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Prepper pharmacy: 17 Medicinal plants you can grow indoors year-round

Here is a list of medicinal plants, herbs and spices that you can grow indoors throughout the year. You only need a windowsill, vertical spaces on walls that get enough sunlight or a gardening table set up beneath grow lights to grow these medicinal plants in your home.

These plants are the same ones that you would snip off a sprig or two in an outdoor garden to toss into your casseroles, homemade sauces, salads or soups. Use these plants for their essential oils or to make poultices, salves, teas and tinctures for your medicinal needs.


Mothers can use basil both before and after giving birth to enhance blood circulationand facilitate the flow of breast milk. Native Americans use basil to treat insect bites and draw out venom from snake bites. Basil can also be used as a natural deworming aid for both humans and animals. When applied topically, basil can treat minor burns and wounds and help remove warts. It can also help with kidney issues, loss of appetite and stomach spasms, as well as reduce swelling due to fluid retention. Basil can also help relieve cold symptoms.


This medicinal herb can be used to treat ulcers, hay fever, rheumatic discomfort, muscle spasms, minor wounds, muscle and tendon inflammation, menstrual pain, hemorrhoids, insomnia and gastrointestinal disorders. Chamomile is an excellent natural base ingredient for salves, creams and lotions for dry skin and sunburn.


Boasting high amounts of vitamins A and C, chives are great for supporting bone and immune health. Chives also contain folate and choline, which can promote good-quality sleep. Research has found that the phytochemicals in chives, such as ajoene, flavonoids, quercetin and S-allylmercaptocysteine, have potent anticancer properties.


Echinacea is a medicinal plant with brightly colored flowers that can easily brighten up any room in your house. You can use echinacea to make an herbal tea that can prevent and treat respiratory illnesses and boost your immune system.


An active base ingredient in many home remedies, garlic is excellent for removing toxinsfrom the body. Garlic can naturally prevent and treat gum disease, respiratory issues and symptoms associated with the common cold and flu, cold sores and yeast infections. It can also help draw out venom from spider bites.


Known as a calming and relaxing herb, lavender has been shown to help relieve anxiety and other mood issues. Lavender can also be used as a natural remedy for fungal infections, hair loss, insomnia and skin problems like acne, dry skin, minor wounds and eczema.

Lemon balm

A medicinal herb from the mint family known for its lemon scent, lemon balm is commonly used as a natural medicine for liver and bile issues as well as gastrointestinal problems. When combined with valerian, lemon balm can help relieve restlessness and can even be used as a natural sleep aid.


An aromatic herb from the mint family, marjoram has been used to make home remedies for thousands of years. Marjoram has medicinal properties that can be used to treat cough, depression, dizziness, gallbladder problems, muscle and nerve pains, nervous headaches and migraines, runny nose, stomach cramps and many more.


Another potent medicinal herb with a long history of use as medicine, oregano can be used as a natural remedy for skin sores, aching muscles, asthma, cramps, diarrhea, indigestion and the common cold. Studies have shown that oregano can also help relieve inflammation, treat bacterial infections, regulate blood sugar and blood cholesterol levels, and fight cancer.


A flowering plant whose leaves are widely used as a culinary herb, parsley is a great source of antioxidant vitamins, such as vitamins A and C. It is also rich in vitamin K, which is needed for blood clotting and maintaining strong bones. Parsley boasts powerful antibacterial, antifungal and anticancer properties, the latter of which is thanks to the flavonoids, myricetin and apigenin. The antioxidant carotenoids in parsley, namely, lutein, beta carotene and zeaxanthin, can also support optimal eye health and prevent age-related macular degeneration.


Aside from seasoning food, rosemary can be used to fight halitosis and naturally freshen one’s breath. Because of its beneficial properties, rosemary is often added to all-natural homemade toothpastes and mouthwash solutions. According to studies, rosemary can also enhance brain performance and helps improve digestion, mood and sleep quality. It has natural pain-relieving properties and can also help boost immune function.


This herb from the mint family can be used to treat bloating, dyspepsia or stomach upset, diarrhea, flatulence, heartburn, hot flashes and memory loss. When used to make tea, sage can also help reduce inflammation, lower blood sugar levels and even fight cancer. Gargling with sage tea is also said to be a good remedy for mouth wounds, sore throats and bad breath.


A pleasantly sweet-tasting herb from the mint family, spearmint is a common ingredient in chewing gums and oral care products. Spearmint is high in antioxidant compounds and is a great natural remedy for digestive issues, such as indigestion and gas. It can also help treat symptoms of hormonal imbalance in women, such as excessive hair growth, or hirsutism. According to studies, spearmint has antibacterial properties that can help get rid of bacteria in your mouth that cause bad breath. Drinking spearmint tea is also said to help lower blood sugar levels in diabetics.


A healthy natural sweetener, stevia, or candyleaf, is an herb from the daisy family that is said to be eight to 150x sweeter than sugar. Stevia is low in calories and has a negligible effect on blood sugar, making it an ideal alternative to table sugar and other unhealthy sweeteners. Studies show that certain glycosides in stevia could help lower blood pressure by helping dilate blood vessels. Stevia also contains an abundance of antioxidants, such as kaempferol, which has been found to inhibit the growth of pancreatic cancer cells.


Tarragon is an herb from the sunflower family that has long been used in Traditional Asian Medicine. Research suggests that tarragon is an anti-inflammatory, antiepileptic and antipyretic (reduces fever) agent that can also be used to relieve pain naturally. Tarragon is also effective for treating helminthiasis, or infestation of parasitic worms. Studies show that tarragon also has antioxidant, antitumor, liver-protective and blood sugar-lowering effects.


A versatile herb from the mint family, thyme can be used as a substitute for salt in the kitchen. Thyme is well-known for having antiseptic, disinfectant and antibacterial properties, and for its history of use as a food preservative. During World War I, thyme was burned as a fumigator and was even used by ancient doctors to protect them from the Black Plague. When used for cooking, thyme can help stimulate the appetite and promote good digestion. Its active components, thymol and carvacrol, are often added to mouthwashes, toothpastes, soaps, creams, salves, lotions, liniments, throat lozenges and cold remedies.


Widely known for its many health benefits, turmeric is the spice that gives curry its yellow color. Curcumin, the main active compound in turmeric is a potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant agent that can help lower your risks of brain and heart disease and cancer. Aptly called the “Golden Spice,” this medicinal herb is traditionally used to heal wounds and treat a variety of ailments, such as rheumatoid arthritis, conjunctivitis, small pox, chicken pox, urinary tract infections and liver issues.

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Winter Preparedness Checklist For Car

Christmas (or any occasion) Gifts Every Prepper Would Love to Receive

1. HyBeam Flashlight

In any life-threatening situation, one of the most important tools to have is a flashlight. A prepper knows better than to leave home without it.

The HyBeam Flashlight makes an excellent gift due to its super bright CREE bulb and waterproof and shockproof aluminum body. Not only is it bright and tough, but it also has the perfect size for preppers to bring it anywhere conveniently.

2. Hoffman-Richter Wolf Fixed Blade Survival Knife

The titanium-coated razor-sharp steel blade knife has an unbreakable 4-inch long full tang blade. It comes with a sheath and a lifetime guarantee.

What is a full tang? It is a one-piece knife with two handle pieces on each side. The knife, therefore, is pinned between the handle. The WOLF will quickly become a prepper’s new favorite knife.

3. The Mini EDT

The Mini EDT is a perfect addition to a prepper’s collection of survival equipment. You can easily store it in your bug-out bag, in your pockets, or in your keychain.

Keeping a multi-tool in your everyday carry makes it convenient to finish some quick tasks.

4. Rechargeable Headlamp

Having a good and reliable headlamp makes it easier to administer first aid, or fix something that needs both of your hands. I’m pretty sure you don’t want to hold a flashlight in your mouth.

A rechargeable headlamp is an awesome Christmas gift that every prepper and survivalist will love.

5. BLAVOR Solar Charger Power Bank Solar Battery Charger

This gift is great for both preppers and non-preppers. It is important to have a solar battery charger, so you can still use some of your gadgets in the event the grid goes down.

6. LifeStraw Personal Water Filter

This is a perfect survival gift for your family and friends who loves hiking, camping, or traveling.  And a great addition to anybody’s prepper bug-out bag.

This official LifeStraw personal water filter will provide 792 gallons (3,000 liters) of safe drinking water without using chemicals, or iodine, surely this is one of the best survival gifts for your loved ones.

This straw promises to remove 99.9999% of bacteria including Escherichia coli (e-coli), campylobacter, vibrio cholera, pseudomonas aeruginosa, shigella, salmonella, and 99.9% of protozoa including giardia lamblia (beaver fever), cryptosporidium parvum, entamoeba histolytica.

It actually has no shelf life which makes its storage indefinite even after use.


5 Worst American States To Be In During a Collapse

1. Alaska

Here’s a state that you’re probably surprised to see on this list, especially when you consider Alaska (known as the Last Frontier) is supposed to be a safe haven for survivalists. There’s no denying that Alaska has many factors that would initially make it seem like a good place to be in during a disaster.

For one thing, it’s sparsely populated and its few urban areas are not anywhere near as populous as cities like New York or Los Angeles. It also has an abundance of natural resources such as timber and wild game.

But at the same time, Alaska has many negatives. For one thing, it’s very earthquake prone due to the fact that it’s situated along the West Coast. It’s also cut off from the lower 48 states, so imports of basic supplies and necessities will come to a screeching halt in the midst of disaster with no hope of resupply (gasoline and oil are arguably the biggest of these).

There’s no denying that Alaska is one of the most beautiful places in the entire world. But at the same time, it has serious cons that should make you seriously reconsider it as a bug out location.

2. California

You might as well put the whole West Coast under this one, which is incredibly vulnerable to earthquakes and is very densely populated. Those densely populated cities like San Francisco, San Diego, or Los Angeles are not just bad places to be in an earthquake. They are also prime EMP or nuclear targets for our enemies.

Furthermore, California’s economy is incredibly fragile with very high debt. It’s arguably the most prone to an economic collapse over any other state. This is on top of the very high cost of living, taxes, and regulations in the state as well.

All in all, the West Coast is definitely not somewhere you want to be during a disaster, but California will be even more dangerous than Washington and Oregon.

3. Florida

You can probably already guess one reason why Florida is on this list: hurricanes. It’s no secret that Florida is very prone to hurricanes, but even that hasn’t stopped retirees from flocking to the Sunshine State as a warm tropical haven.

Sure, Florida is a very attractive state, but it’s still far too overburdened with negative factors to be considered a good state to be in during a disaster. On the contrary, it’s one of the worst. Miami is a very large city and could be a prime target of a nuclear or EMP attack. The population in Florida is also very dense (it’s surpassed New York) and the crime rate is high.

In addition, most of Florida is already under sea level, which is dangerous should ocean temperatures ever seriously rise. Overall, you would be advised to not consider Florida as a bug out retreat.

4. Hawaii

Hawaii is on this list for many of the same reasons that Alaska is: it’s cut off from the rest of the United States and therefore will also be cut off from shipping and imports during a disaster. As an added con, Hawaii already has less overall resources than Alaska.

Hawaii is also a goldmine of military bases that will be prime targets in the event of a global war. Unless you can get out beforehand on a ship or an airplane, you’re essentially stranded in an archipelago out in the middle of the Pacific Ocean with no serious way of getting out.

If Hawaii serves one purpose, it’s a vacation place to make happy memories. But it’s certainly not a place to go to outlast a disaster.

5. New York

Last but not least, we come to New York. The East and West Coasts are both highly and densely populated, and the city of New York itself is going to be a prime target for our enemies.

New York also shares many cons with California: the high cost of living, high taxes and regulations, a high crime rate, strict firearms laws, heavy traffic, and so on.

Granted, not all of New York is so bad. Much of the northern part of the state is very rural and teeming with natural resources. Still, you’re in very close proximity to the city, and refugees will undoubtedly be flooding north towards Canada, so you’re still not that safe anyway.


Alaska, California, Florida, Hawaii, and New York will be the five least safe states to be in during a major nationwide disaster. As an alternative, you would be wise to check out the states in the Great Plains or the Rocky Mountains instead.

While those areas certainly have their cons as well (remember that no state is truly safe), they are still much safer than the five states we’ve just gone over.


Survival 101: How to organize your prepper community after SHTF

2 Things that your community will need

Before forming a prepper community, you will need two important things: leadership and organization.

It is the task of your community to choose your leader. You can nominate someone from previous leadership structures or you can choose from other sectors of society that have experienced leaders, like law enforcement or healthcare.

Your community can also try unconventional options within their own ranks.

On the other hand, larger communities will have a wider pool of potential candidates, but they will also require a stricter selection process.

Whatever method you use to select your leader, each community’s choice will be guided by your unique needs, goals and the shared ethics and values of all members.

As shown throughout history, effective leaders must be able to assemble and organize teams, delegate responsibilities and empower others to achieve objectives.

After SHTF, your group must focus on fundamental human needs like food, water, shelter, security, communications and health. Whoever is selected as the group’s leader can use these needs to guide their selection of personnel to whom responsibilities can be delegated.

Tips for selecting the leader

Ideally, the leader would prioritize individuals who are knowledgeable in their respective areas of responsibility.

When appointing someone to oversee the health of the community, it’s best to choose someone with a background in public health or a medical profession.

When selecting the leader and all directors of your community, establish a regular election schedule and implement term limits. All posts must have a predefined duration, such as a minimum of two years to a maximum of six years, so no single individual retains control indefinitely.

Finalizing the leadership team

The leadership team, which includes key personnel or directors, will depend on the size of your group and the specific challenges you could face after SHTF.

Remember that the transition from a well-structured organization to a bureaucratic system can occur quickly and unexpectedly.

With this in mind, here are the essential areas that necessitate organization, leadership and accountability to effectively manage the process of rebuilding a community after a disaster.

If your group is small, directors may need to assume responsibility for multiple areas. Additionally, certain areas of expertise may be relevant in multiple sections, highlighting the diverse organizational arrangements your group may need. 

Selecting the food manager

The food manager will be responsible for the following tasks:

  • Managing inventory, storage and rationing of perishable and non-perishable food supplies.
  • Coordinating hunting, trapping, fishing and gathering teams to supplement your food supply.
  • Overseeing agricultural tasks, such as livestock care and the cultivation of fruits and vegetables.
  • Providing education and guidance to enhance the group’s understanding and skills in food-related subjects, like food preservation and foraging.

When looking for your group’s food manager, consider candidates with experience in relevant fields such as:

  • Botany
  • Farming
  • Fishing
  • Food processing and preservation
  • Hunting
  • Trapping
  • Veterinary sciences
  • Zoology

The food manager has a critical role in ensuring the community’s access to a safe food source and fostering self-sufficiency.

If you are selected as the food manager, prepare before SHTF and teach your community how to stock up on the following essential food supplies:

  • Canned or dried meats
  • Fats and oils
  • Dried beans
  • Dry milk and dairy
  • Fruits
  • Grains
  • High-energy foods, such as preserved food, protein bars and dehydrated items
  • Vegetables
  • Other cooking basics

Selecting the water manager

The water manager will be responsible for tasks related to the community’s water supply and management, such as:

  • Managing inventory, storage and rationing of existing clean potable water resources.
  • Identifying and evaluating new, viable water sources for future use.
  • Ensuring the group’s supply of potable water.
  • Safely handling, accessing, using, storing and recycling greywater.
  • Maintaining safe handling, storage and disposal of wastewater.
  • Collaborating with the food manager on how to use greywater and wastewater for agricultural purposes.
  • Educating the group to enhance their knowledge and personal skills in water management.

When looking for your group’s water manager, consider candidates with experience in relevant fields such as:

  • Chemists
  • Natural resource managers
  • Plumbers
  • Wastewater management specialists
  • Water treatment and purification workers

The water manager’s duties include securing a sustainable and safe water supply for the community.

Selecting the shelter manager

The shelter manager will be responsible for tasks that include the community’s housing and infrastructure, such as:

  • Overseeing construction projects of habitable structures.
  • Maintaining existing habitable structures.
  • Ensuring the safety and compliance of homes with the group’s minimum standards for safety and sanitation.
  • Educating members to improve their knowledge and personal skills in shelter-related subjects.

When looking for your group’s shelter manager, consider candidates with experience in relevant fields such as:

  • Architects
  • Carpenters
  • Construction contractors
  • Construction vehicle and equipment operators
  • Electricians
  • Engineers
  • Machinists
  • Masons
  • Repairmen
  • Roofers
  • Steelworkers
  • Woodworkers

The shelter manager is responsible for providing safe and functional living spaces for community members.

Selecting the communications manager

The communications manager will be responsible for tasks involving internal and external communication infrastructure, including:

  • Managing the construction and maintenance of infrastructure for public and mass communications.
  • Keeping members updated about the group’s current status.
  • Gathering and sharing updated information to the community and neighboring groups.
  • Managing message traffic with external contacts, as needed.
  • Overseeing traditional print communication methods if possible, like, mail and newspapers.
  • Educating group members to add to their knowledge and personal skills in communication-related subjects.

When looking for your group’s communications manager, consider candidates with experience in relevant fields such as:

  • Electronic and communications specialists
  • HAM and long-distance radio operators and technicians
  • Linemen
  • Morse code specialists

The communications manager will be responsible for finding effective and reliable communication channels for the community.

Selecting the health manager

The health manager plays a crucial role in overseeing different tasks related to the well-being of the community. Their responsibilities will include different health, medical, hygiene and sanitation needs.

The health manager will also be responsible for the following tasks:

  • Cultivating and gathering medicinal plants that can be used to treat various health-related issues.
  • Providing comprehensive medical, dental and emotional care for members, including general veterinary care for any pets and livestock.
  • Educating the group on relevant subjects to enhance their personal skills in this area.

When looking for your group’s health manager, consider candidates with experience in relevant fields such as:

  • Traditional, holistic and natural medical and mental health professionals
  • Animal husbandry
  • Emergency medical technicians (EMTs)
  • Health and sex education instructors
  • Midwifery
  • Pharmacy
  • Search-and-rescue personnel
  • Teaching
  • Veterinary medicine

By appointing a responsible health manager, the community guarantees the availability of essential healthcare services even after SHTF.

Selecting the labor manager

The labor manager will help oversee trades and occupations that do not fall under the other mentioned areas of responsibility.

A community’s organizational chart can be personalized to suit the group’s unique assets and needs.

Here are examples of different trades and workers that could be overseen by the labor manager:

  • Artists, musicians, entertainers and athletes that contribute to the cultural enrichment of the group.
  • Childcare specialists responsible for the well-being of children within the group.
  • Economists managing economic matters.
  • Engineers knowledgeable in various disciplines.
  • Religious clergy and leaders that provide the group with spiritual guidance and support.
  • Scientists responsible for research and development.
  • Transportation and logistics experts and workers managing the distribution of goods and resources.
  • Vehicle and equipment technicians responsible for the upkeep and repair of the group’s machinery.
  • General scholars and experts in different fields.
  • General laborers responsible for different manual tasks and maintenance duties.

The labor manager has a crucial role in effectively utilizing and coordinating the unique skill sets and expertise of community members.

Selecting the security manager

The security manager will oversee the safety and protection of the community members and their property, including:

  • Protecting the community and their belongings, both internally and externally.
  • Defending the community against various threats.
  • Carrying out law enforcement duties and managing criminal court functions, including catching, restraining, prosecuting and administering punishments to criminals.
  • Educating the group to improve their knowledge and personal skills in security-related subjects.

When looking for your group’s security manager, consider candidates with experience in relevant fields such as:

  • Experienced warfighters
  • Firefighters
  • Gunsmiths
  • Law enforcement and corrections officers
  • Martial artists
  • Surveillance and security system experts and technicians

The security manager oversees the community’s safety and maintains law and order within the group.

Before SHTF, use these tips to establish organization within your prepper community.

Not all preppers will decide to join a community like the one outlined here, and you must accept this. Others may prefer to live autonomously, so respect their decisions and continue looking for other preppers who can contribute to your future survival community.


Printable Disaster Preparedness Cheat Sheets

From Primal Survivor, 39 pages, this is on sale for $17 (regular price $34) I get nothing from this, I just think it’s a good deal!

How to Get Emergency Drinking Water From Fire Hydrants

In certain situations, you may be able to obtain emergency drinking water from fire hydrants. Should you do so? Is it safe to drink, and is it even legal?

For the most part, opening a fire hydrant on a municipal water line is against the law and should never be attempted. Secondly, if the hydrant is still pressurized, the force of the unregulated water could cause injury or even death. Also, if citizens begin randomly opening fire hydrants, this may result in a loss of pressure when it is needed for actual firefighting.

Private Subdivision Water Systems

Only in the most dire of emergency situations—one in which your subdivision has its own private water supply, and where you have obtained permission from the system owner—can you begin to attempt to obtain drinking water from a fire hydrant. In disaster situations, when there is no power available for the main water station to operate pumps, or if there are no reserves left in overhead or gravity supply tanks, there may be thousands of gallons of potable water still left in the system.

Water supply systems often feature “low point drains,” which are used by the water company to periodically drain sediment from lines. Often, there are fire hydrants at these low point drains. Even if the local water supply system has been de-pressurized, there may still be water available in hydrants at low spots, and it may still be under some amount of pressure. How much pressure remains on the line depends on the height and amount of remaining water in the lines above the low spot. A 4″ pipe, for example, can hold .653 gallons of water per linear foot. See the chart below.

Note: Never trust the quality of water obtained from fire hydrants when the main water supply has been down for an extended period of time or after an earthquake. Following an earthquake, there may be breaks in the line which allow back-flow of sewage, and the entire line can be contaminated.

Opening the Cap

Fire hydrants feature a five-sided cap-end that requires a special wrench to open. Since no two sides of the cap end are parallel to each other, it’s nearly impossible to use an adjustable or Crescent wrench. Using a common pipe wrench will damage the surface of the valve or cap end. For both the top hydrant valve and the caps, you’ll need a special fire hydrant wrench, such as the adjustable one seen below.

Opening the Valve

With all persons cleared out of the way and one of the caps removed, the top hydrant valve can slowly and cautiously be opened using a fire hydrant wrench. Do not attempt this procedure on lines for which you have not obtained permission and never attempt this on lines that are pressurized. Have several buckets readily available to transfer the water to a portable tank.

If you are able to obtain a length of fire hose with the female connection to attach to the hydrant, you may be able to use this to fill barrels or tanks in the back of a truck or trailer.

Final Thoughts and Cautionary Statement

Opening a fire hydrant to obtain drinking water should be a measure of last resort and only performed under extreme and dire circumstances with the permission and oversight of the water system owner or an authorized person such as a firefighter.

Water obtained from unpressurized lines should always be treated as suspect and should be filtered and chlorinated as necessary. Never attempt this measure on lines for which you do not have permission to do so or without professional guidance.


Prepping Checklist | Prepping for Beginners

The Beginner Prepper Checklist 

  1. Build a solid foundation.
  2. Get your home ready for two weeks of self-reliance.
  3. Be able to leave your home with only a moment’s notice.
  4. Prepare for emergencies that happen while you are away from home (“get home bags” and everyday carry).
  5. Learn core survival skills and practice with your gear.
  6. Share and recruit while continuing to learn and going beyond the basics.

1. Prep a Solid Foundation 

As a novice in the world of prepping, laying a firm foundation is your initial step on this journey. To build a reliable base as a prepper, you should begin by stocking up on a few everyday essentials.

We often refer to these items as evergreen products. Evergreen products are items like water reserves, emergency food from providers like Valley Food Storage, first aid kits, hygiene products, and sanitation supplies. These are the first products every beginner prepper should start with. 

2. Start Prepping for Two Weeks of Self-Reliance

In the aftermath of a natural disaster, it may take weeks, even months, to get back to everyday life. That is why we recommend how to prep yourself to be self-reliant for a minimum of two weeks, if not longer.

For example, if your food reserves will not last multiple weeks, you need to have a plan to get more food. Hunting, fishing, trapping, and foraging for food are all essential skills to remain self-reliant.

3. Be Ready to Bug Out With Only a Moment’s Notice 

In certain scenarios, the most intelligent decision may be to evacuate or bug out. For example, imagine a hurricane bearing down on your home located in a flood-prone area. The best decision, in this case, is to evacuate to higher ground and wait out the storm in a safer location. 

To evacuate efficiently and to remain prepared while on the go, you need to have a bug-out bag. Typically, a bug-out bag is a backpack filled to the brim with different survival necessities that help you stay fed, hydrated, and generally more comfortable throughout your evacuation.

4. Prep for Emergencies that Happen Away From Home 

Ideally, you will know ahead of time when sh*t is about to hit the fan (SHTF). But realistically, you never know when disaster may strike. That is why it’s essential to be prepared, no matter your location. 

For example, think about leaving your home to run an errand, and in that time, an earthquake strikes. In this scenario, you may not be able to return home right away. But, in this case, you’ll be glad you prepped emergency supplies in your car.

5. Learn Core Skills, Practice With Your Gear & Maintain Your Equipment To Prep 

Being adequately prepared for any disaster imaginable does not just mean hoarding food, water, and equipment until every empty space in your home is filled with emergency supplies.

On the contrary, being adequately prepared means having the correct amount of supplies, knowing where they are located, and having the skills to utilize them efficiently. Not to mention also keeping them maintained, so your supplies are ready no matter how long it has been since you started prepping.

6. Connect and Share Your Prepping Experience With Other Preppers 

Prepping for emergencies and disasters can feel like it’s you against the world. But that couldn’t be farther from the truth. In reality, there is an entire network and community of like-minded preppers who are passionate about remaining self-reliant and protecting their families just like you.

Nowadays, the internet is a wealth of knowledge. For example, there are a ton of helpful blogs and Youtube channels that can help you begin prepping. Similarly, there are groups of preppers who enjoy working together and sharing their knowledge about prepping.


Emergency Numbers You Need to Have in Your Cell

These are uncertain times we live in. It is more important than ever to have essential emergency numbers in your cell phone directory. Particularly now, in the midst of a pandemic, certain emergency services we rely on might not be available. If this is the case, you will need to try other options. For example, if your town services are overwhelmed, your county or state emergency services may still be available. 

This can be a big issue if and when another crisis arises, or if the current crisis worsens. Let’s say that you lose your smart phone and need to place a call on your landline. Will you know what numbers to dial if 911 is busy? It’s entirely possible that a storm or other event could wipe out internet services while keeping the landlines active. You should have some of these critical numbers written down somewhere in addition to putting them on your cell phone. A good place to put these numbers would be in a waterproof bag or container inside your 72 hour emergency kit. You might have to leave home in a hurry but still be able to use a landline later, at an abandoned gas station or restaurant, or at a friend or neighbor’s house. 

Most of the numbers recommended below are not used every day. When they are used, they might be for general information. BUT, having them available on a moment’s notice means you are better equipped to deal with an emergency situation should it present itself.

Having these numbers handy will save time and battery power, not to mention giving you peace of mind. NOTE: In a real emergency your first choice for an emergency call will still be 911. These emergency numbers will not replace a lifesaving call to 911.

In case of emergency contact – Make it easy for emergency responders to find your family or partner contact when they need to. Sure they can search your phone for the most frequently called numbers, but why not make it easy for them. Create an ICE contact in your phone. One reader suggests: “As a veteran Paramedic, ICE is a well-known header for important numbers.. however, I may suggest you list every number separately, label them, ‘My Husband,’ or ‘My Husbands work’.. etc. As an emergency responder, I need to know who these people actually are when I call them.” Good tip! 

Local fire department – Our local fire departments have a wealth of information and provide community training and local CERT support. We also call our local fire department for burn day information. In many states, we have a designated day or week to burn brush on your property in order to prevent forest fires. 

Local police department – List the non-emergency number for your area. In my small town, the number contacts the on-duty officer directly. It is common for people to dial 911 when they need to contact the police for any reason, but this is not so good. Calling 911 for a non-emergency really clogs up the lines and distracts dispatchers from potentially life-threatening situations. If your neighbor keeps on blasting heavy metal music, this is not a 911-sufficient call. Just dial your local PD. In the event of a major state or national emergency, 911 may be so clogged up that in order to get a quicker response, it might be better to just contact your local police directly. 

Coast Guard  – if you are on a shoreline, major lake or river, the Coast Guard might be a life saving resource for you and your family. Even if you are quite a ways inland and are running out of other options, the Coast Guard has helicopters with a range of hundreds of miles. 

Your Doctor – This number is elementary and one you probably already have listed! If not, do it today. List your doctor’s office number, and their cell number if you have it. 

Nearby hospitals – I have the three closest hospitals in my contacts. If there are multiple numbers available for the hospital, it will be good to have the emergency room office line in your phone. If you know doctors or nurses personally at those hospitals, be sure to list their cell phone or office numbers as well. 

Local EMS – In some places, the ambulance is separate from the FD and PD. Take the time to find out if you have a separate ambulance service in your community. 

Poison Control – Find your Regional Poison Control Center and enter the number. Did you know that every 13 seconds, the U.S. Poison Centers receive a call about someone being exposed to poison? Over 50% of these emergencies involve a child under five years of age. Your regional poison control center is an essential contact for being able to provide calm and immediate advice for how to deal with a poisoning case. Not all poisoning treatment is the same. Always consult the experts. 

Veterinarian – Don’t forget your four-legged friends and their needs. 

Water company – This is a useful number to have for calling about broken water mains and botched bills. Call your water company to get more information if you have a boil water alert or another contaminated water issue. 

Power company – A useful number to have in your phone to report power outages. 

Tow truck – List a few local tow companies as well as your AAA number if you are a member. If you aren’t a member, consider joining today. It can be as low as $40 a year for a one year membership, and provides complimentary roadside assistance if you break down or get in an accident.

Animal control – Stray dogs and cats can be a problem. Animal control can give you information about helping, shelters and other wildlife issues you may have. There appears to be a mountain lion frequenting the new property I’m moving to. Animal control has been very helpful with information. They will also send an officer to your property if there’s a dangerous situation involving wild animals. Remember, if you have a large dead or dying wild animal on your property, or one behaving strangely, it could have rabies. Do not attempt to deal with it yourself. Contact animal control for advice.

Locksmith – Don’t forget the locksmith! If you get caught without a reputable locksmith, you will likely get ripped off. If there’s no locksmith available and you’re in an emergency situation and find yourself locked out, then you’ll need to manage on your own. Here’s some basic tips on how to break into your own house.

Next door neighbors – Get to know your neighbors and exchange numbers. They will be a big asset to you in an emergency. Extreme disasters can bring out the best and worst of individuals. Mostly, they will reveal people for who they really are. It can be helpful to know who a person really is already, so take my advice and get to know your neighbors better! 

Insurance agent – Find out who to call in case you have an accident or home damage.  Some companies use a main incident reporting number separate from your local agent.  List both.

Co-workers – Feeling sick and need to let them know about that project that’s hanging around on your desk? Be a team player and give them a heads up. If the internet is down, your co-workers can be a good resource for collaboration, working from home, or just figuring out whether your office is still open for business!

Boss – Feeling sick? Or just taking a day off? Either way, you want to have your boss’ number on your cell phone and written down somewhere. If you get extremely sick or are otherwise incapacitated, having your boss’ number written down will make it easier for friends, family, or neighbors to call on your behalf and make sure you don’t get fired for not showing up to work!

Family – You probably have your immediate family member’s phone numbers memorized. If not, surely they are already in your cell phone. But be sure to add their numbers to the list that you store in your 72 hour emergency kit. It is also important to add out-of-state relatives’ numbers to the list in your kit. These could be absolute life savers if you need to flee your region and head to higher or safer ground.


Items You Absolutely Need to Buy at Thrift Stores

Seasonal Decor.  Much of my holiday decor has also been bought at thrift stores.  Sometimes I get it so cheap I buy it before the holiday and then donate it after!

Books.  I buy books to read, books to decorate with, and even books that are falling apart.  The pages can be used for other projects or illustrations pulled out to frame.  And speaking of frames…

Frames.  Most of the frames in my house have come from thrift stores.  I use them as they were intended, to hold photos, or for other purposes, like displaying jewelry.  You can also turn them into inspiration boards, chalkboards, magnet boards, or bulletin boards.  I like to paint the more ornate ones. 

Furniture.   We’ve bought kitchen and dining tables, end tables, china cabinets, chairs, and even a couch at thrift stores.  For some reason, some stores around us always seem to have better furniture. 

Salt and Pepper Shakers.  I buy salt and pepper shakers all the time for 25-50 cents.  The only time I’ve ever paid more than $1 is for some really fancy crystal shakers.  

Dishes.  Especially vintage dishes!  My hubby loves brown drip pottery so that’s one of the things I’m always looking for.

Glasses, Cups, Mugs.  As long as they don’t have chips or cracks these can be washed and even bleached before you use them.  Or plant some succulents in them!

Leather Belts.  Buy them to wear but don’t pass up old worn out belts either.  They can be made into bracelets or used as straps on totes or bags.

Leather Purses, Bags, Totes.  My daughter is really good at finding these on our thrifting shopping adventures.  One of my all-time favorite purses was found at a thrift store. 

Candlesticks.  I think I see candlesticks every time I go to the thrift store.  Glass, metal, wood, ceramic, silver… just about any material you can think of.  Think outside the box for these, too.  Don’t just use them for candles.  You can glue plates or pie tins on top to make your own cake or cookie display.

Toys.  IF they have a hard surface that can be bleached.  Or vintage toys that can be cleaned but they won’t be played with by kids.

Tools.  I don’t really look for tools anymore since I don’t have a garage to store them in.  Look for power tools, hand tools, and garden tools.


What to do with expired items that are still good

For purposes of this post, the term “expired” describes foods or items that are way past their expiration date, sell-by date or use-by date – old but still usable and not downright rotten.

Trust your senses of sight and smell. If the color or texture has dramatically changed or if it smells bad or different from how it used to smell, go ahead and throw it in your compost pile.

Here are some useful tips for putting expired foods and items to good use.


Shine stainless steel. Use your old mayonnaise to buff stainless steel appliances until fingerprints, marks and smudges are gone and the shine is restored.

Squeaky hinges. At the first sign of a squeak, slather your old mayo onto the hinge using your finger, then open and shut the object several times to get it worked into the squeaky hinge. Just use a paper towel or clean cloth to wipe up any excess mayo.

Remove sticker residue. Use your old mayo to remove stickers from containers you want to repurpose. First, remove as much of the sticker as you can then cover the remaining sticker and residue with a thick layer of mayo.

Let it sit for a few minutes so the fat or oil in the mayo can start to dissolve the adhesive. When the adhesive has dissolved enough, rub the rest of the sticker or its residue off with your fingers or a sponge.

Manicure treatment. Before your next home manicure, try soaking your nails in a shallow dish of your old mayo to soften and moisturize your cuticles. By doing so, your nails will also get a boost of protein for added strength.

Greek yogurt

You can use past-its-prime Greek yogurt to make an exfoliating face mask. Greek yogurt is packed with lactic acid, which helps exfoliate dead skin cells to reveal brighter skin underneath.

In a small bowl, stir together two tablespoons of Greek yogurt and one tablespoon of honey. Apply the mixture to your face in an even layer, let it sit for 15 minutes, then wash it off with warm water.

Stale bread

You can easily use stale bread to make baked French toast, bread crumbs, croutons or panzanella.

To make appetizing croutons: Cut your bread into cubes, spread it on a baking sheet and drizzle with oil. Season with salt and pepper and add herbs of your choosing. Bake them for about ten minutes and enjoy them on top of a soup or as a finger food starter with a yummy spread.

Ground coffee

If your ground coffee has gotten stale, you can still put it to good use as a face scrub! Coffee is packed with antioxidants and has an astringent effect, a combination that can help nourish and tone your skin.

Just mix your stale ground coffee with enough milk to form a paste. Rub the coffee paste onto your skin for a minute or so, let it sit for about 20 minutes, then rinse clean.

Overripe fruit

Blend soft, ripe fruit with your favorite milk to make a healthy smoothie or sugar-free popsicles for your kids.

Alternatively, you can make fruit-infused water by adding mint and citrus. This can help you drink more water and and cut down on store-bought sugary drinks and juices.

Citrus peels

Use citrus peels to make a multi-purpose cleaning detergent. Collect a bunch of citrus peels in a glass container filled with vinegar and let them soak for 14 days to extract the essential oil from the peels.

Remove the peels and add them to your compost pile. Pour the liquid into a spray bottle and use it to clean surfaces naturally.

Used cooking oil

Lamp oil. Household oil lamps can be powered using used cooking oil. The process is really quite simple: You need a container, a wick and a metal lid. The used oil can fuel the lamp on its own.

Lubricants. Spent oil is often used as lubricants for various household products. They are good for smoothing lock-and-key mechanisms, as well as creaky hinges and other things. Spent oil can also be used to help deter rust from accumulating.

Paint remover. Paint is a substance that can be tremendously difficult to strip off surfaces or wash off your hands. Used cooking oil is great for removing paint from different surfaces.

Car cleaning material. You can use spent oil to remove dirt and other debris from the surface of cars and trucks. Simply pour the oil onto a rag or towel and apply it to the area that you are trying to clean. The oil will help strip the dirt or sticky substance off the surface of your car. It can also be used for other parts of the car under the hood.

Eye shadow

There’s a chance that your makeup goes bad even before its expiration date. Powder eye shadow lasts for two to three years whereas cream-based, water-based or other types of eye shadows that contain oil have a shorter shelf life.

Writing. Create different writings by using glittery, solid colors. This DIY is just so easy to make: Just mix your crushed ‘expired’ eye shadow and cleansing oil to make colored ink for writing.

Drawing. Expired eye shadow can also be used like paint to create a unique artwork. Simply crush and mix your chosen eye shadow color with a watercolor binder for about one minute.

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Natural alternatives to OTC drugs for your survival medicine cabinet

An essential component when it comes to building your preparedness arsenal is stocking up on over-the-counter (OTC) drugs that effectively address a wide range of medical issues – from alleviating allergies and pain, managing respiratory and intestinal infections and tackling various other ailments.

It is worth noting that there are natural alternatives to OTC drugs when SHTF events disrupt their availability. Explore some of the key options you can stockpile.


Affordable and available in every pharmacy, acetaminophen, ibuprofen and aspirin are OTC analgesics that relieve minor pain from headaches, muscle aches, toothaches and menstrual cramps and reduce fever as well. Ibuprofen and aspirin are both classified as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).

Here are some natural alternatives to analgesics:

Ginger. Although this spice is often administered to stop nausea and vomiting, it is also effective when it comes to pain relief. Ginger is both an analgesic that has some powerful anti-inflammatory compounds, and an antioxidant that acts to fight pain on a cellular level. Ginger works for everything from headaches to muscle aches, menstrual cramps to joint pain. Try some ginger tea with honey rather than ibuprofen for your next headache.

Cayenne pepper. These spicy little veggies are one of Mother Nature’s most healing substances and are great at pain relief. The effective ingredient in cayenne pepper, capsaicin, stops the body from making “substance P” – the neuropeptide that sends pain signals to your brain.

Turmeric. Turmeric has become a popular “cure all” but it has actually been used for thousands of years. Turmeric works the same way as cayenne pepper as it stops substance P from reaching the brain and signaling pain. Turmeric is a super powerful anti-inflammatory, as well, so it works well for stopping arthritis and other types of joint pain.

Eugenol. Eugenol is a chemical that is found in cloves, nutmeg, bay leaf, basil and cinnamon. Cloves are a common remedy to stop toothaches, but these can help with other types of pain as well. Eugenol inhibits the COX-2 enzyme, which is the enzyme that initiates the inflammation process. Taking essential oils that contain eugenol can naturally stop inflammation and pain.

Omega-3s. Flax seed oil, cod liver, chia, hemp and fish oils are a very reliable defense against pain, especially for those with neck or back pain, and those suffering from arthritis. The omega-3 fatty acids that are found in these oils break down prostaglandin, which is a pro-inflammatory hormone. Studies have found that consuming omega-3s cut the amount of NSAID use by as much as two-thirds for those with neck or back pain and as much as one-third for those suffering from arthritis pain.


OTC antibiotic ointments are applied to the site of the injury to prevent infection. However, it’s important to note that triple antibiotic ointment is not sufficient for curing deep infections; oral or intravenous antibiotics are required in such cases. Immediate application of the ointment after an injury significantly reduces the risk of infection. Apply the ointment three to four times a day.

Here are some affordable, effective and safe natural antibiotics you can use.

Garlic. Cultures across the world have long recognized garlic for its preventive and curative powers. Research has found that garlic can be an effective treatment against many forms of bacteria, including Salmonella and Escherichia coli. Garlic has even been considered for use against multi-drug-resistant tuberculosis.

Honey. Since the time of Aristotle, honey has been used as an ointment that helps wounds to heal and prevents or draws out infection. The antibacterial effects of honey are usually attributed to its hydrogen peroxide content. But manuka honey can still fight off bacteria, even though it has a lower hydrogen peroxide content. Healthcare professionals today have found it helpful in treating chronic wounds, burns, ulcers, bedsores and skin grafts.

Oregano. Some believe that oregano boosts the immune system and acts as an antioxidant. It may have anti-inflammatory properties.

While researchers have yet to verify these claims, some studies show that oregano is among the more effective natural antibiotics, particularly when it is made into an oil.


Given the high likelihood of food and water contamination issues in the aftermath of a disaster, loperamide is an essential medication to include in your survival medicine cabinet as an antidiarrheal.

The usual dosage is two tablets (4 mg) after the first loose bowel movement, followed by one tablet (2 mg) after each subsequent loose bowel movement. The maximum intake within 24 hours should not exceed four tablets (8 mg). Additionally, consider stocking rehydration salts, a vital mix of electrolytes that can be added to water to restore balance.

Here are some powerful medicinal plants for treating diarrhea that doesn’t require a trip to the pharmacy and OTC medications:

Guava. All varieties of this medicinal plant are an excellent source of vitamin C, dietary fiber, flavonoids, tannins, saponins, phenols, pectin, carotenoids, triterpenes, lectins, essential oils, vitamin A and fatty acids. The leaves, fruits and bark of the guava tree have been considered effective for medicinal purposes – traditionally for treating gastroenteritis, diarrhea and other digestive problems has been proven in various clinical studies. The efficacy of guava leaf extract in diarrhea, gastroenteritis and dysentery treatment is also attributed to its antibacterial properties.

Guava leaves extract also helps to soothe the intestinal smooth muscle, thus hindering the chemical processes present in diarrhea. This soothing nature of the guava leaves extracts facilitates the easy re-absorption of water in the intestines.

Soursop. This evergreen has been recorded as among the list of valuable fruits that are highly beneficial to human health. Both the soursop drink and pulp have been reported to contain reasonable amounts of vitamins, minerals and nutrients that are health-promoting. Both the leaves, stems and barks are equally medicinal in nature.

The fruit and leaves can be used for treating gastrointestinal diseases such as stomach pains and diarrhea. The leaves can be squeezed and decocted in hot water, which is taken as an herbal remedy for stopping diarrhea.

Yarrow. This perennial plant that produces one or multiple stems contains tannins – thus effective for stopping diarrhea and dysentery. Yarrow’s sterile and anti-inflammatory features make it effective for treating diarrhea. The yellow yarrow flowers can be infused and taken as a tea.

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Two Ways to Store Coffee Long-Term

Like most people, I love coffee. I drink a cup almost every day, but some people require much more of it to stay satisfied. Coffee is a necessity for people from all walks of life and is something that preppers should consider storing for themselves or for trade.

Here are 2 ways that preppers can store coffee:

  • Purchase long shelf life “survival coffee”
  • Store and rotate canned coffee

While storing coffee isn’t as easy as other essentials, it can be done with a little basic knowledge. Here are some ways that preppers can store coffee and some things they need to be aware of to make sure that their coffee stays fresh and ready for use.

Coffee Storage Method 1: Survival Coffee (Easiest Way)

The easiest way for preppers to store coffee is to buy “survival coffee”. Like many other popular survival foods, survival coffee is freeze-dried and made for long-term storage. While some may be skeptical of freeze-dried coffee with an extended shelf life, both of the examples below are very highly rated. Also, in an emergency, even coffee snobs will be glad to get their hands on any coffee they can.

Franklin’s Finest Survival Coffee

The first brand of freeze-dried survival coffee is Franklin’s Finest Survival Coffee. It boasts a 25-year shelf life and contains 100% Columbian coffee. Similar to common types of store-bought instant coffee, all you have to do is add hot water. The exact ratio is 1 rounded teaspoon of coffee per 6 ounces of water.

Each order includes 720 servings, which My Patriot Supply claims is enough for one person per year. This assumes that the average person will drink two 6-ounce cups per day. If you are a heavy coffee drinker or like your coffee strong, this figure may not be accurate. Franklin’s Survival Coffee is easy to store and transport thanks to its included plastic tote which holds 12 resealable packages.

You can find Franklin’s Finest Survival Coffee by clicking here.

Current Prices (My Patriot Supply)

  • Regular price: $147.00 ($0.20 per cup)
  • Sale Price $67.00 ($0.09 per cup)

Legacy Food Storage Ground Coffee

The second brand of freeze-dried coffee is Legacy Food Storage’s Ground Coffee. It has a shelf life of 10-15 years and contains Brazilian arabica beans. Each bucket contains 350 servings and includes a French Press.

Current Prices

  • Regular Price: $225 ($0.64 per cup)
  • Sale Price: $196.00 ($0.56 per cup)

Coffee Storage Method 2: Traditional Coffee

Another way that preppers can store coffee is by purchasing regular store-bought canned and instant coffee. This type of coffee will need to be stored and rotated similar to other types of food storage. 

Instant Coffee

The first type of “normal” coffee that preppers can store is instant coffee. This is the coffee that you add hot water to and stir. While some varieties may not taste as good and be more expensive per cup than their “coffee pot” counterparts, they do have some advantages.

The first advantage of using instant coffee is that you don’t need any special equipment to prepare it. As long as you have a small container to heat some water, you are good to go. The second advantage is that instant coffee is very portable. Most containers of instant coffee can easily fit in a bug out bag. Instant coffee, since it is freeze-dried has a longer shelf life than canned coffee. Folgers instant coffee can last up to 720 days, which is nearly two years.

Current prices:

  • Folgers Instant Coffee: $7.73 per 12 ounces ($0.04 per cup)
  • Maxwell House Instant Coffee: $5.29 per 8 ounces ($0.04 per cup)

Canned Coffee

The second type of “normal” coffee that preppers can store is canned coffee, which is what most of us probably grew up on. Before Keurig changed how we prepare coffee, you would scoop coffee out of the can, dump it into a filter placed into the coffee maker, and pour hot water into the machine.

The main advantages of this type of coffee are its price and taste. Canned coffee is slightly cheaper than instant coffee, although it may cost a little more than if you grind your own. If left unopened, canned coffee (Folgers) has a shelf life of 450 days.

Current Prices:

  • Folgers Classic Roast: $9.96 per 48 ounces ($0.03 per cup)
  • Maxwell House Original Roast: $8.76 per 42.5 ounces ($0.03 per cup)

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Is your car EMP-ready?

An electromagnetic pulse (EMP) is one of the by-products of a nuclear detonation.

It is an invisible pulse that spreads out at the speed of light and is very disruptive. An EMP can also be lethal to certain electronic components.

If you are worried about transportation after an EMP attack, you should learn how to make your car EMP-ready. You can also start looking into other transportation alternatives so you can travel after SHTF.

Modern cars may be vulnerable to an EMP attack

An EMP attack can potentially shut down some, if not all, of your electronics. It can also fry the components.

But how will an EMP affect your car?

Before 1980, vehicles were mainly mechanical machines paired with electrical systems. After 1980, vehicles started to incorporate features like computers and electronic components.

Computers and their components are more sensitive to EMP’s effects than a simple electrical wire.

As technology advanced, computers and their components became more and more integrated into a vehicle. Those components also continued to become smaller, making them more sensitive.

This means that if an EMP attack happens and your vehicle is in the area, a modern vehicle will be instantly shut down, maybe even permanently.

Preparing transportation for an EMP attack

If you’re worried about an EMP attack, the best thing to do is to get the oldest vehicle you can find because the older the car, the fewer electronic components it will have.

But this may vary depending on the type and year of the vehicle since it may still be susceptible to the effects of an EMP, but not to the same degree as a newer car.

To illustrate, a car from 1980 might only have several components that would need to be replaced after an EMP event compared to a newer car from 2019 which might need more components replaced.

You should also remember that older cars would be easier to work on than newer cars. 

But owning a car from the right decade isn’t enough.

If you want to prepare for an EMP attack, you also need to stock up on spare parts, fluids, tools and fuel. After all, there’s no point in investing time and money in finding a vehicle that can survive an EMP attack if you don’t have the tools you need to keep it running after the first tank of fuel runs out or it needs to be repaired.

The car and spare parts should also be shielded using the principles of a Faraday cage.

You also need to start learning how to maintain and repair your older car since you don’t want to be driving around your neighborhood with the only working vehicle and looking for a mechanic.

This seems intimidating at first, but many common car maintenance issues aren’t too hard difficult to learn about or fix.

What are the best EMP-ready cars?

When looking for an EMP-ready car, look for something with the least amount of electrical components.

You don’t want electrical components and computers controlling primary functions like pumps or and fuel injection. You also look for an option with simple functions like lights, locks and windows.

Note that cars are broken down into two broad categories: Utility cars and non-utility cars, or passenger cars.

Utility vehicles include jeeps and trucks. These types of cars are better for driving off-road, hauling supplies and towing. They are not designed for comfort, speed, or transporting a lot of passengers.

Utility vehicles may also consume more fuel than passenger cars.

Non-utility vehicles or passenger cars include almost all other vehicles, such as compact cars, station wagons and sports cars. Non-utility vehicles are designed for comfort, transporting more passengers, or speed. Unlike most utility vehicles, they often have better fuel mileage.

You should get a non-utility vehicle if you are sure that your car will always be driven on smooth, even or paved roadways.

Many people may disagree with this but when SHTF, the comfort and speed offered by non-utility vehicles shouldn’t be a big concern because your drives will often be uncomfortable and the roads may be bumpy.

The speed or the acceleration of your car is something to consider, especially if you think you will need to escape dangers or threats. However, lack of speed can be compensated for in other ways.

There isn’t a right type of car to choose since the answer will depend on your circumstances and what you will be using the car for. But if you can’t choose, it would be better to invest in a utility car.

When trying to decide what car to get, here are some things to remember:

  • What year is it?
  • Are parts for the car still available?
  • How easy is it to work on?
  • Will it serve your prepping and survival needs?
  • Where do you plan on primarily driving it?

Other transportation alternatives

Here are some options to consider if you are looking for three transportation alternatives that will not be affected by an EMP.


Bicycles are a great alternative mode of transportation. They are affordable, and you can buy one for your whole family for less than what a new car would cost.

Spare parts for bikes are relatively cheap and they don’t take up much space. meaning you can stockpile a lot of spare parts before SHTF.

Bikes are easier to work on and repair, especially if you are bugging out. They also won’t run out of fuel as long as you are strong enough to pedal.

If needed, your bike can pull carts behind them. There are also several ways to attach supplies to them.

Bikes are silent and they can be ridden over different terrains, both in urban environments and more rural settings.

Boat or canoe

Depending on your location, you can also travel after an EMP by boat or canoe.

Check the rivers, lakes and large streams near your property to see if any of your alternate bug-out routes after an EMP would be faster by water.

You should also have a plan for a viable way to get your boat or canoe from your home to the water. Lastly, prepare your gear and supplies with waterproof clothing and waterproof bags so you’ll be fine even after an accidental capsize.

Horses, mules and wagons

If you prefer something that requires no fuel or maintenance, you should consider a horse or mule and wagons.

While this option won’t work for everyone’s current situation and it can entail a lot of work, it is very dependable.

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GRID DOWN: Things you need to do to survive long-term blackouts

Grids are collapsing due to natural disasters, and it won’t be long before cities experience blackouts. Here is a list of things you need to do to prepare for a grid down scenario.

Accept the reality

There are many who believe that a future blackout impacting the U.S. is a matter of “if” and not “when,” and that’s exactly why preparations are so important. No one really knows what’s going to happen in the future.

Build your survival stockpile

Grow your own food and medicine. Create a sustainable survival garden, if you haven’t already.

Store the following and have extras:

  • Water, which is as crucial as food, if you want to survive.
  • Must-have healthy shelf-stable foods that you and your family already eat in daily life like whole grains, canned/preserved fruits, vegetables, meat, fish and poultry.
  • Storable staple foods, including salt, honey, apple cider vinegar, baking soda and coconut oil.
  • Special “survival food” that you don’t tear open until an emergency, such as MRE (meals, ready-to-eat) rations
  • First aid medical supplies, including prescription medicines required by members of your family, over-the-counter must-have medications, sanitizers, antibacterial substances and medical supplies.
  • Cash. You would be wise to have an emergency fund of cash at your home – at least $1,000 in a variety of $20, $10, $5 and $1 bills would be smart.
  • Barter items. Keep in mind that cash could potentially become useless too and bartering could take the place of cash in a long enough blackout. For this reason, consider building up a stash of barter items that you can exchange for your specific needs.
  • Alternative power and heating sources.
  • Survival library.
  • Other items, such as items and tools that do not run on electricity – kitchen tools (manual can openers, hand-cranked grain grinder), general handyman tools (hand drills, hand saws), gardening tools and more.

Learn prepping skills

Make a list of things you consider important to your prepping and also things you would like to learn.

It can be cooking, food preservation and preparation, gardening, basic first aid for home emergencies, sewing or something you – or any of your family members – could turn into a side job at some point to help with the finances.

Simulate a grid-down experience at home and practice your skills

Prepping is all about how well you can survive when all your comforts are taken away. Try to perform your activities when resources and conveniences are limited. As always, start easy, use common sense and adapt accordingly.

Plan how to deal with trash and sewage

You basically only have two options to deal with sewage in a long-term blackout: burning it or burying it. A good policy to follow will be to dispose of the waste in black garbage bags, seal the bags shut, and then dig them a minimum of four feet underground at 250 feet away from your home and any source of water.

Protect yourself, your family and your home

People are simply going to go crazy during a long-term blackout. Fortify your home before it’s too late and consider learning (and being good) at using self-defense weapons during a societal breakdown.

`Keep your survival stash secret`

And finally, trust no one. Do not inform everybody and anybody in your daily life that you are a prepper and keep your stockpiles a secret. Otherwise, you’ll be posting a huge target on your back.

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TUTORIAL: How To Use Your Tactical Flashlight As a Self-Defense Tool

Reasons To Carry A Tactical Flashlight As Your Main Self-Defense Tool

1. Can use it for less than lethal deadly force (this will go far when appearing in front of a judge while in a foreign land).

2. It is built of sturdy, lasting material (usually aircraft grade aluminum, textured gripping area).

3. It gives me a better grip than my tactical pen (a flashlight is more robust than a pen, easier to grab & hold onto).

4. It is affordable, even on a tight budget (many options on the market especially if you are less worried about the illumination capability).

5. It has more substance to grasp when drawing it (it has a much wider form factor).

6. It is less scrutinized anywhere, won’t bring attention -even in Disneyland 😉 (a flashlight does not generally set off an alarm in people’s mind).

7. If you practice with a blade or pen, the movements are the same with the flashlight(a flashlight is primarily used with a reverse grip but can also work in a forward grip).

8. It is conveniently carried in your pocket just like a folder (no need to worry about security questioning or frisking -“it’s just a flashlight, officer”).

9. It has a practical use as an illumination device (extremely convenient to have an illumination device on you for countless reasons).

10. It has more surface area for self-defense striking (a pen has a very narrow point, and the flashlight has a wider area that allows you to fair better against your target).

11. Do not need to be a self-defense expert to use it (using natural movements while practicing will make you proficient faster than you think).

Practical Flashlight Striking Exercise

Find something that you can strike with your tactical flashlight.

If you have a heavy bag, great! If not, try to find something with similar attributes: A mattress, hang a foam pillow, stuff an old gym bag and hang it, etc. Use something that will not damage your flashlight. I would even put some electrical tape around the edges of the flashlight, as an added measure, to help protect it.

When you deploy these strikes, think about going at 70% of your maximum effort.

This will help the nervous system learn the information that you are feeding it and also keep you from damaging yourself and your gear. It is a good idea to get yourself checked out by your doctor and make sure that you are good to go for this type of physical activity.

Get in front of your striking target and draw your flashlight from your pocket or your other carrying position. Starting with a reverse-grip from the draw, naturally throw 10 backhand strikes at your target. Repeat 10 more times using your other hand.

Place your flashlight back into your preferred carrying position and draw into the forward-grip. Practice 10 strikes/stabs with your right hand. Place the flashlight back in your pocket and repeat the exercises using your other hand.

If you wear gloves, repeat the full exercise using gloves.

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4 Medicines Every Prepper Should Stockpile

In an emergency or grid-down scenario, pharmacies are generally the first establishments targeted for looting. Unfortunately, this has been seen numerous times during natural disasters, riots and other public outbursts.

So, what can you do if you can’t safely get to your local CVS to get the medicine you need to survive?

Being prepared means stocking up on all the items you may need should you find yourself in a precarious situation, that includes medications that can save your life.

While everyone will require different things, there are some items that should always be held in your stockpile.

Over-The-Counter medications, or OTCs, are the easiest medicines to get your hands on as they do not require a prescription. Thus, OTC medications should be added to your stock early and rotated regularly.

1. Pain Medications

While OTC pain medicines are generally less effective than prescription painkillers, they can help alleviate some of the side effects of injury and take the edge off.

OTC pain medications include Tylenol, Advil, or Naproxen, which treat pain and inflammation.

Although these medications are prevalent, and you may have a small supply on hand, chances are you do not have a significant stockpile – though you should. These medications are commonly overlooked or understocked by preppers.

Furthermore, even if you have some stored in your preparedness kit, you can quickly run out if you are injured or under stress. Having too much medication is always better than not enough.

2. Antiemetics

Antiemetics are anti-diarrhea and anti-nausea medicines. These include products such as Pepto Bismol and Imodium.

In an emergency, you are more likely to encounter contaminated water that can lead to an upset stomach. Additionally, nausea or diarrhea may be caused by a change of diet. Regardless of the cause, these medications can be a lifesaver and should be a part of your stockpile.

Storing these medications in pill form rather than liquid whenever possible is better. It is also a good idea to stock some stool softeners and laxatives.

3. Cold And Flu Medicine

Treating a cold or flu is something we often take for granted. When we feel a cold coming on, we run out to the pharmacy for some Sudafed. However, these simple trips may not be safe or possible in an emergency. Therefore, stocking some cold and flu medication is a good idea so that you have it available when you need it.

4. Antibiotics

In any emergency, infection poses the most significant risk to your health and safety.

Typically, if we get an infection, we visit the doctor, take some antibiotics, and continue unfazed. Unfortunately, an infection can quickly become severe without a doctor or pharmacy access. Furthermore, in a crisis even a small cut or scrape can be a death sentence.

Infections are powerful and they continue to end lives even today. Infections of various types have been a top killer throughout history.

Stocking up on antibiotics is your best defense, and it is an excellent way to be prepared. However, unlike OTCs, antibiotics can be challenging to acquire.

In fact, it is getting more and more difficult to get your hands on antibiotics, and some regions are regulating and limiting their use. If possible, keep a few prescribed antibiotics on hand or look for alternatives.

Note: Most fish or aquarium stores will sell antibiotic products.

However, there is a safety concern, and we do not condone using these unless it is a dire emergency.

Furthermore, be sure to do research before consumption.

Some companies will prescribe emergency supplies of antibiotics, and you can keep them on hand for use in an emergency.

Apart from these four medicines, here’s what you shouldn’t forget about:

Daily Medications

One of the most significant barriers we will face during a crisis is accessing required daily medications. For example, blood pressure pills and insulin are usually only prescribed in small amounts and refilled monthly.

Should a crisis arise that prevents you from refilling these medications, the consequences could be fatal.

While it can be complicated to stock up on these products, and doctors are not likely to prescribe an emergency supply, it is still a good idea to plan and find a way to safely store or access these things if needed.

Home Remedies

Home remedies have been used for thousands of years to treat various ailments, and these treatments could be a lifesaver in an emergency.

Turmeric is an excellent example of an effective home remedy. It has been widely used for centuries and is backed by scientific evidence supporting its use in treating pain and inflammation.

While turmeric may be less effective than a painkiller, drinking turmeric tea daily can significantly reduce pain.

Research the most common home remedies and ensure you store at least a few for an emergency. It is important to remember that just because something is labeled as all-natural does not mean it is always safe. Use any remedy with caution.

While you can’t prepare for everything, you can be as prepared as possible. Stocking up on medications should be at the top of your to-do list if you are new to prepping and should always be an aspect of your routine if you are a veteran.

This is not a comprehensive list of medications you should store for an emergency. Instead, it is meant to make you think about the types of things you may require should SHTF.

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Yet Another (Rational) Reason to Prep

***Sudden disasters vs. gradual decline

It’s easier to think about the sudden disasters — the big storm, sudden nuclear attack, or whatever could take us from normal life to a complete breakdown in minutes or days.

In some ways it’s easier to plan for those sudden events. You’ve got your bug out bag, your retreat plan, food stash, etc. You’re ready to take on the sudden hysteria.

But what about a slower decline? Too many people overlook the extremely valuable role of prepping for these “boiling frog” scenarios.

For example, you might want to get off the grid so that if North Korea suddenly attacks, you’re ready. But that same prep will benefit you if the cost of energy grows 20% per year or the grid infrastructure gets so bad that there are frequent blackouts.

Our research shows that for a random person, the chance of a sudden disaster and the chance of a meaningful decline in the systems around them (like food and water) or personal emergencies like sudden and long unemployment is about the same.

Sometimes one topic, like flooding, can be both sudden and gradual. If you live near sea level on the coastline, storms and climate change create the very real risks of both a sudden flood and a gradual erosion of the coast, which results in economic disaster (home prices tank) and displacement (where will all those people go?)

We’re admittedly making some educated guesses. Because of the last few decades of relative peace and prosperity — and by sweeping the underlying costs under the rug — people have just assumed things are getting better. Since we’re looking forward into the future rather than only using historical data, we are piecing together estimates and predictions from various experts and subjects.

It’s reasonable to look at recent events as a proxy for the kinds of slow decline issues we’re likely to face. A few examples:

  • Generally worse weather. Most places on the planet are seeing year-over-year changes in their climate. More heat, more cold, more flooding, less rain, etc.
  • Water. The recent problems in Flint, Michigan and Austin, Texas are perfect examples of thousands of people being left without dependable access to clean water.
  • Food. The industrialization of our food system is quite literally killing us. Recent trends around local and organic food and advancements in tech like indoor farming are great. But there could still be situations where a local food supply is tainted, food flies off the shelves due to an emergency, crop and livestock yields suddenly drop due to weird weather or water issues, etc.
  • Declining fundamentals of a free society. Between the erosion of net neutrality, the invasiveness of government spying, gridlock in Washington, and an uneducated voting base, we may find ourselves without the fundamentals need for a free and prospering society.
  • Post-work economy. Many argue we’re already in this phase, but it’s still so early that most people don’t yet have the benefit of hindsight to know it’s happening. It’s getting harder for an average person to work a fair balance and provide for a middle-class family life. As that formerly-dependable engine starts to sputter, there will be a gradual decline of take-home pay and higher levels of chronic unemployment / underemployment.

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A self-sufficient legacy: Useful prepping skills to teach the next generation

The prepping lifestyle requires hard work and discipline. If you have children, you can help them prepare before SHTF by starting them young and teaching them useful skills like gardening and cooking.

Instead of just letting them waste time on their smartphones and computers, teaching children useful skills can help them grow up into self-sufficient adults.

As a prepper, think about your life and list the practical prepping and survival skills you’ve learned as you got older. 

These useful prepping skills can help your children become independent preppers before SHTF:

Animal husbandry

If you have experience caring for livestock, you can share your knowledge with your children or grandchildren.

Children are naturally drawn to animals, and learning how to care for other living creatures like chickens, ducks, goats or even honeybees can help teach them a sense of responsibility and compassion.

Teaching kids how to care for different kinds of animals can also help them understand the importance of meeting the needs of another creature and sensitivity toward its needs.

Cooking and baking

If children at home are old enough, you can also teach them simple recipes so they can start cooking and baking.

This useful life skill isn’t just good for an emergency scenario, it can help them as they get older because cooking meals at home is one way to save money on food and dining out.

Teach them some of your favorite recipes so they can cook these special dishes for their own families even after you are gone. Before SHTF, it can help to teach children and grandchildren basic cooking and baking skills like how to cook from scratch and bake a loaf of bread.

Not sure how to start? Here are some tips on how to teach kids of different ages how to cook and bake:

Children under three years old

Kids this age can be tricky because they’re still very young, but you can start fostering an appreciation of food and cooking by letting them help with simple tasks, like washing produce.

If your child wants to help, let them wash the fruits and vegetables. Have some clean towels ready, and let them try a salad spinner.

Kids aged three to five

Kids in this age bracket can start learning some simple knife skills. Make sure to keep things safe in the kitchen by giving them a dull knife.

A three-year-old can practice their knife skills by cutting soft foods like cucumbers or strawberries with a butter knife or a plastic knife.

Teach them how to hold a knife: By the handle only, and not touching the blade. Make sure they also know how to pass a knife from one person to another safely: Point the handle toward the person you’re passing it to, with the blade pointing away from them.

Kids aged six to eight

Kids in this age group can start with some actual cooking skills.

First, teach them the basics of using a stove, but always with your supervision. Let them practice turning the stove off and on.

Teach them how to cook scrambled eggs and other simple “recipes,” like sandwiches and salads.

Have a pot holder or dry dish towel ready in case you need to touch hot pan handles.

Kids aged eight to 10 

Kids eight and older may be ready to handle a sharp knife, with supervision. Keep in mind that you are the best judge of your child’s readiness to handle sharp kitchen tools.

You can teach kids how to bread food, like veggies or chicken tenders in flour. Use this time to teach them how to fry food. If they want to help with meal planning, let them.


Gardening takes time, patience and knowledge gained through the years of working in your garden.

Teaching kids how to care for a garden ensures that they also spend more time outdoors, under warm sunshine as they enjoy the fresh air.

You can also help them plant, grow and harvest their favorite vegetables.

You can avoid big messes by starting small. For example, you can teach younger children to plant and grow beans in cups placed near sunny windows.

If the children are older, you can help them grow a tomato plant in a pot on the patio.

Choose high-interest plants like cherry tomatoes, which are a tasty snack, or pumpkins, which you can carve by Halloween.

Heritage handicrafts

Not everyone is skilled in handicrafts like crocheting, embroidery, knitting or sewing, and these skills are some of the most useful ones you can teach young children.

As a bonus, these skills produce practical and beautiful results, and they also help improve hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills.

Other fun and useful crafts to try include herbal remedies, soap-making and woodworking.

Home repairs

Basic home repairs like painting a room or fixing a clogged sink or toilet aren’t taught in school, but these skills will be very helpful for young children.

Before you start, make a list of everything you know how to repair, typical home improvement projects and car maintenance.

Choose something that will interest your child, such as painting a room or repairing a bicycle, and ask them to help you.

Nature exploration

Teaching kids about the beauty of nature can also help them appreciate nature exploration activities like bird watching, nature walks and tree identification.

As you explore nature with your family, you can also try fun, educational activities like learning the difference between a squirrel and a chipmunk. These activities will help entertain your kids and teach them observation skills that are important for preppers.

Enjoying the beauty of nature and disconnecting from technology can help foster creativity and curiosity in your children.

Rugged outdoor skills

Exciting outdoor activities like camping, fishing, hiking and cooking over a campfire are great for children who love exploring nature.

Take some time off during weekends and teach your children how to forage for wild edibles while you are camping. With parental supervision, you can also teach them how to cook simple meals over a campfire, with adult supervision to keep them safe.

Using hand tools

Power tools are convenient, but if you want to help your children prepare before SHTF, it’s better to teach them how to use simple hand tools. Knowing how to handle tools like a hammer or a screwdriver is an important skill, especially if you want them to be more independent.

Children may struggle with hand tools at first, but teach them patiently so they can learn how much pressure and leverage to use with different tools. With enough practice, you can even help them with simple projects like a birdhouse or a small wooden stool for their playhouse.

Cultural traditions

Every child comes from a family with a rich heritage of multiple cultures, but not all of them learn about these traditions.

Share important traditions and stories and help pass them along to young children just as they were passed down to you by your parents and grandparents.

Sharing family roots, language, customs and holidays can help preserve them with the next generation.

Good manners and etiquette

This might seem obvious, but not everyone knows about basic good manners and etiquette.

Teach kids about the importance of having good table manners, and tell them to always say please and thank you.

Good manners never go out of style. These skills are subtle, but they make a lasting impression in social settings, at school or the office.

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How Long Does Dehydrated Meat Last?

Dehydrated meats, including beef jerky, only keep for around two weeks in a sealed container stored at room temperature. After that, the National Center for Home Food Preservation recommends refrigerating or freezing it. 

Store-bought dehydrated meats are cooked, dehydrated, and treated with preservatives that help them last longer, but even these will go bad within a couple of months if not stored correctly. 

Dehydrating meat removes the moisture that would otherwise be a hotbed for bacteria and cause it to go rancid. It’s one of the oldest and most effective methods for preserving meat. 

Unfortunately, not even dehydrated meat will last forever and can’t compete with canned meats, some of which can last for years.

Nevertheless, dehydrated meat is an excellent survival food. It’s high in calories and protein, providing a good energy boost while being small, lightweight, and easy to transport. 

What Are Dehydrated Meats?

The most common and popular type of dehydrated meat in the US is beef jerky, which is marinated and cured before drying to enhance the flavor and increase its shelf life. 

However, you can dehydrate almost any meat, including ground beef, elk, ostrich, and lamb. 

Meat with a low-fat content is more suitable for dehydration because the fatty acids in pork and poultry accelerate the degradation process, causing it to go rancid quicker. 

What Causes Dehydrated Meat to Spoil?

Several factors cause dehydrated meat to spoil. Exposure to air brings it into contact with oxygen and moisture, which creates the perfect environment for mold and bacteria to grow. 

Bacteria and mold need water to flourish, so the higher the humidity, the faster the product deteriorates, losing both nutrition and flavor. 

Exposure to heat and light also reduces the shelf life of dehydrated foods, causing fat oxidation and a loss of nutrients. 

How to Tell if Your Dehydrated Meat is Safe to Eat

If there are any signs of mold on your dehydrated meat, it’s unfit for human consumption. Similarly, if it looks, tastes, or feels different from usual, it’s best to discard it. A slimy texture, strange odor, or odd taste are all signs your dehydrated meat has spoiled and is unsafe to eat. 

Eating rancid dehydrated meat can cause food poisoning, the symptoms of which include nausea, headaches, fever, and abdominal pain. 

How to Store Dehydrated Meat 

You should store any dehydrated meat as you would beef jerky: 

  1. In an airtight container with an oxygen absorber
  2. In the fridge 
  3. In the freezer
  4. Vacuum sealed 

Any of these options will extend the shelf life of your dehydrated meat for several months, if not a year.

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Stockpiling Pet Food

Check Expiration Dates

Feeding a nutritious diet is one of the most important things you can do to keep pets healthy and happy. That said, high-quality dog and cat foods are expensive. Knowing how to store pet foods properly can help you reduce waste, prevent food-borne illness, and save you money.

Most types of unopened wet or dry pet food remain fresh for quite a long time. Check the label of your dog or cat food. You should be able to find a best-by or best-before date printed there. While pet foods certainly don’t go bad the day after this date, you also don’t want to buy so much food at one time that you’re still reaching into the same bag months after these dates have passed. Aim to buy a new bag of food at least every four to six weeks.

Never feed your dog or cat foods that appear spoiled or contaminated. Throw out bulging cans or any food that looks or smells “off.” The most common signs of food-borne illnesses are vomiting, diarrhea, poor appetite, and abdominal discomfort.

Keep Pet Food in Sealed Containers

Once pet food has been opened, it rapidly starts to become less fresh—and the risk of contamination starts to increase. This is especially true of wet pet foods. Once you open a can, pouch, or tray of wet food, it can start to spoil within just a few hours at room temperature.

Open containers can be sealed (can covers are a convenient method) and stored in the refrigerator for up to a week. If you need to keep opened wet food longer than this, freeze meal-size portions for several months and thaw them in the refrigerator as you need them.

And while dry foods remain safe at room temperature much longer than wet foods, putting the bag in a sealed container will keep them fresher longer, and protect them from insects, rodents, water, curious animals, and kids. Purchase a pet food container big enough to hold one bag of food but not much more. Minimizing the food’s contact with air and the elements is the best way to keep it fresh.

It’s usually better to place the bag directly into the pet food container rather than dumping the kibble in. Pet food bags are designed to help keep the food fresh, and if you roll the top of the bag over, you essentially get a second layer of protection for free. If you do pour the food into the container keep the bag or take a picture of the label (including the best-by date and UPC) in case of a food recall or other issues.

Ensure Pet Food Bags Are Sealed Tightly

If you don’t want to purchase a pet food container, keep your dog or cat food in the bag it came in. After you’ve scooped out a meal-size serving, tightly roll the open top of the bag and secure it with a bag clip. This will minimize the food’s exposure to air and help keep bugs out. Store the bag off the floor in a cool and dry location.

Keep Food and Treats Secure 

Pet food bags that aren’t stored in a sealed container should be placed in a cupboard so dogs and cats can’t help themselves to extra meals. Use a cabinet latch if you have to!

Don’t forget about treats and flavored medications. These can smell especially enticing and pose a special risk to pets if they get into too much at one time. Decorative treat jars may not do much to keep prying noses and paws out, either. Shatter-resistant, air-tight treat jar options offer more protection. 

Don’t Leave Food Out Too Long

Concerns about safety and freshness don’t end once pet food is in a bowl. In a perfect world, dogs and cats would eat all the food offered to them in one sitting, leaving behind a bowl that has been licked clean—but this isn’t always what happens.

Wet pet foods start to spoil quickly at room temperature. Pick up any uneaten portions of a wet meal after four hours. Dry foods shouldn’t be left out in a bowl for more than 24 hours. Exposure to air, humidity, bacteria from the environment, and your pet’s mouth can significantly degrade your pet’s food.

Wash Food Containers and Bowls Regularly

Bowls or plates used to serve wet foods should be washed between each use. Dry food bowls and water bowls need to be dumped out and washed in soapy water at least once a week. Scum that builds up on the bottom of unwashed bowls can harbor mold and bacteria that not only make food and water smell and taste bad but could also make your pet sick.

Pet food and treat storage containers should also be cleaned regularly. If the food has direct contact with the container, dump out crumbs, wash the container with soapy water, and make sure it’s thoroughly dry before emptying a new bag into it. Wash out the container whenever it looks a little bit “grungy.”

Don’t Let Kids Touch Pet Food

Finally, minimize human contact with pet food. Despite manufacturers’ best efforts, dog and cat foods are sometimes contaminated with pathogens like salmonella and listeria that can make humans sick. The very young and immunocompromised are at the highest risk. Conversely, we can introduce bacteria and other disease-causing microorganisms into our pet’s food when we handle it. It’s best to wash your hands both before and after handling your pet’s food.

Is it safe to store pet food in plastic containers?

Plastic food containers are a safe way to store pet foods. Look for BPA-free options made from food-grade plastic. For an extra layer of protection, place the bag of food directly into the container rather than dumping the food directly out and having it come into contact with the plastic.

By Jennifer Coates, DVM-

Time to Stock up on Rice!

Rice is one of the most important staple foods for more than 3 billion people around the world, and the nation of India accounts for approximately 40 percent of all global rice exports.  So if India decides to start placing restrictions on rice exports, that is a really big deal.  Unfortunately, that is precisely what just happened on July 20th.  Less than a week ago, India “banned the export of non-basmati white rice”, and that has created a tremendous wave of panic all over the planet…

The Food and Consumer Affairs Ministry on July 20 banned the export of non-basmati white rice, with immediate effect, to stabilise the volatile retail prices in the country. Rice production has taken a hit owing to vagaries of weather such as heavy monsoon rains in rice-producing States in the north and deficit rainfall in other parts of the country.

Non-basmati rice is by far the most common rice used in Asian and Mexican cuisine.

Normally, an enormous amount of non-basmati rice is exported from India to the United States, but very unusual weather patterns have been devastating crops in key rice-producing areas of India…

But heavy rain in the north of India over the last few weeks has damaged newly-planted crops in Punjab and Haryana states.

Paddy fields have been submerged for over a week, destroying seedlings, and forcing farmers to wait before they can replant the rice seeds.

In other major rice-growing states, farmers have prepared paddy nurseries but have been unable to transplant the seedlings due to inadequate rainfall.

So authorities decided to ban the export of non-basmati rice, and news spread quickly among Indian-Americans here in the United States…

India’s decision to impose a ban on the export of non-basmati white rice has triggered panic buying among NRIs (non-residential Indians) in the US. India accounts for more than 40 percent of world rice exports, and a cut in shipments could inflate food prices in the US.

This is how fast it can happen.

Just days after the export ban was announced, social media was filled with videos of panic buying from coast to coast…

Videos and reports shared on social media over the weekend show Indian-Americans standing in long lines or panic-buying rice in Texas, Michigan, New Jersey Alabama, Ohio, Illinois and California.

When people get desperate, they can do crazy things.

In fact, there was one report of some very desperate consumers “wrestling for a bag of rice in Dallas, Texas”…

There is a mad rush for rice in the United States after India banned exports. Several Indians were seen wrestling for a bag of rice in Dallas, Texas. Long queues to stock up on rice at supermarkets were also witnessed.

Some of the videos that are currently circulating are just nuts.

I didn’t think that we would see anything of this nature in the United States this summer.

But here we are.

Some retailers responded to this frenzy by dramatically hiking prices on bags of rice.  In one particular case, the price of a bag of rice approximately tripled…

The Business Line reported that several grocery stores across America had increased the price of rice bags, seeing the frenzy. The report quoted an NRI as saying that a bag of 9 kg of rice, which used to cost $15-16 (Rs 1,222-1309) earlier, was now being sold at $46.99 (Rs 3,846).

Other retailers responded by placing limits on the amount of rice that each customer could purchase…

Other stores unable to keep up with the demand for rice were implementing rationing schemes or deploying innovative methods to stop the panic buying of rice. For instance, the owner of a store stocking Indian products in Mason town in Ohio enforced rationing by asking customers to restrict their purchase to one 20-pound bag (9.07 kg) of ordinary white rice per head, costing $24 (Rs 1,964).

Gouging consumers during a crisis such as this is just wrong, and so I like the second option much better.

Of course it isn’t just the United States where panic buying is happening.

Up in Canada, a grocery store in Toronto has also decided to limit each customer to just one bag of rice…

Rice is a staple for billions of people around the world but India has imposed a ban on the export of non-Basmati white rice products. A Toronto South Asian grocery store says it is already feeling the pinch, leading to a spike in panic buying.

“What happened in the last couple of days, it’s only a panic purchase,” Salam Hasan, general manager at Mississauga’s Iqbal Halal Foods, tells CityNews. “We used to have enough for three to four weeks. The stock was sold in just a couple of days.”

Hasan says for the time being the popular South Asian grocery store has implemented a restriction, allowing each family to buy just one bag of rice.


Best survival and prepper books

Prefer reading physical books instead? Want to build an offline survival library so that you’re never without critical info? Here are some of the best books, curated by experts and the community from over 1,000 tracked/reviewed titles.

Most links open an Amazon listing, who requires us to say that on every line (sorry).

If you only buy a few:


Outdoor and bushcraft:

Home repair and basic construction:

Homesteading and self-sufficient living:


Growing food:

Preserving food:

Hunting, fishing, and trapping:

Vehicles, firearms, radios, and other gear:

Self defense:

Info from

Stealth Prepping: Preparing for the Worst without Raising Suspicion

Did you know that more and more people are turning to stealth prepping as a way to prepare for unexpected disasters? It’s true: stealth prepping is becoming increasingly popular as a way to build an emergency supply of food, water, and supplies without drawing attention to yourself. 

Why? Well, prepper paranoia is a real thing. 

Some of us look and live 100% like everyone else. We stay under the radar. You would never know stealth preppers have six months’ worth of stored food, bug-out bags at the ready, and a self-dug well in the backyard. They don’t even want it to be known that they can hunt, field dress an elk, and have a dozen other survival skills. When you watch their lifestyle, it seems carefree and oblivious to anything but enjoying the modern consumer lifestyle.

I’d say they have mastered “stealth prepping” pretty thoroughly. Here’s how you can do it better.

Ways to Stay Under the Radar Organically


Organic gardening is very trendy right now. Gardening never totally goes out of style, but it seems like more and more people are recognizing the benefits of growing your own food and digging in. No one will give a second thought to you tilling up your soil and starting a garden when everyone else is doing it too.

Install Rain Barrels

If you’ve started a garden, installing rain barrels is the most natural thing in the world. For rain barrels that are incognito, you can install these that look like planters or rocks. Check the laws in your area. As ludicrous as it sounds, it’s illegal to collect rainwater in some places. Ending up in the crosshairs of some municipality’s legal system doesn’t do much to keep you under the radar.

Raise Chickens

Would anyone suspect owning a flock of egg-laying marvels is stealth prepping? Nope! Instead, raising chickens is a huge “fad,” even in upscale circles. Interestingly, this trend seems to be growing despite many HOAs and local governments prohibiting backyard chickens, but that is changing.

Know your local rules before you start, and check out these tips for getting started with chickens. Raising chickens is a fantastic source of both protein and fertilizer. Plus, you can feed them kitchen scraps which means less “information” in your garbage for people to discover. With the current rising cost and scarcity of eggs, backyard chickens is a smart move.

Buy Meat Directly From the Ranch

Buying organic meat directly from a rancher is another trend that doubles as prep. In fact, supply chain issues make it even more logical to stealthily prep in this manner. Not that your neighbors need to know what’s in your freezer, but if you want to stock up on meat and still look like everyone else, buy a whole or half animal from a local rancher. It’s a healthy choice that gets you a LOT of meat all at once. See here for tips on buying straight from the ranch. 

If you don’t have enough freezer space, consider canning meat and poultry; it’s a great way to set aside and store extra meat at room temperature and is one of the easiest canning projects there is. With the purchase of a pressure canner and jars, you’re ready to go. This book is one of the best for learning this skill.

Edible Landscapes

Edible landscapes truly are next-level stealth prepping. It’s the ultimate in food camouflage! You can create an edible landscape in one of two ways:

  • Plant flowers, bushes, and trees that are edible, or
  • Plant edible fruits and vegetables amongst your flowers, bushes, and trees to camouflage them.

Either way, the end result is a beautifully landscaped property that can secretly feed you. Creating an edible landscape takes a savvy gardener and a lot of work, but it’s an excellent way to deter people from helping themselves to your garden. Others won’t take what they don’t notice.

Try A New Stealth Prepping “Hobby”

Everyone has a hobby or two. Just make your hobbies a skill you can use in a grid-down situation. Find a whole slew of hobbies here. Some ideas are:

  • woodworking 
  • quilting 
  • sewing 
  • knitting
  • hunting
  • archery
  • metalworking
  • ham radio

Wilderness First Aid

Take a wilderness first aid class. REI offers this class on a regular basis at their stores. If the “cool kids” are all getting into extreme outdoor sports/adventuring, it’s the perfect cover for a prepper.

Learn Herbalism

If you and your family are like most Americans, you are way too dependent on the medical and pharmaceutical industries. What if you could decrease that dependence by learning how to stay healthy, treat simple maladies, and improve overall wellness with herbalism? This is a great way to increase your level of self-reliance and stealth prepping. The Herbal Academy is a trusted source of training and information with courses at different levels.

Start “Antiquing”

Shop estate sales & auctions to find high-quality tools and supplies. You may even find items like washboards, hand-cranked grain mills, and other pre-electric appliances. No one will suspect you’re prepping under the radar, because you’ll look like every other average person out there looking for a good deal. And unless they follow you home, no one knows where you live. Just don’t go too crazy, or you may end up as the neighborhood hoarder. It’s stealth prepping in plain sight.

Prepping in Plain Sight

Guerrilla prepping is really about keeping your preps on the down low by finding a good cover story for what you are doing. If you want to share what you’re doing with neighbors to encourage them to think about being prepared, by all means do so. But for any judgey or nosey people in your life, you can easily appear as trendy as they are while still staying under the radar.

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Squirrel Snare | How to Make a Snare Trap Step By Step

What You’ll Need

  • 24-gauge floral wire
  • A stick or pencil
  • Bait (optional)

Step 1: Prepare the Snare

A DIY squirrel snare is super simple and straightforward. With the utility knife and the 24-gauge wire in the Altoid can kit, you can make as many as your materials will allow.

First, cut the wire for about 15-20 inches with your knife. Next, take a stick pencil with the wire, then wind up the wire twice around the pencil or small stick.

Now, twist the loop and tie it by using the pencil, then pull it out. Slide the other end of the wire into the loop. Make the loop so that it fits your fist which is about 2 ½ inches in diameter. Finally, tie the snares to the sticks.

Step 2: Set and Test the Snares

You can now set your snares and tie as many of them as you want on a stick or log for a higher success rate. Test one first to see if it works before you go.

You can do this by sliding your hands in the squirrel trap. If it tightens around your hand, then you’re good to go!

Step 3: Bait the Snares

Let’s get this straight; it’ll be challenging for you to catch squirrels without bait, but not unless you place your snare on the exact spot where squirrels often go.

When it comes to baiting, squirrels are mostly attracted to corn, nuts, and seeds. So it really helps if you have any of these food items in the form of candy bars and snacks at all times.

Tip: Place your bait behind the trap.

Yes, squirrels, because you can eat squirrels and they are quite good — that is if you like chicken. They are a rich source of protein, too, which will save you in a survival situation.

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Survival essentials: How to prepare an efficient fishing kit

Artificial baits and lures

Flies, jig heads, metal spoons and plugs can help you catch a diverse array of fish species. These items are also stored well in kits.

Get small glow-in-the-dark lures and jigs for both ice fishing and night fishing.

If possible, avoid plastic baits because they can break down, melt and stick together if you sometimes leave your fishing kit in an area with high temperatures or keep it stored for long a long time.

Replace treble hooks with single or double hooks so you can pack lures flatter in smaller kits.


Unless you have a way to dehydrate fresh bait, it won’t store well in your survival kit. Instead, buy dehydrated mealworms.

Synthetic bait stores better and you can store synthetic crappie bites or salmon eggs in small plastic tubes with PVC end caps or repurposed plastic needle holders.

Fishhook recommendations

Long-shank Aberdeen & O’Shaughnessy fishhooks are great for survival fishing because the long shank gives you something to grab when removing hooks from fish. You can also use these hooks to tie flies and make plugs, spoons, jigs and other artificial baits. Simply add a shaped aluminum spoon from a beverage can, carve a wooden plug or body, add scraps of brightly colored cloth or reflective adhesive tape, or tie on some hair or feathers.

Additionally, the long shank can help prevent toothed fish from biting through your line.

You can also get weedless hooks or short-shanked baitholder hooks if they are effective on species found in the area where you are going to be using your kit.

If you have enough space in your kit, get a range of hook sizes since they nest better for packing in a small resealable bag. It’s better to get smaller rather than larger sizes, especially since “you can catch a big fish on a small hook, but you can’t catch a small fish on a big hook.”

The more baited hooks you get in the water, the better your chances of catching fish and the better your chances of survival.

Seal indicating desiccant pellets in the bag with your hooks to prevent rusting.

If you think you might have to fish in saltwater, get stainless steel hooks or other materials and finishes suitable for use in saltwater.

Saltwater fishing hooks are usually made of one of two materials: Stainless steel or high-carbon steel.

Stainless steel hooks are corrosion-resistant, but brittle, while high-carbon steel hooks will rust, but are more forgiving of bends and twists. Both materials require care and maintenance to sustain.

Fishing line tips

You will need a lighter fishing line in the 8-15 lbs. range for small fish and baitfish.

Use a heavier fishing line in the 30-60 lbs. range for gamefish and hand line in the 80-200 lbs. range of hand, trot, bank and drop lines and for float and foot or sinker lines for gill nets, if you want to make one.

Attempting to take fish that needs a line stronger than 60 lbs. in a survival scenario could result in either injury or even damaged or lost equipment.

The braided line is great as a fishing line for survival fishing kits. Look for 85-188 lbs. Kevlar, 200 lbs. Technora, type 1A paracord, or tarred bank line for the heavier handline.

Store your fishing line on a thread card or kite winder.

Use a silicone bobbin, handline reel/caster, or a small Cuban yo-yo to help prevent braided line from kinking and to cast and retrieve the fishing line.


When prepping your fishing kit, get plastic Adjust-a-Bubble floats that are more rugged than Styrofoam floats. The former also packs flatter than round bobbers.

You can also improvise floats from wood if you have a sharp knife in your kit.

Gaff Hook

Lash a large 6/0-9/0 long-shank O’Shaughnessy hook to a short handle to make a gaff hook and prevent loss during landing, which is usually when most fish are lost.

Sturdy storage containers and extending item storage life

Some fishing gear stores better than others and manufacturers recommend replacing monofilament fishing lines after one year or two. After this period, they become brittle and are easier to break.

Fluorocarbon lines last a little longer at four to six years, while braided fishing lines should be replaced after eight to 12 years.

If you fish frequently, you know that you can still catch fish with old fishing lines. But when SHTF, it’s better not to leave things to chance. Make sure you replace the items in your fishing kit regularly.

Consider the type of line you choose, and opt for lines that can be stored for years before use so they last longer in your kit.

Sharp fishhooks give you a greater chance of landing your catch, but they can become dulled by bumping up against hard equipment in your fishing kit. They can also puncture plastic bags or expensive water-resistant pouches if stored improperly, resulting in water getting into the kit.

You can protect the points of fishhooks by stripping a short length of insulation of electrical wire that is a bit smaller in diameter than the hook itself. Push the tip of the hook into the insulation. This takes up very little space in your kit and can help protect your hook from your kit and vice versa.


Swivels help prevent your fishing line from twisting and getting tangled. Sturdy swivels and snap hooks are small and can be used for casting with a handline.

Choose saltwater swivels and snap hooks rated for your leader wire so you don’t have to carry more than one size.

They can also be used with wire snares to prevent trapped animals from breaking the wire by twisting it. If you have extra space in your kit, include heavier swivels for trapping in your survival or fishing kit.


Include a small pair of sturdy pliers and a knife in your fishing kit.

If space is an issue, include a scalpel blade or Derma-Safe razor in your fishing kit.


Removable split shot sinkers and bank sinkers will cover many of your survival fishing needs, but having a couple of egg sinkers may come in handy for casting with a handline.

If you are fishing on land, make improvised weight from pebbles and leader wire or a length of brass snare wire.

Casting with handlines requires heavier sinkers that many recreational fishermen will often use with their fishing rods.

Before SHTF, prepare a comprehensive fishing kit so you can find food for your family when it and other resources become scarce.

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Things to do immediately after a power grid failure

Locate your family members

Family, including your pets, is a top priority. You want to try and track your family members down and make sure you know where everyone is. Worrying about them is not too much of an issue if you know that they all know what they need to do in this event.

Investigate the cause of the power outage

Most power outages don’t last very long. However, sometimes outages can last for days or even weeks.

Brownouts, blackouts or permanent faults are interruptions between power generation and the supply of electricity to homes that can stem from equipment failure, inclement weather conditions, human error and even animal interference.

Rolling blackouts are planned power outages implemented in areas with unstable grids or with infrastructure that cannot handle the population it serves. Scheduled maintenance is usually communicated to households in advance by the utility company.

Set up temporary power

For a night grid down on set, get to your “lights outbox” or your “power outage kit.”

For those who have never heard those terms, they’re essentially boxes or containers of supplies that are easy to find in the dark – the first things you will look for in the event of a power outage.

These are not full emergency kits, but portable and sturdy containers that are easy to see in the dark and that should essentially contain lighting and heating options, and supplies and items that will help you get started in an emergency.

Unplug all of your appliances

Once you have a source of light, you can unplug the appliances that you won’t need if you have a generator. Anything with electrical circuitry needs to be unplugged to prevent any potential electrical damage.

You could also shut off the main breaker. When power lines go down, a spike or surge in the line could damage your appliances, so this preventive measure could save you thousands of dollars.

Take care of the food in your refrigerator and/or freezer

Food in your rapidly warming refrigerator and/or freezer is your next concern. Make a mental list of food items you have in there and plan your meals for a prolonged power outage.

Food in the freezer can wait a few days, as long as the door is not opened. With food in the refrigerator, you can pull everything out and put them in separate coolers – for days one, two and three. Put in as much ice and frozen blue ice packs as you can to help the food stay cooler.

Determine what can be left out to sit on a counter so you are not wasting precious cooler space. Label each cooler with its contents, and what needs to be consumed first.

Collect and save as much water as you can

If there is still water pressure, fill up every “clean” container (pots, pans, jugs, bottles, etc.) you can find.

You can’t really control your bowel movements or urge to urinate whether you have power or not. If you think the power will go out due to a storm, flush your toilets before the power is out.

Toilets probably won’t work in a long-term outage, so you can make your own with a bucket or out in nature if you live in a rural area. In the bathroom with a window, set up a porta-potty.

Be prepared to use your off-grid cooking supplies

You can set up camp stoves that will work until the propane is gone or light up a grill to cook your meats and other perishable items.

Check on your neighbors

Someone might have access to a generator and may allow you to charge your phone or keep some items cool from your fridge.

Additionally, a neighbor may know of an alternate location that is housing people without power.

When you’re in survival mode after a prolonged power outage, you should be helping others, too. If you have neighbors who are older adults or have a disability, check in on them.

Remember your pets

Another thing to consider is your pets or any other animals you may have on your property.

Follow your pet’s routine and add extra food so they maintain body fat. Ensure they have water, too.

Focus on immediate threats

Focus on immediate threats and tasks relevant to you and your family’s needs and safety. When you have the knowledge and supplies to survive a power outage, you can survive anything.

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What Foods to Dehydrate for Survival


Though an excellent food type, vegetables could take much longer to dehydrate compared to fruits. Vegetables contain lower volumes of acid. As mentioned earlier, food with higher acid content is easier to preserve using this method.

Before you put the vegetable on the dehydrator, make sure to wash it first. You then slice it into regular size. Some types of vegetables require blanching and soaking to icy liquid to break down enzymes. This is for texture and flavor preservation. Some of the best foods to dehydrate under this category are beets, carrots, celery, corn, onions, peas, and potatoes.


Whether for consumption on the go or long-term storage, fruits are an excellent food type for dehydration. The pre-dehydration process is similar to that of vegetables. An ideal preparation technique is slicing the fruit into thin even shapes. This will make the drying process a lot faster.
Fruits of smaller sizes can be dried without slicing. You can dehydrate them as is.

Some fruits such as pears and apples change color when dehydrated. Don’t be turned off though. The discoloration does not affect the flavor and the safeness of the fruit. But you can also dry the fruit using ascorbic acid to retain its color. Apples, bananas, cherries, grapes, plums, and tomatoes are just some of the best foods to dehydrate under this category.


One of the most efficient ways to make meat last longer is through dehydration. Dried meat, since time ancient times, has been an excellent source of protein during famine and war. The best type of meat to dehydrate is the lean variety. Lean meat has less fat which makes it easier to preserve.

Not all meat can be instantly dried. Some need to be treated first to eliminate harmful microorganisms. Wild meat is an example of this.

Similar to fruits and vegetables, it is best to slice meat into thin portions before drying. This makes the process quicker and more efficient. At least cut the meat into a quarter of an inch. To make it easy to consume, you also need to slice the meat against the grain. The best meat to dehydrate is beef.

Ingenious Ways to Hide Cash in Your Home

Take apart the spring bar that holds your toilet paper. Roll up a stack of bills, stash them inside and reassemble the bar for a hidden away safe.

Put small containers of valuables in a tub of cat litter (unused of course!) and then pour the cat litter back into the tub.

It doesn’t have to be an old vacuum cleaner. Any common household item that has a cavity will work as a secret compartment. Think old printers, computer towers, children’s toys, etc. (Just be sure family members know about it so your valuables don’t get donated or tossed!) For easy hidden storage access, choose an item that opens instantly, like a vacuum cleaner bag compartment. For more security, choose an item with a cover that screws shut.

Roll up some cash, stick it in a medicine bottle or any other watertight container, and bury it in a potted plant. For quicker access and to keep dirt from getting under your fingernails, place a stone or pine cone over it. Not many burglars are going to be excavating around your houseplants. 

Pick a deep drawer so the depth change won’t be obvious. Cut 1/4-in. plywood 1/16-in. smaller than the drawer opening and rest it on a couple of wood strips that are hot-glued to the drawer sides. Then hot-glue some item you’d expect to find in that drawer to the bottom so you have a handle to lift the false bottom secret compartment and reveal the booty.

Between almost every pair of upper cabinets, there’s a 1/2-in. gap. Take advantage of that gap by hanging a manila envelope containing, oh, I don’t know, about two grand in hundred-dollar bills? Hang the cash with binder clips that are too wide to fall through the crack.

There’s a four-inch-tall cavity under all those kitchen cabinets behind the toekicks. It takes a few carpentry skills, but you can pull the toe-kicks free and make them removable. Most are 1/4-in. plywood held in place with one-inch brads, and they’re relatively easy to pull off. Stick both halves of round hook-and-loop self-adhesive tape to the toe-kick. Then push the toe-kick into place. The adhesive will stick to the cabinet base and leave half of the hook-and-loop tape in place when you pull it free. You can store plenty of valuables under two average-size cabinets.


Tree bark remedies you can use as survival medicine

Here are a few types of trees that provide powerful, natural and free healing tools to help prevent and treat health issues, and offer nutritional benefits as well. (h/t

It’s important to note that these trees have many varieties. Generally, all varieties of a tree species provide similar benefits, but some deliver more nutrition or medicinal benefits than others.

All maple

A study published in the Journal of Natural Products reported that phenolic glycosides extracted from red maple bark showed in vitro radical scavenging ability, meaning they are potent antioxidants.

The phenolic-rich bark extracts from sugar maple and red maple were also demonstrated to have anticancer activities.

The inner cambium layer of all maples can be infused as a tea to treat bronchitis, colds, coughs, diarrhea and kidney infections. It is also a blood purifier, diuretic, expectorant and liver and kidney cleanser.

Native Americans used red maple bark as an analgesic, a wash for inflamed eyes and cataracts and a remedy for hives and muscular aches.


The main bioactive compounds from birch tree leaves, bark and buds are saponins and triterpenes. Some of the compounds identified in it include betulin, betulinic acid, erythrodiol, lupeol and oleanolic acid. Other constituents include flavonoids, mainly hyperoside, with luteolin and quercetin glycoside, which exhibit anti-inflammatory, antiseptic and diuretic properties.

Triterpenoid saponins have been reported to exhibit analgesic, anti-Alzheimer, antibacterial, anticancer, anti-inflammatory, anti-leishmanial (a parasitic disease), antioxidant, antiviral and immunomodulatory effects. These phytochemicals also display the ability to inhibit alpha-glucosidase, which curbs the absorption of carbohydrates from the small intestines, according to a study published in the journal Pharmaceuticals.

High in betulin and betulinic acid, the oil from birch bark and buds keeps away gnats and insects plentiful in the Northern areas. This same oil is also useful as a lotion for eczema and psoriasis and has been used in making medicated soaps, thanks to its antiseptic properties. Distillation of the bark yields birch tar oil, an astringent ingredient of ointments for eczema and psoriasis.

Native Americans boiled the bark to make poultices for minor wounds. An oil made by distilling the bark of the sweet birch was traditionally used for bladder infections, gout, nerve pain and rheumatism.

Black cherry

The bark of black cherry – also called wild cherry or wild rum cherry – contains cyanogenic glycosides, particularly prunasin. These glycosides, once broken apart in the body, act to relieve coughs by quelling spasms in the smooth muscles lining bronchioles.

Historically, Native Americans ground the black cherry tree bark into the consistency of powder and brewed it to concoct a tea-like drink to treat a variety of respiratory illnesses (bronchitis, colds, cough, pneumonia, tuberculosis), diarrhea, fever, indigestion, pain and excessive bleeding.

Slippery elm

Slippery elm is a Native American plant that derives its name from the viscous, slimy liquid created when chewing its inner bark, which is commonly used by Native Americans and early pioneers against dehydration and hunger.

For medicinal purposes, only the inner bark (cambium layer) is used and is believed to be an anti-inflammatory agent, demulcent (a substance that relieves irritation of the mucous membranes in the mouth by forming a protective film) and emollient (a preparation that softens skin).

The most abundant and well-known bioactive compounds of slippery elm are mucilage and tannins. Tannins have been believed to benefit skin conditions. For instance, tannins have been used topically to treat acne due to its anti-microbial and astringent properties.

For centuries, Native Americans used slippery elm bark in poultices and healing salves for boils, burns, edema, scalds, skin inflammations, wounds, ulcers and other skin conditions, such as acne, eczema and psoriasis.

It can also be taken orally. The inner cambium layer of the bark can be infused into a nutritive broth and tea to treat coughs, diarrhea, digestive irritation, dysentery, indigestion, pleurisy, sore throats, stomach ulcers and upset stomachs.

White pine

The bark of most pines is suitable for making flour and has a variety of medicinal uses.

Pine bark is a good source of vitamin C and is used as a decoction (e.g., herbal tea) to prevent scurvy. It is also a good source of numerous phytochemicals, including flavonoids, polymeric flavonols, tannic acid and other phenolic acids, such as caffeic or protocatechuic acid.

Pine bark also contains proanthocyanidins, powerful antioxidant compounds (more potent than vitamins C and E) that protect against free radical damage and support optimal brain function, blood flow, blood sugar and immunity.

The Mi’kmac (indigenous peoples who are among the original inhabitants in the Atlantic Provinces of Canada) used the inner bark and resins of white pine, which can be separated from the outer bark with a knife, as an infusion or tea to treat bronchitis, chest congestion, coughs and laryngitis.

A poultice made from the pounded inner bark can be used to treat cuts, sores and wounds. The wetted inner bark can be used as a poultice on the chest to treat strong colds. The dried inner bark contains 10 percent tannin, some mucilage, an oleoresin, a glycoside and a volatile oil.

White willow

The bark of white willow contains salicin (and other salicylic derivatives) – a chemical similar to aspirin (acetylsalicylic acid). Salicin, in combination with white willow’s powerful anti-inflammatory compounds  (flavonoids), is thought to be responsible for the herb’s pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory effects.

Dubbed as “vegetable aspirin,” the inner willow bark (cambium layer) is used to treat fever, pain (arthritis symptoms, low back pain, menstrual cramps, muscle pains, osteoarthritis recurring headaches) and inflammatory conditions (bursitis and tendinitis).

Meanwhile, the tannins in white willow bark act as an astringent to swelling. It also acts as an antimicrobial and a pain reliever. You can make a poultice by mashing up the bark (or leaves), or you can make a strong tea and place it over an injury. The tincture can also be used as a liniment, as long as there is no open wound.

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Indigenous techniques for getting through winter the old-fashioned way

From the Inuit of Alaska to the Sámi of Finland, the winter survival skills of indigenous peoples were developed over millennia of trial and error. Much of the indigenous knowledge of how to get through winter falls into the following categories:

  • Shelter craft — how to build dwellings from natural, local materials that will trap heat, accommodate a fire, and provide security from storms and predators.
  • Clothing — how to make layered outfits from natural materials that can insulate and stand up to abuse without getting in the way of hunting and traveling.
  • Travel — how and where to migrate, so as to follow game and trading opportunities.
  • Hunting and fishing — how to find and harvest game during the winter months.

Libraries have been written about all of the above topics, and given that most of this knowledge was oral and is lost to us, even those libraries come up far short of what a modern person would need to actually survive the winter without the use of present-day technologies. But there are some tips and insights that we can take from the above areas and apply to emergency preparedness.

Store and transfer heat from fires

One of the tricks Native Americans used was to store heat from a campfire or cooking pit, both by heating rocks with it and by keeping coals alive for re-use.

Sharon Day, executive director of the Indigenous Peoples Task Force, told the Star Tribune: “A pit would be built in the middle of the floor with rocks buried underneath the floor. When the rocks were heated, it would radiate the warmth.”

Indians would also wrap one of these hot rocks in a leather skin and tuck it into their bed, so the heat would keep them warm under the covers during the night. We’ve also heard of this being done with bricks that had been placed in an oven, and then wrapped in some non-synthetic cloth (synthetics melt when heated) and placed in a bed or sleeping bag.

Heat was also preserved by covering a fire pit with ash and dirt so that the coals would stay alive and be easy to use to re-light the fire the next day. Having a pre-lit coal is a huge help to getting a fire going, especially in winter weather if you’re dealing with moisture from snowfall and are having trouble finding good, dry tinder. Some of us on staff have done this on multi-day camping trips, where coals from the previous night’s cookfire are buried and then used to start the next night’s fire.

Live campfire coals were also transported to a new campsite inside a fire horn or firepot — a covered or sealed vessel filled with fine ash and moss that could keep the coal going. Sometimes the vessel was made of the cleaned-out horn of an animal, and sometimes from clay.

Make use of winter’s advantages

One of the themes that came up repeatedly in my research into this topic was the degree to which indigenous people would treat winter weather not as an obstacle but an opportunity.

First, it can be a lot easier to travel and transport heavy loads on a sled over well-packed snow than it is to do the same across rough terrain with no roads — this is true even if you have wheeled carts. You may struggle to get across uncleared brush or rocky terrain in most seasons of the year, but if all of that is pressed down and smoothed over with snow, you can easily cross it with sleds and snowshoes.

The winter’s advantages for transport really shined when it came to hunting. Indians could cover a lot of ground in the snow, and could more easily carry large volumes of meat and skins on sleds back to camp.

Frozen rivers were basically highways — totally flat, and free of obstacles like trees, deadfall, and terrain features. This made winter travel relatively easy not just for the aforementioned hunters, but also for traders.

And of course, there’s food under those frozen highways — ice fishing was a major source of wintertime calories for many tribes.

Dress in layers

All indigenous people in northern climes — from Canada’s First Nations to the Finnish Sámi to Siberians — dress in layers to keep the cold at bay. These are often layers of skins and furs, where the furs are especially critical because they impart the same protection to humans that they do to the regional animals they’re taken from.


Survival Strategies from the Great Depression

Reuse, Reuse, Reuse

To this day, my grandmother is the type to not throw anything away that she might use later. Scraps of fabric, wrapping paper, containers such as pill bottles and tons of other items we might consider trash can actually be reused and re-purposed. If you think something might be of use later, don’t throw it out.

Use Meat Extenders to Make Meals Stretch

During the Great Depression, people would use “fillers” such as oatmeal or lentils to bulk up their meat dishes and make them go a little further. This is also a great way to make your meals a little healthier.

Make Your Own Toiletries

Toiletries such as soap, shampoo and toothpaste can be made at home for a fraction of the cost. Castille Oil, Apple Cider Vinegar, Baking Soda…. These are the essential ingredients that homesteader’s know and love.

Don’t Pay for Anything You Could Do Yourself

The convenience of hiring someone to mow your lawn, change your oil or clean your house might be convenient, but you’re really just throwing money away. Save money by doing it yourself, and enlist the kids to help.

Grow Your Own Herbs and Vegetables

Growing your own food is not only a rewarding and healthy hobby; it will save you hundreds of dollars every year.

Buy Generic When You Can

From clothes to food to cleaners to medication, name brand doesn’t always mean better. Do your research, and buy generic.

Just a Dab Will Do Ya

Believe it or not, most of us are using too much soap, shampoo and laundry detergent. Our grandparents learned that “just a dab will do” — any more is a waste. A pump does not mean you have to press all the way down. Depressing half-way or even a  quarter of the way will suffice.

Clean With Vinegar

Vinegar is an amazing natural household cleaner. Use it for everything from cleaning windows and mirrors to deodorizing drains.

Learn to Mend Your Own Clothes

Sewing your own clothes is fun and will save you tons of money, and knowing how to mend them yourself will allow you to get a lot more use out of your clothes.

Reuse Containers

Tubs like the ones butter or sour cream are sold in can be washed and reused for a multitude of purposes. You can even make your own “miracle safe” out of an old mayonnaise jar.

Raise Animals for Food

Even if you don’t have land for large livestock, smaller animals like rabbits and chickens can be raised in your backyard and killed for food.

Learn to Preserve Food

Canning and storing food for long-term use will save you money and keep your food from going to waste.

Six Brilliant Survival Uses for Drinking Straws

1 – Survival Spice Rack

Gather a bunch of straws together, along with your favorite spices, and you’ve got the makings of your own survival spice rack – perfect for your next bug out trip. Starting from one end of the straw, measure how long you want the straw compartment to be. Then snip off the rest of the straw and set aside.

Using a pair of pliers, pinch the end of the straw about 1/8″ from the top. Then take a lighter and, still pinching, graze the flame over the clamped end of the straw so that the ends of the plastic melt together.

Now pinch the newly sealed edge, clamping it shut with the pliers. You’ve now created a waterproof, sealed container, perfect for storing spices.

Pour in your favorite spices for survival (i.e: salt, pepper, garlic salt, etc.) and use the same process to seal the other end of the straw (but make sure to allow a space for air at the top before sealing). Then use a fine-tipped marker to label each straw so you can tell them apart.

2 – Transport Medicine

Medicinal transportation doesn’t have to be heavy and bulky if you have the right tools. For example, you can simply cut a straw, seal it at the end and fill the straw with small pills.

Once you’ve closed up the other end, be sure to label each straw to know which pills are which. You don’t want to risk a mixup – especially in a survival situation.

Note: understand that there are some necessities, like insulin, that should not be kept in straws.

3 – The “Fire Straw”

A great way to use these straws in a survival situation is to store fire starter in them – particularly cotton balls that have been soaked in petroleum jelly.

Note: This is a pretty common way to start a fire, but there’s plenty more unusual ways to get a fire going. Read our blog to learn about seven of them.

For this method, you’ll have to rub the jelly through the cotton ball; then pull apart the cotton and rub it between your fingers, forming a long, thin tube shape. Use a match (or other small object) to push the cotton into the straw, leaving room at the top.

Seal off the other end (as described in #1), and you’ve got a waterproof, portable and insanely compact tinder container.

When you’re ready to get your fire going, simply cut open the tip of the straw, and light it on fire with a small portion of the strike paper you have saved. The entire container will burn. Or, if you don’t want to use it all in one fell swoop, you can take out a little bit of tinder at a time, and set each bit on fire.

4 – First-Aid Storage

Straws are particularly good at providing you a super compact, watertight container – especially for first-aid supplies such as antibiotic ointment and burn cream. You can generally pour straight from the tube, or use an eyedropper in order to get the liquid into your straw.

As always, make sure to leave a space at the top for air, and seal off the ends tightly (as described in #1).

5 – Prevent Gingivitis

Mouthwash and toothpaste are essential bug out bag items, as it helps prevent bacteria and gingivitis from wreaking havoc in your gums. Seal off an end (using the directions in #1), and then use an eyedropper to pour the mouthwash into the straw, and squeeze toothpaste into another. Leave space at the top for air, and seal up the other end. If your toothpaste makes too much of a mess, try using a syringe with no needle to load your straw.

Note: Gingivitis is no joking matter…but neither is any other emergency that can happen with your teeth/gums. Especially in a survival situation.

6 – Fishing Compartment

If you’re in a survival situation, one of the most crucial things you’ll need is the ability to wrangle up dinner. With small hooks, line, and weights, you’re on your way to having a successful fishing trip in the great outdoors.

You can store these tiny survival items in a straw – simply seal off an end (using the process described in #1) and push the tools in, sealing the other end tightly.

5 Easy exercises that can help you SURVIVE during emergencies

Strength Training

Improving your strength is extremely important as this affects your ability to carry your gear over long distances, cut through woods and other difficult terrain and build shelters quickly and efficiently, among other things.

Strength training is a very easy exercise to do. All it takes is five to 10 minutes a day of work lifting heavy objects for you to see results. You can even try this on heavy objects you can find at home, such as one-gallon containers of milk or water

Just go for a Walk

Go for 20-minute walks a few times a week to build a habit. In the beginning, go as slow as you want. Over time, treat the walks as mild exercise to improve your stamina so you can walk further. You shouldn’t be gasping for air but should be at the point where you’ve got a little bit of sweat or an increased heart rate.

Find out what works for you. Level up by jogging or maybe even running. This way, you’ll learn more about the areas where you live and work and that knowledge will come in handy during a crisis. The most important thing is just to get moving.

Biblical Meditation

Meditating on God has many benefits for survivalists. Most importantly, it can reduce stress, control anxiety and improve emotional health – all of which are very useful for SHTF situations where you need to keep your mind under control.

Meditation on our Creator and memorizing scripture can also enhance your awareness and lengthen your attention span, which can also be useful for taking note of dangerous situations during disasters.


Just 10 to 20 minutes of gentle stretching per day can be enough for you and other preppers to improve your mindfulness, or your ability to pay attention to yourself, to the people around you and to your general situation. This, like Biblical meditation, can be a useful tool for stress reduction and promoting overall well-being.

Stretching also helps you become more flexible. The better stretched out your muscles are, the less likely you are to experience self-inflicted injuries. This is very important, as during stressful times such as an emergency or a disaster you need to stay physically healthy when you might not have immediate access to medical services.

Go for walks with your bug-out bag

Once you’ve built in the habit of going for long walks, it’s time to crank it up a notch by going for walks with your bug-out bag.

It may seem silly, but simply having on can increase your ability to carry it around for longer periods of time and get you used to it, plus it builds up your strength.

You can even try going for long hikes with your bug-out bag or learn your bug-out routes with it on.

Whatever exercise or combination of exercises you try out, the important thing is to start getting fit, mind and body.

8 Long Lasting Pioneer Recipes You Need To Learn By Heart

In today’s fast-paced world of convenience foods and instant meals, it’s easy to forget the humble origins of our culinary traditions.

The pioneer era, emphasizing self-sufficiency and resourcefulness, produced a treasure trove of delicious and practical recipes that are still relevant today.

Whether you’re a history buff, simply looking to expand your cooking repertoire, or aiming to be more self-sufficient, this article will share some long-lasting pioneer recipes you need to learn by heart.


Hardtack is a simple, unleavened bread. It was a staple for pioneers and soldiers alike.

Made using flour, water, and salt, hardtack was a stable and portable source of sustenance, and its long shelf life made it an essential part of any pioneer’s provisions.

How to make hardtack

To create hardtack, mix 2 cups of flour, 1 ½ tsp of salt, and ¾ cup of water to make dough.

Roll out the dough, and cut it into small, biscuit-sized pieces.

Bake the pieces until they are hard and dry, and store them in an airtight container for future use.

Hardtack is very hard and should be soaked in water, milk, or soup for at least 5-10 minutes before eating.

Dried fruits and vegetables

Pioneers often relied on drying fruits and vegetables as a means to maximize the usage of their harvest 

and ensure long-term storage during off-season periods or when fresh produce was scarce.

Drying removes moisture from the produce, inhibiting the growth of bacteria and extending its shelf life.

Apples, peaches, berries, corn, beans, and tomatoes were among the favorites to be preserved through drying.

How to dry fruits or vegetables

For pioneers, this process involved cutting the fruits or vegetables into thin slices and allowing them to dry in the sun.

Today we are blessed with dehydrators, which speed up the process and make it much safer and more accessible. If using a dehydrator, instructions on this process can vary greatly.

However, you can create dried fruits and veggies in the oven. To dry fruits and veggies in the oven, preheat it to 120-140°F.

Lay thinly sliced pieces on a baking tray and bake at a low temperature for 6-12 hours, flipping them every 30 minutes. After drying, let them cool for 24 hours, then pack tightly into airtight containers for storage or freezing.

Properly stored in a cool, dry, dark place, dried fruits can last 6-12 months. Aim for a consistent temperature of 59°F for optimal extended storage life.

Salt cured meat

In an era without refrigeration, preserving meat was a crucial skill. Salt-curing involved rubbing salt 

onto fresh meat, typically beef or pork, to initiate the curing process.

The salt draws out the moisture, which creates an environment unfavorable for bacterial growth and spoilage.

Salt-cured meat provided pioneers with a reliable source of protein that could sustain them during long journeys or when access to fresh meat was limited.

How to make salt cured meat

You will need ½ – ¾ tsp of salt per pound to spread evenly over the meat. Ensure you cover all areas evenly and entirely with salt.

Take your salt-covered meat, pop it in the fridge (a luxury our pioneer ancestors lacked), and leave it alone for at least to 24 hours. Larger pieces of meat can safely be salt-cured for 48 hours or longer without issue.

Once the meat is cured to your liking, rinse off any excess salt and pat it dry. You can then wrap it tightly in cheesecloth or butcher’s paper and store it in a cool, dry place like a pantry or cellar. Hanging the meat is another option for storage.


This nutrient-dense, high-energy food was widely consumed by pioneers, hunters, and indigenous peoples.

It was made by drying lean meat, typically buffalo or beef, and pulverizing it into a powder. The powdered meat was then mixed with melted fat and sometimes combined with dried fruits.

Pemmican could be stored for months or even years without spoiling, making it an ideal source of sustenance during long journeys or harsh winters.

How to make pemmican

Slice 1½ lbs. shoulder roast into thin slices, adding a generous amount of salt and pepper. Set the oven to 150°F.

Lay the thin slices of meat flat on the cooking rack and keep the oven door slightly ajar to prevent moisture. Dry the meat for at least 15 hours or until it has a jerky-like texture.

Once dry, remove the meat and allow it to cool completely. Grind the dried meat in a food processor until it becomes a fine powder. Repeat the process with any fruit you wish to add.

Next, you will need fat. Many people like to use bison kidneys, which can be purchased already diced into small pieces.

Place approximately ½ lbs. of kidneys (or whatever meat you are using) into a cast iron pan and cook slowly on low heat, draining the fat when enough and bubbling ceases.

Pemmican can be safely stored for over a year in an airtight container that is kept from heat.

Pickling and fermenting

Pickling and fermenting were popular methods of preserving vegetables, providing pioneers 

with a taste of freshness throughout the year.

Vegetables like cucumbers, cabbage, beets, and green beans were submerged in vinegar, water, salt, and spices and fermented over time.

This process not only extended the shelf life of the vegetables but also enhanced their flavors and added beneficial probiotics.

How to pickle almost anything

Who doesn’t love a good dill pickle? You can preserve almost anything through pickling and enjoy it year-round. In fact, pickling is a great way to prevent waste if you are growing fruits and veggies at home.

To pickle almost anything, simply gather your choice of spices, mix them with your fruits or veggies, and pack them tightly into a mason jar.

In a saucepan, bring equal parts water and vinegar to a boil. You can also add sugar and salt to the brine if you wish. I usually add around 1-2 tbsp of salt and sometimes use sugar – you will learn what you like through trial and error.

Remove the liquid from the heat and pour it over the packed veggies, sealing the jar tight.

The best part of pickling is that you can use a variety of spices to create bold, exciting flavors. My favorite mix includes coriander seed, mustard seed, black peppercorns, garlic, onion, and fresh dill. I also like my pickles extra salty, but you can add, remove, or adjust ingredients to create your own delight.

Pioneer jerky

Beef was a big part of the pioneer diet, and if you have ever purchased a whole or half cow, 

you know how much meat it can provide.

At a time in history when throwing meat in the freezer was not an option, jerky was one of the easiest, most effective ways to store beef for extended periods.

How to make jerky

Slice the meat into thin strips, approximately ¼ to ⅛ inch thick. In a bowl, combine salt, pepper, and any additional spices or seasonings you prefer.

Rub the mixture onto both sides of the meat strips, ensuring they are evenly coated. Allow the seasoned meat to marinate in the refrigerator for at least 6 hours or overnight.

Preheat a smoker or charcoal grill for indirect heat cooking. Place the marinated meat strips on the grates, making sure they are not touching each other.

Smoke the meat at a low temperature, around 150°F to 175°F, for several hours until it reaches the desired level of dryness and smokiness.

Once fully smoked and dried, remove the jerky from the smoker or grill and let it cool completely. Store the smoked jerky in airtight containers or wrap it tightly for long-lasting preservation.

Molasses cookies

Molasses cookies were more than just a sweet treat for pioneers; they provided a taste of 

comfort during challenging times.

The cookies were baked in wood-fired ovens or over open flames. Once baked, the molasses cookies were left to cool, allowing them to develop their signature chewy texture.

Thanks to the molasses and spices, these cookies had a natural preserving effect, helping them stay fresh and enjoyable for weeks or even months.

How to make molasses cookies

Preheat your oven to 350°F and line baking sheets with parchment paper or grease them lightly.

In a mixing bowl, combine 1 cup of molasses, 1 cup of sugar, and 1 cup of melted butter or lard. Stir well until the ingredients are thoroughly blended.

In a separate bowl, sift together 1 teaspoon of baking soda, 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon, 1 teaspoon of ground ginger, 1/2 teaspoon of ground cloves, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and 4 cups of all-purpose flour.

Gradually add the dry ingredients to the molasses mixture, stirring until a dough forms. The dough should be firm but pliable.

Roll the dough into small balls, about 1 inch in diameter, and place them on the prepared baking sheets. Leave enough space between the cookies to allow for spreading during baking. At this point, you can also flatten each ball slightly with the bottom of a glass or your fingertips.

Bake the cookies in the preheated oven for approximately 10-12 minutes, or until they are set and slightly firm to the touch.

To ensure a long shelf life, store the molasses cookies in an airtight container, such as a tin or a glass jar, in a cool and dry place.

Smoked fish

Pioneers were resourceful individuals who relied on various methods to ensure the long-term 

preservation of food. One such method was smoking fish.

The process of smoking fish allowed pioneers to take advantage of their fresh catches and ensure a steady supply of protein for months.

How to make smoked fish

Rinse and pat dry the fish fillets, sprinkling both sides with salt. Let the salted fish fillets rest in the refrigerator for a couple of hours or overnight.

Preheat your smoker or smokehouse to a low heat setting. Arrange the salted fish fillets on smoking racks, leaving enough space between each fillet for smoke circulation.

Smoke the fish for several hours until it becomes opaque and easily flakes apart, maintaining a low heat throughout the smoking process.

Once fully smoked, remove the fish from the smoker or smokehouse and let it cool completely. Store the smoked fish in a cool, dry place in airtight containers for long-term preservation.

Learning and preparing these long-lasting pioneer recipes connects us to our culinary heritage and equips us with practical self-sufficiency and food preservation skills. These recipes, and many others, have stood the test of time and continue to be relevant today.

By Katherine Paterson,

Learn how to live without electricity from the Amish community

Cooling and heating

Cooling and heating costs are some of the biggest expenses of many modern American families.

This is how the Amish save money and stay cool during summer:

  • Most Amish homes are built with a lot of windows to help circulate the air and bring in cooler overnight temperatures. The windows on the top floors are kept open to help the heat escape and the family stays on the lower floors within their homes for comfort.
  • In some Amish homes, families used the basement as a gathering place for dining or playing games.
  • Many Amish houses have a summer kitchen, which is a space connected to or near their house designed for cooking, smoking, pickling or canning during summer. The main purpose of the summer kitchen is to keep the heat and smell of cooking out of your main living quarters.

The Amish are born and raised without air conditioning and this has helped them become more tolerant of spending time in the summer heat. Many Amish families often wake up early to complete their chores before the sun comes up to avoid the sweltering heat.

After finishing their chores on hot days, the Amish sometimes take part in summer activities like swimming in nearby ponds or creeks or relaxing under a big tree with friends or books to stay cool even without electricity.

The Amish keep their homes warm with kerosene heaters, which work like large kerosene lamps.

A wick made of fiberglass and cotton integrates into a burner unit built above a tank filled with kerosene. The wick absorbs kerosene from the tank.

Other Amish homes have coal furnaces built into them. These furnaces need lumps of coal thrown into a fire pit to power them.

The coals stay fire-hot longer than wood and they are a practical space heater.

Wood stoves

Wood stoves can be used for both heating and cooking. While wood stoves are banned in some urban and semi-urban environments because they are considered heavy polluters and a fire hazard, many households still have them to help reduce their electricity and gas bills.

If the local laws allow it, do your research and purchase a quality wood stove and have it installed in your house. Alternatively, you can buy a second-hand one.

If you are planning on getting a wood stove, make sure you have easy access to a safe source of wood. Ideally, you should have a way to obtain the wood without having to pay for it to save on expenses.


Modern homes come with electric lighting and it’s one of the big components of newly built houses.

But if you build your off-grid homestead facing south, you can significantly reduce the need for electric lighting during the day with proper construction and a good alignment. You can also install light tubes or skylight kits that capture the light through a system of mirrors and help bring it inside the home. 

Another option is to use oil lamps. Some of these lamps provide light just as well as regular light bulbs. Some oil lamps are built with mirrors and glass, which provide better light dispersion than older lamps.

For mobility, use an oil lantern or get a rechargeable solar lamp or flashlight.

Food production

As a prepper, living off-grid means becoming self-sufficient and learning how to grow, find or process your own food.

If you are new to gardening, start by finding out which fruits and vegetables grow in your area. As you gain more experience, you will end up growing more in your garden food than you consume.

Preserve or sell the surplus of food to earn extra money for other preps. Aside from starting a home garden, you can produce food for your family by raising livestock.

Many food production tasks can also be accomplished with manual tools. While using electrical equipment is less work, if you want to live without electricity, you can survive with reliable manual tools.


Before refrigeration was invented, people bought dried goods for storage. They also bought fresh produce at the farmer’s market.

You can build a root cellar to store food and other perishable goods. If you want to preserve food, you can learn how to dry food or how to home-can fruits and vegetables.

Manual tools

Many electrical tools and appliances can make your life as a prepper easier, but there are manual alternatives to these tools so you can keep your homestead running even without electricity. These include tools like manual can openers and coffee grinders.

If you need to take care of chores inside or around the house, get manual drills, saws, rakes or brooms. You should also invest in manual tools that work just as well as electrical appliances and tools.


If living without electricity is not an option, you can combine the Amish lifestyle and the conveniences of a modern home. For example, you can use manual tools and get a solar power system for important appliances, devices or tools that your family needs. You can also get a cell phone and charge it using a simple solar panel.

Look at how the Amish live if you want to learn how to survive on your homestead without electricity. If going completely off-grid isn’t ideal for your situation, live a self-sufficient lifestyle on your homestead and use a generator or solar power system only when necessary.

Article by Zoey Sky,

Saving Tomato Seeds to Grow Next Year

Saving seeds from fresh fruits or vegetables is a great way to save money on seeds for the next growing season. Seed saving is especially beneficial for people who grow their own food. It involves choosing the best plants from which to save seeds, harvesting those seeds at the right time, then storing them properly over the winter.

Tomatoes are among the best choices for seed saving. For starters, tomato plants have flowers that are self-pollinating. Meaning, they can produce fruits even if there are no pollinators present. They also have seeds that require little or no treatment before storage.

When to save tomato seeds

Tomato seeds can be collected from tomatoes that are fully ripe. The best time to harvest the fruits is normally around mid-summer to early fall. Seeds collected from such tomatoes are likely to be of good quality.

Tomatoes are a rather slow-growing plant, which is why most gardeners start them indoors early in the spring. It can take tomato seeds six to eight weeks to become viable seedlings and up to two months to bear ripe, juicy tomatoes once planted outdoors.

However, harvest time varies somewhat depending on the size and the variety of the tomatoes planted. Cherry or pear tomatoes, for example, will start bearing fruits much faster than large beefsteak tomatoes.

But overall, tomatoes are one of the slower-growing vegetable plants.

How to save tomato seeds

Seeds from all kinds of plants can be saved simply by waiting for the seed pods or the fruit or vegetable to dry, then opening them up to collect the seeds. Tomatoes take a bit more work than that because their seeds are enclosed in a gel-like sack that contains growth inhibitors to prevent the seeds from sprouting inside the fruit.

The best way to remove that gel-like sack is to allow the fruits to rot and ferment. In nature, this process starts when the tomato falls off the plant. But you can also speed up this process.

The first step is to choose the best-looking tomatoes. You want to save seed from the finest fruits to make sure that next year’s tomatoes will look good as well. Expert gardeners advise saving seeds only from open-pollinated tomatoes, which include all heirlooms. This is because seeds from hybrid tomatoes, while they may sprout and grow, often grow into plants that revert to one of the genetic parent plants. That plant could produce much different fruit than what you are expecting.

Rinse and pat dry your chosen tomatoes. Cut each one across the middle, then scoop out the seeds into a bowl. Add a cup of water to the bowl, then set it aside for two to four days to ferment. The seeds will soon be covered with a layer of mold and will start to smell. Cover the bowl with cheesecloth to keep fruit flies out and to diminish the spread of the unpleasant odor.

Check on the seeds every day. What you want to see is a layer of mold covering the seeds. The process is done when bubbles start rising from the mixture and the seeds settle to the bottom of the bowl. Don’t leave them fermenting for too long or they may start to germinate.

Once the seeds are done fermenting, scoop out the mold and any hollow seeds that floated to the top. Add one cup of water and stir, then strain the seed mixture into a colander. Rinse the seeds well and remove any remaining pulp bits and mold so that only clean seeds remain.

Spread the seeds onto either a piece of coffee filter or a shallow glass dish to dry. Don’t use paper towels or the seeds will stick to them and be difficult to remove. Set them in a warm, dry spot and allow to dry completely. Give the coffee filter or glass dish a gentle shake every day to keep the seeds from clumping. Don’t try to speed up the process by drying the seeds under the sun or in an oven or you might destroy them.

Once the seeds are thoroughly dry, store them in an airtight container in a cool, dry place. Remember to add a label to your container.

Saving seeds from fruits and vegetables is an important step to becoming more self-reliant. Try it out yourself by saving tomato seeds using the tips above.

Article from

Periods and the Apocalypse: How to Deal with Feminine Hygiene during Disasters

By Diane Vuković,

Despite all of the progress we’ve made, menstruation is still a very taboo subject. So taboo that it often gets overlooked – even in situations where it is of dire concern. For example, the FEMA and Red Cross disaster supplies lists don’t mention menstruation anywhere. Instead, they gloss over the issue by writing you should stockpile “sanitation and personal hygiene items.”

A giant stockpile of tampons won’t do you much good if you have to evacuate your home. Likewise, if your home gets flooded, those tampons will be ruined.

Then what?

It should go without saying that getting your period during a disaster could be very different than in regular times. We owe it to women to discuss hygiene options during disasters so they can be prepared.

The main options you have for periods during an emergency are tampons, pads, reusable pads, and menstrual cups.

Here’s what you need to know about each option for disaster preparedness.

Option 1: Tampons

The primary benefit of using tampons is that they are no contact: you can get ones with applicators and apply them without touching yourself.

This is a huge plus in a situation where there’s no running water (and everything around you may be tainted by sewage and other waste).


  • Easy to use
  • Can be inserted with applicator


  •  Will need a lot of them
  •  Take up lots of space
  •  Are ruined if they get wet
  •  Need to change them often
  •  Risk of toxic shock if worn too long

Option 2: Pads

For emergency hygiene, pads are pretty similar to tampons. The only issue is that they tend to be bulkier, so they will take up even more room in your disaster supplies stockpile or Go Bag.

Like with tampons, take steps to keep your pads dry. Flood water or even a fall in a creek will destroy your pads. Moisture from humid air can destroy pads. You’ll want to stockpile about 1 year’s worth of pads for emergency preparedness.


  • Easy to use
  • Little risk of getting hands dirty


  •  Will need a lot of them
  •  Take up lots of space
  •  Are ruined if they get wet
  •  Disposal can be tricky
  •  Need to change them often
  •  May leak, especially when active

Option 3: Reusable Pads

Reusable pads have gotten popular over the past few years, mainly because they are better for the environment and save money in the long run.

There are plenty of brands that make cute pads with prints on them. You can also easily make your own pads from absorbent materials like flannel.

The obvious downside of reusable pads is that they must be cleaned. To use them, ideally, you rinse them out when changing. Then you put the rinsed pad in with your regular laundry.

When on the go, this can be problematic since you won’t have anywhere to rinse the pad. You’ll need to keep the bloody pad in a baggie until you get a chance to clean it.   Thus, pads are not recommended for Bug Out Bags.

Going the reusable route isn’t as gross as it seems, though. In an SHTF disaster, I expect most women will start doing this. By planning ahead, at least you can have some comfortable pads on hand instead of making them out of whatever rags happen to be around.


  • Reusable
  • Take up little space
  • Save money
  • More comfortable than disposables
  • No need to dispose of them


  •  Have to be cleaned
  •  Can be messy
  •  Not suitable for bugging out

Option 4: Menstrual Cups or Discs

Full disclosure: I’m a HUGE advocate of menstrual cups. I’ve been using them for nearly 20 years now and love them. Since a menstrual cup lasts about 5 years, I’m only on my fourth cup. That means I’ve only spent around $100 for 20 years of menstruating. There are menstrual discs for women with prolapse issues or who can’t use cups for other reasons. 

I’ve used menstrual cups while traveling overseas to remote areas and backpacking in the wilderness. If a major emergency were to strike, I wouldn’t have to worry about my period.

Admittedly, using a menstrual cup can take some getting used to. However, once you get used to it, you’ll wonder why you ever bothered with pads or tampons. I had to use pads for a while after having an emergency C-section and felt like I was wearing a gross diaper.

The only potential issue with menstrual cups for emergency planning is that you need clean hands to insert the cup. Make sure you have lots of clean water, soap, and antibacterial hand gel stockpiled!


  • Reusable
  • Only need to be emptied every 6-12 hours
  • Lightweight
  • Take up virtually no space in backpack
  • Won’t get destroyed by water
  • Easy to sterilize
  • No waste to dispose of
  • Can be emptied in many ways


  •  A bit of a learning curve
  •  Must be able to wash hands
  •  “Hands-on”

What to pack in a pet preparedness kit

Pet food for at least two weeks, dog bowls

You need at least two weeks’ worth of pet food so you have enough to feed your dog if you are dealing with a long-term SHTF scenario.

Buy folding bowls that are easy to pack. Remember that your dog also needs water to drink.

Leash, harness, carrier and transport case

You don’t want to lose your pet in the panic after SHTF so make sure you have a leash, harness, carrier and transport case for your dog or cat.

Dog shoes/paw protectors, warm clothes

If you live in a state that gets cold, get warm clothes and dog shoes or paw protectors for your pet. This will help protect them from harsh weather conditions or rough terrain.

Extra pet medications

An old dog or a pet with health issues will need at least two weeks to a month’s worth of extra medications. If you’re packing for a trip or an emergency, let your vet know so they can help you stock up on pet meds.

Your pet’s tag or collar should also include notes on what medications they’re on. If you can’t get extra medications for your pets, make a list of vets nearby so you can go to them if you need more after SHTF.

Don’t forget to pack Benadryl in case of bug stings or any allergic reactions. (Also safe for cats- 1mg per pound for cats and dogs)

Pet first aid kit

Did you know that you can save your dog with pet CPR? Before disaster strikes, learn how to do pet CPR properly.

You also have to prepare a pet first aid kit with items you need to provide emergency medical aid for your petif there’s an accident. The kit will include similar items in a first aid kit for humans, like antiseptic cream and bandages for treating wounds.

But your pet first aid kit should also come with additional items that are pet-specific, such as:

  • Anti-worm medications
  • Flea and tick control items
  • Flea combs and tick tweezers
  • No chew bandage
  • Small socks to tape over paws for foot wounds

Pet bed, toys and blankets

Like humans, pets will need comfort during a stressful disaster scenario. If you are bugging out to a safe location, bring their bed, toys and blankets so they can feel at home.

Pack some of their old toys and items so you don’t take away their current toys.

Poop bags or kitty litter

When SHTF, you still need to keep things clean and sanitary to prevent sickness among your family and pets. Bring poop bags and kitty litter for pets so your campsite stays clean.

Recent printed pet photos

If things get too chaotic, you might lose your pet when SHTF. This is why you need recently printed pet photos so it’s easier to look for them and ask people if anyone has seen them in the area.

The printed photos of your pet should also include any identifying marks, like unusual fur coloration or scars.

Pet microchip information

Microchip information is important and there are a lot of databases out there. Check who your animal is registered with and if your pet doesn’t have a microchip yet, get them one before SHTF so you can find them easily.

Print out the microchip information and put a tag on your pet’s collar saying they’re microchipped.

Article by Zoey Sky,

Prepping & Survival Skills to Teach Your Kids ASAP

An emergency or disaster can strike at any time and any place – and you may not always be around to look out for your children and/or your grandchildren. It is never too early for them to learn some basic survival skills so that they’ll know what to do in certain situations and you aren’t around.

Here are some of the basic survival and prepper skills your kids need to learn:

Overcoming fear of the dark

Get them off the couches and lead them on their own adventure outside. This is necessary for bug-out situations where they have to move out during the night.

Start by accompanying them on walks after dark. Better yet, let them play flashlight tag with other kids.

Turn off the power or the lights in the house at night and let your kids practice finding a flashlight or night light and getting to a designated rendezvous point.

What to do when home alone

Teach them not to answer and open the door for anyone.

Make sure they know to call you immediately if they see anyone they think may try to enter the home when they are home alone. Keep the windows and doors locked as well as the blinds and curtains shut.

Tell them to turn on the TV or the radio. Potential intruders may be discouraged from coming in if they hear speaking and noise and it seems someone is home. Make sure they know they have permission to call 911 if anyone actively attempts to get inside the home.

Hiding for safety

Hide-and-seek games can be useful in emergency situations. Playing this game will familiarize them with different safe spots in your home where they can hide in case there’s trouble.

When that time comes, tell them to stay hidden until you or a trusted adult comes near. But you should also remind them that they should NEVER hide if the home is on fire. Instead, tell them to get out of the house and go to a predetermined meeting spot.

Communication skills

Every family should have a plan for communicating with one another when plans change, or things go wrong. If you teach your kids the importance of communicating their whereabouts daily, it will ensure that they do this in a survival or SHTF situation, when their life may depend on it.

One of their first instincts in an emergency should be to get a message to you. Your kids should know your phone number and at least two other phone numbers of trusted adults they can contact in an emergency. Just having numbers on their phone is not enough.

Emergency numbers should be memorized and should also be written down in their backpack, wallet or purse so they have them even if their phone dies, is lost, damaged or is stolen.

If possible, they should have alternate ways to contact you.

How to make cordage

Start by teaching your child about paracord and how to divide the strands of a bracelet, braid strands of paracord to make it stronger, etc.

Then teach them how to make their own cordage from natural materials or materials they can find. There are a wide variety of materials that can be used for cordage if your child knows how to locate it and prepare it.

Knot tying

No matter what type of survival task they are trying to complete, the ability to tie a good knot will come in handy.

Teach your child different knots and when to use them for shelter building, fishing, securing gear, traps or snares, etc.

Staying fit

If their playtime consists of playing video games and sitting on the couch the whole day, better get them outside immediately. Make them eat those vegetables and have them exercise.

Playing outside can be counted as exercise so it shouldn’t be that hard. Just being able to walk or run long distances, sprint for short distances or climb trees can help kids stay fit.

It’s also a good workout to teach kids how to swing an ax, push a lawn mower, rake leaves, etc. Physical fitness can be crucial in survival situations and can sometimes be the difference between life and death.

Scavenger hunts

This activity is a great way of looking for usable items in case disaster strikes and the supplies run low. Have them collect as much as they can and teach them which objects are useful and which are not.

Guide them to consider new places to forage for usable items and to think outside the box. Stress the importance of timing, respect for nature and avoiding other desperate people when foraging.

Encourage them to think of uses for the items or ways to modify them for use that you may not have thought of.

Signaling for help

When hiking in the woods, teach your children to signal for help in case they get separated or lost.

Dress them in bright colors to make them very easy to spot at a distance. Talk about how to use universal distress signals if rescuers are searching by land, air or sea.

Pack them a signal mirror or a whistle and teach them how to use these to signal. For the mirror, aim the reflected light toward the direction of your camp. For the signal whistle, blow three blasts, stop and listen for a minute, then blow again.

Reading a map, compass and GPS

It is important for kids to know how to read a map and use a compass and GPS in case they get separated. They can also use this to find their way home.

Every child should know their street address and city. Point out landmarks such as the library, a water tower, railroad tracks, etc. that are near your home.

For young children, you can make a game of finding your way home from school, the grocery store or soccer practice. Take a different route than what they are used to and ask the kids to tell you which turns to make to get home.

When you are outdoors in the yard, a park or another location, make learning navigation fun by doing a treasure hunt and drawing a map to find the treasure for practice. You can also print out maps of the city and point out different bug-out routes that are planned.

Situational awareness

Even if you accompany your kids, they must always be aware of what’s happening around them. When in the car, you can play the license plate game; description game (observing a certain area and recalling every detail by memory); or “the right way to” game (giving driving directions).

How to keep a positive attitude

One of the most critical skills your child can have in a crisis or SHTF situation is the discipline to keep a positive attitude regardless of what may be going on around them.

Negativity in a crisis can result in reactive thinking or even depression or suicidal thoughts. Teach your kids to persevere no matter what life throws at them so that they can keep going even under the worst circumstances.

By Olivia Cook/

Choosing Which Breeds of Chickens to Raise

Before you begin to admire different breeds of chickens, relax and think:

What’s your primary objective of keeping chickens? What do you want from them? Besides raising them as your favorite pets, there are some benefits you want from these birds.

Eggs and meat.

Before we begin to the second chapter, take a look and familiarize yourself with some of the most popular chicken breeds for eggs and meat.

Egg Layers

White Leghorns are great layers. They usually produce around 280 eggs per year. The Leghorn chickens breed is one of the most popular breeds of chickens around due to their use in commercial egg production factories. These birds have been bred for excellent production and low feed cost. They aren’t the friendliest birds on the market, but their flighty personalities make them very alert foragers with a strong resistance to predators.

Rhode Island Reds lay around 260 eggs per year, slightly below White Leghorn.

They have a rather sassy temper, especially the roosters, so they can be a little more difficult to handle if you are new to raising chickens.

If you’ve been around chickens for very long, chances are you’ve heard of Rhode Island Reds.

These birds are a breed from Rhode Island and are incredibly popular in the chicken keeping industry. Well known for their egg and meat production qualities, many chicken keepers can’t imagine their chicken coop without them.

Golden Comet is a very friendly bird that can lay anywhere from 250-300 eggs per year. That is a lot of eggs, depending on how you raise them.

Also, because of its gentle temperament, this might be a good breed to start with if you are a beginner at raising chickens.

Meat Breeds

Cornish Cross, also known as Broiler, is a fast-growing bird. The females average around 8 pounds per bird and the males average around 12 pounds per bird.

Plus, they are ready to be harvested at around 4-6 weeks so they don’t require a lot of investment in food or time.

The females of Jersey Giant average around 10 pounds per bird while the males average around 13 pounds per bird.

However, these birds do require a little extra time since they can’t be harvested until around 20 weeks. Though, they grow to be quite large so the time may be worth your investment.

Bresse is a more expensive meat breed, but once you have your breeding pair, you are set. They cost so much because they are known for being extremely tender.

Bresse meat can be harvested at around 7 pounds of meat per bird in an average of 16-20 weeks.


Free Survival Gear


Over the past couple of years, several companies have started giving away free survival gear. You might be a little skeptical, and I don’t blame you. There is a catch: You have to pay the cost of shipping. But other than that, these products are completely free.

Companies do this in hopes that you’ll purchase other products or sign up for one of their survival courses, but you don’t have to if you don’t want to. So if you’re trying to acquire survival items but you don’t have a lot of money, you should check out these products.

I’ve searched all over the Internet and compiled a list of all the free survival gear I could find. They come from companies such as Ape Survival, Survival Frog, Survival Kit, and Survival Life, but there are many others. You can see my complete list of free survival items below.

I organized the products by category in case there’s a certain type of item you’re looking for. If you learn about any free survival products that aren’t on this page, please let me know!

Books and DVDs

 Alive After Crisis – Not sure how to survive a major crisis? Grab this survival guide while it’s still free. It will teach you everything you need to know.

 Build Your Own Doomsday Retreat – Hard-won secrets on how to build a retreat dirt-cheap.

NEW! • Economic Armageddon – How to survival the death of the dollar and economic collapse.

 Escape Bag Blueprint – The patriot defense survival guide from former CIA officer Jason Hanson.

• Home Lockdown – Tactics for defending your home after a cataclysmic event.

NEW! • Homesteading Handbook – A beginner’s guide to creating a flourishing homestead.

• How To Build A Covert Off-The-Grid Safe House – Far away from the prying eyes of the government.

• Overnight Home Energy – Comprehensive guide to creating a self-sustainable power system.

 Spy Secrets Book – CIA officer reveals secrets that could save your life.

• Survival Gardening Book – Grow all the food you need in a few square feet of space.

NEW! • Survival Secrets of Our Ancestors – Survive “the end of the world as we know it” with these long lost survival secrets.

Fire Starters

 EverStryke Match – A waterproof Ferro rod lighter that is good for up to 15,000 strikes.

 Everystryke Pro – A mini lighter that works even if it’s completely submerged in water.

 Fire Striker – A 4-in-1 tool with a magnesium fire starter, a saw, a compass, and an emergency whistle.

Firearm Accessories and Info

NEW! • Ammo Independence Book – How to survive the ammo shortage and build a 10k bullet stockpile.

 AR Pistol Home Defense DVD – Covert ops secrets for protecting yourself and your home with the AR pistol.

 Bug Out Bag Guns – A former CIA officer explains what guns and gear you need to survive the harshest environments.

 Build Your Own Silencer – How to legally build your own military-grade and SHTF silencers.

 CLP Gun Oil – This synthetic gun oil has been approved for use by the U.S. Army.

 Firearms Survival Guide – Learn how to protect your gun rights an gain your ammo independence no matter what the gun grabbers try to do.

 Ghost 1911 DVD – How to legally build your own .45 ACP “Ghost 1911” handgun.

 Ghost Glock – This DVD teaches you how to legally build a Glock 9mm handgun in less than an hour.

 Gun Magnet – Attach this magnet to the underside of a desk or table. It will hold your gun in place, and then you can quickly grab your gun if there’s an intruder.

 Red Dot Sight – Become the king of the shooting range. You won’t be able to miss!

 Underground 10/22 System – How to legally build your own untraceable 10/22 “Survival Rifle”.


 Black Rhino Knife – A tough-as-nails folding knife that will never break.

 Carabiner Knife – Replace your ordinary carabiner with one that includes a knife, a screwdriver, a bottle opener, and more.

• Colossal Fixed Blade – Heavy-duty knife with leather sheath and rubber grip.

 Money Clip Knife – This is the most discreet way to carry a knife. It has a chrome finish, a folding blade, and a razor-sharp edge.


 Camping Lantern – A solar-charging lantern with built-in power bank for charging devices.

 Ghost Vapor Flashlight – A bright, high-quality tactical flashlight.

 Solar Power Pack – Comes with a dry bag, a solar charger, and a solar lantern.


 7 in 1 Survival Whistle – A multitool with a whistle, light, compass, thermometer, mirror, magnifying glass, and storage container.

 Auto Safety Tool – An auto bailout tool with a whistle, glass breaker, and seat belt cutter.

 Paracord Grenade – A survival kit with 10 feet of paracord, a carabiner, a fire starter, tinder, and a mini straw.

 StrikePen – This tactical pen is also a knife, bottle opener, a HEX wrench, a flat head driver, and an LED flashlight!

 Tactical Pen – Looks and works like an ordinary pen, but has a glass-shattering tip that can be used as a weapon.

Dollar Store Prepping: 13 Items to Stockpile Now

Trash Bags

I can’t emphasize enough how important it is to stockpile trash bags for emergencies.

First off, consider what you are going to do when the plumbing – and your toilet – stop working.

You’ll need to make an emergency buckettoilet, and you’ll need to line the buckets with trash bags (I’d use two bags for lining). That means you’ll need at least 2 trash bags per day just for the toilet.

You’ll also need trash bags for containing trash (the trash collectors won’t be coming anymore!), waterproofing items, and maybe making an improvised poncho or two.

  • Why: Emergency toilet liner for trash, waterproofing, and much more
  • How Many: Aim to have at least 100 trash bags per person for a month-long stockpile. I’ve stockpiled a lot more than this, though


You can buy big 96oz jugs of bleach at the dollar store. Bleach is such a good prepper dollar store find because it is used to purify water.

  • Why: Purifying dirty water, sanitizing, and cleaning
  • How Much: 1 jug per person

Disposable Vinyl and Latex Gloves

So you’ve made an emergency toilet and lined it with the trash bags you’ve stockpiled. Now comes the time to change the bag.

Do you really want to touch that bag with your bare hands? No!

That is why you need to stockpile cheap disposable gloves. These are also good for medical emergencies.

Note that you’ll want some sturdier gloves on hand, but you can reuse those.

  • Why: Handling hazardous materials and during medical emergencies
  • How Many: At least 100 pairs of gloves for a month-long emergency stockpile

Plastic Sheeting (Drop Cloths)

Clear plastic sheeting is one of the most useful survival and prepper supplies you can have. Note that this is different from the plastic survival tarps we love so much.

However, you can still use plastic sheeting for many things, like catching rainwater, sealing broken windows, or putting on the ground to make an impromptu hospital operating table.

  • Why: Catching rainwater, sealing broken windows and doors, and more
  • How Many: Count the number of windows and doors in your home. You’ll want at least double this number.


I wouldn’t rely on a crappy dollar-store flashlight for your main emergency lighting. But you can never have too many flashlights.

Buy a few really good ones, but also stock up on some of these cheap ones from the dollar store. You can give them to neighbors or friends who come knocking on your door for help after SHTF.

  • Why: Emergency lighting
  • How Many: Aim for at least 10 per family member, so they can be used for trading if necessary

Emergency Food

You won’t find the best quality food at the dollar store, but you won’t care about quality when SHTF and there is nothing to eat.

By shopping at dollar tree, you can get a leg up on your food stockpiling efforts without spending a fortune. Read this article about what foods to stockpile.

  • Why: Emergency food
  • How Many: Have at least a 30-day stockpile of emergency food in your home

Sports Drinks

Dehydration is a severe problem and can be life-threatening in some circumstances. Along with my emergency water stockpile, I have some sports drinks with my supplies.

These are great for quick rehydration if someone gets diarrhea, vomits, or has heatstroke.

  • Why: Emergency rehydration
  • How Many: About 1 gallon per person

Hand Sanitizers

The dollar store sells small 2oz travel-size bottles of hand sanitizers. I like that they are small because, if I need to Get Out of Dodge, I can carry one of the small bottles in my Bug Out Bag instead of taking the entire large bottle with me. Yes, you will be grateful for having hand sanitizer around when the plumbing stops working, and you don’t want to waste precious water for washing your hands.

  • Why: Cleaning hands
  • How Many: About 10 ounces per person

Wet Wipes

When the plumbing is down, how will you keep yourself clean? The best solution is to stockpile loads of baby wipes. Then you can wipe your body down with these and be nice and clean. Read more about emergency hygiene here.

  • Why: Emergency hygiene
  • How Many: 8 (60ct) packs per person

Pain Medicines

Pain medicines are probably going to be one of the most valuable items to have after a disaster situation.

First, they will help with any pain you happen to get. Pain meds will also probably be a really good SHTF barter item.

Have enough of these, and you’ll be able to trade them for whatever you are missing.

Read more about OTC medicines to stockpile

  • Why: Pain relief, as a bartering item
  • How Many: For your own need, about 2-5 bottles per person; for bartering, you can’t have too many!


If you try to buy bandages at a pharmacy, they will probably overcharge you.

But, at the dollar store, you can find all types of bandages to stock up on, including standard band-aids, roller bandages, medical tape, butterfly bandages, triangle bandages, and elastic support bandages.

  • Why: Emergency first aid
  • How Many: Aim to have a wide variety of bandages


The dollar store doesn’t carry those 5-gallon buckets with lids we love so much. But they have a lot of cheaper buckets that can be equally useful in a survival situation.

If you are prepping on a budget, buy just a few 5-gallon buckets and the rest of your buckets from the dollar store.

  • Why: Growing food, storing trash, storing supplies, collecting rainwater, an emergency toilet
  • How Many: I’d aim to have at least 50


You can never have too many candles. And, when you need to buy cheap candles, the dollar store is the place to go. Skip all of those fancy scented candles and buy the largest ones you can find.

You will also want to stock up on those small tealight candles since they are especially good for making an emergency heater out of a ceramic pot.

Note that lanterns make much better emergency lighting than candles, but it is still good to have candles on hand as a backup or supplement lighting.

  • Why: Emergency lighting
  • How Many: Aim for 120 burn time (4 hours per day for a month). You’ll probably need 4-5 candles burning to produce significant light, so calculate around 1000 hours of burn time minimum.


Instructions for Applying a Tourniquet

1. When Should a Tourniquet Be Used?

Use tourniquets in situations where:

  • The wound is on a limb
  • Direct pressure cannot control the bleeding
  • When maintaining direct pressure is not possible (such as in cases where there are multiple casualties)

What if you aren’t sure whether to apply a tourniquet or not?

Research shows that tourniquets are often applied when not necessary. However, in cases where tourniquets are necessary, survival rates are much better when used early.

Thus,  researchers conclude that a certain amount of over-treatment may be needed to achieve a zero miss rate for bleeding to death. In other words, it is better to play it safe. Apply the tourniquet early.

When NOT to Apply a Tourniquet

  • Bleeding cannot be controlled by direct and/or indirect pressure
  • Snake bites: Contrary to what you see in movies, tourniquets should NOT be used on snake bites. This can trap the venom in one spot and damage tissue.

2. Wrap Around Limb

The tourniquet should go around the injured limb, approximately 2 or 3 inches above the bleeding site. Applying close to the wound minimizes the risk of tissue damage. Leave any pressure dressings in place.


  • Never apply a tourniquet over a joint. Go above the joint if necessary.
  • If you aren’t sure where the wound is, or there are multiple wounds on the same limb, then apply it proximally – or high up around the limb.
  • The lower arms and lower legs have two bones. It can be difficult to compress them enough to stop blood flow. Applying a tourniquet above the knee or elbow may be more effective.

The tourniquet should go approximately 2-3 inches above the wound. Do not apply over a joint.

3. Tighten and Secure

Following the instructions of your tourniquet, tighten it until the bleeding stops. Secure the tourniquet in place. Do not cover the tourniquet. It should remain visible to medical responders.

4. Note the Time

Always write down the time the tourniquet was applied. This information is vital for medical responders.

A tourniquet can remain in place for approximately 2 hours with little risk of limb damage and up to 4 hours with a moderate risk of tissue damage.

5. Check the Tourniquet

The only way to know if a tourniquet is working is to check for a pulse below the tourniquet. If you can still feel a pulse, the tourniquet is not working. A second tourniquet should be applied proximal (above) to the first.

Likewise, if you can still see blood flowing even after applying a tourniquet, you should use a second tourniquet proximal to it.

Removing the Tourniquet (Conversion)

Tourniquets can remain in place for 2 hours with minimal risk of complications. At 4 hours, there is still a minimal risk of complications.

Remember, always choose life over limb. Do not remove the tourniquet. Wait for professional medical help.

What if absolutely no help is available? I mean absolutely no help, like a total doomsday SHTF situation.

After some time has passed, it is possible that enough clotting has occurred to stop the flow of blood. The tourniquet can then be removed in place of pressure dressings.

***We only mention these steps because we want people to be prepared for all situations. It is doubtful that you will ever need to remove a tourniquet.  

In everyday situations, help will be available. When hiking in the middle of “nowhere,” you hopefully have a way of calling for help so medics can helicopter their way to you. Even in warfare, some help will probably be available, thanks to field doctors. Heck, war has been going on in Syria for 8+ years now. Many hospitals are shut down, but there are still heroic doctors performing brain surgery from basements…

So, I repeat: Choose life over limb. If you aren’t sure whether it is safe to remove a tourniquet, leave it in place.

Tourniquet Conversion Steps:

  1. Only consider removing a tourniquet when the patient has been stabilized, many hours have passed, and no professional help is available.
  2. Before removing the tourniquet, the wound must have been packed and had direct pressure dressings applied.
  3. Check to see if bleeding is under control. To do this, loosen the tourniquet slightly. See if it starts bleeding.
  4. If bleeding occurs, retighten the tourniquet immediately. If no bleeding occurs, then continue to loosen the tourniquet incrementally. Look for bleeding each time you loosen.
  5. Leave the tourniquet loosely in place above the wound. This will allow you to reapply the tourniquet quickly if necessary.

Should You Periodically Loosen the Tourniquet?

Tourniquets are incredibly painful for patients. However, you should never loosen the tourniquet to “give the tissue oxygen and blood.”

This will only cause the patient to bleed to death in short bursts. If no help is available and many hours have passed, you might consider removing the tourniquet. See the “Conversion” section above. But that is only for complete SHTF doomsday scenarios where there’s no chance of a trained medical professional reaching you. Otherwise, leave the tourniquet in place and keep it tight.

10 Poisonous Berries to Beware Of

Safely Foraging for Food in the Wild

11 Wild Edible Plants

1. Clover

Clover is first on the list because it’s likely the one you’re most familiar with and will have the easiest access to find. You can cook it like spinach, eat it raw, or steep it into a tea.

Clover has lots of protein and the flower heads can be ground into flour.

Never choose brown or wilted clover to eat; these plants should always be fresh or dried by your own hand.

Some people are allergic to clover, so go easy on it at first if you’re unsure of your tolerances.

The flowers are the best tasting part.

2. Daylily

Beautiful as it is nutritious, the daylily is a mostly wild edible plant. The leaves are delicious when young (before they reach about six inches tall), and the flower buds are tasty when eaten raw or cooked.

Daylilies are perennial plants, and they grow relatively quickly.

Individual plants can be dug out and divided every three years or so, and each chunk of root can be used to start another plant. This is an easy way to guarantee a solid food crop for years to come.

3. Cattails

An iconic plant of marshlands, the cattail is a prolific grower and is full of starchy goodness.

The large chunk of seeds at the top of the plant (they look an awful lot like a corndog) can be cooked and eaten like corn on the cob. The leaves can also be cooked like spinach.

Be wary of where you’re foraging this wild edible plant. It grows in marshes and wetlands, and these areas are unfortunately polluted by industry and garbage. Survey the environment before eating any cattails.

4. Dandelion

If you’re noticing a trend towards familiar and easily-accessible wild edible plants, you’re right.

Dandelion is an excellent food full of antioxidants and minerals. The young leaves taste best, but the larger ones can be boiled to remove the bitter flavor. Drink that water as a tea, if you’re inclined.

Dandelion wine is a tasty drink if you’re inclined towards a bit of booze.

Like the warning about cattails above, dandelions are prone to exposure to pollutants and especially nasty chemicals.

Americans detest this attractive, edible, and beneficial “weed” in their lawns, so many places where dandelions grow will be bombarded with weed killers to eliminate its presence.

5. Berries

Edible berries can be found in a variety of places, but most tend to do well on woodlines and in old farmers’ fields growing near fence lines. Blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, and more can be found, depending on your region.

Berries are a delicacy among foragers, but they also serve an important role in the food web. Unless you’re in a survival situation, never eat more than your fair share. Always watch out for other foragers like bears who love to tear through a berry patch.

6. Wood Sorrel

This plant looks an awful lot like a huge, angular version of clover, but it’s a different wild edible plant altogether.

Identify it by finding the three large green leaves that are angular and shaped like a giant clover. It tends to grow in areas where it gets a bit of shade.

It’s got a lemony and sour taste to the leaves that can be eaten raw. Add it to your diet for a boost of vitamin C or as a nice flavor pairing to make other greens more edible.

7. Japanese Knotweed

This is an invasive species that grows very rapidly, as much as thirteen feet tall in a single season, and aggressively spreads out via rhizome to dominate any area it is introduced to. At the very least, this makes it a reliable wild edible plant if the SHTF.

The young shoots that come up in the spring are the best time to eat Japanese knotweed. Some people say it tastes a bit lemony, while others swear it’s closer to asparagus.

8. Prickly Pear Cactus

Although it grows in many ornamental gardens, you won’t find this wild edible plant in the wild unless you’re in a desert locale.

It’s an attractive plant and easily identifiable by its flat, spiked arms. The fruit it produces will grow on the top of each “lobe” and is ripe when it turns red. The rest of the green is edible and full of water if you’re patient enough to remove all of the spines.

Even with the fruit, take special care to remove every thorn and prickly bit to avoid a very painful situation.

9. Crab Apple

Whenever you find an apple tree producing small fruit about the size of a golf ball or so, you’ve got yourself a crab apple.

Some trees produce larger fruit than others, and all of it can be a bit bitter and sour, and sometimes you really will get a tummy ache if you eat too much… but it’s a great fruit to prepare into jams and butters, and in a bad situation you can eat your fill without worrying about toxicity.

This wild edible plant has seeds that contain trace amounts of cyanide. Spit them out to limit your exposure.

10. Seaweed/Kelp

You’ll find seaweed and kelp attached beneath the waves in coastal regions, and sometimes it’ll be washed up on beaches after storms.

Soak the seaweed in fresh water for a few hours before eating this wild edible plant. It can be eaten raw or cooked, and it contains a tremendous amount of health benefits and dietary supplements.

11. Purslane

Another “weed” for most folks, purslane is a common plant you’ll encounter all over North America.

Chances are it’s growing in your driveway right now or your sidewalk. You’ll also find it growing in areas that have poor quality soils (think roadsides, embankments, abandoned lots).

Identify this fine-tasting plant by its thick, succulent-like leaves and habit of growing in all directions from a central point. Cook it lightly before eating it.

Be wary of its poisonous doppelganger, the hairy-stemmed spurge. You can distinguish the two by squeezing a stem and seeing if a milky sap is present; if it is, it’s the hairy-stemmed spurge and is poisonous.

When eating something wild, use these steps to do it safely and smartly.
  1. Rub the plant on your arm) and wait a few minutes. If there’s any sort of irritation (itching, red rash, raised bumps, etc), the plant is probably toxic.
  2. If the plant passes the first test, dab a bit of the edible portions on your lips. If this causes burning, tingling, or an otherwise uncomfortable sensation, stop where you’re at; the plant is probably toxic, and if not, why risk it?
  3. If you’re not affected by this contact with the plant, you can eat a small piece of the plant or fruit. Wait for fifteen minutes or more. If this third test also passes, the plant is likely non-toxic, but still practice the greatest caution while eating and pay alert attention to your body.


How to Communicate With Family in an Emergency

One of the scariest parts of a disaster is not knowing how your loved ones are – during and right after an emergency. You want to know where they are and that they’re safe.

Social Media Plays a Vital Part

Use Social Media to reassure your loved ones quickly and easily. The Red Cross has a series of mobile apps that are designed to teach you BEFORE an emergency and help you AFTER an emergency. Download the apps that apply to your area – Earthquake, Wildfire, First Aid, Hurricane, and Tornado – and go to the toolkit section. You will find everything you need to make a plan, get immediate first aid information and notify your loved ones that you are safe.

Tools like Twitter and Facebook have become the number one way that news travels, including disaster news. In fact, in the Japan and Virginia earthquakes in the 2011 year Twitter warnings reached people BEFORE the earthquake waves! Who would think Twitter could save your life!

Social Media is also how emergency management teams have started to track disasters, their damage, and study them. Lastly, Facebook is a surefire way of how most people can keep tabs on loved ones. However, you do have to be aware of the latest news regarding social media bans.

Alternatives In Case of a Social Media Ban

Fortunately, the landscape has changed quite a lot when compared to 2011. If Facebook and Twitter were basically kings back then, nowadays more and more users are flocking towards other platforms that don’t censor free speech.


Gab is very similar to Twitter with the added benefit of absolutely no censorship. Although far from being perfect when it comes to functionality, it does offer users plenty of features for the low-low price of free. It is a great way to make your voice heard and communicate with your family in case of an emergency.


This is primarily a messaging platform with certain social features such as groups and channels for those who want to transmit information to a large number of fans. It’s got plenty of privacy options, security features, and the option to encrypt every single chat.

Set up a Calling Tree

The Phone Tree is a vital part of a family communications plan. This is the old fashioned form of social media. As an emergency communications plan it means that one out of state phone call ensures that everyone is contacted.

It’s simple: Everyone in the family contacts the out of state designated caller. This person is able to give an update on everyone who has yet to call in, and how everyone is doing. They are the central source of information.

After all the reports have been made their job is to spread the news to any who needs to know, as illustrated in the infographic. Since everything goes through them, local lines are free for emergency calls and you are free to deal with the emergency.

Designate how frequently everyone reports back to that contact until reunited (hourly, half hour, etc), and then check in daily with any updates on how conditions, health, or needs have changed. Be sure that your contact has a copy of your family emergency plan. This means they will literately be able to track your family as they check in throughout the process.

With this plan in place, you can rest assured that you’ll know where, and how, everyone is doing as you carry out your family emergency plan. When used together, your family communications plan and family emergency plan help the out of state contact to act as the director of a well-run play.


Importance of fitness for survival preparedness

Disaster preparedness involves stockpiling supplies like food, water, first aid items and medicine. These things are very important for your survival, but other factors can also help you survive, like physical fitness.

There are several reasons why physical fitness is crucial for survival preparedness.

First, being physically fit can help you avoid injuries. It can also help you run to safety when disaster strikes or successfully defend yourself against enemies. In short, being fit can help you move quickly and avoid danger. (Related: Prepper fitness: Exercise regularly so you can survive in a post-SHTF world.)

Physical fitness is also important because it can help you build strength and endurance. When SHTF, you may need to lift heavy objects, climb stairs or steep hills, or walk long distances with a heavy bag full of gear.

This can be a problem for someone who doesn’t exercise at all, but if you are in good physical shape, you won’t have too much trouble doing these tasks. Being fit means you can also conserve energy and stay focused on your survival.

Exercise and training for survival preparedness

To improve your chance of survival when SHTF, start by doing certain types of exercise training. However, you have to consider several factors, such as your current fitness level, age and specific fitness goals.

Some types of exercise training are especially helpful for survival preparedness. These include:

Strength training

Building your muscle strength is important, especially if you are responsible for chores that involve lifting heavy objects or other physically demanding tasks in your homestead.

Cardiovascular training

Improving your cardiovascular fitness can help boost your endurance and stamina. This will make it easier for you to travel long distances or run for short periods.

Balance and agility training

Balance and agility training exercises can help you avoid falls and injuries, which is crucial during a disaster when medical care may be limited or even unavailable.

Building a fitness routine for survival preparedness

Check out the tips below if you are planning to build a fitness routine that will help you prepare for disasters and emergencies.

Start slowly

If you are used to a sedentary lifestyle, start slowly and gradually increase the intensity and duration of your workouts. This can help prevent accidents and injuries.

Before you start your exercise routine, walk and warm up for at least five to 10 minutes. When you’re done, stretch your arms and legs as you cool down for five to 10 minutes.

If you are having trouble with your routine, make sure you are focusing on form, not weight. Having poor form can cause injuries and slow gains. Always align your body correctly and move smoothly through each exercise.

When learning a strength training routine, it is best to start with very light weight. Concentrate on slow, smooth lifts and equally controlled descents while isolating the desired muscle group.

Be consistent

For best results, maintain your exercise routine and be consistent. Things will be hard on the first week or so, but once you are used to exercising, you might even look forward to your routine.

Try to exercise regularly, ideally at least three to four times every week. Choose exercises that will help work all the major muscles of your body two or three times a week.

If you are strong enough, you can do one full-body strength workout two or three times a week. Alternatively, you can break your strength workout into upper- and lower-body components. If you go with this option, perform each component two or three times a week.

Try different exercises 

Try a variety of exercises to balance your routine. Include strength training, cardiovascular training and balance and agility training in your routine.

If you find that your progress has plateaued after some time, try to challenge your muscles by slowly increasing weight or resistance.

Keep in mind that the right weight for you will vary depending on the exercise. Choose a weight that tires your targeted muscle or muscles by the last two repetitions while still allowing you to maintain good form.

If you are too weak to do the last two reps, choose a lighter weight.

If it feels too easy to complete, add more weight, at least one to two pounds for your arms and two to five pounds for your legs, or add another set of repetitions to your workout (do at least three sets).

If you add weight, you should be able to do all the repetitions with good form and the targeted muscles should feel tired by the last two reps.

Try to have fun while exercising 

If you often feel bored or unmotivated to work out, make changes to your routine.

Try other fun activities that you enjoy, like hiking, swimming or even martial arts. If you find that exercising alone feels a bit lonely, ask your family members to exercise with you. You’ll then have someone to keep you in check if you feel like skipping your workout for the day.

Stay motivated

Exercise requires discipline, but you also need to motivate yourself.

While the goal is to improve your chance of survival, exercising can feel more rewarding if you set goals for yourself, track your progress and reward yourself for meeting certain milestones, like meeting your target weight or being able to run a certain distance.

By Zoey Sky (

Twelve things you can do right now to be more resilient against collapse, famine and nuclear war

06/20/2023 / By Mike Adams

1) Get some of your assets out of the fiat currency debt-based monetary slave system, because that system will crater (and it’s rigged anyway). Become proficient in using gold, silver and crypto as means of exchange, because those assets are more “honest” in the sense that no government can artificially inflate their supply. (No government can print gold, silver or Bitcoin, in other words.)

2) Relocate far from the “death zone” cities, many of which will be non-survivable. Move to a local area that reflects the culture and rule of law you wish to live within. Things are about to get very local, so you should pick a local living area that reflects philosophies of resiliency, self-reliance, honest, compassion and the right to self-defense.

3) Keep your passport up to date in case you need to seek a new destination around the globe. Have a crypto wallet where you have memorized the seed phrase so that you essentially have a “brain wallet” that you can access from anywhere. Use privacy coins that are untraceable to protect your privacy and avoid crypto confiscation attempts. Use crypto swap aggregation sites like to trade BTC into privacy coins. Watch for an upcoming announcement about my new Brighteon show focusing on decentralization solutions for humanity.

4) Become proficient in secure, private messaging technology. Deploy the Session app. Learn and deploy privacy crypto (Monero, FIRO, etc.). Learn about Apricorn thumb drives with keypad encryption. Also make sure you acquire sat phones and radio comms as alternative means of communication that don’t rely on cell towers and can’t easily triangulate your physical location.

5) Practice dressing down. Discard signs of visible wealth or abundance. Don’t live a flashy lifestyle. Toss flashy jewelry. Move out of your McMansion. Don’t drive a luxury vehicle. Don’t flash cash or gold. Embrace the “grey man” philosophy. Blend in with locals.

6) Store food and learn to grow food so you can be ready for the coming food rationing. Learn how to grow food in a way that isn’t immediately obvious to everyone (guerilla gardening). Stock up on necessary supplements like vitamin D and zinc. Acquire non-GMO garden seeds. Learn food preservation techniques such as canning or drying.

7) Learn a means of self-defense and become proficient in it. The easiest tool to master is a firearm, and the easiest firearm to learn is a rifle. Pistols are much more difficult to deploy and require far more training than using a rifle. (Sight picture, eye dominance, recoil control, etc.) If you don’t know what to buy, get an AR-15 and a Glock 19. Consider acquiring ballistic armor (see if you anticipate violence targeting your household or community.

8) Be prepared to have your location overrun and have a backup supply of critical items at another location. (Bugout plan.) Be ready for the Marxist / communist “Activation day” scenario. Have enough supplies at your bugout location so that you have a chance at retaking your home, farm or community buildings if they are initially overrun. Don’t make the mistake of thinking you will never have to retreat from your house, ranch or city. There will be many refugees across America who are fleeing collapsed cities and regional kinetic conflict. This is why having a crypto “brain wallet” is critical because it cannot be detected nor confiscated from you.

9) Secure a reliable water supply at both your primary and secondary location. Water scarcity is an easy means of control to subjugate the population. A reliable water supply requires water treatment solutions such as a gravity filter or a high-quality pump filter / camping filter. Have a plan to acquire and filter water without using electricity. Consider surface water, well water and rain water. Make sure you prepare water storage at both your primary and secondary locations.

10) Stock up on off grid emergency medical supplies and first aid items. Many will be nearly impossible to acquire after the collapse kicks in. Specifically look at prescriptions (including antibiotics), ivermectin and antiseptic supplies such as povidone iodine.

11) Maintain your physical fitness with cardio and strength training, to be ready for the harsh physical realities of surviving a collapse (and working a garden). Bone density is essential for resilience and survival. Stamina will be required for the heavy physical demands of “collapse living.” Anything you can do right now to increase strength, endurance and bone density will pay off in the years ahead.

12) Practicing living without electricity. Although a total power grid failure may never occur, we do expect regional, intermittent outages that could instantly plunge many areas of the country into darkness. Without electricity, water pumps stop working. Gas stations shut down. Retail establishments cannot function. Refrigerators and freezers halt, and air conditioning grinds to a halt. There are ways to live without electricity, but none of them are convenient or easy. Plan to deploy solar charging devices to provide trickle charges for small electronic devices such as cell phones and flashlights, but also plan for local cell towers to stop functioning for extended periods. Download Mike’s free audiobook, “Resilient Prepping” to learn how to live without electricity:

7 Prepping Items FEMA Will Confiscate When SHTF

Does FEMA Have The Power To Confiscate?

There is a list of Executive Orders that have been signed into law over decades in this nation. FEMA has been granted swathes of executive power in the event of an emergency.

EO 12148 – Carter

SEC 2-104 The Director [of Federal Emergency Management] shall represent the President in working with State and local governments and private sector to stimulate vigorous participation in civil emergency preparedness, mitigation, response, and recovery programs.

EO 10998 – Kennedy

SEC. 2. Definitions. As used in this order:

(a) “Food resources” means all commodities and products, simple, mixed, or compound, or complements to such commodities or products, which are capable of being eaten or drunk, by either human beings or animals’ irrespective of other uses to which such commodities or products may be put, at all stages of processing from the raw commodity to the products thereof in vendible form for human or animal consumption.

For the purposes of this order the term “food resources” shall also include all starches, 

sugars, vegetable and animal fats and oils, cotton, tobacco, wool, mohair, hemp, flax fiber, and naval stores, but shall not include any such material after it loses its identity as an agricultural commodity or agricultural product.

(b) “Farm equipment” means machinery, equipment and repair parts manufactured primarily for use on farms in connection with the production or preparation for market or use of “food resources.”

(c) “Fertilizer” means any product or combination of products for plant nutrition in form for distribution to the users thereof.

(d) “Food resource facilities” means plants, machinery, vehicles (including on farm) and other facilities for the production, processing, distribution and storage (including cold storage) of food resources, and for domestic distribution of farm equipment and fertilizer.

EO 10995 FEMA can take all Comms and Media.

EO 10997 FEMA can take fuel and power of all kinds.

1. Bottled Water

Water always has value in a disaster scenario. I hope you store some ready to drink water in your home and also catch some water from the sky.

Having water filters and knowing where to get more water i.e., bodies of clean water is necessary. In a disaster lots of water sources are contaminated. The water you have in your home might be all you have access to. If FEMA comes knocking you should have some to give, and some hidden or your family is going to be standing in line for a bottle of water from the case you already purchased.

2. Food

As you read above, FEMA has the power and the intention to not just take your food but to take over the farms, too! Of course, they will decide how this food is distributed once they have amassed it all.

Can you imagine seeing all the food taken from your home in an emergency? Years of prepping just walked out the door by people who couldn’t care less about you and your family.

This is why it is so important for you to maximize the use of multiple and hidden storage locations.

If we truly want to help, then we need to be able to hand over our “food storage” and have FEMA roll away with some resources before bringing our real stockpile together from these multiple and hidden locations.

3. Medical

FEMA will take the necessary steps to procure medical equipment and medicines if they believe you have the types they are looking for. Your medical stockpiles would be at risk, and it is well within FEMA’s scope of powers to take from you what they deem necessary.

In fact, medical is even worse than food because if FEMA deems you healthy then you don’t need any of those medical preps you have been storing. They can take it all!

They gotta leave you some food to sustain yourself but with medical it could be different.

4. Weapons

We do not have a lot of precedent for this, but a couple times is enough. We saw weapons 

confiscation in places like New Orleans and in Boston after the marathon bombing.

Nothing stands in the way of FEMA confiscating your preps like a 12 gauge shotgun.

I think FEMA would take as many weapons from American citizens as they could. They would throw the 2nd Amendment out the window in the face of an emergency. In fact, they would have to or else there would be a different kind of emergency to deal with.

5. Generators

Your generator is probably loud, right? Well, FEMA can hear it, too.

EO10997 gives federal power to FEMA so they can confiscate all kinds of fuel and power necessary to complete their mission. This could include your loud generator that they hear from a mile away.

FEMA is setting up camps during these disasters and some of those camps might require power, your power.

6. Fuel

The fuel you bring into a disaster area is the all the fuel you have while you are in that disaster area.

When it runs out you have to either leave the area or go find more.

Your fuel stockpile would surely pique the interest of FEMA.

They would have every right to take that fuel stockpile from you to power their vehicles and their efforts.

7. Radios and Comms

We have already established that FEMA has the law on its side if it wants to confiscate comms. That big antenna on your truck is going to be a dead giveaway. The larger the disaster the more resources FEMA is going to want or “need” to manage the situation.

They would love a few good Baofeng radios or a powerful HAM system to add to their comms operation.

Where and how do you store your HAM radios?

Is it time to find a more convert means of using them and keeping them secret and safe?

From the Ask A Prepper website

Comparing survival food products

While some clearly stood out, each product had some characteristic that stood out against the others.

  • Best tasting: Mountain House
  • Most customizable: Emergency Essentials
  • Highest nutritional content: Mountain House
  • Best traditional comfort food: Wise Foods (Chicken Noodle Soup)
  • Best cold cereal: Ready Store (Apple Cinnamon Granola)
  • Best hot cereal: Legacy Foods 9-Grain Cereal
  • Easiest to prepare/most convenient: Mountain House
  • Best pancakes: My Patriot Supply
  • Best soups overall: Augason Farms
  • Most durable container: Legacy Foods and Ready Store (tie)
  • Best for omnivores: Mountain House
  • Best for people who like to cook: Legacy Foods
  • Best for people who don’t want to cook: Mountain House
  • Best for vegetarians: Legacy Foods
  • Most versatile container: My Patriot Supply
  • Best whey-based beverage/milk: Augason Farms (Morning Moo)
  • Most affordable: Augason Farms, Ready Store, Wise, and EE (Survival), depending on sale prices
  • Best supplement of freeze-dried food: My Patriot Supply (fruit/veg/snack tote)

Price of emergency food

It’s hard to compare because these companies frequently run sales or play games with “markdowns” that are essentially permanent. While writing this article, we saw price fluctuations up to $100.

As of publishing, this was the cost for two people for two weeks and per calorie price for each product. To keep it apples-to-apples, in some cases we priced based on two buckets instead of three (in the Emergency Essentials example) to get the per-day calorie count roughly similar.

Brand# of buckets2 people for 2 weeksPrice per 2000 calories
Augason Farms1$99 at 1822 cal / day$3.60
Emergency Essentials (Premier)2$260 at 1822 cal / day$9.40
Mountain House (14-day Combos)2$480 at 2150 cal / day$14.80
My Patriot Supply2$460 at 2030 cal / day$15.00
Legacy Foods1$299 at 1488 cal / day$13.40
Ready Store / EasyPrep2$396 at 2070 cal / day$12.80
Wise Foods3$390 at 1992 cal / day$13.00


Every product we found would be considered “not good enough” from a purely nutritional perspective. Generally, each was too low in protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals to be considered a sole but complete source of food for a few weeks.

Between the food we assume is on an average pantry shelf, and the supplemental shakes and add-ons we recommend below (like the $99 Fruit, Veggie and Snack Mix from My Patriot Supply), that should be enough to cover all the important needs for two weeks.

That said, our calculations showed Mountain House had the best overall nutrition. Nutrition experts looked over the figures and agreed. The least nutritious is Wise, mostly because of the low calorie count and other macronutrients.

Mountain House, Augason Farms, and Emergency Essentials are highest in calories, at an average close to 2,000 per day. They are also the three highest in protein and fiber. Mountain House has the most protein and Augason Farms has the most fiber.

Mountain House has the most fat, averaging around 73 grams per day. But it has actual meat and cheese. Experts recommend getting 20-35% of calories from fat, so MH’s 35% was acceptable. Wise has the lowest average fat per day, but that’s because it’s just low on food in general, with a calorie count 2.5 times lower than MH.

The Legacy option is the healthiest. Vegetarian, non-GMO, no MSG or high-fructose corn syrup, no cheap TVP meat substitutes, high in fiber, etc.

Many of the popular survival food products fell short of the recommended daily minimum of 2,000 calories — some by a lot. This was to the point that nutrition and emergency experts felt that some options were just not acceptable.

Transparency in marketing

There are a lot of marketing games about “servings” and the number of days a product will support, which made this review much more complicated than it needed to be.

In general, Augason Farms, Emergency Essentials, and Legacy Foods make it easy to understand the calories in a product, and they do a reasonably fair job of labeling how many days a bucket covers at a reasonable amount of calories (over 1,800).

Although, Legacy heavily promotes that they have the best price per 2,000 calories in the industry, which is not true in this category.

Mountain House, Wise Food, My Patriot Supply, and Ready Store need to get better in this regard. In some cases, we had to call a company and dig deeper than reasonable in order to find out calorie content — or we had to look at individual nutritional labels to reverse engineer the math. In other cases they called something a “1-month bucket” but that was based on silly calorie numbers.

For example, Wise labels their bucket as “84 servings”, but lists it under the “1 month supply” category on their website. Which makes it seem like a good deal at $130. But at 19,920 calories, that only works out to 660-700 calories per day!

Convenience in an emergency

Some products are no different than a normal box of mac and cheese: you boil water in a pot, mix the packaged product into the pot, turn the heat to a simmer, cook, and serve. Others are as simple as pouring boiling water in the pouch and waiting a few minutes. In some cases, the water doesn’t even need to be hot (although flavor and texture is better if it is).

Mountain House is the clear winner in convenience: boil water, pour into the pouch, seal, wait, shake, eat, trash. All you need is the water.

Most of the other products were added to a bigger pot of boiling water. In some cases, like Emergency Essentials, you need to keep the heat going so the food simmers for 20 minutes.

In other cases, like Ready Store’s Easy Prep, once you add the food base to boiling water, you remove from the heat to let it cook. Which saves on fuel. We also liked Easy Prep’s quality zip-top pouches, which cost more to manufacture.

If you consider it an inconvenience, many testers felt Legacy required the most “active cooking” — partly due to the need to add seasonings and other ingredients.


We found taste to be like a bell curve. When comparing similar meals from different buckets, most of them ended up in the middle of the curve, with one or two at the noticeably tasty or awful ends. Meal by meal, sometimes a company that was usually above average would have an obvious lemon in the bunch.

In other words, most of the time the variations in taste came down to relatively small stuff like sweetener intensity, amount of fruit or veggies, variations in spices, salt, etc. Oatmeal generally tasted like oatmeal across the board, and flavored rice generally tasted like flavored rice.

Although taste can be personal, we felt the results across 16 taste testers were accurate averages.

The best tasting meals unanimously came from Mountain House. Augason Farms, Emergency Essentials, and My Patriot Supply were roughly in the middle. Wise Foods and Easy Prep ranked towards the bottom. The Legacy Foods option was designed to be (and is) bland, but was still high-quality food.

For example, the pasta used by Mountain House stayed intact, with the right kind of chew, but Wise noodles came out mushy every time. Wise flavors are fairly bland, and some testers picked up an off-flavor they couldn’t name, but listed as something they noticed.

Excerpt from an article by Janna Balthaser ‘The Prepared’ website

SHTF bartering must-haves: 13 Things that will be in demand after an EMP attack

Article from website


Even if you don’t drink, you should stock up on alcohol because many people will be looking for alcohol after a disaster.

You might even benefit from having an occasional drink, such as after a very stressful situation like an EMP attack.

For effective bartering, it may be better to trade with alcohol in small bottles. This could be more expensive but when it’s time to barter, you’re still trading a bottle.

Those desperate enough for a drink will increase the value of that smaller bottle in their minds.


After an EMP attack, small electronics like handheld devices might continue to work.

But these devices will need batteries, most likely AA and AAA sizes. You should also stock up on lithium ion batteries and button cells (watch batteries).

According to battery manufacturers, alkaline batteries can be stored for up to 10 years. This means that you can safely stockpile batteries, without worrying about them going bad. Just make sure to rotate your supplies after trading.


After SHTF, some people might start looking for cigarettes to help them deal with their stress.

If you have space in your stockroom or pantry, get cut tobacco and rolling papers since they will last much longer than cigarettes. And even if some smokers prefer their favorite brands, they might be willing to barter for other brands after SHTF.

Factory-made cigarettes don’t store as well as raw tobacco, mostly due to the additives that they contain.


According to data, caffeine is the most widely used drug in the world. Data also revealed that a whopping 90 percent of Americans consume caffeine regularly.

After an EMP attack, many people will still crave a cup of coffee, so stock up on instant coffee, coffee beans or ground coffee for bartering.

If space is limited, stock up on whole coffee beans since coffee starts to age once it is ground. Ground coffee loses flavor and becomes stale faster than whole coffee beans.

Don’t forget to stock up on a manual coffee grinder if you are getting coffee beans. If possible, buy a big grinder so you can grind half a pound within minutes.

Fire starters

When facing a large-scale disaster event like an EMP attack, you may have to go back to using fire for heating and cooking.

This could be a problem for non-preppers who didn’t think to stock up on fuel and alternative ways of cooking and heating their home, so make sure you stock up on firestarters for bartering.

Buy matches for trading and other items you can use to start a fire properly, like tinder, flint and steel, or a ferro rod and striker.

First aid supplies

Medicines and first aid supplies will be in demand after SHTF.

After an EMP attack, many people might suffer major and minor injuries and anyone who didn’t prepare will need first aid supplies to treat wounds.

Treating those injuries could also become a constant problem, especially if medical facilities are overrun after a devastating EMP attack.

Stock up on the following first aid supplies before SHTF:

  • Antibacterial cream
  • Butterfly closures
  • Chest seals
  • Cotton swabs
  • Elastic bandages
  • Gloves
  • Hot and cold packs
  • N95 masks
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Scissors
  • Splints


Cars might not be running after an EMP attack, but people will still need gasoline for other tools and uses.

Gasoline can be used for starting fires and running chainsaws. However, gasoline doesn’t store well, although it stores better in metal gas cans compared to plastic containers.

People will also need other flammable fuels and materials such as kerosene, propane, mineral oil and wood. Wood might be particularly useful, although some people will be able to cut their own firewood.

Some of these fuels may not be all that practical to store, but after SHTF there may be someone else who will need whatever extra you can add to your stockpile.


Medicine will be one of the first things that will run out after a disaster like an EMP attack, so stock up on whatever you can legally get your hands on. It will be almost impossible to create a general stockpile of prescription medicines unless you are a pharmacist, but you can stockpile over-the-counter (OTC) medicines for trade.

Common items like antihistamines, medicine for diarrhea and pain relievers will all be popular after a disaster.

Herbal medicines are also a great alternative to OTC meds, so start learning about medicinal herbs or plant some in your home garden today.

Personal hygiene products

People will also need various personal hygiene products to keep themselves clean in a post-SHTF world.

Stock up on these essential hygiene items:

  • Bar soap
  • Chapstick/lip balm
  • Combs
  • Cotton swabs
  • Dental floss
  • Deodorant
  • Diapers
  • Feminine hygiene products
  • Hairbrushes
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Lotion
  • Razors
  • Shampoo
  • Shaving cream
  • Toilet paper
  • Toothbrushes
  • Toothpaste

Preserved food

With the transportation and ordering systems down, stores won’t be able to restock once they sell out their current supply.

While there may be food around, it won’t be as easy to get it where it is needed and local supplies will be all that anyone has available to them.

But these local supplies may not even make it to the stores. And if they do, what will other people do when those stocks are used up?

Unless there are food processing plants nearby that still has a stock of raw foodstuffs to process, even local stocks will run out rather quickly, leaving people without food.

The value of food is based on its necessity for survival. The scarcer the food, the greater its value.

This means the value of food will increase over time, as shortages increase. Monitor the current situation in your area so that you know how much your food is worth.

Stock up on preserved food, or learn how to preserve food at home using fruits and vegetables from your garden so you can barter for other supplies.


Soap may not seem that important, but it can be crucial to your survival after SHTF.

People will need a lot of soap to wash their hands, especially since proper hygiene is key to preventing the spread of diseases.

Toilet paper

Toilet paper is another survival essential that you should stock up on if you plan on bartering after SHTF.

Preppers know that there are other options in a post-EMP world, but none of them are as convenient and comfortable to use as toilet paper.

Water filters and purifiers

Clean water is important for your survival, and if you run out of water after an EMP attack, you will need water filters and purifiers to ensure that the water you harvest from an outside source is safe to use.

Regardless of quality, any water filter will go bad after continued use since its pores will eventually fill with sediment.

One solution is to use filters that are back-flushable. While they are more expensive, they don’t go bad so quickly.

Alternatively, you can use water treatment options like chlorine bleach to chemically purify water.

Whatever you stock up on, get plenty of it and think of your options for long-term use and bartering. Bartering after a disaster can be a risky business, so always transact with a friend or two so you can protect each other if the other person tries anything funny.

Keep your supplies hidden, and don’t tell anyone else that you are a prepper or that you have a stockroom full of bartering goods at home. This ensures that no one tries to steal from you after SHTF. Even if you are bartering with a fellow prepper after an EMP attack, you should go well-armed, with good defenses and with a trusted friend or family member.

Never barter at home and take the necessary precautions to ensure that you’re not followed when you return home after bartering.

Tips and common beginner prepper mistakes:

  • Don’t buy off-the-shelf kits. 98% of them are not worth buying.
  • You can’t predict when an emergency will happen, so a good prep is always ready.
  • You cannot predict what’s going to happen, so be diligent about finding and avoiding assumptions in your preps.
  • Stay realistic and practical. Avoid zombie and Rambo fantasies. Focus on the things that matter most and remember that simpler is better.
  • Don’t let prepping overwhelm or defeat you. It’s important to enjoy the good life now and not go down a dark spiral of doomsday depression or blow your life savings on supplies. You can prepare without giving up, just like how buying health insurance doesn’t mean you’ve given up on your health.
  • Ignore the noise and extremism that tries to take over prepping from the fringes. Unfortunately, many of the related blogs, forums, and Facebook groups are riddled with junk. Speak up or go somewhere else.
  • Prepping is better when you connect with like-minded people. Try to connect with others through local groups (eg. scouts, amateur radio clubs, hiking clubs, etc.)
  • Avoid “double dipping” your gear. It’s tempting to pick stuff out of your bug out bag for a camping trip, for example. But then life tends to get in the way, the gear stays scattered, and that creates windows where an emergency might strike and you’re unprepared.
  • If you’re on a budget, it’s better to buy fewer high-quality things than cheap stuff that will fail when you need them most. You can prep without much money, but it looks more like DIY and second-hand type of purchases, less so the dollar store.
  • Don’t just buy some gear, throw it in a closet, pat yourself on the back, and move on. You are not prepared unless you practice with your supplies and plans.
  • A bug out bag is not simply for bugging out to a predetermined location along a predetermined path. It’s the one bag you grab first when you need to leave your home.
  • It’s wrong to think “my plan is to bug out” or “my plan is to shelter in place at home” — emergencies don’t care about your plans, and a good prep means being able to do both.

From ‘The Prepared’ website

Get your health and finances in order

Medical issues and financial difficulties are the most likely disruptions you’ll face in your lifetime, and since you’re a sane prepper, you prioritize the most likely emergencies first.

All of the statistics around personal financial health are shockingly bad — particularly in the US. For example, over 50% of Americans can’t handle an unexpected $500 emergency (eg. your expired-warranty home furnace suddenly fails) without using credit cards.

You should not spend any money on gear/supplies beyond the essentials (eg. two weeks of water in your home) without first having core financial preps such as a rainy day fund, debt-reduction plan, and retirement savings.

Similar story with personal health: We’re getting sicker and less capable of handling the physical demands that are inherent in an emergency. It’ll be hard to survive at all if you struggle to walk up stairs, have addictions, or can’t keep your mind clear while your body goes through extreme stress.

Don’t forget other “adulting” basics like insurance and estate planning. Do you have a will? Does your family know what to do if you’re in a bad accident and can’t talk? Do you want doctors to keep you alive in a vegetative coma? Have you added beneficiaries to your financial accounts so your family isn’t locked out from money while waiting for the probate court system?

Tip: Going for random walks around your home is a great way to exercise and check off a core 101 checklist item (know your surroundings!) at the same time.

Article snippet from The Prepared

Best home water filter

Water that comes to your home through a first-world grid is usually safe. But even “treated” sources can become contaminated (see Flint, Michigan), many people don’t have or want access to pre-treated grids, and any of those systems can go down in an emergency. The prepper community loves the Big Berkey Countertop Water Filter as a great addition to any home — either as a nice-to-have daily convenience or emergency backup.

When prepping, think of water treatment in two different categories:

  • A small filter kept in a bug out bag or similar away-from-home kit, designed to keep you alive with small amounts of water wherever you are
  • A filter kept at home, designed to more easily produce more water, more often

If you only buy one thing, make it a portable water filter. You can always use it around the house if you need to. Vice versa, you don’t want to have to carry your big Brita pitcher around if you happen to evacuate.

Within the realm of home systems, there are two major types:

  • “Point of use” filters that are stand-alone or easily added to a single faucet. The common Brita or PUR jugs seen at supermarkets are an example.
  • “Point of entry” installed whole-house filters. These are larger systems that sit in between your main water source (grid or well) and the rest of your house piping/faucets.

Installed point-of-entry systems are great for always-on filtration throughout your home — just turn on the tap and get clean water.

But when we interviewed water quality expert Rick Andrews from NSF International, he pointed out that those systems are more expensive, take a lot more work to install, and typically have one fatal flaw for emergency preparedness: they can only take in water from your normal source/pipe.

One of the sane prepper rules is planning for the unknown and flexibility. So when thinking about this topic, you want to consider where you’ll get water in case your normal supply is tainted or unavailable and how you’ll treat it.

Read full article here

How the “use what you store, store what you use” model makes prepping easy (FIFO)

When you go to the store and have some wiggle room in your budget, just buy a little extra of the same shelf-stable stuff you already use. You then make a small change to how you store that stuff at home. That’s it! In the end, you’ve leveled up your preparedness without actually spending extra money or time on ‘prepping.’

The FIFO (first in, first out) model is a core concept in prepping and something everyone should understand. It’s so simple and powerful that, for many people, it becomes such a normal part of their thinking that they aren’t even aware of it anymore. Once you start, it seems silly to stock everyday essentials any other way.

The goal is to build up a natural surplus of extra stuff that you already use in normal life but can last at least a few months in storage — namely non-perishable food and daily consumables like toiletries or batteries.

Those extras are part of your first layer of emergency supplies. It’s kind of like having a corner convenience store in your own home. Except it’s only stocked with the stuff you know you want.

And since one of the first steps for a new prepper is to have enough supplies in their home to survive for at least two weeks on their own, without leaving — no outside help or trips to the store — this is an excellent way to get into prepping without much fuss or money.

It’s only in recent decades that we’ve changed our habits to assume that we can always buy whatever we want, when we want, and it will arrive quickly. After all, generations as recent as our grandparents naturally followed the FIFO mindset because they had no other choice. It was just… normal.

You might dip into those supplies due to a sudden layoff, natural disaster, or in longer-term emergencies such as sheltering in place during a pandemic (remember COVID and toilet paper?), disruption to the food supply, or SHTF. Some people use this model just because life gets busy sometimes and already having what you need at home can save anxiety and trips to the store.

Let’s walk through a food example using cans of soup since they have a long shelf life and are great for prepping.

What things are like before:

  1. You love soup and normally cook it twice a week using standard supermarket cans.
  2. Your habit is to go to the market every other weekend to buy more of what you need.
  3. That means you usually buy four cans of soup every trip, since you use four every two weeks.
  4. At any given time — such as when an emergency strikes — you’ll only have 0-4 cans of soup at home.

And after becoming a smart prepper:

  1. Your dietary habits don’t change, and neither does the timing of your trips to the store. You still eat soup twice per week and go to the market every two weeks.
  2. Instead of only buying four cans to hold you over until the next trip, you buy six.
  3. Let’s assume that when you get home, those cans you just bought are the only cans of soup in the house. You put them on a shelf.
  4. Over the next two weeks, you eat your normal four cans.
  5. But by the time you go to the market again, you still have two cans left over. Instead of thinking, “I still have two at home, so I’ll just buy two this time instead of more,” you still buy six.
  6. When you get home, you put the cans you just bought at the “back of the line” behind the two cans left over from earlier.
  7. Every time you make soup, you grab the oldest can from the front of the line.
  8. This cycle keeps repeating. Buy a little extra when you can, put the new stuff at the back, and use from the front.
  9. When an emergency strikes, you’re guaranteed to have extra of what you already enjoy and are used to.

The magic that makes this work is the long shelf life of the items you include in your FIFO routine

The longer something lasts between the time you buy it and when it expires, the easier this gets. That’s why FIFO mostly applies to shelf-stable food (eg. a bag of rice or box of pasta) and consumables (eg. batteries or deodorant).

Let’s say a typical can of soup lasts for two years on a shelf. Since you normally eat soup twice per week, that means you could have over 200 cans of soup in your supplies yet never waste any money on things that expire or you never use! (2 per week x 52 weeks x 2 years = 208)

Even if you got up to just 30-40 cans on hand, that alone is enough to cover your minimum preparedness goal of two weeks of self reliance.

That’s extremely powerful.

11 Forever foods for your food storage pantry


When looking for foods to add to your stockpile before SHTF, you can’t go wrong with “forever foods” like honey and rice.

The foods detailed below have a long shelf life and will almost never go bad. Read on to learn more. 

Baking soda

Baking soda is a versatile ingredient. It can be used as a leavening agent, for medicinal purposes, for cleaning and even for personal hygiene.

You need baking soda in your stockpile because it is almost impossible to produce at home. Luckily, baking soda is affordable so you can buy it in bulk before SHTF.

Ideally, your survival food supply should include at least seven to 10 pounds of baking soda per person. This amount includes three pounds for food preparation and cooking, two pounds for personal hygiene, one pound for medicine and first aid, five pounds for cleaning and deodorizing (per household) and one pound for miscellaneous uses.

Baking soda has an indefinite shelf life so you can store more than you need. If you have too much baking soda, at least you won’t run out and you can use it for bartering.


Use cornstarch to thicken gravies, sauces, soups and other liquids. As long as cornstarch remains dry, it has an indefinite shelf life.

Store cornstarch in a cool, dry area and always reseal it tightly after each use.

Cornstarch won’t go bad  if you store it properly. And unlike baking powder, it doesn’t lose potency over time.

However, you need to make sure that it doesn’t come into contact with any type of liquid or the moisture can cause mold to grow. If you don’t normally use a lot of cornstarch, stock up on a few cans because it can double as a treatment for diaper rash and skin irritations of all kinds.

Cornstarch can also be used as a natural deodorant and talcum powder substitute. This gluten-free ingredient can be used to cool sunburned skin – just apply a simple water and cornstarch paste for quick relief.

Distilled white vinegar

Distilled white vinegar is versatile. Use it to make flavorful marinades and salad dressings, or you can use it as a non-toxic ingredient for DIY cleaning solutions or for doing laundry.

Distilled white vinegar will also last for many years if you close the bottle tightly after each use. Store the bottle in a cool, dark place.

Vinegar is one of those long-lasting foods that can be used for more than cooking. To make a multi-purpose cleaner, combine equal parts vinegar and water. Use the liquid to clean surfaces at home like mirrors and windows.

Hard liquor

Did you know that hard liquor like gin, rum, tequila, whiskey and gin don’t spoil even after opening?

While the taste, color and aroma of hard liquor may fade over time, it’ll hardly be noticeable. If you plan on stocking up on hard liquor, keep the bottles tightly closed and store them in a cool area away from direct heat or sunlight.

Even if you don’t drink alcohol, it’s a good idea to stock up on hard liquor for bartering after SHTF.

Here are some of the survival uses of hard liquor:

  • Disinfecting wounds – The ethanol in alcohol can act as a natural disinfectant when SHTF because it kills off the bacteria around wounds.  Note that ethanol can also destroy cell tissue in the same areas, so use it sparingly. When using hard liquor for medicinal purposes, use grain alcohol.
  • Disinfecting equipment – To disinfect medical equipment like scalpels and thermometers, you need to submerge them in alcohol. You can also use  alcohol to disinfect your hands if you don’t have gloves.
  • Disinfecting surfaces – If you need a clean surface to work with, like if you’re preparing food or for medical equipment, spray a surface with alcohol and wipe it down to disinfect it. Use enough alcohol to make the surface pretty wet, and then let it air dry before using it.
  • Removing odors – It’s best to use vodka for this purpose because this kind of alcohol has no odor and is clear. Spray a bit of vodka in small rooms or on clothing to kill bacteria and get rid of nasty smells.
  • Starting a fire – Soak tinder or a small piece of cloth in a solution that contains alcohol, such as hand sanitizer, if you need a firestarter that will work even when the weather is wet.
  • Fuel for a lamp – If you run out of fuel for a lamp, add small amounts of alcohol so you can use it to provide heat or light to a small room.
  • Fuel a stove – If you want to fuel a stove, you will need 100-proof vodka. It’s also better to use ethanol or denatured alcohol. This use is best for camp stoves.


Honey is one of the most popular forever foods. This sweet treat is great on toast, tea or as a sugar alternative.

Honey may get grainy or change color, but it’s still safe to eat thanks to its impressive antibiotic properties that keep it from spoiling. Keep jars of honey fresh by storing them in a cool area.

To improve the quality of crystallized honey, place a jar in warm water and stir it until the grainy parts dissolve.

When SHTF, you can use honey to treat scratches, scrapes or bug bites.

Maple syrup

Maple syrup is amazing on pancakes or waffles. Fortunately, you can stock up on maple syrup because it won’t go bad if you refrigerate it or freeze it.

For long-term storage, seal maple syrup in an airtight plastic container and freeze it. You can stock up on maple syrup if you have plenty of maple trees in your backyard.

Pure vanilla extract

If you have a bottle of pure vanilla extract somewhere in your kitchen, it will last for a while because it won’t go bad.

Pure vanilla extract may be more expensive than its imitation counterpart, but its shelf life outweighs the extra cost. Preserve the vanilla flavor of pure vanilla extract by sealing the bottle after each use and storing it in a cool, dark place.

If you buy extracts for storage purposes, they should last for at least four years when kept in a dark, cool place. Most extracts contain ethyl alcohol, which has preservative elements and lasts for years.


White, wild, jasmine, arborio and basmati rice last forever, so you don’t have to worry about them going bad. However, brown rice is an exception because it has a higher oil content. You need to store brown rice in the refrigerator or freeze it to maximize its shelf life.

Once you’ve opened a bag or box of rice, keep it in an airtight container or resealable freezer bag to help it stay fresh longer.

Cooked rice may seem plain and unappetizing, but this blank canvas of flavor has many uses in the kitchen. You can use rice to stretch meals if your food supply is running low.

Here are some suggestions on how to cook rice:

  • Serve plain rice with a tablespoon of butter.
  • Serve plain rice with some olive oil.
  • Drizzle soy sauce on rice.
  • Stir in several tablespoons of minced fresh herbs with a bit of melted butter.
  • Cook several tablespoons of minced garlic, leek, scallion or shallot in olive oil or butter until just soft. Add to rice while fluffing.
  • Add lemon juice, butter and pepper.
  • Mix in half a cup of grated or crumbled cheese.
  • Mix in half a cup to one cup of cooked beans, with some of the liquid from the cooked beans.
  • Add at least half a cup of dried shrimp or a couple of mashed anchovies.
  • Season plain rice with any spice mixture.
  • Replace all or some of the water with beef or vegetable stock.
  • Top a serving of rice with some tomato sauce.


Whether you have basic table salt or sea salt, salt won’t go bad. Store salt in a cool, dry place.

Stock up on at least five pounds of salt per person. Note that moisture can make salt go bad so store it off the ground, away from outside walls and in glass jars or commercially sealed cans.


Brown, white or powdered sugar won’t spoil because it doesn’t support bacterial growth. However, sugar might harden into chunks if you don’t store it in an airtight container or seal it in a plastic bag.

If you don’t use sugar very often, store it in canning jars and sealed small Mylar bags.

Because the price of sugar has been rising, now is a good time to stock up on at least 40 pounds of your preferred sugar. Don’t add oxygen absorbers when storing sugar because it will become rock hard.

Wheat berries

Whole wheat has a shelf-life of more than 30 years when stored in airtight containers.

If you grind whole wheat, you will have wheat flour for baking. You can also cook them whole for a filling, hot cereal.

What does shelter in place mean?

Shelter in place is not the same as “staying inside” a building. Sheltering in place is creating a “safe room” in your home.

A true shelter-in-place order is because of a chemical, biological or radiological threat. If a chemical agent leak happens (i.e. ammonia, radiation, hazardous materials), authorities will instruct people to either shelter where they are and seal the premises (shelter in place) or evacuate immediately. A chemical release is an accidental release of harmful chemicals into the air. It can occur at manufacturing plants, from accidents involving transport trucks or trains, from terrorist acts or even as a result of a fire at an industrial area.

Before an Incident

To properly shelter-in-place you will need to prepare a “safe room” in advance. You will likely need to stay inside several hours, but not several days, so choose a room and stock supplies to get you through the time. A good example of this includes a master bedroom with an attached bathroom to give you access to a toilet and running water or a bathroom. Contact your local emergency management office to identify which chemical hazards may be present in your area. If you live near industrial areas or are within 2,000 feet of a major highway or train tracks that carry industrial materials, you are in an area that may be prone to chemical leaks. Shelter in place is a very short term protective action and at some point determined by public officials, you will be told to leave your home or to open everything up if the hazard has passed by. Know how to get an emergency alert notification. It will be on radio, TV and official’s social media. Find out from your local emergency management officials what alerts they would use.

Preparing your Safe Room
Purchase plastic sheeting and duct tape. Pre-cut the plastic to fit all windows, vents, and doors of this room, and label each piece. Create a box or container for your safe room to hold the pre-cut plastic, tape and these additional supplies:

  • A battery-powered AM / FM radio (power may be out) with extra batteries
  • Water and snacks
  • Some towels and blankets (if this is another room than the bedroom)
    If you haven’t prepared a room ahead of time, don’t panic. You can still safely use garbage bags instead of plastic tarp or your shower curtain to help cover windows, vents and doors.

Once inside, tightly lock doors and windows, and shut off all devices and fans that circulate air throughout your home. (Don’t forget your pets!)

Shut off fans.

  • If a fire is lit, put it out. Shut the vents and doors.
  • Tightly close wood stove and fireplace dampers.
  • Adjust thermostat or furnaces and air conditioners to
    shut off and stay off.

Tape plastic sheeting over win- dows, doors, vents, bathroom fans, electrical outlets. Remem- ber, you are creating a tightly sealed room, so freely use tape.

  • Place dampened towels under door cracks to tightly seal them.

Use radio, TV or social media to check for official instructions on when it’s safe to come out or whether to evacuate. On social media, only follow trusted sources.

Thoroughly air out your home once the emergency is over and the air is clear. Open your doors and windows. This will allow small particles that may have gotten in to dissipate.

Under the Bed

When disaster strikes, it may be difficult to think as rationally as in normal conditions. The more procedures you have in place, and the easier they are to remember and implement, the more effective and efficient will be your response. We recommend that you keep these basic response supplies under the bed. That way, day or night, you’ll know where to go to get the essentials.

Critical Under the Bed Items

  • Sturdy shoes — to protect your feet from broken glass
  • Work gloves, preferably leather — to protect your hands from broken glass • Flashlight & light sticks — essential for a nighttime response

Additional Recommended Under the Bed Items

  • An OK/ HELP card or a sheet of paper and marker for you to write on yourself.
  • Tape or adhesive bandages to hang the OK/ Help card in the window or on the front door.
  • Place a copy of your out-of-area contact card in a plastic bag.
  • A whistle (to call for help).

QUICK TIP: Keep it simple. Instead of throwing them away, put your old tennis shoes or garden shoes under your bed!
• Hard hat — to protect you from falling objects like chimney bricks, and downed trees and branches. Bicycle helmets also work.

Make a ‘Go Bag’ for Leaving Home in an Emergency

Everyone should have their own kit (some supplies are for the group). Encourage kids to make their own kits, too, because what’s important to them, may not be as important to you.

How to Store an Evacuation Kit

  1. You should take proactive steps to create a kit that you can take with you in times of an emergency that will last you for two to three days as long as it’s light weight and easy to carry.
  2. Store these items in some- thing that is portable and easily car- ried, like a backpack or tub/suitcase with wheels. Place items in plastic bags to protect against water. Plastic bags used for produce (like apples and oranges in a grocery store) could be a good choice. These can later be used for disposing of waste.
  3. Locate these supplies as close to your primary house exit as possible. You may have to find it in the dark or after the upheaval of an emer- gency. A coat closet may be a good place or as part of a car kit may work as well. Consider keeping this kit in your vehicle. Then, you will always have supplies with you.

For this grab and go kit, keep a supply of water that will last you 2-3 days for each person in your household. This is different than the two-weeks-ready kit for your house. Only pack drinking water, ~ 1 quart per person per day. (See Water, Step Three). You could also purchase portable water filters or water sterilizers. Remember, a gallon of water per day includes cooking. If you do not cook with grab and go supplies, carrying less water is an option.


Store a supply of food that will last you two to three days. Select foods that require no re- frigeration or cooking, and little or no water. Purchase foods you like so it will be easy to rotate items near expiration and consider specific dietary needs as well as chemical/food sensitivity:

  • High energy foods — peanut butter, granola bars, trail mix; • Comfort foods — cookies, hard candy, etc.;
  • Dry meats like beef sticks and jerky.

Pet Grab and Go
Pets need a grab and go kit, too! Have two to three days of food, water, any of their medi-
cations, leashes and cages if reasonable.

Kit supplies
Extra batteries
Light sticks
Radio (battery/crank)
Toiletries & wet wipes
Access to important documents
First aid kit
Multi-purpose tool and knife
Garbage/plastic bag
Cell phone charging cord/extra battery Medications
Pet items
Duct tape
A set of extra clothes

If this kit is used for your car, add:
Small shovel
Jumper cables
Tow chain
Road flare
Waterproof blanket
Matches in waterproof container
Extra keys

QUICK TIP: Rotate items annually.
This includes making sure the clothes you have stored still fit!

You Can Access Water from a Hot Water Tank in an Emergency- Here’s How:

  1. Turn off the gas or electric supply to the tank. Natural gas is off when the handle is perpendicular to the pipe.
  2. Protect the water in the tank from outside contamination by turning off the water intake valve at the top of the tank.
  3. Open the temperature and pressure relief valve at the top or on the side of your tank. This will break suction and allow the water to flow.
  4. Use a screwdriver (or whatever tool is needed if there is not a handle) to turn on the drain valve faucet at the base of the tank. You can capture the water directly into a container or you may want to attach a hose.

Caution: Refill the tank with water before turning the gas or electricity back on!

Practice draining a few gallons of water from your hot water tank periodically. This is a good activity for each responsible member of the family. Our 12 year-old son is draining the water in the photo above. Now he has the knowledge and ability to capture water from the tank safely, even if we aren’t around.

Sediment builds up at the bottom of the tank and draining periodically will ensure that your water has less nasty particles in it when disaster strikes and it will make your water heater last longer. You do not need to shut off the power source or turn off the tank intake valve if you are only capturing a few gallons of water. Check your owner’s manual for detailed instructions.

Early Warning Preparation

Occasionally you may have advanced warning of trouble, such as in the event of a hurricane, tornado or flooding. Increase your fresh water supply by filling bathtubs, pitchers, pots, pans, containers, and buckets.

A WaterBOB or AquaPod are examples of bathtub liners that can be easily filled by the tub faucet providing a fresh supply of drinking water, if you have a little bit of advanced warning.

Then turn off the main water valve just prior to the storm or event. This will protect the clean water already in your water system. This may be a wise step even after an initial earthquake as the aftershocks may rupture already weakened water lines.

Three Days Without Water Can End You

Always remember this simple rule: three minutes without air, three days without water, and three weeks without food can kill you.

Some cases of bottled water thrown into your cart at Walmart is not a water storage solution. Everyone can easily store at least two weeks worth of water. If you have a roof over your head, you have enough room for two weeks worth of water.

Take into consideration the number of people in your household. Also, consider family or friends/neighbors that might need to shelter in your home. Here’s how to figure out how much water you will need:

  • number of people in household x two gallons = number of gallons needed daily
  • number of gallons needed daily x fourteen days = two week supply

If you happen to be stranded outdoors during a life threatening event, I have emergency (no-tech) water purification instructions on the DIY page.