Building on Basics for Survival Preparedness

The following may be considered a few basic foundational categories for preparedness. The entire process of prepping and preparedness begins with basic ‘ingredients’ and ‘know-how’ in order to survive and stay alive.

Originally published several years ago, it’s good to get back to basics once in awhile. Maybe helpful for newbies. And especially / primarily intended to just get the wheels turning up there in the noggin…

Each of these are relatively inexpensive to purchase for storage, they store easily for long periods, and they provide a foundation for adequate calories and nutrition to sustain life.

For those beginning their preparedness, FOOD is typically first.
Other than water (actually #1), ‘food’ is practical to start with for general preparedness.

Note: Learn what to do with the basics. Most folks don’t. For example, learn how to mill your own flour from wheat. Learn how to make a loaf of bread without a bread maker. Learn how to make foods from their basic ingredients. How to garden for food.

[ Read: A Flour Mill Is A Preparedness Essential For Homemade Bread ]

Note: Store what you eat, and eat what you store. Integrate your storage foods into your regular diet. Learn to eat foods that are not ‘processed’. Not only is it healthier, but learning to ‘do it yourself’ will better prepare you.


A person can actually survive without food for weeks. Although while not eating any food you will become weaker and weaker, you would live/survive (for awhile). However without consuming any water whatsoever, a person will not survive much beyond 3 – 7 days! Apart from the air we breathe, water is the absolute basic ingredient for life. Water is fairly easy to store, so get that taken care of… Discover alternative sources of water in your area (just in case). Consider additional preps to treat and purify water for safe drinking such as boiling, filtration, or chemical treatment tablets, regular bleach, etc..

[ Read: Water Sources and Treatment ]


These are considered essential items for any food storage program. Adding wheat to water provides nutrition and survivability. Grain has ~indefinite shelf life if stored properly (decades+), and a flour mill provides the ability to increase the utility of wheat (into flour). Use for cereal (cracked grain), soups, breads, or even non-yeast breads such as sourdough and tortillas. The combination of rice & beans provide high levels of protein and essential nutrition.


Sugar stores indefinitely, and Natural Honey is probably the best form of sugar because it is higher in nutritional content and has healthier attributes (even medical attributes). Sweeteners are also preservative for fruits and vegetables. Sugar is high in calories (good for survival preparedness).


Salt stores indefinitely. It is essential to chemical action in dough and is a preservative for meats and vegetables. Oil is essential to general cooking and baking, and is very high in calories. Yeast is essential to baking.

[ Read: Uses For Salt ]


Powdered milk stores well, up to 4 years (longer if professionally sealed). It provides a source of protein. It enhances the flavor of wheat and breads, and flavors well with cracked grains and whole wheat flours. Got chickens? Then you got eggs…protein.

[ Read: Powdered Milk For Long Term Food Storage ]


Organic Heirloom seeds for self-sustaining food crops. You can use the seeds from this year’s crop for next year (this only works well with Heirloom seeds). Grow a garden. Start small if that’s what you need to do…

[ Read: Heirloom Seeds versus Hybrid Seeds ]

There are lots and lots of additional categories but I feel that the ideas presented above are a good foundation to establish basic ingredients on which you can build. There are lots of articles on MSB to help you in many various categories. Food. Water. Shelter. Security. Skills. And much more… Just start browsing!


  1. I started with food long before the idea of preppers was used. I was in construction in my younger years and with the feast or famine way work came I always bought staples like rice,beans ,pasta and canned goods all summer to make sure i had food for the family through the winter months. When I actually started working a steady 40 hour a week job the habit didn’t change and as the years went on I simply expanded to how I stock today which includes water food ,medicines and everything I seem to use

    1. – Agreed, pasta is one of the long term storage things that are often overlooked. They give a variety that is just not possible with basic rice and beans, and people eating this feel less deprived. Canned goods are simple. They are convenience meals when nothing is convenient and another way of making life better when you are in a bad place.

      – Papa S.

  2. I also started with food. At the time I lived in the city and the concept of no water never even entered my mind. At least not until I moved to the country.

    1. During this last run on the stores when the covid thing began I quickly realized I had let my coffee supply run low. Right during that time, one store I frequent started selling whole bean 100% columbian coffee for 1/3 the original price. Bought a couple of bags to test. They were as good as the expensive stuff I was buying previous; fresh and oily. They kept selling and restocking the shelf and I kept loading up. Finally I asked the manager what the skinny was on the pricing. He said he got a load from his supplier but nobody wants the whole bean. By the time they were gone I had well over a years’ supply, mylar-sealed and stored away.

      1. Sydney

        What is your expected shelf life for the mylar-sealed whole bean coffee? I personally like whole bean and grind it myself. Better that way! :)

        1. Deep South from talking with my local coffee roaster he says Green Whole Beans in plain burlap bags they come in from South America are just fine for two years plus. Sealed in buckets or Mylar he expects decades. Since he’s been in Coffee for well over two decades that I know of I trust his thoughts. Once Roasted then the Clock starts running.

        2. NH Michael

          Was curious about the shelf life of roasted whole beans sealed in mylar bags, possibly with oxygen absorber. I see coffee in cans has a life of 18 to 24 months give or take.

        3. Roasted Coffee in cans is a pretty fair description to it’s BEST BY DATE. I’ve “Found” in my Y2K storage cans of Folgers and used them 2-3 years after they expired. Tasted the same to me.

          Kept in a cool dark place, no rust I expect they will be fine for many years after Best By Dates.

          LOL I just had a mental picture of us around a campfire roasting an Opossum we caught 8 years after the revolution burned our country up asking each other if this still sealed can of Folgers was Ok? I might not be quite the coffee snob by then :-)

        4. Sorry unclear, Mylar with O2 absorbers or sealed in cans by the factory I expect the same number of years if kept in a cool dry place.

          Do be aware that Rodents will chew into Mylar as well as plastic buckets. Even coffee is edible to them.

        5. From experimentation…

          Dunkin Donuts whole bean in 12oz bags goes just fine 1 year past best by date when stored in a 30 cal ammo can (3 bags fit perfectly) in a cool place. The ground coffee is “older” tasting at this point. I have another ammo can of each that are about to reach their 2 year best by date which would make it about 3 years since roasting. I expect the ground coffee to taste like UAW coffee and the whole bean to be fine. I have another pair of cans of a similar vintage but with desiccant and oxygen absorbers. I do not plan on trying it until year 3.

          I am not a coffee snob so take it with a grain of himalayan salt.

  3. Wasn’t mentioned in the article, but plain granulated sugar poured onto an open wound makes for quicker healing and kills bacteria.

    ……and, of course, in today’s climate (yesterday’s too, for that matter) having a firearm for protection should be a primary prep………..

    Most know this, but Ken directed the article towards folks just becoming aware of the dire need to prep. Time may be already too short… it, and do it now…….

    1. Time is a precious commodity. Plan and prepare for everyday needs that will eat up blocks of time. For example,water when it doesnt flow out of the tap for whatever reason. Pounds mean pain and water is heavy to transport. Especially if you have to go any distance to get it. Lighting/cooking and heating if the power goes out and stays out.Solar lights, rocket stoves ,small heaters can be used and save time and effort.
      Storing food when you can’t get to the store due to storms or unrest.
      Writing an action plan for your situation. (cuz everyone is different. )
      You will be shocked how much time will be used just to keep basic services to yourself and your family. Clean water,heat,food ,security on a daily basis. So work out a plan to save time and effort.Store water so you only have to replenish once a week instead of every day for example.
      Figure out and plan out what’s best for your situation. Then work your plan and adjust as needed…

    2. – Dennis,

      As you mentioned, a firearm is essential. One of the few firearms available at the moment seems to be the lowly .22 rifle. Everyone like to talk badly about the .22, how it doesn’t have stopping power, and just isn’t a good choice for an only firearm. Just see if you can find someone who will willingly stand in front of one.

      If you have nothing else, a .22 will feed and protect you from whatever you might have to use it for. It really should, especially for someone who is just starting out, be one of your first purchases along with all the ammunition you can find for it.

      – Papa S.

      1. Papa Smurf,

        Agree wholeheartedly. The ageless argument “if you could have just one gun…..” ? For me there was never a hesitation, a decent .22 rimfire will handle 99% of your (realistic) needs for a firearm. Folks weaned in the outdoors know that……….. folks weaned on gun magazines, whose adventures are mind game fantasies…………let the “but, what if?”………..

        ……three, two, one…………

        1. Dennis, that one made me chuckle. People don’t realize how much meat has been put on a table in the rural south with a 22. I know I have done my share of hunting with one.

        2. You are totally right Dennis. 99% of your shooting will be hunting small game. Deer, rabbits, and squirrels will disappear pretty quick, and what’s going to be left? Did you know that birds outnumber humans 75 to 1. Wonder how a turkey vulture tastes? Should be plenty of them around after the SHTF.

        3. Prepper Dan,
          Not at all knowledgeable about hunting and animals, but I thought I had read an article, years ago about eating animals that eat carrion. That it must be purged for many days or you could end up with parasites.
          Like I said, not sure. Maybe some hunter/ trappers could weigh in. I’d like to know for future reference. I’m NOT at all looking forward to eating possum or anything rodent looking, but may have to suck it up buttercup!!

        4. MadFab

          I’ve eaten a lot of wild. I strongly prefer some, but not all omnivores. I stay away from wild canine, or, any animal that would eat rotten carrion.
          Cats, like cougar, ok. Skunk, or badger, or coyote, nope.

          Herbivores, well, what’s for dinner? Cooked and handled property, everything from a musk rat to an elk, is on the menu.

          Insects, well, depends on how hungry you are. I’d study first, then give it a try.

          Birds? Well, I’ve eaten almost every legal one you can hunt. Others, yep. Not gonna eat a starling or crow, they’re just gross. Eggs, every egg, is edible, even reptile.

          Now, what’s for dinner? Robin breast pie, fried rattle snake, roasted beaver tail, a little cougar stir fry, then roasted grasshopper with Tabasco. Desert? Ant-acid. Lol

        5. Stand,
          I have eaten some game. Love moose, elk and antelope. Don’t care for much venison. Not sure if I wasn’t cooking it properly or what. Tried several times.
          Have had a few insects. Grasshoppers are pretty good if have lots of salt and the legs are off. Nice and spicy! Couldn’t do the “water bugs” aka cockroaches in Thailand and Vietnam though. Don’t think I could do snake unless I don’t know until afterward.
          While in aforementioned countries, they all had a jug of hooch with whole snakes in them HELLO! NO!!!!!
          Rodents , have to be super hungry. Never tried squirrel but if some one who KNOWS how to do it shows me how, I would try it. Probably not the city “rats” but something from the forest/ countryside.
          Definitely Ant-Acid for dessert!!

        6. – Have to agree, I have always avoided any kind of carrion-eater. Lots of snake, rabbit, really any kind of herbivore, fish, sure. Any kind of canine (will have to admit to dog, once), skunk, badger, ehh, not so much. Love catfish, lobster, crab but that’s about it for carrion eaters.

          – Papa S.

        7. – Kula,
          Roast grasshopper isn’t bad at all, a lot like popcorn. Do take the legs off, they scratch on the way down.
          – Papa S.

        8. Gosh MadFab –

          Suddenly rice and beans sound a whole lot more appetizing than they had before, considering the alternatives you’ve just listed. Blah!

        9. Papa A,
          Yes made the mistake only once of not taking off the legs. Can still feel those legs scratching. Had to drink lots of beer that night. ( Just saying I was waaaay younger and still drank then lol)’Lynn,
          Yes those water bugs were like 6 inches long and they clicked when they flew! Freaked me out and no way was I eating them!
          Oh the things we did when we were young and dumb. Lol
          I do still like chipolinas( that’s not how ya spell it but spell check won’t let me fix it, grrrr) lots of salt.lime and peppers.

        10. All
          Ah yes, shoyu grasshoppers, eat whenever I’m back in Japan, Made with
          shoyu and sugar, just like candy! Or, on hot rice with any kind of roe.

        11. Prepper Dan,
          Don’t try the vulture. Predator birds are poor table fare, and carrion eaters are absolutely nasty. Yes, I know this and you can guess how. Chipmunks and songbirds, yes. No buzzard.

        12. I defiantly don’t have any plans to eat a turkey vulture. I was just trying to be funny while making a point that birds will still be around after all other game is gone. A good .22lr will be worth it’s weight in gold.

        13. Prepper Dan,

          Guess it’s time to come to your defense. Started to do just that, several times, but I was getting a good laugh reading all the comments about not eating “carrion eaters”.

          First, I don’t have clue what a buzzard tastes like. They are a nasty creature for sure. Ever had one puke on you? I’ve had that misfortune. Don’t know how many of y’all know it, but that’s one of their very effective defensive mechanisms, the ability to projectile vomit quite a distance. I was over 20 feet away when one got me. I can’t even begin to describe the smell, but it’s also contagious, you too will be projectile vomiting within seconds.

          Second, I can only guess what a buzzard may taste like. Chicken? Pork? Bear?

          Free range chickens, feral hogs, and bear immediately come to mind as sources of meat that many preppers include in their planned after shtf menu. All three are notorious carrion eaters.

          For the true apocalyptic survivalist who contemplates cannibalism as a possibility….probably ought to remove hillbillies from your diet plans. Fresh road kill is not off their menu, even in good times…….

          I apologize….sometimes a thread just lends itself to humor.

        14. Dennis,
          Thanks man. Now that was funny! I had no idea a buzzard did that. I guess like a skunk sprays, a buzzard vomits. But I guess if I couldn’t find anything else to eat, turkey vulture pot pie it will be.

        15. Dennis,
          Buzzard has an interesting taste,
          Somewhere between bald eagle and california condor,,,

        16. you reminded me of the far side cartoon.
          Where the vultures were using catsup cuz the roadkill was so nasty even for them…

        17. Kula,I thought buzzard tasted more like the Nene bird from Hawaii …
          (you and I are on somebody’s list now…lol)

      2. Papa Smurf –

        My very favorite rifle to shoot is our old Browning. Never fails, even the kids can handle it, plenty of .22 LR ammo still on the shelves in our area.

      3. Papa Smurf when I posted about the Antifa Realities over at the 20% article I said I changed my mind about defense?

        The 22 Long Rifle is a fine hunting weapon, many a family was fed by it. Most Sober, Sane People will NOT stand IN front of it arguing that it will not kill them. Meth Heads and Angry-Raging Mobs will be less impressed. The Israeli’s Army uses the Ruger 10-22 with 40 grain solids to shatter shinbones to stop rock throwing crowds BACKED up by Armed Soldiers.

        Given recent Antifa reports from Portland show they are often high on street drugs (Meth) and often sporting soft body armor or even Interceptor level body armor, I have some reservations about teaching new preppers that the 22 is a suitable defensive weapon. I’ve had to treat street thugs that had their shin bones shattered and they still were running when taken down by police.

        I’ve treated Military Police who were stabbed almost to death after shooting a Meth Head several times with their service pistols. The Meth Head was dead but the rest of his body hadn’t got the memo.

        Or as my older police friends used to say when a Bar Fight got serious they brought out the 12 Gauges not their pistols.

        I do agree a 22 rifle beats being unarmed. Shot placement is critical esp. given street drugs and body armor.

        1. NH Michael,
          the Nazis fed some of their elite troops a steady diet of Meth during WW2.
          Makes sense these scumbags would get a steady diet of dope provided to them as well. Creates a new dilema when dealing with them.No critical thinking going on so the plan is to get them on the ground or dont let them exit their vehicles/busses.
          Worse part is those in local government who should be coming down hard on them are actually enabling them. Mayors ,governors ,SAG’s,DA’s,even some LEO’s…
          as my Nam buddy would say…”we got gooks in the wire!” Damn skippy…

        2. BJH/NHM
          It just blows my mind, i would get tossed in prison and throw away the key but these azzhats get picked up and let go or just nothing even happens, i don’t understand why they are not allowed to do their job. One city even took away batons and shields, that would be a deal breaker, just not worth the risk

        3. Yeah Kula
          That was Detroit that banned the batons, tightening of zip-ties or handcuff, oh and let’s not forget, no using anything like bikes or vehicles to block our “peaceful little protesters.”
          BJH, yep, that was “troop fuel” for the “blitzkreig” they could go for multiple days at a time.

        4. – I don’t want to take over an important article with a discussion on the .22. It is much better than nothing, but hardly an anti-riot weapon for an individual prepper.

          On the other hand, I would submit that a dozen men with 12 gauge riot guns and hundred round bandoliers of #4 Buck is still a bit on the light side with rioters on meth and wearing body armor.

          When I went to my Dad as a young sprout and talked to him about a .22, I wanted a Remington bolt like one of my friends had. Dad said that it was a fine rifle, but it might not be what I really should have.

          Maybe I should wait and see what Santa brought me. Christmas morning, I found a Marlin 989-M2 carbine under the tree. A seven-shot magazine-fed rifle that superficially resembled an M1 carbine.

          I learned years later that the CIA sent boatloads of them to the banana republics in the late 50’s and early 60’s for their revolutions, because they were the best choices for urban and jungle fighting. They were the original versions of what Ruger improved to become the 10-22.

          I still have that Marlin. Dad said if I later still wanted the Remington, I could get my own. Never did.

          As for rioters, there is some very good advice floating around. “Stay Away from Crowds!”

          – Papa

        5. I still have my 10-22 takedowns but I’ve added a Ruger PC-9 takedown to up my game a little bit. I carry 3-32 shot magazines in a pouch and one 17 shot magazine in the rifle.

        6. Papa Smurf staying away from crowds is right up there to my don’t fight from your porch. However again after I read that American Partisan article it seems wise to prepare local defenses for a bus load of Meth Heads “visiting” for tea and biscuits. The crowd *Might* choose to visit US……

          So far the Day Time Visits of van loads of Antifa arriving to small towns lined with armed residents and fleeing has been good news but I notice NOT National News. Damages the MEDIAS message that “All is LOST” surrender, take a knee, chant BLM and accept your punishment for racism nonsense. It’s the closer to election day terrorism and or the “awaiting” the “Election Results” terrorism of night visits of bus loads I am concerned about.

          Your correct even the 12 gauge has been moved to last ditch in my defense planning aside from specialized use of it’s munitions. Way too close to the Mob Rush, laser attacks, and such range.

          For social media reasons (lawfare) I don’t want to discuss tactics but maybe an analysis of Rourke’s Drift in the Zulu Wars might be of use? A lot of interesting bits not found in the movie that crippled the Mob Rush of the Zulus in several attempts to overrun that station.

          History often repeats, just ask the White Farmers in what was the bread basket of Africa, Rhodesia now Zimbabwe a starving nation. Their Socialists “Won” and the prize was starvation, poverty and murder all around.

          Food is a weapon, look at serving portions and calories when your pricing “Survival” foods. A little care and the information here on Modern Survival Blog will show you how inexpensive to have a solid 2 years supply of food and food stretchers on hand for far less than “Survival Food” prices per calorie.

          Even canned soup, white rice and a good multivitamin is a pretty decent start. Just say ‘in :-)

        7. NHM
          Thats why Homesteader and who is John Galt has a point,
          When they demand production and get the middle finger will be priceless, its coming, make no mistake

        8. Don’t bring a shotgun to a rifle fight unless maybe you’re John Wick with his Benelli M4. Bring a M249, M60, MRAP, or preferably a M109. Not a 22LR or a shotgun…

          You need to make sure that when someone sees you that they know they will not come away unscathed if they choose to engage.

      4. Papa Smurf

        That lowly little .22 was the hit gun of choice for the mob in the past.
        My ex-GF’s uncle, Sam Giancana was killed while cooking sausages and
        onions in his kitchen, by 5 five shots through the kitchen window.
        Amazing how those little lead round fragment and bounce around,
        all the while doing big damage.

      5. yup, yup! and a 12ga. Only because of the amount of different rounds you can put in a 12ga. (00, #7, #8, slugs…) Love my Mossberg shotty!

    3. On horses I use sugardine, just a sugar-iodine paste to treat wounds, treat and harden hooves, sores, cuts.
      Works on people too just not in deep wounds or internallly.
      Honey works as well like the above.

  4. Big bottles of multi-vitamin/minerals. They’re relatively inexpensive and fill in the nutritional gaps in a survival diet with limited variety.

  5. Four years ago when I started prepping I got on some of the sites that emphasized weapons and all the things that go along with that. Some of it was good and I learned a few things to do that could come in very handy in WROL (without the rule of law) or TEOTWAWKI (the end of the world as we know it). It took me a while to find out all the abbreviations preppers use, and even now, there are some I can’t figure out!

    I changed doing what I was doing over the years as I realized certain methods I used were not the best way of doing it, and I’m still doing that.
    To save money, I started frequenting yard, garage and estate sales, where I found some real bargains and perfectly good preps!
    Retirement home sales are great for unused medical supplies like bandages, gauze,rubber gloves, some medical instruments, alcohol, pedialite and other needs. My mind set was as if TEO… was here and I was scavenging thru the wreckage, so I was not picky!
    As an added benefit, It also became a good way to meet other preppers. Over time, if you are observant, (SA situational awareness) and you look at what people buy, you can get a good idea why they’re buying certain items. As a result of this, its a good way to form a MAG (Mutual Assistance Group) with other like minded people, once you get to know them!
    I’m sure all of us have our own methods of getting our preps, and I know that beginners can use some useful ideas.

  6. The article on basic preparedness is a very good reminder to step back from the hectic day to day tasks and revisit the basic building blocks of being self reliant. We do that looking back together from time to time and usually find some areas that need attention. With the rioting,burning,food shortages, and all the general upheaval going on we look back more often.
    We feel our time to top things off is getting short. Only 56 days to go.

  7. While there is a ton of books on the subject, one of the best, I believe, is “ The Prepper’s Blueprint “ by Tess Pennington.
    Also a consideration for grain usage, is proper preparation before cooking. Something which is not too often discussed. Phytic acid can be detrimental, and properly preparing grains through soaking or fermenting can greatly reduce the phytic acid content. Soaking also aids in the removal of phytic acid from beans as well.

  8. I was recently given some powder milk. Is there a certain way this has to be stored? I currently just opened the box and put the packs in a Rubbermaid container. Will this be sufficient enough?

    1. Oklady, I toss mine in the freezer. It will extend the shelf life, and if we all lose power then they can be stored at room temp back in your Rubbermaid containers for quite awhile (whatever the package says).

      1. DJ5280

        I wasn’t sure about the freezer bc that was my first thought but wasn’t sure . Thank you so much. I appreciate the information. Would it be okay to put multiple packs in a freezer bag & through them in freezer. Sorry, hopefully I’m not asking stupid questions. Thank you again.

        1. Oklady, first…there are no stupid questions. Ever. We all help each out here on this blog. (And don’t forget to read some of Ken’s older posts; there is a lot of good information in them). I happen to pack my powdered milk bags in a mylar bag, squish out as much air as possible, then seal and freeze. But if you dont have mylar bags and do have freezer bags by all means use them. Squish out as much air as possible, then freeze. It is so great you are preparing now! Just do what you can. Thats all each of us can do. And always feel free to ask all the questions you want.

  9. One item seldom mentioned is a bulk laxative. When diet is changed perhaps severely, constipation can result. With of all the other problems a teotwawki situation presents at least this one is easily fixed, if you have what is needed.

    1. Don’t forget the Imodium as well, the opposite problem can be life threatening.

      1. Dehydration is one possible consequence of diarrhea. A helpful recipe for a rehydration fluid in case of diarrhea:

        1 liter water
        1/2 t salt
        6 t sugar

        Not a medical professional anf encourage you to read about this now. Then write this down for future use. These are items a new prepper is likely to have on hand.

    2. Something I decided to do to start the transition in diet and to stretch the grocery budget is to plan a meatless evening meal once a week. These will be bean and/ or cheese based. Both can be problematic. As the situation may warrant, we can add more such meals hopefully painlessly.

  10. And a place to put it all- I started with a steel freestanding shelf from Home Depot. 5 teir, with wood blocking between the bottom shelf and the floor so I could load it with water. TP, paper plates & towels, light stuff on top.

  11. I understand the food shortages have already begun, I realize that clock is ticking down quickly. I work full time & ive been trying to pay down debt as much as possible. I’ve now got it down to just my car payment, monthly utilities & 1 hospital bill. But , that being said it hasn’t left a lot extra to be preparing. What is the estimated time opinion that food will be seriously scarce or to expensive to purchase? I’m good for a little while but stressed about the timeline.

    1. Oklady –
      You were smart to get those things out of the way first because now you can gain ground more effectively. Each of us has seen different levels of shortages based on our areas even before the supply chain problems kicked in. Flour was one of the first things missing here, yet even a 5 pound bag of flour can make a huge difference because you can bake bread, make pancakes, add dumplings to stew, etc. During the war it was one of the main things rationed, so that increases its value, since we may face that scenario again. If a good stock is in your grocery now and it is something that you still need to add, don’t wait any longer than necessary to buy it as you can because we’ll reach a time when a loaf of bread will be welcome food at your table or an item to barter for something else you need.

      Find what items will give you the most versatility. Canned goods will only increase in price and be susceptible to becoming scarce again, yet will store well for years. I’m not a big fan of them but have steadily added because they will become money well spent. You can go to the WalMart website and find 12 cans of diced ham for $11.40, which are the size of tuna cans. Yet from that you can add a can to a box of Mac & Cheese or box of scalloped potatoes, stir it into a rice dish with pineapple, fry it with a potato and crack an egg over it for breakfast, or add it to navy bean soup. You gain versatility by getting it while it’s available and then work on getting your other items when you see them in stock and can add them to your cart. A can of beef stew can be a base that you water down to increase volume, then add some additional vegetables to stretch it to fill you and thicken back with some cornstarch. Canned roast beef could go over mashed potatoes for a shepherd’s pie that would be filling. A can of pie filling and a crust from the flour you stored gains you a late night snack for the guys who’ve worked their tail off all day and need a little something extra before calling it a night. All of which you’ll use up from your pantry anyway, regardless of what happens and when it may come. Give yourself a versatile plan, work it as resources and time and budget allow. Then if shortages come you will be ahead of the game and in good shape if there’s nothing more than a measly amount of food that is way too expensive or in short supply.

      1. M’Lynn
        I have been doing some preparation and my family would be fine for a while but I feel as if nothing will be enough & stress about that the most. I’ve always provided for my family but fear that may change, & I certainly don’t want to fail my family. I’m going to keep on working & adding as I can. Thank you M’Lynn, always look forward to your advice!!

        1. Oklady –
          I think all of us wonder if we’ve got a blind spot that’s caused us to miss something critical, or have somehow mis-calculated. Yet we are all trying to cover so many areas without knowing any specifics. So there will always be a point when it comes back to faith. Faith that we did listen to the inner voice, faith that we gave it our all, faith that nothing we face will be insurmountable as long as God watches over us and we have loved ones around us who will shoulder the load as we find the path that will sustain us.

          We’ve always had a way to make it through each day of our lives, even though many have been tough to live. And if hard times come again, we’ll face it with everything we’ve got, for as long as it takes. Five thousand can still be fed with nothing more than five loaves and two fish. Giants will still fall with nothing more than a handful of smooth stones and a slingshot. And any walls that threaten to keep us from where we’re supposed to be will still all tumble down like Jericho. We’re here at this moment because this is our time. So we’ll have what it takes when needed as long as we take it a step at a time and keep going in faith.

        2. M’Lynn

          I like many of you have seen hard times & like you said faith plays an instrumental part of our lives! As I was reading my bible earlier , all I could hear was ive always provided for you & your family & will continue to provide for you child. I know he walks with me every day & I’m ashamed to say I still have some fear but I would be completely dishonest to say I didn’t . I’m going to keep rolling with the wisdom you extrodinary folks offer & the strength he gives me everyday!! One day, one step at a time!! Thank you all! Your very much appreciated!

  12. Oklady,

    Congratulations on paying down debt! That is wonderful! Keep it up.

    You asked: “When will food be seriously scarce or too expensive to purchase?” No one knows. People have been saying that it is imminent at least since the 1970s. Yes, a lot of things look bad now and there are lots of reasons to think it will be soon, but that’s been the case many times over the years. We just don’t know. Don’t stress. Worrying today over what MIGHT happen tomorrow ruins today, and it doesn’t make it easier to bear tomorrow’s burden if it does happen. That doesn’t mean I think you should ignore the signs and not do anything to prepare! Don’t get me wrong. Do your best. You’re on the right track. Just keep doing what you can each week, and then sleep peacefully, knowing you’ve done what you can. Make sure your soul is prepared; everything else is secondary.

    1. Oklady
      Looking through you posts, number one no question by the beginner are stupid, thaat’s
      how we all learn. Number two, on the rubbermaid goods make sure you’ve got later made items, I have found that some older stuff isn’t marked as HDPE (high-density polyethylene) which is
      multi use, #2 in the triangle on the bottom of the container. As to point #3 as Wendy said, you are now walking the right path, build as you can without panic. You can only do what you can,
      and stay out of debt. A can of tuna or chicken here and a can of beans there… you will be surprised at how quickly it builds up.. Good luck.

      1. k-bay
        Thank you for your advice. I need to retain all the information I can right now! I’m really thankful for all the input & encouragement you folks share . It’s very much appreciated. I’m going to continue doing the best & most I can! Thank you again!

  13. Wendy
    Thank you! I was definitely excited I got two loans paid off the past two weeks , & I did a happy . Exciting but kinda stressing again about these unsettling times coming! I had calmed down some but now I feel a sense of urgency about getting things done!! But your right worrying about tomorrow ruins today. I know god will provide, always has! Just this unsettling thoughts are constant!

    1. Just don’t let “unsettled” become “afraid.” No reason for fear.

      Pay attention to your areas of urgency–you’re being told where to focus your efforts.

      1. Amen, Lauren. It’s that still small voice guiding you to what needs to be done as priority.

      2. Lauren
        Have been working on the fear but, it holds on a bit. Yes I am definitely getting some good advice & will focus on that now! I’m very thankful for you good folks!!

    2. Oklady, one way to gain confidence that you can meet challenges is to acquire skill. The first one that comes to mind with food storage is to learn some elemental preservation skills like home canning. Here’s an example. Recently a store offered bone in, skin on chicken thighs for 69 cents a pound. Two large packages are in the freezer now but they won’t stay there much longer. I’ll thaw them soon, remove the skin and bone and trim off excess fat and then can the meat. The skin, fat and bones will be roasted then used to create chicken broth which will also be canned. The jars will go into the pantry and be ready to eat when I need a quick meal that only needs a warm up which will use much less energy because all the cooking has been done. It’s a win/win if the power is out because something that needed refrigeration is now shelf stable.

  14. Toilet paper seems to becoming scarce again, how much is going to be enough?

    1. Chevy..
      Are 600 rolls of TP enough?

      Sorry, couldn’t help myself from the refrain….!

  15. This would probably be secondary but something to consider would be traps! and the knowledge to use them. better to be a fed trapper than a hungry hunter! the conibear type could be purposed for defense especially the larger ones, they would definitely slow a person down with a leg or arm stuck in one! ( don’t ask me how I know!) rat traps, snare wire, stripped appliance wire works well for small critters, small footholds hung by a nail or twig on a tree with some peanut butter works wonders on squirrels! only in an emergency of course. minnow/crawdad traps would be handy if you live near water or better yet a bunch of hardware cloth to make your own and fish traps as well. methods that would be considered unsportsmanlike in soft times become essential in hard times! just ask the ancestors.

    1. – Oddhawk,

      I have and have used all of the above, plus some. I only have a handful of traps, stored in an outbuilding, but will agree with all of the above. Rat traps are something I mentioned in an article for Ken; if you will go back and look at some of the older posts. I have mentioned before, I have one in in my GHB. I have an old style telephone crank generator in a closet; don’t bother, they are not that effective. I have also used a gas generator, much more effective. Fishing with explosives is fun, if a little hazardous. Did you know you can use a conibear type 110 for catching fish? What you are suggesting is old stuff to some of us. Some of these things have been mentioned before, if you would just read. Who knows, maybe I am one of the ancestors!
      – Papa S.

  16. Another suggestion is to write down information on sourdough starter and how to make as well as recipes for use. During the high inflation of the 70s and 80s, “Herman” starter and recipes were in fashion. I have been going to get some going myself. Again this is something you can start with the basics of food prepping and expand your options.

    1. MamaLark –
      There was also Depression Cake, which was made without milk, eggs or butter, since those items were rationed. It’s come back into a new generation as Wacky Cake and is showing up at kid’s birthdays. Definitely worth writing down the recipe for it as well!

      1. M’Lynn,
        Just made one this weekend.
        Always moist and devoured as fast as you can imagine.
        My mom always made it for when we kids would tell her at 7pm that we needed a cake for the bake sale tomorrow at school. Lol

    2. Mamalark, I had sourdough starter going and had trouble remembering to feed it all the time, so I dehydrated it. Crumbled it and vac-sealed in jars and stored it in a cl place. Rehydrated see t make sure it works. You must dehydrate it at no more than 90 degrees tho, or you kill it off. Same with rehydrating. You can use a cool temp water, then let it all come to room temperature. I had 5 year-old starter made from some wine grapes we picked at a local winery while helping them harvest grapes (fun day). My ‘payment’ I asked them for was just one bunch of grapes (slightly almost over-ripe, with great sugars and a nice bloom on them). A good rinse, submerged into a flour/water slurry, and days later….Tada! Starter is born. Good stuff!

      1. Can use apple peels or potato skins too, if using home ground flower make sure you sift the bran out of it,

    3. I just had a friend give me two packages of sourdough starter for whole wheat. I should start practicing with it as I am finally easing a bit on garden harvesting.

  17. Just a quick note on seeds. We finally got our greenhouse up and running this summer and decided to use some of our survival seeds we bought years ago to see if the would still sprout. They were all about 8 years old. Some did and some didn’t. We plan to start rotating our seed supply going forward so we don’t have any unpleasant surprises when we really need a harvest.

    1. Old Guy, I just pulled all seed older than 3 years and will plant them in a wild place on our property next spring and summer. Keeping all the others for gardening. Get all the heirloom seed you can this fall. And just a note….some new seed I had purchased did not germinate even one seed! I panicked. It was cannellini bean seed from one of the major seed houses too. Was probably stored improperly or perhaps overheated somewhere enroute. Don’t just throw out your old seed, test geminate some of it to see if it sprouts. I use 5 or 10 seeds dampened in a paper towel. See if they sprout. Lauren might have some other ideas too.

    2. Seeds kept in a deep freezer will last almost indefinitely. I planted some that were almost 20 years old. Thought they probably wouldn’t germinate too well so I planted twice as much as I needed to. They all came up. If you have room this works very well.

    3. Oldguy,
      I try to buy seeds every year regardless if i need them or not, it keeps a fresh batch just in case, like this year the broccoli seed had something wrong with it, would have been a disaster if i was relying on saving seeds,

  18. I keep my “prepping” pretty basic,
    Started back in 08 or 09 after a tsunami warning and a storm that killed our power and water for a week.
    I went to the fuel depot i get fuel at early morning, right after the warning, by the time i had drums filled the line was around the block, saw people yelling at each other at another gas station and basically being nuts,,,
    So that started it,
    My storage food is mostly stuff i cant grow, grains, lots of grain, lots of rice, pasta, meats like spam and corned beef. It is all low budget, just cant drop a bunch o cash on freeze dried, so its basics, ingredients, seeds for garden, oils, soy sauce, sugars etc etc,,, water is in 5 gallon totes and a 95k gallon reservoir,
    The grains were the main thing, a fresh loaf of rustic artisan bread from the Dutch over is pretty comforting.
    Also stuff like candles, oil lamps and oil, cards and board games, and cleaning stuff. Keeping everyone entertained, in the light, and sanitary is important,,,,

  19. – For my family, prepping started back in the seventies when I went to a new duty assignment, but my military paycheck did not. My new wife had spent a good bit of the summer helping her grandmother put up tomatoes, peppers and tomatoes. Little did she know that her share would provide a large part of her diet for the next month after that move.

    When we finally got that situation squared away, we just started making sure we did not ever face that problem again. It has saved us from blizzards, hurricanes, Chernobyl, and allowed us to assist others in similar circumstances.

    When riots threatened just outside our military housing area while I was gone, DW and kids planned their own GOOD program around our neighborhood, some spare field gear and my Ruger Mini-14. That rifle is now in youngest daughter’s safe, where I am told it is a touchstone of safety.

    All of my kids are preppers, and married people with similar values. What we have has always reflected what we have around us, and what we would expect to be in short supply wherever we are.

    – Papa S.

    1. – Correction: tomatoes, black-eyed peas, peppers and okra, LOL
      – Papa

  20. Always gardened and canned or froze vegs. Hunted deer etc.Y2K started prep more seriously. Remember stocking up ammo particularly 30.06 still have some of it boxes of 20 were $11.83 now over $20. Last Few yrs have stepped up to usual dry goods in buckets beans rice pasta corn meal flour grinder etc. Lots canned food rotated regularly some long term dehydrated #10 cans. Water oils etc. Few $ every week has added up nicely to a cushion of nutrition for hard times coming.To all new preppers start small buy as you can and don’t stop food is a tangible asset you’ll be glad to have!

  21. A good prep on a budget,
    Know the edible wild plants in your AO.
    Being able to forage could mean the difference between life and death really, And at that knowing how to do it properly so you dont wipe out the resource, sorta revolves around that whole ridiculous argument we had a while back where someone wanted to poison all the fish etc in orderto get fish without work.

  22. Canadian prepper has a video out. (don’t quote me) I think its called the rule of 100’s. For example it is 100xs easier to get water while the grid is up, than it will with when the grid is down.

  23. If you live near water that has fish in it consider having some fishing stuff even if you don’t fish. I went to the bottom of this page, clicked on the amazon link and searched for “fishing net”, there is a 4’x 25′ seine net you could use with net poles, also some fold out and casting nets. Traps, rods, and nets are also on ebay…

  24. This is a fun article to read for those of us that have been doing this for a while. This is a great article for those new to the prepping world. There is lots of experience here.

    i got my start back in the 1980’s when I was living off grid and fighting fire and a variety of other jobs for the Feds. The logistics of keeping us supplied with food and drinkable water was challenging at times. I was part of a highly mobile, self reliant crew of fire fighters that could be dropped off by helo and live out of our backpacks for 72 hrs before resupply was considered. The other supplies dropped off with us were: hand tools, chain saws and gas/oil containers and tool kits, 5 gallon cubi-tainers of water. I was never told until a decade later that we were an elite crew in our self reliance. Point being: we were a long ways away from a pharmacy or a grocery store.

    I’ve been thinking about self reliance ever since. News about the fragility of our power grid does not surprise me. The riots I responded to back then was for Rodney King. My time in the dirt and the puckerbrush allowed me to learn to be an effective trapper when I returned to the community I grew up in. That allowed me to assist the county trapper to remove skunks from beneath houses, porch decks and piles of firewood in Suburbia, California. As a trapper, I had more use for my Ruger single six revolver firing either shorts or quiet loads. Fire a full house load in Suburbia, CA will end up with a response by the local PD. ( bad for public relations ).

    For 3.5 years I lived in bear country so that meant cooking muffins and pies with a long gun around the kitchen or even taking out the garbage. The issue firearm was a 12 gauge pump gun. When I got tired of the recoil, I got myself a 44 mag saddle carbine made by Marlin. ( works fine on black bears. I never lived this way in Alaska where the bears are bigger.)

    In an off grid situation, I remember having to store my food in metal containers to prevent intrusion by rodents. I lost some food to rodents when I was too cheap to purchase a metal garbage can with a tight fitting lid. ( hopefully new people will read this and learn from my mistakes ). I spent a portion of each day cleaning and servicing the lanterns and setting and cleaning the mouse and rat traps before the sun went down. If you get sloppy about food prep or storage, the rodents will find it.

  25. Living off grid part 2 -after breakfast:

    This being a preparation website, there has been a lot of emphasis on guns and I am a part of that world. Living in California meant that my options were limited.
    The 22 revolver was handy in my work as a trapper where I was crawling around attics of houses and beneath subfloors so encounters with critters were close and the critters were mostly small.
    I made my reputation with a single shot 22 rifle firing CCI minimag hollow points back then by head shooting some rodents and sending the bodies to Wildlife division for plague studies and flea count. I have since made an upgrade to the 17 HMR with a Leupold scope. ( with the new and latest ammo shortage, I am still able to locate ammo for this rifle.).

    I did some rimfire silhouette competition while in college and won local tournaments with my Marlin bolt-action 22 rifle. I also began to go to pistol competitions in IPSC PPC matches. Given a choice between hunting and fishing or going to a tournament or match? I will choose to go hunting or fishing every time. ( fewer people, smaller crowds and better scenery )

    Since most of my relatives were farmers, there was always something coming around and eating our crops or harassing the livestock. At age 11, I began going after pigeons that were eating the peas in the bales of pea vines used for cattle feed. I was given a 20 gauge shotgun back then before I could handle and swing the 12 gauge a few years later.

    I began shooting deer from across fields of green beans and leaf lettuce using hand-loaded shells in a bolt rifle using a Leupold scope of various calibers ranging from 243 to 300 win mag. I settled on a used 30-06 for my own personal big game/meat rifle. Shots were between 200 to 350 yards and the blind we shot from was made from bales of straw or waxed cardboard cartons. I would crawl in the blind at 4 am and wait for the sun to rise and the fog to lift before taking the shot on a depredation permit.

    Shooting squirrels was originally not a fun job. It was work. A job that needed to be done and my uncle tested us kids with 5 rounds and a single shot 22. I was the kid that had 3 squirrels and 2 shells left after sitting and glassing for 2+ hours. ( it was more fun than clearing irrigation ditches with a shovel.)

    I did not have access to an AR platform rifle until I left California. The shootings I was involved in as a sworn officer was with the 12 gauge shotgun in the patrol car, a S&W revolver, M-14 rifle and a Ruger mini 14. As a member of the tactical team, my job was on the scoped rifle ( bolt action in 308.) or for roadblock duty: M-14 in 308.

    This is a tough time to get into the shooting game. Best of luck to the new people out there. My advice would be to purchase something you can find ammo for right now. In my local area, that would be a shotgun in 12 and/or 20 gauge. Keep an eye out for estate sales and consider other calibers like the 17 HMR because you can find ammo for it on every-other trip to town.
    If you are going hunting, do you have space within your freezer? Beef ranchers were so grateful to me for reducing their squirrel population they gave me meat from their freezer. Workout a barter system in an economy that does not see a lot of cash.

    Sorry for the long post Ken, the air is smoky and not much else to do except keep an eye on the Weather channel right now. Short message: Before you buy a lot of guns, buy a lot of traps and learn to trap those creatures that come after your crops, livestock and pantry. Trapping and fishing will put more food on your table and reduce loss of food stuffs within your larder.

    No, I will not eat a buzzard. Buzzards puke in order to lighten up before flying away. Ducks do not puke and when they take off after eating, they have to flap their wings and run on the water for quite a ways before they get airborne.

  26. All,

    First off, when one is hungry, and I mean really, really hungry, you will eat just about anything outside of vultures and rotten meat which is the same IMO. My GF in WWII used to tell me stories of how they were forced to eat tree bark and shoe leather when their supplies convoys kept being destroyed by the Germans.

    Now on my background. I survived Katrina in Gulfport, MS and I thought I was a prepped/survivalist before but 3 weeks in August Mississippi with no AC and electricity will change your ego quickly.

    I have always been a voracious reader, and have over a thousand books in my library. I’ve read everything on survival there is to read, but reading only gets you so far without real world knowledge and RECENT practice. So since Katrina has been 15 years I thought it best to practice again with all that is happening now. On July 4th I moved into my little cabin in the woods where I have no grid electricity, running water, or indoor plumbing to try and simulate a real world scenario.

    I have 2 spring fed creeks on my property and I made DIY water filters out of buckets with sand and charcoal layered. I’ve been eating lots of canned and survival foods and using a tiny butane stove to do boil water for cooking and heating foods.

    Now let me tell you how it’s went: No matter who you think you are, and how much your skillset is, until you’ve done it, you have no clue. Summer is HOT!
    Until you’ve washed your butt in a cold creek and had a “movement” on a bucket over a hole in the ground, you really can’t imagine how tough it is. I know I couldn’t. There were times when I just about lost it. During those patches, I’d fire up my propane generator and run a small window AC, and I would drive a few miles to my father’s house and take a hot shower and eat some “real” food. Download some movies on my tablet and just visit and talk with other humans. But I’ve stayed here every night by myself, and my advice is you best learn how to deal with loneliness. A person can only read so much, and when you’re in a “tight spot” the mind plays tricks on you.

    I am a contractor who works part of the year out traveling and have saved enough to be able to do this for a few months but I must go back out again soon and refresh the piggy bank.

    My whole point in this thread has been to show like minded Patriots that until you’ve experienced it, you have no clue what’s coming. And I believe Hard times are coming. It will be tough.

    Add to all that, you might have to kill another human being(s) which unless you’ve first hand experience with that (I’m a veteran but have never) then that throws a whole other wrench in the plan.

    So, get yourself an isolated place away from others, get on Solar or a dual fuel generator with lots of fuel stored, whole grains and beans in mylar bags and buckets, a flour mill and the ability to make bread, store tons of canned goods and survival foods (Mountain House, My Patriot Supply etc) and the ability to stand over it with firearms to protect it.

    But don’t forget entertainment in some means. The whole idea is to “survive” whats coming and live after. It’ll do you no good to survive to only be some idiot walking in the woods talking to himself with a mind that has been “shot”.

    May the Good Lord be with us all!

    1. ScooterRay:
      Excelent comment/post.
      Advice that most wont follow or truely understand fully, but again but……
      Thank You.

    2. Thanks for sharing your first hand experiences Scooter Ray. Excellent advice for getting by in tough times .Blessings to you and yours.

    3. Great comment. Thanks for sharing your point-of-view and real world experience!

    4. ScooterRay – Great comment! Thanks for the words of wisdom and gentle tap upside the head. Thinking about experiencing something, and actually doing it are vastly different indeed.

  27. – On the importance of recreation and entertainment. It sounds like a joke, but really isn’t. if you are lost in the woods, there is a sixth ‘C’ of required equipment, according to a long-ago Survival instructor. You must have your cutting tool, your cover, container, combustion device and cordage.

    You have to have these if you are going to get by, out in the boonies.

    That sixth ‘C’ is a deck of playing cards. When you have determined that you do not know where you are, stop, set up your camp near to your water source, and when that little flurry of activity is past, pull out your cards and start a game of Solitaire.

    Guaranteed, it won’t be long before someone shows up to tell you to play the red 6 on the black seven. Then you can ask them where you are, or need to go, and if you are lucky, if you can beg a ride!

    – Papa S.

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