Prepping Reality Check

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Editor’s Note: This post is another entry in the Prepper Writing Contest from Chuck.

I have written my own article before to the writing contest and have read many posts on the Prepper Journal. I have learned a lot and I am thankful for that. I appreciate all the posts to help us all prepare for what’s going (not might) to happen sometime in our future. I just have a different thought about some of the perspectives in some articles. You might agree or not but I wanted to share my ideas since no one knows exactly what will happen.


What will go first in a SHTF scenario?

I totally agree with all of you about the importance of storing food, water, medical supplies, knives, weapons, and ammo. What I see as a discrepancy is that some are forgetting about the ‘looting masses”. The idea of “trade” or barter resembling near what everyone thinks will happen,  wont exist for a long time. The looters will not have a lack of guns, ammo, knives, or food for at least 3 to 6 months and when that runs out, they will be stealing from every store that sells guns and ammo. Granted, the food will probably run out first because they are either too lazy or they aren’t smart enough to plant gardens or can their food if they do. The ones who weren’t prepared will be looting or killing for food and water.

Prepping Reality Check - The Prepper Journal

The Encyclopedia of Country Living, 40th Anniversary Edition: The Original Manual of Living Off the Land & Doing It Yourself

Medicine will run out after the pharmacies are looted dry. Drugs will be a hot commodity. Beer and liquor will last only as long as the looters allow. Paper money will be good for starting a fire. Rather than being in short supply, I believe that clothing will last a very long time just because the “looters” will be going from home to home and taking what they want and there are so many clothing stores. If they run out of bullets, they might try to trade for it. Silver and gold might hold some value but we have to remember that any place that sells or trades precious metals will be on their list to knock off. Wedding rings, diamonds, ear rings, gold teeth, or necklaces will be stolen from the less fortunate.Prepping Reality Check - The Prepper Journal

Gas will only last for a very limited time, even with the proper additives and stored properly. Diesel will last longer and there are many homes that have “fuel oil” heat that can be used in diesel vehicles. I’m not sure what the life expectancy of propane is. That will run out also.

Everything will run out eventually

Do I sound like the “grim reaper”? Sorry. Just trying to keep it real. If you’re going to prepare, Prepare for the worst and hope for the best. Preparing like you are going on a camping trip and being caught in a real major TEOTWAWKI catastrophe is going to leave you a statistic. You won’t be any better off than those who didn’t prepare. In my opinion trying to survive alone is the worst case scenario and is not an option. The “looters” won’t come around knocking at your door and asking if you can help them and they won’t be alone.

If you want my opinion, get as much ammo as possible and learn to reload. Start growing your own food, collect water from natural sources and learn skills now that can help you protect your home or bug out location. You also need to get as many like-minded people with skills to join you. The only people to consider are those that you can trust and know will have your back no matter what.

It’s always a good idea to have the 5 basic weapons. There is another posting on here for that. Having the ammo and the skills to use those firearms are just as important as having them in the first place. I would like to add 1 more (as I did in my last post), the air rifle. To be exact, you should consider an Adult Air Rifle. Don’t discount its possibilities. It can save your life in more than one way.

Prepping Reality Check - The Prepper Journal

Nothing brings a person to his or her knees like a dental emergency – be it an infection, a lost filling, or fractured tooth.

Having extra seeds to plant your garden (or trade) is or can be a life saver. Buying the right seeds are just as important. Heirloom seeds are seeds that are taken from mature vegetables. They will grow the same plants and give you the same vegetables year after year. You can also use those same seeds to trade or plant new stock.
Prepping Reality Check - The Prepper Journal
Fishing and hunting skills are necessary by someone in your group and could prove not only to save you, your family, and group, but to barter with if you have a “good day” and can’t preserve it. You don’t need expensive fishing poles and reels. You don’t need a lot of lures. You will need hooks, sinkers, and bobbers. Remember, you’re not trying to win a fishing tournament; you’re trying to supply food. Small fish taste just as good as or better than big ones. Nets, fish traps, trout lines, hand lines and a stick with a string, hook, and worm will catch you a meal.

Rain catchment barrels are a must. They can give you many gallons of water even in a small rain fall. The water still needs to be purified but a simple boil can make it ready for drinking. I would strongly suggest getting food grade barrels and converting them to your gutters. There are many YouTube videos on how to do this. Very easy and very cheap.

The final piece of equipment I would strongly recommend is an M-67 Immersion heater. They can heat your water for showers, heating food, and cleaning dishes and they are not expensive. (under $200) You will need a metal trash can (35 gallon or larger) and PLEASE, READ THE INSTRUCTIONS. It runs off of gas, diesel, kerosene, or any flammable liquid.

I wish you all the best and God Bless.

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Great reality check. I can bug out into the forest and thrive with my backpack. Problem is it weighs ten tons! I’d add learn to sprout and have a lot of sprout seeds. They can be used as regular seeds as well so double duty. I’ve also been looking at new suburbs and realizing my home is getting looted no matter what until the winter hits and kills almost everyone. I can hide until after then so my new and evolving plan is bug out early now not late Return the next spring and dig up my buried supplies and… Read more »

Jay Morgan

Careful with the seeds for sprouts. Unlike wheat or other grain crops, if you are hoping to sprout them you need to rotate them at least annually. The percent of germination rate of seed drops off every year. If properly stored they can be eaten but if not fresh the number of dud seeds that will not sprout will be dishartening.


Dug in deep and more than complete….


My guess is that there are probably two types of looters, occurring in separate waves. The first wave of looting would erupt almost immediately in the inner city and spread rapidly as they realize that effective law enforcement has collapsed. There is ample historic evidence for this in places like NYC, Watts, Baltimore, etc. I would be inclined to call these looters “entitlement thugs.” That is, if they can see it, they are entitled to it. The second wave would likely be very widespread, and would be comprised of Golden Horde refugees. These are people who would not ordinarily steal,… Read more »

B Sacks

Sadly even though these looters are people like you and I, they will also become target practice for well-armed preppers who don’t take kindly for having their stuff stolen. I reckon a nice sign over your SHTF hideout or home saying, “We are well-armed, trespass at your own risk!”. If anyone does invade your SHTF hideout & you sadly have to take them out, put their bodies outside your SHTF hideout as a warning to others to stay away. Sort of like using scare crows on farms… (Make sure their bodies however are far enough away so you don’t smell… Read more »


Make sure they are down wind and not dripping into your water source

B Sacks

Nice article. Very informative however you don’t mention power supply. We need to rely on SOLAR POWER so if you don’t have portable fold out solar panels and/or a solar panel installed on top of your bug out SHTF then you’re F’d. Unless our sun goes supernova, we’ll always have solar power. Solar panels are very very affordable these days and come in all sizes, wattages and etc.

I have invested in a 4WD l van and heavily modified (raised w/larger tyres) it for full off the grid living including a 200watt solar panel and water filtration system.


Honestly, I think people need to get over the idea of continuing their current lives un-changed through solar systems. If you can get a few items to work, great. I can’t see spending any serious time AFTER working on getting solar stuff that wasn’t EMP shielded working. Between food, water and security, there won’t be enough hours in the day to fiddle with some of that stuff.

B Sacks

Unchanged lives? Of course if SHTF or an apocalypse comes, our lived are forever changed. EMP? If a nuclear war comes then are all more or less doomed from the blasts or lingering radiation anyway. The ground will be wasted away and no veggies will grow. The rivers and streams will have radioactive fallout in it and the fish will die. As long as there’s no WW3 or nuclear bombs going off, we can use our non-EMP shield devices like lights, fridges, UHF radios and etc just fine with solar power… If you don’t invest in solar power, then you’re… Read more »


Nuclear war is survivable. Nice Ted talk on it. Hide deep for 1-2 weeks if outside the immediate blast radius, have thyroid tabs, and a decent supply of food and water. It won’t be The Road.
The main problem with a decent exchange is it will snow in about a week or two and little to no Summer for several years. Would sure suck though

B Sacks

How are you going to grow (eat) vegetables with no Summers for several years? Grass won’t grow either so how will you feed your vows or farm animals. Radiative waste (isotopes) take forever to die off; its far longer than we humans live that’s for sure.

Post nuclear war, living underground for what seems like forever in caves with eons worth of fresh water and canned food supplies is your only hope my friend


You need to do your research on the half-life of fallout. You are living in a fantasy world.


thing is most solar is reliant on electronics that WILL fail in EMP
the only ones working will be the water heater thermals .
decent EMP from someone wanting to be able to move in later wont be low but hi atmospheric so low to near none on ground.
excellent books I just finished
One Second After and one yr after
they deal with the topic of EMP survival and recovery and are pretty realistic.


I fully agree with your argument. Anyone that believes they can live off solar power in a grid down scenario without compromise is unrealistic. All one has to do is look at the number of KWh they consume on their monthly utility bill, then determine how many kilowatts of energy generation and battery storage they would need to replace the permanent loss of AC power. You’re not going to keep your house cooled at 74 degrees if you live in the desert, you won’t be running your clothes dryer, and you will be lucky if you can keep your freezers/refrigerators… Read more »


For me solar and wood electricity are for lighting and the iPad library. I’d like to be able to run a dehydrator and a blender but that’d be gravy

B Sacks

Burning wood post nuclear war is bad. Your just burning contaminated wood and putting radioactive material back into the air near you.


dehydate outside or in an old car on meshwire flyscreens or use an old metal drum and slide shelves into slits cut in side
paint it black
hole for airflow meshed to keep bugs out
hanging them from something is wise also to avoid ants ingress .
using power to dehydrate anything is daft
you can use your woodstove top or if a cooker the interior when the fires low to do same.

B Sacks

I live off the electric grid now & I’m getting on just fine!! Been doing it for 3 years now!

I’m living proof it’s possible!


best and only refrig use via solar might be the tiny units for camping/vehicles and those seriously for meds like insulin etc that must be cooled not frozen..and theyre NOT known to be that good or longlasting in truth

John Campbell

1 point the article doesn’t take into consideration is that others don’t need a reason to loot,rob or destroy. In SHTF, there’s those that do it because they can, others see these people doing it,they join in and generally turns into a mass riot or mob.

The article said they would have 3 to 6 months,before running out and started. I’d say it would be a matter of hours, if that long….

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