This article was originally published by Selco at The Organic Prepper
Sometimes, real survival/prepping can be nicely organized and presented in a form of lists and tasks that you check off on your way of prepping. But no list of supplies to hoard can prepare you for the fluidity of the situation when the SHTF actually happens.
You can easily get done some preps in terms of what stuff you need and how much of it, what is really important and what not. A lot of that knowledge is available online and some people did a very good job putting that information together.
For example, you can find info what kind water filter is best for the time when clean water is not available, you can find reviews of that filter online, you can buy the item, and you are prepared.
Same with weapons, ammo, clothes…or whatever.
Same with the amount of the things that you need, there are simple tools for calculating how much of what items you need for how much persons for how long.
Information is available, you just need to research it and buy it.
But prepping in its essence should not be the simple hoarding of items. It should not be because it might easily lead you into paranoia, and another important reason is that most of us do not have means to store everything that we might need for a longer period of time.
You have to expect the fluidity of the situation
Very often you can miss the whole point if you do not count on something that I call “the fluidity of the situation”.
SHTF has at its core that “fluidity of the situation” and it can crush all your preparing or at least shock you if you do not count on it in your preps.
That fluidity means that the situation and value and importance of all your preps, solutions and plans might change all the time, and many times during the SHTF.
It sounds bit vague but it is actually simple, and it is best to describe it is with real-life examples, particularly the example of food.
The value and importance of food changed based on a few subjects: personal needs, regional circumstances, psychological needs.
It is very simple – do not store food that you do not like to eat.
You might think” oh but I might use it for trade” but there is not too much sense in that, because you might get into a situation that you’ll have to eat it.
With all of the problems that SHTF will bring, you do not need food that will depress you even more or that makes you even more miserable.
Chances are high that eventually if the situation is really prolonged you’ll end up eating stuff that you do not like. It does not have to be food that you actually bought and stored.
Check your needs, allergies, medical conditions, and what kind of food makes sense for you or members of your family.
Depending on your surroundings, it makes sense to store some foods more than others.
It may be different in different parts of the worlds, but look around you and check what food will be available more than others once when SHTF.
Are you living in an urban area or in rural settings? Do you live close to some major food sources of any kind?
I’ll use a personal example here for a very usual item – salt.
In my case during the whole period of SHTF, salt was available more or less all the time. You could go out and find salt through the process of trade and it was not expensive.
Or to be more precise, the trade value of salt went up 2-3 times maybe while the trade value of some other food items went up 10-15 times.
In that same period of time, in a region maybe 300 km away, salt was so rare that some people had medical problems because of the lack of it. In that region, people would take very dangerous trips through the enemy teritory over the mountains just to get some salt from another city.
It was rare.
Now I am not even sure why it was like that, probably the level of salt in some warehouses was much higher in my case when SHTF, or something else. I do not know.
But it is important to understand how different it was from region to region.
So it makes sense to figure that salt will be available easily if you live close to the sea for example. In that case, you do not need to have a huge stockpile of salt. You need other things.
The psychological need for food items is a bit weird and hard to explain, and of course, it might be different for each one of us, but I’ll use examples again.
Once during the war and hunger, I stumbled upon a lot of small packages of sweet cocoa-milk cream spreads in some abandoned house.
I cannot properly explain here what that meant for me. I ate that until I got sick and it was not about being hungry. It was about having something that reminded me of peacetime and normal life, maybe even childhood. Who knows?
I ate that spread. I was dirty, hungry, scared… there was carnage around me and the city was burning in hundreds of fires, but I think I felt like I was normal again and everything else was normal around me just for that moment.
I knew a man who was crawling for an hour slowly, over the open area with few burned cars as a cover, over the area where snipers killed many folks, he was literally crawling over the dead bodies only to check if there maybe any lollipops in the small burned shop remains.
He was a big tough guy, and all that did not make sense maybe, but at the same time it made perfect sense.
He psychologically needed lollipops. Probably it reminded him of normalcy or school, or his mother maybe… who knows.
Anyway, the point is to know what items work for you and to store them. And of course, you can go one step further and check what items comfort people around you in hard times and have that too, for trade.
I used food items above only as examples. Your other preps should follow similar steps and philosophy.
Another example that I always mention is the example of a simple cheap lighter.
It was really interesting how valuable that cheap lighter became when after a couple of months, people needed it very hard badly for fire starting and there were no stores to buy it.
Not to mention that it was a great item for store and trade since it is cheap to get today and easy to carry when SHTF.
Items that you store may have other value when the SHTF simply because again, you can’t predict the fluidity of the situation. No list of things to hoard can predict that.
About the Author
Selco survived the Balkan war of the 90s in a city under siege, without electricity, running water, or food distribution. In his online works, he gives an inside view of the reality of survival under the harshest conditions. He reviews what works and what doesn’t, tells you the hard lessons he learned, and shares how he prepares today. He never stopped learning about survival and preparedness since the war. Regardless what happens, chances are you will never experience extreme situations like Selco did. But you have the chance to learn from him and how he faced death for months. Real survival is not romantic or idealistic. It is brutal, hard and unfair. Let Selco take you into that world. Read more of Selco’s articles here: https://shtfschool.com/blog/ And take advantage of a deep and profound insight into his knowledge and advice by signing up for the outstanding and unrivaled online course. More details here: https://shtfschool.com/survival-boot-camp/
Please feel free to share any information from this article in part or in full, giving credit to the author and including a link to The Organic Prepper and the following bio.
Daisy is a coffee-swigging, gun-toting, homeschooling blogger who writes about current events, preparedness, frugality, and the pursuit of liberty on her websites, The Organic Prepper and DaisyLuther.com She is the author of 4 books and the co-founder of Preppers University, where she teaches intensive preparedness courses in a live online classroom setting. You can follow her on Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter,.
More wisdom from a man who has “seen the elephant “.
Anonymous 5, I never miss any of Selco’s articles. People don’t know what they’re missing by not taking Selco’s course. They need to go to shtfschool.com and get REALLY educated. I took the course and don’t regret it for a minute. I even got all my relatives to take the course. I think we’re all going to “see the elephant” the way things are going.
The Deplorable Renegade, utter nonsense ! Wake the hell up
“SHTF has at its core that “fluidity of the situation” and it can crush all your preparing or at least shock you if you do not count on it in your preps.
That fluidity means that the situation and value and importance of all your preps, solutions and plans might change all the time, and many times during the SHTF.”
Let’s remember that Selco had a particular kind of SHTF …. WAR …. and civil war at that. Few Preppers in America are prepping for civil war where battles lines are changing with the ebb & flow of combat and where persons hunkered down could find themselves behind enemy lines from one day to the next.
The flexibility necessitated by the kind of “fluidity” Selco expresses is not likely except in some Major Metro Areas of America, and in particular where the population of that Metro Area has a large concentration of “snowflakes” and “liberals”; particularly in local government.
In the event of societal breakdown, the US Military would intervene in the major cities, shooting looters & rioters on sight using the best technology taxpayer money can buy.
Real Preppers in America have already relocated to minor cities, small towns, villages and rural areas. They have already stocked up on the supplies they will need and NO, they haven’t bought food that they don’t eat. More than that, the smartest, wisest, and savvist among them have already collected the family, friends, and neighbors who will abide with them through SHTF.
For these individuals, SHTF is most likely a product of the BIG ONE, Yellowstone blowing, plague, an asteroid strike, EMP, Pole Shift, or WW III:disrupting civilization, cutting supply lines, disrupting distribution systems, and requiring the population to adapt to these CHANGES.
Civil war is inconceivable, for example, where I am located, as the population is highly educated, homogeneous, conservative, prosperous, & religious. These people will band together, work together, and cooperate with each other in SHTF; even as they do NOW.
All of you would do well to relocate to an area with a population of similar like-minded, oriented people like yourselves; or begin that transition by making contact with new people in your identified “safe area” and developing relationships with them now.
Be there to get there.
I cannot stress that enough. In REAL SHTF ….. no one is going anywhere and the gas in your tank is probably all of the gas you will see for a very long time. Consider electric vehicles of all kinds, including bicycles, (and solar charging) so that you have SOME mobility when your gasoline runs out.
Be there to get there. 🙂
Shit paper is up there high on the list. I wouldn’t want to have to wipe freehanded scum muslim style.
Mullein found in meadows was very common ranch hand toilet paper. And it’s as soft as a rabbit’s ear.
Plus it has medicinal uses.
Kentucky was originally where the west began during the time of Daniel Boone. I won’tgenerally refer to “cowboys” as technically they were thugs, extortionists, pimps, and cattle rustlers and worst of all: horse thieves. Kentuckyis horse country and to steal a horse is near sacriledge.
The correct technical term is “ranch hands”.
Here is actual history regarding the term “cowboys” which was synonymous with cattle rustler.
Whereas ranch hands were tough as nails, stand up guys, who would work hard all day, and take turns keeping watch on cattle drives.
The first ranch was George Miller’s 101 Ranch in the 1840’s in Kentucky. That is where the wild west began. Hard to believe but absolutely true. And this is why Kentucky is horse country.
Daniel Boone made his first trips into Kentucky in 1767 looking for fur sources and became a noted explorer, which was highly illegal as the British were trying to get along with Shawnee Indians, and trying to keep settlers out.
Well, you try to tell irascible Scots or Irish anything. Good luck. That is how the Appalachians got settled.
I woiuld like to shake your hand anytime. left or right. lol
Or like a scum 3ew who shits on everybody else every chance he gets.
Speaking of important stationary, I STRONGLY suggest stockpiling these…
The size of a cough lozenge, but with a teaspoon of water expands out to a 9 inch square cloth, just right for TCB.
Menzoberranzan, there are many alternatives in nature and it is free ! Just have to think a bit ? It is not even an issue
Menzo, agreed. I’ve got plenty of that myself. I don’t take up any scum muslim habits either. If people don’t prep, they’re inept.
There is a place with mountains of salt visible from the San Francisco Bay where salt is harvested from the ocean. So, yes, I know salt can be “made” by boiling down ocean water; then pouring out the remainder onto a surface to dry.
I imagine there would be areas where salt is stored in tanks for various reasons.
I see no logical reason for not storing a couple of buckets of salt, other than a scarcity of storage space. So, if that is the case. Guess what I would be working to get? Storage space.
At one point in history, salt was worth and traded higher than gold. Salt is essential for food preservation and health.
The smart thing to store is CANNING SALT. This is much more pure than ordinary table salt, and is absolutely necessary for home canning — regular salt won’t do.
Canning salt is usually stocked in grocery stores in much smaller quantities than table salt; and some places only have it seasonally. It only costs a little more than regular salt; so I don’t bother with regular salt at all for preps, and only stockpile the canning salt.
Boiling salt is wrong. In history salt was acquired from the sea by dehydration. Only a poor planner boiled sea water as that requires lots of time and effort.
Imagine you are sending a party of guys out to collect salt. Well if you didn’t plan, you rushed a large group and they chopped down dead standing wood and boiled furiously.
Rather a planner sent a couple guys to slowly dehydrate and they ended up with salt, but meanwhile were doing other things like trapping and collecting furs.
The former is foolishness. The latter gets you at least meat, fur, and salt.
Otherwise salt wascollected from licks. Like in Kentucky there is Big Bone Lick. Or else from a salt mine. Or near alkali flats in deserts you can get salt and dry it. They do this last one in Africa.
You start out with very shallow containers or pools to accelerate the dehydration process. As it evaporates off, you intially have other elements in it, but in the final products it’s mostly sodium chloride.
Otherwise it’s an enormous amount of boiling off and for very little salt. It’s smarter to do it the right way and you could even have children stirring up the crystals to air dry them.
I think that most people are like the rats, who will pull the cocaine lever and choose to go hungry. The story is about vices.
In my youth I once got through a rough period living on a jar of peanut butter. I would literally eat a tiny spoonful as a meal. It wasn’t difficult. When you see your ribs and hip bones, you know you’re getting skinny.
In your preps throw in some treats. You are aiming for the illusion of normality. If your wife and kids have a weekly dessert of apple cobbler, then psychologically their brain processes that “it can’t be so bad…”. The same is true if the ladies have some sweet smelling soap. Or for the men have a good bottle of bourbon.
You are trying to maintain order, discipline,and morale. Not just squeak by.
It’s the little things rationed out that help them cope.
Maranatha, good points and advice. For a while back in the 80s, I lived on peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, Vienna sausages with crackers and had those little containers of pudding and even an occasional candy bar for desserts. I’ve also had a couple of rough periods in life and survived those. The more variety you have in your diet, the easier it is to keep your sanity. I managed to keep both my sanity and a positive attitude all the way through. You’re right about order, discipline, and morale being essential.
Thanks and good for you. I grew up in poverty when very young to age 12. To me, having an apple, orange, or banana was such luxury. To this day, I love to sneak and eat vienna sausages because while they are cheap food to most, there were times when eating vienna sausages were just an impossible expense. Fresh cheddar cheese was maybe something we had at Christmas as was pecans or walnuts.
This greatly motivated me to learn bushcraft so I could harvest wild edibles and even make some common things.
My best friend lived on a very fine farm and I LOVED being there. They always had food, and it was simple country fare but to me impossible wealth to eat 2 whole scrambled eggs and bacon! That might happen twice a year growing up at home.
At my buddy’s house, his dad enjoyed grape juice, so I honestly though they were RICH.
Later when kids were goofing off, I was delivering papers because then I could buy a ten speed which was all but impossible otherwise. Or treat a young lady to a milk shake.
Such enforced frugality made me splunge a tiny amount when 20, but otherwise, I rarely spent money on myself.
I did make sure that my wife and kids ate well and never worried as I had as a boy.
Good food for thought Selco,,,
Everybody thinks their plan is bulletproof, in reality, most plans will be moot.
Fluid is putting it mildly.
I keep powdered milk, cooking oil,macaroni,split peas,lentils ,flour , corn meal, different beans, rice, colemans fuel, bleach, dry detergent, insecticide, and stuff I forget, in 5 gallon plastic gas cans.,highly portable ,durable, extreme weather resistants, need to be painted, deisal cans are yellow spray with some brown and green. Fast movers?
I want the fentanyl lever, not the cocaine lever.
And when rationing your self to 1. or. 1 1/2 pounds of food per day? Don’t worry about TP? Mule deer size black marbles?
Chocolate. Lots of chocolate. I’m putting mine up in the form of cocoa powder, that way I can bake. I’m not sure how long various forms of dark chocolate last( I know milk chocolate doesn’t last that long( maybe a year) because of the milk solids and fat in it, it goes rancid).
The durability of chocolate is supposed to be contingent primarily on temerature. You should easily be able to find prepper articles because it’s a frequent topic of discussion.
On a side note, if people knew of the horrendous child labor involved with collecting chocolate, then many would just stop using it. It’s very evil. Fair trade chocolate exists to halt the abuses and get more money to small farmers.
O. Get a long black Walmart funnel , and cut it to fit down a inch or so to get max flow when filling gas cans with food.
O. Don’t forget dog food.
In history, the natural dog food was field mice. It’s what a feral dog would live on.
The easiest way is take a bucket, put a wire and spool on top, and lean a board up to the bucket. Fill it halfway with water. Bait it with peanut butter. They will scamper upand plop in the water and drown. They eliminate as they do so, making the minor butchering easier.
You should be able to catch 5-15 a day especially in a barn. Sit it out in a meadow and move it every two days.
That will be your normal new dog food.
Nonsense. When SHTF everybody will be starving while I will be safe in my kingdom of saltine crackers. Can’t wait til I reign supreme. You want these kidney beans? Too bad! This little squirrel saved it’s nuts while the others did not so I will eat my kidney beans while you have to eat your DOG. When the world is cleansed it will be inherited by my saltine crackers and I.
(Oh God I really hope I haven’t wasted my life collecting saltine crackers and kidney beans for nothing. Please let the apocalypse happen. I have nothing to leave my kids except crackers, kidney beans and rubbing alcohol.)
I believe the foolish virgins story best explains in , the groom is delayed , to separate the wheat from the Tares, Seems delaying would be the must hope breaking , faith draining , and only real wheat can take it. And I don’t know about this 7 weeks means 7 years, 7 weeks of empty stores? The average person has what. 1week, maybe 2 if they ration ,but they won’t ,seems they might eat more out of boredom, and burn more calories from mental stress alone. At week 2 nobodies got nothin to steal. And everybody knows it . Waste of time . And there is still 5 weeks left do dig for worms. Over a month with nothing but grass and leaves.? And I wonder if the darkness of the sun kills off the vegetation, farm fields , in the first 2 weeks , Sounds as written The worst times in the history of this planet. But it seems that was when the WW2 Fire bombing nukeing . The Tribulation TRI, means 3 , WW3. Will be a lights out event in every town . Wormwood , smoke goes up ,plants die . Now the smart vergins see , and never doubted, but maybe wondered why, even though believers, they weren’t true believers, and because of a seemingly small failure to wake up and keep your flask full. The door will be shut , and he will not even know you.
I notice no one mentions soap. Hygiene is important. to prevent sickness. learn how to make it.
Re making soap
The issue about making soap in history was starvation versus making soap or making candles.
Since fat has twice the calories of carbs and protein, then eating the fat as grease then effectively saves those trying to survive. And typically you won’t have a fat source as game animals are LEAN. So is the fish unless it’s salmon.
So unless you are cultivating some oil bearing plant like sesame or rapeseed or sunflower or olives, then you can’t get the oil easily by a press.
While corn and soybeans have the oil, I doubt you try extraction…as you would be wasting a lot of food.
That leaves pigs as the most likely fat source as lard. Not everyone has pigs. And even if you did, you most likely are reserving that fat for lard or candles because with no light, you are sunk.
The most likely lighting would be as fat impregnated dried cattail heads as torches as these are far easier to make successfully versus dipping candles.
To have soap was generally an annual activity when doing hog killin’. You have all those maturing hogs and so it all comes in at once and so that is when people made soap, candles, and lard.
You some oil as lanolin in the wool of sheep but that is only an emolliant.
You have duck and goose fat, so that’s eaten not stored.
Otherwise if you were lucky, you took down a bear and converted that fat.
Trappers stayed sort of clean by scrubbing with river sand, using a very mild lye solution with a pinch of hardwood ash, then jumping in the river to swim.
When they sold their furs, they bought supplies including soap and fuel for lanterns.
This is why if you’re smart, you buy some long lasting concentrated castille soap because to make soap, you sure better have hogs.
You clean the skin as it’s the barrier against infection.
So under disaster conditions, you exfoliate to remove dead skin buildup as that can easily get colonized by fungus especially on the feet. Strep and Staph are two common bacteria that live on the skin and in the nasal passages.
This means using a washcloth and a nail brush to vigorously remove this.
Then if you had no soap, go down to the woodlands and find fern roots as they often contain saponins. Look this up as in your region, other plants may also have sapponins. This is how the English managed in WW1 and WW2.
You can soak pine needles and rinse off with that fluid and while occasionally sticky, it kills germs and just everyone can do this. While there, grab some dried pine resin as a firestarter and to put on wounds.
If you have apples, make your vinegar and this is a mild cleaning agent especially under the arms, crotch, feet, and face. This will knock down the bacteria levels.
Here is a basic list of plants with saponins from the Forestry service
The fruits of several native North American plants contain sufficient levels of saponin to produce lather and can be used as soaps or shampoos. This group of plants includes:
Mojave yucca root,
Soapwort root (European species), and
There are several in the arid regions which really helps those folks out as useful plants are so limited there versus for the rest of us with plentiful meadows. Y’all should easily be able to yucca.
If you’re lucky, you have horse chestnut trees.
Lastly, A five gallon plastic gas can full of peanuts buried,somewhere secluded,would seem to go a long way. And a real treasure map to find the way.
The hardest thing to not forget. The Tribulation is not the end of the world. It’s the burning of the Tares. And the beginning of the new world