I couldn’t agree more with the article written by T.Z. regarding prioritized prepping. Many of us lack the needed organization and discipline to distribute our prepping budget evenly between the different survival categories and instead succumb to impulse buys – more ammo, more guns, more dried food, more camping gear. While stocking up on non-perishable supplies that will always have some use may seem like a good idea, what good are 50,000 rounds of ammo if your only water filter just broke, or you ran out of oil for your two-stroke chain saw?
My way of managing these impulse buys is with a plan – a comprehensive list of all gear and supplies needed for various situations, used to ensure every critical survival category is somewhat covered. I document any item me and my family consume on regular basis, as well as needed items for bug-in, bug-out and loss of civilization amenities may require. Following the familiar principals of redundancy I am constantly updating a prioritized list of supplies and equipment that I already acquired and items to be acquired. The lists, or rather “lists” document several things:
Inventory of perishable items – non-long-term food supplies (content of my pantry mostly), toiletries and household items, with expiration dates of items where applicable – this list is also synchronized with my mobile device and serves as a useful shopping list when visiting Wal-Mart/costco and the likes. This is the list hardest to keep updated but an hour a month usually keeps it in decent shape.
Comprehensive gear and equipment list – non-perishable items, every equipment and supply purchase in various categories, covering tools, shelter, water treatment and storage, fire making, portable cooking, communication and many others. This list helps with packing for various scenarios, as well as a reminder of what you already bought (how many emergency candles do I have ? Oh, I forgot I bought a case of 24 100-hour candles on sale last year).
Medical supplies – earned its own list with both non-perishable gear and medication with expiration dates that needs to be updated twice a year to reflect things I used, expired and replenished.
To do list – no explanation needed – various prepping projects.
To buy list – divided to many sections: there’s the affordable stuff to buy next time I am at the store – by store – home depot, Wal-Mart etc. Then there’s a list of big purchases to make when the time is right – yeah, a dirt bike may be a good idea (or a radiation meter, or a chest freezer, or a wood stove) but can’t buy them next time I am at the store. I also have a list of stuff to buy if I feel a TEOTWAWKI event is coming. We may get no warning, but if there was a small window of time to get some things done and buy a few special items I would never buy otherwise – I want to have a list telling me exactly what to do and buy and not start thinking about it for the first time (propane generator? Bio-fuel gear and truck? 6 months’ supply of frozen meats? A greenhouse? That great solar system with a few expensive 6V batteries)
Long-term food supplies – Anything I store that I do not plan to use in the next few years has to be inventoried well. Stocking a 1000 lb of rice with 1 lb of salt is not useful. My long term food store has to be balanced to provide the nutrition needed and fight menu fatigue. Inventory management is crucial and a lot of words were written about it.
And yes, I have my guns and ammo list as well. Have to be able to protect what I have.
My whole prepping activity is centered around these lists. If I read the excellent survivalblog.com web site or others, I update my lists with new ideas of what to buy or do. I go over the lists often and look for ways to improve my prepping, looking for weaknesses, lack of redundancies, expiration of items.
There are so many overlooked items that can be great in a SHTF situation, or useful in other cases, that you should absolutely stock up on if you have the room to store them. The hardware store is an endless source of such preps. Nails and fastening devices were mentioned – how about PVC Pipes? PVC pipes are cheap, if stored in the shade last many years, and have so many uses – they can be used to route water from rain catchment or wells, but also for construction – you can build a greenhouse with PVC pipes, duct tape and plastic sheeting. Various means of water storage and filtration are often overlooked and are essential. Dental treatment kits. Disposable and work gloves. Automotive and 2-stroke oil. Various sizes or garbage bags. Lots of batteries and chargers. Pest and insect control (you can’t call the rat catcher any more). Fuel stabilizer !!! (probably one of the most valuable items post-apocalypse). Siphon tools.
To summarize – balance your preps among categories so you don’t end up having to barter at a disadvantage to get essential supplies you neglected to procure in advance. – Regards From H.P.
A few comments on the thought provoking article Prioritized Prepping by Z.T. I did a bunch of research on gas mask filters a few months back after realizing the filters that came with my ‘brand new in box’ Israeli masks found at a thrift store were woefully expired. Masks in perfect shape, probably sat boxed in someone’s attic for 25 years. Filters generally have a shelf life of 10-15 years provided they are sealed and kept free from moisture. A good quality filter is something worth investing in, not saving a few bucks because it “might” work. An expired filter might help, it might not. Make sure your filter is rated for NBC protection, this covers the whole gamut of potential toxins. These filters protect you from all known biological agents in addition to chemicals like sarin and other nerve gases, mustard gas, cyanogen, arsine, phosgene plus many organic and inorganic gases/vapors and inorganic acids.
I spent hours researching the purchase of filters online and let me warn you that the majority of filters sold “brand new” on Amazon are surplus expired or have no date stamped on them. This was repeated over and over in the reviews posted by people who bought them, always read product reviews before you buy! Also, a lot of the sellers aren’t shipping what they advertise on Amazon. I went beyond Amazon and really couldn’t find a reputable vendor selling new, sealed filters with a clear expiration date or date of manufacture. I gave up for the time being and would love to see some recommended sources posted on SurvivalBlog. Thanks, – Sunshine in New Mexico