In post-SHTF scenarios we have to assume you will be living off your stockpiled supplies, and maybe what you can grow in your survival garden or forage.

As such, these recipes will look at basic ingredients just about everyone should have in their survival supplies, with the addition of some dried fruit and nuts and seeds that you either have stockpiled or can get from your garden or foraging expeditions.

We start with the more unusual foraged recipes that you go out and collect in the fields and woods, then move on to easy 3 to 4 ingredient cookies that everyone should have stockpiled at home, and in the last category an alphabetical list of cookie recipes according to the ingredient(s) you are most likely to have to obtain from your garden, farm or homestead.


Aronia berry (aka Chokecherry) Cookies

Chokecherries – named for their bitter astringent taste, are now marketed as Aronia berries.

Native to Eastern North America, the Aronia berries are now being actively planted in the mid-west, but survival homesteaders and native Americans have long appreciated their value as their Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity (ORAC) surpasses that of both blueberries and goji berries. Try this recipe that includes oats.

Cattail Pollen Cookies

So you dutifully foraged for cattail pollen and now you want to use it to make something sweet? Here’s how.

The second recipe in this link allows for the flavor of the pollen to come through.

Dandelion Flower Cookies

Send the kids out to pick fluffy yellow dandelion flowers, show them how to separate the petals from the green part – those bits get composted, and bake these cookies that have oatmeal and honey in them to make them softly chewy. Get the recipe.

Elderberry Jam Cookies

The common elderberry grows in large areas of North America, east of the Rockies, and these cookies will incorporate your foraged elderberries which have been made into jam.

But, they do call for almond flour and coconut flour which can’t be substituted so just make sure these ingredients are in your store-cupboard. Get the recipe.

Saskatoon Berry with Oatmeal Cookies

Saskatoon, or Juneberries, are also known as shadbush and service berry and provide a nice dark fruit to include in cookie recipes. The taste – well, like blueberries – but better. Forage for your own, but beware where you forage – bears love them too!

Many people are planting them on their land and you can reap the sweet harvest in June for around 2 to 3 weeks and preserve that luscious goodness by freezing, drying or turning into jams for use later in the year.

This recipe does call for cinnamon and almond extract in the recipe as well as a mix of brown and white sugar, so check you have these ingredients on hand.


Just three ingredients, butter, flour, and sugar yield these crisp cookies. Jazz them up with some colorful sprinkles, toasted almond flakes or a dust of icing sugar for a festive treat. Get the recipe.

Four Ingredient Milky Arab Cookies

This recipe uses butter, flour, icing sugar and powdered milk to create these sweet treats. Get the recipe.

No-Bake Peanut Butter Cookies

What’s so great about this recipe is you don’t need an oven! Heat ingredients on the stove top, drop onto cookie sheets and wait for them to harden.

This recipe allows for a number of variations – so you can work according to what’s in the store-cupboard. Coconut sugar is suggested for a healthy option, so when stockpiling you may want to consider adding it to the list. Get the recipe.


Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal Cookies

Crisp on the outside and soft inside, these delicious cookies are synonymous with fall once the apple crop is in.

The recipe calls for Granny Smith apples, but you could substitute whatever variety you have growing. Get the recipe.

Blueberry Cookies

What’s great about this recipe is that it uses fresh rather than dried blueberries – so once you’ve done a bit of foraging in your food forest you can head inside and bake these treats.

The lemon extract called for in the recipe can be replace with fresh lemon zest if you have a lemon tree. Get the recipe.

Buttermilk Biscuits

Alone these are tasty little nibbles but for a serious treat add the frosting.

This recipe calls for chopped walnuts to be sprinkled on the frosting, but you can substitute with any other nuts you have in store or even tiny chunks of fresh cherry, sprinkles, or whatever appropriate topping treat you have in your store cupboard or available fresh from the garden. Get the recipe.

Cashew Nut Cookies

What’s great about these is they use powdered milk.

The recipe does specify icing sugar instead of granulated sugar, but don’t worry you can make powdered sugar in your blender, food processor, or coffee grinder. Just whizz for 15 seconds at a time, checking the consistency and when its fine enough you have icing sugar.

The result may not be as smooth as commercially bought icing sugar, but as you are not using it for icing a cake but in the cookie dough it will be fine. Get the recipe.

Cherry Cookies

What I love about this recipe is that it uses fresh cherries from your trees, and almonds mixed with basic cookie dough. So if you weren’t quite sure what to do with all those cherries and almonds…

Just remember their tip to drain and dry the cherry pieces once you have diced them otherwise you will have pink cookies – but is that such a bad thing? Get the recipe.

Chewy Coconut Cookies

Basic store cupboard ingredients are given a lift with the addition of flaked coconut for
these chewy sweet treat. Get the recipe.

Cinnamon Cookies

Baking cinnamon cookies just makes your home smell so good! And the results are equally tasty.

The basics should all be in your SHTF supplies; just add butter and egg and vanilla essence, and it’s instant down-home goodness. Get the recipe.

Cornflake Cookies

Stored too many cornflakes and need to use them or simply tired of cornflake breakfast? Combine with powdered milk and a few other ingredients to create these yummy not-too-sweet-but-tasty cornflake cookies.

The recipe calls for self-raising flour, but if you don’t have any it’s easy to create your own by adding a pinch of salt (1/4 teaspoon) and 1 ½ teaspoons of baking powder to 1 cup of flour.

Make sure you sift the three together, so the baking powder and salt are evenly distributed. Get the recipe.

West Coast Trail Cookies (with Cranberry)

For those with nut allergies these are perfect as they use cranberries, and pumpkin seeds for the crunch as well as oats and flax seed meal – no nuts at all. Get the recipe.

Cranberry and Sage Cookies

Dried cranberries from the pantry and fresh sage from the garden make for these tasty treats. The recipe calls for cornstarch which should be a SHTF staple in your stockpile as adding some to your flour when baking makes for a softer product.

It’s well known for its uses for thickening soups, stews, and gravies. Get the recipe.

Cranberry Walnut Cookies

These cranberry walnut cookies use what you can get from the homestead. Hope you planted cranberry bushes and walnut trees!

This recipe uses orange juice, but you can swoop out for milk instead if you don’t have oranges on hand. Get the recipe.

Date and Pecan Nut Cookies

Raid the pecan nut trees, use some stashed dried dates, and you’re set for delicious treats. Get the recipe.

Lemon Lavender Cookies

What sets these apart is the lemon zest and the lavender flowers. The recipe calls for culinary lavender, but don’t assume you have to buy it.

If you have English Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) in your garden that is organically grown, you can harvest the fresh flowers to use in the cookies – you only need one and half teaspoons for this recipe. Get the recipe.

Lemon Chia Seed Cookies

All the goodness of chia seed – you definitely should have this superfood in your stockpile – and some fresh lemon zest and lemon juice, make for a vegan cookie that takes 25 minutes from prep to coming out of the oven. Get the recipe.

Lingonberry Sandwich Cookies

These golden cookies with the red jam filling make these a festive treat. If you have lingonberry or red currant jam stored then this is a perfect way to use it.

A little dust of icing sugar on the top will make them even more festive. The recipe does call for ground almonds and almond extract. Get the recipe.

Peanut Butter Cookies with choc chips

Crisp outside and chewy inside – yum, these cookies lift the basic peanut butter cookie taste with the addition of choc chips. Get the recipe.

Lemon Cookies

Soft and chewy these are a great way to use the lemons from your tree combined with pantry staples. Get the recipe.

Molasses Cookies

Have some molasses stored? Use it in these old fashioned cookies that combine the festive tastes of cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and ginger for a crispy chewy treat. A tip for dried spices is to keep them in the freezer so they last longer.

This recipe link has all sorts of variations like molasses cookies with caramel, molasses cookies with pistachios and molasses cookies with lots of ginger. Yum!

Mulberry Cookies

This recipe call for dried white mulberries but you can use dried red or black mulberries too.

You can either sun dry your mulberry drop or use a dehydrator to preserve your harvest for all year round use. Get the recipe.

Peach Cookies

When the peach harvest comes in it’s a busy time canning and preserving in various ways. Take some time out to treat the family with these cookies using fresh peaches and cinnamon. Yummy!

These are not the ones that are painted with food coloring to look like real peaches – those are a bit fiddly, but these are super easy and tasty. Get the recipe.

Pumpkin Cookies

Fall, Halloween, and loads of pumpkin to use! Make these sweet soft cookie treats to share once those golden pumpkins are ready for harvest.

They are described as somewhere between a cookie and the top part of a muffin – perfect for people who like a pillowy cookie oozing with flavor. Get the recipe.

Pumpkin Gingersnap Cookies

The recipe calls for molasses as well as pumpkin and ginger, so just make sure you have the molasses and ginger on hand to make these fall specials.

Raisin Oatmeal Cookies

Crisp on the outside, tender inside, cinnamon flavored, loaded with raisins and good healthy oats, these cookies are easy to whip up from the stockpile.

Raspberry Lemon Cookies

The recipe calls for frozen raspberries, simply because they are easiest to work resulting in swirls of red in the pale golden cookie dough, however you can use fresh raspberries you’ve picked – but the result will be a more uniform pink without the contrast.

You can always freeze your fresh raspberries before mixing them into the dough. The recipe also uses fresh lemon zest – hope you have a lemon in a pot on the balcony or planted in the garden!


Dried Apricot and Walnut Oat Cookies

Whether you have dried out some of your apricot crop and canned the rest, or simply stashed some dried apricots you bought at the supermarket ( the soft dried apricots from Turkey are delicious) in your supplies this is a good way to use them.

Don’t be put off when the recipe calls for oat flour – you simply put rolled oats in your food processor and in a minute you have oat flour – the recipe explains the process. Get the recipe.

Oatmeal Cookies With Raisins and Gluten Free Flour

For those people with allergies or a wheat intolerance here is the answer – a sweet treat without the drama. Get the recipe.

Mulberry Cookies (No Bake and Gluten Free)

I wasn’t sure whether these should go under the ‘simple ingredients label’, but opted to put them here because they are vegan and gluten free – all you need is dried white mulberries, medjool dates and shredded coconut, mix together and you have healthy sweet treats. Get the recipe.

This content was originally published here.

Many discussions revolving around survival supplies are focused on efficiency, finding something that can do the job better, do it lighter and do it longer, or finding multi-purpose solutions that can radically reduce the amount of room or carrying capacity you must devote to your supply cache.

This is definitely a smart approach most of the time, but as with all things it is possible to become too zealous in the pursuit of a singular goal.

Taking that ideology regarding survival supplies to its logical zenith means you will have adopted an approach to choosing survival gear that often eliminates consideration for the most crucial element in any SHTF situation; the human element!


You might be a salty, gritty mountain man or a dead-hard survivor born- someone who not only embraces the suck but wishes that the situation would suck even more such is your fervor, tenacity and stoic outlook.

While that might be admirable in the strictest sense, it is not entirely practical, as surviving is not just a business of tending to physical needs. Accommodating mental and emotional needs is just as important, since more people fall apart mentally than physically in survival situations.

In many cases it is definitely worth the expense, weight and space to provide for items that can make you more comfortable or improve your mood, items that can ward off the doldrums, despair, or just remind you of happier times past, and hopefully yet to come.

In this article we will be discussing 10 comfort items that can make a SHTF situation more bearable for you and yours.

Should I Really Worry About Comfort in a Survival Situation?

If you have been tooling around the prepping world for any length of time you might have noticed a distinct thread of severe self-discipline among some adherents.

There seems to be a notion that affording any effort, finances or interest towards accumulating supplies or skills that are not strictly focused on the most primordial matters of survival is worse than a waste.

To some of these dower and stern souls this borders on heresy: After all, survival is serious business! Right. Right?

Survival is of course serious business when it is time to get down to surviving or else face death, and though I can admire the clenched teeth dedication toward putting in the work and disciplining oneself in the face of disaster, it has always seemed to me that for going any comfort items entirely chose a remarkable lack of self-awareness.

I mean to say that you should strive to very literally know yourself. That includes your weaknesses, vices and every other potential shortcoming.

Do you get majorly grumpy without regular snacks? Are you a particular sleeper that won’t get any good rest unless your bed is just right? Maybe you have a meticulous grooming routine, and failing to adhere to it seriously damages your calm.

We all have these quirks and flaws, and many more besides. It is one thing to say stop doing it or stop feeling that way, and another thing entirely to actually not fall prey to your own essential wiring.

It begs the question why you would not spare a little bit of extra room to accommodate yourself or the people you care about.

Assuming that playing your favorite piece of music on your vintage grand piano is not that “one thing” you just can’t live without, many of these small creature comforts are easy enough to pack or carry without breaking the bank or blowing your weight “budget” in the case of a bug-out bag.

Speaking from my own experience and the observed experiences of my fellows and associates, people who plan for and accommodate these desires, even in a small way, are happier (or at least less ferociously unpleasant) even in the midst of terrible circumstances.

Trust me; you will be wise to take any mental edge you can get however you can get it when you were in the middle of a long-term SHTF situation.

1. Extra Socks and Underwear

Most survival packing lists you encounter on the internet and elsewhere will encourage you to include additional clothing in your cash, particularly socks and underwear.

Having a spare set of clothing will enable you to change into fresh, clean duds when your originals get dirty, and also allow you to stay clothed when doing the laundry in austere conditions. No surprises here.

But I would encourage you to include several extra sets of both socks and underwear, beyond the typical one or two that has become something of the Doomsday standard in the preppers fear.

Why? Simply stated, you will have cause to go through multiple pairs, and there is hardly anything more demoralizing than failing to take care of your feet or wearing nasty, grungy skivvies.

Consider that the business of bugging out or just putting in work in the aftermath of a disaster is going to be hell on your feet; you’ll be trudging for miles and sweating into your increasingly filthy footwear for a long time.

This is a recipe for some kind of infection, but also distinctly unpleasant

Also keep in mind that the stresses of survival, including the consumption of “natural” water supplies, novel food items and ever-present anxiety will work over your guts in a bad way, leading to intestinal distress.

Accidents happen, and even if they don’t, the ability to keep your private places cool, dry and clean is priceless.

If you cannot afford the time to properly get clean, simply changing into a fresh pair of socks and underwear can work wonders for keeping spirits high and infection at bay.

2. “Luxury” Hygiene Items

You might think this is another head-scratcher on the list since the vast majority of experts will recommend you include the necessary hygiene supplies of deodorant, soap, toothbrush and toothpaste.

Those selfsame lists will also advise you to avoid carrying extraneous hygiene supplies that fill out your morning or evening bathroom routine. Things like colognes, shampoos, lotions, and so forth.

As it turns out, you might have a good reason to include one or two choice hygiene items that you just can’t live without.

While it is true they might not have much in the way of real survival value, but as mentioned the impact on your psyche can be profoundly positive, especially when you don’t want to stink.

For myself, this is a proper shaving kit, though a compact one. I am simply not happy unless I can keep my face clean-shaven on a regular basis.

A telescoping safety razor, small brush, a small collapsible bowl and a puck of hard shaving soap along with a pack of blades and a small vial of aftershave takes up very little room, and affords me the opportunity to carry “civilization” with me even in the midst of a dire situation.

It is true that I might not have time or inclination to shave, but if I do you had better believe that is how I am starting my morning so long as I have the water to spare.

Consider what your “must have” hygiene items are and figure out a way to store or carry them in a space efficient way.

3. Books

There will be plenty to do during any legitimate survival situation. But then again, there might not be. If you have all of your ducks in a row depending on the situation, there might not be any pressing needs that need taking care of.

Maybe you just need some rest, or downtime. Maybe your own survival situation might be best handled by sitting tight and waiting for the cavalry. In that case, useless, frantic activity just for the sake of being active could it simply be wasteful.

I know that plenty of my readers will be more than happy to bed down and while away the hours with a good book, one that they actually enjoy reading, and is not necessarily survival-centric, although it might be!

Depending upon your family or group situation, it might be a source of entertainment for others as well, with a particularly adept reader reading aloud for others to enjoy, or group members taking turns reading various sections of the book. This is especially ideal for small children.

Considering that books are not particularly weight or space-efficient, you should not plan on hauling along a library. One, perhaps two small books can be justified as they can also make excellent fire-starting tinder or toilet paper in a pinch.

You might also consider a tablet or e-reader, as these can hold an entire library’s worth of text in an extremely space-efficient envelope, so long as you can provide it power.

4. Games

If you have a little downtime and want something more engaging to do than reading a book, so long as you have someone else to play with games can be a great option.

Most proper video game consoles and computers are going to be too power intensive to run in grid-down situations, but good, old-fashioned analog board games and card games never run out of power, and have enough variety to suit any player preferences.

Probably the most quintessential “survival” game is a simple deck of cards. Ancient, with endless variety in what kinds of games can be played with one as well as being endlessly replayable.

The entertainment and social value of cards is obvious and hard to over sell. Best of all, for mobile preppers or for inclusion in a bug out bag a deck of cards takes up hardly any room at all.

For preppers who are staying put during a survival situation, you can call upon any number of classic board games from such stalwarts as Monopoly to timeless games like chess, checkers, or go.

Some of these traditional games like chess and checkers even lend themselves well to travel as both their boards and their pieces can be shrunk into smaller sizes intended for travel or “proxied” using simple materials.

So long as you have enough light to play by and interested players to play with games can provide fun, fellowship and plenty of morale boosting benefit to preppers.

5. Sweets, Treats and Junk Food

You’ll need plenty of calories to fuel your body if you want to make it through a long-term survival situation, and even though you can survive for a lot longer without food, than you can with water, your energy levels, physical capability and mental acuity will all plummet if you are forced to go without food.

For this reason, many preppers spend a disproportionate amount of time acquiring, stockpiling and rotating their food supplies. While it is true you can hunt or gather your own food in a survival situation, you are far better off having a sizable supply on hand.

Most preppers focus on shelf-stable staples that can be kept in dry storage, or in cans or pouches that are ready to eat with no or minimal preparation. Empty, wasteful or inefficient food sources are typically avoided as both a waste of space and a lack of nutrition.

That being said, we all have our favorite treats and delicacies that help give us that feel-good boost when we are stressed out or just craving some salty or sweet snacks.

You’ll never see serious prepping websites recommend you stock up on junk wood and other “wasted” calories.

And it is true that all kinds of sweets, treats and other junk food have become altogether too common elements of American diets, but it is those very same foodstuffs that can provide you with a much-needed mental boost, as well as some quick energy.

Candy, soft drinks, and other items might have very little survival value according to their on-paper statistics, but the emotional fortitude or sustainment they can provide is an x-factor that cannot be denied.

These luxury items also make great trade fodder after stocks dry up in a long-term survival situation, and they are also ideal for cheering up scared or upset children. Consider keeping a small portion of junk food handy for the purpose.

Pop-Tarts are great for the purpose, and also serve double-duty as a quick source of carbohydrates that are easy to transport.

6. Better Bedding

Sleeping bags, bivys, tents and other assorted shelter supplies are perennial inclusions for almost every prepper, even those who plan on bugging in instead of bugging out.

Shelter considerations are huge concerns indeed since you can die in as little as a few hours from exposure if conditions are perfectly terrible.

Especially when outdoors, even mild temperatures might result in hypothermia if you are soaking wet from water or sweat, and hot, arid climates make obtaining shade a potentially life or death endeavor.

Unfortunately, much of the equipment needed for shelter in any form is both bulky and heavy, and considering that your average BOB will already be heavily laden, or the typical prepper stash already represents a significant investment it is easy to omit high-end, luxury or plush bedding and shelter materials as extraneous.

I could make a good case for not going quite so far as that. It might very well be worth investing in a lightweight air mattress, compact camping pillow and flyweight blanket if it means the time you do spend resting is more comfortable and more recuperative.

What good is a minimalist bedding setup if it does not protect you from the cold, hard ground and you sleep like crap? If you go to bed exhausted and wake up feeling exhausted and also beaten you have defeated the purpose!

A couple of extra pounds and a few extra hundred dollars might mean the difference between maximizing what rest time you do get.

Whatever hazards, trials, and tribulations you might be facing knowing you can at least always look forward to a decent night’s rest will be quite a comfort.

7. Hot Hands or Hand-warming Device

If you are a prepper who might have to deal with a cold climate or a major seasonal cold snap, you’ll need to be extra prepared with all the equipment required to stay warm no matter what is happening.

Invariably this means specialized clothing, including gloves, but for preppers who still might have to bug out despite wintry weather you’ll face additional challenges in the cold because all of the many survival tasks that you’ll have to attend to will not wait.

Working with your hands in cold conditions is made even more challenging due to loss of sensation and dexterity brought on by prolonged exposure. This is naturally something of a catch-22 under the circumstances.

Obviously, you can wear gloves or mittens and jam your hands in your pockets to warm them up slowly, or warm them up more quickly near a fire or other heat source, but this is not necessarily the most efficient use of your time.

Take a tip from hunters and other people who pursue their endeavors for extended periods in cold weather: Invest in some Hot Hands hand warmers or a liquid-fueled hand warming device, such as the one made by Zippo. These ingenious items fit easily in a pocket and will keep your hands comfortable and usable no matter how cold it gets outside.

Though some people deride these as extraneous and wasteful (in the case of the Hot Hands), or just another example of gadgetry run amok (in the case of the latter) if there is any possibility you might be facing temperatures cold enough to impair your coordination and motor function you’ll definitely want to invest in some of these as a just-in-case comfort measure for cold weather survival.

8. Body/Foot Powder

This is what you might call a comfort item for most of us, but one that is an absolute necessity for people who spend a lot of time working hard outdoors, and an item that members of our military are doubtlessly already very familiar with. All-purpose body or foot powder works wonders for absorbing moisture and helping to keep you dry, and it also affords you a clean, fresh feeling when you don’t have the time or the resources to really get clean and fresh.

It even works as impromptu shampoo, though by the time you are finished you will look like you have the world’s worst possible case of dandruff, so that is the least of your problems if you are using it in a survival situation.

Rubbing your body and your feet down with powder is very refreshing and will help you feel better pretty much right away, but this is far more than some simple self-pampering: wherever you have moisture you have an increased possibility of breeding nasty, gribbly germs and fungus, both being skin infections that can quickly spread and rampage out of control. This will certainly be painful and unpleasant but it can also lead to you becoming incapacitated if it goes untreated!

Having powder appropriate to the task will serve as a hedge against such an unfortunate affliction and also help keep you feeling good no matter the situation.

9. Personal Memento

Even those of us who are not particularly sentimental, nor particularly superstitious, can at least admit to having a personal token, good luck charm, talisman, or simple reminder of something that is important to us.

It might be a small gift given to us by a loved one or friend. It might be a tiny item that reminds us to hold fast or to cling to our principles. Whatever it is, you would be foolish to disregard the value of such an item when facing a sustained period of pain, suffering and loss.

So long as you are not hauling around a bronze statuette or your lucky concrete planter that your grandma gave you before she passed, you can always justify keeping this item on your person or in your kit somehow, someway.

If it fits in your pocket, your wallet, or around a necklace, add a chain to help prevent loss. Bonus points if this item is actually a usable tool that serves a valid survival purpose.

Perhaps it is a Swiss army knife handed down to you or gifted to you by a departed relative. Perhaps it is a shotgun or rifle that is a family heirloom, kept in good repair and ready for service. It could even be something as simple as a family photo, or meaningful letter written to you by a loved one.

Anything that keeps you motivated and reminds you of what the stakes are, and what you are suffering for will only help focus and energize you.

10. Baby Wipes

It is astonishing to me how many preppers do not include baby wipes as part of their kit.

I see them haul soaps of all kinds for impromptu baths using ponds, streams or rivers but believe it or not these sources of water will not always be convenient or even usable, and you cannot be so profligate with any carried, potable water that you use it for bathing, even for a sponge bath.

This is where baby wipes are worth their weight in gold. A small package of baby wipes will provide more than enough for several improvised baths and using nothing more than a handful you can get your entire body clean, or at least cleaner.

If you don’t have time or inclination to stop and break down for a full bath, you can easily use baby wipes just to hit the trouble spots on your body, typically the face, under the arms, feet, groin and back side.

This will go a long way towards staving off odor and infection. Baby wipes are also invaluable forgetting truly clean after using the bathroom in an austere setting.

A package (or brick) of baby wipes might seem like it takes up too much room to justify inclusion in a bug-out bag, or they are not cost effective as part of a survival stash when you can just buy toilet paper instead.

But I’m begging you, take my word for it: these things are worth their weight in gold in a survival situation, and you will be thrilled to have them when the time comes.


Just because you are preparing for a survival situation doesn’t mean you have to abstain from including among your supplies certain items that are intended only to provide relaxation or a mental boost in the form of your favorite foods, physical creature comfort or emotional well-being.

Everybody has their preferences, and you should be well acquainted with yours. Considering that survival is predominantly a mental game you can make a very good practical case for provisioning these comfort items accordingly.

Take a look at the list above, and see which ones will fit the bill for you, or include your own.

comfort foods pin

This content was originally published here.

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by Fabian Ommar

Seeking comfort, convenience, and distraction during SHTF? Some might roll their eyes and think this is nonsense.  After all, all there is when SHTF are strategies, tactics, and challenging survival work, right?


Fortunately, there is more to be learned, experienced, and even shared that is not so challenging or tactical. 

To survive SHTF, you must keep your sanity intact and your spirits high

Preppers are all too aware of the “bad” aspects of SHTF. Admittedly, studying and discussing disasters and their consequences is at the core of prepping. I want to offer a take on another part of this reality, though: the role of good things and memorable moments during hard times.

The importance of keeping spirits high and a sense of sanity under distress is a constant in survival chronicles and for a good reason. Selco, Toby, Jose, Daisy, and many others frequently talk about this. Mentality and psychology are key survival factors.

Daisy wrote on mental resilience, “But to find moments of joy in the darkest of times, you need to tap into your mental resilience. This helps not only you but those around you. And to bounce back after these events and live your life again, mental resilience is, again, the key.”

When the context changes, the trivial become peculiar, unconventional, contrasting – which can turn the mundane into exceptional (and vice-versa). If you’ve never been through SHTF, I’d suggest staying open to the power and importance of these processes.

How I came up with the inspiration for this post

Not long ago, I met an elderly homeless man while practicing my street survival training. I was preparing a snack when the homeless man stopped by. We started to chat. He’s a nice man going thru adversity. After sharing my meal with him, I decided to test a portable espresso maker I purchased recently and took on the task of brewing espresso for us both. 

Suddenly he started crying. I asked what was wrong. He said one of the things he missed most since becoming jobless and homeless years ago was having a hot espresso after lunch. Just the smell made him feel that much better. He was crying tears of joy.

I share conversations and meals with the homeless and drifters in the streets quite often. But his reaction got me reflecting on the power of appreciation for the little things. In some contexts, little things can make our day. In the middle of a personal SHTF, this fellow found genuine happiness in having something as prosaic as a freshly brewed espresso. 

For someone who has nothing, something can be everything. 

The power of simplicity and the advantages of being adaptable

What defines SHTF is precisely the broad change in conditions and lifestyle. It doesn’t matter if it’s abrupt or through slow transformation. What matters is when perspectives change, things take a different value and importance, and adaptability is crucial during these times of transformation.

Selco offers his advice in this article on adaptability and being ready to leave everything behind in order to survive. Selco writes, “Learn to operate in terms of “less is more” or in other words, try whenever you can to substitute dependence on things with owning knowledge of a particular skill. For example, owning a big stash of water is great, owning skills and means to purify near water sources is even better.”

Look at how much has changed in just one year since COVID-19 broke out. Compared to before the pandemic, life has become considerably more challenging, more restrictive, unstable, and limited in so many aspects. Welcome to our “new normal.” Judging by the signals, it’s bound to change even further. There will be a lot more to adapt to moving ahead.

Time passes, things change. We keep surviving. But honestly, when in history has it been any different? Think about it for a moment.

Things take on a new meaning during hard times versus normal times

If you do any longer-lasting or highly-demanding outdoor activity, or if you’ve been through difficulty in your life, you know how big a difference some small things and moments can make. Quite often, something as mundane as a hot meal, some music, or a candy bar can be pure bliss.

Another example: is there anything more ordinary than taking a bath? But it feels like heaven when we’re exhausted, dirty, smelly, and sticky. Likewise, when SHTF and times get hard, finding solace in everyday, trivial things helps us keep going. There’s an uplifting effect that can’t be denied. 

There’s history, and then there are stories of everyday life

Most books tell about great battles and pivotal instants. But : the every-day and various moments. The telling of the quotidian is rare though life is 99% just that. Life can be turned completely upside-down by SHTF. Still, this dynamic of everyday life remains, even during wars, occupation, or natural disasters.

Even though a significant portion of the day or entire periods may be dedicated to ‘work’ (i.e., affairs like defense and dealing of resources), once a routine is re-established (it always is) and basics are taken care of, there’s need for play.

It’s not too different from life during normal times if we think about it. SHTF simple becomes the norm at one point.

Hardship has different effects on different people

When adversity hits, some enter survival mode almost instantly. Others take longer to understand or accept changes. Then there are those who never really come to full terms with the new reality and drag on. And that’s staying with the types who survive: a significant number of people can not cope. Unfortunately, we see that often.

Most people in developed/developing countries have been living in relative tailwind for most of the last 30 years. Sure, life is hard, but that’s a constant. I’m talking in comparison to most of history and also some places that seem to live in deep, eternal SHTF. We all know which these are.

Those younger than forty may not know or remember the 70s and 80s were such a hard time. The world slogged in stagflation. Low growth, Oil shocks, Cold War, and nuclear conflict threat kept us awake at night. During those times, separatists and radicals ran bloody conflicts all over Europe. Violent coups and dictatorships ravaged South America, and wars ran amok in the middle east. People suffered from inflation, unemployment, crime, shortages, blackouts, strikes, and protests at the everyday level.

It may seem like life was hell in the 70s and 80s, but it wasn’t

Life was hard but had many good sides to it too. Despite a difficult upbringing, I feel fortunate. Many others who lived through that period feel the same. There were lots of struggles, but people kept going and doing the best they could. We had fun in many ways as well. (Awesome bands, great music, classic movies, weird makeup, crazy hair!)

I have hope that, despite the various menaces currently threatening our lifestyle and eating on our liberties and privacy, we’re still going to make it somehow. Because, realistically, we’ve been through some seriously bad SHTF collectively, and we did all right. That’s what we do.

Back to the future, not a trip down memory lane

This is not nostalgia that I write. I believe we’re headed into times of similarly significant decreases in the standard of living for a broad part of the population caused by instability, mounting crises, low growth, joblessness, ruptures, and above all, changes in the world order. 

It’s already underway, and we can see it, sense it. I call it slow-burning SHTF. Nevertheless, we better find joy in the middle of struggle. What other options do we have? 

According to my own experience (and others too), it is possible to prepare for good moments and some measure of comfort during SHTF. Below is a list with a few initiatives and some practical measures to start. As always, adapt as you see fit.

Aim big, miss small.

In other words, think about comfort (big) to improve overall conditions (small). There’s a lot more to it than stashing a few comfort items.

Let’s start by highlighting the importance of environmental comfort. It’s an important factor because it defines well-being and, ultimately, survival itself. If we’re too cold, too hot, too windy, too humid or dry, too noisy, too smelly, too buggy, too dark, etc., we’re either in danger or already in hell. That robs us of energy and capacity to focus and perform. 

We instinctively try to improve our surroundings by actively working to balance conditions. Any measures that increase ambient comfort will automatically increase overall comfort, thus extending our capacities. Of course, contrast and perception influence that. For instance, leaving a super-hot place to a mildly-warm one will alleviate some. But once we get acclimated, comfort suffers again. Keep in mind: even though we tend to develop resistance, there are limits to adaptation. 

Practical Measures

Food and Drink

This is not about everyday food or “eating to kill hunger” but rather ‘comfort eating’: those occasional treats everyone loves and help elevate spirits. It’s entirely possible (and common) to live without these, but it’s something nice to have around when someone needs a morale boost. The good part is that even a little can go a long way in improving moods and making our day. During SHTF, these become even more effective.

Practical Measures

It’s easy to feel miserable once hygiene decays. This happens faster than most people think when the grid is down (). During SHTF, we start to care less and less for personal hygiene with time or cease altogether and become accustomed to the conditions, the smell, etc. If others around us live under the same SHTF, we tend to bother even less. But early on, being unclean doesn’t feel good. 

Depending on SHTF, it’s not even possible to care much for personal appearance. Nor desirable, as it can draw unwanted attention. Still, in most instances, a modicum of hygiene is attainable. Even with health as the main objective, this seemingly small thing can provide occasional relief and significantly improve well-being.

Practical Measures

Farming & Gardening

“We may need a doctor, a priest, a policeman, and a lawyer a few times during our life. But we need a farmer three times every day.”

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, 25% of Americans were into farming when The Great Depression hit in the 1930s. Today it’s only 2%. This number has been growing (it’s more prominent in Europe overall and some other countries). But we’re still a long, long way from people understanding the importance and implications of becoming even slightly more  for food. 

Cultivating one’s own food can provide ‘food comfort’ through the consumption of the items. Reduction of food insecurity lowers stress levels and increases community well-being.

Practical Measures

Cooking can also be highly rewarding and comforting. When disaster strikes, eating hot meals can become a real luxury. Even something as simple as a grid-down can impair conventional food preparation (lack of fuel, gear, time, etc. – ). When we spend a long time eating only granola bars and similarly bland food, a proper meal can be a real treat.

Practical Measures

Books & Music

No need for practical measures here as reading and listening to music are undeniably two of the most entertaining, abstracting, elevating, educating activities possible, SHTF or not. Read to learn, read to escape, read to have fun, read to ‘travel.’ Ditto for music, another powerful antidote to sadness and bad mood. Both are downright cheap, too, even free. (Here’s an article on building an SHTF music collection.)

How do fixing things improve comfort, you may ask. Besides obviously fixing things that can directly impact our comfort (clothing, plumbing, heating/cooling systems, cookware, etc.), it can be gratifying in itself. It builds confidence and self-reliance and can be applied to generate income (which in turn can be used to increase other comforts and conveniences to you, your family, and others around).

Practical Measures

Distractions & Abstractions

Let’s think in terms of ‘normal times’, certain forms of distraction, and entertainment such as gambling. Partying, smoking, or drinking (and others) can be seen as vices, bad habits, or “less than commendable” activities. But, do things change when the SHTF!

To start with, serious SHTF is unhealthy in so many ways just by itself. If you think differently, ask around or do some research on the subject. But SHTF is not a free pass nor an excuse to go wild or engage in destructive behavior. On the contrary: keeping discipline and good habits is essential for survival.  And not from a moral or ethical standpoint, but as to what it does to ourselves. It’s a dead end.

But keeping sanity is crucial too. Life can become hard at times. It’s OK to lead a regulated and healthy lifestyle, for the most part, and from virtue, religion or habit. The point is not being too rigid or too strict on ourselves – and keeping it under control, also, of course. It’s something very personal, so to each their own

Note: If someone is triggered by me talking about these things, know it’s the reality of SHTF. If you’ve been there, you know it; if you haven’t, then be warned and take it as you will. 

Practical Measures

A large part of being ‘comfortable’ during SHTF is related to accepting, abstract, being creative, and practical. And also the capacity to find joy and pleasure in the out-of-ordinary and trivial. It comes naturally for most people, but we can prepare some for that, too. Actively and voluntarily chasing discomfort and exposing ourselves to hardship in controlled manners is an effective way to learn about our own limits and how to adapt to changes that occur during SHTF. There are several ways to train for SHTF.

Camping, trekking, hiking are excellent to improve resilience, creativity, and adaptation. Away from the grid, we have to focus on the basics of life: shelter, food, water, cooking, insects, heat and cold, sun and rain, impaired sleeping, and lots more. If that’s impractical, you can train in the city and even  to practice and develop useful survival techniques applied in various other situations. 

This exercise can also grow our appreciation for the simple things and the extreme levels of comfort and convenience we have available in The Grid. And that matters a lot.

Are you taking any steps to add comfort to your preparedness plans? Let’s discuss it in the comments.​

About Fabian

Fabian Ommar is a 50-year-old middle-class worker living in São Paulo, Brazil. Far from being the super-tactical or highly trained military survivor type, he is the average joe who since his youth has been involved with self-reliance and outdoor activities and the practical side of balancing life between a big city and rural/wilderness settings. Since the 2008 world economic crisis, he has been training and helping others in his area to become better prepared for the “constant, slow-burning SHTF” of living in a 3rd world country.

Fabian’s ebook, Street Survivalism: A Practical Training Guide To Life In The City, is a practical training method for common city dwellers based on the lifestyle of the homeless (real-life survivors) to be more psychologically, mentally, and physically prepared to deal with the harsh reality of the streets during normal or difficult times. 

You can follow Fabian on Instagram @stoicsurvivor

This content was originally published here.