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

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

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1. See A Mechanic For Routine Vehicle Maintenance

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

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

2. Withdraw Cash From The Bank

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

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

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

3. Bring Home Contents Of Your Safety Deposit Box

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

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

4. Convert Cash To Metals

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

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

5. Refill Your Prescriptions

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

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

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

6. Visit The Dentist

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

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

7. See Your Eye Doctor

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

8. Back Up Computers And Phones

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

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

9. Document Your Belongings

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

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

10. Plan Your Exit Route

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

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

11. Hone Your Skills

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

12. Keep a Cool Head

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

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

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

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

Beans Then and Now

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

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

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

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

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

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

Prepper and Health Benefits of a Bean-Rich Pantry

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

Prepper Benefits

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

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

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

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

Health Benefits

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Don’ts of Bean Storage

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

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

Insects and Rodents

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Light and Moisture

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Do’s of Bean Storage

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

Proper Packaging

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

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

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

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

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

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

Labeling and Rotation

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

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

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

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

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

Annual Reviews

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

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

The 5-Gallon Bucket and Mylar Bag Packing Method

Time for packing up your beans!

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

5-Gallon Buckets

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mylar Bags

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

O2 Absorbers

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

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

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

Packing Up Your Beans

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Other Storage Methods

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

Original Packaging

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

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

Mason Jars

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

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

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

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

5-Gallon Buckets (No Mylar or O2 Absorbers)

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

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

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

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

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

Where to Buy Beans in Bulk

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

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

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

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

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

What Beans to Buy and Their Uses

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

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

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

Black Beans

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

Black-Eyed Peas

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

Great Northern Beans

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

Cannellini Beans

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

Pinto Beans

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

Lentil Beans

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

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

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

Adzuki Beans

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

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

Fava Beans

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

Kidney Beans

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

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

Lima Beans

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

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

Borlotti Beans

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

Wrapping Up Beans

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

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

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

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

This content was originally published here.

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

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

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

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

Waste disposal can be dangerous

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Waste disposal options

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Using chemical toilets

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cesspools and Septic Tanks for Waste Disposal

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The problem with Sewer Lines

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

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

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

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

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

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

This content was originally published here.

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

What to Do IMMEDIATELY After SHTF

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

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

Stay Calm and Get to Safety 

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

Treat Injuries

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

Communicate with Family and Friends

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

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

Things to Look For

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

Fill Up on Gas

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

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

Other Important Steps to do Early On

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

Determine Whether to Bug-In or Bug-out

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

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

Final Word

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

Copyright Images: Broken and Burnt Buildings AdobeStock_206756123 by Mulderphoto

This content was originally published here.

(Natural News)
Water is essential for survival. People know that truism well enough to keep their storage tanks full. Yet when SHTF, most of these tanks won’t be big enough to last a year’s worth of drinking water. As this prized commodity slowly runs out, the need for a new water source, such as a nearby well or rainwater, will become increasingly clear. Here are some tips on sourcing, transporting and storing water. (h/t to ModernSurvivalBlog.com)

Sourcing and transporting water

You don’t have to worry about sourcing water if you have a well at home. You only need to focus on generating the power to pump water out of it. One way to do that is through solar generators, which you can either buy or make yourself.

Power requirements will depend on how deep your well is and how much electricity the pump needs to operate. If you’re able to keep your pump running, you can have a steady source of water at your disposal.

But if you don’t have a well, your only alternative will be a nearby source of freshwater, such as a community well or a lake. You have to consider the distance between the source of water and your location as you will need to haul the water home. You might need a wagon and a motorized vehicle, so you also need to think about the fuel and potential security concerns.

Rainwater collection is also an option but is subject to prevailing climate conditions. That said, on really good days, you could chance upon a heavy downpour that could tide you over the next several days. You simply have to place barrels beneath roof runoff and let rainwater fill them to the brim. Take note that you will need a massive tank to store all that water.

You could also tap your municipal water system especially if it’s gravity-fed rather than pumped and you live “down” from the source. However, this is an unlikely scenario so you might have to look for other options.

Storage and filtration

You can store water in bulk or in smaller water containers. For the former, a 55-gallon drum or tank is ideal as it can store a lot of water while occupying a relatively small area. The downside is that it weighs over 450 pounds, which means it’s difficult to transport if you need to evacuate.

In contrast, storing water in a large number of smaller water containers is convenient when you’re suddenly forced to leave home. These containers are also inexpensive and easy to rotate, which means you could clean them more often than a tank.

Alternatively, you can store water in a variety of containers to ensure that you have a readily available supply of water in any type of disaster. Keep in mind that each container should be food-grade and has not been used previously to store food. (Related: Survival basics: What is the shelf life of bottled water?)

Before drinking the water, you first need to purify it to get rid of harmful pathogens and substances that may be present in the source. Water purification methods include:

Distillation is the gold standard for water purification but filtration is the best way to go in an emergency situation. The latter forces water into very small filters that are intended to remove parasites and other contaminants. Types of water filters include pumps, straws and ceramic filters.

When SHTF, resources will be scarce as society is on the brink of collapse. While some creature comforts can be readily sacrificed, drinking water will always be non-negotiable. Keep these tips in mind for a steady source of water.

Sources include:

This content was originally published here.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 34 million Americans have diabetes while another 88 million people are at risk of the disease. These numbers can spell trouble in a collapsed society where medical supplies have gone dry.

One of the worst-case scenarios is when a patient has to be amputated due to gangrene, which happens when body tissues die due to a loss of blood supply. High blood sugar can limit blood flow or damage nerves, leading to a loss of sensation in the affected area.

It’s important to avoid diabetes complications as these minimize a patient’s chance of survival. Before SHTF, preparing for a medical emergency is a must. Consider the following safety tips. (h/t to PreppersWill.com)

Wear a medical ID tag

A medical I.D. tag is a small emblem that’s typically attached to or worn as a bracelet to let other people know that you have an existing medical condition. This can be useful in outdoor emergency situations.

In diabetes, for instance, your blood sugar could plummet dramatically in a condition called hypoglycemia. This can happen if you have not eaten enough carbohydrates or have taken too much insulin, a hormone that helps cells absorb and use sugar for energy. You could pass out on the street, feel shaky and dizzy or have a seizure.

There are “medical alert bracelets” being sold in the market. You can procure one, especially if it’s advised by a physician.

Feel out your surroundings

However, take note that an I.D. tag will only work depending on the disaster scenario. In more desperate situations, other people are more likely to ignore you or exploit your condition. Wearing a tag should be worn with caution as it can be perceived as a weakness. Feel out your surroundings so you could evaluate whether a tag is an advantage or not.

Prepare a first-aid plan

If you’re bugging out with a diabetic or you yourself have the condition, preparing a first-aid plan will be important for emergency situations. Keep a blood sugar testing kit and stockpile on medications and emergency foods, such as sugar packets and carb-rich snacks.

When prepping with diabetes, one of the most important things you have to worry about is a hypoglycemic attack. If a person is conscious, give him a glass of fruit juice or something similar. Otherwise, open his mouth and put a teaspoon of sugar under his tongue. Your bug-out companion/s should also be aware of these emergency steps. (Related: 6 Useful medical devices to have when SHTF.)

Plan your diet

A good prepper communicates with his healthcare provider to work out a weekly dietary schedule before SHTF.

Diabetes management and treatment are based on making changes to one’s diet. So you’ll likely be advised to eat less sugar and incorporate more healthful foods, such as leafy greens and beans. Having a diet plan is good not only for your health. It will also help you choose which foods to stockpile.

Shed some pounds

Obesity and being overweight are common risk factors for diabetes. That said, you should monitor your pounds especially if you’re a diabetic or have been identified to be at risk of the disease. On top of a solid diet, regular exercise can help in maintaining a healthy weight.

Pay attention to wound care

Over time, diabetes can slow down wound healing and increase the risk of infection. In worse cases, it can lead to gangrene. Therefore, it’s important to pay attention to wounds no matter their size. Your survival kit should include wound dressings, antiseptics and other medical supplies. Natural wound remedies like sugar can also help, so you can consider stockpiling on those.

Though diabetes might seem like a hindrance in a survival situation, you can manage it by prepping and keeping these safety tips in mind.

This content was originally published here.

Note: This is an abridged version of the original which first appeared on

Humans have been fishing since before the dawn of civilization. And it’s no wonder. Fish are nutritious and, dare I say, delicious. Plus, they’re plentiful, almost all are edible, and you can find them in just about everybody of water coast to coast. 

While you could spend thousands of dollars on top-of-the-line fishing gear, you don’t need any of those bells and whistles. Heck, in dire straights, you can find everything you need right on the forest floor. Or even a city street. 

Plus, fishing is one of the best ways to get protein in a survival situation. And it’s easy and fast if you know what you’re doing. Lucky for you, the basics of survival fishing are simple to learn and you’ve got me here to explain them to you.

Survival Fishing Techniques

When catching fish in survival mode, you need to think a little differently about fishing. Sure, you can fish with a rod and reel, but for the long-term, you’ll want something that doesn’t require so much of your time. Called passive fishing, it involves you setting the stage and coming back to reap the harvest. We’ll discuss these different methods in a moment.

In long-term survival, you also want more than a reliable fishing spot. You want a place where you can collect fish and keep them alive until you want them. Lastly, when you’re in a survival situation, you need to maximize your chance of catching fish. That means implementing more than one strategy and continually monitoring them for success.

Keep those things in mind as we discuss the different ways to catch fish.

SETTING MULTIPLE FISHING LINES

Assuming you don’t have a survival fishing pole, you’ll want to create your own make-shift fishing pole. But don’t make one of them. Make several. Start with a strong stick or willow reed and tie a fishing line to it. Fit the line with a few sinkers and a hook. Bait the hook then drop a line in the water.

If you’d like to go more in-depth with this, take a look at our article on “how to make a fishing rod.”

If you want to increase your chances, don’t drop one line, drop as many as you can. You can push the stick into the ground of the side of the riverbank to hold it in place. If there are low hanging branches over the water, forget the sticks and tie your fishing line to the tree branch. Place as many of these as you can on different branches to improve your odds of catching dinner.

TROTLINE

A trotline is a passive way to catch fish that doesn’t require your undivided attention. You want to find a narrow point in a river or creek that’s shallow, but not too shallow. If there’s cover nearby, even better.

Take a length of paracord and tie it from a tree branch on one side of the water to a tree branch on the opposite bank. This is your control line. Take sections of the fishing line and tie them to the control line.

Make them long enough that they hang a few inches or more into the water. Attach a hook to each of these leader lines and bait it. Tie the lines every foot or so across the control.

Survival fishing trap

GORGE HOOKS

Using a gorge hook isn’t like fishing with a traditional bent hook. Instead, these hooks are straight and about one inch in length. You can make them from just about anything hard, including bones, twigs, and pieces of hard plastic. Sharpen it on both ends and have a notch in the middle where the fishing line secures to the gorge hook.

With a gorge hook, you want to entice the fish to swallow the hook and bait. Instead of jerking the line to set the hook, slowly pull the line so that the gorge hook turns sideways and lodges in the fish’s throat. You then pull the fish toward you and capture it in a net.

CATCHING FISH WITH A NET

Another way to catch fish in a survival situation is with a fishing net. You can make a survival fishing net with green wood found inside sapling trees. You can even improvise with a piece of cloth tied to two sticks.

Wade through the water, slowly and calmly, toward the shore. When you get to shallow water, lift the net to reveal your catch. This also can be an effective way to catch small fish like minnows for bait for large fish.

HAND FISHING

You can even fish when you have absolutely no equipment. Hand fishing, which is also called noodling, graveling, or hogging, is a primitive, backcountry fishing technique.

It involves grabbing the fish directly from its hiding spot with your hand. It’s most often seen when fishing for catfish and suckers, who like to hide in dark places like hollow logs, undercut banks, and holes under rocks.

You start by blocking the hole, then slowly reach inside. Once you touch the fish, slide your hand along its side until you can grab the mouth or gills. Grip tight and pull the fish out. Beware of the catfish’s barbels, which fan out around its mouth. These barbs can sting, causing pain and irritated skin.

PRACTICE SURVIVAL FISHING

The final survival fishing technique is to practice. Then practice some more. You can read blog posts (like this one) and watch YouTube videos, but it doesn’t give you the actual survival skills you need. Only experience does that. So get out there and start looking for good fishing areas. Get a line in the water and catch a few fish.

Because it’s easier to do things when you’re not in a survival scenario. When you’ve eaten more than a few nuts and berries and your seven-year-old isn’t crying because he’s so hungry.

Learn what you can NOW so that if an emergency happens, you can handle it with less stress and worry. Remember, once you know how to fish, you can almost always find food.

Where to fish in a emergency scenario

HOW TO CHOOSE THE RIGHT SPOT FOR CATCHING FISH

The biggest angler secret to finding fish is to think like a fish. And the first thing to know about how fish think is that they like cover. Cover consists of things that cover the water, providing hiding spots.

These can include structures in or out of the water like rocks, trees, brush, logs, and weeds. It also includes manmade structures like docks, drain pipes, and seawalls. Even trash that’s gathered in the water provides cover for fish.

Don’t forget to look for natural underwater covers like undercut river banks, caves carved from rocks, or underwater ledges. Just be careful. You can’t help anyone survive if you break a leg when a shoreline collapses.

Other places to look for fish include:

  • Areas of change. Look for changes in the water, a rise of a lake bottom, or even a drop in water depth.
  • Places where water pools or becomes still. Look behind fallen trees and large rocks.
  • Where waterways meet. Look where small streams flow into rivers or lakes, which often have more oxygen and cooler water.
  • Deep holes. Look for deeper holes in lakes and rivers where fish hide in the darker, deeper water.

Survival Fishing Gear

In a perfect survival situation, you have everything you need in top-quality survival gear. The right pole, the right reel, some comfy shoes, and a tackle box stocked with exactly the right equipment and supplies. While survival situations rarely work out that way, let us pretend for a moment that they do and take the opportunity to discuss what is the best-case scenario in fishing gear for the post SHTF fisherman.

SURVIVAL FISHING POLE

There are a lot of variables in finding the best survival fishing pole, including where you’re located, the types of water available, and even the time of year. But a good survival fishing pole could accommodate almost any fisherman’s needs.

That’s why you should opt for a survival fishing pole that’s compact enough it doesn’t take up too much space, but large enough to handle a good sized fish. Versatility, as well as durability, are also qualities to look for.

SURVIVAL FISHING REEL

When it comes to survival fishing reels, there is just as much variance as with fishing poles. The most important aspects of your survival fishing reel are that it’s compact enough to carry with ease, yet dependable enough that you can rely on it when you need dinner.

Speaking of dependability, you want a reel that works well in YOUR hands. This means you need to fish with it and get the feel of it. Don’t just go out and buy one to stick it in a bag and never use it. Becoming familiar with your survival fishing equipment, and especially your reel, can mean the difference between a full belly and an empty one.

SURVIVAL FISHING HOOKS

Perhaps the most important thing when it comes to survival fishing hooks is that they need to reliably set in a fish’s mouth. If you need dinner and you can’t set the hooks that you haphazardly threw in your survival fishing kit, guess who’s going to bed hungry.

You also want a strong hook that can withstand the tests of repeated fishing. After all, these hooks won’t be easy to replace so you need to make sure they’re as durable as possible. And regardless of what style of survival fishing hook you decide on, purchase several sizes. If it’s a true TEOTWAWKI scenario, you may end up fishing in all sorts of different locations and a variety of species of fish.

To read the full article, go read over at

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By Coty Perry

For Coty, he didn’t love bass fishing at first cast. It took a few (thousand) throws for him to become obsessed with mastering every possible fishing style, technique, and lure. As a third-generation angler, he has a plethora of knowledge and experience on the water and loves sharing what he knows.

The post Survival Fishing: How to Catch Fish When SHTF appeared first on Urbasm.

This content was originally published here.

How To Test Your Bug Out Bag For SHTF

Being an avid prepper, it looks so easy to add tons of survival items in your bug out bag! But, have you ever physically practiced bugging out with that much weight? A very important piece of equipment for any survival situation is having your bug out bag with you. Your bug out bag and the survival items in it are the most important part of your evacuation plan. However, your escape plan would not entirely be complete if it is not tested properly. There is a lot of literature, websites and YouTube videos that will guide and get you prepared to your very best, however nothing compares to actually getting out and testing your bug out gear to ensure yours and its’ capabilities can cope with reality.

The fact is there is no substitute for reality! However, you can test your physical endurance and practice bugging out by doing anything. It could be a hiking trail with a 20-30-pound back pack or canoeing into the park river. Through this, you would be able to plan your trip considering any emergency situation and even ready to handle a difficult situation. So, you should first test your bug out bag on your own.

Testing Your Bug Out Bag Plan

Here are our suggestions that would turn your survival experience into a piece of cake.

Weigh Your Bug Out Gear

A heavy bug out bag is a challenge to carry. You cannot blindly put plenty of survival items in your survival pack, without knowing that is it possible to even carry it for few blocks or few miles.  And, it’s quite possible that you’ll end up discarding some of the stuff or even the whole pack in a survival situation.

So, you need to plan things. It’ll make any difficult or easy situation that much simpler if you are familiar with using your bug out gear and moving around with it. List down necessary essentials and arrange a bug out bag list for your trip. Ensure whether the suitability and reliability of your equipment is appropriate for the wilderness or not. Also, share your trip plans with your team mates and family in order to avoid any mishap and any situation in which they need to find you. Here’s a great to get you started. 

Check the weight of your bug out bag as to whether it will be too heavy or bulky in weight to carry on your back. Avoid duplicating things in your backpack. You can alter the items according to your needs. You can replace the non-essentials with essentials such as if it is summer then you need to add more bottles of water or ways to purify water on the go.

Method Of Navigation

Being prepared for a disaster is a necessity. Every phone has GPS and some kind of built in map tool. Being a prepper, you have to be ready for a worst-case scenario, where your phone might run out of battery and your cell service will no longer be available. Or, in case the weather turns bad and your GPS goes on the fritz. Thus, you should consider making a back-up plan for this purpose.

There are some basic navigation tools, which you can put together to help you to find your way in the wilderness. So, apart from GPS, you need to have a to find your way in the woods. This includes an accurate and durable baseplate compass, topographical map for the area you are traversing, SE navigation cards, and a fine point pen (to make notes). You should use a lanyard to keep your kit around your neck for quick access. You also need to store and protect your map by placing it in a zip-lock bag until you need it. For better protection, use a water-proof document holder.

Escape And Evasion Routes

Next thing that comes after navigation is to plan your escape and evasion routes. Have your routes down and plan your way out already. You should know the alternative bug out routes. If you are in city, and highways are clogged due to some nuclear strike or snowstorm, then you’ll have to walk out of the urban areas.  You need to know the alternative routes if you want to stay off the highways. So, avoid the refugee routes as these are the main highways. Take your route to smaller roads as these will more than likely provide more options. Since people are creatures of habit, they are going to use these main roads that they are used to travelling on a daily basis. Therefore, you must know some of the different roads and routes that you can take and practice them.

Weather

Plan your trip to test your endurance and your bug out bag by increasing the difficulty level. It is better to be prepared for the worst weather condition. A sensible prepper will know what items to pack according to the weather of that particular bug out location. They say that there is no such thing as bad weather, just inappropriate clothing. In winter, the main goal is to stay warm, so locate an area where you’re surrounded by dry, seasoned wood or a natural outcropping of coal.

In case of rain, you still need your bug out bag gear dry. For this purpose, you should have appropriate water-repellent clothing and durable raingear to go in your pack that will keep you warm and dry. Wool is one of the natural materials you’ll want to have for this occasion and definitely on your bug out bag list. You can expect to remain warm even if you get wet due to its insulation property. More so, there are many waterproof technologies that not only keep the water away, but also allow your body to breathe and avoid the water buildup. These Special Ops Soft Shell Jackets from Rothco are perfect and come in a range of styles to suite, so be sure to have a look. 

Survival Camp Security

Make sure that your location is well-hidden and off any of the main paths. You should hike into the woods a descent distance to somewhere that is secure and secluded. You should also make sure to limit the number of infiltration points into your camp. You can also try to create a natural security barrier around your survival camp, such as rock facing to the north and using some densely vegetative areas to remain invisible. Therefore, you want to try to create that natural barrier to reduce the likeliness to be easily approached upon.

You should have a clear exfil plan. Let’s say, if you are compromised by somebody with a weapon. You need to get your loved ones out of that area quickly and safely. Make sure that you have a well-defined and practiced plan to handle such panic situation.

Water is one of your primary resources for obvious reasons. While bugging out, make sure that your camp is going to be near water but not too close to it. You want to be at reasonable distance because of having to transport that water back to your survival camp. So, don’t make it too far, otherwise it will become a pain for you, since it’s something that you are probably going to do everyday. For every ten miles of walking, you should have at least two quarts of water to keep yourself going. Keep yourself hydrated regardless of which season you are bugging out in. Alternatively for on the go hydration, you can’t go wrong with the Lifestraw. Small, compact, cheap and super easy to use. Just add water. 

Bodily Effects

One of the important factors to sustain in a crisis is your physical fitness. You’ll more than likely be carrying your bug out bag every day and will therefore need the stamina to do so. The stamina to sustain the bug out bag and walking the long miles will vary from person to person. If your destination takes more than few miles with a heavy bug out bag, people with less stamina are probably going to get fatigued really quick. Therefore, ask yourself a few questions about your personal decisions before such a disruptive event occurs, such as how far do you reckon you would be able to travel and then how far do I need to travel to get to my secure place.

Don’t risk your life though over testing your bug out bag. Start with a low pace and short miles and then follow an average stride. Pre-decide your mile coverage and never assess distance by the time you took for a walk. By doing this, your legs will not feel much pain. And, you would be able to cover your distance without getting fatigued.

Testing Your Bug Out Bag Conclusion

It is thoroughly recommended to test your bug out bag in the wilderness for at least three days. This way, you would be able to determine which supplies you might need in case of a SHTF situation, or any other disaster. You’ll also get a chance to upgrade and further build up your endurance ability, so you can go miles ahead in the future. You’ll get to know which items you need to ditch from your bug out bag list and which ones you need to have more of. In any case it will surely be great workout and spiritually rejuvenating experience for you. You should try it at least once in a year.

Author Bio:

Kel Warner is the owner and writer of EverydayCarryGear.com. A site designed to inform, direct and introduce like-minded readers about Survival Topics, Bugging Out Preparation and EDC Tools. Kel is a current serving military member of the Australian Defence Force, which has influenced her love for gadgets and tools that any GI-Joe or Jane would have in their kits or carry on their person.

This content was originally published here.

This year we saw a lot of people being forced to evacuate their homes when various natural disasters hit our country.

Without having an escape route planned, some of these people didn’t think they would make it on the road, and even worse, they did not take the whole situation seriously. They decided to hunker down and see how it plays.

As a serious prepper, you shouldn’t count on luck since it plays only a minor role when it comes to surviving a disaster. In these uncertain days, having your bug out bag ready at all times is mandatory, and planning an escape route is critical to your survival.

As a quick example, during the California wildfires in 2017, more than 900,000 people had to evacuate Southern California to escape the deadly fires. Some lost everything, while others were smart enough to think things through before the evacuation order came in.

Regardless if an evacuation order comes or not when a disaster hits close to home, you have to decide if it’s safe for your family to distance yourselves from the affected area. Since certain natural disasters can grow and develop unexpectedly, it’s smart not to gamble with your safety and always be ready to evacuate.

Your vehicle of choice

Your bug-out vehicle of choice should be prepared and ready to take you to safety at any time. Such a vehicle should be kept in good condition and be gassed up every time you have the occasion to do so. You have to consider that not only most gas stations will be closed, but those that will still be open will have limited service, and there will be a lot of competition for the remaining fuel.

As a precaution, most preppers keep a host of minimum needed gear in their car at all times, while some have a corner of their garage designated to store all the items that are needed for bugging out safely.

If you opt for this strategy, you will save yourself a lot of time when the evacuation order comes. You won’t run around your house looking for things to gather and take along. Not to mention that you will assure a certain comfort to your family when you are all away from home, and this alone will boost morale considerably.

Gearing up

Preparing for a certain scenario needs to cover certain basic preparation. The first thing you need to do is consider the environment you’re living in, the time of the year, the type of crisis, and the intended destination.

If you are familiar with my work, you’ve probably learned by now how much I stress to the readers about the need to keep their gear updated. At a minimum, you should have your gear updated for the time of the year and weather.

While it’s important to pack well for an evacuation scenario, you should never overpack. Not everyone out there is a seasoned survivalist, and most folks will pick food and water as their main priority. However, you should also pack clothing and sheltering items that fit your needs based on where you are heading. It makes no sense to use up storage space with extra warm clothes if you are going to a zone with a warm climate.

Always keep your bug out bags in the vicinity of your car. Every family member should have one and if you are unable to use your car for the escape route you’ve planned, consider that the total weight of a survival bag should be distributed according to each body type and physical strength.

Additionally, you should also consider the following necessary items when mapping your escape route and organizing your gear:

Your exit plan

Every city is different, and they have different layouts. While certain cities will have multiple directions to evacuate, others will be limited. When you plan your escape route, it’s mandatory to base it on based on your location, population density, and intended destination. In a few words, this means that you should be familiar with all the main routes and secondary routes of your town.

You should avoid going towards the city center even if that’s the fastest route out of town. Have detailed paper maps of your city and mark both primary and secondary routes of escape on those maps.

I also recommend getting some forest service maps and topographical ones since you need to have a clear picture of all the available roads and paths when planning your escape route.

Since it is advised to follow the guidance and directions of government officials when an evacuation order is given, things may not always be so straightforward. While the officials may be better informed than you, always be prepared to go your own way if you are forced to do so. Be smart and listen to the radio and plan your next move based on the information you gather.

Alternative planning

Every plan you make for an escape route must also include a failure scenario. For example, the plan for the main city highway to be jammed. Plan for secondary roads to be blocked by fallen trees or be washed out by flash floods. Plan for alternate routes that might not be as crowded but would eventually require a long detour; therefore, more gas will be needed.

When you plan for failure, you should also consider the items that will help you overcome certain and perhaps unexpected scenarios. There are a lot of people that hate firearms and see such items as nothing more than death tools. However, in a scenario that requires you to defend yourself and your loved ones, such tools may be exactly what you need.

It is mandatory to think about what you will need when your main plan falls apart due to reasons that are out of your control. This is why, as preppers, we often need a plan B and perhaps a plan C.

You may have the safest BOV money can buy, but what if it breaks down?

Do you have the tools and parts to fix it?

Even more, do you know how to fix it?

If you come to a halt and your bug out vehicle becomes useless, you still have to figure out ways to continue your journey. Maybe you packed a bicycle or two, or perhaps your loved ones are used to carrying their backpacks for long distances since you all love to go camping often.

Regardless of how things will turn out, only you can plan for the proper outcome since you know the alternatives you and yours have. 

Everything we learn during the course of our lives must and should be put to the test. The same goes for emergency preparedness, and there should be no major surprises waiting for you.

Testing your escape route may be as simple as organizing a trip out with the family during a busy time of the year. It can be as simple as driving your intended routes and be observant of what happens along the way. Even better, do it during the rush hours to get a proper feel of the kind of traffic you can expect.

Observe and write down on your maps “sensitive” areas to avoid (busy landmarks, bad neighborhoods) and areas you may have to target in case of unexpected emergencies (hospitals, relatives, friends, etc.). It’s also worth labeling areas that can provide resources in case needed (fuel, food, water, etc.).

The main thing you have to keep in mind is that the same objectives you’ve circled on your map could also be targeted by others, so you need to be prepared to deal with the most unpredictable element of all, human nature.

Other important things you should be noticed on your map when testing the escape routes are the choke points and natural obstacles that you may have to get through (rivers, rough terrain, etc.). These points on your map have the highest “unexpected factor,” and you may have to abandon your vehicle or make a long detour to overcome such obstacles.

Evacuation day

Regardless of how much you planned and prepared for the day when you are forced to evacuate, there’s always that doubt mixed with a multitude of interchanging feelings that will prevent you from taking on the road.

When the evacuation order comes, that feeling that keeps telling you that you may never see your home again is heartbreaking. Leaving everything behind is not easy, and many people just don’t manage to do it. They fail to see that their lives are in danger and that they cannot stop a natural disaster.

You should stay strong and convince your loved ones to get in the car without making a big fuss about it. Keeping everyone calm and constantly reassuring them that things will be alright helps more than you would think.

First, they will be able to follow your direction with a clear head, and second, your neighbors and everyone staying behind won’t know that you are abandoning everything.

As I said earlier, avoid overpacking and making your car look like a survival vehicle from the Mad Max movies since this will only invite looters in after you vacate the premises.

Remember to cut the power and shut down the gas line to avoid further damage in case flooding or landslides occur. Locking all windows and doors should go without saying that it’s basically common sense at this point. All your defense layers should be in place, and you need to double-check them before you go.

When you are on the road, stick to your evacuation route and don’t make unnecessary stops, or take detour routes unless you have to. Stay vigilant for unforeseen dangers since your main goal is to escape the city as quickly as possible.

Planning for an extended stay?

After an evacuation order was issued, people go on the road, and they hope everything will soon turn to normal. However, many people planning for a bug out scenario have a hard time answering the old age question, “how long to stay away?”

In fact, in most cases, this remains a question without an answer, and if you do find an answer for it, it’s always dependent on the main, major factor, safety.

Is it safe to go home?

The event that triggered the evacuation order has come to an end?

If that’s not the case, do you have any good reason to return to, perhaps, a pile of rubble?

You must be prepared for the duration of your absence and fight the impulse to go home early. You took an escape route for good reasons, and there’s no point in going back early and possibly, face additional dangers.

Planning for an escape route becomes mandatory if you know your area is exposed to the dangers of a natural disaster. Every bug-out plan being built is a task of personal nature, and it requires ample knowledge of your whereabouts.

Plan for both the expected and unexpected when building an escape route since only by doing so you will be able to reach safety.

This content was originally published here.

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by Selco Begovic

Timing or the importance of perfect timing in SHTF can be a matter of life and death.

For a starting point, you need to understand something that I mentioned in previous posts. When SHTF occurs, the situation is fluid – it can change quickly, and you need to recognize those changes so you can react in time, and in the proper way.

The real danger is other people

I like to say that when the SHTF most probably your enemy is not going to be some foreign invaders, UN troops, or people that are very different than you.

It’s very possible your enemy will be the people that today live around you.

What will make them your enemy?

Well, a lot of things. The SHTF itself, the lack of resources, hate, polarization, absence of a system, absence of repercussion for their actions…

But always the main reason will be the lack of resources, and it is something I wrote about a lot in my book. That makes every person your possible enemy.

How does the importance of timing come into play here?

Well, it is on you to time your plans and actions based on the situation around you.

Here are a couple of examples:

Answers to those questions are quite different based on the time (or timing) when you are answering them. Simply if there is no system still working, everything falls apart. The timing of your action is important. You must understand what the rules are so you can choose how (or how hard) your response will be.

And do not forget, since it will be fluid the difference can be as little as a half-hour of time. Or even minutes.

A law-abiding citizen

Yes, I know, most probably you are a law-abiding citizen.

But, you cannot be a law abiding citizens in a situation where there is no law at all.

So what are you gonna be?

I am not suggesting anything here, but, again, your actions should be different in normal times and world without law and order. I am talking here not about violence, but about your feelings of who owns what when all falls apart.

If you recognize in time that there is simply no system, and there are things that actually suddenly do not “belong” to anyone, you can make good decisions about acquiring things you need. And trust me if you do not make it then, you will make it later. Only later you are not gonna have so many choices or opportunities.

No, I am not talking about stealing from other folks or looting your local mall during a bad weather event or riot.

I am talking about your acts in the first days of an event that is gonna be complete and prolonged world without a regular system of law and order.
Timing there also means that you need to recognize when some things are more important than others…for example, food is more important than some big-screen TV.

Actions on the ground

Timing also means a lot while certain things are happening when SHTF, especially in the very early stages of SHTF.

The early stage is important, because most of the people in that stage are not sure of:

You, as a survivalist/prepper, should be ahead of those people and you should know, or at least have an educated guess about the 4 questions above so you can time your actions appropriately.

Looting/scavenging

There is nothing too much philosophical here, and here is one example:

Something happens, and people are looting the mall.

What are you going to do?

Well, the most obvious answer is that you’ll stay at home because it is safest.

But let’s say you need medicines, food, or whatever.

Well if it is a real and serious SHTF, I would say you are gonna go there and “loot.” Only it is technically not looting anymore, because there is no law and order. It is not coming back for a long time or ever. So if you are smart, you’ll go there and stock up with important medicines, or food, or lighter fluid or similar stuff.

The timing is perfect because the answers to all of the above questions are “satisfying” for that. And you as a prepper for sure are not gonna loot stereos and TVs.

Most of the other people gonna be stupid and loot that useless stuff, because they completely missed the understanding of what is going on.

The timing here can be tricky too because you need to check if there are other people who understood how serious the situation is (based on the above questions). If they did, then you might lose your life there looking for food or medicines, simply because a lot of other people could be doing the same.

And do not forget, criminal organised groups WILL eventually figure out what is important, so they will eventually come to control that.

So, the timing is important, but again, the timing of your understanding of the term “law-abiding citizen” here is something that you need to figure out first when something serious happens.

You also need to know when to leave.

I have said before if I had realized what was coming when the SHTF for me, I would have left. But I waited too late. I missed my time.

You must be ready to leave everything (physical) in a split second if that means survival and life.

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.

Be ready to alter your plans – do not value your current plan so much that you are ready to die for it. Have an open and flexible mind so you can recognize that moment when your current plan becomes worthless. Do not act like “my plan (bugging out, or bugging in) is so good that I am ready to die for it.

Timing is everything when the SHTF.

A lot of things and actions in the world of survival are simply words. Those words will have different meanings when SHTF, based on the moment in time and based on when you are taking your actions. You as a prepper need to time your actions according to the events around you, and you need to be ready to kinda bend based on the events unfolding.

Have you ever had poor timing?

Have you ever been the victim of bad timing or missed a window of opportunity during an emergency? Share your stories and thoughts in the comments.

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.