# Food and Water Estimator Worksheet

I had been looking for a way to calculate how long my stockpile of food and water will last me and my family.  I did not find what I was looking for, so I created my own way to calculate the time my stockpile would last.  I used Excel sheets to do all the calculations.

How these sheets calculate how long a stockpile will last is simple.  For water the entire amount of water is added up to a total in gallons, then divided by the number of gallons each person will need a day, then divided by the number of people living off the stockpile.

To calculate how long food will last all food items are converted to their calorie amount.  The entire amount of calories are then divided by the estimated calories needed per day to survive, then divided by the number of people that will be living off this stockpile.

The numbers that you enter for gallons needed per day, calories needed per day, and the number of people that will live from this stockpile are on the first sheet.  These numbers will affect the two yellow boxes.  One yellow box is the number of days food will last, the other yellow box is the number of days water and other drinkable liquids will last.

On the other sheets are where all the food calorie data, and water, are entered and totaled up.  When looking at the calories on the labels of prepackaged food be sure to get the total calories in the entire container.  Be sure to look at the number of servings per container multiplied by the calories per serving.

Below I have put two Excel files. The first one is the blank calculations sheets. The second file is the same sheet with some data already entered into it show how the sheets work. To get the calorie amount for non prepackaged food you will need to do some research.  If there is doubt about the number of calories in an item it is best to under estimate the calories. It is better to have more food than you believe you have then it is to be short.  After entering all your data it will give you an idea of places you may need improvements in your stockpile.

Enjoy playing with the numbers and improving your stockpile.

# 10 Tips On How Prepping and Homesteading Saves Money.

There are lots of articles out there about how and why you should be a prepper and homesteader, but one area I have not seen as much information is how being a prepper or homesteader can save money, if done correctly.

There are lots of photos of people that have huge stockpiles of food and other items out there on the internet. Most people see that and thing that a huge amount of money was spent to get that stockpile. Some people did spend a lot of money and just ran out and bought everything. Below I will give tips on how to get that stockpile of food and items without spending your life savings, you just have to be patient.

Tip #1 Buy in Bulk/on Sale.

The best way to save money while growing your stockpile is to buy in bulk and on sale. If you are going to start a stockpile of food first you need a proper place to keep it. An organized shelf unit in a cool dry dark place is best. When you do start buying food don’t rush, take your time and look at what you and your family eats and make a list. You will also want to make a list of non food items that you and your family use. Once you have your lists look for those things on sale or in bulk packages. Some times you can find bulk packs on sale, increasing your savings. Dont forget to use your coupons!

If an item is on a really good sale don’t just buy 1 or 2 for your stockpile, get  as much as  you can afford to spend on those  items and have a place to store them. This will not work with items like milk that have a short shelf life, unless you are going to freeze it. But keeping it frozen cost electric, depending how long it was frozen you may not save any money.

It is best recommended that when buying bulk food to buy raw ingredients and re package them so they last longer.  Processed foods sometimes have shortened shelf lives, or they are full preservatives that I personally don’t want to eat.

Also be mindful of how and where you store your items.  Do not store water above paper products.  If there is a leak in a water container it will ruin your paper products. Do not store paper products next to a heat source like a furnace, water heater, or electrical box.  Never make a dangerous situation.

There are stores like Sam’s Club and Costco where you can buy things in bulk, but they have a yearly fee. If you do not buy enough in a years time it is not worth the fee.  I recommend finding family, friends, or start a local group to share the cost of the fee’s and have the person with the membership go buy the items for the group.

Tip #2 Only buy what you use.

Many people buy the premade emergency food buckets. If you want to go that direction I recommend getting one and try the food that is in it first before investing more money into them. You are wasting money if you don’t like the food that comes in them. If you do not like rice it is a waste to buy a 50 lb bag of it and think you will live on it if there is an emergency. There are many things that I don’t like to eat, but if it’s all I have I will eat it. But why make an emergency situation worse by only having food you don’t like around. By only buying the food and items that you use you will not waste as much.

Tip #3 Plant a Garden.

Most Homesteaders already have gardens or fields, but I believe that  preppers should also grow their own food. If you have the time and space planting a garden will save a lot of money.  Seed packs are cheap.  Even if you live in a small apartment you can still have a few plants in pots.  A seed pack may cost \$0.99, but you can get multiple plants out of that seed pack.  How many pounds of tomato’s can you get for \$0.99? If you only get one health plant out of a \$0.99 pack of seeds you can easily get five pounds of tomato’s from that one plant. To increase the amount of money you save learn to save seeds for the next season.  If you find local people that also save seeds you can buy and trade seeds potentially reducing the cost of seed investment.

There are also other benefits  to planting your own garden. You can grow things that you like that may not be available to find in your local stores.  If you have more produce than you want find a local farmers market and sell it, or trade it.  Because you are choosing what is being planted you can select non-GMO seeds, or heirloom seeds, and plant as much as you desire. You will also know everything that is being put into the soil to feed your plants.  Start out with a plant that is easy to grow, something like a tomato or bell pepper plant.

Some herbs can even be grown all year long with out the need for a green house or hydroponics system. During winter months you can put a few pots on a window sill and still have fresh herbs.

Tip #4 Repackage

I said something above about re packaging food to make it last longer. There are a few options to repackage food.  There is an upfront cost to purchase supplies to re package your food, but all ways have there benefits.

The cheapest way is to use resealable bags, like Ziplock, to make smaller packages out of a large package of food.  This way will work for dry goods, but its not the best.  This may be fine for short term storage, but is not recommended for long term. If things are going to be stored in a freezer use the freezer rated bags.

Vacuum sealing works well for many things.  Dry goods can last a long time in vacuum sealed bags, some people also add oxygen absorbent packages to increase shelf life.  Some people say that vacuum bags can be re used, that is your decision to make. Vacuum sealing can also be done to some containers, not just vacuum bags.

Freezing is another good way to make your food last longer. I dont recommend freezing anything longer than a year because it can get “freezer burnt”.  This is probably the most common way of wasting money in food storage because food gets lost in the freezer.  Eating freezer burnt food may not hurt you, but many times it does not taste the best. Whats the point of saving money when buying a steak only to let it get freezer burnt and then throw it away because it taste bad.

Home canning is a  great way to preserve food.  Once the food is canned it does not need any refrigeration or freezing until the jar is opened.  I love canning my own food because I know all the ingredients that are in that jar and where they came from (my garden), and I can adjust my recipes to my liking.   Canned food last for years as long as the seal is not broken.  Fruits, Vegetables, Meats, Fish, and premade foods can all be canned.  There is an upfront cost to buy all the jars you need, the lids and rings, and the water bath or pressure canner pots.  The up keep is low, as long as the jars and rings are in good shape they can be used for years, only the lid needs replaced.  Never use a lid more than once.

Drying food is another way to preserve it.  Even when its been dried I still recommend using other methods above to make it last longer.  I like to dry fruit and then vacuum seal it for longer storage.

Tip #6 Raise your own animals or hunt.

This tip comes with some caution, you need to have the time and skills to take care of animals or hunt.  Many people keep a few animals on their homestead because it can be greatly cheaper to raise and butcher your own meat, collect eggs, or collect milk.  But to raise your own animals you need to feed them.  If you live in an area that has enough food for them to graze you can save money. If you do not live in an area that can support grazing you will have to buy feed.  Some feeds are expensive, so you need to do the math before you purchase any animals or equipment for animals.  Also research what medical care the animals will need. There are cost to hunting too; such as a licence to hunt in your state, hunting equipment, and butchering equipment. Butchering an animal may not be something you want to do so you need to know the cost to have your animals butchered and processed.

For me raising my own animals would not save money.  I have found local people that raise animals by the heard. I can not raise one or two animals and save money over getting my meats from these people.  It is more cost effective for me to buy or trade the beef farmer for his meat then me to raise, butcher, and package my own beef.  It is also cheaper to buy it from the farmer than from a store, the meat also taste better too!!

Tip #7 Make it yourself.

My family makes most of our food ourselves.  Raw ingredients are cheaper than processed foods. It does take some time to make it ourselves, but we can make it how we want.  Making it ourselves also makes us healthier because we are not putting in preservatives and dyes that we are consuming.  We still go out to eat, and sometimes get junk food, but most of what we eat we make.

Have you ever seen a product that cost \$20 and had the thought “I can make that for \$5”, try it.  You may be surprised at what you can make. How about you see a dress in a magazine or store, if you do not know how to sew maybe someone you know does.  There are many people out there that can make that dress for you for a lot less than what the store wants, then you can have it customized to fit you. This is another time when trading or bartering can save you a lot of money.

Tip #8 Do without.

What better way to save money then to not spend it at all. We all have things we would like to have, but do you really need it.  I see lots of things I would like to have in my Bug Out Bag, but it is not something that is necessary and would just add unneeded weight.

Everyone wants the newest version of things, but is it worth the money? Keeping what you have most times is much more cost effective than getting the latest and greatest version.

Tip # 9 Dont waste.

The best way to save money is to not waste it.  Dont cook enough food for 10 people when there are only 5 eating.  If the left over food is going to be eaten later that’s fine, but if it is going to be thrown away you are wasting money.

Can an item be reused or recycled? Why though something in the trash if you can recycle it and get some of your money back. Can an item be used for another purpose in place of buying more items?  Getting creative with what you have may keep you from buying more things.

Tip #10 Get family and friends involved.

It is always good to have a network of people to help you, your family and friends may be your greatest network.  If you have a large homestead and need the help to get the work done try getting family and friends to help.  Most times family and friends will work for much less than hiring some one you don’t know. Family and friends may also care more about the work that needs to be done then hired help. Maybe you have a brother that helps take care of the garden and keeps your equipment operating, and in payment he gets a share of what you harvest from that garden. How much would it cost you to pay a stranger for that same work?  This again may fall into the trading and bartering category, but you can normally get better deals with the people around you that care about you.

Conclusion.

These are just 10 tips, there are so many more out there if you look long enough.  These 10 in my opinion are the best ones to use and will save you the most money when trying to build your stockpiles, and also your community around you. Not all 10 of these tips may work for you in your quest to build your homestead or be more prepared, but I believe that is at least one tip here for everyone.

I would love to hear from you, if you have more tips please let me know in the comments.  Give me enough information that I can make another article for the next 10 tips!!

# My thoughts about an EMP attack.

I have read several articles about a possible EMP attacks and what would happen in the aftermath.

First I will explain what an EMP is for those that do not know.  An EMP stands for Electro Magnetic Pulse.  The easiest way I can explain how this work is to think about a stone dropped into still water, the stone creates ripples that move away from the point that the stone was dropped.  The stone represents a device that creates the EMP, and the ripples are the EMP wave that travels through the air.

When this ripple of magnetic energy crosses a metal object it induces an electrical charge, otherwise known as voltage. If the electrical charge that is induced is strong enough and crosses electrical devices it may damage electrical devices. What happens is the components inside electronics like your car, cell phone, or computers are designed to work with very low electrical voltage. And EMP wave could induce voltages that are much more than the electronics can handle and it destroys them. In devices with a memory, such as hard drives and SD cards, the data could be erased.  For people that have implanted devises like pace makers or internal hearing aids this induced voltage can hurt or even kill a person.

To protect electrical devices against and EMP wave they need to be inside a Faraday cage.  A Faraday cage is a surrounding of metal that is connected to an electrically grounded source.  The Faraday cage gives a path for the EMP wave to travel through to a ground source, or at least around an item, and not damage the electronics inside the cage.  In the photo below you can see people inside the cage, they are safe from the bolts of voltage that is coming from the Tesla coil on the left side of the photo. The bolts of voltage in the photo are very similar to and EMP wave.  The voltage travels through the cage to a ground source and does not hurt the people in the cage.

One day at work I realized that the building I was in was covered in sheet metal siding.  That siding is screwed to the frame of the building. The frame of the building is connected to ground rods.  Technically this makes the entire building a Faraday cage.  In the winter season when all the doors are closed it should be a good cage, the doors are covered in aluminum sheeting, and connected to the rollers, that are connected to a metal track, that is connected to the building. So this makes the entire building a closed cage.  In the summer months all the doors are open, leaving large holes in the cage. These holes would allow the wave from an EMP to enter the building and affect electrical devices.

Where would an EMP come from?  Most people believe that it will come from a missile from another country.  Personally I believe that this attempt to EMP us will not work.  NORAD watches the skies over our country and a long way from our shores.  NORAD would be able to see the missile coming and shoot it down before it could reach its target.  Our enemies know we are watching them and how hard it would be to get a missile through.

The James Bond movie Goldeneye is about a space based EMP weapon. The plot of the movie is to hack into bank systems and transfer all the money to other bank accounts, then EMP the area to erase the money transfers and where they went.  There would still be a record in the other banks of where the money came from, but it was a movie and that little fact did not matter.  I don’t know if any country has a space based weapon like that, but I am sure that there are several countries that are trying to develop one.

I believe that it is more likely that a smaller EMP device would be used that can be transported easily on the ground in a common vehicle.  It would be harder to detect this kind of attack, and easy to move it into a target area. From my limited knowledge of these kinds of weapons there are no working weapons like this, not yet.

So how bad would it be after and EMP attack? This has been the subject of many debates by so called experts.  Some say only electronics that are on when hit with an EMP will be damaged.  Some say all electronics that are not shielded by a Faraday cage will be damaged.  Some say all electronics that are not electrically grounded will be damaged.  This all depends on how strong the EMP wave is that hits the electronics.  And there are others that say nothing will happen to electronics.  It seems that no one really knows what will be affected and how badly they will be affected.

In a worst case scenario all electronics will be destroyed in the direct area, and less affected the farther from where the EMP wave originated.

This would mean no electrical power because power plant electronics would be damaged and the plant would stop working.  With no power plants running everything else will stop working, that is if they were not already damaged from the EMP wave.  How long it would take to repair all this damage all depends how long it would take to get new parts to replace all the damaged ones.  That may take years to get some components because of the time it takes to make them, and some parts are made by a very small amount of manufactures.

I have a few suggestions to prepare for an EMP attack.

One, build a Faraday cage big enough to store all the electrical devises you need, including parts for your own electrical power system like solar panels, charge controllers,  and batteries.

Two, prep as much as you can and have tools around to help you survive that are not electrical powered but human powered. You also need to be prepared to defend what you have as you are staying were you are.

Three, move out of the affected area if you can.  This is what most people will do if there is someplace to go that was not affected.

My thoughts about an EMP attack, if an EMP attack ever does happen, it will not be good. Even a small one can create major problems that result in many people dying.  An EMP attack is low on my list of possible attacks that could happen, but it could happen so it is best to be prepared in some form for an EMP attack. I dont think a large country wide attack will happen, but smaller directed attacks.  I believe that cyber terrorism, sabotage to our infrastructures, or a pandemic are much more likely things to happen.

To create and EMP attack like a missile strike would take a lot of money and people to build and deploy a weapon of that kind.  This would mean it is a foreign government that has those kind of resources.  As I said above NORAD is always watching our skies, and I do believe that they would be able to stop a missile attack.

Personally I am not very worried about and EMP attack. I know there are some out there that are wrapping there home with tin foil to protect against it, but I dont think its time for that.  In the future I do believe that there is a much greater threat of an EMP attack when the technology advances to the point that it can fit in a small truck and be transported close to a major target.

As with everything in life it is up to each person what they believe and how much they prepare for possible future events. As for an EMP, I am not prepping for it very much.

# When The Fault Breaks

This book is no longer available for free on this site.  It is now available on Kindle at the link below.

Amazon Kindle Edition

I am happy to be posting a book, as a PDF file, that a friend of mine has written.  The photo above is of my friend overlooking the Gilky Trench in Alaska.

This is the first of what I hope is many writings my friend post to this site.  Below is the introduction of the book.

Introduction

This pseudo-science fiction story is a blend of known geologic processes, and predictable behavior by a population in the aftermath of a massive unpredicted catastrophic mega-geologic occurrence. It is based on known societal behavior from past
epoch incidents in modern times, and how humanity reacted to those events. The geologic phenomenons depicted have been kept as accurate as possible though some minor writer’s liberty has been taken.

# My Favorite Time Of Year!

This is my favorite time of the year when it comes to prepping because of all the sales that are going on. Amazon.com starts there sales the week of thanksgiving, especially on black Friday, and run till the end of the year.  Walmart also brings out all there deals in store and online.

This is a great time to stock up on items that you need for your B.O.B. or fill up your shelving with supplies at a great savings.  There are many things that i stock up on now and make last until this time again the next year.

Just be careful, check your prices.  You dont need to get everything on Black Friday, many times closer to Christmas there are the same or better sales and you dont have the hassle of dealing with the Black Friday crowd.

Also be sure to check the quality of the things that are on sale.  Be sure that there not a lesser model of the item that you really want.

Have fun and go crazy stocking up and saving money!!

# What is a Bug Out Bag?

What is a Bug Out Bag?

You may have heard of a Bug Out Bag, or seen some one use the acronym B.O.B., but did not know what that was.  Bug out bags have a few other names also;  Go Bags, Get Home Bag,  48 or 72 or 96 hour bag, GOOD Bag (Get Out Of Dodge bag), PERK Bag (Personal Emergency Relocation Kit bag), On The Move Bag, or INCH Bag (I’m Never Coming Home bag).  There are more names than that, but you get the idea.

The Why?

The whole idea of a B.O.B. is nothing more than a collection of items that can be used to get you from one place to another during a bad situation easier that is already packed and ready for use.  You may be wondering why you would be in a bad situation.  Most people think of manmade reasons like a foreign invasion, martial law, economic or political collapse, terror event, EMP attach,  ect and ect.  Natural events are also a time that a B.O.B. will be helpful; floods, fire, earthquakes, tornados, hurricanes, blizzards, ect and ect.

A B.O.B. is only useful if you can get to it.  It should be stored in an easily accessible place in your home or vehicle. If an even happens that makes you need the supplies, you don’t want a struggle to get your B.O.B. and get away from the situation.  It should only take seconds to grab your B.O.B. and be able to move on foot, or in a vehicle.  A recommended place in your home to store your B.O.B. would be next to a main door, in a vehicle it is any place that you can easily access.

In the event of a blizzard you may not be using a B.O.B. to get away because it would be safer to stay in your home than out in the blizzard conditions.  You can use the items in your B.O.B. to keep you alive until help can get you out of your snow bound home.

In the event of a fire DO NOT go back into the building to get your B.O.B.. If it survived the fire then use it, if it was destroyed you can get another one.

If your B.O.B. was destroyed by something like a tornado, hurricane, or earthquake you might find parts of it laying around that you can pick up.  The idea is to get your B.O.B. and get away before the tornado or hurricane destroys the building.

There are endless reasons as to why you should have a B.O.B., a B.O.B. is a backup plan.  You have to think of a B.O.B. like insurance, it will cost money to buy, or make, but you hope you never need to use it.

What is in a B.O.B.?

This is the topic of 1000’s of articles, and many websites are devoted to just this one topic.  This is the hardest part of a B.O.B..  This is because there are so many variables.  Where are you located? Where do you plan to go if you bug out? How much weight can you carry? What are your skills with the items in your B.O.B.?  What do you know you need in one?  How do you know if you are missing items?  Where do I get items for my B.O.B.?

With so many variables you may be wondering “where do I start?”  Where you start is up to you, but my suggestion is to start with research.  Starting reading books and articles from professional survivalist, I would favor those that have had military survival training.  I am not a trained survivalist; I am more of a weekend camper.  There are so many things that I do not know and I will not pretend that I do.  The information that I state is what I have collected over years of research, things are always changing and new tools and techniques are always in development.  There are an endless list of items that you can have in your B.O.B., one thing to be aware of is over packing your B.O.B..  If you have to many items in your B.O.B. it will weigh you down and may be more of a hindrance than a help.

Each of the following categories has several options of items that could be in your B.O.B., it will be up to you what you have in your B.O.B. from each category.  The categories are not in an order of importance, they are each equally important.

There are 6 main categories that you will find in most survival materials. It is not necessary to have every item possible in each category, but you should have plans for what you are going to do about your needs in each category.

Water

It is recommended to carry some emergency water packets or bottles, but not too much because water is heavy.  It is up to you how much is enough.  You should also have a way to purify water.  This can be with tablets you add to questionable water, filters such as LifeStraw, or a container to boil in.  Be sure to know the expiration dates on all your items.  Water will become “stale” after long term storage, and some active ingredients in water purification filters and tablets will break down and lose their effectiveness.

Food

It is recommended to have some emergency  food in your B.O.B., but again it is up to you how much to have because food can be heavy and everyone’s taste are different.  There are prepackaged emergency food bars, or you can pack what you want as long as you eat it before it becomes bad.  My personal recommendation is to replace your emergency food every 6 months.  When I replace mine I eat what I took out, this way I know if I like what I am storing for an emergency.

Fire

This may seem like an easy category right, just put some lighters in.  Yes, you should have at least 1 lighter in your B.O.B. but you should not depend on only that 1 lighter.  You should also have other ways of starting a fire, and maybe also some tinder to help you get the fire going in case there is none around or everything is wet.  Personally I don’t have just a lighter in my B.O.B.; I have a Zippo lighter that is not filled because the fluid will dry out over time, a sealed can of Zippo fluid that can fill the lighter several times, extra Zippo flints, and extra Zippo wicks.  Fire can be the difference between life and death, so I am doing my best to have the most reliable source of fire by using what I believe is the best brand of lighter and replacement parts.  Along with a lighter I also have Wetfire fire starters, magnifying glass, magnesium bar sparker, and a few cheap Bic lighters.  Its up to you how many items to have in your B.O.B., just be sure you know how to use them.

Shelter

The easy answer for this category is to have a tent, but tents can be bulky and heavy.  Before you buy anything for a shelter do your research as to what kind of shelter you can make and use.  There are other things that can be used as a temporary shelter such as a simple tarp.  A tarp is cheaper than a tent, but it may not keep you as dry or protected from insects as a tent. Do your research and practice at building shelters. There are also some sleeping bags that may be able to double as a shelter.

Protection

You need more than weapons for protection in your B.O.B., you need skills.  You can have all the firearms and bladed weapons you can carry in your B.O.B. but you need to know how to use them.  It never hurts anyone to gain skills to protect themselves.  Self-defense or martial arts training are always a benefit to have, and if you lose your B.O.B. you don’t lose your skills.  There are other things that can also be used as protection.  Pepper spray is a popular choice for many, or even a slingshot.  Whatever way you choose to protect yourself and those around you, you need to be comfortable to use your skills or items.

First Aid

Any first aid kit is better than none.  There are so many options for first aid kits, from a box of band aids to a trauma kit.  This is another area that you need to have skills in.  If you do not know how to use medical tools then please don’t try to until you have been trained.  Improper usage of tools or procedures can hurt someone more than they could help. The minimum that I think you should have in your B.O.B. is a basic first aid kit that has instruction inside it, even if it is just a pocket sized kit.  First aid skills are one of those skills that is always good to have.  This is another area that your knowledge of this skill cannot be taken away if you lose your B.O.B..  I believe that everyone should take a first aid class and CPR class.

Other Things

I have given you some information about the 6 main categories that are most talked about, but there are other things that you should also have in your B.O.B..  This is a short list of “other things” that you may need or want to have, this is by no means everything you may choose to put in your B.O.B..

• Medications. If you can’t live without them then you should have a supply in your B.O.B..
• Clothing. Rain gear, cold weather gear, hot weather gear, ect.  You need to dress appropriate for where you are, or where you want to go.
• Documents. Birth certificates, passports, or other documents you may need if you’re on the move.
• Money. A small amount of cash, or even small bullion bars.  If the grid is down credit and debt cards will not work.
• Tools. Tools to get you into or out of a building or car.  Knife, multi-tool, shovel, hatchet, ect.
• Fishing gear. Fishing gear. A small fishing kit or net is much easier to use then trying to stab a fish with a sharp stick.
• Toiletries. A role of toilet paper, tooth brush and paste, bar of soap, ect. You need to stay clean and health. You don’t really want to wipe yourself with leaves do you?
• Lights. Get a good all weather flashlight and/or headlight.  Don’t forget extra batteries, or get a ones with a crank charger on it. Glow sticks also help, or even a lantern.
• Communications. Any form of radio can help, but getting a radio that can transmit on many frequencies would be best.
• Bindings.  Anything you can bind things together with.  Paracord, electrical tape, duct tape, ect.
• Entertainment. Deck of cards, harmonica, or anything that can relieve some of the stress of bugging out.
• Books. I recommend a good pocket reference, you can not know everything  so have something you can reference. My preferred book is the SAS Survival Guide Pocket Size.
• Directionals. Maps, compasses, GPS, anything that helps you find out where you are and where you should go.
• Comfort.  Sleeping bag, blankets, towels, anything that will make your stay more comfortable when bugging out.

Conclusion

What is in your B.O.B. is up to you.  You will have to decide what you really need, and balance that against the amount of weight you can carry.   If you want a quick start then buy a premade B.O.B..  Personally I believe that everyone needs to build their own B.O.B. as they learn how to use items.  You need to do your research, and then do some more research, and more research.  You also need to practice what you are learning.  It is hard to learn to do something at the time the skill is needed.  There is no “one perfect B.O.B.”. Everyone is different, everyone has different needs, and lives in different areas.

I have heard many people say “don’t tell anyone that you have any prepps”.  I agree that you should not be broad casting what you have, but I believe that you need to find people around you that have the same beliefs.  If there is an emergency and you need to bug out, it is easier if you have a group to bug out with that is supportive of each other.

The best place to start getting items to build a B.O.B. is a camping section.  Before you buy anything do your research on what the best brands of items are to buy.  If you know someone with an item you are interested in buying, ask them if you can test theirs out first.   Just remember, your life may depend on what is in your B.O.B..  Be sure you can trust the items you have in your B.O.B., and you know how to use them.

# What are off griders, preppers, and homesteaders?

Some place out there on the internet you can find all kinds of definitions for “what is living off grid”, “what is a prepper”, “what is a homesteader” and so on.   Everyone you talk to has a different opinion of what the definition should be.  Here is mine:

Off grid living–  a person that does not need mass utilities such as electric, natural gas or LP, or city water.

Prepper– a person(s) that has gathered supplies and resources in preparation for an unexpected event.

Homesteader–  a person that has a home in which they can provide themselves with basic necessities.

Those definitions are vague, that is because there are so many levels in each of those 3 categories and the categories blend together.  Many people, especially younger people, think that being off grid is a new and radical form of living.  It’s not, for most of history the entire world has lived “off grid”.  Our modern world with city utilities is only a few generations old.  To 99% of people living now in the United States having large cities with city water, electric, natural gas or LP, and the telephone system is just normal and has ”always been there”.  That’s why living “off grid” is radical to most people.  In reality more people of the world live off grid then live on grid.  Many poor parts of the world have no utilities that people can connect to, and some places the utilities may not be reliable so people live without them.

Let me expand on off grid first.  What does it mean to be off grid?  Many people think to be an off grid person you have to be one of those crazy people that lives out in the woods all by yourself that have no contact with anyone.  Yes, there are some people that have gone to that extreme; on the other end of the spectrum would be Amish communities. Most people I have talked with want to be someplace in the middle.  They don’t want to be connected to city utilities; but they still have to go to work, go to the store, get gas in their vehicles, and other things that are needed every day.

Now you may be wondering how people that still need all the everyday things can call themselves “off grid”? You can’t make your boss make the company go off grid, but you can make your home off grid.  If you are working to make your home off grid then I say you are moving to an off grid lifestyle.  According to my thinking you may already be partly off grid and not know it.

Do you have a well for your water?

Do you have geothermal for your homes heat/cooling or water heating?

Do you have any solar water heating panels or solar electric panels?

Do you burn wood or pellets to heat your home?

My home is connected to the local electric company, and my home is heated with natural gas.  So those two things make me “on grid”.  But my water comes from a well.  I need electric to run the well pump, so it can be argued that my water is still “on grid”.  But my water use is not metered and regulated by a city utility so I count my water as “off grid”.  I have a small solar electric backup system, my goal is to grow the system until it can handle running the well pump in an emergency. These are small steps towards me dream of an entirely off grid home.  My advice to everyone that wants to be “off grid” is to start slow and do your research.  It does not have to be an overnight change.  Take it slow and find out what works for you.

Expanding on prepping. Again when most people hear the term “prepper” they think of the crazy people they see on TV that have bunkers and 10 years’ worth of food and ammo for their firearms. If that is the amount of prepping you want to do that is up to you, it’s not what I recommend. In my opinion everyone should be a prepper in some level. If you have the money to build a bunker and stock it, that’s up to you if you can afford it. But for most of us that is totally out of our budget.
Prepping does not have to be something only crazy people that think the world is going to end should do. It is a way of living that makes it easier to survive through situations when normal life is disrupted. By disrupted I don’t mean that there is a pandemic happening, the economy has collapsed, or martial law has been initiated. By disrupted I am talking about a winter storm that traps you in your home for a week, or a summer storm that takes out the power of a few days or weeks.
If your life has been disrupted can you survive comfortably? Do you have food and water? Can you stay warm? If you cannot survive in your for a week with food and water and stay warm this is where I believe you should begin with prepping. Once you have enough food and water for a week then work toward a month, then two months, and continue on until you feel you have reached a point that you believe is enough. Enough may be a point of limited storage, or limited money to spend on extra stock to keep in your home, or an amount of supplies you feel are enough to have around.
Prepping can become a never ending cycle, do not let yourself get consumed by it. Once you have food and water supplies you may want to look at other items to stock up on in preparation for a disruption. One pitfall to watch out for is listening to people that say “you must have ____” if you want to be prepared. There are some things that I agree you “must” stock up on; like food and water, basic toiletries, and a small first aid kit that you know how to use. These are a must because you have to eat, you need to stay clean and healthy, and if you get hurt you need some basic medical supplies. As to how much you should have stocked up is your personal decision. You do not need to have everything that every other prepper has. You need to have what you feel comfortable with the items that you stock. If you do not feel comfortable with firearms in your home, do not go out and get one because someone told you that you “need” to have one to be a prepper. This is where common sense needs to be used. If you do not live in Florida, then I don’t suggest you spend the money for cold weather gear. If you live in Oklahoma I do not suggest you prep for an earthquake. Understand the region you are in and prep for it first. Once you have prepped for what could happen naturally in your region then you may want to start thinking about prepping for other events. If you feel you will not be able to stay in your home then research Bug Out Bags. If you feel other events may happen then begin prepping for those events.
No matter the reason you prep, they need to be your reasons. You do not have to be crazy to prep, I think people that do not have some basic items prepped are the crazy ones. Prepping is like insurance, it might cost you some money and you hope that you never need to use it. Depending on how you prep it can be a money saver too, but that is for another article.

As I said before don’t have to be completely off grid, many large homesteads that are far from cities have a well or stream for the water source. Some may use LP gas for heating, but some use wood or pellet burners to heat their homes in the cold months. In some more remote areas that a person has set up a homestead may have solar or wind power for their home electric. Does this not make them a better prepper and live better off grid?