Are You Preparing for SHTF or TEOTWAWKI- Part 2, by 3AD Scout

We are taking a look at the similarities and differences between preparing for a SHTF or TEOTWAWKI event. In part 1, we left off with questions one and two of the four questions associated with not having the luxury of normal commerce and how that impacts preparations for TEOTWAWKI. Let’s continue and wrap up the two-part article.

Question Three

We have question three to answer, and it is a significant one. Once the stored inventory is used up, how will it be replaced with either a renewable resource or by manufacturing?

Scavenging. There is another possibility, which is scavenging. I assume that in a post-TEOTWAWKI world, there will be a vast wasteland of vehicles, buildings, and manufactured goods that no longer serve their intended purpose. If it comes down to scavenging, that may be the only alternative. However, scavenging should not be your primary means of providing for your logistical needs. For one, scavenging will require someone from your prepper community to leave your area of operations. The scavenging team can be attacked or followed back, et cetera, so, it bring risks. Scavenging also makes the assumption that you will find what you need.

Time. Scavenging will also take time, and time will be one of our most precious post-TEOTWAWKI resources. Time spent on scavenging could have been time spent tending the gardens, preserving food, cutting wood, or providing one more person on perimeter security.

Question Four

Question four is the last dealing with the absence of commerce in a TEOTWAWKI scenario. If we can manufacture the replacements, what skills, tools, and supplies do we need for that production, and will those be available post-TEOTWAWKI?

Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities. Does your pepper group have someone with the knowledge, skills, and abilities to use a blacksmith’s forge to make square cut nails? (They actually work better than the round spike nails.) Does somebody know how to make soap, salves, white-wash, vinegar, and a host of other things that our forefathers concocted for themselves?

Two of our most cherished prepper possessions are Dick’s Encyclopedia of Receipts and Processes and Dr Chase’s Recipes or Information For Everybody. Both books were printed in the mid to late 1800’s and are full of recipes on how to make a plethora of things used in the kitchen, home, barn, and garage in the 19th Century. Project Gutenberg is also a great resource to find books on old school knowledge. It is best to have people in your group with a diverse set of knowledge and skills.


As I mentioned before, time will be one of our most precious resources. Over the years human life has been improved by time-saving devices. In today’s world most, if not all, of our time-saving devices require electricity. In a post-TEOTWAWKI world, our quest will be to once again develop the time-saving devices that made agricultural more productive and daily chores easier and quicker.

Technological Advances Created Specialists Who Do One Thing Only

Since the start of the American Industrial Revolution, each new generation has used their technological advance to develop and build the next generation of technological advances to the point that we have a society that enjoys the most “free” time and computers to figure out complex formulas and equations. As we have made technological advances, we have lost the knowledge, skills, and abilities that were used to make the older technology to the point where we have a society that can’t even change their own vehicle oil or sharpen a saw or knife. Our society today is mainly comprised of specialists who do one thing and one thing only. No longer do we change our own oil, grow our own food, and Grandma doesn’t have a home remedy.

Preppers Need To Be “Jacks of All Trades”

TEOTWAWKI preppers need to be “Jack of all trades”. But it is even better to have a group of Jacks of all trades to help one another. I like how a Special Forces A-team is designed with one person being assigned a primary function but everyone else is crossed trained to assist in that function or to take over that function if needed.

Know Old Technological Ways

Good TEOTWAWKI prepping requires us to know what we might need in the long-term post-TEOTWAWKI world and be able to understand the old technological ways of doing it. For example, to make butter would require a butter churn. Do you have at least an understanding of the principles of how a butter churn works and how to make one? Can you understand the principles of steam, so that we could harness its power as our ancestors did? Do we understand chemistry, biology, mechanics, wood working, metallurgy, et cetera?

Save Time

Skills are great but again one of our main goals in a post-TEOTWAWKI environment will be to save time. We need to decide if putting back resources now to save time later is worth it. Going back to our example of blacksmithing and forging square cut nails, blacksmithing will be a much needed skill. However, today we can buy a 5-pound box of 20D sinkers for about $8. How long does it take you at your job today to earn $8? For the sake of the example, let’s say it takes you half an hour to earn $8 to buy a box of those 20D sinkers. How long would it take you or someone in you group to produce five pounds of hand forged nails?

Purchases of High Demand Items That Require Days To Make in Post-TEOTWAWKI

To me, making purchases of items that will be in high demand and short supply in a post-TEOTWAWKI world makes a lot of sense, if the amount of time and resources to make that same resource is days in a post-TEOTWAWKI world. Besides the cost factor, we must consider the ability to store a large quantity of 20D sinkers without sacrificing a huge amount of space. So, by putting away 50 pounds of 20D sinkers pre-TEOTWAWKI, we could conceivably save days worth of time post-TEOTWAWKI.

Inexpensive Lights and Other Items

Putting away solar powered LED rope lights is inexpensive compared to trying to collect wax and making candles. I can put spares rope lights away, but I also stock wax and wick material. At some point things will break, and alternatives will be needed. In a sense we already do this. Today, a flick of a switch provides light. But when the electric is out. we reach for a flashlight, if the flashlight has dead batteries (bad prepper!!), then we might use candles. TEOTWAWKI preppers need to expand that type of planning out.

For example, when the lights go out, there ares flashlights and battery-operated lanterns, when batteries run out, perhaps then the next alternative is kerosene lamps, and when kerosene runs out there are candles. The question is what can we afford to stock and how much space are we willing to give up for the storage of that supply?

Learning About Time-Saving Devices

Learning about past time-saving devices can be done several ways. By far my favorite way is by visiting living history museums, historical reenactments, and other live demonstrations.

Living History Museums

One of these events is the local Gas and Steam Engine show that has several small-to-very large steam engines, numerous pieces of old horse drawn farm machinery, and other agricultural tools and devices, a blacksmith demonstration, functioning saw mill, and much more. Places like Williamsburg, Virginia; Mount Vernon; Monticello, besides being very patriotic places, offer knowledge on everything from planting, storage of food, cooking, blacksmithing, gunsmithing, community defense, and daily living without modern conveniences. I have found that the “actors” of these living history museums have a good deal of knowledge. In fact, many are professors of history.

A Clay Oven

At Williamsburg one year, I had the opportunity to talk with a lady who was baking bread for one of the restaurants in a clay oven. She provided an abundance of knowledge on the use of a clay oven. One of my future prepper projects is to build a clay “pizza oven” at our retreat.

Stagnant History Museums, Flea Markets, and old Sears and Roebuck Catalogs

Besides living history, there are stagnant history museums where you can look and learn about old technology. Then there are antique stores and fleas markets, which also offer you a chance to own devices that will save you time and effort. Unfortunately, the people selling these items may have no idea what they are, let alone how to use them. A resource that I use to help learn about old “technology” are old Sears and Roebuck catalogs and other old (or reproduction) catalogs. It is amazing what you can learn by just perusing old catalogs.

Practice Makes Perfect

As the old saying goes, practice makes perfect. Buying old tools and devices from days gone by and putting them on a shelf does nothing to develop the skill that is needed to use them. Using those tools and devices allow you to become skilled with them. As a practice, I still use a hand saw on all small projects and often on larger ones too. I use a hammer instead of a nail gun. I use screw drivers instead of a cordless drill. The use of your prepper devices is necessary. Just like the use of hand tools now, we also use our cast iron cook ware that requires some education. Familiarity, muscle memory, and knowing the nuances of your equipment saves time and thus makes you more efficient.

Burning a meal in a cast iron skillet and then cleaning it might just be a prepper right of passage. It’s better to burn that meal now while pizza delivery is available verses waiting and making that mistake with precious stored food during post-TEOTWAWKI.


Why should we prep for TEOTWAWKI verses SHTF? Henry David Thoreau wrote in “Walden” that “we have become the tools of our tools.” He wrote that in the early 1800’s. Imagine what he would says now! Perhaps we have become slaves to our tools? Consider that our society basically comes to a stand still without electricity. Now consider all the hazards that can impact our electric grids. CME, EMP and cyber can instantly throw us back into the 1800’s.

SHTF Preppers Will Survive Just a Little Longer

SHTF preppers will survive but just a little longer than most non-prepared folks. Albert Einstein is credited with saying that he didn’t know how World War Three would be fought, but he knew that World War four would be fought with sticks and stones. Many of us assume that World War Three would be a nuclear war, but perhaps with today’s technologies that might not be so. Cyber warfare could take down our power grids and thus all our critical infrastructure. Couple that with just-in-time delivery and we have an attack that makes Pearl Harbor look like a walk in the park.

World War

What many people don’t understand is that many nations, such as China, have the use of EMP weapons as part of their cyber warfare plans, not necessarily as part of their nuclear attack strategy. With China’s rise as an economic powerhouse, it would be short sighted to think that with their rise as a military powerhouse a challenge to the status quo won’t happen. History is full of nations that were the dominant world power who were “dethroned” by war.


There are other reasons besides war to be a TEOTWAWKI prepper. These include CME, pandemic, and others. We hear that those types of catastrophes are very unlikely to happen. That may be, but nonetheless they are possible. One of my preparedness goals is not just increasing my probability of survival but that of my posterity.

My Work Today

Perhaps my work today will allow the next generation to learn and understand why prepping is needed. The apple trees, blueberry bushes, and other plants planted now may feed my grandchildren. The skills I teach my children may also help them and their families. With all the talk of kids today being addicted to their electronic devices, we, as adults, seem to forget we are the parents and we are the ones responsible for what our kids are doing. I find that my kids love going to the BOL and learning or doing things outdoors; I just need to give them that opportunity.

So are you prepping for a SHTF or TEOTWAWKI incident? If you are prepping for a TEOTWAWKI incident, will you have the depth of logistics to get you through the long term with stored equipment, supplies, and knowledge skills and abilities?

See Also:

SurvivalBlog Writing Contest

This has been part two of a two part entry for Round 77 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 Three-Day Deluxe Emergency Kit from Emergency Essentials (a $190 value),
  6. A $200 gift certificate good towards any books published by,
  7. 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 77 ends on July 31st, 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. With hand tools, food production, water purification, and energy production, et al, I encounter the system or things I would need post TEOTWAWKI, and my first thing of things is to become familiar with how it works. Then I evaluate its’ limitations, and I become as good with it as I need to be. That hand drill was a lot of fun to learn how to use, with me drilling lots of holes to nowhere. Then one of my goals is to use the thing I’ve got in a real situation, which I always do. The battery powered flood lights were something to behold, especially by my skeptical progeny, when we had a blackout. They became even less skeptical when the tent, sleeping bags, camp stove and freeze dried food were available for free at the air soft meetup. Ah, me public. I’ve been Graced with some time to learn and do and gather some things, and I never forget that the best prep is the Spiritual Prep.

  2. My only thought is that when this happens, in my opinion, we will be thrown back to the 1600s or 1500s instead of the 1800s. Or should I say once the current supplies are used up. Why? As you said, Who has the knowledge to make things from scratch such as sewing needles, nails, cloth, etc. Also who has the knowledge to make/procure the raw materials needed especially for the metals that will be needed and the oils needed.

    I know I am not nearly as prepped as I should be, but I keep plugging along even if at a slow rate.

    1. Iraude,

      I’m with you on thinking that the “reset” might be back beyond the 1800’s. I think it all depends if the people with scientific skills such as chemistry, Biology, mechanical engineering that also have some common sense can survive and share their knowledge. I think historians may also be valuable if they know how things used to be done. I took lots of biology and earth sciences in college but deeply regret not taking a chemistry course. I have some knowledge but not as much as I would like. I did pick up Chemistry for dummies which is somewhat useful. I think chemistry is one of the MOST under appreciated survival skills out there. I post-TEOTWAWKI is Everyman for themselves we will Definately be in big trouble but if we come together as communities we have a good chance. I read a very statement about post disaster behavior, the basic premise was that a disaster magnifies the good/bad of a community. I believe that to be for the most part true. Floods or fire in the west (low crime rates) you don’t see looting, New Orleans with an already high crime rate precipitated mass looting during Katrina.

      As far as preps go slow and steady wins the marathon. Be organized and have a plan but above have a community. I have made it a point to get to know the neighbor’s around our BOL. Even though the houses are right next to each other there is still a sense of community that is refreshing.

  3. The planning for “The End of the World as we know it” is a waste of energy, money and time.

    In all of mankind’s history only one global event happened that was worldwide and that’s the Flood as mentioned in Genesis. Well we know that will not happen again.

    As to possible events like EMP from a nation,(China, Russia, NK), would be the last war mankind would make since the US would annihilate any nation that attacked. It’s just the math.
    Just one Ohio class US sub with its 200 nuclear warhead is game over for that nation. The US has a solid 5-8 such subs.

    And after an EMP either by nation or the sun, every single nuclear power plant will boil dry and explode spreading radioactive particles around the world for a very long time.

    So the area one could avoid such wind patterns, or direct hits of nukes makes usable land hard to procure.

    I know the author of this article believes money is not a critical element but that simply is not true.
    Most Americans make about $58-$65k per year which makes building a retreat with years of supplies very hard to do.

    However, if one has the Financial ability to buy the right property in the right area and with deep stores from food to equipment might survive, for awhile.

    But the comment about the best prep is ones relationship with Jesus Christ is the number one priority. Why, because it is clear in Revelations about the End of The World as we know it”

    1. Skip,

      I agree and disagree with you. The flood was not the only event to ever impact the entire world. Pandemic of 1918, the Year without a Summer (1816), World War Two, and those are just off the top of my head. Please remember that my definition of a TEOTWAWKI is an event that impacts large parts of the earths population not necessarily all of it. As far as our Lord, I prep because I believe that is what my calling is. I don’t believe in coincidences so when we buy a new home and the neighbor’s are menonite who do not believe in violence but have unbelievable skills and knowledge I tend to believe that the Lord, working in mysterious ways, put me there for a reason. I am NOT Anabaptist and have no problem filling the sheepdog role. You are correct that I do not believe that preparedness depends primarily on money. Ingenuity and Grit still go along way in this world. We do not know the time of when Revelations will occur (pretty sure there is a passage about that). I have FAITH IN THE LORD so if He is with me, who can be against me? Simple – only myself. In my opinion it is short sighted to use religion as an excuse NOT to prep. I didn’t get a BOL and all our preps overnight. We worked and sacrificed for them. No cable TV, 10 year old vehicles are fine, no yearly vacations and other keeping up with the Jones’ exspenses. I set a goal and worked towards it, jumping over, going around or through hurdles. If you “truely” want do something, you will find a way but likewise if you don’t want to do something you will find a million excuses why you can’t.

  4. I think I have read that in the case of an EMP per studies commissioned in 2006 by the various “alphabet agencies” , that the projection is that 90% of the US population would be deceased by year 1. This leaves a whole lot of land unoccupied in the future, since the majority of those deaths would logically occur within the dense population centers. In regard to radioactivity from nuke strikes, perhaps the half life of the radiation, particularly in areas not considered a primary or secondary target would be a survivable saving grace. Either way, as preppers/survivalist personalities, we aren’t focused on giving up or giving in. We do what is necessary till the return of the Most High God! Nothing to fear, ever!

  5. One of the cool things about any form of prepping is that we don’t know what we’re prepping for. Earthquakes? Tornadoes? Nuclear war? Ebola?

    We’re not the first to live in ignorance of future perils. For example, consider the experiences of the Ingalls family in the “Little House” books. They headed west seeking a new, better home and had to survive a prairie fire, grasshoppers destroying two years of crops, the unexpected blindness of their eldest daughter, blizzards, semi-starvation, and extreme poverty. How could they have prepped for those things? It makes me believe that the best prepper is going to be a creative, out-ot-the-box thinker who, as my Hubby says, can adapt and overcome.

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