What Preppers Are REALLY Getting Ready For

No matter what your ‘disaster’ is, we are all truly just getting ready for the same basic thing. Some would say survival, others would say catastrophe or crisis. At the end of the day, we are all just preparing for an interruption in the day-to-day life we’re used to.

The media always seems to show that all ‘preppers’ are getting ready for some huge event. Some end-of-times, biblical, end-of-the-world chaos. While there are those out there who focus on one type of disaster, this is far from the norm. Very far.

Most preppers are people who don’t even realize they are preppers! It’s not prepping, it’s life! They’re just people who live in areas where things can get a little crazy – usually from Mother Nature. Those who label themselves as preppers tend to plan for general chaos instead of assuming that, out of all the possibilities for disasters out there, theirs is the one that is most likely to happen. Now, I’m not judging these people but I do feel it’s a bit short sighted to focus on only one type of scenario. Part of preparedness is flexibility and the ability to adapt. Focusing on only one situation doesn’t make much sense unless you are mastering something and then moving on.

So, if we are all preparing for is a disruption to our normal day-to-day, what can we do to help smooth it out? What are we really getting ready for? We are preparing to make sure that if the water stops working, we have back up. If a wildfire or bug infestation wipes out our entire garden, we have backup food stored and ready to be eaten. If the main bread winner loses their income, we have supplies and food stored up so we don’t have to spend money on it – letting the limited funds go to other things instead. If we lose heat, we have alternative ways to stay warm. The list goes on and on. It’s also not the same list for everyone. In fact, there really is only one “One Size Fits All” prepping plan. All humans need the same basic things to survive. The difference comes in how those needs are prepared for and that is, again, different for everyone.

We are prepping for an interruption of the norm so that we can get through it with less stress and worry.

For us, we fish, hunt, and forage to help supplement our food. I also garden as much as I am able and will be expanding to a larger garden so we can provide more for ourselves. I take comfort and pride in having more control over my food – where it comes from, how it was grown/hunted, how it was handled, and how it was preserved. I have retaken control over my food from Big Agra and the USDA. I don’t need a sticker telling me it’s organic, I know it is because I grew it!

The Bottom Line

No matter whether you consider yourself a “prepper” or not, you do prepare for things on a daily basis. Paying your insurance, for example, is a way to be prepared for the unforeseen. Making sure your smoke alarm batteries are charged is another example. Buying food staples in bulk, when on sale, and storing it would definitely fall into the category of ‘prepping’ because the majority of the population doesn’t do that anymore. The average American household only has about a week’s worth of food, especially in the city.

Toss the media hype out the window. Honestly. Just do it and start thinking for yourself again. What is so wrong or “over the top” about having some supplies set back in case you need them? You don’t need a huge pantry, underground bunker, or arsenal of firearms to survive. What you do need though, is a plan. Starting with enough food and water for a week for everyone in your home (don’t forget Fido and Whiskers!) is a fantastic and achievable goal. There’s some great comfort in knowing that you have an “ace in the hole” that you put there for your family. It doesn’t have to break the bank and it doesn’t have to be extreme. We are prepping for an interruption of the norm so that we can get through it with less stress and worry.

Wouldn’t it be better to rely on yourself instead of waiting for the government or other authority to come and give you what you need?




Featured Contributor: Dan of Survival Sullivan

I get emails from people who claim to follow my site and want to guest post for me all the time. Last week alone, I had 8 different ‘offers’ to guest post and “help provide important information to my readers.’ Needless to say, I delete them without replying and mark them as spam.
There are only 3 regular guest contributors here at Homestead Dreamer and that is by choice. I have high standards (ok, so there’s typos ;)) for the information shared with people. It’s important to me that people can rely on what they read here as factual, useful, and without any fear mongering. A considerably amount of research is put into what’s written on the things I don’t have personal experience with and sources always given.
I want to give special recognition to these three hardworking people and bring to your attention who they are! We start the 3 part series with Dan Sullivan of Survival Sullivan.com. He and I have worked together on other projects and his factual insight and positive message are just a few of the reasons I accepted him as a contributor to Homestead Dreamer. He was gracious enough to be interviewed, which is shared below!
I highly encourage you to check their site and follow them on social media – I do!

Interview With Dan Sullivan of SurvivalSullivan.com

Tell us a little about yourself!
Well my dad was military but I didn’t find out about prepping until 2012 I think, right around the Mayan Apocalypse. I started looking deeper into it, I saw there are legitimate reasons to prep and that was it! I got hooked, started practicing, I started my blog and trying to help as many people as I can
What is your dream? (Example: Mine is owning land/homesteading) 
 A 2-3 acre survival farm with a permaculture garden, chicken and a pond 100% energy independent and more.
What got you into homesteading/prepping (If you focus on only one, please specify) 
 The fact that I worked for a survival company and spent enough time managing products to learn more about prepping
Were you raised in the lifestyle or did you choose it? 
I chose it, although I was raised partly by my grandparents who lived on a homestead.
What skill was the hardest one to learn that paid off the most? 
Perseverance. I read people stopped prepping after Trump was elected, big mistake.
What are you really passionate about in your genre? 
I would have to say bug out bags. They fascinate me. I believe there is a perfect BOB for everyone.
What goals do you have for this year to progress your overall dream?
Well my biggest hurdle is that I can’t afford the 2 or 3 acres of land… hopefully I’ll make some financial progress this year to reach my biggest survival goal.
What skill do you think all humans should know? 
Awareness. If they learn that, they’ll be naturally inclined to learn more.
What message would you like to get out to people? 
 That preparedness is a lifelong journey and they should not abandon it. Ever.

You can find Survival Sullivan on their main website, Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter!




The Realistic Prepping Plan

It seems no matter which way you turn lately, there’s someone trying to tell you that you need to prep and unless you have X, Y, and Z, you will fail. You will suffer. Your kids will suffer. “But if you buy this one item, you’ll be all set!” How about a realistic prepping plan? I have a problem with sites that fear monger people into a panic and then try to sell them something!

the-realistic-prepping-plan

To do battle against those fear mongering sites, I decided to give another point of view. A more logical one. Something that isn’t so far fetched as to make a person never even start prepping (like buying a year’s worth of freeze dried food for 4 in one shot). Honestly, who can afford to buy a bunker and have it buried? Not many and truthfully, it’s completely unrealistic.

What’s needed is a plan that makes sense, is achievable by just about everyone, and is more down to earth. It also needs to be something done in steps, built over time. The twist is there’s only one real “one size fits all” prepper plan (having food, water, warmth, and shelter). It requires each individual or group to put some thought and work into making a plan that works for them. People in Alaska would need different stuff than those in Florida. The only thing that’s the same is what every human needs to live.

To make a realistic prepping plan, you need to define certain things first:

  • Who will you be prepping for? How many? (Don’t forget the pets!)
  • What kind of natural disasters do you have in your area? It’s more likely a natural disaster will happen than WWIII breaking out.
  • Will natural disasters force you to leave your home?
  • How long do you think you would be waiting (before help comes, etc)?

Yes, there are thousands of little details but we’re focusing on being simple, reasonable, and realistic. Yes, the disaster could be man made but that isn’t as probable as the stormy season causing a flood. Focus on things you know will come instead of something more far fetched.

You need to decide for yourself how much food you want to store. The government’s site, Ready.gov, suggests having at least 3 days of food and water for each person in your home. That’s a great start! I recommend you read some of what they have to say about getting started and things you may want to consider adding to your preps.

For us, we started with a week of supplies being the goal. The problem with that is you need a lot of storage space and good imagination to work around it. Not only that, it needs to be the right kind of storage space. A family of 4 would need enough room for 28 gallons of water for a week! We certainly didn’t have that much space (even for the 2 of us) and opted to store 3 days of water and get some Sawyer Water Filters that are just fantastic. They work so much better than the Life Straws. There are many water filter options out there and I recommend you look around to find which ones would work best for your family.

You want to make sure you’re buying food that your family actually eats. A disaster situation is bad enough; you don’t need your three year old losing their minds because you’re trying to feed them new foods. The food needs to be stored in a cool, dark, and dry place with as little temperature fluctuations as possible. Worst case scenario, a closet will work. Twice a year, you should check the expiration dates of what you have stored. Anything getting close to expiring can be rotated into your regular stocks and replaced.

You’ve got a start on food and water. Now you need to consider shelter (with a backup plan if possible) and ways to stay warm. If you are lucky enough to have a wood stove, you’re covered on all sorts of things. For the rest of us, there are several options. One of the most effective methods of staying warm when the power is out is to choose one room that will be kept warm. Using plastic sheeting, blankets (if you can spare them) or other coverings over doors and windows will hold heat in. Close the doors to all other rooms and gather everyone inside!

Other things to consider and plan for is how you will cook, flush the toilets, and deal with hygiene/garbage. Disease is as much a threat to you as the disaster itself. In some cases, disease is an even bigger threat!

Should you have to leave your shelter, having some packs made up that you can grab and go with is a fantastic way to make sure you have a fighting chance. An alternative, though a bit extreme, would be to make supply caches. Each person carries with them enough food and supplies for 48 hours. Don’t make them too heavy. What you decide to put in them is up to you and your circumstances. BUYER BEWARE: if the item seems too good to be true, it is. Do your research and try to get items that are tried and true. Anything that is multipurpose is especially valuable.

Remember: you need food, water, shelter, and warmth to survive. Start small, 3 days minimum. Build up to a week or so. Then, decide whether or not you’re comfortable there or want to go further. For many, a week will suffice. For others, three months isn’t long enough. There is no right or wrong here. To each their own! Each person who preps for disasters makes the whole that much stronger.

Most new preppers make their first mistakes in the earliest stages of ‘waking up.’ If you haven’t already read The 5 Stages New Preppers Go Through, I highly recommend it. I’ve had more emails and feedback from that one article than any other in the last 3 years. I wrote it from the heart and it has rung true, to varying degrees, with thousands of people. It helps you realize that you’re not alone and, most importantly, you can do this!




7 Survival Hygiene Tips for When SHTF

It’s no secret that, in a survival situation, you’ll face an enemy just as dangerous as a man with a gun: disease. Survival hygiene can be just as deadly as a mob if not prepared.

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I asked my friend, Dan Sullivan of SullivanSurvival.com to help put things into perspective and give some expert advice on ways to keep your hygiene up as a means of protection (not to mention morale boost) in a survival situation. He kindly agreed and penned this informative and thought-provoking article on the subject.


Whether we’re talking about mosquitos, rats or other crawlers, you’re looking at an entire array of medical issues that can kill you or make you sick, such as tuberculosis, dysentery and hepatitis. And don’t think that if you bug in, you’ll be safe from all of them. The way you live inside your home right now is different than post-collapse. Just think about the mice and rats that will start showing up when you can’t take your trash.

In what follows, I want to give you a few hygiene tips that will do one thing: minimize the chances of you needing a doctor where there won’t be any. Even if they will be, that doesn’t mean they’ll have the medicine and equipment to treat you. Venezuelans doctors (who are facing total collapse these days) can’t do surgery because the Government restricted the usage of medical equipment and, to make matters worse, they’re importing cheap medicine from China.

#1. Have a Hygiene Kit

It all starts with stockpiling the right items. Hand sanitizer, paper towels, soap, toothpaste and toothbrushes, disposable nitrile gloves and toilet paper – all of these are needed. The good news is, they cost pennies today so stock up before their prices will increase tenfold. The other good news is that, unlike the bow drill or a crossbow, they’re easy to learn how to use. As you’re about to see, it’s all about discipline.

#2. Make Trash Your #1 Priority

We mentioned trash in the intro, now it’s time to take a closer look to it and how it can affect you.

When garbage accumulates, you get disease. That’s a big problem particularly if you live in the city or the suburbs where there are lots of people who generate lots of trash. We aren’tjust talking about cockroaches and thinks like that, but also about the things you don’t see with your naked eyes such as lice, fleas and fungi.

If you have a dog, you can safely assume fleas are going to feast on everyone when you won’t have access to a vet. They might not like to actually live on humans but they never say “no” to a feast should they get there.

So what do you do with all your trash? There are actually three main things you can do with every little thing you plan to throw away:

  • burn it
  • take it to the dumpster yourself
  • or reuse it

Of course, there’s always the option of burying it in your back yard but, unless you live on a farm, you don’t have that much space to dig so many holes, particularly since you’ll rely on your land more than ever before to feed your family.

Now, reusing it is probably the best option, because you don’t get to throw it away at all. Everything form plastic bottles to old clothes can be reused, and there are plenty of articles titled “X ways to reuse this”, “X ways to reuse that” – you just have to look them up online. Plus, kitchen scraps can be used as compost in your garden.

The other two options, burning it or taking it to the dumpster, depend on your unique situation and on what things will look like. A fire creates three things that attract attention: light, smoke and smell. Taking it to the dumpster requires you to take regular trips, which may not be safe. I’ll leave it up to you to think about these two scenarios but, to help you make the right decision, let me just say that the less neighbors you have around you, the more likely it is that you’ll have to burn your garbage.

#3. Store more water

It’s easy to think you’ll just shower less post-collapse, but that may not be the best thing for you to do at all. Yes, you save water but the trade-off may not be worth it. So what can you do?

Three things:

  • stockpile more water
  • install small water catch system
  • and learn to stay clean with minimal water

The way you clean yourself with little water is by using a towel or a rag soaked in water, then meticulously rinsing all your body parts. There are other options out there, such as the DryBath gel on Amazon for $10 bucks, that requires no water whatsoever.

#4. Don’t mix your first aid kits

What I mean is, the first aid kit for your pet as well as its stockpile should be kept separate from your FAKs and your own stockpile.

#5. Get a good garbage can and plastic bags

The goal is to seal the waste as much as possible. This is why a tight-fitting seal is mandatory, and so is putting all the trash inside plastic bags. You don’t want flies or rats getting inside and you certainly don’t want your garbage to get inside the can. If that happens, you should definitely clean the can thoroughly.

#6. Keep your pets outside

I know you love your pet but, in a post collapse situation, keeping it at a distance may save you a world of trouble. You probably won’t be able to give it proper and regular baths, and you certainly can’t control the other animals it plays with.

#7. Keep your hands extra clean

Our hands come into contact with so many things throughout the day, it’s staggering. In an SHTF situation, pathogens will spread faster than wildfire. A few tips to keep your hands clean:

  • wash your hands as often as you can
  • use hand sanitizer if water or soap are not available
  • wash your hands every time you come home

Final Word

If you can (and there’s no reason why not), please practice better hygiene today. Practice all these things to make sure you remain just as strict when the big one hits. Teach them to your children too, of course.

Stay safe and out of trouble,

Dan F. Sullivan

www.SurvivalSullivan.com




How to Start Prepping Where You Are

Being prepared is a lot more than just having 5 years worth of freeze dried food and fire starters stashed away. In fact, I daresay it doesn’t have much of anything to do with your stash so much as your mentality. Yes, there’s a place of importance in the prepper world for having stocks put up but for newbies, many put it off because they believe they need to spend loads of money to be ‘prepped.’ I want to dispel that belief! You can start prepping where you are and with what you already have.

how-to-start-prepping-where-you-are

Before we dive in to the details, let’s establish what preparedness means. Dictionary.com defines it as “A state of readiness.” Clear as mud, right? A state of readiness for what, exactly? That’s something that each person will have to define for themselves. There’s really only one true “one size fits all” prepper plan but how that plan is executed is largely variant depending on the people. To be prepared is to be ready for something that will disrupt your normal routine. Having the things you need to survive and the skills needed to get them is the goal.

Notice I didn’t say “Go buy everything you need and build a bunker!” That’s wholly unrealistic and chances are pretty good that if you’re reading this, you’re looking for options that don’t put you into debt. I have some solutions that come from my own beginning journey into preparedness. Tried and true and worked for me! Though not all of it will work for everyone, one of the biggest and most important things to ‘being prepared’ is the ability to adapt, overcome, and make do with what you have.

So let’s get to it! Assuming you are like most Americans living paycheck to paycheck, with little left over, I will start with the free/already purchased stuff. Then, we will talk about the basic skills needed that you can learn for FREE. For this scenario, we will focus on being prepared for one week for a family of 4.

Stuff

Water – Everyone needs it! You don’t need to run out and buy cases upon cases of water but you do need to have some safe water stored. The rule of thumb is one gallon of water per day, per person. For one week, you would need 28 gallons stored. That takes up a huge amount of space! What we did to overcome (and not buy a ton of water) this challenge was ask friends who drink soda pop to save their two liter bottles. They can be easier to store in odd places than gallons and we could build it up over time. Before we moved to the new house, we used tap water and dated the bottles. We refilled them out every 6 months, using the water in the garden so nothing is wasted. They were stored in all sorts of places: under the bed, closet, and shelf space as it came available. Didn’t cost us a single penny extra! Tip: Don’t forget water for the pets!

Food – This one may be a stretch for some and not so much for others. We didn’t head out and buy a ton of freeze dried food. Instead, I used my vacuum sealer to seal jars of dried beans, packs of rice, and other dry goods. I put them into a bucket with a lid and called it good to start. I checked the dates on some of our cans of soup and the ones with the longest date out were added to the container. Over the next couple weeks, I would buy a bag of rice to replace what I stored, a bag of beans on sale to increase my stock. You’d be amazed at how much food you really have in raw materials. With just 5 basic ingredients, you can make several filling and tasty foods! Beans and rice are inexpensive for larger bags and are a great place to start. Something filling, something with protein and carbs to keep you going.

Food is one of those things that is too personal to try and make a list that suits everyone. The trick is to take a look at what you already have and determine what you can put up that is a ‘just in case’ stash. Don’t forget to rotate stuff out as it nears expiration and, very important, don’t store food you don’t normally eat! It amazes me how many people will buy something they don’t normally eat because it’s on sale. It’s a waste of time, money, and precious storage space. When you get to the point of buying food for long term storage, be sure what you’re buying fits the criteria that best suits your family.

Shelter/Heat – We all need shelter and heat to survive. If a situation takes out your heat source, what will you do? We wish we could have a wood stove because it would resolve numerous survival needs all at once (heat, hot water, cooking). Since we can’t and are on electric heat (for now), our options are limited for staying warm. If there’s no electricity, there’s no heat and we are in trouble. I went online to search ways to keep things warm and came across some great tips!

Pick a room that you want to keep warm. Avoid any room with vaulted ceilings! Close the doors on all other rooms and put blankets over the ones that lead into/out of the room you’re keeping warm. If possible, put plastic up over the windows. Adding blankets over them during the night as well will keep even more heat in! You would be amazed how much heat a single candle can put off, too. There are all manner of articles out there about making a ‘tea light heater’ but I find it’s much easier to just burn a candle or two and avoid the potential mess and smoke of those methods. A quick Google search will help you find out more if interested.

Hygiene – Hygiene is something that few people think about in a disaster scenario. We are so used to being clean and sanitary that we don’t ever really have to think about or plan for it. Not planning for hygiene beforehand can lead to some disastrous situations. Backed sewer pipes, contaminated water… a little planning can go a very long way to ensuring you don’t get sick.

Solutions include storing some extra water meant for cleaning up, buying baby wipes, and having waterless soap on hand. Other than the water, you would need to buy stuff. Some of the things we did was take our older, ugly looking hand towels and designate them as ’emergency cleaning rags.’ They may not look pretty, but they are still clean and useable. It’s amazing how much better you can feel just from wiping down with a clean cloth!

TIP: A great place to get inexpensive gear is garage sales. Find ones that have camping gear being sold! Sleeping blankets, solar showers, and propane indoor heaters can be gotten for pennies on the dollar

Skills

This is where we really get into the nitty gritty. All of the stuff listed above can be taken from you either by man or nature at any time. One thing that cannot be taken is your skills. When we first started our homesteading and preparedness journey, I scoured the internet for articles and videos to at least get some exposure to the skills I would need to survive. Many of the skills is assuming I’m not at home but several apply no matter where you are.

Resource Gathering – To some, this category may seem silly. To those who’ve already traveled this path for awhile know what I mean when I say that there is an art and skill to resource gathering. You need to work on it over time and hone it to a fine art. Resource gathering isn’t gong shopping. Instead, it’s looking at the materials you have on hand to accomplish the challenge you’re facing. It’s knowing that there are edible berries in a place or where you can find building materials cheap/free. It’s foraging, and not just for food.

This skill is something that is hard to teach and for some, almost impossible to learn. Not everyone can look at a tin can and see all the things it could be made in to. You have to be exposed to this type of reasoning and then practice it.

Fire Starting – I can hear some of you now. “Fire starting as a skill?” Oh yes, definitely. It amazes me how few people know how to start a fire with anything other than a lighter or matches. Most have heard of ‘rubbing two sticks together’ but few have heard of a fire bow. There are all manner of alternative fire starting methods out there and it is in your best interest to learn at least two of them. Practice them until you are confident that under less than ideal circumstances, you can still get one started. It could save your life!

Along with fire starting comes the skills for building a fire that burns all night, a fire meant to give off heat to an area, and a cooking fire. There is a big difference between a cooking fire and a fire you want to burn all night long. We used some stuff we had around the house to make our own fire starters, too. They work very well, especially in our wet climate!

Dutch_Oven_Pizza_CookingAlternative Cooking Methods – Do you know how to cook over a fire? Anyone can roast a hot dog but what about making eggs? Rice? How about soup without scalding it? Take a look at what you have on hand that could be used over a fire. If you don’t have anything, try thrift stores and garage sales for some cast iron. There is simply nothing better for durability and longevity, even after hard use. We prefer the Lodge brand of cast iron on the rare occasion we buy it new. Pictured to the right is when we used the dutch oven to make pizza while camping!

Food Preservation – I learned about food preservation online. I already knew about smoking meat and cheeses, and canning salmon but had almost no experience in doing it myself. So, I went online. I looked up and read anything I could find. Then, I looked up user’s guides for various equipment so I could read about how they work. Those guides also gave me information about temperatures, times, and prep work needed.

Crafting – Hobbies are a wonderful resource to tap into when it comes to survival. For example, we love to go camping and have built up a nice bunch of equipment over the years. Our hobby of camping will definitely help us survive as does fishing, hunting, and plant knowledge. As campers, we know how to build fires for different uses, set up water catch systems with tarps and other materials, and how to avoid predators. Avid hikers tend to know a lot about the plants they hike through. I also love to crochet. Crocheting is a way to make clothing, even out of old scrap cloth. People who love to sew have a very valuable skill set that is little known to the majority of our population. All of these are examples of how hobbies can help you survive. If your hobby involves crafting something (most do!), you have additional power to make something that can be bartered for something else.

KNOWLEDGE IS POWER and if you have access to the internet, you have all the knowledge you could ever want at your literal fingertips. That’s all you need to start prepping. Decide what you need and want to learn about and then look it up! Be sure to check several sites and sources – not all sites give solid information and are only trying to sell you something. Looking at multiple sites will give a broader education and help you determine what is good and logical information, and what isn’t on the up and up.

Thoughts? Drop a line below, comment on Facebook, or send me an email at akhomestead.dreamer@gmail.com!




The Only One Size Fits All Prepper Plan

As I surf around the web, it seems there are more and more people out there who claim to have a One Size Fits All prepper plan/list/course they want to sell you. Then, there are others, like myself who loudly declare that there is no One Size Fits All Prepper Plan because it’s impossible. What works for one person and family will not work for many others. Plans made for surviving a disaster in Arizona will be completely different than a plan for surviving a disaster in Maine. Then, the truth hit me like a freight train. There really IS a true One Size Fits All Prepper Plan. It consists of the things that every living thing needs to live, to survive.

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Most prepper plans get into fine detail and provide lists of things they think you need, places to get them, etc. Sometimes they sell you these lists of items. For some, it may be very helpful to have it spelled out for them. For others, they look at the list and think “This doesn’t work for my area, what a waste!” The truth is that not every person needs product A or B. Need is usually a subjective term that doesn’t apply to everyone the same. In fact, there are only 5 things that humans truly need to survive and they make up the only true ‘one size fits all prepper plan.’ The only variation on the list is how you will fulfill those needs.

We will detail the things absolutely every single person on the planet needs to survive and then give suggestions on different ways you and your family can meet those needs in a way that suits you. Ready to jump in?! Here we go!

Air

Though not often mentioned when talking about prepping, air is rather necessary. Having clean air to breathe is pretty important! If you find yourself in an area where the air isn’t so good and you can’t get to a place that has clean air, consider making one room the ‘main’ area and block off the other rooms by closing doors and windows. If you can, cover them up with blankets or tape plastic sheets (consider cutting a garbage bag and unfolding it) to minimize the air flow. Beyond that, there are still a few other things you can do to be more prepared.

  • Masks
    • Simple surgical masks will go a long way to limiting how much bad air you breathe in.
    • Air filter systems can be purchased and installed but in a large disaster scenario, chances are pretty good the power will be out.
    • Gas masks are another option and are less expensive than you think. These are a little more extreme but it is a viable option!

Water

Hands down the most important prep there is for without water, everything else stops. Every living thing needs it to survive! We also need water to clean our bodies, clothing, and keeping wounds dry. Cooking with water, especially in a disaster situation is a big deal, too. Think of all those dehydrated meals as one example. You may not be flushing the toilet or taking showers everyday but you’ll need more water than you think! To survive, each person needs a gallon of water a day. This amount doesn’t include washing, first aid, or cooking. You need to drink about a gallon of water a day to maintain hydration. If you have 4 people and are making even a one week prep plan, that’s 28 gallons of water! Don’t forget Fido or Whiskers, too.

As stated above, you need to be able to catch or gather, filter, and store the water.

  • Catching or Gathering Water
    • You can use the gutter system on your house (or other buildings), disconnect the downspout and get it from there. Other options include wells, lakes, and streams. Be mindful of the color, smell, and look of the water. If it smells bad, try somewhere else. If it has a lot of algae, chances are pretty good the water is stagnant and not safe. Of course, with filtering and boiling, you can make it safe.
  • Filtering or Treating Water
    • There are all manner of filters available out there and it’s up to you to choose which one will serve you and your family best. For a good list of options for emergency water filtration, click here. It has everything from a hand held individual sized filter to something that can serve an entire home and medium to large sized groups.
  • Storing Water
    • Sure, old milk and juice containers will work and hold the water but if possible, get something larger. In a pinch, plastic totes will work well for not only catching the water, but also storing it once filtered. Keep the lid on top so debris like dust and ashed can’t get into it. There is always the bathtub that you could use to store water and don’t forget the water heater! It has water in there and can hold more for you, too!

Food

Like any machine, we need fuel to keep going. In a survival situation, the fuel used and needed goes up considerably. Everyone needs it but not everyone thinks beyond the next day or week, leaving them in a real pinch when you can’t just go to the store and get more. A lack of food will incite more panic than no water will for most survivors and that starts the looting. You don’t want to be anywhere near a grocery store during a SHTF event! Though we all need it, people’s preferences and dietary restrictions vary and that is why it’s up to you to decide what, how much, and how to store it.

One of the best pieces of advice I can give you is to never stock things you don’t normally eat! Food is a huge comfort mentally and having a sense of normal, especially when eating, goes a long way to making it through. There are so many options out there about what kind of food to get and store that many preppers are left in indecision. Here are some things to remember when planning the food part of your prep plan:

  • You want stuff that’s already shelf stable, meaning it doesn’t need refrigeration.
  • You’ll want stuff you can heat and eat, whether that’s in a can or a pouch.
  • You need to decide whether or not you want to use freeze dried food like Mountain House (I love their beef stroganoff!), or canned meats and veggies to get by. Consider the benefit of having food preservation equipment (and skills) on hand. Those who know how to preserve food without electricity are very rare! When only one person in a 5 block radius knows how to preserve food, there’s a problem. Learn at least one food preservation method ASAP! Pickling is a rather easy one (and inexpensive!).

This is the only ‘one size fits all’ plan. How you meet the needs is up to you!

Shelter

Humans are strong in brain power but weak in flesh. We need shelter of some kind from the elements out there and preferably a place we can trap heat in, too. Shelter is one of those things that is very fluid when it comes to survival. If in the city, there are all manner of places you could use for shelter (assuming you didn’t have a place to go already of course). If you’re in rural areas, you can make shelters from the resources around you like a lean-to. If you have tarps, you can use them. If you like to go camping, never underestimate the usefulness of camping gear in a survival situation! Your shelter needs can be put into two categories: staying in or bugging out.

  • Staying In (Bugging In)
    • This assumes that you are staying at home (or other family member’s home) and huddling in. Even though your shelter need is covered by doing this, there are still things you need to consider such as keeping heat in, hardening doors and windows in the case of potential looters, dealing with garbage and bathroom waste, etc.
  • Bugging Out
    • There is a LOT of information out there about bugging out and this can be its own article in itself. Remember that when bugging out, your bag should have what you need to meet all of these things on this one size fits all survival plan. The normal standard is having enough to last you for 72 hours (3 days). Click here for some insight on the food portion of the bag and links to many other articles about surviving while bugging out. Again, this is where camping gear can really come in handy!

Warmth

Warmth is the last thing on our list but that doesn’t mean it is any less important than the others! If you’re too cold, you can’t hold onto the matches to light a fire. If you’re sick and out in the elements, your body will spend more energy on keeping warm than fighting the infection. If you have a woodstove, great! For those who don’t, keeping warm can be tricky. Here are some options:

  • Blankets, sleeping bags, space blankets
  • Hand and foot warmers
  • Piling on extra clothes, wearing thermal underwear
  • Keep moving or huddle for warmth
  • Fire place, oven, etc.
  • Even a candle in a small space can heat things up!

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There’s no denying that the needs listed above – Air, Water, Food, Shelter, Warmth – is something everyone needs to live, let alone survive. This is truly a ‘one size fits all’ list! The way you meet those needs, though, that is entirely up to you. Don’t let anyone else tell you what is best for YOU and YOUR FAMILY! Remember that skills will take you further than stuff. What do you think? Share your thoughts below!




Lighting the Way: Sustainably!

Solar Lantern Review

Everyone has seen those mass produced little solar path lights that line walkways in the Summer and are falling over, broken, or otherwise trashed come the start of Winter. With the amount of rain we get here in Southeast Alaska, I made the mistake of buying them only once. When they worked they were great and looked charming in the evenings but when they only last a month at most, it isn’t worth it! I had given up on getting them again and then something wonderful happened. I discovered the cutest little solar ‘lanterns’ that would serve not only to light a path, they can be carried around with you wherever you go and light your way when you need it. Allow me to introduce you to Montana Solar Creations (www.montanasolarcreations.com) who sells these versatile and eco-friendly canning jar lanterns.

When I opened the box, the first thing I noticed was how well it was packaged. When you live rurally, packaging is important and this was well done. Even though the box was beat up, the contents were safe and sound. I ripped into it with glee and pulled out the pieces that took all of 60 seconds to put together: everything is so easy! I wanted to rip the green tab out and see it light up right away but waited until later that evening before testing it out. Specifically, I took it out to the garden for my nightly slug battle to see how well it would do versus a flashlight. I admit I was a little skeptical about how much light it would really put off and thought, “If there was no jar, maybe I would get more light out of it.” Well I was wrong. Having the jar in place actually magnifies the amount of light and casts it further out. I admit my geeky side liked the pattern from the canning jar, too. 🙂 By the time I reached the garden, I was in love with this lantern. It can be used in the rain and wind and served perfectly for walking along without having to worry about burning your fingers from the fire of a traditional lantern. The light is also not so bright as to blind you which is a good thing when walking in the forest!

The ‘negative’ (not only one) I see on this item is not too big of a deal but in fairness, I will share it here. The wiring used needs to be tweaked so that it will remain in place when carrying it. It slides around and makes the lantern hang at an odd angle. Since the handle part is open on the ends, it would be very easy to correct this minor issue. I was looking at it and I think a simple loop bent onto the opposite side of the clasp would hold it in place and keep it stable when carrying it and walking to say, the outhouse or something.

The thing that blew me away was the quality of the solar unit itself. If any light is present, it turns itself off. The timing of when it will turn itself on is uncanny in that you are just about to think to yourself, OK I need the light to turn on now, it does. Another feature I really like about this solar lantern is that you can remove the rechargeable batteries for long term storage without worrying about corrosion. I have yet to use it so long that the batteries are dead. It has stayed on all night long and I tested it the next morning and it still turned on for me. Then again, right now we get about 18 hours of daylight. Winter may be the real test!

I see us using them for camping at the very least. When we are able to get our own property, I can see these being spaced out on the porch, stairs, and walkway as well. I plan on getting a few more of these for camping and I would like to have one stashed in the car as well. A flameless, rechargeable lantern is truly a wonderful piece of gear for pretty much any survival set up. If you really had to, you can ditch the jar portion and just keep the charger/light unit in a pocket! They are inexpensive and if you already have the jars, you can buy just the solar charger/light part of the set up. You can buy them singly, in pairs or 4 at a time. I contacted them to ask about a possible larger order and they were most accommodating not only on price but on shipping (shipping to Alaska is tricky). They got back to me very quickly. I am incredibly happy I found this great little company that is based in the USA, is a family business, and helps to support fellow homesteader type folk.

Here are all the ways to connect with Montana Solar Creations!

Blog: www.montanasolarcreations.com

Etsy: http://www.etsy.com/shop/MontanaSolarCreation

FB: https://www.facebook.com/MontanaSolarCreations

Twitter: https://twitter.com/MTsolarCreation

A big THANK YOU to Annie at Montana Solar Creations. Check them out, discover a really great eco-friendly business, and help support a family business!