SHTF / TEOTWAWKI has happened, whether it was a financial collapse, nuclear war, widespread civil unrest,,,, something has happened to has disrupted society as we know it.
If you live on a homestead in a rural location, what might be some of the supplies you would need, and what would be some of the hardships you would face?
As I write this article I am just thinking out load. Lets brainstorm and get some ideas for discussion.
We all know the typical topics such as safe drinking water and food. In this article lets move past those topics that should be a given. What are the things that would make everyday life possible? What do we use in our everyday lives today that we would need after SHTF / TEOTWAWKI?
Lets wake up, do our morning routine then eat breakfast. What are going to be eating for breakfast? Chances are its going to be oats we have stored in mylar bags and eggs.
To have eggs we have to make sure our chickens are safe from predators and the elements. Given the chance predators such as foxs, opossums, coyotes and even other people will steal your livestock.
Exposed to wind, rain, ice and snow your chickens will die.
What do we need to keep our chickens safe and comfortable? We need a chicken coop and a way to repair the coop. This means we need hand tools, staples, hardware cloth, hammers, a good saw, wire cutters, tar to fix holes in the roof of the coop,,, and so on.
There is an old saying “every tool kit needs a Hammer.” A “hammer” is a tool that helps break something loose that is stuck. Rusted bolt, put a wrench on it, then hit the wrench with a hammer.
How can we take that saying and apply it to survivalism?
What would be an item in our survival tool kit that can help get things unstuck?
Stuck in a food production groove, what would help you increase production?
Need to clear a tree after a hurricane? Break out the chain saw.
Need to make sure looters steer clear? Break out the AK-47.
The three key issues after SHTF will be water, food and personal hygiene. There are other things such as security, cooking, livestock, bartering, hunting, fishing, foraging,,, and other odds and ends.
What items can we add to our survival tool kit to make sure our water production, food and personal hygiene keeps going?
Safe drinking water
My hammer for water production is my Royal Berkey water filter. In a worse case situation I can get water from a creek, run the water through my Royal Berkey, then my family and I have safe drinking water.
My hammer for food production is either my seed stockpile or my chickens.
For the past few years I have been stockpiling all kinds of heirloom / open pollinated seeds. Some of my seed stockpile includes corn, squash, spinach, peas, beans, onions, zucchini,,, just all kinds of stuff.
Chickens have a production lifespan. After a few years hen slow down on their egg production and roosters have a prime of their life for breeding. My hammer would be a rooster that would produce chicks. The problem is, I do not have a rooster.
After my wife and I get moved to the homestead we will get at least one rooster. This would help provide a couple of generations of chickens.
I have a cousin that lives a few hundred yards from where my wife and I want to move to. Maybe my cousin and I can exchange roosters and hens? Exchanging roosters would help keep fresh DNA in the gene pool.
Personal hygiene after SHTF
One of the big issues after SHTF will be disease prevention and personal hygiene. How do you build a tool kit for disease prevention during a long term SHTF survival situation?
We can stockpile hand sanitizer and hand soap for the short term, but what about the long term?
The key to personal hygiene after SHTF is having access to safe drinking water.
Just before Hurricane Rita made landfall I observed something that I probably will never forget, and that was a guy with a lowboy trailer loaded with 55 gallon drums. He was at the gas station filling up the drums – and we wonder why gas stations run out of fuel so fast during a disaster?
I am as guilty as the next person about panic buying. When the word comes that a hurricane is heading our way, my wife and I will take a trip to the local china-mart to pick up a few last minute items.
There is a difference in picking up a “few” items, and trying to stockpile several weeks worth of food in one trip.
Every time a hurricane comes around, people will kick into high gear panic buying mode. They run down to the store and start buying everything in sight.
As hurricane Ike was approaching a few years ago, I heard people at china-mart talking about how the store was out of this or that. The people that were talking agreed to buy “something”. That “something” was whatever was left on the shelves.
Its that “we have nothing, so we have to buy anything” desperation that makes the whole situation worse. People walk around china-mart, their eyes have a semi-blank stare, and their mouths slightly open, kinda like a deer in the headlights.
When my wife and I go to china-mart before the landfall of a hurricane, its to pick up some bread, maybe a gallon of milk, maybe some more bottled water,,,. Its not that we are out, or need the items, we just want a couple of extra.
Stress levels go up as the hurricane approaches landfall. The unprepared sheeple make the situation worse because they are in panic buying mode.
Some of the things to disappear during panic buying (from my observations anyway)
With our modern society, what would it take to cause another Dark Ages?
Right before the dark ages, the Roman empire was the most developed nation this world had ever seen. China and the middle east had well developed cultures and societies. What happened in Europe for society to lose its advances? Simple stuff, like running water to the cities was lost for hundreds of years after the fall of the Roman Empire.
What could cause our modern society to collapse upon itself? What could take our space age society and cast us back into the iron age?
I think there are three events that could potentially cause mankind to go into another Dark Age period – nuclear war or some new disease (event of Biblical Proportions), total financial collapse, climate change or a lose of government.
Event of Biblical Proportions, for the sake of discussion lets include everything that can kill millions of people rather quickly. This would include outbreak of a new disease, meteor strike, nuclear change,,, something that can wipe out 1/3 of the worlds population like what happened with the Black Death in 1348 – 1350.
Our modern technology has been developed over hundreds of years. We have to have trained professionals to teach the next generation. What happens when you remove a generation? Who will teach the next generation?
How does society replace tens of thousands of works to get basic services up and running again? How do we replace the people who run the refineries that make the fuel? How do we replace the people that ran the power plants? How do we replace the people who ran the oil wells? How do we replace the people who ran the rail road?
For this article, the term “Self-Centered Preppers” means people who only think of themselves while preparing for TEOTWAWKI. All they are concerned about is themselves, and “maybe” their close family. No consideration goes into planning for friends, or anyone outside their immediate family members.
A prime example of Self-Centered Preppers might be people who plan on bugging out to the wilderness. How is your family going to deal with the sudden isolation? How are you going to deal with being cut off from friends and family members? How are your friends and family members going to handle a sudden loose of contact with you and your family?
If humanity were to suffer some kind of long term SHTF situation, my family would turn to people such as my dad, and myself for guidance. It is my resp0onsiblity to make sure my family has plenty to eat, protected and that they will be provided of.
Self-Centered Prepper does not care about anyone else. What about your grand kids? What about your kids that can not afford to stockpile food at this time? What about your parents, brothers, sisters, close cousins,,,,?
Friendships are an asset
No man is an island, Rome was not built by a single person, if you want to survive a long term SHTF / TEOTWAWKI situation, you will need friends, team members and family members.
Apply Synergy to your plans – the sum of the whole is greater then the parts combined.
There is nothing that you can do that a small team can not do better.
After talking to a buddy of mine, we came to the realization that most preppers stockpile in the wrong order.
When people get into prepping, what is the first things they start stockpiling? Most people lean towards stockpiling firearms and ammunition first.
Why do most people place buying a firearm at the top of their list? Maybe its the sense of security that owning a firearm provides? Maybe its the idea of the family being able to protect themselves? Maybe its a primal feeling where we feel safe and secure with a spear in our hands?
Ok, lets get back to prepping.
This is the way most people prep
2. Short term food preps
3. Sustainable food preps
This is the way people should prep
1. Sustainable food preps
2. Short term food preps
Sustainable Food Preps
Most preppers / survivalist put sustainable foods at the end of the list, so lets talk about this topic first.
Question, why do preppers focus on sustainable foods “after” they focus on a lot of other stuff?
Answer, in my opinion, its because planting a garden and having livestock takes a lot of time and effort. Its easier to buy a bunch of canned foods then it is to build a chicken coop.
My wife and I spent 3 weekends building our chicken coop, which also includes an enclosed run on the coop.
As a survivalist, prepping / survivalism should NOT be a hobby, it is a way of life. What good does it do if you stockpile food, stockpile survival gear, but never practice or test your preps. If you incorporate survivalism into your lifestyle, you will always be testing, planning and looking for ways to improve.
While looking across my backyard this weekend, I realized that part of my preps were not only in the backyard, but how they were part of my life. The three preps I saw were the chicken coop, boat and bar-b-que pit.
Think about that for a minute, the chicken coop and the boat are a source of food. The pit provides a way to cook and smoke meat.
Some people raise chickens for fun, some raise them to know where their eggs and meat came from. Survivalist keep chickens so our families can have a source of food and protein during a long term SHTF survival situation. That is how we look at things. Survivalism is not a hobby, its not something we do on the weekends, its a way of life.
Video about cooking some mac and cheese that had been stored in a mylar bag for 1 year.
Lets talk about stockpiling food, ammo and fishing supplies for SHTF. These are the supplies that will be used to feed and protect your family if, or when, the SHTF. There is no perfect survival plan, and only the fool says otherwise. Its because of this admission that my plans have changed over the years.
My food stockpile has gone from simple stockpiling beans and rice plans, to something a little more complex.
In the ammunition category, my plans have gone from having various rounds stockpiled, to taking inventory, and trying to standardize my SHTF ammo stockpile.
The fishing category is where I am currently having the most fun. I have gone from just stockpiling fishing supplies to running trotlines and testing my fishing plans.
10 – 15 years ago I was stockpiling beans, rice, MREs, canned goods and some garden seed. My plans were to head to the bug out location, plant a garden, and hunt for fresh meat. It was a simple plan that had a lot of holes.
About 6 or 7 years ago I decided to focus more on gardening, and less on hunting. My family and I started planting fruit trees (peach, pear, apple, plum,,,) and I started stockpiling more garden seed. Then came along the drought of 2010 and 2011. In the past 2 years this part of Texas is at least 3 feet low on rainfall. Lake Sam Rayburn is about 9 feet low as of when this article was written. The long solution to a long term survival plan is having a self-sustaining farm and garden. In the face of global climate change getting a farm and garden up and running from scratch is going to be a little difficult.
About a year ago I decided to change my plans again and add mylar bags, and some homemade superpails to my SHTF food stockpile. So now we have mylar bags, MREs, canned goods, fruit trees and garden seeds. In the mylar bags I stored beans, rice, oats, pancake mix, pasta,,,, and a few other things.
In the face of climate change, my plans have changed yet again.
Instead of relying entirely on hunting for meat, and beans for protein, I decided its time to bite the bullet and start stockpiling #10 cans of freeze dried meats, fruit and certain vegetables.
Recent #10 can purchase includes:
2 – Diced Broccoli
1 – Beef Stew
1 – Spaghetti with meat and sauce
1 – Chili mac with beef
My current plans include #10 cans of freeze dried meats, fruit, veggies; mylar bags of rice, beans, oats, pasta,,,, MREs, Eversafe meals, canned goods, garden seeds, fruit trees, and places to hunt at the bug out location.
The food in mylar bags is for side dishes, where the food in #10 cans is going to be for the main dish, and a second side dish. Lets say that we open a can of chili mac. For a side dish we could open a bag of rice and a #10 can of broccoli. This would provide a meal of chili mac, rice and broccoli.
My ammo preps have stayed pretty much to same over the past 15+ years. There are 2 categories – defensive ammunition and hunting ammunition.
Defensive ammunition: This is your typical low cost ball ammo. With this stuff you want to make sure its reliable, accurate, and low cost.
Hunting ammo – this is your pointed softpoint, remington core-lokt,,,,,, stuff designed for hunting.
Here lately I have been switching between buying 30-30 and 308 Remington core-lokt ammunition. One week I buy a box of 30-30, the next week I buy a box of 308. Add some random 223 and 7.62×39 into the mix, and you have a combination of hunting and defensive ammo.
Recent ammunition purchases:
7 boxes Monarch 223 Remington 55 grain full metal jacket
5 boxes Monarch 7.62×39 123 grain full metal jacket
1 box 30-30 Remington core-Lokt 150 grain soft point
1 box Monarch 308 Winchester 145 grain full metal jacket
Stockpiling fishing supplies:
Fishing is what I am currently playing around with, and to be honest, fishing is fun. Whether its throwing a lure into the water, setting a trotline or throwing out some noodles, you never know what you’re going to pull up.
Recent fishing supply purchases include:
1 box – Berkley Trilene XL 12 pound test
1 spool – Ande monofilament 50 pound test
1 box – Mustard 11/0 circle hooks (25 hooks)
In the fishing gear category, I have been stockpiling trotline string, hooks, leader material, weights, lures, snaps, swivels,,,, and just about everything else I can get my hands on.
By stockpiling #10 cans of freeze dried foods, food stored in mylar bags, ammunition and fishing supplies, we have the ability to feed our family, hunt, provide security and fish.
In this article we mentioned stockpiling seeds and having a garden, but did not cover those topics depth. The topics of seeds and gardening are covered in depth in other articles. Its not that one option is the complete solution, but its a combination of options that makes for a well rounded solution.
By having so many sources of food, we have multiple failure points. If a drought sets in and we have to irrigate the fields, we have food stored in mylar bags, hunting, fishing and #10 cans. If the hunting party comes back empty handed we can open some canned goods, maybe a #10 can, mylar bag of rice and have a great meal.
Lets say that some kind of long term SHTF happens, like what happened in 1348 with the black death. Large areas are depopulated, nobody is around to maintain roads, nobody is around to keep the trees cut back, or do maintenance on buildings. What can we expect? In an effort to what what will happen to our infrastructure, my wife went driving around to look at abandoned sawmills and abandoned sawmill towns.
The first example I looked at was a sawmill that was abandoned in the 1930s or 1940s. All that remains is a couple of walls, the foundations, and some motor mounts where the saw motors were bolted down. If it was not made of cement or steel, its long gone. But even then, the steel is starting to rust away. Nothing of wood is visible above the layers of leaves and pine straw.
While walking around the remains of the sawmill, I can not help but think about the people that worked there. Did they have the same worries that we do today, did they worry about paying the house note, did they worry about their kids, and what about the politics at the time. In the 1920, I can just imagine some of the discussions about the new income tax the government was putting into place.
The second example I looked at was a community that was built around another sawmill. This second sawmill and its supporting community disappeared around the 1950s and 1960s. from what I was told, the last family moved out of the community in the mid-1960s. Today, nothing is left of the communities. Where people once lived their lives, raised their families, and went to school, nothing exist.
Unlike the sawmill that was made of steel and cement, these homes were made of wood. Being made of wood, they fell down faster then the concrete walls of the sawmill.
Its interesting that just 40 years after the last family left the community, nothing remains. Some of the houses may have been torn down, while other homes may have collapsed from neglect.
How much ammo should I stockpile for SHTF? If teotwawki happened tomorrow, how much ammo should I have? What types of ammo should I have for SHTF? How much ammo should I have for teotwawki?
Those are all questions that I see repeated on the forum over and over, time and time again. So lets talk about them just for a minute.
Lets break down ammo into 2 groups – personal defense and hunting.
Pistol ammo: How much pistol ammo do you “really” need? What will your pistol be used for? Will it be for personal defense or hunting? Are we talking 22 long rifle, 9mm, 45acp, 40S&W, 357 magnum, 41 magnum, 44 magnum,,, or something else?
From the price stand point, its going to be a lot cheaper to stockpile 5,000 rounds of 22 long rifle, then it is to stockpile 5,000 rounds of 357 magnum. Its going to be cheaper to stockpile 5,000 rounds of round nose, then 5,000 rounds of hollow points. Do you “really” need to stock up on hollow points, or is it something that you just want to have?
Pistol ammo used for hunting: Except for 22 long rifle, this is going to be your magnum calibers – 357 magnum, 41 magnum and 44 magnum. In this group I would put a number of at least 500 rounds. That 500 could be divided in half – 1/2 stored at your home, and 1/2 stored at your bug out location / remote camp. If you have to leave your home, and only have time to grab your pistol – this leaves you with 250 rounds once you reach your bug out location. Keep that 250 rounds in mind for later.
Pistol ammo for personal defense: This can be just about anything, (except the 22 long rifle, and 25acp) – 9mm, 40S&W, 45acp, 357sig, 357 magnum, 41 magnum, 44 magnum,,,,,,. For this group, I put a number closer to 1,000 rounds per caliber.
Dividing ammo between people in the group: Some kind of situation has developed – a new disease has broke out, china launched a nuclear strike against the major cities,,,,,, whatever has happened, you have enough time to grab some gear and get out of town. You and your family safely arrive at your bug out location, and a few days later your buddies show up. These are people that you made plans ahead of time. To streamline ammo purchases, everyone has bought a weapon that shoots the same caliber. For the sake of discussion, lets use 357 magnum.
Yesterday evening while heading to the woods for a hog hunting trip, an interesting conversation came up between everyone in the truck – “where will you be hunting at this deer season?” My son and I are on a deer lase, so we have a place to hunt. But the other 2 people in the truck do not have a place where they can not. They have to rely on the kindness of other people to give them permission to hunt on their land.
This got me to thinking, where would you hunt in a post long term SHTF / TEOTWAWKI situation? If you do not have a place to hunt now, what makes you think your going to have one after the fact?
A lot of survivalist plan on “bugging out to the wilderness in a long term SHTF / TEOTWAWKI situation. So having a place to go and a place to hunt might go hand in hand.
If you do not own land, not on a deer lease (which grants you a legal right to be on the land), don’t have friends with benefits, or know where the public hunting land is, where will you hunt at?
Survivalist camp bug out location
Private Property – Owing land in a rural area might the ideal situation for most survivalist, but for a lot of people, is just not realistic. The majority of the people live and work in the city. So if they own property in a rural area, they have to maintain the house they live in, and maintain a remote camp.
There are a lot of considerations for having rural private property – what kind of disasters is the area prone to, how far from your home is the location, is the land farmable, what is the source of drinking water, is the area secure, what types of wild animals are in the area, how easy is it to access the land,,,,,,, just to name a few.
Once the land is obtained, is it close enough to your home to maintain a workable farm, how much gear and supplies are going to be stored there,,,,,.
For hunting considerations, oak trees, maybe a field for crops, and some kind of water source would be nice to have. Der do not need a “lot” of land to live. Their related to the goat, as in deer are grazers – they just walk along and “graze” off foliage. Deer, squirrels and wild hogs love acorns. So having oak trees on the property is a prime consideration.
One of the benefits of having private property, permanent structures can be built and supplies can be stockpiled. But anytime supplies are stockpiled, then comes the question of security.
Back around 1980 my parents inherited some land from my grandmother (my dads mom). Shortly after my parents got the land, they moved a 2 bedroom 1 bath trailer house behind my grandmothers house – which had been built around the turn of the 20th century. Mom and dad put a septic system down, setup a water well,,, all the comforts of home, except a home phone. Back in the early 1980 cell phones had not been invented yet. So for maybe 10 years, every time we went to the camp, we lost all contact with the outside world.
I would like to share my past 30 years experience with dealing with camps, and remote locations.
Rodents – This includes mice, rats and squirrels. Not only do they chew holes in the eves of the house, in floors, in the walls, and get into your food stocks, they build nest, piss, and poop everywhere. When you start talking about feces, there is always the chance of diseases.
Squirrels are not too bad about staying in the house, its mostly the mice and rats that like to make themselves at home. What is the difference between a mouse and a rat? About a pound.
If you put rat poison out – sometimes they will get in the walls, die, and start stinking. But for a camp that people do not go to everyday, nobody will be around to smell the stench.
There have been times when I have gone to the camp, and found mice in the toilet – dead. I’am going to guess they jumped into the toilet to get a drink of water, and could not get back out.
When those mice get hungry, they will start chewing into everything they can. This includes peanut butter jars made out of plastic, snacks, chips,,,, anything with a plastic container.
Something of interest, I have kept cases of MREs at the camp and rodents have never gotten into them. Why is it that rodents will chew into a jar of peanut butter, but not an MRE? Maybe because the MREs are double sealed? Maybe because the MREs do not have the smell of food on them from being handled? I dont know exactly, maybe its a combination of several factors?
Food Stockpile -Sometimes my family and I will go to the camp, bring some chili, canned beans, spam,,,,, with plans to either it that weekend, or eat it later on. Well, the canned goods get put in the pantry, forgotten, and expire. We may keep a couple of weeks worth of food up there, and its rarely rotated out. So when we go looking for something to eat, a lot of the cans are expired. This is one of the problems with keeping food stocks at a remote location. If people only go there a few times a year, the canned goods do not get rotated out.
At least one thing with the rodents, they force us to rotate out some of our food stocks. Its like the mouse is saying – “this is going to expire soon, so why not eat it before it expires?” A big chew hole in the side of a plastic jar of peanut butter is a lot more noticeable then a small printed date on the top of the lid.
Every bug out location should have some kind of food stocks, but the problem is keeping the food rotated out. When you have a remote location that may not be visited but a few times a year, food rotation becomes an issue. Its not like the dates can be checked every few weeks.
No frozen foods (or very little) are kept at the camp. There have been times when the freezer stopped working, or the power was out for several days and all of the meat in the freezer spoiled.
If SHTF tomorrow, 12 months later, what items would you have that you could use for barter? Is bartering even in your plans, have you even thought about it? The other day I was walking through wal-mart and was thinking about low cost, good quality trade items. There is a difference in good quality, medium quality and poor quality barter items.
Here are some examples of barter/trade items:
Gold and silver only have value when someone values money. Once society has broken down to where its a dog eat dog world, I’am willing to bet that food will have more value then gold and silver.
Solar panels, seeds, first aid supplies are a good quality trade items.
Clothing might have an “ok” trade value.
Hand tools might be a medium quality trade item. If your cars and trucks are not running, what value are hand tools.
Computers and other electronics would be a poor quality item – without electricity, what good are electronics.
When you start talking about matches, seeds, flashlights, batteries,,,,,, some of those are disposable items – you use them once and then its gone. In my opinion, the best trade items are ones that continue to give a return over and over. This gives the item a certain appeal that its not a once use item, or something that breaks easily.
I dont think food has very much of a trade value – unless the other person is starving. The thing with food, you eat it once and its gone, it does does not give a return on your investment.
Matches, they burn once, and its gone.
Batteries go dead, unless you have a way to charge them.
Seeds may not sprout, or might be a hybrid so the resulting seeds can not be saved.
In my opinion, one of the best trade items is hook, line and sinker. These 3 items provide a good return for all interested parties. When you open the package, you can still trade it. Right now I’am looking at a box of 50 eagle claw #2 hooks, Water Gremlin round split shot weights 124 pieces, zebco monofilament fishing line 12 pound test 700 yards.
Instead of trading for the whole box of hooks, trade for a certain amount.
Instead of trading for all of the weights, trade for a certain amount.
Instead of trading for all 700 yards of line, trade for 50 foot lengths.
Non of these items expire, rot, mold, mildew, spoil,,,,, unless you leave them in the water.
With the hooks, its a good idea to invest into stainless – that way they dont rust if stored for a long period of time.
The appeal with fishing gear – it allows someone to provide for themselves without a lot of work. Unlike crops, fishing can give an almost instant return. Instead of taking months to grow crops, people can go fishing when they want. Unlike farming, you do not have to clear a field, your not dependent on rain fall, fertilizer, pesticide,,,,,.
The draw back to fishing, you need access to a body of water. If your in the middle of a desert, fishing supplies might be the last thing on your mind.