After The SHTF, What Will Be Your Role?, by B.H.

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

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

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.

Mobile Shower

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.

Design Phase

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.

Operational Concept


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.

Related Issues


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:

First Prize:

  1. 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.
  2. A Gunsite Academy Three Day Course Certificate. This can be used for any one, two, or three day course (a $1,095 value),
  3. 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,
  4. 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),
  5. Two cases of Mountain House freeze-dried assorted entrees in #10 cans, courtesy of Ready Made Resources (a $350 value),
  6. A $250 gift certificate good for any product from Sunflower Ammo,
  7. Two cases of Meals, Ready to Eat (MREs), courtesy of (a $180 value), and
  8. American Gunsmithing Institute (AGI) is providing a $300 certificate good towards any of their DVD training courses.

Second Prize:

  1. A Model 175 Series Solar Generator provided by Quantum Harvest LLC (a $439 value),
  2. 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,
  3. A gift certificate for any two or three-day class from Max Velocity Tactical (a $600 value),
  4. A transferable certificate for a two-day Ultimate Bug Out Course from Florida Firearms Training (a $400 value),
  5. A Trekker IV™ Four-Person Emergency Kit from Emergency Essentials (a $250 value),
  6. A $200 gift certificate good towards any books published by,
  7. A pre-selected assortment of military surplus gear from CJL Enterprize (a $300 value), and
  8. RepackBox is providing a $300 gift certificate to their site.

Third Prize:

  1. A Royal Berkey water filter, courtesy of Directive 21 (a $275 value),
  2. 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,
  3. Expanded sets of both washable feminine pads and liners, donated by Naturally Cozy (a $185 retail value),
  4. Two Super Survival Pack seed collections, a $150 value, courtesy of Seed for Security, LLC,
  5. Mayflower Trading is donating a $200 gift certificate for homesteading appliances, and
  6. Two 1,000-foot spools of full mil-spec U.S.-made 750 paracord (in-stock colors only) from (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.


  1. I suggest your consider a mobile laundry service. People can use a wash rag and a cup of hot water to scrub off with, but mobile laundry setups are very scarce and there is no real way to clean a families laundry regularly without machinery.

    Anyone interested in doing this should check out an appliance repair shop. We use one in Bremerton which rebuilds hundreds of machines every year and gives a 90 day warrantee.

    I used to be scared about running out of gasoline to run generators (as for laundry) but with the research out showing PRI-G can keep gasoline fresh for years with an annual treatment, and even rejuvenate old gasoline, I’m much more at ease with stockpiling fuel.

    In addition to laundry service for TEOTWAWKI, laundry service for disasters and tourist areas is in demand.

    Best wishes and God Bless.

  2. Your ideas are great. The idea of a portable shower is good thinking just don’t make it complicated. You could make a shower using the sun for heat.Use a shower hose with a small head. You can also us what I have a “Zodi out back portable Hot Shower.”Check out gun shows, survival gear and equipment show’s etc.
    The zodi uses a small propane bottle in a rack with a burner. As for laundry don’t make it to complected keep it simple. Always remember “KISS” when you are making something. Don’t be afraid to ask some old timer for help. We have lot’s of time and old ideas that work.
    I wish you well and God’s blessings.

  3. I am a missionary with a faith based disaster relief organization. We head into events rather than away from them. Many times I’ve come across (and been blessed to be able to use) mobile shower/laundry units. Most contain 4 shower stalls (2men, 2 women) and 1-2 washer/dryer combos. They are dependent on a cold water source and power. With the exception of the solar option, I would hazard a guess that plans could be found online and adapted to meet your specifications.

  4. I’ve heard of a woodstove setup that used coiled copper tubing to heat water. If anyone could expand on this, it’d be helpful. When we camp we simply use a huge canning pot heated on a fire to bathe from.

  5. 1. Use a newer horse trailer, they come with padded water proof floors and walls.
    2. A 12 volt camper pump and some batteries would handle the water.
    3. Heating the water is your bottle neck, my suggestion is to do it with wood. Perhaps a “rocket stove” with a coil of copper pipe wound inside the chimney would suffice.
    4. A timer is a must to make this profitable, turning off the hot water after 5 minutes would move things along.
    5. The hotel soap bar is a decent idea but why not just use larger ones? I doubt very much SHTF that people will gripe about sharing the soap and the cost is sure to be lower.

    1. Skin diseases make sharing any washing materials a dangerous idea. While washing will reduce the likelihood of skin diseases, most of them won’t go away with just soap and water. Even a bad case of poison ivy could be transmitted with shared soap.

      And people are more responsible when they have to buy the soap.

  6. One of my rather loosely organized prep group has a large family that is dispersed around the area in their own homes. His house is rather small with 1 bathroom. In order to accommodate everyone, if they all show up at his place, with sleeping and hygiene he has acquired several old but functional travel trailers with working kitchen and bathing facilities that still work. He is quite handy and has refurbished or replaced the propane powered stoves, ovens and hot water heaters as well as the 12 volt powered pumps. Each trailer has a solar panel battery maintainer to keep the batteries in good shape. If the SHTF he has ready made “apartments” for his kids and their kids. If need be he could hook one up to his truck and take it to town at the church parking lot to perform the tasks you suggest. Perhaps you might consider this route, rather than custom building a “mobile” unit.

  7. Good article. You should consider writing a section about the need for a standardized medium of exchange “money”. We held a Barter Faire years ago in the Kooskia, Idaho area. It was a heated topic in our community preparedness group but we finally realized why you need a form of money.
    1) Needed to be easily recognizable and divisible–how do you buy a roll of barbed wire with a jar of jam? Change please.
    2) It sped up the transaction time-less time bartering. Bartering is fun but tedious and time consuming also. Thought: the velocity of money in a recovering economy.
    3) Allows kids to be involved with set pricing on goods like candy, soap etc.

    Kids need a means to learn how to barter–some adults too. We finally agreed on .22 LR ammo as our money. Now–who’s going to play banker?

  8. Good article. I agree that cleanliness is relevant to health, but I could not tell if your plan is to “give” this service away free for the benefit of your neighbors or are you going to “charge” for each shower/soap/towel?

    What would you want in exchange for providing a hot shower? I thought the price of “barter” depends on the value of the product/service to the two parties. Cleanliness may be highly valued for good health, but it might be a luxury to another who needs food or drinking water more and can’t justify the expense of a hot shower.

    Having the service at a community church is an excellent idea, but, most of the churches I know of run on volunteer service of their members. What do these people get out of providing a location, protection, setup and cleanup; a free shower? In a SHTF situation, everyone needs something because no one is 100% totally self-sufficient, but it depends on the individual/family. Just saying…

  9. Good article, but I’m very concerned with the age factor. To farm, chop wood, hunt, and security if your both in your60’s doesn’t seem feasible. Especially if one of you falls ill or injured. You need to plan with friends or family to assist & team up with you.

    1. @David Mark, this is something few take into consideration, and fewer still, have tried. How ya going to plow when the machinery breaks down,and parts are no longer available? The hungry moon is coming.
      My grandfather was active well into his 70s, splitting wood, plowing, the little things that a farm requires… but at reduced pace, as he got older some things just didn’t get done!

      Personally, at 66, I doubt my ability to keep home repairs up, much less walking behind a mule from can to can’t! It was nothing for me to walk 10-15 miles when I was a teen, (owning a car was for rich folks) and somewhere deep inside, have thus fantasy I could still do it. rrrright!

    1. If you study history, you will find that the SHTF a number of times. Fall of the Roman Empire. Muslim invasions. Mongol invasions. Viking invasions. The Black Death.

      We are responsible for working while it is yet light, and no one, not even Our Lord, knows when the night will fall. He said so Himself.

      1. True, nobody knows “when” – but he also said that we can “see the day approaching.”
        I can see it approaching now. It’s close. It’ll be global. There will be no “start over”.
        I won’t list here all the biblical signs that indicate that this “SHTF” is the Big One, but if you study the Bible, you’ll see for yourself.
        Here’s one that shows that this will not be your average, run-of-the-mill SHTF: Revelation 6:8

  10. You might consider also learning to make soap. I’m not sure what the shelf life for soap is. Vermont Soap company says three years shelf life, which can be extended by vacuum sealing in plastic and freezing.

  11. The movie Shadow Riders has a scene where there is a bathhouse/laundry business right in town. Instead of using what might be precious and irreplaceable fuel on hauling a trailer from place to place, having a location accessible to all might make sense. Of course, a companion business would be a general store and restaurant.

    Multiple businesses, as in a town center, could supply mutual protection to each other.

  12. Re: Showering and laundry solutions in remote areas or when SHTF.

    We are hobbyist gold miners with over 650 acres in three different locations, all in remote Rocky Mountain claim sites. You can imagine how dirty and sweaty we get. I have spent up to five weeks at a time on location without shower or laundry facilities. A few simple tricks will keep you and your clothes clean with minimal gear and keep you comfortable.

    SHOWERING: I use a system of 4 spray bottles. One is filled with plain water for rinsing which can be replenished on site with river or lake water (I usually boil it first). Another is filled with a mixture of water and baking soda for daily body washing. A third bottle is filled with a mixture of water and rubbing alcohol for extra cleaning power when needed. The fourth bottle is simply a mixture of water and basic dish washing soap which I mainly use for dishes or washing my hands.

    Each spray bottle (depending on size) will easily last one week or longer before refilling is needed. This is based on per person usage and over 5 years of personal experience. You will also need to have at least one liter each of dish soap and rubbing alcohol, plus a small box of baking soda to remix and refill the spray bottles as needed for extended periods.

    I generally use the water/baking soda mix for cleaning my hair but will occasionally use the water/rubbing alcohol mix as well (don’t get it in your eyes!). A final quick rinse with plain water and I’m done. I should also note that before going out for long periods I buzz cut my hair and I also bring my electric barber clippers with me which run off my truck engine inverter. Sorry ladies, but long hair out in the bush for long periods is a major pain in the butt.

    Lastly, you should have a good supply of cheap cloths for washing and drying. Big towels are not necessary and they are bulky. Cloths can be air dried and used multiple times before laundering them is required.

    LAUNDRY: Let’s face it, out in the bush we aren’t interested in separating the colored clothing from the white stuff when we have to haul pails of water from the creek. And we certainly aren’t wearing our finest clothes out there either. The main goal of clothes washing out in the bush is NOT to get every sap stain or grease spot out of the fabric. Washing clothes is more of a hygiene and comfort issue.

    You will need (and should have) several 5 gallon plastic pails… not just for clothes washing but for other uses as well. Don’t forget to string up a paracord clothes line between a couple of trees as well and have a few clothes pegs with you so the wind doesn’t blow them away. The pegs are also handy for many other uses.

    I never bother to heat the washing water. I’ll use ice cold glacier mountain water mixed with some baking soda and a bit of regular dish soap to soak clothes in a 5 gallon pail. That’s all it takes. I don’t even bother to rinse the clothes after soaking them. I just wring them out by hand and put them on the line to dry. Letting the clothes soak for longer and stirring them occasionally also help, but I generally only let them soak for between 30-60 minutes before hanging them on the line.

    I always try to do laundry in small batches since it takes minimal water and is easily done while doing other daily camp chores. Letting a small amount of clothes soak while collecting more firewood and drinking water is much easier than dedicating an entire day to do large amounts of laundry once a week. It also ensures you keep rotating your laundry quickly so you have fresh clothing and don’t deplete your reserves if you have to hunker down from storm for a couple days.

  13. The comment on skin diseases was a very good one. What comes to mind for me is Tinea Pedis a fungal infection known as Athletes Foot. Best way to keep it from happening would be to inspect peoples feet before showering, Wear shower shoes to lessen the chance of getting it and to decontaminate the shower between uses. Typically a bleach solution is used and I freely admit I son’t know what concentration is needed. I do wonder if the chlorine generator is adequate for this

  14. I saw a teotwawki device at a gun show that spritzes out water through tiny holes in a cap that threads onto a 2L bottle. If you could fit these into your design, it would radically reduce the amount of water needed per minute.

    Your idea is very timely. I was just thinking today how much worse the world would be without daily hot showers.

    Another thing to learn is how to make soap from wood ashes and lard. Your soap won’t last forever after all.

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