More than three years ago, my husband and I realized that the downturn of our nation’s economy was beyond the normal up and down that we’ve been used to. When we saw hard-working people lose jobs and homes, we realized it was better to be proactive than to sit and wait for the worst to happen to us.
Some of the products that every prepper should own, and that we own and use, are:
- At least two ways to purify water if the power goes out. I use the SteriPENwith batteries and also own the hand-crank version. Another effective method to purify water is calcium hypochlorite. I recommend Cal-Shock 65, and you can download directions for using this here.
- At least two ways to cook food in a power down situation. I’ve used the Sun Oven for years (visit the official website here) and own the Stove-Tec Rocket Stove. The new Eco-Zoom stove is another version of a highly effective, fuel-efficient stove that weighs less than the Stove-Tec. If the prices of energy skyrocket, and it looks as though that may happen in the near future, it will be a blessing to have alternative ways to cook food without cranking up the gas or electric range.
- Basic bulk ingredients with long shelf lives are a must. Wheat, rice, and beans are versatile, when you add a variety of spices, herbs, and other ingredients and will last for decades. There are food shortages around the world, and it’s likely we’ll experience either shortages, much higher prices, or both in the future. If you’re afraid of wheat, and who among us hasn’t been??, read this and this, and if you’re looking for creative recipes using these basic ingredients check out my Macho Mexican Rice and Rice and Beans with a Bam!
- A .22 rifle. This is an inexpensive go-to firearm that is useful for hunting small game and is very budget friendly when it comes to ammunition. Because the ammo is so cheap, a .22 is ideal for learning and developing marksmanship skills. You can always move up to more expensive guns, but the skills you develop with a .22 will easily transfer to larger caliber firearms.
- Customized emergency kits. These kits are sometimes referred to as Bug Out Bags, for getting out of town in a hurry, or 72 Hour Kits, packed with everything you need to survive for 72 hours on your own. However, I recommend a Vehicle Kit, smaller kits for each member of the family, and a larger kit that contains items that will be needed by the whole family, such as extra food, an emergency toilet, and a wind-up radio.
- A high-quality multi-tool and an all-purpose Swiss Army Knife. There’s no need to lug an entire survival kit with you everywhere you go, but these two items are really a must have for your purse, pocket, or glove box. By the way, when it comes to essential tools that may make the difference between survival and not, never go cheap!
- A selection of non-GMO,heirloom seeds suitable for your climate zone. Tough times may include expensive produce that’s difficult to come by. You can grow your own, but there’s a very high learning curve involved. Stock up on seeds for foods you know your family will eat. Heirloom seeds are preferred since they haven’t been genetically modified. Learn how to save seeds from one season to the next.
- Basic camping gear. In the case of an evacuation, take this with you in case hotels are already filled. Additionally, camping skills double as survival skills. Learning how to locate the best camping spot, how to pitch a tent, how to cook over a fire, and how to enjoy nature are important for every member of the family to learn. A good quality tent, sleeping bags, sleeping pads (for us older folks!), and a campstove are good basics to begin with.
- Cash. This isn’t exactly aproduct, but without a supply of cash during an emergency, you and your family could be left high and dry. Set aside some cash each month, in smaller bills, and have it ready to grab if you must ever leave your home in a hurry due to a natural disaster or some other crisis. Figure on having enough to pay for 7 nights at a hotel, 3 or 4 tanks of gas, and enough to pay for a week’s worth of food and other supplies.
- A good survival library. You can download free survival manuals here, but additionally, take a look at Bug Out: The Complete Plan for Escaping a Catastrophic Disaster Before it’s too Late by Scott B. Williams, Survive! Essential Skills and Tactics to Get You Out of Anywhere – Alive by Les Stroud, Crisis Preparedness Handbook by Jack A. Spigarelli, The Backyard Homestead, How to Survive the End of the World as we Know it by James Wesley Rawles, and The Modern Survival Manual by Fernando Aguirre. These are among my personal favorites.
It doesn’t take a ton of money to prepared for an uncertain future, but it does take some forethought, research and a plan.