Tag Archives: preparedness

Prepping For A Hurricane: Are You Ready For Joaquin?


The East Coast is bracing for a hurricane that may rival the ferocity of Superstorm Sandy. Hurricane Joaquin is expected to reach Category 4 proportions today, as it gains strength in the Bahamas.

Current projections have it heading due north, and it’s predicted to make landfall in the US this weekend.

If you happen to live in South Carolina, North Caroline, Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts, you’re likely to get hit, particularly in the coastal regions.

When you’re thinking about how to prepare for an event like this, it’s best to look back in history at what went wrong.  The good news is, today is Thursday. There’s time to place some orders or purchase some items if you find that you are missing vital preps. Here are the things you need to do RIGHT NOW if you are in the path of the storm and prepping for a hurricane. Click the links for more in-depth information on each topic.

1.) Evacuate early

If you have a nice beachfront property, this is not the weekend to spend time there. Make plans now to evacuate inland if this is your full-time residence. For the love of all things cute and fluffy, don’t plan on evacuating just as the storm hits. You want to leave before a mandatory evacuation is called for.  The East Coast, especially as you go north, is highly populated, and you do NOT want to be stuck in traffic when the wrath of the storm strikes. Leave early.

Fill your vehicle with gas prior to the storm. If you had planned to hunker down but your house suffers damage that makes that impossible, you may have difficulty acquiring fuel in the midst or aftermath of the storm. Have important documents and bug out supplies ready to go. When you leave your home during a natural disaster, there is always the horrible chance that you could come back to nothing but rubble. Figure out the things that are most dear to you, and have them packed up. (This article is about a wildfire evacuation, but the list of things to pack are valid for any disaster.)

2.) Secure your property

If you live in the danger zone, take some steps to secure your property. Fit windows with plywood covers, stow outdoor furniture in the garage, and scan your yard for anything that might become a projectile if high winds occur. If you don’t have a garage, bring things inside or secure them to a tree. (This article has great advice about securing your home.)

Not only do you have mother nature to worry about, but also the hoodlums that take advantage of disasters. During the dark days after Superstorm Sandy and Hurricane Katrina, looters ran amok. After 72 hours without power, New York City was in a state of utter chaos. Be prepared to protect your home and family should it become necessary.

3.) Be prepared for an extended power outage

During the last megastorm to hit the East Coast, power was out for weeks. Sewer systems overflowed and backed up into people’s homes. Residents of high-rise buildings defecated in the hallways. Food rotted in refrigerators. New York City was pitch black for days.

Fill coolers with ice while you’re waiting to see whether the power goes out so that you can extend the longevity of the food in your fridge and freezer. Have on hand some emergency food buckets that require only boiling water to serve up a tasty, comforting, hot meal. (Don’t get the ones loaded with MSG and genetically modified foods – check out these buckets for healthier options.)

Prep with light sources, an off-grid cooking method, food that doesn’t require cooking, hygiene items that don’t rely on running water, and a way to use the bathroom should the sewer system be affected like it was the last time.

For more information, this post goes into prepping for a power outage in far more detail.

Make sure you have a heat source

It’s usually pretty cold in the aftermath of a storm like this, and if the power goes out, you want to be sure you stay cozy and warm. If you have no off-grid heat source like a fireplace or woodstove, consider picking up a propane heater that is safe for indoor use. We have a Mr. Buddy heater for this purpose.  Here are some tips for keeping warm if you have no heat source.

Use this as a starting point

If your master survival plan is to wait for the government to feed and care for you, you’re going to get awfully hungry. The ball was dropped in response to Hurricane Katrina to the extent that it took four long days for any assistance to arrive. Who can forget the video of the hysterical woman after Superstorm Sandy, begging for help? (In case you did forget, here it is:)

If you aren’t a prepper, hopefully, this will be enough to open your eyes to the need for some emergency planning. There’s nothing worse than feeling powerless in the midst of a crisis. By preparing, you are ensuring the safety and peace of mind of your loved ones.

  • Grab this book – it’s the very best one for making an overall preparedness plan.
  • Grab this book and start building a pantry to help you through any crisis.
  • Grab this book and learn about water preparedness. It’s incredibly vital anc costs far less than you might think.

It’s far better to have your supplies in place before the storm is on its way. While you can always do a rushed stock-up at the last minute, you risk missing out on important supplies as you battle everyone else who has the same idea. It doesn’t take long for store shelves to be emptied of bottled water, batteries,  and shelf stable items.

For those of you who have lived through a hurricane before, what advice can you give people to help them get prepared? Please share your suggestions in the comments below.

Daisy Luther is a freelance writer and editor who lives in a small village in the Pacific Northwestern area of the United States. She is the author ofThe Pantry Primer: How to Build a One Year Food Supply in Three Months. On her website, The Organic Prepper, Daisy writes about healthy prepping, homesteading adventures, and the pursuit of liberty and food freedom. Daisy is a co-founder of the website Nutritional Anarchy, which focuses on resistance through food self-sufficiency. Daisy’s articles are widely republished throughout alternative media. You can follow her on Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter, and you can email her at [email protected]

What You Need To Know About Using Old Drugs For Survival


When it comes to survival medicine, I make no claim of being an expert.  I am, after all, a mere layman with no medical training.  On the other hand, I do possess a good deal of common sense so when something seems a bit off, I do my own research and make decisions based upon data and not upon supposition.

Something that has always been “off” to me are expiration dates on pharmaceuticals.  Why is it that drugs always expire exactly one year after the date they were filled?  The truth, as I wrote about in The Myth of Expiration Dates on Drugs and Prescription Meds, is that those expiration dates are often bogus.

In that article, I referenced the following statement from the the Harvard Medical School Family Health Guide:

Most of what is known about drug expiration dates comes from a study conducted by the Food and Drug Administration at the request of the military. With a large and expensive stockpile of drugs, the military faced tossing out and replacing its drugs every few years. What they found from the study is 90% of more than 100 drugs, both prescription and over-the-counter, were perfectly good to use even 15 years after the expiration date.

The question of whether outdated drugs are viable beyond their expiration date is a heated topic within the prepper community.  I get that because there are some medications that absolutely should not be taken when they are old and expired.  Some common examples include nitroglycerin, insulin, liquid antibiotics, and epinephrine but there are others.

Still, if the choice is to take an old, outdated medicine or die, I know what I would do.

In order to continue the discussion, and to shed further light on the myth of expiration dates, I am sharing an article by contributing author, Joe Alton.  Joe, also known as Dr. Bones, is a medical doctor who is well versed in survival medicine.  Here is his take on using old drugs for survival purposes.

Straight Talk About Expiration Dates

Years ago, I wrote an article about the truth relating to expiration dates on medications. Lately, I’ve seen some confusing information on the internet that tells you how dangerous they are while telling you that, in a survival scenario, you should probably use them. So I think it’s time to set the record straight with regards to expiration dates on medications.

Before I start, I want to tell you that my focus is medical preparedness for major disasters and long-term survival. That means a strategy of putting together stockpiles of supplies that might save a life in times of trouble.

Now, what you need to know.

Expiration dates were first mandated in the us in 1979.

They are the last day that a drug company will guarantee 100% potency of a medicine. These medicines do not, by and large, become toxic after the expiration date. I promise you that you will not grow a horn in the middle of your forehead if you take a pill the week after it expires.

In many cases, drugs in pill, powder, or capsule form will be 100% potent for years after their expiration date. How do I know this?  FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and the Department of Defense stockpiles millions of doses of medications used in emergency settings. In the past, when those drugs expired, they were discarded.

This gets to be pretty expensive, so a study was performed called the shelf life extension program, something I first wrote about years ago. This program found that most medications, as long as they are in pill or capsule form, were still effective after their expiration dates, sometimes for years.  As such, I recommended not throwing them away but, instead, making them part of your survival medical storage.

This, by the way, was not the case for medicines in liquid form. They lost potency quickly after their expiration dates, so are not useful for long-term survival settings.

These findings led the government to put out extensions of expiration dates for certain drugs as needed, such as the 5 year extension given the anti-viral drug Tamiflu during the 2009 swine flu epidemic.

Despite this, you’ll see quotes, often from academic types, that medications are dangerous when expired and should be tossed. These opinions are fine in normal times, but if you’re reading this article, you’re probably a member of the preparedness community or at least interested in the subject. You might even be the person that would be medically responsible in situations when the rescue helicopter is heading the other way.

Good, you’re exactly who I want to talk to since you may one day have to make a decision in a true disaster setting about whether or not to use an expired medication.

Let’s say a loved one is fading from an infection. Something bad has happened and you’re off the grid with little or no hope of getting to modern medical care. You have an expired bottle of antibiotics. What are you going to do? Someone you love is dying. Are you going to use the expired drug or not? Exactly.

Of course, medicines should be stored in cool, dry, dark conditions. Their potency will fade twice as fast if stored at 90 degrees as if stored at 50 degrees. Freezing them, however, is rarely helpful. Even if stored in suboptimal conditions, a capsule or tablet that hasn’t changed color or consistency is probably still worth keeping for austere settings.

Sometimes, in a true disaster, the issues that will facing the medically responsible will be very basic.

What’s the problem? Do I have medicine that will treat it? Could this medicine, although it has expired, possibly save a life? When it comes down to it, can you really choose to not use it to prevent a death because it may possibly have side effects or not be quite as strong as it was?

I say: In this situation, don’t withhold a drug because some professors said it wasn’t a good idea to use it. Believe me, they weren’t seriously considering a time when an expired medication might be the only option you have left.

Let’s hope it never gets to that point, but preparing for the worst, while hoping for the best isn’t a bad strategy to deal with the uncertain future.


The Final Word

In our heart of hearts, we would never purposely do harm to a loved one.  Talking that one step further, we would do everything we could to ensure their health and their safety when the chips are down.

These days, my own preference is to use herbal remedies and essential oils to take care of my loved one’s health care needs.  But in times of distress, who can predict what we will have available following a disaster or other disruptive event?  For that reason, I have stockpiled old, no longer used drugs.  This includes both prescription and over-the-counter meds.  They are tucked away with many of my other “I hope to never have to use” preps.  The only cost to keeping them is the space they take and what the heck?  Why wouldn’t I do that?

I know I have said this before but it bears repeating:  knowledge is power and the best piece of survival gear you will ever own is the gray matter between your ears.  Read and study as much as you can about survival medicine and always, use common sense.

To read more from Joe and his wife Amy, you can visit their website at www.doomandbloom.net.  There you will find hundreds of articles related to medical preparedness in wilderness, disaster, or other austere settings.

Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!

Gaye Levy, also known as the Survival Woman, grew up and attended school in the Greater Seattle area. After spending many years as an executive in the software industry, she started a specialized accounting practice offering contract CFO work to emerging high tech and service industries. She has now abandoned city life and has moved to a serenely beautiful rural area on an island in NW Washington State. She lives and teaches the principles of a sustainable and self-reliant lifestyle through her website at BackdoorSurvival.com. At Backdoor Survival, Gaye speaks her mind and delivers her message of prepping with optimism and grace, regardless of the uncertain times and mayhem swirling around us.

Another Doomsday Prophecy Come And Gone. Finding Meaning When The World Does Not End


September hasn’t exactly been a stellar month for hopeful events. In the last month, our economy came close to buckling (and in many other parts of the world), the CDC issued a nationwide “heads up” about the bubonic plague, an asteroid was going to hit Earth, and the notorious Blood Moon Prophecy sent many into a state of panic. In fact, many Mormons believed this Blood Moon was a sign of the end times and caused church leaders to issue a public statement on the matter. Leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints told its 15 million worldwide members that they should be ‘spiritually and physically prepared for life’s ups and downs,’ but urged them not to take speculation from individual church members as doctrine and ‘avoid being caught up in extreme efforts to anticipate catastrophic events.” This statement then prompted a widespread shortage of dry goods at the LDS food pantry warehouses because members felt they needed to prepare.

It’s hard not to jump to conclusions when events such as these occur so closely together. I have been prepping for many years and have seen many prophecies come and go that tested my faith and my resolve. They caused me to prepare more earnestly and to get the message out as best I could. In all honesty, on more than one occasion I really worked myself up about these impending dates and went into full on doomer fatigue. I withdrew from family and friends, I had anxiety and couldn’t do daily functions. I remember just wanting to sit on the couch and do nothing. My articles even reflected a very negative line of thinking and a bleak mental outlook. I was in a state of shock and allowed myself to go to the “dark side” (Thinking that the world will end will do that to you).

Pulling Yourself Out of the Dark

“Every man thinks, lives and acts in exact accordance with the belief which is rooted in his inner most being.” – James Allen

After those TEOTWAWKI dates that I had worried about in the past came and went, I breathed a sigh of relief and was ever so thankful they didn’t happen. Of course, the hard part began; I had to find a way of pulling myself out of that negative thinking cycle. I think we can all agree that the bunker mentality is a difficult mindset to stay in and has a lasting effect. After all, if you don’t believe that the world is ending and humanity has no future and that there is no hope, what can you believe in?

It’s hard to turn off this line of thinking. After all, your thoughts dictate your world and your actions. The mind does not realize the stories we play in our head are not real. So if you are imagining a 24-hour SHTF event in your head, your mind will live, believe and feel it as if it is actually happening. Living in a constant state of impending doom will cause depression, paranoia, anxiety and even a self-imposed post-traumatic stress disorder. You can’t simply turn this thought process off when you want to. It is a mental process that takes time to turn on or off, so you must give yourself time.

To prevent this from happening, you must prepare your mind and spirit before a disaster occurs because if you don’t, your fears will suck the life out of you. One way to mentally prepare for situations that can cause extreme stress is to practice rehearsal drills. This rehearse-to-be-ready concept creates muscle memory and is how many emergency personnel train to condition their mind and body for disaster events. This could make all the difference when stress is sending your neurotransmitters out of whack. Choosing to use daily or minor disasters as a way to train your mind to perform under pressure could give valuable insight into your mental and physical reaction to stressors.

Continue to Empower Yourself

So the world didn’t end, but we should face the facts that our world is exponentially changing. In the last ten years, it has changed so dramatically that many of us do not recognize it. Riots, extreme climate changes, epidemics, unemployment, political upheaval, I could go on, but I think you get the picture. These changes are the events you should prepare for. Preparing for a singular event is impractical and will leave you exposed and with gaps in your preparedness plan. That said, if your preps were well-rounded enough, you can insulate yourself from many different forms of disasters: natural, personal, economic, societal, etc. Once you are prepared for a multitude of events, you don’t worry as much. There are always events that are out of our control. The only control we have is to be ready for them the best we can by being prepared, self-reliant, not depending on the system, and changing our perception about disasters.

To those of you who prepared for doomsday events in September – do not feel your actions were in vain. Feel empowered that you rose to the occasion to better prepare your family for turbulent times, that you made the realization you were not prepared for these disasters and educated yourself, invested in and made the goal to get your family ready no matter what. You made a choice that your family would have what it needed to thrive; and when the next unforeseen disaster rears its ugly head, you will have a plan in place and be able to keep your family safe from harm. That is more than what many citizens will be able to do when the next event occur.

Be thankful that you have more time to prepare and to iron out your plans. As well, take comfort in knowing that by the very act of preparing you are choosing to be optimistic – to have hope, peace of mind and security in knowing that in the most direst of circumstances, you and your family will be ok. This is the first steps to being mentally and spiritually prepared. As Michael Snyder from the Economic Collapse Blog writes,

“Those that accuse me and others like me of “spreading fear” have got it completely backwards.

We are not “spreading fear” at all.  We are spreading hope.  There is hope in understanding what is happening and there is hope in getting prepared.

The preparations that are being made right now all over the nation are going to save countless numbers of lives.  Those that are mocking preppers and that are telling everyone that everything is going to be just fine are going to deeply regret doing so someday.”

If you were to take one aspect of this article with you, it would be that today is a new day, and a new opportunity for hope. Take heart in knowing that you are prepared and continue on the journey. Find the joy in the days to come and remember that we are not living in a TEOTWAWKI world yet. Don’t let your fear dictate how you live your life. Living in a perpetual state of fear will cause you to lose sight of those special moments in our lives; and those small moments are what makes our lives worth living.

Tess Pennington is the editor for ReadyNutrition.com. After joining the Dallas chapter of the American Red Cross in 1999, Tess worked as an Armed Forces Emergency Services Center specialist and is well versed in emergency and disaster management and response. Tess is the author of The Prepper’s Cookbook: 300 Recipes to Turn Your Emergency Food into Nutritious, Delicious, Life-Saving Meals. When a catastrophic collapse cripples society, grocery store shelves will empty within days. But by following Tess’s tips for stocking, organizing, and maintaining a proper emergency food supply, your family will have plenty to eat for weeks, months, or even years.

10 Smart Survival Strategies For The Woman Living Alone


Most preparedness information out there seems to assume that everyone is part of a family with a mom, a dad, three kids, and a dog. Or, if not that, an extended family that includes brothers, uncles, and a grand-pappy.  Somehow, the picture presented always includes a man.

The truth is, that is not always the case; there are a lot of women alone out there who are also preparing, and it often seems like they are left out of the equations.

There are all sorts of reasons that a woman might be living alone. She may have just left the nest and is out there joining the adult world with her first job and apartment. She may be divorced or widowed. She may not have children, or those children may be off raising families of their own. Whatever the case, family-based preparedness suggestions don’t always apply to the woman living alone.

Because of that, I felt it long overdue to step up and address specific survival strategies for the woman living alone.  Not that these tips are only for women.  Many of them are important for any person who wishes to be prepared, and especially for the female prepper that is living alone.

10 Survival Strategies for the Woman (or Man) Living Alone

1. Be extra vigilant with home security.  As they say, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Make sure that you have motion-sensor lights at all of the entrances to your home and property. Get a dog.  It does not have to be a big dog; my little Yorkie is a great early warning system!. Install high quality locks and be sure you have a fortified door frame. You can read more home security tips here.

2. Learn to use a weapon. If you decide to purchase a firearm, get some instruction and go to the range frequently to optimize your skills. If you aren’t comfortable with guns, your weapon of choice can be something else; just make sure you have a way to defend yourself. Consider pepper spray or a stun gun such as this one that doubles as a flashlight). Heck, even a can of wasp spray has a long range and can do some very painful damage.

3. Take a women’s self-defense class. Classes geared specifically towards women are the best if you need a crash course. Of course, if you’re already a black belt in martial arts, all the better!  If you can find a recurring class that lets you spar with a bigger “attacker” this will help the moves become more natural for you.

4. Learn to use tools. Being able to repair things yourself is a big part of being self-reliant. Practice makes perfect. Home Depot and other home improvement centers offer workshops each weekend that teach customers how to make something. It is a great way to get your feet wet. Also, if something in your home breaks and is in need of repair, search YouTube for some related repair videos and give it a shot yourself. If you do have to call a repair person, hang out and watch, and don’t be afraid to ask questions.

5. Be careful what you say.  Obviously your closest neighbors will be aware that you live alone. But when you’re out and about, don’t broadcast it. Many a stalker first became interested in a victim in the most innocuous of settings. Court records have shown that some stalkers were repairmen, pizza delivery guys, and mechanics who realized that the woman they became obsessed with lived alone. As well, in the event of an emergency, you do not want people to remember that you mentioned having a year’s supply of food in the basement. You don’t want to be a target.

6. Don’t make it obvious your house belongs to a woman alone. While you shouldn’t need to be afraid to be feminine, you might want to tone down the pink girlie stuff in the front yard. You can also purchase a large pair of used men’s work boots at the Goodwill, get them dirty, and leave them beside the door as though someone just took them off to go inside.  And for heaven’s sakes, don’t get those stick figure families for the back window of your vehicle to represent you and several pets. Be discreet.

7. Learn to change a tire. If you don’t already know how to do this, be sure that you know how to change your own tire. A flat is one of the most common vehicular issues that will leave you stranded. My friend Daisy from The Organic Prepper wouldn’t allow her daughters to drive the car alone until they could change the tire in the driveway using the factory jack. Many women have felt scared and vulnerable on the side of the road while waiting for AAA to come and change their tire for them. It also would not hurt to have a can of “fix a flat tire” stuff.  Using that, you can make a temporary repair and get on your way quickly.

8. Be prepared to hunker down.  Should a disaster or civil unrest occur, one of the most dangerous things you can do is set out on foot. If at all possible, you’ll be safer if you stay put. Have the supplies you need in place so that you can stay home and wait out the chaos.

9. Avoid attracting attention to your home during an emergency. Your goal is to avoid attracting attention to your home, so no matter how well-prepared you are, don’t be the only house on the street with lights blazing from the windows. Invest in some blackout curtains and even consider lining your windows with heavy black garbage bags and duct tape to keep light from escaping.

10. Plan to fortify your home if complete chaos erupts. In advance of something happening, plan how you will fortify your house. Consider a professional-grade bar for the doors, some decorative grillwork for lower story windows and sidelights, or even some plywood that is pre-drilled and cut to fit windows and sliding glass doors so you can cover them if it’s a major hullabaloo.

The Final Word

I hope you will take this list and use it to formulate your plan for staying safe during an emergency.  While you may not be as strong and scary looking as a 250 pound hunk of macho, you can still defend yourself and what is yours will some advanced planning and training.

Do not be discouraged if you aren’t part of a large family or group. For you, it is still very important to prepare and perhaps even more so.  Go ahead and adapt the preparedness information that’s out there to fit your personal situation, and be the hero of your story, not the damsel who needs to be rescued!

Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!

Gaye Levy, also known as the Survival Woman, grew up and attended school in the Greater Seattle area. After spending many years as an executive in the software industry, she started a specialized accounting practice offering contract CFO work to emerging high tech and service industries. She has now abandoned city life and has moved to a serenely beautiful rural area on an island in NW Washington State. She lives and teaches the principles of a sustainable and self-reliant lifestyle through her website at BackdoorSurvival.com. At Backdoor Survival, Gaye speaks her mind and delivers her message of prepping with optimism and grace, regardless of the uncertain times and mayhem swirling around us.

Here’s How You’ll Die When The SHTF (And How To Prevent Your Untimely Demise)


When it hits the fan…I mean REALLY hits the fan in a permanent kind of way, the most likely outcome is death.

That’s not pretty, and I’m well aware of it. I always try to be positive and optimistic, because for me, preparedness is the ultimate act of optimism, but sometimes we have to look at the numbers and face some things that are pretty terrifying. The first reality check is that some research says that only 3 million Americans are preppers.  That means that 315 million Americans are not preppers. Some experts predict that within 30 days of the power going out, 50% of Americans will be dead. Within a year, an astounding 90% of the population will be dead.

Do you want to survive such a scenario? Do you want your children to survive? When you read this information, you have to realize that it’s very unlikely that you and your family would live through a grid failure of a year or more unless you are proactive and develop a preparedness plan that takes all of these causes of death into consideration.

The Top 10 Ways to Die in a Long-term Disaster

So here are the cold hard facts. One of these is the way that you are most likely to die when the SHTF, particularly in the event of a long-term grid failure. The good news is, now that you know this, you can take steps to prevent your untimely demise.

  1. You die of thirst or waterborne illness.  Most people have a case of water bottles kicking around, and perhaps a 5 gallon jug for the water cooler. What they don’t have is a gallon a day per person for a long-term emergency. Most people also don’t own a gravity fed, no-power necessary water filtration device with spare parts and extra filters. Most people do not have the skills and knowledge necessary to purify their water without these devices either.  Waterborne illness is the number one cause of death after a natural disaster. If just one person handles water and waste incorrectly, this can cause an epidemic of such deadly illnesses as Hepatitis A, viral gastroenteritis, cholera, Shigellosis, typhoid, Diphtheria and polio.  The other worry is dehydration. It only takes 3 days for a person to die of thirst.  Learn more about the importance of water preparedness HERE. If you’d like information on water preparedness in a print version, check out my book on the subject.
  2. You die from fantasy-world planning. So many preppers have poorly thought out plans for survival. They think they’ll “live off the land” and hunt, forage, and farm their way through the apocalypse, but they’ve never milked a goat or planted the contents of their seed banks. They don’t understand that gardens and crops can fail for innumerable reasons. They think they’re still in the same physical condition that they were 25 years ago and overestimate their ability to perform physical labor, like chopping wood for the fire. There are hundreds of bad strategies that will get preppers killed (in fact, here are 12 of them), and mostly it boils down to one crucial fact: it’s all a fantasy. They’ve never done ANY of the things that they think they will do for survival, or if they have done them, it was decades ago, when they were younger, fitter, and more resilient. I can tell you right now, if we had to live off of the contents of this year’s drought-stricken, deer-and-gopher-raided garden, we’d last about a week, enjoying salsa by the jarful, but little else.
  3. You freeze to death. Depending on where you live, you may freeze to death when the power goes out.  When temperatures plummet, people will become desperate to get warm, and this will lead to other modes of death such as carbon monoxide poison from improperly vented heat sources and house fires when people use fireplaces or wood stoves that have not been maintained for years. Learn about staying warm during a winter power outage HERE and begin to develop a plan that will keep your family cozy during a long-term scenario.
  4. You starve to death. Most people only have enough food to see them through until the next grocery trip.  Most people go to the grocery store more than once per week. In urban centers, it’s customary to buy your food fresh from the market each day.  If disaster strikes and you only have a few days’ worth of food, you are going to be one of those people standing in line for hours, begging FEMA for a bottle of water and an MRE to split amongst your family.  Even worse, in an extremely widespread disaster, FEMA won’t be coming at all, and you’ll be on your own, left with only what you have in your home…before it spoils and if you can figure out a way to cook it with no power.  Food poisoning, starvation, and malnutrition will be common causes of death. Learn about building a pantry on a budget HERE and HERE. To start yourself out with a speedy supply, go HERE for a variety of high quality, non-GMO kits.
  5. You have an accident involving major trauma. This is something that is difficult to prevent – that’s why they call it an accident. To up your chances of survival, always where the proper protective gear, such as safety goggles and gloves. Secondly, spend some time learning to deal with medical situations. Many communities offer free First Aid courses to get you started. Stock up on books that provide information for times when medical care is not available (this one is the very best in my opinion), and have advanced supplies on hand to deal with injuries.
  6. You get murdered when raiders or looters come to steal your stuff.  Remember the 315 million unprepared Americans? They’re going to be hungry. And the hungrier and more desperate people become, the more dangerous the world is going to be. It’s imperative that you be prepared to defend your home and family from them. If you’re one of those people who says, “I don’t want to live in a world where I have to shoot someone because they’re hungry” you just might get your wish. Because they won’t have a problem shooting you. This is one of the major reasons that preppers must be armed. The danger isn’t just from mobs of strangers.  If you tend to talk too much, your friends, extended family, and neighbors just might be the ones to kill you for your supplies.
  7. You get sick. Without our normal standards of cleanliness and the access to medical care, the likelihood of getting sick increases. Without the access to medical care, the likelihood of that sickness spiraling out of control is exponentially greater. Learn how to treat and manage sickness naturally so that you can get a handle on an illness before it kills you. This book is a fantastic reference, written with the prepper in mind.
  8. You get an infection. A silly little cut or splinter that we take for granted now could be a death sentence after the SHTF. With the possibility that your hygiene standards may drop and that you’ll be getting a lot dirtier doing physical labor, infection is fairly likely. It’s vital to immediately treat even the most trivial-seeming wound. For treating a wound, I can’t recommend this spray enough. I have used it on all sorts of animal infections that I thought would prove fatal, with 100% positive results. Because of this, we use it on our own wounds as soon as possible, too. That may not always be enough to prevent an infection however, so having the right antibiotics on hand could mean the difference between life and death. (Check out this online antibiotic primer.) Many veterinary antibiotics are identical to those made for humans. You can find them on Amazon and add them to your stockpile.
  9. You die because you are fat and/or out of shape. If the Zombies approached and you found yourself outnumbered, are you fit enough to run away?  What if you had to bug out across the mountains? Would your heart hold up to the steep climb? Would your knees hold up to the descent? What if you add a 50 pound backpack? Now is the time to get yourself in shape. Most Americans lead fairly sedentary lives, sitting down to a desk all day for work. It’s not something you can fix overnight, so now is the time to increase your fitness. If you won’t do it for yourself, do it for the family members who will have to wait for you while you huff and puff. They’ll be killed when you slow them down. The road to fitness can start easily. If you can walk, you can improve your fitness level dramatically. This article discusses how to start out slowly and then build up your endurance.
  10. You die when you daily medication runs out. This one is tougher to prevent. You can extend life expectancy by stockpiling medication but if the crisis outlasts your supply, there is a limit to what you can do. Who can forget the heartbreaking story of the diabetic girl in the book One Second After?  Don’t underestimate the difficulty for some of going without psychiatric drugs. Depending on the drug, withdrawal can be horrific, particularly if they have not been able to slowly wean themselves off. Some conditions,when untreated, can cause the sufferer to lose touch with reality and suffer a psychotic break, making them dangerous to themselves and others. Depending on the medication you require, there are sometimes natural alternatives and dietary tweaks that can help. Some existing conditions can be managed better now through lifestyle changes, which will increase your chances for survival later. For example, if you suffer from Type 2 Diabetes and are significantly overweight, improving your diet and losing weight now can reduce your dependence on daily medication in many cases. Keep in mind that some medications are okay after the expiration dates, while others can be deadly. (Learn more about pharmaceutical expiration dates HERE.) Learn everything you can about your medical condition and figure out a plan ahead of time.

Good news: nearly all of these deaths will be preventable

Now that you know how you’ll die, you can take the necessary steps to prevent it. Almost every cause of death mentioned here is entirely preventable.

What will save you when an epic disaster strikes is what you do now to prepare for it. Make education and good health your mission now and you’ll not only survive the SHTF, you’ll thrive against the odds.

What do you think are the most likely ways people will die? What are the best preventative steps we can take ahead of time?

Note: This article was written with the unprepared or the beginner in mind.

Daisy Luther is a freelance writer and editor who lives in a small village in the Pacific Northwestern area of the United States. She is the author ofThe Pantry Primer: How to Build a One Year Food Supply in Three Months. On her website, The Organic Prepper, Daisy writes about healthy prepping, homesteading adventures, and the pursuit of liberty and food freedom. Daisy is a co-founder of the website Nutritional Anarchy, which focuses on resistance through food self-sufficiency. Daisy’s articles are widely republished throughout alternative media. You can follow her on Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter, and you can email her at [email protected]

How To Prep For Those With Dietary Restrictions


When I was a kid, it was very rare to be around someone that had food intolerances, allergies, or special diets. We never thought twice about taking peanut butter sandwiches to school, everyone could digest milk, I didn’t know a single vegetarian, and I’d never even heard of Celiac Disease or gluten intolerance.

These days, though, things are very different. Whether it’s because our food supply is highly processed and unhealthy or for some other reason, more and more people have been forced to eliminate entire food groups.

In some situations, like anaphylactic allergies, those eliminated foods can be immediately deadly. In other cases, it’s a matter of extreme digestive upset. Still others have moral or religious reasons for avoiding certain foods.

Since the standard prepper pantry is loaded with grains, peanut butter, and powdered milk, knowing how to prep for those with dietary restrictions is a bit more complicated than just going by the Latter Day Saints’ food calculator.

My friend Daisy Luther has come out with a second edition to her book, The Pantry Primer. The new version, The Pantry Primer: A Prepper’s Guide to Whole Food on a Half-Price Budget is far more thorough than the original, and relies more on strategies and specific how-to’s than personal experience.

I can eat almost anything without issues and have almost zero experience dealing with dietary restrictions.  Thankfully, Daisy has allowed me to share an excerpt from her new book that deals with how to prep those with dietary restrictions.


Prepping for Those With Dietary Restrictions

Another important consideration when building your pantry is the restrictions of family members with food-related issues.

There are many people who must eliminate certain foods or suffer the consequence. Allergies and intolerances are a primary issue for the families of sufferers.


Prepping for a family member with food allergies can be as easy as stocking alternatives for the person, or as difficult as having to keep the offending ingredient out of the supply altogether.

In the event of a life-threatening allergy, you may want to completely banish the ingredient from your home. Anaphylactic shock requires quick medical intervention, which might not be available or accessible during a disaster. At the very least, be sure to have up-to-date epi-pens, cortisone, and antihistamines on hand.

Dairy Intolerance

Dairy intolerance (also known as lacto-intolerance) is rarely life-threatening but can make sufferers feel terrible.  Many people purchase expensive, highly processed non-dairy milks from the store, but another option is to learn to make your own non-dairy milks from pantry ingredients. If this is your plan, be sure to stock up on supplies like rice or almonds.

Complete directions for making rice milk and almond milk can be found in Section VI

Gluten Intolerance and Celiac Disease

There is an almost epidemic hierarchy of wheat-related ailments in America today.  At the pinnacle of this is Celiac disease. Sufferers are highly sensitive to gluten in any form.

The Celiac Disease Foundation explains:

Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder that can occur in genetically predisposed people where the ingestion of gluten leads to damage in the small intestine.  It is estimated to affect 1 in 100 people worldwide.  Two and one-half million Americans are undiagnosed and are at risk for long-term health complications.

When people with celiac disease eat gluten (a protein found in wheat, rye and barley), their body mounts an immune response that attacks the small intestine. These attacks lead to damage on the villi, small fingerlike projections that line the small intestine, that promote nutrient absorption. When the villi get damaged, nutrients cannot be absorbed properly into the body.

The disorder can cause serious long-term health effects and those with celiac disease should never consume gluten, even in moderation.

Not quite as severe, but still highly uncomfortable, is gluten intolerance. People with gluten intolerance can have anywhere from mild to severe reactions to the consumption of gluten.  Issues can include digestive upset, bloating, aching joints, skin problems, and a host of other symptoms.

Many of the food storage guides recommend storing hundreds of pounds of wheat and flour, but if your family has a member with adverse reactions to gluten, it’s wise to focus your purchasing dollars on grains that are gluten free, like rice, organic corn, quinoa, and oats.  Depending on the level of sensitivity, you may need to purchase these from a gluten-free processing facility.

High Blood Pressure, High Cholesterol, and Heart Disease

For those with high blood pressure, heart disease, or high cholesterol, it is important to stock food that is less processed.  Many processed foods contain high levels of sodium and saturated fats, both of which can be a cause for concern if you have a family member with these health issues. Sodium can send the blood pressure skyrocketing.

Keep in mind that during a time when you are reliant on your pantry, a prescription that keeps the person’s reactions to these foods under control may not be readily available. It’s imperative that their diet not exacerbate the issue.

Avoid or limit the following foods when stockpiling for a family member with one of these conditions:

  • Hydrogenated oils (these are usually found in highly processed foods)
  • High sodium foods (better to add salt as needed)
  • Sugar/Carbohydrates (Sugar and refined carbohydrates have been proven to elevate triglyceride levels. This can result in cardiac issues or fatty liver disease)

Stock up on storage foods in the purest form possible for a family member with any of these conditions. Focus on lean meats, vegetables, fruits, and whole grains.


Who can forget the powerful storyline in the eye-opening book One Second After about the girl who was an insulin dependent diabetic? Particularly in the event of a longer-term emergency, prepping carefully for a family member with diabetes can be a life-or-death matter.

As this book is about food pantries and I’m not a medical professional, I can’t advise you about the specific medical concerns for diabetics.  I can recommend an excellent series on the topic that is available online from Joe Alton, MD (Dr. Bones).  You can find the articles at the following web addresses:

As far as your pantry is concerned, it’s important to understand how a diabetic processes food. Carbohydrates are processed in about the same way as pure sugar, and can wreak havoc on blood sugar levels.  This means that a large stockpile of grains will usable for the diabetic family member.

The following recommendations are for surviving a crisis and are not necessarily recommendations for everyday life when supplies are easy to acquire.

The ideal diet for a Type 1 diabetic during a crisis situation in which the availability of insulin is in question would be focused on proteins and fats, with as few carbohydrates as possible. Keep the caloric intake fairly low, and spread the food across 6 small meals throughout the day.

For a Type 2 diabetic, the ideal diet during a crisis is a bit different. Plan for small frequent meals that are high in fiber, low in fat, and low in carbohydrates. Be sure that the diabetic person remains active.

Both of these suggested diets mean that your stockpile should have additional focus on high-quality protein for the diabetic family member, as well as options that are low in carbohydrates.  The grain-filled pantry could be a death sentence for a diabetic family member.


A vegetarian does not eat the flesh of animals, but may consume dairy products or eggs. A vegan does not consume any products that have come from animals, including honey.

If you have a family member who is vegan or vegetarian, be sure to accommodate them with protein sources that do not contain meat, such as beans, grains, legumes, seeds, and nuts. A variety of plant proteins are needed in order to provide the amino acids necessary for good nutrition.  Quinoa, in particular, is an excellent non-meat source of protein and amino acids.  The bonus of quinoa is that it stores beautifully, making it a perfect addition to any pantry.

Religious Restrictions

Some faiths have food restrictions, and often those restrictions involve meat. Take into consideration the need for kosher or halal food, as well as restrictions against pork, some game, and certain types of seafood.


The Final Word

A disaster situation would be stressful enough without worrying about what to feed a family member who suffers from digestive issues or other restrictions. You wouldn’t want to compound the crisis by having someone become ill from stored food that didn’t meet their particular needs.  While many of these special needs would just cause discomfort, others, like severe allergies or diabetes, can be life-threatening in very short order.

You can learn more about Daisy’s book HERE. It’s more than double the length of the original and a reference loaded with everything you need to know about building a healthful pantry, shopping on a tight budget, and storing your food so that it has a long, safe shelf-life.

Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!

Gaye Levy, also known as the Survival Woman, grew up and attended school in the Greater Seattle area. After spending many years as an executive in the software industry, she started a specialized accounting practice offering contract CFO work to emerging high tech and service industries. She has now abandoned city life and has moved to a serenely beautiful rural area on an island in NW Washington State. She lives and teaches the principles of a sustainable and self-reliant lifestyle through her website at BackdoorSurvival.com. At Backdoor Survival, Gaye speaks her mind and delivers her message of prepping with optimism and grace, regardless of the uncertain times and mayhem swirling around us.

Emergency Water For Preppers: Resources You Need To Know About


For the past month or so, the focus has been emergency water, that most vital but often under-appreciated prep.

During this time, I have highlighted various aspects of water preparedness, including storage, acquisition, and purification.  These recent articles, coupled with those that have been posted in the past, bring to you a wealth of knowledge that will enable you to be water-prepped, regardless of where you live and the size of your budget.

And that, in a nutshell, is the point.  The internet is a wonderful place and there is a wealth of knowledge available free for the taking.  Sure, there are some questionable websites posting bad information but overall, you will find a treasure trove of free, credible resources that will help ensure that the water you drink following a disaster or disruptive event is safe.

Today I want to help jump start your quest for free information about emergency water.  These are articles from websites I trust.  These are resources you need to know about in your quest for emergency water.

Emergency Water Articles From Some of the Best Preparedness Blogs

Below you will find a variety of articles covering many aspects of water preparedness.  I know there is a lot to read and a lot to digest.  That said, these are articles you can come back to over and over again as you build your supplies and acquire water-smart skills.

Smart Survival: This is How You Find Water When There Is None To Be Found: In this article by Tess Pennington, you will learn about finding water in the wilderness. This could save your life if you are out hiking or stranded in your car and  and cannot get home for some reason.

Unconventional Water Sources to Consider in an Emergency: Of course, being stranded without water isn’t isolated to being lost in the woods. Bernie Carr has some suggestions about finding water if you’re in the city when disaster strikes.

Collecting Water with Rain Barrels and A Scrubber: This article by Todd Sepulveda teaches you how to make an inexpensive collection system for rainwater.

Emergency Water Filtration Solutions: LeAnn Edmondson gives the rundown on a wide variety of water filtration systems to help you make the best decision on what type you should have.

Best Practices for Your Third Most Critical Survival Priority: In this article, Todd Walker outlines the best ways to acquire and purify water in the great outdoors.

Surviving the Drought: 25 Easy Ways to Conserve Water: From the heart of the California drought, Daisy Luther shares the surprising amount of water used in an average day, and offers simple suggestions to help you conserve.

Your Guide To Safe Drinking Water Post Disaster: In the aftermath of a disaster, one of the biggest risks is illness from contaminated water. Cat Ellis offers information on prevention and treatment of waterborne illnesses.

100-Year-Old Way to Filter Rainwater in a Barrel: Linda Holliday wrote about an extremely low-tech way to filter water collected in a rain barrel, based on an old method found in a tattered book.

Emergency Water Articles on Backdoor Survival

In addition to the articles above, I  also made a call-out for your questions to ensure that there was no stone left unturned. In case you missed them, here are the articles that answered your questions, arranged by topic.

Emergency Water for Preppers Part 1: Acquisition
Emergency Water for Preppers Part 2: Purification
Emergency Water for Preppers Part 3: Storage

For even more information about water, check out this collection of other articles I have written on the subject of emergency water.

Survival Basics: 16 Ways to Conserve Water in Your Home
Survival Basics: Hand & Surface Hygiene When There’s No Water to Spare
Survival Basics: Water and Water Storage
16 Tips for Coping Without Running Water
A Glimpse at Everyday Life Without Running Water
How to Use Pool Shock to Purify Water
The Five Myths of Water Storage

Other Free Sources of Information

Many public entities publish up-do-date information on emergency water.  Here are a few resources you can count on for good information.

In addition, also check your local city, county, or state websites.  They usually have a wealth of emergency preparedness information specific to your geographical area.  For example, the advice if you live in the deserts of the Southwest will be very different from the advice if you live someplace lush and green.

FEMA and Red Cross: Food and Water in An Emergency (downloadable PDF)

Ready.Gov:  Managing Water

EPA:  Emergency Disinfections of Drinking Water (downloadable PDF)

CDC: Personal Preparation and Storage of Safe Water

WHO: Emergency Treatment of Drinking Water at Point-of-use

North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service:  Emergency Drinking Water Supplies (downloadable PDF)

The Final Word

Having clean, safe drinking water following a disaster or other emergency should be a priority for all families, whether they label themselves preppers or not.  This is important stuff and although I try not to ask too much of my readers, today I am going to make an exception.

Please, do your friends and family a favor by sharing this information with them.  Send them an email, post a message on Facebook, or send them a tweet.  This information is 100% free and not a bit controversial.

You can survive only three days without water.  Survival is a good thing; together let us make that happen.

Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!

Gaye Levy, also known as the Survival Woman, grew up and attended school in the Greater Seattle area. After spending many years as an executive in the software industry, she started a specialized accounting practice offering contract CFO work to emerging high tech and service industries. She has now abandoned city life and has moved to a serenely beautiful rural area on an island in NW Washington State. She lives and teaches the principles of a sustainable and self-reliant lifestyle through her website at BackdoorSurvival.com. At Backdoor Survival, Gaye speaks her mind and delivers her message of prepping with optimism and grace, regardless of the uncertain times and mayhem swirling around us.

20 Home Security And Crime Prevention Secrets For Preppers


A major component of family preparedness is the maintenance of comfort, control, and self-preservation in a time of crisis.  Whatever the source of the crisis, we as humans want to protect the homestead and our loved ones at any cost.  (And by the way, many species on the animal kingdom do the same.)

The reason I bring this topic to the forefront is that recently, at a community meeting, I learned that home burglaries in my area are on the rise.  This, in a community where many still do not lock their doors, was no surprise to me given the dire straits so many are in financially.  And this isn’t localized. As the financial crunch continues with no end in sight, you can expect to see property crimes on the rise.

The meeting was a wake-up call reminding me that I need to do an inventory of the home security and crime prevention measures currently in place so that I can ensure that both my family and my preps are secure.  In doing so, I came up with these 20 time-tested crime prevention secrets for preppers.

20 Countermeasures to Secure Your Homes and Families From Crime

There are lots of things we can do to make our homes seem uninviting to criminals. The more difficult your property looks to breach, the more likely it is that would-be thieves will select an easier target.

1.  Secure your doors with multiple locking mechanisms.  Yes, it is an annoyance to carry multiple keys but why make it easy for the bad guys?  A deadbolt is essential and even two would not be excessive. Make sure the locks are difficult to pick.

2. Reinforce your door frame.  Remember that a lock is only as good as the strength of the door frame. It doesn’t matter how many locks you have if they are  only supported by a flimsy interior frame. A strong person can generally break those down with a well-placed hit from a shoulder. Invest in a high-quality metal frame. These are very difficult to breach.

3.  Do not leave keys out.  Even if you think you’re being clever, don’t leave keys under mats, under flower pots, on top or door frames or in one of those $3 magnetic key carriers that fit under the frame of your car.  Thieves know about these places and are more creative than you might think when it comes to locating a spare.  Here at my place we have secured a spare key in a coded key vault, similar to the type real estate agents use.  (And dare I say that I have lost my keys more than once on the trails and that having a spare has saved the day?)


Key Box mounted at my back porch

4.  Do not put your name and address on your key ring.  If you lose your keys, and who hasn’t, why advertise your home location and provide easy entrance?  You might as well put a sign on your front door that says “TAKE ME”.

5.  Keep your outdoor areas well lit.  This does not have to be costly.  Even shaded areas will benefit from inexpensive solar lighting.  Put porch lights on a dawn to dusk timer and make sure your garage entrance is not shrouded in darkness. Motion lights around doorways can be startling since they come on when a person walks up to the door.

6.  Consider an alarm system.  I am not talking about an expensive monitored alarm system and, as a matter of fact, I think advertising that you have a monitored system, whether it is true or not, simply tells the world that you have lots of goodies that need protection.

When I say alarm system, I am referring to a loud horn or blast that goes off when someone invades your territory.  This is especially effective if you have neighbors who will also hear the alarm but even in a more remote area, the alarm will annoy and dissuade the burglars from sticking around. These wireless motion sensors can be installed on doors to scare away a person trying to break in.  Best of all, they’re battery operated and will still work during a grid-down event.

7.  Add internal locks to critical storage areas.  This includes your emergency food storage area, crawl spaces, and your freezer.  Many people keep their freezers in the garage, which can be one of the most vulnerable areas of your home since it is typically dark and remote sound-wise from the rest of the house.

8.  Secure your mail. In addition to minimizing identity theft, an overflowing mail box is an open invitation to thieves who will assume you are not at home or traveling.  Invest in a PO box – they are cheap.

9.  Keep your outdoor areas tidy.  Trim shrubs that are close to the house so that strangers can not skulk  behind them, waiting and watching for the best time to attack.  Make certain that the perimeter of your home is clear of hiding places.  Open spaces make it easier for the neighbors to see if someone is up to mischief too.

10.  Notify the police or sheriff that you are going to be gone.  This may not work in all situations but here in my rural community, we are encouraged to let the authorities know when we are going to be off-island for an extended period.

11.  Be wary of people who come to the door. Whether they are strangers, delivery people, or even officers of the law, if they are unexpected, you need to be alert.  These are all common ruses that precede home invasions. Have your pepper spray  handy and ask for ID.  If in doubt, do not open the door.  Ask for a badge or ID number and call it in.  Remember, uniforms can be readily purchased online and in these days of Photoshop, fake IDs can be easily created on a home computer.

12. Add locks to your gates. If you lock your gate, then you don’t have to worry about people showing up right at your door. Plus, you’ll be sure to be on high alert if there’s a knock at the door.

13.  Know your neighbors.  I have said this before and will say it again: neighbors and community members who know you by name and by face will be the ones that will watch your back in a crisis.  You do not have to become best friends with these people – but you do need to say hi once in awhile and perhaps get involved in some community activities so that they can get to know you and you, them.

14.  Get a dog.  A dog is a great, really great, early warning system.  Heck, my little six pound Yorkie makes a lot of racket if a stranger is walking around outside at night.  He might not scare an intruder once he is in the house, but he certainly would give the would-be burglar reason to look elsewhere. Plus, we would know that someone who should not be here is close by if not inside our home.

15. Landscape with inhospitable plants. Inhospitable doesn’t mean the plants aren’t beautiful. Thorny plants like rugosa rosebushes, bougainvillea, or blackberry vines make it far more difficult to sneak around outside of windows or to climb fences.  You can find a full list of inhospitable plants here.

By practicing crime prevention now, and making home security a part of daily life, you can be one step closer to preserving the homestead when the SHTF.Click To Tweet

16. Make arrangements to have your property looked after when you go away. Have someone mow the grass when you will be gone for a week or longer and if you still have the newspaper delivered, for goodness sake, stop delivery while you are gone. You can also put a light and a television on a timer so that it looks as though someone is home.

17.  Secure sliding glass doors.  Before bed each night, block the track of sliding doors with a metal bar or a piece of wood.  Those locks are very easy to force.

18. Secure sidelights or doors with large windows. It’s a very simple thing for a thief to break out a small window, then reach in and unlock your door from the inside. Invest in some decorative metal grid work to make this more difficult.

19. Create a safe area to which you can retreat. In a worst case scenario, if someone breaks into your home while you are there, it’s important to have an area that you can run to until help arrives. Reinforce a bedroom door with a good quality frame, and replace the flimsy interior door with an exterior one. Have a way to call for assistance inside the room, and a method of self-defense like a firearm. You can learn more about building a safe room in your home or apartment in this article.

20. Zip those lips.  This is my weakness and something I will commit to stopping RIGHT NOW!  In my effort to spread the word about family preparedness, I talk about my own efforts, what I have, how I am storing it, and worst of all, where I have located my stuff.  Shame on me.  What I have effectively done is advertise the fact that if the SHTF, you can come to my place because I have food, I have water, I have stuff.  This is going to be difficult because I do want to educate and help others.  But I am going to really try to be a bit more private going forward.

Think Like a Burglar

I want to pass on that the very best advice I can give:  LEARN TO THINK LIKE A BURGLAR!

Walk around your place, and, pretending you are a bad guy, think about points of entry.  Take a look at your home from the street.  Are you advertising all of the goodies inside?  Or does your home look like a modest, well-kept abode with good lighting and well trimmed landscaping?   If you were a burglar, which home on your street would you hit?   


The Final Word

As you know, a crisis can come from a natural disaster, a medical pandemic, an economic collapse, civil unrest, or a man-made activity such as a terrorist attack.  I call these “Disruptive Events”.

By practicing crime prevention now, and making home security a part of daily life, you can be one step closer to preserving the homestead when the SHTF.

Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!

Gaye Levy, also known as the Survival Woman, grew up and attended school in the Greater Seattle area. After spending many years as an executive in the software industry, she started a specialized accounting practice offering contract CFO work to emerging high tech and service industries. She has now abandoned city life and has moved to a serenely beautiful rural area on an island in NW Washington State. She lives and teaches the principles of a sustainable and self-reliant lifestyle through her website at BackdoorSurvival.com. At Backdoor Survival, Gaye speaks her mind and delivers her message of prepping with optimism and grace, regardless of the uncertain times and mayhem swirling around us.

Emergency Food, The Time Is Now!


By: Preston Sallenback |

As we sit watching the craziness of the world swirl around us we must be aware that it’s only a matter of time before things get “Real”. What I mean by this is, we are close… shits about to hit the fan and few are prepared. Personally I’m fine with it but I don’t think that’s the common consensus among most Americans. At least that’s what I’m hearing from my daily callers freaking out about food as I sense their fear of being ill prepared.

The subject of storing up emergency food is not new, in fact we have been warned for many, many years. Although it has been talked about in detail few have seem to have taken action by heeding the council… If you are one that has heard the warning but have failed to taken action to stocked up, please take a minute and ask yourself… “If things were to collapse tomorrow and I couldn’t get to my money would I have all that my family needs to survive?” If your answer to that question is a No, I would ask you, what the hell are you waiting for?

It is for this purpose I write this article, to warn you, the time is now!

With the current state of affairs the world is very ill and ready to implode. With Russia flying their nuke bombers around our borders daily, China’s war ships parked off the coast of Alaska, our corrupt as hell government and their ties to the Muslim brotherhood and ISIS; we have a very limited amount of time to get our families adequately prepared. To say it differently, if you’re not already of the prepper mind set, own a gun or two and have plenty of food, water and ammo -you’re late to the game and better wake the hell up, and fast!

Now I don’t speak as some dim-witted nut job, rather as an insider deeply involved in the emergency preparedness world, someone in the know.

It’s mind blowing to me, to know just how few really understand the magnitude of the evil designs being planned and how dark the hearts are of the conspiring men working against us to destroy the U.S.A Constitution and Bill of Rights as they attempt to usher in their satanic, New World Order.

“He who controls the food supply controls the people.”

                                                                                    ~ Henry Kissinger

If you’re not aware of the N.W.O. and their plans or don’t understand end times prophecies I urge you to learn about it and how temporal preparedness is only half of the equation. When the world speaks of being prepared they focus on the tangible but let me share something with you, it takes more then food and water to survive the up coming proclamation of desolations about to hit the Americas.

We learn from the bible that a spiritual war is being waged and that you and I are right in the thick of it, right now! Read the following verses found in Ephesians and see if you can connect the dots.

For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.

Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.

And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints…

This piece of scripture is profound and would be wise for all to ponder and come to understand the times with which we now live.

Something I personally find quite disturbing is the dumbed down zombied out sleepy Americans and their “all is well” attitude going about their day with heads in the sands of deception, mind control and propaganda.

If you happened to have been blessed to have been raised as a good, God fearing man, women or child you have probably been taught that the end times (now) are to be filled with all manner of deceptions, false prophets, false gods, floods, famines, earth quakes etc. But no matter what your background, the two truths remain the same for survival, 1) we must have good nourishing food and 2) good clean water to abide the day.

This is where my wisdom, knowledge and experience exceed that of others, concerning end times, prophesy and the need for storable food & water. This is what I know and council others to think about and prepare for and I’d like to take a few minutes here to reiterate food and of it’s vital importance to your survival.

One thing mentioned most often when consulting people on getting setup with an ample supply of quality food, is the importance of buying foods that are made using certified, GMO Free ingredients. I also council on the dangers of genetically modified foods (G.M.O = Genetically Modified Organisms) found in 90% of all processed foods today including some of the biggest brands of emergency foods available today. I also warn consumers about those companies making false “GMO Free claims” by asking them for documentation to substantiate their claims.

After years of studying the dangers and health risks of consuming GM foods I spent weeks looking for a food storage company that offered foods that were free of GMO’s and found nothing. I thought, I don’t want to buy food from a company that’s going to harm my families health, but what options do I have? None! It was after coming to this conclusion that I decided to develop a high end line of my own. I wanted to create something I could be proud of. Something I could attach my name to. Something that would be far superior to what’s out there, something that would be the healthiest GMO Free food available for those looking as I did for the highest quality. I wanted even more to bring to market a food line that was all natural and tasted delicious, that had an incredibly long shelf life and contained; No MSG, No Trans Fats, No or Low Cholesterol, Low Fat, Low Sodium, No HFCS and uses Sea Salt. 

It was soon after our launch that the word got out and Nuvona Premium GMO Free Foods was off and running, giving me the chance to speak freely to help educate consumers on where to get started and what make good vs keep you barely alive emergency foods by explaining that not all emergency foods are created equal. I challenge consumers to do their homework, to look beyond the price tag and not settle for second best on something there life may depends on someday. I warn of the imposters and how foolish it is to waste money on the big brands of unhealthy, poor quality, poor tasting emergency foods that are seeming to flood the web/market daily and how these less quality food products will not be what their family want or need during times of crisis. 

I urge everyone, everywhere to learn all they can about premium quality GMO Free food storage. I invite all to inquire today about our award winning emergency food line Nuvona Premium GMO Free Foods. Call me, I’m always available to help you with this important decision, but call before it’s to late! 

Preston Sallenback is an emergency food expert that manufactures and sells some of the finest GMO Free emergency foods on the market today through his award winning brand, Nuvona Premium Foods. After several years of research and development Preston developed and launched Nuvona Premium GMO Free Foods in the fall of 2012 and brought to market the first true, Certified GMO Free emergency food line. While doing his research he found that most of the current emergency food companies of today were more concerned about making money then they were about truly helping people become prepared for the perilous times with which we now live. Preston also found during the research period that most of his competitors foods we’re made with very low quality, high sodium, dangerous GMO laden ingredients, poor tasting, weird mouth feel & texture with just enough nutritional value to just keep you alive in time of a crisis. He also found that the majority of the companies had priced their low quality products very high for what consumers were getting for their money. Preston had a real problem with the products he found and the unethical practices in the industry. As a lover of high quality products he found there was nothing out there that lived up to his high standards, it was for this purpose that he was driven to created the product line that would… Nuvona Premium GMO Free Foods. Preston is a lover of truth and seeker of further light and knowledge who loves the mountains and the great outdoors. While he’s not attending to the needs of friends and family Preston is a wonderful husband and father of 7 wonderful, wide awake children.

Emergency Water For Preppers Part 3: Storage


It seems as though every day I get a new question or two about emergency water.  The most interesting thing is that the questions get more detailed and more technical over time.  This tells me that preppers generally, and Backdoor Survival readers specifically, are an educated bunch that are willing to do whatever is necessary to ensure that they have safe, drinkable water following a disruptive event.

In the early days of my preparedness journey, I became some what of a water freak.  You may, in fact, have heard me use that term.  I was lucky enough to have the funds to purchase a 55-gallon water barrel from the get go but stupid enough to place it directly on concrete.  (You will learn the reason why that should not be done below.)

As they say in the commercials, “you have come a long way, baby”.  In this, Part 3 in the series on emergency water, you questions on water storage will be answered once again, by Daisy Luther.  As you read the answers, consider your own circumstances and if you need to ask additional questions, or if anything is unclear, ask away!

Emergency Water for Preppers: Storage

A vital part of water preparedness is storage. If you live in the city or a dry climate, then suddenly water storage moves to an even more important level than it does when you live someplace with a natural body of water or a well that you can access in an emergency. With the increased need to store water comes an increased demand for space, which can be difficult to find in a smaller home or apartment.

When Gaye posted the review of my book, The Prepper’s Water Survival Guide, she asked you to post your questions about water. Today let’s discuss your questions about storing this life-giving resource.

How much water should you store per person for a one month supply to be used for drinking, cooking & hygiene?

This is one of those unanswerable questions, but I can give you a general idea. Common prepper wisdom says you should store one gallon per person per day, but this figure doesn’t account for the additional water you need for sanitation.

The average American uses well over 100 gallons of water per day for their normal activities. Now, obviously in an emergency you aren’t going to insist upon a 20-minute shower, but you’ll need additional water to keep clean.  You’ll want to be able to wash your dishes and wipe food preparation areas, wash your hands after using the restroom and before handling food, keep pets hydrated…the list goes on and on. 

You should plan on at least an additional gallon or two per day, per person, for non-consumption needs. If you have pets and livestock, you’ll need to increase this even more.

But, that number is just a guess. To be more accurate, the very best way to calculate how much you need is to do a “no-running-water” drill to see exactly how much you use. Shut off the main to your house and start the weekend with the number of gallons you think you need. Over the course of the weekend, document how much you actually use. You’ll probably be surprised at the amount. Then, think about places you could have cut back on your water usage. This will give you a baseline number for figuring out what a one month supply is for you.

Where can I store water in my small home?

When we’re talking about hundreds of gallons of water, it can be difficult to imagine where you might store all of that. If you have outdoor space, IBC 275 gallon tanks are a good option.

If you have no outdoor space, consider one of the stackable water storage systems. These work well in a basement where the weight won’t be an issue.

If you don’t have space for a large system, you’ll need to spread your water storage throughout your house.  You can look for smaller storage components like these. Put your beds on risers and fill the space under them with water. place them under coffee tables. Make end tables out of them and cover them with a pretty cloth.

It can take a lot of creativity to fit in all of your preps in a small space. Don’t feel tied to keeping kitchen supplies in the kitchen. Spread things throughout your home and you can fit in more than you ever imagined.

How do you find the space to store a large supply of water when your storage areas are outside and subject to blazing heat in the summer and freezing cold in the winter?

Extremes of temperature can cause major challenges for your water storage. Of course, it’s best if you can find a place to store them without those extremes, like a basement, but if there’s no other option it’s better to store them outside than to not store water at all.

You can invest in BPA-free storage containers to make this a little bit safer. Another option is the large storage tanks. High-density polyethylene IBC tanks are made to withstand the heat of the desert. Be sure to leave any container that is subject to temperature extremes about 10% empty to allow room for expansion in the event that the contents should freeze.

Whatever containers you opt to use, keep them shaded from the direct sunlight. Constant exposure to UV rays will cause the plastic to break down after a period of time.

What do you recommend for upper floor apartment dwellers? Everything must be carried upstairs and space is limited.

Oh, how I remember the days of living in a 3rd-floor walk-up.  Water storage and prepping, in general, can be pretty tough in those situations.

First you have to lug it all up the stairs (which is where kids come in handy – you can make them do some/most of the lugging).  When I lived in that apartment I used only 1-gallon jugs because they were easier to get up the stairs.

However, that’s not the only reason to use smaller containers in smaller spaces. Small containers are a lot easier to stuff into every nook and cranny. I had a small attic crawlspace that was simply stuffed with filled water jugs. I lined the floors of our closets with them and put boards on top of the water for shoe shelves.

You have to be very careful not to put all your water in one place because it gets very heavy. A gallon of water weighs 8 pounds, not including the container. Spread the weight out across your apartment, particularly if you live in an older home that was converted into apartments.

Can I reuse milk jugs, juice jugs, and 2-liter soda pop bottles for water storage?

FEMA recommends that you do not use containers that have held milk or juice.   That’s because milk protein and fruit sugars can’t be completely removed. When water is then stored in the containers, dangerous bacteria can grow. The agency recommends plastic 2-liter soda bottles as a safer option.

My family doesn’t consume soda, so we wait until the 1-gallon jugs of water go on sale and stock up on those. They can also be safely refilled for future water storage.

Gaye’s note:  Chiming in here I want to say that any type of container is okay for storing water for cleaning and toilet flushing.  Such containers should be well marked so that if they are absolutely required for drinking water, the water can be boiled or purified prior to consumption.  Also, be mindful that lightweight milk jugs are not very durable and over time, may not hold up.  You would not want to store them on your nice carpet or hardwood floor but rather someplace where a leak would not cause havoc.

How long can water be stored before it needs to be replaced?

Water doesn’t spoil, despite all of the expiration dates and warnings to use it within 6 months. However, it can become stale, pick up flavors from things nearby, or become contaminated.

Gaye has written about this too in her excellent article Five Myths of Water Storage. She wrote:

“Water does not expire.  Ever.  Sure, water can become chemically or biologically contaminated and foul, but it doesn’t go bad or spoil.

What can happen to water is that it can go stale and look or taste bad.  One thing you can do to make water that has been standing around for awhile taste better is to aerate it by stirring it up or pouring it from one jug to another to introduce some oxygen.

If the cleanliness of the water is in question, it can be purified with purification tablets, fresh bleach, or a filtering system such as the Berkey or LifeStraw, among others.

Technically, if water is stored in a cool, dark area and away from chemical and toxic fumes, it should last forever.”

If you live in suburbia, is there a way to disguise a larger outside water storage system so it goes unnoticed by your neighbors or the casual observer passing by?

There are some really attractive water collection containers that look like large urns or planters. To all but casual observers, these will just look like part of your exterior decor.

It gets trickier when you are trying to disguise the larger containers, like the 275-gallon tanks. You can screen these from view using a section of decorative fence with pretty landscaping in front of it, growing some shrubs, or enclosing it in a small area with a privacy fence.

When it comes to storing water, I have read that you shouldn’t store containers directly on cement floors. What should you use as a barrier between the cement and the container?

Chemicals can leach from the concrete into the water when it gets hot. So if you are storing your water in an outdoor shed or garage, it’s important to raise your containers off of the cement.  You can easily do this with those wooden pallets that are constantly offered for free. Other options would be floor tiles or plywood risers.

How long beyond the expiration date can water be safely stored in bottles it comes in from the grocery store?

The interesting thing about the expiration dates on water bottles is that it has nothing to do with the water. The expiration date is for the bottle.  According to Smithsonianmag.com, you really don’t have much to worry about as long as you store the bottles, unopened, at moderate temperatures. FEMA, on the other hand, recommends you observe the “use by” date.

Personally, I’d feel perfectly comfortable using commercially bottled water almost indefinitely.

Should we be concerned about chemical leaching from plastic storage containers used for long-term water storage?

BPA is a very reasonable concern. It has been proven to cause hormone disruption and is suspected to be a cause of cancer. In a perfect world, all of our water would be stored in BPA-free containers or glass. However, that’s expensive and heavy. There are some things you can do to reduce the risks.

  • Avoid exposing water stored in plastic to extremes in temperature – both heat and freezing can cause toxins to leach into your water.
  • Choose containers marked with #1, #2, or #4 on the bottom
  • Do NOT choose containers with #7 marked on the bottom
  • Do not wash plastic containers in the dishwasher. This breaks them down and makes them more likely to leach into their contents.

There are BPA-free 5 gallon jugs available, but it’s important to note that these are not very rugged and break easily. Also, they can’t be stacked for the same reason. However, with the right storage set up, they can work if you handle them carefully.

What is the safest, least expensive way to store water?

I store a great deal of water in 5-gallon jugs. I can pick up one every week or so for a reasonable price and put it in my well house, which maintains a pretty standard temperature all year long. I also have a top-loading water dispenser so that we can access the water easily in an emergency. These have tightly sealed lids and keep your water uncontaminated.

What is the safest, least expensive way to store water? Re-purposed 2 liter soda bottles!Click To Tweet

Gaye’s note: Because we do not drink sodas (called “pop” in the West), I store a lot of water in re-purposed Power-Ade bottles.  I wash them first in soapy water then rinse well before filling them with filtered Berkey water or tap water.  I mark the outside so I know which is which.

Because I have a lot of excess freezer space, I store them there.  If you do choose this option, be sure to leave some head space to allow for expansion as the water freezes.  I have a high degree of confidence that this water will be safe for drinking but if, when the time comes, it looks cloudy or weird, I will purify it first using bleach or Calcium Hypochlorite aka pool shock.

If you have not done so already, you might want to read How to Use Pool Shock to Purify Water and add some to you emergency supplies.  It is very inexpensive. 


The Final Word

When discussing emergency water, many overlook the importance of managing expectations.  The term “managing expectations” is often used in the business world within the context of customer satisfaction.  In a similar manner, anticipating what life will be like with a compromised water supply will help ease the burden when and if the time comes.

I fully endorse Daisy’s recommendation that you hold a “no-running-water” drill.  This will help you determine not only how much you use, but also was is lacking in your water preps.  My own drill lasted 12 days.  It took me by surprise when a leak occurred at our meter. I learned a lot through the process an now have the confidence I can survive a water crisis with aplomb.

I hope you have found the question and answer portion of  the series on Emergency Water for Preppers to be informative and useful.  In case you missed them, here are links to Parts 1 and 2.

Emergency Water for Preppers Part 1: Acquisition
Emergency Water for Preppers Part 2: Purification

Coming up in Part 4 is a roundup of some of my favorite articles on emergency water along with some other, 100% free resources from around the web.  When it comes to emergency water, you just need to be educated and smart, not rich!

Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!

Gaye Levy, also known as the Survival Woman, grew up and attended school in the Greater Seattle area. After spending many years as an executive in the software industry, she started a specialized accounting practice offering contract CFO work to emerging high tech and service industries. She has now abandoned city life and has moved to a serenely beautiful rural area on an island in NW Washington State. She lives and teaches the principles of a sustainable and self-reliant lifestyle through her website at BackdoorSurvival.com. At Backdoor Survival, Gaye speaks her mind and delivers her message of prepping with optimism and grace, regardless of the uncertain times and mayhem swirling around us.

50 Ways To Use Duct Tape For Survival


I have always claimed, and not altogether jokingly, that you could build a house with Elmer’s glue and Duct Tape.  Both items are readily available, relatively inexpensive, and easy to tote around.  Given my penchant for common, everyday products that can be used dozens of ways, I thought it would be fun to once again look at some of the practical uses of duct tape around the house, camping, and of course, in a survival or emergency situation.

You might recall that way back when, in the early days of this website, I wrote about the 34 Ways to Use Duct Tape for Survival.  That particular article has been shared over 28K times and is still going strong.  That said, I felt it was time for a refresher course.  So, taking into account all of the comments and tips you have so generously shared, I now have a list of 50 ways to use duct tape for survival and emergencies.

But first, let us begin with that refresher course I mentioned.

All About Duct Tape

Duct tape is a strong, cloth-backed, waterproof adhesive tape often coated with polyethylene.

There are a couple of different lines of thought about the origins of duct tape.

According to one version, the miracle stuff was created during World War II when the US military needed a flexible, durable, waterproof tape to use making repairs in the field. A strong tape was created by Permacell, a division of Johnson and Johnson for this purpose. As the story goes, the GIs called it “duck tape” because it was waterproof – like a duck’s back.

The other version dates back to the same era, but gives the credit to the heating industry.  When people first began using central heating, aluminum ducts were installed throughout homes in order to distribute the heat to different rooms. The joints of the ducts were leaking, so in an effort to conserve heat, duct tape was created to resolve the issue. It had to be highly adhesive, moist enough that it wouldn’t dry out and lose its adhesive properties, and strong enough to withstand the weight of the shifting ducts.

Regardless of the origin, I think we can all agree that duct tape is a fix-all.

As with most excellent products, there are lots of cheap knock-offs. Since your life could one day rely on your survival supplies, purchase duct tape that is designed for builders. This can be found at the hardware or home improvement store, generally in the heating and air conditioning section.

But enough of the boring details.  Just how can you use this miracle tape?

50 Uses of Duct Tape for Survival and Emergencies

1.  Repair a tent:   You open your tent at the campsite and oops — a little tear. No problem as long as you’ve brought your duct tape along. Cover the hole with a duct tape patch; for double protection mirror the patch inside the tent. You’ll keep insects and weather where they belong.

2.  Make a rope: In a pinch, you can twist one or several lengths of duct tape into a cord or rope. (Of course paracord would be a lot better and you do have some of that, right?)

3.  Make a clothesline:  Twisting a long piece of Duct tape makes a great piece of rope to use as a clothesline to dry out camp clothing.

4.  Hold the feathers in your sleeping bag: If you have a hole in your down sleeping bag, you can patch the hole with duct tape.  No more feathers flying out all over the place.

5.  Reseal packages of food:  Use duct tape to seal up partially opened packages of food.  Fold over the top of the package and seal it tight with a piece of duct tape. Works for cans, too.  Simply fashion a lid out of duct tape.

6.  Hold your tent closed: A damaged zipper could leave your tent door flapping in the wind. Stick the door shut, and keep the bugs and critters out.

7.  Splint a broken tent pole or fishing pole: Tape a stick to the broken area of your tent pole or fishing rod, and you might just get one last adventure out of it.

8.  Catch pesky flies:  Roll off a few foot-long strips of duct tape and hang them from a branch or your tent or cabin rafters. The DT serves as flypaper and when you depart, you can roll up the tape to toss it in the trash.  No need to use nasty chemicals, either.

9.  Repair your water bottle: Have a cracked water bottle or a pierced hydration bladder? A little strip of duct tape to the rescue. Be sure to dry the surface before you try to tape your patch in place since most forms of duct tape don’t stick to wet surfaces. You can also wrap plastic water bottles with duct tape to prevent cracking and leaking.

10.  Make a spear: Strap your knife to a pole and you have a trusty spear to fend off beasts, or make one into your dinner.

11.  Create a shelter: With some trash bags and some duct tape, and you have a survival shelter roof, or sleeping bag cover, or a wind break.

12.  Wrap a sprained ankle:  If you trip and sprain your ankle, wrap the ankle with duct tape to give it some support.

13.  Make butterfly bandage strips: Cut two small strips of DT, and add a smaller strip across their centers (sticky side to sticky side) to create a makeshift butterfly suture.

14.  Make a sling: Fold a length of DT down the middle, so that it is half the original width and no longer exposing a sticky side. Use the strap to make a sling for an injured arm or shoulder.

15.  Affix bandages: Place a sterile dressing over your wound, and strap it in place with DT.

16.  Blister care:  Got a blister on your foot? Cover the blistered area with a bit of cotton gauze, and tape over the cotton. Make sure that the duct tape fully covers the cotton and doesn’t touch the blister at all.

17.  Create a splint: A broken ankle or leg can be stabilized with ample splint material, padding and duct tape.

18.  Make a crutch: Pad the crotch of a forked branch with some cloth and duct tape to fashion a quick crutch to go with your splint.

19.  Make a bandage: Fold tissue paper or paper towel to cover the wound and cover this with duct tape.

20.  Make a temporary roof shingle: If you have lost a wooden roof shingle, make a temporary replacement by wrapping duct tape in strips across a piece of 1/4-inch (6-millimeter) plywood you’ve cut to size. Wedge the makeshift shingle in place to fill the space. It will close the gap and repel water until you can repair the roof.

21.  Fix a hole in your siding:  Has the stormy weather damaged your vinyl siding? A broken tree limb tossed by the storm, hailstones, or even an errant baseball can rip your siding. Patch tears in vinyl siding with duct tape. Choose tape in a color that matches your siding and apply it when the surface is dry. Smooth your repair by hand or with a rolling pin. The patch should last at least a season or two.

22.  Tape a broken window:  Before removing broken window glass, crisscross the broken pane with duct tape to hold it all together. This will ensure a shard does not fall out and cut you.

23.  Mend a screen:  Have the bugs found the tear in your window or door screen? Thwart their entrance until you make a permanent fix by covering the hole with duct tape.

24.  Repair a trash can:  Plastic trash cans that are blown over by a storm or frozen in an ice storm often split or crack along the sides.  Repair the tear with duct tape. Just be sure the can is completely dry and tape over the crack both outside and inside.

25.  Make a belt:  Run a piece of DT through your belt loops and stick it to itself in the front. Overlap it about 4 or 5 inches and you’ll still be able to peel the belt apart when nature calls.

26.  Repair your glasses:  If your glasses break while you are out in the wilderness, tape them up.  You might look a bit nerdy but at least you will be able to see.

27.  Fix your rain gear: Keep the dry stuff dry and keep the water out by mending your ripped rain gear with a few strips of duct tape.

28.  Repair your clothing:  Repair rips and tears in your clothing by slipping a piece of tape inside the rip, sticky side out, and carefully pressing both sides of the rip together. The repair will be barely detectable.

29.  Add extra insulation in your boots:  Make your winter boots a little bit warmer by taping the insoles with duct tape, silver side up. The shiny tape will reflect the warmth of your feet back into your boots.

30.  Repair boots: If your boots have come apart or the sole has come off, perform a quick duct tape repair to help keep moisture and cold air away from your socks.

31.  Keep snow out of your boots: If the snow is so deep it goes over the tops of your boots, you can wrap the tape around them to keep the tops against your legs to keep them shut tight so that you don’t get snow inside your boots.

32.  Keep bugs and parasites out of your boots: Same concept as above, summer version. Secure the tops of your boots against your legs to bar entry to ticks, chiggers, and other creepy crawlies.

33.  Hem your pants:  No time to hem your new jeans?  Fake it with a strip of duct tape. The new hem will last through a few washes too.

34.  Make handcuffs:  Create handcuffs for the bad guys by taping their hands together around a tree to prevent them from becoming a danger to themselves or others.

35.  Mark a trail: Use duct tape to blaze a trail so you can easily find your way back.

36.  Signal for rescue: If you have brightly colored or reflective duct tape, you can use it to signal for rescue.

37.  Make emergency repairs on your Bug Out Vehicle: Repair leaking hoses, broken tail lights, windows that don’t stay and even bullet holes with strips of duct tape.

38.  Hang perimeter or security lights:  String lights around your camp with a rope make of duct tape.

39.  Make a disguise:  Using trash bags and leaves, fashion a disguise then hold it all together with duct tape so that you can hide in plain sight.

40.  Repair above ground swimming pools: Got an above ground pool as part of your water storage, fish farming, or aquaponics set up? Don’t despair if you spring a leak. Simply dry the area completely, then adhere DT on both the inside and outside of the rip or hole.  This little trick can also be used for waterbeds.

41.  Repair gutter downpipes: Wrap the joints in duct tape to secure downpipes that won’t stay together.

42.  Remove splinters: Make sure skin is perfectly dry. Apply duct tape to the area where the splinter is embedded and quickly yank it off.

43.  Repair a small boat: If you have a small fishing boat, kayak, or canoe that gets a hole or crack in it, you can repair it by drying the area thoroughly and applying duct tape on both sides. The repair may not last forever but will probably get you back to civilization.

44.  Repair work gloves: Got some heavy work gloves coming apart at the seams? Repair them by folding duct tape, sticky side in, over the seam and pressing it together.

45.  Brace broken ribs: If you’ve broken or cracked your ribs, but you still need to function, you can provide support with duct tape.  Put on a slim fitting shirt or tank top to protect your skin, then wrap your rib cage tightly with duct tape

46.  Black out your windows: Use duct tape in conjunction with heavy garbage bags to cover windows during an emergency. Nothing says “rob me” like being the only house in the neighborhood with lights on.

47.  Remove warts: Cover a planter wart with a piece of duct tape for 6 days. Replace the tape when the adhesive loosens or gets wet. After 6 days, remove the tape and soak the area with water. Then, gently rub the wart with an emery board. Repeat the procedure until the wart is gone (source).

48.  Repair leaking pipes: Making sure to dry the area completely, apply duct tape to PVC pipes that are leaking.

49.  Seal your home: In the event of a pandemic or a biological, nuclear, or chemical attack get all family members inside and seal off windows and doors securely with duct tape.

50.  Seal ammo boxes: Protect your ammunition from moisture by sealing the boxes with duct tape.


Final Word

For the past 70 years or so, duct tape has been considered somewhat of a miracle worker.  For fix-it-yourself and do-it-yourself types, duct tape has become indispensable and has been used for things that I am sure the original developers of the stuff never imagined. Can you even begin to imagine MacGyver without duct tape?  I can’t.

I personally have duct tape and its sister product, Gorilla tape, stashed all over the house, in my car, and in my various emergency kits.  I use it all the time for all sorts of things.  Just because duct tape is ubiquitous, does not lesson its usefulness.

Who is to say that it can’t go on for the next 70 years?

Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!

Gaye Levy, also known as the Survival Woman, grew up and attended school in the Greater Seattle area. After spending many years as an executive in the software industry, she started a specialized accounting practice offering contract CFO work to emerging high tech and service industries. She has now abandoned city life and has moved to a serenely beautiful rural area on an island in NW Washington State. She lives and teaches the principles of a sustainable and self-reliant lifestyle through her website at BackdoorSurvival.com. At Backdoor Survival, Gaye speaks her mind and delivers her message of prepping with optimism and grace, regardless of the uncertain times and mayhem swirling around us.

Emergency Water For Preppers Part 2: Purification


While sourcing water, and especially an adequate supply of water, is a challenge, making such water safe to drink is a whole other matter.  There is much confusion relative to the best method to use to purify water.

Is it boiling, filtering, adding bleach, distillation, or something else?  Truth be told, the answer is “it depends”.  Over time, I am starting to believe that the answer you get is dependent upon who you ask and what interests they happen to represent.

In this article, Daisy Luther, responds to the water purification questions posed by readers in a recent Prepper Book Festival giveaway.  Daisy, who is the author of The Prepper’s Water Survival Guide, is not tied to special interests and is diligent in her research.  As I mentioned in Part 1: Acquisition, she is stepping up to answer your questions and hopefully bring clarification to this all important topic of water purification.

So once again, grab a cup or bottle of good clean water and let us begin with Part Two of “Emergency Water for Preppers”.

Emergency Water for Preppers: Purification

While all of the aspects of water preparedness are vital, often the most overlooked is purification. Sometimes people outside the prepping world don’t think about the fact that the water they manage to acquire could be teeming with dangerous bacteria, sediment, and toxins. Today I’d like to address your questions about water purification.

What is the number one water filter you would recommend?

I have two different favorites.

For in-home use, I love my Big Berkey. For any time I’m away from home, I carry a Sawyer mini. We keep the mini in our backpacks, purses, and vehicles and have at least one in our possession at all times – you just never know when you might need to filter water!

What do you think of steri-pens for disinfecting water?

Steri-pens are awesome, because they are small and easy to use. They can purify up to 8000 liters of water.  They work with ultraviolet light and destroy 99.9% of the bacteria, viruses, and protozoa that could make you sick.

The potential downside of steri-pens is that they require a power source. Some, like this one, are powered by AA batteries, while others can be recharged by computers, solar panels, or a wall charger.

What do you think of the SODIS method of purifying water?

SODIS stands for solar water disinfection.

It’s pretty amazing. Put water into a PET plastic bottle (PolyEthylene Terephthalate, Recycle code #1), lay it in the sun for at least 6 hours, and boom – you have safer water. The beauty of the SODIS water purification method is that it costs next to nothing and is simple to do in nearly any location.

The outdoor temperature is irrelevant – the purification occurs from the exposure to UV rays. This is sort of like an off-grid steri-pen.

Some warnings: if the water is cloudy, you need to filter it before using this method. If the weather is cloudy or overcast, 2 days will be required to purify the water.  Be sure that your plastic bottle is absolutely clear.

This method is approved by the World Health Organization, the Red Cross, and UNICEF. (source)

For those who are concerned about the exposure to petrochemicals or BPA in the plastic, the SODIS website says that as long as you use the PET plastic bottles, the amount of exposure to those and other chemicals will be insignificant.

While this might not be my number one choice for water purification, if I was in a situation in which I didn’t have the supplies to use other methods, this would be my fallback method.

Speaking of the SODIS method, you might want to read Gaye’s review of the Puralytics Solar Bag; I know she swears by it.

Is using a WAPI (water pasteurization indicator) really adequate for heating water to a safe enough level to drink?

There are pros and cons to water pasteurization indicators.

On the pro side, a WAPI can help in situations during which you need to save fuel, since the pasteurization point of water is lower than the boiling point. They are a reliable way to heat your water quickly.  Since they’re small and inexpensive, they can be a great addition to a bug-out bag.

This being said, I’d normally just opt to boil my water, since boiling water is unmistakable and can’t malfunction. Rocket stoves take very little fuel to bring water to the boiling point.  WAPIs are really just a matter of personal preference.

What is really the best way to make sure you have clean water: filter, distill, boil, bleach, pool shock?

Distillation is probably the very safest method. When you’re capturing steam, you’ll have no debris or sediment, and the boiling required to make the steam will kill nearly all contaminants like bacteria, viruses, or protozoa.

The problem with distillation is that if water supplies are limited, you lose a lot during the process. This means it’s not the best method for every situation.

Water purification is always two-fold – you have to get rid of the chunks and you have to get rid of anything harmful living in it. If you are not distilling, most often it’s recommended to both filter and purify.

How do you use pool shock for potable water?

The great thing about storing pool shock instead of bleach is that you don’t have the limited shelf life of bleach. When a prep is this vital, you want it to be at full effectiveness when you need it the most.

Before using pool shock or any chemical purification method, filter any debris, particles and sediment out of your water.

Gaye has an excellent article with all the details on using pool shock to purify water. In summary, she wrote, “For my own use, I settled on 1 teaspoon of pool shock per gallon of water when making up my stock chlorine solution.  Then, to disinfect water, I used 3/4 ounce of my pool shock solution to treat a gallon of water.  This makes it easy to calculate how much to use, regardless of the size of your container.”

Always, always use eye protection goggles and gloves when dealing with caustic chemicals. If your water tastes funny, you can aerate it by pouring it back and forth between containers a few times.

How do you filter iron and sand from well water?

Reverse osmosis is one of the best ways to remove unwanted minerals from any kind of water, but in an off-grid scenario that isn’t going to do you much good.  Not only are most RO systems grid-dependent, but they can also be outrageously expensive.

Carbon block filters (like the kind in the Berkey systems) are your next best option for removing sediment. The more sediment in your water, the more frequently you’ll need to replace your filters. Be sure to stock up on lots of extras.  Berkeys are gravity fed and require no source of power to clean your water.

I have looked at my water heater as a 50-gallon source but our water has a lot of minerals in it.  What is the best way to clean it up for consumption?

When harvesting water from your water heater, quite often the first water that comes out will be discolored and full of sediment. Reserve this for non-consumption uses like flushing the toilet. (Regularly flushing your water heater will help keep the sediment from building up too much.) Once the water runs clear, you can collect this for drinking water.

Once you’ve collected the water, you should still purify it and filter it through something like a Berkey filter to remove any debris.

If you have a heavy buildup of lime, calcium, or other minerals, the best method for making the water safe to drink is distillation.

My question is how to make an easier homemade distiller for water. This would be helpful if one can afford a fancy distiller, but still has concerns about water quality in a less than ideal situation.

Gaye has chosen to answer this one so let me turn things over to her:

I was lucky enough to receive an advance copy of Jim Cobb’s newest book, Prepper’s Survival Hacks.  In it he addresses the question of how to build your own solar still.  Even though his book is not slated for publication until mid to late September, both Jim an his published have granted me permission to share his hack for building a survival still.

And just so you know, I agree 100% with Jim.  This is not something I would do when SODIS or some other method is more productive.


I’m going to be flat-out honest with you. I don’t in any way, shape, or form endorse the use of a solar still for acquiring water in a survival situation. I’m including it here for two reasons.

1. In any survival manual, it is almost expected that the solar still be mentioned, and its absence in this book would be noticeable.

2. I wanted to include it specifically so I could talk a bit about why you shouldn’t rely upon it.

Bucket or clean container
Large plastic tarp
Large rocks or logs
Small rock

#1  On the surface, the solar still is a fairly straightforward project. Using your shovel, dig a hole a few feet deep. At the bottom of the hole, roughly in the center, place your bucket or other clean container. Next, stretch the plastic tarp across the top of the hole using the large rocks or logs to secure it in place. Finally, place a small rock at the center of the tarp, which weighs it down above your container.

#2  The idea is that the sun will heat up the inside of that hole, causing moisture from the ground to evaporate, then condense on the bottom of the plastic tarp. It will then run along the plastic to the point above the bucket, into which it will drip.

Here’s the thing. The amount of water you’ll gain through the use of the solar still is, quite literally, a drop in the bucket compared to the amount of energy you’ll expend by digging the hole and setting everything up.

Don’t believe me? Go ahead, set one up tomorrow and see how well it performs. If you get more than 2 cups of water, you’ll be doing fairly well.

What would you recommend for a budget conscious first water filtration system?

If you want one of those pricey systems but can’t afford it, you can actually build your own version of a gravity filtration system. All you need are some basic tools, a couple of food grade buckets, and 2 or 4 Berkey filters.

I have not made this myself but have been present when someone else did, and it absolutely works like a Berkey. We did the dye test after he made it and the DIY system passed.  This is a good short term solution.

When you can manage it, I recommend upgrading to a ready-made high quality filter made with stainless steel, but this will get you through in the event of an emergency.   


The Final Word

Sometimes the pursuit of knowledge results in more questions than answers.  I hope that is true in this case because the more you ask, the more you learn.  The more you learn, the better prepared you will be following a disaster or other disruptive event.

Going forward, there will be an article answering your questions about water storage as well as a round up article providing you will links to some of the best articles on the web written by my preparedness blogging colleagues.  Plus, in case you missed it, there is Part 1, Emergency Water For Preppers: Acquisition.

As I mentioned in Part 1, one thing you can count on is that over time, I will continue to introduce you to strategies and resources that will help ensure that you have an adequate supply of water to help you maintain both hydration and sanitation, no matter what.

Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!

 Gaye Levy, also known as the Survival Woman, grew up and attended school in the Greater Seattle area. After spending many years as an executive in the software industry, she started a specialized accounting practice offering contract CFO work to emerging high tech and service industries. She has now abandoned city life and has moved to a serenely beautiful rural area on an island in NW Washington State. She lives and teaches the principles of a sustainable and self-reliant lifestyle through her website at BackdoorSurvival.com. At Backdoor Survival, Gaye speaks her mind and delivers her message of prepping with optimism and grace, regardless of the uncertain times and mayhem swirling around us.

Why Preppers Need To Focus On Local Food For Self-Reliance


Years ago, I was reading the book Surviving the Apocalypse in the Suburbs. (Great book that I highly recommend!) The premise of the book is that our future economic woes will be based on the scarcity of oil.

The author, Wendy Brown, makes an excellent case regarding our dependency on oil, but the thing that really stood out in my mind was how she had changed her family’s diet well in advance of this economic crisis. She focused her efforts on local food for self-reliance in the long run.

She discussed at length the fact that on her suburban property, in her particular climate, there were things she could produce, and things she could not. Taking it a step further, there were many things that were not available within a 100 miles of her area.  So why, she asked, would she want to base her family’s diet on foods that might not be readily available in the future? Why would she want her children to have to endure yet another drastic change should things all go to heck? Instead of rice, they focused on potatoes, for example, because that was realistic for a long-term diet in her location in rural Maine.

Eating locally means stepping away from the Standard American Diet

Eating locally is something we personally focus on. Of course, I also prep, and most of the preparedness calculators recommend things that don’t grow in any type of abundance in my area. And by “things” I mean hundreds of pounds of grains.

Several months ago we swore off grains as a family due to some health issues with my daughter, and we haven’t looked back.  I think it’s entirely possible that many of the chronic health problems being experienced in our country could be related to the exceptionally high grain-and-carbohydrate intake of the average American. It isn’t even because people are just gorging on junk food. We’re being strongly encouraged to load up our plates with “health whole grains” despite a growing body of evidence that whole grains are anything but healthy.

Did you ever pause to think that perhaps the Standard American Diet (SAD) is only standard because it benefits Big Agri?  We’re being persuaded that to be healthy we MUST consume the low-quality carbohydrate crops that corporate farms can grow in abundance and at a high profit. From a long-term production standpoint, the way most Americans eat is positively absurd.

But…what if we just said no to food from afar?

Focus on local food for self-reliance.

From a self-reliance standpoint, doesn’t it make a lot more sense to eat what grows near you? Sure, you can stock up on hundreds of pounds of rice or wheat, but if it doesn’t grow in your area, eventually you will run out. If you want to survive for the long term, you need to produce your own food. And if your skills lay in other areas, you want to focus on eating food that you can acquire locally. (Find some local farms and markets HERE)

Sticking to local foods all year long can seem like quite a challenge, especially if you live in a place with dark, cold winters. Many people rely on supplementing their local goodies with a serving of grains at every meal, even though no farms with the same area code as you even produce grains.

The number one thing I noticed when our family opted out of grains was that previously, when I tried to stay with more local foods that I could grow or acquire easily, it was always grains that caused me to veer off plan. Because, well, grains don’t grow here. But when we changed our eating habits, suddenly, self-reliance seemed a lot more achievable.

All of those things that seemed like necessities before, suddenly weren’t.  I didn’t have to make exceptions like, “I’ll buy everything locally except for flour, which I’ll buy in bulk once a year. Oh, and rice…and quinoa…and…and…and…”

~~ Okay, except for coffee. Sorry, but there’s no negotiation there.  When the SHTF and I finally run out (which will take a while, I assure you), I’ll deal with my addiction then. ~~

Where I live, I can easily produce vegetables, fruit, meat, dairy, eggs, and honey.  Who wouldn’t be thrilled with a diet full of those delicious foods?

An ancestral diet helps you focus on long-term sustainability.

Obviously, we do have some rice and quinoa in our food stockpiles. I’m not suggesting that your food storage efforts grind to a halt. If an epic disaster struck, having foods to fill in the gaps would be extremely important and it would be irresponsible not to have some items put aside. By all means, continue building your stockpile and filling it with healthful, nutritious foods.

However, place your real focus on long-term self-reliance. Learn to produce your own food. This does not mean you must grow every bite yourself, but you should figure out what can be acquired nearby. One day, “buying food” may not be as easy as going to the nearest superstore. Plan on focusing on local food for self-reliance in an uncertain future.

Take bread for example. Around here, this is totally unrealistic. Actually, it’s unrealistic for many of us. Did you know that it takes 9 square feet of growing space to grow enough wheat for only ONE loaf of bread? And the work, holy cow, the work!  My personal long-term plan doesn’t have me out there plowing acres of fields, planting and growing wheat, harvesting it, and milling it into flour. Unless you have the right climate, enough acreage, the off-grid equipment,  and the know-how, it may not be overly realistic for you either.

(excerpt from What to Eat When You Go Grain-Free)

We stick fairly closely to the Primal Blueprint, a plan developed by Mark Sisson.  (We do include beans and organic corn on occasion.)  There’s some crossover with the Paleo diet, but we consume dairy products, which are forbidden on that plan.

The common link between the two plans is that they are both considered “ancestral” diets. The Psychology of Eating defines an ancestral diet this way:

“Eating ancestrally is about ingredients, and local culture and that means what’s available to you where you are. So eating this way it will look different in Greece, Coastal France, Japan, Africa, Maine, Hawaii, California, or in the Rocky Mountain West.

Those who have done their research in this field of traditional diets, whether their approach be Paleo, Mediterranean, or following any of the Blue Zones recommendations, the goal of this style of eating is health. And those who follow an ancestral lifestyle, or way of eating, have been found to showcase some of the lowest rates of some of the most common epidemic diseases: diabetes, heart disease, neurological and behavioral disorders, cancer, high blood pressure, and others.”

This ties in with the research of Dr. Weston Price, whose book Nutrition and Physical Degeneration was originally published in the early 1900s.  Price was a dentist from Cleveland, Ohio, who traveled the world to research dental health in relation to traditional diets. What he discovered was that the change in nutrition affected far more than dental health.

Through his travels, he learned that people who had veered away from their traditional diets had much higher incidence of poor health, chronic disease, facial malformations, crooked teeth, and dental problems. His findings go hand in hand with the importance of eating the traditional and local foods that we were designed to consume. It’s simply not in our DNA to hunt or gather a box of Kraft Macaroni and Cheese.

(End of excerpt)

Because grain-free diets like Paleo and Primal tap into the ways of our hunter-gatherer ancestors, nothing could be more realistic for a prepper. A diet high in whatever you can acquire nearby is what self-reliance is all about. I’m not the only prepper who feels this way, either. Check out this article by Todd at Survival Sherpa.

Keep in mind that local for me may not be the same as local for you. While I can acquire almonds and citrus fruit from my area, you may have long, cold winters that mean your local menu is very different. A steamy tropical environment will provide you with different abundance yet again and would mean that a root cellar is out of the question, whereas those in a cool to cold climate could store a season’s worth of homegrown food underground. You may live in the middle of wheat country, which makes a loaf of bread far more viable for you than for me.

You may not be able to grow fields of wheat and rice, but there are lots of things you actually CAN produce yourself, or easily purchase from or barter with someone nearby.

  • You can grow vegetables specific to your climate.
  • You can have an orchard that will thrive in your particular climate, or trade with someone who does.
  • You can raise meat animals like chickens and rabbits, or larger livestock if you have the space.
  • You can raise animals to produce eggs and milk (On smaller properties consider dwarf and mini breeds).
  • You can preserve food in a multitude of ways. (Canning is my favorite)
  • You can save seeds so that you can do it all again next year.
  • You can breed livestock to expand your flock.
  • You can keep bees.
  • You can hunt/snare/fish for meat

Unless you live in Antarctica, it’s entirely likely that at least some, if not all, of these things are within your reach. And for now, if you can’t/won’t do these things yourself, there are probably people in your vicinity that can and do.

Don’t just prep, produce.

I believe in not only prepping, but in producing.  If you rely heavily on  things that are grown far away, what is your plan should your stockpile run out? It’s not possible for average folks to store a lifetime supply of food, so a Plan B is essential. Or, if you’re like me, production is Plan A and the stockpile is your back-up.

This doesn’t mean that every single person who’s going to survive has to become a hunter or a farmer. Those lifestyles are not for everyone. There are many different ways to produce, and if you can produce something viable, be it a good or a service, you’ll be able to barter for food. But, you’ll only be able to acquire what’s available, and that could mean some major changes for most Americans.

Should disaster strike and the stores close, you’ll have many adjustments. Your diet doesn’t have to be one of them if you begin now, the habit of either producing or acquiring your food locally.

So, share in the comments: Do you produce your own food? What foods are easy for you to produce in your part of the world?

Daisy Luther is a freelance writer and editor who lives in a small village in the Pacific Northwestern area of the United States. She is the author ofThe Pantry Primer: How to Build a One Year Food Supply in Three Months. On her website, The Organic Prepper, Daisy writes about healthy prepping, homesteading adventures, and the pursuit of liberty and food freedom. Daisy is a co-founder of the website Nutritional Anarchy, which focuses on resistance through food self-sufficiency. Daisy’s articles are widely republished throughout alternative media. You can follow her on Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter, and you can email her at [email protected]

How To Build A Survival Shelter. Your Life May Depend On It (VIDEO)


I often emphasize that your energy output coupled with your ability to adapt to the situation at hand will play a big part in how successful you are at living in a primitive setting. One of your first concerns in surviving outdoors is finding shelter. Short-term shelters are easy to construct an will serve you well in an immediate survival situation but may not last long-term. That said, if you are looking for more solid constructs, this is the video you want to watch.

If you find yourself in a long-term situation where you must shelter in the wild, you must find resources and materials that will serve the purpose of surviving the elements. Though time consuming, if left to our own devices, it is possible survive the elements. All that is needed is where to find the supplies for a shelter and the ingenuity of how to make it. Using naturally occurring materials, this video shows that sheltering in the wild is possible. This daub hut can be made solely from items found in nature.

I built this hut in the bush using naturally occurring materials and primitive tools. The hut is 2m wide and 2m long, the side walls are 1m high and the ridge line (highest point) is 2m high giving a roof angle of 45 degrees. A bed was built inside and it takes up a little less than half the hut. The tools used were a stone hand axe to chop wood, fire sticks to make fire, a digging stick for digging and clay pots to carry water. The materials used in the hut were wood for the frame, vine and lawyer cane for lashings and mud for daubing. Broad leaves were initially used as thatch which worked well for about four months before starting to rot. The roof was then covered with sheets of paper bark which proved to be a better roofing material (*peeling the outer layer of bark does not kill this species of tree). An external fireplace and chimney were also built to reduce smoke inside. The hut is a small yet comfortable shelter and provides room to store tools and materials out of the weather. The whole hut took 9 months from start to finish. But it only took 30 days of actual work (I abandoned it for a few months before adding bark roof, chimney and extra daub).

Tess Pennington is the editor for ReadyNutrition.com. After joining the Dallas chapter of the American Red Cross in 1999, Tess worked as an Armed Forces Emergency Services Center specialist and is well versed in emergency and disaster management and response. Tess is the author of The Prepper’s Cookbook: 300 Recipes to Turn Your Emergency Food into Nutritious, Delicious, Life-Saving Meals. When a catastrophic collapse cripples society, grocery store shelves will empty within days. But by following Tess’s tips for stocking, organizing, and maintaining a proper emergency food supply, your family will have plenty to eat for weeks, months, or even years.

Homesteaders And Preppers: We Are All On The Same Team


I’m not sure why people so often feel the need to be smug and put down others for their self-reliance efforts. Maybe it’s because they need to feel superior. Maybe they don’t actually see the entire picture, and their opinions are based on only partial information. Maybe, giving the benefit of the doubt, they don’t realize how demoralizing their comments are to others who are doing the best they can with the resources they have.

The other day, I saw a comment that made me see red. A person said, “The more time I spend in the self-sufficiency space, the more I’m convinced that homesteading really is the grown up version of prepping.”

Why does it have to be like that? Why does one have to be considered “better” than the other? Either way, people are getting prepared for the worst, so is it really necessary to claim that your way is the only way? Homesteaders and preppers; I always thought we were on the same team.

It’s just plain divisive. There are pros and cons to both. I took to Facebook to see what the community thinks about homesteading versus prepping.

Homesteaders vs. Preppers

After I saw that comment, I wanted to know if it was just me, or if others felt the same way.  (And please, if you aren’t in the Facebook community, weigh in on this topic in the comments – I really want to know what you think.)

I posted:

I went ballistic when I saw this quote: “Homesteading is the grown-up version of prepping”. WTF? As far as I am concerned, Prepping is the grown-up version of homesteading.

Am I right or wrong? Do I need to get a grip? What are your thoughts?

There was a wide range of answers and some incredible insights.  The quotes here are not edited, but appear just as they were posted on Facebook.

Many were baffled over why this was even a discussion since the two lifestyles are different roads to the same destination.

Some people agreed that there was no reason to put one type of self-reliance over another.

As someone once said to me “Every homesteader is a prepper (necessity) but not every prepper is a homesteader.” Honestly, they are so closely linked that the lines are almost non-existent.

Both mindsets are a matter of taking responsibility for yourself and those around you. Putting one over the other is unnecessary. Everyone has their own focus and needs.

Prepping leads us to homesteading, but I think they sort of go hand in hand, depending on how serious a person is willing to go and how they go about it-just my 2-cents

Both are about being more self sufficient. I think they intertwine. Lot of homesteaders prep, and lot of preppers practice some form of homesteading

I think being derogatory to either life-style or mind-set is very unproductive. They actually go hand-in-hand with each other. If a “homesteader” is not considered a “prepper” then they are doing it wrong, because homesteading means putting food, money, etc. by for a less productive season. (i.e. harvesting & canning all summer to eat all winter). Preppers just put food, money, etc., away for a lean season of life, not a season of the year.

Here on our little farm we garden all summer to get ready for winter, but we also have our “preps” for which we have had to rely lately with my husband being laid off. Our garden is also not very productive this year, thanks to very heavy rains…but on the flip side, our chickens have been paying for themselves & the other animals’ feed all summer with the sale of eggs. Being self-sufficient is a good thing, and neither shouldn’t be thought of as “exclusive”.

When you homestead, and get use to being self sufficient, with growing your own food, raising your own livestock, canning, freezing, freeze drying, smoking meats, etc; you tend to awaken to prepping as an additional necessity. Being self sufficient isn‘t enough any longer. They are compatible. I’ve even seen some folks in the cities and suburbs begin prepping, and realize they need to move. So they buy some land and begin homesteading to expand prepping. Hand and glove for both.

I don’t think homesteading is a grown up version of prepping. I think homesteading and prepping are being GROWN up and aware.

Others agreed with the concept that homesteading was superior.

Homesteaders usually tend to focus on long term sustainability and know how to do a lot more for themselves. Preppers tend to be city kids with money who want to protect what they have amassed. They are usually fond of gadgets and guns. Just an observation of what I’ve seen and experienced personally. Not trying to offend anyone. I’m happily in the middle.

Homesteading is a way of life!!! A lifestyle choice to live today in a more sustainable self-sufficient manner (no matter what tomorrow brings). Prepping is trying to stay prepared for what might happen so you can live tomorrow. I choose today.

Whoa! As someone who has homesteaded for the past 17 years and actually walked the walk, I can assure you that there is so much more to it that any prepper will ever comprehend. I hate for this to sound so self-righteous, but it is just simply true.

Let’s compare: Most preppers go click happy on amazon and squirrel away a bunch of goodies, maybe tests out some gear once a year on a camping trip and spends Saturday mornings at the shooting range. Great, I think that is fabulous and every urbanite should do that.

Now lets examine a homesteader who trudges to the barns and fields 365 days a year, hot or cold. Collects the milk, churns butter, makes cheese, keeps their tractors running, puts their animals care above their own, plows the garden(a real half acre garden, not just two tomatoes plants and a zucchini) plants dozens of rows of seeds that they collected and saved from last year, then spends 120 days hoeing weeds, pruning, picking canning, drying, freezing, saving more seeds for next year. Lets not forget about cutting wood to keep warm and quilting, and sewing clothing. If you define grown-up as more responsibilities and duties, then clearly real homesteading is more grown-up.

I think prepping is a step to homesteading. A homesteader is the finished product.

I’m leaning towards prepping being a paranoid version of homesteading.

Homesteaders and preppers: why does one have to be considered better than the other? Click To Tweet

Others thought that prepping was the way to go.

I’m with you on this Gaye. I am certainly not A “homesteader” but being an apartment prepper, I am privileged to purchase items for survival and purchase food items from farmers markets to can in jars. I also purchase food from vendors in the grocery store, however I prefer fresh veggies, fruit and eggs. Saying all that to say. I put my money, earned from other sources toward the benefit of homesteaders who are privileged to earn by labor for their own prepping. I don’t even consider “grown-up” as part of the prepping vocabulary.

We all accomplish the same goal, just in different ways. I happen to like ours better. So your not wrong, for sure…and I certainly could not have done this for over two years, without your guidance!!! Thanks millions!!

Prepping is not a childish activity, first off, it is the next step beyong homesteading, or rather, an extension of it, the next logical step. If it is homesteading to put up your harvest for the winter, prepping would be putting up enough for next winter too.

Here’s what I think.

Some of the most prepared families on the planet live in cities, have jobs, and send their kids to school. They are not second class preppers because they do not homestead and produce 100% of what they consume in terms of power, food, and medicine.

Our society needs all types to survive and flourish. We need teachers, doctors, merchants, accountants, leaders, and worker-bees. Everyone is important and to set aside homesteaders as a superior class of prepper is just wrong.  You can (and should) be prepared no matter where you live.

I have written about homesteading in place and a guest author wrote a great series about homesteading when you rent. But glorifying homesteading and homesteaders over and above all others that live a preparedness lifestyle? No.

Everyone can be prepared in one way or another. It is not about always producing your own food. Sometimes your garden flops – that is real life and if it happens, you’d better be prepared to feed your family regardless.

To those that feel they are better prepped by homesteading than others who are not homesteaders, let me ask you this: who is going to rebuild society if it all goes to crap (SHTF)?

I can guarantee that it will take all types from all walks of life.  Let’s build each other up instead of tearing each other down. Let’s offer equal respect to the entire self-reliance community for the different gifts that they bring to the table.   


The Final Word

This is a topic I have been mulling for a month or two.  After reading the comments on Facebook, I was able to calm down and get a grip.  At the end of the day one side is not a winner and the other is not a loser.

For those that care to set themselves apart as superior, I say get over it.  Instead of embracing our differences, let us band together in unity.

We are in this together.

Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!

Gaye Levy, also known as the Survival Woman, grew up and attended school in the Greater Seattle area. After spending many years as an executive in the software industry, she started a specialized accounting practice offering contract CFO work to emerging high tech and service industries. She has now abandoned city life and has moved to a serenely beautiful rural area on an island in NW Washington State. She lives and teaches the principles of a sustainable and self-reliant lifestyle through her website at BackdoorSurvival.com. At Backdoor Survival, Gaye speaks her mind and delivers her message of prepping with optimism and grace, regardless of the uncertain times and mayhem swirling around us.

Emergency Water For Preppers Part 1: Acquisition


When it comes to planning for a disruptive event, nothing tops the quest for a source of good clean drinking water.  Water followed by food, are the top priorities for 99.9% of all new preppers and even the seasoned pros still seek knowledge relative to keeping themselves both hydrated and fed.

What is most surprising is that as much my colleagues and I write abut water, there are still questions to be answered and water-related skills to be learned.  For that reason I have chosen to declare “Water Month” at Backdoor Survival.

The highlight of water month, which, by the way, is actually stretching into two months, is an exclusive series of answers to questions submitted by readers.  These questions, and there were a ton of them, were part of a recent Prepper Book Festival giveaway.

I am thrilled and honored that Daisy Luther, the author of The Prepper’s Water Survival Guide, has stepped up to answer your questions in Parts One through Three of this series on Emergency Water for Preppers.  There is more in store, including a roundup of 100% free resources for information of emergency water as well a fantastic giveaway.

So grab a cup or bottle of good clean water and let us begin with Part One of “Emergency Water for Preppers”.

Emergency Water for Preppers: Acquisition

When Gaye posted the review of my book, The Prepper’s Water Survival Guide, she asked me if I’d be interested in responding to some questions on the topic. I was very excited because I can’t think of a more vital discussion than water.

Out of all the things we prep, water is both the most vital and the most overlooked. Many times, people are far more interested in stocking food and ammo, because those categories have lots of variety. Do you want freeze-dried food or home canned goods? What is your firearm of choice? So much bandwidth on the internet has been used up on these topics.

And while it’s very important to have a loaded pantry and to be able to protect your home and family, it’s even more important to have something to drink. The lack of safe drinking water will kill you far more quickly than starvation will. In fact, you’ll only last a matter of days without it.

There were so many awesome questions that I’ve broken them into a few different articles. Today, let’s talk about acquiring drinking water.

If a disaster lasts long enough, eventually your supplies are going to run out, no matter how much you have stored.  Even though the earthquake in Haiti happened more than 5 years ago, many people have been without a source of running water ever since. A way to acquire water is essential. The following questions all have to do with the safe and reliable acquisition of water.

How can I safely and efficiently collect rainwater for consumption?

If you get sufficient precipitation in your area, rainwater collection is a viable option for water acquisition.

People often think of rain as pure and natural, but it picks up pollutants in the air and off of any surfaces it touches on the way to your collection barrel.  The way you collect it isn’t as important as what you do with the water after collection. You must always filter out the sediment and purify the water before consuming it.

I recommend the rain barrels that you can attach to the downspouts on your roof. If you intend to consume the water you collect, be sure that you purchase food grade rain barrels.

You’ll need to strain out sediment with a cheesecloth or even a coffee filter then run through a Berkey, boil, distill, or treat with bleach or pool shock.

As far as roofs are concerned, if you have the opportunity to replace a shingled roof with a metal roof, consider that the metal roof is far better for water acquisition because it doesn’t have particles ready to break free and contaminate your water, nor does it have the tiny nooks and crannies that soak up the rainfall.

What is the best way to filter water coming in from downspouts without clogging the water?

Some people use a mesh screen between the downspout and the water barrel to trap the particles, leaves, and other debris before it can enter your collection container. This will, however, clog up and can cause you to lose the water you had intended to collect.

To prevent this, you need to make a habit of regularly cleaning out your screen trap. For a double dose of protection, there are also downspout filters that will catch the larger debris before it reaches your screen. These are placed higher up on the downspout and have a collection area that is easy to access and clean.

Do you have any recommendations for OPSEC when it comes to water? For example rain barrels outside your home could be a red flag that there is a well-stocked pepper in that house if looters come by in a crisis…

There are some really pretty rain collection containers that look like large urns or planters. They’re designed to look like part of your exterior decor.

You can choose containers that go with the trim of your house to make them stand out a bit less. Other options you might consider are either fencing your backyard with privacy fencing or building some type of attractive screen around your water barrels that looks like part of the decor.

I’ve read about a gadget you can build that will remove water from the air – even when the air is dry. It sounds pretty far fetched to me. Is there any truth to such a thing?

These are called atmospheric water generators. They work by removing the ambient humidity from the air.  They’ve actually been around for centuries. The ancient Incas kept their people alive by collecting dew and channeling it into reservoirs.

More recently, a young Australian student won the Dyson Award in 2011 for his innovative take on the device. According to Gizmag, here’s how it works:

“The Airdrop irrigation concept is a low-tech design that uses the simple process of condensation to harvest water from the air. Utilizing a turbine intake system, air is channeled underground through a network of piping that quickly cools the air to soil temperature. This process creates an environment of 100-percent humidity, from which water is then harvested. The collected water is stored in an underground tank, ready to be pumped out via sub-surface drip irrigation hosing.”

Sounds miraculous, right? There are a couple of downsides.

Most devices that are available require a large amount of power to extract the water. Another issue is that if you live in an area without a lot of humidity (you know, the kind of place where you’d really need to extract water from the air because there IS no water otherwise), you aren’t going to get more than a few drops using this method. It might be viable in the tropics or in the Deep South during the muggy summer weather.

I hear people almost screaming “Do not drink distilled water!”  What are your thoughts about having a water still and drinking only distilled water? Would a major disaster make any difference in how you feel?

The reason people warn against drinking distilled water is because the distillation process doesn’t only remove the undesirable things, but it also removes the healthy minerals.  If a person is dehydrated, water totally bereft of minerals will not help to replenish electrolytes and should be supplemented with an electrolyte powder.

But that’s not the only downside. The EPA warns, “Distilled water, being essentially mineral-free, is very aggressive, in that it tends to dissolve substances with which it is in contact. Notably, carbon dioxide from the air is rapidly absorbed, making the water acidic and even more aggressive. Many metals are dissolved by distilled water.” (source)

So based on these things, I wouldn’t make distilled water my every day choice.

This being said, I’d certainly prefer to drink distilled water over contaminated water. If you’re distilling your water to purify it during an emergency, and keep in mind that a severely dehydrated person will need supplemental electrolytes, it’s unlikely to hurt you as a temporary water solution.

Can you drink the water from your swimming pool?

This is a question I get asked a lot. Everyone says, “Oh, there’s chlorine in the pool water and that keeps it safe.”

Unfortunately, there’s a lot more than chlorine in the water. There are all sorts of chemicals, including stuff to kill algae.  Unless the pool is your own, you have no idea what treatments have been used in it. Algaecide will make you very sick if you consume more than a mouthful from time to time when swimming.

But it gets worse. If the power has gone out, the pumps will stop running. The pumps are what keeps the water filtered and fairly clear of bacteria and fungi that grow there, After a couple of days, there will be so many contaminants in the swimming pool water that the chemicals would be the least of your worries. After a couple of weeks, the water will be stagnant,and will make you very ill.

Of course, before stuff begins growing in it, the 20,000 gallons of water sitting in your pool can easily be used for sanitation purposes. And, if you are really desperate, you can also treat the water and make it safer for consumption.

  • Immediately after the power goes out, put a cover on the pool.  The UV rays from the sun will reduce the effectiveness of the chlorine quickly, causing algae to grow sooner.
  • If the pool is yours and you know it has only been treated with chlorine, you can prepare some of the water for drinking.
  • Purify the pool water by boiling it
  • Run it through a high quality filter such as the Berkey.
  • Allow the water to sit in a container with the lid off for a couple of hours before consuming it. If you want to drink it immediately, pour it back and forth between two containers to aerate it.

Pool water should only be used for consumption as a last resort.   


The Final Word

Whereas there were not a lot of questions pertaining to the acquisition of water, the questions that were asked were good ones. After all, it does not take a PhD to figure out that one of the biggest challenges following a disruptive event will be finding a source of water to supplement what you already have.

In closing, I want to remind you that there are many more questions that will be answered in the subsequent “Water Month” articles.  Coming soon:

Emergency Water For Preppers: Part 2 – Purification
Emergency Water For Preppers: Part 3 – Storage
Emergency Water For Preppers: Part 4 – Resources You Need to Know About

One thing you can count on is that over time, I will continue to introduce you to strategies and resources that will help ensure that you have an adequate supply of water to help you maintain both hydration and sanitation, no matter what.

And please, if you have additional questions regarding the acquisition of water, do leave a comment below.

Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!

Gaye Levy, also known as the Survival Woman, grew up and attended school in the Greater Seattle area. After spending many years as an executive in the software industry, she started a specialized accounting practice offering contract CFO work to emerging high tech and service industries. She has now abandoned city life and has moved to a serenely beautiful rural area on an island in NW Washington State. She lives and teaches the principles of a sustainable and self-reliant lifestyle through her website at BackdoorSurvival.com. At Backdoor Survival, Gaye speaks her mind and delivers her message of prepping with optimism and grace, regardless of the uncertain times and mayhem swirling around us.

It Is Time To Kick Prepping Into Overdrive, Because This Stock Market Crash Is Just The Beginning


If you have not been preparing for what is coming, you need to get off your sofa and you need to start prepping right now.  Just remember what happened back in 2008.  That crisis took most people totally by surprise.  Millions of Americans lost their jobs, and because most of them were living paycheck to paycheck, all of a sudden most of them couldn’t pay the rent or the mortgage either.  Large numbers of families that were once living a comfortable middle class lifestyle suddenly found themselves destitute.  Well, this coming crisis is going to be even worse by the time it is all said and done, and it is not just going to be economic in nature.  Over the past two trading days, the Dow has gone down more than a thousand points.  The shaking that so many have warned about has begun.  As this shaking plays out, you and your family will need cash, food, supplies and a whole bunch of other things.  If you do not already have everything prepared, then you need to kick your prepping into overdrive because we are on a very compressed time frame now.

But don’t just take my word for it.  A top adviser to former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown named Damian McBride is saying the same thing

A former adviser to Gordon Brown has urged people to stock up on canned goods and bottled water as stock markets around the world slide.

And he didn’t just speak in generalities.  According to an article in one of the most important newspapers in the UK, McBride is urging his fellow citizens to do some very specific things…

“Advice on the looming crash, No.1: get hard cash in a safe place now; don’t assume banks & cashpoints will be open, or bank cards will work,” he tweeted.

“Crash advice No.2: do you have enough bottled water, tinned goods & other essentials at home to live a month indoors? If not, get shopping.

“Crash advice No.3: agree a rally point with your loved ones in case transport and communication gets cut off; somewhere you can all head to.”

All of that is great advice.

But I wonder why he is so concerned about people being able to live a month indoors.  Does he know something that the rest of us do not?

Others are issuing similar ominous warnings.  The following is an excerpt from a recent article by Chuck Baldwin that seemed to be written with an unusual sense of urgency…

I suggest you have a supply of food and water to last at least three months. Many survival experts insist that a six-month supply is the minimum. Personally, I can live a long time on tuna fish or peanut butter. You can purchase MREs from a variety of sources, as well as camp-style packaged food from many sporting goods stores. Of course, bottled water is available everywhere during normal times. Stock up! Distilled water will store longer than spring water. Plus, I suggest you have some water purification tablets or a Katadyn water filter on hand. And, if you are able, prepare to grow your own food. In cold weather climates such as we have here in Montana, people quickly learn how to construct and utilize greenhouses in which to grow food. Canning food is another very helpful hedge against deprivation. If your parents and grandparents lived through the Great Depression as mine did, this was standard operating procedure.

Get a generator. Keep a supply of fuel on hand. Stay stocked up on batteries, candles, portable lights, first aid supplies, and toiletries–especially toilet paper and toothpaste. I also suggest you never run out of lighters or matches. You never know when you’ll need to build a fire. If you live in a cold weather climate, you probably already have some sort of wood stove or fireplace.

You can read the rest of that outstanding article right here.

Similar sentiments were expressed in a recent piece by prepper extraordinaire Daisy Luther

  • Take your money out of the bank ASAP.  If you still keep your money in the bank, go there and remove as much as you can while leaving in enough to pay your bills. Although it wasn’t a market collapse in Greece recently, the banks did close and limit ATM withdrawals.  People went for quite some time without being able to access their money, but were able to have a sense of normalcy by transferring money online to pay bills or using their debit cards to make purchases.  Get your cash out. You don’t want to be at the mercy of the banks.
  • Stock up on supplies.  Make sure you are prepped. If you’re behind on your preparedness efforts and need to do this quickly, you can order buckets of emergency food just to have some on hand. (Learn how to build an emergency food supply using freeze dried food HERE) Hit the grocery store or wholesale club and stock up there, too, on  your way home.
  • Load up on fuel.  Fill up your gas tank and fill your extra cans also. Quite often, fuel prices skyrocket in the wake of a market crash.
  • Be prepared for the potential of civil unrest. If the banks put a limit on withdrawals (or close like they did in Greece) you can look for some panic to occur. If the stores dramatically increase prices or close..more panic. Be armed and be prepared to stay safely at home. (Although this article was written during the Ferguson race riots, civil unrest follows a similar pattern regardless of the cause.)
  • Be prepared for the possibility of being unable to pay your bills. If things really go downhill, the middle class and those who are the working poor will be the most strongly affected, as they have been in Greece during that country’s ongoing financial crisis.  This article talks about surviving if you are unable to pay all of your bills.

Every family is facing a different set of circumstances, so “prepping” is not going to look the same for everyone.  What may make sense for you may not make sense for me.  But the truth is that we all need to get prepared for what is coming, because time is running out.

As I have discussed repeatedly, I have more of a sense of urgency about the last six months of 2015 than I have ever had about any other other specific period of time.  That is why the book that I recently co-authored with survivalist expert Barbara Fix is entitled “Get Prepared NOW“.  The word “NOW” is in larger print than everything else on the front cover because I really wanted to emphasize the urgency of what we are facing.

If you think that you can wait until next year to start getting prepared, you are going to be too late.

This stock market crash is just the beginning.  Next month we are witnessing a convergence of events that is pretty much unprecedented.  If you would like to learn more, here are some places to get started…

-“The Big List Of 33 Things That Are Going To Happen In September 2015

-“The Russian Media Is Talking About What Is Coming In September, But The U.S. Media Has Been Strangely Silent

-“The Mystery Of September 23: Why Does 9/23 Keep Popping Up All Over the Place?

-“10 Things That Are Going To Happen Within 15 Days Of The End Of The Shemitah

The relative stability of the past few years has lulled millions of Americans into a state of complacency.

And even our politicians are displaying a stunning level of complacency.  For example, even though our nation is rapidly going down the toilet, Barack Obama has played more than 1,100 hours of golf while he has been in the White House.

It is time for all of us to awaken from our slumber, because life in America is about to dramatically change.

Do you have some specific tips to share with those that are trying to get prepared for what is coming?  Please feel free to join the discussion by posting a comment below…

Michael T. Snyder is a graduate of the McIntire School of Commerce at the University of Virginia and has a law degree and an LLM from the University of Florida Law School. He is an attorney that has worked for some of the largest and most prominent law firms in Washington D.C. and who now spends his time researching and writing and trying to wake the American people up. You can follow his work on The Economic Collapse blog, End of the American Dream and The Truth Wins. His new novel entitled “The Beginning Of The End” is now available on Amazon.com.