Not all survivalism should be centered around a worst-case-scenario. It is arguably more important to prepare for the problems that will inevitably come your way over the next year, societal downfall or not. Neglect these precautions, and you could invite a small-scale disaster on yourself while preparing for Armageddon.
Summer makes for an excellent time to start thinking about the winter to come. With the kind of crazy weather patterns we’ve had for the last couple of years, you never know when fall will betray you. If you wait too long to winterize your home, you could find yourself smack in the middle of a blizzard, utterly unprepared. Instead, set a weekend aside and knock out the following tasks.
You can have an attic filled to the roof with insulation and still lose plenty of heat through unsealed doors and windows. The first step towards proper winterization involves doing a full walkthrough, looking for any places where cool air may be seeping in and heat may be escaping. Caulk and weatherstripping should help you ensure a tight seal.
If you’re facing major heat repairs, it’s far better to know when the temperatures are still moderate. Inspect your heating system or – preferably – have a professional come out to take a look. If you don’t have a regular heating company, read reviews carefully before calling one out. Some will look for any excuse to make a buck off you, so it pays to be cautious.
If you’re fortunate enough to have a fireplace, this is a good time to get it ready. A thorough safety check is required; make sure the flue is working properly. Furthermore, make sure you aren’t losing heat through the damper. If you feel a draft, you might consider implementing a flue sealer – an inflatable tool that plugs any leaking air.
Cover Your Pipes
If you have any exposed pipes, it can be a good idea to insulate them with sleeves made specifically for that purpose. You don’t want to face the winter with busted pipes and water damage. If you prefer, you may be able to insulate the pipes using materials like newspaper. Some choose to keep their faucets running just a little bit throughout the winter to prevent freezing, but that’s a considerable waste of water.
Clear Out the Gutters
Clogged gutters are a problem at any point in the year, but they can be especially troublesome once the winter storms start blowing. Leaves and debris can prevent snowmelt from being properly drained, thus putting your roof in danger of damage. Special snow guards can ensure that your gutters handle inclement weather more efficiently.
It’s so easy to take for granted the thousands of comforts that come with a 21st century lifestyle. But as anyone who has ever been without power knows, the degree to which we depend on electricity becomes starkly clear in no time flat. The first thing you’re going to miss in a blackout is, of course, your eyesight. Without electric lights, do you have a way of illuminating your home? If not, here are six ways you can get ready for the coming darkness.
Let’s cover the most obvious tool first, because if you’re going to prioritize your lighting supply, this is a great place to start. You probably already have a flashlight or two around the house, but you can’t go wrong by stocking up. Do yourself a favor and skip the cheapo models. These provide little light and don’t come with the reliability of the more expensive options.
A flashlight can help you see into the dark corners of your home, but what happens when you need both of your hands free to work? For that scenario, it’s worth having a head lamp or two in storage.
You could probably light a room with some strategic positioning of your flashlights, but candles are a much more efficient solution. These versatile lighting options were commonplace before the advent of electric lights, and they are just as effective a hundred years later.
A mirror isn’t going to light up a room, but it can do wonders when it comes to magnifying the light you have. With a single mirror, one candle becomes two. With several mirrors, you can get much more out of your limited lighting.
You’re not going to do much better than the sun if you want to light up your house. It’s not going to do you much good at night, but you can rearrange and modify your house to make sure you’re getting as much of that natural light as possible.
You don’t necessarily have to plug a lamp into the wall to light up a dark room. Kerosene, oil, and propane lamps can help you stave off the darkness when the power goes out. The only concern with these lamps is that they produce heat as well as light. If you’re trying to keep your home cool, they may not be the best light source. They can also be dangerous, so make sure you have ventilation. Never leave a burning lamp of this type unattended.
One of the most important things to plan for as a survivalist is a long, cold winter. Freezing temperatures can kill you when you don’t have a reliable way to get warm. But for people who live in Florida, Texas, and other semi-tropical climates, it may be just as important to find ways to keep cool. Heat stroke is deadly, and the day-in, day-out misery of sweltering temperatures can make you wish you’d died right along with your air conditioner. Instead of losing all of your precious water through your pores, try these tips on for size.
Plant a Seed
Whether you nurture a tree from germination to maturity or simply buy property surrounded by nature, trees are a good way to make sure your home stays cool. The shade itself will make a big difference, and the increased oxygen will make it feel cooler than the thermostat might suggest.
Your ceiling fans aren’t going to work without a power grid, but that doesn’t mean you have to sit around in the still, stale air. With battery-powered fans, you can keep the circulation going. Fans aren’t as effective when there’s no cool air to blow around, but you’re better off with them than without them. Wet yourself down, sit a spell in front of a small fan, and you’ll cool off remarkably well.
You’re better off keeping your home sealed up if you want to keep the worst of the daylight sun out of your home. But when the sun goes down, open up your doors and windows to promote a cross-breeze. Exercise caution, of course, when it comes to security concerns. And make sure you have tight screens on all windows to prevent bugs and other critters from taking shelter in your house.
If you get drunk enough, you won’t care how hot it is. Just kidding! No, the order of the day is water, and you’ll need to drink early and often if you want to keep dehydration at bay. This is why it’s so important to keep a large clean water supply. Don’t let yourself get in a situation where you have to choose between thirst and extending your supply another day.
When the temperatures are rising, you want to do everything you can to keep the hot air from invading your home. Make some heat-blocking curtains to make sure the sun stays on the right side of your walls. In fact, even if you aren’t preparing for a life without air conditioning, these curtains can make your home cooler and slash your monthly electric bill.
A child with almost no experience at all can figure out how to cook some food if they have a fire and a pan. But when it comes to cooking in tough situations, there is more to consider than just a flame source. Those preppers who have spent a lot of time camping will have no problem mastering the fundamentals. Those who have solely relied on a stocked kitchen to make their meals could run into unforeseen problems. Here are some safe, smart cooking tips that can help you when trouble comes.
Clear the Area
It’s important to be methodical and thorough when clearing room for a fire pit. It’s not enough just to make sure you’ve removed all the leaves and debris from the immediate area. Look also for low-hanging branches, bushes, and other things that could catch fire if a spark gets away from you.
Keep a Lid On It
If you want to make sure your meals are done quickly, keep a lid on your pan when cooking food. This creates a feedback system of heat, ensuring not only that your food stays moist but that it cooks evenly. You can get more cooking done with less heat, a factor especially important if you’re using a limited fuel supply.
It’s always a good idea to keep some water at hand when cooking over an open fire. Should the flames get out of control, you want to douse them as soon as possible. Don’t wait until you have a full-fledged situation on your hands before you start looking for a pail of water.
Without the luxury of running water, cleaning up after a meal gets a little more difficult. Alas, it’s still easily doable. The best trick is to clean up your pans while they are still hot from the fire. Don’t burn yourself, obviously, but attend to the scrubbing as soon as possible. The food will come off much more easily than if you leave it to sit.
Whether you’re eating wild game or stored meat, food safety takes on a whole new priority in a survival situation. Food-borne illness could mean the difference between success and failure. Storage, a discerning nose, and common sense will serve you well here, but there is no substitute for thoroughly cooking your food. A meat thermometer will cut the guess work in this area.
Safety gets overlooked when it comes to survival preparation, and that makes no sense at all. What’s the point in getting prepared if you’re going to hurt or kill yourself in the process of surviving? Adhere to these tips and avoid a cooking nightmare.
If you’re serious about living without electricity, you should already know how to cook food using only fire. That will keep you alive, but why not live a little? Preppers should focus on the high priority items when first building their inventory, but you never know how long your survival scenario will last. You don’t need a lot of convenience to make it a week, but what if you have to live a month without power? Or a year? You’ve never known drudgery until you’ve experienced this kind of pressure.
Once you get beyond the basics, it’s important to remember how essential morale is to making it through tough times. The constant fight to survive can drain your batteries in a hurry. If you have a few “fun” items, it might help you keep the depression at bay. Start in the kitchen, and stock up on these alternative devices that don’t require a healthy power grid to function.
Manual Flour Mill
This is a handy device to have around, not just because it can stave off the worst of the nutritional boredom that will inevitably set in. It’s also a practical tool that can turn beans and wheat into usable flour. Considering the short shelf-life of many flours, a hand mill is a wise purchase.
You won’t be able to rely on your trusty blender when the electricity goes out, but a good food strainer makes a decent substitute. With this device, you can turn fruit into juice, create sauces, and even whip up some jam.
What’s better than a crock pot? Set it in the morning, and you have a delicious homecooked meal waiting when you get home. Of course, any such niceties go out the window when the plugs don’t work. The Wonderbag is a novel item that can do the same thing without the electricity. With a pot, a lid, and some water to boil, you can use the Wonderbag to replicate the functionality of a slow cooker.
With a manual mixer, you will have to put in the effort that electricity handles on your behalf with modern appliances. Despite that, you’ll find that it works just as well for most applications. If you plan on making any recipes more elaborate than “fry meat in skillet,” you should think about getting your hands on one of these.
Can you imagine trying to survive the apocalypse without coffee? Is there even a point to that kind of life? If you’re a java addict, make sure you get a percolator that will allow you to make coffee without a traditional pot. No one should have to go through trying times in a grumpy mood, after all!
In some ways, it may have been easier for humans to survive a post-apocalyptic scenario in the 80s then it will be today. Society has changed significantly in the last twenty years, and it has given us a warped view of what life is all about. That’s not criticism, exactly; it’s just an observation that we are further away from nature than ever before. When the power goes down, communication isn’t going to be as easy as picking up your cell phone. There’s not going to be any internet. If you want to get in touch with someone, you’re going to need some special preparation.
Food, tools, weapons, and healthcare supplies are essential to any attempt at post-societal survival, but it’s a mistake not to invest in some method of communication. Your longterm survival may depend on your ability to contact the outside world. By getting your hands on the following devices, you’ll have a much better chance of doing just that.
A Shortwave Radio
With shortwave frequencies, you’ll be able to broadcast transmissions that can be picked up by others in the area. These radios are commonly used in emergency situations, and they make for an excellent addition to your survival inventory.
A Satellite Phone
If you’re prepping on a budget, a satellite phone may not be a practical purchase. If you have plenty of money to blow, on the other hand, you could make worse investments. Without working cell towers, your iPhone isn’t going to be much good. As long as the disaster that strikes doesn’t wipe out our satellites, though, this type of phone should continue to do the trick.
A GMRS/FRS Radio
For short-distance communication, GMRS/FRS radios can work well. There are rather affordable, but there are drawbacks. If you live in a mountainous area, you may not get much coverage. The batteries have a tendency to die quickly as well.
A Ham Radio
If you want to put all of your communication budget into a single device, make it a ham radio. Emergency response systems all across America use this system to broadcast, meaning you’ll be able to tap into any existing national support. That support includes the national weather system, giving you a heads-up on any existing storms.
Depending on the severity of the situation, communications could be nearly impossible when the crisis hits. There’s no guarantee that these devices will keep you in touch, but it’s a bet worth wagering on.
When society crumbles, none of us can say what the ensuing chaos will look like. Because of this uncertainty, you have to take any advice with a grain of salt. What seems like good common sense when the lights are on could turn out to be pure foolishness in a crisis.
That said, we can only prepare using the knowledge we have. You could prepare for the next thousand years and never think of all the contingencies. But there are some common mistakes people make that can be pointed out despite the unknowns. If you or someone you know is guilty of making them, try to correct course before it’s too late.
Style Over Substance
For some survivalists, this is just a hobby. They don’t really expect to be around for the end of the world. They don’t expect to wake up one day and confront a world that has changed dramatically. Prepping for them is just another way to pass the time. That’s absolutely fine.
Unfortunately, there are others who really do want to be prepared for the worst. And they wind up taking advice from the ones who are just whiling away the hours. That can lead to putting style over substance, wasting money on equipment, food, and skills that will not be useful in a real survival situation. If you just want to “play” survivalist, that’s not a problem. If you really want to protect yourself and your family in a desperate scenario, though, be careful about your priorities.
You’ve got your garage packed with enough food to last you and your family until the sun goes dark. You’ve got every knife ever manufactured. You’ve set up a water retention system that ensures you’ll never go thirsty. But if you don’t have a plan to go along with all of those supplies, you’re making a big mistake. The biggest part of prepping is planning. Run through several different scenarios, make a detailed plan for each one, and don’t leave the brainstorming for the last minute.
Insufficient Healthcare Supply
The little first aid kit in your medicine cabinet is better than nothing, but it in no way constitutes the extent of your healthcare needs. Remember, in a worst-case-scenario, you may have no access to a doctor. No access to a drugstore. And you have no idea how long that situation will last. Make sure your first-aid supplies are extensive. This is one area of preparation where there is no such thing as “too much.”
This is probably the most common mistake preppers make. They get into the hobby for a year or so, build up a respectable survival kit, and then promptly forget about it. You don’t want to have spent all this money and time coming up with a storeroom only to find that decay has set in when you really need it. Check your supplies regularly, rotate out old stock, and take care of your weapons and tools. No matter what form disaster takes, you’ll be glad you did.
Sterilization is one of those concepts we take for granted in modern society. But we are only one destructive storm away from losing access to 2015’s medical miracles. For that reason alone, rubbing alcohol should be part of your survival inventory. But the uses for this amazing solution go well beyond simple sterilization. Here are five fantastic ways you can use rubbing alcohol.
Rubbing alcohol earns its name when you use it to relieve sore muscles and joints. If you don’t have a supply of Ben-Gay in your storage closet, turn to rubbing alcohol instead.
Pinch the Tick
Depending on where you have to wait out the apocalypse, insects and other crawling critters could make your life miserable. Rubbing alcohol isn’t a great pesticide, but it does come in handy if you need to get a tick off your skin. Douse the tick in the solution and remove the offending leech with tweezers.
Wait, did we say rubbing alcohol made a poor pesticide? That’s true for the most part, but it does give you a line of defense against fruit flies, mites, and bed bugs. Spray down your bedding/kitchen/bathroom with the alcohol, and it should go a long way towards eliminating these persistent pests.
Rubbing alcohol really shines when you use it as a cleaner. Not only does it do a fine job of clearing away germs, it makes an excellent degreaser. Alcohol can cut through grease caked on your sensitive equipment, and it can get it off your skin like nobody’s business.
Fuel for Flame
Because of the danger involved, you don’t want to make a habit of putting flame to alcohol. But if you’re in a survival situation where you either have to make a fire or die of hunger/exposure, rubbing alcohol makes for an indispensable help. You’ll still need to create a spark, but the alcohol should make it much easier to get a healthy flame going.
Rubbing alcohol doesn’t get a lot of press when it comes to survivalism/prepping, and that’s a shame. It may not be the ultimate staple, but its many uses should not be overlooked. Its ability to sanitize should make it an essential tool, even if you disregard its other uses. It’s cheap, it keeps for a long time, and you can find plenty of uses for it in your everyday life. Next time you go shopping for survival supplies, throw a bottle in your cart.
Most of us have been told to floss regularly since our first trips to the dentist. But for survivalists, dental floss isn’t just a tool to round out your oral hygiene. This tiny, versatile tool has a host of surprising applications, a comprehensive list of which would likely be endless. You don’t need to know every single application, though, to realize how important dental floss is to your supply store. Here are just a few.
A Makeshift Alarm System
Alarm systems can help guard your home against intruders, but ADT probably isn’t going to be online when the you-know-what hits the fan. Dental floss can serve as a substitute. By tying some noisy metal cans to a long string of floss, you can create a strong perimeter that will provide you with plenty of warning if someone approaches.
Protection is a necessary component of prepping. None of us know what the world will look like after a crisis, but it’s naive to think humans will come together in peace and harmony. As they say, hope for the best and prepare for the worst. Dental floss, in this instance, can be utilized as a tool of restraint. As light as it is, this material is extraordinarily strong. Wrap enough of it around an enemy’s wrists and he’ll be secured.
Dental floss is strong, but it may not be strong enough for every purpose. However, if you can braid several threads of it together, you can make rope that is much stronger. Naturally, you’re better off keeping a dedicated supply of rope instead, but floss makes a decent substitute if you’re caught without the good stuff.
A good prepper closet should already have a wide array of cutting implements, but you never know when you might come up short. If you find yourself in the unenviable position of needing a knife and having only dental floss, you aren’t as bad off as you think. Wrap a length of floss around fruit or meat, yank it tight, and it should slice through almost as easily as a sharp knife.
Dental floss is a handy tool to have when you need to make larger tools. With floss, you can make a variety of things that cover a diverse array of situations. Among the possibilities:
– Use floss to tie a knife to a stick for a hunting spear.
– Use the floss as fishing line by tying a hook to the end of the string.
– Use the floss to make a replacement string for your bow.
This only scratches the surface, but dental floss is worth having around even if none of the possibilities appeal to you. A dentist, after all, may not be available if things go awry. A tooth infection isn’t just painful; without treatment, it can actually be deadly. Flossing is important in modern society, but it may be doubly so in a survival scenario. Take care of your teeth, take care of your health, and live longer in extreme circumstances.
When crisis strikes, it doesn’t take long for the supermarket shelves to empty. If you’ve ever lived through a hurricane, you know how the local grocery store looks in the days leading up to the storm. Once the forecasters sound the alarm, the entire population turns into one big survivalist army. That’s why it’s so important for full-time preppers to stock the shelves before the rest of the public catches up to the danger.
Obviously, you have to be careful when outfitting your pantry. Look for staple foods that are calorically dense, inexpensive, and are able to stay good for a long time. By focusing on these three criteria, you can slowly build a storeroom you can turn to when darkness approaches. Here are the best five foods to start your disaster-proof nutrition nook.
Beans are power-packed with nutrition, and they can retain their flavor for up to a decade if stored properly. They are among the easiest foods to prepare with limited resources and they are cheap. This conspires to make them one of the top foods for any burgeoning survivalist. Buy them liberally whenever you go to the grocery store, rotating them into your everyday diet on a regular basis.
What would beans be without rice to go along with them? Rice has a similar shelf life of up to ten years, and it is practically pure carbohydrate. With a steady supply of just rice and beans, you’ll have met your basic nutritional needs. That’s not to say that this represents a balanced diet, but beggars can’t be choosers. If crisis strikes and you only have two foods in your pantry, you could do a lot worse.
Flour is extremely handy, and it has a long shelf life. Any all-purpose flour will do, but cornmeal comes with oils that help extend its lifespan. What really recommends cornmeal, though, is its versatility. Even without a steady power supply, you can make a variety of meals from cornmeal with little more than a skillet. Other flours may require oil and yeast to make something worth eating. Under optimum storage conditions, your cornmeal should last 1-2 years.
Survivalists have a tendency to forget about the importance of seasonings when stocking their pantry. And while you can argue that what your food tastes like is a lot less important than how nutritious it is, a long spell of self-sustaining solitude may be easier to cope with if you have a little flavor. Even if you aren’t convinced, salt is a powerful prepper item. Its use as a preservative alone makes it worth the purchase.
Beans pack a wallop of protein, but there’s no substitute for meat. Look for meats like chicken, ham, and tuna that are stored in the can. They will keep for at least five years, and some of them may be good for up to a decade.