Salt – Valuable Post Collapse

Many of us have way too much sodium in our diets. Be hard to argue against that fact, right? But salt does play an important part in our overall health. Sodium helps maintain cellular water balance as well as playing a role in both muscle and nerve pulse health.

Today, we take for granted the availability of salt. We use it in baking, food prep, and at the table. It costs close to nothing in stores.

Outside flavoring food, it has other uses. My grandmother swore by gargling with warm salt water to alleviate sore throats. It has been used for hundreds of years to preserve meat.

Granted, a little goes a long way but how much salt do you have on hand right now? Properly stored, it lasts almost forever. Post-collapse, it could be very valuable. Consider picking up a canister or two on your next shopping trip.

The Potential Impact of Protests and Strikes

What would happen if your local grocery stores weren’t able to get new product shipped to them? If there are mass protests and/or strikes, that could be a reality.

Do you know how much inventory an average grocery store has on hand at any given time? About three days. Of course, that’s figuring at normal levels of business too. Gone are the days when stores had massive amounts of stock on hand in their back rooms. Most of them now operate on what is called “just in time” (JIT) inventory. The idea is to keep just enough inventory on hand to satisfy the immediate consumer needs, thus allowing for more building space to be devoted to selling floor instead of stock room shelves.

What this means though is if there is an unforseen mass increase in business, the shelves get wiped out fairly quickly. Anyone who has visited a grocery store the day before a big storm is predicted to strike knows that I mean. And with the JIT inventory model, it might be a day or two during normal times to get replenished. Notice the key phrase there – during normal times. If strikes or protests were to impact deliveries to grocery stores, guess what? Yeah, might be a while before they get more Ho Ho’s on the shelves.

Plan ahead. Have enough in your pantry to see you and yours through situations like that.

How did you get started with prepping?

I’m curious and would like to hear from some of the readers here. How did you get started with prepping and survivalism? Was it with 9/11, Y2K, or even earlier?

Was there a specific event that prompted you to start putting some stuff aside, “just in case?” Or is it just how you were raised?

Do you identify yourself as a prepper or survivalist?

C’mon folks, share your stories. Inquiring minds want to know.

What if Wednesday–Tools and repairs

Do you measure the difficulty of a home repair chore by how many trips you’ll need to make to Home Depot or Lowes to get the job done?

Replace a window screen – 1 trip.

Fix a leaky faucet – 2 trips (one to get the part, another to exchange the part you got and get the right one).

Install new flooring – yeah, you’re better off hiring a guy to just run back and forth to Home Depot for you all day long.

What if you no longer had the luxury of running to the store to get new parts or tools? While installing new hardwood flooring probably won’t be a priority immediately following a societal collapse, fixing a window or door sure might be.

Take a look around your garage or workshop. Do you have enough supplies on hand right now to handle most basic home repairs? Extra tools to replace ones that break?

Perhaps most importantly, do you have the knowledge on how to use all that stuff?

[On a side note, please consider tuning in tonight to the Prepper Podcast. I’ll be the guest tonight and will be speaking about prepping on a budget, setting priorities for preps, as well as dispelling some common survivalist myths. Here’s a link to the information about the podcast.]

Survivalist vs. Prepper

Survivalist or prepper – is it just a matter of terminology? What’s the difference? Does it matter?

For a long time, the term “survivalist” has had a distinctively negative connotation in the media. The stereotype is perhaps best exemplified by the character Burt Gummer in the Tremors movies. Armed to the teeth but not very bright, stockpiled food consisting of mostly surplus military rations, waiting with bated breath for the day he can unleash his armory on commies, terrorists, and/or little green men from Mars, whichever comes first.

The term “preppers” is more recent. A friend of mine calls it “survivalist-lite” and that seems to me to be fairly accurate. Preppers aren’t necessarily planning for a complete and total societal collapse. They are concerned about being snowbound by blizzards for days at a time. Or power outages due to storms. If they are planning for “the end of the world,” they aren’t as concerned about ravaging bands of bikers as they are about putting food on the table for their families.

In various discussions I’ve had and heard, the dividing line seems to be the role firearms plays in preps. If you’re stocking up on guns and ammo for hunting, then you’re a prepper. On the other hand, if you’re stocking up on bang sticks to hunt two legged prey, then you’re a survivalist.

Naturally, there is a rather large overlap between the two. I know many people who are doing both, which isn’t a bad thing. (Personally, I lost all my guns in a tragic riverboat accident some years ago so it is a non-issue for me.)

At the end of the day, does it really matter which term you use? Probably not. But how you self-identify might lead you to take a hard look at how you’re prepping and make sure you’re on the track you feel you should be.

Do you have spare clothes in your kits?

Think back to the news footage we saw following 9/11. How many people did we see trying to evacuate the area while wearing suits, skirts, and/or dress shoes?

I consider myself fortunate in that I only have to wear a suit and tie on rare occasion for my day job. Personally, I’ve never understood the purpose of wearing ties but maybe that’s just me. In any event, while I don’t need to be “formal” at work, I do have to wear “business casual” attire. I’m able to get away with cargo pants and pull over shirts most of the time, which when coupled with a good pair of sturdy shoes is probably enough for most bug out scenarios.

But, I do still keep spare clothes with my car kit. What I’ve done is set up a separate bag with a pair of cargo pants, long sleeve flannel shirt, thinner undershirt, a pair of underwear, two pair of socks, and hiking boots. If need be, I can grab that bag when I grab my kit, then change out of my work clothes along the way.

During the colder months, I add a knit cap, spare gloves, thicker socks, and long underwear to the bag. While I always have a hat and gloves with me in the car, it doesn’t hurt anything to have spares.

If you end up in an evacuation or bug out situation, you don’t want to try doing so in a suit or dress. Keep a set of comfortable yet sturdy clothes with your kit and grab it on your way.

How do YOU save money on preps?

Most of us aren’t wealthy. In fact, most of us are probably just getting by. Yet, we still want and need to continue with our preps. How can we do that on little money?

As I may have mentioned in a previous post, my wife is a genius when it comes to “repurposing” things. Heaven forbid I toss out a box or container without checking with her first. She can almost always come up with a way to put it to use. Sometimes it is just a toy for the kids but other times it’ll be a new drain tray for her plants or something else a little more practical.

Buying in bulk? Great, if you have the means to not only pay for it but have some way to store it all. Maybe consider going in on the purchases with one or two other trusted friends or family members.

We’ve previously discussed using coupons.

What are some ways YOU save money on preps?

What if Wednesday–Laundry and Mending

We take a lot of things for granted in today’s society. When our clothes get dirty, we drop them into the nearest washing machine, add a little detergent, and twist a dial or press a button. Voila! Our clothes come out clean and fresh. But, what if you no longer had access to a washing machine? Do you have a plan for cleaning clothes?

How about mending clothes? That’s something we rarely think about in today’s disposable society. If a shirt gets ripped, we either toss it out or make it into rags. Then we head to the mall and pick up a new one, right? What if there was no mall? Or Wal-Mart?

Do you know how to sew? How about mending socks? Do you have the necessary needles and thread? How about replacing a lost button or two?

Give some thought now as to how you’ll take care of clothing during and after a disaster. People were cleaning clothes for hundreds of years before the advent of the automatic washing machine. It can be done–learn how. Stock up on needles, thread, buttons, and other items necessary for mending clothing and learn how they are used. Trust me, you might have some romantic vision of making your own buckskin pants but I think you’ll find they aren’t quite as comfortable as those blue jeans you’re wearing now.

Priorities for prepping

Many people seem to be under the misconception that firearms and ammo should be if not the number one priority, definitely in the top three in the list of “stuff” to acquire for disaster preps.

While important, firearms and related supplies are (or should be) further down the list. If you don’t have clean air, you won’t live past about three minutes. Three days without water and you’re wearing a toe tag. More than a couple weeks without food and you have some real problems.

Without clean air, water, and food, you aren’t going to have the ability to use that whiz bang armory you acquired.

Yes, I know some folks plan to use those firearms to get their food and water. Not the greatest plan, whether you’re talking about hunting or about pirating. These people are making the presumptions that 1) there will be plentiful game to hunt, and 2) other people will have stuff worth taking.

I’m not at all saying that firearms don’t have a place in your preps. Naturally you’ll want some method to protect what is yours. But, you need to stock up on what will keep you alive first.

Making a hobo stove

I mentioned this little DIY device earlier when we were discussing cooking without power. These are very easy to make and work surprisingly well.

Take an empty metal coffee can and, using a can opener, cut the bottom open. Using tin snips or the equivalent, carefully cut two slits from the bottom edge going up about 1.5 inches or so, and about 2 inches apart. Bend the flap you just made into the can. This is the opening where you will add fuel.

Drill holes around the can a few inches up from the bottom. I used a 3/8″ bit and made six holes total, each evenly spaced. These are air holes to feed the fire.

Place the can on level ground, preferably on gravel, sand, or dirt. You don’t want to catch your lawn on fire. Place some tinder and/or a firestarter in the can and get the fire going. The fire doesn’t need to be very large at all. If the flames are going higher than the top of the can, let it burn down for a bit. Add fuel as needed through the opening you made at the bottom of the can. Your fuel should be sticks about the size around as your finger.

Your pots or pans rest on the top of the can and will heat up quickly. Figure about seven to eight minutes to get water boiling on a summer day.

One adaptation I’ve seen is to drill additional holes near the top of the can and run coat hanger wire through them, providing support for pots or pans that are too small to fit on top of the stove.