Posts Tagged With: prepping

This One Step is Guaranteed to Continually Improve Your Preps

by Todd Walker

You want to improve your preps.

I know this because you’re reading Survival Sherpa. Our motto here is, “Helping each other on the climb to self-reliance and preparedness…the Survival Sherpa way…One step at a time.”

I also realize that you are afraid of change. You’d like things to stay the same. But you also feel the tsunami coming and want to head to high ground. You’re worried that all the boats will sink. You don’t have enough time, energy, and resources to get there.

Here a truth that set me free. Preparedness is a journey, not a destination. You’ll never arrive! But what if you only had to change one thing to be better prepared, you’d think I was crazy, right?

Headlines often promise more than they deliver. But this one simple step really will increase your level of preparedness, self-sufficiency, and resilience.

What’s the one step?

Prepping Kaizen!

What’s Kaizen? Breaking the word down, “kai” means change/make better, “zen” means good. Apply the word to prepping and it means “continuous improvement.”

Kaizen was practiced here in the U.S. during the great depression and later to help rebuild Japan after WW II. Once it took root, it helped this war-torn country bounce back and become a dominate economic power. I own one of their success stories – a Toyota Forerunner. It just turned over 235,000 miles. I’d say it’s middle-aged now, thanks to kaizen – and regular maintenance.

Preparing for the coming chaos may look like a cooked elephant sitting on your table, so add a little Prepping Kaizen to help clean your plate.

That’s the purpose of this article – to help you bounce back from whatever gets thrown at you… without being overwhelmed. If you’re new to prepping, you may feel like throwing your hands up in despair. You’ve  managed to click away from a well-meaning, self-proclaimed expert prepper blog extolling you to get ready for the zombie apocalypse. Anxiety grips your mind and emotions.

“You mean I’ve got to have 10,000 thousands rounds of ammo, one years worth of food storage, and live off grid – by next month!?!”

None of these are bad if that’s you goal. But for those newly initiated to preparedness, this is a blueprint for burnout.

This is where Prepper Kaizen comes in handy.

You see, you don’t need to have to have it all. You never will anyway. But what you do need is the ability to see the whole picture and take the small, simple steps, master these, and look back at how much you’ve improved and accomplished. Those weekly Buy-One-Get-One deals at the grocery store start to accumulate. You notice that your pantry mysteriously grew from a three-day supply to a three-week supply.

The key to lasting success is lasting.

Micro manage your preps

Prepping Kaizen is a strategy that takes your focus off the size of the tsunami and helps you do the little stuff (micro) to get you to safety. This approach is like taking your first step as an infant.

You learned locomotion one step at a time. You didn’t crawl up on the sofa arm and run sprints in diapers. You mastered walking first.

Most of you aren’t building a multi-million dollar corporation. But you can benefit from the kaizen model that rebuilt Japan.

Here’s how to get your Prepping Kaizen on.

  • Step 1: Start

Sometimes a tiny step is all it takes to build momentum and confidence for your journey. If all you see is the approaching tsunami, you’ll be tempted to just bend over and kiss it all good-bye. 

Stacy (new to prepping) drives home this point in her recent comment to me, “I feel more like I’m in a whirlpool!” She’s not alone. 

She and her husband have made the first step on their journey to self-reliance. They started with emergency water containers. Now she’s working on food storage. Her husband wants to know how to get 6 months of food storage. Simple answer: One bite at a time. Start buying extras of what you already eat. Before long, you’ll need to find creative ways to stash all this food – under beds, furniture, and other unlikely pantry spaces. 

  • Step 2: Stick to it

Now that you’ve taken the first step, pick an area you feel is most important and break it down into smaller steps. This is a very personalized process. Priorities are dependent on your individual scenario. If you live on property with fresh water springs, water storage won’t be as important to you as the family living in an arid climate.

With that being said, pick one area to improve and focus your energy and resources for one month on that priority prep. If it’s food storage, take conscious steps each week to improve this area. Having spent a month dedicated to the process of storing food, the remaining 11 months will become routine. You fix the kinks and streamline the process. This discipline will easily transfer to your next area of focus.

  • Step 3: Pick the low hanging fruit

This is how smart preppers apply Prepping Kaizen. Smart people pick the easy stuff first. The stuff that’s free, inexpensive, or readily available.

  • Buy an extra case of bottled water for 4 bucks
  • Do some bodyweight exercises – no expensive gym membership needed
  • Buy a 50 cent box of table salt
  • Read free ebooks on prepping and survival – knowledge weighs nothing
  • Never pass on Buy-One-Get-One deals
  • Save your pocket change in a jar to buy more preps – don’t trade in your nickels though
  • Become a yard sale junkie – chew on the hay and spit out the sticks.

Easy pickins give you immediate, tangible results. The foggy path to preparedness begins to clear and you grow more confident. So does your knowledge and skills. Build off this new-found confidence and pick the next area of improvement. How hard can it be?

  • Step 4: Ask why with an axe in your hand

Mistakes are not a sign to quit. They’re markers of what not to repeat. Even if you’ve been prepping for years, you make mistakes – sometimes stupid ones. I’ve made my share. Mistakes improve the process if we ask… why, why, why, why, why. 

Part of kaizen is asking 5 whys. There is always one root cause to every problem. Some issues won’t take 5 whys. Other may take more. Instead of dealing with the symptom, the 5 why method digs until you find the root. This forces you to stop the hurried Do-Do cycle and fix the real problem.

Try this. You notice the bottom of your tomatoes are developing brown, rotting spots on their bottoms:

  1. Identify the problem. That’s easy. The spots are visible. You’re green-thumbed neighbor tells you it’s blossom end rot.
  2. Identify the cause by asking, ‘why did this happen?’ Brainstorm all the possible causes.
  3. Write it down on paper. Insufficient calcium, not enough water, too much water, soil PH, etc.
  4. Ask why for each of the causes you’ve just identified. Ask 5 times per possible cause.
  5. Once you’ve identified the root cause – use your axe.

Was it the soil, minerals, or watering that’s destroying your fruit? Whatever it is, this process will help you lay an axe on the root cause. Armed with this knowledge and experience, you’ll make continual improvements to bear more fruit next growing season.

  • Step 5: Take Curly’s advice

If you’ve made it this far, you want to be better prepared. Keep in mind that you don’t have to ‘get there’ immediately. Making sweeping changes to your lifestyle is not a prerequisite to being more resilient, self-sufficient, or whatever it’s called these days.

Remember the scene from the movie City Slickers when Curly (Jack Palance) gives Mitch (Billy Crystal) his simple version of the meaning of life?

Curly: Do you know what the secret of life is?

Curly: This [as he holds up one finger]

Mitch: Your finger?

Curly: One thing. Just one thing. You stick to that and the rest don’t mean shit.

Mitch: But what is the ‘one thing?’

Curly: That’s what you have to find out. (smiles)

Figuring out your one thing is up to you. I don’t assume to know what you need. I’ll leave that to a fictitious cowboy. Curly wisdom maybe right in the movie…

But, if you want to be better prepared to face uncertain times, you have to do more than one thing. Lots of things actually – without freaking out.

You have to take that first step. Then another, and another, and another.

Maybe you’ve already gotten your fundamental preps in order. Congrats! Now take the next step and apply Prepping Kaizen through out your journey. You’ll notice steady improvement in quality and quantity over time.

You’ll be more prepared tomorrow than you are today.

Keep doing the stuff – one step at a time,



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Categories: 180 Mind Set Training, Preparedness | Tags: , , , , | 7 Comments

3 Habits that Should be ‘Automatic for the Prepper’

by Todd Walker

Could I get some collard greens with that?

Automatic!” answers owner Dexter Weaver.

“Automatic for the people” means you get what you want at his diner.


The phrase became more than a slogan when R.E.M.’s “Automatic for the People” album was released in 1992. The band borrowed the line from Weaver’s hole-in-the-wall eatery and the rest is history. Rock-n-roll groupies from around the world journey here to eat home cooking and hear “Automatic!” from across the counter.

What if you could make prepping automatic?

Automatic for the Prepper

In the prepping habit loop, preparedness becomes habitual. Your preps go on autopilot. Things become automatic for you. Brushing your teeth is a habit. So is smoking. The mechanics of walking are too. Imagine what it’d be like to relearn how to walk after a stroke or injury.

Good or bad, habits are formed to free up our brains to handle more complicated issues. They help us conserve mental energy. You don’t have to stop and analyse the simple act of tying your boots. You probably have the same daily routine in the shower which frees your mind to create an invention to save the world while you butcher that song stuck in your head.

What I mean is…

  • You don’t have to spend mental energy thinking about whether to carry your concealed sidearm and other everyday carry items. They automatically have a home on your body or purse. You feel naked without them. 
  • Kitchen scraps get tossed into the compost container on the counter without any real thought.
  • Buying ‘extra’ food no longer seems odd or expensive.
  • Taking the stairs to the third floor while your co-workers wait for the elevator is your new normal.
  • Spotting what you once called a nuisance weed in your yard is now viewed as a source of healing and nutrition. And you see them everywhere now!  
  • You don’t even notice how functionally fit you’ve become from tending your garden.
  • ‘Hoarding’ is no longer a nasty term. You call it redundancy.
  • You hardly use your Ball Blue Book Guide to Preserving anymore. You’ve canning is on autopilot.
  • Prayer or meditation stops being a duty. It has become a normal part of your daily practice.
  • You can make your morning pot of coffee with your eyes closed – which is usually the case anyhow.

Given enough time, habits become automatic for the prepper. Warning: They cut both ways though. They can lead to your survival or demise.

I’m not going into depth on the Habit Loop today. If you want to learn more about Habit Loops (cue – routine – reward), read my previous article here. For now, let’s look at 3 habits that should be automatic for every prepared person.

Automatic Habit #1 – Build Knowledge

As Crunchy Mama reminded us recently, “Knowledge weighs nothing.” Make a habit of studying preparedness, survival, and self-sufficiency information. In the spirit of “Automatic for the Prepper,” here’s some resources I’ve found helpful on my journey to preparedness and self-reliance.

Since starting this blog over a year ago, I’ve learned a lot by researching articles, following rabbit holes on the net, and connecting with others with similar life themes. One source of exceptional knowledge I’ve discovered is from you, those that comment and offer advice in comments and emails. You may not run a high-profile blog or be a best-selling author but your insight and common sense transcends ‘experts’ more times than not. We are truly thankful your here!

With that being said, what websites, books, resources, or people have helped your journey?

Automatic Habit #2 Build Skills

Now put that knowledge to work with some hands-on skills. Yes. You have to practice for these to become automatic.

  • Making fire with many methods
  • Purifying water
  • Storing food properly
  • Defense, protection, and situational awareness
  • Building community – comes in handy when bartering and borrowing
  • Growing your own food (plants and animals)
  • Do it Yourself skills – how hard could it be attitude
  • Hunting and gathering and eating without poisoning yourself
  • Preserving the harvest
  • Critical thinking – applying creative solutions – my daddy called it rigging stuff
  • Producing stuff

Automatic Habit #3 – Question Everything

My experience in the prepper community has been very positive for the most part. Preparedness minded folk are willing to help no matter where you are on your journey.

Prepping has only recently come into vogue in our modern society. Sure, there has always been hardcore prepping going on. Not so long ago preserving food and growing chickens in the yard was not just a hobby, but the difference between feeding your family or going hungry. There weren’t any super-sized box stores you could jet over to and pick up tonight’s garlic roasted yard-bird in a box.

When I lived in Siberia just after the fall of communism, a good Russian friend there had just returned from visiting America. She asked me, “Why is everything super? The stores, the drinks, everything is so super.” I thought it was a strange question at first. She just saw the ‘greatest country on earth’ and her main take away was that things were labeled ‘super’ when they really weren’t super at all. Then I got it.

From her point of view, one that I have since adopted, super isn’t always super. In her culture, the word carried a real meaning. Super in Russia actually meant of high quality or extreme. It wasn’t tacked on a cup of soda unless it was a superior drink. The word still held its basic meaning.

Not so much here. We’ve overused and misused the meaning of ‘super’ to sell stuff. The preparedness community is not immune to Madison Avenue’s influence. Buyer’s remorse happens in our ranks too.

Remember hearing any of these as a kid or adult?

  • Get good grades, go to college, build your credit, be loyal to your company, get a gold watch, and live happily ever after
  • “Don’t rock the boat” – put on your happy face and go along to get along
  • The ‘Civil War’ was fought to end slavery
  • Relocating to remote wilderness is the only strategy to survive TEOTWAWKI
  • Eating a low-fat diet is healthy
  • We’re from the government and here to help
  • The classic – “Be careful! You’ll put your eye out”
  • Stay in school or you’ll be a ditch digger for life
  • You can live off the land and be a lone wolf survivor
  • Dial 911 and wait for the authorities
  • Have gun – will survive
  • Follow doctor’s orders

The problem with making #3 an automatic habit is that it is so much easier to just accept what others tell us is true. The challenging part comes when we wake up to the fact that these myths are myths and, if exposed, there’s a personal cost we must pay in pursuit of truth.

Seeing the truth is not enough. I call it The Window Shopping Syndrome. We walk past a beautiful dress in the window of our favorite store. We stop. We want it. We return the next day to look. It’s still there. Our desire begins to burn. We crave the dress. The color is perfect. We repeat the this pattern several days. It becomes a habit. We go out of our way to pass the window. We want it so badly. Our desire hasn’t changed. But…

We’re not willing to pay the price.

The price is too high. So we settle.

These are the 3 habits that should be automatic for every prepper. You got any suggestions? Let us know in the comment section if you like.

Keep Doing the Stuff of Self-Reliance,


P.S. – You can also keep up with the Stuff we’re Doing on TwitterPinterestGoogle +, YouTube, Instagram, and Facebook… and over at the Doing the Stuff Network.

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Categories: Preparedness, Self-reliance | Tags: , , , | 16 Comments

Two Replies on the Art of Persuasion

by Todd Walker

Subtle nudges work best for some. For others, bright flashing headlines are needed. It all depends on the individual. Uncovering the best strategy is difficult. There’s no set formula in persuading others.

Sure, there are tips and tricks used by snake-oil salesmen. But we’re not selling secret elixirs.

If you’ve ever persuaded someone to begin prepping, however large or small the step, I’d like to hear from you for an upcoming article.


Here are two replies from yesterday’s post – with light editing from the comment section for easy reading.

Lee writes on history and faith in God:

In my mind, history is the most powerful and persuasive method of motivating people toward preparedness. History reveals that there are always conspiracies, there are always new wars, and disasters will eventually come. Nothing remains the same forever, history proves that we are always in a state of flux and that game will come.

If it is bad for you or the area where you live now, eventually things will change for the better. But if it is all good in your life and where you live, you can bet that eventually hard times will come.

How did our predecessors fare when the changes came and why? What families were best able to cope with that blizzard, that hurricane or that great earthquake? How did people survive major catastrophes in the past? I asked many of the generation who lived through the great depression here in Alabama how they coped with the hardship. Their answer was that they were so poor and lived off of the land anyway that they hardly even noticed the depression. They were already living in survival mode when the depression struck!

I found that those people lived their lives knowing that there next meal depended on God. It was He that gave rain and sunshine in the right proportions for their crops to grow and the harvest to be bountiful. One bad year and they would have starved! That bit of history tells me that if another such depression comes it will probably be the people who are already in survival mode that will be the least affected by it, and it will be those who trust God more than in themselves or in Governments who will ultimately survive.

History clearly shows that no one is guaranteed to survive any specific event, but those who have thought ahead and are better mentally, spiritually and physically prepared have the best chance of survival.

My own personal survival preparedness depends more on my faith in God than on my own skills and ability to prepare. I know that it is impossible to be prepared for every event, so I simply do what I can and what is reasonable and what seems prudent, then I trust God with the rest.

If I survive it will be because God willed it to be in the same way that my next breath will come. My life here was given by God and when the time comes it will be taken in and by His will. Those who depend only on themselves and their own abilities and preparations are doomed to failure.

Lynne writes on food insurance:

25 years ago, my brother-in-law preached doom-and-gloom, that the end times were coming. We laughed at him, thought he was cuckoo. As I’ve gotten “older and wiser”, I understand more of what he was saying.

Although I don’t openly show family my preps. If they see my food pantry and start asking me WTH, I’ll just offer some generic advice such as, “well, the paper industry (my hubby’s profession), is closing mills all over the country…he could lose his job next week, this is food insurance”. They don’t know about the weapons/ammo.


Maybe you could share how you got started prepping. Was it a single event, book, blog, or conversation? Leave your thoughts in the comment sections if you’d like.

Thanks for your help,


Categories: Preparedness | Tags: , | 6 Comments

The Top Ten Posts of Our First Year!

by Todd Walker

Top Ten, Top 10

It’s 11 actually.

It’s been one year since I started this blog in an ocean full of preparedness blogs. I’m just one little fish. For every site that promotes preparedness, offers original content, and practical prepping advice deserves a hat tip. Even more than a hat tip, a big fat thank you.

On a personal level, this year was the most challenging for my family. Through all the dark times we’ve continued to grow and build resilience in our physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual life. We want to thank each of you who have offered words of support, prayers, and encouragement! and have become a part of the Sherpa family.

Though Dirt Road Girl and I haven’t met you face to face, we feel very connected to our online family and friends.

In April 2012, we saw a whopping 37 visitors. Not in a day, but the entire month. Last month we had 36,478 visits. Our best month so far. After 314 posts, 177,624 visitors, and a lot of hard work, we’re stoked about the coming year.

This may not seem like much to the big boys of the bloggersphere, but we’re thankful, and humbled!

We’ve found a whole community of very helpful and knowledgeable people this year. Some have contributed articles, many have become regulars in the comment section, and others quietly offering advice privately.

To celebrate, we’re sharing 10 of the top blog posts here on Survival Sherpa. Whether you just discovered us or have been with us the whole year, thanks for joining us on our journey!

1. 160 Reasons to Stock Coconut Oil in Your Larder – Source:  Wake Up World

2. 7 Surprising Reasons Why Americans Aren’t Prepared for What’s Coming – by Todd Walker

3. Six Dangerous Miseducation Lessons You Should Unlearn Immediately – by Todd Walker

4. 3 Healthy Fast Food Meals in Mason Jars – Source: The Organic Prepper

5. 5 Must Do’s Before the National Nipple Runs Dry – by Todd Walker

6. Death of the Nickel: A Hoarding Strategy – Source:

7. Top-Ten-List-Of-Not-Famous-Yet-Preparedness-Sites – by Todd Walker

8. Get Your Gut In Shape: Down and Dirty Sauerkraut – by Todd Walker

9. 6 Cold and Flu-Fighting Recipes Your Doctor Probably Didn’t Tell You About

– Source: Caroline Cooper

10. Neighboring Matters: Preparing For Unknown Unknowns – by Todd Walker

Here are even more friends and contributors that add value to the preparedness community and this site:

Bug Out Nutrition

The Herbal Survivalist

Sensible Survival

Survival Punk

Prepared Christian


Ready Nutrition

Backdoor Survival

Before It’s News

Prepper Website

The Daily Sheeple

Misbehaved Woman

Family Survival Protocol

Living Freedom

The key to lasting success is lasting! One more post, one more connection, one more day, one more year. Doing the stuff… one more time!

Any suggestions to improve our site? Please leave your suggestions in the comments or email me. 

Follow me on Twitter @SurvivalSherpa and find us on Pinterest if you like.

Categories: Preparedness | Tags: , , | 6 Comments

6 Essential Zen-like Hacks Guaranteed to Declutter Your Preps

by Todd Walker

I’m adding a new law to Newton’s Laws of Motion. A Nobel Prize in the Physics of Prepping should be coming my way soon!

Here’s a summary of my new law…

The Law of Horizontal Surfaces: All objects in motion tend to stay in motion until they find a horizontal surface to rest upon.


Newton’s law of universal gravitation states that everything with mass in the universe is attracted to everything else that has mass in the universe (paraphrasing here).

Apply this law to my Law of Horizontal Surfaces for yourself. I think you’ll confirm my findings.

Here’s an experiment you can do at home, work, or anywhere horizontal surfaces are found. Add people to the environment and note how quickly the non-cluttered horizontal surface attracts objects – of all shapes and sizes. Very un-Zen. Especially when you need to find a tool or, in some cases, your infant you put down “somewhere.”

Preppers are known to collect stuff. And everything has a use…someday. But if you can’t put your hands on what you need, when you need it, it won’t be as useful as you once thought.

It’s called spring cleaning. Some would call it practicing Zen habits. Cleaning the clutter. Simplifying.

This is my last day of Spring break. I can’t wait to get back to school to rest up. Dirt Road Girl and I uncluttered every horizontal surface in our home and my shop. Even vertical surfaces, closets, cupboards, and storage shelves are organized.

Here’s six tips to help you combat the Law of Horizontal Surfaces and live clutter free

A.) Chunk it. Your time, that is. If you don’t have a large block of time, and depending on badly the Law of Horizontal Surfaces has taken over, take it one step at a time. Defy the Law by focusing on one area or zone in your living or work space. This lessens the chance of you getting overwhelmed and quitting.

B.) Chuck it. Your non-essential stuff, that is. Just let it go. Especially the stuff hidden in your junk drawer. We all have those. We hauled a couple of loads of this stuff to a local charity this week. Things I didn’t think I could part with have now found a new horizontal surface to occupy…just not in our space. I’ve noticed that my load is lightened physically, mentally, emotionally, and even spiritually somehow. Peace is a good thing.

Here’s one strategy for clearing a junk drawer. Dump the contents into a box, label it, and then put it in hiding for a month or two. If you don’t need that useful junk in the box during that time, chuck it.

C.) Handle it once. Don’t just wipe all the accumulated clutter in a box and go dump it in the spare bedroom closet. You’re planning on organizing your that closet too, right? Once you put your hands on the objects of clutter, move it once. Find a permanent home for the stuff.

DRG says I’m a borderline hoarder. Not true. I might be able to use that small stripe of chicken wire one day. But the thing about keeping it is that it sits on the limited horizontal space in my shop and attracts more objects.

D.) Pick your battles. The best strategy we’ve found is to pick an area that really grates on our nerves. The spot that makes our shoulders knot up and blood pressure spike. Once you get this place cleaned and organized, let your momentum take you to the next room or counter top.

At one point last week, we realized we needed to tackle my shop. We moved shelving from the house to simplify our living space. I chunked some old shelving in my shop and added the larger shelves from the living room. This allowed for more useful horizontal space in my shop for long-term storage items. A win-win-win for house, shop, and preps.

E.) Make it a habit. Once you’ve got a your space clutter free, keep it that way. Stand back and feel the peace in your de-cluttered space.

But we all tend to backslide into clutter. The Law of Horizontal Surfaces is fierce and doesn’t care. Handle objects once and put them back in their space. When my kids were little, I’d take toys left lying around the house and toss them in a box in the garage. They couldn’t rescue their toys from the box prison for a full week. If they forgot about the toy, it usually got tossed or given away.

F.) Quit your squawking. Stop whining and organize your prepping items. You’ll notice a huge difference in the amount of stuff that becomes useful when it’s de-cluttered.

For example, there’s an old duffel bag in my shop packed with miscellaneous prepping stuff – B.O.B. items, camping supplies, tools, rope, etc. Not anymore. I dumped it on the floor and went through it. I found stuff I’d forgotten I had. It was like Christmas in April.

Get some boxes or bins and separate the pile into categories. Now I can walk to a shelf and find the container of jute twine and other cordage when I need it. Have a labeled container for every category of useful stuff. The rest, chunk it.

In our digital world, our computers and phones are not exempt from the Law of Horizontal Surfaces. You can’t find that excellent article on building community. You filed it under something. But what? Apply these same tips to simplify your digital world.

Checking and responding to email, messages, social media feeds, and comments can be a black hole in your time. Getting organized to handle the clutter will free up your time and get your life simplified. There’s an app for that, right?

Horizontal surfaces are essential. They fight the other immutable law, the law of gravity. There in lies the problem… the pesky Law of Horizontal Surfaces. It takes a little time and effort on your part, but it’s possible to defy this law. And remember, momentum is you best friend.

Keep doing and de-cluttering the stuff!

What’s your best practices for organizing and de-cluttering? Please share them in the comments section.

If this was helpful to you, please share it with your friends. 

Categories: Preparedness | Tags: , , , , | 6 Comments

Applying the 7 Characteristics of Living Things to Your Survival Plan

by Todd Walker


Change is inevitable. Survival is optional.

One of the most liberating days in your life is when you come to realize you are responsible for your own success. No more excuses. No more blame game. You’ve entered the no-victim zone.

The concept of survival distills down to pain management and increasing pleasure. Bingo! You start planning. You spent long hours studying, reading, buying, and mining data to build the perfect system. You attend preparedness expos, interact on discussion forums, devour books, and maybe even start a blog.

Congrats! Your hard work has finally paid off.

Just as you finalize your sacred plan, even before the laminating film cools, some world event or local elected thug makes it a non-perfect plan. An unexpected health issue, job loss, or simply ignoring that nagging gut feeling about your family’s future can blow your plan to nothingness.

The beauty of pressure and time is its ability expose weaknesses. Ignoring science and history, you find yourself driving down the road to your fatal dead-mans curve clinging to your laminated preparedness plan.

I apologize up front to anyone reading this who happens to be “set in their ways” or downright rigid. You’re not going to enjoy what follows.

Adaptability and agility are two key elements you must develop to increase your chance of staying alive. Unplug your laminating machine, grab a pencil, paper, and several erasers because creating a living Individual Preparedness Plan gets messy.

First, let’s go back to your middle school (junior high in my case) science class for a refresher course on the 7 Characteristics of Living Things. And please, no spit-wads hurled at the teacher.

Learning Goal: The student (you) will identify and apply the characteristics of living things to your Individual Preparedness Plan for survival and resilient living.

1. Living things are highly organized, from the smallest part to the largest.

  • Cells are organized into tissue (muscle)
  • Tissue into organs (liver)
  • Organs come together to form organ systems (nervous system)
  • Organ systems work together to form an individual living thing
  • More than one living thing makes a population of these particular things (the population of wild turkeys on your back 40)
  • The population becomes part of a community composed of different kinds of living things (species). It’s were living things live, work, play, etc.
  • An ecosystem is then formed when all the living things, non-living things, environment, and energy come together in their happy place

2. Living things have the ability to get and use energy.

  • Without a constant supply of energy (food) living things die and become food (energy) for much smaller living things
  • For humans, we use energy (food and fuel) to maintain the our core body temperature around 98.6 degrees F – our happy place

3. Living things have the ability to respond (movement) to their environment.

  • Sensitive to changes and responds (movement) to the stimuli in the environment
  • For example, the ability to move your hand off a hot stove (pain), or marry a hot wife (pleasure)

4. Living things have the ability to remove waste

  • Living things use different methods to excrete waste
  • For humans, the simple act of breathing removes waste
  • If a living thing is unable to excrete waste, it quickly becomes an organism formerly known as a living thing

5. Living things grow

  • Living cells grow to a certain size and then divide
  • A living thing turns stuff unlike itself into more stuff like itself – eat kale (plant) and it chemically turns into more of the eater (human)

6. Living things have the ability to reproduce and pass on genetic information to baby living things

  • Reproduction is essential for the survival of the species 
  • All living things reproduce by either asexual or sexual reproduction

7. All living things have the ability to adapt to their environment

  • Adaptation is a trait that helps living things survive in its environment
  • Living things that are better at adaptation increase their survival and reproduction rates, thus strengthening their species
  • Important note: only individual living things have the ability to adapt – species do not adapt, they evolve
  • Variations of individual living things makes the species stronger (individualism)

Now, let’s discuss the application of this mini-lesson to your Individual Preparedness Plan.

When evaluating your IPP to determine if it is living or non-living, all 7 of these characteristics must be present.

If your plan follows just a few on the list, it’s a non-living IPP. To stay in the living category, your plan must show all 7 characteristics. Granted, we are all individuals at different stages of development. Our progress in certain areas may be strong while other areas need immediate attention. A humble analysis will be required, as will ongoing monitoring to ensure you and your IPP maintain living thing status.

1.a. Applying “Living things are highly organized” requires, um, organization. Lists are popular with most preppers. Simply having a list of lists doesn’t mean your organized. Lists will get you pointed in the right direction, but energy and focus are required to fill the list. SurvivalBlog offers the best lists I’ve seen to help organize, acquire skills, and stay on the living things list. You can find the “List of Lists” link on the left side bar near the top of his blog.

Organization applies to more than just stuff. Your living IPP should include finding other prepper populations and building community. Lone-wolf living organisms rarely survive.

Now, if I could only remember where I put my list?

2.a. What’s your plan for “Living things have the ability to get and use energy”? To avoid becoming room-temperature, pay close attention to these basics: food and water. Plan now to secure the knowledge and skills for sustainable food and water – to be converted into energy for your body. We all need energy to push, pull, and move.

Also, since we don’t hibernate, alternative, sustainable methods of energy production keeps us in our happy place, warm and dry. Consider passive solar, geothermal, hydroelectricity, and wood heating. There’s more. Any suggestions?

3.a. Think movement when applying “Living things have the ability to respond to their environment.” Your IPP should include a plan for Getting Out Of Dodge if you sense or see that your present environment will soon be hosting a bunch of non-living things. Keeping a 72-hour emergency kit ready is for smart living things. Or, if you know your environment will be full of non-livers, avoid the rush, make the necessary sacrifices, and move already.

Physical movement takes energy (see 2.a.). Natural selection favors those living things that are able to move efficiently. Stop neglecting your fitness. Nuff said.

4.a. “Living things have the ability to remove waste” must be applied if you plan on being a living thing. Applied to your physical body, elimination is essential. For the purpose of your IPP, the same holds true. Apply the Sherpa Simple philosophy to your stuff. Cleaning out that colon you call a storage closet brightens your day and makes room for useful stuff. Today’s society of consumers collect shiny stuff that, unless eliminated, turns toxic. Eliminate and flush.

5.a. Applying “Living things grow” to your plan. Your paradigm of preparedness should grow exponentially. Your IPP should include specific skills that need to be developed for you to be a well-rounded living thing. This is not meant to be applied to your waist line. What you thought you knew was the best today, changes tomorrow. Stay informed on practical ways to grow physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Remember, to grow, we need energy.

6.a. Applying “Living things have the ability to reproduce and pass on genetic information to baby living things” to your IPP. Is your plan reproducible? Could your neighbor, neighborhood, or community reproduce what you, the individual living thing, are doing? The genetic information of preparedness and building resilience needs to spread to audiences outside the present prepper population. When each newbie living thing begins taking personal responsibility, the community and entire “ecosystem” becomes stronger.

7.a. How you apply “Living things adapt to their environment” is the cornerstone to all living Individual Preparedness Plans. When living things are involved, expect monkey wrenching. Mother Nature keeps a tool box full of monkeys and wrenches. Bouncing back is easier if you have flexibility and redundancy built into your systems. A rigid tree won’t last long in the coming storms.

The problem with life is it changes. Well, it’s not a problem, it’s just reality. As a matter of fact, change is what keeps us out of that state of atrophy. Avoid pain and increase pleasure by applying these middle school science lessons to your Individualized Preparedness Plan.

Change is inevitable. Survival is optional.

If you found this helpful, maybe you could help get the word out by sharing it with your social network, family, and friends. We certainly appreciate all the support we get from you!


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Categories: 180 Mind Set Training, IPP: Individual Preparedness Plan, Preparedness, Survival | Tags: , , , , , | 5 Comments

Preparedness Community: Individualism vs. Collectivism

Too big to fail globalists want us to believe their titillating noble lies. Their mouthpiece, the Main Stream Media (MSM), denies the Newspeak coming from elite lips and to disguise  what their hands are doing. To reduce thought and critical thinking, truth is labeled ‘conspiracy theories.’ You’re a whack-job if you believe alternative news sources.

Elitists hate individuals. To them, we’re a pebble in their jack boots.

MSM is not their only promoter. Public schools are shills for the Collective. It matters not whether the school is populated by offspring of mostly conservative, liberal, or fence sitters. Every government-run school in America is a decoy for State enslavement – for the good of the group.

For those unfamiliar with the term collectivism, it is the complete opposite of individualism. Many times my students yell the answer of the math problem, 4 – 10 = 6. The answer given is the complete opposite of the correct answer, (- 6). Leaving out the negative sign seems like such a trivial matter. I point out the ‘simple’ error more times than I care to admit. The two numbers are on opposite ends of the number line.

“The answer is correct, except for that little sign,” Mr. Walker.

The importance of building resilient communities for not only survival, but to thrive in the coming days, can not be overemphasized. Neighboring Matters was an article I wrote about the importance of community in dealing with unknown unknowns. Today, some of the unknowns are turning into knowns. Confiscation in Cyprus ring any bells?

We’re social animals and thrive in community. What we don’t do well is live in the societal super-organism called the Collective. In this living, breathing entity, the individual merely survives by sacrificing his/her own self-interest for the “good of the group” – unless you’re at the top of the elitist pyramid.

“Collectivism often sounds humane because it stresses the importance of human needs. In reality, it is little more than a rationalization for sacrificing you and me to the desires of others.” — Jarret B. Wollstein

Individualism and Community

First, let’s explore building community based on individualism. By community, I’m referring to building mutual assistance and aid based on voluntary association without force, coercion, or treat of violence.

What makes you happy?

In a community of individuals (anti-collectivists), one is able to exercise his natural right to pursue life, liberty, and happiness. A moral individual wishing to pursue her happiness will find it necessary to cooperate with other like-minded individuals, not just in trading goods and services, but sharing knowledge, and developing genuine relationships as well.

The aim of building community should be to increase our quality of life. In a true free-market, these pursuits (life, liberty, and happiness) would be more easily attained.

Individuals make up a community, obviously. We’ve all witnessed how individuals come together during a crisis to serve (voluntarily) to help others in their community. Remember the devastation of Hurricane Katrina? The communities that rebounded quickly took matters into their own hands. They weren’t coerced into giving charity. They saw a need and made a decision to help neighbors.

The recovery time of any natural or manmade disaster takes longer when collectivist thinking dominates a community or society. Charity to your neighbor becomes a duty – enforced by the State. Give until it hurts or until the-powers-that-be say stop. Violating my rights in no way motivates me to give. I’ll gladly and willingly help others out of love for my fellow man and mutual benefit. However, coerce me and I resist.

No amount of guilt, force, or pressure applied by the Collective can be matched by the power of individuals motivated to pursue their own self-interest.

Individuals in the Collective are like oil and water. They don’t mix.

Collectivism and Controllers

Look no further for a shining example of that living super-organism called the Collective than our public schools. Students are trained to snitch on individuals who don’t play by the rules. Schools are a reflection of our nanny state encouraging “see something, say something”. The Powers of Fairness rule schools. Individualism is ferreted out and dealt with brutally for the good of the group. Parents chained to their office cubicles see no way out of their compassionate cage and allow the hostage taking to continue.

It’s only fair, right?

There seems to be no escape.

Ask yourself this question: Who benefits from those dependent on the Collective?

From an evolutionary point of view, bad ideas should die out. The Collective not only controls the bad idea factory, they have the State in their pocket to enforce their insanity. As the bad idea of collectivism becomes worse, it manifests destruction, an unproductive class, theft, vice, and pure evil. The Controller’s matrix punishes producers and rewards dependence. Before long, your proper position in the food chain is established.

Exposing the self-sufficiency myth

There’s a myth (or dream) floating around the prepper community about being completely self-reliant and self-sufficient. I’ve been guilty of falling for and even promoting the myth. Is it really achievable or just selling snake oil? With so many odds against us, I sometimes feel like I’m constantly selling some secret elixir out the back of a wagon.

The main obstacle to self-sufficiency is not money, resources, land, or skills. The biggest hurdle is the Collective.

That pesky Collective keeps us dependent on their matrix. I’ve got to keep my health insurance, pay for shelter, food, and other needs – rinse and repeat. Stop paying rent (property taxes) on what you may call ‘free and clear’ land or house, and the Controllers send in goons to take what you once called home. Fiat greenbacks are required to pay tribute. Bartering in this situation won’t work.

Is there a better way to earn your freedom and escape the Collective cage? Freedom and liberty trump control and forced servitude. I’ve tried to wrap my mind around living off the land, hiding in caves, or some other Hollywood Doomsday lifestyle. It’s not for me, DRG, or our loved ones. If you think you’d enjoy that lifestyle, more power to you. I enjoy things that satisfy me personally and connect me to my true nature – without extravagance. This forces me to rethink my preparedness paradigm.

Redefining preparedness 

  1. Get your mind right. Ditch the spin doctors. Whatever label you have pasted to your forehead, spinning your version of truth doesn’t apply to everyone. We’re individuals. Not groups crammed into the Collective. Absent regulatory control, the free market will expose fraud and bad ideas. The Medical Industrial Complex, Industrial Food Machine, mass media, and whoever you voted for are cogs in the collective wheel.
  2. Adopt a depression lifestyle. This one involves distinguishing between the needs and wants. Take pleasure in withholding produce from the Collective. They need me more than I need them. Play their game better than they do. Do it all legally and above-board. Shrug.
  3. Bloom where you’re planted. If you’re not already living in a sparsely populated western state, and don’t have the resources to relocate, or better yet, don’t want to relocate to what experts call the safe haven states, what’s a prepared family or individual to do? Bloom right where you are. No doubt the number of potential roving gangs of looters drops in less populated regions, but if every follower of this brand of prepping acted on this advice, wouldn’t these states quickly grow in population? Yes, but they’d all have the right mindset. Don’t be so sure of that. Follow your gut.
  4. Down size. Learn to love less. Houses, cars, gadgets, etc. Decide what’s a priority in meeting needs, not wants. Tangibles and quality equipment and tools and things that hold value over time are stuff to go after. When the balloon goes up, you’ll be glad you collected stuff smartly.
  5. Take advantage of living in our modern world with our modern conveniences. Use technology to resurrect lost skills – and make them better. Alternative energy (passive solar, hydro, and even wood gasification) will be a key element to bouncing back from chaos. Every family needs at least one geek. Khan Academy is an example of a ‘geek’ who has bypassed traditional brick and mortar classrooms to teach effectively online. The same strategy can be applied to starve the Collective and build resilience. Geek on!
  6. Resilient health. Health is wasted on youth – among other things. After our personal SHTF experience, we don’t take our health for granted. Be proactive about what you put into your body. This one act alone can reprogram your health. You’ll also need proper amounts of sleep, exercise, sunshine, play, and down time. The last thing you want is to be dependent on the medical/pharma system to keep your ticking. This is one more step in pulling the plug on the Collective.

Not everyone is going to grab the flag and lead the charge. But once one person storms the hill, they won’t be alone. Many will follow. If you haven’t begun building a group or community, it’s not too late. It’ll take some time, but it can happen, one individual at a time.

If you found this helpful, consider helping get the word out by sharing it with your social network, family, and friends. We certainly appreciate all the support we get from you!

Also, please follow me on Twitter for updates on our journey: @SurvivalSherpa

Categories: 180 Mind Set Training, Economic Collapse, Preparedness, Survival | Tags: , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

7 Surprising Reasons Why Americans Aren’t Prepared for What’s Coming

by Todd Walker

I’ve never suffered a gunshot wound.

I had a friend who was ventilated by some grudge-holding thug. Apparently, this idiot wanted to get even for a business deal that went south. He chased my friend through the bays of his car wash shooting at him with a .22 revolver. Fortunately, only his love handles got pierced.  After recovering, my buddy began making a plan to never get caught defenseless again.

Tobacco Smoke Enema – Nice!

What follows may be painful for some. It may hurt as much as the old tobacco smoke enema. The only difference is that I’m NOT blowing smoke up yours.

Why do so many Americans refuse to prepare for worst case situations?

Or better yet, why do they not even prep for potential everyday emergencies? You’ve seen them pass you on their donut tire at 67 miles per hour heading to the 7-11 to get their winning lotto ticket. I’m sure with all their winnings they’ll be able to prepare, right?

Being prepared doesn’t take huge financial windfalls. So why do so many people think it’s a stupid idea to be prepared? Here’s my list.

A) Peer Pressure. Remember school days? Who wants to be standing outside looking in on the popular group? We all want to feel important and part of a group. We’re social animals. The group we associate with can determine our future.

My daddy always told me, “If you lay down with dogs, you’ll get up with fleas.” If you hang out with prepared individuals, you’re likely to become more prepared. As prepping goes more mainstream, many in the media portray preppers as crazy, racist, isolationist, anti-everything survivalist. None of us want that label. There’s always a few fringe types in any group that make media salivary glands wet. The new growth to the prepper movement is fueled by “normal” people like soccer moms, taxpaying business owners, and law-abiding folk.

B) Government Schools. My day job is to teach at a local school government indoctrination center. My advice to any preparedness minded parent of school aged children: AVOID GOVERNMENT SCHOOLS NO MATTER THE COST! Government schools manage ignorance for profit. Read more here.

Preparedness and survival requires self-reliance and the ability to think for yourself. The State forces kids to spend their most formative 12 years (16+ including college) learning how not to learn, but conform. Finding learning in government schools is as hard as finding a corner in a round room. A quarter of their lives circle the toilet bowl taking the path of least resistance to the collective’s sewage plant to be recycled and made “safe” and useful tax-payers.

Parent choices greatly increase or decrease their kid’s survivability. So what’s the solution for educating prepared individuals? Homeschooling may seem impossible. Both parents have to work to keep the family feed, clothed and sheltered. It comes down to our priorities. What “important” stuff can we kick to the curb to rescue our kids from government gulags and offer them a real education? I can’t answer that for you. Humans are individuals with unique situations. One size does not fit all. Homeschool, unschool, anything but government school.

C) Dependence. We’ve abandoned our roots. Due to reason # (B), our history is intentionally distorted. I often ask kids to tell me about historical figures and events like Abraham Lincoln, the War of Northern Aggression, or more recently – the Federal Reserve. As to Lincoln and the unCivil War, kids today are taught that Lincoln invaded the south to free the slaves. While I abhor the concept of someone owning another person, I know that Lincoln didn’t care about slaves being freed. Follow the money.

When my ancestors stepped off a boat in 1735, there was no free lunch or welcome basket full of government goodies. dependence on their own ability, family, and immediate like-minded friends started my family journey in America. Their self-reliant skills didn’t insulate them from set-backs and calamities. The find-a-way-to-get-the-job-done attitude is what helped me and my family survive to this point. Thankfully, I’m part of the remnant of self-reliance left in our country. When their Katrina-style disasters hit, communities rebuilt without the help of FEMA. This spirit of pioneering one’s own life has been traded for dependence. Even after natural and man-made disasters, I’m amazed at the false hope Americans place in our government’s ability to sweep in for the rescue. It’s a stupid idea most Americans hold.

D) MBM (Morally Bankrupt Morons). “All I need is guns and ammo to survive. When the SHTF, I’ll just take what I need.” I’ve read this statement, or similar sentiments on many preparedness/survival forums. I want to think they were just trolls. But I know there are lazy, corrupt individuals that will resort to this style of survival – for a while. Do they think that the very people they plan to plunder are not able and ready to defend their personal property?

I saw an episode of Doomsday Preppers where one in their group stated that they don’t buy weapons and ammo. Their plan, when the armed  horde of hungry looters show up, is to show them all their food and offer more if they leave them unharmed. Maybe some MBM’s will live to loot another day. I wouldn’t place my hopes of survival in this strategy. Your mileage may very.

Some people have an aversion, even a fear of tools called guns. In the wake of Sandy Hook, I’m encouraged by the bare ammo shelves and empty gun stores. It gives me hope that people are listening to their “gut” and making preparations for their future. Defending their life, liberty, and property against enemies, foreign and domestic, seems to be catching on. Why shouldn’t it? It’s our natural right.

I’ll put real simple here. I don’t care who, whether pastor, clergyman, senator, family member, or Santa Clause tells you guns are evil and you don’t need them, put as much distance between them and you as possible. Part ways. Period.

Back to the MBM. These individuals embody the entitlement mentality and our moral backsliding in this country. Hunger is a strong motivator for stupid stuff. I’ve never been shot, and I’ve never shot anyone else. I pray to Papa that I never have to face the choice of kill or be killed. If that time comes, and I’m afraid it will, we each have to wrestle before hand with our resolve to protect our life, liberty, and happiness.

Read the signs and heed legitimate warnings. Don’t live in fear. Prepare accordingly my friends. Avoid being low hanging fruit.

E) Nationalism. Arrogance leads to a fall. It could never happen here. This is America! We’re the envy of the world. I’m convinced that this is the thinking of the mentally ill – or the historically illiterate. I hear the disdain coming from ‘educated’ folk all the time. I think they suffer from altitude sickness in their ivory towers. Totalitarianism happens one step at a time. As long as we are allowed to wake up in our homes, drink our coffee, go to work, watch our TV programs, rinse and repeat, tyranny becomes routine. Vigilance dies. It’s frog-boiling 101. Gradually heat the pot of water and the frogs don’t jump out.

I love my country. I love my freedom more. Humility and honesty seem to be lost traits. I hope that there are enough people waking up to help rebuild our crumbling republic. .

F) Mental Enslavement. With enough time, falling water can cut through rock. Is what we call ‘freedom’ really freedom? Many in the patriot movement call themselves “freedom lovers” yet accept tyranny as normal. We’ve all heard the battle cry of patriot-lite types. You’ll have to pry my guns from my cold dead fingers! No worries. The State will gladly oblige. Yet, the water fall of tyranny continues to eroded our liberties. It’s like watching a catastrophic train wreck in slow motion.

“Necessity is the excuse for every infringement of human freedom.” – William Pitt

We have as much freedom and liberty as the State allows. To realize and enjoy our natural rights, we must free our minds. Stop listening to talking heads. Free your mind. Don’t be deceived. The smoke screen isn’t just coming from the liberal media types. I use to listen to conservative talk radio religiously. I can’t stomach the party line talk anymore. Some pundits distinguish themselves as conservative, not republican. Liberal vs. conservative, Democrat vs. Republican. They are just different sides of the same liberty-destroying coin. Flip the coin to choose your master.

Ancient Chinese proverb: “The beginning of wisdom is to call things by their right names.”

G) Stifled Self-government. Critical thinking is dead (See # F). Passivity is encouraged, even demanded. Habits form us. We prefer  our guardians of darkness. It hides our secret need for fake security. We are addicted to our velvet chains. The principles of non-aggression and self-ownership have been systematically eradicated. Most Americans favor State coercion over individualism and self-reliance. Voluntary relationships between free individuals is no longer viewed as common sense. Our State monopoly on schooling crusades for government dependence and even sites individualism as a mental disorder.

Rejecting government dogma invites the use of ‘legal’ force, or the threat of force, to reform rebellious subjects of the State’s idea of being a good citizen. We have to get over ourselves and our dependency on government ‘safety’ nets. That is, if we want to be self-reliant. Breaking the addiction sometimes comes step-by-step. Sometimes it’s cold turkey that works. We’re all different. Do what works for you.

Don’t wait. Take one step towards building preparedness and resilience each day. What physical, mental, spiritual, emotional steps did you make today?

Don’t beat yourself up if any of these 7 reasons apply to you. It’s hard not to relate to some of these reasons. But who wants to be the person walking out of the restaurant bathroom with a strip of toilet paper stuck to their heel? How embarrassing.

So much is riding on you – your family, community, and even what’s left of our country.

Free you mind!

Follow me on Twitter for the latest on our journey to self-reliance, preparedness, and resilient living: @SurvivalSherpa

Categories: Economic Collapse, Life-Liberty-Happiness, Preparedness, Self Defense, Self-reliance, SHTF | Tags: , , , , , , | 14 Comments

Where There Is No Kitchen: Cooking When The Grid Goes Down

Editor’s note: P. Henry offers some very practical tips to cooking in a SHTF scenario. He even added a tip for washing dishes from a 1880’s homesteading manual – I’ve never heard of or tried this one. Check out the other practical advice over at their site – The Prepper Journal

by P. Henry

Source: The Prepper Journal

Many of you are familiar with the nearly famous books “Where There Is No Doctor” and “Where There Is No Dentist” that are the most widely used health education books in tropical and sub-tropical developing countries. These are great references that you can download from our Resources page that cover basic medicine and dental care from a perspective of a people who aren’t able to drive to the doctor or see the dentist whenever they have a tooth ache.

The concept of “Where there is no” popped into my mind as I was preparing to write this post. In a grid-down scenario we may not have the easy access to our kitchen tools that we have relied on in the past. Most kitchen appliances are powered by electricity or gas and if those both go out due to an emergency you could find yourself living “where there is no kitchen”.

Not having access to your microwave shouldn’t cause you any panic though, because people have been living pretty well without these conveniences for a very long time. Even if you have stored 30 days worth of dehydrated food and water, chances are you will want to eat something warm before it is all over. Even in the military we only ate MRE’s once a day when we were out in the field. MRE’s will keep you alive but eventually you get tired of that and want something hot and delicious. I know that MRE’s can be heated up too, but the contents of a regular bag of MRE’s can’t hold a candle to a nice venison stew that has been cooking slowly over a fire all day.

With some simple planning and preparation you can cook just about anything you need to keep you alive and healthy through any disruption. There are a few considerations and lots of options for cooking that we will discuss below.

Cooking Options

We are going to assume that any cooking that you will be doing is outside in this grid-down scenario. No cooking with open flame should be done indoors and that includes using your big stainless steel propane grill. Fumes are toxic and can hurt you so keep it outside for safety.

stassj-cooking-stirring-woodstove-1024x768Wood stoves – These are about the closest you can come to the power and convenience of a range or oven inside your house or retreat location. Yes I know that I just said to cook outside, but your stove is vented outside already. This is a winter solution though because you won’t likely want to fire up the big wood-stove in the living room in the middle of August.  In much older homes, the kitchen was in a different part of the house because the heat would stifle everyone else. During the winter a wood stove is a perfect solution for cooking and you can easily fit a couple of pans on the top and regulate the heat easily. You can cook on a wood-stove with your regular pans without any problem.

Backyard Grill – This is my personal first line of defense if the power goes out. It is simple to use and already set up outside. The main drawback is the need for propane but I keep an extra 50lb. canister of propane at all times so that if my main source runs out I still have a spare. This spare propane would be on my list of basic household items that you need to stock up on also. Some people use charcoal so an extra bag or two would be wise. It won’t last as long as a can of propane but having the ability to cook for a few days is always a smart idea. Optionally, if your house is heated with propane, you can purchase an adapter to run your grill but you probably are already using your oven in the house. It’s nice to have options.

TripodCampfire – Since the dawn of time people have been cooking over an open fire on the ground. This would be my fallback option after the propane was gone or if I had something that was larger and needed to cook for a long time. Campfires don’t need to be fancy but having a pit surrounded with rocks to contain the fire is preferred. To cook on a campfire, you will want to invest in at least one piece of cast iron cookware. Two would be the best giving you the option to fry or cook a big stew. You will also want to have a method to suspend your cookware over the flames. This is where agreat tripod like the one on the left here or a grate you can set on the ground over the coals. I prefer the tripod, but the grate is much simpler when you are using a skillet.

Camping stoves – These are a great solution too and use the same type of Coleman propane cylinders your lanterns take. They do have the drawback that the grill does though, and once your fuel is gone, they are worthless. You can use the grill grating itself over a regular campfire so don’t throw that away. We will talk about that more later. Backpacker stoves also come in handy in a pinch, but that would not be ideal for cooking larger meals. It will heat up single portions nicely though, and there are a lot of fuel options for the short-term emergency.

Rocket Stove – Rocket stoves are simple to build using materials you may have lying around or in the shed. These can be fueled with sticks and twigs and make a great surface that produces a lot of heat without a big footprint. There is an article about how to make a rocket stove out of a few cans that you should check out also.

Lanterns – Anything that produces heat can warm your food and some lanterns give you the ability to use the heat escaping from the top to boil water or heat soup. This is yet another good option that may work for some people. Candles can also be used but this would be my last resort. They take forever but you are already using your candle so this is a way to get two uses out of your preparations.Lantern

Solar – I saved this one for last but solar cooking shouldn’t be discounted at all. If you have sun and dry weather this is a great way to heat up and cook meals if you have time to wait. You will want to build your own solar oven which is fairly simple or there are several you can buy online. If you just need to warm up a can of soup you can sit that in the sun on the driveway for 30 minutes and voila!

Solar ovens can be made in numerous ways with lots of material. Here is a video for a funnel solar oven by LDSPrepper that cost only $5.


Cooking Necessities

The first place we look is to our cooking containers, or what we are going to hold over our source of heat to contain this wonderful food you are getting ready to cook. Cast iron is my personal favorite but that isn’t practical if you are on the move. You can also cook with #10 cans if needed, just be sure that the plastic coating on the interior melts out first.

Aluminum foil is not only useful for creating a solar oven, but you can form bowls out of this to cook with or boil water in a pinch. Aluminum foil is a second cousin to Duct tape I believe, because it has so many uses and should be on your list of supplies for your household. Can and bottle openers are nice. They aren’t necessary because if you are hungry enough, you will get that can open, but they are very convenient and do not cost anything at all. You will also want to have plenty of capacity for making fire in the first place. Lighters are simple and cheap, but flint and strikers should be in your survival kits also.

Other tools you could use are oven mitt or pot holders to handle the pots on these cooking surfaces. Wooden spoons and spatulas won’t melt like plastic and you can even make these yourself if you have plenty of time on your hands and a sharp knife.


Now that the group has been fed how do you clean up? Sanitation is something that becomes more important with the severity and duration of the emergency. Germs are easily passed so cleaning your food utensils is an important consideration for the health of your survival group.  Assuming you have some water on hand for cooking, we can look back at how the pioneers cleaned their dishes.

The rare 1881 Iowa settlers manual has a tip for washing dishes when you’ve run out of soap. It’s in the cleaning chapter of the book and was written for some of the first people moving into Iowa to homestead in the 1880′s.

To wash dishes without soap, have your dishwater hot and add a very little milk, as this softens the water, gives the dishes a nice gloss and preserves the hands. It removes the grease, even that from beef, and yet no grease is ever found floating on the water as when soap is used.

For the most part, hot water and a sponge with abrasive on one side will do the trick. Boiling dishwater before doing dishes would be the safest way to make sure you’re not scrubbing your pots with Giardia. But as for me, 99% of the time, I’m content with just getting it hot enough to cut the grease. Your call. After scrubbing, strain your dishwater through a fine mesh strainer (or a bandana) and broadcast the waste-water. In other words, fling it far and wide. You can use the rest of whats left for compost.


Categories: Camping, Homesteading, Preparedness, Self-reliance, Survival | Tags: , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

Down and Dirty Friday Links

Here’s a run down of today’s topics:

President Obama Shoots Himself in the Foot on Gun Control by Gary North over at

50 Shocking Questions That You Should Ask To Anyone That Is Not A Prepper Yet – H/T to My Family Survival Plan

Diffusing Essential Oils For Health And Wellness During Flu Season – H/T to Resilient News

A Lesson to be Learned on the Anniversary of Wounded Knee – H/T to Claire Wolfe at Living Freedom

Clean Your Kitchen: How to Trash the Toxins in Your Pantry via Daisy Luther at The Organic Prepper

MUST SEE: Citizens Against Senseless Violence: “Join Us! Tell Everyone Your House Is Completely Unprotected!” (Video) over at SHTFPlan

16 Things You Should Have Never Stopped Doing over at Mark’s Daily Apple – like climb anything and eat dirt.

Categories: Life-Liberty-Happiness, Natural Health, Preparedness, Self-reliance | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

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