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I wasn’t much of a survivalist until I started driving around Texas. If my SUV breaks down on the way to New Mexico and help doesn’t arrive, extreme temperatures, lack of hydration and/or delayed medical care would take its toll. Not to mention the Deliverance thing. So I schlep a trunk gun, a basic medical kit, space blankets, water, some freeze-dried food and a lighter. I was thinking about buying some of Montie’s impregnated fat wood (and a bag of marshmallows).

desantis blue logo no back 4 smallWhat’s in your vehicle? More generally, how much of a survivalist are you? Do you have a bug-out or bug-back bag? Do you hoard stock-up on ammo and water and MRE’s? Does survivalism affect your choice of firearm? What potential cataclysms stimulate your prepping glands? I’m interested in going further with this. Where should I start? [Best answer gets a free sample of Montie Gear Fat Wood]

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  1. Having always lived in rural areas, my vehicles have enough supplies to breakdown and not be rescued for a couple of days. Water, tools, shelter and other survival basics.

    • Yep. Even more important for those of us who live in the far northern areas of this great country.

      Emergency foodstuffs, bottled water, blankets/tarps for warmth and shelter (may not be able to stay with the vehicle if it’s inverted or destroyed), and a means to make fire for warmth and signalling is critical, as some areas where I travel don’t have cell service. Heck, in most areas, even if you DO have cell service to call for help, as a major winter storm hits you’ll still be on your own until it passes and the plows can open the roads (3-5 days, depending on how far out of town you are).

      People who don’t think they need emergency supplies should read-up on the 2011 news reports about the winter storm that hit Chicago and trapped hundreds of people in town, along Lake Shore Drive. They were stranded by blowing/drifting snow long enough for most vehicles to run out of gas in freezing temperatures. It took the authorities quite a while to get everyone to safety, and if the conditions had been just a little worse, some might not have survived.

      • Same thing happened around 2000 with one of the highways in Chicago.

        Time to stop the pocket carry and go with trunk carry pictures.

      • It’s even worse than you relate(in 2011)…the doofuses(doofus’?) had a WEEK of being warned by Tommy Skilling to avoid Lake Shore Drive-some even had lightweight jackets/flipflops on instead of severe weather gear. You can’t fix stupid-especially with 70mph winds and a quick 20″ of snow…

  2. I started life on a small farm in WVA. Country living breeds a self reliance ethic in folks. Since then I’ve been thru blizzards. Hail storms that killed a man. Floods. Earthquakes. Man made situations that could have been fatal and where to others than me.

    I do not consider myself a survivalist. I consider myself a realist. I live in the heart of earthquake country. My vehicles and house have supplies and gear that would be helpful in an emergency.

    RF. I’ve been dissatisfied with the shiny survival blankets. Dyspeptic Gunsmith lives in Wyoming and he prefers woolen clothing for weather protection. So do I. I have surplus wool blankets in my vehicles.

    • from what I hear wool is still the only fiber that can trap heat even when soaking wet. Plus, yeah, those surplus Army blankets are tough as nails, provided moths don’t get to em

      • I took an AF Arctic survival course. Cotton is useless for retaining heat, especially when wet. Wool is the best, retaining something like 80% of its dry heat efficiency (can’t remember the exact number) when wet. Synthetics are next best, around 50% or so. Cotton is in the low 20’s or single digits. The numbers may be off, but the scale was telling: invest in wool. Even cheap wool, or blended with synthetic material, is well ahead of any form of cotton for retaining heat.

      • The problem i have with wool/and surplus blankets is they become insanely heavy when wet, as the hold a lot of water.
        One tip for fire stater material, and really inexpensive, is to saturate (real) cotton balls with petroleum jelly (vasline), and they light great, wet or dry. Stick them in a plastic bag with a lighter and you are all set

        • fill a coffee can with wood planer shavings and soak them in paint thinner. Also dryer lint. I’ve been heating my house with a wood burning furnace for years and these are the two ways I use most frequently.

        • Balls of steel wool also light great wet or dry. Not as messy as impregnating cotton balls with vaseline.

    • “I do not consider myself a survivalist. I consider myself a realist. I live in the heart of earthquake country.”

      And I live in the heart of hurricane country and I have lived in the very heart of tornado ally, southwest Oklahoma.

      Prepare for the unexpected, be it natural catastrophe or man-caused calamity.

      Food, shelter, transportation, and the means to defend it…

      (The shiny mylar blankets are loud as hell to sleep in, but they are fantastic in cold weather stretched and tacked to low frame as a windbreak)

        • Right there with you JWM. Although I am a bit younger than you, I grew up without reliable water and power until I was in my late teens. I’ve posted what’s all in my truck here before. The blanket I carry is an old (WWI) army surgical corps blanket, and is actual full cloth wool. Nothing beats its.

      • in the very heart of tornado ally, southwest Oklahoma.

        I live in NW arkansas. Not quite the heart of tornado alley, but close enough. I had always thought seeing a tornado would be cool. It’s not. May 26th 2011 an f4 a half a mile wide destroyed everything I owned and if not for the grace of God would have killed two of my brothers. Tornados are bad news.

  3. It depends, generally I just carry my survival knife, a Cold steel Bushman and water around town. If going on a trip I’ll include more water, freeze dried food, tarp, tent and sleeping gear as well as stove, lights, fire making kit and maybe firearms as appropriate to my destination. In any case if I’m on the road I could easily survive for a week.

  4. Whoa. “Fat wood…” Sprinkle some magnesium on it and it’s the ultimate trick candle.

    You need enough food and water for about 2 weeks in case of flooding. That is true for every single person on Earth who doesn’t live in an igloo. A closet full of MREs and water cooler jugs, at least.

  5. Its Prep. “Survivalist” is 1990s Clintonista libtard/”pejorative” speak for “wacko gun nut”.

    • Newsflash. 2016 Websters updated. Prepper = Survivalist/Wacko Gun Nut/Racist.

      Can’t let the world define you my friend. Live like you wanna live.

  6. Oh yeah.
    Take some cotton balls and dip them in vasoline. Put a half dozed in an altoid tin, then put that in a baggie. Great fire starters. I also collect pitch wood while mushrooming.
    Bug back bag has food and water for a couple days. Plus guns and ammo.
    I keep buckets of freeze dried food at home. Plus I can food- elk, deer, tuna, salmon, veggies… Home canning is really fun. Our group did a thousand pounds of tuna last Labor Day weekend.

    • Film canisters (getting rare) work even better than the tins because you don’t need to put em in a zip-lock and they hold at least 6 – 8 cotton balls.

  7. I’ve started to prep in recent months. Nothing serious, but I am working on my HAM license among other things.

  8. Still building my car kit, but always have a few blades, lighters, a pistol or two, bag full of ammo found at the range of assorted caliber, e-tool, hatchet, leatherman, gloves, couple of flashlights, extra magazine(s), first aid kit, flat repair kit, handyman jack, jumper cables, loggers chain, and there is always extra clothing of some sort. Plan on adding coats for me and my girls, blankets or compact sleep bags, hydration and a compact filter, mre’s and a few bundles of paracord, looking for a .22 rifle to suit my needs as well, maybe a cricket, it is a small rig after all, but will go just about anywhere, it is our “bug-out bag” on wheels.

    • There’s a couple of guns on my list to just buy if I find them. One of these is a decent, used .22 over .410.

  9. It is humorous to read some of these. I remember the “survivalist” phase of the 70s. Guns and Ammo magazine started carrying a column for a while.

    Like some of the above folks, I grew up and live rural now. Been through several hurricanes (Camille, Fredrick, Ivan are a few). It just makes sense to have stuff you might need (At you house and in your vehicle).

    I don’t consider myself a survivalist. Prepper has the same connotation survivalist did in the 70s and 80s. (=nut). I feel it’s good to be prepared as well as I am able. Could I do better? Sure. Do I depend on Walmart for my immediate needs? Nope.

    I could function pretty well for a month or so. If the electricity stayed on (or comes back on) then I’m good for six to nine months.

    If I am near my vehicle (and it doesn’t go up in the apocalypse), I’m good for about 5 days even if I share. (Cause sharing is good.)

    • Must have been the Lasagna.

      I confess I liked the Ham and Eggs from C-Rations. Kind of like an Egg McMuffin in a can.

      • Me too. I used to trade for them, since a lot of my buddies didn’t like that one. Or they’d just give them to me rather Han toss them.

  10. A noted sage once drawled: “I can skin a buck and run a trot line… a country boy can survive”.

  11. I drive a pickup truck with a camper shell. Can you say “cargo space”, boys and girls? The truck also has an under-the-back-seat storage area (DUHA brand). I carry 5 gallons of water, about 2 weeks worth of freeze-dried food, water purifier pump; butane lighters, lifeboat matches and various kinds of fire starters including 20 road flares (start fires in a snowstorm! signal for help! cause horrible wildfires if you aren’t careful!); synthetic filler sleeping bag and Ensolite foam pad (blankets? we don’ need no steenkin’ blankets); Sterno cook stove and a couple of cans of Sterno for quick hot tea or ramen-type soup; Henry .22LR takedown semi-auto rifle and 500 rounds of .22 ammo. 200+ rounds of ammo for my carry guns; Various tools for engine repairs, flat tires (including a small plug-in air compressor to pump up the spare, which usually has about 15psi when you really need it); duct tape; cell phone and vehicle port charging cord; spare socks and a wool hat; extra ski gloves; over-shoe insulated “boot paks”; a polarfleece jacket; LED flashlights and an AM/FM radio, and a dozen AA lithium-ion batteries. A small frame backpack in case i have to leave the truck. And never drive anywhere in flip-flops, shorts and a T-shirt unless you have a full change of clothing in the car with you.

    Hey, failure to prepare is a preparation for failure.

    • Yeah. I have a pickup as well.

      Unfortunately, everyone knows that campers tops are the low-hanging fruit in the urban foraging world.

      I have a hard tonneau that would be little more difficult. Only a little. Need one of those solid steEl units with the paddle locks. That old be nice but expensive.

  12. Truck provisions depend on the season, but generally nothing more than a shovel, rubber overshoes, hat and gloves for the walk home.

    At home I have a generator that will run my well pump, furnace and other necessities. Enough fuel for a few days’ continuous use. In a catastrophe I could stretch that out for weeks by only running it periodically to pump water and heat the house.

  13. If a disaster is local, I will leave if possible, camp out at a nice hotel and eat only the finest food. So my only issue is a widespread disaster which cannot be easily escaped, in which case I’m staying where I am, with my gun safe and my gas grill with spare gas can. Emptying my refrigerators and freezers would account for a week or 2, then some freeze-dried supplies in the gun room will carry me a bit farther. There’s a lake full of water in the back yard. And before I get hungry I’ll be learning how to butcher a deer, since they wander through my yard pretty constantly. I can’t get myself to be too concerned. If I were going to be crazy, I think my first major purchase would be a generator.

  14. I live on a mid sized organic farm. Completely self sufficient. We’ve got food, water, clothing and shelter for generations. Oh, and plenty of medical supplies and knowledge.
    Survival in austere environments isn’t about things. Although quality gear provides options and ease, it’s experience and knowledge that will keep you alive.

    • I agree, it’s all about skills.

      The crowd that has no choice but to call AAA when they have a flat tire will not fare well.

  15. My gun purchases are highly dependent upon interchangeability. Lots of AR-15s, multiple AR- 10s, Glocks mag swap, and Sig 226 / 227 / 229 (229 can take 226 mags), and multiple Smith Gen 3 4006s for starters. I’ve got a first aid kit in the trunk with tourniquets and spare water, sometimes have trunk gun, and a pantry with additional food and water supplies. I’m pretty much a Mormon except for the drinking, swearing, coffee, porn, and not being a Mormon.

  16. I always take a a large range bag with the first aid stuff JWT recommended, a cheap phone, multi tool, flashlight, and a day or so’s food and water. Keep two gallons of gas, a gallon of water, and in the winter, a blank and some arctic wear in back of 1st Gen Insight. The other day I was making a drug delivery to Independence WI. The roads suck there normally and were washed out then. I couldn’t get a cell signal for 24 miles. The GPS is always wrong in that area and the dilapidated road signs are often wrong – when you can read them. It is Lovecraftian there. Scraggly trees and odd dilapidated houses. Scary as hell. I was pretty sure that all my preparations would have done me little good if I got stuck which I miraculously didn’t. I had no mosquito spray and those buggers would have killed me if I tried to walk the miles to the nearest creepy farm (probably inhabited by mutants). I should have had a satellite communication device. Sigh.
    On our recently acquired rather secluded land in WY we are building an insulated concrete form house with a ferrocement exterior that will be very prepperish. Living on a small sailboat for years (often in the boondocks) in Mx has give us some experience in survivalist stuff. We will go pretty far into prepperism in WY.

  17. Go tent camping in all four seasons. Try to minimize. You’ll figure out what you need and what you don’t.

    • Yes, this and all this. When you hit the trail with 60lb of stuff, you quickly figure out what you’re never gonna use.

  18. Meds are a sometimes overlooked part of any bug-out bag or long-time survival kit.

    The most important part of my kit is a supply of my BP meds. If I don’t have them, maybe nothing else will matter very much. I buy them three months at a time and don’t let my cache dip below a 14 day supply. I don’t live in a flood or tornado zone, so two weeks should be adequate. Hurricanes can hit hard almost anywhere, so I plan on being without power and transportation for two weeks.

    People taking insulin are really at risk if their RX requires refrigeration. Insulin pens can be kept without refrigeration once opened. That should get some diabetics through the worst if things go sideways.

    Leftover antibiotics and many other drugs are still safe and effective for a long time after their expiration date (although there are some adverse findings for tetracycline). Keep any such leftover drugs on hand. You may need them.

    If you don’t have aspirin in your kit, you don’t have a kit. Aspirin can be useful in reducing fever and swelling, and it’s also effective in preventing blood clots in arteries, which can kill. Aspirin may also be of some value in preventing DVT. If you’re hunkering down and inactive, blood clots are a real threat. Just read up on Reye’s Syndrome so you will know who should not take aspirin.

    There are many OTC and RX drugs that belong in your ditty bag. Do your research. And don’t forget TP, cold water soap and your toothbrush!

    • My most severe “emergency” with my off duty medical kit was a buddy who thought he was having a heart attack. It was handy to administer the aspirin, although not needed. The next most severe was pinching my hand with the slide of an 870. Nothing to write home about.

      On duty, I’ve administered 02 to a little girl having a severe asthma attack. That may have saved her life. I’ve also helped deliver a baby on the side of the road. Thankfully that also worked out just fine, although created quite a mess in a brand new (at the time) 2015 Hyundai Sonata.

      Some of our guys have done their best to treat heart attacks, only to have people die in front of them or on the way to the hospital in an ambulance. That stuff weighs on you.

      I’m currently an EMR but would like to become an EMT. It would be nice to carry an AED everywhere, but truthfully nobody does. When I promote taking care of your heart it isn’t just to be a smartass.

      I’m definitely a believer in good first aid kits and the ability to use them.

      • I got to help deliver 4 babies during my paramedic days. Including my own son on the kitchen floor. I’m listed as the attending physician and father on the birth certificate.

        Having some above average medical knowledge can go a really long way.

        • As a paramedic I honestly think a well stocked Aid Bag is incredibly OVER-rated. Most trauma/emergency medical supplies are stop-gap measures designed to buy time, “Golden Hour” and all that.
          In a true emergency, what are you buying time for? If help isn’t coming, wtf is that QuikClot gonna do? Or a CAT-2? Meds are one thing, but these guys who schlep around half an ambulance leave me smh…

        • The most important thing I schlep around with me is my Bendix-King fire radio. In this mountainous region, if I can’t hit the dispatch repeater, I can hit the county road dep’t repeater, or the USFS fire repeater, or the local FD repeater.

          Failing that, I often carry a ham 2m/440 HT with the local repeaters set to go. The point is to get the evac helo with a trauma nurse and flight medic coming our way ASAP.

  19. Living in Fla, the chance of a hurricane brushing my area of the state sometime between 01-JUN and 30-NOV is a yearly possibility. I have a generator and the supplies to ride out and extended (4 weeks or more) disruption in “normal” (and all that entails), in relative comfort and safety.

    • The people who keep “more of what you need” on-hand also have guns, so if I were you, I’d pre-stock bandages, TKs, and compression dressings, as those will be your primary need — if you’re lucky.

      • Wouldn’t need em on my road.

        Or rather, wouldn’t have a chance to use em.

        In a disaster, outsiders stand out like a rat turd in a sugar bowl.

        Start waving a gun and neighborly dispositions tend to sour fast.

  20. Let’s see here. I live in town, and don’t travel hardly at all. Though earthquakes are a possibility, all the ones we’ve had here were deep underground and just enough to let you know they happened. The San Andreas is at least 100 to 150 miles due west and off shore at that, with mountains between here and there. No hurricanes, twisters have been seen on rare occasion down the valley, and I don’t live in a flood zone. Only power outage in the last thirty years was due to a wet snow downing power lines. The city owns its own hydroelectric dam, and does not depend on the grid for power. I’d guess the biggest risk would be if Mt.Shasta blew its top, but even that is 80 miles north, and the other volcano, Lassen, is 40 miles east. So no appreciable risk from mother nature.

    So no, I’d say I was not a survivalist. At best I carry blankets and extra water if I go up mountain or out in the deserts far to the east.

  21. True story of the incident that convinced me to carry relevant supplies and gear at all times:

    In 1986, I had just cleaned out my car completely, and finished washing it, when I realized I had to leave immediately for my college class. It was 32 miles of Calif. desert road to get to town, and I didn’t have a moment to spare.

    On the way, I was about 30 seconds too late to witness a head on collision between a small pickup and a big 3/4 ton flatbed that had pulled off a dirt side road. I pulled over and went to give aid, if possible. As a professional nurse, I was able to assess the people… and a truck driver who had stopped on the other side of the wrecks helped me pull a three year old out of the pickup. She was going into shock, so I took her to my car… and discovered I didn’t even have so much as a kleenex to work with. I didn’t have ANY supplies, first aid kit or anything but my own coat to wrap around her. I was still trying to keep her warm and from going further into shock when the paramedics came. The child’s mother and the flat bed driver were dead.

    Needless to say I didn’t make it to class that night.

    From that day, I have vowed never to be without at least the basics. A big bag in the car contains extra clothing, towel, washcloths, and a big wool blanket. Another bag has a rather complete first aid kit, plus some trauma stuff that I pray is never needed. I don’t travel much anymore, but if I am going to leave town, I pack extra – including extra food and water. I always have a large tarp, rope, stakes and other basic camping stuff in the car too. My hatchet and field shovel are old and worn, but perfectly serviceable.

    I carry a gun at all times, everywhere I go. And if I’m going to be out of town, I carry a rifle and extra ammo too.

    In bad weather, I just stay home these days, but you just never know. Home is well supplied for any kind of emergency. I don’t consider myself a “prepper” or survivalist, really. I’m just an old retired nurse, now in Wyoming, who is determined to survive.

    • I’ve not had that level of “dammit, I don’t have any of my stuff!” experience, but I’ve had several such experiences when I’ve been ordered/cajoled/pleaded/etc to take my wife’s car and leave my F-350 at home.

      Suddenly, I’m without a great deal of very useful stuff.

  22. We covered this one 2 June….

    That said. I have no idea what exactly you have in your vehicle because you didn’t list it and this question is quite wide ranging. In fact this is wide ranging enough that I’ll simply refer you to the comment section in the post above, otherwise this is gonna get way, way too long. I’m also going to assume that since you run TTAG you’ve got guns and ammo covered.

    As for a general concept, this is a massive set of things to consider many of which come down to your situation and preferences. You can’t be prepared for everything, so don’t try to be. Look at what’s realistic in your area. Car accidents, certain types of storms, power outages etc.

    I don’t like freeze dried stuff water may be at a premium for drinking, wasting it on freeze dried food is silly IMHO. Canned stuff that’s “shit food” is better if you’re working your ass off in a survival situation you won’t be bothered by the extra calories in it, in fact you want them. SPAM, Chef Boyardee, prepacked Tuna from Starkist, canned veggies etc are where it’s at.

    Also, personally, and like many here, I don’t consider myself a survivalist. I consider myself a realist. Where I currently live we get a few good blizzards a year and in the summer we get the occasional tornado.

    So the place to start is questions about what’s realistic and what ramifications does that have for you?

    Does your stove run on gas or electricity? If you have an electric stove it’s time to buy a gas grill and learn to use it. I also recommend a large camp stove that runs off propane as well. In the middle of a ranging blizzard with no power you can set them up in your garage, crack the door and cook as well or better than you could in your kitchen. You might also consider a camping “prep table” so you can do your slicing and dicing out there as well but that’s getting into comfort and convenience. Make sure you have propane on hand and extra cylinders. The damn things always run out right in the middle of cooking something and when a blizzard’s a comin’ you may find spare cylinders hard to come by. I usually have the one in my grill plus three more in my garage. I rotate them and when two are empty they get traded in for fresh ones. Make SURE to check the damn O-ring on a cylinder like this. The companies don’t check this and you can get ones where the O-ring is shot and all they do is leak flammable gas everywhere. The O-ring is replaceable, buy why screw around? Check it when getting the cylinder and reject those with bad looking O-rings. Let the company deal with it.

    Then there is lighting. If you can afford/want a generator go for it but first get some quality headlamps, flashlights etc. Make sure to keep your batteries organized. Candles are also something to have a bunch of if your house/apartment loses heat and you’re stuck for five days those candles provide light and will warm the place up a bit. They’re also better emotional support than electric lighting. We don’t need to get into why people love fire, just know that we do. A Kerosene heater is nice too if you’re going hardcore but now you need to store gallons of Kerosene. Old school oil lanterns are nice too.

    Third for this type of “storm” situation I recommend a decent stock of what you would generally keep in your pantry. Don’t get caught without food. Having a couple week’s worth of food on tap isn’t hard just manage and rotate normally like people did in the middle of the last century and you’re fine. The stuff in your freezer will stay “frozen” enough that it’s safe to use for nearly a week with a modern fridge/freezer. [Pro Tip: Figure out what you want out of there FIRST, then open it and get the stuff and reseal as quickly as you can. This keeps your cold stuff cold longer. Keep that door shut as much as you can.]

    Finally for where to start here: Tools. If your concern is storms, like mine is, you want certain tools. Fallen trees block roadways this prevents access and egress. Get a chainsaw and learn to use it. Make sure your vehicle has winch or a recovery strap for moving large pieces. Snow blocks roads, if you get big winter storms get a blade for your truck or your wife’s truck. Get a snow blower too. Make sure you have extra fuel on hand and use Stabil on it. Stuff like that.

    • Oh, and one other thing to seriously consider: Do you or any of your family require specific medications?

      If so, you want to have a larger supply of them on hand than a doctor would generally like to give you. Mr. Murphy is a bit of a dick so he’s not going to show up when Gramps has a full two weeks of heart meds. He’s gonna show up the day before you need that refill.

      Now, what I’m about to suggest is merely a suggestion and if you don’t like it don’t do it because it involves lying to a doctor.

      Those pills have long shelf lives. So lie about a planned trip or how some got dropped down the sink or whatever and get an extra two weeks of pills and add them into the rotation so that instead of having two weeks worth of pills at max you have four. Now if Mr. Murphy comes a knockin’ the day before Gramps refill you’re still good for two weeks.

  23. I’m trying. Prepping/surviving/hoarding. I’d like to get more off the grid. The horrible summer air conditioning bill is murder.

    • We got solar, and it’s working out great. On a sunny day, we generate 30-36 kW from our 23 – 250 Watt panel array. We’ve been running a 5-7 kW surplus over the past 5 days. I believe federal tax incentives still exist, although the state incentives are gone. We’ll eventually get battery storage.

      If you live out west, solar is a decent way to start getting off grid, especially since SoCal Edison keeps raising their rates. Home battery storage / management systems are getting better, too.

      When I talk with lefties, sometimes I antagonize them with having solar and caring more about “catastrophic climate change” than they do. Precious.

      • Accur81,

        Be careful about adding batteries to your solar system: they quickly become a HUGE expense that makes the solar panel cost seem inconsequential. Remember, you can only charge/discharge a battery a few hundred times until it becomes pretty much useless. In other words you will be lucky to get two years out of a battery.

        Assuming lead acid deep-cycle batteries, you can only store/extract about 0.5 kW-hours every day on average throughout the life of the battery. If you are consuming 16 kW-hours every day from your battery bank, you would need 32 batteries to provide that capacity. At an average cost of $100 each, that is $3,200 in batteries EVERY TWO YEARS. Thus, if you operate your solar system for 20 years, you would have spent about $32,000 on batteries during that time. And yet your 23 solar panels would only cost about $4,000 today (not including mounting hardware, labor, or inverters).

        If you want to keep four batteries charged to run super essential stuff during non-solar hours, that might be justifiable just because you want that capability. But trying to have enough battery capacity to run everything completely off-grid costs considerably more than buying the electricity from your local utility.

        Now, if we ever get to the point that a $100 battery lasts for 20 years like the solar panels, it will be time to go off-grid. Until then, I would use the grid as your “battery”.

        • uncommon_sense, Do take a look around at the more current tech than lead-acids. There are several battery types with much longer lives, and more cycles in them, it’s a matter of dollars up-front and managing discharge rates.

          Just one of several players…

          Not to mention kinetic energy storage, and other solution sets. There are hundreds of answers if you actually go looking.

        • Thanks for the words of caution. I’m watching the batteries from Tesla and I’m seeing far better performance than what you’ve indicated. We’re waiting for the technology to improve before making the jump out of similar concerns that you indicated.

          We got American-made solar panels from SolarMax Inc. out of San Bernardino, CA. The output is guaranteed, and the only things slowing them down after the first 18 months are cloudy days ( a 60-95% reduction in output) and dust (10-25% output reduction). Living in SoCal, we have 300+ sunny days / year.

          Plus we put the panels on a patio cover which shields the south side of the house from the sun and has lights and ceiling fans underneath.

        • It depends on what you want. Do you want electricity or heat? You can use a solar system that heats/recirculates water to very effectively heat a block of special bricks that heats your home for more than a day on a single sunny-day’s charge.

        • strych9, That’s not exactly an either/or question, though the current state-of-the-mass-market would have you believe it.

          Fact is that you can have your cake and eat it too. Stirling generator 5-10kW. Source agnostic, so the heat can come from solar, wood, waste oil, nat gas, pellets, rice husks, whatever. You get electricity, and you also get to capture the excess heat to recycle in say, a radiant floor heater and hot water for bathing.

          There’s several manufacturers, and all apparently are angling to do some large splashy project, so that’s why they aren’t in the news. That, or maybe people just don’t understand Stirling.

  24. As Tom and others noted above I have real cotton balls soaked in petroleum jelly in film container in car or you can buy small twist top container at discount store

    Plus extra one in basic backpack with jacket, rain poncho etc so I have spare or extra clothes if needed plus four by two litre of water food, first aid etc
    Life happens and things go wrong. I used to drive about 1500 km a week for work in rural areas and lost count at the number of broken down, stuck or crashed tourists I was the first person to come by

  25. Don’t forget a deck of cards. If you’re lost or in trouble, pull out the cards and start playing solitaire. Somebody will come along and tell you to play the red four on the black five.

  26. The main events which have happened in recent history, can cause massive disruption, and are just as much of a threat today as any time, are:
    (1) sudden and wide scale electrical grid failure
    (2) earthquake
    (3) blizzard/flood
    (4) wide scale riots

    If you are traveling any distance away from home (beyond about 10 miles), I believe you would be wise to have some important items in your vehicle in the event that you have to shelter in your vehicle for days or walk back home.

    Remember the survival priorities:
    (1) security
    (2) shelter/clothing/warmth/cooling
    (3) water
    (4) food

    You will not last more than a few seconds if you cannot defend yourself from human and animal predators.
    You will not last more than a few hours without adequate shelter/clothing/warmth/cooling.
    You will not last more than a few days without water.
    You will not last more than a few weeks without food.
    And particularly harsh conditions could shorten those timescales significantly.

    My “survival items” in my vehicle address the first three priorities on that list.

    I have two flashlights (ultra bright LED) and spare batteries. I always have my every-day carry handgun. If I am going to be really far away from home, I also throw in a shotgun and/or rifle of some sort.

    I wear appropriate clothing for the season and have additional clothing for cold weather … as well as a serious sleeping bag if I will experience extreme cold conditions. I also have a large umbrella and a tarp/paracord to protect from extreme heat (shade) as well as to protect from rain, wind, and snow. I also carry fire starter sticks, an entire box of kitchen matches, a magnesium fire starter block, and several boxes of sparklers for starting fires in wet conditions. So far, all of this stuff takes up almost no space, weighs next to nothing, and costs pretty much nothing (except for the serious sleeping bag). Of course you have to have a large survival knife and a baton (oak stick) for cutting and chopping. (That will run you at least $100.) This is the most expensive part of shelter/warmth preparations and still weighs basically nothing and takes up pretty much no space.

    I have water filters which remove harmful bacteria and protozoa from lakes, streams, and ponds if I am in an area with natural water sources. If I am in an area without natural water sources, I usually have at least two gallons of water with me. And I have a metal container that allows me to boil water. (That doubles for helping with warmth as well.)

    I carry very little food. There is a lot of food all around if you know how to hunt and where to look. Besides, keeping food in hot cars during the summer is next to impossible without spoilage.

    I keep one package of baby wipes and two rolls of toilet paper in my car as well as a multi-tool.

    These preparations put you on solid footing if you have to shelter in your vehicle for a few days, walk 100 miles home, or even set-out to survive indefinitely away from home. About the only thing that I don’t have that would would be really nice are some long burning candles. I might get around to that eventually. But those add weight and take up more space.

  27. Sorry, OPSEC prevents me from commenting 🙂 Besides, I’d have to write a damn book to explain my position on the issue anyway… I will say however that one thing people shouldn’t forget to prep for is for no SHTF event to happen at all …except say… maybe losing your job, or living until retirement. They are statistically the more likely scenarios. Don’t lose perspective. But having said that, it never hurts to be prepared 😉 I was a Boy Scout too ya know…

  28. I think prepping will go beyond mainstream into simply being truly “commonsense” when Presumptive Cankle/Canker becomes President Cankles/Cankers. It will be necessary to prep for the eventual SHTF during her presidency, that being said I have far too few boxes of 556, I am still building my first evil black rifle, which legally I can’t in the fashion it was designed. But, on the good side, I got a bunch of duct tape, a fairly tall section of bamboo in the backyard and a couple USMC Kabars.

    Car bag has a 1911, a old leatherman, 4 mags, a sleeping bag, couple gallons of wawa(water), and a bunch of chili beans and mre pound cake, with a bunch of mre peanut butter to really shet em up.

  29. My preps are not as extensive as some commenters here, but enough that my wife probably thinks I am a nut. At least most of them are things I really will use sooner or later, such as food. It helps that I like eating beans anyway.

  30. So no tools or common spare parts to fix the breakdown ? I start with a full size spare, spare auto fluids, spare fan belt, fuses, etc.

  31. I live in the UK, so a trunk gun is a big no-no.

    It’s a much smaller and more densely populated country, too, with more benign weather than much of the States – so on the whole it’s not likely that I would need more than 24-48hrs of food and water (which is included, along with a decent range of weather dependent spare clothing etc.).

    My main focus is therefore on breakdown/recovery kit for the vehicle, and medical kit for the occupants and/or other casualties.

    Plenty of people mention anticoagulants and tourniquets (all very useful, in some circumstances) but one product I’ve not seen mentioned on here – and which is a truly excellent addition to any med kit – is the SAM Splint:

    Can be configured in seconds as a long-bone splint, pelvic cradle support or neck brace. In the case of the pelvic cradle support, application can massively reduce internal bleeding following a pelvic fracture. And as part of a truck med kit, it’s reasonably foreseeable you may encounter whiplash or other C-spine injury and therefore the neck brace configuration is a potential lifesaver.

    You can pick them up on Amazon: first link I found, Googling the US store, is here…

  32. Well guns are a limited thing in my sphere still unfortunately. But! I do have an auto punch and cheap trauma scissors in the family van for emergencies, as well as a first aid kit and emergency blankets/poncho.

    I don’t have food/water in there, because it’d get all weird fast in the heat. But maybe I should think about it again. I try and be prepared, but I’m still lacking in many areas obviously. Still. I’ll make slow and steady progress.

    It’s probably worth mentioning I started carrying a man-purse so I could have fire/first-aid with me at all times. :p

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