Boil It Down to Necessity

Boil It Down to Necessity

Necessity.  That can mean a lot of different things to a lot of different people.  I think my daily exercise is a necessity.  For you it may be a Diet Coke.  For others, it may be praying.  No where will find more opinions about what is necessary than the prepper community!

You need this gun.  You need a bug out bag.  You need a plan.  You need this product.  You need this skill.

These could all be true and may not be true for you.  Here is my journey to my basic necessities.

Like most newbie preppers, I started by purchasing food.  Just a little here and there.  I built my back-stock pantry.  Eventually I graduated to 5 gallon buckets with wheat, sugar, and beans.  Then I started expanding and buying tools such as can openers, knives and water bottles.  Throw in some weapons.  Sprinkle with some camping supplies.  Load up on batteries, soaps, candles and glow sticks.

I filled, refilled, and rebuilt my bug-out bag and built ones for the kids and wife.  Then outfitted the cars with get home bags.  Make sure to have the grab and go food ready for when you are bugging out.  Keep the cars filled with gas and have extra 10 gallons in the shed.

In the midst of all this buying and stocking, make sure to plan.  Document what you have.  Print off important information or save it to your drive (make sure you have duplicates in diverse locations).  Read other prepper blogs, watch Youtube videos.  Dream and think about SHTF.

After years of this, I found that I was in a panic mindset.  Always paranoid that I hadn’t done enough.  What am I missing?  Do I need to add more of this or that?  What about all those supplies/tools/skills that I have not acquired?

Then one day it came to me.  It was either watching marathon episodes of SurvivorMan or maybe it was watching LDSPrepper on Youtube turning off his power and water for a weekend as a test.  I needed to boil down my preps to the basic necessities to insure that I could survive now, even if I didn’t have everything I thought I needed.

Several realizations hit me in the head:

  • I had all this food, but no real easy way to cook anything in a grid-down/SHTF situation.
  • If we lost power in the middle of the winter, I had no way to keep my family warm.
  • The water I have is only about a 3 month supply

This brought me to a simple exercise that all survival TV shows go through.  I decided to boil/distill down my situation into my simplest needs/my necessities and make sure they are met for my family in this order:

  1. Shelter
  2. Heat
  3. Water
  4. Food

While there are probably 100 other items that we can argue should be on this list (especially protection), without these four, nothing else matters.  If I can’t keep my family warm, then all the guns in the world are worthless.  If we have 1000’s of pounds of food, but no way to cook it or water to drink, who cares.

This simple list helped me to focus my attention, money and time to solve for each of these 4 areas and insure that I had at least a couple of ways to provide these necessities.  Anything else on top, or more of these, was simply gravy.  I now had a mission.  I knew that if I solved for these,  my family could survive.

Here is what I did:

  1. Shelter-This one did not require much as I already live in rural area in a full brick home.  I did simple things like purchase and install metal braces for the doors to barricade ourselves in.  I spent a lot of time thinking about defense and how I could make the place look abandoned.  But what if my primary residence is not available?  I have set up small amounts of the other 3 items at family homes and cabins that range from 30-120 minutes away.  I purchased maps  for each vehicle so we can find the less obvious paths if the roads are jammed.
  2. Heat-I guess I just assumed that SHTF would happen in the summer and it would never get cold!  This was a big “duh” moment.  Luckily, my home has a wood burning fireplace, but historically, I never had more than a few logs around.  Immediately after I stopped calling myself an idiot, I had a cord of firewood delivered from a local farmer a few miles away.  While I know this is probably not enough for an entire winter, it is a start.  I can survive.  Next phase is to add more cords of wood and evaluate closing off parts of the house to conserve heat.
  3. Water-My quest for water supplies was actually the furthest along.  I had purchased two 275 gallon water containers a few years back for about $300.  Problem was that I had failed to refill them!  They were empty after I had to move them to our new home.  Another “duh” moment!  Did I figure that I would fill  them up the day of the SHTF when the grid went down?  After filling them up, I also proceeded to do more research into where and how I could resupply.  I am currently thinking about an Earth Straw from the makers of FloJak for my well and/or a Berkey to filter water from the nearby lake.
  4. Food-This realization was less about the need to store food and more about what I was storing and how I was going to cook it.  I guess I figured that having 200 pounds of beans was better than nothing and that I was going to cook this over an open campfire.  While I have a gas grill and a small Coleman camping stove, those both take fuel that will eventually run out if I am using them daily.  That is certainly a recipe for disaster.  I researched and purchased a Eco Zoom Stove.  You only need a few twiggs to light and cook with this.  Very simple.  I also began to look hard at what I was putting into my food stores.  Why was I buying things that needed butter or milk or eggs to be added?  What if I didn’t have those?  I also made sure that I had enough pieces to make a complete meal.  While I could eat just beans for a couple of days, how about also having canned hamburger for chili!

While I am by no means complete in these 4 areas (or any other are for that matter), I feel much more relaxed and confident that if we had to go into prepper-mode today, I would have the basic necessities for my family.  Think about taking some stress off and completing at least these 4 areas in your preps.

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