50 Low-priced Items That Will be Invaluable when SHTF

Chris Byrne
By Chris Byrne May 12, 2017 11:10

50 Low-priced Items That Will be Invaluable when SHTF

When you are ready to prepare for any SHTF situation, there are particular items that are absolutely vital. These items often fall into a few categories. The four pillars of survival are food, water, fire, and shelter. These are four priorities that must be secured to survive in any situation. In addition, other priorities might be first aid, self-defense, land navigation, and signaling for help. If you can cover these categories, you can survive just about any scenario.

In addition to covering these categories, you want to be as efficient as possible. This means that items covering more than one need are especially valuable. It also means you want your survival items to be small, lightweight, and inexpensive. One of the other priorities in prepping is redundancy. You never want to have to rely one just one item for fire, or just one item for purifying water. You want several layers of protection to ensure that your needs are covered. Here are the items I suggest for your prepping kit:

  1. Full Tang Knife: One of the most valuable items you can have is a quality knife. It is one of the items that is most difficult to recreate with only natural materials. A full tang knife means that the blade extends all the way to the end of the handle. This ensures that is will not break when put to the test. I prefer a heavy, long blade if it is the only blade I bring. Here are some tips on how to make your knife as sharp as the devil himself.
  2. Folding Saw: When processing wood, there are several products you can use. A large knife will work, but a good saw is better.  A small, flexible folding saw is ideal for cutting logs and branches up to about six inches thick.  It is lightweight, safe, and effective.
  3. Hatchet: Having a second way to process wood is a good idea, and a hatchet gives you another option. Hatchets are ideal for splitting firewood once you have it cut down.
  4. Ferro Rod: This small fire starter is waterproof, windproof, and never needs additional fuel. It is the most reliable fire starting tool you can have.
  5. Zippo lighter: The Zippo is windproof and can stay lit without having to hold down a button. It can also be refilled with several different flammable liquids.  This makes it ideal for long term use.
  6. Bic lighters: These disposable lighters are reliable and very inexpensive.  You can easily afford to have several lying around.
  7. Wetfire cubes: These waxy cubes are great for quickly starting a fire in adverse conditions. You shave some of the wax off of the corner and light the pile with just a few sparks. Then you can put the rest of the cube on top and it will stay lit for several minutes. In addition, you can also learn how to make waterproof matches at home in 5 minutes.
  8. Firesticks: These fire assistance products are very helpful in windy and wet conditions. They can be doused in water and still will stay lit in strong winds for around 20 minutes.  This product can allow you to skip over tinder and move straight to your kindling and larger wood. This is how to make firebricks (fire logs) and wood stove logs for free!
  9. 550 Paracord: Cordage is vital in a SHTF scenario. 550 paracord is strong enough to hold a grown man, but also has several strong interior strands.  You can remove these strands and use each one separately.
  10. Emergency Blanket: Not only can these reflective blankets be used to wrap up and stay warm, but they can also be used for a quick shelter. The reflective surface sends 90% of your body heat back to you, and the thicker tarp-style blankets will not rip and have grommets at the corners for cordage.
  11. Filter Bottle: If you have a bottle with a water filter built into the lid, then you can purify water on the go. Just dip it in a stream and keep going. Also, here’s a 100-year-old way to filter rainwater in a barrel.
  12. Straw Style Filter: This filter takes up little space and allows you to dip down and take a drink whenever you need.
  13. Iodine Tablets: These take up almost no space and allow you to chemically purify water. The only downside is that they take around 30 minutes to work.
  14. Fire Lens: If you have a sunny day, a fire lens works well to get a fire started. It is waterproof, windproof, and requires no fuel.  All you need is direct sunlight.
  15. Char Cloth: This substance will catch a spark or the heat from a lens and hold an ember for several minutes. You can buy char cloth or you can make your own by poking a small hole in an Altoids tin.  Just add some small strips of cotton cloth and throw the tin in the fire for 20 minutes.
  16. Flashlights and headlamps: Having light at night is vital in a SHTF scenario. Having a good LED tactical flashlight and a headlamp to keep your hands free should be a top priority.
  17. Butane Stove: The stoves can be large enough for several pans or small enough to fit in your pocket. They allow you to quickly cook food or boil water without building a fire.
  18. Lantern: To light a room or campsite you will need a device that emits light in every direction. You can buy a gas lantern or an electric lamp. Another good idea is the strikelight, which can be also used as an anti-theft device.
  19. Batteries: Having a supply of batteries for your electrical devices is very important. I suggest a variety of sizes.
  20. Water Storage: Having ways to purify water is important, but having large amounts of water on hand is important as well. Be careful about the containers you use as some can affect the taste or quality of the water.
  21. Wool Blankets: Wool is the only substance that can keep you warm even when wet.
  22. Fishing Tackle: Having a rod and reel can be a great way to provide more food for your family.
  23. Gill Net: Another way to catch fish, but you can set it up and forget about it until you collect your catch.
  24. Various Animal Traps: Trapping is another way to collect food without having to actively hunt. Having snares and other traps gives you a huge advantage versus building primitive traps.
  25. Shotguns: These weapons are great for hunting birds, small game, and large game at close range. They can also be used for close quarters combat. Here’s how to conceal weapons in your vehicle.
  26. Rifles: These are primarily for longer shots on big or small game. They are also ideal for long range shots to defend your home. Related: The AK-47 vs AR-15: Which Rifle is Better When SHTF?
  27. Handguns: Pistols are easy to conceal and may be the best option for defending yourself or your home. Learn how to deal with the most common handgun malfunctions.
  28. Compound Bow and Crossbow: These weapons are silent ad good for hunting or self-defense. You can also make more arrows if you run out.
  29. Copper Wire: This material is great for several projects and is ideal for homemade snare traps.
  30. Zip Ties: These can replace cordage if you want a quick and simple solution. They are also good to secure the hands of captives if needed.
  31. Duct Tape: There are dozens of different uses for this strong and sticky substance.
  32. Candles: These are great for both light and heat if you want to conserve electricity. Here’s how to make 30 hours survival candles with soy wax.
  33. Fire Extinguishers: Controlling a fire without access to a fire department can be difficult. Having supplies on hand is vital.
  34. Smoke Detectors: This will alert you if your home catches fire.
  35. Carbon Monoxide Detectors: If you plan to have open flames in your house for cooking or heat, you will need to ensure that this toxic gas does not build up.
  36. Solar Battery Packs: These can be recharged with the power of the sun to charge various devices.
  37. PVC Pipe: Having various sizes of this plastic piping will help with plumbing and other projects.
  38. Seed Bank: You will want to have seeds for gardening stored up in advance so you can plant when the time is right.
  39. Ammunition Bank: Firearms are great, but they are worthless without ammo. Stock up on your most needed rounds. Here’s how and where to store ammo.
  40. Lumber: Two by fours, four by fours, and plywood are all good to have around for various projects including boarding up windows and doors.
  41. Hand Crank Radio: This will allow you to hear what is going on in other areas.
  42. Hardtack: These dry biscuits are easy to make in advance and can be stored for years.
  43. Jerky and Pemmican: Both of these foods can be made from almost any kind of meat and will last a long time when kept dry.
  44. Canned and Dry Goods: This type of food will give you some variety in your diet. Here are the 10 long shelf-life canned foods every prepper should consider stockpiling.
  45. First Aid Kit: You will likely have to perform your own medical care, so having a thorough kit with some first aid knowledge is a good idea.
  46. Sewing Kit: There will be plenty of ripped clothing to mend when you cannot buy more.
  47. Toiletries: Hygiene will greatly affect health in SHTF scenarios. Having soap, toothpaste, and toilet paper will go a long way.
  48. Generator: Having electricity for specific needs is important, and a cheap gas generator is a smart buy.
  49. Map and Compass: Having a way to navigate is important, especially if you need to bug out. So, you’ll need to learn the lost art of reading nature’s signs.
  50. Signal Mirror and Whistle: These come in handy if you need to get somebody’s attention for rescue. Here are 10 ways to signal SOS.

You may also like:

Tools You Will Need When SHTF

You Will Not Survive An EMP Strike Without This Device (watch video)

50 Prepper Items To Shop For At The Thrift Store or Yard Sale

I Asked a Friend What I Should Stockpile for SHTF: The Great .223 Remington Or The Stalwart .308 Winchester?

Chris Byrne
By Chris Byrne May 12, 2017 11:10
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  1. Jess May 12, 13:56

    In addition to the above. I have invested in trade stock and a little home industry for after the chaos.
    I have 36 pounds of iodized salt in one pound containers and five boxes of “meat rub” For the home industry I’ve stocked up on leather and canvas sewing materials.
    Hope this sparks some ideas for others.

    Reply to this comment
    • PB- dave May 12, 15:56

      To piggy-back on Jess’ post, don’t forget your skills as a stock in trade also. Having the right tools and being able to drill & tap a hole, thread a pipe, solder, braze, weld with a torch…. just might be of value in a situation.
      You may get paid in jerky, eggs, and taters, but heck country Doctors did it for years.

      Reply to this comment
      • Prepper February 24, 00:09

        Great list, but you really should delete the “low cost” from the title. You’ve got mostly expensive things. Guns? Generators? Compound bow?!

        Reply to this comment
    • localgringos May 21, 01:31

      You need sea salt, it comes in course and fine and will not raise your blood pressure like iodine dalt.

      Reply to this comment
      • Sheri July 9, 22:44

        Iodized salt is best unless you have iodine to supplement with to prevent goiters.

        Reply to this comment
        • dp July 11, 06:21

          As mentioned elsewhere, you are better off stocking up on an iodine supplement, and getting non-iodized salt. Lugol’s iodine solution is cheap off of ebay. 2 drops a day give you 100% of your required iodine. This way you can control your iodine intake properly.

          Salt is used for many other things than just a sprinkle here and there to flavor your food when there is no power or refrigeration. It is a waste of iodine to use iodized salt to preserve meat, and it is difficult to control your iodine intake this way.

          Reply to this comment
          • Loa October 16, 18:15

            There seems to be so many different Lugol’s iodine solution available on Amazon. Do you have a suggestion as to which is best?

            Reply to this comment
          • Rebecca October 26, 00:03

            I’d have to argue that several of these things aren’t low-cost! Generator, lumber, firearms? Pretty pricey. Did I see soap, feminine products etc on the list? Did I miss them?

            Reply to this comment
  2. Wannabe May 12, 14:46

    Be sure to get a good file to keep hatchet and machete sharp. Sharpens quickly and easy. Of course sharpening stones for knives and if you have a portable hand chain saw get a chainsaw file to keep it honed. Dull equipment is worthless.

    Reply to this comment
  3. Wannabe May 12, 14:56

    Don’t forget the survival rules of threes. Three minutes for air, three hours for shelter, three days for water and three weeks for food. Ofcouse the above said items in article make it a lot easier to follow these rules. Happy prepping my friends.

    Reply to this comment
  4. left coast chuck May 12, 14:56

    In addition, non-iodized salt can be used for meat preservation. Sugar is a trade item. Instant coffee for yourself and to trade. I keep the brown paper that comes in some boxes as packing. I cut it into 6″ or 7″ squares depending upon the dimensions of the original sheet. I pack it tightly in boxes and wrap them in plastic that clothing sometimes comes in. This is trade toilet paper. The list of trade items is long.I’m not saving gold. I think things like that will only be useful long after the event when civilization starts to return.

    Reply to this comment
    • Wannabe May 12, 15:36

      I love your resourcefulness chuck. Use everything God has given us. Everything can have a purpose.

      Reply to this comment
    • Older prepper May 12, 20:55

      Left coast; You know for years I had this desire, for buying salt on sale! I did not know why, but I knew, salt can be used for cleaning, and throat gargle. Then I thought, it could be saved very well, for future use. I guess somewhere in the back of my mind, it could be used to barter with. I never understood, the need for GOLD SAVING. I said, if things get that bad, food would be better, No one can EAT GOLD. I have all kind of food storage. I am guessing, I could live one whole year or more with what I have stored. Most of my cans,number 10 say, good for 30 years. A few for 10 years, and some 5 years. I live in the desert, so things are dry and cool in my home. I keep these things in my bedroom. Just some musings. It seems I am doing the right things by instinct? Salt, is so needed for food flavoring.

      Reply to this comment
      • Holly August 4, 22:02

        Actually, sodium (which we get from salt) is not just for flavoring. Sodium is an essential mineral, like magnesium, calcium and potassium. Sodium is the most important mineral and you will die if you go too long without it. This is why animals can alway be found at salt licks. I have stocked up on salt and even now I make sure I add a pinch of salt to my water bottle every day when I’m not eating salted foods that day. This is why sports drinks are so popular.

        Reply to this comment
  5. Mike May 12, 15:01

    NEITHER. The best semi-auto DEPENDABLE rifle is South Korea’s Dae Woo K-1 I prefer The K-2 with post stock.

    Have had all three the Dae Woo does not need a forward assist.

    Who would want a weapon that at any moment you may waist a second OR 2 rounding a chamber. The ar;s and m16’s are JUNK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Reply to this comment
    • Consco May 13, 14:23

      Way to many quality rifles out there to say one is better, or best. I have an AR15 made by HK. Has never failed once. Even with cheap steel cased ammo. Have in Israeli Tavor and a Steyr AUG and can say the same thing about both. Have fired all kinds of crap ammo and no failures. Have 3 Ruger ARs and all feed everything perfectly. Fired 3500 rounds and did not clean the rifle and still no failure. After 40 years of owning these types of rifles and my M1A, not sure why you are calling them junk.

      Reply to this comment
      • NamVet May 23, 19:18

        Consco, My principle is to buy and use those things that have parts universally available in my neighborhood. I do not want to depend on items where parts need to ship in from another country. If an enemy is using AK-47s then I would use them for my supply source, otherwise, since an AR-15 is so popular here, THAT is my choice. In Nam that what I used and will continue to use.

        Reply to this comment
        • Consco May 23, 21:39

          I have 5 of them myself. For a family of 2. I enjoy all of the other options out there. Even have a couple of AK’s. Also technology has most definitely improved. Nothing wrong with a 98k Mauser or a Moisin Nagant either. They will outlive us. Even pretty hard to break. Point is a lot of great choices out there to choose from. Using something you are intimately familiar with is always the best choice. Obviously fine tuned motor skills go out the window in times of stress. Train, train, train is the best medicine.

          Reply to this comment
        • Consco May 23, 21:49

          If you read the post, I mentioned that I have all spare parts needed, and the skill set required to maintain all firearms in our inventory out past the end of my life time. Including spare barrels. Would rather not rely on having to scavenge for something so critically important to my survival. LOL if we go through our spares even under extremely heavy use, I will be shocked completely! One is none, two is one and three is two. You get the idea if you take this out several more times for EACH firearm we own

          Reply to this comment
  6. Wannabe May 12, 15:21

    One other thing, it’s a good feeling to have peace of mind that most items mentioned in article are already secured. Been working on these things since summer of 2011. It is a slow process for working people but possible. A little at a time, catch sales at stores, thrift shops, garage sales, etc. For example, every time you buy toilet paper for regular family use, set aside two rolls for prep supply. And the supply serves two purposes. One of course for shtf, and two for everyday needs. When running a little short on daily living cash, you can cut corners on things already stocked up on and pull from those. Uh oh, out of toilet paper and quite broke because my son needed work on his truck. No problem, I have it in storage. You see, it is a win win.

    Reply to this comment
    • Consco May 24, 20:33

      We have been working on everything since 2011 also. We cut back on a lot of fun things to be sure that we have a better chance at longer term survival. We have guns and ammo for sure now. Scopes, night vision, mags and a LOT of spares. Property is paid for and well is in. House starts next month. Only about 800 square feet plus the garage beneath for ample storage. Remote, off grid. We will continue for another 5 years until I retire at age 60. Anyone can do it. We cut out everything, even Starbucks!! It is tough but my wife is in hard! That helps

      Reply to this comment
      • Holly August 4, 22:06

        I don’t mean to be a downer but that well won’t do you much good if the groundwater is depleted. The Ogallala aquifer in the Midwest for example is drying up. This is happening all over the world. Don’t rely 100% on your well unless you know you have plenty of ground water.

        Reply to this comment
  7. dp May 12, 16:21

    As mentioned by others: Trade goods…

    Salt – used as a preservative when there is no refrigeration.
    pepper, and other spices, coffee, tobacco, common medicines, tea, dry beans rice etc, band aides, crop seeds, miracle grow, bic lighters, butane, vitamins, batteries. All of these things are cheap right now, so stock up.

    Stock up on the dog food as well. Once word gets out to the thieves and trespassers that source of dog food will be gone. lol

    Reply to this comment
  8. Hammer May 12, 16:23

    “ar’s are junk” This speaks to inexperience and lack of knowledge. As a Combat Vet I can’t disagree more. Not only is the ar a great rifle which is combat proven but .223 or 5.56 ammo is among the most common caliber available. As for operation, lock and load is really simple. A little training, which should always be done with any firearm, learning the rifle is all it takes.

    Reply to this comment
    • Consco May 13, 14:33

      My problem with a das woo would be spare parts. LOL this from a guy with Steyr AUGs and Israeli Tavors and FN SCAR17s as well as ARs. Unlike most however I have the skill set, tools, and enough spare parts to rebuild any and all of our firearms. Firing pins, springs, trigger groups, operating rods, gas tube, stocks etc. good skill set to trade. Also agree about gold or silver. We have some silver but Ammo and food and water worth WAY more than gold in a grid down scenario. Magazines for all firearms as well. We have put away 100’s. Also 22LR will be worth its weight in gold. Small game is good eating. I agree with Hammer. ARs are great. Steer clear of exotics or off brands unless you invest serious amounts of time (and money). My wife is a small build and a bull pup. gives her every advantage that a normal AR does not. Point here is put away something of value and a skill set that is usable and you should be able to trade for stuff you need.

      Reply to this comment
  9. Glennt May 12, 16:49

    People should take a basic first aid class. Their are many times you should not move a patient.

    Reply to this comment
    • left coast chuck May 12, 23:09

      I took a Red Cross sponsored first aid class. I can summarize it in about five sentences. 1. Make sure the patient is breathing. 2. Talk to them to see if they are conscious and ask them what happened. 3. Control bleeding. 4. If they are not breathing, do chest compressions. (In the old old days we called it artificial respiration. Same technique, new catchy name) 5. Call 911. Everything always ended with “Call 911”. That’s great as long as everything is working but in the scenario that we are talking about on this site, nothing is working. In fact, if you drag your victim to a hospital the chances are you are going to the scene of a major riot and unless you know somebody on staff personally, your chances of getting treatment are nil. I considered it a monumental waste of time and money. I learned more first aid when I was a boy scout half a century ago. When, if you were lucky you got thrown in the back of a pickup or station wagon and hauled to the doctor’s office. The hospital was too far away and they would have had to call a doctor anyway.

      Reply to this comment
  10. CassandraCursed May 12, 20:22

    #23 Gil net – PLEASE DO NOT USE unless it’s a total emergency. These things kill unintended victims and in a less than SHTF situation are NOT GOOD for living things. No need to hasten the destruction, right !?!?

    Reply to this comment
    • left coast chuck May 12, 20:39

      Come on, Cassandra, this is an end of the world situation. You will be eating the “unintended victims.” They are food. almost anything animal is suitable food for humans — maybe not the best tasting, but nourishment. You will be licking your plate to get every last smudge of food off it. You will be sucking the marrow out of bones. During the siege of Moscow and Leningrad during WWII the Russians were scraping the wallpaper off the wall to get the wheat glue on the back of the paper. They were boiling the tongues of their shoes and belts to get some kind of nourishment from the leather. Do you think you are going to do catch and release if the fish isn’t legal size in an ETOW situation? A gill net is the perfect survival fishing instrument due to the fact that it does catch everything.

      Reply to this comment
      • wasp November 17, 18:07

        once again laura ingalls wilder. her dad made trap that he put under a water fall or in the flow of the stream. it caught fish harmlessly and the unwanted ones could be set free.

        Reply to this comment
  11. Kurmudgeon May 12, 23:43

    Chuck – really appreciate your posts. You should consider writing some of these articles yourself rather than just responding to them. Thanks, and much obliged.

    Reply to this comment
    • left coast chuck May 13, 00:59

      Thanks for the kudos. I work better when I know what questions need answering rather than trying to come up with original thoughts. When I see something that I know is wrong or poor advice, I can respond. Don’t know what questions people have until they ask.

      Now to go on with something I have thought about in this article. A fishing pole and reel is great if you have been fishing all your life and know how to cast and reel. When I was a kid we used much more basic equipment. We used window screen with bread balls in it as a net. We used a trot line. That’s where you tie a fair weight to the end of the line so that you can toss out the whole length of the line. Then at intervals along the line you have lines going out with hooks and bait. Trot lines are illegal in many states because they are fish killers. You bait all your hooks, perhaps every two feet along the line with a side line and hook on each side of the main line. If you have a 50 foot trot line, you will have anywhere from 30 to 50 baited hooks in the water. Unless you are a commercial long liner, I am pretty sure that is illegal on most inland waters. We used to use the cotton twist cord that carpenters used to use to snap a line to mark a long line to match up pieces in construction. Or bricklayers use to lay a line to build a wall. That’s awkward but the best I can explain it for those who don’t know what a snap line is. It was heavy enough to pull in a line with five or six fish of varying sizes on it. We didn’t have treble hooks in those days, just single hooks. We used a fair sized hook but these many years later, my memory is hazy about the exact size. You threw the line out in the morning just about dawn and pulled it in at dusk so that you could throw it out again and leave it overnight. It was all illegal, but law enforcement was more involved with real criminals in those days than in going after kids who were subsistence hunting and fishing for their families. I never saw a game warden until I moved to California. I suspect that Pennsylvania had them somewhere but I never saw one. So, in place of a nice rod and reel, I would suggest a trot line which rolls up nicely on a paper towel core or a kite spool which is what we used and stows away inside your overalls. It is easier to carry in a bugout situation, is almost invisible if you use black line and is a lot easier than working a rod and reel all day with no results. If I happened to camp at night or during the day in a bugout situation, the trot line would go in the water right away to be pulled out before I left the site the next day. Keep the guts of any fish and of any small animals you kill for bait. You will get mostly catfish but they have lots of meat for their size and in some parts of the country are considered fine dining. Even this many years later, I don’t care for catfish but, hey, if you are hungry enough crow will taste good. That’s another post.

      Reply to this comment
      • JB May 15, 20:03

        Chuck, loved your idea and will take it a step farther. As a former kid who did the same thing but am likely much younger I’ll add to your idea. Put your set line out at nightfall and get it in the morning– you’ll have much better success and it will be camo’d by the night. Also, floating hooks or Inline floats are a good idea as it gets your worm (easily found in a SHTF situation) a little bit off of the bottom and is easier for the fish to find. If you don’t know how to catch creek chubs, learn how to. Not only can they be used as food but they will also stay alive longer on a set hook

        Reply to this comment
        • Wannabe May 15, 20:51

          Easy way to find worms. Take two pieces of rebar( metal used for reinforcing concrete) about three feet long each. They have to be ribbed metal and not smooth. While holding one in your hand touch the end of it to the ground and take the other one and rub it on the one touching the ground. Vibration brings worms right up to the surface and have someone else to pick them up. You can do it by yourself just easier with two.

          Reply to this comment
          • Loa October 17, 14:52

            Now this is a clever idea! I’ve never heard of such a thing before! I’m going to try it even though I’m not going fishing! Cool! Thanks, Wannabe!

            Reply to this comment
      • joyce September 27, 20:27

        catfish…..and we also used trot lines or trout or what ever you want to call them…..but as for taste….freshness and get all the black scum off after skinned and soak in salt water over night and voila (sp) great tasting fish. By the way I’m from Oklahoma and I believe it is STILL legal to use a trot line here.

        Reply to this comment
        • dp September 28, 02:48


          Try putting them live into a barrel or tub of fresh clean water overnight, or even for a couple of days. We used to pull “mud cat” out of the river… it literally tasted like dirt.

          Put them into a bathtub full of clean water over night, and the next day you have a tub with a bunch of dirt on the bottom, and a clean tasting fish.

          Cat fish being a bottom feeder picks up and eats a lot of mud. This works for any fish that you pull out of dirty (muddy) water. Soaking them in salt water after they are cleaned probably helps even more… I will have to try that.

          Reply to this comment
  12. Harry May 13, 03:42

    I can’t believe that nobody has recommended alcohol. Having a supply of vodka can be used for tinctures for medicine and also for barter.

    Reply to this comment
    • dp May 13, 09:30

      Alcohol can be made from many things. It is not a trade good… anyone can make it on short notice.

      No one can make salt. Enough said…

      Reply to this comment
      • Mike March 26, 21:46

        You can make salt. Live by a salt producing waters or salt mine. There are lots of salty water besides the ocean.. Great bodies of salt water – Sultan Inland sea, Great Salt lake and many more places inland. There are lots of places where the wells are too salty to drink. .All you need to do is evaporate the water!
        Salt mines in the USA are in many states. A lot of the USA at time had been under the ocean. Ocean dried up thus salt mines everywhere.
        Yes you can make alcohol and it is a tradable good. Problem is you need copper. If you don’t have a still you can’t make alcohol.
        You could make wine without copper. But then the alcohol content isn’t enough to cleanse wounds or used as a sanitizer.
        I take it you do not know how large the bootlegging of alcohol is really going on in the USA today. I’ve had plenty of unauthorized alcohol to drink from various places and people over the years.

        Reply to this comment
        • dp March 27, 01:50

          Many bootleggers make much better whiskey than the big distilleries, small batches,old family recipes, and a few of the old folks teaching you how it’s done properly will do that… if they take the time to age it a few years in proper barrels it just gets better. Kind of like a single malt scotch from a small family distillery.

          The government put these people out of business not because their product was less than stellar… it was because they refused to allow the government to tax them.

          Most were not opposed to just shooting the “revenuer” and feeding him to the hogs.

          Ahhhh, the good old days when Americans had spines and principles…

          Reply to this comment
    • left coast chuck May 14, 02:19

      If you are going to buy alcohol for external medicinal use, make sure it is more than 120 proof. Alcohol that is less than 60% isn’t effective as an antiseptic. It must exceed 60% before it starts to kill nasties. Hard to find here in the Peepuls Republik but it is out there. Look hard. If you dump 100 proof Wild Turkey on a wound, you have just wasted some fine drinking liquid. 100 proof is only 50% and while it makes an excellent wound wash (better than that murky stuff in the ditch) it doesn’t kill those nasty tetanus germs lurking in the deep gash.

      While dp is correct that alcohol can be made from lots of stuff, I don’t know if you can get the medicinal strength without a still. If you live near the ocean, you can make salt. People are spending big bucks for French sea salt these days. The old salt flats in San Francisco Bay area being reclaimed for wildlife (no, not hippie pot parties) refuges. Producing salt was a major industry in the early days of San Francisco. Even the salt mines where there are miles and miles of underground salt were at one time ocean. Of course, if you live in Topeka, Kansas, you are going to have to find a salt mine somewhere.

      Reply to this comment
      • Harry May 14, 03:15

        I was talking mostly for tinctures, many wild plants and herbs can be tinctured to make anti fungal or antibiotic solutions and those will be in big demand after a shtf situation.

        Reply to this comment
      • dp May 14, 04:34

        Many good points, but as far as making salt, especially if you live on the left coast, you have to keep in mind that Fukushima has polluted the entire Pacific with radiation.

        At first it was mostly the northern hemisphere, but the fish carry it down south over time. It is a true crime against humanity that this has been allowed to go on for so long. Salt flats and salt mines should be fine, but yes, it takes a lot of salt to cure meat.

        I can’t recommend alcohol as a disinfectant, not because it doesn’t work, rather it is hard on the wound. Iodine works well, so does honey, and as mentioned elsewhere, herbal tinctures. You can often buy iodine in powder form at feed stores. It is mixed up and used as an antiseptic wash for horses and cattle. It is not good for dietary use. For that you need Lugol’s Solution. Stock up, as you should be taking that daily right now anyway.

        Another useful item is pool shock. Extremely concentrated chlorine for disinfecting water, etc. Just be sure to let the chlorine evaporate out before drinking.

        Good point about the still. I need one on my shopping list. lol Also, lots of sugar, and brewers yeast…

        Reply to this comment
        • Mike March 26, 21:57

          Pool shock needs to be greatly reduced in strength for water purification to drink. Get on line before doing it to know what you are doing. Letting it evaporate is not the way to use it.

          Reply to this comment
        • Mike March 26, 22:23

          Pool Shock is extremely high concentrate to disinfect water. Need to get on line and find out how much to use, and it is not as simple as smelling it to know how much has evaporated.
          Yes I have an out door pool and people do swallow it some pool water which needs higher sanitizing concentration. But they are not there quenching their thirst.
          Pool chlorine is far more concentrated than bleach you use for laundry and you only use a couple of drops of bleach in a quart of water to sanitize drinking water. The you can let the chlorine evaporate.

          Reply to this comment
      • left coast chuck May 15, 03:09

        I take back what I said about finding salt in Kansas. I am reading a book called “Lost Skills of the 19th Century.” The chapter I am reading now deals with building a sod house. I didn’t realize that the plains indians used sod houses. I thought most of the plains indians used easily transported temporary housing. However, the Kaws used permanent sod homes. The author talks about them using rock salt that was obtained near the “Arkansa” River. The account was written in the early 19th century, somewhere around 1820-1830. It would appear that at least in the early 19th century natural salt was available on the central plains. I also know how to prepare a ship for attack at sea using muzzle loading black powder cannons thanks to this book.

        Reply to this comment
      • Chesapeake bay boy May 7, 17:43

        Chuck, get some acetone. It will kill nasty’s and seems to cause quicker healing. It stings like a mother but will work in a pinch.

        Reply to this comment
      • Mike November 26, 23:48

        LCC, see if you can get Ever Clear where booze is sold. It’ll be in the Vodka section or at least it is here in Va. It comes 120, 151 and 190 proof. Here it is 151 which makes it 75.5%. I suppose 151 rum could be used too but it’s not as pure as Ever Clear. Mike

        Reply to this comment
  13. PatrickM May 13, 15:19

    Salt can easily be stored via 50# salt licks from the feed store. Get the white, plain salt ones. An ice pick to break of pieces, a clean cloth bag to hammer into smaller particles, or a cheap grinder like a corona type. A supply of iodized salt for the kitchen should be separate of this.

    Reply to this comment
    • dp May 13, 18:09

      That is one way to do it. Or, you can buy salt which is specifically made for eating and curing in 50 lb bags from the Mennonite store, like I do, and buy your iodine separately.

      I buy Lugol’s solution from Ebay. 2 drops per day give you all the iodine that a normal person requires. It can also be used to purify water, treat infection, and the dosage can be increased in the case of radiation exposure without having to eat a ton of salt – which would probably kill you from salt poisoning.

      Reply to this comment
      • left coast chuck May 14, 02:09

        Or you can by it from Smart & Final stores in the western states or at Costco. You can’t have too much non-iodized salt. Salting meat takes lots of it. Don’t need much iodized salt for table use as a little iodine goes a long way.

        Reply to this comment
  14. Oakeydokey May 14, 19:09

    I thought the name of the post was “low priced items” and shows a picture of a “$” store!!
    Very few of the essential items on this list can be found at a dollar store…candles, matches and batteries. Maybe tape and small quantities of the food items. But guns of any kind, do not qualify as low priced.

    Reply to this comment
    • dp May 15, 02:08


      Dollar tree in my town has squirt guns for a dollar, that along with ammonia and bleach will allow you to fight off stray dogs. They also have tarps, and string – for your low budget prepper shelter. Food goods, water, magnifying glass, towels, socks, signal mirror, lighters, flashlights, dirt, crop seeds, air horns, and a ton of other cheap crap that I don’t see how they sell for a dollar and make money.

      Good luck with your dollar store prepping. If you ever find a $20 bill, or win the lottery, then maybe you can step your prepping game up to include Harbor Freight.


      Reply to this comment
    • left coast chuck May 28, 03:22

      Yeah, and a hatchet or axe that you bought at the Dollar Store would be worth about the same. A hatchet or axe is one place where you don’t want to skimp on the cost. Quality steel is expensive and you want quality steel in a chopping or cutting instrument.

      Reply to this comment
  15. left coast chuck May 15, 03:18

    The chapter I am starting now is “Cooking a bison hump in the traditional manner” from 1823.

    Step 1: Kill a bison.

    It should be interesting, especially since I am completely ignorant of any manner of cooking a bison hump, let alone the “traditional” manner.

    Reply to this comment
    • dp May 15, 05:15

      Left Coast Chuck,


      Also, I have got to get a copy of that book. I have been collecting books all of my life, but since I started prepping I have been collecting paper books covering all kinds of subjects. I probably have several hundred so far, which I will use to set up a personal library.

      I’m pretty sure that this Internet thing is just a fad that will eventually pass away, or stop working…

      Reply to this comment
  16. left coast chuck May 15, 17:52

    @dp: I also collect books on what I consider useful topics after TEOTW. Some are more useful than others. Survival books oftentimes contain useless info. For instance I have one by Outdoor Life that tells me how to survive a plane crash in the high Andes. What to do if stranded in the Amazonian jungle and other tidbits of interesting but useless info. I suppose I will pack it if I am ever embarked on an a/c that is scheduled to fly over the Andes mountains, but otherwise not. I do not trust electronic media to last. I have some great info on 5 1/4″ floppy discs. Anybody have a CPM operating system computer that can read 5 1/4″ floppy discs? I also have some great info on 3.5″ discs. Anybody have a working computer that reads MacWrite? On the other hand, I have my Manual for Courts-Martial, 1951 that I used back in the service in the mid to late 50s. It still reads fine and looks like it is good to go for another 60 years. Don’t use it much any more, but it might come in handy for military tribunals after TEOTW. My brother has the family bible that goes back into the 1850s. Some of the handwriting is kind of hard to read. Apparently bad handwriting runs in the family. The printed text, however is still legible. After TEOTW, books will be quite valuable for the knowledge they contain and the entertainment they provide.

    Reply to this comment
    • Consco May 15, 18:47

      Yes the wife and I have numerous books as well. Don’t trust electronics either. I would recommend putting away several useful books. We have Dr Joe and Nurse Amy’s medical book as well as a physicians desk reference that we bought used. Not cheap, cost us a 100 bucks but wow what info. Have taken several first aid classes like Chuck. All of this will be very valuable in a SHTF scenario. Dr Joe and Nurse Amy have the fish med equivalents in their book which are very handy. Have my old Ranger handbook from the early 80’s that still looks almost perfect. And the Army’s field hygiene book as well. Almost all of these are available online for very low prices. Gun shows, military surplus stores etc have a lot of great gear for reasonable prices. Mess kits, machetes, water purification tablets and military manuals. A lot of low dollar cost items can really increase your family’s chances of survival. Obviously as someone pointed out to one of my earlier posts, guns are expensive and so is quality night vision. BUT investing in the right firearm and the right piece of night vision equipment can be a real game changer.
      Salt, sugar or better yet honey with no shelf life, yeast, noodles, canned goods, rice are all fairly inexpensive items that you owe to yourself and your family to put away. Don’t forget the spices to keep the food tasting good as well.
      Life straws or their equivalent are another game changer. We always buy 2 when we see them on sale. We have the family size one as well.
      Water is critical (duh), food and the means and will to defend it are all critical to you and your families success. Prepping without taking these things into account are really a waste of time.

      Reply to this comment
    • Silver Bullit February 17, 01:30

      I have a Xerox 820-II with 8″ floppy drives. It is CPM but I don’t know if it will read 5¼” floppies. Love your posts, not only entertaining, but very accurate.

      Just a young pup of 68 years

      Reply to this comment
      • dp February 17, 05:02

        Silver Bullit,

        two words:


        I have some vintage computer equipment that I would give you if it is just a hobby to collect old computer equipment.

        I’ve got a couple of old Apple Macintosh computers, and a Palm device. I started out on a Commodore 64 (IBMs were very expensive back in the day) but I would never consider actually using it today… my cell phone has more computing power than all of our old hardware networked/cobbled together.

        CP/M was actually pretty awesome for it’s time.

        Reply to this comment
        • dp February 17, 05:45

          Just as an aside comment. Those old floppy disks are probably trash. Not only does the mylar media itself degrade over the decades, but the magnetic quality was not ever meant to hold data for 20 years.

          If you can get the important data off the disk, then I recommend doing so immediately, and burning it to DVD or something else that will last a bit longer.

          I had several 3.5 floppies that I ran all kinds of data recovery programs on. I did get bits and pieces of data, but not one complete file. A complete waste of time in regards to what I was trying to recover.

          Reply to this comment
  17. dp May 15, 20:44


    I agree 100%. I have a ton of electronic books which I copy over to an external drive regularly, and keep inside a Faraday cage along with a laptop to access it with.

    My most valuable books are the ones written from the 1800’s to the 1960’s. Everything from hunting and animal husbandry to gardening, health care, construction, herbal medicines, etc, etc, etc.

    Many of the newer books also contain useful information.

    I have a couple of old Apple computers around here somewhere, and could probably build you a CPM system if I can find the parts. I would be more than happy to give them to you, but you would need to provide a way to get them to your location.

    Reply to this comment
    • Consco May 15, 20:48

      Guys am a commercial/industrial electrician by trade. TEST your faraday cages to be sure they work.
      One method anyone can do is put you cel phone inside and call it. If it rings it may not be sufficient. Wrap everything in tin foil inside of the faraday cage and that should cure the problem.

      Reply to this comment
      • Wannabe May 16, 12:19

        So please help me to understand. I have a shop behind my house of which all the walls and the roof are tin. I have zero cell phone reception yet the radio still receives reception and so do hand held Walkie talkies. Does this mean items in here are protected? I have heard that if radios still work it is not protected

        Reply to this comment
        • Consco May 16, 14:53

          That is probably because there are gaps under doors etc.
          windows perhaps? Plus you will want to make sure that nothing is touching the metal building that you want to save. You would need to plywood or Sheetrock the walls.
          Think of it this way. You have a shipping container that the doors seal tightly on and there are no windows. Hang plywood up to keep everything in it from making contact with the steel itself. This would be an excellent faraday cage. Hope this helps

          Reply to this comment
          • Wannabe May 17, 21:10

            Well then things are hopeful. The inside is wall to wall plywood and a plywood floor so no direct contact to any metal outside. Plywood ceiling and well insulated walls and ceiling. No windows but a metal exterior door. There is an air conditioner though which might be a problem.

            Reply to this comment
            • dp May 17, 22:01

              This is because of the gaps in the cage as mentioned by Consco, but also because the frequency of the radiation are different. Cell phone signals are in the microwave spectrum and are basically line of site radiation. Radio waves tend to be longer waves which will bounce off of the ionosphere, etc.

              Any shielding helps, but to be most effective it needs to be completely enclosed in metal. No gaps or holes. HTH

              Reply to this comment
        • NamVet May 23, 19:59

          Actually, the EMP radiation is Extremely high frequency, therefor the smallest of entryway will destroy the electronics inside the cage. If the shipping container is not metal all the way around or the shed does not have metal all the way around (must have all seams fully welded with NO holes) you will still not have EMP protection. There is information that a Soviet EMP weapon was tested and a power line 3′ underground was electrically charged from the radiation. (Trained Electronic Warfare Officer)

          Reply to this comment
        • NamVet May 23, 22:05

          You have to ensure that there are NO gaps. Check to see if the outside of the bottom of the container is steel. If not, that is a way for EMP to enter. Dirt will not stop EMP radiation.

          Reply to this comment
      • Wannabe May 18, 17:16

        Any idea what size solar panel I need to keep a twelve volt battery charged?

        Reply to this comment
        • dp May 24, 07:20


          you are asking the wrong question. Any solar charger will keep your battery charged if you are not using it.

          What you need to do is to figure up how much energy the devices that you will be running off the battery use over the average day. Then you will need a solar charger that will put that energy back into the battery.

          You will want a charger that puts out a bit more than you actually need to cover various losses, charge the battery faster, and make up for cloudy, or overcast days.

          If you will be depending on battery power alone with solar chargers, then you should probably have some spares. Buy them with the battery new and the electrolyte separate, so that when the old battery finally dies – you can put the fresh electrolyte into the battery and have a fresh battery.

          For the longest battery life you don’t want to drain the battery. Once it gets down around 60%-70% full, then charge it back up.

          Reply to this comment
  18. dp May 15, 20:48

    I wanted to add that the chances of the information on those floppy disks still being good is highly unlikely, but another option may be to carry them to an older, independent, computer repair store and see if they can pull up the info.

    Reply to this comment
  19. dp May 15, 20:56


    My own experience performing the test that you mentioned is that the Faraday cage needs to be grounded.

    Reply to this comment
    • Consco May 15, 21:08

      Yes I am guilty of not giving out 100 percent of the info! You are correct dp. Am now learning of new info that actually contradicts it. Myself and our engineer were discussing last week. Grounding in some circumstances may be another path for electricity to travel TO faraday cage. Will let you know as ai learn more and then field test myself.
      All of our night vision and other sensitive stuff is in faraday cages. Completely insulated. Also wrapped in 2 layers of tin foil with a cloth cover on the outside for further insulation and padding!

      Reply to this comment
      • left coast chuck May 16, 16:53

        Get “Disaster Preparedness Handbook” by A. T. Bradley, PhD. He actually conducted experiments with various levels of electric fields to see what was required in order to block the field. If my terminology is not correct, you will have to realize that my knowledge of electricity is limited to the fact that if you put a paper clip in a hot socket you will get a nasty shock. Anyway, back to Dr. Bradley. He actually conducted studies on how to shield various electronic devices from a current field. I won’t go into them here, but would highly recommend his book and his experiments in regard to shielding from EMP/CME generated fields. My take away from his experiments is that it is not necessary to block every bit of current, just enough shielding is required to drop the force of the field to below damaging levels. The more basic your electronic device, the less shielding may be required. HOWEVER be advised. Do not accept my interpretation of Dr. Bradley’s experiments. Read them for yourself.

        I don’t think tin foil or aluminum foil will shield anything. It is a conductor. I think wrapping in plain paper is a more effective shield. For those of you who are old enough to remember fabric wrapped cords on appliances, the inner core was wrapped in paper to insulate the wires. But, again, remember, this is from the guy whose expertise in electricity is limited to changing light bulbs. I’ll be right at home after TEOTW. Electricity? We don’t need no stinking electricity. Candles was good ’nuff for my grandpappy, good ’nuff for me.

        Reply to this comment
        • Consco May 16, 17:30

          Left coast chuck
          Yes foil is a conductor but if you read the rest of my post you will see that it can and does work as a shield for low levels that get through. It will dissipate it, something akin to grounding. My faraday is sealed extremely tight. The foil works for the last bit of dissipated current that may pass through. Since any EMP is going to vary in strength from your house to mine, and there is no hard science that has been recently conducted to conclusive results due to disinterest from the governemet, private industry won’t take it up as there is nothing in it for them. I am taking every last precaution. I have studied this for 30 years and worked with nukes and as I mentioned earlier, I am an electrician by trade, as well as discussing this with one of my companies electrical engineers. Dr Bradleys book is informative but not new and there have been changes in nukes as well as electronics LOL since it was written

          Reply to this comment
          • Consco May 16, 17:37

            The latest science is not conclusive as to which cars will and won’t work as well after an EMP. Safe to say that the fewer computers the better.
            In contrast to what Left Coast Chuck is saying, the most effective faraday cages are steel. Then lined with a non conductive material, preferably something that is non porous, like plywood, the wrap sensitive electronics in cloth, foil, cloth and you have an addition layer of protection. As close to airtight as you can get is the best for sure. And a basement is better than no basement. Concrete encased in earth etc. you get the idea. Hard to respond while at work and herding 100 cats …..

            Reply to this comment
            • left coast chuck May 18, 19:44

              Consco: You are right. The lack of inquiry into this topic is shocking. The only test I can find wasn’t really a test. They quite testing when some of the vehicles stopped running as they were using personally owned autos and didn’t want to wreck somebody’s car. Wow. That’s really impressive testing. “Oops the rat died. Okay, let’s quit here. We don’t want to lose any more of our valuable rats.” As a result a lot of us are left like the five blind men feeling an elephant for the first time. The only thing I am sure of is that if we are attacked by an EMP device, it will be designed to inflict the most damage at the most damaging time. I have my own ideas about those times which I will keep to myself so as not to give anyone an idea that has not yet occurred to them — unlike our blabbermouth media which seem to delight in exposing all weaknesses, perceived or real.

              Reply to this comment
              • Consco May 18, 21:11

                Yes I think of this all of the time. Why the libs won’t allow us to get on with it. We need a real testing agency like UL or better yet JPL or NASA in conjunction with engineers who are independent of any agency to revue the findings. You are 100 percent correct Chuck when you say the lack of testing is shocking. The EMP report was released the same day as the 9/11 report. Guess which one got no attention? The one that could theoretically leave up to 90percent of us dead! Potiental casualties of upwards of 250m versus the 3K from 9/11. The problem with our government is they want to react and not prevent. In all of the research I have done, and speaking repeatedly with electrical engineers young and old, all of the data being used is as old as I am, 56. From what I can glean and my own testing, most electronics can be shielded from the resultant voltage spike fairly inexpensively. Seems like for about 3-5 billion our government can protect most of the grid which is a start! Others would jump in to make their products more resistant and before you know we are pretty much EMP proof! LOL maybe if the government would cough up a low yield nuke and an Island we could do our own testing Chuck!

                Reply to this comment
                • NamVet May 23, 22:16

                  The government HAS looked into this subject matter. All SCIFs are enclosed in a Faraday cage. As a qualified Electronic Warfare Officer, I note numerous errors in just about everything said on this thread

                  Reply to this comment
                  • Consco May 24, 10:00

                    Instead of the usual criticisms how about any new info? The research that we all have access to is fairly old. Obama did pretty much nothing with the EMP report. We all know to keep everything completely sealed. Most of us understand the grounding issue. There is no new info on air burst EMPs due to atmospheric testing bans. It is all as old as I am. We would all be happy with any new resources.

                    Reply to this comment
                    • dp May 24, 10:34


                      I agree. Another point is that, not to overly belittle government GI training, but it is a pretty well known fact that the government tends to be behind the curve when it comes to certain technology.

                      As an example when I was in the service Intel was coming out with their 80386 chips, yet the Navy was still using 8088/8086 processors running at a couple Mhz.

                      Namvet, Claiming military expertise is fine, but don’t make it out to be cutting edge knowledge.

                      We simply don’t know that an air burst will generate the same frequency of EMP as the test equipment that we do have, and not only that but if the aim is to take out delicate electronic equipment then there are other methods besides an air burst – scalar waves being just one.

                      More experimentation needs to be done on this issue to find effective, affordable shielding for ordinary people… I don’t have a SCIF or trillions of dollars of other people’s money to spend protecting said non-existent SCIF.

  20. dp May 16, 23:11

    Technically speaking, the Faraday cage is not there to protect items from electricity. It is meant to guide RF energy around the items inside. Any openings need to be smaller than the wave size. The ideal cage has all solid sides with a nonconducting inner lining.

    The EMP is simply RF energy which induces destructive voltages in the electronic gear.

    My experiments using a cell phone inside of a solid steel box, seemed to indicate that the cell signal was being re-radiated inside of the box. This is why I suggested an earth ground attached to the box…

    I have been busy with other projects, so I have not resumed my Faraday cage experiments yet.

    Reply to this comment
    • left coast chuck May 18, 19:54

      dp: I think you are right. I think grounding is the answer. Some “authorities” have suggested perforated steel makes a satisfactory faraday cage. Well, if one must guard against small openings that allow leakage, how can perforated steel make a faraday cage? If the perforated steel is founded, the current would flow into the ground much like an electrical ground for a house. If your container is grounded, small openings wouldn’t matter. If not, then they do. That’s the tentative opinion I hold but other than intuitive thinking I have nothing to point to as a basis for that opinion. It would be so helpful to each of us and to the country as a whole if some reliable testing organization conducted some meaningful experiments which could lead to instructions to the country as to how to build working faraday cages. The country would survive an attack in much better shape. Too bad the news media and the leftists have their panties all in a twist about whether Donnie told the Russians that ISIS is trying to build a laptop computer bomb. I’m sure the Russkis’ reply was, “Yeah, we know. We found out last year. We read it in the Washington Post AND the New York Times.” Maybe if his administration wasn’t so distracted by all the uproar by the losers he could actually get on with doing more constructive things. I read John Wayne’s comments at Jimmy Carter’s inaugural gala. For those of you who didn’t know, John Wayne was almost as conservative as I. He was not a fan of Jimmy Carter. If no one objects, I will post them on here. It is what the losers should be saying. They are the remarks of a true American and Patriot.

      Reply to this comment
      • left coast chuck May 18, 19:55

        Darn. I hit the post button too fast. if the perforated steel is GROUNDED.

        Reply to this comment
      • Loa October 28, 00:37

        Your mention of Jimmy Carter’s inaugural gala brought back memories. I was there…and SO disappointed. I spent days figuring out what to wear. When I arrived, people were in blue jeans and cowboy boots! I saw one rather large-busted woman who seemed to have on a suitable gown, low necked and was sporting a thick gold necklace. As we dance closer, I discovered she had strung PEANUTS and painted them gold! TACKY. (I was there because my Army Colonel MD was required to be there….NOT because I was a liberal!

        Reply to this comment
    • Consco May 24, 11:24

      DP, I am with you to not belittle GI training and mine is probably 10 years newer than Namvets is. I was an NBC NCO and all of the info that I still get from friends who have kids that are officers and NCOs currently in the military is the same. Most all based on old science. Newer vehicles and equipment are being purchased hardened from EMP, but where is the test data and how old is it? The testing that I have seen listed from these guys is still based mostly, not entirely, on old info.

      Reply to this comment
      • dp May 24, 18:31


        exactly, my training in the military was first rate, but the equipment and the science were behind the curve. I’m not even blaming the military for this, but it is what it is for fast moving technology. Moore’s law dictates that computer and other similar technology doubles every 18 month’s. That is a simplification, obviously.

        The military can’t afford to replace everything every two years, and besides that military grade equipment needs to be thoroughly tested, and then hardened for combat applications.

        Unless you work for DARPA, you are working with old technology and usually, data as well. There is nothing wrong with the military – but folks, but don’t fool yourself that it is bleeding edge research and technology in the hands of the common troops. lol

        Reply to this comment
    • Sandy October 18, 09:42

      I have a background in EE and work experience as a radio-frequency engineer, cellular systems architect and communications/SCADA engineer with a power company.

      Note that I didn’t claim to have direct experience testing for EMP. I have direct experience working with a laboratory testing surge suppressors for the power company. So, take these comments for what they’re worth to you.

      When a storm knowcks over a power line and the line touches ground, a huge shockwave of energy radiates out in all directions from the point where the powerline touches the ground. When that happens, the SCADA/communications equipment in the nearest substation is designed to switch off power to the downed line in a fraction of a second. The energy surge can take out electronics within a couple of city blocks of the downed line. The way power companies shield their electronics from the inevitable huge shocks and surges is to create a grounding grid throughout the substation and ground the electronics building to the grid. This way, when the power surges into the earth, the voltage (potential energy) raises uniformly throughout the substation, so there are no huge differences in voltage between one part of the electronics and other parts.

      What use the foregoing info is for you is this: if you’re designing a Faraday cage, and want it to protect your gear from an EMP, make sure that there’s a conductive layer without breaks, as dp already said, and then an insulating layer thick enough to resist large arcs from the conducting layer to your gear. Inside the conductive layer and inside the insulating layer is your gear. Even then it’s best to keep your gear in those static-dissipating bags if the gear’s small enough to fit inside one.

      The exact nature of a hypothetical EMP is only guesswork, but we can suppose that there will be energy at most frequencies/wavelengths. The longer-wavelength/lower-frequency components become ground waves and will take out your gear by huge arc-currents from any conductors in the ground (like buried cables). If you’re off-grid you’ll have fewer in-ground long conductors to bring the EMP inside your home.

      If you’re grid-connected, your electrical lines and telephone lines will energize your home to the point of potential arcing of electricity from outlets, lines and grounds to other items like appliances, metal filing cabinets and of course electronic equipment. Check eBay and local stores which sell used electronics – see if you can find optical isolators which you can put on your telephone line to help keep the EMP out of your in-house telephone lines. The power lines are harder; I don’t have an inexpensive suggestion to keep EMP surges out of your house. Even just the surge suppressors which go between your house and the electrical service box cost hundreds of dollars and require a licensed electrician to install. Still, if you can afford it, get off-grid, and failing that, get a whole-house, lightning-rated surge suppressor installed.

      Reply to this comment
  21. dp May 18, 22:44


    there have been numerous studies done about shielding electronics in cars, and the results depended on the strength of the EMP, the number and dependence on computer control, and other factors.

    Of course the older cars with points, etc, are the most durable, but many of the older computer controlled cars would start up after a relatively weak EMP.

    Here is the problem with just shielding the computers… the EMP induces current into the car wiring, and the wiring is attached to the computers, so the wiring harness also needs to be shielded. One of the easiest systems to shield would probably be the old GM HEI electronic ignition, as it is basically, self contained within the distributor. There is a power lead going in, a ground, and often a tachometer lead to carry a signal out of it.

    BTW, I wouldn’t mind seeing that JW quote – Yah gotta love the Duke…

    Reply to this comment
    • Consco May 19, 00:15

      Would be interesting to see what type of insulation someone like JPL could come up with so the wire itself does not act as a collection point or antenna so to speak.
      Also would love to see the Dukes quote!

      Reply to this comment
  22. handtalker May 19, 01:21

    Cant forget liquor as a barter item. Agree?

    Reply to this comment
    • dp May 19, 05:39


      It depends on the liquor I suppose. Beer and wine are easy to make, as is moonshine if you have a still, and materials. I could see some good single malt scotch, or premium bourbon bringing high value. Unfortunately, good liquor is quite expensive. Good Scotch on the lower end currently runs around $75 – $100 per fifth…

      …that will buy a lot of .22 ammo for trading. Also, if you like good scotch, and you know there won’t be any more, will you want to trade it off?

      Everyone knows, that a monkey can’t sell bananas, especially if bananas are in short supply. lol

      Reply to this comment
  23. left coast chuck May 19, 01:31

    Sally McNeilan
    Message body
    John Wayne’s speech at Jimmy Carter’s Inaugural Gala, January 1977:

    “I have come here tonight to pay my respects to our 39th President, our new Commander-in-Chief and to wish you, Godspeed, sir, in the uncharted waters ahead. Starting tomorrow at high noon, all of our hopes and dreams go into that great house with you. For you have become our transition into the unknown tomorrows. And everyone is with you.

    “I am privileged to be present and accounted for in this capitol of freedom to witness history as it happens — to watch a common man accept uncommon responsibilities he won ‘fair and square’ by stating his case to the American people — not by bloodshed, beheadings and riots at the palace gates.

    “I know I am considered a member of the opposition — the Loyal Opposition — accent on Loyal. I’d have it no other way.

    “In conclusion, may I add my voice to the millions of others all over the world who wish you well, Mr. President.

    “All we ask is that you preserve this — one Nation under God — with liberty and justice for all.

    “And we have no doubt you will, sir.”

    The difference between a true patriot and someone like Nancy Pelosi or Maxine Waters or any of the other sniveling, hateful losers.

    Reply to this comment
  24. dp May 19, 05:25


    Amen, brother. John Wayne was a true American patriot, and a real class act.

    Thanks for the post.

    Reply to this comment
    • Sheri July 9, 23:44

      Yup. Don’t have any Republicans like him anymore. They’re all pansies who won’t stand up to Russia, hand out welfare checks to the wealthy and tax the HELL out of the rest of us.

      Reply to this comment
      • Tex August 21, 17:17

        Sheri…..while you’re at it please send some money to the DNC!!! The welfare checks generally go to those Democrats who can’t/won’t work. Your Democratic Party….which was and continues to be pro-slavery (black ghettos in every major American city, housing projects, black kids shooting other black kids..) is all about TAXATION and GOVERNMENT REGULATION to the exclusion of common sense. Lastly, Russia? You mean the Dems who cooked up the false “facts” about Donnie colluding with the Commies? The investigation into this “crime” has been ongoing for eighteen months and still no evidence and no charges. Nice try, Sheri…..but you’re just another ill-informed lib…..

        Reply to this comment
  25. DMONIC May 19, 23:35

    NEVER trade a firearm for ANYTHING. It can, and will be used against you! Seriously people????????

    Reply to this comment
  26. left coast chuck May 22, 03:41

    I have a Rhom( sp) .22 short that has to have the cylinder turned manually. Strangely enough, after you have turned it by hand, it locks up tight. I guess the hand is messed up but the locking lug is okay. I’ll happily trade it for two cases of fresh MREs. I’m waiting for the local sheriff to have one of those buy backs where I can get a gift card for $100 for it. The guy I got it from wanted to sell it to me for $10. I told him that was too much, so he gave it to me. I can’t tell if it was rust blued from the factory or the patina of rust coloring on the gun is just from age.

    Reply to this comment
  27. dp May 22, 04:11

    strangely enough,

    I would buy that gun. I would just use it for parts, or fix it as a curiosity, but I love .22 short only guns.

    Contact me here and I will give you my personal email. Let’s make a deal…



    Reply to this comment
  28. Sue-Woodcarver May 30, 15:13

    I am 67, widow, alone. Doing the best I can with what I’ve got and the wonderful knowledge gleaned from this terrific group and all the posts these last few years. Although I am a woodcarver (can use a chain saw, band saw, etc.), no way can I build a large Faraday cage. I’m just not strong enough. Can anyone provide simple instructions for a small cage that would just hold my laptop and cell phone? If this has been addressed previously, I apologize. Please just point me to that link. Thank you and bless you all.

    Reply to this comment
    • JB May 30, 15:46

      Good morning Sue. Here’s my simple Faraday cage. I stopped at Running’s (think of Lowe’s for farm supplies) and they sell small (about 20 gallon) metal garbage cans withe lids. Pick up some cardboard boxes and double line the inside of the garbage can and lid with cardboard and place the articles inside. I have about $10 and 20 minutes in each cage. My basement is almost a Faraday cage in itself but with this contraption added there is nothing getting in. My phone never works in my bunker and I also keep a cage in there too. To test, put a cell phone in the cage when its sealed and try calling it, if the call goes through you need more. Hope this helps

      Reply to this comment
    • Stumpy December 26, 22:18

      A simple Faraday cage can be a metal trash can that has the lid screwed on with metal screws. I used to work for a company that built satellite receivers for the home markets and we had a Faraday cage out of copper mesh. Tried aluminum and it wasn’t that good.

      Reply to this comment
      • ezntn May 23, 07:04

        Tractor Supply has metal cans/buckets with lids.
        They have a variety of sizes. Most of mine I use for
        food storage. Mice and bugs can’t get in them.

        Reply to this comment
    • Loa October 17, 15:32

      Oh, Sue…I can SO relate! I’m nearly 80, divorced and my experience with anything electric is limited to changing lightbulbs….IF they are within reach without a ladder! I’m trying to build a Faraday cage from a metal trash can. I’m hoping this group will give me advice!

      Reply to this comment
  29. Timo June 27, 21:09

    Good day everyone. I find all of your comments to be so very interesting and most helpful. What good company.
    I am a retired big city dweller, architect by profession and carpenter by trade who has been prepping for a short while now. I have read seemingly countless posts on prepping for what we all believe will come to pass. However, something has always puzzled me. With all of the suggestions and helpful commentary, I have not seen anyone address the concept of a “Prepper Community.” I have read over and over that we would all do much better in a SHTF scenario if we pooled our skill sets and talents especially in light of potential roving bands of armed, parched and hungry dissidents looking to take that which all of us have worked so hard to set aside.
    Have any of you heard of or are aware of any such communities? I recognize the concerns of “knowing” who you are dealing with and the potential lack of trust but it seems a larger community of individuals would fare much better than a single individual or family. I should like to hear your opinions and comments.
    Thank you all so much for sharing your wisdom.

    Reply to this comment
    • JB June 27, 23:08

      Prepper community is a term used vaguely to describe those of us that prepare for hard times that history has proven will happen again. Whether that be a depression, war etc. Historically speaking, preppers have kept to themselves. The internet has helped in a way that we can share info while staying private. As far as your question on communities, the answer is yes. My cabin (over 100 miles from the nearest Walmart) is in a small town with a about 40 full time residents. In this small town, the roaming joke is that you are here for one of three things– catch walleye, hunt birds or drink alcohol– usually 2 of the three. Everyone is heavily armed not because of the second amendment but because we all collect. Of the 40 people, there are about 10 with military background (I don’t mean Private or low rank, I mean career military). The home that my wife and I purchased was built by the Civil Defense Officer of the region during the cold war. It has a bunker, Onan (Studabaker) generator that still has a Civil Defense sticker on it, plenty of old medical kits, apple trees, and plenty of tools that are throwbacks of their power tool of today. Two weeks ago, the neighbor 4 doors down and I were talking and he said “that 71 GMC pick-up of your’s is a great bugout vehicle.” I laughed as I didn’t think he knew. Our easy saying is that “It was the first vehicle my wife ever drove and now it’s our garden truck”-which is true, but it has other backup uses. In a 10 mile radius of our cabin, cows outnumber people by about 100-1. My extended family (10 total) lives 750 miles from the cabin and are prepared to make the trip if necessary.

      Reply to this comment
    • Consco June 27, 23:57

      You are absolutely correct. No man is an island. No one person has the entire skill set, time, property, etc to survive a very extended grid down situation. People are deluding themselves seriously if they believe they can. According to some articles there are 3M preppers in the US. Less than 1% of us. Cannot imagine making it in a city. But even us with a well and off grid and a concrete house can’t survive on our own. We have plenty of supplies and can always use more. We aren’t doctors for sure. No matter what we will need to trade.

      Reply to this comment
  30. Daddypigg September 9, 23:33

    Don’t forget if you live in a city or town with a forced air natural gas furnace you can convert your furnace into an
    LP furnace and power it from a generator if the power should go out and it’s cold. Natural gas to lp is simple and requires little skill to change out

    Reply to this comment
  31. Stumps December 26, 21:17

    In reply to Daddy Pigg You will need to change the orifice of the burners.

    Reply to this comment
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