BugOut Blog

Back to Basics: Why and How to Stockpile Water for Emergencies

Back to Basics: Why and How to Stockpile Water for Emergencies

I wanted to start a new series on the Prepper Journal called “Back to Basics”. I know many of the readers of this blog are already well along their own journey of preparedness so some of the content might be remedial. It has certainly been covered on our site before, but there are new readers every day. Millions of people visited the pages of our site last year and one of the most frequent questions I continue to receive is along the lines of “How do I start prepping”?.

For me this Back to Basics series is a way to revisit the subjects that I believe are core to your personal survival. I plan to cover a lot of familiar territory, but I hope to also bring new ideas, perspective and hopefully motivation to preppers out there whether you are just starting or have your underground bunker fully stocked and you are just waiting for the balloon to go up.

Prepping in its most basic form to me is about proactively taking steps to ensure you and those around you are ready with skills, supplies and a plan to react to emergencies or disasters in a way that promotes your survival. The core of short-term survival I would argue is something that many of us take for granted and that is water.

Why do you need to store water for emergencies?

The simple answer to that question is one that you probably already know. We all need water to survive and if you go without it for a while your health deteriorates. You can get headaches, become lethargic and weak. Go with water for more than a couple of days and you die. Water or lack of sufficient, clean drinking water, more than almost anything else (I will go into the other things later) will kill you.

That much is pretty simple. Usually everyone can accept that premise without even blinking an eye. What they frequently have problems with is this idea that you could ever find yourself without clean drinking water. We in virtually all of the developed world have water treatment facilities, plumbing and systems that bring clean water inside the house or our offices and you would be hard pressed to walk anywhere in even the smallest cities without quickly finding nice clear, plastic bottles of water for sale. But what if the water in the tap was tainted? What if the tap no longer put forth clean, shiny water? What if the stores with all of those bags and bags of bottled water were empty? This is where prepping begins.

To prepare, you have to do something proactively.

It isn’t wise to sit back and say things like “that would never happen” or my own personal favorite, “the government will take care of us if that happened”. In any large emergency, you will be reliant upon yourself as evidenced in almost every case in recent history. Yes, disaster relief organizations and government assistance will usually mobilize, but do you want to wait for that to happen? Even the government tells you to prepare on its website, ready.gov. If they are saying not to wait for them, what does that tell you?

Stockpile Water

I don’t know why anyone would count on the government. Maybe they will do something right, but I wouldn’t bet my life on them saving me.

How much water do you need to survive?

So we agree that everyone needs to stockpile water, but the next obvious question is how much? The amount of water you need vary greatly depending on a few different factors. A general rule of thumb is that you need one gallon of water per person per day. This assumes hydration needs and hygiene. You won’t necessarily drink a gallon of water, but you might need it for reconstitutingfreeze-dried food, cleaning cooking implements or washing your body. On some days you might not even need a gallon of water. Other days you could end up needing much more than one gallon if you are exerting yourself physically or the temperatures are elevated and you are losing fluids to perspiration.

In my opinion, water is one of the easiest preps to cross off your list and since it is so vital, it made the cut as the first in this series. To calculate how much water you need, just multiply the number of people you are prepping for by the number of days you want to be stocked up for. In my family, I have those who live with me (4) as well as extended family who I plan will come to our location (another 4 potentially) as well as some friends (add 4 to that) so I am looking at potentially needing to supply water for 12 people. 12 people for one month is 12 X 30 = 360 gallons of water.

Where is the best place to store water?

That is only for one month. What if the emergency lasts longer than one month? What if the town’s water supply is still not safe for drinking at that point? 360 gallons takes up a lot of room no matter how you look at it. If you have 55 gallon barrels in your basement that is still 6 barrels and again that assumes everyone is staying at or under their one gallon a day limit.

I have a few different ways to store water. The first is stored in heavy-duty plastic containers that hold 7 gallons each. These are great because they are more portable, they stack and I can get some storage in smaller spaces, like the shelves of a pantry. I can also easily transport a few of these to my Bug Out Vehicle if necessary. This storage only lasts a week.

Water Barrell

If you have the space, larger water storage containers work best.

After that I have rain barrels that hold 50 gallons a piece. The great thing about rain barrels is that they can be refilled by Mother Nature without you having to do anything except make sure the water is disinfected. But, this requires an outside location and not everyone has a home on land where they can back up a barrel under the gutter. People who live in apartments have different space limitations.

For apartment dwellers, I would recommend using the stack-able storage, but diversify that around your apartment so you don’t have weight all in one space. Usually any apartments are built on concrete substrates so even several hundred pounds of water in a closet wouldn’t risk compromising the floor. You can also try storage facilities if necessary.

What do you do when the water runs out?

But no matter how much water you have stored up, it could still run out in the worse emergencies so it is important to have an alternate plan to acquire good water afterward. Actually, I think it is more important to plan to procure water than it is to stockpile it in the long run.

Platypus GravityWorks Filter System

Platypus GravityWorks Filter System, 4-Liters of water in minutes.

Water borne bacteria and viruses are not something you want to encounter in a disaster situation. Stomach bugs, even minor can put you down and give you diarrhea. Who wants to worry about getting sick when the world ends much less crapping yourself all the time when the toilet paper is in short supply anyway? A simple and reliable method of making your water safe to drink is also very important.

Boiling water is a sure-fire way to kill all bacteria and viruses. The drawback to this approach for me is that you have to start a fire and use a container. The fire could alert people to your location and that might not be what you want. Also, you have to wait for the water to cool before you can drink it and boiling isn’t going to get out any sediment, it will just make your water safer to drink.

I prefer gravity filters for their ease of use, compactness and filtration ability. With a filter like the Platypus Gravityworks, you can quickly filter 4 liters of water just by filling up a bag and it’s ready to drink in minutes. Literally, I filtered 2 liters in less than 2 minutes.

There is also using bleach to disinfect ,water purification tablets and even iodine, but these aren’t without their drawbacks too and do require you to wait for the chemicals to work. Your choice, but there are options.

Make sure you have plans to supply the water needs of your own survival group at the initial point of any emergencies and long after by crafting your water preparedness plan now.

Back to Basics: Why and How to Stockpile Water for Emergencies was written by Pat Henry with Prepper Journal and can be viewed here:

http://www.theprepperjournal.com/2016/01/13/back-to-basics-why-and-how-to-stockpile-water-for-emergencies/

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The Easy Way to Start a Wood Fire

The Easy Way to Start a Wood Fire

Fire, and all it represents, is one of the building blocks of survival along with food, water, and shelter.  Fire will cook the food, purify the water, and heat the shelter.  For that reason, it should come as no surprise that fire starting tools and paraphernalia are one of the first things newbie preppers acquire when they are first getting started.

Acquiring tools is all well and good and not to be discounted.  The real test, however, lies in the ability to actually start a wood fire. To that end, there are as many ways to start a wood fire as there are preppers.  Everyone has their favorite method, even if it is inefficient and poorly executed.  Most likely, they simply do not know of a better way.

Help is on its way. Ron Brown, friend of Backdoor Survival and author of the Non-Electric Lighting Series of books and eBooks, knows how to light fires.  He has been doing it for over 50 years, and he is here today to teach us how.

Ron Brown’s Easy Way to Start a Wood Fire

Intro

I’ve probably started upwards of 10,000 wood fires in my life. My parents heated with wood when I was a child and I, myself, have heated with wood most of my adult life.

Still, 10,000 sounds like a lot.

I keep a box of strike-anywhere wooden matches beside the stove. I use about one box a year. The boxes hold 250 matches (though some hold 300). At that rate it would take 30-40 years to light 10,000 fires. Then again, I’m 75 years old.

The purpose of this article is to share with you what I’ve learned; to share with you the easiest way I know of to light a fire.

Objective

At the onset, we need to recognize that your objectives and my objectives might not be the same. My objectives are simple: (1) to start a fire, (2) as easily as possible, (3) with as high a success rate as possible, and (4) as safely as possible.

I feel no obligation whatsoever to start a fire the way grandpa did. Or how the American Indians did. Or how the aborigines in the Australian outback still do it today.

I have a camping buddy who feels that if it takes more than one match to light the campfire then it is not a proper fire. It’s his Boy Scout religion. I’m sure he constantly fights the urge to dump a bucket of water on my campfire and force me to start over and do it right this time.

In his heart of hearts he knows that my fire is inferior to his. It’s like new math. Okay, so I got the right answer. But I didn’t use sanctioned methodology so, in his eyes, my answer doesn’t qualify as an answer even though the result is correct.

How about you? Do you want a fire? Or do you want to play primitive? Only you can answer that. For my part, my aspiration is to keep my fanny warm and cook supper. I just wanna get the fire going. How can I say this politely? Screw primitive.

So Here’s How You Do the Doin’

In general terms, we’re going to:

(1) assemble a stack of firewood ready for burning
(2) insert, into the stack, a patch of cloth soaked in kerosene
(3) light the patch with a match

Done. The fire is started.

For “insertion into the stack” I, personally, use some long-nose needle-nose pliers from the Dollar Store. Cheapies. They work great.

The Easy Way to Start a Wood Fire

Basically, that’s all there is to it. Lesson over. (Although the devil, as they say, is in the details.)

Firewood. The firewood needs to be seasoned, dry. Not green. Not wet. It should be split so that it has sharp edges, something for the flame to bite into. Split wood is easier to start than round wood (i.e. round like wooden pencils).

The Stack. You can skip the so-called bird’s nest, the tinder, and the kindling. If the wood is both dry and split, you can start out with wood the size of your wrist. Starting out with “real” firewood saves mega time compared to starting out with newspaper and wood shavings and building the fire up with successively larger pieces.

The pieces in the stack can be parallel to each other (just like you would carry them in an armload of firewood). The stack does not need to have successive layers crisscrossed. Nor must it be set up teepee-fashion.

The Cloth Patches. Cotton works better than synthetic fabrics. Synthetics will not absorb and hold as much kerosene as cotton. Discarded blue jeans, T-shirts, sweat shirts, and athletic socks will all fill the bill.

A patch of cloth 4″ x 4″ is a good size but please realize that a 4″ x 4″ piece from a handkerchief will not soak up as much kerosene as a 4″ x 4″ piece from a Turkish bath towel. Of course, when you get to the actual fire building, you can always use two pieces.

  • Safety. Here I need to add a word about spontaneous combustion. I started out as an industrial arts teacher. I learned that all of the high school industrial arts shops in New York State have a red-painted metal can with a spring-loaded cover labeled “oily rags.” Why? Because oily rags are subject to spontaneous combustion.

It’s a fact known to everyone of my grandfather’s generation but to no-one of my children’s generation. I invite non-believers to Google for “spontaneous combustion oily rags” and do their homework before scoffing.

Consider this from back in the day:  “Spontaneous combustion [is] . . . the ignition of bodies by the internal development of heat without the application of an external flame. It not infrequently takes place among heaps of rags . . . lubricated with oil . . .” – Encyclopedia Americana, 1919

Storing Patches. When I tear up my rags into 4″ x 4″ pieces, I start with the used (and oily) shop clothes in my workshop. I do this in the fall and spend a couple of hours cutting up enough rags to last for the whole upcoming year.

Starting with the shop cloths means that many of the pieces I’m cutting up will be oily right from the get-go. So, after tearing or cutting my rags into pieces, I store them (before use) in empty metal paint cans (one-gallon size). I can tap down the lid with a rubber mallet and make an air-tight seal. When needed, I can pry open the lid, just like opening a gallon of paint, with a screwdriver.

Four or five one-gallon cans of cloth patches, tightly packed, are enough for the whole upcoming year.

Marinating the Patches in Kerosene. Gallon sizes are fine for on-the-shelf storage but are not convenient for day-to-day handling so I buy pint-size cans of wood stain from the Dollar Store. “Stain cans” are much easier to clean out than paint cans.

These pint-size cans are metal so there’s no danger of breakage. They’re air tight so they don’t leak on other gear. They’re easily pried open with a screwdriver and easily resealed with finger pressure.

I pack a pint-size can with dry patches (taken from a gallon can) then pour kerosene into the pint-size can, letting it saturate the cloth all the way to the bottom. I prepare a couple of pint-size cans at a time. In use, when the first pint-size can is empty, I start using the second. In the days that follow, before the second can is empty, I refill the first.

Matches. The source of ignition can be matches or a cigarette lighter or sparks from a magnesium/flint striker or steel wool touching both terminals of a 9-volt battery. Your choice. The easiest technique (and “easy” is the theme of this article) is to use a strike-anywhere wooden kitchen match.

Diamond (brand) still makes strike-anywhere matches. They are for sale today in mom-and-pop grocery stores as well as eBay. Interestingly, although strike-anywhere matches can be purchased on eBay and sent through the mail, “strike-on-box” is all you’ll find in the big-box stores like Wal-Mart. And don’t bother searching for Ohio Blue Tip. Diamond bought them out years ago.

Gaye’s Note:  Our local supermarket in Friday Harbor told us that they do not stock the strike-anywhere matches because they self-combust.  Urban legend or CYA?  Who knows.  Amazon sells them.

Incidentally, if the tiny white tip (the “strike anywhere” part) breaks off the head of the match, the match will still light if you rub it against the “sandpaper” panel on the side of the box. But you already knew that, right?

AND, don’t forget that you can carry fire from another source. A twig, a splinter, or a rolled-and-twisted sheet of paper can be used to carry fire from a stove burner, a candle, or a kerosene lamp to the fire you are building.

Still, the EASIEST ignition source is a strike-anywhere wooden kitchen match.

The Easy Way to Start a Wood Fire

Kerosene. Throughout this write-up I’ve said “kerosene” because it’s something everyone is familiar with. Actually, diesel fuel is the better choice.

The odor we associate with both kerosene and diesel fuel comes from the sulfur content.

There are two grades of kerosene, K1 and K2. The K2 grade is intended for use in appliances that are vented to the outside (a home-heating furnace with a chimney, for example). K2 kerosene contains 3000 ppm (parts per million) sulfur.

K1 kerosene is intended for appliances that are not vented to the outside (kerosene lamps, for example). K1 kerosene contains 400 ppm sulfur. You can confirm this with online MSDS sheets. Just Google for “k1 kerosene sulfur.”

In the bad old days, before 1993, diesel fuel contained 5000 ppm sulfur. Between 1993 and 2006, “low-sulfur” diesel fuel with 500 ppm was introduced. Since then, diesel fuel with “ultra-low” sulfur (15 ppm) has been mandated for on-road use.

Sulfur in Diesel

Point is, if you use my fire-starting method but want to avoid a kerosene smell inside the house, then today’s diesel fuel with 15 ppm sulfur is a better choice than K1 kerosene with 400 ppm.

“But what if I don’t have any kerosene or diesel fuel? What if the stuff really does hit the fan? OMG. Armageddon is here. The sky is falling. The sky is falling.”

Easy there, big fella. There are lots of materials you can substitute for kerosene. They might not smell good. They might smoke. They might be flammable (e.g. gasoline) rather than combustible (e.g. kerosene). In which case you must exercise some brain cells to avoid – POOF! – losing your eyebrows. But you can start a fire, no doubt about it.

Here are some alternate fuels with which to saturate your cloth patches:

Coleman fuel
Gasoline
Mineral spirits
Paint thinner
Turpentine
Linseed oil
Vaseline
Vicks VapoRub
Preparation H
Motor oil
Brake fluid
Power steering fluid
Mineral oil (laxative)
Baby oil
Hydraulic oil
70% isopropyl rubbing alcohol
151-proof rum
Everclear (brand) 190-proof grain alcohol
Sierra Silver (brand) 150-proof tequila
Denatured alcohol (used as shellac thinner and as fuel in marine stoves)
Heet or Drygas (methanol)
Charcoal lighter fluid
Cigarette lighter fluid
Automotive starting fluid (ether)
Lacquer thinner
Acetone
WD-40 (penetrating oil)
Cooking oil (olive oil and similar)
Lard
Margarine
Butter
Hoppe’s 9 (gun cleaning solvent)
Oil-based wood stain
Many kinds of cologne, after-shave lotion and perfume

Many aerosol spray cans (for insect repellent, paint, and hair spray) contain a flammable propellant. Here you’ll have to experiment to see what works; you cannot trust what it says on the label. Spray a postage-stamp-size cloth patch and see if it will light with a match. (TIP: When lighting, hold the patch with tweezers or needle nose pliers.)

Candle wax dripped onto a cloth patch works well. You can also rub (firmly) a candle or a bar of soap or a bar of paraffin canning wax into your patch (both sides, please). If you have a choice, avoid the soap. Scorching soap does not smell good.

Have I, personally, tried all these things? Yes.

“But that’s not the way grandpa lit a fire. Or The Waltons. Or Little House on the Prairie. That’s not how the Boy Scouts do it.”

Sorry ’bout that. You want romance? Nostalgia? A merit badge? Or a fire? Come on. The kids are starting to shiver. Wouldn’t you settle for a fire?

Russian Fireplace

My “Russian fireplace” in action.

The photo above is my “Russian Fireplace”.  It’s all ceramic (no metal parts). In use, you close the stove door (thereby hiding the flame). The brick soaks up heat from the fire and then then radiates heat out into the room. You do not feed in one piece of wood at a time. This kind of stove runs at top speed or at zero, nothing in between. It runs flat out until only ashes remain. Then you start again.

That means starting two or three fires per day from scratch. Five months x 2 fires/day = 300 per heating season.

The Final Word

Why is it that humans seek out the challenge of doing something easy in a complicated fashion?  I know that I do.  I don’t know about you, but going forward I want to embrace easy.  I want to embrace simple,  I want to do the least amount of work necessary to get the job done with the fewest number of tools, implements, and gizmos.

I don’t know if it is even possible to back away from technology and incorporate the simplest of pioneer skills into our daily lives.  We can try, though.  Starting a wood fire the easy way will give us a good start.

Once again, I would like to thank Ron for his contribution and support of Backdoor Survival.  If you are interested in learning more about what he has to say, be sure to check out his books in the Non-Electric Lighting Series and also his real claim to fame, The Amazing 2000-Hour Flashlight.

Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!
Gaye

Bargain Bin:  Below you will find links to the items related to today’s article.  Of course, in addition to these items, you will want to check out Ron’s Non-Electric Lighting Series of books and eBooks.

Diamond GreenLight Kitchen Matches – 3 Pack (Strike anywhere):  Our local supermarket in Friday Harbor told us that they do not stock the strike-anywhere matches because they self-combust.  Urban legend or CYA?  Who knows.

BIC Disposable Classic Lighter With Child Guard:  This six pack of Bic lighters is reasonably priced but check around since these often go on sale locally.  BICs just work – every time.

Zippo Street Chrome Pocket Lighter:  Zippo has been creating virtually indestructible, windproof refillable lighters for more than 75 years. The Zippo Street Chrome pocket lighter is no exception. This lighter features a classic textured chrome finish and carries the same lifetime guarantee–to either work or be fixed by Zippo free of charge–for life. This lighter uses butane fuel. All wearable parts including flints and wicks are replaceable.  Every prepper should own at least one Zippo!

UCO Stormproof Matches, Waterproof and Windproof with 15 Second Burn Time – 25 Matches:  A ZIPPO or BIC lighter are always good to have but it would not hurt to have some stormproof matches as well.

Fire Cord 550 Paracord, Black:  This is really neat stuff that I am putting through its paces right now.  Basically, it is 7 strand Paracord + 1 strand of Fire Cord added as fire tinder.  Like I said, need stuff.

Live Fire Starter

Live Fire Starter

Live Fire Original Emergency Fire Starter: This emergency fire starter is compact and a cinch to use. Completely waterproof! I know because I tried to drown my tin in salt water.  The Live Fire Sport is the same product, but in an even smaller, 1 inch by 2 inch tin.

Light My Fire Swedish FireSteel:  This “Scout” is the one I own. Using this basic pocket fire-starter, you can get a nice fire going under almost any conditions. This is a small, compact version and is my personal favorite.

The NEW 2000-Hour Flashlight:  The first edition of this book (“The AMAZING 2000-Hour Flashlight”) contained 54 illustrations. This edition (“The NEW 2000-Hour Flashlight”) contains 128 illustrations.  Using off-the shelf supplies costing less than $10, you can modify a lantern-style flashlight to run for 2,000 hours!  Only 99 cents for the eBook version.

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Need something from Amazon (and who doesn’t)? I earn a small commission from purchases made when you begin your Amazon shopping experience here. You still get great Amazon service and the price is the same, no matter what.

Amazon has a feature called Shop Amazon – Most Wished For Items. This is an easy tool for finding products that people are ‘wishing” for and in this way you know what the top products are.  All you need to do is select the category from the left hand side of the screen.

The Amazon Top Most Wished For and Best Selling Outdoor Items
Emergency Preparedness Items from Amazon.com
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Help support Backdoor Survival. Purchases earn a small commission and for that I thank you!

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This article was written by Gaye Levy from Backdoor Survival

Gaye Levy started Backdoor Survival so that she could share her angst and concern about our deteriorating economy and its impact on ordinary, middle-class folks. She also wanted to become a prepper of the highest order and to share her knowledge as she learned it along the way. On Backdoor Survival you will find survival and preparedness tools and tips for creating a self-reliant lifestyle through thoughtful prepping and optimism.

To read more from Gaye, visit her website, Backdoor Survival. You can also follow Gaye on FacebookTwitterGoogle+ and Pinterest or purchase her eBook, The Prepper’s Guide to Food Storage on Amazon.com.

This article was written by Gaye Levy and can be viewed here:

http://www.backdoorsurvival.com/easy-way-to-start-a-wood-fire/

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Preppers: Be Careful What you Wish for

Preppers: Be Careful What you Wish for

“Let it all burn to the ground! I’ll be up in the hills with my survival group, two years’ worth of food and a ton of supplies. You can stay here and die. In fact, I hope you all die so I can walk back down here when you are dead and take all of your stuff that you were too stupid to protect.”

Have you ever heard someone talk like that about the end of the world as we know it? I have many times. It is usually on survival forum posts or in the comments of prepper blogs that we hear this vitriol spewed from people who seem to eagerly anticipate a horrible SHTF event. I can’t even grasp the stupidity of comments like that and have to believe that anyone who says anything remotely similar is suffering from a serious lack of intelligence, maturity or both.

How could anyone in their right mind want chaos and anarchy? Who would wish destruction on our entire civilization?

There is another side to this topic though and that is a connected, but slightly different yearning I believe on the part of some preppers, who secretly hope in some small way for TEOTWAWKI in their lives also. This desire isn’t to see anyone harmed although they are probably aware this possibility must come with the territory. It is also not to take advantage of anyone like the comment above. Some preppers might be looking forward to “the big reset” caused by some global catastrophe, not because they are anarchists who want destruction, but are instead searching for something more personal and intimate to the human experience.

I believe that some people are secretly OK with the prospect of TEOTWAWKI because of how our society has become pathetic on some fronts, due to technological advances and nanny state bureaucracies. With all the advancements of science and industry, we have forgotten some of our native abilities and our lives are devoid of the challenges that strengthened and tested our forefathers. When the biggest fear is losing electricity, what has our life as human beings become? When everyone gets a trophy just for showing up, what is the point of striving in the contest of life? If your social life is plunged into a panic due to a brief outage on Facebook, how meaningful is that life? If even sledding must be banned due to the fear of lawsuits, how screwed up are our priorities? If the only answer to getting what you want is to riot, protest or a court battle, how weak have we become as a species, or perhaps more accurately; how much control have we willingly given away?

The Pioneer Spirit is not lost, it is searching for you

This thought has been bouncing around in my brain for some time, but it took another show on NatGeo to bring the concept to the front of my consciousness. I so rarely watch TV and if I do it is almost always National Geographic and that is why so many of my articles feature thoughts gleaned from that network. I do not own stock in them, but I watched the first episode of a show called The Pioneers. This show isn’t radically different from a lot of other reality based shows out there; camera crews follow people carefully selected, no doubt to get along and argue with each other at all the right times, but the premise is “a social experiment that follows four couples for three months as they trade in their 21st-century comforts for covered wagons, campfires, and the harsh reality of life on the American prairie.”

Pioneer Preppers

Cast of the Pioneers on National Geographic.

The main motivation for the couples interviewed generally was to get back to the spirit of the pioneers, our ancestors and see if they could complete a wagon voyage across the prairies of America. This would be without any modern conveniences naturally and the only survival toolsthey are given in the show were common to the 1800’s. In watching that first show I realized that so many of us are yearning for the same type of challenge, but most of us could not and would not appear on any reality show to see how we actually fared. I think that pioneer spirit is in our DNA somehow and our modern society doesn’t give us many chances to exercise this deep down yearning, so that, almost unconscious desire, manifests itself in a tacit longing for a return to a more challenging time.

Sure, you could go off the grid, drop out of society and hike up into the woods but most of us wouldn’t do that willingly unless our lives depended on it and even if we did, the rest of society wouldn’t follow along so it wouldn’t really be the way the pioneers lived life would it? A TEOTWAWKI event would be the great impetus, depending on the disaster, for a mandatory return to a simpler, harsher life. If a great calamity happened, you wouldn’t have to quit your job or turn off your cell phone. You wouldn’t have any choice about growing a garden or trying to repair holes in your jeans. Life would be completely different and you would finally see how you are able to stand up to the challenges of a world that doesn’t come with so many shortcuts.

You don’t have to wait for the end of the world

I can relate to the thoughts I mention above because in some small way I would like to see how I could rise to the challenges faced by our pioneer relatives. I fully understand that life was much harder back then so I don’t want to foolishly wish a return to the 1800’s on any of us, but a big reset would seem to be the quickest, maybe not the least painful way to start over on a lot of things.

If you have similar thoughts there are things you can do now though to try to make sure you are prepared if something happens that does cause us all to lose the modern conveniences that we love and rely on so much to make life easier and more entertaining. You can not only be more prepared, there are ways to test yourself in the process, they just require some effort and planning.

  • Turn off the power – This is the easiest thing you can do to experience a little pain without really sacrificing too much. Just flip the main breaker on Friday night and go all weekend, maybe even a week to see how you handle living without power. How will youcook when the grid is down? What will you do when the lights are out? How will you stay warm or cool?
  • Go hiking for a month – Always wanted to hike the Appalachian Trail? Plan a month-long hiking excursion without the benefit of resupply points along the way. This would bebugging out without the roving bands of looters to worry about.
  • Stop buying anything for a month – Could you go without buying anything for a month? We have plenty of food stored, but still make weekly trips to the grocery store. If you had to go without leaving your house for a month could you do that?
  • Turn off the water – This is much harder than electricity at some points of the year. When you have to haul your water and filter it every time you need it, you will appreciate what those pioneers had to do. You might take fewer showers.
  • Try using the bathroom outside for a week – Nothing says ‘I’m a Pioneer’ like pooping in the woods on a cold dark night. If that isn’t enough for you, lose the toilet paper also.
  • Walk or ride a bike everywhere – The new car you have is not very ‘Pioneer’ is it? Try walking the kids to soccer practice for a week. I bet that traveling league wouldn’t work out so well.

I understand the allure of wanting to be tested – to go back to a world without so much noise, where you have to be self-reliant or else you die, but the downside is we easily forget just how difficult that life was. Sure, an EMP for example could send us back to the 1800’s without killing a lot of people immediately, but there would be a large loss of life as the lack of electricity affected people in so many ways. Many people, maybe your own children or spouse could die from simple infections if they were unable to receive antibiotics. Women would die in greater numbers during childbirth. There wouldn’t be a 911 to call if your house caught fire. Retirement? The only way you would get to retire is when you died.

Living like the Pioneers for us wouldn’t be anything like Little House on the Prairie. Your home town would probably look more like a third world slum for generations. Don’t believe me? Have you seen the garbage that piles up after only 10 days? Do you know anyone with horses? Wood-working tools that don’t require power? Wagons for the horses to pull? Steam locomotives or the knowledge to build any of these things?

We may all get to see what it is like living like the Pioneers one day but if I am being honest, I don’t want to go through that turmoil if I have a choice. I don’t want it for myself or my family or anyone in the world. It is one thing to think about it from my sofa watching a reality TV show drinking a cold adult beverage, but if the 1800’s came knocking on my door I know that eventually, probably faster than I like, I would regret the loss in a very real way. As a prepper I do try to plan for scenarios like this but I always try to remind myself that my preparations are for worst case scenarios and that I would really be much happier if these plans I make never saw the light of day. As a society, I might think we need a big reset, but I for one don’t want to go through the death and destruction to get there. If it happens, I’ll deal with it, but I am not wishing that on anyone.

Preppers: Be Careful What you Wish for was written by Pat Henry with Prepper Journal and can be viewed here:

http://www.theprepperjournal.com/2015/01/08/preppers-careful-wish/

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