a reply to: Irishhaf
First, you are exactly right about people getting "fire hosed" whenever they try to seek out advice on a reasonable starting point for some form of
There are two main points of advice I give to people who ask me. The first is, you need to divorce (in your mind) the notion of "prepping" equaling
"doomsday". Preparedness can be for anything from a simple power outage, to a storm or nature event. Beginning with planning for the apocalypse is
the wrong starting point, and will only result in wasting a bunch of money and effort.
The second point, kind of in conjunction with the first, is to start small and USE what you do put up. One of the key things people don't understand
is, if you're going to prepare you also have to cycle through what you put up in order to prevent waste. Otherwise, you might as well just throw
money directly in the trash and save yourself the effort of going to all the prepping in the middle.
Also important is to pick a starting point with something you can do, and something you enjoy doing, at least initially. I think people get into this
mindset that survival has to equal 'hardship' so they immediately go there mentally. An example of this is a lot of these emergency supply companies
who market long shelf life, high protein, food bars. First of all, they taste awful (most of them) and you're going to have to be practically
starving to death to eat one. And secondly, they're expensive, and if you're not going to eat them then what's the point?
For us, for example, survival doesn't look that much different from regular life for the first 2 to 3 months. There's no rationing or hardship at
all. It's life as usual. Sure, some things are different like no internet maybe, but there's always books and games. There's power, water, and
flushing toilets, and plenty of food. There's even A/C and heat. We'll still sit in the living room, watch movies, etc. We're not going to go
hunker down in the basement and start eating the Ultra-Bar 1000's and drinking recycled urine on day #1. And, if this is your mindset, what prepping
you do wind up doing will be in vane because you'll never use it. For us, life doesn't really begin to change until out around 5-6 months (which is a
very long time, far longer than most real-world survival situations would take).
I could write a book on this subject (and probably will), so I probably should restrain myself here to keep it simple. I have a thousand suggestions
for following the KISS principle (Keep It Simple, Stupid) when it comes to survival preparation, so I'll just cite a couple generic examples. I'll
use food first...
This is probably a bad example, but I'll use it because it will be one most should relate to. Let's say you decide that military MRE's are going to
be your survival prep food (note - I don't recommend this as a go-to solution, but that goes beyond this post). The first thing you should do would
be to go out and buy a couple MRE's and actually eat them in the place of your daily diet. Don't eat anything else, and consume them fully (not just
part). Eat the entree, the side, the drink, the cookie, the jam or peanut butter, the drink...everything.
The first thing you'll notice is you probably liked one, and didn't like the other one. Okay, you've just learned something; some I like, and some I
don't. Don't buy the ones you don't like. (simple, right? Well, not so fast..) So you go out and buy a case of (24) MRE's. MRE's have an average
shelf life of about 5 years if stored correctly (longer with degradation). In the span of 5 years you will need to plan on substituting (24) of your
daily meals with MRE's so they don't go to waste and wind up in the trash. Seems easy, right? Well, sure...IF you plan on only surviving for 24
days. When you scale this equation up to longer periods like say 3 months (90 days), then you have to plan on eating (90) MRE's in 5 years (because
the shelf life didn't change, but the quantity did). If you scaled this up to a couple years worth of supplies you'd be eating MRE's every other day
of your daily, non-survival mode, life. Otherwise, you're just going to throw them away and this is wasted money.
Bottom line - survival preparation has to be sustainable if it is to be meaningful. It's not something which only gets used in an emergency and just
collects dust otherwise. It has to be integrated into your lifestyle. So, it's not doomsday, and start small (and use what you do put up).