Adherents of the back-to-the-land movement inspired by Helen and Scott Nearing, sporadically popular in the United States in the 1930s and 1970s (exemplified by The Mother Earth News magazine), share many of the same interests in self-sufficiency and preparedness. Back-to-the-landers differ from most survivalists in that they have a greater interest in ecology and counterculture. Despite these differences, The Mother Earth News was widely read by survivalists as well as back-to-the-landers during that magazine's early years, and there was some overlap between the two movements.
As expeditions became more remote—through jungles, over mountains, and across ice—people required a survival kit small enough to carry on their bodies. That led to innovations in gear like the Swiss Army Knife, MREs, small but powerful flashlights, and other space-saving, multiple-use tools. Survivalists also borrowed useful everyday items like duct tape, can openers, and batteries for their missions.
So Southwick and his wife, Kara, also 40, and their six children, ages 13-21, have stored 700 pounds of flour, 600 pounds of sugar, 800 pounds of wheat, water, gas, diesel fuel, chemical suits, coal, charcoal, 14 guns and eight chickens. They're ready to haul it in trucks and trailers to a cabin redoubt 90 minutes from their home in the West Jordan suburb of Salt Lake City if calamity hits.
When he gets up to show me about his cabin, Pense stands with the height and permanence of the dignified trees that encircle the property. He doesn’t say “um,” or “well”—the slow, deliberate syllables that emanate from his jowls feel like historical record, perhaps with a sprinkle of Americana, but not quite jingoism. Listening to him talk about his life is like having R. Lee Ermey recite your high school American studies textbook, but gentler.
Wilderness survival tactics are something you should put into practice and start thinking about long before you head out into the wild for any type of excursion. What will greatly increase the likelihood of your survival if you are put into a survival situation is your understanding of how to fulfill your fundamental needs while out in the wilderness. Prioritizing your needs and doing so with consideration of climate, food source, habitat, and water source is paramount.
"Disperse!" came the command from the helicopter hovering above us. Every exit point seemed blocked by clouds of tear gas or the loud kapow! of flash-bangs. Every explosion startled me; I felt like I was going to jump out of my skin. Rubber bullets were being shot at us from every direction by cops dressed in SWAT gear, as if this was a war, not a protest. Someone next to me fell to the ground grabbing his face. I saw he was bleeding and scared, and I dropped next to him, telling him he was going to be OK, that I was a medic. It was my first time treating a wound in the street during a fray. Looking down at my hands and seeing a stranger's blood on my gloves chilled me, but there wasn't time to feel anything. My legs moved on autopilot, going from person to person to check on them. "Do you need a medic?" I found myself shouting over the noise every time I heard a scream.
Firearms instructor and survivalist Colonel Jeff Cooper wrote on hardening retreats against small arms fire. In an article titled "Notes on Tactical Residential Architecture" in Issue #30 of P.S. Letter (April, 1982), Cooper suggested using the "Vauban Principle", whereby projecting bastion corners would prevent miscreants from being able to approach a retreat's exterior walls in any blind spots. Corners with this simplified implementation of a Vauban Star are now called "Cooper Corners" by James Wesley Rawles, in honor of Jeff Cooper. Depending on the size of the group needing shelter, design elements of traditional European castle architecture, as well as Chinese Fujian Tulou and Mexican walled courtyard houses have been suggested for survival retreats.
While many outdoor enthusiasts consider the color of a survival kit to be of minor importance, it actually makes good sense to think about this important characteristic. For example, it will be much easier to find your survival kit in an emergency if it is brightly colored or reflective. By contrast, you may find yourself in a situation in which you’ll want to keep a low profile, such as if you are trying to avoid dangerous people. In these cases, you’ll want a black or earth-toned survival kit to help avoid drawing attention to yourself. There are no right or wrong answers in this regard, but you’d be wise to think through the issue carefully before making your choice.
When looking to add to the arsenal of knowledge you have about wilderness survival tactics, you definitely want to have knowledge of First Aid and CPR. First Aid knowledge will serve you well if you are alone or with others and there is an injury you need to tend too, while CPR will prove an ideal skill set in the event that someone that is lost with you or in a survival situation requires live saving resuscitation. See our piece on the best first aid kits to help you be prepared for anything.
Ben had some good ideas. Hiking in the back mountains of Cape Town can sometimes be tricky as being off the beaten track it is not often you will see anyone. I suggest flares to light up the night sky to attract overhead planes. Also a really powerful long range torch (flashlight) is a must as it will also light up a huge part of the mountain and this will ensure one’s safety. Condoms! Yes but it is not what you think – condoms come in handy to waterproof bandages or protect and prevent irritating blisters. Also handy to keep items like your cell phone waterproof. Chapstick – great for soothing burns and bites and takes the itchiness away. Spare socks.
Cigarettes will also be hugely useful for starting fires and saving coals (as any fan of post-apocalyptic literature knows, this is of great importance). The filters can be used to clean water, although you'll need the patience of Stephen Baldwin to pull it off. If you do manage to live for longer than a few weeks without plumbing and Internet, you'll be able to protect your budding prepper garden by soaking cigarette butts in water and spraying the resulting chemical-laden tobacco juice on your produce. This is a technique already in use by people too impatient to wait for the apocalypse, though it is ironic and entertaining that they consider using cigarette-butt sludge a "natural" way to ward off pests.
However, a few unintentional similarities to the Quiverfull movement doesn't mean that preppers can't still care about safe sex. Hunting, canning, and digging your own latrines does nothing to make the threat of an STD less real. After all, gonorrhea and genital warts are going to be a whole lot harder to treat without reliable access to medical care. And there must be at least a few survivalists out there rational enough not to want to endure the horrors of premodern pregnancy and birth unless absolutely necessary.
And now, there are Democrats. Fear of the Trump administration is largely responsible for an urban and liberal renaissance within prepping; left-leaning Facebook groups and urban survivalism YouTube channels brim with freshly paranoid Americans who attend the same expos, talk the same shop and wipe with the same bulk supply of toilet paper as the conservatives who voted the other way. That said, I met no openly liberal preppers in Springfield.
In an ideal world, you’d bring along duplicates for every item in your survival kit. This way, if one breaks, you’ve got a back up at the ready. “Two is one, and one is none,” as the saying goes. But in the real world, your outdoor activities will place weight and space restrictions on the size of your survival kit. You can’t very well bring multiple knives, several flashlights and two pairs of pliers if you are trying to go ultralight camping in the Sierra Nevadas.
You can tour this slice of underground history today. After the Southwicks visited the bunker recently, they said they felt even more strongly about the need to prepare. Their family reflects a new preparedness instinct that has been growing since the 9/11 terrorist attacks. After that shock, the government urged people to store food, buy duct tape and roll water barrels into their basements.
For a while this show was entertaining. For those who live in disaster-prone areas it might even have been a little helpful. It wasFor a while this show was entertaining. For those who live in disaster-prone areas it might even have been a little helpful. It was interesting to see all the people that stocked up on food, prepared escape plans, and trained 'just-in-case'. However, over time this show's guests have become more and more extreme. The latest episode I've seen, for example, featured one man who not only practices guerrilla warfare tactics, booby traps his own house, and talks about how he is a "good guy" who is going to kill the "evil" people (he doesn't elaborate on exactly who that is), but also trains a group of teenagers who he calls his "Junior Rangers" in the same guerrilla warfare, indoctrinates them with his political ideology, and has plans for them to join him on his ranch in the event of an emergency. The shows second guest believes the US government is "evil" and is preparing for war against his own nation. Both of these guests and those of several episodes before the aforementioned one are one bad day away from becoming domestic terrorists or the next Ruby Ridge standoff. By this new definition of "Prepper" both Charles Manson's "Family" and Jim Jones's "People's Temple" were a perfect fit.… Expand
Unfortunately, some outdoor enthusiasts find themselves being threatened by nefarious people or dangerous animals. This leads some to keep a weapon or self-defense tool in their survival kit, in order to be better prepared for a worst-case scenario. Your self-defense tool may take the form of a knife or gun, but be sure to consider less-than-lethal items too. This would include things like stun guns, pepper spray, and telescoping batons. Just be sure to follow all local laws and regulations before packing any type of weapon or self-defense tool in your survival kit.
Float Bag – If your adventures will take place on or near the water, it is a good idea to pack your survival kit in a float bag/waterproof bag, so you can prevent it from sinking to the bottom. Often, it will make the most sense to store your survival kit in a small carrying case, which is then placed inside a float bag, but you could just use the float bag if you prefer.
Modern-day survivalists aren't generally regarded as the most sane people on the planet. A quick look at any one of the disturbingly common and frighteningly thorough shopping lists they post online drives home the fact that anyone who self-identifies as a "prepper" most likely went off the deep end a long time ago. Sure, it's fine to keep a few extra cans of food and cases of water around for an emergency, but if you start adding body armor and butt paste to your stash, you might want to tell George Miller that it's time to see other people.
3. The water will slowly filter through the charcoal and drip out of the cap. Put a bandanna or another cloth over the hole to filter out any bits of charcoal. (If you’re experiencing intestinal distress—and you very well might be, since your body goes into different kinds of shock in these situations—eat a little bit of the charcoal. It’ll help bind you back up.)