Calling all preppers

Fionalein

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In case the obvious has not been said yet: Own a gun but tell no one. Also never use it if possible. Once the Apocalypse happened the only source for ammo will be other gun owners. They won't come especially for you if they don't know.
For hunting get a medium pull weight crossbow instead - one with less force so you can build your own bolts with minimal fletching experience.
 
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Kara Spengler

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In case the obvious has not been said yet: Own a gun but tell no one. Also never use it if possible. Once the Apocalypse happened the only source for ammo will be other gun owners. They won't come especially for you if they don't know.
For hunting get a medium pull weight crossbow instead - one with less force so you can build your own bolts with minimal fletching experience.
As much as I hate hate hate the walking dead remember what weapon Daryl (?) used.
 

Brenda Archer

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Actually, check out the shelf life for some of the non dairy milks. Some of them do not even need to be refrigerated and have long expiration dates. Some powdered soy and nut milks out there too.
This has me thinking. I can’t rely on any refrigeration or even having the house be cool. Dairy milk is a kind of superfood in that it has a wide range of nutrients and can fill in as long term protein source. If I went plant instead I’d want to also have a larger variety of legumes, whole grains and vegetables. I like all that, but I’d need a bigger place to put it. I like oat milk and it could serve double duty as a grain and a drinking water.

There is a brand of baby yogurt that doesn’t require refrigeration and if I can still eat it, it’s shelf stable longer than what I have room for anyway. Preppers working from a house can make yogurt (it’s easy) and it solves the lactose problem (possibly why it was invented).

I’m going to try to carve a space for a few gallons of water. Water shutoff in summer is definitely possible.
 

Brenda Archer

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I mention it because I actually know a lot about it. For months before I tried it I made my own using oat flour as a carb source, which is what Huel uses. Then I tried Huel for months. It tastes...okay. I think its biggest flavor components are oat and flax, and vanilla if you get the flavored variety. Not horrible, but eating it is more a chore than a meal. The biggest problem is the texture. I don't like thick drinks. The stuff I make for myself I prepare like oatmeal, but Huel was disgusting heated and thick. So I've gone back to my own formula, which I can eat like oatmeal.

I believe the shelf life is "over a year" if unopened. The limitation is probably that it's got fats, including flax, mixed in.
Fats are good. If Huel has a version that looks like a Clif Bar (oatmeal cookie) I’d store some of that.

This is an important point people forget about food storage. You will probably not be living like a sedentary middle class person on a fashionable diet. You want a shelf stable source of fats, as much as a third of your calories.

Ancient people treated oil like something precious because it was. Meat is not something a prepper with no land can do after the storage is gone, but traditional diets involve vegetable oils and the oil/grain recipe combination is most of the calories in them.

Survival eating is a mix of fasting and high calories. Ancient diets were really high calorie, it was fine because people weren’t eating all day.
 

Kaimi Kyomoon

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Well, I'm a vegetarian living in a big city where it never snows. My husband does all our shopping and is often willing to jump in the car to get something to satisfy a whim of mine. But when he does serious shopping not only does he get things on his list but also things he just sees on the shelves that he thinks someone might like to eat at some later date. So our many cupboards and big fridge are bursting with food. My step-daughter and her husband live with us and do their own shopping as does our good friend/housemate/lodger so I don't know how long all that food would feed the 5 of us. We also have a 60 gallon tank of real spring water in our garage that pipes to a faucet in the kitchen, which gets refilled regularly. For a serious apocalypse I plan to be one of the first to die.
 

danielravennest

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Among all the accolades for how nutritious and balanced and eco-friendly this Huel may be, there's not a single comment saying "It tastes good, too!" or even "It tastes okay." So yes, apocalypse food only. I wonder what its shelf life is....
I think I have mentioned this before, but my co-workers and I got to try 3-year old MREs (military rations). The reason was we were studying Mars missions, and that's about how long they took. So we wanted to see if food could be stored that long and be edible. They were palatable, if not memorably tasty.

The Amazon listing for Huel says it has a shelf life of one year. Flour kept in food-grade sealed buckets between 40-70F can last 20-30 years.
 

Brenda Archer

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I think I have mentioned this before, but my co-workers and I got to try 3-year old MREs (military rations). The reason was we were studying Mars missions, and that's about how long they took. So we wanted to see if food could be stored that long and be edible. They were palatable, if not memorably tasty.

The Amazon listing for Huel says it has a shelf life of one year. Flour kept in food-grade sealed buckets between 40-70F can last 20-30 years.
Flour is good to have. If I was really doing food storage I’d have all the bread ingredients.

My grandparents stored winter wheat, and had a hand powered grinder. Wheat makes perfectly good breakfast cereal (something like cream of wheat) but requires a lot of cooking. Since they also had their own water spring and enough land to supply their own wood stove, it was no problem.

I figure in the water/fuel for anything I actually store (which means I’m keeping cans and prepackaged now) but I still really like wheat cereal and wheat bread.
 

Katheryne Helendale

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I mention it because I actually know a lot about it. For months before I tried it I made my own using oat flour as a carb source, which is what Huel uses. Then I tried Huel for months. It tastes...okay. I think its biggest flavor components are oat and flax, and vanilla if you get the flavored variety. Not horrible, but eating it is more a chore than a meal. The biggest problem is the texture. I don't like thick drinks. The stuff I make for myself I prepare like oatmeal, but Huel was disgusting heated and thick. So I've gone back to my own formula, which I can eat like oatmeal.

I believe the shelf life is "over a year" if unopened. The limitation is probably that it's got fats, including flax, mixed in.
I'm with Orin on this: The name is a major turn-off for me. And the texture you describe would likely make me "Huel".
 

Chalice Yao

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A good quality general purpose survival knife.
*PERKS*

Alright, I can drop some wise words about that, because 'Good quality' is hard to figure out if someone isn't interested in blade steels or knife types.

First off, you want a fixed blade - that is, not a folding knife or anything. Fixed blades don't cut better or anything, and you can get *absolutely* amazing folders these days - seriously, the market is like booming with fancy things - but a fixed blade is more *robust*, and you don't want a knife with many little parts when we are talking about prepping! A smaller folding knife *additionally* to the fixed blade for lighter work is perfect.

You want simple and near indestructable when it comes to the heavy duty knife of the two. Thankfully we are almost approaching the latter these days with certain supersteels.
Hint: "Stainless" proudly printed on the steel means 'Crap quality steel, go away.'. This isn't an overstatement. Stay away from anything that simply says "Stainless" and look for blades that actually state the name of the steel. These labels are along the lines of weird short prints like "D2", "VG-10", "CPM-3V", "CPM-anythingreally", "M390", , etc.

But even if the actual steel is printed, it might not be the right steel for a long lasting survival knife. Some steels are made to be easy to sharpen. Some are made to be resistant to corrosion, some are made to have a long-lasting edge and some are made to be tough (i.e. it's hard to break the blade). Those four factors are usually like in a video game where you can move a funny setting dot around in a square where each corner repesents one of those factors, and you can choose your weighting - tough steels are usually easier to corrode, because the toughness comes from carbon content. Steels that hold an edge for longer are harder to sharpen..etc.

Now, I'd personally say what you want for a survival knife is freaking *toughness* and a balance between a lasting edge and ease of sharpening. Lower corrosion resistance requires you to just undertake basic caretaking - wipe moisture off the blade, oil it a bit. Don't leave it laying around in saltwater.
But the most important part, IMO? Toughness. You don't want the thing to break. Ever. You want to be able to pry shit open, and hack away at things if necessary, without worrying. It's a survival tool, not a tool for delicate work. So you want a thick knife of a really really tough steel.

Sadly, depending on the material this quality also isn't cheap. But hey, we're talking a tool for theoretical literal survival for years here. Consider your price for that.

So here are two fixed blades in CPM-3V steel:


Lol 'squad leader' naming on the latter. Gotta love tacticool advertising. But it's an actually for-real serious business knife without gimmicks or cheapness.

It's slightly larger and thicker than the other. These are *not* cheap. But what you are getting is essentially a serious, *serious* worktool. CPM-3V is the toughest knife supersteel that's currently on the market and mass-produced. Breaking the blade, especially at that thickness, will be HARD. REALLY HARD. Just take care of the steel with regular dry, oily wiping love. And get a small diamond stone to sharpen it - yes, 'diamond stone'. You'll need it to sharpen this kind of steel. Diamond does not mean 'expensive'. These days those stones are mass-produced with industrial diamonds, and you can get good deals. It will take effort to sharpen it because that edge will last, and the long-lasting...ness of an edge is directly proportional to how hard it is to get it sharp. A bit of generalizing there, but that's the gist of the matter. It will also take a while to *learn* how to do it - but it'd be worth it.

Stepping down to a slightly different steel that is just a wee bit less tough (But seriously, *lightyears* above your average knife steel still) is


in CPM-35VN. A bit more resistant to corrosion, a bit less tough, but..seriously. Absolutely fine. The advantage of something like the Ursus is..you might notice that the handle has actual torx screws. That means maintenance. That means possible replacement, even if handmade. The first two don't have that.

Both of these sets are absolutely top notch 'way up there' types of knives. If you want to have a survival knife that you can rely on, these are blind grabs if you have the cash.

Alternative steels for those heavy duty things are M390 or Böhler N390, which is toted as the best all-around god-tier level of knife steels, some other CPM-* steels, Maxamet and Rex.

If you step down from the top tier, look for something like 'D2' and 'A2' steels. Those are also serious tool-steels, with D2 history going back to WW2. Take care of potential corrosion, but those are also good work steels - and easier to sharpen. Just not as tough.

If we drop to D2/A2, we can find some more affordable things like
This is on the cheaper end, but it's a fixed blade with a good shape and D2 steel.

Avoid stuff like 'VG-10', '440' or 'AUS-8', 1xxx Carbon Steel', *Cr**MoV' or 'Sandvik' steels for really heavy duty blades - these are lower tier steels these days. VG-10 was a supersteel years ago, but..they are now the *good* steels for things like kitchen knives, or the cheaper end of light-use folders, and small fixed blades. They are a great choice for normal use, and a bit of slightly-more-heavy-duty-than-everyday things - but don't rely on them for prying stuff or hammering at things. Unless it's a really thick blade and you know how to actually fix any chips you might get over time.

Speaking of. That darn corrosion. Maybe we can find good lighter-use knives that you can just Not Worry About when it comes to corrosion over the years.


Well, the first one is a fixed blade, the second is a folder with a really good lock. Both are LC200N steel - which is the de-facto king and queen of 'I don't want to corrode!' steels. You can leave those for a week in saltwater and they might, just *might* show tiny hints of rust - maybe. Other knifes would be a brown mess. This is what anything that claims 'stainless' wishes it could be. Even the screws on the folder are made of it.

Hope this little excursion into modern knife steels and little peek at choices helps. Again, it won't be cheap if you want to get a serious long-lasting knife for the prepping times - mostly because of the steels involved - but it would be worth it. Going through what's out there and comparing prices, steels and shapes could take days though. Be warned.
 
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Fionalein

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First off, you want a fixed blade - that is, not a folding knife or anything.
Nah, you want several knives. The "One tool fits all" approach won't get you very far unless you expect to travel/run away a lot.
I would reccomend at least one machete or billhook, a sturdy fixed blade hunting knive and a finer third knive. For the latter two my go to designs would be Bowie and Opinel folding knives. If used proper and well cared for you will have a hard time breaking those. I might also throw in an European style all purpose axe. They neither excell at chopping wood nor at felling trees, but you can still do both very well wheras specialiced axes will turn into pretty poor choices at most other tasks.
 

Chalice Yao

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Nah, you want several knives. The "One tool fits all" approach won't get you very far unless you expect to travel/run away a lot.
Yes, that's why I said to *also* get a folder :D Or five. Something with smooth blades, something with more saw-y serrated ones. The right tool for the right job, but my post should give good hints at the materials to look for. And a good fixed blade first is a *must*.

An axe is also a must, I agree, a good study shovel and such things. I was just focusing on knives here.
 
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danielravennest

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Nah, you want several knives. The "One tool fits all" approach won't get you very far unless you expect to travel/run away a lot.
I would reccomend at least one machete or billhook, a sturdy fixed blade hunting knife and a finer third knife. For the latter two my go to designs would be Bowie and Opinel folding knives. If used proper and well cared for you will have a hard time breaking those. I might also throw in an European style all purpose axe. They neither excel at chopping wood nor at felling trees, but you can still do both very well wheras specialiced axes will turn into pretty poor choices at most other tasks.
I will agree with the "several knives" concept, and widen it to tools in general. I have an older Wusthof chef's knife that I do all my food preparation with. Once in a while I use a sharpening steel to unbend the edge. A properly sharpened knife has a very narrow edge. So when applying heavy pressure to cut things, a microscopic bit of the edge can get bent over. The steel just unbends it. Every several years I pull out the diamond powder honing stick and actually file off metal to resharpen it. I always wipe off the blade with a paper towel immediately after use. Food and water are bad to leave on it.

But if we are in a situation where survival tools matter, I would just make new blades as needed. I used to do this in my blacksmithing hobby. Old railroad spikes make decent knives, as do car leaf springs and lawnmower blades. But that's for later. To start with, you want a kitchen knife, a multitool like a Swiss Army or Leatherman (originals, not cheap copies), a hand-axe, and a file & sharpening stone.

 
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Chalice Yao

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Oh. Oh. If we're talking total DIY...


Yes. This works :D
 
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Kaimi Kyomoon

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I will agree with the "several knives" concept, and widen it to tools in general. I have an older Wusthof chef's knife that I do all my food preparation with. Once in a while I use a sharpening steel to unbend the edge. A properly sharpened knife has a very narrow edge. So when applying heavy pressure to cut things, a microscopic bit of the edge can get bent over. The steel just unbends it. Every several years I pull out the diamond powder honing stick and actually file off metal to resharpen it. I always wipe off the blade with a paper towel immediately after use. Food and water are bad to leave on it.

But if we are in a situation where survival tools matter, I would just make new blades as needed. I used to do this in my blacksmithing hobby. Old railroad spikes make decent knives, as do car leaf springs and lawnmower blades. But that's for later. To start with, you want a kitchen knife, a multitool like a Swiss Army or Leatherman (originals, not cheap copies), a hand-axe, and a file & sharpening stone.

I learned all about keeping knives sharp when I was a meat cutter at a big beef packing plant. I used my steel all day long.
 
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Caliandris

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Among all the accolades for how nutritious and balanced and eco-friendly this Huel may be, there's not a single comment saying "It tastes good, too!" or even "It tastes okay." So yes, apocalypse food only. I wonder what its shelf life is....
Huel is Ok if you add banana and honey to it. It's not great tasting, but it's not bad like that. Bare huel is like dirnking dried porridge and dust mixed with stale water and sawdust. Blended huel, banana, and honey is still a bit dusty but ok. I bought it to be able to do the 5:2 diet easily, without thinking all the time about what to eat.

I am laughed at by my children as I am in my third round of preparing for Brexit causing disruption. I bought supplies of brandy, olive oil, tinned tomatoes, trying to think about the things which may rise in price once we're completely out of the EU. The brandy will be OK for decades, but we've used a lot of the tomatoes and olive oil and I've had to replenish two or three times. I have cupboards of pasta, tinned fruit and vegetables, and the odd tin of stew which looks so much like dog food it probably will be fed to the dog.

We aren't so big on prepping in the UK and so I haven't been able to buy tinned butter with a long use by on it, but I have got a massive tin of ghee and nuts and dried fruit, local honey, and sugar for making elderberry syrup, which is my go-to for colds and flu. I also have dried elderberries. And a vast repository of sloe gin.