tent and tarp.
  • Gardening – Not just for the ladies anymore. Knowing how to grow your own food is a valuable skill – especially when the food trucks stop running.
  • Hunting and fishing – Sounds like a no brainer and it is. Prepare to spend a considerable amount of time learning the habits of the animals you’re hunting and properly using a fishing pole or rifle. Master this skill and you’ll never go hungry again.
  • Plant identification – Many plants, even in urban areas are edible. The berries and leaves from many plants and trees can sustain you from completely starving. However, be sure not to eat the wrong ones!
  • Self defense – Know how to protect you and your family even if it only means learning how to use a firearm correctly.
  • Food preservation – So you have all this food now how do you store it? If you have lost power you’ll need to explore alternate methods of preserving food long term without a freezer.

Don’t get overwhelmed. You don’t need to master these skills overnight nor do you need to master ALL of them. Pick one that interests you the most and become proficient over time. Making fire and purifying water are actually the easiest skills to master on this list. From there, pick one of the others and get cracking. In a years time you’ll be more than capable of surviving basic survival scenarios.

Conclusion + Extra Resources

Researching about prepping can be an exhausting endeavor if you let it. So many people have their own opinions and some preppers make you think you can’t prep unless you have a 1000 acres of land and a tractor. Not true. Keep it simple. Start with a 72 hour bug out bag and then work on keeping a steady stock of food in the house. Gather the basic supplies as outlined in this post. Learn a couple skills and sit back. Remember, the best thing you can do in any survival situation is keep calm! Don’t panic and know deep down everything is going to work itself out. After all, this is what you’ve been prepping for!

If you want to learn more I recommend pickup up a couple books and reading various survival materials. I have a post on the best survival books as well as complimentary guide to bushcraft books. Read a few of these and slowly begin exposing yourself to the world of prepping and survival.

There’s also a number of online resources you can learn from. One of my favorite sites is gray wolf survival.  This guy is a former counterintelligence special agent and combat veteran. He sheds a lot of survival insight based on his experiences in the military. Very cool stuff and extremely knowledgeable.

Thanks for reading and best of luck to your continued education into the world of prepping and survival.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What To Do When The Wife Doesn’t Approve of Your Preps

There seems to be a major disconnect between husband and wife these days. Not only have relationships become a stagnant situation with all passion lost, but reason has been thrown out with the bath water. I’m specifically discussing the wife who doesn’t understand the preps of her husband.

From the husbands perspective, he is preparing the safety of his wife and his family. He is preparing for the inevitable destruction of society or total economic collapse.

To the wife, the husband looks crazy and paranoid. She might even nag at him day after day about spending money on his preps.

“More tin foil? I though you just bought some?”

“Sweety, this is for the greater good for you and the family. You’ll understand one day.”

Except, she might not ever understand the mission and purpose of your preps. She will never understand the old proverb that clearly states…

“plant in the spring and harvest in the autumn so you have food through the winter.”

Indeed. For the average women, her concerns are mostly frivolous and short sighted. You must understand, deep down she knows you will keep her safe but you cannot ever expect her to fully understand why you do what you do. You cannot expect her to see things in any logical matter.

So what can you do in these types of situations? Can you make her see things your way?

In my experience the answer is mostly no. However, it really depends on the wife. Some wives rival the foresight and fortitude of most men. They are intelligent, practical and logical. They can clearly see the value in prepping for a collapse of some sort. If this is your wife, pat yourself on the back because these types of women are few and far between.

If you’re married to a woman of the other type, she will more than likely never care about your preps or wish to help you in any way. For this woman, prepping is a waste of time, she’s not even really sure why you are so “paranoid” and she would much rather watch Oprah and nag at you over something petty.

This type of woman cannot be reasoned with and will never see things from your perspective. Treat her as if she is missing a part of her brain. Be kind to her, but never allow her to nag at you about your preps. It’s important to put your foot down and be firm.

“Sweety, I’m going to town for some tin foil. You want me to pick up the Notebook and a box of bon-bons for you while I’m out?”

“that sounds great!”

Now you’re communicating.

Perhaps one day a fat pile of shit will hit the fan and she’ll realize the importance of what you do. A man can only hope!

There is a second type of wife. This wife might not understand what prepping is or why you do it, but she can be reasoned with. You can speak to her about the importance of preparation. Show her examples of times in America where things hit the fan. Show her the importance of being self reliant and what will happen if the electrical goes out.

Remind her that you’re doing this for her and the kids (if you have kids.) You want to keep her and the kids safe. She will begin to sway her opinion in your favor. Make your preps about her.

Here’s how communication goes with this type of wife.

“Honey, I am going to the store for some tin foil.”

“Okay, but could just buy the store brand? It’s the exact same quality as Reynolds but half the price. And here’s a coupon!”

Indeed…now we are getting somewhere.

Ultimately, as a man you must prepare no matter what. You do not require your wifes approval nor does she need to be on your ass about it 24/7.

Explain why you do what you do but do not harp at her everyday expecting her to see things differently. When a woman has her mind made up about something you cannot change it, nor would you want to.

Godspeed and happy prepping!

 

Editors note: This was a work of satire.

 

Best Survival Clothing

survival-clothing

Lot’s of effort and thought goes into creating the perfect bug out bag or the perfect preps. Very rare is the topic of the best survival clothing brought up. However, becoming equipped to survive means having the proper clothes on your back. Let’s talk about what needs to be considered to make sure you’re wearing the best threads possible when TSHTF.

Assessing your environment

Look outside and think about the local weather is like during the 4 seasons. Lot’s of rain, snow, and sleet during the winter? Maybe you live in a climate that doesn’t get a whole lot of water. In that case, you probably won’t need full blown waterproof gear. If your climate is hot and arid, you should favor breathable materials that allow sweat and heat to escape your body.

The layered approach

The best approach to choosing survival clothing is a layered one. A layered approach offers versatility for all seasons and weather conditions. The idea is if you start getting warm you can shed layers or add them if you’re cold. A layered system includes 3 major types of clothing:

  • Base layer
  • Middle layer
  • Shell layer

Base layer – the base layer is all about moving moisture away from your body. Even in the cold your body will produce sweat during physical labor. If this moisture is trapped on your skin you can easily develop hypothermia and become ill. A good compression base layer is cheap and effective.

Middle layer – the mid layer serves to trap heat close to your body for warmth. Natural fibers like wool or goose provide a great mid layer material and come in different thicknesses. Something like this North Face Fleece jacket would work.

Shell layer – this is the elemental layer. The shell layer protects you from elements like wind, rain, snow etc. This is the layer that keeps you dry. Here’s a popular shell layer.

Survival pants

Outdoor hiking pants fit the bill. Hiking pants are almost always made with a synthetic fabric that stretches and dries fast. The stretch allows your legs to move freely over obstacles. Regular jeans are just about the worst choice of clothing as they don’t stretch and they won’t dry fast if they get wet. Tactical pants also work well.

Survival socks and boots

Working our way  down the body we have perhaps the most important piece of survival clothing – the socks and boots. Your feet are a critical component of your survival strategy because you will most likely be doing a lot of walking – and trench foot is the last thing you want in a fully blown SHTF situation! I’ve owned a pair of these for well over 2 years and they’ve held up quite nicely. Check out the full review of my Vasque GTX boots here.

Avoid cotton socks and opt for either wool or synthetic. Once again, cotton socks retain moisture and take forever to dry. Wet feet are a recipe for blisters and fungus, something you certainly want to avoid.

Final thoughts

Don’t overlook survival clothing as you’re getting your preps together. The clothes on your back might be the one thing that keeps you alive in a fully blown SHTF situation!

Snatch Up This Powerful Painkiller Before The DEA BANS It For Good

Imagine, you’re in the middle of a full blown SHTF situation and you throw your back out lugging all your survival trinkets up a mountainous slope. The pain level? Excruciating.  Unfortunately, pain killers is something you forgot to prep for. All that money spent on fancy guns and gear and you got nothing for pain relief. No, that weak Ibruprofen isn’t going to do jack.

What you need is something powerful. What you need is something that isn’t shoved down your throat by the pharmeceutical industry, yet equally potent.

Today I’m going to introduce you to a powerful pain killer that’s surprisingly still legal to purchase. The substance in question is a powder made from the leaves of the Kratom tree. This tree grows naturally deep in the mountains of southeast asia. For years (and to this day) the local farmers used the leaves of this tree to kill pain and to put in long hours on the field.

The kicker? The D.E.A. is working over time to BAN this plant and introduce a new drug using the same exact ingredients. Can you believe this bullshit?

But don’t take my word for it. Listen to this vet who uses Kratom everyday to manage his pain. Listen to his OUTRAGE over the DEA wanting to ban an all natural plant found in nature:

I’m not going to harp on this for much longer. I wanted to make a short post for those of you who want to legally purchase an all natural (and highly powerful) pain reliever, while you still can.

 

Click here to order as much of this stuff before the DEA bans it for good.

 

 

Best Barterting Items For Post Collapse SHTF

bartering-items-shtf

With Trump in the Whitehouse we can take a step back and kick up our feet right? WRONG. We are still on the verge of complete economic meltdown. You can’t simply wave a magic wand and fix the damage the petrol dollar has caused, not to mention the fact that the U.S. simply prints whatever money we need! Yes sir, we are still on the brink of complete economic meltdown and the piper has yet to be paid (and he’s pissed about it.)

In the post collapse world there will be a number of handy items you might want to stock up on ASAP. Here is list of the best SHTF barter items you should stock up on immediately.

Water – Yes, good ol’ H20 will be bartered at a premium when fresh water sources start to run dry. When they turn the pipes off, how desperate will people become for even a mere ounce of water? If you have water you can rule entire communities of people. If you have water you have life. People will trade anything at the best deals to you. Ever seen The Book of Eli?

Food – Yes, we’re getting the obvious things out of the way first. Food and water will be the top bartering items in the post collapse world. Coffee is great but that’s not what people want when they’re  dying of thirst and hunger. It’s crucial to be well stocked up with food so you can trade for premium items you might need. Like water, people will gladly give up their most treasured pieces of gear for even a small morsel.

Addictive substances – Alcohol, coffee , and tobacco will be traded at a top premium. People are absolutely hooked on this stuff and will trade away their great grandmothers last life possession for even the smallest hook up. As an ex smoker and drinker, I can tell you from experience these will be the top bartering items second only to food and water.

Spices – All those rice and beans are going to get very bland without spices. Spices will spice up any dish and make the blandest meal taste like a 3 star Michelin fine dining experience. You better believe women will want to get there hands on a good set of spices.

Medical supplies – exposure to the raw elements and being forced into a nomadic lifestyle is a breeding ground for disease and injury. Medical supplies will be at a top premium for those who are injured or who have an injured family member. Top dollar.

Household items – This stuff isn’t hard. Think about all the things you use on a daily basis to live a life of luxury and comfort. You think you won’t need TP in the post collapse world? Toilet paper, tooth brushes, toothpaste, clothing, shoes, soaps, cookware, cups, hygiene items, etc. Start keeping a checklist of everything you use throughout your day even down to that last plastic spork you used to dig in to that can of SPAM. These items can also be bartered at a top premium.

Guns and Ammo – Depending on how bad the SHTF, guns and ammo could go for a very TOP premium. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure this one out. Even in times of peace guns and ammo go for top dollar. In SHTF times the value of a good gun will SKYROCKET.

Baby stuff – You think babies will just up and disappear in a fully blown collapse? They won’t, and they’re gonna need diapers, baby formula, clothing, and probably a bunch of other things I’m simply ignorant to. A woman will trade away her entire life savings in order to protect and meet her babies needs. But don’t be an asshole, give the woman a damn diaper for her baby you psycho!

Electrical equipment – Generators and batteries baby, generators and batteries! How the hell else are we supposed to power our HAM radios and  other electrical goodies?

Outdoor gear – Outdoor supplies and post collapse go together like whisky and women. Items like tents, paracord, tarps, rain gear, backpacks, water filters etc.

 

Final thoughts

At the end of the day you never know what someone is going to find valuable. As the old saying goes, one mans trash is another mans treasure. However, you can easily keep well stocked on the things you KNOW can be bartered. The items on this list are items which will be in the highest demand. Stay stocked up and brush up on those bartering skills!

 

How To Survive After SHTF

We all can see the writing on the wall. Times are becoming increasingly shaky and unstable. It’s obvious you can no longer rely on the government to have your back. Crooked politicians run wild in Washington. Global politics and agendas have only a few elite members in mind.

They can survive an EMP blast. They will survive the nukes. They will survive in their own underground super shelters when the power gets cut and people riot in the streets. But where does that leave you? Where does that leave the average citizen with few resources of his own?

And more importantly…How does one survive after SHTF?

I’m going to give you a few solid tips right now. First…

Move to the country – If you can, relocate yourself and your family to the country. If SHTF the last place you want to be is in the middle of an urban deathtrap. There you will be forced to deal with mass violence. Men will reduce to apes and the urban landscape will quickly turn into your worst nightmare. Desperation breeds violence, even in “normal” people.

In the country you distance yourself from the inevitable decline of mankind. In the country you have resources available to you and a lot more safety. You can hunt, for instance. Sure, some city dwellers might make there way to your property but you’ll be ready for them with plenty of guns and ammo.

Prepare – Stock up on all the essentials you need to survive a fully blown SHTF situation. Think about the essentials…water, food, fire, shelter. Secure enough for both you and your family. Think about how life is going to be like when they cut the power. How are you going to cook food? How are you going to keep sanitary? Where will you find water when it stops coming out of the pipes? Here’s a general list of items you must secure as soon as possible. Some of these items are more for bugging in while many are for bugging out in case of a full blown get-up-and-go SHTF situation.

  • Rice
  • Beans
  • Canned goods
  • Water
  • Water filter (This one is the  best in the business.)
  • Flashlights
  • A good knife
  • First Aid
  • Extra batteries
  • Fire gear (matches, lighters, a ferrocerium rod, fire starters)
  • Tarp or tent
  • Stainless steel water container (for boiling water)
  • Water purification tablets
  • Poncho
  • Proper clothing (think water proof)
  • Good boots (I own a pair of these.)
  • Extra socks
  • Paracord
  • Map of your area
  • 72 hours of bug out food (Clif bars, candy bars, nuts, seeds, etc.)
  • Hand cranked radio
  • Communication radio (Amateur radio)
  • Trash bags (make shift shelter, water collector, or sleeping pads when stuffed with leaves.)
  • etc

The list can go on for days but that’s the essentials.

Have a bug out location – If SHTF where are you going to go? Do you have a secondary location with family or friends you can get to? How will you get there? Do you have enough gas in your car to get there? What route will you take to get there? What happens if everyone leaves at once? Are there alternative routes to get you where you need to go?

These are the things only true survivors think about. Don’t be a chump and wait until SHTF. Think about this stuff now.

Read up on going gray man.

Get in shape – If you’re fat and overweight I can’t imaging you will last long. Bugging out might require swift evacuation on foot. Imagine a group of approaching apes behind you. How long can you run before you get winded? How fast can you sprint to escape danger now and not later? Your physical health is of utmost importance. Even if SHTF never happens, you owe it to yourself to get in shape. Don’t let your dick go limp because you refuse to get in shape.

You can start by going to the grocery store with your bug out pack. Load up $50 dollars worth of groceries in your pack and carry the rest in plastic bags all the way home. It’s a good workout and makes you think about your food choices. Do this once a week and you’ll be ready to amp things up to the next level. Really, all you have to do is get out of the house and walk. Go hiking or camping on the weekends. This is a double whammy because hiking keeps you in shape and camping forces you to think in terms of the primitive. You’ll need fire, water, food, and shelter.

Practice these skills now before it’s too late.

Educate yourself – There’s a lot of knowledge out there. Pick up a few books on survival and consider a handful on bushcrafting as well. Books are goldmines of knowledge and will serve you well in a fully blown SHTF situation. Your chances of survival go UP with the more books you read. Reading survival materials primes your brain and readys the mind for even the worst SHTF situations.

Reading survival materials will keep you vigilant, skillful, and you’ll always be ready to tackle what’s ahead of you.

Final thoughts

My final parting advice is keep your cool. Nobody has ever survived an SHTF situation by losing their shit. Stay calm in all areas of your life. Rethink getting heated in situations that bother you. Stress creates cortisol and shuts down the rational and reasonable mind. The quickest way to die in a fully blown SHTF situation is to get emotional.

You don’t have the time for that. Always stay cool.

Until next time…

 

Long Term Food Storage Strategies

Part of becoming a competent prepper is securing enough food for you and your family in times of need. The problem is, most food only keeps for a certain period of time. Throughout history man has developed methods and strategies to preserve the food he has found. Methods like smoking and salting were used to preserve meats for long voyages on a ship and canning was used to preserve fruits, berries, and vegetables.

Modern technology has also given us access to methods unavailable to ancient man. Let’s dive in to some of the ways you can preserve your food for the long term.

First, let’s talk meat…

Curing and smoking

Everybody gather round the smoke house!
Everybody gather round the smoke house!

 

Smoking meat is an ancient backwoods method of preservation. Most families had a smoke house where meat and fish were prepared for long term food storage. Smoking and curing are the all time classic ways to preserve meat and it’s a very basic process.

Curing meat- First the meat is generously salted. The salt serves to dehydrate meat of its water content. Water and moisture is a breeding ground for bacteria. Most methods of long term food storage work to remove this water content from the foods. Other anti microbial seasonings like cayenne pepper can also be applied at this point. Sugar is then added to the mix to give the meat a better flavor when it comes time to chow down.

Next, a little bit of sodium nitrate to add another layer of defense against dangerous bacteria. Celery juice or other leafy green vegetables are used to coat the meat. You can purchase the extract ready made or create your own juice.

There are also ready made curing salts available which contain healthy levels of sodium nitrate. Once your meat is generously slathered with your curing solution, place the meat into plastic bags and store in a cool dry place. Alternatively, you can hang the meat.

Smoking meat – Smoking your meat is another method of preserving those nice cuts of yours. The process is similar to curing but this time you expose the meat to a low heat environment with lots of smoke. Slather the meat in salt and spices and then place the meat in a smoker or smokehouse. The smoke serves to preserve and dehydrate the meat and leaves you with what is basically jerky. Jerky can last indefinitely although all preserved meat should be eaten within a 6 month time period to take advantage of the full freshness. If the meat is too salty you can soak it before eating to remove some of the salt.

Hot vs cold smoking

The two primary ways of smoking your meat are hot smoking and cold smoking. Hot smoking exposes the meat to temperatures up to 160 degrees. Meat smoked in this way can last up to a week without refrigeration. Cold smoking uses the same process but at lower temps and for much longer. This is ideal for storing meats long term. The longer exposure to the smoke drys the meat rather than cooks it, leaving you with a meat that can store for a considerable amount of time.

Canning

canning

Canning is a classic “old timey” method of preserving foods like fruits and vegetables (think little house on the prairie.) The canning process involves placing your food into canning jars and then boiling them for a certain period of time. During this process harmful micro-organisms are destroyed and the heat drives out all oxygen, leaving you with a vacuum sealed jar. The two types of canning methods are water bath canning and pressure canning. High acidic foods like fruits and jams don’t require as much heat and can be boiled using the water bath method. Low acid foods need a higher temperature to kill bacteria and therefore must be processed in a pressure canner. Refer to the infographic below to determine what foods require what method.

waterbath-canning-vs-pressure-canning

Water bath canning – This is by the far the easiest method of canning. It’s the method reserved for high acidic foods and only requires a few basic pieces of culinary equipment:

Foods are ladled into your cans and then placed on a rack submerged in boiling water. Cook time depends on the food. I recommend picking up this book on canning and thoroughly reading into the subject.

Pressure canning – Lower acidic foods need more heat to kill micro-organisms. This extra heat is achieved with a pressure canner. The pressure canner creates its own vacuum and uses steam to expose your cans to the higher temperatures of heat. The process is slightly more complex than water bath canning but easy to accomplish when you understand a few basic pitfalls. For example, the pressure cooker operates differently in different elevations. Once again, pick up a good book on canning and read.

Freeze drying

freeze-dried-ice-cream
Freeze dried ice cream bars. Yes, you heard that right!

 

Freeze drying is quickly becoming a favorite among preppers who have some extra bucks to spend. You can freeze dry virtually anything as seen above. Freeze drying works by freezing the food in a vacuum and then warming the environment, allowing the water from the food to evaporate. The result is food with zero water content. No water content means bacteria cannot survive. Freeze dried food can be stored indefinitely and easily rehydrates at any time. It’s the ultimate method to store your food for the long term.

The only con of freeze drying is the up front cost of the freeze drying machine. The Harvest Right Freeze Dryer for example will run you about 3 grand but it’s well worth it, especially if you’re serious about prepping and protecting your family.

My review of the HR Freeze dryer goes in depth into the freeze drying process and compares it to other forms of food preservation methods (canning, freezing, etc.)

Final thoughts

With a little work and studying you can squirrel away enough food to survive any fully blown SHTF situation. If the EMP blast hits, you’ll be ready. When the power grid goes down, you’ll be ready. If anything, having well preserved food stored away will give you peace of mind even in times of normalcy.

Thanks for reading!