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10 Things You Forgot to Prep For


Preppers usually get caught up in the world of food storage, water storage and guns and ammo but if you plan on bugging in or pre-positioning your preps at a retreat location here are ten things you should consider making some room for that you probably overlooked.

Clean Empty Fuel/Water Containers

In the event of a large scale disaster people near urban areas may find themselves a long scepter_can_fig2way from home in a gridlocked street system and all those engines running out of gas as they sit idle. Gas cans or any container that is visible from the road that may be suitable to carry gasoline will get snatched up very quickly making them very difficult to find. If you have prepped gasoline for yourself the benefit of being able to transport fuel will become painfully obvious if you find yourself in a situation where you forgot to stockpile a few. This will also be true for any container that could be used to carry water. The ability to transport water and keep it in a sealed container to protect it from spilling or contamination could mean the difference between life and death. Even if you have a large water storage prepared, be sure to have several transportable water cans that can be securely sealed.

Jerry cans are pretty affordable right now and come in both metal and plastic. They can be stacked, are rugged and provide a convenient solution to an otherwise difficult problem to solve if you didn’t prepare some other method to carry your water and fuel. Containers like these will become very valuable so having a few extra on hand wouldn’t be a bad idea . Just remember that if you are going to use a can of this type for water, be sure that the can is clean and has never been used for anything else.

Hand Tools

48685520_614It is safe to say that in the event of a large scale disaster or a grid down event, electricity for your power tools will be difficult to come by. Even if you are prepared with a large solar array or wind power, the draw that power tools have on a battery system could significantly shorten the life of your battery bank or simply not be enough to run the tool at all. Generators will require precious fuel that will eventually run out or go bad. Practically every power tool as a non-electric predecessor, be familiar with its use and maintenance. Have a set of these tools in good repair with extra blades, oil and sharpening equipment like files, stones and guides so that you can be productive with building and repairing all the inevitable things you would need at your retreat or bugout location.

Nails, screws, bolts, zip ties, wire

Because a bugout location is never complete, you probably have a few ideas of what you would still like to do but haven’t gotten around to it yet because of time, or cost, or you just have other projects that are a priority. With that in mind consider having more than your junk drawer full of various nuts and bolts and odds and ends to survive off of if you find yourself in a situation where going to the hardware store may no longer be an option. Keep some stock of common widely used coated decking screws, bolts and nails. Also look into stocking up in various sizes of zip ties. Highly versatile, having them available when things get tight will make you happy you had the foresight. Lastly spools of wire of various gauges will be handy for fence repair, perimeter alarms, electrical repair, makeshift tie downs, etc.

Wood Glue and other adhesives

Wood glue can be easily found in bulk quantities and is known to be significantly stronger than other kinds of fasteners like nails and screws and when completely dry can be stronger than the wood it is adhered to. New, unopened containers of wood glue can last a long time in a cool, dark and dry location. Other adhesives like epoxy, gorilla glue and the like will be sorely missed when they run out. Stock up on a little extra, and you will be glad you did. Of course you can never stock up on too much duct tape.

Ziploc style bags

I recommend you get the high quality freezer bags of both gallon and quart as a minimum. These will allow you to reuse the bags multiple times as long as you take care and gently wash them. These things are so handy to have around the homestead that I could write a separate post about all the uses they have if you find yourself in an off grid situation or just at a bugout location.


p_1000144867If you have the space for it I highly recommend looking into stocking up on Pex tubing and/or flexible vinyl tubing. It could be anything from rigging up a water catchment system, graywater drainage, gardening… having tubing at the ready can turn a difficult survival situation at a retreat or bugout location into an easy fix. An inexpensive purchase, it is easy to have a lot of this in storage. This is the kind of material that if you don’t have access to it and you need it, you would kick yourself for not spending an extra ten bucks here or there just to have it on hand.

Notebook paper and pencils

For journaling, making notes, communication or just a means to pass the time and distract yourself, having plenty of notebook paper and pencils are a vital and inexpensive prep everyone should have. In this age of texting and email, it is surprising how many households don’t have ANY notebook paper. The few sheets of copy paper in your printer won’t last you very long and the mostly used notebooks in your kids backpack won’t be of much use.

Printed books/pdfs/maps

musthaveprepperbooksShould the power go out, your kindle won’t last long. Be sure to take the time to go over all those pdf documents you have been hording away and actually get them printed out so you have a hard copy that you can reference. Building up a library of useful books will be invaluable if you don’t have committed to memory things like gardening schedules, farmer’s almanac, common medical procedures, lists of edible flora and fauna and how to prepare them, etc. Without the internet or YouTube, if you need instruction on something, the only way to keep it on hand is to have a hard copy.


When asked what they would save from a burning building if they could only save one object after everyone else was safe, the most common answer used to be the photos. Now days the most common answer is the phone. After all that’s where all your photos are anyway… that and the “Cloud.”

stack-of-photosConsider this: People take more photos now than ever before in history since everyone is literally carrying a camera with them everywhere they go. However, practically no one prints them. Instead they live in their iCloud or their Instagram account or their Facebook profile. Imagine if there was an EMP or solar flare or some kind of damage to the physical internet infrastructure… within the blink of an eye all your photos you have taken for the last ten or fifteen years that you never got around to printing are lost forever. Baby’s first steps, all your selfies, the last photos you took of your loved ones before they passed away… all those photos… gone.

Plenty of printing services out there… stop what you are doing right now and go order some prints before they are lost forever. Photos won’t necessarily keep you alive in a survival situation, but they can keep up your morale, remind you of your will to live and keep you going when you want to quit.

Children’s toys, games, puzzles

If you have a kid in your retreat or bugout location, the activity and stress in the air will make things very scary for them. Having something familiar to calm them down and a way to keep them occupied is something many preppers don’t consider and could help significantly in the overall morale and attitude of your family or group. Could also be a welcome distraction for adults too, so be sure to throw in a deck of cards or coloring books or a board game you enjoy. Of course this also means that depending on their age, you may need to introduce your children to games that don’t involve a phone or console. Many kids today are adept at using a mobile device to entertain themselves and have never even touched a board game. If it is a TEOTWAWKI situation, may I recommend packing a game of Trivial Pursuit to enjoy the added irony?

Toilet Paper

When you consider just how quickly you go through toilet paper, how much do you emergency-toilet-paperhave on hand right now? How long will it last you? It is often taken for granted as just a way to clean yourself after using the bathroom… consider the added importance of cleanliness and hygiene in an emergency situation. You might be afraid of roving hordes of starving people knocking down your door in search of food, but you are far more likely to die a much slower, painful and agonizing death because of Cholera, Dysentery, Cyclosporiasis, Campylobacteriosis, or E. coli just to name a few. The humble toilet paper roll along with hand washing supplies and a proper method of disposing of human waste will protect you more than all the ammunition you can carry. You should also research what your plan is once the toilet paper runs out. In the past people would use corn cobs, store catalogs or bits of rag or washable cloth wipes. What are you comfortable with?

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How much land do you need to be self sufficient?

Anyone who has seriously considered the prospect of becoming self sufficient has considered what that might actually look like to live in that way and in most cases, visions of 1800 style living or some version of of a homestead reminiscent of Little House on the Prairie come to mind. But even if this idea didn’t scare you off or perhaps was even attractive to you, you inevitably make your way to the question of “How much land do you actually need to be self sufficient?”

This question which seemingly could have a simple answer expressed as a number of acres per person is actually quite complicated. Rather than dive too deeply and get lost in the details let’s take a moment and truly consider the intent of the question. However, in order to do that you first need to answer a couple of other questions:

  1. What does it mean to you to be self sufficient?
  2. What standard of living are you willing to accept?
  3. How many of you will there be in your group
  4. What locations are you considering?
  5. What is your budget?

Lets take them in order

What does it mean to you to be self sufficient?

For some this means little more than living out in the country or to be off grid and not have any utilities on your property, while on the other end of the spectrum it means that everything that you would need to sustain life needs to be procured from your homestead. This includes food, medicine, tools, clothing… everything.

Regardless of what your dream is, I’m not going to tell you that something is or is not possible. But I will tell you that there is a difference between being self sufficient and self sustainable. If you were to rely ENTIRELY on the land for absolutely everything, lets look at the Canadian homestead act and practices of the individuals of the time period to get an idea: 320 acres was considered to be the optimal number back then. But even they would need to resupply from time to time.

If you are willing to accept that you will need access to a local community for some of your food and supplies than the number of acres required can potentially be quite low, even in the single digits, but this discussion nicely segues into the next question:

What standard of living are you willing to accept?

If wearing homemade clothing and your workday mirroring the rising and setting of the sun is your thing, then understand that you will be very busy and work very hard to survive. However if you enjoy modern conveniences like refrigeration, clothes washers, TV, internet, you will still find yourself very busy but you won’t necessarily be working as hard or as long as someone who has decided to take up a more “unplugged” lifestyle. Again I’m not here to tell you that one is better than the other. Your dreams are yours, but you need to be realistic and comfortable with your answer before you proceed.

How many of you will there be in your group?

Are you considering being self sufficient with just your immediate family or are you part of a larger group like a prepper group or a religious organization? Will you all be able to work and contribute? In theory the more of you there are the easier it is to get the work done necessary to support the larger size, and you will be able to divide the labor and specialize your skills and gain expert level experience which will allow for greater efficiency and produce larger outcomes. Those who can’t work like tChristian Religious Family Group Prays to God Thankful Crop Farmhe elderly and children will be a draw on the group resources so be sure you take those individuals into account when planning. But if it is just you and your spouse and your kids, than all the work will need to be done by you, so you will need to become a Jack-of-all-trades, so to speak. This also means that a small group will have a harder time managing a larger piece of land so bigger isn’t necessarily better.

What locations are you considering?

us_weather_map_from_1872Acreage in the middle of a city versus the northern rocky mountain forests, the arid region of the southwest or the swamps of the south east all have different resources available and dangers to consider. Depending on where you are thinking of setting up your self sufficient property you will need to have an understanding of the resources you need and if the area you are considering has them available. Soil quality, water, growing season duration, number of daylight hours, southern exposure, local laws and ordinances, natural disasters, etc. These are just a few of the things to consider and if your preferred region of the country will be able to support your idea of what it means to be self sufficient.

What is your budget?

For most people this is probably the most important factor. If you are thinking of just turning your backyard into an edible garden or if you are considering the purchase of a few hundred acres, your ability to afford what you need will be a significant factor. But there is a wild card I have yet to discuss that will allow you to take almost any type of property and allow it to suit your needs and that is your willingness to accept the benefits of technology to make up for the discrepancies that the amount of land you can afford can offer and what your actual needs are.

For example, solar and wind power to address your electrical needs. Propane for gas, or if you want to take it a step further you can look into a methane bio digester that will allow you to produce your own cooking gas instead of propane. You can also look into gardening technologies like hydroponics, aqua culture or the marriage of the two called aquaponics which will allow you to produce significantly more food in a much smaller space and usually faster than a traditional garden. If your property has a large enough stream you could build a “tromp” which generates an unlimited supply of pressurized air that you could potentially use with air-powered tools.
439234-0f7ff118-a5d1-11e4-847b-5b9affea118d1So the answer I would give to the main question is if you can buy a piece of land that is large enough to satisfy your other needs like privacy, view, hunting, recreation, the number of people in your group, you could allow the use of technology to allow you to become as self sufficient as you want to be on a property small enough for you to afford and make up for any shortcomings in labor you may have if it is just meant to support just yourself.

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Are you a Doomsday Prepper?

No…and yes.

I get this question all the time. Like many who feel as I do, being prepared is just being a responsible adult. As the head of my household it is my responsibility to maintain the safety and well being of my family. I work to earn an income to pay for things like a nice place to live, food, clothing, vacations, etc. But I also lock my doors because it would be irresponsible otherwise. I don’t let the kids play with knives or matches because that would be irresponsible.

I believe that it is also my responsibility to make sure that my family always has something to eat, and clean water to drink. If government officials decide that they want to cover up and deny that the local water is poison then the responsibility is still on me to provide that clean water. I will not simply lay down and die because when I turn on my faucet poison comes out; I will do what is necessary to ensure that no one in my family goes thirsty. Having a supply of long term water storage is one of the most important things I can do to protect my family.

Luckily, where I live the water is fresh, but who knows what tomorrow will bring. The cost to hold on to and maintain the water storage is so minimal that it truly surprises me that more people don’t do it.

I believe that the same argument can be made for food, fuel, clothing and security. Granted if you were to go out and purchase all these things tomorrow, it would be expensive, but building up slowly over time is a very cost effective way to protect yourself and your family. Most people when they ask you if you are a “Doomsday Prepper” are really asking if you are a hoarder or crazy person that thinks the world is going to end at any moment and they assume that I have a secret bunker and live in a constant state of fear and paranoia. I do not live in fear. In fact quite the opposite. I have prepared my house and my family for every needful thing, and I cannot tell you just how well I sleep at night.

Of course when people talk about “Doomsday” they usually speak of things like EMP, economic collapse, martial law, riots, nuclear war… any scenario where it is the end of civilization as we know it.

Yes, sure… I agree.

These things are possible and some of them maybe even likely. The truth of the matter is that here in the United States we are fairly protected, but in other parts of the world doomsday has already or is currently happening. Governments using weapons on their own people, roving bands of murdering thugs beheading and raping wherever they go, little or no food, water, constantly living in fear, starvation, disease… How naive would I have to be to believe that those things aren’t possible here? They have before. What about a more personal and private doomsday? Losing a job in a down economy, being evicted from your home, becoming injured, your union goes on strike… these are things that are happening now and probably to people you know. I choose to prepare for all manor of doomsday both large and small because anything can happen and because I am a responsible adult.

So if you don’t ‘prep’ am I calling you irresponsible? Well… yes. Just like I would call you irresponsible for not locking your doors, for not feeding your children, for not paying your bills… because I believe that all these things are on the same level. You don’t need to have everything in place right now, you just need to be doing something about it.

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Welcome and thank you

For those of you who followed me over from my other site I would like to thank you for making the journey. I appreciate your sticking with me and showing your support. You are a passionate bunch and without you would not have continued beyond my first couple of posts that were little more than rants.

If you are new to the blog, than I would like to welcome you and also thank you for checking it out.

You will find that this place is a space for me to talk, rant, share and point out things that I see that I wonder if anyone else does. Our society, culture, news and governments are spinning out of control and I sometimes feel as though I am the only one who notices.

I invite you to respond and comment. As long as we can keep ourselves in check and be courteous and respectful even if we disagree things will remain open.

For those of you who don’t know, I am a Christian. I’m not here to preach, that is not what this blog is about, but the subject does come up from time to time and I trust that regardless of what each others faith is we will be courteous and respectful to one another.

Welcome and thank you.

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