I just joined, but been lurking for awhile now, reading the survival forums and seeing what I need to do to prepare. I watched a documentary called "Crude Awakening" and "End of Suburbia" (Peak Oil videos) and started thinking OH SHIT! The economy is closer to a full collapse than the sheeple realize. So, found out about this site and been going through the survival stuff wide eyed and in awe. I mean 100k rds of .22LR??? Having a Bug out location? 3+ months of food and water? I'm making enough to live, but not comfortably by any means. I cant help but think "How am I supposed to afford to do all this?" I already have a decent cache of various guns. I have a sniper in .308 and .223, i have a .22LR conversion for my .45 and I have a .22LR rifle. I have a shotgun. But I live in a cramped apt and seriously dont have the funds to buy land out in the middle of nowhere, let alone build a decent bug out or retreat style, live off the grid house. And I dont know anyone with a place like that to welcome me if the SHTF. I certainly plan to stock food, ammo, etc, so I wont be empty handed in that respect, but where I live, I would not want to have to hole up in my apt. Logistically, its a nightmare. I could defend it easy enough, but would rather get the hell out for a long term SHTF scenario. I'm happy for all those with the means and resources to build an off the grid house in the middle of nowhere, stockpile food and water, dig a well, install HEPA filtration, solar panels, etc, but damn, I would just be happy with a freakin 4x4, my guns and a tent! I'm very "Git er done" when it comes to survival and preparing for this inevitable downward spiral and feel like time will run out before I can do enough to ensure full survival. I've already started stockpiling .22LR and .223 ammo and plan to start looking into Mountain House and MRE's for a good start on the food supplies. Its rather expensive and will take me awhile to get where I need to be (1 yr maybe?) But what do I do about a permanent bug out location? Anyone have any suggestions for me on where to go or what to do if I cant buy land? I'll camp and hunt and plant small crops to sustain myself if I know I will be left alone, but where? And is that even do-able long term? (I kinda doubt it due to others doing the same and finding you) How do you think the coming election will affect the SHTF climate? I'm expecting it will accelerate things a little and want to be ready before then, but its just not in my budget...thoughts?
do what you can as you go a long. buy a little extra food every trip to the store, or put $5 away until you have enough to buy some freeze dried. little by little, you'll see your food storage build up.
as far as bugging out. check w/ friends, distant family, etc. a BOL doesn't have to be an off the grid house in the middle of nowhere. it can be a small town that can support itself w/o outside help. meaning the farmers around the town grow a variety of crops and the town can be self sufficient. small towns are more likely to pull together in a SHTF scenario, compared to a large city.
the election is just another event in a long downward slide, imho. i believe it would take a major shift in the .gov to fix a lot of the ills of the country. personally, i don't believe mccain is interested in a whole lot more than the status quo. and obama, well, i think he'd likely speed up the slide, if anything.
*wonders when he became such a pessimist*
The first thing to do is to take a deep breath.
Next, you need to look at a risk assessment. Tj always says to plan for the most likely event first. That is usually NOT a Mad Max scenario.
I don't know where you are in TX, but I would say the two top SHTF possibilities for you would be weather and financial.
Figure out what you would need to have if the power went out for a week or so because of a hurricane or severe winter storm. Mostly it means having some canned foods that you normally eat on hand, a way to cook them, at least a gallon of water per person per day, and perhaps a way to stay warm or cool depending on where you are.
The most likely financial scenario is the loss of a job. Figure out what the mean time to find employment in your field is and then perhaps double it. You would want to be able to live for that long without income. That pretty much means having some savings.
For either of the above situations, it most likely would be a Bug In Situation. If you did have to BO for a hurricane, it would probably only be for a few days and you could go stay at a hotel or in a campground somewhere.
As far as a Bug Out Location for a bad SHTF or EOTWAWKI, that is a little more complicated. You probably wouldn't really want to just head out into the woods. That is what many who are unprepared plan to do. You might find yourself surrounded by hungry and desperate people.
You might start by trying to meet some people from the board. I have heard others talk about attending church in rural areas and making friends that way. A small hunting lease with year round access is another possibility.
Don't worry about everything all at once. Some of us have been at this a long time. We didn't get where we are overnight. Just start moving in the right direction and you will be amazed at how things start to work out. Hang out here and ask lots of questions. This is a very helpful forum.
I hope this helps and wish you good luck with your preps.
Whatever you do don't read "Lights Out" it will give you to many ideas and make you spend to much money
Originally Posted By Halffast:
The first thing to do is to take a deep breath./quote]
Amen. It can look pretty daunting when first starting out. And it seems the more you prepare, the more you realize how unprepared you are. Just having a solid 72 kit/BOB, whatever, will put you ahead of 95% of the population. Have fun with it, and educate your family along the way!
Long Post Warning!
1)...So, found out about this site and been going through the survival stuff wide eyed and in awe....
Deep Slow Breath! Some of these guys have taken it to a level that many local governments wish they could get to. As long as the "S" doesn't hit them directly, they will be gtg until overrun. They know this, but they are way ahead. Also, there is an age gap typically with those who are apartment dwelling and those who have the BOL set-up. It takes time, a lifetime, so, let's work on what you HAVE.
2)I mean 100k rds of .22LR??? Having a Bug out location? 3+ months of food and water? ....
100k rds can not be carried easily or even tossed in your truck. Forget it. You need to think mobile, until you have a place to live, think about what you are going to pack with you when you leave.
3)"How am I supposed to afford to do all this?" I already have a decent cache of various guns....
Slowly. You have the most expensive items out of the way. Water filter (lifetime) is about 35-100.00 now (sawyer.com), buy the best tent, bag, and camping gear you can and that's another 2000.00, buy slightly less expensive and you can outfit yourself in really nice stuff for 800-1000.00. That you can budget. You are a camper, so you are almost there already!
4)But I live in a cramped apt...
So, you can ONLY TAKE WHAT YOU CAN CARRY ... plan for that. Consider your truck as all you can possibly take with you.
5)...And I dont know anyone with a place like that to welcome me if the SHTF.
This is going to take some work. I mean WORK! Some old farmer out there needs some help around the farm, and they love to teach. Find someone, offer to help, as long as they 'teach you' what they know. This is going to be a lot of work, but you will learn. I swear I can find a 60-80 yr old, 1 or 2 heart attack, farmer-type who has had to 'take it easy' and it drives them NUTS their farm is falling apart... in just a few hours of trying... If the SHTF they will be glad their good buddy showed up with his truck load of goodies to help them out.
6)...I would not want to have to hole up in my apt. Logistically, its a nightmare.
You can't. Someone will burn you down or out, on purpose or out of stupidity. Plan to leave. It may be 30 minutes or 30 days, but you will need to leave at some point.
7)I could defend it easy enough, but would rather get the hell out for a long term SHTF scenario...
You can't. You need sleep, that's bad alone. You have paper thin walls, and crappy doors, you can't defend that...against someone who really wants in.
8)...I would just be happy with a freakin 4x4, my guns and a tent!
That's a good thing! Build around this idea. Truck, gun, and tent!
9)I've already started stockpiling .22LR and .223 ammo and plan to start looking into Mountain House and MRE's for a good start on the food supplies.
Go easy on the MH foods and MREs. They are great if you backpack away from danger, but spend 50.00 on beans and rice, and put that in a bucket with some Mrs. Dash. Then go back to MREs and MH. Again, the ammo stockpile makes sense if you know you shoot 1000 rds a year in practice, and you are getting ahead of the curve on prices, but if you are planning your Bug Out Ammo, remember you can only take so much with you, and you will only shoot so many rounds before you get shot.
10)...Anyone have any suggestions for me on where to go or what to do if I cant buy land? I'll camp and hunt and plant small crops to sustain myself if I know I will be left alone, but where?
See above. Make friends. Start by driving around after storms with a chainsaw in your truck or just some work gloves. Look for the old couple, she's on the porch with a worried look, and he's trying to start the chainsaw. Trust me!
11)...How do you think the coming election will affect the SHTF climate? I'm expecting it will accelerate things a little and want to be ready before then, but its just not in my budget...thoughts?
Gas is going to go up, prices are going to go up, but that doesn't really have anything to do with the elections. Who knows.
General Tips/Steps: (eta: the reason BOB first is the weight it lifts off your shoulders when completed, it's a small, but important victory!)
Build your BOB first, keep it very light (30 lbs food and water).
Get your insurance information together, and document your property.
Decide what ONE rifle you want, and which pistol, then pack them a bag!
Pack your car camping gear into tubs and pack it into the truck, find out what fits best. You want to find a place to practice loading it that's NOT IN FRONT OF YOUR APT so people don't see!
Inventory your food and water and plan on what you are going to pack and take with you, prepack it for Bug Out!
When all of that is done...
Now, buy extra food, extra water, and extra fuel. Not every situation will require you to flee. If something happens DO NOT dip into the stuff you have pre-packed, use the surplus you bought first. Keep your Bug Out Gear 'pristine'.
Once a month review your plan!
Your living in temporary housing, with other people near you that are in the same boat. Do not get attached to the apartment, it's just a place. Do NOT stock soo much gear, food, and ammo that you hesitate to walk away from it. You can not stay there forever, you won't even if the S never HTF, you will move. Sell your excess junk, reduce your clutter, and ebay what you can. Buy books! Read those books! Make friends! Also, never talk about your preps.
When you pay your rent each month say "Hi, how's it going?" to the person there. I used to manage properties, the residents I knew, I watched out for. If I KNOW you live alone, and you don't have a roomate, I WILL call the cops if something is odd. You are being watched by the managers and residents 24/7, trust me on that. Stop in the office when you are not paying rent and just 'check in' tell them you heard someone squeal their tires the other day, but you couldn't figure out who it was, but you will keep an eye out. They will then tell you EVERYTHING about EVERYONE around you! You will also move into the 'inner circle' for that manager, this is where you want to be! You can keep ppl out of your house with this status!
Tip for Apartment Dwelling Schmucks (like me): Our survival depends on our social network, and how we treat people. We are not an island, we are a swimmer, and if someone on an island doesn't help us, we are royally screwed...start by helping them! When you get an island of your own, make friends with swimmers, because islands need defenders!
One must walk before they can run.
So at least now that you realize that .gov can't take care of everyone, you can start to prepare. Sounds like you already have a headstart as you already have some stuff.
The above post was good, and here are a few more tips.
1. Every time you go to the grocery store, buy $5 of extra stuff that you just set aside for emergencies. (small bag of rice, beans, a few cans, matches, etc)
2. Try to get out of debt. A very slow financial decline of this country is much more likely than most other SHTF scenarios, and being debt free can really prevent stress and let you focus on other things.
3. Don't buy cheap stuff. As in water filters, get a good one, like the Katadyn Combi or Pocket filter. Yes, the pocket filter is ~200 bucks, but it is good for something like 13,000 gallons I believe. and it is built like a tank.
4. Use your stuff. Go camping often, or camp in the back yard, and get regular use out of your stuff, so you know what is going to break on your and what lasts.
As others have already said, take a breath brother. Probally the best thing I could tell you is to do it bit by bit. Start out with a 72 hour kit. Move on to a bug out bag. I like the idea of planing around your truck. Have that be your next goal after you have your kits built. Say, plan on moving your 72 hour kit and your bug out bag into your truck, along with what ever else you have and can fit, if you need to bug out. Google truck tents. This will keep you off the ground.
Don't get hung up on the EXPENSIVE MREs and the like. Try spending a little extra everytime you go to the store. Even if its one can of spam or a pack of batteries for the flashlight/radio. Beans and rice will go along ways for little money. Just remember, If you mix up your diet to just that you will wind up bound up, QUICK! I know, I tried living off rice and beans for a few days, as a test. . Don't worry about any more ammo than you are willing to hump!!! Set goals and once you've made them happen move on to the next one. Plan on one week, than two, than a month, you get the idea.
It is also important to step back now and then. Put the doom and gloom away for a bit, than get back at it. You'll drive yourself nuts if you don't!! Personally I find comfort in the good book when I get too worried about all this kinda stuff.
Another BIG area to focus on is information. Know about the rule of 7's as it pertains to nukes. Know where the big threats in your area are. Know how to dress game. Try to get copies of this, as a refrence, within reason. Hard copies, not on a flash drive.
As far as a bug out location, friends, family, or anybody you know and trust that is set up for this!
relax and remember its a long process!
The filters have changed, not costly is no longer cheap.
1 million gallons
I am not going to add the quote but excellent reply Torin, You can do better tha MH and MRE's look on the grocery shelves for foil packed stuff, better for you and cheaper.
Thanks for all the replies...uh, one thing though. I DONT have a 4x4...thats why I said I would just be happy with one and a tent - two things out of my budget for the next few months or longer...I don't have any debt, other than a trip to Mexico with my girl that we are taking in August (figure one last vacation before all the airlines are either bankrupt or charging too much). Put that on the Credit card, but it will be paid off in like a month or so.
I do have two cars that are paid for though. I have an 04 Sentra with a newish engine in it (only 35k miles on it) and a 1993 240sx that I THOUGHT I was going to keep forever and fix up over the years. It gets great gas mileage (27 mpg on the hwy!!) and other than no working AC, its in really good condition. I could always sell that for a lump sum of money, but I'm not sure I want to do that just yet. I was thinking of waiting until the gas gets really high (6-8 a gallon) and then people will really be in need of a commuter car with good gas mileage. I could get more for it then I bet and use the cash on supplies.
And I am in DFW, so no hurricane risk really. My apts are kinda high up, so not too much chance of flooding. Financially, I would be good for about 4 - 6 months if I cashed out my 401k (and with stocks going down the drain, I was thinking about cashing it out anyway and just buying gold with it, since that is going up -- good idea?). I have a little in a separate savings account that I try not to even touch or think about, but its there if the shit really hits the fan.
So, I will try to camp more often...I usually borrow a tent, but will look into actually buying one.
More focus on water filtration and storage.
Canned/bulk foods instead of expensive MRE's and the like.
Dont go overboard on stockpiling ammo (I probably will anyway though since I shoot a lot)
Find farmers that need a hand (I was considering doing some coyote hunting for anyone in need within a 2 hour drive anyway how
Rule of 7's?? I know DFW is probably a target, and my area especially due to the air force base thats like literally 2 miles from my house...explain the 7's thing?
Thanks for the long post...I am making a list of stuff to do based on your response. I GOTTA GET ORGANIZED MAN!!!
But the one rifle, one pistol thing??? GASP! I cant leave any of my guns behind! I'll make em fit...
yip great reply torin,,,network bro network...
take it slow and think it through....
Work backwards from the worst case (one bag no gun) to the best (a U-Haul and all your stuff). Decide NOW what you ditch and in what order:).
With 2 cars you can pack even more, if you have 2 drivers. Make a choice about one of the cars (most reliable) as being the 'primary' car. That gets the core of your gear, the second car gets backups and supplemental stuff.
Think of it like this, you really want to take everything:
Bug out Time
2 cars loaded with all guns, ammo, computers, xbox, and gear.
car breaks down
1 car loaded with essentials, camping gear, guns, computer hard drives, and 2 people.
car breaks down
BOB, Long gun each, pistol each, bag (holster, sling, support) for each, a cart with as much as you can carry / push.
wheel breaks on your cart
BOB, Long gun each, pistol each, combat load--bury the rest.
Sleeping and your camp is raided
Sidearm, E&E, rifle and rig.
Another way to look at it:
Disaster strikes and you start loading everything in reverse order...
DO NOT GET ATTACHED TO YOUR JUNK
Oh, get renter's insurance, pay and itemize your guns, ammo, camping supplys, jewels and other "easily stolen" items. Add to your car insurance policy so that things in the car are covered by your renter's. Then short TEOTWAWKI you can just get out with your wallet and recover
I think you are getting very good advise. Slow way down. 100K of 22 lr is not even close to a necessity. 10,000 rds of ammo for my AR is not a neccessity, but mearly a luxury. I don't have to worry about running out for quite a while and I like to shoot. What I have in my 100+ 30 round mags is probably a lifetimes supply during SHTF. Do I need 100+ mags? Hell no. I just like 30 round mags!!!
If you save up 1 months food, you are so far ahead of your neighbors that it ain't funny. Feel good about it. You are making progress and it only cost a little bit of money if you do it over a few months. Then just build from there.....
I have started saving up rice because I like rice and one 5 gallon bucket with 30 lbs in it should feed my family for weeks by itself. 1/2 lb of rice will stuff me uncomfortably full so I tend to add other things in and make it a 2 or 3 person meal. Thats $0.35 or less for the rice and maybe $1 for a can of mixed veggies and you have a very good meal for $1.35 and two or three very full people.
The reason I laid that out was to show that you can eat well, survive healthy, for very little money. I am sure that my example is way more expensive than alot of the stuff guys here would enjoy eating. I am not a bean guy, but they are inexpensive and good for you!, so I will be saving some up and they really don't cost alot.
People here will be very happy to help you figure out strategies to keep things inexpensive and get the most bang for your buck. Just remember the next time you blow $40 on a movie and popcorn, you could eat for over 20 days easily. Not a bad trade for peace of mind.
Now does it still seem overwhelming?
yeah, Im not too attached to my stuff. I know I would have to prioritize. But guns are good barter items, so I would TRY to pack all of them if I had time. My girlfriends car is a hybrid, and surprisingly has a lot of room. She can go about 500 miles on a tank of gas. I would really consider loading her car up with all the essentials and my car would just be the "extra" stuff/gas can-carrying car...
sirgilbert357, I figured I would share some of my inventory to help you along.
First, 900 sq ft townhouse connected to 7 other families, end unit. No porch or outside storage. 2 bedrooms (one is my home office), crappy kitchen with no cabinet space to speak of. All electric.
For my storage solutions:
Purchased 7 x 5 shelf grey garage storage shelving units from various hardware stores at about 40.00 each. They hold around 200 lbs per shelf (not going to test it).
Purchased 1 small 'truck box' and 1 large 'truck box' to take camping. I also purchased a dozen or so medium sized storage tubs that fit on my shelves. I purchased butcher's paper on a roll from Sam's club and lined some of my shelves with it to give me a flat surface (little things don't fall through).
I lined one wall in the office with 4 of the shelving units, the desk and 1 shelving unit on the opposite wall. 2 shelving units are in my crappy kitchen downstairs.
This set-up gave me HUGE space, I mean HUGE and ran me about 400.00 and 100.00 for the truck boxes. Now, space is not a concern anymore for me. Buy them 1 at a time as you need them.
For my cooking needs:
Coleman 2 burner stove and a dozen 1 lb bottles. Coleman single burner that uses the little bottles (5.00 at goodwill). 2 backpacking stoves and dozen bottles for them. Coleman single burner multi-fuel stove and 1 can of white gas.
For my lighting needs:
Several led lanterns for the cheap and lots of AAA batteries. I also have 2 coleman laterns that use the same bottles. A bunch of flashlights. I also purchased $0.99 pumpkin candles from Walmart last year, I bought 20, and they last about 20 hours (little oil lamps really). Dollar store 'emergency candles' 5 boxes x 20 candles. I also have UCO Candle Lanterns (i'm a dealer).
Catalytic heater that uses coleman canisters, a lifesaver camping. I will likely pick up one of those heater buddies for 100.00 next year. Not to mention I will pitch a tent in my living room if I need to.
I save all the cat litter buckets when they are empty, the 2 blue cubes (14 gallons) and 20 gallons of water in bottles. Case of water in each car. MSR filter (500 gallons), and I am purchasing some of the Sawyer in-lines this week (1 Million gallons). 2 gallons bleach, plus my hiking tablets etc.
100 lbs of rice (several types). I bought a rice cooker (get one you'll love it) 20.00.
I bought 25lbs of bread flour and bread machine yeast, and a bread maker (get one you'll love it) 40.00.
100 lbs of assorted beans (20 lbs of those are 'soup mixes), and a stanley thermos to cook them in (you can google that).
We bought tuna at Sam's and Target till we had 100 cans (we are down to 10 now that I checked!) buy tuna helper.
Chicken by the can, I like it better than tuna in tuna helper.
Bought big cans of cooked ground beef at the store, and dumplings, and other meals. We get tired of soup, but we have soup. Mushroom and chicken soup + rice = yum.
Boxes of veggies from Meijers when they do the .33 can deals.
2 x 10lb boxes of powdered milk for the tuna helper etc.
2 10lb bottles of honey, 2 1 gallon jugs of olive oil, peanut butter, dried onions, Mrs. Dash (good on rice).
Raisns, oatmeal, brown sugar, grits (gf loves grits), cream of wheat (she hates it), microwave oatmeal packets, sweet and salty snack mix in the little 200 calorie packets, pop tarts.
Coffee, powdered creamer (flavored), chocolate syrup, cocoa mix, and a ton of other odds and ends.
25 lbs of sugar, 16 pounds of salt, egg noodles, spaghetti and sauce for 20 meals, powdered mash taters...
Basically we decided not to eat out for 2 weeks, spent about 700.00 on food, and we set ourselves up for 3 months, about a month later we repeated that, but only went 300.00 as most of the staples go slowly. I say 6 months of food, but realistically we could go longer. There's a lot more there than I can remember.
Toiletry and disposable items:
Make a list of everything in your bathroom, figure out how much you use a week and multiple that by 12, buy that each trip.
The huge question is: Do you mind your apartment looking like a Sam's Club in some rooms? If you do, you need to find ways to make things look less industrial, but that costs more.
Notice I also didn't mention any bags, safes, weapons, ammo, or the other stuff. I spent LESS on my 6 month food supply than I did on my Rifle, and spent LESS on the storage for those items than I did the optics, sling and case for that rifle. The 2000 rds of ammo was about 800.00....every squeeze of the trigger is a cup of rice or more.
OMG I started working from home 2 years ago (wish you weren't in Texas ). Preparing started about 6 months into that, I mean making lists, planning, reading and watching the news. When I was working outside I was always too busy to care, but I should have been watching the signs. It was the best thing that ever happened to my wallet, my sense of wellbeing, and the worst thing to happen to my physical fitness!
DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT allow yourself to surf these forums constantly, DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT! Also, for the first 6 months talking to the GF when she comes home about this neat thing or that is fun, but she will get tired of it fast:).
do no such thing without speaking to your financial advisor first. the capital loss you'd more than likely face might not have a postive enough affect on your taxes to make it worth it... cashing out a 401(K) is your LAST DITCH option. when you do that, S better have already HTF. the stock market will more than likely rebound - that's what it does. "time in the market, not timing the market" means just that.
and as far as living in DFW, depending on where you are, you might add "racially tense moments" to your list of possible situations...
and welcome to the survival forum. knowing you need to start is a good beginning. listen to the guys in here - they'll guide you well.
If it makes you feel any better, we all felt overwhelmed at first. I'm still new, but the a little at a time business works wonders. REALLY....wonders. I use it for all my preps. A couple new mags at every gun show, whether you need 'em or not. Monthly ammo budget, every month. Extra at the grocery store. BTW....Torins post about inventory in the bathroom was spot on. The only thing I will add that is my pet peeve, is get a way to carry your mags/ammo. You don't have to have a zillion dollar plate carrier, but get something. There are tons of guys who have tons of mags and guns and ammo, but if you said "grab your shit and get over here buddy", they would be a soup sandwhich when they showed up. Mags falling out of jeans pockets, etc. You can get a rifle bag, or cheap chest rig, or even surplus alice gear real cheap. (If memory serves our very own Protus likes the old suprlus alice gear.) Thats my .02. Good luck and welcome!
Ok, first things first.
Welcome, and good for you for realizing that you may not be able to buy a slurpee 24 hours a day forever.
Now for the rude awakining.
No one with anything valuable to trade will want to trade for your guns. Farmers already have guns, and won't need more in SHTF, other preppers won't, and sheeple won't have anything you'll want. Ammo might be useful to trade, but I don't want to get shot in the back after a trade, so it stays with me and my family. Guns are one of the least important items to stockpile for SHTF, especially in this Country. I'd rather have a 10/22, a stainless 686, a thousand rounds for each, and tons of food, PM's, camping gear, meds, etc than 2 sniper rifles(never cheap to set up) and fancy 1911's, 100k of .22LR, and little in the way of food and financial preps. Read ferfal's posts and blog about living in Argentina during their major SHTF for the past number of years. A concealed handgun is the most valuable, according to him if living in the city. You have 2 cars, and your girlfriend has her own. Neither of the cars you describe owning has any advantage over the other, and both have little value in any kind of BO other than the fact that they're cars and get pretty good mileage. Sell one immediately, if things go south, people aren't going to be buying 15 year old 230sx's. Your car is only going to keep going down in value. You have 2 "sniper rifles", how many can you shoot at one time? Can a .223 sniper rifle do anything that a .308 can't? You will also find it difficult to defend against a determined group of adviseries with late 19th century repeating rifle technology. This is unless one or both of your sniper rifles are semi's, in that case keep the semi. You talked about cashing out your 401k to live on in a SHTF situation, transfer that to PM's if you want after talking to a financial advisor, but sell those extra guns, cars, etc before you talk about cashing out your retirement to survive. Follow the advice others have given regarding stocking up on other stuff, but from what you described, you are going to have to sell some things that you've become attached to to jump ahead of the curve.
Dont' confuse having guns with being prepped, and don't get attached to inanimate objects.
$1500 Skeet gun--sold at a loss and bought a brand new EU2000.
$2000 Custom long range rifle--sold and spent money paying off debt.
ETA--If the S hit the fan right now, and you had to get out of Dodge, would you rather have those 2 rifles, or alot of the preps that you described lacking?
WOW, there is a lot of good information in just this thread alone.
My $0.02 is similar.
1. Deep breath, slow down, relax. You are already ahead of the game.
2. The world still has some time before it comes to an end. And if you do up the statistics, you likely have YEARS before the SHTF for you...
That said, be reasonable with your preps. Recognize the likelihood of relative SHTF events: power outage, severe storm, building fire, etc (growing in magnitude). Make a list in order of likelihood to strike (incidentally, this is usually inversely proportional to magnitude). Start your preps for the small stuff as that usually helps build toward covering the bigger stuff.
For instance: Keeping a simple well stocked pantry of canned goods and regular eats will cover you for power outages, severe storms and other occurrences that cause you to bug in. Some 2.5gal containers of water from the store is a simple solution as well. It is also useful because you ban buy the items on sale and slowly eat through them as you replace them (again when on sale), this saves you money on your food. This saved money is great for other preps. 3 Days is a good first goal, then move towards a week, if space (and girlfriend) permit then expand to 2 weeks.
When looking at preps, buy things that you can use now and also have use if SHTF. If you like camping, a good tent is a solid investment. It covers you for some circumstances if SHTF and yet won't be "crap in the closet collecting dust until the world ends." The same is true for some good sleeping bags, portable cook stove, water purifier, etc...
One of the best things is to put that money away with an eye towards buying your own place. It may take a while, but it is a major improvement over the apartment living. You know that, but it seems unobtainable. IT IS NOT, just work towards it, you will surprise yourself how quickly you get there. When you are looking to buy a place, keep an eye out for properties that will be helpful for your SHTF plans. I lucked into a place with solid brick construction, this was before I was into SHTF type thinking, it has helped as a basis for my planning (I am early in my prepping like you).
There is nothing wrong with focusing on some of the fun preps (guns, ammo, range time, camping, backpacking, hunting) so do it. Then kick a little money, time and effort into the less fun stuff (food storage, water storage, first aid kits, etc).
As for the MH and MREs, a few aren't bad but they aren't going to keep you for weeks/months and they are expensive. I have some MREs that I bought to put in the cars (4 meals in each) as get-home-food or stuck in a snow bank food or whatever. I have a dozen more and some MH food in the basement for quick emergency situations (no electric, no gas, don't want to cook conventional food), but in all likelihood the MREs will be uneaten still 10 years from now. The MH food I plan to rotate into camping/backpacking rotation with the girlfriend.
Most of my food has focused on pasta, rice and store bought canned and jarred goods. This food gets rotated the same way a store stocks, new items go to the back and I use the older stuff for current consumption. I plan to get into long-term bean, grain, rice storage but I need to get things organized better. Better organization will also get me better set for more water storage. But it takes time.
Remember, Rome was not built in 1 day.
or if you prefer,
How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.
(this post wound up being much longer than anticipated, hopefully it is at least 1/2 as insightful as some of the previous posts)
Guess who...sorry this has become my thinking thread, tonight I have finalized my core 3 day bug out bag, the wilderness portion (not the laptop portion, weapons portion, or urban portion)! That just covers the gear I intend to carry and use for 3 days in the woods, this is also known as my 'backpacking gear' and is the core of my INCH. I have been packing and repacking this equipment all night, several hours no kidding, in the many packs I have some how collected...
This brings me to another tip!
DON'T BUY BACKPACKS UNTIL YOU HAVE EVERYTHING FIGURED OUT THAT WILL GO IN THE PACK!!! Ok, so you can buy something under 100.00 to toss your stuff in to figure out sizes, but don't spend serious gear money until you know, and I mean KNOW what you intend to carry. It's too expensive, and you end up with a ton of new in box packs that are quite spendy!
In my pursuit of the 'perfect pack' I have Kifaru, Eberlestock, Blackhawk, North Face, Kelty, and military packs. I purchased the majority of these packs in my early days of preparing when I honestly felt the 'perfect pack' would increase my survival by +1000! All but one of these packs is pretty much perfectly new (the ILBE). Convert the packs to beans and I could eat for years and years.
After spending an evening loading all the main packs with my decided loadout, trying them on, photos and fit, my gear is sitting on the table again...unbagged...still thinking! It all fits perfectly in a cheap Outdoor Products Duffel I only paid 19.99 on impulse the other day. I may be tossing almost everything on the Exchange or Ebay after I make the final selection tonight!
I say again, set out your gear, measure it, weigh it, take it camping in a box or duffel, and when you are pretty sure you got precisely what you need, buy a bag to fit!
Bug Out Bags are important but remember that for 95% of the things most likely to happen you will be Bugging In.
Halffast I say this with all the respect in the world! I disagree considering that he lives in an Apartment.
Apartment dwellers face evacuation far far more often than a bug-in situation requiring long-term preps. If you have your BOB you can handle nearly anything for a short period of time, and can dive out the window to escape. The big threats to apartments are: Fires, floods (both natural and neighbor caused), and break-in from my experience as a property manager.
The moment I buy a home, I will sleep better. If my house catches on fire, or a water line bursts, it's probably my fault! Also, I will be able to harden my home against break-in, add security, lighting, and further modify the home.
The BOB in this case isn't what we typically see on the forums, I would put the laptop, documents, CCW, wallet, car keys, cell phone, flash light, and clothes in a duffel/laptop bag at the top of the list. Add escape ladders where needed.
I live near Carswell (new name Joint something something)
So we are close
If they Nuke Carswell What are we really going to do but die in the flash
OK what might really happen?
Tornado/Ice storm knocks down power lines 1-7 days no power or WATER, Electric pumps pump the water
Have a small stove / Grill to cook and boil water
Keep you old 2 Liter soda bottles to store water
Buy 5 bucks worth of stuff you eat each time you go to store
Stuff that does not need to be cold…. can soup, green beans, corn you get the idea
Get a medium to large plastic container to store the extras in and rotate them each time you go to store FIFO (first in first out) Stores do the same thing
Build a simple GHB and BOB
Get Home Bag Bug Out Bag
Mine are 5$ back packs from Wal-Mart
One to hold my rain gear. It rains a lot more than the power goes out and others
GHB might just be a few water containers and power bars depending on how for you have to go
Mines big since I travel 25-35 miles for work and you need water in Texas in the summer time
Remember to add heavier clothes (including Pants) for winter time
I have an extra small bag just for them not counting coat I wear
Have a good case for one weapon (Most likely your shotgun) that you carry in car but not ready for use if SHTF really does happen so you can protect it while traveling
Have stuff packed (BOB and plastic container) so if they do a dirty bomb in down town you can grab and GO
The good filter masks (not gas masks) are 5 bucks usually one is always nice
Buy a sleeping bag when you get a chance (garage sales )
Have alternate routes planned and don’t plan on using any two digit roads (20/30/35) unless you get out really quick
Meet People in your area
As far as the upcoming elections all I can say is vote Republican
Dang Torin brought up some good ideas too
Have your BOB to include a change of clothes and keep by bed at night
In the event of a fire you grab and go then you have something to put on
(someone else used this but not sure where I read it)
Get copies of you important papers and copy with protection onto a thumb drive
( I need to finish mine) See you not far behind me
Extra set of keys for all cars, both door and ignition. Then you can move them…
If the fire department moves your car it might get scratched
Surf around in here and get more ideas too
An entire apartment building? Not by yourself. What happens if some asshole sends a cocktail through a side window that you don't have a view of?
AS far as food, you don't have to get the latest greatest freeze dried stuff. Look for cheap canned goods, 3 for $1 and 5 for $1. A few cans here and there adds up pretty quick. It doesnt even have to be your favorite. I have 15 cans of cream style corn in my stash. I HATE cream style corn; but, they were 5 for a buck at the local grocery. Thats $0.20 a can, and if I ever need it, I'm sure my dislike of cream style corn will have faded conciderably. And canned mackeral (sp), that stuff smells like hell, but again it was cheap. Cans are not as light weight as freezedried but it's better than nothing, especialy if your on a budget. Just don't try to do everything at once, get a little bit here and there as it is available. Chances are none of us will ever see any significant SHTF anyway. (I say that as my computer room looks like a staging area)
WOW! There is some great info in this thread. Thanks to all posters!
I'm way behind myself but preppin for 5 (2Adult/3kids) is a big task.
Thanks to all who replied. I have a little more peace now...Guess when I said I could defend the apt easily enough, I was simply thinking of someone trying to force entry and me shooting them, lol...the Molotov cocktail through a window never even occurred to me. That would totally suck. I've been thinking I need at least two fire extinguishers in the house, that just reinforces the idea. One more thing to add the ever growing list of things to do...
Thanks for your polite and thoughtful response. I will, however, continue to maintain that for the SHTF scenarios MOST LIKELY to happen, 95% of the time bugging in is the best option.
Severe weather event in DFW (Ice storm, tornado)- Bug in
Serious illness or death of self or family member - Bug in
Loss or decrease of income - Bug in
Economic depression - Bug in
Riots in DFW - Bug in
Fire - Bug out
Toxic chemical spill - Bug out
The above examples are to me the MOST LIKELY things that could happen to the OP. I think they are roughly in order of likelihood depending on his age, exact location, and health. BOB's are important, as I said in the post at the top of this page, and everyone should have them for the exact reasons you stated. However, a Bug In Kit to get him through 1 to 2 weeks without basic services is much more likely to be used than a BOB. In addition to that, health, life, and fire insurance are some of the most important SHTF preps that one can have. (This alone deserves it's own thread.)
Prepping for Zombies or Global Thermonuclear War ("Do you want to play a game?") is fun to talk about. They can even be useful conversations as if you are prepared for them, you are prepared for almost anything. But, a beginning prepper needs to worry about the MOST LIKELY events first. Let's face it, we are all way more likely to die of old age than to ever see a TEOTWAWKI event.
You know what SHTF event scares me more than anything else? It's getting to retirement age and not having enough money to do it. In reality, most of us would be better served sticking the money we spent on that Kifaru pack, tricked out AR, cases of MRE's, and 5,000 rounds of ammo into our 401k or an IRA. I'm not throwing stones, as I haven't followed my own advice. But I think it's important to realize that we do a lot of the worst case scenario planning because it's what we like to do. Not because it's absolutely necessary.
Thanks again for your respectful reply and hope this makes my point more clear.
You are not alone...we all started at the beginning...some of us just had collected odd bits here and there and realized...hey, I'm part way there.
A good site most of us have been to is Shane's Blog. Exellent starting point. If you can't do it all, at least do the flash drive and start digitizing your data. That is your real wealth.
Torin's lists are great...he really has his stuff together....
All the guys on this site are great and willing to share....to an extent....they won't necessarily tell you what they have...OPSEC....
Keep learning....put away a bit at a time...and you will do fine. Getting your head into the proper mindset is half the battle. You won't be shell shocked with the SHTF...and you will be miles ahead of the sheeple....
Hey David, I struggled to disagree with you!
I think my priority list and yours are more in-line than we think, however, I took a leap into the world of assumptions.
Assumption 1: SHTF events that will required immediate action and an effort of planning, and training are most imporant for the apartment dweller, and are assigned a higher priority in my preparations as they take more thought and can be required today!
Assumption 2: Possession of camping equipment, a weeks worth of food, BOB, and laptop case (see the HYST articles) will allow you to deal with almost anything as it comes along that doesn't required immediate action.
Assumption 3: 'most likely' for me should have been prefaced with "most likely to horribly disrupt my life".
Assumption 4: Apartment housing is temporary in the SHTF environment and in the real world, and at some point I WILL ABANDON THIS APARTMENT!
When thinking through what "scares me" I realized being given very limited time to decide what I take with me forever tops the list. Those threats focus around fire, flood, or break-in (securing what I have so they don't take it).
Basis for all SHTF thinking: I must be able to abandon that apartment, planning never to return or look back. If allowed to remain in place, I will suffer only minor issues for the duration, or until I am forced to leave.
Situations that would allow me to shelter in place can be dealt with rather easily. This is essentially the loss of Power (in whatever form) and Water.
I guess it boils down to the following for me. Plan for the most likely FIRST, which is a very minor disruption of services for a short period of time. This takes VERY little effort, and can be accomplished for about 50.00 at any store. Once that is done start planning for the thing that will ruin your day the most.
1) Can I survive 1 week without services?
2) Can I abandon the house in 3 minutes and not ruin my life, can I defend what I have, and can I rebuild from an event that only affected me?
3) Can I survive 1 month without services?
4) Can I abandon my house in 1 hour and take everything with me I need to rebuild from a local or regional event?
5) Can I survive 3 months without services?
6) Can I equip everyone in the house to defend what we have?
7) Can I retired when it's time?
8) Can I abandon my house in 3 hours and take everything with me I need to rebuild my world from a National event?
After 2 years of reading and research, I started to try to answer these questions.
Also, with a nod to Shane's website, I really wish I had found it sooner than I did. I've only recently spent the time to go through the information there. I invented a few wheels in my day.
While any pre-packaged kit, plan, or method can get you close, you must reinvent the wheel to a certain extent. Survival preparing FOR ME was about calming the restless nights, and small victories.
Shane's blog will get you pretty close, the LDS guide will give you lots of information, the .gov sites will make you wonder about your neighbors! You need to customize, customize, customize!
It's rough to do without getting too involved or distracted with the details.
I recommend the "mock SHTF" day, here's what we did a few months ago, and plan to repeat. During all of this make notes, use the laptop, but not the internet...don't research ANYTHING just do and make notes.
10 am: have breakfast, shower and all the goodness.
11 am: 'storm is coming' possible tornado, start thinking about what you need, and gather it in the living room. Use the lists you have no doubt gathered, and check things off. Then pack them in bins. Make notes of what you are missing.
1 pm: storm is building in power, it's going to be bad. Go to the store and fill as many needs as you can off that list! And get lunch.
3 pm: storm is going to hit you! Check your BOBs and start backing up the electronic items, get your documents together! Make a list of everything you need to unplug and how long it takes.
6 pm: storm knocks out the power, turn everything off! Make dinner.
7 pm: decide what stays and what goes with you if you have to leave. Make a list of what's still missing.
8 pm: storm passes, doesn't it always?
Then, pack everything away now that it is in bins. Add those missing items to your shopping list for the week.
Run the scene a month later and it goes like this....
10 am: take shower and all the goodness
11 am: storm is coming. Move all the gear to the living room or interior area.
11:30 am: fill the tub with water and watch your favorite tv show.
1 pm: storm is buildng power, it's going to be bad. Report to AR15 with the details, promise to take pictures! Run out and get some lunch. Grab some steaks for dinner.
6 pm: power goes out, you grill steaks out back, and wave to the neighbors.
7 pm: play cards or read a book.
The first "oh, it's a tornado, neat" day you have with 100% peace will be worth it all.