Physical Preps and Tools
This is the article about “stuff” you can buy.
What we are facing is not going to be short term, and it's not going to affect one small area. The duration is forever. It will affect literally everything, in progressively compounding ways. First we’ll go through ever-increasing, and unending, scarcity and downscaling. People everywhere are going to be disabused of their previous expectations of abundance within a few months. The decline of globalized industrial civilization will lead to a collapse of the global economy. We are at the cusp of rapid and severely disruptive changes. The infrastructure of our civilization will break down, giving rise to a predicament that will swamp the government's ability to manage. It will lead to widespread disorientation, anxiety, and social breakdown. Eventually within your area grocery stores won't exist, hospitals won't be open, firefighters and police won't come to your aid, etc. And this decline will happen far faster than people expect.
There will always be a continuum of best practices that give you a higher probability of survival. As I’ve written about before, the realistic absolute best would probably be some intentional community of highly skilled people on a great amount of land (adjoining a national/state park or BLM land on 3 sides maybe) and having the ability to grow enough food for all of those people year-round, as well as provide your own top-notch security. In such a situation (with a lot more expanding of ideas), you'd probably have the best chance of surviving pretty much anything besides all-out nuclear holocaust. On the other end of the spectrum is someone who lives a normal life and has a few extra things they think could be useful in an emergency situation in the garage or the closet, but who hasn't thought or planned beyond that and has no contingency plans.
I have talked a lot about how survival is primarily not about stuff - not about cool gear you can buy. A reliance on stuff will lull you into a false sense of complacency and get you killed. It is astounding how many people simply buy cool stuff that helps ease their cognitive dissonance. Plus, there are numerous circumstances when you won't be able to get to your 'stuff' that you've so patiently acquired and spent all that money on. Health, knowledge, skillsets, and psychological preparedness are much more fundamental in a collapse scenario than stored stuff.
With that large disclaimer out of the way, having the right tools for the job is far more desirable and efficient. I said in my last post that physical preps like food and water are essential, but woefully inadequate compared to the necessary psychological preparation. That’s the best way to think about it. We know the price of food is going up and about to explode in a few months time, we know shortages are going to occur in unprecedented ways - it is ludicrous to continue acting as if it won’t.
“Get prepared with those physical preps as much as you can while you still can. What good will your money in the market do you when the stock market collapses, the money in your bank account when the banks shut down, the grid goes down, or the prices of goods and services rises so much that your funds become increasingly worthless?”
I’m going to give a rundown of some basics for every main category. I think the best minimum will cost roughly $5,000 at current prices (for one person), though of course you can spend an immense amount more than this. But if you have about 5 grand to set aside, you can sleep a lot more soundly and ease that cognitive dissonance a bit. The level of cognitive dissonance you can regulate with the things previously mentioned (health, knowledge, skillsets, and psychological preparedness) is much greater and more important though. Even the people with a ton of physical preps will eventually run out of it, be separated from it, or have it destroyed.
Water and Sanitation
1) Water and Sanitation
These are going to be your absolute top issues. More than food, more than medical supplies, more than security. If you have all that and don’t have water and sanitation worked out, it won’t matter. For water, you have to be able to store it, collect it, and filter it. For sanitation, you have to be able to stay clean, and dispose of the stuff that isn’t.
First up is water storage. Obviously you can keep a few 24 or 32 packs of bottled water in a cool dry place in your home. If stored properly, these can last for literally years. If it tastes funny just run it through a filter. There are many misconceptions about expiration dates. Do a quick google search. If you’re overly concerned, there are emergency drinking water cans that are made to last 20, even 50, years. For bigger (and cheaper) options, water barrels/drums are easily found used on various sites like marketplace and ebay for anywhere from $15-40 with capacities ranging up to 100 gallons. Watch youtube videos on how to clean them, store them (they must be raised off the ground/cement), seal/unseal them, purify the water for long-term, and suction/siphon/spigot the water out when you need it. I prefer 55-gallon blue plastic water drums for my home situation. Remember that when filled with water these will weigh almost 500 pounds, so they cannot be moved from the location you put them in once they are there.
My area of the US receives some of the most rainfall in the entire country (6 out of the top 8 rainiest cities are on the Gulf Coast). This makes collecting rainwater a no-brainer. This can be done easily with tarps, directed into buckets or barrels. There are many other methods for collecting rainwater as well.
The other item I suggest is a WaterBOB. Holds 100 gallons (though you’ll probably only get 60 in there, depending on the size of your bathtub). There’s an alternative called an AquaPod that is $5 cheaper and has decent reviews, but it is 4 mil thick, whereas the WaterBOB is 10 mil and is easier to use.
For filtration you’re going to need at least two levels: personal and family. My top recommendations in this category I went over in my last post, but I will relist them here:
Personal use: Sawyer Squeeze ($30)
Small Group Use: Katadyn Hiker Pro ($65-90)
Family/Kitchen Use: Lifestraw Mission 5L ($90-100)
Large Group Use: Katadyn Gravity BeFree 10L ($125)
(Be aware that 1 liter of water weighs about 2.2 pounds. So 5 liters weighs 11lbs, 10 weighs 22.)
There are two Sawyer options, and as someone who has used both the Sawyer Mini as well as the slightly bigger Sawyer Squeeze.. get the Squeeze. The Mini takes a good bit longer to push water through, and, even more time-consuming, it requires backflushing after pretty much every use in order for flow rate to remain steady. They filter down to 0.1 micron and get rid of all bacteria, protozoa, E. Coli, giardia, vibrio cholerea, Salmonella typhi, and microplastics.
Second on the list is sanitation. When you can’t flush your toilet and weekly garbage collection has ceased, you are going to have to find alternatives. You can stock up on things like wetwipes and soap and toilet paper and trash bags, but eventually these will run out. You should probably get some extras anyway though.
You can buy bulk toilet paper. 2-ply Scotts 80 rolls is going for $67 as I write this. That’ll last a small family a couple months if you’re super conservative and use a bidet to clean your butt beforehand. After the TP runs out, use a rag that you wash off, or some kind of paper (crumple it up for like 5 minutes to get it softer) that you throw away (and then burn or compost away from your house). You can go crazy with composting toilets and bidets, but a 5-gallon bucket with a pool noodle cut to size and a small travel bidet bottle works too. If you have a kid in diapers, get cloth diapers. Remember, cleaning is going to require water. Baking soda is a cheap cleaner.
Category 1: Water and Sanitation (prices are rounded estimates)
24-pack of water bottles (x10): $40
55-gallon plastic blue water drums (x4): $200
Sawyer Squeeze: $30
Lifestraw Mission 5 liter: $90
Bulk TP (2-ply 80 rolls): $67
2-pack portable travel bidet bottles: $10
Luggable Loo portable toilet bucket: $32 (+bags)
or 5-gallon bucket with pool noodle: $7 (+seat with lid: $17)
Baking soda (12-pack of 1 pound boxes): $12
Total: about $516. Could be lower (5 gal bucket), could be higher (bags, or multiples of items).
You can get really deep into this subject. Canning, storing big quantities in food grade buckets, vacuum sealers, the rabbit hole is deep. Let’s assume you can figure all that out on your own and I'll just focus on long-term food storage that you can buy. If you buy all your food this way, it will cost a large amount - easily $3,000 a person, per year. And that’s not likely stuff you normally eat and it doesn’t include snacks. The point of these packages is decent-tasting food that takes very little time to prepare without electricity and can be stored for a very long time (20+ years). So figure out how to do the previously mentioned things from your local bulk food stores like Costco or Sam’s Club. You’re going to want to supplement those things with long-term emergency food. Either way though, it’s not going to be cheap to purchase large quantities, all at once. But it’s sure going to be a LOT cheaper to do it now, in August of 2022, than it will be to do by the end of this year - or, god forbid, you wait until 2023. Prices are going to absolutely skyrocket and tens of millions around the world will starve. Even in the US we can expect prices on many things to rise way above most of our budgets. Some meat manufacturers in the US are warning to expect $50 for a pound of ground beef, and to expect huge price increases for other types of meat as well. Literally everything is going to go up. If you have some extra funds set aside, there’s no point to waiting till a year from now when prices will be much higher and shortages will be back.
There are a few long-term emergency food companies out there. MyPatriotSupply is the best one for bigger packages (3 months or more) in terms of calories per cost. For instance, MyPatriotSupply’s 3-month supply is $647 currently and 4Patriots is $697. The former is cheaper and has more calories. These companies all sell products other than food as well, and have different smaller food kits.
Remember too that you’re going to have to cook all this stuff without electricity. You need to invest in cooking options now. Camping stoves are great, but they’re getting pricey these days. Coleman gas camping stoves are $35-50. That’s the cheapest I’ve found. They used to be much cheaper ($20-30 just a few months ago). They take propane gas cylinders. Those are about $6-7 each. I see 2-packs at Walmart sometimes for $10. That’s not a lot of gas - you’re going to need a lot of these to last you very long. Alternatives are gas grills that take big propane tanks, or charcoal grills. You’ll still need to stock up on propane or charcoal though, and it gets pricey. There are also solar ovens available (decent ones are about $100, really good ones are about $250). The best plan is to have each of these options as a layered system, and then have a solar oven and a fire pit to cook with when supplies run out.
There’s really no way to calculate cost for this category. Buy what you can. Buy as much as you possibly can, as soon as you can. Costs will go up, then there will be shortages, and then money won’t even matter. Those are the three stages we can expect. How long will it take, and how high will prices go? I don’t know and neither does anyone else. Will they be restocked eventually, at reasonable prices, maybe in a year or two or three after the global economy goes through a collective heart attack? Maybe. But I’d bet against it.
Get training, don’t buy prepackaged kits, and get books. Those are my general recommendations. Basic first aid courses won’t cut it, and neither will those CERT (civilian emergency response training) courses. They’re either too basic or too reliant on supplementary help from government services. Prepacked kits are almost always, outside of very few specific needs, complete crap and should only be used to supplement and create your own. Books like ‘Where There Is No Doctor’ and ‘Where There Is No Dentist’, among many many others, may be invaluable as reference guides.
You’re going to need to build kits for various applications. Small basic kits should go in every GONE Bag (Get Out Now Emergency). These would include gauze and bandaging material, nitrile gloves, a few different types of bandaids, antibiotic ointment, maybe some steri-strips, over-the-counter medications (ibuprofen/acetaminophen), some laxatives and anti-diarrhea meds, and a few benadryl tablets. You need a gunshot/trauma-based kit for your security/defense/firearms setup. It would be very useful to have a larger medic bag for your family that can be easily organized, accessible, and able to be put in the trunk of your car if need be. I also came across this antimicrobial wound care spray for animals (humans are animals) that I think might be useful, along with these infection capsules.
I’ve written about this topic in considerable depth over the years. <Firearms and Defense> <Firearms and our Future> <Tactical Gear Considerations>
For the purposes of this article, I’ll just stick to a few things. If you’ve been keeping up with my blog, you’ll understand that without a way to defend what you have there’s no sense in even stockpiling. Violence will become endemic. In a Severe threat scenario, we will be without rule of law (WROL). Your community will become the local justice system, the local police, and every other job that needs doing. All the systems we rely on today will have to become smaller localized versions, and it’s up to us and our neighbors to do it. We need to be able to protect ourselves, our families, and our community. It won’t be long after a crisis until your neighborhood organizes to protect itself, and all able-bodied people will be called upon to do rotating sentry/guard duties. Eventually you will have to protect your family and your community with lethal force, like it or not.
You will want to arm every competent person with at least a handgun. That may include your kids, if they are old enough and competent enough. You’ll need extra ammunition, magazines, and a holster. This will likely cost about $1,000. Maybe a little less, but that’s a good estimate to wrap your head around. You’ll likely want at least one member of the family to have a battle rifle. This can be whatever your preference is, or whatever you have on hand. It could be an AR (.556 or 7.62) or it could be a hunting rifle (.308, 30-30, 6.5, etc). This will also need ammo, extra magazines, some kind of rig to carry it all, and a sling. There’s roughly another thousand dollars. Then you might also want a .22 for training and for hunting small animals. Everyone loves to spout opinions about types, and I have my preferences, but the real answer is you need to do the research and rent/borrow one at a gun range and get what you feel comfortable with. Find out how to use it - if you don’t have one, make it a priority to get one, but it won’t do you any good if you don’t know how to use it. The quicker things come apart, the quicker defense takes priority. We need to start framing our conversations about firearms with the understanding that in the future these societal structures we've come to rely on will be intermittent at best, and eventually fail completely. If we don't frame it that way, we get lost in divisiveness. The future will not be like the past, so let's stop pretending it will be.
Let’s stop pretending that the future is going to be like the past when we know it won’t. Let’s cut the cognitive dissonance by doing the hard things necessary to thrive. Having the right expectations, the right mindset, and the ability to adapt to a radically different way of life are far more fundamental than having a bunch of ‘stuff’. Not prioritizing these things is putting yourself at a distinct disadvantage, and all the cool guns and gear and stockpiles in the world aren't going to help you for long if you neglect them. If you have the opportunity to do something about the inevitable high price shocks and shortages, then take advantage while you can. Do it now, do it today, don’t wait until it’s too late. Money in the bank, let alone the stock market, is a fool’s game at this point. Put it into tangible assets as much as you can, while still being able to pay your bills.
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The future is going to be far different than the past. The next decade is going to look vastly different than the last decade. This blog is about the transition.
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Physical Preps and Tools
Prepping Priorities - Physical & Psychological
2022 US Threat Assessment Part II
2022 US Threat Assessment Part I
GONE Bag: Get Out Now Emergency
Tactical Gear Considerations
Interview with Derrick Jensen
2020: A Marker For Collapse
Firearms And Our Future
Thermodynamic Failure: Phase 2
Firearms and Defense
Explaining Peak Oil
The Significance of Renewables
What Will The Future Look Like?
What Do The Experts Say?
Hope is Complex and Fragile
Personal Change Does Not Equal Social Change
Why Genesis 1:28 Doesn't Apply
It's Not About Running Out of Oil