5 Prepping “Rules” That Are Actually Myths

James Walton
By James Walton January 15, 2018 12:12

5 Prepping “Rules” That Are Actually Myths

Rules. The word itself makes me cringe. I have been antiauthoritarian all my life, so I bristle at the idea of rules in general. Still, as something evolves it tends to make up some rules on its journey. Prepping has been no different. There have been guidelines by which all people who call themselves “preppers” adhere.

These rules or guidelines tend to help grow a community because they define what the community is all about. My biggest problem with rules is that the world is not yes or no, nor is it black or white. Prepping is no different. There is nuance and circumstance to consider.

In this article I hope to shed some light on 5 prepping RULES that are actually myths. You will be surprised by some of these, but I will also tell you how to get these practices right, so they can benefit you again.

Dehydrated Food Storage Meals Last 25 years

Preppers put a lot of merit into their food storage and rightly so. It will take some serious amounts of food to survive a full-on collapse. Luckily for preppers there is no shortage of internet retailers selling long term dry food storage.

The questions come when we start talking about the purported 25-30-year shelf life. One thing we all can agree on is that good food is not meant to sit around for 3 decades. Of course, we aren’t depending on our survival food to be the best meal we’ve ever had, right? Still, what is this 25-year shelf life all about.

Most companies will spend the large print on this promise. What they rarely mention is that this shelf life is only attainable by keeping your food storages at temperatures of 55 degrees Fahrenheit or less. Of course, this changes everything. Who has a climate controlled room for their food storage?

Very few preppers can store even a minimal amount of food storage at this temperature. So, your long-term food storage is not as long term as you think.

Related: 24 Food Items To Hoard

GET IT RIGHT:

To truly win at the game of food storage is to practice rotation. You must be using all that you store. Do not put a single thing on your shelf that you don’t plan on using. You can keep a stockpile, but you must also keep it moving.

Avoid the sales on items you are not going to integrate into your stockpile.

The myth is that your food storage will last for 25 years. That doesn’t mean you cannot have a years’ worth of food on hand. If you are actively eating that food and rotating it, then you will find success.

Related: Cracking Open a Ten-Year-Old Bucket of Food

The Bugout

One of the cornerstones of all prepping, the bugout, is supposed to get us out of harms way in a hurry. You cannot find a prepping website that doesn’t feature an article or several about the bugout. You might be surprised to find this on the list but its true, for most preppers, the bugout is a myth.

The idea of the bugout is something that gets passed around. Of the people who have a bugout bag and read the articles, I often wonder how many have executed a bugout in just the way it would go down. Moreover, how many people have executed a bugout with the whole family?

Most preppers have not even made it as far as writing their bugout plan down. The very basics of a practice like REDOUT.

Beyond REDOUT there are things like routes that need to be considered, rally points, caches and, of course, alternate routes if you find that your initial bugout location is compromised.

The bugout is by far the most over simplified prepper rule that, for most preppers, is a myth.

GET IT RIGHT:

If you want to turn this myth into a reality you need to follow the process from start to finish. Then you need to rehearse the process. With a notebook and maps you must sit down and plot your course. Here is my quick 10 step written bugout process.

  1. Print 8X10 maps of your neighborhood, your town, your city and your bugout location
  2. Looking at the maps decide on two short distance bugouts, areas you can travel 5 miles or less to escape danger
  3. Now seek out two locations that are 20 miles or more away mark them on the maps
  4. Plot your courses on these maps to each bugout location
  5. Notate food, water and other resources along the way
  6. Notate locations to bury caches
  7. Notate rally points
  8. Place all this info into a binder
  9. Put your bag on this weekend and go find a spot
  10. Come home and start modifying your plan to deal with real world issues you find on your treks

Related: 10 Reasons Why You Do Not Want to Bug Out

Successful and Sustainable Foraging

I love foraging. I have field guides and I eat as much wild food as I can, when it’s easy to get. I have watched homesteaders truly take advantage of wild foods and I am always looking to them to see prepper skills in practice. The homesteaders are taking the action that most preppers are only talking about.

The studying of foraging is not the rule that is a myth. In fact, if more preppers diligently studied foraging and practiced it in their areas they would be better equipped in the wild. They would also better understand its limits.

All that said, foraging alone will never sustain you let alone your family. This is the fundamental issue with foraging. You can eat all the berries and cattails you want this week. They will not sustain you like meat or fish. More importantly these resources will be gone once you have consumed them.

Foraging is not a substitute food source it is merely a bridge between meals.

If you attempt to do more than this with wild foraged plants, you are going to starve. Be very careful about how much you depend on foraging in a survival situation. I prefer it as a peripheral task while waiting for animal or fish traps to yield protein.

GET IT RIGHT:

Foraging is a subsidy. You must treat it like such. Do not spend your entire day foraging unless you have protein traps set, meat smoked or some other method of getting better nutrition.

To get foraging right you must give it a lot of time and practice. You must read, see, handle and taste these wild foods. You need to know which ones you like and how your body reacts to them. This is crucial.

Wild foods deserve your respect and attention, but plants and seeds will never get you through the long haul. You must have skills to get yourself some protein.

Related: 16 Wild Edibles You Didn’t Know You Could Forage For

Preparing for Martial Law

Martial law or overbearing militant government rule is one of the most popular post-apocalyptic themes in all of prepping. The idea that post collapse our government will gather together a mighty, well-armed, well organized force to monitor all the metro areas is just not reality.

Where would this great force of fighters come from? How would a force of any size monitor some 300 million people?

We need only look at some of the most recent disasters to understand what the government and the military are truly capable of. Relief and aid would take up most of the military force across the nation. Sending the rest into neighborhoods to control the population, confiscate guns and instill curfews would be suicide.

Nationwide martial law is a myth.

GET IT RIGHT:

There will be some semblance of law struggling to stay in power. This will be true of all localities. In this event your family will be at risk. You may have individuals who have been given too much power or desperate people making decisions to keep order. Murder without justice, is what I mean.

Rather than preparing for nationwide martial law you must be prepared to gather emergency intelligence using things like police scanners, short wave radio and HD camera drones. When you get your cues and you find that the police are disbanding, it’s time to hit the road or at least head to one of those short-term bugout locations we talked about earlier.

Related: Surviving Martial Law: What To Do If It Hits Your Town

Tactical Training

You are no match for a gang of armed thugs. You may be a veteran, you may be highly trained, but you have a weakness that is never discussed on tactical forums. You have a family.

David Jones, a 24-year army vet, taught me about acceptable casualties one day. He explained that when a fighting force engages a target there are acceptable casualties. As a prepper you do not have any acceptable casualties.

Who is an acceptable casualty? Your wife? Little Timmy? I mean, you don’t even want to lose your brother in law.

The gang you are facing does not share the same sentiment for their men at arms. While tactical training and movement drills can prove to be helpful in a collapse scenario, you should really be moving away from conflict and keeping quiet to avoid any altercation.

If you find yourself daydreaming about your .300 blackout, body armor and gunfights, you are going about this thing all wrong. Focus on a strategy of deterring and avoiding conflict until it is totally unavoidable.

GET IT RIGHT:

You are not a warfighter. You are probably a father or mother and based on US averages you are probably out of shape. Don’t put the people you love in danger by taking unnecessary risks. Being aggressive and offensive will not end well.

Tactical training doesn’t just have to be about shooting guns and breeching homes. You should pay attention to military formations and how these groups move silently. Also, you can focus on SERE training to avoid capture and detection.

To be tactical as a family leader and a prepper focus on communication, intelligence and stealth.

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James Walton
By James Walton January 15, 2018 12:12
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80 Comments

  1. GreeneAcres January 15, 14:48

    Thank you for the more down to earth information. Both my husband and I are “puggy” and wouldn’t make it 1 mile in a bug out. This makes more sense.

    Reply to this comment
  2. Wannabe January 15, 15:05

    Good article. Practical

    Reply to this comment
  3. Alpha January 15, 15:40

    While I agree that bugging out is not necessarily the best thing to do, bugging in is not very safe either. Bug in preppers according to almost everything I’ve ever read, seem to believe that with a million rounds of ammo and an arsenal to use and 20 years of food that they can last against armed thugs bent on killing you and taking all you have anyway. Let’s face it, all it takes is one Molotov cocktail to your house and you have no choice but to burn alive or go out the door where they will most certainly be waiting for you.
    So in my opinion the best option is to bug out to a safer place with long term or even permanent living goals in place. Leave little to nothing they can use behind. Only carry what you can to use in most situations to do long term and permanent living. That is my ultimate goal to keep my family safe. Avoid confrontation at all costs, and live for better days. Just my opinion.

    Reply to this comment
    • rj January 15, 19:10

      Why would a gang burn the supplies they believe are located in my house?? More likely they will surround and lay siege so the humans surrender and the supplies remain intact….like cutting of water and electricity, blocking trash , garbage and sewage removal…..sleep deprivation….Also, what evidence is there that gangs are so large and disciplined?? Won’t they want the easy low hanging fruit…the fast in and out with out losses on their side?? What gang members will attack believing they will die for any leader??

      Reply to this comment
      • Homesteader January 16, 11:04

        rj – If it gets to the point where there are roving gangs, then amenities like trash removal, water, electricity, etc won’t be operating either. Grocery stores will have been looted and food will be in short supply. It won’t take very many to overrun homes that appear to have what they want, and those that appear to be defenseless, easy targets will be hit first. When you get more than four or five people together, a leader of some sort usually emerges. Don’t underestimate people during an SHTF situation. They won’t be just a bunch of mindless thugs. They will have some sort organization but, most importantly, they will have weapons and will not be afraid to use them to get what they want.

        Reply to this comment
    • Tallpoppy January 15, 22:32

      Couldn’t agree more..

      Reply to this comment
    • bk January 16, 07:21

      yes, but how do you know that the same thing (armed thugs, Molotov cocktail, etc..) won’t apply to your bug out location?

      Reply to this comment
  4. davetb January 15, 15:54

    Well, you nailed me with this one. OUCH! Good info that leaves me with the thought that things may not turn out well for me and mine because I am more of a “Prepper- Light” than an all out Prepper. I have more of a “Stay in Place” set up. No way could my wife or Father-in-law bug out. If things go totally South, the phrases that comes to mind are “resistance is futile” and “Heaven is home”. At least this article helps me to prepare mentally.

    Reply to this comment
    • Homesteader January 16, 02:46

      I agree – sometimes staying put is the only option. When things like arthritis and other maladies set in, it definitely limits your options. Personally, I’d rather be in a location I know, with people I know, than be hoofing it somewhere and be unknown. Another phrase comes to mind “there’s safety in numbers”. We too have set our place up in stay here. A lot of our neighbors have a similar mindset. Even now, if a stranger happens to just walk or drive down our road, everyone knows about it and keeps watch until they’re gone. Strangers are already met with a great deal of suspicion around here. I can’t imagine what it will be like when SHTF happens.

      Reply to this comment
  5. Jarrett January 15, 16:55

    Great article! I try and buy long term food that I can take backpacking or camping, so I have an easy way to rotate through it. I also like your comments on tactics and remembering there are no acceptable casualties in surviving, which is very easy to forget.

    Reply to this comment
  6. Bill January 15, 16:56

    This is the best most common sense article on prepping I have ever read!!!

    Reply to this comment
  7. Gail January 15, 17:11

    good article. Thanks! I would not make it in any of these scenarios. Hopefully I will be long gone before any of these things happen. I am nearly 71.

    Reply to this comment
    • crazyoldcoot January 16, 19:38

      I am ninety and in better health than many people 30 years younger. I am prepared for total breakdown of society with gangs of armed looters. My defences consist mainly of booby traps and camouflage. My fences are thick wide rows of blackberries and thorny shrubs. Not even bears want to go through them. I have small scattered gardens of mixed annuals and perennials that look like patches of weeds but very productive.

      The booby traps are all disarmed but they can be quickly armed if needed. They are all designed to maim not kill. I don’t want to burry a bunch of bodies. The wounded need the care of their comrades and there are less to raid. It demoralizes them when they are being struck down and there is no one to shoot at.

      There is a radiation proof survival shelter big enough for twenty people and is well stocked for a year My two neighbours helped build it and we will share it if the worst happens. It looks like a hill and is over grown with blackberries. People think it is an underground house that failed.
      A small hydroelectric generator provides the electricity. It is underground and buried pipes bring in the water from the river and discharge it downstream. A good well supplies the water.

      It took ten years to do this and I hope it gives you some ideas of what can be done to avoid armed conflict, which can be fatal.

      Reply to this comment
  8. left coast chuck January 15, 17:41

    Good common sense article. The only thing I would disagree with is that in some locales, twenty miles away in any direction would only place you in a neighborhood just like the one you left, only now you don’t know anyone.

    Almost anywhere in SoCal, move 20 miles in any direction and it looks just like where you left (or worse). Unless one were to head up into the national forest (together with how many others with the same idea?) you are still in an urban neighborhood. On a normal weekend the roads in the national forests surrounding Los Angeles are jammed with folks “getting away from the crowds”. I can only imagine what they would look like in a national disaster.

    You will read prepper manuals that tell you that you can hike 25 or 30 miles a day. Yes, you can if you are in your 20s, are only carrying snacks and water, perhaps a jacket and your rest stops are at locations where there are toilet facilities and meals are provided for you. Even if you gulp down an MRE without heating it, your stop is going to take a minimum of 30 minutes. It’s easy to figure out. Military march cadence is 120 30-inch steps a minute. That is two steps a second. It is a brisk pace. That is 100 yards a minute, 3.4 miles an hour. Roughly 7.5 hours to go 25 miles non-stop. Every time you stop to catch your breath you have added to the time.

    Using the stopwatch function on your phone or just using your wristwatch, step off 120 paces. A 30 inch step is a stretch if your inseam is less than 30 inches. When you get to 120, see how long it has taken you. Or go to the local high school if they have a football field and march from one goal line to another. How long did it take you?You are going to have to step up your pace, Recruit. That’s without a pack or any kind of burden.

    Now, figure you have to detour to go around a burning building; duck down an alley to avoid an ugly looking crowd; find some place to dig a cat hole or some out of the way place to take care of personal business. You are very vulnerable in that position, so you want some place private. That search takes a while. Your feet are starting to burn so you stop to change socks or treat hot spots. Do you think you can make ten miles the first day and then another ten miles the second day? Is five more realistic?
    How far away did you say your bug-out location was? Twenty miles @ 8 miles a day is 3 days. That means unless you are going to forage in buildings and trust to luck on finding something to eat and drink which takes more time, you are going to need to carry 3 days worth of food, water and other necessities. Better make that 4 days worth.

    Reply to this comment
    • Homesteader February 11, 03:00

      lcc – Isn’t 120 steps a minute a little fast? I can’t ever remember marching at that pace, even in basic training.

      Reply to this comment
      • mbl February 11, 06:20

        I’ve marched at 120 beats a minute. It’s fast, but can be doable. I think for a long slog 90 bpm is better, though. At least for me it is, ymmv.

        Reply to this comment
        • Homesteader February 11, 07:07

          OK. It just seemed rather fast.

          Reply to this comment
          • left coast chuck April 2, 16:17

            I did enough troop drilling in the Marine Corps to know what the pace is. It is drilled into you in boot camp. There are two cadence speeds. 120 steps per minute is the normal marching cadence. 180 steps per minute is the double time cadence. After boot camp in some pogue headquarters and service units or motor pool units the pace may lag but the designated march cadence is 120 and double time 180. The British have three march cadences: quick time, 120 steps a minute, double time, 180 steps a minute and slow march and that is the march you see them doing on ceremonial occasions and I don’t know exactly how fast that is but it looks to be about 60 steps per minute.

            Yes, 120 steps a minute is fast. If you are old enough, you will remember that in his walks around D.C. when the president wasn’t a snowflake confined to his ivory tower, Harry Truman used to walk around Washington on his daily morning walks at the military cadence and all the news media used to kvetch bitterly about having to walk so fast. Even though I am 81 I still walk at that pace, although my knees won’t let me double time. That is a misnomer, 180 is not 2 times 120 — at least that’s what the nuns told me in second grade.

            Anyway, the point of my post was not to recommend the military march cadence but rather to point out how slowly people walk and how much time one needs to cover a certain distance. It is purely mathematics. You saw the figures for a 120 steps per minute pace. Slow it down and the time lengthens. It will take you longer to go the same distance. Add in detours such as I suggested and it will take longer. The prepping “experts” who suggest that you will cover 150 miles bugging out while hauling all of your gear on your back and cover that distance in three days haven’t ever done that.

            I can remember back in the days of the “Old Corps” there was an article in Leatherneck Magazine that a Marine battalion had marched 100 miles in three days at Camp Pendleton in SoCal. That was significant enough that it was written up in the magazine. This wasn’t some office group, it was an infantry battalion of young men in top physical condition used to marching. They also had services provided for them. There were porta-potties along
            the way and they had a hot meal provided in the evening. Nobody was shooting at them.

            To end this, be realistic about how far you and your family can travel. You can use whatever pace you want and you can figure between 25 and 30 inches per step. If you use the bead system to track your steps, you can figure out roughly how far you are traveling.

            Reply to this comment
  9. Cat January 15, 18:08

    Generally good info, but what about a single, in-shape vet? No plans to take on a militia or horde of post-apocolyptic raiders, but no, I DON’T have to worry about little Timmy. I don’t have to worry about anyone but me. And yes, I can easily move 5 miles in a day burdened with a load of 50-100 lbs of food/ammo. So what info do you have in support of those of us who won’t be moving with a family, but won’t have the support and comfort of a family?

    Reply to this comment
    • left coast chuck January 15, 19:27

      No man is an island entire unto himself. You can’t stand watch 24/7. You need back up. Except for a very few rare individuals, even LURPS didn’t go out by themselves and they had back up in many cases. Call in a helicopter, call for a fire mission, hook up with another patrol. Yeah, sometimes things went south and they were by themselves, but they had a base camp that, hopefully, they could return to. In an EOTW situation you might do it alone for a while, but sooner rather than later you are going to need someone to watch your six, your three and your nine. I would think a four person group would be the smallest unit that would have a likelihood to survive. Can you do it all by yourself? It has been done, but even Hugh Glass had civilization to head toward at the end of his journey. And most mountain men who were really skilled in survival usually traveled in a band. Very rarely did one run across a solitary mountain man. Even then, he usually had contact with a friendly Indian band during the winter.

      So while it is possibly for you to undertake a solitary existence, I would suggest you somehow plan on carefully feeling out 3 more like-minded individuals to form your group and go from there. I could expand on the topic but it has so many aspects to it that it would fill a book, not just a thousand word article.

      Reply to this comment
    • Toni January 15, 19:59

      Find your brothers and sisters. We are still here spread over the nation. We are called veterans, not civilians for a reason. You are never alone if you remember that.

      Reply to this comment
  10. dp January 15, 18:25

    Excellent article.

    This points out several reasons that the best prepping is to prepare a secure location to live long before any SHTF situation. Then live there, and start working with your neighbors for mutual support. Start out with a neighborhood watch group.

    You can’t stand alone against roving bands of criminals, but if you have built a community committed to mutual defense and support, then your chances go way up.

    Reply to this comment
  11. mbl January 15, 18:48

    My bugout preparations are more along the lines of weather events that would prompt me to leave my home, as i think those would more likely happen. And living in a 4-season part of the country means that each season will bring with it different challenges and preps. so five miles in any direction would likely mean more of the same weather conditions. So far, I’ve bugged in and been successful. Still, I like having bugout items ready to take with me, in the event that I’m someplace else when the weather situation occurs; at least I’d have some useful items, and it can double as my “get home” supplies. A friend and I discussed this when a heavier than usual snowstorm knocked out power to much of our region. She was dogsitting and caring for an elderly dog for several days, in the elderly dog’s house, which was all electric. The people had dispensed with their landline years before as they used just cell phones, and while my friend had some items in her car, she realized if she’d brought her bugout stuff with her, it would have been far less stressful.

    I bugged in, and felt stress even though I had prepared well. The power came back on the third day, and I made a list of the good, the bad, and the serendipitous, and have been working off that list since.

    In some instances, it’s safest to stay put for a while and then go.

    As for dehydrated food, if it’s done right, it can last a long, long time. I agree with the author that you ought to use what you have before the emergency, so you know how it works for you. It’s easier to test things out when you don’t need to depend on them and then make adjustments.

    Reply to this comment
  12. Knotter January 15, 19:01

    Thankyou for those words of wisdom.
    Having been preparing for emergencies since the Cuban missle crisis ,2 tornados and 5 hurricanes and many minor emergencies My hope is that your message reaches more people

    Reply to this comment
  13. left coast chuck January 15, 20:09

    Living in SoCal, I always figured my biggest exposure was traveling away from home when “THE BIG ONE” hit and I would be stuck on one of our freeways (what a misnomer. With the gas taxes we pay there is nothing free about them) and some of the freeways have some fairly remote areas. If one travels I-5, the really main highway between the Mexican border and the Oregon border, there are some stretches where the road sign says, “Next Services 35 miles.” As I have pointed out above, that’s a multi-day hike. As a consequence, I always carry a get home bag for my wife and me. It may not get us home, but it will allow us to reach some developed location or camp out in the car for a period of time until rescue comes.

    Based on two brush fires in the hills near my home and water flow patterns during the occasional heavy rainfall we have, I acknowledged the possibility of having to deal with fire and/or flood but considered the danger more remote than the danger of earthquake. My evaluation proved wrong in the recent fires in SoCal. I was awakened at 0400 to find the homes on the hill above my home fully engulfed in flame. There were flames in the direction the wind was blowing from that from my vantage point looked as if the flames had jumped the broad roadway separating our tract from the tract up the hill from us. That indicated to me, with the winds blowing just below hurricane force that flames would be in our street in just a few minutes. We grabbed clothing, important papers box, toiletries, and I thought, in a cool, calm, collected manner, exited our home.

    I was wrong about the location of the flame. It was right next to the road that separates the two tracts but from its position and mine, it looked as if it had already crossed the road. Our home did not burn.

    However, I did not have a checklist of items I absolutely needed to take and a count of the number of parcels we should have loaded. As a consequence, I left our prescription medicines behind and my wallet with my identification in it. I also neglected to put my wife’s packed suitcase in the car.

    SO (I would underscore and make it boldface if I could) If you don’t do anything else to prepare for an emergency, make a list of the items you absolutely need to take. Pack them up and count how many parcels (and a description of each parcel) you will be taking. On your list, itemize where the item is located. For instance, your important life papers. If they are all in one place, that’s great, but sometimes some items are not needed for years and are stored further back in the closet than items that you use more frequently. I only consult the deed to our house like once every 30 years. It is generally in a file folder in a file cabinet along with other papers that pertain to the house we bought 50 years ago. We didn’t take that with us. I did take our birth certificates, passports, discharge papers, marriage certificate and other papers. I didn’t take the home insurance policy. It was in the file cabinet. It would have only taken me another ten seconds or so to grab those two files out of the file cabinet had I had them on my list. I had always figured I had a couple of hours at a minimum to get ready to bug out. I actually had more time because our house did not burn. I left Ventura at 10:00 to go to San Francisco because our neighborhood was “mandatory evacuation” and my daughter was insistent that we go to stay with them. Our house had not burned and I could have taken more time. I didn’t know that at 0400. As they say, hindsight is 20-20. It took us 30 minutes to pack and leave. If the fire had actually jumped the road, I don’t think we would have had that much time. If I had the list I feel confident I could have evacuated in 15 minutes.

    Even with other natural phenomenon while you might think you have more time, how many times has the weather service predicted a snow storm to have it turn into a paralyzing blizzard of epic proportions? If you live in the midwest or eastern part of the U.S. you know exactly what I refer to. How many times has a thunderstorm turned into a deluge? The folks in Santa Barbara experienced that. A rainstorm was predicted with the possibility of mud flows in the burn areas. Ventura didn’t have any mud flows at all. Santa Barbara, because the rain fell in a very short period of time had horrendous mud flows.

    If you don’t carry a get home bag in your car for each of your family, you need to have one prepared and its location listed on your bug out list.

    Summary: If you do nothing else, make the list I described. Keep it in your nightstand next to your head. Refer to it frequently and add items as they come to you. Record the location of the items so that you don’t have to search. Be diligent to return the item to its listed place if you have occasion to move it or adjust your list. If you moved the deed from the file cabinet to the fire-resistant box, make that change. Maybe those treasured photos of Great Grandma and Great Grandpa, the irreplaceable family treasures, need to be taken down from the wall and put in a suitcase or have a suitcase all prepared that they will fit in so that they can be packed in a few minutes rather than scurrying around as the waters are lapping against your front door. While electronic media is great, paper is better. If all the electronic devices are fried, having a thumb drive with all the important papers on it is useless. If it is an old operating system, newer systems might not be able to read it anyway. If you are going to have it stored electronically, make sure it is in different formats rather than just a single format.

    There is a lot more to it than what I have outlined above. I could go on with everything I learned from this experience but this has to end somewhere so I will stop. I was extremely lucky. I thought I was prepared for everything. Luckily for me and my wife, this was a wake-up call instead of a deadly disaster.

    Reply to this comment
    • Old & Gray January 15, 22:28

      Lefty, I really think you SHOULD write a book. I’m so encouraged and feel safer when I read your few, several, many posts. Your expertise in everything is enlightening and a thrill to read. You have to have tons of experience from military, clandestine and security operations. I’m overly impressed. Keep on writing the tons of stuff, it’s music to my ears!

      Reply to this comment
      • lcc January 16, 00:10

        Thank you for the kind comments. It’s not that I am so smart, it is that I am slowly starting to learn from the many mistakes I have made. See above for the really, really short list.

        Reply to this comment
      • Old & Gray January 24, 04:44

        Lefty, That was somewhat of a rhetorical comment by me. Brother, you really just never stop talking (writing) and your perspectives just keep going on & on & on & on…………. Please help us all by focusing on 1 or 2 specific narrow skill needs/sets and I graciously ask you to keep your input short and concise for fast easy reading. Thanks O & G

        Reply to this comment
        • Lucy January 24, 19:37

          Old & Gray, maybe you could just skip over left coast chuck’s posts when you come to them? It seems that many of us enjoy being enlightened and uplifted by his insights and experience. I would hate to have him stuff a sock in it. That would be such a loss.

          Reply to this comment
          • dp January 25, 00:32

            Lucy,

            I think that you take offense where none is intended.

            Both O&G and myself enjoy LLCs writings, but without honest constructive criticism he will never improve his style.

            I think that a book may be in his future because he certainly has subject matter and a drive to write, but he needs some tuning on the presentation. That is not taking away from his talent, but rather just keeping things real with him.

            IMO, he should start with some articles on this website. He can get honest feedback from people that appreciate him, and later it makes it very easy to take the articles and have the beginnings of a good book.

            Encouragement is one thing, but putting him on a pedestal is just setting him up for failure – real friends don’t do that to each other.

            Reply to this comment
            • dp January 25, 00:41

              Ooops… silly website software doesn’t even give you 5 minutes to correct grammatical errors. I meant LCC not LLC. lol

              Reply to this comment
            • Lucy January 25, 21:42

              No offense taken, and no pedestals for anyone. Gandhi and Einstein abandoned their children, Mother Teresa had her flaws, but none of that negates their gifts. This difference of opinion may owe to our different typologies (Introvert/Extravert, Thinker/Feeler, Sensate/Intuitive), therefore different tastes. I don’t set myself up as anyone else’s arbiter [ahem!], just like the information as it comes out, asides and all. Asides, specially. I like to do my own editing.

              It’s an old idea. A chacun son gout, de gustibus non disputandum est, to each his own taste, said the old lady as she kissed the cow.

              Reply to this comment
              • dp January 26, 23:53

                Right Lucy…

                no pedestals for anyone, and then you start making comparisons to Gandhi, Einstein, and Mother Teresa… lol.

                You are not anyone’s arbiter, but apparently no one else is allowed to have an opinion on the subject without you turning it into a dispute.

                Most amazing of all is your innate ability to magically classify people as to their individual typology based on a few posts…

                Reply to this comment
          • Old & Gray January 26, 00:43

            Hi Lucy,

            Sometimes hard to do when it’s sifted through my real world experience and none of us can be an expert on everything. Maybe it’s someone’s California thing, but i’m aiming high here and luckily the round drops at the foot of the target when I say, instant expertise and experience does not befall the one with the most words and the strongest desire to spread them.

            You will note that I seldom interject on all the topics & articles that get put out there. There’s a reason. But I also see a lot of incorrect and dangerous information that gets planted or used to plan upon that can cost many naive and untrained minds down the road. I haven’t gotten involved there, but someone should and I don’t want it to be me. Or maybe I should just not be concerned at all and “just skip over them.”

            So what dp and I were eluding to was that it “should be put in a book” verses heavily inundated on this blog. When I write a book, I have to prove everything in it and not just use conjecture, speculation and this-happened-to-me dialogue.

            My final twist on this comes down to having to stop visiting these blogs altogether. I learn very little from the base articles, high word count posts and the plethora of absolutely dangerous incorrect information being put out there. But it is surprising how so many don’t want accurate, verified and “useful” knowledge. So I relinquish to the lccs of the blogs. Have fun with “enlightened and uplifted”, but think about that when you swallow bad info and guidance verses taking the time now and “stuffing a sock in it” BEFORE it gets someone killed on the other end of the mission. Love Ya’ll, final sign-off – Good Luck! I won’t be visiting in the future.

            Reply to this comment
    • dp January 16, 06:51

      LCC,

      Spot on as usual, although a bit wordy about it also. lol

      you probably should write an article for your brothers and sisters on this site…

      I am not sure that it warrants a book????

      I am not being mean, but:

      Somebody has to bring you down to earth brother. lol

      you have a gift of gab… put it to work…

      Reply to this comment
      • Lucy January 19, 00:00

        Oh, yes, it IS a book, I say! You have worlds of experience, the ability to speak it clearly (and with good grammar and flawless spelling, to boot!), a logical curious and truth-seeking mind, heartwarming compassion-cum-awareness, and a terrific sense of humor that humanizes it all. Maybe two books… Or just start, and see what bubbles up!

        Reply to this comment
        • lcc January 20, 06:01

          Wow, Lucy! I’m going to have to check all my hats to make sure they still fit. But thanks for the kind words.

          Reply to this comment
  14. Mitchell January 15, 20:29

    Given how violent humans are naturally I’d say the mass of violence will die out in a few days to weeks. Better to stay put short term and then try to move after a few days. Big issue bugging in presents any light and everyone will know were your hiding. But you eventually have to move on and find a safe group of people who can help with keeping each other safe and rebuilding a community.

    Reply to this comment
    • left coast chuck January 23, 19:33

      Invest in lights that show a red light. There are headlamps that have white, red and green l.e.d.s. Red light preserves your night vision. It also is not as visible as white light. Night training in the military revealed just how far a white light is visible. Without a physical demonstration, it was hard to believe how far away a white light can be seen.

      I use a red lens flashlight for navigating my house at night. Right after I have turned off the white lights in the house, I can barely see with the red light. After my eyes have adjusted to the dark, it is surprising how much the dim red light reveals.

      If you can’t find a head lamp that has a red lens, you can make your own. Get a can of the darkest color red spray paint you can find. Remove the lens and spray it with the dark red paint. Be sure to coat all the way to the edge of the lens. Even a single spot of clear lens will show up dramatically when you turn the light on in complete darkness.

      Another course of action is to visit printing companies in your area, not copy shops, actual printing companies. Ask them if they have any Rubylith film or tape. Offer to buy it from them. That is what I use to make red lens flashlights and it works better than spray paint or fingernail polish. It is self-adhesive and will stick to the lens nicely. It makes the perfect safelight. I prefer Rubylith tape but beggars can’t be choosers.

      Whatever you do, you do not want to use bright light in an EOTW situation. First, as you pointed out, it will make where you are a beacon for everybody, good or evil. Secondly, the brighter the light you are in, the more your right vision is impacted. Even a campfire will severely impact your night vision. With diminished night vision, you can see who is lurking and where they are lurking. They can be standing in plain sight twenty yards away and be invisible to you if you are staring into a campfire.

      Reply to this comment
  15. Doomsdayprepper45/70 January 15, 21:03

    Covert, covert, covert, that is our plan as we live in our BOL on a cattle property. Biggest part of the plan is restricting other peoples access to where we live. A dozer will destroy dirt road acess to our area and only leave bush tracks that are seldom used by anyone expect ourselves. Any military will have the same problem as you in regard to food and supply chain.
    No fuel would make it near impossible for any major force to travel and be supplied. Situational awareness in our daily lives particularly when in towns and larger cities is becoming very important especially in australia with the rise of muslim faith and african gang imports on refugee visa’s. Most meals we eat here come from our garden and meat grown here. Bugged in as we can not travel with the extended family as stated in the article. No easy answers to everything. Just keep the mindset and plod on regards in life. 🙂

    Reply to this comment
  16. SoCal cynic prepper January 16, 05:34

    All great advice. As my wife is disabled bugging out is not an option. But making my property look like it was ransacked already and keeping a low profile will help to some small degree. Along with a like minded community. Safety in numbers. If I have to stop a group of marauders,I will do my best should I be slain I go to my grave knowing that some of my stored goods are poisonous, I’m surprised no one mentioned that in comments.

    Reply to this comment
  17. Doomsdayprepper45/70 January 16, 07:14

    A good reason to not drink (alcohol) and eat! 🙂

    Reply to this comment
  18. Phred January 16, 11:32

    Martial Law.. I agree with your article. Any kind of major SHTF will leave a void ( government, etc). Someone will try to fill that void and take control. I really worry about the UN being on our soil. Thoughts ?

    Reply to this comment
  19. fifth_disciple January 16, 20:19

    “Dehydrated Food Storage Meals Last 25 years”

    As you noted this issue is full of nuance. To understand the degradation process you need to know that stored food has three enemies, temperature, oxygen and moisture.

    The claim regarding dehydrated food is made because 1) Dehydration removes moisture 2) Most are purged of oxygen and flooded with Nitrogen 3) The 70 degree maximum temperature recommendation is the upper limit on the storage temperature range, lower is better.

    The primary enemy of food storage is oxidation. This requires oxygen which is found in both air and water. Remove those and you greatly extend the life of the product. This is often achieved through vacuum packaging but anything so packaged will have a lower pressure inside than out and the smallest opening will allow oxygen in.

    As an example, you can’t vacuum seal a plastic 5 gallon bucket because the chemical structure is porous and will eventually allow in air. If however, you fill it with Nitrogen at atmospheric pressure the pressure inside is equal to the pressure outside and no exchange of gas occurs. Nitrogen is stable and is very slow to combine or interact with any other molecule in food or packaging.

    Temperature also affects food. Remember Chemistry 101? The colder something gets the slower the movement of it’s atoms and the slower it’s metabolic rate. Most home freezers operate at a maximum of 5 degrees. That’s 5 degrees above zero. Most commercial freezers operate at -10 degrees. Again, that’s 10 degrees below zero. The difference is significant. I put a full steer in our commercial freezer almost four years ago and we are still eating it.

    Reply to this comment
  20. OTGguy January 17, 01:09

    Foreign troops are being trained on US soil in the hundreds of thousands. They are not bound by the US Constitution so Posse Comitatus is out the window. So I agree and disagree with your assertion that Martial Law will never be enacted…no we will be occupied by foreign forces.

    Reply to this comment
    • Homesteader January 17, 04:09

      Question: How are they going to deploy enough of these foreign troops to control over 300 million of the most heavily armed civilians in the world? No other country has such an armed civilian population and it’s growing each day.

      Yes, I know about the troops. There are Russian units in the mountains not far from me. Some even have their families with them which may not be a very wise decision if you’re planning on taking over a country. Those families could be held hostage by the very people you’re trying subjugate.

      I guess we’re all just going to have to wait and see what really is going to happen and be prepared for the worst but hope for the best.

      Reply to this comment
  21. Mic Roland January 17, 02:20

    Good article, if hard for many to hear. The Rambo-prepper myth is very popular. It feeds on ego: a resource some have in abundance.

    The foraging myth is also crucial. While you mentioned protein needs, you missed the carbs. Most wild edibles (greens, berries, etc.) are EDIBLE but don’t provide many calories. That’s what you need to do work. You need some protein, yes, but only something like a quarter or less of our daily intake (in ounces of food) needs to be protein (and related oils/fats).

    Foraging has a very poor return on calories invested. You could wander around a huge woods all day and MAYBE have foraged enough to replace the calories you spent. A prepper needs to become a farmer, raising carbs (grains, potatoes, etc.).

    Reply to this comment
  22. Mr. Gray January 17, 02:30

    Another myth: the myth of a serene, placid farming society once the Collapse has come and gone.

    Reply to this comment
  23. Doomsdayprepper45/70 January 17, 08:41

    We have the same here in australia! 10’s of thousands of american troops stationed here. Will they fire on australian civilians? You bet! And of course the fire will be returned!

    Reply to this comment
  24. TheSouthernNationalist January 17, 22:10

    A lot of folks cant bug out cause we have no where to bug out to. I like a lot of folks, am going to have to stay home and do the best I can.

    Maybe I can keep all my preps hidden and only take out what me and my family will eat for that day so if a crowd shows up, we have nothing to see and maybe they will move on.
    I’m gettin old folks, I can’t do those long hikes anymore so I’m going to have to stay put and defend my home the best I can.

    Reply to this comment
    • dp January 17, 23:37

      TheSouthernNationalist,

      I hate to break it to you, but when everyone is starving and your family has food every day it will not take a genius to figure out that you have supplies.

      I don’t really have a suggestion for your situation since I don’t know the specifics. Maybe, try to network with some like minded neighbors for mutual defense and support. You are going to need the help of friends, neighbors, or family. 2-3 people can’t defend a location 24 hrs per day for weeks on end.

      I would suggest not letting any “crowds” that come by see that you have any food whatsoever. Personally, I would discourage any crowds from coming around. A crowd in desperate times is just an angry mob waiting on a trigger event.

      Reply to this comment
  25. Lucy January 19, 00:19

    What a down-to-earth article! Refreshing.

    Depending on our individual circumstances, there may be a few adaptations we could make. At latitude 46 north, the earth’s temperature is a fairly steady 54 degrees, which would make root cellars a good bet for some of us for bugging in.

    Foraging has the advantage in some seasons in some places of supplying vitamins, minerals, and enzymes that are easily lost in canning, freeze drying, dehydrating. But get that protein sourced, for sure!

    The likelihood that I would be able to defend myself for long is laughable. 100#, small bones, fading eyesight, and neurological damage from 7 1/2 years of Lyme disease makes drawing a bead less than feasible. That leaves cooperation, sharing information and resources, and assisting others as the only way to prove that I have more value alive than dead. Realistically, it’s moot how long I would live without food supplements, anyway. That knowledge may sound dark, but it’s liberating, too.

    Reply to this comment
    • Cia January 26, 00:57

      Lucy,

      You just narrowed down your location to the northern portions of 8 states in the USA based upon your last post.
      Latitude 46 North, Lymes disease and Root Cellars. Enlightening.

      Reply to this comment
  26. Labienus January 28, 18:45

    This is why I find it pathetic when guys feel the need to hoard thousands of rounds of various types for several different guns. That is not necessary. Every gun I have has a purpose.

    Mossberg 500 12gauge shotgun for defense.
    Taurus Millenium g2 pt111 9mm for defense
    Remmington 700 in 30-06 for hunting

    It’s simple, manageable and efficient. KISS, keep it simple stupid. You are not some call of duty super soldier. You are trying to survive and keep your loved ones safe. Get over these delusions of grandeur and glory, and use the money you would have wasted on that extra several boxes of .50cal ammo or those new scopes for your AR-15, and use it for food, water or medicine. Your family will thank you.

    Reply to this comment
    • Homesteader January 28, 22:22

      Some of us preppers have a lot of guns simply because we like guns. They may even come in handy for bartering later on. The ammo certainly will. Of course, you have to know who you’re trading with before trading any guns or ammo.

      Reply to this comment
    • dp January 29, 02:01

      Labienus,

      That is why you are not in charge. Lack of foresight, and overly judgmental about things that are none of your business. That kind of arrogance is not appreciated.

      If the SHTF, and I need to defend my location, then I will need help. If and when I need to take someone in, then I can ensure that they will be armed – because I won’t needing 15 lookouts armed with a whistle, and one shotgun between us to defend against a roving band of looters.

      As has already been stated, some of us are collectors – we would have a ton of guns anyway because we enjoy them… it is a hobby that we find enjoyable. We don’t have to justify that to you.

      No one is telling you that you only need one car, or one knife for cooking your dinner. Is it my place to tell you that you wasted $30,000 on a nice vehicle when a $2000 used beater would get you from place to place just as well?

      Reply to this comment
  27. greendragon January 29, 03:56

    I have never owned a gun but if someone wants to own one or more, that is his or her right. The trouble with this world is too many people telling others what they should do.

    Reply to this comment
  28. Labienus January 29, 04:21

    I’m not looking to bring others in. I look after myself and my loved ones. Four people, three fire arms. When the youngest is old enough, then I will add a fourth firearm. It’s not a lack of foresight, it’s practicality. Less people to feed and arm, less people that can betray us. While I concede I am judgemental, the type of people I find pathetic for having loads of guns in loads of different calibers, are people that prep thinking they will honestly need all of that. They will not, I promise you that. Having several guns in the typical 9mm, .40, .38 .45, .22, .308, .50, 30-06, 12 gauge etc. Is pathetic and cowardly in my opinion. I’m utilitarian. I have a tool for a specific purpose. I keep it simple and effective. Having a dozen guns with different ammunition types can make things easily chaotic in an emergency situation. I honestly couldn’t care less if someone collects or enjoys guns, there’s nothing wrong with a hobby. It’s these survivalist Rambo’s that I find pathetic.

    I don’t ask you to justify anything to me, that’s not what I seek to do. I sought to state my personal opinion, as you have done as well.

    Reply to this comment
    • Homesteader January 29, 12:19

      Fair enough. The clarification helped. While I can’t speak for dp, I can say that I took your first statement to mean all people who collect guns, not just the “Rambos”. I’m sorry if there where any hard feeling caused by this.

      Reply to this comment
    • dp January 29, 15:30

      You are entitled to your opinions. What you are not entitled to is judging and condemning others for their choices.

      What are you going to do if one or two of your guns break? What about if 15 well armed outlaws decide to lay siege to your homestead? Criminals tend to band together in large groups when there is no law and order.

      You, and your small family need to sleep some time, and all of the work to keep things operating still needs to be done.

      I would suggest that you have at least one “spare” gun, and any parts that are common to break – like firing pins and springs. I a real SHTF scenario it is unlikely that the local walmart will reopen to sell you more ammo after 6 months. I have modern firearms, but I also have black powder calibers like 45 long colt. I can make my own black powder and cast lead bullets for those.

      I can make gun cotton for the more modern rounds in a pinch. There is much more to the hobby of gun collecting than buying guns, and ammo. Guns and ammo are valuable trade goods. Gun smithing is a valuable skill when a working gun is the difference between life and death.

      Personally, I think that your isolationist attitude is foolish and paranoid, but I’m not going to start calling you names over it. It’s none of my business how you do your preps.

      Reply to this comment
      • Labienus January 29, 15:55

        I actually am entitled to judging or condemning someone for anything I please. They are my personal opinions of someone, which you yourself I am entitled to have.

        It is the mentality of fighting off marauding looters, of having several firearms without purpose, that I consider to be Rambo. It’s pointless and reckless. If people come, we will leave. Simple as that. If we die, we died fighting. We aren’t going to do something stupid like giving away lethal weaponry to people who could either use it on us later, or will tell those Marauder’s where to go in order to get more weapons.

        You may find my isolationism foolish and paranoid, but I consider keeping outsiders away from my loved ones to be safe and sensible. Even now a days, it is dangerous to trust people. If my distrust can keep us alive and safer, by God I will do it.

        Reply to this comment
        • dp January 29, 16:17

          It is not your opinions that I take offense at it is your need to publicly condemn and name call people that you know nothing about… your actions point out serious underlying problems in your mental attitude and personality.

          Reply to this comment
          • Old & Gray January 29, 17:34

            Hey dp,

            Old & Gray here. Since I was still getting notices from this blog that I dealt with lcc and lucy, I read your exchanges with labie…

            This is why I have now chosen to stay away from the blog. For some of us who try to assist with real world versus fake news, naive wannabes and left minded over thinkers, it will be bitter over and over and over again to listen to others rhetoric out there.

            I strongly recommend for you to leave the blog of all the untried experts and focus on one that is truly experienced and real world. This, because you’ll never change their minds and they will never learn. It doesn’t take rocket science to figure out it’s a waste of our time, energy and talents on many oxygen thieves. There is no way you and I are going to make chicken salad out of chicken poop if you get my meaning.

            So let them go, you are the better man.

            Reply to this comment
            • dp January 29, 18:49

              O&G,

              I agree that it can be a little frustrating at times. lol

              I will still try to help those that can accept help. Some of these folks are just starting their preps, and are looking for help from more experienced folks. There are probably going to be some trolls on any other site as well.

              For those of us that have been prepping for years, we don’t have to worry about taking anything away from our people in order to buy a gun or some ammo. It is part of our long term plans.

              As far as trading guns and ammo goes… I agree that you need to be careful where these items end up. Selling off guns and ammo is not a part of my plans, but it is an option.

              If you don’t have people around you that you can trust by now, then you need to get started on that. If you have a homestead, then you should plan on folks that you trust making their way there from the city. They should already be stockpiling necessities at your location.

              You should already have a mutual defense plan with your neighbors. You should already be training with the people that you trust. Stockpiling food and water is only part of a good long term plan.

              This all just my opinion, but lots of folks that have been doing this for years seem to have come to the same conclusions.

              Reply to this comment
            • Dakota John April 2, 17:21

              Hey Grey, In your opinion, what would that source be? Just wondering. Thanks

              Reply to this comment
              • Old & Gray April 2, 17:45

                Hi Dakota John,

                The comment you are replying to was one that “dp” sent to me. So you’ll have to reference this to him.

                Thanks O & G

                Reply to this comment
  29. Phred January 29, 17:48

    I think this thread is beyond hope… however, I WILL put in another 2 cents worth.
    I would NOT, under ANY circumstances, barter my firearms or ammo !!! Anytime you barter anything, you are broadcasting that you have something of value. Really ? And to trade something that probably be used against you ? SMH.
    Everybody should be more realistic about how bad things/people might get.

    Reply to this comment
  30. Uncle Dave February 11, 01:32

    Wow! I found this site a few months ago. I really appreciate the articles and all of the insight the authors have put into them. Please don’t stop the comments!!

    I never really considered myself a “Prepper”, but I guess my grandparents and all of those “Older Generation” folks kind of rubbed off onto me. I’ve always enjoyed leaning my ear towards (or read) someone who has more for me to learn.

    I may be younger than you commentators I appreciate the most, but I am paying attention. Very much.

    Thanks. -One of the youngest Boomers here.

    Reply to this comment
  31. Liz April 2, 16:39

    Did you intend to say annotate? or notate locations?

    Reply to this comment
  32. Liz April 2, 16:46

    Consider an agri community. also, all of your landscaping should have a functional purpose. Even in the city. Also, all the electronic and wireless security systems being foisted onto the public, “SMART Houses” which are worthless when the power goes out. If anyone has a crawl space under their home have another security opportunity breach point. With a battery operated straight saw. your home can be breached via any window opening, even when bars are applied.

    Reply to this comment
  33. Wannabe April 30, 15:01

    One thing I’m not sure about trying are having caches on the way. Depending on what you put in them it can get expensive and hiding them in locations can be very difficult. What if your planned route is unattainable and you are forced to go to route B? What if that is unattainable? Then those caches on both routes are a total loss. Maybe they are hidden at friends or relatives properties. Then again they may be safer but might not be able to get to them. Just too many unseen variables. Seems better to have what you need on hand and worry about that one thing, getting your family to your final destination. Unseen construction can take out your supplies, just makes me say no to doing this

    Reply to this comment
  34. dp April 30, 17:05

    Wannabe,

    for caches along the way the main items that you would want to place in them would be food and water. Maybe some dry clean clothes like socks, etc.

    Burying expensive weapons, ammo, etc, along a proposed route is probably not a good idea for the reasons that you state. Also, people do go out with metal detectors quite a bit looking for people’s caches.

    It’s a pretty good payday to find a couple of AK-47s for a walk through the woods with a metal detector. 🙂

    Final thought, if you can’t carry those extra AK-47s when you leave home, then why would they be any less of a burden halfway to your destination?

    I would recommend stockpiling at your actual BOL, preferably with someone already living on site to safe guard the location and equipment.

    Reply to this comment
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