Under normal circumstances, news of an expectant mother glowing with the radiance of pregnancy is a joyous occasion, typically marked with celebration, tears of happiness, and mailed birth announcements. However, when the proverbial brown stuff hits the fan, dealing with pregnancy and childbirth is a pressing and stressful situation.

In a long-term survival scenario, where society is unstable and dangerous, access to organized medical care is limited, and any available resources will likely be focused on life-or-death injuries rather than prenatal care, pregnancy becomes a serious challenge and burden.

Moving quickly over rough terrain, sheltering with substandard food and supplies, and enduring physical and emotional stress are not conducive to carrying a baby to full term. Nonetheless, it is not impossible, as millions of babies have been born under primitive conditions.

In the United States, for example, approximately 0.9% or 35,000 births per year occur in the home, with about one-fourth or 8,750 of these being unplanned or unattended, according to various sources.

Parents should be prepared


Without going into extensive detail on the basics of procreation, it’s safe to say that babies can arrive unexpectedly and drastically alter circumstances. In the event that there are women of childbearing age within your group, it’s crucial to be fully prepared by having pregnancy and delivery-related supplies and expertise readily available in your cache of gear.

Research material

Gaining proficiency in some fundamental midwifery skills can significantly enhance the likelihood of a safe and successful birth. Consider incorporating Lamaze, a technique aimed at regulating breathing and managing labor pains, into your training sessions.

Along with attending classes, it’s also advisable to include a couple of books in your survival literature that could potentially save a life. Dr. Bonnie U. Gruenberg’s Birth Emergency Skills Training (BEST) is an invaluable resource that covers an extensive range of topics, including pain and bleeding in pregnancy, preterm labor, hypertension, abnormal fetal heart rate, neonatal resuscitation, shock, trauma, syncope, and cardiac arrest. Although comprehensive information on emergency childbirth may be scarce, it remains a critical reference for any pregnant woman with concerns.

Nausea and headaches

Morning sickness is a common occurrence during pregnancy that can cause discomfort and exhaustion. To be prepared, it’s advisable to pack a dozen emesis bags or any small plastic bags that can be used for vomiting, anti-nausea gum made from ginger, and plenty of liquids to keep the expectant mother hydrated.

Dehydration can result in various health issues, including constipation, headaches, preterm delivery, low levels of amniotic fluid, and complications during delivery. One option for combating dehydration, particularly for pregnant women, is DripDrop, a powdered electrolyte mixture that can be easily stored and, when mixed with water, effectively reverses dehydration.

Food and pregnancy

Maintaining a well-stocked food supply is crucial for ensuring a healthy mother and a healthy developing fetus. Certain foods are particularly beneficial for a growing baby:

Eggs contain choline, which promotes brain growth.

Milk and Greek yogurt, with twice the protein of regular yogurt, provide calcium for bone development.

Apples, oranges (which can help prevent vitamin C deficiency and preeclampsia), bananas, and spinach (which prevents anemia during pregnancy) are all excellent sources of fruits and vegetables.

Shelf-stable foods that travel well and store for extended periods, such as freeze-dried fruit, whole-grain crackers, sunflower seeds, granola bars, and powdered milk (with calcium), are also good options.

Beans, lentils, and oats should be included in the diet as well. These foods are high in natural folate, which can help prevent birth defects in the first trimester. Navy beans, tuna, and potatoes are good sources of iodine, a critical nutrient for a developing nervous system.

Emergency obstetrician kit

In the event that your SHTF partner is pregnant, it’s important to prepare a DIY obstetrical kit to ensure you have everything necessary for a safe delivery in one accessible location. This kit should include the following:

Postpartum supplies

Childbirth can be a messy process that can cause discomfort and pain for the mother even weeks after delivery. A portable bidet can help provide soothing water to areas that need it, and natural herbal salves containing ingredients such as St. John’s wort, witch hazel, and calendula can ease hemorrhoids and perineal soreness.

Additionally, caring for the baby’s health and well-being is crucial, so learning infant CPR and methods to treat conditions like jaundice, colic, and hiccups is recommended. Have a large supply of diapers in various sizes, along with clothes suitable for different weather conditions.

While breast milk is the best source of nutrition for infants, formula may be necessary if the mother cannot produce milk or does not survive delivery. Make sure to have a good supply of formula and a way to sterilize bottles and nipples.

By updating your bug-out bag with pregnancy and the new baby in mind, you can ensure that all members of your group, including the newest ones, are taken care of in case you need to leave quickly.

Prenatal medicines and alternatives

Eating a balanced diet is crucial for obtaining the necessary nutrients for the mother and the developing baby during pregnancy. However, in cases of emergency situations, where a healthy diet might not be possible, taking prenatal vitamins can be used to supplement any nutritional gaps in the mother’s diet.

While some nutrients like folic acid, iron, iodine, and calcium are particularly important for a developing baby, most prenatal vitamins include a variety of other vitamins and minerals. Prenatal vitamins have a shelf life of a couple of years, and even expired ones can still provide some benefit.

It’s recommended to have at least nine months’ worth of prenatal vitamins on hand in your supplies. Some important components to look for in prenatal vitamins include 400 micrograms of folic acid, 400 IU of vitamin D, 200 to 300 milligrams of calcium, 70 mg of vitamin C, 3 mg of thiamine, 2 mg of riboflavin, 20 mg of niacin, 6 mcg of vitamin B12, 10 mg of vitamin E, 15 mg of zinc, 17 mg of iron, and 150 micrograms of iodine.

While increasing the intake of foods that are rich in the nutrients mentioned in this article can help offset some deficiencies, it’s important to note that millions of healthy babies have been born before the development of modern medicine and prenatal nutrition guidelines.

Nine months of stress

In addition to the difficulties of surviving in a post-apocalyptic world, pregnancy presents a daunting nine-month journey filled with uncertainties and concerns, culminating in the inevitable delivery, which can be an excruciating experience for the expectant mother, who may also be a loved one.

To prepare for this event, it’s essential to create a safe and stress-free environment and closely monitor the mother-to-be. In areas with mosquitoes, homemade repellents or EPA-approved bug sprays with DEET can help prevent mosquito bites, which can transmit illnesses like Zika. The expectant mother should also cover exposed skin, stay in screened-in areas, and use permethrin-treated clothing to avoid bites.

Encouraging the mother-to-be to sleep on her left side can improve kidney function and increase blood flow to the uterus, and using pillows or cushions to support her legs can improve her comfort. Throughout the pregnancy, it’s important to monitor for common complications such as:

High blood pressure, also known as “hypertension,” occurs when the arteries carrying blood to the organs are narrowed. This condition can slow the growth of the fetus, and common factors for high blood pressure are obesity, family history, and diet. Exercise, diet changes, and stress-reduction techniques such as yoga and meditation can sometimes alleviate the symptoms.

Gestational diabetes, which means there is a build-up of glucose in the body during pregnancy due to hormonal changes that restrict the body’s ability to make insulin. Controlling blood sugar levels during pregnancy, as well as exercise, can help manage this complication.

Regular physical activity during pregnancy improves or maintains physical fitness. It helps with weight management, reduces the risk of gestational diabetes in obese women, and enhances psychological well-being.

Preterm labor, which is labor that begins before the 37th week. Babies born before this time have an increased risk of health problems because the lungs and brain finish development in the last few weeks. Progesterone is a hormone that can be used to slow or stop preterm labor, and Braxton Hicks contractions can sometimes be difficult to distinguish from signs of preterm labor.

Iron-deficiency anemia, which occurs when pregnant women need more iron than usual due to the increased amount of blood they produce during pregnancy. Symptoms of an iron deficiency include feeling tired or faint, experiencing shortness of breath, and becoming pale.

Severe nausea, which some women experience throughout their pregnancy. Although some nausea and vomiting is normal during the first trimester, severe symptoms can lead to weight loss, reduced appetite, dehydration, and feeling faint.

The big day

On the much-awaited day, for which you had prepared the environment, it’s essential to create a soothing atmosphere. Dim lighting, with a touch of natural fragrances such as wood, plants, flowers, ocean, chocolate, or vanilla, can help to ease the expectant mother during labor. Playing relaxing music with a tempo of 60 to 70 beats per minute may also aid relaxation.

You can provide water and ice for the mother-to-be to chew on and a stress ball to squeeze during contractions. Keep your obstetrical kit ready since, once the uterine sac ruptures, which is commonly referred to as the mother’s water breaking, the birth process will start, which happens in three stages.

Stage one

In the initial phase of labor, the cervix will begin to dilate, and contractions will start to open the birth canal. It is important to differentiate between true labor contractions and false ones, as true contractions are consistent, does not subside, and can last up to a minute.

Over time, they will increase in frequency and strength. This stage can take up to 15 hours or longer, and during this time, the amniotic sac may break. To determine whether the contractions are genuine, take a short walk, but avoid overexerting the mother, and let nature take its course. Provide water and a light meal if the mother is hungry, and encourage her to remain hydrated.

A helpful technique at this stage is abdominal breathing, where the mother breathes deeply and relaxes her entire body, which relieves tension and muscle strain during contractions and ensures the baby receives enough oxygen. Squatting or lying in a warm bath can also provide relief from contraction discomfort.

The second stage begins when the contractions are about three to four minutes apart and last for approximately one minute each. At this time, the mother may experience vomiting, shaking, feeling hot or cold, and intense back pain as the baby’s head presses against the nerve bundle in her sacrum. Your role is to remain calm and positive, and reassure her that she is doing well and that everything is normal.

Stage two

When the cervix is fully dilated, it is time for the mother to take a deep breath, hold it, and gently push through the contractions. It is important for her not to push too hard, as this could tire her out before the final pushes. During this stage, which could last up to four hours, the mother should rest between contractions.

As the delivery approaches, you should prepare by suiting up with sterile gloves and apron, and have sterile sheets, towels, and plastic covers ready. Avoid touching the vagina with anything that is not sterile. The mother can change positions during pushing if the contractions are not producing results, such as squatting, lying on her side with her knees apart, or staying up on all fours.

As the baby begins to crown, the mother might feel a burning sensation as the perineum stretches, but she should resist the urge to push hard at this point. With a sterile gauze, support the baby’s head as it emerges. Check the umbilical cord’s location and make sure it is not around the baby’s neck. The baby’s head will be facing down but will turn toward the mother’s thigh as the shoulders appear. If the shoulders are difficult to deliver, have the mother pull her knees up to her chest and push. Usually, after the shoulders, the baby will come right out, but the mother might need one last push to deliver the rest of the baby. If the baby does not fully arrive after a couple of contractions, carefully hook a finger under its shoulder and gently pull.

Have clean towels, pads, and gauze ready to receive the baby because they sometimes come quickly. Hold the baby with its head up so that mucus can drain, and use towels to dry the baby off. Use a bulb syringe to suction any mucus from the baby’s mouth and nose. If the umbilical cord is long enough, lay the baby on the mother’s bare chest and cover both with a warm blanket. Crying is normal and usually encouraged. However, do not try to induce crying by spanking the baby, as this is a myth.

Stage three

After the baby is born, there are still important tasks to be completed. Wait for 30 seconds before using clamps or sterile shoelaces to tie off the umbilical cord in two places approximately 2 inches apart. Then, cut the cord between the clamps or laces using scissors. The remaining cord on the baby will dry and eventually fall off on its own.

According to Dr. Pietrantonio, delayed umbilical cord clamping can benefit both term and preterm infants. In term infants, this practice can increase hemoglobin levels at birth and improve iron stores in the first few months of life, which could have positive effects on developmental outcomes.

Delivery of the placenta, also known as the “afterbirth,” usually takes up to 30 minutes. Do not pull on the cord. A small amount of bleeding and clotting is normal. Monitor the mother for shock and provide appropriate treatment. Massaging the uterus, which is about the size of a grapefruit, through her abdomen and applying an ice pack can help keep it contracted and reduce the risk of hemorrhaging.

Now, it is time to clean up the area.

In conclusion, the birth of a baby is an incredibly transformative and miraculous experience, but it can also be a challenging and intense process. It is important for expecting parents and their support teams to be well-prepared and educated on what to expect during labor and delivery. While each birth experience is unique, understanding the stages of labor and the techniques for managing pain and discomfort can help make the process as smooth and safe as possible. With proper care, attention, and support, both the mother and baby can have a healthy and positive start to their new life together.

This article has been written by James H. Redford MD for Prepper’s Will.

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This content was originally published here.

This article was originally published by Martin Banks on www.survivopedia.com

SHTF scenarios are hard to prepare for, but training beforehand is essential for protecting yourself and your family. Add animals to the mix and it gets even more complex. Your cows and sheep don’t understand Category 5 hurricanes and EF5 tornadoes.

You may get lucky and have a few days to prepare for a significant natural disaster. Other SHTF situations won’t be so kind with warnings. How should you prepare for an evacuation? What if a getaway isn’t feasible? Here’s how to prepare for SHTF scenarios with your livestock.

What Challenges Arise in Animal Evacuation?

Preparing yourself and your family is hard enough during SHTF scenarios, but a cow weighing over 1,000 pounds may be even harder. Farmers, ranchers and survivalists face challenges evacuating their animals in dangerous situations.

The first hardship you may face is livestock behavior. Animals, like humans, can easily face anxiety and panic when thrust into challenging scenarios. Thunderstorms and disasters put them under duress. Studies have shown that extreme weather events affect livestock health with heat stress, oxidative stress, and other issues.

Tensions can run high when SHTF scenarios arise. Time is of the essence in evacuating every animal from the disaster. Livestock is more intelligent than you think and can sense fear in humans. When you’re scared, they can detect it. It’s essential to handle your animals with care throughout the process to limit obstacles in evacuation.

Another issue with evacuating your animals is coordinating transportation. It’s no secret that livestock can get heavy. Adult cattle can easily cross the 2,000-pound mark. Some people transport livestock to their land but don’t have ways to evacuate them if necessary. Your transportation might not be adequate to get every animal to safety.

How Can You Prepare Animals for Evacuation?

Among the best ways to protect yourself and your animals is with evacuation. Leaving the premises may be your safest option if your area is prone to flooding or vulnerable during torrential weather. These four strategies will prepare your animals for a good escape.

Emergency Contacts

The first step in an evacuation plan is to gather your emergency contacts. You’ll need phone numbers or email addresses from your family, neighbors, and friends. You’ll benefit from having the emergency phone numbers of your veterinarians, animal shelter, animal control, and more. In addition, give your contact information to these people and anyone else involved in caring for your livestock.

When it’s time to evacuate, it’s hard to load a cow on the back of your bugout vehicle and get away. You’ll need something more substantial with stronger suspension. You can use a bugout vehicle as long as you’re using it to haul a vessel like a trailer. The trailer you buy will vary depending on how many animals you have and their weights, so do your homework to determine what fits your needs.

The option that makes the most sense for livestock is a gooseneck trailer. These haulers are among the largest you’ll see in noncommercial use and are comparable in size to what you’d see hooked to an 18-wheeler. The gooseneck’s long arm hitches to the back of your truck, making it sturdy and stable for the long road ahead. Giving your large animals a smooth ride on a trailer will ease the trip despite unfortunate circumstances.

When buying a trailer, you’ll need to consider how much your vehicle can tow. The towing capacity affects your fuel economy, top speed, and how much you can carry. If you use a gooseneck trailer, you’ll need a towing capacity of at least 12,000 or up to 16,000 pounds. 

It’s essential to identify every animal correctly when evacuating your livestock. There are two types of identification you can use: permanent and temporary. The temporary solution may be easier for a quick fix, but if you have time, consider using a permanent ID.

Microchips are highly effective because they’re the easiest way to prove an animal belongs to you. They are about as tiny as rice and show your livestock’s identification number when scanned. Another permanent identification is tattooing. This method is standard for livestock, and ranchers usually place the tattoo above the ear’s first rib. Tattooing is beneficial because it doesn’t alter the animal’s appearance.

You could resort to temporary identification if you don’t have access to either option. In a pinch, you can use nontoxic spray paint for your livestock. Ensure it’s non-water-soluble if rain or floods are an issue. You can also use a livestock marking crayon to label each animal quickly. Other solutions may include chalk, tags, and collars.

Practicing the Plan

Evacuating your animals can feel like Noah’s Ark, whether you have a couple of cows or 30 animals to haul away. SHTF scenarios will give you little time to prepare, so you must be ready when the moment strikes. One way to get ahead of the curb is to practice ahead of time.

Give your evacuation plan a full practice run before disaster strikes. A simulation will allow you to work out the kinks in your armor. How can you make the evacuation more efficient? What were the struggle points? Did a particular group of animals not cooperate? It’s hard to predict how livestock will react in these situations, so do at least one practice run to find the bugs.

What if You Need to Shelter in Place?

There may be limited or no emergency services readily available for your animals if you live in a rural area. Evacuation can protect your livestock, but that isn’t always an option. Sometimes you have to shelter in place during SHTF scenarios. These five tips will help you stay safe on your property.

State Agriculture Department

If you know a disaster is coming, contact your state’s agriculture department to see how it can help. If you can’t evacuate your animals, the state may be able to send assistance your way. You can also reach out to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and apply for one of its disaster aid programs.

The USDA has an emergency assistance program for livestock that provides financial help. You can apply for the USDA to cover the costs of transporting feed for your livestock. 

Alternate Power and Safe Water

Disastrous storms can knock out power grids for days or weeks, or a separate incident like a cyberattack can cut power with no warning at all. You’ll need to find alternate energy and safe water sources.

At least one backup generator will significantly help your property stay powered. Some survivalists rely on technology to track livestock location, feeding schedules, and keeping milk at a proper temperature if you make dairy products. An outage would be devastating, so prepare your livestock with backup generators.

Another thing to focus on is finding alternative water sources. Heavy floodwaters often contain contaminants from sewage and animals that drink this water could quickly become ill from chemical contamination. Prevent them from drinking it and prepare with a stock of water ahead of time. Test it to ensure your animals will be safe when you provide water.

Native Trees

If you elect to leave animals outdoors, ensure the environment is safe for them to stay in while they brace for the SHTF scenario. One way to help them is to inspect your property for non-native trees. Native trees are preferable on any property for livestock protection because they’re typically much more substantial. They’ve been in the environment for years or decades and have adapted to the climate.

Native trees also provide other benefits, like protecting nearby plants and saving water. Non-native trees can be invasive and steal nutrients like water from other plants. Adapting to the climate helps trees survive harsh conditions. Find native trees for your livestock to take shelter under and steer them away from weaker non-native trees. 

Removing Barbed Wiring

Barbed wiring has been a staple among farmers and ranchers for over a century. Its invention led to a soaring cattle industry in the late 19th century. However, it may be best to remove it in SHTF scenarios.

You may need to evacuate without your animals when a powerful storm comes. In this scenario, consider removing the barbed wire from your property. When flooding happens, your livestock will search for higher ground, or if hurricane-force winds come, they’ll want to find low-lying areas. Though they may wander off, the animals will be better off without barbed wire on the property. 

Building Safety

One critical decision you’ll need to make is whether the livestock will stay inside or outside. You must ensure outdoor facilities are strong enough to withstand any SHTF scenario, especially a tornado or a hurricane. Good upgrades and preventive measures can be the difference in your animals’ survival.

The first step is to inspect every building for weaknesses that a storm can exploit. Check the paddocks and barns, especially the roofs. There may be loose shingles or weak siding that will break easily during heavy storms. Keep pesticides and other fertilizers above ground so they don’t become dangerous in floodwaters. You’ll also need to protect your heavy machinery by securing it to the floor.

Protecting Livestock in Any SHTF Scenario

A SHTF scenario can arise at any moment these days. A pandemic has already shown how bad things can get. The next disaster could be a Category 5 hurricane, economic collapse, or war.

In any circumstance, you need to consider how to protect your family and livestock. Losing your animals would be detrimental to any survivalists trying to sustain themselves. Take the proper measures to protect livestock, whether you evacuate or shelter in place.

This content was originally published here.

As the pandemic showed us, food shortages are not impossible. For much of 2020, shelves in markets were empty of basic necessities: grains, bread, eggs, produce, and other basic nutritional essentials. Food shortages can have dire consequences for those of us who aren’t prepared to go days or weeks without a visit to the local grocer. It isn’t paranoia to stock some shelf-stable foods as insurance against a natural or man-made disaster (or, say, a global viral infection). It’s merely responsible prepping. Let’s take a look at the best shelf-stable foods you should store for another “SHTF” scenario.

Shelf-Stable Foods Storage: What Matters

Not all foods are best suited for sitting in your basement for a few years without suffering rot and waste. Some foods might last awhile, but they’re not healthy or nutritious. Here’s what you should consider when picking what foods to store long-term.

Lifespan/Time to Expiration

The longer a food remains stable, the better the investment. It’s probably not a good idea to try to store a bunch of fresh vegetables and fruits in your basement freezer. Even frozen, they’re going to waste away in a few weeks. The best shelf-stable foods are ones that last years. At minimum, you should only invest in shelf-stable food that can last at least 2 to 5 years at room temperature.

Nutritional Value

We’ve all heard the anecdote about Twinkies surviving the apocalypse. But trying to rely on these ultra-processed fatty snacks is only going to result in poor health, fast. You need to store foods that provide ample macro-nutrients (fats, carbohydrates, and proteins) without all the processed, artificial fillers and excessive sugars.

Ease of Preparation

In a “SHTF” scenario, you’re not going to have access to a fully stocked kitchen for every meal. Even if you have the tools available to you, you’ll want to use as little electricity or fuel as possible to prepare meals. It’s best to focus on foods that require minimal prepwork — a little water, maybe some heat, and perhaps some spice thrown in for flavor. Nothing more.

The Best Shelf-Stable Foods for SHTF

So, which foods satisfy these three factors? Let’s take a look.

1. Long-Grain Rice

Long-grain rice is packed with healthy carbs, and carbs provide the bulk of the energy we need to do work. Rice is also an incredibly nutrient-dense food. A single cup of steamed white rice provides about 60% of recommended daily carbohydrates. Rice is also stupid-simple to prepare. Soak it in water, and let it simmer for a few minutes. Fluff it up, season it, and indulge. Rice serves as a great foundation for adding more nutrients, too. Throw in salt, butter, and minerals for balancing your diet. Best of all, dry rice grains (if stored in a sealed can) can last for up to 30 years and they take up little space relative to their servings. That’s tough to beat – in fact, no other food on this list will provide a longer shelf life.

2. Dried Oats

Like rice, oats are packed with carbohydrates. They also provide plenty of fiber — something that most consumers of a Western diet are already lacking, “SHTF” scenarios notwithstanding. And, like rice, oats are nutritionally packed. Only a single cup is needed for 40% of your daily fiber and about 25% of your daily carbs. Oats are also high in iron and potassium.

Oats can be eaten simply by soaking them in water until they’re soft. You don’t even need heat if the situation is dire, or fuel and electricity are lacking. If properly dried and stored in a 10# can, oats (like rice) will last at least 25 to 30 years.

3. Powdered Eggs

There’s a reason powdered eggs are a staple of the U.S. Army’s field rations. Whole eggs provide plenty of non-saturated fat, a decent amount of protein, and plenty of Vitamin D and Iron. Powdered eggs make use of the whole egg, so you’re not missing out on that glorious cholesterol, either.

Stored properly, dry powdered eggs last about a decade, and once open, they’re still good for at least a year as long they’re kept dry and cool. Powdered eggs are pasteurized, too, so there’s no risk of bacteria developing over time. They’re great for adding to other water-prepped, dry foods, adding raw nutrients without much work. Simply whisk and cook as you would a cracked egg. Or use them to make bread and baked foods – that’s a luxury in a “SHTF” scenario.

4. Flour

This one’s pretty self-explanatory: White flour is the foundation of so many foods, and it’s probably the oldest shelf-stable source of nutrition in the history of mankind. Kept dry and cool, flour’s good for at least 25 years. Pair it with those delicious powdered eggs to make bread, cakes, pastries, waffles, pasta, or use it as a thickening agent with a little extra nutrition for your other “SHTF”, mostly-prepped-with-water foods. Like the other foods on our list, flour is relatively nutrient dense: Three tablespoons provides 10% of your daily carobs, 3 grams of protein, a little fiber, and decent iron.

5. Lentils & Beans

Lentils and beans are perhaps the most nutritionally-packed foods on this list. Brown, green, beluga, yellow and red lentils all provide excellent amounts of B vitamins, magnesium, zinc, potassium, complex carbs, protein, fit, fiber, iron, and loads of other nutrients.

In fact, we’d argue that lentils and beans are the two foods you should store most. Second only to rice and oats, these two dry foodstuffs will last at least 20 to 25 years if kept in sealed cans in a dry, cool space. Lentils and most beans don’t need much soaking, and they’re made palatable with just a bit of hot water.

6. Dried Fruits

When properly dehydrated, fried fruits can last as long as all the other foods we’ve mentioned. They’re packed with extra vitamins and minerals that may be missing from the basic food groups we’ve covered, too. The only drawback is they’re not as nutrition-dense, and it’ll takes a few cups’ worth to make a worthy meal. But they’re delicious and provide variety, and enjoying your meals in a “SHTF” scenario is just as psychologically important as the nutrition they provide.

7. Extras: Salt, Sugar, Powdered Milk & Coffee

Although these items aren’t technically critical to nutrition and survival, they provide extra supplementation and they may be useful in other ways. Powdered milk is a great source for calcium and protein, and it’s a great addition for baking and breakfast. Salt can be used as an antimicrobial and wound cleanser, and it’s the default way to cure, sanitize, and store meat without refrigeration. Coffee is one of the healthiest antioxidants you can drink, and sugar is as much a barter currency as it is a sweetener.

How to Properly Store Your “SHTF” Food

Plenty of “emergency food prep” companies advertise overpriced plastic bins for long-term food storage. But to do it right (also read: cheap and effective) you should stick with good ole’ #10 cans and some food-grade desiccant packets.

These packets absorb and lock away any moisture in the food you’re storing, and the classic #10 can can be hermetically sealed, stacked, and left to sit safely for decades without becoming compromised. These little cans also evenly divide up your food stores, so you’re only opening what you need and leaving nothing to waste before you can eat it.

Homesteading can be just as effective as storing shelf-stable foods in bulk, and it provides a layer of redundancy when the time to become truly self-sufficient arises. Check out which seeds we recommend storing.

The post The Longest-Lasting, Shelf-Stable Foods for SHTF Scenarios appeared first on AllOutdoor.com.

This content was originally published here.

Armed preppers were once derided as paranoid hoarders. Then, COVID happened. We saw empty shelves in grocery stores, lack of access to medications for chronic conditions, and mass civil unrest exacerbated by unemployment and politicking. In short, the pandemic gave us a taste of a real “SHTF” scenario. When it comes to preparing for natural or man-made disasters (or another end-of-days global infection), you need to invest in five things: food, water, shelter, power, and personal defense. That last one means having a stockpile of ammunition to feed your pistols, shotguns, and long rifles. Let’s dive into how to properly store SHTF ammo for the long haul, and take a look at how much you might want to keep around, just in case.

How to Store Ammo Long-Term

Three things determine whether ammo – once pulled out of storage after years – fires reliably, or fizzes out: Temperature, exposure, and moisture.

Ideal Temperature for Ammo Storage

Regardless of the caliber, casing, or powder, all ammo should be stored at 55 to 80 degrees (F). Colder temperatures can cause the sealant on primers to fail, and condensation can more easily form. The inverse is also true: Very high temperatures can exacerbate the effects of humidity and lead to rapid corrosion. Even in dry cold or heat, extreme temperatures can cause gunpowder to break down, resulting in misfires and unreliable cycling.

Keeping Ammo Dry

Two words: Desiccant packs. You probably know these as “dehumidifiers.” If you’ve ever found a small, cloth packet of plastic beads inside some packaging, you’ve seen a desiccant pack. These little perforated pouches contain silica gel beads, which absorb moisture in the air. They’re excellent at preventing a container of ammo from accumulating moisture. It’s best to invest in properly sealed containers for your ammo. That means something made of decent polymer or coated steel, with a rubber gasket providing a proper seal. We can recommend a few cases to keep things simple.

The Best Ammo Storage Containers

US Surplus M2 Ammo Can

The M2 Ammo Can is arguably the best ammo storage container available. It’s made from steel, it’s coated with a rustproof paint, it’s easy to carry, it can hold plenty of weight (up to 50 lbs.) and it has a reliable gasket seal with a sturdy clamp.

MTM .50-Cal Polymer Ammo Can

The MTM Ammo Can is basically a polymer version of the M2. It’s similar in size, and it features a rubber gasket seal with a decent clamping lid, carry handle, and padlock holes for basic security. Plus, MTM containers are made in the USA.

Pelican 1200 Case

The Pelican 1200 Case provides plenty of space for stacked rifle or pistol magazines, and its legendary toughness and pressure-equalizing seal make it a great choice for long-term ammo storage. This writer employs a few 1200s as his choice for ammo storage, having “tactically acquired” a few from his unit’s armory in prior years. Keep your ammo stored in any of these sealed cases with some dehumidifying packs, and it’s guaranteed to remain stable and ready for use for years, if not decades.

The Best Places to Store Ammo

First, let’s clear up where you shouldn’t store ammo. You should avoid any location wherein your ammo containers are subjected to wild temperature swings. That means no attics, sheds or garages. Basements without insulation or climate control should also be avoided. Besides temperature concerns, these three locations should be avoided for security reasons. Most burglars attempt to forcibly enter a home through the garage or basement, and auxiliary buildings are easier targets since they’re physically separate from the main property.

Indoors, Away From Sunlight

Spare closets, empty spaces under bed frames, and unused kitchen cabinets make great spots. These places provide stable temperatures, they’re easily accessible, and they’re not in vulnerable locations.

Keep It Locked Up

Locking ammo is as important as locking up your guns. Keeping ammo indoors means curious children or wayward guests can stumble upon your rounds. Discourage prying eyes and small digits by slapping some locks on your ammo containers (all the containers we recommend can be secured with padlocks).

How Much Ammo Should I Stockpile?

You can never have too much — as long as it’s stored correctly, that is. You should consider the minimum amount of rounds that’ll make you feel secure for the long haul in a true “SHTF” scenario. If Earth were hit by an X-class solar flare and civilization was sent back to the Stone Age, this writer would want enough ammo on tap to last the rest of his (probably shortened) life. So, how much ammo would one need to last, say, 20 to 40 years in a potentially high-conflict environment? We can answer this question – at least, we can ballpark it – with some real data.

Handgun Rounds Stockpile

Data collected from law enforcement shootings with handguns reveal that, on average, it takes 13 to 14 rounds to incapacitate a single threat. In a “SHTF” scenario, you’d want to avoid the public and venturing beyond your safety zone as much as possible. But war-game the idea that you’d need expose yourself at least a few times a month: Assuming you’re in a high-threat environment, you’d want enough ammo to protect yourself from multiple threats. Given the assumption you’re in this doomsday situation for the long haul, some napkin math says you’d want over 1,000 rounds.

That’s about 20 boxes of ammo (most pistol cartridges come in packs of 50). That amount of rounds can be easily stored in a single large container like the Pelican 1200. That’s also enough ammo to hone your marksmanship skills on a regular schedule, while still keeping more mags than you could ever hold ready to go.

Rifle Rounds Stockpile

If you’re like most preppers or survivalists, your mind automatically jumps to 5.56 NATO/.223 Remington, chambered in an AR-type rifle. Speaking from personal experience, it’s surprisingly easy to burn through 210 rounds (that’s seven 30-round magazines, the standard “battle rattle” load) when you’re in a real threat engagement.

You’d want at least enough ammo to replenish those seven mags through multiple threat encounters. Again, if we’re considering the potential for years-long conflict and severe social strife, it’s safe to say that harboring at least 2,100 rounds of rifle ammo is a safe minimum. Stored in typical 20-round boxes, this amount of rounds can comfortably fit in two .50-cal ammo cans.

Hunting Rounds Stockpile

Preppers lucky enough to survive on game in rural areas, rejoice. You probably need many fewer rounds to live comfortably, but you should still keep more ammo than you need for that trusty bolt gun. Data says that the average hunter expends between 3 and 7 rounds to take one deer. Assuming you’re living off game meat, you’ll want to take at least a few bucks or does to keep the fridge or salt locker stored. It’s safe to say that you’ll want at least 500 to 800 rounds of hunting ammo. Speaking of hunting: having reliable ammo and an accurate rifle is just part of the equation. See our top tactics for ensuring a successful hunt when survival is on the line.

The post Stockpiling SHTF Ammo – How To and How Much? appeared first on AllOutdoor.com.

This content was originally published here.

The mountains have always held a special place in prepping and survival lore. We admire the real and the quasi-mythical mountain man for his determination, grit, endurance, and prowess.


People and tribes since time immemorial have fled to the mountains in times of trouble to find succor and salvation from natural and human threats.

The mountains are also seen as a literal redoubt against rising water and times of unrest.

It is no wonder then that so many preppers plan to pack up and flee into the mountains when the excrement hits the proverbial oscillator.

Whether this is well advised or not is a subject of some debate, and depends largely on the skills that an individual prepper can bring to the table.

Mountains are always dangerous environments, and they do not suffer fools lightly.

An old saying says “you cannot cheat the mountain”, and if you go in half-cocked and overconfident you’ll only be assuring yourself a prolonged and miserable death.

Nonetheless, mountainous terrain can offer the savvy survivor many advantages, and we’re going to equip you with all the information you need to know to do exactly that in today’s article.

Head to the Mountains!

Mountain ranges large and small exist all around the world, though small is always a relative term when discussing mountains.

Throughout the continental United States in particular there are enormous swaths of the nation covered in mountains.

From the old and comparatively short Appalachians to the soaring and jagged though indisputably majestic Rockies, mountains are all over the place and there is no shortage of human habitation near or even on the slopes of these craggy peaks.

It makes sense that plenty of preppers in these areas would plan on fleeing into the mountains during times of trouble.

There’s almost something instinctive about the shelter that mountains can provide when the sky goes dark and times turn anything but certain.

Maybe it is just the primordial notion of attaining a high and seemingly unreachable perch so you can watch the trouble unfold far below.

Not for nothing, for some preppers who would flee civilization and into the wild mountainous terrain is their default wilderness! It might be the only choice if you want to get out of town!

The mountains have always been a more or less viable choice, but these days it is one that most preppers would choose despite lacking all of the information they need to make a good decision.

As I already mentioned, heading into the mountains ill-prepared or not knowing exactly what you’re going to be facing and dealing with can quickly turn into a death sentence.

Living in and surviving in the mountains is hard, there are no two ways about it, though it is and has remained entirely viable. You just need to know what you are doing.

In the following sections we will cover the challenges, advantages, and necessary procedures required for mountain survival.

Challenges of Mountain Survival

Bottom line up-front mountain survival entails risking many hazards for those who would make an attempt at it, whether you are experienced or not.

As I mentioned, mountains do not suffer fools gladly, and the inexperienced will be struck down just as easily as the seasoned mountaineer who falls victim to complacency.

A thorough understanding of the various hazards inherent to mountain survival is mandatory if you want to stay alive for any length of time.

Furthermore, it is imperative that you learn how these various hazards interact and intersect with each other (and your survival prerogatives).

Making a go of it on the mountain is equal parts avoiding the most dangerous circumstances and elements while making the best possible choices regarding your objectives.

If you get one or the other wrong, you’ll have a bad outcome. If you get both of them wrong at once, well, it was nice knowing you!


The weather on the mountain is different from the weather down on the flatlands.

Depending upon the geographic region and the mountain range in question weather can vary wildly, from entirely seasonal and congruent with the rest of the region to borderline polar conditions at high altitudes.

What all mountains have in common, though, is how variable the temperature can be, and how suddenly storms and other rough weather can overtake them.

Ask anyone who has embarked on a day hike in the mountains that ran just a little too long, and they will tell you that freakish temperature swings are an entirely common occurrence.

A cool morning followed by warm springtime temperatures will be nothing more than a pleasant memory if you are forced to shelter on the mountainside overnight as temperatures plummet to below freezing.

What’s more, the sudden appearance of a rain or snowstorm can dump awe-inspiring amounts of precipitation on you, all while you are in highly exposed terrain.

In conjunction with stereotypically strong winds that tall mountains experience and plummeting temperatures the risk of exposure will take on new and terrifying implications.

Rain can result in mudslides and flash floods through low-lying areas and valleys.

Heavy snowfall can easily result in an avalanche on steep slopes that will obliterate everything down slope from it.

It is crucial that you be prepared for the worst extremes of weather before you ever take off for the mountains.


Mountainous terrain makes everything harder. Simply moving around is going to be more arduous owing to the uneven and often unstable ground beneath your feet.

This can affect your timetable when you have to move over or through mountains, and getting slowed down in a time-is-life situation could result in your doom depending on what is at stake.

Steep slopes and shifting rocks also further serve to increase your burden.

Anything that you carry, however heavy or light you think it is, will only sap your stamina more when you must work even harder to stabilize that load while crossing the treacherous terrain of the mountainside.

You’ll be working muscles that you never knew you had and an effort to keep yourself and your pack upright and balanced while scrabbling over a steep slope or a shifting bed of gravel or sediment.

This tricky terrain makes more than travel difficult, as finding a suitable place to create your shelter, whatever it might be, will take even longer.

You’ll have several competing factors to balance, like the size of the site, its stability, and also how protected or exposed it is to wind and weather.

Don’t forget the aforementioned mudslides, floods, and avalanches I mentioned previously, as it wouldn’t do to find a nice place to build only to risk your shelter (and your party!) being wiped out in such an event.


Mountainous terrain has even more hazards in store.

Even the shortest of mountains still represent a significant increase in altitude over the surrounding terrain, and in the case of the tallest mountains, is already located in high-altitude regions, you can find yourself a long, long way from sea level.

High altitudes mean a lower concentration of oxygen in the air that you breathe, and though there is much you can do to acclimatize to this low level of oxygen if you have lived long in such a place newcomers will undoubtedly suffer.

Shortness of breath, gasping and a general feeling of tiredness or exhaustion should be expected, and altitude sickness proper is definitely on the table.

The higher you go the worse it will get, and there’s nothing you can do to prevent such an occurrence unless you’re going to bring bottled oxygen with you- something that is effectively out of the question for most preppers under the circumstances.

The mountainous terrain is also nowhere near as accessible as other sorts of terrain, and many locations may have only one reasonably easy way in that also serves as the way out.

Should anything block this path, be it a natural event or a human threat, you might be trapped between a proverbial rock and a very literal hard place.

If your only potential exit is a path of significant technical complexity and physical challenges will you and other members of your group be up to the task, or will you have to face whatever threat is looming and hope for the best?

Lastly, if there was ever an environment that was a slip, trip, and tumble hazard it is the mountains.

Though most mountains are not the sheer rock faces we imagine when we think of them and few preppers will move to or through such environments, you don’t have to be facing a sheer cliff to face a substantial risk of death or grievous injury on the mountainside. A stumble can twist or break an ankle or sprain a knee.

A shortfall may leave you with a concussion or cracked skull and an end-over-end tumble down a steep slope could leave you a broken mess with significant internal injuries, and no cavalry coming.

Distribution of Resources

Mountains are very much a “feast or famine” environment when it comes to using natural resources that survivors can make use of.

This is largely dependent upon your region and the mountain range in question, but many ranges have a distinct lack of vegetation and wildlife that can provide useful materials and meaningful nutrition.

Other mountain ranges might feature comparatively narrow bands where such supplies are plentiful, but they often make poor places for camping due to the inherent risks discussed above in this section.

In such cases, this can mean that significant to travel to and from your bug-out location is necessary in order to procure and retrieve supplies.

The more often you travel the more energy you’ll expand and the more risk you’ll expose yourself to while underway.

Getting yourself properly located on a mountain while still assuring at least some access to needed resources is necessary, but it so happens that it is often extremely challenging.

Advantages of Mountains for SHTF Survival

Not every mountain range is a figurative Mordor, a land with no redeeming characteristics that will only result in your inevitable and painful death.

Like any other biome, mountains have their own advantages that they can offer preppers, and depending on the circumstances these advantages might make all of the trials and tribulations more than worthwhile.

For whatever reason you are fleeing into the mountains, you would be a fool if you fail to take advantage of the following:


One of the mountain’s best attributes is also one of its biggest flaws, and that is its sheer inaccessibility of it.

Most people will not attempt to enter the mountains, or scale them in any meaningful way because it is so arduous and difficult.

It is better to go around, go the other way or go anywhere else versus attempting such a challenge. At least, that is the way that most people see it.

Knowing this, you can take comfort and the fact that the vast majority of people who would attempt to get to you, reach you or otherwise interact with you will not even try and those who do are likely to be defeated and repelled by the very terrain they are crossing.

This gives mountain dwellers a significant advantage over their lowland brethren when push comes to shove.

For the survivor, especially for survivors facing long or indefinite-term situations where the usual societal order is going to be upended or erased entirely, you’ll have a distinct edge over threats and competitors.


History provides us with countless examples of defenders utilizing mountainous terrain to extreme advantage.

Defenders usually have an edge in most conflicts, being able to make better use of the existing terrain to best their attackers (unless the attackers bring overwhelming numbers).

Mountainous terrain can make prepared defenders all but unassailable, and allow them to hold out in the face of seemingly impossible odds.

You need only look to the countless lesser conflicts and unending wars in Afghanistan throughout the 20th and 21st centuries for all the proof you require.

When you bug out to a good spot in the mountains chances are that there will be only a select few approaches by which people could even attempt to reach you, and vanishingly few by which they could approach you stealthily and undercover. All are likely easily watched.

This makes you difficult to sneak up on, and even if someone is trying to sneak up on you to catch you unawares they will likely have to do it from a position of disadvantage.

Chances are you will always have the high ground, literally, and most people instinctively understand that attempting to reach or attack someone in a defensible, mountainous location is folly at best or suicide at worst.

Also consider that by the time they reach you they will have undergone a trek of considerable strenuousness, while you will be comparatively fresh for the fight.

Lack of Human Traffic/Competition

When choosing bug-out locations, it pays to consider typical lines of human travel as well as lines of drift, places where people will move through when their typical routes are blocked.

Aside from some highways and dedicated paths that run through mountainous terrain, people will rarely if ever choose to go the “hard way” through the mountains.

This will result in a near-total lack of human traffic and correspondingly less human contact.

The less contact you have with strangers during an SHTF situation the better, as this will always result in fewer threats and fewer unknowns, making your job easier.

You’ll have fewer people competing for what natural resources are in the area and fewer people who can even approach you asking for handouts or for help.

If you want to streamline your survival tasks by reducing unknown contacts during an SHTF scenario, the mountains can hardly be beaten.

Essential Skills, Gear, and Tips for Survival Success in the Mountains

Surviving in the mountains may sound like a long shot if you don’t have much experience in mountaineering, but it doesn’t have to be.

With the right gear, the right knowledge, and the right approach you can survive and thrive in the mountains no matter what you are facing.

Consider the following skill sets, gear, and survival procedures mandatory if you have any plans of retreating to the mountains when the shit hits the fan.

Have Proper Clothing and Layer it Appropriately for the Conditions

Dressing appropriately for the mountains is challenging, to say the least, and this is largely due to the highly variable nature of the ambient temperatures and weather.

But so long as you know what you can expect in your chosen mountain range it is possible to pack the appropriate clothing that can serve you for the duration.

On the easier side of the spectrum, you might need to be prepared for warmer seasonal temperatures during the daytime before a plunge into chilly or downright cold nights.

On the more difficult end, you might have to deal with stereotypically bone-chilling and frozen conditions, especially on the taller mountain ranges or during the winter.

This will necessitate proper layering of clothes if you want to survive exposure while still being able to take care of all the survival tasks you’ll have in front of you.

Dressing properly for frigid, mountain conditions is dependent upon smart layering.

Layering is a process by which your clothing is donned in a specific order with each layer accomplishing a specific objective.

Your innermost, base layer should be a thin, lightweight option that will wick perspiration off of your skin rapidly.

Your middle layer should be a fluffy, thicker option that will trap warm air against your body, insulating you from the cold.

The final, outer layer is a wind and weatherproof shell that will keep precipitation from soaking you and the wind from robbing you of your body heat. Appropriate winter-rated headgear, gloves, and boots are a must, too.

The reason why this multi-layer approach is necessary is because surviving a typical, cold mountain climate is about regulating your temperature, not just keeping as warm as possible.

Believe it or not, getting too hot in a cold environment may kill you!

Why? Simply, if you were to get soaked by sweat and then exposed to cold air you will lose body heat geometrically faster than you would be exposed to the same cold air while dry.

Stories abound of mountaineers working too hard while bundled up and soaking their clothes with sweat, then losing body heat so fast as a result that they quickly expire of hypothermia.

For this reason, it is imperative that you be able to remove and then re-don layers as appropriate to your activity level.

You must stay warm enough that you do not freeze but cool enough that you do not start sweating through your clothing.

Does this sound like too much to do? Too difficult or too complicated? Then I suggest you avoid the mountains as a potential survival retreat.

Learn to Read the Terrain Correctly

A skill that is simple in theory but difficult in practice is reading mountainous terrain correctly.

This is one skill set that you must have constantly “on” if you want to survive and thrive in the mountains.

While moving from place to place you must constantly be assessing your path, both for safety and efficiency.

Especially when the going gets steep it is easy to trudge on in a dogged daze only to make a mistake that will see you taking a painful fall, or at best simply following what you thought was a viable path to a dead end.

The result is wasting time and energy when you’re forced to double back and look for a better route.

Reading the terrain correctly extends to more serious endeavors, such as locating your campsite or homestead in a safe place that will provide you the best combination of what protection can be had from wind and weather.

This way you also stay safe out of the path of any potential avalanches, rock falls or mudslides that might occur as a result of precipitation.

You might think it best to locate your home away from home in a valley or saddle where trees grow in abundance and can provide you with plenty of shelter from the wind.

Unfortunately, when snow melts or heavy rain falls from a passing thunderstorm these areas can be scoured clean by flash floods.

The comparatively level base of a steep slope that is packed with firm, crunchy snow seems ideal in colder areas since it affords you a great place to create a snow cave with accompanying windbreaks.

Regrettably, slopes of this nature are highly vulnerable to avalanches especially after recent, heavy snowfall.

You might decide to stay well away from slopes and trees to build on a flat patch that will make your life easier.

By doing this, you’ll get exposed to howling and scouring winds that can damage your tent or other shelters, carry away lighter gear, and turn you into a frozen popsicle if your clothing isn’t up to the task.

The only way to begin to understand correct terrain reading for mountainous environments is to get out there on the mountains and learn as much as you can about your local range.

Your Shelter Creation Skills Must be On Point

Going hand in hand with the previous section, survival in the mountains mandates excellent shelter creation skills. Exposure to the open air means it is only a matter of time until you succumb.

There are several viable methods for creating shelter in mountainous terrain, depending on the climate, but you have to know what you are doing and it is best to be versed in the selection and employment of man-made shelter options as well as improvised constructions.

For any tall, snowy mountains snow caves are, as mentioned, a perennially good option and comparatively easy to create using little more than a shovel.

Anywhere you have deep or tall drifts of snow you can create a snow cave, and though they remain quite cold inside they provide invaluable insulation and protection from wind.

Snow caves work just as well as an emergency shelter as they do as an interim option until you can create more permanent habitation.

Man-made options like appropriately rated tents can definitely work, and their light weight and ease of setup make them the choice of dedicated mountaineers and adventurers alike.

However, you must take care to secure any tent against the high winds and sometimes ferocious precipitation that can accompany life and travel in the mountains.

Having your tent ripped away from you or crushed is going to leave you in a bad way.

Lastly, more temperate mountain environments with plenty of trees and other natural materials lend themselves to the creation of sturdier, more permanent habitation in the form of small cabins, huts, and similar constructions.

Created properly, these shelters provide excellent protection against wind and precipitation, but you must take care that you allow for the safe use of fire inside if you want to stay truly warm.

These skills require a considerable investment of time and energy to develop and employ, but are a must if you want to make a go of it in the mountains with minimal carried resources.

Know the Mountains

Mountains are so often the subject of stories in lore throughout the regions they are found, but they themselves are also repositories of lore that could prove invaluable to your efforts.

The time to start accumulating this lore and local information is right now, as it will be too late once you have to set off.

You should ask local hikers and professionals who go up on the mountain regularly for various purposes about what routes they take, what sites they have seen, and any particular hazards or areas of interest they know about.

Crack open vintage books and newspapers to look for any stories about digs, mines, or camps that may have existed, even entire towns or villages that were boarded up or merely abandoned, left behind. Any of them could help your efforts to survive.

Similarly, get up on the mountain yourself as it is critical that you scout and explore bug-out locations along with all the routes you can take to get to and out of it.

While doing this, be especially alert for any indicators of trails, left by humans or animals.

These may serve to help you get from place to place, locate probable food sources more easily, or warn you of areas where you might not have an expectation of privacy or isolation.

In an environment that is as unforgiving and severe as the mountains there is no piece of information or intel that is beneath notice. Start accumulating this lore and using it to shape your own plans.

Scoped Rifles are a Must for Hunting and Defense

If there is one environment that essentially necessitates the use of a rifle it is the mountains.

With few exceptions and even then usually only in specific areas or sub-regions, mountainous environments equal long-range shots, on quarry or foe alike.

This means defending yourself and your patch or bagging an animal to supplement your larder will necessitate the range, power, and precision that only a rifle can provide.

Considering that your shots are likely to be over a far longer uninterrupted distance then they would be in other environments, a rifle scope is a must both for target identification and precise shot placement.

Rifle selection is also somewhat more critical than in other environments, as any rifle you take into the mountains is likely going to be subjected to more knocks, bumps, and scrapes than elsewhere. Accordingly, durability and longevity are prime considerations.

This is not to say you will not have any use for a pistol or a shotgun in a mountainous environment, but they will in all likelihood be niche or tertiary weapons for any purpose.

A handgun is, as always, the choice for a sidearm or in extremely cramped quarters, but a shotgun is going to be completely outclassed unless you have a dedicated plan for bagging birds or other small quarry utilizing birdshot.

A rifle lacking a scope will not be able to perform to its full capability in a mountainous environment and other firearms will usually fall woefully short of the requirements for typical shots.

Make sure you pick a capable rifle and equip it with an equally capable magnified optic if you plan on surviving in the mountains.

Additional Gear for Surviving in the Mountains

You’ll need plenty of gear for surviving in the mountains, much of it being the standard fare you are used to seeing in bug-out bag packing lists and elsewhere.

However, there are some items that should be considered absolutely mandatory for heading into the mountains for any length of time. Consider the list below for examples:

GPS, knife, map compass, and ruler over a topo map
GPS, knife, map compass, and ruler over a topo map

1. Maps and Compass

Getting lost in mountainous terrain is just as likely, even more likely, than in other places.

You’ll need recent, high-quality maps of the region to help keep you from getting lost, and just as important to help you plot safe and efficient routes of travel through the area.

A good map can easily cut down on wasted energy and time, both in the scouting phase and in the event that you need to make use of your BOL for real.

Naturally, consider a compass a mandatory inclusion also. You might think it would be difficult to get turned around in the mountains, but they only seem distinct when viewed from far away.

When you are actually on the side of them, most will look about the same height with maddeningly similar features.

Basic direction finding is an elementary but important advantage whenever you are living in or traveling through mountainous terrain.

However, you must use an extra degree of caution when employing a compass in the mountains because deposits of magnetic ore could potentially influence the reading and send you in the wrong direction.

emergency radios UV5R, Motorolas, ClipJam, and Tecsun
emergency radios: UV5R, Motorolas, ClipJam, and Tecsun

2. Radios

Reliable, radio communication is essential for maintaining contact with members of your group or family.

Considering that mountains can easily interfere with acoustics, radios are even more important here.

Whether you are using them to keep appraised of someone’s progress, a task that they have undertaken or corresponding with someone on lookout duty radios will be a must.

But the same craggy, tall terrain that interferes with typical acoustics can also interfere with radio signals, and this means that maintaining a workable line of signal is important, as is an understanding of radio theory.

Hauling a base set with you along with an antenna that you can erect might be an essential prep to work toward if you plan on making a go of it in the mountains.

At the minimum, handheld GMRS radios or high-quality walkie-talkies will at least allow you to talk to someone who is far up or down slope from your location so long as they are on the same side of the mountain.

3. Signaling Equipment

Signaling equipment is always vital in a preparatory capacity but it is especially vital in the mountains where long sight lines are more likely than elsewhere.

For emergency signaling or basic communication, there are all sorts of visual and auditory signals that you can employ to help get your point across.

Colored flags, tarps, or even large handkerchiefs are one, and can be used as status indicators or for actual communication with a code like semaphore.

Flares and flare guns are another worthwhile inclusion. Don’t forget you can also signal with your flashlight in dark conditions.

Simple codes of call and response can be worked out ahead of time using light for signaling, or if both parties are fluent in Morse code you can use that.

Auditory signals also have considerable value in the mountains since the acoustics can help you as much as they hurt you.

General distress signals sounded by the blast of a horn or even gunfire can alert distant party members that they are needed back at base post haste.

Don’t be afraid to be creative, just make sure you have a plan and gear in place for signaling.

starting a fire with sticks and cooking oil
starting a fire with sticks and cooking oil

4. Fire Starting Kit

As mentioned above mountains get cold, and they can get cold fast. The risk of exposure is greatly amplified in mountainous terrain and accordingly you must be prepared to create a fire on demand pretty much wherever you might be.

For this reason, an enhanced fire-starting kit is a mandatory inclusion for mountain-specific survival.

You should have no less than three reliable, “high percentage” ways to start a fire along with a good supply of tinder to assist.

using a ferro rod to ignite magnesium shavings block and striker behind the birch bark

As always, lighters and ferro rods are an excellent inclusion, but for mountainous terrain in particular I would also include a binary chemical fire starter that will produce roaring flames even if your hands are already so numb from cold that you lose all dexterity.

In short, you can never be too cautious when it comes to fire-starting equipment in the mountains.

5. Tent

Unless you are heading to a pre-built structure and mountains you can generally be assured that any worthwhile shelter you are going to create will take some time and if my own experience is anything to go by it will be a far more arduous process than you might be anticipating.

For that reason, consider a high-quality climate-rated tent a mandatory inclusion from a life support perspective.

a tree tent
a tree tent

If you run behind, can’t find the materials you need, or are just overtaken by events having a tent that is ready to be set up, easily, will provide you invaluable shelter before things get too bad.

Tents have their own shortcomings as I have mentioned above, but their advantages far outweigh these shortcomings under the circumstances.

However, setting up a tent in seriously rough terrain is a skill unto itself, and you would be well advised to head out and get experience while it is elective instead of mandatory.

6. Sleeping Bag

Like the tent, consider a properly rated sleeping bag a mandatory inclusion for any mountain outing.

If you can do nothing else but crawl inside your tent and then into a warm sleeping bag you will have a major leg up over the outside conditions no matter how chilly they are.

Sleeping bags that are rated for the kind of cold typically encountered in mountainous regions are often expensive and very bulky, but nothing even comes close when you really need to stay warm.

7. Trekking Poles

Trekking poles, walking sticks, and other similar pieces of equipment are chronically underutilized by preppers.

These devices improve your stability, thereby increasing safety, and decreasing the probability of a fall by giving you additional points of contact with the ground while walking, something that is especially important when moving over the shaky or uncertain ground of the type typically encountered in the mountains.

Even a single trekking pole can drastically increase your stability, and with modern versions being so lightweight and so durable there is hardly an excuse to not carry one.

These items can also be repurposed as additional reinforcement for pitching a tent or securing other gear to the ground.

8. Thermos

Considering you are likely to be facing such extreme temperature swings, a thermos can help you make the most of your fuel investment when cooking by keeping hot liquids hot despite frigid outside conditions.

An extra large thermos with a wide mouth is just the ticket for holding hot coffee, tea, hot cocoa, soup, or stew, ensuring that it is ready to consume at a pleasant temperature and warm you up the next time you need a little break or a meal.

12-inch static climbing Kernmantle rope
12 inch static climbing Kernmantle rope. Double braid composite construction. Tough polyester jacket with a nylon core.

9. Climbing Gear

When the time comes to move over the steepest faces on the mountain, climbing gear will be necessary for safety.

Various kinds of rope, crampons, helmets, and other equipment fit into this category but a full discussion of the ins and outs of proper mountaineering via ascending and belaying using ropes is beyond the scope of this article.

For preppers in particular, you might want to avoid mountains and routes so steep they require the use of proper climbing gear, but if for whatever reason your plans include traversing such places you will have to come prepared or face extreme risk of injury or death.

Make sure you know what you are doing ahead of time! Trying to scale a sheer face is no time for I’ll figure it out!


Heading to the mountains in an SHTF survival situation is not just the stuff of fiction and is not a death sentence as some portend but it must be undertaken with the utmost seriousness.

Mountains are majestic but typically deadly environments and many dangers will accompany the awesome views in abundance.

But for the prepper who is determined and properly prepared mountains can afford many advantages, especially in long-term survival situations.

Due diligence is a requirement, but with plenty of investment and an equal measure of grit the mountains may serve as the ideal BOL for you.

survival in the mountains pinterest

The post How To Survive in the Mountains When SHTF appeared first on Survival Sullivan.

This content was originally published here.