Tag Archives: preparedness

Living Life The Old Fashioned Way

oldfashioned

There is a tendency in all of us to compare the old to the new.  This is especially true in the preparedness community where in anticipation of hard times ahead, we look to our parents and grandparents for ideas for living a self-reliant and sustainable life.

I have been thinking about that a lot lately; even to the extent that I have considered sewing up some long skirts and pioneer-style aprons that will hold up to a week or two of wear without laundering.  Seriously.

Anyway, the following piece has been circulating the web for awhile.  I thought it was worth bringing back since it describes a not-so-long ago time when the term “green” referred to the color of your grass or the money in your pocket (green stuff).

As I was reading this, it occurred to me that many of these old fangled ways of doing things fall right in line with what each of us would be required to do in a crisis or emergency with limited sources of power, few goods available on the shelves, and a cost of living so high that there was little left for discretionary spending.

Perhaps it is time to redefine “green” in old-fashioned terms.

The Old-fashioned, Old Fogey Rules of Sustainability

In the line at the store, the cashier told the older woman that she should bring her own grocery bag because plastic bags weren’t good for the environment. The woman apologized to him and explained, “We didn’t have the green thing back in my day.”

The clerk responded, “That’s our problem today. The former generation did not care enough to save our environment.”

He was right, that generation didn’t have the green thing in its day. Back then, they returned their milk bottles, soda bottles and beer bottles to the store. The store sent them back to the plant to be washed and sterilized and refilled, so it could use the same bottles over and over. So they really were recycled.

But they didn’t have the green thing back in that customer’s day. In her day, they walked up stairs, because they didn’t have an escalator in every store and office building. They walked to the grocery store and didn’t climb into a 300-horsepower machine every time they had to go two blocks.

But she was right. They didn’t have the green thing in her day.

Back then, they washed the baby’s diapers because they didn’t have the throw-away kind. They dried clothes on a line, not in an energy gobbling machine burning up 220 volts – wind and solar power really did dry the clothes. Kids got hand-me-down clothes from their brothers or sisters, not always brand-new clothing. But that old lady is right; they didn’t have the green thing back in her day.

Back then, they had one TV, or radio, in the house – not a TV in every room. And the TV had a small screen the size of a handkerchief, not a screen the size of the state of Montana. In the kitchen, they blended and stirred by hand because they didn’t have electric machines to do everything for them.

In summer, they slept with the windows open, perhaps even out on sleeping porches, because most homes and apartments lacked air conditioning. Some people still live in those archeological relics in most cities today.  When they packaged a fragile item to send in the mail, they used a wadded up old newspaper to cushion it, not Styrofoam or plastic bubble wrap.

Back then, they didn’t fire up an engine and burn gasoline just to cut the lawn. They used a push mower that ran on human power. They exercised by working so they didn’t need to go to a health club to run on treadmills that operate on electricity.  But she’s right; they didn’t have the green thing back then.

They drank from a fountain when they were thirsty instead of using a cup or a plastic bottle every time they had a drink of water. They refilled their writing pens with ink  instead of buying a new pen, and they replaced the razor blades in a razor instead of throwing away the whole razor just because the blade got dull. But they didn’t have the green thing back then.

Back then, people took the streetcar or a bus and kids rode their bikes to school or rode the school bus instead of turning their moms into a 24-hour taxi service. They had one electrical outlet in a room, not an entire bank of sockets to power a dozen appliances. And they didn’t need a computerized gadget to receive a signal beamed from satellites 2,000 miles out in space in order to find the nearest pizza joint.

But isn’t it sad the current generation laments how wasteful the old folks were just because they didn’t have the green thing back then?

The Final Word

To use a cliché, there is some serious stuff going down.  My tin foil hat is rattling itself as it sits on the shelf, and I am at full-time alert waiting for the next shoe to drop.  Because of that, I chose to lighten things up today.  Stay tuned for more of our regular  programming on Wednesday!

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.

The Pros And Cons Of Being A Suburban Prepper

The-Pros-and-Cons-of-Being-a-Suburban-Prepper

“Everyone who lives in the city is going to die when the SHTF.”

Have you ever been on a preparedness website and read that? It makes my blood boil, and not just because it’s a negative and discouraging thing to say. I am also not convinced that it’s correct.  Wherever you live, there are pros and cons, and your job as a prepper is to maximize the positive aspects of your location while taking steps to minimize the negative aspects.

This is especially true when it comes to the suburban prepper.

Although the mindset of those living in a rural community is, by necessity, more oriented toward self-reliance, living in the cities or suburbs is a fact of life for many.  Those sites or commenters which blithely tell people to pack up and head for the country are completely unrealistic.

There are many reasons that relocating is impractical for lots of folks who live in urban areas. Here are a few:

  • Elderly family members they care for who won’t relocate
  • Kids in school
  • Health concerns/medical care
  • Jobs – in this economy it is a bold move to let go of a sure thing
  • Owing more on a mortgage than you can sell your house for
  • Custody orders for minor children
  • The expense of a major relocation

So while the internet may act as though “moving” is an easy solution, there’s a lot more to it.

Because you don’t know the circumstances of others, it’s never a good idea to disparage where they live. While you may be very happy with your current location, that doesn’t actually mean it’s better than other locations. Each setting has its own benefits, and often you don’t realize what they are unless you’ve lived there. Comprehensive preparedness planning can make a home in the suburbs or city safe and well-stocked.

So, whether you live in a place with authoritarian laws, high population density, not enough space for self-reliance activities, or unfortunate weather conditions, the fact remains: you need to make the best of where you are. Every place on the planet has pros and cons.

In her recent article, “Bloom Where You’re Planted: Prepping to Survive Where You Are Right Now,” my friend Daisy Luther wrote:

While your current situation may be less than ideal, you have to remember that very few locations are actually perfect for prepping. Nearly anywhere you live will be subject to some type of extreme weather, be it crippling cold, blazing heat, drought, tornadoes, or hurricanes. Chemical spills can taint water supplies anywhere. Riots and civil unrest can occur outside of the big city.

The point is, to borrow an old saying, you just have to bloom where you’re planted.

There are many things you can do to create a viable preparedness plan wherever you happen to live.  Apartment dwellers at the top of a city high rise, folks in the middle of the desert, those in a beachfront condo, and people in HOA-ruled suburban lots all have to examine their situations, figure out their pros and cons, and work towards resolving what they can.  With some pre-planning, there is a lot you can overcome if you have the right mindset.  I suspect there are just as many (and probably far more) preppers living in the ‘burbs than there are living in perfect rural locations, with a lake, 10 acres of cultivated farmland, and an off-grid house.

Stop waiting until you move to the perfect location. Make preparations for the situation you have, not the situation you want.

The Pros of Living in an Urban Location

Urban locations are not without their benefits.  Here are a few pros for areas with higher populations.

1. There is ease of availability for supplies.

If you live out in the middle of Timbuktu, a stock-up trip takes a lot of planning.  I live on an island that requires a ferry ride to get to the mainland for shopping. If we needed to purchase last minute supplies, it would be a lot more difficult than just making a quick dash to the store.

For others who live remotely, “going to the store” can mean several hours in the car for the round trip, making it impractical to hit a good sale unless you have an outing planned during that time anyway. For those who are nearby, running across town to save some money is much more realistic.

2. A higher population means that you are less likely to have to go it alone.

Good neighbors can be a blessing. Do you have a friendly neighbor who would take responsibility for your kids if a disaster struck? In the event of civil unrest, your community can band together to combine skills and keep the neighborhood safe.

Ferfal, who wrote about surviving the Argentinian economic collapse, said that living in the country was absolutely not a guarantee of safety, because the isolation made families easier targets for home invasions.

3. In the event of an all-out disaster scenario, there are more resources for scavenging.

I’m not talking about a short-term incident of civil unrest with people looting televisions. But once you realize a situation has become long-term and that the way we lived before has ended, you may decide that it’s time to make a supply run to places which have been abandoned.

Scavenging is very different from looting! This will be easier, not to mention safer, if it’s closer to home.

4. Smaller spaces are easier to protect.

If it came down to just you and your family, do you feel like you could properly defend multiple acres from the unprepared? It takes a lot of manpower to cover fences and access points for that much land. However, a well-fenced suburban lot can be adequately guarded by only 1 or 2 people. With some creative planning,  you can be far more self-reliant than you would imagine in small spaces.

5. Urban areas are less likely to deal with specific scenarios.

Things like wildfires rarely threaten urban areas, but those living out in the secluded forest are far more at risk. As well, there are a number of predators the further you get from civilization. If you were to encounter a medical emergency, it takes someone in the country substantially longer to get help than it does someone in the city.

The Cons of an Urban Environment

Even with the benefits mentioned above, of course, there are also valid reasons that so many preppers strive to avoid living in the city. To be absolutely clear, while I don’t think everyone has to live in the boondocks, I do feel like the suburbs are somewhat safer than being right downtown.

Here are a few negative points to urban living:

1. When you live in the city, you’re more easily contained and controlled.

In the event of a martial law scenario, you will be far easier to corral if you are one of the people densely packed in an area that can be road blocked and guarded. Door-to-door searches for supplies or weapons can be much more efficiently undertaken in the city than they would be in a place where the homes are several miles apart.

2. Large population density means more competition for potentially limited resources.

While there are more resources to be had in an urban area, there are also more people looking for those resources. This means that if you are in competition for those resources, you either have to be early and get them before someone else does, or you must be more forceful than the other people going after those supplies.

3. The mob mentality can be very dangerous.

A mob mentality can be contagious. When swept up in an angry group, people will do things they’d never ordinarily do, and this can mean great peril. Think about the Black Friday shopping sprees where folks trample others just to get the deal on a bigger TV. Now imagine those people are hungry and they know you have food you aren’t sharing. You get the idea.

4. If you live in a high rise without direct access to the outdoors, it can be difficult to be self-reliant.

If you have a balcony, you can manage to grow some food for yourself. However, if you live in an apartment without any outdoor space at all, things get a lot trickier. That means you are unable to have micro livestock for protein, you probably have limited storage space for food and water, and growing vegetables will be difficult.  Without outdoor space, sanitation becomes more difficult as well.

5. City life is expensive.

Generally speaking, living in the city is a lot pricier than living in the country. Because of access to jobs, cultural activities, and educational facilities, places in town are in much higher demand. When you are spending double the amount on rent or mortgage, it can be harder to set aside money for prepping.   

The Final Word

The fact is, we live where we live. There are many more people in our country living in suburban and urban areas, and lots of them are preppers. Disparaging the place where another chooses to live is short-sighted. Most of us weren’t born preppers, and we when we wake up and see the light, we can’t change our entire lives overnight. Besides that, there are numerous issues that can keep us in a location regardless of whether or not it’s ideal.

Before looking down on a person who lives in a place that you might consider undesirable, stop and think of all the reasons it may be necessary for them to remain there. And remember, country homesteads are not immune to disaster, either.

Wherever you live, take steps now to make the best of it. Find resources, build your stockpile, and prepare. No place is perfect and we can all improve our chances, regardless of where we live.

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.

The World Is A Mess: A Quick Primer For Beginner Preppers

(Credit: discpicture via Shutterstock)

(Credit: discpicture via Shutterstock)

For seven years, my family and I have been preparing ourselves for a long-term economic depression to occur. I have watched events occur that affected our food supply and our transportation. I have seen diseases and illness that were considered eradicated in this country make a come back and threaten our wellbeing. I held my breath hoping this wouldn’t be the triggering event that would cause our great country to go under and used those catastrophes to see holes in my preps and filled them the best I could. I knew the only control I had was to prepare for them; so I kept my head down and pressed on. I am writing this today because I feel that we are quickly approaching a time when action must be taken. Sadly, a vast majority of the population refuses to see the economic storm approaching and many will be ill-equipped to survive such an ordeal.

Admit to yourself that in the past five years, our country has drastically changed. Localized events are now increasing with more and more volatility. Former secretary of state, Madeleine Albright said it best, “The world is a mess.” Quite literally, the world as we know is being altered from the once easygoing lifestyles we have grown accustomed to into a unstable mercurial powder keg ready to explode. At the forefront of these issues is the economic disasters playing out in Greece and China causing many to wonder whether or not the dominoes will finally drop. In the U.S., many believe the Federal Reserve hasn’t done enough to prepare the markets for this type of instability. Food prices are inflating because many of the food staples we have grown accustomed to have reached their peak. Increased government taxation will also cause a slow degradation to our once flourishing nation. Additionally, due to the continued dissonance amongst races, we have watched our cities become battle grounds. And, perhaps the most heart-breaking of all is how quickly the once “land of the free” is showing clear signs of becoming a police state.

How can a new prepper prepare?

I realize that the preparations new preppers are looking at are daunting and may seem overwhelming. While many seasoned preppers were able to collect their preps over a longer period of time, new preppers are scrambling to catch up. First things first, breathe and focus on what your goal is. When I wrote The Prepper’s Blueprint: The Step-By-Step Guide To Help You Through Any Disaster, I emphasized the importance of breaking down your preparedness endeavors into short-term and long-term emergency scenarios. Organizing it in this manner, takes some of the stress off and helps you stay more focused with your preparedness goals.

Shift your perspective. To live long term in a economic depression-like event, you need to look at things differently and stop allowing consumer marketing companies to tell you what to buy. Secondly, make the realization that planned obsolescence is wasting your hard earned money. Planned obsolescence is when businesses design a product with a limited useful life, so it will become obsolete, that is, unfashionable or no longer functional after a certain period of time. An example of this would be the cellular phone fads. The rationale behind the strategy is to generate short-term sales volume by reducing the time between repeat purchases until customers catch on and move to another product platform. Many companies are doing this, and recognizing you are being deceived is the first step in stopping it.

Learn to be more sustainable. The next step is to find a more sustainable approach to living your life and investing in products. You need to focus on sustainable ways to make the most of what you have. The adage, “Use it up, wear it out, make do, or do without,” needs to be your motto from here on out. Here are 50 ways to make the most of items you have around the house.

What’s your plan? Waiting for this ticking time bomb to detonate is a horrible way to spend precious time. You can start making a plan. According to this article, here are nine steps to take to prepare for an economic depression are:

  1. Hold no debt (for most people this means renting)
  2. Hold cash and cash equivalents (short term treasuries) under your own control.
  3. Don’t trust the banking system, deposit insurance or no deposit insurance
  4. Sell equities, real estate, most bonds, commodities, collectibles (or short if you can afford to gamble)
  5.  Gain some control over the necessities of your own existence if you can afford it
  6.  Be prepared to work with others through bartering networks as that will give you far greater scope for resilience and security
  7.  If you have done all that and still have spare resources, consider precious metals as an insurance policy
  8.  Be worth more to your employer than he is paying you
  9.  Look after your health!

Take action. Rather than paying for luxury items like cable television, and those morning coffee runs, use your money for wisely and invest in long term items like shelf stable foods, food preservation tools. As well, if your job dictates that you live in the city, talk to country cousins and make plans to live there if times get unbearable. Sending money to set up long-term food stores, off grid tools, etc., would be very beneficial and you will have peace of mind knowing your family has a place to go if you have to leave the city. Here’s an article on how to get started with the basics of prepping. As well, check out this food calculator to see how much food your family needs. Also, consider these eight prepper items to help you through a disaster. In addition, our health system is becoming unsustainable. Recently, an article exposed the unfeasible $153,000 hospital bill to care for a rattlesnake bite. Who can afford this? Start looking at natural alternatives to care for certain ailments. Medical conditions that can be cured with natural medicine such as herbs and tinctures can save you a fortune.

Our world is changing, and in order to survive, you must adapt to the changes or pay the price. World economic events are beginning to increase the possibility of a world-wide depression. If you haven’t begun to prepare, now is the time to make plans. I urge all of you to begin actively putting survival items away. Mark my words, you cannot hide from what is about to go down. There are two choices: 1. Ignore the signs and hope the event changes course, or, 2. Acknowledge there are economic storms in the future and prepare for them the best you can. The bottom line is, there is no safety net to fall into when an economic emergency occurs. How easily you land depends on how insulated you were from the disaster to begin with.


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.

Survival Food: How To Catch A Fish Without A Hook (VIDEO)

Capture

In a survival situation, your energy output will play a big part in how successful you are at living in a primitive setting. As well, your ability to adapt to the situation at hand is also a necessary mindset to have when left to your own devices. Your first concern in surviving outdoors is shelter and finding water. Many try to find rivers or streams to camp next to as this is the best area to find resources for food, shelter and water.

If you find yourself without your fishing rod, there are primitive traps you can make to catch small fish, crawfish and crab using resources found in nature. Sigma 3 Survival School has shared a great video on how to create a fishing trap in order to thrive in a primitive setting. They claim this fish trap made from sticks, vines and cordage or paracord is by far the single best method for catching fish.

Making a Primitive Basket Fish Trap

Making this fish trap is time intensive, but is a self-sustaining trap that can be used over and over again. The following video will demonstrate how to wrap the vines around the sticks to create a funnel to effectively trap the fish. The fish are enticed to swim into the fish trap by adding small bits of bait. The size of the trap can vary depending on what size fish you plan on catching.

As well, using inedible parts of the caught fish such as intestines or organs can be used as bait for the next time the trap is set. Adding a stone will help the trap sink more in the water and lure the fish easier.

Learn how to set this fishing trap here.

To learn more about primitive living, check this article out on six primitive traps for catching food in the wild.


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.

Get Some Sleep! 7 Reasons The Well-Rested Prepper Will Prevail

7-Reasons-the-Well-Rested-Prepper-Will-Prevail

According to the CDC, there’s a public health epidemic you need to be on the lookout for. It’s not contagious, but has spread due to the North American lifestyle. You may have suffered from it yourself, without even realizing you were part of the population at risk.

That epidemic is insufficient sleep.

Blamed for automotive accidents, industrial disasters and occupational errors (including ones by those chronically sleep deprived health care workers) lack of sleep effects more than 35% of adults in our country each day. Each year, according to the National Department of Transportation, drowsy driving is responsible for 1,550 deaths and 40,000 injuries in the United States.

The trouble is, most of us push sleep to the back burner. We have so many things to do. Just getting through the demands of work, family life, chores, and a bit of leisure leaves little time for much else, sleep seems to draw the short straw.  Add prepping to the equation and well, you get the drift:  burning the candle at both ends becomes the norm rather than the exception.

But, out of all of your obligations, sleep is not the thing you should skimp on.

“Sleep is not a luxury – it is a biological necessity.”

I am not sure who said that first, but I do know that it is true.  I merely have to reflect back upon my own life to know that the lack of sleep will result in diminished mental acuity, crankiness and even reduced physical strength and mobility.

Because of this lowered capacity when you’re deprived of Zzzsss, I would like to suggest that we add sleep to our set of survival skills.

Why?  Well, under ordinary circumstances sleep has restorative and rejuvenating benefits.  Add a dash of stress to the mix (and what could be more stressful than a natural or man-made disaster or crisis?) and we will need all of the strength we can muster just to get by.

What are the benefits of sleep?

I could fill volumes with the various benefits of sleep but for now, let me touch upon the highlights.

1.  Sleep restores the body.  Every part of the body benefits from sleep.  Our body’s ability to rebuild itself at the cellular level depends on the quiet period commonly known as deep sleep (or non-REM sleep) to restore itself from the effects of stress, toxins, contaminated air, physical activity, and other maladies we are exposed to on a daily basis.

2.  Sleep reduces stress.  Have you ever gone to bed a bundle of knots, unable to talk to someone without barking, and unable to think clearly because you are worried about this or that?  And then voila!  You wake up the next day with a clear mind and gentle demeanor ready to face the day in a positive manner.  What you have experienced is the release of calming hormones (serotonin and melatonin) that help us relax and overcome the stress hormones that have accumulated in our bodies during the course of the day.

3.  Sleep reduces illness. During the sleep cycle, our bodies are in rest mode with not much to do at a physical level.  During this rest mode, our immune system goes into high gear, fighting off the germs and bacteria that can lead to illness and disease. According to WebMD, a chronic lack of sleep has been associated with colds, influenza, diabetes, heart disease, mental health concerns, and obesity.

4.  Sleep improves memory.  Like magic, our brain keeps functioning during sleep, sorting out the events of the day and categorizing them into slots that can be retrieved later.  Have you ever felt there was so much going on in your head that you could not think?  Abstract, I know, but what has happened is that current events have not yet been stored as links in the memory portion of your brain.  Luckily, sleeping will process these events and store them as bits of information that can later be recalled when needed.

5.  Sleep increases physical and mental acuity and increases reflex response.  A well-rested body has the ability to respond to hazards with maximum physical strength and accuracy.  But even more important, having a rested body allows us to perform daily tasks in a more safe manner.

Case in point:  have you ever driven a car while sleepy only to find yourself weaving in the roadway?  Your concentration was diminished, right?  Even worse, your ability to react to road hazards was greatly reduced.  Now put yourself in a survival situation where you must defend your homestead and your family from intruders that are after your stuff.  You will need all of your wits about you since failure to react may jeopardize not only your belongings, but your life.  For the prepper, this should be of utmost concern.

6.  Sleep helps you maintain a positive outlook.  As bad as things may be, they are always better after getting a good night’s rest.  Adequate sleep helps circumvent depression and gives you the energy to get up and go even when all motivation has “got up and went”.  Decision-making becomes easier, as does thinking and problem solving in an imaginative and productive manner.  These are skills that are lifesaving when dealing with survival in normal times, let alone times of crisis.

7.  Sleep is the great healer.  If you do become ill or injured, sleep becomes even more imperative. As I mentioned above, our cells regenerate during the deepest stages of sleep, and while our bodies are at rest, our immune system is at its busiest. The best thing a sick or injured person can do is sleep as much as possible to allow his body to heal and restore itself.

How much sleep is enough to become a well-rested prepper?

Good question and there’s no single answer.

The recommended average is between 7 and 9 hours per night.  But my experience is that this number can vary, depending on the particular way your body is wired as well as the circumstances in your life at any given moment in time.  For example, it is not unusual to need 10 or more hours of sleep when you are sick or under high levels of stress.  On the other hand, some perfectly healthy people may need upwards of 9 hours of sleep each day, while others require as little as 6 hours of sleep.  Add stress to the mix and, well, like I said, the perfect amount of sleep becomes elusive to predict.

I think the best thing to do is to experiment for awhile by going to bed when tired – not when the TV show is over, the last bill has been paid, or when your partner or spouse chooses to snooze.  Then, if you can, eliminate the alarm clock and wake up naturally.  Do this for awhile and soon you will learn what works best for you.  If you wake up feeling refreshed, you have rested the proper amount of time.  Groggy and foggy in the head?  That can be a sign of both too much or too little sleep.

By experimenting with your bedtimes and wake-up times, you will learn what constitutes the right amount of sleep for you – the amount that leaves you feeling well rested and energized to face the day with enthusiasm and gusto.

How can you improve your sleep?

Sometimes it can be hard to turn your brain off at night. You mull through the events of the day, you remember the dishes in the sink, you worry about the kids, or you think about the bills. There are many natural ways to improve both the quality and quantity of your sleep. Lisa Egan, of Ready Nutrition, supplied the following tips in an article:

Establish consistent sleep and wake times – even on the weekends

Create a comfortable and inviting sleep environment – your bedroom should be calming, cool (65 degrees is optimal, but no warmer than 75 degrees), and dark

Create a bedtime routine – turn off electronic devices, take a relaxing bath or read a book (not IN bed), or listen to soothing music

Avoid using your computer or watching TV while in bed

Finish eating 2-3 hours before you go to bed

Exercise regularly (but not for a few hours before bed – it may keep you awake if done too close to bedtime)

Avoid caffeine too close to bedtime

She continues to suggest that if you have lain there for 30 minutes without being able to fall asleep, you should get up and do something in another room for a while before trying further to sleep. This prevents the anxiety that will make sleep even more elusive.

Egan also lists the following foods that may help you to get a good night’s sleep:

  • Kiwi
  • Dark leafy greens
  • Bananas
  • Nuts
  • Seeds
  • Citrus fruit
  • Tomatoes
  • Whole Grains
  • Dairy products

As well, certain herbal teas are recommended to reduce stress and aid in sleep.

When asked which herbs should be included in your prepper’s medical kit, Cat Ellis of HerbalPrepper.com and the author of Prepper’s Natural Medicine (a #1 new release a part of the newest Prepper Book Festival) said:

“Herbal remedies for sleep can be as varied as the reasons you are up at night. However, some of my favorites include: valerian root for general sleeplessness, skullcap for trouble sleeping due to irritability or stress, lemon balm and chamomile which are child-safe options. Passion flower can help when you just can’t get drowsy.”   

The Final Word

The many benefits of sleep should not be lost on the prepper.  As a skill – and as a way of life – adequate sleep should be embraced and practiced now while times are stable.

And for those who use lack of sleep as proof that they are so very important that they have no time to get adequate ZZZ’s?

I say phooey on them.  When the SHTF, the well-rested prepper will prevail.

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.

How To Prepare For A Cyber Attack

There is a lot of debate on whether Wednesday’s computer issues that shut down the New York Stock Exchange, the Wall Street Journal, and United Airlines were just a very strange coincidence (very strange) or a deliberate cyber attack.

This isn’t the first possible cyber attack on the United States this year. Heck, it’s not even the first one this summer. On June 5, Reuters reported a breach occurred that comprimised the personal information of millions of federal employees, both current and former. This breach was traced back to a “foreign entity or government.”

Regardless of the origin of the so-called computer”glitches” that shut down Wall Street and a major airline, the events of Wednesday gave us just a tiny glimpse at how serious a cyber attack could be.

What exactly is a cyber attack?

A cyber attack is more than just shutting down the computer systems of a specified entity. It is defined as “deliberate exploitation of computer systems, technology-dependent enterprises and networks. Cyberattacks use malicious code to alter computer code, logic or data, resulting in disruptive consequences that can compromise data and lead to cybercrimes, such as information and identity theft.”

Technopedia lists the following consequences of a cyber attack:

  • Identity theft, fraud, extortion
  • Malware, pharming, phishing, spamming, spoofing, spyware, Trojans and viruses
  • Stolen hardware, such as laptops or mobile devices
  • Denial-of-service and distributed denial-of-service attacks
  • Breach of access
  • Password sniffing
  • System infiltration
  • Website defacement
  • Private and public Web browser exploits
  • Instant messaging abuse
  • Intellectual property (IP) theft or unauthorized access

Cyber attacks happen far more frequently than you might think. Check out this real-time map for a look at the almost constant seige.

How does a cyber attack affect you?

You may think that if you don’t spend your day working online, that an attack on our computer infrastructure isn’t that big of a deal. You may feel like it wouldn’t affect you at all.

Unfortunately, there are very few people in the country that would remain completely unaffected in the event of a major cyber attack. Our economy, our utility grids, and our transportation systems are all heavily reliant upon computers. This makes us very vulnerable to such an attack.

And by vulnerable, I mean that if it was done on a big enough scale, it could essentially paralyze the entire country.

Here are some of the systems that are reliant on computers.

In the event of a widespread cyber attack, the following could be either completely inoperable or breached. Keep in mind that a domino effect could occur that effects systems beyond the original target.

  • Gas stations (most of the pumps are now digital and connect right to your bank)
  • Banks (all of the records are online) would not be able to process electronic transactions. ATM machines would not function to allow customers access to cash.
  • Utility systems (most power stations are run by computers)
  • Water treatment facilities (these are automated too)
  • Protection of personal information, including data about your finances, medical records, physical location, and academic records – everything a person would need to steal your identity
  • Government operations, including dangerous identifying information about federal employees or members of the military
  • Transportation systems (trains, subways, and planes are heavily reliant upon computers)
  • Traffic management systems like stoplights, crosswalks, etc.
  • Air traffic control
  • Everyday trade – most business have a computerized cash register that communicates directly with banks. Many business are also reliant on scanning bar codes for inventory control and pricing. Point-of-sale systems would be down and people would not be able to pay using credit or debit cards.
  • Telecommunications systems can be affected if cell towers are disabled or if the landline system were directly attacked. As more people rely on VOIP, taking down internet service would serve a dual purpose.
  • SMART systems could be shut down or manipulated. All of those gadgets that automate climate control, use of utilities, or appliances through SMART technology are vulnerable.

Here’s a video from NATO that explains a little bit more about the dangers of cyber attacks.

Prepping to survive a cyber attack

Prepping for a cyber attack is not that different from prepping for other types of disasters that affect the grid. You want to be able to operate independently of  public utilities, stores, or public transportation.

Click each item to learn more details.

  1. Have a supply of water stored in case municipal supplies are tainted or shut down
  2. Be prepared for an extended power outage.
  3. Have a food supply on hand, as well as a way to prepare your food without the grid.
  4. Keep cash in small denominations on hand in the event that credit cars, debit cards, and ATMs are inoperable.
  5. Keep vehicles above half way full of fuel, and store extra gasoline.
  6. Be prepared for off-grid sanitation needs.
  7. Invest in some communications devices like ham radio or one of these other options.
  8. Be ready to hunker down at home to avoid the chaos that could come in the aftermath of a massive cyber attack. Be prepared to defend your home if necessary.
  9. Remember that your prepper supplies and skills will see you through this disaster
    just like any other.
  10. Protect your identity with a service like LifeLock (which will alert you to suspicious activity once things return to normal). Use some of these tips to keep your information locked down.

What do you think?

So, let’s hear from the “hive mind” of the preparedness community. How likely do you think it is that we’ll be hit by a massive cyber attack? Was the event on Wednesday just a coincidence or some kind of test run? What other effects do you think a massive cyber attack might have? Do you have any additional preparedness tips for such an event? Share your thoughts in the comments section 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 of The 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]

Preparedness Critics Are History’s Cannon Fodder

self destructive

The world is entering a kind of no man’s land, in between the realms of insane denial and utterly obvious crisis. Europe is now destabilizing amid the Greek soap opera (an event that I predicted in January would occur in 2015); China’s stock market bubble is bursting; and the U.S. dollar’s world reserve status is about to be decimated by the global shift toward the International Monetary Fund’s basket currency reserve system. I’m afraid I’m going to have to say this because I don’t know if anyone else will admit it: Alternative economic analysts were right, and the mainstream choir was either terribly wrong or disgustingly dishonest. However, as most of us in the liberty movement are well aware, being right is not necessarily a solution to disaster.

At the forefront of alternative economics and constitutional vigilance are the people doing the real work in the movement: the preppers. These are the activists taking concrete action in the tangible world (as opposed to the ethereal laziness of the intellectual world) first to make themselves as independent as possible from the mainstream grid, thereby removing themselves as a potential refugee or looter in the event of national crisis. Second, they are the people mastering valuable and necessary skills that will allow them to rebuild any collapsed social and financial system. Third, they are the people most capable of defending our inherent freedoms and the principles of our founding culture, and they are the only people organizing locally for mutual aid and security. The fact of the matter is preppers are free, and almost everyone else is a slave — a slave to dependency, a slave to doubt, a slave to ignorance, a slave to fear and, thus, a slave to petty establishment authority.

During the Great Depression, the vast majority of American citizens were rural, farm-oriented people with survival skills far beyond the modern American. “Prepping” in those days was ingrained in our society, rather than marginalized and labeled “fringe.” Today, the numbers are reversed, with a dwindling number of farm-experienced Americans and a vast wasteland of urban and suburban citizens — many with few, if any, legitimate skill sets. During the Great Depression, millions of people died of starvation and general poverty, despite the incredible number of people with rural survival knowledge. What do you think would happen to our effeminate; metrosexual; iPhone-addicted; lisping; limp-wristed; self-obsessed; Twitter-, texting-, video game-addled; La-Z-Boy-riding; overgrown-child culture in the event that another economic crisis even remotely similar were to occur? Yes, most of them would die, probably in a horrible fashion.

Think about it for a moment. An incredible subsection of Americans do not know how to feed themselves; they do not know how to hunt; they do not know how to grow crops; they do not know how to repair any necessary items used for subsistence; they do not know how to build anything useful; they do not know how to shoot; they do not know how to defend themselves; they don’t even know how to cook a pot of rice properly. Their only skills involve parroting snarky remarks from their favorite lowest-common-denominator television and Web shows, building ample karma points on Reddit, and avoiding any stance contrary to what they perceive to be the majority opinion (which they also derive from mainstream media and websites).

It is decidedly ironic given the uselessness of such people that it is often the worst subsections of the blind, deaf and dumb that choose to “critique” the prepper lifestyle as “disturbed” or “dangerous.”

In my view, they are absolutely damned pathetic and should be looked down upon with utter contempt as the most concentrated example of slithering human misery ever to smear across the pages of history.

But, hey, that doesn’t mean I wish them harm.

People who are unaware and unprepared are not necessarily our enemies. At one time or another, we all were unaware of the underlying truths to our system and our future, until we woke up one day. On the other hand, there are some people who have truly evolved from the sickly and bitter bile scraped from the lower intestine of the grotesquely ignorant. These people are the anti-preppers.

Anti-preppers are well aware of the philosophies and fact-based arguments of prepper activism; but rather than ignoring or dismissing us outright and moving on with their vapid lives, they instead seek to destroy preppers and the prepping ideal. Why? To understand that, you have to understand the nature of statists and collectivists because that it where these people root themselves and their twisted worldview.

I recently read an article by Joshua Krause over at The Daily Sheeple in which he countered a mainstream hit piece article against preppers titled “Be prepared For preppers.” The article is itself an immensely disturbed display, first using typical and unimaginative ad hominem arguments to marginalize preppers, then mutating into a treatise on why preppers should all be exterminated.

Krause did a fine job of dismantling the substandard and journalistically challenged propaganda essay, but I would like to go beyond the typical arguments of anti-preppers and into the mindset that drives them. I recommend you read “Be prepared for preppers” for good measure, being that it is a perfect example of the psychopathic nature of the common statist. Then, I would like to perform a little brain surgery here and peel away some layers of psyche so that you can understand why these people hate us so much.

The Prepper Stereotype

The sad reality is most anti-preppers I’ve dealt with in person have never even talked to a prepper face to face until they had met me. They tend to enter into an immediate debate posture with multiple assumptions in terms of what a prepper believes and how a prepper lives. This posture begins with an incredulous and sarcastic demeanor. And as they begin to realize that the prepper they are dealing with is smarter than they are, their attitude devolves into conditioned talking points and generally indignant frothing.

Anti-preppers do not know or associate with real preppers. Rather, they derive their opinions of us from popular media, which is in most cases openly biased; episodes of “Doomsday Preppers” and other shows designed to make us look ridiculous; and Southern Poverty Law Center-influenced news articles loaded with carefully crafted slander. They rarely, if ever, confront a prepper or preppers on neutral ground and address facts or figures honestly.

The bulk of what makes up the prepper stereotype is utter nonsense. But it reinforces the anti-prepper’s hateful inclinations, so they eat it up without question.

They Hate Us Because Of Our Freedom

Are anti-preppers “terrorists?” Yes, they are. It might sound harsh, but consider the attitude of the anti-prepper for a moment. He hates you because you have chosen a lifestyle that is independent from the system and ideology of which he chooses to remain a part. He hates you because you have a measure of freedom he does not have, but could have if only he had the guts to do something about it. He hates you because you do not want to participate in the meaningless game of collectivism he has spent his whole life attempting to master. He hates you because you are walking away from his system and doing your own thing. How dare you do your own thing!

Many of us who appreciate libertarian-oriented ideals are proponents of the “non-aggression principle,” which, to summarize, states that respect for individual freedom is the paramount value of any society that seeks to sustain itself peacefully and indefinitely. Human society is not a nexus; it is not a hive. Society, if it is anything at all, is a collection of individual minds and souls acting voluntarily for the advancement the community, but never at the cost of personal liberty. Contrary to popular mainstream belief, the individual does NOT owe society a thing.

Non-aggression requires that society will not violate personal liberty for arbitrary collective gain and that individuals will not use violence or coercion to forcefully mandate the participation of others. That is to say, you leave me to my dream and I leave you to yours. But if you try to deliberately trample my dream in order to enrich your own, I am then within my rights to bring a mighty friggin’ hammer down on your skull until you leave me alone. Anti-preppers have no capacity to grasp this concept. To them, each human being is property of the larger group and defiance of the state is blasphemy.

Such collectivists are also predictably devout followers of the religion of resource management, and often argue that preppers are in fact “horders” of resources.  Under this ideology, resources do not belong to the people who actually worked to earn them.  Rather, resources somehow belong to EVERYONE no matter how lazy they are, and must be constantly redistributed so that all people (common people, not elites) have the same exact amount.  They can never seem to define what exactly a “fair share” actually is, and I believe this is because as long as a “fair share” remains ambiguously up to them, they retain the ultimate power to take what they want whenever they want always under the rationale that yesterday you and I had enough, but today we again have too much.  The anti-prepper argument that “hording” is harmful to the collective and that all resources, even your food storage, should be managed by the group (the state), is THE propaganda model of the future.  Do not forget this because you will be seeing this propaganda take center stage very soon.

Anti-preppers are often the kinds of social justice circus clowns that preach unerring tolerance and claim disdain for any form of discrimination, yet they are at the same time violently discriminatory against anyone who will not preach their particular collectivist gospel. The social collectivist model is by every definition a form of cultism, and in most cases the god of this cult is the state. It treats the state as an infallible omnipotent presence: mother and father, caretaker and disciplinarian.

To refuse participation is to deny the collectivist god, and the kinds of horrors we read about of the religious zealotry of medieval Christian inquisitions pale in comparison to the death and destruction dealt by modern collectivists.

Their worship of the state is energized by their love of its collective power – the state is the ultimate weapon to those who think they can successfully wield it.  The state has the ability to “legally” imprison and/or kill, and it has the ability to threaten such consequences against anyone who refuses to conform to the ideological whims of the people who exploit it.  Unless, that is, the victims of the state become revolutionaries.  This is the great fear of collectivists in terms of the prepper movement; they see us as potential revolutionaries that could conceivably extinguish their mechanism of control, and they don’t like that one bit.

The Psychotic Zealotry Of Anti-Preppers

Many anti-preppers are not content only to attack the character of the prepper movement — at least, not anymore. You see, despite the rabid attempts to undermine the validity of prepping and dissuade the growth of the movement, preppers are now legion, with millions of active participants and effective alternative media experts who are dominating Web traffic and crushing traditional media into archaic bone meal. We have made the mainstream media a mainstream joke, and this does not sit well in the minds of statist adherents who once had the power to bottleneck all discussion. If we are so desperately fringe, there would be no need to write unprovoked hit pieces against us to begin with. Who are they trying to convince?

Since they now know they cannot win the war of information, they increasingly foster fantasies of genocide. This quote (in reference to methods for solving the “prepper problem”) from the article linked above truly says it all:

“Furthermore, consumed with the heady lust of their own unexpected survival (see any episode of The Walking Dead), and with only expired condoms at their disposal (not even Doom and Bloom stocks birth-control pills) these mouth-breathers will doubtless multiply rapidly, and, ergo, must be stopped before such an advent. That can mean only one thing: key preparation in any disaster for the rest of us (other than a map to all of Wal-Mart’s distribution warehouses) is this: be prepared to neuter preppers by any means available.

… Not only will such noblesse oblige ensure a stronger gene pool going forward, but hey — those bastards have all the gear and food and fish antibiotics you’ll ever need.”

And there you have it: the comic book delusion of the anti-prepper, so desperate to stop us from stockpiling food and essentials, so disturbed by our local organization and ability to defend ourselves, that they would prefer to see us all “neutered,” i.e., killed. Note also the obsession with the sterilization of the gene pool as socialists in their psychotic fury often harken back to their fascist and communist forefathers.

It is perhaps not coincidental that the people most in love with the state are often the first ones to be annihilated by it.  Avid lower echelon and middlemen agents of tyranny are in many cases exterminated by the very system they helped to dominance. If they do not meet their demise at the hands of the establishment, then they invariably meet their demise at the hands of those fighting against the establishment.

The problem for anti-preppers is that most of them are weaklings and cowards who are incapable of carrying out their vision of a final program. They have always needed a warrior class mandated by the state to implement the killing they desire. Hilariously, this particular anti-prepper spends 80% of his article shoveling poorly written character assassinations like so much manure as if our concerns of crisis are inconsequential, then goes on to describe his idea of wiping out all preppers and stealing our supplies in the event that the system does collapse. If we are all such “kooks” and paranoid hillbillies, then why even entertain the notion of having us snuffed out so that our stores can be redistributed? Surely, such a collapse will never occur in the midst of our invincible American economy; and, thus, preppers are nothing more than harmless eccentrics wasting our money on boxes of food we won’t touch for another 20 years. Right?

History does not support the assumptions of anti-preppers. And throughout history, anti-preparedness people tend to be the first to meet an early demise in the wake of fiscal and social collapse because they have no utility and because, frankly, no one really likes them. They also aren’t the brightest bulbs around (the guy actually thinks he’s going to find food at a Wal-Mart distribution center after a breakdown in civil order).

Anti-preppers today are promoting violent action against preparedness culture because in the far reaches of their sickly subconscious, they know we are right and that we will not be controlled when the system breaks. These people accuse us of lusting after collapse, when it is in fact they who salivate over mass die-off scenarios in which they fantasize that they will somehow be the survivors despite the fact that they are born victims. They imagine a time when, after the “gene pool has been cleansed,” they will rebuild society as a perfect socialist utopia in which every ideology contrary to their own has been erased from all memory, leaving their ultimate prize: a blank slate world to do with as they wish.

The goal behind the prepper movement is simple, not sinister; we seek to defuse crisis before it occurs by providing our own necessities without the need for a mainstream grid that could easily malfunction and a government that is corrupt beyond repair. If your neighbor is a prepper, be thankful, for you have one less person on your street to worry about as a potential looter during an emergency. If your neighbor is an anti-prepper, beware, for this person sees you as a potential source of supply and thinks you owe him merely because you have something he does not. The bottom line is if the world were full of preppers, there would be no such thing as crisis because there would be no lack of necessity or individual ingenuity. In the land of preppers, disaster vanishes. When was the last time an anti-prepper did anything to improve anything for anyone other than himself? Ask yourself which you would rather be in the end: ready for anything or ready for nothing?

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Brandon Smith is the founder of the Alternative Market Project, an organization designed to help you find like-minded activists and preppers in your local area so that you can network and construct communities for barter and mutual aid. Join www.Alt-Market.com today and learn what it means to step away from the unstable mainstream system and build something better. You can contact Brandon Smith at: [email protected].

12 Skills For Preppers That Money Just Can’t Buy

12-Must-Haves-for-Preppers

There comes a time when every prepper finally says, “Enough with all of the food and enough with all of the gear!”  After years of seeking out the best stuff at the best prices, creating a stockpile, and purchasing equipment, you just might want to stop – at least for awhile – and focus on something else: the vital qualities and abilities that no amount of money can buy.

The biggest stockpile in the county won’t be enough if you don’t learn the important skills that will carry you through when you’re faced with hard times. Likewise, there are certain personality traits that will enhance your ability to survive.

Instead of adding to your stockpile, consider investing some time gaining proficiency in old-fashioned competence and common sense. While these aren’t things you can buy, taking a class or picking up some books about the following can be of far more value than yet another bag of beans.

Today I would like to share my own list of important traits and skills and traits for preppers that money just can’t buy.

6 Vital Skills for Preppers

1. First Aid Skills

It goes without saying that knowing how to administer first aid can save lives.  Basic wound care, suturing skills and even a knowledge of herbal home remedies can make a difference in whether your loved ones will make it through a crisis.

Invest not only in a good first aid manual, but consider taking a course and becoming certified.

2.  Gardening Skills

Whether you grow a simple plot of greens or maintain a mini-farm on an acre or two, knowing how to grow your own food will allow you to supplement any food supplies that you have in your pantry.  Learn to work and develop whatever land you have so that you can grow vegetables and fruits that will feed your family and possibly provide edible currency for barter in a SHTF situation. Take care not to rely on store-bought solutions for pests or poor soil. Learn organic growing methods so that you can raise your food even if the garden center has closed its doors forever.

3.  Basic Fix-It Skills

Knowing how to pound a nail and operate a hand saw are just two of the many fix-it skills that will help you make repairs once you begin the recovery process.  Plumbing, welding,  electrical, and general carpentry skills will always be in demand and will give you a marketable skill that will make you valuable to the community.  (The book Brushfire Plague described this well.)

4.  Home Keeping Skills

Having the ability to cook from scratch, preserve your home-grown food, sew or mend your own clothing, and maintain a clean, sanitary living environment will be critical to your health and well-being.

In modern times, we have become reliant on others to tend to our basic needs: the supermarket provides us with food, the mall provides us with clothing, and the local power and water companies provide us with our utilities.  Learning to get by on your own without modern conveniences will allow you to face a disaster more comfortably and to focus on the more important matter of staying safe.

5.  Defense Skills

Whether you choose a stun gun, pepper spray, a knife, or a firearm, get to know your defensive weapon well so that you can defend what is yours in a safe and sane manner. Don’t just “get it and forget it!”  It’s vital that you practice with your weapon of choice on a regular basis to keep your skills and comfort level high.

6. Outdoor Skills

Having the ability to survive in the wilderness could be essential to your survival in certain situations. If you don’t already know how, learn to create a shelter, build a fire, make a snare, clean and cook an animal, forage for food that is safe to eat, and plot your course through the woods without getting lost.

You can practice these skills by camping and hiking with your family,. (Then you have the added bonus of enjoyable quality time while you hone your abilities.) The more you practice them, the easier they will become.

Get a copy of the SAS Survival Manual for your backpack for reference. This tiny book is packed with information for survival in all sorts of settings.

6 Essential Traits of Survivors

Skills alone aren’t enough, though.  There are also 6 personality traits that are essential to survival. If these are not part of your current mindset, practice them in your everyday life until they become your natural way of doing things. You may find that they improve your day-to-day life even when there is no disaster in sight.

7.  Perseverance

Perseverance is often described as having the steadfastness to do something despite any difficulty in achieving success.

“Determination” is another good word for this trait. Hard times or not, this is the skill that will give you the will to keep on going no matter what.  It will allow you to focus on the future – and hopefully better times – rather than staying stuck in the moment when all may not be perfect.

Perseverance is a choice and a habit that will allow you to set small goals that are attainable, This, in turn, leads to optimism and ultimately a sense of accomplishment.

8.  Frugality

Being careful in the use of resources makes good sense, even when there’s no disaster in sight.  This applies not only to consumables but also to the use of time.  Avoiding waste and eliminating costly habits will result in a simpler life that is more likely to be filled with spiritual abundance. A frugal nature is often enhanced by creativity, as those who are careful with spending tend to be excellent problem solvers, finding solutions that don’t require a trip to the store.

If you’ve been of a “spend-y” mindset, here are a couple of books that might change the way you think:  The Complete Tightwad Gazette and America’s Cheapest Family Gets You Right on the Money: Your Guide to Living Better, Spending Less, and Cashing in on Your Dreams.

9.  Compassion for Others

Caring for others when they cannot fend for themselves is the human thing to do.  Following a disaster or collapse, there are going to be people that are vulnerable.  They may be children, they may be elderly, or they may simply be lost or separated from their loved ones.

Having the heart and compassion to deal with those that are physically or emotionally hurt is the right thing to do, as long as you can do so without compromising your own safety.  Be prepared to deal with the frightened and to assist them in finding their way to safety. Remember, it could just as easily be your loved ones who were separated from you, and you’d want someone else to look after them.

10. Interpersonal Skills

Interpersonal skills are sometimes referred to as people skills, social skills or communication skills.  But regardless of what you call it, interpersonal skills will dictate your ability to work with others in a positive and productive manner.  By getting along with others, you will be able to build good community relationships and will become known as a responsible and honest person who can be trusted.

Having strong interpersonal or social skills will be invaluable when it comes to bartering for goods or services, or for controlling a potentially deadly situation with reason instead of force.

If you want to improve your interpersonal skills start of with Dale Carnegie’s classic: How to Win Friends & Influence People.

11.  Problem Solving Skills

The ability to think on your feet is going to be critical following a disaster or collapse.  In practical terms, this means that you will need to very quickly evaluate a situation and come up with the best possible coping strategy for surviving under dire circumstances.

There are 3 steps to surviving any type of crisis:  You will need the ability to assess the risks you face, rapidly troubleshoot and create a plan, and put that plan into action without hesitation.

12.  Self-knowledge

Some people really delude themselves with regard to their abilities. Just because you could do something 20 years ago, it doesn’t mean you can do it today.We get older, sometimes less fit, and sometimes less healthy. If you can admit to yourself the places where you might fall short, you can create a workaround before the time comes that this is vital to your survival.

Acknowledge your strengths and your weaknesses as well as your passions and your fears.   Be strong in your faith and in your willingness to fail as well as your willingness and desire to succeed.

The Final Word

Focusing on skills can provide a welcome break from the sometimes frantic (and often obsessive) need to acquire food, gear and supplies.  Taking the time to think through the personal qualities that will guarantee survival is something that we all need to do from time to time.  Doing so will make you realize how much you have that is non-tangible but of great value none-the-less.

Keep in mind, though, that with any list, this is only a start.  With a modicum of thought, many more skills can be added to this list.  How about you – what skills would you add to this list?

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.

Frugal Prepping: 30 Survival Items You Can Get At The Dollar Store

dollar-store

Preparing for disasters can be costly if you have to purchase everything at once. Many preparedness enthusiasts prefer the less stressful route in prepping a little at a time. That said, our monthly budgets sometimes do not allow for expensive, top of the line purchases. That’s when you have to get creative.

When my family rode out the aftermath of Hurricane Ike in 2008, we were off the grid for two weeks and used many emergency items purchased from the Dollar Store. At the time, we were paying off lofty debts and didn’t have the money to buy brand name items. Many of the items I purchased, I outlined in the first week of 52-Weeks to Preparedness, but there are many more Dollar Store finds that I wanted to list today.

Check out this checklist for suggested items to store for short-term emergencies

Below, are thirty prepper-related items you could easily find at your local Dollar Store or Dollar Tree. The listed items are supplies for one person, so if you have other family members to consider, multiply some of the supplies by the amount of family members. This calculator could serve as a starting point for items you may want to keep an eye out for.

      1. Paper plates and plastic utensils
      2. Zip-loc storage bags
      3. Water (1 gallon per day)
      4. Salt and pepper
      5. Spices and condiments
      6. Cereal
      7. 2 jars of peanut butter
      8. 3 cans of juice per family member
      9. 7 cans per family member of canned vegetables and fruit
      10. 7 boxed dinners (macaroni and cheese, hamburger helper, etc.)
      11. 7 cans of meat per family member (tuna, salmon, chicken, Spam, etc.)
      12. 7 cans of soup or stew for each family member
      13. 3 non-perishable items such as saltine crackers, graham crackers, oatmeal, granola bars, pasta, etc.
      14. Hand operated can opener
      15. Multi-vitamins
      16. Flash lights
      17. Batteries
      18. Weather proof tape
      19. Trash bags
      20. Soap
      21. Cleaning sponges
      22. Bleach
      23. Toothpaste/toothbrush
      24. Crisco (can use as makeshift emergency candles, fire starters, etc.)
      25. First aid items such as antibiotic ointment, band-aids, gauze, elastic bandages, tylenol
      26. Toilet paper and paper towels
      27. Feminine needs
      28. Cigarette lighters and/or matches
      29. Candles
      30. Canning jars

In addition to prepper supplies, discount stores also have storage bins and canvas totes you could purchase for additional organizing needs. As well, if you are a bargain hunter, check out weekly ads in newspapers. Sometimes there are some great deals at the Dollar Store that you could utilize. Here are some other tips to consider when shopping at discount stores:

  • Expiration dates – It’s best to find items that have expiration dates that are 1-2 years away from expiring, unless that item is used frequently in the home, and can be rotated frequently
  • Items on sale – Go for the deals.  Larger sized canned goods generally have better deals.
  • The serving amount in the food
  • Vitamin content in the food

As well, don’t forget to include these items in your supplies:

  • Family and emergency contact information
  • Multipurpose tool
  • Copies of important documents such as insurance cards, immunization records, etc.
  • Extra cash
  • Map(s) of the area
  • Extra set of car keys and house keys

The purpose of this article is to show you that you don’t have to break the bank to prepare for disasters. These frugal shopping tips, checklists and food calculators can help you pay less than $50 for a week’s worth of prepper supplies.


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.

30 Items Every Prepper Should Carry When Traveling

30-Items-Every-Prepper-Should-Carry-While-Traveling

This is the time of year when families travel to visit friends and relatives near and far.  When taking a road trip, it is easy to throw a bug-out-bag and extra food and clothing into the trunk of your car but what if you are traveling by air?  Not only do you have those pesky baggage weight limits to deal with, but you also have the scrutiny and probing eyes (and sometimes hands) of the TSA to avoid.

Can you imagine what might happen if you showed up at the airport with a fully stocked survival kit?  I am being just a wee bit facetious but these days, you can never be too sure what will happen if someone decides to label you as a prepper.

TSA notwithstanding, today I would like to share a reminder that no matter where you go, you should include some basic preps in your carry-on or in your check-through luggage so that no matter what, you will be prepared to deal with bumps along your journey.

Here in list form, and in no particular order, is a list of 30 items every prepper should carry when traveling.

Survival Items You Should Carry When Traveling

1. A wise traveler not only carries a passport, but also a photocopy of the passport and a scanned version on a laptop, CD, or flash drive.

2. Your health insurance or Medicare card.

3. Your driver’s license, proof of car insurance, and the 24 hour claims number for your insurance company.

4. Two credits cards housed in two different places (in case one gets lost or is stolen) along with the customer service numbers for the credit card companies written down and stored someplace other than your wallet.  You might want to consider RFID sleeves for your credit cards.

5. A list of emergency contacts, including telephone numbers and email addresses.

6. A prepaid long distance card for making calls when there is no cell phone service or when the calls will be too expensive due to roaming charges.

7. A few blank checks or traveler’s checks plus some funds in the local currency (if you are traveling out of the country).

8. Prescription medications with at least 3 days over and above the number of days you plan to be gone.

9. An emergency first aid kit including bandages, pain medication, instant hot/cold packs, antibiotic ointment, lavender essential oil, an anti-diarrheal, allergy medication, heartburn medication, and anything else that you commonly use.

10. Insect repellent or essential oil alternative.

11. Sunscreen.

12. Protein or snack bars.

13. Travel tissues and a travel sized roll of TP (you would be surprised at how often this “essential” will come in handy.)

14. Baby wipes or my favorite, No Rinse Bathing Wipes.  You can wash up pretty well with these in the event you can’t take an actual shower.

15. Hand sanitizer plus sanitizer wipes (Those tray tables on planes are horrifyingly filthy – this article says they very frequently are the home for fecal matter.)

16. A mini, LED flashlight and possibly an LED headlamp as well.

17. Pocket knife or Swiss Army-style knife. (This will have to go in your checked luggage)

18. Chemical light sticks.

19. An emergency whistle. This Windstorm Safety Whistle is my favorite,.

20. Paracord in bracelet, keychain, or lanyard form for portability.

21. Water purification tabs for ensuring safe, drinkable water if supplies at your destination are compromised.

22. A portable water filter and pouch, like this Sawyer Mini kit.  The pouch takes up very little space when empty but would give you a clean container for your filtered drinking water in an emergency.

23. A small roll of duct tape and some tie wraps (also called cable wraps).

24. Mylar emergency blankets.

25. A pocket poncho for every member of your group.

26. Protective masks to wear when seated near obviously sick people (coughing and sneezing) while using public transportation.

27. Batteries (or rechargeables plus a battery charger).

28. Your cell phone charger or a USB cable to use as a charging cable.

29. Key passwords to access email accounts and online financial data.

30. Pre-printed labels with your home address, home phone number, and email address. Include one or more of these labels in each checked bag.

Extra Credit Bonus Items for the Traveler

As a proponent of essential oils, I travel with a small pouch containing my most important oils including Shield (a thieves like protective blend), lavender, and melaleuca (tea tree).  I also carry some DIY Cold and Flu Bomb and DIY Anti-Viral Sanitizing Spray.

Something else I carry with me is a tin containing a portable survival kit.  This portable kit contains a number of the items I would normally have in my travel kit but has the added advantage of allowing me to throw it in my pack or handbag while I am out and about at my destination.  You can put your own emergency kit in a tin together.  You will find some ideas in the article 8 Essential Items: The Perfect Portable Survival Kit.

Another bonus item is solar lighting. I throw both a solar lantern and my SunJack LightStick in my bag. They are not as small and portable as a flashlight, but they operate without batteries and can be used in a variety of situations to provide an abundance of light as well as emergency signaling.

Since everyone’s needs are different, you might find some additional ideas for your travel kit in the article Don’t Fly Without These 20 TSA-Approved Items in Your Prepper’s Carry-on Bag.

Here some some air travel tips from Daisy Luther, the author of that article:

Pay attention to the flight attendant. Aren’t you going to feel kind of stupid if the plane crashes and you have no idea where the nearest exit is? Take 2 minutes out of your life to listen when the flight attendant goes over the safety information.

Dress appropriately. Whenever I see fellow passengers wearing flip-flops, high heels, or other inappropriate footwear, I cringe. You should always wear shoes that are sturdy and comfortable enough for a long distance hike. As well, clothing items made from natural fibers are less flammable and more breathable. Cover as much of your exposed skin as possible by wearing long pants and sleeves.

Wear your carry-on bag. That well-packed carry-on bag isn’t going to do you much good if you don’t have it with you.  To keep your hands free for other tasks, I recommend a backpack or cross-body bag for your most important survival items.

Bring snacks.  I always pack things like Clif bars, nuts, and dried fruit.  The more snacks you have, the longer you can wait before eating your fellow passengers, Andes-soccer-team style.

The Final Word

There is nothing remarkable about this list and, as a matter of fact, it is fairly mundane and undoubtedly includes things you routinely pack along as a matter of course.  Still, if there is just one item you have overlooked – and you need that item – you will be happy to have it along to help you out of a jam or to make your journey more secure.

And just for the record?  I pack all of these items and a whole lot more when I travel.  I can get by with just a couple of pairs of shoes but not without my preps. You just never know.

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.

Should You Eat Roadkill? 8 Important Rules To Consider First

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If the thought of preparing dinner from a dead animal found in the road makes you squeamish, join the club.  I personally find the thought revolting but then again, I have a robust pantry full of food for both the short and the long term, and currently do not feel compelled to eat roadkill of any type.

That being said, should you eat roadkill?  Are there situations were eating roadkill will become a necessity?

Let us play “what if” for a moment.  What if there was a global famine and no food coming down the food chain?  What if your garden was producing vegetables but was sorely lacking in sources of protein?  What if there was a second great depression and ordinary folks like you and I had no jobs, no money, and no food other than what we could forage?

If that were the case, roadkill might start to look pretty darn good.  That said, are you sure you really want to eat roadkill?   Only you can answer that but my guess is that under the most dire of circumstances, the answer would be yes.

Let us hope we never have to eat roadkill to survive, but if we do, my friend Todd Walker at Survival Sherpa has come up with 8 roadkill rules to follow before you even take your first bite.  After reading this, you just might open your mind to eating roadkill in a survival situation.

Manna from Motorists: 8 Roadkill Rules to Follow Before You Swallow

It’s practically a self-reliance commandment:  Thou shalt not waste food.

You won’t find these words on a stone tablet, but these 5 words are rock-solid advice!

The smallest ripple in the industrial food machine can wreak havoc on food prices and availability. That’s one reason self-reliant types grow some, if not most, of their own groceries. Cultivating food independence is hard work, sweat-of-the-brow kind of stuff.

You deserve an unexpected gift, a miracle of sorts. The roadways are the perfect place to claim your next free-range fur or feathered meal.

Disgusting?

Hardly! It’s the ethically thing to do out of respect for the animal victim. See Self-Reliance Commandment above.

More questions swirl in minds of refined readers, followed by the inevitable…

Why, I’d never eat from a ditch!!

Here’s the thing, though…

Roadkill is an overlooked secret survival sauce. You gotta eat to survive. Food costs money. Roadkill is free. Plus, it’s healthier than factory farmed animals injected with who knows what.

How do you know if manna from motorists is safe to eat?

If you experience a fender bender with Bambi or witnessed the crash, you know the exact time of demise. When you run across a potential meal on a road trip or daily commute, how can you be sure it’s safe to harvest? There are many variables to consider.

8 Rules of Roadkill

Follow these Roadkill Rules to help determine if food by Ford is safe to swallow.

1. Legal Stuff

Any fur-bearing animal or bird is edible. However, laws on harvesting roadkill or possession of protected species vary from state to state. Check out this interactive map to see if your state allows the collection of roadkill.

In the Peach state, motorists may collect deer without notifying authorities. Bear collisions must be reported but you get to keep the bruin.

Texas, California, and Washington are among the few states that prohibit roadkill collection. In Alaska, the Fish and Wildlife personnel collect reported road-killed animals and distribute to charities helping the needy.

Check your state laws first!

2. Impact Damage

The point of impact determines how much meat is salvageable. My experience with broadside impacts are not good. Internal organs usually rupture and taint the meat. Not to mention all the bloodshot meat. As in hunting, a head shot saves meat.

Tire treads over the body usually means a bloody mess. Squashed squirrel would require a spatula to remove from the asphalt and should be avoided.

3. Clear Eyes

If the eyes are intact and clear, the animal is likely a fresh kill. Cloudy eyes hint that the animal has been dead for some time (more than a few hours).

Creamy discharges around the eyes or other orifices indicate a sick animal. If the eyes are gone, leave it alone.

4. Stiffness and Skin

Rigor mortis sets within a few hours of death. This is not a deal breaker depending on other indicators. The steak in the butcher’s glass counter has undergone the same process of “decay” or tenderizing.

Pinch the skin of the animal, unless it’s a porcupine, to check if the skin still moves freely along top of the muscle beneath. If so, you’re probably okay. Skin stuck to the muscle is a bad indicator. If fur can be pulled from the hide with a slight tug, the animal has been deceased far too long.

5. Bugs and Blood

Fleas feed on the blood of warm blooded animals. Brush the hair on the carcass and inspect for fleas like you would on a family pet. If fleas are present, that’s a good thing. Fleas won’t stick around on a cold body.

There’s usually blood involved when animals come in contact with 3,000 pound machines in motion. Blood all over the road may mean there’s too much damaged meat to salvage. The color of blood present should be a dark red, like, well, fresh blood. Dark puddles of blood have been there been there a while.

Flies could be a bad sign. They lay larvae in wounds and other openings of the body. A few flies present isn’t always a deal breaker. A prior wound on a living animal may contain maggots. We had a live deer seek refuge in my mother-in-laws car port who had a broken hind leg from a vehicle collision which was infested with maggots. I approached her in an attempt to humanely dispatch her and put her out of her misery. Sadly, she gained her footing and disappeared through our neighborhood woods.

In the hot, humid summers of Georgia, it only takes a few minutes for flies to zero in on dead stuff. Which brings us to our next consideration…

Survival-Sherpa-Road-Kill

A Large Beaver Found on the Side of the Road

6. Climate and Weather

The weather conditions and geographical location are variables to consider. Cold to freezing temperatures is ideal – think… roadside walk-in freezer or fridge. Meat will decompose quickly in hot and humid conditions.

One steamy August evening years ago, I was in my backyard and heard tires screech followed by a distinctive thud on a nearby road. I walked two doors down and found a freshly dispatched deer laying on the grassy right-of-way. That gift primed my freezer before fall hunting season.

7. Smell

This one is pretty obvious.

If it has a putrid odor, leave it alone. You don’t have to be a TV survival expert to identify bad meat. Your old factory sensors will let you know… along with your gag reflex.

Ever break the cellophane on a pack of chicken breasts you forgot about in the back of your fridge? Register that stench for future roadside foraging.

8. Collection and Processing Tips

Our vehicles are prepared with Get Home Kits. You may want to add a few items to it or build a separate Roadkill Kit. My kit is simple and includes:

  • Tarp
  • Surgical gloves

If you don’t drive a pickup truck, wrap large carcasses in a tarp and place in the vehicle for transport. Smaller animals usually go in a contractor grade garbage bag to get home.

It’s common sense in my mind… Do NOT field dress an animal on the side of the road! It’s dangerous, illegal (hopefully), unsightly, and disrespectful to both animal and human. I’ve seen some really stupid and disgusting practices over the years from unethical “hunters” and idiots.

If you’re not prepared to harvest game properly, stick with the supermarkets.

Don’t practice slob self-reliance!

Rant over…

When processing wild game animals or fowl, (road-killed or not) always check the internal organs – heart, liver, lungs, kidneys – before going any further. Dispose of the animal properly (or report it to local wildlife officials for study) if the organs are discolored or showing yellow-greenish discharge.

Again, use your sniffer. If it smells bad, it probably is.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Todd Walker and his website, Survival Sherpa, have been around as long as Backdoor Survival or close to it.  Survival Sherpa offers extraordinary articles on what Todd calls “Doing the Stuff”.

To learn more about the he is doing, visit Survival Sherpa on Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, YouTube, Instagram, and  Facebook.  You can also check out the Doing the Stuff Network on Pinterest, Google+, and Facebook.

The Final Word

The subject of eating roadkill may be distasteful or even taboo for some.  On the other hand, there are many that consider finding a deer, moose or other animal in the middle road a real treasure.

The purpose of this article is not to judge, but rather to open up the possibility of eating roadkill if you have to, and further, doing so in a safe manner.  You only want to eat roadkill if it is fresh, regardless of how hungry you are.  And remember, even if it is not edible, you may still be able to salvage and use the hide.

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.

Strategically Relocating? Here’s How To Move All That Prepper Stuff

How-to-Move-All-That-Prepper-Stuff

In the prepper world, everyone always talks about “strategic relocation” but it’s rare to hear about the actual act of moving the enormous amount of stuff that we accumulate.

We’re preparing for what I hope is my final move ever. We have a nice little farm awaiting us, with a deep well, a greenhouse, and a barn: everything we need for self-reliance heaven.

But holy cow, we have a lot of stuff.

Nothing makes you come face-to-face with the extent of your stockpile like moving it from one place to another, trying to find space for it in a new home, and trying to move it with OPSEC (operational security) in mind.  Most of my prepper friends who have moved to a better location have shared my opinion: the sheer amount of “stuff” that we have makes a move quite an undertaking. When you’re setting up your little homestead, the first step is to get there, with all of your belongings intact.

Long distance moves have many logistical challenges, but local moves are also nothing to sneeze at when you have a stockpile to move.

Because my family has moved numerous times (including one move that included an international border crossing and a drive across the continent), I’ve put down some tips to make it a little easier. Note that I said “a little” easier. Moving is never actually easy, as anyone who has ever done so can tell you with technicolor details of what went wrong.

A word about OPSEC

A very important issue is OPSEC – (operational security).  Preppers are private people, and moving opens us up to others seeing our supplies. Whether you have hired movers or you have friends and family helping you, suddenly, someone outside your immediate family knows how much stuff you have. When people are unloading your truck, you want to take care that your possessions don’t scream PREPPER.  Otherwise, you’ll hear that phrase we all love so much, “I know where I’m coming if I ever run out of food.”

One option is to box up your supplies like long-term food storage or weapons in boxes labeled with different names – even something vague like “basement”.  I know that all of the moving specialists tell you to be specific about what you write on the outsides of the boxes, but you really don’t want people commenting on the 90 boxes of ammo that they’ve just lugged into your new abode. (There’s more on organization below that will keep this from being a logistical nightmare when unpacking.)

Of course, the best OPSEC is moving all of the items yourself.  This isn’t always an option, though, for smaller families or those with physical limitations.

Before the move

The things you do before the move can make all the difference in the world to your ease during the actual move and while you’re getting settled in.

Get good quality moving boxes.

One thing I like to splurge on when I move is professional moving boxes. Sure, you can get boxes from the grocery store and liquor store, but the pro boxes are uniform in size, making them easier to Jenga into the moving truck. This saves space, stacks more securely, and these boxes tend to be very sturdy. (This is a great resource for inexpensive moving boxes.)  As well, I often use these boxes at my destination for organizing my supplies for the very same reasons – ease of stackability and uniform sizes mean your storage space is used efficiently.

Get organized.

This is your chance to become the uber-organized prepper you always see on websites, with their glorious pantries, labeled tubs, and storage rooms, where all things needed can be found in a matter of seconds.

Before you start packing, if possible, designate a room to be packing central. (We used our dining room and have been eating in the living room since we began packing.)  Move everything of a type into the packing room. Here’s an example. Pull all of your food storage from various nooks and crannies in your home.  Divvy it up according to type: cans, dried foods, etc.  Check to be sure everything is packaged properly, with dates marked clearly on the packages. Wipe them if they’re dusty, and then box items according to their type.

Make a “key”.

For our moves, we have a notebook with a “key”.  This is a little trick we learned when we moved here from Canada and were required to have a complete manifest for crossing the border.  For the obvious reasons of OPSEC, you don’t want to write “Food” on dozens of boxes, but you could mark them F and add a number. In your key notebook, you can put a description of what is in each box to make unpacking or finding an item easier.

If you already know where the item will be stored once you move, mark the room on the box too, so the movers can take it right to its destination.

Of course, at the end, you may lose steam and just start chucking things into a box with no care for organization at all. But if most of your boxes are packed with organization in mind, unpacking will be vastly simpler. As well, if you absolutely must have a certain item, it’ll be far easier to locate in the pile of boxes with your notebook.

Do some decluttering.

As you pack, you will find that this is an excellent time to declutter and pare down your belongings. While the move we’re undertaking now is just a couple of towns over, when you’re undertaking a cross-country move, reducing the amount you relocate is even more important.  Many people who lead a preparedness lifestyle have accumulated a lot of “stuff” – we dismantle no-longer-working items for the spare parts, we save buttons and rubber bands, and we have stockpiles of all sorts.  If you are going a long distance, for some things, it will be far cheaper to replace them on the other end than to move them. Large items require a larger moving truck, and the weight increases the fuel usage. Make your judgment based on the following questions, particularly in the case of a long distance relocation.

  1. Would I be able to easily replace this in the future?  I get a lot of my things at yard sales and thrift stores, and this makes some of them tough to replace.  For example, I have an antique coffee grinder, an adorable little device with a hand crank.  I picked it up for $3, cleaned it and now use it on a regular basis in my kitchen.  It could be tough to replace because of the age and condition, so my beloved coffee grinder has always made the cut.  On the other hand, I had a toaster that I still use even though only one side actually works now. (Yes, I am so cheap that I turn the bread partway through the toasting time.)  I could easily find another one (that works!) for just a few dollars at a thrift store when I move, so the toaster is history.
  2. How much would it cost to replace this in the future?  This is a similar concept to question #1.  If you have a  collection of shampoos and soaps from the dollar store, they will take up a lot of space, but you could quickly and easily build a new stockpile of these items.   If most of your furniture is “vintage” – which is a nice way of saying that it came from yard sales and the occasional curbside pile, you can refurnish from yard sales when you arrive at your new home, rather than moving a couch that cost $20.
  3. Is it worth the space in the moving van?  How you rate the importance of an item is a personal decision for everyone.  There are some things that aren’t particularly useful, but they are sentimental – gifts from departed loved ones and photo albums, for example.  Expensive preps, like the Big Berkey water filter, the pressure canner, an assortment of books collected over the years, hand tools, and other off-grid kitchen tools, would be very costly to replace.  A great way to save space is to pack clothing and linens in “space bags”.

Make sure to have Box 1.

On the last day at your old home, put together Box 1 and keep that with you. Box 1 should contain the things you’ll need immediately: bedding; pjs; bathroom supplies like toilet paper, towels, soap, and shampoo; the coffee maker and supplies needed for coffee; paper plates and cutlery. This way, when you arrive you can immediately have these necessities available without a frustrating search.

Actually moving

When the big day arrives, your truck or trailer is loaded up with all of your worldly possessions.  The kids are buckled in, and the dog has her head out the window.  If your move is not local, there are some considerations for the road trip itself, some of which are unique to preppers.

Be prepped for the potential of disaster.

I always worry that a life-altering SHTF event will occur when I’m in the middle of a field in South Dakota, with no friends or family within 500 miles. (I can’t be the only one who thinks this way!) It is the preparedness mindset to constantly run scenarios – EMPs, sudden gas shortages, nuclear disasters, natural disasters… if these things happen while you’re on the road, you are a refugee.

The good news is, if you are driving your possessions, you have every prep that you felt was worth keeping in that big rolling bug-out bag of a trailer.  The bad news is, you have to protect those items, and you have to get them to a secure place.  Be as prepared as possible, with food that doesn’t require cooking, comfortable hiking gear readily available, camping gear easily accessible, and all of the necessary defense items.

Pay special attention to security.

Another consideration is general security.  This is particularly important if you are moving weapons.  Be sure that your truck or trailer is locked securely and consider installing some type of alarm on the door of the cargo area.  Be prepared to protect your family and possessions (all within the confines of local laws, of course). Choose stopping points and parking spaces carefully, and consider cracking a window if you are staying in a motel, so that you can hear what is going on outside.

Use common sense safety measures during the road trip.

  • Keep the kids within view of an adult at all times.
  • Keep a cell phone charged in case you need to call for help.  (If you are like me and don’t use cell phones, consider the purchase of an inexpensive Tracfone for the trip).
  • Make sure your vehicle maintenance has been taken care of before your departure.
  • Don’t let the fuel level drop below 1/4 of a tank – in remote areas, gas stations can be few and far between.
  • Always have plenty of drinking water in the vehicle, especially in hot weather.
  • Follow the rules of the road.
  • Remember that the police are not always your friend.  Strictly abide by speed limits to avoid lining the pockets of small town PDs. Be very aware of your surroundings if you are pulled over.  If possible, pull over in a public area, like a restaurant parking lot.
  • Don’t get lost – use a GPS or maps to stay on course.
  • Pay attention to your surroundings – ditch the headphones and remain alert during rest stops.
  • If possible, keep one adult with the moving van at rest areas, and take turns going to the bathroom.
  • Be constantly prepared to defend yourself if necessary.
  • Follow your gut – if you have a bad feeling about a situation, chances are, you’re right.

Settling in

Once you’ve arrived, it’s time for the fun stuff: settling into your new home.

First things first, unpack Box 1. This way, your basic necessities are available.

Get some food.

Before unpacking everything, make a quick run to the grocery store. Grab some healthful snacks, but splurge and get things that are already prepped. We usually get a veggie tray and a fruit tray from the deli, a rotisserie chicken, and a couple of frozen pizzas. Make it easy on yourself while you get unpacked.

If needed, do a quick clean of the house before putting things away.  (Hopefully the previous residents left things nice for you, but you always want to do at least a swipe to get rid of the cooties.)

Prioritize the most important rooms.

I usually prioritize unpacking in this order:

  • Bathroom
  • Small children’s rooms
  • Kitchen
  • Living room
  • A place to sleep in my room
  • Everything else

Once the necessities are put away and you can function, it’s time to get to all of that other stuff. Now’s your chance to be the most organized prepper around.  Remember all of those belongings you carefully sorted? Before putting them away, try to get the necessary modifications to your storage areas made. That way, you can put away your carefully organized possessions with the precision of a Costco warehouse.

Tell us about your experiences, moving as a prepper.

Keep in mind that during every move, there’s a catastrophe. There’s always something that goes wrong.  One friend was moving across three states when something flew off a vehicle ahead of her and punctured her fuel tank. She had to get a trailer to go on the back of her Uhaul at the last minuted to take her damaged vehicle to the new location. For us, the internet tower we thought we could hook into was shut down. Because we’re moving to a more rural location, I couldn’t find a service provider. (Panic-inducing for someone who works online and homeschools using an online resource.) Thankfully, we finally found a company that could work with us, but it was a sketchy, stressful couple of weeks.

The point is, there’s always some chaos. As a good friend of mine says, adapt and overcome.

It’ll be worth in when you look around your well-organized new home.


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 of The 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]

We Prepare For Survival But Is It The Main Thing?

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In the past, I have written about the never ending list of things to do, the frantic pace of organizing preps, and the never ending quest to learn just one more sustainable skill.  Couple all of that with the burden of truth and knowledge that keeps you awake at night, and you have a recipe for frustration, exhaustion, and burn out.

There goes those words again.  Prepper burn out.

The truth is we all have a need for quiet, reflective, time whether we know it or not.  It is during that reflective time that we can think, really think, and focus on what is really important.  Is learning ten different ways to start a fire so important when all you really need is three?  And who do you believe?  Is there any one expert?  Or is everyone a beginner of sorts?

We prepare for survival but is it main thing?  In this article I present the latest think piece from contributing author Richard Broome.  Sit back with a cup of coffee and read about “the main thing”.  This is important.

The Main Thing

The main thing is to keep the main thing, the main thing.Stephen Covey

It is a rainy day this early Sunday morning in Montana. The sun is slowly rising over the Bridger Mountains. I enjoy sitting quietly in the peaceful, dark pre-dawn of Montana, watching the sun come up over those magnificent mountains. In my home office where I do my writing, I look at them all day.

I can see fresh snow on them this morning. However, I don’t think the snow will reach us in the valley. No. I think just cold rain. This is a good day for a fire and another cup of coffee.

But today is not so peaceful. I am overcome with a sense of apprehension.

“Is the world literally getting ready to explode all around me?

This morning I turned on one of the Sunday news programs and listened to the discussion on how ISIS is claiming they now have sufficient money to buy a nuclear weapon. Both the Secretary of Homeland Security and the Director of the FBI have recently discussed the possibility of ISIS already operating within the borders of this country. This is chilling. There is no doubt in my mind that if ISIS ever gets control of a nuclear weapon they would use it. On us.

During this past year dedicated visitors to Backdoor Survival will know my previous “think pieces” have addressed several ideas: the coming cyber war that I see building day-by-day, the need I see to build a culture of preparedness in our country with the same societal intensity as we now do to foster our heath and fitness, the widening gap that I think exists between the increasing multi-level complexity and dangers of the global threat against all of us, that is in juxtaposition with our lesser level of national preparedness, and so on.

Sitting here and reflecting on world events this rainy Montana morning, I have come to the very unsettling conclusion that nothing is getting any better, but rather, steadily becoming much worse. I feel like I am watching two trains about to collide head on.

One train seems to be accelerating and going faster and faster. The engineer has his head out the side yelling for more steam. The other train’s engineer also has his head out the side and is looking at the danger ahead. He seems to be rubbing his chin and thinking, ”It is really another train? Maybe it will slow down? I think I had a clear track signal a few miles back?”

All while the trains keep on coming at each other, faster and faster.

Do you really have confidence that our national leadership is seeing the train wreck coming and will act before it happens? Or, do you feel as I do that the overriding philosophy seems to be: “Move cautiously. Let’s study the problem. Certainly someone else will see this and solve it. Why stick my neck out? To me this attitude is what drives the decision process for far too many right now.

You want a glimpse of this kind of mindset and leadership? Read my first novel, Leaving The Trees. Read the first part of the book and the scenes in Washington, DC. It is very accurate. Believe me. I have been in the room at very high levels and watched these kinds of deliberations. When writing this part of the novel I was trying to convey to readers that things could all come unraveled from the selfish decisions of a powerful few.

But, this is not the main thing. I believe, in a time of increasing threat and looming crisis to this country, that there is also another and even more compelling and critically important factor to consider, which could make all the difference.

You.

And will you, as an individual, come to the internal conviction that for you, “The main thing is to keep the main thing, the main thing.”

To the point, are you able to answer the fundamental questions we must all honestly ask ourselves, “Am I prepared?”but more important, “How well am I prepared?”

Because I do believe most of you sense the train wreck is coming too, but it is a nagging, silent worry as you cope with all of the other demands in your life. You are probably like the frog in the pot of boiling water. The temperature seems to be rising. You can feel it. But certainly, “Someone will do something before you become boiled?”

I am not so sure. Personally, I think you need to hop out of the pot right now. When you do, get refocused on the main thing, which is the survival of you and your loved ones.

I want you to know that I have, like many of you, dealt with a high-pressure job and multiple, pressing demands on me. I have had to cope with the very same lifestyle many of you have now. This late in the day, unexpected client meetings that kept me at work later than I had planned, a killer commute home that night in terrible traffic with a sudden, unexpected text message to do child pick ups to support my spouse (who had her own unexpected work demands to meet), the last minute pizza deliveries for a quick dinner (which was typically eaten standing up while orchestrating homework and baths), and so on.

How do we do it? Somehow. But…we all know it takes an enormous amount of energy and commitment. It also gets us distracted from many things we should spend more time on.

So as you all go about your very crowded, very busy lives, you must also still find a way to take a deep breath and try to get focused on the big picture. It is so clear in everything we read and listen to. The world we live in is facing significant threats. You simply must get yourself out of the pot of boiling water, because I do not think others will do it for you.

I was on the radio twice recently. Once on Preparedness Radio and again on Freedomizer Radio.

One of the things I talked about was my experience in the military with readiness. Clearly, one of our most central concerns was the readiness of our military units to achieve their assigned mission. Both individually as a soldier and working together with others as a military unit, we always had to be certain we were prepared to do our assigned military task. We examined our readiness posture on a monthly basis from the individual to the largest military organizations.

We had a set of metrics for this that measured many factors to establish what we called a readiness assessment. “Did we have all the people we needed? Did they have working equipment with all the essential supplies on hand? Were they properly trained to do their specific jobs within several possible threat scenarios?”

We would use this analysis to develop a readiness indicator for every unit within a military command. From this kind of honest self-examination we were able to diagnose our actual readiness posture and then work on any shortcomings we detected.

Similarly, as a prepper, you cannot know where you are going unless you know where you are. There are core survival principles for food supply, water supply, shelter, health, safety and individual preparedness, which many have written books and articles about. However, are we able to agree upon some metrics and standards for preparedness like the military does for readiness? I think this would be very important now as we strive to keep the main thing, the main thing.

I mean more than just checklists, but rather how to rate your preparedness on some scale like: Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced, Expert or any other scale that works. How would we describe each of these levels?

There is more than a little complexity to this kind of an idea. You have to think about this within the context of where you live.

I live in Montana. We have our advantages such as lots of firewood, fresh water, fish, and game. We also have our disadvantages, very tough winters. If you live in Florida, you have a different set of factors to contend with. One solution will not fit all, but there should be a core set of standards that would allow us to self-assess and also do what our military does so well, continually identify and shore up weaknesses.

Beginner. Intermediate. Advanced. Expert. Or…something similar?

I would be interested in what others on Backdoor Survival think about this. It is important to offer our advice to each other about preparedness.

Isn’t that one of the main things too?

Richard Earl Broome – All Rights Reserved –May 24, 2015

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Richard Earl Broome is a contributing author and friend to Backdoor Survival. He has lived an extraordinary life rising from an Army private to an Army colonel who served on the White House staff for two Presidents of the United States as a member of their National Security Council staff.

He is considered a national expert on the subjects of preparedness, disaster recovery and survival. He is a frequent contributor of articles about the many threats facing our society, appearing frequently on shows to discuss issues such as pandemics, ISIS, and the cyber threat and how we need to meet the new threat realities facing all of us.

Now living in a small community in Montana, he is a member of the faculty at Montana State University where he teaches leadership. For more about Richard, visit my  About Richard page.

Also, note that his two books, Leaving The Trees and Good Crazy (Leaving The Trees Journey) (Volume 2), can be found on Amazon.  His next novel, Final Reckoning Day, will be out in the fall of 2015.

The Final Word

Something sorely lacking is a methodology whereby we can assess our preparedness efforts against a set of core standards.  Do you know of any such standards that can be applied universally to civilians not under the direction and rule of the military, government, or big business?

As citizens who embrace self-sufficiency, perhaps the best standard is the standard we set ourselves, based upon our unique needs and skill sets.  Like Richard, I am interested in your thoughts.  Think of it this way.  If  friends, relatives or co-workers came up to you and said they wanted to begin to prepare, what would you tell them.  What “gold standard” would make them preppers?

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.

The Three Most Important Survival Skills According To Grandpa

Three-Most-Important-Survival-Skills-According-to-Grandpa

Recently I asked some of the book festival authors the following question:  Given your background, knowledge and experience, what do you feel are the three most important survival or prepping skills?

It has been interesting to read the answers and I am always surprised that the responses are so different from each other.  That just goes to show you that we all live our lives within a different context.  We have different family situations, live in various geographical areas, have varying degrees of health and wellness, and span a wide range within the economic strata.

One of the more interesting responses came from Ron Brown, author of the Non Electric Lighting Series of books and eBooks. He submitted his response and then, after the fact, he submitted an alternate version.  By that time it was too late to include the alternate in the article.  Instead, I share with you today, the three most important survival skills according to Grandpa.

What skills did Grandpa need to survive?

We all want to “live a long time” but we don’t want to “get old.”  Funny thing, language. “Survival” is the same as “living.” If we don’t survive, we die. If we don’t live, we die. Same thing, no?

When the SHTF, modern technology (cell phones, microwave ovens) will disappear and our lifestyle will return to an 1800’s lifestyle, to Grandpa’s era.  What skills did Grandpa need to survive? Not just survive and hang onto life by a whisker, but survive and prosper?

The answer is simple. There are three skills that Grandpa took pains to learn: reading, writing, and arithmetic.

This is not a cute or silly answer. This is the real answer. You wanna survive in Grandpa’s era?  Learn Grandpa’s skills.

1. Reading

You will need the ability to read directions. “Turn the adjusting screw clockwise.” Today, my neighbor’s kid doesn’t know how to read an analog wall clock. She doesn’t know what “clockwise” means.

2. Writing

You will need to keep a diary. “A short pencil is worth a long memory.” What was the date you started the tomato seeds last year? And what were the results? And the year before that? And what was the variety name? And how much did you pay?

Cursive writing is three times faster than printing. It’s much more efficient than printing. My neighbor’s kid cannot do cursive writing. Nor can she read it. Nor can my doctor’s receptionist read cursive writing. She’s edjumacated. She’d have a hard time in the 1800’s.

3. Arithmetic

You can always hire somebody with a strong back for stoop labor. Always. You can today. You could in the 1800’s. But finding somebody who can “do” numbers. Without a calculator?  Different story.

The three skills that Grandpa valued – reading, writing, and arithmetic – are the same three skills that you, like Grandpa, would need to live in Grandpa’s era. Everything else you can figure out as you go along.  If you have those three skills.  Next question?

The Final Word

Perhaps because of my age and because I am not around young people much, it did not occur to me that the three Rs (the three “Rs”—reading, ‘riting and ‘rithmetic) were becoming lost in the digital age.  If what Ron is saying is true, however, then indeed, these are definitely skills that need to be promoted as survival skills.

In these days of computers, smartphones, eBook readers,tablets and Xboxes, it is easy to become seduced by technology. We all need to do our part to ensure that these three vital skills are not lost.

You can read Ron’s complete interview in the article Ron Brown and The Non Electric Lighting Series.

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.

Looking For Motivation? 21 Preppers Share The Stories Of How They Got Started

21-Preppers-Share-the-Stories-of-How-They-Got-Started

One of the most common questions I’m asked in interviews is how I got started prepping. That crucial moment when you decide that you need to change the way you live is paramount to understanding the motivation to live a prepared lifestyle.

Recently, I asked many of you how you started out, too, for an article I was working on.  You answered via email and social media, and I so thoroughly enjoyed hearing your stories that I decided to publish some of them in this collection, as opposed to merely quoting bits and pieces in the original article I had planned.

Sometimes I think we all have days where we lose our prepper mojo just a little bit. These stories of our awakenings can serve as a reminder to push you through the low spots, and they just might inspire someone who is considering becoming more prepared to take the leap. For privacy reasons, I’ve redacted anything that might identify the person or their location.

How I Got Started Prepping

20 years ago, I was a new mom to a lovely baby girl. My husband had a good job, we had an adorable little apartment, and we were doing okay on our small budget.  Then, when my daughter was just 3 weeks old, my husband came home unexpectedly in the middle of the day.

His good job was no more. Completely out of the blue, he had been laid off.

Panic ensued. Rent was due, which used up most of his paycheck, and we had 2 jars of peanut butter, 10 bags of bagels in the freezer, and a garden that had just been planted in the yard, but had not yet produced anything we could eat.

He began applying for jobs the very next day. He was young, intelligent, and strong, so we figured he’d have no trouble finding work. Unfortunately, we were wrong.  He also applied for his unemployment benefits, but it was going to take 6 long weeks before any money would arrive.

We went into survival mode.

We rationed out our bagels and peanut butter over the course of those six weeks. We never even considered asking for help, even though our parents would have gladly given us some groceries or money. We buckled down and just focused on getting through until that first unemployment check came in. He managed to get some day labor work a few times, which kept us in enough money to go to the laundromat to wash diapers and clothes, kept our electricity on, and paid our rent. Any debt we had incurred before this, of necessity, went unpaid. We couldn’t even afford groceries, so we certainly couldn’t manage minimum payments on credit cards. The only bill we paid was the car payment, since we lived in a small town and he needed a vehicle to seek work elsewhere.

Since we couldn’t afford any type of entertainment, I spent a lot of time at the library. One day, when searching for frugal recipes (back in the days of the card catalog), I stumbled across a book that would change the course of my life. It wasn’t a preparedness book in the sense of “prepping”. It was about frugality. Amy Dacyczyn had written 3 books (that have now been combined into one big compendium) called The Complete Tightwad Gazette. Amy wrote with a sense of humor and a friendly tone, added quirky illustration, and immediately become my hero, my go-to girl for all things frugal. I felt a glimmer of hope when I read about her “pantry principles” and I knew that there was a way I’d never have to be in this desperate situation again.

Although I didn’t know it, a prepper had been born.  Once hubby’s unemployment money came in, I began to quietly build a pantry. I was determined that my child would not ever wonder where her next meal would come from. Over the years, with the ups and downs of life, I’ve had many occasions to be thankful for my pantry: when I was laid off from my job as a single mother, during lengthy power outages due to bad weather, after incurring a major medical bill.  A few years ago, when we relocated from Canada to the United States, I had to leave most of my supplies behind. (This book was inspired by what I learned when rebuilding our stockpile.)

Personal economic disaster is a common theme.

Overwhelmingly, people who responded to my question shared that they had begun prepping due to a personal financial crisis.

1.) Julia

My husband having a motorcycle wreck last July. He broke himself in seven places along his right side, suffered from MRSA (they had to do an IV four hours a day) had some of the hardware that was put in removed in the 2nd surgery and now has four blood clots on his opposite arm where he had to have a pik line. Almost a year later he suffers from inflammation and chronic pain.  If it wasn’t for me being a couponer at the time and having a stockpile I don’t know what we would have done!!

2.) D’Ann

My husband also lost his job right when our first (turned out to be only) baby was born. Those first few years were rough.

3.) Jane

I inherited my nephew when his mother and father passed away. We went through my 3 month supply pretty quick, and I had to ask for charity on his behalf. When I was just starting out, there were too many times that I had to make a decision to buy a can of beans or a roll of toilet paper.

4.) Jedidiah

911 certainly got our attention but it was the banking crisis and subsequent recession the end of 2008 that gave me a major wake up call. My construction company went from 7 employees to little ole me. Personal income dropped 70%. From my perspectivthat felt like a depression, not a recession. We managed to weather those difficult years and had we not lived well below our means prior to the recession, we would have been in serious trouble.

Now, here’s the take-away from all this. During that period of time, I was not a happy man about what had happened to my business or my great employees. Now, looking back at that adversity….I’m thankful for that experience. My wife and I ultimately survived AND thrived. There was blood, sweat and tears involved, but as a result of that experience, we are now better able to handle most anything life may throw at us. That’s empowerment. That’s freedom!

5.) Brian

I lost my job in 2009 after I broke my back. Although it healed up, I couldn’t no longer do the heavy work I’d been doing for 20 years. The same year my wife used all of her maternity leave before going back to work and 2 weeks later shattered her ankle. They let her go.

It was in the worst of the crash and no one was hiring. We lived on miracles and prayer for about a year. We had just moved. I planted a garden and studied how to plant intensively, bought chickens, she couponed and learned how to do things like make our own detergent to save expense. I think in the meantime it became a lifestyle that we enjoy.

We have been blessed since then and the pantries are now stocked for about a year. Expanding on that many other things such as hand powered tools and kitchen appliances, candles, rechargeable batteries ect and the solar panels to charge things have found their way into the inventory.

It’s a scary thing to be on the verge with few applicable assets and we chose not to be arrogant in assuming it can’t or wont happen again. In fact we continue strongly in Iight of the current economic and geopolitical situation the world is in and there is NO guarantee that unemployment benefits will be there to help next time.

Don’t panic, prepare.

6.) Andrea

A heart attack and financial devastation

7.) Diane

The seed was planted in March of 1979 when the 3 Mile Island “accident” happened. We were newlyweds, married only a few months, living about 50 miles from the power plant and worried what we would do if we had to evacuate. Then I read the book “Solar Flare” by Larry Burkett (if you haven’t read it, it’s a page turner & a fascinating novel based on facts) and the seeds were watered.

Then 6 years ago my husband went to work as always to be told he was being layed off due to downsizing. We had just re-financed our mortage and done $30,000 in upgrades to our home and were afraid we could lose it. The seeds were now sprouting. We were lucky that my husband was only out of work 3 days, a family member got him an interview that led to an immediate job. It took about a year to get back to the wages he had been earning, money was very tight. but we were able to keep our home and our kids did not die as a result of having to attend public schools.

We now are preparing for whatever hits the fan first, economic colapse, solar flare, terrorisim, peak oil, etc. My 15 year old son is my greatest ally in prepping. We shop at big box stores and try to put up 1/4 of each shopping trip. We also shop yard sales, auctions, etc. in search of non-electric tools like butter churn, treadle sewing machine, victrola & 78 rpm records, etc. We are currently looking for an older (pre 1970) pick up truck and a camper in case we would have to bug out, but we are hoping to be able to shelter in place as we have a lot of grid-free items at our home.

8.) Linda

The 2008 financial dip. It was a reminder of the need to be prepared. The economy has not improved and I don’t see it improving any time soon. Plus, my husband became disabled.

For some people, self-reliance was always their lifestyle.

9.) April

My husband and I live in (redacted), rural area, 1800 ft. elevation, near a university town, and we love disaster movies…etc. We just thought it made sense to have some food put back, well bucket, water filtration backup, etc. We burn wood for heat, propane for cooking. Our most vulnerable aspect so far is our good well, 140 ft. deep, wouldn’t be usable without electricity.

10.) Vicki

We live on an Island where we are isolated for the most part 4 months of the year, so prepping is a necessity for those months. Recently I have extended the prepping to include clothing for growing kids, lots of medical supplies ,and many off grid living items. I think economic problems and the extreme weather everyone is experiencing got me thinking, better safe than sorry. If nothing happens you have less to spend later, also getting chickens soon!

11.) Dennis

I was born into being a prepper. Being raised with humble circumstances, we were taught from a very early age to throw nothing away and take care of yourself. Back then there was no government handouts. Everyone supplied their own needs. We grew and raised everything we ate from gardens to livestock. I didn’t think much about it until the 60’s and then became a “Mother Earther”  and learned to dry foods, everything from my family’s cereal to fruits etc.

Later on my wife and I felt led to take in foster children from 5-10 years old, all hard core sexually abused children. I bought a 3 acre place with a house and barn. I figured since I had been raised in that situation and with a great circle of relatives and was well adjusted that it would work for them. We had 5 at a time plus our own 2 older teenagers. We milked our goat twice a day, raised pork, beef, chickens, ducks, rabbits and all things in between. It worked wonders for them as we and our animals gave unconditional love, like our Father.

Again we got away from it until the 08 election at which time we started all over again and will continue. All 7 of our grandchildren are older and the joke is not to stand in one place too long or grandpa will vacuum pack you or freeze you. They all enjoy the dried jerky, fruit etc.  They do have a lot of good laughs about all our prepping supplies, lanterns, portable crapper, Big Berkey, food dryer etc. That’s how I got started and we continue on at 70 years old. Just makes good old common sense with our upside down world. God richly bless you and keep you.

Sometimes an outside event triggered the awakening.

12.) Jack

My start at prepping began three days after 9/11/2001.  While hearing the reports of what was going on and happening in NYC my wife described the scene as best she could without losing her voice.  I am and have been blind since age 24, had two wonderful careers, public sector and private sector and when my wife described it to me I turned to her and said “our world has changed just now, to what extent and how and when it will change is yet to be seen but we need to prepare” .

Not knowing at the time what it meant I went to my computer that evening after things had began to sort themselves out and began seriously searching for long-term storage food, generators, and other such prep items.  I have a special software package that allows me to have the screen read to me if it has text on it and at that time the internet had quite a bit more text than fancy graphics and animation which is the case today.  I slowly began to build my supplies of food,  tools etc even though my wife was a skeptic about what good it would do.  I began in earnest finally settling on Amazon and a couple other web sites that had shown up selling prepping supplies such as alternative energy, food and water supplies.

In 2008 my wife had to go to a nursing home and I was left alone in my house which I sold and turned the small amount of money I made into more preps and finally purchased a home in ( near my sister in a rural area and did even more prepping such as building up a solar system for power as I am a ham operator and wanted power for operating my ham gear and keeping my freezer and refrigerator running as well as being able to use my 700 watt microwave to cook since I am a klutz about real cooking.  The solar system is capable of charging a bank of 8 large marine deep discharge batteries with 1000 watts of solar power each day the sun shines and it can operate without sun for up to a week for the things I need in my house.  I am currently building an alternative water collection system using rain gutters which I had installed on my metal roof and placing about 3 55-gallon barrels around the house to collect the water and filtering it as it goes into the barrels for watering my SIMGAR container garden and my abundant white clover patch on the half acre for the honey bees on my property.

But what got me started?  I had in my mind an idea that it would come to this ever since high school.  I was attending the Arkansas State School for the Blind in Little Rock and in 1959 a B-58 exploded about 1500 feet above the area the school was  in and we were without power for over three days and also water etc and that started some wheels to turning in my brain which really got to spinning with the September 11, 2001 attack and I have been plugging away at it ever since.

13.) Betty

Watching the news and realizing what I was seeing going on in the world ,terrorism,impending economic collapse,all the natural disasters .I’m a christian and knew from scripture what I was seeing coming to pass and setting in place to happen,when I saw all the for rent and for sale signs I hadn’t seen in 40 years of living in my town and the jobs started leaving mills closing down I talked a family member into pulling out the 401 k and paying off their mortgage,it saved their home the only employed family member got laid off ,they would have lost their home,blessing from the lord,I think it common sense to prep as a lifestyle even in good times you lose nothing and if the worst suddenly happens your family stands to suffer much less ,it also teaches the next generation how to

14.) Ray

I have always been interested in being self-sufficient.  Ever since my early 20’s (I’m 66 now) I’ve had a garden when I lived where I could have one, and tried to learn a new skill or raise a new veggie every year.  I’ve raised bees, hogs, now raise dairy goats and a few cattle.  I can most things rather than freezing.

But all that was for long term self-sufficiency.

There were two things that got me switched on to prepping, literally overnight.  The first was the 2007 economic tanking and the government response to it: TARP, QE, monetizing the debt, all showed, and continue to show, that we are in for some real pain because no one is willing to identify and fix the real problems in our economy.

The second thing was the election of Barack Obama.  Not because he is Black (stupid comes in all colors), but because I listened to what he said and took him at his word that he meant every word of it.  The course and direction that he said he was taking the country, and post election the things he said and did, made be firmly believe that if he accomplished his stated goals, there would be nothing left of the America that I grew up in.

Sadly, he seems to have succeeded.  Crushing debt, uncontrolled government spending, Ferguson and Baltimore race riots, poverty and racial tension are all pushing this country to a precipice and any sudden shock could spill over into widespread rioting and looting.

We’ve lost the backbone of self-sufficiency and personal responsibility in favor of being on the government plan (or plantation).  Even worse, we’ve put up impediments and disincentives for those who still want to try to improve their lot in life.  Over the last generation we’ve turned out grads who are progressively less and less educated; can’t read, can’t write, can’t do simple math.  We’ve regulated and over-regulated to the point that new entrepreneurs aren’t starting businesses.

I founded and ran my own engineering business until I got fed up with the taxes, regulations, crime and congestion that came with living in Baltimore, so I sold my portion to my partners and ‘retired’ to a farm.  I have tried to have some small artisan business income from the farm activities, but (redacted) is not very friendly to that sort of thing.  So now I do my thing under the radar, not legal but not illegal as long as I don’t get into ‘public commerce’.  <sigh>

I can, I make cheese, I bake and am still learning new things.  The latest is that I’m raising rabbits for meat.

I’ve got food and water stored, am finishing my rainwater collection system for sustainable water, I’ve got my self-defenses set up and a plan for what to do if family shows up on the doorstep.  For the last few years I’ve been experimenting in the garden to improve yields and reduce labor (mostly to reduce weeding).  I’ve got manual tools and know how to use them when the power or fuel runs out, and my fuel tank holds almost 2 years of diesel with current usage.

When the SHTF, we may not make it out the other side, but we’ll be here long after most others are gone.

15.) Anonymous

Y2K. Thank goodness it didn’t happen, nor did I lose my faith in the preparedness mentality. Best thing thing that ever happened – getting me off my chops and being proactive.

16.) Theresa

My desire to protect my family from H1N1 started my prepping journey.  It started out gradually by purchasing N95 face masks, bio suits, gloves/booties and lots of sanitizer.  That led to purchasing supplies in case we needed to quarantine ourselves.   Finally I gave up my stand against firearms and adopted the mindset of beans, bandages and bullets, with one as none and two is one.  My family has slowly come around.  As a joke, my oldest sent me a picture of an emergency/camping port-a-potty as a possible Christmas gift for me.  Imagine his surprise when I told him I already had one.

For others, it was the influence of another person that woke them up.

Occasionally, something that doesn’t affect others with the impetus to prepare speaks to you in a different way. Sometimes it’s popular culture, and other times an influential personality.

17.) Crystal

Ok my story is going to sound a little ridiculous but it happened and now I prep. My husband was a prepper before I came along. He would always try to talk to me about it by I would shut down the conversation because I didn’t want to hear it. I was scared. Scared to think of what could happen. Scared of the tough decisions I would have to make for my kids. My husband and I came across The Walking Dead on New Years. They had a marathon on and my husband and I sat down to watch from the beginning since we had missed so much. It was like the hand of God slapped me and said you will do this and there will be no fear. That was 5 years ago. I haven’t looked back and I have no fear. My kids are on board and we prep as a family.

18.) Mickie

Reading Ron Paul.

19.) Vanessa

Finally listening to my husband. He’s been prepping for a while. I just didn’t want to believe it. I think I really understood once we had kids. Between dealing with schools and pediatricians and just how much the Government had their hands in my life is very unsettling.

Extreme weather is also an eye-opener.

20.) Walt

An ice storm here in (redacted) left us without power for 8 days. No power meant no well water. We cooked & heated with our woodstove but had to collect snow, ice & cold water from nearby creeks for water–in the cold. We began storing water for non drinking uses in milk containers after that event. Good thing. The following summer, freakish hurricane-force winds knocked out power for a week. By that time, we had managed to store plenty of water. That was 7 years ago and now we collect rain water in large containers & continue to store in gallon containers. Drinking water is stored, we own filters as well. We have also found alternative water sources in our area. What began as a survival mentality has become routine for us with water, food, medical supplies etc.

21.) Gregg

2011 tornado outbreak brought me back to it. I was raised being prepared, but became lax.

There’s a common element in these stories.

Nearly all of these situations could happen to anyone. None of it was extreme or a stretch of the imagination or the culmination of a conspiracy theory.

  • Bad weather.
  • The loss of a job.
  • A natural disaster.
  • An accident resulting in serious injury.
  • A power outage.
  • A financial downturn.
  • A nearby industrial accident.
  • A terrorist attack.

No one shared a story about a comet hitting, the overthrow of the government, or a Mad Max scenario. These were everyday situations that happened to everyday people, just like you and me.

Sometimes, we face the mockery of those who don’t understand our need to be self-reliant. The mainstream media never fails to put the word “prepper” in quotation marks, as though it’s a delusional term used by people who also believe in unicorns. But when we look to stories like these, it’s obvious that learning to live a prepared, self-reliant lifestyle isn’t “crazy.”  It’s actually the height of common sense.

What inspired you to get started?

For those of you who shared your stories for this article, thank you. You may never know it, but your story might just be the gentle push someone needs to get started.

How did you get started with preparedness? Please share your story 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 of The 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]

10 Reasons To Add Glow Sticks To Your Survival Kit

glowsticks

Whenever I think of glow sticks, my first thoughts are of kids’ sleepovers or rock concerts. Despite the visions of the Dollar Store party supply section that are probably dancing through your head, the bright tubes are actually a great addition to your preparedness supplies.

Glow sticks are also known as light sticks or chemical lighting.  Here is how they work:

A glow stick is made from a plastic sheath or tube that houses a mix of chemicals. Basically, the way it works is that you bend the sheath to crack the capsules that hold the different chemicals separate from one another,  then you shake it up to mix the contents, creating a chemical reaction that emits energy with only a teeny emission of heat. This is called chemoluminescence).

The diagram below provides some detail.

Glowstick

Source: Wikipedia

1. Plastic casing covers the inner fluid.
2. A glass capsule covers the solution.
3. Phenyl Oxalate and fluorescent dye solution.
4. Hydrogen Peroxide solution.
5. After the glass capsule is broken and the solutions mix, the glow stick glows.

The result is a brightly colored, diffused light that is good for short term illumination (about 6-12 hours).  There are several variables that affect the length of time the stick will stay lit: the length of the stick, the chemical composition in the sheath, and the ambient temperature.

What are the advantages of glow sticks over flashlights and candles?

Normally, when you think of emergency lighting, you think about candles and flashlights.  While both have their place in the survival kit, there are some downsides.

Here are the cons to these standard light sources:

Candles:

  • Candles can be dangerous if extreme care is not taken in their use.  The National Fire Protection Association reports that candles cause 29 house fires per day across the country. Their statistics show that candles caused 3% of the reported home fires, 4% of home fire deaths, 7% of home fire injuries, and 6% of direct property damage.  Furthermore, the Red Cross warns against any emergency use of candles in the home due to severe risk of fire.
  • Candles are not wind and waterproof and cannot be used outdoors.
  • Candles should not be left unattended. They should not be used as all-night lights, or by children or the elderly.
  • Candles consume oxygen and should not be used in confined spaces.
  • Candles go out when dropped and are not a mobile light source.
  • Candles are risky to use when natural gas or other fuels are present

Flashlights:

  • Batteries lose power and may leak or corrode when stored for an extended time. This damages the internal mechanism of the flashlights, rendering them useless even with new batteries.
  • Flashlights are great searchlights but give poor room illumination.
  • Light bulbs and lenses are breakable. When broken, they are useless.
  • Only very expensive flashlights are truly waterproof.
  • Flashlight internal circuits are subject to corrosion if there is moisture where they are stored.

What kind of chemical lighting should preppers stock up on?

Glow sticks come in various lengths, with 6 or 10 inches being the most popular. A stick of this length can have a duration of anywhere between 30 minutes to 12 hours, based on the factors we discussed above.  Whereas duration is determined by the chemistry of the formulation, brightness is affected by temperature: the warmer the temperature, the brighter the light will appear.

Some of the sticks are flexible and have a connector on the end that allows you to turn them into a bracelet or necklace. This is ideal if you want to give them to children. These are usually lower quality sticks, so you won’t want to rely on them for adults.

There are also small and compact mini 4” light sticks which are great for handbags, medical kits, and glove boxes in vehicles.  They can provide up to 4 hours of illumination.

The shelf life is at least four years especially when packaged in foil packaging.  Plus one popular brand, the Cyalume Snaplight, is manufactured in the United States.

Here’s why you need light sticks in your kit.

Glow sticks are far more useful than their inexpensive origins might indicate.

1.  They are safe in all environments, including those where questionable or even undetectable gases may exist.

2.  They are waterproof and can be used in the rain.

3.  They are weatherproof and windproof

4.  They are non-flammable, and non-sparking, eliminating the possibility of burns or the ignition of other flammable substances.

5.  They have a long shelf life.

6.  They are very inexpensive.

7.  Most light sticks can be seen from a mile away in the right conditions, making them ideal for indicating your location in a rescue situation.

8.  The bracelets can be worn by children who are afraid of the dark.

9.  By clipping them on a jacket or placing it around a wrist, they can help you keep track of children when you’re out camping.

10.  They can be placed around the house in Mason jars during a power outage, safely lighting your home to prevent accidents without the risk of a fire.

What’s not to like?  There are just a few bug-a-boos.

Depending on your needs, the standard 360-degree illumination may be an annoyance.  Also, the longer rated 8 to 12 hours light sticks will definitely start to dim after a few hours and dim considerably towards the end of their rated life.

The ambient temperature strongly affects the brightness at each end of the heat spectrum, with overall brightness starting to dim in cooler temperatures below 40 degrees and temperatures over 80 degrees.  Also, once activated by breaking the internal glass vial and combining the chemicals, they cannot be turned off, which could be a security issue if you were in a situation during which you needed to hide.

Military Grade vs. Industrial Grade:  What is the difference?

The cheapo sticks from the dollar stores are just that: cheap.  It’s very worthwhile to spend a small amount of extra money and get higher quality sticks.

There is no discernable difference in either light output or duration between these two grades. It seems that the only difference between the two is that the U.S. military, for reasons best known to it, requires a slightly different formulation for their light sticks.  This formulation has a four-year shelf life while the Industrial Grade formulation has a five-year shelf life.

Go figure.  The bottom line is this: the Military Grade version is a good light stick but not worth the 25% extra you pay over the Industrial Grade light stick, which produces the same amount of light and lasts just as long.

The Final Word

Glow sticks are a safe and inexpensive addition to your home, your vehicle, and your gear kit.  They have a myriad of uses. A pack of 10 will cost between $10 and $15, and even less on a per unit basis if you purchase a larger supply of 30or more.  They will last for 4 years at a minimum, and if stored properly, even longer.

Chemical light sticks are readily available at Lowes, Amazon, and many outdoor stores.  The only caveat is to know that those sold as a consumer item ( such as those sold as toy and party items at the dollar store)are not the same quality as an industrial grade or military grade light stick.  That said, for the kids, these inexpensive party-like glow sticks are terrific.

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.

How To Prep When You’re NOT An Epic Wilderness Survival Guru

How-to-Prep-When-You-Are-NOT-an-Epic-Wilderness-Survival-Guru

Did you ever read a blog post on a prepper site and sigh, because the person writing the post seemed to have been born a survivalist?

In your mind’s eye, you could envision them at the tender age of six, weaving a snare from some vines that they wisely assessed not to be poison ivy, catching a rabbit, skinning and gutting it with a pocketknife, and cooking it over a fire they started with two sticks that they rubbed together, while wearing their little elementary-school-sized camo outfit.

Discouraging, isn’t it?

But not everyone can be Daryl Dixon.

In fact, I really don’t believe that the majority of preppers actually are rugged survival gurus. Most of us had to make a conscious effort to learn. Most of us aren’t wilderness guides or professional hunters or military special forces operatives.  We don’t regularly pop a deer in the backyard with a homemade bow, we don’t have a bunker with 30 years of storable food and an aquifer we can access from within the safety of its walls, we don’t isolate our children from all forms of popular culture, and we don’t live in the middle of nowhere, so deep in the woods that we have to carefully climb a tree while clenching a laptop in our teeth to get an internet signal. We aren’t all off-grid homesteaders that weave our own fabric from the sheep we nurtured through a Himalayan winter.

Nope.

We are regular moms and dads. We are grandparents or teenagers. We go to the movies, grab an occasional coffee at Starbucks, and shop at Safeway. Our kids have friends whose parents would have no clue what to do in a disaster. We have Golden Retrievers, Pomeranians, parakeets, and cats.  We have jobs with officemates who have no idea we possess a year’s worth of beans. We live in downtown apartments, Victorian cottages, and raised ranch homes in the suburbs.

The thing that sets us apart – and sets you apart too – is the willingness to accept that life is not rainbows and lollipops. Not only do we accept it, but we do our best to take responsibility for our families should a disaster strike, whether that disaster is something on such a grand scale that it affects the entire region, or so small and personal that it only affects those living in your home.

So don’t read that stuff and sigh anymore. While there are those people who truly have been born to the lifestyle, most of us aren’t that way.

And that means we all started somewhere.

Maybe it was the realization that it was better to buy more of the sale stuff so we’d have it on hand for lean weeks.  Maybe a week long power outage occurred and we didn’t want to be caught with our drawers down again. A storm, a job loss, a devastating illness – whatever the reason we started, chances are we didn’t start out by moving to a yurt in the wilderness and living off the land.

Anyone can do this.  Anyone.

All it takes is the willingness to learn and the enthusiasm to practice.  Preparedness is an evolution, one that we all begin at a different place.

Here’s an example.

I grew up a pampered city girl. My family was reasonably well-to-do, and when we went on vacation, we usually stayed at resorts or nice hotels. We didn’t ever go rough it in the woods, and the one time we “camped” (when I was about 6 years old) it was in a luxury trailer with a bedroom and a functioning bathroom. Needless to say, very few wilderness survival skilled were learned. In fact, my mom didn’t even want me to walk out into the woods because she was worried I’d be bitten by a snake.

Fast forward to adulthood, when I was a single mom with two girls. I had been prepping for years, building stockpiles, learning to can, and doing all of the stuff city preppers do. I decided to up the ante, and when my oldest went off to college, my youngest and I moved out to the boondocks of Ontario, Canada. It was then that I realized I had no freakin’ idea what I was doing. None. I couldn’t even build a fire in the woodstove that would stay lit, and the woodstove was the only heat in the cabin. I thought, “What the heck have I done?” I wanted to bail, but I didn’t have enough money to scurry back to civilization.

So I learned.

I learned to build a fire, stack wood, deal with 5 feet – yes, 5 feet – of snow, avoid attracting bears to our cabin, paddle a canoe (once I finally learned to get in the canoe without flipping over), cook on  a woodstove during a blizzard power outage, live with intermittent running water and electricity – all sorts of stuff.

And I didn’t do ANY of it right the very first time I did it.

I broke things, froze wood to the wall of my cabin, shivered when the fire went out, freaked out when there was a bear on my porch, climbed out a window and dug my shovel out of the snow with cooking pots because I had left it outside and snow had blown against my door, burying the shovel and trapping us inside. Seriously, no one ever would have made a cool show about us living in the woods, not unless it was a comedy.

But I learned.

I am MUCH better prepared after the year we spent doing that stuff. Now, that stuff is easy for me and I could flawlessly demonstrate many skills while people looked on, impressed, but it didn’t start out that way. I often meet people who are far more skilled than I am and I welcome the chance to learn from them.

I’m not writing this so you think, “Wow, why would I take any advice from her, ever? She didn’t even know how to build a fire a few years ago.”

I’m writing this so that you don’t become discouraged. So that you remember that preparedness is an evolution. It’s a journey that starts when you do.

Wherever you are right now is a great place to start. The best! If you are willing to research, learn, and practice, in 6 months you’ll be amazed at how much your skills have improved. If you start building your supplies now, no matter how slowly, in 6 months, your stores will have increased.

So get a few good books, find some good websites, and tackle some skill-building.

There are some awesome epic wilderness survival gurus and some off-grid families that truly want to help and teach. I know some of them. And there are some arrogant jerks who think that their way is the only way, and that anyone who is unlike them doesn’t stand a chance.  I know some of them, too. If a so-called teacher makes you feel like you don’t stand a chance because of your current point in the journey, get as far away from that person as possible. Whatever they have to teach you will be drowned out by the noise of their derogatory and discouraging attitudes.

There are many positive places to learn, places where you can feel free to ask questions without feeling embarrassed.  There are warm and inviting places on the internet where people aren’t judgemental and where they gladly share their knowledge with newcomers.

You don’t have to start out as an epic survival guru.

No matter who you are.

No matter where you are.

All it takes to improve your chances of survival is the willingness to learn and the courage to try.

Check out these warm and welcoming preparedness websites:


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 of The 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]