Preparedness: How Much is ‘Enough’?

Preparedness: How much is enough

Preparedness for contingencies goes a long way to turning chaos into mere inconveniences. Finding one’s self unprepared when life throws you a curveball sucks. Hopefully, like many TTAG readers, you maintain some level of readiness for emergencies. If so, congrats. The question quickly becomes how much is enough though when it comes to ammo, food and water?

First off, rugged independence made America great. More importantly, by maintaining your own preparedness, you become part of the recovery after an emergency, instead of part of the problem.  The more Americans prepare for emergencies and disasters, the faster the recovery will take place.

Food and water

Why is water storage important? Simply put, dehydration makes a horrific way to die. At the Beslan School Massacre, the Muslim terrorists withheld water from the hostages – children and adults alike. By the second day in the summer heat, people eagerly drank urine from shoes.  By the end of the second day, the first few began to die from dehydration.

Nobody wants that for their family.

Medical issues and death from lack of food do not happen as quickly as dehydration, but nevertheless, energy levels drop without food. Believe it or not, even with a caloric intake of 1100-1600 per day, most people will die in a matter of months. Don’t believe it? Just look at those in concentration camps during World War II.

Those with existing health issues may see those problems made worse from not eating. And while Americans on average have plenty of extra weight with which to exist during lean times, medical professionals seldom recommend the starvation diet.

So, how much food and water should you put away for an emergency?

Two weeks’ worth makes a great start for your personal preparedness. If you have nothing currently, seven days’ worth is a 1000% improvement over your current state of readiness.

You’ve probably heard some say to have a year’s food at home. It’s up to you, but know that today, not even most Mormons have a year’s larder in their homes.

Looking around, it’s easy to see why. In today’s America, a disruption of the food supply lasting more than a few days is virtually non-existent unless you live in sparsely populated, remote regions.

When it comes to clean water, municipal supplies come filtered and treated to our taps. Cities have backup systems in case of malfunctions or power outages. For them, failures come few and far between – and even then typically only require a short boil order of a day or two.

For the average American, a two-week supply of emergency supplies will get them through 99.999+% of anything life will throw at them.

Preparedness: How much is enough?

Alternatively, with no supplies, there’s always government assistance.  Just like at the Superdome in New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina, right?  Failing to prepare translates to preparing to fail.  Those skinny-jeans wearing Obama pajama boys can wear their Che t-shirts and preach social justice at the Superdome next time.

But that’s not enough!
Do you have special needs or want to secure additional peace of mind? Fine. Bump your supplies up to four weeks – or a year. Or ten. It’s your money, time and storage space. I’ve been there. Before Y2K, I had a year’s supply and a whole lot more.  I earned my doctorate in preparedness the hard way.  Afterwards – and to this day – I felt like a fool.

Today, I’m perfectly comfortable with four weeks’ worth of food, water and toilet paper / baby wipes. Are you foolishly planning to come to my house in an emergency because you think I’m stocked? Hah! Bring a tent and some food. You can camp in the nearby park. There’s a porta-potty out there.

What about feeding family or neighbors? If you plan to start feeding others, you’ll never be able to store enough.

Why not more? Residential security.
If riots or civilian breakdown occur following a calamity, how long will your residence remain safe and secure? In most cases, in the near-term, it should remain relatively safe for a few days to a couple of weeks, minimum. You know your neighborhood and what’s beyond it. Gun owners will keep an eye out for their own homes and those of their neighbors in the days following any emergency. Opportunistic looters will avoid gun-toting residents for good reason.

What happens though a couple of weeks after your neighbors run out of food? And their children begin begging mom and dad for something to eat? At this point, things will grow increasingly dicey for you, no matter your level of preparedness.

How so? How’s it going to go when your neighbors smell your grill when they haven’t eaten for a week or two? Ditto for smelling bacon and eggs in the morning. Those Porterhouse steaks and baked potatoes you’ve salted away will taste mighty good to someone else after they shoot you in the back.

Storing enough for you and yours for a year will mean little if desperate people in your neighborhood resort to desperate measures to feed their families – or provide water to them.

“How much ammunition do I need?” It’s a fair question. It depends(TM).

For self-defense? For your Roscoe, buy some reputable hollow-point ammunition made by a leading manufacturer. Avoid the exotics like the plague. At a bare minimum, buy at least fifty rounds to test-fire in your self-defense pistol. Make sure it functions with flawless reliability. If it doesn’t, don’t make excuses for it. Try another brand instead.

The most common causes for modern pistol malfunctions are ammunition- and magazine-related. Once you’ve found hollow-point ammo that works reliably, buy another fifty rounds for self-defense for that pistol. Repeat for each pistol.

Unlike well-maintained guns, magazines do not last forever.  Buy factory replacement magazines and have at least three magazines for your pistol. The aftermarket magazines for most self-defense pistols often lack the reliability of factory mags, regardless of whether they are “guaranteed” to function or not. And if you’re an experienced shooter using a 1911-style pistol for self-defense, you know which mags provide bulletproof reliability.

For your modern sporting rifle – such as America’s favorite, the AR-15, have three milspec 30-round magazines and ammo to fill them (at 28 rounds each), again as a bare minimum.  For those of you who live in New York State with its 7-round limit?  Adjust accordingly.

For you bolt-gun connoisseurs, you can get by with a couple of boxes of rounds, minimum, once you’re sighted properly. Shotguns make great home and yard defense tools against man and beast, provided you’ve got fifteen or twenty rounds of #00 Buck and about as many rifled slugs.

“Hogwash! You need ammo by the case!” Two things: if you’re in a fire fight where you’re cranking off hundreds of rounds of ammo, you’re probably going to catch one coming back at you. Also, have you tried carrying a thousand rounds of 5.56 – or even 9mm lately? If things have devolved to the point you need thousands of rounds of ammo, someone else will appreciate your dedication to supplying them with ammo.

Also worth mentioning: just because a calamity has occurred doesn’t mean you have a green-light to shoot every shady-looking character that crosses your path. The same rule of law applies – and will be applied once the emergency has passed. If your homestead’s got a half-dozen dead folks rotting away on the periphery, you better have a good, legally justifiable reason why they got that way.

Let’s talk drugs. No, not recreational pharmaceuticals but life-sustaining or quality of life drugs. Always – repeat always – keep at least 30 days’ supply of life-sustaining drugs. Blood pressure, heart, insulin, anti-crazy pills, etc.

You might have to pay for that extra month supply, but get it and keep it fresh. is a proven, reputable online pharmacy for non-narcotic prescription meds at affordable prices if you’re in the self-pay category.


Keep your gas tank at least half full to avoid this mess.

Keep your flippin’ gas tank at least half full.  In an attached garage, you’re limited by fire codes to ten gallons of gasoline in cans. Storing gasoline and propane outdoors is far safer than storing even a single can or bottle of gas in your home. Solution: buy a patio box and put it outdoors if you don’t already have a shed. Keep your gas can(s) full and treated. Get yourself a 5# or 10# fire extinguisher or two as well.

Have a generator? Great! Store another ten to twenty gallons of gasoline (in an outside structure or patio box) and that should carry you through a couple of weeks of keeping the sump pit emptied and the refrigerator and freezer cold. Rotate the fuel each year in the winter months and stabilize the gas with Sta-Bil, PRI-G, or Star-Tron. Store it tightly sealed. Run the generator during the day and chain it up so it doesn’t grow legs and run away.

Preparedness: How much is enough?

No matter how much you practice preparedness, you will need something in an emergency.  Well, barter(!) for it.

The first rule of zombies is cardio.


The first rule of barter is never trade away anything that can be used against you. You don’t buy stuff with ammo – not even .22s. You never trade away a gun.

Top three things to store for barter: fuel, alcohol and sugar. Everyone will need fuel: treated gasoline, diesel, kerosene, etc.

In tough times, a person can trade grain alcohol for anything, including fuel. With about one in eight Americans showing signs of alcoholism today, booze will get you about anything you need. And with sugar, you can make alcohol.

So, consider storing a few bottles of vodka and Jack Daniels. Both will store for decades and cheap vodka sells for under $6 per bottle most places. Drinkable stuff goes for twice that.

The second rule about bartering: don’t give the impression to others that you have significant quantities of sought-after items. Doing so my attract people more interested in taking than trading.

In closing…
Yes, certain events can imperil civilization as a whole. However, if you’re playing the odds, you can handle anything life will throw at your with relatively minimal forethought and couple weeks’ worth of preparedness.

After all, that survival mindset is the most important survival tool each of us owns.


  1. avatar Ed Rogers says:

    We’re “moderately” prepared. I really need to up our water storage and replace what we already have (it’s about 5 years old).

    1. avatar General Mills says:

      Here’s a breakdown of one philosophy on how much ammo is enough.

    2. avatar ready,fire,aim says:

      get yourself a british berkfeld unit (ceramic filters) you can run swap water thru it and still drink it with confidence…

    3. avatar Gunflint01 says:

      It sounds to me you’re like most savvy American Citizens . I always tell my friends have a minimum of two to three weeks of food/ water/other needs ….Mainly, have a plan set in place for an extended problem. All of us would like three months supplies, but many it’s not feasible. They should still have a plan in place, just in case.

  2. avatar JDC says:

    I think this strikes a happy medium. I think the most likely scenario is a two-four week period(like Katrina or an earthquake). If it is longer, all bets are off anyway.

    1. avatar Art out West says:

      Check out Selco for a description of surviving SHTF in 1990s Yugoslavia. It ain’t pretty, but is fairly realistic of things getting really bad.

      Also look up Ferfal in Argentina for description of economic hard times.

      By the way, cash in the bank is often handy for job losses, medical bills, and hard times in general.

  3. avatar Darkman says:

    Such a foolish question. More than the enemy and since you don’t know how much it has. You can never have enough.

  4. avatar CTstooge says:

    Wow I got too much ammo. Oh well 😬

    1. avatar AFGus says:

      There is no such thing as “too much
      ammo”. 😉

    2. avatar Geoff PR says:

      “Wow I got too much ammo.”

      Well, as our own Ralph, ‘The Master of Wisecracks’, once said:

      “Where do you live, and when will you *not* be home?”

      1. avatar PDW says:

        19,500 rounds of green tip.
        Four AR’s chambered in 5.56mm.

        One scoped AR chambered in .308, 500 rounds of precision ammo.

        Two AK’S, around 8,000 rounds at last count.

        Impossible to carry but great for static defense.

  5. avatar Chris T in KY says:

    You forgot solar panels. When the SHTF, are you sure you will have electricity???
    I ran my generator for 3 weeks after hurricane Isabel hit Virginia in 2003.

    1. avatar Chris T in KY says:

      I was lucky. I could get gas waiting in line for almost 4 hours. Most people didn’t power in Tide water. Gas stations with power soon ran out of gasoline.

      1. avatar Lance F says:

        Panels are silent and don’t alert everyone within hearing range that you have something they want.

        1. avatar Joe R. says:

          Or, you could use a generator like a predator call, and stretch their pelts on the side of your barn.

  6. avatar former water walker says:

    Okay…I’m a member of a few prepper groups. By far #1 is be armed. Barter is fine but armed guys will take what they want in a true SHTF end of the world senario. My family and friends come 1st too. Lock ‘n load…

    1. avatar Garrison Hall says:

      2000 rounds per weapon, split between .380, 9mm., and 7.62×39. Most of it discretely and very well hidden. I don’t agree that ammo should not be bartered. In a crisis ammo will quickly become the preferred, and perhaps the only, high value item of barter (some people predict .22 rounds will become a universal currency, but I think any commonly used ammo will suffice). If you really, really need something like that C10 pickup with totally analog electrics when the SHTF time arrives ammo may be the one thing that buys your way out.

    2. avatar Lost Down South says:

      I’m all over prepping…but we’re not full-bore preppers. My real concern is 2 week disruption in services. We have food and fuel enough for that but, as i have had so many discussions with folks on this very thing:

      “How’s it going to go when your neighbors smell your grill when they haven’t eaten for a week or two? Ditto for smelling bacon and eggs in the morning.”

      The moment you start up the generator, or have ANY cooking smells, you are toast. Unless you live in a fort, have no glass in your first level of the house, plus a rotating 24hr watch, you will lose. Overwhelming numbers will win.

      I’m no quitter, and I would like to live a little longer, but the quality of life thing pops up right away. I’ve seen enough while in the service that if there is a mob heading your way, and the future looks like a bad zombie movie, you need to decide and be prepared for how you want to shuffle off this moral coil.

      I realize that’s easy to say now, sitting at a keyboard. But the times I’ve had incoming flying overhead, i have known that eventually i would be back home. Loving family, good food, hot showers, comfy bed with my wife’s head on my shoulder.

      1. avatar PDW says:

        Well, after two weeks or more, the fact that you’re still alive and healthy looking while everyone else is starving will be evidence that you have food… It wouldn’t be hard for others to figure that out, cooking smells or not.

        1. avatar Big Bill says:

          Carefully pick some friends you really trust. Talk this over before hand. Have a plan. Several people in one house makes survival easier than those same people in several houses.
          This requires careful planning, and the ability to gather in case the bad happens.

  7. avatar Michael Bane says:

    RE: Ammo…more…

    Michael B

  8. avatar BLoving says:

    We here on the Gulf Coast routinely deal with real SHTF scenarios: we call them “hurricanes”.
    Water, fuel, candles, non-perishable food, ammo, it’s all important – something I discovered was a barter-able commodity in the week before the lights came back on after Ike – ICE. Yes, ice. My office has an ice maker out in the warehouse and the power there is on the same switches as the hospital across the way so it was up and running the following morning. For the whole week I made daily trips home from work hauling as much ice as I could to distribute to neighbors. I had all the free beer I needed given in gratitude. Which brings up the next important thing to have in a real emergency: Friends. It is said that nothing brings out the best in people like a disaster and I believe it. Your neighbors and friends will have your back and you should have theirs – keep an eye on each others house when they leave for supplies, watch for looters, share food with the ones who don’t know how to light a camp stove… hell, my favorite memory from Rita (right after Katrina) was promising my neighbors that there would be fresh pancakes and coffee for breakfast the next morning for anyone getting an early start on the cleaning-up and I delivered on it. Folks remember things like that.

    1. avatar TX_Lawyer says:

      I’ve always found the number one thing to you need to be prepared for a hurricane is a ride out of town.

      Sure, sometimes you have to go back before the electricity comes back on. (When I was in law school, I had to be back for school about two weeks before some people had electricity. My building never lost it). If you’re out of town about to go back, chances are the town your in doesn’t have empty shelves.

      1. avatar Geoff PR says:

        “I’ve always found the number one thing to you need to be prepared for a hurricane is a ride out of town.”

        Hell, yeah.

        Vehicles may be nice, but for unparalleled mobility on or off the beaten path with no fuel required, a mountain bike is a solid choice. Get puncture-proof tires for it and have a frame mounted air pump on it. They make foldup versions you can stash in the trunk of your car or at work if you find yourself away from home when crisis hits.

        An under-appreciated advantage of pedal transport is *stealth*, nearly silent operation…

    2. avatar Phil LA says:

      Ike was my introduction to prepping. I didn’t have anything before that storm. Never again.

  9. avatar Down With Yoga Pants says:

    Prepping? Who the frig wants to talk about prepping with all those dangerous Sig P320s out there???

    My scenario is live outside the walking distance of the zombies, 6 months of food, water purification with several nearby sources and a couple generators with 20 gallons of gas. And guns. And ammo.

    A couple of weeks without electricity post-hurricane is a lot more likely than all the societal collapse nonsense.

  10. avatar strych9 says:

    The real question is what you’re preparing for.

    Riots, Katrina type weather events etc we can go though legitimate questions here, as this article has done.

    OTOH, for a true SHTF TEOTWAWKI situation? Well, generally you’re screwed because you simply can’t store enough stuff for when Mad Max or The Book of Eli are no longer fiction. At that point you basically have one option: become a marauder and prey on other marauders. Those living on a ranch or farm may hold out longer but eventually the horde will get to you.

    The notion that country living will protect you forever is a joke unless you’re way, way out in some place like Montana, Idaho or Wyoming. Most people have access to a motor vehicle. As such they have a motorized range of probably at least 500 miles from a decent sized town/city and there are not very many places more than 500 miles from such a town/city.

    1. avatar Joseph Quixote says:

      Believe me, the people in the “wastelands” of Wyoming and even sections of Colorado will take on the hordes and then some. I guarantee more than a couple of ranches and farms will be ok. Some of the people out there can live just as fine without electricity as with it. They also have friends, food, know how, and they damn well know how to shoot.

      1. avatar strych9 says:

        Pure fantasy. The Denver Metro is 2.85 million people. Then there’s Boulder with another 108K.

        2.85 million hungry people with a range of 500 miles will overwhelm everything within that range. It’s that simple.

        1. avatar Joseph Quixote says:

          Right because all 2.85 million are going to be working together to pillage their neighbors. They will be going after each other. It would be horrible. Any survivors of the madness and a catastrophic event walking even 100 miles from Denver will find the pickings slim and the lead hot.

        2. avatar jwm says:

          Joseph. Human history says you are wrong. Starving people will band together and your isolated community/farm will be overwhelmed. Cannibilism will keep them going until they chew on your ass.

          The millions of starving city folk will flow like locusts over the land. They will die in droves, be eaten by the tougher ones and then the tougher ones will eat you.

          Pray for nothing bigger than Katrina.

        3. avatar Joseph Quixote says:

          “Human history” points to the strong taking from the weak. Do you think numbers equal strength? Sometimes yes, but often not. Why don’t you tell that to the Mongals vs the Chinese? How about every Mesopotamian rural invader that ruined the Tigris and Euphrates cities despite being outnumbered 10-1. I am sorry but people who can’t function without a Starbucks within a half mile are pretty far removed from the men of Antietam. The humongous from the road warrior they are not.

        4. avatar Geoff PR says:

          ““Human history” points to the strong taking from the weak. Do you think numbers equal strength?”

          The starving have literally *nothing* to lose, and are *highly* motivated, especially if their kids are hungry…

        5. avatar strych9 says:

          Ignoring the historical and other aspects let’s consider the ultra basics.

          Assume a fatality rate of 60% before the “wave” hits rural area X. That still leaves 1.18 million starving and desperate folks out there. Realistically from Denver they’ve got about five major directions to go. North, South, East, West and North East. Evenly divided that’s 236,600 or so people in each direction/ highway (highways 25,70, 76).

          So imagine half of the survivors make it to, say, Fort Morgan (population 11,348). 118,300 or so starving and desperate people show up. That means that in an absolute best case scenario each person in Ft. Morgan has to kill 10.42 Denverites before being taken out to avoid the city being overwhelmed. Even if it’s just a horde that isn’t working together that’s statistically impossible. Especially since it would involve children and the elderly each killing 10 people as well.

          Not going to happen. Sorry, this is fantasy land.

        6. avatar Chier says:

          Look at post-Katrina, most city folks quickly collapse into a useless hungry inert herd. Without the government bringing them food and water, 99% would have been dead in two weeks.

        7. avatar TX_Lawyer says:

          That wasn’t most city folks. Most of the people you saw on the news were already a useless inert herd dependent on the government bringing them food and water.

        8. avatar Huntmaster says:

          They’ll be eating each other first!

        9. avatar RidgeRunner says:

          THAT’S the fantasy. I’ll take my chances in the hills.

        10. avatar Joseph Quixote says:

          Strych9, I hear what your saying and you make plausible arguments but I am not convinced. Most of the people that know how to do survival “stuff” in our country today do the sames things that people throughout history traditionally did to survive live in rural areas. They are people that are generally tougher than the average Joe. This same group of people have more experience with explosives, welding, construction, farming, drilling, hunting, you name it. They are also the people that the backbone of our armed forces comes from. Basically all of them can shoot well at long distances. Many of them come from families that teach them independence, woodcraft and animal husbandry. So do I think they can fight the hordes? Yes. The reason is that it is not going to be 10,000 vs 120,000 in a pitched fight. The rural folk will be giving any large groups from the cities hell along the edges of that group wherever they go. Just like the North vs the South the south was fighting on land they knew and had every edge in tactics. The difference is that the rural folk will be in my opinion way more armed and better organized than the ill fed horde coming out of the cities. They will be the ones picking the battlegrounds if there is one, so my guess is that is would be death by a thousand cuts for the horde. I hope to God we never have to see anything like it but I think in the end traditional Americans would re-assert themselves in most areas of the Old west and the deep south. California>??The humongous and his ilk would rule the coastal regions for sure. Most big cities across the world would become wastelands of scum and villainy.

      2. avatar Michael says:

        Unless those rural areas stand up a decent army, they will be overwhelmed.

        1. avatar PDW says:

          If theTEOTWAWKI scenario has such an abysmal probability of survival for even the rural defenders then why not embrace the suck ?

          Forget the use of firearms to forestall the inevitable, if death is certain then use your prepping skills to build a huge fertilizer bomb.

          When all the starving Denverites break down your door and threaten to kill you then smile and wave bye bye to them all. I lose, you lose…we all lose. BOOM !

      3. avatar RidgeRunner says:


    2. avatar TX_Lawyer says:

      The only country living that will do you any good in a collapse of society situation is to be one of those people who can live off the land in inhospitable places like Alaska or some desert.

      In a Book of Eli/Mad Max situation where the rules of climate have fundamentally changed, no amount of backwoods country living will prepare you enough.

    3. avatar John Boch says:

      Once more:

      Yes, certain events can imperil civilization as a whole. However, if you’re playing the odds, you can handle anything life will throw at your with relatively minimal forethought and couple weeks’ worth of preparedness.

      After all, that survival mindset is the most important survival tool each of us owns.


      Again, we are talking preparedness for average Americans, not hard-core survivalists.

      I’ve been on earth for fifty years and can’t recall a time longer than 48 hours that I couldn’t get to a store for resupply. I will say that it’s a weird combination of gratification of proper planning preventing poor performance, while at the same time I admit it’s uncomfortably knowing you cannot get that resupply.


  11. avatar Manse Jolly says:

    For hints and tips just look at Venezuela.

    1. avatar Adub says:

      If that had happened here, we would have wiped out the government by now. Venezuelans don’t have guns. That’s their problem.

  12. avatar Micah says:

    I used to make fun of preppers, but in my current job the book “one second after” is pretty much mandatory reading. So… I read it, and ordered 2 months worth of freeze-dried food for the family the day I finished it, and my wife is the only one keeping me from doing more “prepper” stuff like chickens, etc. It’s a great read (but it will definitely make you cry), and I definitely recommend it. It makes you realize how utterly dependent we all are on modern technology.

    1. avatar Patrulje68 says:

      Forstchen is a great writer, his history background really comes thru. I have the sequel on the shelf to read.

    2. avatar Garrison Hall says:

      If you’re reading this thread and haven’t read the the “One Second After” series you really should.

  13. avatar Ralph says:

    “a person can trade grain alcohol for anything”

    That’s why we always buy a drink or two for the pretty girl at the end of the bar.

    1. avatar John Boch says:

      Ralph’s right. I’m happily married, but good conversation and a drink has paid handsomely for me in the past.

      1. avatar Ralph says:

        Me too. But now I kinda have to buy them a new Jaguar.

  14. avatar TX_Lawyer says:

    As strych9 said, if society truly collapses, then the primary skill that will keep you alive is the skill of killing other people. Unless you’re old. Then you’ll soon be dead because you can’t get your hands on your heart pills.

  15. avatar Anner says:

    I clicked on a “preppers” link expecting a rehash of the same old story. I was pleasantly surprised with how realistic, level-headed, and well written the article was. It covered just about all the bases without diving into TNP-level tactics of the best piece of gear available for X purpose.

  16. avatar RCC says:

    Camping / hunting gear has about 2 weeks food and water pre packed at any time.

    Two gas stoves and bar-b-que.
    Two by three way fridge / freezers I can run off gas, 12 V or mains power.
    Two water filtration units
    Three full jerrycans of petrol
    5000 gallon water tank on house plus 1000 on shed.
    About 500 loaded rounds for everything except .22 where I have more. Reloading supplies.

    Nearest neighbour who works for electrical authority in charge of restoring power. He owns even more camping gear than me.

    A 200 yard walk to paddock full of cattle if I need fresh steak.

    House above all known floods.

    I think we are ok

  17. avatar Micah says:

    I recommend reading “one second after.” It’s a great, but very depressing book. Nearly turned me into a full-blown prepper.

    1. avatar Aerindel says:

      ugh, that was a terrible book.

      Try “Sunfall” instead. A lot more realistic.

    2. avatar AFGus says:

      Awesome book! Have you read the sequel? It’s a great read as well.

      1. avatar newcitizen27 says:

        I picked up the third book in the series as well, it came out in January this year.
        All very well done.

        1. avatar Micah says:

          I read the first two, but not the third one yet. The first one is essentially required reading in my current job, and while it’s definitely based on a worst-case scenario, it highlights our society’s utter dependence on technology and helplessness without it… now I’m trying to convince my wife we need chickens…

        2. avatar AFGus says:

          I’d heard that there was a third book that had recently come out, but hadn’t looked for it. I just went to Google Play books and downloaded the digital version. Looks good…..can’t wait to get into it.

  18. avatar Aerindel says:

    Too much is never enough

  19. avatar Rusty Chains says:

    Traditional gas powered generators are noisy, fragile, and grow legs. Yet nearly everyone who reads this has a better quality emergency generator: your car. Pick up a couple of 6 volt golf cart batteries (deep cycle) and a good quality charger (not that trickle charger crap) to keep them topped off. When the power goes out you can run your car at idle for a couple of hours a day with battery cables to the storage batteries to recharge (depending on the level you discharged them to). My batteries are six years old and are still in good shape though I only had one time after I bought them that we needed them when we lost power for about three days. This will give you enough juice to recharge cell phones, tablets, and laptops and maybe run a lamp or two with LED bulbs. If you are moderately handy you can find good info on selecting batteries, chargers, and assorted tools at that site is owned and maintained by an emergency services manager.

    1. avatar Bob Jones says:

      Generators can lose their residual field if they haven’t been run in a while under load. Make sure you you have the stuff and proceedure to re-energize the field or you may not have any electricity even if the gas engine runs fine. Ask me how I know. The instruction manual for your generator should have the info you need or Google it.

      1. avatar Rusty Chains says:

        Did not know that about generators….yet another reason to use the four wheel one in my driveway. My 800 Watt inverter connected to the deep cycle batteries worked like a champ to power the stuff I needed, though it wouldn’t power my old refrigerator. We were able to watch movies on the small flat screen every night.

    2. avatar MamaLiberty says:

      I guess I’m a little confused here… in a big emergency, let alone meltdown of society… what in the world would you be doing with iPhones, tablets and so forth? I don’t have any of those things, so maybe I’m missing something here. Who’s going to maintain the cell towers and the wifi?

      The most important thing one can do to prepare for emergencies of any sort is to find, form and maintain family and community relationships. Nobody can survive long all alone. You have to eat, sleep and poop sometime. You can only shoot one gun, in one direction at a time too. You need someone to watch your back, even in times of peace and plenty. Emergencies don’t give any warning, usually, and it’s too late to form a cooperative community when the bullets start flying.

      1. avatar Garrison Hall says:

        Some form of pastoral nomadism is the most survivable form of social organization in a collapse of civilization. Nomadic societies are self contained and possess essential skills like food production, trade, and fighting.

  20. avatar FU Springfield Armory says:

    Which ammo can has the sex robot in it? Ha ha.

  21. avatar jwm says:

    I think the book was called Lucifers Hammer. Said hammer being an asteroid that hit the earth. Chaos. Death. Destruction.

    A small community fairly well isolated rode out the worst of it. They sat aside individual rights and freedoms. Houses were inventoried and everything of importance was gathered by the new .gov(Yes, there will always be a .gov. Even if it’s a Humongous type character in a leather jock strap.) Aspirin, bullets, etc. Anybody refused or held out and they and their families were set afoot with nothing.

    It was a grim, plausible scenario. When the survival of the human race is on the line Rights go straight out the window.

    I’m prepared for the light weight shit. Katrina. Loma Prieata Quake. Blizzards. Etc.

    True end of the world scenario? None of us are ready and any that claim to be are delusional.

    1. avatar Rusty Chains says:

      Good book by Larry Nivin and Jerry Pournelle, I think it is the best of the ones they wrote together. I met Pournelle at a science fiction convention I was working at several years ago, interesting guy who likes to get the details right.

    2. avatar Micah says:

      Agreed, none of us are ready for long-term collapse of government and commercial services (electricity, water supply chains for food, fuel, etc.) Having friends you can trust would be vital, as one of the earlier posters mentioned.

  22. avatar BLAMMO says:

    Don’t forget things like computer backups, a safe deposit box for all your life documents, etc. The ever-present and imminent post-apocalyptic, zombie hoard, shit-hits-the-fan scenario is just not as likely as a simple house fire where you have to rebuild your life from practically nothing but your pimply white ass.

  23. avatar Cooter e Lee says:

    Physical cash or precious metal you can hold in your hand. It’s important to have your financial affairs well in hand before you spend too much on prepping. If losing one paycheck would wipe you out, not much point in prepping in my opinion.

    MRE freeze dried are fine but expensive and heavy.

    I’m working on my food right now. I can buy 25 pounds of flour, 25 of sugar, 25 lb of rice, 25 lb of beans, 5 of peanut butter, a gallon of cooking oil, 2lb of salt, powdered milk, 10 pouches of tuna and maybe a few cans of fruit at Walmart for what one 12 pk case of MRE costs. I’m adding drink mixes, candy, canned fruit, powdered milk and other non perishable.

    Some people I know also have really nice gear, but I don’t have much confidence in them using it efficiently. The weather is going to start turning nice, it’s a good time to take yourself and loved ones out camping to give your gear a field trial and see what you might be missing.

    1. avatar jwm says:

      Add canned honey to your preps. It’s just about a perfect emergency food and it has anti biotic properties. Get real honey. I have several large cans in my garage. Shelf life is practically forever.

      1. avatar RidgeRunner says:

        Or get bees. Lots of bees.

  24. avatar Tom in Oregon says:

    I thought that was a photo of one of my ammo shelves till I saw the dude. My shelves have a wall behind them.

    1. avatar Cooter e Lee says:

      Check for a hole or tunneling.

  25. avatar Geoff PR says:

    “With about one in eight Americans showing signs of alcoholism today, booze will get you about anything you need. And with sugar, you can make alcohol.”

    But if you do, the smell of fermentation will be ringing the dinner bell.

    Sugar in bulk is an excellent choice, a highly compact source of calories with an effectively unlimited shelf life…

  26. avatar Accur81 says:

    All great prepper stuff, but no mention of go bags? Cars / trucks / vehicles should have a 24-72 hour backpacks(s) to get home. If a big earthquake/ storm / disaster hits, you ain’t getting home in a timely manner on an urban freeway.

  27. avatar FlamencoD says:

    I’m a moderate prepper, I’d say. I have 150 cans of a variety of food (meats, stews, veggies, fruits, etc.) in addition to a full pantry of food. I currently have 45 gallons of drinking water, building that up to a goal of about 75-100 gallons of drinking water. I have quite a bit of first aid supplies, and usually store an extra bottle or two of over the counter meds. I also keep a few extra batteries, a lot of candles (thanks to my wife), and a bunch of other hygeiene items (bar soap, wet wipes, toilet paper, toothpaste, etc.). I keep a “get home bag”, aka bug out bag in my car nearly all the time. I have plenty of ammo, well over 1000 rounds of a variety of bullet types of my main calibers (9mm, .223 Rem/5.56, .22LR). I also have a variety of knives for different purposes, and 2 nice binoculars, extra knife sharpeners, 2 compass’, paper maps of my local area, and more.

  28. avatar Libertarian says:

    Don t forget real money as monero, bitcoins, etherium, gold and silver.

    It s fed free 🙂

  29. avatar justin says:

    Banner Pic, Someone has found their “safe space”.

  30. avatar Joe in San Antonio says:

    Even FEMA suggests 2 weeks of supply. It makes sense.

  31. avatar Smitty says:

    Learn to reload it’s a lot cheaper.

  32. avatar Joe R. says:

    Real Healthcare

    RE: Pages 48-49 (57-58 if you download the PDF) are interesting

  33. avatar Klause Von Schmitto says:

    Don’t forget to lay in the medical supplies especially if you have the skills to use them. That skill would be highly barterable.
    I’ve got enough general medical supplies to open a small neighborhood clinic and enough trauma supplies to support a platoon in the field and the skills to use them acquired in the boondocks back in the day.
    I max out my FSA account every year (it’s $2550 this year) and after using it for prescriptions, copays, and eyeglasses for 2 every other year I still have a ton left over.
    I just got an email that says I have to spend $940 before Sept 1 (our FSA runs Sept – Aug instead of calendar year for some weird reason. I didn’t even think that was legal) and I’ll be on Rescue Essentials (no affiliation) website this weekend spending it out. They have well thought out kits for everything from feet care to major trauma and IFAKs.
    I’ve also used ChinookMed and Galls and they are both good too.

    I’ve never had anything rejected by the FSA broker that I ordered from any of these companies. Whatever you contribute to the FSA is pre-tax spending so that’s a win.

    Having the supplies and knowledge to immediately treat extremity bleeding, (Tourniquets, combat gauze, QuickClots, Israeli bandages) pneumothorax tension (chest seals, decompression needles) and getting a good airway (Nasopharyngeal Airway, bag valve mask) established will go a long way in keeping someone alive long enough for advanced treatment.

    Antibiotics and other drugs can be bought from Veterinarian supply companies, Petsmart and Amazon. They are the same drugs that humans get. Learn what antibiotic to use for a particular condition.

    During the cleanup after a storm, chainsaws, axes, and the like cause a lot of injuries. Being able to PROPERLY stitch someone up is a crucial skill. Buy suture kits and if your doctor or vet won’t write an Rx you can make your own Lidocaine. Google it. Go buy a pork roast to practice on and watch Youtube and you’ll be able to perform suturing without any trouble at all (even internal sutures). You might be surprised how much minor surgery you can learn on Youtube. But practice. Learning on your neighbor is not a good idea.

    If this posts twice it’s because the first one hasn’t shown up in 6 hours.

  34. avatar fteter says:

    I’m one of those Mormon’s with a year’s supply…of most things. Have yet to sock away a year’s supply of water, but I do have a means to replenish that water supply. My orientation leans a bit more toward short-term regional disruptions rather than an end of the world scenario…the odds are higher in my view.

    You’re likely better off to have two weeks of a balanced supply (food, water, medical) than a year’s worth of any particular item. Start small and gradually expand to whatever you feel you need. You can find some pretty good guidance at

    Guns and bullets? Yup. Standardized on rifle and pistol calibers that are so inexpensive that it makes more sense to purchase in bulk than to reload. Have a reloader and reload supplier for my shotgun. I’m too old and out of shape to be any kind to tactical ninja, so my focus is on defending my family and my stores.

    Sorry if this seems like a duplicate post. Original post had not shown up by the time I put up this one.

  35. avatar Rick Hayne says:

    So much concern over staying alive! So much hidden fear and anger! So much needless preparation to live longer than your fellow man after a disaster. Why? All of us die eventually. Why not just accept this reality? Why not get right with God and then experience the peace that passes all understanding (as the Bible states)? Doing this turns out to be the best kind of everlasting preparation one can do right here and now… and it doesn’t cost a dime.

    1. avatar Klause Von Schmitto says:

      So what’s holding you up? No need to wait for a disaster.

      1. avatar RidgeRunner says:


      2. avatar jwm says:

        On a scale of 0 to Ralph I give that one a solid 8.

  36. avatar Pickle Rick says:

    My wife and I have already picked out which of our neighbors and which parents of our children’s peers we plan to eat first.

    1. avatar Joe R. says:

      Now you just have to lay up your sauces and seasonings.

      Tony’s as a dry rub is really the simplest and best for everything.

  37. avatar Gman says:

    The first rule of zombies is cardio.

    Wrong. They can’t swim. Float with the current yes, but swim no.

  38. avatar Grant says:

    A number of years ago my wife was telling our neighbors we never stocked up on food before Y2k. She told them I didn’t think it was necessary because I had enough ammo and planned on resorting to cannibalism. After all if God doesn’t want us to eat people, why did he make them out of meat?

    For some reason they didn’t think it was very funny.

  39. avatar jimmy james says:

    Been through 2 big time hurricanes, 1 tornado, several ice storms. Any kind of modern convenience that I wanted or needed was available within 48hrs…except for power one time and I have a generator. My pantry is always full (of mostly carbs) and my freezer is always full (of mostly protein). That and 10K+ rnds of ammo, I’m good to go. If the S really HTF, do we really want to live like the Walking Dead?

  40. avatar johnny108 says:

    Yes, hauling thousands of rounds of ammo isn’t an easy idea:
    You don’t have a fallback position if your home is overrun, flooded, or contaminated?
    Shame on you.
    You should scout out areas where people are not going to go (no other resources are present), and cache
    what you need ahead of time.
    Caching isn’t just about hiding stuff- it’s about pre-positioning equipment to simplify logistics when things go bad.

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