Lately, I found myself less and less on social networks, forums…places where people sharing their thoughts and ideas about survival and the situation where we are now.

There are few reasons for that but the two main reasons are:

  1. I have a real life, and it is basically pretty rough because I already lived in a non-functional society before this Corona mayhem. When pandemic started it simply finished and functionality in it. So it is an everyday struggle with real life. Not too much time to sit and write something – sorry.
  2. It is frustrating, very frustrating, to see that most of the things are going in the direction that I’ve described, written, explained years ago, and for years, and I can not do anything other than to write an article here and there.

……

The “camping trip” stage ends there, and the new stage of SHTF starts.

In that new stage of SHTF, the rules are different, because “Jim the neighbor” will conclude too that he probably has only a few days left of food for his kids, so he need to look for other solution of acquiring goods.

The camping trip stage ends when your neighborhood finally understands that this is not a temporary event.  It is not ending in a week or two. Nobody is coming to help. They are on their own to look for resources. And in that game of “looking for resources” new rules usually apply, or more precisely – no rules.

Now, as I said every SHTF has a camping trip stage. Sometimes it is so short that you are not noticing it, and sometimes it can last for months. I think we in many regions in the world, or perhaps worldwide, are very close to the end of the “camping trip” stage. Since it is a worldwide event, and it has been and is increasingly complicated and influenced with many many other factors like political or racial tensions, or very hard immigrant issues, we cannot really predict how far will go that “I’ll look only out for myself” both on a national level and on your local community level. We don’t know how interaction between those two levels will work and what exactly will come from all of that, but we can clearly establish that we are moving to a new phase, beyond the ‘we’ll get through this together‘ stage.

Read the entire article here…

Think he’s probably right. And be careful, VERY CAREFUL, of who you trust. Think you can trust your half-back neighbors? How about those “guys” you trained with, but didn’t really know? How about your liberal brother-in-law?

My advice, and it’s worth exactly what you paid for it, is to trust no one. It’s simply my own philosophy. I wrote previously that eventually you’ll have to trust someone. You might. But not right now. When TSHTF, the only ones you MIGHT be able to trust are those that don’t need anything from you. And STFU about your guns, your preps, your bug-out location. As contrary as it seems, and as difficult as it may be, it probably is time to start becoming just a bit grey.

This content was originally published here.

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by Selco Begovic

Lately, I found myself less and less on social networks, forums…places where people sharing their thoughts and ideas about survival and the situation where we are now.

There are few reasons for that but the two main reasons are:

I am one voice in the chaos of ignorance, corruption, in this spiral of going from a bad situation to a worse one. People still will have an endless discussion about “what caliber is better” or “100 fucking items to have when SHTF”. For those few who will read, listen, and care for what I wrote, and write I WILL, but increasingly it feels everyone is diving into ‘personal fantasy (denial)’ territory and are not so interested to listen anymore.

As usual, the most important things I already wrote, many times, and it is not like rocket science, it is a combination of logic and history lesson, so I’ll again mention something that I wrote about many times.

What do I mean by “Camping Trip?”

“Camping trip” is something that I use for the description of a stage, a specific stage of SHTF. Every SHTF scenario will have a “camping trip” stage. It is usually not even important if we are talking about a local event like a storm for example, or terrorist attack in the city, or a longer and bigger event-like this pandemic. The “camping trip” stage will always be there. Sometimes that stage will be very short and barely recognizable, and sometimes it will be longer.

You know when you go camping with friends, you have tents, a barbecue, a party planned. It may however be cold, damp, it may rain, mosquitoes will bite, it may suck in general, but there is a feeling of friendship and general sharing of food, drinks. There is a feeling of helping each other etc. no matter “how bad the circumstances.”

The analogy of a “camping trip” may not be great, but the point is that it is a situation where you share things, help each other, try to kinda have fun, no matter what. Or maybe not to have fun but to make the “best of it”.

Now, let’s say something bad happens in your city, and you are not aware of exactly what it is, how bad it is, how long it is going to last…you have the urge to help folk in your neighborhood, to “give a hand” those who need it. In short, there will be strong feeling of community. There will be a sense of unity and of “we’ll get through this together”. All that is admirable, BUT humans have a tendency to get tired of things, not only physically tired – more mentally tired, and for us here mental fatigue is more important.

So one day, let’s say a week from that bad event in your city (let’s say dirty bombs activated by terrorists in several cities in your region, including your city, no electric power, no services, no information) you suddenly realize, “I need to watch my food levels in my storage” and that means no more cans sharing with Jim from next house and his kids. That means Jim cannot come anymore in your house because he might see what you have. You’ll have to pay attention to what you say in front of him, so no more hanging out with him and other neighbors in yard and discussing what is going on, etc. etc. You realize the importance of OpSec.

The “camping trip” stage ends there, and the new stage of SHTF starts.

In that new stage of SHTF, the rules are different, because “Jim the neighbor” will conclude too that he probably has only a few days left of food for his kids, so he need to look for other solution of acquiring goods.

The camping trip stage ends when your neighborhood finally understands that this is not a temporary event.  It is not ending in a week or two. Nobody is coming to help. They are on their own to look for resources. And in that game of “looking for resources” new rules usually apply, or more precisely – no rules.

Now, as I said every SHTF has a camping trip stage. Sometimes it is so short that you are not noticing it, and sometimes it can last for months. I think we in many regions in the world, or perhaps worldwide, are very close to the end of the “camping trip” stage. Since it is a worldwide event, and it has been and is increasingly complicated and influenced with many many other factors like political or racial tensions, or very hard immigrant issues, we cannot really predict how far will go that “I’ll look only out for myself” both on a national level and on your local community level. We don’t know how interaction between those two levels will work and what exactly will come from all of that, but we can clearly establish that we are moving to a new phase, beyond the ‘we’ll get through this together‘ stage.

I am not following social media exactly because of that. People are wasting valuable time and energy discussing bullshit things instead of preparing for the end of “camping stage”.

Even those who do recognize bad signs will go into endless discussion about those particular signs instead of using that realization for understanding what’s actually going on.

The Camping Trip is Ending

Sharing and helping and “it will go away soon, we’ll be back to normal soon” thoughts are coming to a close. This is the new normal!

Be ready for the camping trip to end and the real trouble to begin.

About Selco:

Selco survived the Balkan war of the 90s in a city under siege, without electricity, running water, or food distribution. 

In his online works, he gives an inside view of the reality of survival under the harshest conditions. He reviews what works and what doesn’t, tells you the hard lessons he learned, and shares how he prepares today. He never stopped learning about survival and preparedness since the war. Regardless of what happens, chances are you will never experience extreme situations as Selco did. But you have the chance to learn from him and how he faced death for months.

Real survival is not romantic or idealistic. It is brutal, hard and unfair. Let Selco take you into that world.

This content was originally published here.

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.

FORAGERS COOKIE RECIPES

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.

REALLY SIMPLE COOKIES

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.

COOKIES ACCORDING TO MAIN FLAVORING INGREDIENT

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!

GLUTEN FREE RECIPES

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!

candy

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.

Conclusion

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?

Wrong.

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.

If you’re like me, you’ve invested a lot of time and money into having the right supplies, tools, and skills to prepare for and survive when SHTF. But there’s one resource you may not have thought about or adequately trained – a dog.

I’m not talking about the family pet, who barks at passing traffic or a squirrel in the yard. I’m talking about a dog that’s seriously useful in a survival situation – a companion that helps you – not hinders you in a critical time. Let’s call him Gunter.

survival dog

The first thing to do is be emotionally prepared for that dog to get hurt or killed. When SHTF, it will be a dangerous world out there. Gunter will be a working dog and perhaps a weapon and put himself at risk.

To maximize Gunter’s usefulness and minimize his chances of being injured or killed, there are many skills and tasks that he must master. Training is critical, and we’ll show you how to do it.

But don’t be afraid to get help. Just like you’ve taken advantage of experts to train you in other skills, like self-defense or accurately shooting a firearm, I suspect you’ll invest in the right help for training your dog for survival and self-defense.

Keep Your Dog Healthy and Strong

One thing all preppers and survivalists should do is keep healthy, fit, and strong. Because when SHTF, you want to be healthy because the medical system will be gone. You also want to be fit and strong because you’ll be working hard, and you may have to bug out or survive on the run for a while.

It’s no different with your dog. Gunter needs to be healthy and in top condition, as strong and with as much endurance as possible.

Home and Property Protection by Your Dog

You have a fundamental decision to make here, which will impact how Gunter protects your home and property. There are two options – a guard dog or an attack dog.

A guard dog is trained to alert you to the presence of danger or an intruder by barking or growling. Once warned, it’s your job to deal with the threat.

See the video below for the basics of training Gunter to be a guard dog:

However, an attack dog is one often used by law enforcement. They attack on command or otherwise respond aggressively to potential threats.

Here’s a good video on how to train Gunter to be an attack dog:

Which type of dog will Gunter be? If you decide on an attack dog, please seriously consider getting professional help to train him.

The consequences of a poorly trained attack dog are too dire to contemplate. Be a responsible citizen, and make sure your dog only attacks when there is indeed a danger to you or your family.

Probably the best help Gunter can be is in protecting you and your family in the home. When SHTF, you will be working hard to survive. You’ll be exhausted at the end of the day.

You need to have peace of mind while sleeping, and Gunter can give you that by providing any warning of danger. If he’s an attack dog, then he can actively help defend the home against intruders.

If you live on a larger homestead and have livestock, protecting them after SHTF will be more important than ever.

Here’s some guidance on training a dog for livestock protection:

Instead of just dealing with coyotes and the like, Gunter will have to deal with two-legged predators. How he deals with it depends on whether he’s a guard dog or attack dog. Below we discuss the best breeds for livestock protection.

Your Dog Finding You after a Disaster

Your family is your number one priority. So, there’s nothing worse than family separation. You can teach your dog to find you and your family members after a disaster. Whether it be a tornado, hurricane, or human-made catastrophe like an enemy bombing – it’s worth it to train Gunter to do this.

Start by playing hide and seek with your dog. Gunter won’t take long to notice you are missing. He’ll get anxious and start looking for you. Once he begins searching, make a little noise to encourage him. When Gunter finds you, praise him.

After playing hide and seek a few times, don’t make any noise to encourage him. Stay quiet and let Gunter start wondering where you are. He will start looking and soon find you. Again, praise him for a job well done.

Have other family members repeat this with Gunter until he understands what’s expected of him.

Prevent Poisoning

After SHTF, there will be a lot of desperate people around. They will want to steal what you have. To do this, they’ll have to get around Gunter, so they may try to poison him with food.

You can train Gunter to only eat from his food bowl or your hand. It’s a long process of monitoring your dog when food is available and discouraging him from eating food he shouldn’t. Ideally, you could get a neighbor or friend to help by having them offer food and training your dog not to take it.

Multiple Dogs

You should give serious consideration to having more than one dog on the homestead. There are pros and cons to this.

The primary benefit to this is specialization – a guard dog, an attack dog, a hunting dog, a livestock protection dog, etc. Gunter can’t really do it all, and even more relevant is that specific breeds are better at certain tasks than others.

Recommended breeds of guard dogs include Akita, Australian shepherd, Doberman pinscher, German shepherd, and Rottweiler.The best attack dogs are German shepherds, Doberman pinscher, Akita, and Beauceron, among others.

Certain traits mark the preferred livestock protection dogs. These include:

  • Large size and strength.
  • Comfortable being outside most of the time.
  • Peaceful in demeanor, unless provoked.
  • Love of work and need a job to keep occupied.
  • Great smell, sight, and hearing to better notice predators at a distance.

Common breeds for livestock protection dogs:

  • Great Pyrenees
  • Tibetan mastiffs
  • Akbash

There are two types of hunting dogs. Bird dogs, which focus on birds and sometimes other smaller prey like rabbits. They retrieve the shot animal for the hunter.

Scent hounds track prey with their nose or chase it up a tree. In either case, the hunter follows the dog’s calls towards the prey. See below for more information about training them.

Common bird dog breeds include golden retrievers, English springer spaniels, English pointers, English setters, and Irish setters.

Scent hound breeds are often beagles, American foxhounds, or bluetick coonhounds.

Many dog breeds have no prey drive, and therefore aren’t useful for hunting: Maltese, Boxer, Vizsla, and Japanese Chin.

MAKE YOUR OWN DOG FOOD CHART

The most significant liability of having multiple dogs is feeding them. When SHTF, you won’t be able to go to the store and buy a couple of 50-lb bags of kibbles.

Instead, providing them food after SHTF can be a serious challenge. It’s not an insurmountable problem, just one that you need to think about and plan ahead of time.

For example, perhaps you live near a lake or river and have access to fresh fish. This can solve the feed problem. Or maybe you do a lot of butchering livestock, and there’s always plenty of leftovers.

Bugging Out and Survival after SHTF

A dog can be an invaluable asset in a bug-out situation.

Carrying Gear

Teach Gunter how to carry his own bug-out bag. Practice putting it on and having him walk and run around with it on his back. At first, he’ll probably try to shake off the bug-out bag, but with practice, he’ll get used to it.

The more Gunter is used to it being put on him and carrying it around, the smoother bugging out will go. Since he’s in shape, the extra weight shouldn’t much inhibit his speed or endurance.

Hunting

Dogs are an invaluable tool in hunting, as discussed above. They can track prey, and also chase it and trap it in trees. After SHTF, no matter the viability of your homestead, you’ll probably need to supplement your food supply by hunting.

Here some guidance on training your dog to track birds:

Here’s a good video on trapping prey in a tree:

How Dogs Help Your Physical and Mental Health after SHTF

What are we talking about here? Well, an obvious but sometimes overlooked necessity to survive when SHTF is your health. And a companion dog can benefit your health in several ways.

First, dogs are stress soothers. Petting a dog makes you feel good, and it has been shown to lower blood pressure and reduce levels of stress hormones – and there will be plenty of stress post-SHTF.

Second, people with pets are happier and tend to need medical attention for minor problems less often. A good thing when professional medical care is no longer available.

Finally, dogs are suitable for any young ones you may have. Babies in families with dogs generally are not as susceptible to allergies and asthma. Babies a year old or less have fewer colds and ear infections. Again, a great benefit if you’re the only health care provider available.

A Lot to Think About

A dog or dogs on the homestead is a crucial necessity. Don’t overlook this. Think about what needs you have – home and property protection, bug-out assistance, livestock protection, or hunting – a find and get trained the right dog or dogs. When SHTF, you’ll be glad you did.

survival dog training pinterest image

The post How To Train Your Dog for Survival and SHTF appeared first on Survival Sullivan.

This content was originally published here.

This article was originally published by Charl M on www.askaprepper.com

What will you need to know if you want to survive in a post SHTF world?

This article will answer that question by referencing skills that were common amongst our forebears living in the 18th century. But before I give you a list of skills you need to master, I need to talk about the 18th-century survival mindset.

You will often hear someone say that people nowadays are soft. And that we couldn’t survive out in the wild on our own. That may be partially true, in particular, as it refers to mindset.

You probably know more about surviving than you realize, but do you have the right mindset?

The loss of knowledge about how to survive is real. But what I see today is a loss of common sense, a lack of daring, and an absence of initiative.

Home Alone

18th Century people didn’t harbor the expectation that someone else was on their way to save them. They were on their own and understood that they were responsible for their survival.

Common Sense

18th Century people lived by common sense. Any animal can be eaten, including dogs, cats, snakes, and even bugs.

Modern people rarely apply common sense. Believing if they don’t have access to modern solutions, then there is nothing to be done.

Let’s suppose you need to treat a cut but have no antiseptic? What about whiskey, salt, bleach, or even a searing hot piece of wire to sterilize and cauterize the wound?

Lack Of Daring

If you can only do what you have been taught, you will be in for a rough time in a world where you can’t call someone or Google for a solution.

In my mind, lack of daring refers to trying things that no one has taught or shown you. Can you find your way? Can you figure something out? A pioneering spirit is all about finding a way where none currently exists. A willingness to keep failing but also keep trying is required.

Absence Of Initiative

18th Century people knew that no one was coming to save them. They understood that surviving was their responsibility, and as such, didn’t wait around for instructions.

There was no one to tell them what to do. 18th Century people had to seize the initiative and assume responsibility for themselves.

It’s your fault if you freeze to death or have nothing to eat. You need to set the ball in motion.

18th Century Skill Set

Here are a few suggestions on what every prepper should learn or have.

#1. A Practical Walking Staff

You must have a walking staff. The most practical solution is a staff that has a sharp point on one end, and a Y shape on the other. This is the most useful staff possible.

Firstly, both the sharp point and the Y-shaped end can serve as a defensive weapon, protecting against both people and animals.

Animals that have been wounded or trapped can be pinned to the ground with the Y section.

The sharp end can be driven into the ground and used as a tentpole. You can also push it into soft soil and hang a satchel or small bag on the Y section, keeping food or clothes off the ground.

The staff can also be used as a shooting stick while hunting, or rested against a tree and covered with a camo cloth to create a small shelter or hide.

Your walking stick can be used as a flagstaff if you need to signal someone. Another practical use is as a crutch that can support your weight in case of a serious leg injury. A cloth wound around the y-section will enable the stick to be placed under the arm, supporting maximum weight.

The ideal thickness is around 1″ to 1,5″ inches. The ideal height is just below your arm. (If you want to use it as a shooting stick or crutch.) Fire can be used to harden the sharp point.

#2. Estimating The Time Till Sunset

If you are out in the wilderness you need to know how much time you have till it gets dark.

The best technique is to use your hand at arm’s length, palm toward you. Your fingers must be held horizontally. Now measure how many hands/fingers between the horizon and the bottom of the sun.

Every full hand is about one hour, and every finger about 15 minutes. This is only a rough estimate, as the time of year and width of hands differ.

But still, if the sun is two hands and two fingers above the horizon, you have roughly two and a half hours till sunset. I would work for two hours just to be safe.

#3. The Distance You Can Cover In An Hour

On a flat surface, along a reasonably well-maintained path, the average person can walk between 3 and 4 miles per hour.

Forests, mountains, deserts, and even alongside the sea on the beach will be slower going. Thick forest or rocky mountainous terrain can slow you down to between 3/4 to 1 mile per hour.

Use this in conjunction with estimating time till sunset when moving around outside.

#4. Maintain Direction While Walking In A Forest

I write this assuming you have no compass, GPS, or watch and that there is no sun by which you can navigate. Maintaining direction when you can’t see the sun and have no navigation tools is more difficult than most people think.

Some would say it’s impossible. But if you have to try, this is the best advice.

Don’t trust your inner sense of direction. Rather, have a sound strategy based on reason.

Method 1 – Marker To Marker

Try to move from marker to marker. Gauge the direction you want to move in. Look ahead and find a tree, rock, or landmark to focus on. Walk to that tree or landmark.

Then, using your starting position and current position, mentally trace a line and identify a new focus point ahead.

This will be tedious and slow going but will keep you in an approximate straight line. You can use broken branches at your starting point and waypoints to help you maintain a straight line.

Method 2 – Navigate With Moss

Another way of doing this is to use moss to navigate. In the Northern Hemisphere, moss grows on the north side of trees. This can keep you going in the approximate direction that you want to head.

If you want to head east, the main growth of moss on trees must consistently be on your right-hand side, etc.

Method 3 – Use The General Slope

This will work on mountains, and also only if you know the general lay of the land.

If you follow the slope straight up or straight down, you will be walking in more or less in a straight line or general direction.

Walking horizontally along a mountain will take you in the direction that the mountain lies, east-west or north-south, or in whichever direction the range stretches. Don’t try this on a round outcropping, as you will end up where you started.

If you find yourself walking downwards, then level, then later you’re heading upwards, then down again, the chances are good that you are walking in a circle or a curve.

Method 4 – Passing Left Then Right

The last method is speculative at best but may keep you from walking in circles. The theory is that while walking in a forest, there will often be a tree directly in our path.

If you keep on passing to the left of every tree in your path, you will trace a circle. But, if you alternate passing to the left and to the right of trees that lie roughly in your path, you would trace a straighter line than when passing every tree on the same side.

The best is to try and navigate using the sun or moon or large visible beacons.

#5. Sling

This easy to make object can be used quite successfully to propel stones at high velocities, and can be used to hunt birds and small animals.

In the bible, David killed Goliath with the sling he used to drive predators away from his flock of sheep. A sling is easy to make.

You Will Need

A length of rope or twine, even animal hide can be used. A length of between 4 and 6 feet will work best.

You will need a leather patch to put hold the stone. The size of the patch should be about half the size of your palm.

Next Steps

Cut the patch into an oval shape. Then cut two small slits close to the thin/sharp ends of the oval.

Run the rope through the tow slit of the patch, positioning the paths roughly in the middle. You need to tie a loop onto one end of the rope. Make sure that the loop must is large enough to insert your last two fingers through

How To Use

To propel a stone, you insert your two fingers through the loop and place the other end of the rope in the same hand. Now make a fist and hold both ends tight.

Next, enclose the stone within the patch, ( rope on the outside, stone cradled inside) and then slide the patch until it’s in the middle of the rope (The furthest position possible from your hand.)

You can now start swinging the rope in a circular motion above your head. To “Fire”, just open your hand to release the loose end.

Aiming with the sling involves letting go of the rope a few instances before the stone points in the direction you want it to go in. You will need to practice this.

Lastly. You don’t need to twirl the sling tens of times. Keep it in motion while you find the object you want to throw at. Once you have it spotted, speed the sling up vigorously and release it. Two or three spins overhead should do.

Trial And Error

Lastly, it’s never prudent to field test skills for the first time when your life depends on getting it right. Try and put the above into practice whenever the opportunity presents itself.

This content was originally published here.

Most of our readers will definitely fall more on the prepared end of the spectrum than your average citizen. And it is unfortunate, then, that these average citizens that will place such a terrible strain on supply lines when a sudden and unfortunate SHTF situation strikes society. The shelves of every store will be stripped bare of survival necessities in no time flat.

What kind of items will fly off the shelves in a regional or large-scale emergency? The bare minimum essentials needed to support life as most people know it, things like bottled water, food, batteries, ammunition, gasoline, propane, hygiene supplies, soap, toilet paper and baby items.

When the chips are down, these are the immediate “life support” items that people will scour the countryside looking for in the immediate aftermath and onset of a long-term survival situation.

Chances are you already have these items stocked up in abundance. But if you don’t, or you have just been caught flat-footed by an event and need to start your survival cash from scratch right this second, keep reading and we will expand a little more on each of these items.

No Time to Waste

Have you ever rushed to the grocery store ahead of an approaching front of bad weather, something like a major storm front or a blizzard?

You remember how packed the store is with everyone in there trying to get a few last minute items, you know, just in case? Imagine how much worse it will be when something truly terrible is happening.

While it is instinctively understood in a time like that, that the longer people wait, the worse and worse their chances will be of getting the things they will desperately need in order to endure a long haul survival situation.

And don’t get derailed asking what “long haul” truly quantifies; consider that most citizens don’t even have enough survival supplies to last themselves and their families three days! A situation lasting only a week or two will seem like a very, very long time without these supplies.

It is obviously essential that you keep these supplies on hand, but just in case you need to plus-up real quick along with everyone else or start from scratch because of catastrophic loss you had better have your shopping list in mind and be ready to make one heck of a quick pit stop when the balloon goes up.

Time will be short, and the stakes will be high, so get in and get out with the following survival items that will be literally flying off the shelves before your eyes.

10 Survival Items that Will Fly Off the Shelves

1. Water

Water is a crucially important substance for survival, and the only thing you consume more important than it is air!

Many people focus disproportionately on food when they get caught out at the onset of a survival situation, but they rarely stop to think that they can survive for weeks and weeks without food, but only a few days without water.

While it is true that you can get water from all kinds of places, most found water sources require considerable purification before they are safe to drink.

It would not do to drink an unknown, sketchy water source in desperation, only to come down with some life threatening illness because of it.

The topic of water filtration can fill books all on its own but you can get yourself in a much better position by obtaining a hefty supply of pure, clean bottled water.

You should buy whatever you can at the instant if this is a rush trip, but otherwise multi-pack bottles or large multi-gallon containers are probably your best bet for convenience.

Remember that each person needs at least a gallon of water per day for both consumption and general hygiene!

2. Food

Food is definitely a survival essential, even though I just got done saying you can go for weeks without any food and still not starve. That is true, but consider that most people will begin to physically and mentally deteriorate (and deteriorate rapidly) after just a few days without it.

The business of survival will require energy, and the best way to supply your body with energy is by keeping the calories rolling in. It also does wonders for keeping your spirits up!

Chances are your daily menu is going to change somewhat for the duration, and you should not be buying strictly based on preference but buying for longevity.

You want to get food that is completely shelf stable and easy to prepare, preferably items that are in sealed pouches, cans or otherwise packaged in such a way that they require no refrigeration.

Remember, any event that has sent you scrambling to the store is probably going to result in a power outage if it hasn’t already.

Grab yourself some canned meat, soups, vegetables and other staples, and you will be okay for a time. Don’t forget you can raid the camping aisle for dehydrated meals that work great as survival food, and only require some hot water to prepare. The panicked masses might not think to look there at first.

3. Batteries

Batteries are an essential source of power for other survival essentials, most importantly your flashlights and radios. Since the power is most likely going to be out for quite a while, you will be plunged into darkness that is not typically experienced by the average person living in modern suburbia.

Additionally, where other modes of communication will fail, radio is likely to persist and will be one of the most reliable ways to get updates from the government and other relevant agencies concerning the state of things during the disaster.

Take the time to write down or commit to memory what size batteries your devices take and how many. It is generally helpful if you can standardize for one or two sizes, but this might not be possible. Now is also the time to identify what other gadgets require disposable batteries so you can get them all in one go.

Get more than you think you will need, as you’ll be relying on your tools more than you might think at first- even if you are being miserly with the power. Most flashlights, even those with comparatively low output using energy efficient LEDs will still burn through batteries with shocking rapidity.

4. Ammunition

It is a sad commentary on human nature that the predatory elements of our society will often take advantage of disruptions in law enforcement and utilities for their own gain, taking advantage of those who are vulnerable.

Accordingly, you’ll always see major spikes in ammunition sales and consumption ahead of rough times, including natural disasters.

You are wise to have a firearm to protect yourself and your property, most especially when you will not be able to count on the police to effectively suppress crime and be everywhere when called.

They will have bigger problems just like you. But the gun will do you no good without the ammunition so you’ll need to swing by the sporting goods counter or the gun shop on your foray.

Now is not the time to be picky when it comes to load or projectile; take what you can get, and be glad you have it. If it is generally reliable in your firearm we will call that good enough!

5. Gasoline

All of our readers living in hurricane-prone areas will already be well acquainted with the impending scarcity of gasoline every time a hurricane threatens. The same ethic will apply elsewhere when things are bad enough!

While it is true that America has an effectively limitless supply of gasoline when you consider the sheer amount of crude oil we have at our disposal and in reserve, the amount of gasoline available at any one time, or rather accessible at any one time, is indeed limited.

Gasoline is a fuel made viable only when many cogs of industry and commerce work together, both for production and for delivery, and the amount of gasoline that is in your town sitting in those giant tanks beneath every gas station does not add up to as much as you might be thinking.

Those gas stations are entirely dependent on daily or twice-weekly deliveries in order to meet the impossibly thirsty fleet of consumer vehicles that purchase it.

You need to be ready for this eventuality by keeping your vehicles topped up, first, and second by having a spare gas can or two ready to fill up at the first sign of trouble.

That gasoline might be all you can get for the duration, and the added range it provides your vehicle or extra time at furnishes to your generator, might make the difference in whether you survive or not.

6. Propane

This is another entirely mundane, common fuel that will become vanishingly scarce in a surprisingly short period of time when disaster looms.

Propane is most commonly thought of as a fuel for outdoor barbecue grills but it is also used in portable propane heaters, heaters that might keep you and your family warm and toasty when the power runs out, and other supplies of heat are damaged or disrupted thanks to the event.

In many ways and in most places, propane is even scarcer than gasoline for the average consumer. Most folks get their propane from corner gas stations through a tank exchange or purchasing a fresh, full tank for their use.

Propane tank filling stations and services exist in most locales, but they are far from common and are usually located remotely from commonly traveled areas for obvious safety reasons.

Even if you are able to reach one in a short period of time, chances are the people manning the station might have “abandoned ship”.

So long as you aren’t trying to grill indoors, a propane grill is an excellent option and a convenient one when it is time to prepare food, boil water or do anything else that you would normally do on your stove in the middle of a disaster situation. Don’t get caught out, and plan on nabbing at least two tanks of propane.

7. Toilet Paper

Toilet paper is one of those things that you don’t miss until it’s gone, as everyone who lived through 2020 painfully learned.

Any prepper that is worth the name will be able to improvise a solution for wiping their behinds and private parts using any number of things, both man-made and natural, but it will be better if you didn’t have to improvise at all. Trust me, your family will thank you.

The solution is obvious: simply stock up on toilet paper and you need to grab at least a package and preferably two while you are in the store on an emergency errand.

Even if the event you are facing has knocked out sewer service entirely, or even damaged your septic tank, you’ll still be glad to have toilet paper even if you are not flushing when you go.

It is just one of those things that makes life a lot more pleasant, even in the middle of a major emergency. Consider grabbing baby wipes, too, while you are at it.

8. Hygiene Items

Everything you use for your nominal, daily bathroom routine fits in this category. Think deodorant, toothbrush, toothpaste, feminine hygiene items and the like.

Also, if you or anyone in your family requires specialty items, like pads or briefs for incontinence, catheters, denture fixative and so on make sure you get them now.

Quite a few items in this category are actually very difficult to improvise compared to other things on this list, so you definitely don’t want to be caught out with a short supply when trying to survive a major happening!

9. Soap

The value of soap can hardly be overstated. Keeping clean is not just the stuff of social nicety as it is critically important for keeping disease and other maladies at bay.

Not to mention it will do nothing to help your morale or the morale of anyone that has to live with you if you stink to high heaven a few days into the situation.

You can pick any kind of soap you are comfortable with here, and in a pinch any soap will do for getting your body clean. Traditional bar soaps are versatile, and can be broken down into smaller sizes if necessary.

They are not lost if they are dropped or their containers broken compared to liquid soaps and are generally easy to transport, and can make for good trade fodder in a pinch.

But if you prefer liquid soap, especially hand soap in a pump for convenience, you should grab a few bottles. The most important thing is just to have soap on hand for keeping bodies and other surfaces clean!

10. Baby Supplies

For those that have an infant or a toddler a running checklist of what baby care items you have on hand is probably never far from your mind. Indeed it is impossible to plan and prepare too much when it comes to care of the little ones!

Tiny children will be even more vulnerable and dependent during a SHTF situation then they are normally, and that means you had better have plenty of what you need on hand.

You should pick up all the baby supplies you know you will need, and a few that you wouldn’t anticipate needing. Make sure you grab a package of diapers, formula, rash creams, and other over the counter medicines, changing pads, and so forth.

Most stores don’t have an abundance of these items in stock at any one time, and depend on constant resupply so work fast because they will disappear fast.

You should also know that these items are among the most hotly contested and quickly consumed during a purchasing stampede so if you have a little one at home prioritize these items above everything else on your route.

Wrap-Up

There is bound to be a run on the stores whenever a major disaster or other society shaking event occurs.

If you are low on any given item on this list or through negligence or mishap are starting from scratch make sure you get into whatever local store will have these goods and to get them before they disappear. The longer you wait, the worse your chances of procuring what you need.

prepping items disappearing when shtf pinterest

This content was originally published here.

Have you thought about your teeth in your plans for a life that took a turn for the worse? With so many other vital things on your mind, caring for your teeth might not be your priority.

No matter how well-stocked you are on food, water, and other essential supplies, forgetting your tooth care, you forget something significant. Your teeth have the potential to knock you out of commission.

A broken, decayed, or injured tooth can become a constant source of pain. Pain strong enough to keep you from protecting your house or securing extra food. If an infection develops, a problem tooth can lead to your death.

You must take care of your teeth!

So, what will you do when you can’t go to the store and pick up toothpaste? Or order a dozen toothbrushes in bulk, delivered straight to your door? How will you handle toothaches when there are no dentists available?

Prevention of problem is the absolute best course of action for taking care of your teeth when the SHTF. Your goal is to stop dental problems before they start.

Two main problems cause dental problems in the first place: poor hygiene and inadequate nutrition. Let’s talk about what you can do to keep your teeth clean and healthy, even when your main focus is on survival.

Start with a Healthy Mouth

When the SHTF, you want to start with a healthy mouth. That means while you can still access a dentist, get any cavities or troubled teeth taken care of. Ensure everyone in your house stays current on cleanings.

If you can’t afford dental care and don’t have insurance, look for a low-cost clinic in your area. There are several in my location with a sliding scale based on income or that use student dentists. Your visits might take longer with a student doing the work, but it’ll cost less.

In addition to seeing a dentist, keep your mouth clean between visits. Make sure you’re brushing and flossing to help keep those pearly whites ready for a life-changing event.

Dental Hygiene When the SHTF

What’s your current dental hygiene strategy? If you’re like most people, you brush your teeth twice a day and floss once. It’s a common strategy.

Unfortunately, it relies on several commercial products: dental floss, a toothbrush, and toothpaste. It also requires a bit of water each time you brush.

While you should stock up on each of these items, you will eventually run out.

Then what?

Do you throw your dental hygiene practices out the window and hope for the best? Or do you start thinking a little differently about keeping your teeth clean?

It’s time to learn about some alternatives.

Toothbrush Alternatives

Toothbrushes are relatively new on the dental scene, at least in their modern-day form. The nylon bristles were invented in 1938 by Dupont de Nemours. It took a few years to become popular, but versions of this toothbrush have been used ever since.

Before the modern-day toothbrush, how did people care for their teeth?

With chewing sticks, hog-hair toothbrushes, and rags.

When you can no longer pick up a pack of your favorite toothbrush, you will also turn to one of these methods. Here’s a little bit more information about each.

Chewing Sticks

Used as far back as Ancient Egypt, chewing sticks helped keep teeth clean for thousands of years.

A twig from a tree is selected. One end is chewed on until it splits and frays. Now can be used similarly to a toothbrush. The other end remains solid and is used as a toothpick to get small bits of food out from between teeth.

Some trees work better than others for making chewing sticks. Ideally, you want to select yours from a tree with a large amount of tannins. These will help provide some natural antibacterial and astringent properties to your mouth.

Here are ten trees that make great chewing sticks. You could consider planting these trees now in anticipation of needing their twigs in the future.

As a bonus, chewing sticks aren’t the only survival item many of those trees will provide. Select varieties that grow well in your area and that serve a dual-purpose to maximize your survival garden space.

Instead of a chewing stick, you could also chew on a small section of fresh pine needles. That will provide similar results.

If you have some clean rags, you can use those to keep your teeth clean. Wet the rag and use one of the toothpaste alternatives described below. Then rub your teeth carefully, making sure to get all surfaces of each tooth.

When you’re finished, rinse your mouth well.

Ensure you wash these rags out often, especially if you are dealing with any mouth sores or infections. That will help prevent reinfection.

Toothpaste Alternatives

When you run out of toothpaste, there are several other things you can use as toothpaste. Here are some of the most common:

For the powdered alternatives, you can get your toothbrush wet with a little water and then dip it in. Or you can sprinkle a bit on your damp brush. If you share a larger package with other people, the second method is preferred to avoid sharing germs.

With liquid alternatives, you can swish them around in your mouth, skipping the brush entirely. Or you can use a small amount to dampen your brush and then proceed as usual.

Some of these ingredients, such as baking soda, can be a bit abrasive. If you find yourself experiencing undesired results, consider trying a different alternative.

Oil Pulling

Gaining in popularity, oil pulling is another way to keep your mouth clean. Coconut oil is a common oil used. You take a tablespoon of oil and put it in your mouth.

Then, you swish it around vigorously for 10-15 minutes before spitting it out. That helps clean all the spaces in your mouth that can be hard to reach with traditional cleaning methods.

DIY Emergency Dental Care

Keeping your mouth clean is an essential component of oral care, but it isn’t the only one. Accidents happen, teeth decay, and additional dental care becomes necessary.

It’s essential to have a reliable book for dental care you can pull of the shelf when you need it. Here are two you could investigate:

Spend some time now investing in your knowledge of oral care. Watch some YouTube videos of tooth extractions, so you have a basic understanding of how to proceed if the time ever comes.

Learn how to identify a cavity, an abscessed tooth, and other common dental ailments. You don’t want to come across something new when dealing with all the additional stress from an SHTF scenario.

You should also purchase some dental supplies now and add them to your emergency stores. Here are some basics:

Take time now to start building an emergency dental kit. Learn how to use the supplies and keep an eye on expiration dates for medication.

By preparing now, you can save yourself from a potentially deadly tooth infection when you can’t get to a dentist.

If you’re preparing for a dental emergency after the SHTF, what would you add to my list? Please share your ideas in the comments.

This content was originally published here.

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Beans, bullets, and bandages are the prepper mantra. They also represent off-the-shelf solutions to SHTF scenarios. How many of us actually make bullets, or sterilize and package bandages for the dark times. This extends to beans and food. Do you know how to select the best survival seeds to stockpile for SHTF?

By going to the source of food (seeds), you gain the ability to break free from the big box store and produce your own food. The trick is to know which seeds to buy, and then how to grow them. Let’s look at that now!

Seed Types

Not all seeds are created equal. Yes, you put them all in the ground, and, with a bit of luck and a green thumb, they grow. That’s where the similarities end.

In a survival situation, you need to be more selective as the wrong varieties of seeds will only provide you with short-term gains. You need to prepare for the long-term.

There are shortcuts available here. You can get a survival seed vault or other seed kits. But are they really the correct choice for you, your needs, your growing season, and your emergency survival situation? Make the correct choices for your personalized seed kit.

What Is the Difference Between Heirloom vs Non-Hybrid Seeds?

Speaking broadly, there are two types of seeds: hybrid and non-hybrid.

Hybrid seeds are the product of a cross between two parents where the designer pursues a specific goal. This may be fruit size, disease resistance, or yield.

Regardless of the goal, the outcome is a seed that produces the desired trait. This is a forced process and rarely happens naturally.

A side effect of this process is that the line ends with the next generation. Any fruit from the seeds’ offspring will either be sterile or will produce unreliably.

In contrast to hybrid seeds, seed companies produce non-hybrid seeds via open pollination. The plants exchange genetic material naturally. These seeds and their offspring will produce the same fruit year after year.

Preppers always talk about heirloom seeds. Heirloom seeds are a subset of non-hybrid seeds. Heirlooms have proven themselves over the generations. As non-hybrids, their seeds will produce true for generations to come.

Manufacturers label seed packages with their seed type. As heirlooms are currently a rage in the gardening community, any heirloom variety is prominently advertised.

Which Type of Seed Should I Stockpile?

SHTF planning requires recognition of long-term needs. This includes the ability to grow food season after season without a trip to the big box store.

As you develop and stock your survival seed vault, focus on non-hybrids and heirlooms seeds. Through the process of seed saving, you can keep seeds for next year’s season and they will still produce true.

Select the varieties that grow best in your area and stock up. Keep them dry and cool. An ammo can, or a sealed tote stored in the basement is the perfect combination.

The shelf life of most seeds is about 5 years. But it may be longer.

Add new survival seeds every year and keep the older ones. You never know when a seed has a few extra years in them.

Best Survival Seeds for SHTF

Ok. What to stockpile? Let’s look at a few categories of garden produce that will get you through the year. We will focus on early producers, summer staples, and food that can store throughout the winter.

One of the earliest crops to plant and harvest is Spinach. Plant it in the late winter or early spring before the ground has thawed. It’s cold hardy and you’ll have a fresh salad just as you are craving greens after a long winter.

Our first root vegetable is radishes. Radishes are another early harvest vegetable. Most radishes can be harvested within 30 days. You can even do a second batch in the fall. Let a few go to seed for the next season.

The first summer staple and root vegetable is carrots. Plant carrots early and harvest them throughout the summer. If you live in a mild climate, you can overwinter carrots in the ground. Otherwise, keep them in a root cellar once the frost settles in.

Beets are a significant source of carbohydrates. They also bridge harvest seasons. Plant a few to harvest the greens in early summer. Let the rest mature for the summer harvest and winter storage. Store them with other vegetables in your root cellar.

Beans (lots and lots of beans)

Next are beans. Beans are the cornerstone of prepper food storage. Plant them in quantity and variety. Stock up on both bush and pole versions. Grow enough to can and dry. Cook and eat some of the dried beans. Save the rest for next year.

Turnips\Rutabaga

Turnips and rutabagas grow big and in numbers. It doesn’t take a lot of room to grow a few bushels. These hearty root vegetables will overwinter, giving you fresh food throughout the colder seasons.

Purchase a few hybrid potato seeds. Hybrids. Yes, I said hybrids. Potatoes are naturally unreliable from seed. However, if you select the right hybrid, you can get reliable germination and production. After your first batch, switch over to planting last year’s sprouting potatoes.

Sweet Corn

Eat sweet corn right off the cob, can it for later, or let it dry and it will store for decades. Corn fertilizes via the wind, plant more than six rows to ensure complete fertilization. Corn is easy to add to your survival seed collection, and the seeds last forever.

Is there anything better than a vine-ripened tomato? Tomatoes come in countless varieties. Some of the best are heirlooms! Save the earliest and biggest fruit to harvest seeds from for next year. Include several varieties in your survival seed stash.

Zucchini and Summer Squash

When you are on your own, you won’t mind an overabundance of zucchini. Eat these prolific vegetables raw, steamed, or baked. Don’t forget to dehydrate some for use during the winter.

Hearty Squash

Butternut, acorn, winter, and other hearty squash are perfect for winter storage. You will need a lot of room to let them wander. Including squash in your winter cooking is a great way to increase your meal calorie count.  

Nothing makes a meal better than herbs. I can turn plain rice into a gourmet meal with a few fresh herbs. When SHTF limits your food pallet, there is nothing better than a broad selection of herbs to make even boring food wonderful. Dedicate a section of your survival seeds to herbs!

Winter Wheat

Not exactly a food, winter wheat is essential to keeping your garden fit when you can’t run to the store for fertilizer. Plant winter wheat after your harvest and grow it into the early winter. Used as a cover crop, winter wheat prevents erosion, chokes out weeds, and builds soil nutrients when you till it under in the spring.

Perennials to Start Now

Gardening does not need to be all about annual seeds. Annuals must be planted year after year. Each season you must harvest enough seeds to plant for the next year. Break this cycle with a few perennials.

Plant Jerusalem Artichokes, asparagus, rhubarb, and strawberries once then harvest them forever. Perennials require a little planning, as you don’t want to move them, but the payoff is great.

Survival Gardening Tips

The care and maintenance of survival gardens is not an exact science. It’s amazing how many plants are not easy to grow. With a few simple tips, you can hedge your garden in your favor!

I will leave the basic tips to the rest of the internet. The following tips are focused on the specific needs of preppers.

Plant according to your caloric needs. An acre of lettuce may be easy to grow, but will it fill your stomach all year round? The simple answer is no. You must plant a variety of foods that you harvest throughout the summer.

Also, you need foods that can sustain you through the winter. For each season, both growing and yearly, make sure to plant enough so that you meet your family’s calorie needs. This includes both leafy greens and more substantial vegetables like potatoes.

Plan for losses. Disease, insects, and general neglect will all subtract from your garden’s productivity.

You also need to plan for germination rates that are not 100%. As seeds age, your germination rates will decrease. Plan on over planting and thin later. Just don’t plant too much. Wasting seeds is a luxury you can’t afford when the SHTF.

Save your seeds! Start practicing saving seeds now. As with most gardening, it’s a learned skill. There are enormous benefits to saving seeds. By choosing the earliest fruit, biggest fruit, or the ones that weren’t affected by diseases, you quickly develop seed stock that is more to your liking and is adapted to your area.

Soil is the foundation of your garden. You can amend the soil and improve it, but poor soil produces a poor garden.

Assess your soil today. Get it tested at your local cooperative office and adjust it appropriately. Enrich your soil with nutrients and organic matter as necessary. Once you have good soil, maintain it!

Add organic matter every year. This can include compost, mulch (leaves, grass, straw, etc.), even wood chips.

After top-dressing your garden rototill the mulch under.  This helps to aerate and mix the new soil additions.

When growing your own food, every advantage counts. This includes fertilizer. Fertilizers provide plants with the food they need to produce. Some plants like pepper and tomatoes are heavy feeders. They need fertilizer if they are to produce numerous and large fruits.

Commercial fertilizers can be used to great effect, however, for the long-term you need to find alternate sources of garden goodies. Manure is one of the best natural fertilizers that you can add. Chicken, rabbit, horse, and cow manure can all be aged and used to boost your plants.

Second, you can find natural sources of fertilizers, especially nitrogen sources. One is compost tea. Soak your compost in water and use the water to fertilize your garden.

Next, you can use fish to augment your garden’s nutrition. A few fish chopped up and tilled in will feed even the most hungry plants!

One of the key factors to a successful garden is quality soil. It follows that the key to quality soil is compost!

Compost is gardening black gold! Use your yard clippings, leaves, and garden cuttings to build up a quality compost pile. Layers of greens and carbon-rich materials (e.g. wood chips, brown leaves) eventually decay into the richest soil additive you can ask for.

Give your survival seeds the environment they deserve with these organic compost ingredients.

Start a compost pile the moment you clear land for your garden. Add to it throughout the year and use the product of your labor to dress the garden in the spring!

Learn More About Survival Gardening

Food storage is a constant worry of all preppers. We can’t store a lifetime of freeze-dried meals, beans, and rice. We need to have a plan for the future that allows us to be self-sufficient without a trip to the corner grocery store.

Your long-term plan needs to include gardening skills and supplies. Those supplies must include the ultimate self-sufficiency item. Seeds!

With the proper seeds, especially heirloom seeds, you can grow food from now until the next generation takes up the mantle. Look at how you can start with our article on survival gardens.

Take control of your food security and your food future with the best survival seeds to stockpile for SHTF

Bonus: Root Cellar That Can Be Used as a Bunker

Do you remember the old root cellars our great-grandparents used to have? In fact, they probably built it themselves, right in their back yard.

If you want to learn how to build a backyard bunker like your grandparents had, without breaking the bank, then you need Easy Cellar.

Easy Cellar will show you:

Easy Cellar will also reveal how a veteran, with only $421, built a small nuclear bunker in his backyard.

This content was originally published here.