How To Become A Little More Self Sufficient


Most all of us are very dependent upon other systems (infrastructure) to literally keep us alive. Naturally, this is a result of many technological and societal advances that have enabled a more convenient way of life, a ‘modern’ lifestyle.

It’s a good thing in the sense of progress, however the thing is… the more dependent we become on other systems, the more we rely on them for our survival… and there is a certain amount of risk that goes along with it.

For most people, this dependence and associated risk is not a thought that enters the mind. But for a few of us, we recognize that it exists, and to an extent we try to offset it with some preparedness.

A question is this… What can we do to become a little more self-sufficient and a little less dependent upon modern critical infrastructure systems that literally keep us alive today?


First we must identify some of these systems.


(there are more, however these seem pretty important)

And then we must discover what we can do to offset reliance, in order to become a bit more self sufficient.

For starters, we don’t need to go ‘all out’ to completely sever our external reliance’s on these things. Although becoming 100% self-sufficient is an awesome goal, it is very, very difficult (and rare) to fully accomplish in reality. So to begin with, take small steps. Do what you can to soften your existing reliance on external systems.

FOOD self-reliance is very difficult. Why? Because our bodies need at least 2,000 calories of food per day – along with a good nutritional balance. Your typical backyard summer garden will not even come close to providing that kind of caloric count for an extended time… HOWEVER, your typical backyard garden WILL set you off in the right direction to be a bit more self-sufficient.

I don’t care how small your starter garden is – you need to start somewhere. Next year, MAKE IT BIGGER. Learn from your mistakes this year. What worked and what didn’t work. Do more of what did work…

The next food step for being more self-sufficient is preserving some of what you grew in that garden. Seriously, this is important. Canning some of your harvest is not as difficult as you might think. It does take some time, but it is a ‘must’ for self-reliance. Learn how to preserve some of your harvest for off-season.

You should also practice home canning by purchasing certain foods from the grocery store that are on sale. For example, once in a while when chicken is on a deep discount, we purchase a quantity and ‘can’ it. We not only save lots of dollars on the chicken itself, we also save dollars by not having to keep it all in the freezer!

Related: My Pressure Canned Chicken

WATER is a critical resource more important than food itself. While it would take a major disaster to interrupt our municipal water supplies, we should not ignore it’s importance.

A critical step towards being more self-sufficient in the water department is to acquire a good drinking water filter. Unless you live in a dry desert region, many of us have some sort of water source fairly close to where we live. Perhaps a stream, river, pond, or lake. A means of gathering that water and filtering it for safe drinking is a tremendous step towards risk deterrence.

Additionally, store a good quantity of water in your home. Maybe it’s simply a stack of several cases of bottled water. Or you might fill a water barrel for emergency. These simple steps will alleviate (for a time) your reliance on a municipal water source.

I have a well (actually a shallow ‘dug well’ at a natural spring) and I still keep water barrels filled for ‘just in case’ my water pump fails (to offset the time to get it fixed). It’s never a bad idea to store water!

ELECTRICTY is the life blood of nearly all things ‘modern’ including our systems of infrastructure. Although the prospect of a long-term power grid failure is beyond the scope of this article, the more likely short-term outages can be fairly easily offset with an ordinary generator.

A generator for home emergency usage does not have to be huge. I know of many folks who have 6,000 watt or 8,000 watt generators (or higher) however you typically don’t need nearly that much power to operate critical appliances within your home. For example I am able to easily run my critical systems with a 3500 watt generator while only consuming a fraction of that power to operate the fridge, freezer, furnace, and some lights. While a whole-house monster generator is great, you can get by with less – just saying.

Solar power has become very popular. However most of these home systems today are ‘grid-tie’ which feedback solar energy into the grid – which you are credited for on your monthly bill. The problem though is that most of these grid-tied systems will not produce electricity for the home if the grid itself goes down (some will), and ALL of them will NOT provide any power for the home at night.

This is why I have built my own ‘off grid’ solar power system (with a battery bank) which provides entirely separate and independent power – not related or connected with the grid. My home is connected with the grid; however, I also have the capability of an entirely separate power source (kind of like having a separate generator). You can really go ‘over the top’ with these systems but the good thing is that you can start small…

If you want to reduce your electricity consumption, one of the most effective ways is to replace all of your light bulbs with LED lights. I have done this throughout my home and it made it big difference (especially important for solar systems). It’s worth the investment and these LED bulbs have come down in price. A typical 60 watt incandescent bulb is now only 8 watts as an LED light source!

Regarding becoming further self-sufficient against your electrical utility company, just think of all the things in your home that ‘require’ electricity and then find alternatives for them. For example, a solar oven is very effective for cooking (it’s similar to cooking with a crock-pot), so long as the sun is shining and it’s not freezing cold outside.

Think about cooking without electricity. What are the alternative methods for doing so…?

FUELS are an integral part of all modern systems. Oil, gasoline, diesel, natural gas, coal, are all resources that mostly power our industrial age. The cost and availability of these fuels are influenced by politics, nations, trade, markets and other factors. To minimize your reliance (in general) is to explore alternatives. During times of plenty and low costs, most people are not concerned about it. However, if resources get tight (for any number of reasons) then you will pay more for it (them). At the time of this post, fuel costs are relatively low and are apparently plentiful. But it will not remain this way (e.g. War, production cuts, trade wars, currency valuations, depletion, etc..).

Think about the ways that you can offset your reliance on these fuels. Maybe a wood or pellet stove to compliment your existing heating system. Get a bicycle and ride it instead of your vehicle if it’s appropriate for a short trip or commute, etc.. (A bicycle is a great prep item).

If you have a homestead, you already know about the importance of fuels to power your ‘tools’ (tractors, tillers, mowers, etc..). So having a decent (and safe) storage of such fuels will ‘buy you some time’ during a temporary disruption. With that said, it’s painful to consider long-term alternatives for such tools – requiring much manual labor and extremely slower production – but it’s something to consider. At least start with some basics…

Side note: There is great appreciation for the incredible and very hard work and manual labor that was required of our ancestors before the modern conveniences of today’s life. When you really think about it – it’s remarkable. A ‘day in the life’ way back then was truly back breaking…

Okay I’ve rambled on for more than 1300 words, so I’ll stop here. The point is that there are things that we can do to at least reduce our total dependence on today’s critical external systems that literally keep us alive. Every little step that you take is one more towards being a little more self-sufficient.


  1. Another good topic. This is one of the reasons we put in a propane kitchen range, over size tank for just a stove. I think I have at the least, a two year supply for the stove. If you have a propane tank, remember summer has the best prices. .99 a gallon right now.

    1. Yes, that’s an excellent example!

      I happen to have a 1,000 gallon propane tank (primary heating, hot water, oven/stove, dryer) and will last a long time especially with conservation. Your example of adding your own tank for just a stove is perfect – will function without the requirement of external utilities…

    2. I have been trying to be self sustainable with the food.

      Have a small backyard garden with 1 squash plant, 2 cucumber plants, 2 reg. size tomato plants, 2 salad tomato plants 2 rows of okra–not producing yet, 2 rows of green beans just now starting to produce.

      Just got a a little over a pint of the small tomatoes & was planning on canning tomato sauce–which would cost me $8 to $10 to get the supplies. Figured it out & it would be far cheaper to buy the sauce already made. It only cost 50 cents a can for the sauce at Walmart. Usually I only need 1 can per meal because it’s only me that I cook for.

      I have already bought a few bags of charcoal for my portable grill if needed. Along with the fuel. Have stocked up on water & if needed there is a creek down the street from me. Just need to learn how to purify the water.

      For winter heat I have a wood stove in the fireplace–trees in backyard & if need be- will burn books. I do have rifles but thought about it & just can’t kill animals. Have rod & reel & catching fish & cleaning them does not bother me. Have plenty of blankets & warm clothes.

      Don’t have a generator or any kind of transportation except SUV. Not able to walk far due to leg problems. So if I had bike wouldn’t work. Horse would but live in city where you can’t own a horse. This might sound funny but I do watch Alaska Final Frontier & The bush people.

      Have learned a lot from those 2 shows.

      1. When you say it would cost $8 to $10 for the supplies, what supplies are you referring to? Canning supplies, or ingredients? Because canning supplies will last for years. Buy now, make 100 batches of whatever and the price goes down to something like .10 per bottle. More importantly, you know exactly what’s in them, where the ingredients came from, and you can reuse the bottles, which you can’t do with cans.

        If you’re referring to ingredients…I’m confused, because everything in a bottle of tomato sauce can be grown in your garden.

        1. It’s the canng jaarss.I don’t have job right now–money spent on canning jars could go on beefstew which would last a good week for one person. Understand what you are saying about the cost==leaves me with a tuff decision to make.
          thanks for helping me


          1. Ah. Yes. I’m unemployed as well, so I get that. Go to thrift stores. Every thrift store you pass in your daily travels. Go to scratch and dent stores. Go back regularly, because they always get new stuff. Particularly in the fall people are “turning in” the bottles they didn’t use. Talk to older people who used to can but no longer do. I get mine (quart size) between 10 and 25 cents each with rings but no lids. If they ask $.25, ask if they’ll take 10. Sometimes they will, particularly if they have a glut. Last week I picked up 10 rings for $1. Always get bottles with rings if you can. Then spend $2 on lids. If you don’t have money for new lids, look up fermentation and use old (sterile) lids to seal the finished product. Or let it be known on FB that you’re starting a new “hobby” and does anyone have old canning equipment (bottles and lids) you can have. You may be surprised at the responses.

            There are ways around the money thing. If you can even pick up one bottle at a time it’s better than nothing.

          2. You do know that tomato’s won’t last until I get jars I need.
            I’m unemployed & the gov. isn’t helping me. I don’t want gov’s help at all.
            Been going thru my savings &
            now my IRA. Sister has started asking me for money to help her & she always waits until the last minute that puts pressure on me. I always give cause it goes toward my nephew to help him. You don’t realize how fast your money goes until you don’t have a salary coming in. I’m glad my bills aren’t huge. Thinking now maybe I shouldn’t have bought up prep supplies. Could use that $$$ for home prop. tax & car ins./prop tax. was planning on selling home & moving to mtns or
            country to have extra money. that isn’t working right now.
            thanks for the tip on shopping at thrift stores.
            any suggestions on how to sell bedroom furniture & books?
            Considered selling some weapons but don’t feel comfortable about that.
            sorry this is so long.
            thanks again

          3. Just my 2 cents here – you could grow a little more and try drying some of your produce. I have dried tomatoes to use in salads and made tomato sauce and dried it, then ground to a powder. I have a cheap dehydrator over 30 years ago and it still works. The stuff lasts months without refrigeration. I have dried various squashes too, but haven’t figured out what to do with them. I use dried, powdered Kale in meatloaf, chili, soups just to add nutrition. Takes a lot less room on the shelf then canning jars too. It’s surprising how much the volume decreases. If I want to save dehydrated stuff even longer, I just put in a baggy and throw it in the freezer. It won’t need to be refrigerated in a SHTF situation and you can use a little at a time since you’re by yourself. Be sure to have water for rehydrating.

          4. I have also dehydrated stuff in a sun oven – no electricity needed. There are also a lot of people that make their own solar dehydrators. They are a common yard sale item too.

          5. Sgt Mom

            I have seen purchased sauces with squash in.

            maybe grind up your dried squash and add to sauce.

          6. I dehydrate mine in my car, although I learn every year that it doesn’t work well with heavy cloud cover. :)

          7. Question: What do you do when you are trying to build up your preps & then your sister comes over, sees your TP & PT-paper towels & asks for some?
            She is also unemployed & has 1 son, Husband has job–but not a good one.
            This is the one I have loaned money to & because of his situation it takes me forever getting it back. I explained to her last time I can’t keep doing this, it puts me in a bind

          8. I don’t lend out money I can’t afford to lose, period. Loaning money to family is just like flushing it down the toilet. It’s led to some tense discussions in the past, but my general response is “I don’t have it.” They argue, but I can’t lend out what I don’t have.

            As for the TP–my response would probably be “You can have what’s on the roll in the bathroom.” Particularly if I had “lent” them that particular item before. I don’t know the exact situation, but it sounds like this has been going on for a while, in which case your sister and her son need to learn responsibility. At the very least, they need to be out there collecting cans or something, mowing lawns, shoveling driveways in the winter. Unless they are emotionally or physically handicapped, there’s no excuse for that behavior. Ironically, most people who are emotionally or physically handicapped have no problem finding work–because they WANT to work.

            You know your sister better than I do, so you can determine if I’m wrong. It may sound harsh, and it’s definitely not easy, but it looks like she knows you’re an easy mark, and she’s working it. Until it stops working, she’ll continue.

          9. Sandismom

            to stop stressing yourself out, you got to likely give up on what is gone…(sigh)…You likely are not getting those supplies replaced by her (what she has “borrowed”)..And as for lending money…do not lend more..start now mentioning that things are tough for you now due to….(unexpected expense) (cut in wages) (higher taxes) (be creative….)

            start hiding your supplies, in places she cannot access/not likely to look.

            there have been quite a few suggestions on here, for hiding (lots of us have relatives / friends who pop over, and we (none of us) need the same thing happen to us…

            -under the bed
            -get rid of box spring, and build box/lift up mattress, lots of storage
            -back of closets


          10. It’s too late in the season where I live to plant more, but thanks

  2. Good article, Ken. It’s good to be reminded of these things from time to time.

    ps- I’m glad you’re back up and running and the kids didn’t burn down the house while you were away ;)

  3. It helps to move 160 miles from a major city and at least 70 hard miles from the nearest grocery store or hospital. You learn real quick how to self sufficient.

  4. It has been almost 2 years ago that I built a wood gas system to power up a gas generator. I took about a year of continuous modifications to the wood gas system to get it to work the way I wanted it to. But it does now. It will power a 8 kwatt generator continuously. Keeping it fed with wood chips/chunks is a major affair but at least it works. Teaching my family how to conserve not abuse electricity was a major task in itself and something that people will have a problem with when SHTF(and it will).

    1. Electricity will definitely be a tough one, small stuff doesn’t matter to me, but being able to run shop tools or big stuff is a concern. IMHO short term outages of 2-3 months at the most are quite possible in my area, hurricane season, that’s the most likely scenario, for myself being able to power tools and shop equipment for rebuilding or at the very least slapping up a shelter and possibly to make some $ helping others rebuild is sorta where my head is at.

      Sure I guess there could be some crazy event that takes it all down, but if that happens we have bigger worries than electricity.

      Anyway, those wood gas generation systems are real interesting. Especially living out here in the middle of the ocean where EVERYTHING comes from somewhere else.

  5. Without dependency of others for living, most people would disappear. I can probably make it without other modern convenience of dependency for modern fuel sources, doctors, shelter, food, and water, but the workload of doing it all myself would probably kill me eventually. I prefer a happy medium as long as a civil society exists. It’s when it becomes uncivil that I would have to go full bore independence.

    The supplies where I live are available, water is abundant, wild foods are plentiful if enough is preserved for the harsh winters, and still have a growing season for a garden. I have a lot of wood for fuel for heat and cooking, and I have a boat for harvesting wild rice on the lake behind me and fish, wild game and wild plant edibles would become my main food source.

    But I don’t want it that way. I’d rather enjoy life than be beaten into the ground by it, so I do gather “some” wild foods, I do chop “some” wood for fuel and cooking, I do “some” fishing, and made “some” birch, pine needle, sumac, wintergreen and pineapple weed drinks, and have hunted wild game before. I have made moccasins, coats and clothes, tanned deer hides for fun and made a living at it for 30 years and still doing “some” buckskin clothes today.

    I feel I can become “more” independent from dependency of others without loss just doing a happy medium. It keeps me in shape, is enjoyable, and I learn something new everyday. It is practice for going full tilt if it goes really bad.

  6. Self sufficiency is a mind set, a lifestyle, a journey and I believe it requires building habits toward that end. In our case, once we realized the gravity of the situation in this country, the starting point was becoming much more frugal in our style of life, not just in the use of money but in the use of everything that we did.

    Ken touched on 4 areas that are critical to self sufficiency but having the funds to address each area is important and finding the money to do that takes time and in our journey that is where we began.

    We looked at our fixed income (retired) and had discussions about what we could survive without. We dropped cable TV service, we almost eliminated our going out to restaurants, we began buying bulk foods, 50# sugar, salt, beans, rice, etc. We enlarged our garden and stepped up our canning and storage. We reduced magazine subscriptions and shopped around for our home & auto insurance, saved $ 450.00 the first year on that alone. We looked at our expenses and cut and trimmed everything and everywhere we could.

    You can buy good work clothes, books, cooking utensils, furniture and more at Goodwill at great prices. Most folks can reduce their expenses but you must scrutinize your own financial situation .

    We are debt free and have been for some time, it took some time, habit changes and determination to reach that point. We believe that ” debt ” is the money of slaves, you are beholden or enslaved to whomever you owe money to. Getting out of debt is a key to self sufficiency.

    We are not completely self sufficient at this point in time but we are far along on the journey, remember it is a journey. Some times it can be discouraging, but the rewards far out weigh the sacrifices made. When the hammer falls, what ever it may be, we will be far better off than most people.

    We wish you well on your journey.

  7. I had someone tell me they were set if we have a hurricane and it blows down all the power lines, then went on and on about their grid tied solar, being the smart ass I am and having 6 years of industrial electrical experience I set off on a quiz for them.

    No batteries, no disconnect (that they knew of anyway) no way to trick their system into thinking there was still a grid, NO KNOWLEDGE OF BASIC SOLAR ELECTRIC PRINCIPALS. It will be fun.

    1. With the number of those systems in place, (if basic civility remains) it won’t be long before people figure out how to disconnect the grid-tie.

  8. The book ” Living off The Grid ” by Dave Black really hits home on this subject. A simple guide to creating and maintaining a self-reliant supply of energy, water shelter, and more. Though I don`t buy into the global warming as mentioned in his book, I do believe in the wise use and conservation of resources. He also mentions transportation, communication, internet service, etc. IMO well worth the $12.95.

  9. One step at a time. Whatever steps you feel you can take. Get out of debt, build a basic food supply, reduce your electrical usage. Get rid of cable, go cash-only, stop eating out, whatever it takes.

    The two big ones for me are electricity and water. This spring the AC wasn’t working and rather than getting it fixed (Mom likes it hot) we’ve relied on fans. It’s made a huge difference in our electric bill. I’m working on reducing water usage outside as well, and so far this season it’s working.

    Not elimination of reliance, but reduction. Someday maybe I’ll be totally free of the system, but at this point that’s just a dream.

  10. When I first found this site I realized I was short in some areas.

    I chose water as my first one to tackle due to low cost and minimal effort. I am comfortable now I have a set up conducive to be 70% self sufficient if needed. I have partial solutions for the others as I believe they take a larger commitment of time and $.

    The garden for instance I see as a 20% solution for both long term and short term. It requires a tremendous amount of work for it to be greater than a 50% solution IMO. As I juggle work and the family I am slowly increasing my efficiency with the garden so it will become less effort and thus grow in % of use. If it hits the fan I’ll have more time to commit to the garden.

    If doubt I will ever truly achieve 100% for any of the items listed.

  11. I believe that the number one “life style” change (prepping) is developing a plan which has been gone over in depth on this Web site.

    We started on our journey in 2008 when the social-economic situation in our country declined dramatically and so as the world. We soon decided to move from our lake property to a small farm. This got us closer to family and an opportunity to down-size. We should have done this when I retired from my civilian job in hind sight (2003). Eight years later we are now self sufficient in water to include a back-up plan (100%), food (100%), electricity (100% for 8 to 12 weeks) and energy in general (40% to 50%).

    Other areas that we felt are equally important and have implemented much of our plan include: personal health maintenance and hygiene; home security, personal security and operational security; an evacuation plan if needed to include an evac-vehicle but plan to bug-in if at all possible; connection with other like-minded groups or individuals (this has proved to be very helpful) and accumulating gold and silver bullion (and collectables) as funding presents itself.

  12. When you consider all the things a person, or even a small group of people can’t make for themselves, I don’t think there’s such a thing as true self sufficiency. I think what we’re talking about here is outlasting bad times until manufacturing and distribution get back on line.

    To that end, covering the basics of water/food/shelter/security will enable you to “get by”. The things that will make life more bearable like propane, generators, solar, barter goods, etc. will be almost luxuries.

    In our case, we concentrated on the basics for several years, and only when we felt comfortable we had achieved our goals there we started accumulating the extra propane tanks, generators, etc.

    One thing we haven’t mastered at yet is animal feed in winter. We’re experimenting with corn silage, but so far still learning.

    1. “When you consider all the things a person, or even a small group of people can’t make for themselves, I don’t think there’s such a thing as true self sufficiency.”

      I can say from the story I read about the Lykov family in remote Siberia’s Tiaga region who escaped soviet rule with just a few supplies and a sack of seeds, faired very well being completely self efficient without the outside world for 42 years.

      Hiroo Onoda held out on the remote Philippines island of Lubang from 1945 until his surrender. 29 years living completely independent in the jungles of the Philippine island, he was 84 when found and he finally surrendered in 1974.

      There is still a non-contacted small tribe in the Amazon wilderness, a report was made on Nat. Geo. about 3 years ago. The Brazilian gov’t set aside a no-go zone to preserve their right to live the way they are–completely isolated from other modernized tribes and people.

      When you see people can be completely self-efficient, you will find they are very isolated in a wilderness and have established a primitive form of living and have shunned the rest of civilization. It exists.

  13. The topic of being self-sufficient and being more and more into the “lifestyle” has really been in the forefront of my thinking as of late. Regardless of the SHTF, TEOTWAWKI or Survivalist hype and thinking, I believe that just living a simpler more relaxing paced life is what this is/should-be all about. Personally I’m tired of the run run run trying to get 9000 things all done before Lunch. I will be the very first to admit I have brought this hyper “stuff” upon myself as 99% of you-all have also.

    In the past few years I have grown to enjoy the “food” thing, by this I mean growing a lush Garden, working in the soil, watering, and even fighting the Bugs….. “Harvest” is Season number 5 for me, nothing like grabbing a basket full of Greens and working the evening canning or drying for storage.

    As an example, I made Ketchup last year for the first time in my life…… I will NEVER buy a bottle of that store yucko again… Preparing food for long term storage just makes ya smile thinking of it, Canning, Freezing, whatever….. I’ll have to also toss in Fishing and Hunting as a renewed need I have revamped in my life as of late. There is just something in the core-being that enjoys this subject.

    Water…. Not really that difficult, just heavy as all get out. I have seemingly an endless supply for being in the middle if the friggen desert… HAHAHA But yes, I have a couple thousand gallons stored in two large tanks, one never knows when the thought of taking a swim might hit ya HAHAHA Just make dang sure one of your first purchases is a GOOD water filter. Also get some cheap Safeway bottled water for crying out loud. Fortunately I do live very close to a HUGE supply… It’s just HEAVY!!!!

    Electricity, who the heck cares? If you don’t know how to “make it”/live without that stuff; time to get a few books of days-gone-past and figure it out. I don’t really know the date, but electricity is a fairly new “crutch” in our lives, it makes us a LOT lazier. YES I know there are a LOT of great things because of electricity, but what happens when … “Lights Out”? And if you think it won’t happen… I have still have that Ocean Front Property in NM for sale.

    Fuel? Hahahaha, that’s stuff grows on trees and we dig it out of the ground (coal). Propane is fantastic, until it runs out, even that 1000 gallons will eventually dry up. Diesel, Gas, Fuel-Oil, well you get the idea. If/When something major comes about, what are YOU going to do after the initial year or two? And remember Ken is asking how to become more “self-reliant”; there will be nothing more “self-reliant” than people after TSHTF, so why not start now?

    BLUESMAN hit it right on the head……

    “Self-sufficiency is a mindset, a lifestyle, a journey and I believe it requires building habits toward that end .”

    It doesn’t get more real than that my friends.

    The only other thing I would insist, Knowledge. Learn how to live, not only the “lifestyle” and knowing how to store-up for the rainy-day; but how to do so enjoying your limited life here on this “Third Rock from the Sun” as part of that lifestyle…… Smile people, just Smile.

    And for God’s sake, do NOT forget the TP, for without TP all life in the universe WILL end…. HAHAHAHA Y-all know I was going to toss that in somewhere ROFLMAO


    1. T.P. tales-
      When I was in Germany they used TP that was like corrugated cardboard. Rough stuff- Mr. Whipple would have a conniption fit!

      And I lived for a time in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia- No T.P. in many bathrooms, just a water spigot and a bucket. Traditionally, you wash your backside with one hand, carry the Koran and eat with the other. Big mistake if you get those hands mixed up.

      1. Use the pages of that damn koran as TP.
        If we’re out the first thing I find that doesn’t have a true educational value gets used…

    2. At last. A common sense communication! The sky may be falling but it’s not going to land on us tomorrow. For those who revel in all the shtf and teotwawki stuff there’s ample information out there to keep you properly agitated, but for the rest of us it’s stay calm and carry on.

  14. How often do you clean your Berkey water filter and how often do the filters need to be replaced?

  15. @ T in TX

    I clean the tanks with a few drops of Clorox and a swishing of water each time I fill it. I believe “they” say every 3000 gallons on the “Big Burkey” units….


  16. Anybody have a pool (above/in the ground)? How much water does it hold? THAT is your emergency water supply.

    1. blackjack22
      Up to 12,000+ gallons depending on the size you have in your back yard. A 14X28X4= 11,800 gallons of water, I looked it up on a site. The round pools will hold more depending on the height of the wall.

      Our water storage tanks 5,000 gallons each back in 2005 cost us under $5,000.00 for the two of them. They are low profiles which cost more, but are more convenient since you are not climbing up around 10ft to work on them.

  17. The problem with pool water is the removal of the chemical and chlorine.
    How is that done to make it safe to drink and cook?

    1. Berkley sells a second set of filters, add ons, for filtering out chemicals.
      Easy to install.

      If you have a water well, Youtube water well hand bailers. Lowes cost to make $24.00 plus rope for well water depth.

    2. @tango; chemicals are one thing to contemplate removing, but you should not have to worry about chlorine as it will evaporate from your pool water and anyway it is what sanitizes the water.

      My problem is more how to remove the salt from the 17,000 gallons of pool water. I guess I’ll have to have a constant pot of water over a fire to make steam to desalinate it! If your water has too much chlorine in it, pour it back and fourth between clean containers, the introduction of air will help reduce the chlorine smell/taste to tolerable levels.

  18. We are strongest in the food and water categories. We know that we can survive without electricity and fuel, its just that some task will take longer to complete as we go manual. An example of that is firewood. We have all the tools needed to manually cut and split wood, and from time to time we practice with the manual tools just to remind us of what we will be in for when the SHTF. That’s partly why we are working towards a minimum of three years worth of wood.

    Then I think about the fact that as we get older we may no longer be able to do some of these manual chores. So now I am looking at warmer clothing to wear inside to stretch our wood a little farther. Last year I purchased an ash separator which saved us 20% on wood usage this past winter. It’s the best investment we have made in this area.

    Don’t forget, people survived before electricity and fuel, but you do need food, water, and shelter/heat.

  19. @NRP I, too have a core-being that enjoys self-sufficiency. Wish we were even more prepared but someone mentioned it being a journey. Amen to that. Thanks to you we do have over 200 rolls. We will live in luxury compared to some. Must look into making ketchup. Think I saw it on this site in the archives…

  20. I moved to the country after living in the city for years. Well, I started gardening, then went to canning, now I’m really happy to see all my work sitting on my shelves for winter, Also learned to can meats. Those you-tube videos were great for sauerkraut recipes, P. allen smith knows his stuff. It’s important to rely on yourselves, no one will save you but you, keep up the great work with the articles. Thanks!!!

  21. I first joined this site and contributed several articles regarding my years living off-grid back in 2010. I was a public safety officer working in the Southern Sierras where I got a lot of practice with medical evacuations, medical treatment in the field, pre hospital care and home support upon release from the hospital (post surgical care). I was in college then and I was wishing for a “more normal life” 2 years living off-grid for year round and 5 years living off grid seasonally in the summer/fall months. Understatement to say I learned a lot during those years. Those were in the 1980s when technology was different back then. (I was the last generation of police officers to be wearing a revolver on my hip and Gaston Glock was still creating his first prototype back in Austria) Jobs and Wosniak Had just come out with the Apple II and contributed thousands of them to public schools and colleges.

    I now continue to work within the city and live in the suburbs at the edge of a small town. I am on the grid and I still like doing many things myself. I am at my happy medium that I was searching for back-in-the-day. I hope that the defecation never impacts the ventilation system anytime soon butt I have faith that I would survive. Living and working for years off grid/ limited exposure to the grid teaches you a lot about yourself and I knew I was not a sheeple. (or I never would have passed the background check)

    I still like people and being around people both on and off duty. It may be my downfall if things really go south. That is what prevents me from moving myself and my spouse from moving into the hills and trying to get away from all humanity. I’ve been at Rodney King Riots part 2 so I’ve seen what large numbers of stupid people can do. I have seen bad planning in the same emergency (First 24 hours on the ground, the National Guard troops did not have a single round of ammo for their weapons or side arms- oops!)

    I have made my living by being observant and I have watched how campers in large numbers can strip an area of everything that burns in the course of a single summer. I have found trotlines set by poachers and managed areas for controlled hunts. I know that I cannot “head into the hills and live off the fat of the land” because the land doesn’t have a lot to give in the first place. Fish and game would be among the first resources to suffer or be driven into extinction. My eventual college major that I still use today: Economics. My “day job” is actually in healthcare. (community-college trained Registered Nurse) Economics has helped my with my investment portfolio.

    If all were to change in an apocalyptic sense, chance plays a big part in who would survive as much as any other factor. I already know I do not “shut down in emergencies” . I have survived the 4 seasons of California: Wildfires, Floods, Riots and Earthquakes. I’m now too old and fat to run though I started out pretty fast and strong back in the day.

    Thanks for the blog Ken. It is time for me to add to my growing pyramid of Cottonelle T.P. (to NRP – I don’t rightly know how many rolls I have but the pyramid is now taller than I am.)

    1. @ CalifRefugee

      HAHAHA, I guess it’s good to have a GREAT sense of humor in the days of trouble…. AND to see your post right in the middle of the controversy Ken has stirred in the “other articles” …. I do believe I will stay away from those and find a little more sanity in knowing that we’re all in this same boat together my friends.

      It’s is interesting, as you mentioned, on how many think they can just “head to the woods” and be just fine, AIN’T going to happen people, take warning.

      Would be interested in finding the Articles you wrote, do you remember the Titles? Or how I could find??

      Lastly; “chance plays a big part in who would survive as much as any other factor” Ain’t that the truth???? One little touch of Lady-Bad-Luck and your toast in a flash.


  22. Heck, I know that I wouldn’t survive in the ‘wild’. : ) I still would like to get away from To Many People though. My goose is cooked in numerous ways.

    1. @ aka

      My fiend I have had “cooked wild goose” it’s really not that good…. HAHAHA

      I actually believe that surviving/outlasting what even may come is actually very simple, just be a little smarted than the other guy trying to do the same thing. Dose not matter what your talking about (food, water, shelter, protection, don’t matter) all you have to do is …. What????? ….. Just be a little bit smarter than that fool that don’t have a clue.

      Ya need to remember, if/when THSTF or whatever, everyone will be in the same boat trying to figure out how/what to do. Sure having a BOL and 5 years of food and water may help, but as CalifRefugee just said, luck has a LOT to do with it. Also knowing when to do what; IE. do NOT try to GOOD (get out of dodge) when 2 million others are doing the same thing heading for the “woods” to survive off of Bambi.

      Just take a breath and formulate a plan, know what you need and can do when necessary, make a list of things you think might help you “make it” to a better location, OR realize you should just stay put and weather out the storm.

      A LOT of decisions need to be made ahead of time…. I will almost guarantee you the world is not going to end tonight, take your time and work on what you need as you can, just don’t lose hope and give up….

      So do any/everything you can to prepare for what IS/maybe coming through the tunnel at us all. Most of all, do NOT panic and go yelling the ship is sinking when you’re driving down the road in the middle of the desert…. OK?


  23. To NRP: As I get older, I find myself writing short articles to several magazines several times per year as a form of recreation. I have to use my real name in the articles whereas this site I can have the brief illusion of anonymity. Numerous friends and relatives have said I should write a book though I much rather enjoy passing on some of the hard, painful and frequently humorous lessons I’ve learned from those years to others on this site – for free.

    The real name is used in the magazine articles such that I can get paid. (they need to know who to write the check to) When I first wrote to this blog, I think I changed my alias several times in the first 2 years. The ones most popular were my listing of the manual tools I used to work with in an off -grid wilderness area to fix things, obtain firewood and maintain my standard of living and sanitation. I pointed out in article #1 how much of my time and labor went into food preparation, bathing, cleaning and heating the off grid home. (though I did not address my favorite brand of TP)

    Many of my friends and mentors have passed on. At age 50 I realized it is time for me to start passing some of this hard-earned knowledge on to others. It is a tribute to the old cops, ranchers, farmers that raised me when I was a child. I wish to maintain some anonymity because I had to use my duty sidearm several times over the years in the law enforcement career so there are still bad people and families that do not like me out there. I do not know if there is still a bounty on my head. So, you will never see me at a book signing event.

    1. @ CalifRefugee

      I guess maybe I was misunderstood some, was not asking for Name or a breach of privacy. Just a pointer to some of the article here on MSB…. I will agree anonymity is something most of us like to maintain when on open Blogs, as I do…

      50??? Hel1 dude, your still a young pup… HAHAHAHA Wait till ya get OLD… you know like 63. :-)


  24. A $260 water filter seems a little overkill unless you have a family of 4 or more. I live by myself and i have a LifeStraw from Amazon for only $19. Five thousand people gave it 4.5 stars. At 1 gallon a day for me….it should last @ 250 days… its portable!

    LifeStraw Personal Water Filter

    Not saying your suggestion is bad…..just that there are other options out there. Keep up the good work….my favorite prepper site!

    1. Yes, the price differential is pretty steep when comparing the so called ‘top of the line’ tabletop water filter with a decent portable… The LifeStraw is an affordable compact filter (as is the Sawyer Mini).

      Point being, at least have one drinking water filter – whatever you can afford ;)

  25. At least when backpacking, primary concern is always with water, but here you set self-sufficient food production & storage as #preparedness priority, above water – I guess it makes sense in a long-term survival situation. But what if you have to abandon your home? Shouldnt water be the top priority?

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