Guns are often brought up when people discuss firearms as barter items post SHTF.

My position is that I simply don’t believe much in having barter items at all. Every time I’ve seen it used, it was always by people is pretty desperate situations, trading at a loss. This is something you saw a lot of in Argentina after 2001, you saw it again in 2014 and its happening again with the latest crisis, a 100% devaluation in the last few weeks.(Nope, never a boring day in Argentina)

My point is, anything you may have heard being mentioned as “worth its weight in gold” or otherwise a great barter item to be had, every single time my conclusion was that such person would have been better off having the actual cash at hand instead. Either cash or its equivalent in precious metal as insurance for said type of devaluation. The toilet paper, the seeds, the tools, its all just junk you end up trading at a loss during desperate times.

There are certain items though that I believe hold enough intrinsic value and are of such wide use that you can feel safe in stockpiling them. Food for example, is both valuable and more important, you consume it yourself. Ammo, somewhat of the same thing. And guns. Guns are not only used for the critical role of defending yourself and your loved ones, they hold value rather well too.

Some people are concerned regarding trading or bartering guns, worried that they may be used against them. I talking about dealing with reputable people you actually trust, or maybe your local gun shop. In my experience guns are not only useful, they hold value very well. Even in very unstable economies like Argentina, Ive managed to convert guns I didn’t have a need for anymore into cash rather fast.

Having said that, not all guns are equal and some are easier to sell/trade and are in higher demand than others.

Combat/Defense handguns

Chief among them, 9mm Glock, models 19 and 17. Guns like Beretta 92, CZ75, XD, HK USP and Sig 22X. Reputable guns for self defense or carry. Popular models are easier to move, but Glock 9mm are without a doubt the most popular ones, almost as good as cash in hand. Its not a bad idea to buy police trade ins as spares, even 40 S&W Glocks trade well and are good guns in their own right.

Premium guns

These would be the guns the collector community always seems to be interested in. A Colt Python is almost a commodity of a certain market value. Same for original Colt 1911 service pistols, S&W model 29 just to name a couple. Sometimes you can cross over categories. The HK P7 for example is a wonderful gun for defense while also being highly desirable among collectors.

Work guns

Popular 22 carbines like the Marlin 10/22 or shotguns like the Mossberg 500 or Remington 870. Even a solid 357 revolver like the Ruger GP100 to an extent.

These are usually easy to trade or sell at the right price. These are practical, versatile “tools” and even if already common and everyone seems to have one already, they continue to be in high demand if the price is right.

Cheap guns

At the other end of the spectrum you have the cheap junk guns. They may work, but their main attraction is simply being cheap. Hi Points, Taurus guns, these are the ones that go for 50-100 bucks, but they still sell because they are affordable.

Service Rifles

Old surplus Mausers, Mosin Nagants, AR15, SKS, FAL, AK, G3. These are guns that have a somewhat fixed market price and you can usually expect to get your money’s worth for them rather fast.

Uncommon guns, guns in unusual calibers, brands that aren’t as well known, these would be the guns that are harder to sell or trade, even if they are great guns in their own right.


Fernando “FerFAL” Aguirre is the author of “The Modern Survival Manual: Surviving the Economic Collapse” and “Bugging Out and Relocating: When Staying is not an Option”

This content was originally published here.

Drones are a very widespread technology nowadays, regardless of whether you love them or hate them. And as with any piece of technology, it’s important to consider whether it might be useful when the grid goes down.

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In this video, Mike In The Woods talks about the seven most important reasons you may need a drone in an SHTF situation:

1. Deterrent

As with any security-based tool, a drone can easily be used as a deterrent. Simply flying one around in the air where it’s easily visible tells other people in the area (including potentially hostile people) that there are other forces in the area watching their every move. This could compel them to move on to another area.

2. Assessing Damage/Scale

One of the best uses for a drone is to assess the full extent of the damage in your area. Attach a camera to your drone, hook up the camera with your phone, and use it to conduct surveillance around the surrounding area and see just how bad things really are.

3. Scouting For Resources

Beyond assessing the surrounding area for the full extent of the damage, you can also use it to scout for resources. For example, if your group is in desperate need of water, you can use your drone to scout for nearby lakes or streams.

4. Delivering Supplies

This one is limited based on how much weight your drone can carry, but you can use your drone to deliver certain kinds of supplies to others in need who are some distance away.

You’ll need to develop some sort of rig or pouch to attach securely to the drone, then place supplies in the pouch. You can deliver food, fire-starting materials, first aid supplies, and so on.

5. Communication and Delivering Messages

Beyond using your drone to deliver supplies, you can also use it to deliver messages. Simply write a note, tape it to the drone, and deliver it accordingly.

6. Distraction

If you need to make a daring escape but hostile forces are in your way, use your drone as a distraction. Fly it over the enemy to get their attention, and fly it relatively close to them.

The idea is that they’ll give chase or attempt to down it while your group can cross by under the radar. You definitely risk losing your drone with this strategy, but it’s still worth mentioning.

7. Remote Surveillance

Finally, do you need to spy on the enemy’s positions or scout the area for signs of other people? You can use your drone to conduct remote surveillance in this fashion, but just take note that you’ll need to fly the drone high up in the air to avoid detection.

For a more detailed discussion of how to use a drone after the SHTF, watch the video by Mike In The Woods below.

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I think it has begun. I am very unhappy and disappointed in the kind of censorship going on with Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube. People, that is only the beginning. Remember when they started to censor small YouTubers, well now it is big YouTubers, including the President. WTH is going on? Seriously? Never thought I would live to see the day this kind of thing begins to happen.

I am considering canceling Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube, and a few others. Come on, censoring? What happened to freedom of speech? What happened to respect what others have to say, even if you don’t agree. This is how it is dealt with. I don’t like talking politics, but sometimes something just pisses me off. Yeah like this. And now they want to impeach the president again. Haha. Wow. What happened in DC was not Trump’s fault, full stop!

Okay I am not going to go on about that. On Friday I got a call from my optometrists office, one of those automated messages with an option to cancel the appointment. I needed to cancel, so I did. Then today I got another call from the office, this time an actual person, letting me know they had to cancel my appointment.

I’m thinking – What the heck? I cancelled already. Don’t they get the messages when we cancel? What is the point for giving you an option. Anyway, apart from that, I wasn’t given a reason for them cancelling, not that it mattered because I had supposedly cancelled already. I told my husband that the only thing that occurred to me is that someone came up with COVID in the office and had to cancel all appointments. I am just speculating, I won’t really know unless I ask, I don’t know if I want to ask though lol.

I am nervous about the reason for cancelling. So I told my husband I am going to wait a month or two before setting a new appointment, I don’t want to catch COVID. Do you blame me?

Stay safe & healthy

This content was originally published here.

Warning: Some of these DIY perimeter alarms are dangerous. Be very careful and do them at your own risk.To be forewarned is to be forearmed. If you are vulnerable—whether you’re asleep or bugging out—having a perimeter alarm to alert you to intruders can save your life.

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In this video, Sensible Prepper explains how to make six DIY perimeter alarms:

1. Hand Grenade Top and Shotgun Primer

Yes, you read that right. For this alarm, you’ll simply need to purchase shotgun primers (available online or at most gun shows) and a hand grenade top (with the rest of the grenade removed of course). You’ll also need a tripwire and a nail.

Set the grenade top through the screw first through the drilled holes. Then hammer your nail into a tree at about knee height or lower. Tie your tripwire to the grenade top, and place a shotgun primer into the grenade top. When the tripwire is yanked, the shotgun primer will go off to alert you to danger.

2. Mousetrap and Pistol Primers Method

This one is incredibly simple: Just prime your mousetrap and set your pistol primers on the trap, positioned so that they will go off when they come into contact with the spring. Wrap a tripwire around the spring and, when it’s pulled, the spring will launch forward and strike the primers.

3. Sentry Alarm Mines with .22 Blanks

Sentry Alarm Mines are trip alarms that have a trigger that can be cocked upwards with a spring. You then place a blank .22 caliber round into the bottom of the mine.

Attach a string to the trigger and set it up as a tripwire by running it between the mine and a nail hammered into a tree. When the tripwire is pulled, it will yank the trigger and cause the blank to go off.

4. Fithops 209 Trip Alarm

Another choice is the Fithops 209 Trip Alarm that strikes shotgun primers. You simply cock the firing pin back to the rear and lock it into place with the aid of a pin. Attach a tripwire to the pin, and when yanked, it will cause the firing pin to strike forward and strike the primer.

5. Fithops 12 Gauge Trip Alarm

The Fithops 12 Gauge Trip Alarm is a bit of an upgrade over the Fithops 209. Not only is it built out of a more durable steel with a hard coat anodized finish (rather than the 209’s aluminum), it can be used with 12 gauge blanks, which may be more commonly available than simply the primers.

Furthermore, you can also get 12 gauge blank flashbangs, which will create smoke when struck to visually alert you to danger as well.

6. Driveway Alarm

Last but not least is a driveway alarm, which will audibly alert you when anyone walks or crosses by. Some driveway alarms come with a chime sound that goes off inside your house, so you will be alerted to someone’s arrival regardless of where you are in the home.

To see how to make these perimeter alarms, be sure to watch the video by Sensible Prepper below.

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If the year 2020 has taught us anything it’s that anything can happen. We’ve experienced devastating wildfires and hurricanes, civil unrest, and many levels of economic and personal turmoil resulting from the pandemic.

You’ve had plenty of time this year to think about what to stock up on during a two-week quarantine, but what about an extended grid-down event? Here are 12 tasks you need to complete before the proverbial SHTF.

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1. See A Mechanic For Routine Vehicle Maintenance

Have you been putting off getting that new set of tires or seeing about the “check engine” light? You’ll need your vehicles to be in their best working order in the event of a long-term grid failure.

Auto mechanic shops will be closed, and car supplies – from the basic to the unusual – will be at a premium. Also, aim to keep your vehicle gas tanks at least half full at all times.

2. Withdraw Cash From The Bank

Debit cards and charge cards will do you no good during an extended power outage. Automated tellers won’t operate, and banks are likely to be closed.

Experts recommend that you should have enough cash on hand to cover at least one month of your living expenses. This amount is different for everyone, so think about what sum is realistic for your family.

Withdraw the cash in mostly twenties and even smaller bills that will be easier to spend in an emergency. Avoid storing your money all in one place. Instead, divide it among a few safe locations around your home.

3. Bring Home Contents Of Your Safety Deposit Box

This subject is a matter of debate among preppers. The decision of where you keep your valuable items and papers is a personal one that depends on your individual situation.

Some people feel better having those valuables in a home safe while others feel better with them stored in an off-premise location. However, in the event of a grid failure, you should have your legal documents on hand, not in a bank that may not be open.

4. Convert Cash To Metals

Some prepping experts advise converting some of your savings into gold or silver for long-term security. However, the subject also is a matter of debate.

Precious metals will not buy you food or water after a disaster, but it may indeed be worth considering spreading your wealth among a balanced set of currencies and goods for the long haul.

5. Refill Your Prescriptions

We always think about our need for food and water, but for some people, one of the most life-threatening aspects of a grid failure could be running out of medication.

Make a list of any daily meds your family needs and refill those prescriptions. You may need to schedule appointments with your medical professionals to make this happen, so don’t delay.

While you’re at it, this is a good time to check your supply of over-the-counter medicines, such as pain relievers and cough and cold products. Carefully consider each individual family member’s needs.

6. Visit The Dentist

Have you been putting off a visit to the dentist? Many of us do. However, dental hygiene is an integral part of your overall health. Now is the time to get the filling checked or that over-due cleaning.

Be sure to include dental health items in your bug out bags. Your list should include toothbrushes, toothpaste, and floss. If you’re looking to multi-purpose as many items as you can, baking soda will work as a tooth cleaning powder.

7. See Your Eye Doctor

This visit is essential for your eye health and also to update your eyeglass and contact prescriptions. If you rely on glasses or contacts, a back-up supply is essential for a long-term grid failure.

8. Back Up Computers And Phones

Regularly back up your phones and computers with cloud storage and with a USB flash drive.

Keep your electronics as fully charged as possible. Place battery-operated chargers and extra power cords in your bug out bags.

9. Document Your Belongings

Take photos or videos of your belongings and of each room in your home. Take close-ups of valuables and model numbers and serial numbers on equipment. This documentation will be very useful in the event you file an insurance claim.

Check out a couple of the free apps (such as Sortly and Momento Database) to help you with this home inventory.

10. Plan Your Exit Route

Whether you will be able to shelter at home or at another location will depend entirely upon where you live and the nature of the emergency. You may need to evacuate on short notice, so it’s a good idea to have an emergency exit plan in place.

Here are planning steps to follow, according to the Insurance Information Institute.

11. Hone Your Skills

Now is the time to bone up on basic survival skills such as how to build a shelter and how to start a fire. You don’t need to spend any money; there are plenty of YouTube videos on these subjects.

12. Keep a Cool Head

Clear and logical thinking are probably the most essential aspects of handling an extensive power outage and any of the trauma that goes with it. You’ll find that planning and preparation will go a long way in allowing you to keep calm.

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Long-term storage requires stability, nutritional balance, and cost. There’s no wonder preppers love beans. They have it all! Carbohydrates for energy, protein for structure, and versatility! Last but not least, they are cheap.

Preppers love beans so much they form the foundation of the prepper mantra “Beans, Bullets, and Bandages.” To a prepper, beans represent food. Around the world, beans represent a part of a complete meal. Because of this, there are two types of preppers. Those with a basement full of beans, and those who want a basement full of beans.

As you will soon see, beans are cheap and easy to store in bulk. Let’s look at first why you should store beans and then how best to purchase and store them.

Beans Then and Now

As soon as humans learned the benefit of beans, we sought to propagate them as opposed to seek them out and forage them. As early as 7,000 years ago, the peoples of Mexico were harvesting and storing beans in quantities. Domestication started somewhat later.

Regardless of the timeline, the people in Central and South America knew the value of the lowly legume. It didn’t take long for beans to spread throughout the Americas as well as Europe. Soon there were too many varieties to count.

Show me a school-age child that doesn’t know the story of the three sisters. Native Americans would plant beans, corn, and squash. They would plant a mound of earth with corn. The corn would support the climbing beans. The squash would then spread at the base of the hill.

I learned as a child that the three sisters single-handedly got the colonists through the first few winters in North America. OK, that may be a bit of an exaggeration, however, we cannot contest the place beans have in human history.

Sadly, today we tend to mono-crop foods on large farms, and no longer benefit from the Native Americans’ ingenuity. That being said, we have the benefit of many types of beans that we have developed over the generations.

The United States alone plants over 1.5 million acres of beans per year, and has an annual harvest of over 1.5 million tons of dried beans. This is only a small portion of the over 23 million tons annually produced across the world.

Prepper and Health Benefits of a Bean-Rich Pantry

So you have a basement full of buckets of beans. Aside from me telling you this is a good idea, why is this good? Beans have a lot going for them. Let’s look at the benefits!

Prepper Benefits

Dried beans are cheap and store for an incredibly long time. As they are relatively easy to grow in quantity and require little additional processing other than drying, you can purchase beans for between $1 and $2 per pound.

Buying in bulk is the key. I’ll discuss this a little later, but for me, 50-pound bags at the local restaurant supply store work out to be half the per-pound cost of the local grocery store.

Next, beans store really, really well. Unlike animal proteins or fats, they require little extra treatment other than proper storage. Keep your beans cool, dry, and out of reach of critters, and you are set for the long-term.

Seal in Mylar and with oxygen (O2) absorbers and you’ll have food to pass down to your grandkids. While beans do dry out over time, there are a few ways that you can still cook over-dry beans. YouTube is your friend for treatment methods.

Health Benefits

Finally, there are the health benefits of beans in your diet. While beans are not a calorie powerhouse such as meats or fats, they pack about 200 calories per cup. This is on par with your long-term rice and rolled oats.

Beans contain complex carbohydrates. This translates to slow released energy. Sometimes you want a boost of energy. For these times have a Snickers bar. For the bulk of your life, you don’t want to put your body through that sugar roller coaster. The low glycemic index of beans evens out the available sugars for your body over time.

Nutritionally beans are a rich source of iron. When red meat may be at a premium, you will need other sources of iron to help fight off anemia. Regularly adding beans to your plate will boost your iron intake.

The potential lack of meat in your diet can also be offset by beans. That same cup of beans has about 7 grams of protein. This essential building block helps you to build your muscles after periods of physical strain.

Those recovering from injuries need increased amounts of protein in their diets. When beef, pork, chicken, and fish become hard to source, your basement full of beans will be the perfect substitute!

What beans have is fiber. The same fiber leaves you feeling bloated and contributes to the expected after-effects of beans.

Regardless, fiber is healthy and will keep “things moving” when societal collapse interrupts your diet and leaves you “bound up.” The fiber in beans also fills you up. A cup of beans can hold off hunger for several hours.

The Don’ts of Bean Storage

Bean storage is fairly easy when you follow the rules and, thankfully, the rules are simple. Avoid some things, and encourage others. Let’s take a look.

Beans come dry and all ready for short-term storage. If you are topping off your pantry and you’ll be rotating them every six months, there is little to do. Since we are looking at decades of storage, you need to guard against a few negative factors.

Insects and Rodents

Beans don’t suffer from insects as wheat, rice, and flour do. While the critters may be in there, beans are large enough and dark enough that any weevils or other bugs can hide effectively.

In rice, you can see the dark critters crawling around in a field of white. Same with flour, especially when you sift.

As insects are everywhere, you must kill them in place rather than have any chance of removing them. Killing them involves three options.

First, freeze the bugs and their eggs. Three to five days in the freezer suffices to kill the eggs and any crawlers that have survived the packing and shipping process. A quick wash before you cook your beans removes any remnants.

Second, you can add diatomaceous earth. Diatomaceous Earth is the fossilized remains of microscopic diatoms. The powder-like material is actually like broken glass, albeit very, very small broken glass.

The diatomaceous earth gets on insects, and quickly dehydrates them through a series of cuts. Add one-half cup of diatomaceous earth to your beans, and thoroughly mix before packing.

Although it is harmless to ingest, wear a high-quality dust mask when mixing. Again, a quick rinse before cooking is all that is needed to wash off the diatomaceous earth (although this step is not needed).

Finally, you can remove oxygen from the environment. We will discuss this a little later with the application of oxygen (O2) absorbers. By removing the O2 and creating a vacuum, you remove one of the necessary ingredients for life.

Rodents are another matter altogether. It doesn’t take long for a rat or a few mice to spoil a large quantity of food. For rodents, you need two approaches: prevention and barriers.

The best way to keep rodents out of your food stores is to prevent them. The area must be clean and well-sealed. I cannot emphasize keeping a storage area clean enough. Even the smallest bits of scrap food will draw in rodents.

Once they get the smell of food, they are persistent! And if food was there once, they’ll be back… With friends!

Once your storage area is spotless, seal up any crack or hole a quarter inch or larger. Full-grown mice can fit through a hole the size of a dime. Oh, and if it’s not big enough, they’ll make it bigger.

You can purchase spray-foams designed for rodents, but the reviews are mixed. I prefer a combination of both spray foam and steel wool. Better yet use these and patch up the wallboard, foundation, etc. wherever the hole is.

Once the environment is rodent-proof, use a durable container. We will talk about 5-gallon buckets soon, but suffice it to say, leaving bags of beans stacked on a pallet is not conducive to rodent protection.

Light and Moisture

The next layer of protection you need to add is to thwart light and moisture.

Light is fairly easy to block. Storage in an interior room or basement will suffice. If that is not an option, a durable container (e.g. 5-gallon buckets) or a tarp will do. The light issue is that it slowly, but steadily, breaks things down. From the plastic of your storage containers to the nutrients in beans, they all suffer over time.

Moisture is a little harder to combat. If your storage environment is not naturally dry, you need to create a barrier and dehumidify. Proper packaging is the perfect barrier to water, moisture, and excess humidity. We will talk about Mylar bags in the next section.

These thick backs are specifically designed to keep moisture away from your precious beans. As always, two is one and one is none. Try to have two layers or barriers in place at all times. This includes Mylar bags and your 5-gallon bucket with a new lid.

The final moisture layer is dehumidification. Most basements and some households are wet. In the Southeast United States during summer, it is nearly impossible to escape the humidity. Keep a dehumidifier running in your storage space.

If possible, use one with a pump that auto empties into a drain. This is not only convenient, but it also ensures that you don’t neglect your responsibilities.

The Do’s of Bean Storage

The first items on your bean storage checklist need to be mitigation strategies for insects, rodents, light, and moisture. After that, bean storage is pretty easy.

Proper Packaging

The first goal is to use robust packaging. Proper packaging solves the moisture, O2, insect, and rodent issues. We will discuss how Mylar bags and 5-gallon buckets do all of this for you.
Regarding dates, beans do “expire.”

Depending on your storage method you will want to rotate out your beans sooner rather than later. While this article is focused on the best method for long-term storage, there are other options.

The last variable in the food storage equation is temperature. Hot temps can accelerate the aging process, and cause natural fats and oils to go rancid. Heat also degrades plastics, and can cause your seals to fail.

Cold temps, especially freezing temperatures, can also cause adverse effects. When frozen, cells rupture, and the quality of your food diminishes quickly. Ever freeze lettuce? Yup that on a smaller scale.

Your goal for long-term storage is cool, even temps. Ideally, your storage area stays a constant 50 degrees. I once read an article that stated food storage life is doubled for every 5 degrees below 70. Unfortunately, I cannot find that.

While I’m not sure about the complete validity of this, I do use it as a goal. My basement storage averages 60 degrees. After a decade and a half of storage, I have yet to have any signs of spoiling.

Labeling and Rotation

Second, once you have completed the packaging process, you will need to label the inside and outside of your packaging. Label with the contents and the date.

Listing the contents helps you to avoid opening your third bucket of black beans when you were hoping for Pintos. The dates allow to you eat the oldest packages first.

Speaking of, you need to set up a rotation schedule. While beans can last for many years when packaged properly, you still need to prove that to yourself. Beans can become overly dry in time, and difficult to cook.

Every few years open a bucket, pull out a few cups, and cook them. If they are over-dry, use this as an opportunity to learn how to pre-treat or cook them. If you just can’t find a method that works for you, the date allows you to rotate out any beans that are no longer usable.

You also need to add labels to the inside of your buckets. It doesn’t take much for a label to peel, get worn, or fade. A label on the outside is useless if it gets ripped off during transportation. Avoid mystery meals, and add a second label to the inside of your bucket.

Annual Reviews

Finally, set up an annual review schedule. Accidents happen to the best of us. It is too easy to pack and forget long-term food. You must review it every so often.

Set a calendar reminder to pull everything out, inspect it for damage (rodent or otherwise), and replace any worn or faded labels. Then stack it all up again, with the confidence that it’s all in good shape.

The 5-Gallon Bucket and Mylar Bag Packing Method

Time for packing up your beans!

Let’s bring it all together. Long-term storage is born of time, effort, and money. Therefore, you want the best environment possible for your beans. One of the highest standards in the prepping world for food storage is 5-gallon buckets, Mylar bags, and O2 absorbers.

5-Gallon Buckets

5-Gallon buckets have a million uses in prepping. They are rigid and therefore stack well. They can have a great seal. They come in a consistent size that you can plan around. Oh, and they are great for storing long-term dry goods.

You can pick up new buckets from Amazon, Home Depot, Lowes, or your favorite hardware store. You can also get them from your local bakery, usually for free. Most bakeries get icing in them and give them away for free.

When I am getting ready to pack up food, I make the rounds to a half dozen grocery stores and bakeries and can usually fill my trunk with free buckets.

If you need to get replacement lids, I highly recommend Home Depot. Currently, they are under $2, and have a great seal. I have found the ones from Lowes are not as good as they don’t seal very well.

All buckets you use should be “Food Grade.” If you are getting them from a bakery, make sure they have only been used for food storage only. Don’t accept any that have had cleaners or chemicals. Here’s a good primer on identifying food grade buckets.

Once you get your buckets home, give them a quick wash with hot, soapy water, and you are ready to go!

Mylar Bags

Two is one, and one is none. Mylar bags are your second line of defense against the elements with the buckets being the first.

Mylar is thick plastic with a thin metal coating. When you heat-seal them closed, you are creating an air and watertight seal. At $1 – $2 per bag, they are cheap insurance.

Get bags sized for 5-gallon buckets or larger. You can also get smaller bags (e.g. 1-gallon) for smaller quantities of stored food.

One of my favorite strategies is to make buckets with several 1-gallon bags each containing beans, rice, oats, and pasta. I fill in the cracks with spices, salt, and a water filter and I’ve got a bucket that I can grab on the go or give to those in need.

Sealing the Mylar bags is simple but requires heat. Amazon sells dedicated impulse sealers specifically designed for use with Mylar bags. If you have the budget, they are a convenient addition to your preps.

You can also use a simple iron to seal your bags. It will take a little trial and error to find the correct timing and cadence, but it’s cheap and easy. When the bag is ready, drape the bag over a wooden dowel or a long block of wood and run your iron over the Mylar.

Within a few seconds, you will have a perfect seal! Always do a second seal an inch above your first seal as insurance.

O2 Absorbers

The final variable in the bean packing equation is oxygen. O2 absorbers chemically bind with iron powder and oxygen removing O2 from the bag. Basically, they rust the oxygen out of the environment.

Manufacturers size O2 absorbers based on the amount of oxygen they use. For a 5-gallon bucket, you will need 4,000 cubic centimeters (cc) of absorption. That’s two 2,000 cc absorbers per bag (a common size).

Toss any unused absorbers into quart jars, and seal up with a lid and ring. They will soon take up all the O2 and seal the lid.

Packing Up Your Beans

With the trifecta of buckets, Mylar, and O2 absorbers, you will not need any further treatment of your beans. Simply pack and go. But I have a few hints.

First, plan on 30-33 pounds of beans per bucket. You can do less, but you really can’t do much more. I usually purchase beans 100 pounds at a time. That gives me three filled buckets with no leftovers.

Lay out your beans, buckets, Mylar, O2 absorbers, and your iron. Put a Mylar bag in each bucket. Fill each bucket half-way and toss in 2,000 ccs of O2 absorbers. Lift up on the bag to let the beans settle and allow the bag to form-fit into the bucket.

Fill up the rest of the way and toss in the remaining 2,000 ccs of absorbers. Give the bag another lift and shake to finish shaping the bag to the bucket.

Next, set your dowel across the top of the bucket, and lay the Mylar bag over your dowel. Press out as much air as possible then seal the Mylar with the iron.

Take care to ensure that there are no creases in the Mylar. Don’t seal the bag too low. You want to leave a little room just in case you need to open then reseal the bag.

Once you have made your first seal, make a second an inch above the first.

Don’t seal up your buckets just yet. Leave your buckets accessible for a few days so you can monitor them. Over 2-3 days they will pull in as the O2 absorbers do their thing, and a vacuum forms.

Eventually, depending on the available oxygen, temperature, etc., the bag will pull in completely. It’s ok if the bag doesn’t pull completely in. As long as there has been observable shrinkage, you will be good to go.

If the bag does not pull in at all, the O2 absorbers may be spent. All you need to do is open the bag, insert a few more absorbers, then re-seal.

When your buckets are set, label them inside and out, hammer on the lids, and move them to your long-term storage area. Check them annually but you can expect over 25 years.

Other Storage Methods

Ok, we’ve described the best, let’s touch on the rest. While I’m partial to buckets and Mylar, there are other methods popular throughout the prepper industry. Let’s look at a few.

Original Packaging

Beans store in warehouses for months both in bulk containers and in their final paper or plastic packaging. Original packaging is good for a few months and up to a year or so, however, it allows light, oxygen, moisture at the beans and provides a minimal barrier to rodents.

It is best to place any bags or cases of beans inside a protective container such as plastic totes with well-fitting lids. Make sure to first freeze the beans for three-five days.

Mason Jars

Mason jars are the thing of country magazine covers. They are picturesque as well as protective. While you won’t be storing hundreds of pounds of beans this way they are great for small quantities especially for barter.

First, wash and sterilize your jars and lids. Second, add your beans to the dry glass jars and add the warm lids and rings. Finally vacuum seal with your food saver jar attachment.

A second option is dry canning. Like the prior method wash and sterilize your jars and lids. Second, dry the jars and fill them with beans. Cap them off with lids and rings.

Finger tighten the rings and place them in a warm oven (not over 110 degrees). After 30 minutes, shut off the oven, tighten the rings, and leave them in the oven until cool.

5-Gallon Buckets (No Mylar or O2 Absorbers)

While buckets, Mylar, and O2 absorbers are one of the best methods, that does not mean 5-gallon buckets can run solo.

For basic storage start with a clean 5-gallon bucket with a new lid and beans that have been in the freezer for three-five days. Wash the bucket and thoroughly dry it. Pour in your beans, they will hold 30-33 pounds, and hammer on the lid.

You can add a layer of protection against insects with diatomaceous earth (1/2 cup per bucket) or by adding a little bit of dry ice to the bottom of the bucket.

This will force out the oxygen as it sublimes. Make sure to allow ample time for the dry ice to do its thing before you cap off the bucket. Otherwise, you may blow off the lid from the pressure.

A well-sealed and prepared bucket should get you about 10-15 years of storage.

Where to Buy Beans in Bulk

Once you start looking, beans are in a lot more places than just the grocery store. That being said, the grocery store is probably the most convenient. The unfortunate part is most grocery stores only sell beans in 1-pound bags.

If this is the case, ask the manager if you can purchase by the case. They may even be willing to give you a discount if you buy them in bulk. Especially if you buy multiple cases.

Where you can save some money is with wholesale stores. Sams, BJs, Costcos all sell beans in bulk. Be prepared to buy 25 pounds or more. Remember that each 5-gallon bucket holds about 33 pounds, and each 1-gallon bag holds a little over 5 pounds.

In this category are also restaurant supply stores. Our local store carries a half dozen bean types in 50-pound bags. Some require memberships, others have public shopping days where no membership is required. I save up for these days, and will buy a few hundred pounds of beans, rice, oats, etc. Then I’ll spend a weekend packing things up.

Don’t forget to shop at the local ethnic stores. Locally, we have Mexican, African, and Asian stores. Each has a variety of bulk ingredients that I can add to my long-term storage.

What Beans to Buy and Their Uses

Ok, you know how to store them; you know where to buy them. Now it’s time to figure out what to get.

First, food fatigue is real. Just ask my brother, my mom made mac-and-cheese almost every Monday for his entire at home life. My memory might exaggerate history a little, but one thing is certain, it was a struggle each week for him to choke it down.

The solution to fatigue is variety. Beans have this in spades. This section will only scratch the surface. I’m sure you have your own recipes to add; don’t be shy, and seek others not on this list.

Black Beans

Black beans are my favorite, and I’ve stored a lot. We use them with rice, on their own simmered in chicken broth with a few chunks of bacon, or pureed into a dip with olive oil and horseradish.

Black-Eyed Peas

Black-Eyed peas are a southern staple. A small black spot gives them their unique name. They have a neutral and earthy flavor that is brought out when cooked in chicken or ham broth.

Great Northern Beans

Another mild bean, Great Northern beans are plump, smooth, and a great addition to salads, soups and can even make their way into tomato sauces for a little texture change and nutty flavor. Their soft texture makes them an excellent option for purees or spreads.

Cannellini Beans

Cannellini beans are often mistaken for Great Northern beans. Cannellini beans are firmer and hold up to stews and longer cooking times. They are most often added to soups or Pasta Fagioli.

Pinto Beans

Pintos are one of the most beautiful dried beans. Their painted appearance fades with cooking, but that does not detract from their use. Like other beans, they also make an impressive addition to soups and stews.

Lentil Beans

Lentils are my go-to quick-cooking bean. Their small size lets them get cooked up in a fraction of the time of larger beans.

Also known as Garbanzo, these were the no-thank-you helping of my youth. On every salad bar, I always tried to ignore them. Once I tried them as an adult, I fell in love. Their shape, size, and texture make them a great protein-rich addition to salads.

They can even be roasted and seasoned with your favorite spice for a fun and filling snack or side dish.

Adzuki Beans

Adzuki beans are one variety often used in sweet dishes. Asian cuisine purees Adzukis for pastries, cakes, and ice cream. Don’t paint all your beans into the “rice and beans” corner.

Be flexible and adventurous with your recipes. It’s the only way to combat long-term food fatigue.

Fava Beans

Aside from the memorable line in “The Silence of the Lambs” I know nothing about cooking and eating Fava beans. I know their nutty and buttery flavor has a huge following. Just not for me, especially with liver and a nice chianti.

Kidney Beans

Mom only used kidney beans and northern beans. Kidney beans were her go-to for chili and bean salad. I have since used them in many applications, but they still are the main bean in my chili recipe.

From a nutritional perspective, it’s interesting to note that kidney beans contain as many antioxidants as blueberries!

Lima Beans

Lima beans were another “Yeah… I’m good!” moment from my youth. There are a few lima sub-varieties, including butter beans.

Their mild flavor and texture make them a good, in-the-background addition to most soups and stews. They are a great way to add bulk (fiber), nutrients (mostly potassium), and protein.

Borlotti Beans

Borlotti, or cranberry, beans are another visually striking bean that just looks good dry. They are most often used in Minestrone Soup, Pasta Fagioli as well as other Italian dishes. They are another on the long list of beans with a smooth texture and a nutty flavor.

Wrapping Up Beans

Beans were once something I just pushed aside. Eventually, I learned to first tolerate them, then love them. These days I spend a few weeks per year eating mostly rice and beans (usually during the 40 days of lent).

It’s pretty amazing the varieties you can purchase, and even more the myriad of ways you can cook them. The options seem endless. For this aspect alone, you should have some in your pantry.

When you consider that beans are built for long-term storage, stack them high and deep in your prepper pantry. Especially when you consider their cost and the ease at which they are stored.

With a few buckets and an Amazon cart filled with Mylar bags and O2 absorbers, you can be well on your way to having secured a protein-rich food source for you and your family if times get tough!

This content was originally published here.

In the old days, waste disposal was a matter of life and death, and it seems we have forgotten that learning to deal with human waste was actually the thing that saved the most lives throughout history, and it contributed to longer life expectancy in the 20th century.

Human waste and garbage are a dangerous mix of deadly bacteria, viruses, and poisonous chemicals. Most people carry, inside their gastrointestinal tracts, many deadly “bugs,” which are, fortunately, kept in check by the body’s defenses.

When these bacteria get out of the human body, they can multiply freely in human waste. Sometimes, when this waste is introduced into water supplies, the high concentration of bacteria and viruses will cause sickness and even death. 

Human waste is an excellent medium in which bacteria and viruses thrive, and the bad news is that it will often attract various parasites that can carry the disease to other humans. Files, cockroaches, and rats are known to carry diseases such as dysentery, cholera, typhoid, paratyphoid, and the plague.

Waste disposal can be dangerous

When SHTF, waste disposal systems will be one of the first things to stop working, regardless if we’re talking about natural disasters or wars. The reality is that most of these events have causalities caused by improper waste disposal rather than the event itself.

Dealing with waste disposal is not complicated or dangerous if you understand a few basic principles if you make a few preparations, and, most importantly, if you carry out proper procedures.

If, however, you fail to take care in dealing with waste, you may actually survive a nuclear war or other major disasters only to die from a disease that has been all but eradicated by modern waste disposal methods.

The basic rule is simple: keep all waste and pests it can attract away from food and water supplies/sources. Now, let’s see how we can deal with waste disposal properly.

Since the garbage men won’t make their rounds any more when it hits the fan, you could face mounds of trash and garbage that will pile up quickly, especially if a lot of people survived the disaster.

All the trash piling up everywhere will attract pests that will carry diseases and will make even a larger mess, spreading trash everywhere. There is really one single solution here: burn the trash as soon as possible, and the materials that can’t be recycled, reused or burned, must be berried or stored in places far away from human settlements.

This is far from an ideal solution, but it may be the only way to prevent health problems from developing as rodents and insects make homes in the garbage piles. Keep in mind that the fumes and smoke given off when burning certain plastics and materials can be quite dangerous. Even so, these fumes may be less dangerous than the health issues caused by garbage build-up.

The bigger problem, in my opinion, would be dealing with human excrement, which would be generated by a disaster that disrupts waste disposal utilities without killing off a large segment of the population.

Most if not all cities in developed countries have sewer lines that feed into a sewage treatment plant. During a war or other major disaster, the pumps moving effluent (the polite word for liquid human wastes) and sludge (the heavier solid wastes) will be inoperable.

That means that those living in high areas of town may still be able to use the sewer system for a short time—until things get clogged up. However, those in low-lying areas—or the bottom floors of high rises—may see their sewers back up into living areas.

If you happen to live on the lower side of town, you may want to invest some time in learning how to disconnect your sewer line from the city’s system when the time comes.

On the other hand, if you live in a high area of town, you may very well use the sewer to get rid of your waste until the sewer backs up. Chances are it may not back up at your place, but wherever it ends up, it will end up untreated and may cause later problems when it causes contamination and disease in your area.

Waste disposal options

There are various strategies that can be used to make a primitive shelter disposal system workable and bearable.

In addition to human excrement, people generate a lot of wastewater in cleaning up and food preparation. If you are hunkering down In a shelter, getting rid of this water, trash, and garbage can become a crisis.

One of the best waste disposal strategies is to cut way down on the water that you are using in the shelter. You can do this is if you use paper plates, paper cups, etc., and have occupants “lick” their utensils clean and then use them again for the next meal.

Washing hands, cleaning spots off clothes, “spit baths,” etc., can be carried out with “diaper wipes” used to clean babies and available in most grocery stores. These do an excellent job of cleaning and can then be thrown away or treated like dry paper after they’ve been used.

As the garbage goes, you can store it in empty food containers. Even regular cans can be used for storing garbage. By saving the lid, the container can be filled with garbage, the lid replaced, and they can be sealed shut with masking tape or duct tape. Plastic bottles can also be used for storing garbage.

Avoid using glass containers to store garbage since these can easily get broken—with disastrous results if it contains “ripe” garbage.

Non-liquid wastes like paper, dirty rags, paper plates, diaper wipes, etc., can be placed in plastic garbage bags; just be sure rodents or stray pets can’t gain access to them. As soon as possible, these cans of garbage and trash sacks should be buried.

All the material should be buried downhill from your well or other water sources and be under enough soil so that it won’t be dug up by animals. Even more, avoid burying in areas that may be used later for gardening or even farming.

The other big waste disposal problem in a disaster is human excrement.

You can improvise a “restroom,” but it must work efficiently. A pail, bucket, or a portable chemical toilet is simple to create or purchase and—with care—would get you through a major crisis.

You can divide your excrement waste disposal into liquid and solid wastes to simplify storage. It would be wise to have separate buckets for urine and feces.

The pail or bucket for feces should be lined with a garbage bag so that excrement can be easily removed and stored if you don’t have a way to move it into a septic tank or the like.

Don’t let the bag get too full, and remember that most plastic bags aren’t too strong. Excrement bags should be carefully sealed OUT, not too tightly. Feces creates methane gas as it is broken down by bacteria. This gas will rupture a plastic bag that is sealed too tightly.

Store the bags where the smell coming from them will not be coming back into your living area. Be aware of the direction of prevailing winds as well as the intake/exhaust arras of your living area.

If possible, a large hole could be dug outside your shelter, and the excrement bags stored in the hole until they can be buried. Great care should be taken to keep this hole free of vermin. The use of insecticides and a tough cover over the hole is a must.

Make such a pit deep and use the dirt from it to make a trench around the hole so that rainwater can’t drain off the soil surrounding it and into the pit, causing it to overflow. If you’re using such a waste pit in conjunction with a shelter, one of your first tasks, when you can finally leave your shelter, should be to bury the waste from the pit so that it won’t become a health hazard or a breeding ground for pests.

Urine and the water used in cleaning and food processing are initially relatively low in dangerous bacteria (as compared to feces) and could be stored in empty containers that had been full of emergency water supplies.

These liquids could also be transferred via a hand pump or—more ideally—by gravity action into a cesspool or sewer system. Since this will be the bulk of your waste disposal problem, thought should be given to how to deal with this liquid waste.

Using chemical toilets

These are a far superior option than the “toilet bucket,” although some can cost quite a lot while others also require extra space for the chemicals and water they need to function.

If you cannot afford one or if you are dealing with limited space in your shelter, you can mix the best of two worlds. Using a bucket and the chemicals designed for chemical toilets to treat excrement might be the winning solution. 

Some preppers are improvising their own chemicals from formaldehyde and methyl alcohol, and rubbing alcohol is also often used.

With the feces bucket, you can use powdered lime or chloride lime to keep bacteria growth under control. Even wood ash and soil will work if nothing else is available.

Ideally, you should place your “bathroom” near the exhaust vent of your shelter to better deal with unpleasant smells.

If you have a source of water, it would be possible to use a standard flush toilet in a shelter if you went to some extra work and added a septic system—or even a crude cesspool—for the stool to drain into.

Cesspools and Septic Tanks for Waste Disposal

When the brown stuff hits the fan, but also after, a cesspool or a septic tank into which you can feed all the waste you are producing would be a tremendous advantage for improving your living conditions, both from a convenience standpoint as well as a health standpoint.

Cesspools were the ancestors of the modern septic tank. The cesspool is better than digging holes for bags of waste—but not a whole lot better.

A cesspool is basically just a deep hole dug 10 or 15 feet into the earth and lined with bricks. The bottom is left open to the earth and covered with a foot or more of layers of sand, gravel, and rock (in that order).

The top of the hole is covered airtight to allow anaerobic bacteria to “digest” waste and to keep surface water out (as well as stray children and animals). All the sewage is drained into this pit via a sewer pipe.

A cesspool is a safe option for waste disposal only if it is well away from water supplies and if it is large enough to handle the sewage coming into it.

If you are dealing with a small population in your household, a cesspool can do a fair job of treating human wastes.

However, you should remember that cesspools are not forever. In time the sludge builds up in them so that they must be abandoned and new ones dug.

Most cesspools will last only a decade or so for a family of four, and the size of a cesspool will depend on how far it is from water supplies and how quickly water is absorbed into the earth.

As a general rule, the size should be at least 30 to 60 cubic feet per person using it.

The septic tank is a better alternative, even if it’s similar to the cesspool. However, a septic tank is made so that the sludge can be cleaned out of it and so that water that has been processed by it is ejected back into the environment more fully processed and made safe (though it is still wise to have the septic tank downhill from water supplies).

Septic tanks generally have one to three chambers. Two-chamber tanks are the most efficient and desirable. The first chamber collects all the waste and uses anaerobic bacteria digestion of the sludge. The second section holds the processed effluent until its chamber is full, then the liquid is automatically pushed out as more waste enters the system.

While in the second section of some tanks, aerobic digestion takes place (these tanks have a vent pipe in the section chamber). The discharge from the second section of the tank is then routed through a pipe into “vitrification beds” of gravel.

The vitrification beds expose the water to the air and sunlight (both of which kill many harmful bacteria) and then allow the water to filter into the earth or a nearby body of water where bacteria finish breaking down any organic wastes in the discharge.

The size of a septic tank depends on the number of people using it. The capacity for a septic tank should be at least 10 to 15 cubic feet per person using the system. Septic tanks are generally constructed of concrete.

The problem with Sewer Lines

The plumber won’t answer your call when SHTF, so it would be wise to have sewer lines leading to and from a septic tank or cesspools placed well away from trees so that the system won’t get clogged up with roots.

For a minimal pipe run, it is also possible to build a “privy” directly over a septic tank.

Both septic tanks and cesspools use living bacteria to break down the household wastes entering them. The less air is getting into the system, the better the bacteria-action in a cesspool and in the first tank in a septic tank. Also, many household chemicals can kill off the bacteria necessary for efficient handling of organic waste in a cesspool or septic tank.

If you are flushing such chemicals into a cesspool or septic tank, the system will fail, and you will render your tank useless.

If you kill the bacteria colony by accident, it is possible to purchase packages of bacteria spores of the type which “digest” wastes in septic tanks. Such packages could save the day and are hardware stores.

As you can see in this article dealing with human waste can become quite problematic in the aftermath of a disaster. Your waste disposal systems and toilet facilities can become critical not only for your mental wellbeing but also for your health and survival in general. Hopefully, this article has sparked the interest in researching the subject of waste disposal furthermore and establishing what would be the best approach for you and your family in dealing with this situation when the proverbial brown stuff hits the fan.

This content was originally published here.

On the morning of December 26, 2004, the deadliest tsunami in our modern history took the lives of over 230,000 people in just a matter of minutes. They had no warning and nowhere to hide. There were reports of waves reaching heights of 100 feet and traveling at speeds of up to 500 mph! Its aftermath left a total of 18 countries, including India, Indonesia, and several other Indian Ocean countries completely devastated, while displacing millions of people. It’s important to know what to do immediately after SHTF. 


Now I want you to imagine for a minute if you were walking along the beach that morning and witnessed those terrifying waves crashing towards you. Besides wetting your pants, you may be immobilized by fear. But when we’re faced with a traumatic event, the last thing that you want is to be caught frozen in our steps. It could literally kill you.  

You may have all the prepping equipment and supplies in the world at your disposal, but if you don’t know what to do when the time comes, it’s not going to matter. Being prepared for any type of disaster is a great place to start, but it’s critical that you know what to do immediately after SHTF.  

Stay Calm and Get to Safety 

This bit of advice is easier said than done, but remaining as calm as possible will help you to make better, quick decisions and allow you to help others who may not be coping with the situation as well as you are. At the same time, make it your number one priority to get away from the immediate danger as quickly as possible. Whatever the emergency may be, whether it’s a natural disaster or an active shooter at a grocery store, do whatever it takes to get you and your family to a safer location.    

Treat Injuries

Once the threat has passed and you’re in a safe location, now’s the time to inspect and treat any injuries that you or your family members may have received. Use your first aid kit to try and manage any life-threatening injuries to hold them over until you can find a doctor or get to a hospital. Even if you’re only dealing with minor cuts and scrapes, be sure to clean and treat them so that they don’t become infected.  

Communicate with Family and Friends

If you’re separated from your family when SHTF, you’re going to need to communicate with them, to let them know where you are, and whether you are safe. Communicating with them will allow you all to meet up at a certain agreed-upon location should you need to do so. 

It also wouldn’t hurt to let your extended family and friends know your current situation and give them updates every few hours. Even if your cellphone happens to be working, you’ll probably have a hard time getting through due to the surge of calls in your area. If you can’t reach them, be sure to leave a text message at the very least.  

Things to Look For

Now it’s time to find out how serious of a situation you’re dealing with, whether it’s a local disaster or if it affects a much larger region. Learning this information early on will determine if your family should make the decision to bug-in or bug-out. You’ll be needing your handheld radio to gather important information and if they’re encouraging you to evacuate. These are other things to look for:

Fill Up on Gas

Following a major catastrophe, one of the first places that people generally head towards is the gas station, especially when you need to get as far away from town as you can. If you’re able to find one that doesn’t have long lines, I’d encourage you to fill up on gas and purchase any last-minute supplies. I’ve told my readers for years to keep their car’s gas tank between 1/2 to 3/4 full at all times. This makes it possible to leave the area without having to fill up first. 

If your car is no longer operable due to an EMP attack, or some other reason, you’ll need to gather any supplies from your car that you may need and put them in your survival bag before setting off on foot or using other transportation methods that are still available to you.

Other Important Steps to do Early On

There’s a whole host of things that you need to consider following a disaster. These are some of the most important ones for you to remember:

Determine Whether to Bug-In or Bug-out

Most preppers gather emergency supplies so they’re able to bunker down in their homes following a disaster. It’s true, bugging-out should always be your last resort because your home offers you the most shelter, security, and provisions. It’s where your family will be the safest, in most situations. 

But if your home is no longer a safe place to stay, you’re going to need to fall back on your bug-out location. This is why you should already have your bug-out plan and preparations in place to be followed right after the disaster hits, that way you’re ready to go should your situation change quickly. You’ll need to prioritize the items that you will be taking with you because you won’t be able to carry everything. For this, you’ll need to use the survival rule of 3.     

Final Word

In some unfortunate circumstances, there’s nothing that can be done in order to prevent casualties when SHTF, but knowing what to do immediately following a disaster can greatly increase your family’s chances of survival. It’s also imperative that you have your emergency supplies on-hand long before the disaster arrives. What would you do immediately after SHTF? May God Bless this world, Linda. 

Copyright Images: Broken and Burnt Buildings AdobeStock_206756123 by Mulderphoto

This content was originally published here.