SHTF – The Beginners Guide for Preppers

Maybe you just finished watching the evening news and wonder what might happen tomorrow. Could it a terrorist attack on a major US city? Will solar weather take down the power grid? There are a myriad of bad things to ruin your day, week, month or year. The prepper community calls it SHTF, short for “shit hits the fan.”

Like many people, your paycheck does not stretch as far as it used to. In fact, you may have had a pay cut or have become unemployed. Before maxing out your credit card, take a breath and take stock of what disasters are most likely to happen in your town.



Air is the most immediate need you will face. Without it, you will die within three minutes. Unless there has been a biological, chemical or nuclear event in your neighborhood, you will probably plenty of it available. The good news is, air is still free.

Have a Gas mask or breathing apparatus in your bug out bag or near to hand for extra security.



Water is nearly as free as air and just as necessary. It is an essential prep item and without it, you and your loved ones will die in three days. Unfortunately, your water supply is not as reliable as your air supply, so this is another prep item you need to plan for. Fortunately, it is very easy to lay in a supply of stored water without spending money.

The easiest way to do this is to save clear plastic bottles and jugs after you have drunk their contents. Wash them thoroughly in hot soapy water, rinse and sanitize them with a weak bleach solution. A few drops of unscented chlorine bleach diluted in a gallon of water is sufficient.

Fill them to their tops with tap water. There is enough chlorine in city water supplies to keep it safe and potable. Make a note on your calendar to empty and refill them with fresh water every six months. New Year’s Day and the Fourth of July are easy-to-remember dates.

White plastic milk jugs and ones that have previously contained household cleaning supplies and chemicals are not suitable for water storage. The best containers will have something like “PET” or “PETA” stamped into the plastic on their bottoms.

Government preparedness guidelines once advised storing one gallon per day per person but have revised this to “the more, the better.” The bare minimum is two gallons per day, but five or more give you a wider safety margin. Water gets spilled in the best of times. In the worst of times, this may become a matter of life and death.

Store more water if there are babies, young children and elderly adults at your house. They become dangerously dehydrated more quickly than healthy adults. Do not forget your pets.

Better still invest in a a water filter.

Preppers - Water



Next, you and your family need a snug and weatherproof shelter. During inclement weather, you will survival about three hours without it. Now is the time to take care of all those minor household repairs you have been putting off. Check the locks on outside doors and all windows, and replace any that seem worn or flimsy. A few dollars’ worth of repairs ahead of time is worth several thousand afterward.

During emergencies, local authorities may advise residents to shelter in place, more commonly known as staying indoors at home. There is always a possibility that you could lose your home or apartment due to weather, fire or some other disaster. Now is the time to plan ahead.

If you have friends or family members who live nearby, discuss with them what you would do if someone’s home were destroyed. This is a two-way street. If you plan to go their house if yours is lost, be prepared to return the favor if a friend finds himself in the same situation.

After a widespread disaster, such as a tornado or flood, most of the homes in your town may be destroyed or uninhabitable. An inexpensive but good name-brand emergency tent can be your friend. These can often be found used on eBay, in thrift shops or at garage sales for surprisingly little money. If you need to shelter three people, buy a six-man tent; for four, an eight-man tent, etc. The additional space will be needed to store bedding, clothing and other supplies.



A healthy adult can live about three weeks without food. As a beginning prepper, you might think that those cases of dehydrated foods or COMBAT RATION are your only option. They do provide a sense of security, but you will not need them to get through a long power outage, a bad weather event or a terrorist-induced economic shutdown.

Break the habit of running to the supermarket every day to pick up tonight’s dinner or to purchase a pantry staple you have run out of. Get out Grandma’s vintage cookbook and learn to cook from scratch. Cook a double recipe of your family’s favorite casserole, serve one half for dinner and tuck the other half away in the freezer.

Your best friend is a well-stocked pantry full of quality canned foods; bulk items such as rice, beans and pasta; seasonings and baking products. Buy foods that you and your family enjoy as part of your usual diet. Choose easy-to-prepare comfort-food items such as macaroni-and-cheese dinners, beef stew, soups, chili, etc. These require little or no complicated preparation, little cooking fuel and very little water.

A Few Other Considerations for Preppers

Battery-powered lamps and Solar Power Bank, lanterns, more batteries than you think you will ever need, or oil lamps with extra wicks and plenty of lamp oil will keep up morale during a blackout. Stay on top of your household laundry so that you do not run out of clean clothes at the worst possible time. Keep your car’s gas tank at least half full at all times.

Where to Start

For more information on getting started in prepping, visit our store for useful and potentially lifesaving advice and products.

What are the Best Food Items to Hoard for when the SHTF?

If a catastrophic event occurs in your area, then it is important to have an assortment of foods stored to provide nourishment. Some of the events that require being prepared include:

  • Economic Collapse
  • Earthquake
  • Flood
  • Landslide
  • Blizzard
  • Tornado
  • War

There are two essentials that you and your family need for several days or perhaps months to stay alive throughout a horrible event that makes growing crops or buying food at a grocery store impossible. You must have clean water and food to maintain your energy levels during a crisis. In addition, it is vital to know how to store foods properly. You might wonder what food items to hoard to prepare for an emergency and fortunately, there are several choices available.


1. Dried Beans, Lentils and Peas

Dried peas, lentils and beans are foods that supply a lot of energy for your body, and with proper storage containers that keep out moisture, oxygen and contaminants, these foods can last for several years. The major drawback of these foods is the length of time required for cooking, but if you are prepared to provide fuel for lentils, beans and pea, then you will have a steady supply of protein and calories.

2. Rice and Grains

Rice and grains are another food that you can keep in moisture proof containers for several months to bake bread or mix with other foods. A meal of rice and beans is filled with vital nutrients that will maintain your body’s temperature during the winter. Grains such as wheat, barley and rice are easy to add to soups and casseroles to provide additional calories.

3. Canned Foods to Hoard

SHTF - Foods to HoardCanned foods are designed to last for several months to many years, and the products are labeled with expiration dates by manufacturers. If you are going to stock up with canned foods, then check the expiration date on the products to find the best ones. In addition to buying canned foods, products that are in glass jars will last a long time, but these items require special care to avoid breakage. Canned and jarred foods that you should have stored for a crisis include:

  • Fish – tuna, salmon, mackerel and sardines
  • Fruit – peaches, applesauce, pears and pineapple
  • Vegetables – peas, tomatoes, corn and green beans
  • Prepared meals – spaghetti, ravioli, beef stew, soups
  • Extras – jams, peanut butter, spaghetti sauce

4. Pasta

Pasta is a good food to stock up on when it is on sale, but it requires proper care to prevent spoilage. Invest in a Vacuum Sealer device that removes air from specialized plastic bags. With heavy-duty bags, you can store small to large amounts of pasta to use during a catastrophic event. For additional protection from moisture and rodents, place the vacuum-sealed bags in metal containers with lids.

5. Freeze-Dried Foods

Freeze-dried foods are available from specialty companies, or you can prepare your own by using a food-hydrating machine. Preparing freeze-dried foods is labor-intensive, but if you have a garden or raise livestock, then it is an excellent way to store foods long-term. Freeze-drying correctly involves making sure that foods are kept in sealed packages to avoid moisture absorption. Almost any type of food is suitable for freeze-drying, including meat, vegetables or nuts.

6. Powdered and Canned Milk

You will need to store powdered and canned milk products for an emergency, and if you have an infant in a home, make sure to stock up on infant formula. Canned milk is available in condensed or evaporated formats, and both are suitable for baking bread or mixing into recipes. It is vital to keep canned foods away from moisture because the metals of the containers can rust and degrade, leading to spoilage.

7. Dried Corn

Dried corn or popcorn can provide a lot of carbohydrates to help provide energy and prevent loss of body heat. If you have livestock to care for during a long-term crisis, then it is possible to feed dried corn to cattle, goats or pigs. You can also grind dry corn to make cornmeal to make bread or muffins that are easy to carry with you while traveling away from a dangerous location.

8. Cooking Oils

You will need cooking oils to fry certain types of foods, and vegetable, animal or coconut oils contain numerous calories to keep your body energized. Oils can spoil and become rancid, so make sure to check the expiration dates on the products when shopping.

9. Nuts and Seeds

Nuts and seeds are powerhouse foods that are filled with essential nutrients, and these foods are easy to pack and carry in a Bug Out Bag. There are several varieties of nuts and seeds to choose from, including:

  • Walnuts
  • Pecans
  • Acorns
  • Pine seeds
  • Macadamia
  • Almonds
  • Cashews
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Hazelnuts
  • Chestnuts
  • Peanuts

Seeds and nuts are high in fat, and improper storage of these foods can lead to spoilage. Most nuts and seeds remain safe to eat when the foods are left inside the shells, but you must also store these in sealed containers for several months.

10. Vinegar

You can use vinegar in some recipes, but more importantly, it is possible to use white or apple cider vinegar to preserve foods with a pickling process. If you have a vegetable garden, then it is easy to use canning jars and preservation methods to pickle these foods:

  • Cucumbers
  • Bell and red peppers
  • Beets
  • Onions
  • Carrots
  • Cauliflower
  • Watermelon rinds
  • Green beans

In addition, you can pickle beef, eggs and herring to have additional protein food sources.

11. Salt

Your body requires a certain amount of sodium to remain healthy, and if you are in a hot climate that leads to excessive perspiration, then salt can prevent health problems. It is also possible to use salt to preserve meats such as pork, beef, fish or wild game such as venison.

Visit our specialty survival gear online store to learn more here.

To learn more about what you need to survive a catastrophe, visit our store where other survivalists and preppers meet to learn more about self-reliance from a high-quality online store.

What are the Best Food Items to Hoard for when the SHTF?

The Essential Preppers Checklist for Beginners

Surviving a potentially world-ending scenario is on the back of a lot of people’s minds nowadays. It is not pleasant to think about, but you need to know what to do in such a situation. In this post, we will talk about the broad, basic preppers checklist for what you need to have to be prepared for what is called a SHTF situation. The checklist will contain things that you need to think about so that you will have your bases covered. If you work through the list, you will be ready for anything the world can throw at you.

Preppers Checklist - SHTF Survival Gear

Bugout Bag

The first thing you need is a bugout bag, which is sometimes also called a 72-hour bag. That name gives away the bag’s purpose. It is meant to be a backpack or duffel bag that contains everything that you would need to survive for three days alone without any other resources. Someone should be able to drop you in the middle of nowhere and if you have your bugout bag, you will be fine for three days. The bag exists in case a sudden, unexpected catastrophe or disaster forces you to need to depend on yourself. Many people store their bugout bag at home, while others put it in the car. The bag should contain things like water, canned food, clothes, tools, and other essentials for life. Be sure to have seasonally appropriate weather and insect gear. There are lots of backpacks that have special features, like water pouches and special compartments for knives and Compass. You might need to occasionally refresh your bugout bag with new food and tools in case you find better things to put in there or the old ones go bad. You also want to test-wear it to see if it is comfortable.



Once you have your bugout bag all stocked up and ready for use, you need to think about a shelter. There are two schools of thought on this. The first one involves placing a shelter in or near your home. For example, you could dig a bunker in your backyard or reinforce your basement. You need a space that can keep you safe in any situation and can hold a lot of supplies. That potentially includes the threat of a nuclear exchange and radioactive material in the area. The other school of thought is to get a shelter far away. This kind of shelter might be something like a remote cabin. These shelters are harder to use because it takes time to reach them, but they lay the ground for long-term survival better. This is because you have a good opportunity to farm and you can fortify the area. Marauders are also less likely to find you. It is a tradeoff between short-term and long-term safety, and you likely do not have enough funds to develop two strong shelters, so you will need to choose which one is better for your situation.


Preppers Checklist Plan

The next thing you need is a specific and detailed plan, full of contingencies for various events. When the worst happens, things will start to happen quickly. You won’t have time to think through every decision and consider it from all angles. Having a plan will help you know what to do in advance, without having to worry about thinking through every possible case. Essentially, you do all the thinking in advance, and condense it into one plan that has some overall goals, like reaching shelter. The plan can have different triggers that set it in motion, as well as different guidelines for various hazards. In addition, the plan does not need to be ironclad. There is still some room for adapting on the spot. The plan is just there to give you a default starting point for every decision, which speeds up your process of thinking significantly. Try to imagine anything and everything that can happen, then develop a response that will keep you and your family safe. Have a few general goals, but be flexible about how you achieve them. Try to be detailed when you can and periodically review your plan to make sure that it makes sense.


Long-term Supplies and Skills

The last thing you need to do on your checklist is start building up a supply of things that will last. This includes both physical goods, like canned food, bottled water, First Aid Kit and tools as well as mental skills that you will need in an apocalyptic scenario. For example, you can learn self-defense to protect yourself in dangerous situations. You should probably also spend some time learning farming and/or hunting so that you can keep yourself and your dependents alive. There are many examples of both physical and intangible supplies that you will need, and they all take a long time to acquire. It will take a real time investment if you want to be truly ready, and that means that the time to start is now. Slow and steady wins the race, and it is important not to rush stocking up and do something wrong. Just be patient about it and keep working for as long as it takes to get yourself into a position where you feel comfortable, and don’t share the location of your supplies with too many people.

If you go through these four items and follow up with all of them, then you will be in good shape as far as preparations go. The key is that you need to be ready for anything, and these items give you flexibility. Devote as much time and energy as you feel is appropriate to each item on the list, but make sure you give them careful attention. All of this is supremely important to your safety. Remember that this is not a one and done checklist: keep revisiting each point and evaluate your readiness. That is the best way to stay safe.

The Essential Preppers Checklist for Beginners

Better to be a Year Early than a Day too Late When the SHTF

If you are reading this, then you are least curious about the potential for a dangerous breakdown in society, otherwise known as a When the SHTF scenario. It’s a real possibility, and the immense consequences from such an event demand serious preparation. In this post, we will discuss how to plan and what to look out for to prepare yourself for anything that might happen.

Be Prepared When the SHTF

The first thing to know is that we are living in uncertain times. The rise of global terrorism, domestic political disputes, and an alarming reluctance to act on the part of Western powers means that the threat of something drastic, like a nuclear exchange or an event of similar scale, has never been higher. China is expanding its territorial ambitions and making it clear that it can take what it wants by force, if necessary. Russia is declining as a world power, but still desperate to asset its power in dramatic fashion. ISIS and its many offshoots are interested in acquiring nuclear material and doing everything they can to disrupt American society. Iran has secured a deal to grant them access to world markets while they continue to militarize. Here in the US, our political process has been hijacked by insiders and politicians afraid to take a real stance in the face of danger. For examples, look no further than Obama’s infamous “red line” on Syria, the reset button on Russian relations, or his inability to use the word “terrorism” to describe the vicious attacks of ISIS and their affiliates.

It is easy to see that these many threats pose a challenge to the average citizen. Any one of them could boil over at any time with devastating consequences. Consider what would happen if two countries had a nuclear exchange. Large parts of the globe would become uninhabitable. It would be an exceedingly dangerous time, because governments would break down, along with the law. The essential supply chains that bring us essentials like food and water would be destroyed, along with the rest of the economy. All of the things that we take for granted would no longer exist. It is not hard to imagine that the society that arises in such a situation would bear little resemblance to our own. There would likely be looting and gang violence. People would fight over the precious remaining resources.


Being Prepared When the SHTF

In this deadly environment, the people most likely to survive are the ones who prepared in advance. This preparation takes many forms. On the one hand, you need to be able to prepare by acquiring supplies. This will take the form of keeping a supply of basic goods that you can depend on should the worst happen. The more drastic way to prepare is to build, buy, or otherwise obtain a safe location that you can use as a safe house in the event of an emergency. Both of these are important elements to being prepared, and a person with forethought will make sure to take care of both far in advance of anything going wrong.

Let’s start with the basic gear. Many people keep what is called a Bug Out Bag Survival, or 72-hour bag. This is a bag pre-packed with everything you will need to survive on your own for three days. This is meant to be enough time to get you to a safe house or other location that has safe and can support life for an extended time. Your bug-out bag needs to contain food, water, and any other tools you think are necessary to survive. This could include a Waterproof Sleeping Bag, Fire Starter, navigational tools like a compass, spare clothes, weapons, and anything that might help you survive in your local climate. Remember that you cannot predict when such an event might happen, so be prepared for daytime, night time, and all forms of local weather. Even beyond the 72-hour bag, you will likely want to stock some supplies in your house like canned food and other necessaries. You can keep these in a basement or other safe place.

The other important way to prepare is in making or obtaining a safe house. Your safe house can either be part of your residence, like a fortified basement, or it can be located some distance away, like a cabin and property out in the woods. Either way, the goal is the same: to have a safe place to go that can give you shelter, store your supplies, and protect you both from environmental hazards and thieves. That means that it needs to be concealed in in a remote location. It should be large enough to be your functional home for as long as necessary. That means, for example, you need enough land for farming if you plan to do that. You might need a bunker in case of nuclear fallout: buried shipping containers are a popular choice, or you could build a concrete shelter in the ground. The earth is a natural barrier that can protect you from fallout until it is safe to come out.

You also need to prepare mentally. That means acquiring the knowledge and skills to survive in a dangerous situation. Consider both short-term skills like combat and navigation and long-term ones like farming, construction, and animal husbandry. You cannot be sure what you need, so it is better to overdo the preparations from a “better safe than sorry” point of view.

If you need to fill your bug out bag or are looking for other supplies, check out our online store. You can find just about anything you need there, so take a look around and see if there is anything you need. Remember that it is much better to be ready and spend a little time and money than to be left with nothing to protect you in a worst-case scenario.


Better to be a Year Early than a Day too Late When the SHTF