After the SHTF, will you contribute to rebuilding or just surviving? Let’s first assume you and yours have survived and are relatively safe on a homestead with enough water, fuel, food and shelter during the major event. Think Puerto Rico! You’ve gone months, not days and not weeks, without electricity. Also consider you are in a rural location. Government agencies will direct all and any major resources to heavy populated areas once the “event” is over.
I view this time after as the most challenging. Most books on surviving the event suggest being self sufficient and living in a rural area away from the Golden Hordes. We have made that jump from the suburbs and are working on becoming self sufficient in a rural location.
Many times in SurvivalBlog, there are recommendations for Preppers to earn income/barter abilities via skills when the grid goes down and the trucks stop running. I have reviewed numerous suggestions and find many that require a lot of training. Examples listed are being able to weld, mechanical knowledge to fix machinery, electrical, and plumbing trades. I do not believe I could master most of those skills. Also as a woman, I have not been exposed to a lot of physical hands-on experience mentioned in those areas. Stockpiling items for barter is another suggestion.
At some point and time, things will change from just surviving to starting over. As mentioned, jobs related to the “barter industry” will become a new necessary part of rebuilding lives and communities and include a variety of items, but these are dependent upon many factors.
Barter Market Success Issues
For barter markets to succeed, there are important issues. Some are discussed below:
Previous experience will be required in most cases, for example, in reloading ammunition. My husband has mastered this skill, but he is a perfectionist which I am not. Being a perfectionist is very important when dealing with things that go “boom”. An example was he attempted to teach his cousin the mechanics and let him reload several hundred rounds of ammunition. The result, as you might guess, was the overloading of powder in a bullet causing the barrel of a pistol to explode when fired. It is tedious work and requires complete attention to detail with every round manufactured. I know myself well enough to know that I do not have those qualities.
Mechanical knowledge is not in my ball park either. Examples listed include welding, mechanical knowledge, et cetera. I am making baby steps in learning things as part of our preparation, but I have to get comfortable first. Battery-powered things do require some adjustment. I am getting confident using nail guns, circular saws, drills, grinders, et cetera, but it takes me a while to practice and feel safe. I am still anxious using chain saws, but I am getting less fearful.
Strength can be an enormous help or hindrance. As I am now in my sixties and in good health, I can still work long hours doing manual labor. We are clearing our land that was previously clear cut acreage that has become overgrown with massive amounts of vines, weeds, and sugar gum trees. After having the acreage cleared via bulldozers, my husband is operating the tractor and harrowing for winter cover crops. I follow behind in the UTV and pick up the debris consisting of rocks, roots, et cetera. The reality is, how many years can I continue to work like a 20-year old? My physical strength will not last, so I must find other ways not only for myself but those other family members who are younger and more likely to survive.
Preparation is something I can do, and this has led me to try and think “outside the box” for ideas to have the potential for being able to barter for needed items. Others have suggested stocking up on cigarettes, alcohol, or other products. Those are fine, but I believe they also carry a lot of risk.
I believe one of the major concerns after SHTF will be health related. Doctors, dentists, nurses, even veterinarians will not have problems bartering for food, security, and other things. I am not one of those, but I believe there will be a need for the ability to get clean!
Of all the apocalyptic books describing the death and diseases, the most treasured commodity is staying clean and healthy. I believe having such an investment may be lifesaving to communities but also as a means to barter for goods.
Enter the mobile shower. Currently, this idea is being used in Seattle for some of the homeless camps. Now, let me say that again. It’s used in homeless camps in the USA. How did our nation get to this point that almost every major city has homeless camps? However, the model used in Seattle is not using solar power and has access to unlimited water and power. I do not think this would work in an urban situation after SHTF, unless it is provided by the government (if one exists). However, I do believe it could be successful in small rural communities.
Building a mobile shower would consist of retrofitting a box trailer for this purpose. I believe converting a small box trailer to become a mobile shower would be relatively inexpensive and could be constructed over time. Construction would be to install a prefabricated shower stall in the trailer. Some of these shower stalls on the market are relatively inexpensive. I have reviewed various types and prices. Boxing in the shower is relatively easy using 2×4 supports. Plumbing and electrical components would be minimal for running an on-demand water heater, powered with a small water pump to the actual shower.
A 150-gallon water storage tank for water is also located in the trailer, but access for refilling would be needed. Solar panels and power would be used for running a pump and the heating of water (especially applicable in the south). The trailer could have a dedicated entry and exit, and the shower could be set to run on a timer.
I am currently still in the design phase of this project. I have the trailer, a shower stall, and the water tank. We will rely on the help of family to actually put the remaining necessary construction in place. My plans are to research and learn more about solar power requirements and obtain the necessary plumbing and electrical components over time. As a retired person who invested their life savings to make the jump to a rural homestead, this will have to be done on a limited budget over time.
Once constructed, I believe having the shower available will be worth the time, money, and energy.
Establish Contact Prior to the Event
In preparing, I think it will be important to establish contact with the churches prior to the “event”. Visits should begin to learn about the church, their congregation, and what they currently do to support each other and others in the community. The smaller churches will probably have less advertised ways they help. Larger churches may already have programs to provide food/meals, et cetera.
Most rural people would be heating water at home for their existence, but rarely will they have the ability to truly shower. Having the opportunity to shower not only results in cleanliness but would be a huge help to restore people’s emotional well being. It also will create/foster bonds within the community. It could be a place of peace and restoration of body and soul. The site could also provide others the opportunity to bring their wares for sale/trade.
I would use local church parking lots on a rotating basis. In the south there are probably 20 churches, both large and small, within a 20 mile radius. I selected this as a staging point for several reasons. The most important being faith and God.
Churches could provide several things but mostly a place of security. Church officials could ensure the area is “safe” on a certain day for their congregations. I would not want to set up just anywhere that could lead to robbery, injury, or worse. Additionally, most recommend you do not “barter” from your home for the same reasons. A donation to the church would be required as a matter of good consciousness for the use of their property.
The main supplies involve soap. I’m stockpiling tiny bars of soaps like those used in hotels, et cetera. Currently small bars can be purchased easily. I have obtained 1000 bars for less than $50. Bulk purchases of toothpaste, toothbrushes, and small combs are also being included in the budget.
Fuel will be needed to transport the trailer to church parking lots. The trailer could be towed by a variety of means, including pickup trucks, both diesel and gas operated. Tractors, using diesel but moving slower, could also be used. Horses or mules would be even slower but still a source of transport. More security would be required during the movement of the shower from the homestead to a designated location for service.
Maintenance expenses include equipment and disinfectants to clean the trailer after use. It will be imperative that the shower be clean and not become a source for the spread of diseases. Once the shower is operational, having backup parts for plumbing or other mechanical issues would be necessary also.
Water could be pumped from wells, streams, or a rain barrel collection systems. Our location normally provides for a good amount of rain, which can be collected regularly into rain barrels and disinfected. We have access to a full-time running creek, which could be used but will require additional pumps and filtering systems. We have two wells on the homestead also.
I would not advertise the location of our homestead. Alternating locations and dates would be important, and security to and from the set up locations would be necessary. The trailer would be inconspicuous on any rural farm.
Pros and Cons
The major cons involve security and longevity. When will it be safe enough to establish this service? The shower becomes a short-term need because power and normalcy of life returns quickly after an “event”, and the need for a shower becomes obsolete. Long-term need could result in the shower becoming a target for theft and injury to family. The construction of the mobile shower is never needed in my lifetime for a major event.
A significant “pro” is the ability to provide a needed resource as well as barter for needed items, and it may help restore a sense of faith and community. If nothing catastrophic ever occurs, the shower could be donated to serve a purpose as well as the supplies.
In closing, I wanted a way to barter for needed items but more importantly use this mobile shower idea to help in restoring faith and community. May God bless all.
SurvivalBlog Writing Contest
This has been another entry for Round 73 of the SurvivalBlog non-fiction writing contest. The nearly $11,000 worth of prizes for this round include:
- A $3000 gift certificate towards a Sol-Ark Solar Generator from Veteran owned Portable Solar LLC. The only EMP Hardened Solar Generator System available to the public.
- A Gunsite Academy Three Day Course Certificate. This can be used for any one, two, or three day course (a $1,095 value),
- A course certificate from onPoint Tactical for the prize winner’s choice of three-day civilian courses, excluding those restricted for military or government teams. Three day onPoint courses normally cost $795,
- DRD Tactical is providing a 5.56 NATO QD Billet upper. These have hammer forged, chrome-lined barrels and a hard case, to go with your own AR lower. It will allow any standard AR-type rifle to have a quick change barrel. This can be assembled in less than one minute without the use of any tools. It also provides a compact carry capability in a hard case or in 3-day pack (an $1,100 value),
- Two cases of Mountain House freeze-dried assorted entrees in #10 cans, courtesy of Ready Made Resources (a $350 value),
- A $250 gift certificate good for any product from Sunflower Ammo,
- Two cases of Meals, Ready to Eat (MREs), courtesy of CampingSurvival.com (a $180 value), and
- American Gunsmithing Institute (AGI) is providing a $300 certificate good towards any of their DVD training courses.
- A Model 175 Series Solar Generator provided by Quantum Harvest LLC (a $439 value),
- A Glock form factor SIRT laser training pistol and a SIRT AR-15/M4 Laser Training Bolt, courtesy of Next Level Training, which have a combined retail value of $589,
- A gift certificate for any two or three-day class from Max Velocity Tactical (a $600 value),
- A transferable certificate for a two-day Ultimate Bug Out Course from Florida Firearms Training (a $400 value),
- A Trekker IV™ Four-Person Emergency Kit from Emergency Essentials (a $250 value),
- A $200 gift certificate good towards any books published by PrepperPress.com,
- A pre-selected assortment of military surplus gear from CJL Enterprize (a $300 value), and
- RepackBox is providing a $300 gift certificate to their site.
- A Royal Berkey water filter, courtesy of Directive 21 (a $275 value),
- A large handmade clothes drying rack, a washboard, and a Homesteading for Beginners DVD, all courtesy of The Homestead Store, with a combined value of $206,
- Expanded sets of both washable feminine pads and liners, donated by Naturally Cozy (a $185 retail value),
- Two Super Survival Pack seed collections, a $150 value, courtesy of Seed for Security, LLC,
- Mayflower Trading is donating a $200 gift certificate for homesteading appliances, and
- Two 1,000-foot spools of full mil-spec U.S.-made 750 paracord (in-stock colors only) from www.TOUGHGRID.com (a $240 value).
Round 73 ends on November 30th, so get busy writing and e-mail us your entry. Remember that there is a 1,500-word minimum, and that articles on practical “how to” skills for survival have an advantage in the judging.