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Wednesday, July 5, 2017

PREPPER: 17 Tips to Prep on an Extremely Low Budget

PREPPER: 17 Tips to Prep on an Extremely Low Budget
Prepping is biblical (Noah & Joseph).   Be prudent and realize God is in control
Included my talk with the #1 ranked survivalist in the world
When you first start prepping, you might have the overwhelming desire to purchase everything you can. I know I felt that way. I was sure that because I waited so long to get prepared that our family faced a dangerous future. I wanted to purchase everyprething at one time. There was only one issue; we were broke.
Our family lives on one full-time income along with my part time income. We are far from rich. Our bills equal close to our take-home pay. This reality is one that many preppers face on a regular basis. How in the world are we supposed to prepare for an SHTF scenario or even a small disaster, such as a job loss, when we have no income to spare?
Before we delve into the list, I want to encourage you. Prepping can be done on an extreme budget. It may require extra work on your part, and you will need creativity and ingenuity. Now, let’s take a look at the ways to prep on an extreme budget.

  1. Realize It Takes Time

Before we dig in, I want you to know that prepping with very little money takes time. You can’t run out to the store and stock your bug out bag in one shopping trip. It takes time. You will be tempted to feel frustrated and annoyed, but don’t let that happen! Your efforts will come together eventually.
  1. Take A Current Inventory

What do you have that you can use for prepping? You might be surprised what you have laying around your house. Chances are you have quite a few items in your pantry that go unused. It doesn’t stop there! Blankets are essential for warmth. You need pots and pans to cook. Do you have tools for gardening? Do you have any weapons? Take a serious look at what you already have.
  1. Set a Budget

Your next step should be to set a budget for prepping. You may have no disposable income for prepping; that happens to everyone at times. You may have $10 or $20 per paycheck you can spare. Figure out what you can afford.
There is no specific amount that works for everyone. Any budget you set is better than nothing. Perhaps, you have $5 per week to spend. What could you do with $5?
  • Purchase a few bags of dried beans and seal them in Mylar bags with oxygen absorbers
  • Buy some seeds and store them in envelopes or mason jars in proper conditions
  • Buy a few gallons of water.
  • Add a few items to your first aid kit.
You might have $50 per month to work with. While $50 per month doesn’t seem like a lot, you could actually do quite a few things with it!
  • Purchase a box or two of ammunition, depending on type.
  • Stock up on fishing lures and line.
  • Buy a few whole chickens and veggies to can homemade chicken soup.
  • Get five dozen boxes of canning jars.
  • Buy one or two sleeping bags.
  1. Alter Your Mindset

It is time to change your mindset. If you want to be ready for anything, you have to be ready to not depend on a store. It is a different way to think. Homesteaders have this mind frame, and it is important for you to adopt it. What do I mean?
  • I have eggs, but I need some berries for the kids. Can I find someone to barter?
  • We need to build a trellis for the bean plants. What do I have around my house that I can use?
  • Don’t toss out a shirt because it has a hole. It can be fixed or used for rags.
  1. Focus on Skill Building

When you are low on money, one thing you can and should do is learn new skills. Learning skills doesn’t always have to cost you money. There are plenty of people who would love to help a mentor, especially if you plan actually to help! Here are some examples.
  • Do you know someone who is an expert at canning food? Ask if you can help during canning days. Learning how to preserve your food is an essential skill for all preppers! Put this at the top of your list, especially if you are a gardener.
  • Does your neighbor have a vegetable garden? Ask if you can come weed and learn how to garden (I would love if someone offered to help weed my garden in exchange for information).
  • Do you know anyone who hunts? You can trail along and watch a hunt. There is no better way to learn how to hunt than to go out with someone.
  • Does your grandmother know how to sew? Sewing is a great skill. You can use it to fix clothes. Plus, it is a craft that can earn you money on the side. You may need to know how to sew to fix a tent. Don’t disregard this skill!
  • Can you start a fire from tinder, kindling and one match? Do you know how to start a fire with flint and steel? Learning how to build a fire is an essential skill. You can do this in your backyard in your spare time.
  1. Save Money Everywhere

Even when we lived on a tighter budget, I realized we were wasting money in places we shouldn’t. How did I realize that? Our family had a no spend month. I wanted to see what we had leftover after we paid the bills and purchased groceries and gas. I was astounded. I would love to tell you that I realized we were sitting on a goldmine; we aren’t. However, I realized there were areas we were bleeding money.
Twos areas you can trim are utilities and groceries. Try things such as limiting your shower time, turning your thermometer up or down a few degrees, hanging laundry instead of using the drier, and unplugging appliances when not in use.
  1. Try Couponing and Watch Sales

You don’t have to be an extreme coupon user, but there are ways to you can use coupons to prep. You don’t need 50 tubes of deodorant typically, but it might not be a bad idea in a permanent SHTF scenario.
Check out the local sales. Once, my local store had boxes of rice on sale for $.75 each, a decent price by themselves. I just happened to have 15 $.50 coupons for that particular box of rice. I spent $3.75 on 15 boxes of rice. Then, I went home and put them in Mylar bags for long term storage.
I love manager specials and markdowns. My local stores seem to have more markdowns right in the morning or late at night. If you stumble upon a whole chicken marked down, you can take it home and boil it. Then, strain the broth into jars. Add pieces of the chicken, celery, and carrots for your homemade chicken soup. Make sure you process it through a pressure canner or freeze it!
  1. Only Stock Up on Food You Eat

In a real SHTF scenario, chances are you won’t be picky about what you eat. However, if you are preparing for a short term problem or job loss, it is senseless to stock up on the food you won’t eat. For example, our family hates beets. Even if canned beets were on the lowest sale ever, all the cans would expire.
  1. Start a Garden

Gardening can be expensive, so I don’t suggest you start off planning to produce enough food to last a year. Instead, pick one or two veggies to try each year, slowly growing your garden. Here are my top picks.
  • Green beans are easy to grow. You can select between bush and pole beans. Pole beans are great for those who are short on land. Green beans can be frozen or canned for long-term storage.
  • Lettuce can be planted throughout the entire growing season, giving you months of free lettuce for the cost of a seed packet and soil.
  • Cucumbers grow up the trellis and provide you with a large surplus throughout the summer. You also will have dozens of jars of pickles and relish canned for your pantry.
  1. Learn to Forage

Unfortunately, foraging is a lost art. People forget that nature once provided all the food we need. There still are hundreds of edibles in the world that grow freely. You might find some in your backyard. While you could purchase a guide for foraging, a library should have plenty of information about wild edibles.
Take a few hours each week to discover what you have locally. Don’t just find the edibles. Take them home and incorporate them into your dinner or lunch. Knowing how and where to find wild food is a great skill for any prepper. You will have food no matter where you go.
If you are wondering what type of wild plants are edible, here are a few common finds.
  • Cattail: You can eat almost the entire plant, usable in everything from soups to salads.
  • Dandelions: Along with medicinal purposes, dandelion leaves are perfect for salads.
  • Lamb’s Quarters: You could add the leaves to your soups or stews. For medicinal purposes, you can use lamb’s quarters for diarrhea, sunburns, internal inflammation and upset stomach.
  • Purslane: The leaves and stems are great for soups and stews, and it can help to reduce fevers!
  1. Purchase Lower Quality if You Must

I typically encourage people to purchase middle of the road priced items. If you have three choices, go for the one in the middle. It may not be the best quality, but it is better than the lowest, without spending extra. You are going to need to buy some things, such as a knife. Having a pocket knife comes in handy. At first, it is fine to invest in a lower quality; you have the knife now. Later, when your money situation is better, you can invest in something even nicer.
  1. Purify Water on the Cheap
You can only live for three days without water. It is crucial for life. One of the first things you want to purchase is a way to purify water or learn how to make a purification system. There are purification tablets that you can purchase for less than $6 in the stores. You could also spend more money for a straw that purifies any water. Building your purification system will take time, but it is a great asset. You need water, especially in an SHTF scenario.
  1. Shop Second Hand and Yard Sales

I love yard sales! You won’t believe the deals you can find. I have found sleeping bags, tents, backpacks, camping equipment, canning jars and more at yard sales. All of the items saved me tons of money.
  1. Focus on the Basics

You might want to purchase everything, but your focus should be on the essentials. What are the essentials? You need shelter, food, water, first aid, light and hygienic needs. The most important out of the bunch are food and water because you will die without them.
First aid kits are important as well. Without medical care and hospitals available, you will be expected to take care of ailments and injuries yourself. Start off slow. There are basic first aid kits you can purchase in stores for less than $20. As time goes on, you can invest into the kits, adding a new item each pay day. The thing about first aid kits is that you can see the benefits immediately. I know I use mine on a regular basis with three kids and an accident-prone husband!
  1. Join a Local Community

Prepping is a worldwide activity and lifestyle. You may be surprised at the number of people locally who consider themselves preppers. See if you can connect with them. Facebook is a great way to find them! Many towns have prepper groups. You can also look up larger prepping Facebook groups. It is a great way to gain information and to find people who may live close.
In an SHTF situation, you have a higher chance of survival when in a group. Can you find people who would want to band together in emergencies? Everyone is responsible for something, but not everything. Best of all, you can focus on the skills you are good at and things you can afford. What does this look like?
  • Someone might have the land to host people in an emergency situation.
  • Someone might be responsible for transporting chickens and taking care of them.
  • You might be an excellent gardener. You bring to the table the ability to produce more food for the group.
  • You or your spouse might be an avid hunter, capable of providing meat for the group.
  • You might be able to preserve food in solar dehydrators.
  • First aid could be a skill you excel in; you would be a huge asset to the group.
While it is important for everyone to be versatile, prepping with a group of people allows you to focus on fewer things.
  1. Live Your Life

It is easy to become obsessed with prepping. At one time, that was my life. Prepping consumed me. Now, I have learned we have to live our lives. I strive to do one thing each day for prepping. What are examples of small things?
  • I might store some water for the day.
  • I could make some fire starters with lint from the dryer.
  • My friends and I may trade some eggs and veggies, further establishing our bartering community.
  • Time spent in the garden counts as prepping.
  • I might take inventory of the first aid kit.
  • Tonight, I could read a few prepping articles.
One small thing each day adds up to a whole lot of knowledge and preps. Over time, all of your efforts will come together. Despite common thought, prepping isn’t for those with a big bank account. Being prepared is a lifestyle for everyone, no matter your income.

Basic Wilderness Navigation Skills for City Folk 

If you live in an apartment in the city you’ll have limited supplies and resources will be scarce in the event of a natural disaster or civil unrest. You can do your best efforts in prepping but if you live in an apartment you’ve only got so much space that you can use. In the event that you run out of resources or things just get too dangerous in the city, you’ll most likely want to bug out. Most of you will have a bug out location and chances are that you will be getting to that bug out location, at least part of the way, on foot. If that’s the case, you’ll need some basic wilderness navigation skills because even if you’ve trekked to your bug out location many times, in the heat of the moment when you’re stressed and fatigued or it’s a bit dark or the weather is bad or for whatever reason you have to take a different route, it’s very easy to get lost so I’ve put together these basic guidelines which you can master very quickly.
It’s important to note that in the woods, anybody can get lost, even the most experienced survivalist. In such situations where you can’t be helped by anybody, you will have to find your own way. I know many stories of people doing something like picking berries and getting lost because they see a patch of berries just a bit further that they want to pick, and then there’s another batch just a little further and then all of a sudden they’re turned around and lost. Then panic can set in which can even make people with good navigation skills make silly navigational errors.
The first thing you need to know is which direction you have to go in. Sounds simple but it’s not as simple as it sounds when you’re in a forest and there’s no land marks that you can see. That’s why you have to know your bearings. Secondly, you have to ensure that you remain on the right path.


Knowing your bearings (North, South, East, and West) is absolutely vital to wilderness navigation. Using a compass, you can determine your bearings easily however what if you lose your compass or you accidentally break it? In most cases when in the wilderness, you will have some clues about your current location, e.g. you might know the position of the creek or coast which might either be to the east or west. Therefore, once you determine the location of the creek or coast you can get back home. Ultimately, knowing the direction of north, east, south and west is important to survival in a situation like this.
So how do you get your bearings if you don’t have a compass?
Stick in the Ground: Get a straight stick thick enough to cast a visible shadow. Drive it into the ground and note where the shadow ends on the ground. Then, after about 15-20 minutes, mark another sport at exactly where the shadow finishes. With two points on the ground, connect them by drawing a line between them. The first point represents the west direction and the second point indicates east.

Branches of a tree: You can get your way around in the woods by reading trees. A tree with its branches thicker on one side simply shows that they got more sunlight. The other side of the tree with thinner and more vertical branches is because it is not facing the sun, so they have to grow tall to get enough sun light. Don’t just jump to conclusions, make sure you use several trees for confirmation.
Moss: Moss generally grows on tree sides not facing the sun or on rocks not facing the sun so you know that the sun is in the south if you live in the northern hemisphere so that way you can get some basic bearings. To reduce error and increase accuracy, you don’t rely on just one tree or rock, take an average of several.
Stars: Knowing how to find the North Star is one of the basic skills for survival.
Use a watch: On an analog watch, point the hour hand towards the sun. Note this as your first reference point. The 12 hour point on the watch is your second reference. From the middle of the two reference points, draw a straight line across the watch face, the line drawn represents your north-south line.


It might sound easy, but staying on course is a big problem. Many people who get lost go round and round in circles. It sounds ridiculous that someone will continue to go around in a big circle for days but it does happen and the reason it’s so easy to get off course is because there can be obstructions in your way or the woods might just be too dense to get around. If you’re in an open, flat field it’s hard to get lost if you have a compass but if you’re in thick forest and come across an impassable cliff and have to go around it’s very easy to get lost.
Use a big stick: It’s not the most sophisticated method on the planet but it actually works very well. You can apply any of the methods above to get your bearings. Next, with a very long stick, place it in the right direction in the dense area you can’t physically pass. Locate the end of the big stick by walking around the dense area, then follow the direction the stick is pointing. The Scandinavians have been using this technique since the Viking age.
Boxing: When obstructed by an obstacle e.g. a mountain or a dense forest etc. and you are in possession of a compass, you can get around it using the boxing method.
Below are steps to follow.
Step 1: With your compass, turn 90 degrees to the right, then in that direction walk a suitable distance so that you get around the obstruction. Note the number of steps you are taking.
Step 2: Still with the compass in your hand after going far enough around the obstacle, turn left 90 degrees. Then walk far enough to clear the obstacle.
Step 3: Again holding your compass, turn 90 degree left and then walk in that direction a the same amount of distance you took in step one.
Step 4: finally you are at the exact location you intend to be, turn 90 degrees right and walk in that direction. That’s the right direction you needed to go and you’ve safely got around the obstruction.
Aiming off: Are you trying to get to a location that is on a creek or a road? Don’t set off going directly to the location, aim off in one direction. It’s a good idea to aim off because there is a possibility that you won’t exactly get to your intended location and once you reach the road or creek, then the question will be, which way should I go, left or right up the creek or road. If you aim off to the left of your desired location which is on the road or creek, once you reach the road or creek, you know that you have to go right to reach your desired location. Using this method, you might add a bit more distance to your journey, but you will definitely reach your destination.

(Source:  http://www.go4awalk.com/hill-skills-and-navigation/navigation-skills/aiming-off.php)

About the Author

Steve is a survivalist and runs the blog www.topsurvivalweapons.com.

Is Prepping DOA ?

I have been prepping most of my adult life, and have been involved (by writing) in the prepping industry for the last few years. A few insiders I know have been talking about how the bottom dropped out of the prepping market.

So is everyone all of a sudden all prepped up for all contingencies?

Not really.

Trump Election
Most I have talked to agree that the election of Donald Trump brought a collective sigh of relief from a lot of preppers. There was a huge let down in most things prepping when he won the election.
President Obama was jokingly called “firearms salesman of the year” when he was in office. This has proven to be true since people were buying up what he and those like him were vowing to ban. This had the cross over effect of buoying up the prepper / survival market as well.

Now that he is out of office a lot of preppers think they can be lax in their preps.

Nothing has Changed
Obama may be out of office but what has really changed? There are still plenty of threats out there for the prudent prepper to be prepared for.

The anti fascists who are doing a pretty go job of being actual fascists have crossed over into violence against their fellow Americans. The press is doing its collective best to egg them on, and if you live in a city, civil unrest from them or people similar to them is a real possibility.

North Korea
These guys have been mouthing off for years but when they put a launch directly over the Super Bowl a couple years ago they became a legitimate threat for preppers to consider. I realize that launch was out of control but we are two years down the road, and they are only learning more about how to build rockets.

The current president doesn’t look like the apologist we have had for the last eight years, so things may heat up.

Europe is currently dealing with uncontrolled terrorism. They are hitting small targets often and bigger ones on an increasingly more frequent basis.

In the U.S. it looks like we may have curbed the flood but we still have enough potential for something to happen that we all should still be prepping. No matter who we have in the Whitehouse a future terrorist attack is almost a forgone conclusion. If it happens will you be ready?

Natural Disasters The last I checked the Yellowstone super volcano was still in place, the New Madrid fault could still let go, or something like the Carrington event could hit us from the sun. Any of these things will probably kill thousands (at least) and affect the lives of millions more.
One thing President Trump will not be able to change is the natural world.

Hurricanes are still going to hit our coasts, wildfires are still going to burn and tornadoes will wipe out homes without a care.

Prepping for natural disasters should never let down since Mother Nature doesn’t care who she kills.

Now is the Best Time to Prep
Since others have slackened their preps now is the time to get your preps in order. Supply and demand says things should be more affordable when there is not as much demand, and good preppers know how to take advantage of these kinds of things. So keep prepping and have your survival backpack ready because you never know what’s around the corner.

The face of prepping may be changing but just a few years ago Y2K was the face of prepping. Prepping when done right transcends any political movement and becomes a prudent safe lifestyle.

TCK Radio: Mykel Hawke "Preparedness: #1 Ranked Survivalist Speaks"  

Is Your Car Bug-Out Ready for Summer Emergencies? These 8 Items are a Must!

ReadyNutrition Readers, this article is to formulate some preps for you and your vehicle for a daily basis during the months of summer.  Why?  Because the summer months hold some potential for problems that are quite different from the winter months, and the S can HTF at any time, that is why.  Dehydration, sunburn, sunstroke, and other dangerous events can happen in addition to the EMP (Electromagnetic Pulse) attack that turns your 2016 Dodge Ram pickup into a motionless slab of several tons.
First, let’s address the issue of dehydration.  Water.  Simple solution, right?  Wrong.  Should a disaster occur, all the existing water lines may either be contaminated and/or non-functional.  And there you are on the highway.  Do you know how to procure water in the wild? Humans need 1 gallon per day on normal/non-stressful days.  You will need a couple of gallons of water in your vehicle in sturdy containers.  Your “bug-out”/go bag is already in the car.  Make sure you have a three-day supply of food and a method to purify water, in addition to a method to tote it.  Many prefer the Camelback drinking systems.  I stick with the issue canteens.  Whatever method you choose, you’ll need to add a couple of gallons into them eventually.
In your backpack, you want to either have a poncho or some type of “space” blanket, preferably (with the latter) containing grommets.  If you can’t find one with the grommet holes, there is a grommet-making kit available in Wal-Mart or another big-box store for around $10.  The poncho comes with the grommets.  You will also need (5) bungee cords.  In this matter, you can use the 4 grommeted corners and the middle of the poncho/blanket to construct some kind of shelter to shield you from the sun.
Yeah, I know, Mr. Negative…if there’s trees to attach the bungees to, then why would a person need to spread out a shelter at all?  Simple.  Just because you may make it to a wooded area doesn’t mean that the trees provide adequate protection from the sun.  In addition, yeah…next is, what if there are no trees?  Then you use the bungee cords and attach them to other things, such as the bumper of that now-defunct Dodge truck, or a chain-linked fence…to make a lean-to and take you out of the sun.

An Ounce of Prevention is Worth a Pound of Cure

Here’s a short (and by no means complete) list of some things to have with you on your daily commute, some of which we have covered in previous articles:
  1. Electrolyte packets
  2. Small (compact) first-aid kit
  3. Knife (folding/Swiss Army)
  4. Fire starting materials with matches or cigarette lighter
  5. Radio
  6. Flashlight
  7. Firearm(s) and ammo
  8. Tools
The situation is going to dictate the actions you take.  Obviously, if a nuclear war is what occurs, then you are going to have a different set of dangers than if a viral pandemic is occurring.  You will make the determination about what you will do, but you should have these basic supplies with you and readily accessible at all times.  If you are parked in a parking garage and you still must walk three blocks or more to reach the office, this is not near enough.  In such a case, have multiple bags…one in your vehicle, and one within the workplace by your desk, as I have stressed in the past.
You’ll also need good sunglasses with a 100% UV protection factor.  Along with this, a strong sunscreen, with an SPF of 50 or greater.  A floppy hat would also do you some good for any kind of walks that will shield both your head and face from the sun.  Also, don’t forget a bottle of good bug repellant.  You don’t think the bugs will stop bothering you and take a break while the disaster strikes, do you?  An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.  Take all of these things into consideration, remembering that the summer sun can be more than just a happy shining face on a box of cereal.  It can also be a deadly furnace trying to turn you into jerky.  On that happy note, keep fighting that good fight and have those supplies ready for when you need them.  JJ out!

Additional Reading Material:

5 Ways To Keep Your Vehicle Evacuation-Ready
Vehicle 72 Hour Kits
The Preparedness Guide that will Get You Ready for Any Disaster
Emergency Evacuation Checklist

35 Emergency Foods You Should Stockpile


Modern life has led people away from their backyard gardens and well-stocked root cellars. These once farmhouse staples helped ensure that families could feed themselves no matter how long the road to town was, what the weather was like, or their economic situation.
While access to grocery stores makes it seem like there’s no need to worry about keeping food on the table, there are many potential emergencies that could happen: losing your job, blizzards, or even economic collapse. These things could leave your family without a secure food source. Even if you don’t live in a farmhouse it’s easy and wise to stockpile emergency foods.
Below you’ll find a list of 35 emergency foods you should be stockpiling. With all of these foods on hand, you’ll be eating well no matter what happens.

1. Flour/Wheat Berries

Obviously, flour is a staple of the modern diet, but there are a few things to consider before running out and buying big bags of it. First, whole wheat flour doesn’t store well. The oils have been released from the wheat berries and it can go rancid quickly. Second white flour offers little nutritional value. For these reasons, the best option may be to purchase whole wheat berries which store well while retaining their nutrition, especially those in #10 cans. Whole wheat berries can be easily turned into flour with a hand crank mill, they can be cooked whole as hot cereal, or they can be added to soups and stews. Wheat berries can also be planted.

2. Salt

Salt is so much more than a seasoning. In a survival situation it is essential to preserving food. It can be used to salt meats and pickle or can garden produce.

3. Sugar

This is another essential preservative. With sugar, it’s easy to put up fruit and jam for winter.

4. Honey

Honey is more than just a tasty treat! It’s natural preservative, immune system booster, antibacterial, and anti fungal. Make sure you get real honey and not the fake stuff.

5. Baking Soda

It’s cheap and absolutely worth stocking up on. It’s an important leavening agent in many recipes and can be combined with a little vinegar and used in place of eggs in quick breads and cake recipes. It also makes a good, natural cleaner and deodorizer. It’s just over a dollar a pound.

6. Baking Powder

Another leavening agent, baking powder is an important part of many recipes. It’s also cheap and easy to store.

7. Dry Yeast

It may be advisable to store both bread yeast as well as yeast for brewing beer or wine. Even if you have these on hand, it’s also important to learn how to make sourdough or wild yeast starters so that you could make your own bread even if your supply ran out.

8. Dehydrated Milk

It may not be as tasty as fresh milk, but dehydrated milk can add essential fats and proteins to your diet in a survival situation. It’s also important for many recipes that just wouldn’t be the same with water, plus it lasts a long time.

9. Rendered Lard

Modern recommendations are to freeze lard, but not that long in the past it was commonly just kept in canning jars or crocks and even used to preserve meat. If you’re making lard at home, make sure you render it, removing all the perishable parts.

10. Vegetable Oil (olive, coconut, etc.)

Vegetable oil can add important fats to a survival diet and is important for many dressings and sauces. It’s also great for many herbal preparations and soaps. Oil doesn’t last forever so it’s a good idea to rotate your stock or at least regularly check and make sure your oils haven’t gone rancid. I’m a big fan of Nature’s Way Coconut Oil.

11. Dried Flint/Dent Corn

Flint or dent corn are varieties that are grown to be dried, ground, and used as a grain not sweet corn. They last virtually forever and are easy to grind to make cornbread, tortillas, grits, etc. Plus you can plant some to grow more as needed.

12. Pasta

While you can always make your own pasta, having some on hand is convenient in an emergency. It offers a quick and filling meal, plus it’s fairly lightweight and easy to store.

13. Cereal

Many families are accustomed to eating cereals, but they’re also important because they’re fortified. Most cereals contain a large part of your daily vitamin requirements.

14. Popcorn

Plain popping kernels are easy to store and great for keeping spirits high. For the amount of space they take up, they offer a lot of snacks.

15. Instant Potatoes

Instant potatoes offer a lot of benefits for little cost. They’re filling, cheap, last practically forever, and are lightweight and small in storage. They also only require boiling water, so you won’t use much fuel making them.

16. Crackers

Crackers can help create a sense of normalcy in a survival situation. They are also great for stretching meals. Things like soup are much more filling with a handful of crackers.

17. Canned Meat/Fish (chicken, turkey, tuna, salmon)

Canned meat and fish are convenient and require no cooking or extra water. They can be added to any meal or eaten as is.

18. Dried Meat/Pemmican

Canned meat and fish are healthy and tasty, but they’re much heavier and bulkier than their dried or smoked counterparts. Consider adding beef jerky or pemmican to your home food storage at the bare minimum. Both are shelf stable and easy to make at home.

19. Dried Bone Broth (aka portable soup)

It may sound weird, but people have been making this portable soup for centuries. It was a favorite among woodsmen, travelers, soldiers, and even housewives. It’s super convenient, but unlike modern bouillon, it’s incredibly nutrient dense and easy to make at home.

20. Bouillon Cubes

While not as nutritionally dense as bone broth, bouillon may still be worth storing. For little cost and space, it adds a lot of flavor to meals. It can be tossed in with rice, used to make gravy or sauce, or even cooked with instant potatoes. Be sure to get chicken and beef cubes.

21. Seasonings

Seasonings are important to both everyday meals and food preservation. Everyone will be sick and tired of the food stores very quickly if there’s no seasonings for different meals. Keep what your family loves and regularly uses on hand, plus ones for canning, like pickling spices.

22. Beans

While they take quite a bit of time to cook, they’re easy to store, very cheap, and full of protein. Another consideration is that in a long term survival situation, they can easily be planted to replenish food stores.

23. Lentils

While often overlooked, lentils are an excellent, versatile source of protein. They’re also light and cook much faster than beans.

24. Textured Vegetable Protein

TVP is sometimes thought of as being just for vegetarians, but in an emergency it’s great to have around. TVP is full of protein, super lightweight, and has almost no flavor. It can easily be seasoned on its own or mixed with a traditional dish to stretch more valuable foods. If you can’t find it at the store, you can find it on Amazon.

25. Rice

It’s great for filling side dishes or as the base for a simple meal. When stocking up on rice, consider that while brown rice is much more nutritious, its shelf life is much shorter–about a year. This is because white rice has been processed to remove much of the natural oils and proteins found in brown rice.

26. Oatmeal

Oats are another great option for stretching other foods. For examplem they can be mixed with meat or beans to make burgers or tossed in bread recipes. Obviously, they also make a great hearty, cold weather breakfast combined with some dried fruit and nuts or seeds.

27. Seeds (pumpkin, flax, chia, sunflower)

Many seeds offer tons of nutrition and are light, easily stored, and tasty with a little salt or seasoning. Chia and flax seeds are notable for their Omega-3s.

28. Nuts

Storing nuts and/or trail mix can be an excellent choice for a quick, protein-packed snack without the need to cook.

29. Peanut Butter (or other nut butter)

Especially if you have kids, peanut butter can offer a sense of normalcy and quick protein. Note that the dehydrated peanut butters on the market are nice and light but offer less fat than traditional peanut butter. If you have a grinder, you could also store peanuts and process them as needed.

30. Dehydrated Fruit

Store bought dried fruit can be quite expensive, but it’s easy to make at home. Simply cut up your fruit of choice into fairly small pieces and place the in a dehydrator. You can also experiment with fruit leathers. All you need is fruit puree spread in a thin layer on a dehydrator tray. Great combinations include applesauce and blackberries, strawberries and bananas, and peaches and raspberries.

31. Dehydrated Vegetables

While canned vegetables certainly have their place, dehydrated vegetables are often an awesome choice because they’re lightweight and take up much less space. Corn, sweet peppers, and tomatoes are all good options. Just like with fruit, these will be cheaper to make at home.

32. Canned Fruits & Vegetables

They’re full of important vitamins and will last for extended time periods. They also usually have quite a bit of liquid as another small source of clean water to keep you hydrated. Tomatoes are especially important, either diced or whole, as they can be used to make a variety of meals, condiments, and sauces.

33. Pasta Sauce

Pasta sauce and a box of pasta are one of the quickest, easiest meals to make in an emergency. It can also be used in a variety of other meals.

34. Coffee

Many people would have a hard time giving up their morning coffee, even in an emergency situation. Having at least some coffee on hand can make a rough time a little bit easier. Coffee grounds can then be re-used in the garden or to scrub things for cleaning. You can even put them in homemade soap for a built in scrubber.

35. Tea

Even if you don’t typically drink tea, it’s a good idea to store some. Tea takes up very little space and offers a flavorful caffeine boost. Plus, tea is antibacterial and can be used to clean small cuts. Herbal teas are also a good idea for their many medicinal uses. I really like this black tea.
These basic pantry staples are truly valuable emergency foods. No matter where you live or what your situation is, it’s important to be prepared for disaster. Keeping nutrient-dense foods on hand can help keep your family healthy and happy no matter what’s going on in the world around you.

Dealing With Depression: Three Prepper Options

I was walking The Place with my local conservation agent, as he pointed out various plant species and their characteristics.  We walked by this one:

… and he commented “St. John’s Wort”.  I stopped.  It was growing wild literally within arm’s reach of my driveway.  I’d been turning over in my mind how to do a piece on depression, as it’s a real problem now that would only get worse during emergencies, and there seems to be little help out there in Prepper World for mental health problems; but it’s a hard problem for a couple of reasons.
For one, I’m not a physician, or a psychologist, so while I have more than a layman’s knowledge of mental health, I’m not an expert (and so these are not medical suggestions; just information sharing).  For another … mental health is just hard from a prepping perspective.  Mental health problems do best with ongoing professional attention, and in many cases prescription drugs are key and frequent adjustments are necessary.
St. John’s Wort was high on my list of options for depression, though.  While there is some mixed opinion and study quality is always a problem with supplements, St. John’s Wort has shown much more favorably in clinical trials than most herbal remedies.  That means there’s a real chance it actually works.  Studies report it as being pretty safe. So far as I can tell, preparation is quite within reach too; it being just a dried herb.  I hadn’t known where or how easily it grew though.  Well, now I know; it likes Missouri just fine and is happy to plant itself.  Could one grow enough to make it work?  I don’t know; but if someone in my group had the need, I’d be giving it a try.  
There’s another remedy that lots of research has shown to be highly effective; and this one would be available in most emergencies.  It looks like this:

Spandex. Spandex is good for depression. No, wait, that wasn’t it….it was … Exercise!
Exercise.  Exercise works as well as prescription meds (shown in multiple studies) to treat depression.  No, this isn’t some moralistic comment.  It’s about exercise changing your brain chemistry in a way that increases activation and nerve cell connections and causes production of mood-elevating chemicals.  Brisk walking will do it, gardening or farming will do it, hauling water…yep, physical exertion of pretty much any sort.  The hard part (and I get it is actually hard) is making it happen once the depression has settled.
The last option on today’s menu is also widely available, and especially so to preppers during times of emergency. Here’s some of it in action:

Giving is good for the giver and the receiver.
Helping others.  I can’t tell you why this one works; but it’s observably true when people become active in helping others, their own moods on average improve.  While it bothers my scientific self to not have a good mechanism to explain it, ignoring observed fact just because you don’t know why it’s true is just folly.  This approach works in many cases.  The good news is, as preppers, we are likely to have knowledge or materials or both that can make other people’s lives better; and it’s likely to make us feel better into the bargain.  That, good readers, is a win-win.  

9 Survival Skills You Can Learn Sitting on Your Couch 

Even if you aren’t a couch potato, you still have to kick up your feet and take it easy every once in a while. Why not learn a few survival skills while you do? The best skills are learned with some blood, sweat, and tears- but that doesn’t mean you can’t learn anything while just sitting around. Here are a few ideas to make your down time on the couch a little more productive:

1/9 Tie Some Knots

Knots are about the easiest survival skill you can teach yourself on the couch. Pull up Grog’s Animated Knots and watch a few of the basic knot animations, and then just try them with some paracord or your shoelaces. Once you have those mastered down to muscle memory, try a few of the more advanced knots found in the other sections.
Knot Tying Skill

2/9 Speak Another Language

Speaking multiple languages is very useful everyday, but it can also be for survival reasons. Being able to communicate with more people in an emergency is a great skill to have in your pocket. It is tough learning another language, and takes a long time to master, but even simple words and phrases can be useful in a disaster. You may also find it helps during every day activities, and it can even give you a leg up at your work place.

3/9 Pick a Lock

Picking locks can get you into safe places, help you find useful resources, and maybe most importantly, help you understand how to prevent your own locks from being picked. If you have never picked a lock before, grab a clear lock and start fiddling with it in your free time. They are pretty easy to figure out, and then you can go for speed. Once you’ve mastered the clear lock, try a keyed padlock that isn’t clear. Once you master a padlock, you can move on to experimenting with deadbolts.

4/9 Practice Whittling or Bushcraft

Grab a stick and knife and start making something. Whether you are making something practical, a piece of art, or practicing feathering wood- you can get some good hands-on time while you are on the couch. Both whittling and bushcraft are skills best learned by actually doing them and practicing often.

5/9 Weave a Net

Knowing how to make a net in the wilderness with just rope or string can be a huge help. Sure, you’ll look like an old lady knitting some socks, but the hands on experience could be invaluable when SHTF. You can then use nets to set traps, as gill or drag nets for fishing, to carry stuff, or as a hammock.

6/9 Identify Some Plants

Learning how to identify plants is best done in the woods, but books and online sites have a large number of pictures these days. A Peterson Field Guide is a low priced way to learn the plants around you that are edible. Before you go around and start snacking on the stuff growing around your house, you still may want to check with somebody a little more experienced..

7/9 Identify Some Fungus

Just like learning plants, there are several resources on how to identify the different types of fungus in the wild. The National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Mushrooms may be just the book to crack open on the couch and start learning. I am more of a hands-on learner and haven’t had much success learning wildlife, plants, or fungus from the couch, but some are able to learn this type of stuff like a sponge. Either way, learning some skills from a book is better than most programs on TV these days.

8/9 Watch Some Survival TV

Right after I get done talking about how TV programs are worse than a fungus book, I’m going to suggest you turn it on. Fire up the television set and check out some of the survival shows that are running these days. Alone, Dual Survival, and anything with Ray Mears are a few that I linger on while flipping the channels. My family usually finds the situations they find themselves in interesting, and I almost always learn something new- or what not to do.

9/9 Read Some Prepper Fiction

There are plenty of great books out there, and there is no shortage on fiction focused on surviving catastrophes. There are even a few good free collections that you can find on Amazon. Be sure to grab them while they are still free, because they often don’t stay that way for long. Also, check out our take on One Second After, a novel that sets the bar as far as we’re concerned.

The Final Word

Survival skills don’t have to be learned standing up. Try learning a few while you are winding down at night, or while your significant other is watching that TV show you don’t care for. Prepping and learning doesn’t have to be hard, and using your down time is a great way to learn skills you might not otherwise have taken the time to learn. Knowledge is power, and you are never too old to learn. Let us know in the comments the ways you improve your survival skills on the couch. Keep exploring, stay prepared, and be safe.