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How Wilderness Survival And Urban Survival Skills Fit Together

May 9, 2011 by  

How Wilderness Survival And Urban Survival Skills Fit Together

There are a lot of misconceptions about how wilderness survival, camping and urban survival do or do not fit together. The arguments range from saying that neither wilderness survival skills nor camping will help in an urban survival situation to saying that all you need for a long-term urban survival situation is your camping or survival gear. The truth lies somewhere in between.

No matter what your skill level and experience level, I have some great stuff for everyone this week.

In both wilderness and urban survival, the most important common factor that will determine success or failure is your mindset. The basics of survival are also common to wilderness and urban scenarios: shelter, water, fire and food first, and then medical needs and security. But there are some huge differences.

Solo Survival Vs. Group Survival

In wilderness-survival situations, it will normally be you and/or a small group of people surviving off of the land or off of what you have been able to carry in or pre-position. It is easy to frame a wilderness survival situation as you vs. the world. To be specific, it can be easy to identify with a character like John Rambo, who just wants to be left alone.

Often, wilderness survival situations happen because there is no one else around.

A long-term urban-survival situation is completely different in this respect. People will be all around you. After your ability to keep your mind under control, one of the biggest factors that will determine long-term survival is how well you are able to interact with other people. Can you make friends? Can you effectively exchange your goods and services with others? Can you do it so that you’ll get as good of a deal as possible and still be able to trade with that person again in the future? Have you acted in a way that will cause people to want to help you when you need help?

Four-legged Threats Vs. Two-legged Threats

Wilderness and urban threats are different, also. Unless you’re in an escape-and-evasion situation, your main threats in a wilderness situation will be weather, sustaining yourself, injury, sickness or infection and four-legged predators. A bright fire is a good thing in a wilderness situation, because it will help keep predators and bugs away.

In an urban-survival situation, the animals and predators you need to worry about have two legs rather than four. You will still have weather, sustaining yourself, injury and sickness or infection to contend with. But the fire that protects you from four-legged predators in a wilderness situation will attract two-legged predators, people who may want your supplies without giving anything in return.

Why am I stressing this point? Because if you identify yourself with the John Rambo character and can survive for weeks at a time alone in the wilderness, that’s great. There are several wilderness-survival skills that carry over to urban situations, but you might also want to focus on your interpersonal skills if you think you may need to survive long-term around other people.

“When TSHTF, I’m Going To Get Out Of Dodge And Head For The Hills”

And, as I’ve said before, many people’s plan for surviving if TSHTF is to pack up and head for whatever wilderness or small towns are within reach. It is a romantic notion, and it makes a possible disaster seem like it could actually be an improvement over current life, but it just is not realistic.

If a fraction of those people actually head for the hills, the hills are going to be hunted and fished clean in a matter of weeks and you’re still going to have to be skilled at dealing with other people. (As a note on the mass head-for-the-hills scenario, if it happens during a dry time of the year, it is safe to assume there will be mass wildfires to contend with as well.)

This should make any non-John Rambo types feel a little more comfortable, too. It should go without saying, but you don’t need to turn into a Rambo to survive an urban survival situation. But that doesn’t let you off the hook on practicing wilderness survival skills. There are many wilderness survival skills that are useful, if not necessary, in urban situations.

Using Wilderness Survival Skills In Urban Survival Situations

People who made it through Beirut’s urban-survival period reported going through several boxes of matches per month. The simple skill of knowing how to blow an ember into flame makes this laughable… if it weren’t so sad and avoidable.

A basic wilderness survival skill I use every morning when I am in the woods is to find an ember from the previous night’s fire; place it into a bird’s nest of dry grass, inner stringy tree bark, milkweed, thistle or other materials; and blow on it until there is a flame. In an urban area, you can do this with any of these materials, but also with paper products, cotton balls or other materials.

Take it one step further: The wilderness survival skill of making a coal from a bow drill, hand drill or other primitive means will allow you to make fire without matches, lighters or an ember from a previous fire.

But one of the biggest skills you learn when backpacking or doing wilderness survival exercises is how to do without air conditioning, heat, beds, chairs, electronic distractions, fancy food and, sometimes, cleanliness. You also do without specialized tools, many automated devices, motorized transportation and specialized medical care. When you don’t have these things, you learn and eventually embrace the skill of improvising, adapting and overcoming.

You can learn this in an urban environment, and I have drills in the Urban Survival Course that help people do just that. But it’s also very valuable, if possible, to go out and live out of a backpack or your 72-hour kit for a night or two (or three). Hopefully, you’ll forget stuff — and have to figure out how to improvise, adapt and overcome.

What About Car Camping?

Car camping can be as beneficial for survival training or as useless as you make it.  If you take a generator, TV, fans, stereo, inflatable bed, 12-volt freezer and a blender, you probably won’t get a whole lot out of it.

But if that’s as primitive as you can get your family to agree to, there are still survival skills that you can train. Take what you need to in order to get your family to buy in, but just because you have it doesn’t mean you have to use it.

Use a primitive method of making fire… or start by just making fire without using paper, fire starters or by pouring fuel on the wood.

Collect some water and boil it over your fire. Or make a solar still to find out just how little water they actually make and how many square feet of stills you would need to set up to sustain you.

Set up an improvised shelter. If sleeping in it overnight isn’t an option, at least figure out what you need to do to make it comfortable enough to take one or two naps in or spend an afternoon reading in. You may not need to make a shelter from a fallen tree in an urban-survival situation, but you can use the same skills and principles to make a shelter within your house to keep you warm in a cold-weather situation.

It could be as simple as leaning your box spring against a wall, covering the end openings with blankets and making your bed underneath it. In both cases, you’re trying to make as small an area as possible for your body to warm up by radiation and your breath and trying to lose as little heat as possible due to conduction. It is much easier to do this when you’re warming up a small, tent-sized area than when you’re trying to warm up an entire room.

If you have kids or grandkids, simply tell them you’re making forts or little houses. You can have a ton of fun with this. Maybe even turn down the temperature in your house to about 40 degrees one afternoon and night in the winter and have a sleepover in the fort.

If you are willing to kill and eat what you catch and are somewhere where that is allowed, set traps and snares and figure out how many you would need to set to feed you and your family. (As a note, spring-type mouse traps are a great intermediate step for this… just make sure to tie them to something heavy in case you catch an animal by the leg. Once you get comfortable with the traps, you will start seeing several ways to use them as triggers for improvised electronic and mechanical perimeter alarms.)

You can practice all of these tips, regardless of whether you are car-camping, backpacking, on a hunting trip, in your back yard, or sometimes even in your apartment or condo. Just because you have cushy stuff with you doesn’t mean you have to use it.

In fact, some primitive wilderness-survival schools use a similar method to teach survival skills. Instead of dropping students in the woods with a knife, bubble gum, dental floss and a paper clip to sink or swim, they have students bring all of their normal backpacking supplies. They learn primitive skills while they are well-fed and rested, and they can use new primitive skills or fall back on their backpacking gear as they see fit. If their shelter-building skills don’t work well and they are freezing at 3 a.m., they have the choice to fix their shelters, tough it out or slip into their tents and sleeping bags to warm up and regroup.

Even in SERE (Survival Evasion, Resistance and Escape) school, students often fail at catching an animal and are given a rabbit or other animal to kill, clean, cook and eat.

In short, it’s a solid method to use, whether you are learning yourself or trying to help your family members become more self-reliant. And if you have reluctant family members, you’re going to want to make learning new skills as fun as possible so they don’t shut down and resist preparing altogether. Forcing someone to starve because his trap didn’t work or freeze because his shelter isn’t good enough probably won’t win over a reluctant relative, but having fun might.

So, tell me, what wilderness survival skills have you developed that carry over to urban survival situations? What fun ways have you been able to get your family members to learn and practice them with you? Have you practiced any skills while camping specifically to help you in SHTF situations in urban areas? Let me and the other readers know by commenting below.

Dr. David Eifrig Jr.

is the editor of two of Stansberry's best advisory services. One of his advisories, Retirement Millionaire, is a monthly letter showing readers how to live a millionaire lifestyle on less than you'd imagine possible. He travels around the U.S. looking for bargains, deals and great investment ideas. Already his average reader has saved $2,793 since 2008 (documented in each Retirement Millionaire issue). He also writes Retirement Trader, a bi-monthly advisory that explains simple techniques to make large, but very safe, gains in the stock and bond markets. This is a pure finance play and the reason Porter Stansberry loves having "Doc" on the team. Doc holds an MBA from Kellogg and has worked in arbitrage and trading groups with major Wall Street investment banks (Goldman Sachs). In 1995, he retired from the "Street," went to UNC-Chapel Hill for medical school and became an ophthalmologist. Now, in his latest "retirement," he joined Stansberry & Associates full-time to share with readers his experiences and ideas.

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  • Dale

    Some good tips, especially about being prepared and then trying out new skills. I use deer hunting & working on my rural property to test out things, example: what holster is comfortable while walking, starting fires with old matches (they do not work after years of improper storage). Trying out things before you need them is the way to go.

    • nax777

      You are so right, please take a look.

      The Governing parties are unbeatable. Immigration cannot be enforced or reversed. Life does not begin at conception. If the majority agree with any of these statements or fail to act against any one of them. Then freedom will remain removed from them.

      Three action groups are listed at, you may be able to click on my name. The truth can be better served by offering active solutions. I urge you to join all three and pass the word.

  • Lastmanstanding

    Those of you thinking that you will be welcome in our small rural communities (unless you are friend or family and have something to offer.) when shtf, you are mistaken…you have made your choice or lack of one.

    If you have spent little or no time in the “woods” to date, forget it.
    your lack of planning will be the end of you. That is how thae planet works.

    I have been preparing for years…I’m not sure whether my family will survive…only with Gods help and mercy.

    • Average Joe Patriot

      You’re most certainly right about that, LMS. Getting out of Dodge might well turn out to be the easiest part, unless you’ve already got friends in the country, and they know to expect you. Best stay low, move quiet, and bring gifts.

  • SS McDonald

    I agree with LastManStanding. When the calamity occurs, you’ll not travel far. Criminals, Snipers, and Marauders will stop your travel and take what you have, and likely kill you. If you are not already in a rural community, you will not be welcome. They made their choice, you made yours.
    Planning. If a free water source is not at the top of your list, you are lost within a week. You cannot trust any utility or government to supply your water if a major calamity occurs.
    In the end, God alone decides your fate. You either are right with God at your demise, or you are not. It is His Heaven and His decision and plan as to who gets to enter. If you have not complied with His specific plan, you will be eternally separated from God. His plan is in your Bible, NOT necessarily taught in your church. Start with the most important verse of the Bible, John 14:6. If you don’t understand this verse, it is likely that God will not be accepting you into His heaven. Don’t rely upon another man, pastor, priest, etc. telling you how to be saved, learn for yourself

  • JimBo53

    The point is to survive, a posative thing to post, with the help of God, Family and Country. Skills and mind set should be focused, one day at a time. My preparedness takes in account there be others on my property whom will need assistance, shelter, food, water, and medical assistance. I am here to survive as one of God’s children and will extend out a hand to those in need. How long will we all last? God willing, till the rapture which will coincide my friends and thereafter, those whom are hell bent on surviving without outside the Will of our Lord can have my ranch and supplies, you will need it.


    • kodster5

      I’m with you, there, JimBo. I will share what I can with others, because we are all humans here on this short journey on this earth, until we are called home to be with Him in the clouds (rapture). But I have realized that God has been training me for this time, since I was a child, for my life experiences have taught me to be self-sufficient, to be adaptive, to see what is coming, and prepare. My journey has taken me from urban, to rural, and back again… and now, back to very rural, to a small farm community in ND, last October. I’ve had a chance to settle in and become a part of the community, and been accepted. My home farm is about ready to be planted (seedlings started from seeds), and my mother taught me as I grew up, how to utilize things that are free, adapt them for my needs, and they are just as good, if not better than, the ones that you pay big bucks for (unlike my husband who can’t figure that one out, yet he says he’s the one with common sense in the family)!

      However, I agree, once the rapture happens, those that are left are going to need all the help they can get, and since I won’t be needing anything anymore, they’re welcome to what I have! However, until that time, don’t take it by force, or I’ll be forced to defend my own territory. I’m willing to share, if you come and ask. Don’t steal!

      • granny mae


        I agree with you. I too have felt the Lord placing me here for such a time as this. When he speaks and you listen all is well. He has been getting me ready for this for years now.. My garden is in full swing right now and I am canning everything I can get my hands on. Today it was 27 pints of green beans and a few days ago it was 8 pints of peas and carrots. Tomorrow we will be doing saurekraut. By this week-end we will be digging potatoes. When something comes out something else goes in. I’m worried that with the flooding along the Mississippi there is going to be a shortage in food and with the fuel prices the way they are it is only going to add to the problem. I’m praying that people will get with it and put away some supplies NOW !

        • Carole

          Hi granny mae, I have attempted to grow vegetables & herbs in container gardens for three years now. Each year I would water & care for them how they should be taken care of. But I have never had a good harvest! Very frustrating! My husband & I also feel we are being led by God, in the direction of being prepaired. We are storing & now selling dehydrated foods. It’s very healthy, vegan food. We also believe in diversifying, with Silver, money, Silver & we have food put away. You & we may find that in our own way, your canning & my dehydrated foods may end of being a form of currency. Who Knows?

          • granny mae

            That is right. We may have to barter for some things that we havent put aside or couldn’t. I only know that the Lord is urging me to continue and so I will. Container gardening takes some doing. I find that the containers need to be watered more often than plants put in the ground. Some plants do well and some do not ! Now I have planted okra in large containers and it did very well. Another thing is to pick your veggies as soon as possible and that way they will continue to produce. If you don’t then the plant is signald that production is over and the plant dies ! Also putting the container in the proper place is key also. Some things need a whole lot of sun and others do very well in part sun and part shade. Lettuce for instance needs some shade when it comes to hot weather, squash needs full sun ! I can also tell you that we bought a mantis tiller and we love it. Actually I bought it for my husband a couple years ago. I got tired of watching him struggle with our big tiller. It was a battle all the time with him using it. I got the Mantis and at first he was mad at me for getting it and wouldn’t use it ! He is one of those that figures if you have a tiller you don’t need to spend money on another one, you just use the one you have ! Well he is 75 years old now and he finally gave in and tried it and found it to be so easy to use that now he uses nothing else. It is a real back saver ! If you have the room till up a small patch and plant what you can and I also suggest that you use something to mulch your plants with so they don’t dry out so fast and there by need more water, especially if you live in a area where water is rationed ! Keep trying things will improve. Best of luck to you.

          • http://?? Joe H.

            Granny Mae,
            I have been growing a garden here for twenty years. I have been mulching my leaves each year, saving grass clippings, composting and putting it all on my garden each year. My plot is now about 4 inches higher than when I started and the soil is so soft I can till it with a mini tiller. I have even collected leaves from my neighbor to compost as well. Helps with the grass clippings as they turn slimy and smell by themselves. I try to waste nothing.

    • 45caliber

      The big problem is going to be all those on Welfare who have NEVER had to take care of themselves. If you help them, you will continue to have to do it forever and they won’t work to help you. If you don’t help them, they will be trying to take what you have by force since it is the only thing they know.

      • Lastmanstanding

        45..They (the welfare bunch) are actually the ones that will/should suffer the most…this will be the earths revenge on those that have abused her and those of us that have carried them for generations.

        They have chosen weakness over ambition…the only simpathy they will get is in a “round” about way. That will be their easy way out.

        “the laws of nature are the laws of God, whose authority can be superseded by no power on earth.”

        • Lastmanstanding

          Quote…Founding Father George Mason…I do not want to live in the NWO.

        • granny mae


          I’m afraid that the intention of welfare was a good one when it came about. It was suppose to be a helping hand, but it soon became a way of life ! When one person is willing to take the responsibility for the welbeing and safety of another, most human kind are all to willing to let us do it and then they just sit back and don’t worry about anything. What a shame to be willing to let others tell us what we need or what we should or shouldn’t have ! That is not for me ! I don’t want anyone telling me what to do with my life !

          • DaveH

            A voluntary helping hand is one thing. But to be forced to carry others on your shoulders is just plain immoral, and in essence slavery.

  • Kel R

    Water food shelter personal protection and your witts are priorities. Nothing else matters. DON’T trust the government or any other institution to help you. DON’T trust anyone who isn’t prepared. Be prepared to kill to save yourself and your family it will be required.

  • The ‘American’

    Your article makes good sense. Just remember though, along with the intervening hand of God (trust me, you will be calling on him a lot), KNOWLEDGE is the all important factor for survival. Be prepared. I have heard that there is a saying “there are no Atheists in a foxhole”. If so, the very same holds true in a critical survival situation.

  • Art

    A great info article that hits most of the immediate important points for the majority of readers I am sure. The ones living out in the country will be in pretty good shape as long as they can hold what is theirs. The smaller medium city folks, well we will have to heavily rely being willing to also hold but group together with alike minded people that are already stocked, armed and proficient in protecting what they hold at that time. The big city people,good luck to you, I hope you have some really good plans because I believe you will need them.
    Remember how stores and supply shops clean out in the matter of 6 or 7 hours before a bad storm hits? That proves the point that a “shopping” stock up after TSHTF will be too late my friend. Please take articles like the above one and pick and choose advise from others like me with a healthy common sense to drive you to being prepared NOW.
    I believe in a higher power, God, but until I meet him I will take care of myself and my family and maybe a few friends.

  • http://com i41

    The bigthin out will happen with in 9 months, how many urban bastards can take care of themselves, the vegans will go fast,since most idoits wil not have s natural food store to go to for aldalfa spouts and nuts, the people who have never killed or prepared any animal to eat will starve. Since hogs are a ominavore, muslims learn to eat baby back ribs. If a lot of idoits go out in the parks, there will be plenty of wild fires. Since the envior s–t birds want USA to go back and live like we are in the 1800′s,think Haita have mass graves, wait for NY and LA.Of course since Binny feed the sharks, load ships with chum and trowl with chumps.

    • bj

      or the hogs will be eating muslims and christians alike, as they are politically correct.

  • stratus

    One scenario that survival authors seldom discuss are when TSHTF and the power goes down in desert areas, there is little chance of maintaining any kind of water supply. Even those with private wells will be hard-pressed to get the water out unless they have prepared for that eventuallity. That means sheltering in place will last only as long as the saved water. The mass exodus from such areas will be a nightmare.

    • 45caliber

      In Arkansas, growing up, we had a number of drilled wells. I believe they were six inch diameter. But there is also a 4 foot long bucket that would fit in those wells. If you have such a well, I would definately find and invest in one of those buckets just to have them on hand in an emergency.

    • David C

      There’s info on the internet on how to build a hand pump from PVC pipe that goes down into water wells. I would suggest looking it up if you own your own well and are concerned with this scenario and are “on grid”.

      • 45caliber

        You wouldn’t happen to have a link, would you?

        • Average Joe Patriot

          Haven’t seen that one, 45, and I’ve been looking. But there is a top-of-the-line stainless product at earthwaveliving dot com, called the Simple Hand Pump (Oregon or Washington state, I believe). Pricey, but you can keep costs down by purchasing your own drop line and sucker rod if you know what to ask for at a more local plumbing supply (the shipping on the 9 ft. pipe lengths is a killer). Supposedly works down to 350 feet (the suction’s at the bottom of the well, not the top). It is designed to fit at least a 4″ casing or better. I don’t have one yet but plan to get one as a backup in case some yahoo decides to shoot up my solar panel (and actually manages to do it before I can turn him into coyote meat).

          As far as I’m concerned, anyone balking at the up-front expense need only consider the alternative, then ask himself or herself one question: How much would I pay for one if I needed it and did not have it? With water at the bottom of my well which may as well be on Mars for all the good it will ever do me and my family?

          Since it can be self-installed alongside an existing drop pipe and submersible pump, it can also be unbolted and used elsewhere, for example over a catchment cistern. I plan, in fact, to use it initially with my catchment cistern and gray water recycling tanks, for survival crop irrigation, then secondarily as a backup for my well should the need arise. They weigh under ten pounds and are quite portable.

          • granny mae

            I have a book some where that is written by a fellow in Arizona that has created a yard in his town that is lush green and uses only rain water and is very water efficient. It all had to do with his plants in his yard and around his house and also the big cement ceptic tank that he has placed in the yard beside his house. It has a tube running to it from the eves of the house. He has made a tap in the bottom of it to be able to get the water out and hook a hose to. If kept covered when it is not raining and uncovered when it is raining then one could stor a lot of water in it. If used for water storage a person could contact the city and have it filled just like a swimming pool and then keep it covered. When water is used from it one could run it through a filter pitcher for use. It is a thought. I wish I could remember the name of the book !

          • Dan az

            Hey Granny
            I haven’t seen the book but I know for a fact that catching rain water from metal roofs is the best water for your garden and drinking water.We have been in a drought four 12 yrs and the water table here is 1200 to 2500 feet down.I haul water now but not much longer I have been collecting gutters for the past year and now have the time to install them.I have some friends here that have not had to haul water four the past 4 yrs during a drought because they collected it off the roof.I have a 3000 sq ft roof that can collect a 1 inch rain for 1 hr that produce’s 2500 gals.Not being conservative I only use 2500 gal per month.My chickens an pigs roof have been collecting water for the last couple of years and has been the only source of water they get with the two tanks that only hold 250 gals each.The garden does twice as good with rain water than well water and the gray water with detergent in it is an excellent fertilizer.Rain water is distilled water and the water from the well in town is full of arsenic,so for drinking water we always used bottled water for coffee,which is the only thing that I drink.My plans are to dig a hole 8 ft down 10 ft wide and 10 ft long and line it with 20 mill plastic then put a slab on top with a pipe in it for the pump for extra storage.I have a 2500 gal tank above ground that will also catch the roof water for storage that I pump from now.Where I live water is gold you just have to use some common sense to get it.

        • Chris

          When we had 21 acres in the country back in 1998-2002 we had a deep well. I believe it was around 200 feet with a submersible pump towards the bottom. Thing is the water table sat at around 60 feet. Here’s what I did…

          I got a check valve. The one I used was about 1.5 inches in diameter and about 4-5 inches long, blue plastic.

          I bought PVC fittings and pipe whose inside diameter perfectly matched the outside diameter of the check valve. Easy enough to figure, just open your check valve at the hardware store (mine came in a simple cardboard box with no wrapping) and find a pipe in which it fits perfectly. I got enough pipe to make sure the shaft I was creating would be below my water table. I also got enough pipe of this diameter to make a T shape at the top of this shaft for the water to come out of and to insert the next shaft into. The T would be aimed sideways.

          Next I bought PVC fittings and pipe whose outside diameter fit the check valve’s inside diameter. I got matching lengths of pipe for this shaft as for the first one, and enough extra pipe to make a T shaped handle on the top of this shaft to hold on to. The T would be oriented normally, just like the letter.

          Oh, and I didn’t get very thick PVC. I mean this is just for a hand pump so it didn’t need to be “heavy duty”. I guess use common sense because I can’t remember how thick. :(

          So anyway I assembled both shafts with the check valve attached to the bottom of the 2nd one. I cut a hole in my well’s pipe (mine was thick PVC) and carefully inserted the 1st shaft down into my well. I then inserted the 2nd shaft down into the 1st shaft.

          It worked like this…

          The check valve on the 2nd shaft was oriented such that when I LOWERED this shaft the valve opened and allowed water to flow through the valve and into the body of the 1st shaft. The weight of the water would then close the valve, preventing the water I had just “captured” from flowing back out of the 1st shaft as I then RAISED the 2nd shaft. When I lowered the 2nd shaft again, the valve opened allowing more water to flow into the 1st shaft, and as I raised the 2nd shaft that water plus the water from the 1st pull was lifted.

          As I repeated the process, moving the 2nd shaft up and down, water basically just piled up inside the 1st shaft until it eventually began to flow out the sideways T on every pull.

          I guess your main concern would be your water table’s depth. 60 ft of PVC wasn’t that heavy, but if your water table is like 500 ft down…heh. The above might be impractical.

          If you need clarification on what I’ve written please let me know and I’ll draw a picture. :)

          I apologize for the lack of detail. I did this like 10 years ago.

          Take care, and hope it helps!

          • American Patriot 777

            Good idea Chris. Also, There are plans to make your own hand pumps on the GPAA forum. I have made my own for Gold Prospecting. they are very easy to make. And, you can get all the materials at lowe’s or Home Depot. Check out the GPAA site.

  • LAW2

    I have learned to cook almost everything in a fire pit, even pies! Must confess, I haven’t figured out cakes & cookies yet!It does require cast iron cookware which can be expensive, but if you make the investment, that same cookwear can be used everyday.I practiced building a fire until I can almost always start one with a single match. We already live in the sticks, but even life here changes dramatically when the power is out due to a blizzard. We always had 90 days of food in the cupboards, but have been concentrating on expanding that over the past 2-3 years and now can feed people like I always do for probably a year now. It will last a lot longer if everybody gets rationed. Have also spent a lot of time developing a garden and deciding how to get water to it if things go south. My husband is deadly with a rifle, so am not too worried about meat. I keep chickens also (about a dozen) and have eggs to spare in normal situations. Just being AWARE of your needs and situation is probably your strongest point, it is easy to build from that point.

    • 45caliber


      A couple of things.

      There are lids to some of the cast iron pans that have a rim on top – primarily the big ones. To bake a cake or cookies, you place coals on the tops. It works fine with cake and I assume it would with cookies.

      I hope you also can and feeze food. Particularly canning since it keeps regardless of power available. If you have any questions, Kerr Canning has an excellent book out on it as well as a booklet that comes in most boxes of canning jars and lids.

      You said you have more eggs than needed sometimes. They can be frozen. You can also coat them with vasiline and they will remain good for up to three months.

      • Lastmanstanding

        We also use dutch ovens on our wood stove inside to make stews, chili, bake goods, just about anything.

        A good catalog for non-electric items is, they are in Amish country Kidron, Ohio. Some items are pricy but it will help everyone with ideas for prep. Lighting, pumps, foods, grinders, presses, etc…

        God bless you all. LMS

      • Average Joe Patriot

        I’ve been looking into the egg storage issue as well. If you purchase an extra (maybe second hand) fridge, they will keep at least 8 mos. according to actual tests done by Mother Earth News. Just don’t wash the “bloom” off them (nature’s own coating which keeps out bacteria which causes spoilage). If kept at room temp (70 degrees or so) without any sort of treatment or refrigeration at all most will remain edible for two months. Test them in the shell by putting them in water; if they float, pitch them. Always toss any that are cracked, of course.

        Store-purchased eggs are pre-washed for appearance and sanitation. They will not last nearly as long as eggs direct from the henhouse–these should merely be dry-wiped and stored in egg cartons, whether refrigerated or kept in a cool place. Always date them, of course.

        Freezing is great if you have the room (and sufficient off-grid electric power), but eggs may crack and, when thawed, harmful pathogens can get in (salmonella, for example). What some people do is pre-wash them, crack them open and dump them into small freezer bags (one woman I read about uses baby food jars) or ice cube trays (sealed in plastic). Probably best to thaw them slowly in the fridge. Reportedly they’ll work fine for scrambling or baking, easy enough to test pre-apocalyse. I’m currently also experimenting with hard-boiling, then freezing.

        Do a search on Mother Earth and egg storage, preserving eggs, etc. There’s a bunch of folklore out there of questionable value, but some good stuff as well. You be the judge (you and your nose), it’s your gut, after all. The last thing you’ll want in a survival situation is intestinal parasites because someone’s grandmother from the old sod swore by packing eggs in damp sand or sawdust or some such jazz when she was a child.

        • Christin

          Great info Average Joe Patriot.
          Thanks for sharing.

          Do you have a good source to look up ‘building a hen house’ to raise chickens and collect eggs???

        • granny mae

          Average Joe Patriot,

          One of the ways I have oreserved eggs is to pickle them ! I use a pickled beet solution and hard boil the eggs then pickle them. Once they are in the jar I process them in a water bath for about 20 minutes so the jars will seal. One more thing is make sure you have sterilized the jars and lids first. Mine have kept for at least a year. Usually they get eaten before then. I feel that they keep well enough for me to keep them on hand for emergencies as a source of protein when all else fails ! There are many recipes on the internet and some are spicy such as the type they keep on the shelf in a bar. They are red and hot as all get out sometimes I’m told. My sons seem to love them !

    • American Patriot 777

      Coleman make camp ovens for what you wanting to cook. They work great. they also fold up to lay flat as a fritter when transporting. There is even a thermometer on the door.

  • http://facebook matt

    Very onciteful. I had neen practiceing combine wilderness and urban survieval and teaching my children as well. Many of my practices is makeing teas amd coffees from gatherimg in nature aroumd me. Pecan shellls roasted amd groumd to powder and mixed with real coffee. Accorns, done tje same way. Dried field peas are done the same, but not mixed with coffee. Pine neadles male a wonderful tee. I am expierementing with many floura grown in different friend’s gardens with wrapling plastic bags and condensating for water to make different brews of teas. One shoild remember to “gather and hunt” without leaving evvidence and not to clean your resorces out.

  • 45caliber

    Two comments:

    First, urban survival will have a problem with two legged predators – but it will also have four legged ones for at least a time. Dogs and cats will become food but will also be a predator. Keep that in mind. And, since they aren’t afraid of humans, they may be a bigger threat than those in the wild.

    Second, there are people who deliberately live in cars. I knew a family that bought a couple of acres of land, moved in half a dozen wrecked cars, and lived in them for years. Each of the kids had a vehicle of their own as a bedroom. The front seats and some of the other stuff (like steering wheels) were removed so they would have a little room. A van – with a tarp spread over the open sliding door – served as a kitchen and dining area. A tv was in the window of another car so they could watch it in good weather. Later they ran speakers to each car so they could remain in their cars and watch at the same time in bad weather. They used flashlights or lanterns for light at night and usually had a bonfire in winter for warmth outside the cars. It can be done.

    • http://facebook matt

      45,you have some smart friends. I knoe a couple of familes tha baught used connexes amd put the together in the same fashion as your friends with the cars. 2 Are buried under ground away from the house and are completly self contained, includeing a wayer well and a sewer and chanled vetilation and generator when neaded. The house is made of 5 connexes attavhed together to form 2 bedrooms1bath and kitchen and msster liveing room in the middle of it all. Theu cit their own trees for rafters over the middle. After nuying material for a roof and vinal sideing, concreat floors and some sheetrock their house is unrecognisable as what it were begor. And all for less than 10 grand. They just camped in the connexes intill ot was all built up aroind them. Great storm shelters, too. And impossible to find withou hightech equipment. But you would nead to know where to syart looking.

      • granny mae


        What are connexes ?

        • Dan az

          Sea containers!

  • http://?? Joe H.

    I give you the others, but I’ll starve before I eat my dog!!! He’s too loyal a friend!

    • 45caliber

      Joe H.

      When you get hungry enough everything starts looking like steak. Including your family. Likely, though, you won’t have to eat him in such a case. Someone else will.

      • http://?? Joe H.

        not if I have a few rounds of 9mm, 22cal or 30.06 left!!! Whats mine is mine and I WILL defend it!!

    • Carole

      Exactly my point Joe. My dogs are my buddies.

      • http://?? Joe H.

        We have lived in the same house for twenty years. We have had two dogs and have NEVER been broken into!! When I’m home, I’m never surprised by anyone around the property, as he lets me know if they are around! I don’t reward loyalty like that with death!!!

        • Carole

          Geeze Joe, settle down! I agree with you alright? Check out my original message, it does not say that I want to eat my dog! Read it again.

          • http://?? Joe H.

            I know you were agreeing with me, I was just trying to further explain my stance!! There is no need for me to calm down as I’m not upset!!

        • granny mae

          Joe H.

          I know what you mean. I just got a puppy for that very reason. He is a mutt and I figured he would get to be the size of a small shephard. Nope ! Vet says he is going to be a big dog !!! He is part black lab and what else is anyones guess ! He is funny and loving and at 4 months old way to big to be a lap dog, which he tries to be all the time ! His back end doesn’t want to keep up with his front end and if he turns quick he falls over ! Oh and he sleeps on his back like my cats do. Flat out on the back with all four feet facing up ! Now if that don’t look funny I don’t know what does. We will keep him and protect him and our cats . The cats all stay right around the house and will go in the garage at night and the dog will come in the house and our property is all fenced in so I hope no-one tries to trespass, it could be very bad for their health !

        • Carole

          Hi Joe H. I appologize, I thought with all the !!! exclamation points that you were upset with what I said.
          No biggie, as far as I’m concerned. I do enjoy reading everyone’s correspondence & am learning a lot!
          Talk to you soon, :)

        • Dan az

          I hear liberal soup is tasty,taste like chicken!

          • http://?? Joe H.

            Dan AZ,
            I heard LIBERAL amounts of fertilizer helps the garden plants!!!!

  • Henry Ledbetter

    Has anyone tried burying a van for a shelter or storm shelter? Had this on my mind for some time now. You could leave the seats in or take them out and if you wanted to operate off a 12 volt power supply it would already be wired. I would also suggest having a few led iights as they consume very little power and some can create their own power with a crank.. Many of the people in our area are camping out in what is left of their homes or tents in the yard because of the massive destruction of tornadoes.

    • Carole

      Henry, that is a very large whole to dig. Would you do that by hand or tractor? My husband just dug a 6′ deep x 5′ square for an underground pantry for our dehydrated foods. What a job! It’s almost done & is looking great! We think our family of 4 could even use it as a temporary hide-out or whatever.

      • Christin

        An underground food storage (which doubles as a shelter) sounds GREAT, especially if you can make it look inconspicuous… you know hidden, so no one can find it (except YOU), with a bush or two here or a large rock there as if it’d been there all along.

        Wanted my spouse to do the same, build and underground storage… I grew up where we had basements… but don’t think my spouse is up for that task. We would need to hire someone with a tractor and the know-how to cement and seal an under ground room with steps and a seal tight door so as not to let in the bugs, varmints and weather.

        Best to you in your food storage underground room addition!

    • 45caliber

      Henry Ledbetter:

      Make SURE you get some ventilation!

    • granny mae


      I have seen that done with old school buses. The thing to remember is you have to reinforce the roof and sides as they tend to cave in when the dirt is shoved back over them ! They are not hefty enough to hold the weight of the dirt. The one I saw caved in as soon as the dirt was tossed on top. So the guy got another one and reinforced the sides and roof and all was well as far as I know.
      Good luck !

  • Mary

    what are connexes?

    • http://?? Joe H.

      Big metal containers used for shipping. Usually 16 or 14 guage thick! Most have two swinging doors on one end. I immagine if someone put a thick enough coating of tar on them, they could be buried and last for at least 20 years before they start to rust.

      • Mary

        Thanks, Joe

      • Mary

        Someone sent me a picture of the home of a retired trucker. He had turned his trailer into a fantastic home on wheels. Talk about neat!

      • granny mae

        Joe H.

        So that is what they are !! Thanks . I have a suggestion to keep them from rusting. There is a product out called ” pour 15″ I think that is how it is spelled. It is a paint made for rust proofing and it is amazing ! My husband bought some several years ago when we were on vacation in Michigan. The place where he bought it told him they had painted all the garbage trucks in town on the inside and it was still like new and they were very pleased with the way the stuff worked. My husband bought it to undercoat a 57 Chevy he is rebuilding. Well he is doing more than undercoating it. He has painted the inside of every part on that car. Especially the areas that he remembered rusted when he had his other 57′s. It is a little pricey but would be well worth it to preserve a shelter that a person is putting so much work into. It is good stuff and comes highly recomended !

    • Christin

      I was wondering the same thing, Mary… glad you asked!

      Yes, I have heard other posters say they have built underground rooms with the large metal shipping contianers. I think those people are very resourceful and big thinkers.

  • DeniseP

    Well I live in the city and not much is said about that. I can’t have chickens or any kind of farm animals. I don’t have a well or water source nearby. So I guess I’m out of luck on that. I have been stockpiling can food and water but how much is enough?? I started a garden but have yet to harvest anything. I was thinking of buying a gun. What kind or type of gun?? How can I prepare in the city??

    • Carole

      Denise, My husband & I are storing & now selling dehydrated foods. They take up very little space, taste great, are healthy etc. All you do is add boiling water & stir. Of course a good water filtrating machine is essential in any case. I tell you, I tried growing a garden for 3 years in a row. I would set it up & do everything your supposed to, but nothing would produce. (pardon the pun) Anyway. Try it for FREE you’ll like it.

    • Average Joe Patriot

      As the old saying goes, the best gun to have is the one in your hand when you need it. For urban use you want a low profile, hence something concealable but readily accessible. I like the Kel-Tec .32 or .380 because it is safe and simple, just point and shoot, and even in hot weather you can wear it as invisibly as a cell phone. If things get really ugly for an extended period you’ll want more firepower and longer range and accuracy. For that, if you’re still standing (creeping about is more likely), simply grab whatever’s lying around when the smoke clears. Whoever left it more than likely won’t be needing it anymore.

    • 45caliber


      I would recommend a Remington 870 shotgun. It can be easily adapted from a short barrel with a hand grip to a long barrel with a stock. It is a pump shotgun and is very dependable. It can be used as a “house” gun (to protect yourself in a house) and for hunting. Despite movies, it does require it be at least pointed in the direction you want to shoot but it doesn’t require the precise aim of a rifle or pistol. And believe me, in a gun battle you don’t normally aim, particularly at short range. When practicing with ANY gun get used to pointing rather than aiming with the sights. It is faster and can be just as accurate with practice.

      I disagree about the caliber that Average Joe mentioned. The bullets are expensive and don’t have a lot of power. Some placed don’t stock them at all. Get a 9 mm since the bullets can be found anywhere. Or you might get a .22 caliber. It has almost the same knock down power of either a .32 or a .380 (a 9 mm short round), the bullets are really cheap in relationship to others, and they are plentiful.

      • Dan az

        Good advice.I always liked the berreta 22 that can be kept in a wallet with a holster built in with a finger hole for the trigger.I’m thinking of building a cane with one in it.It will have a stag handle and a pop down trigger and a removable end with a twist to release it.Ive seen pictures of one with a 410 in it.

    • granny mae


      Check around and see if you can put a well down in your back yard for the purpose of watering your lawn ! When I lived in the city many people on my street did that ! Use your back yard for a garden and as for meat You can buy meat at the store and bring it home and can it ! I have canned sausage patties and links, hamburger, chicken, beef for stew and also beef in strips of a size to fit in the jars. I have also canned sloppy joe sauce with the meat in it. I have done chili and just about anything you can think of including butter and bacon ! I suggest you get a pressure cooker canner and a dehydrator and a seal-a-meal vacuum sealer and you can put up just about anything you can buy already done up ! It is easy to learn to use all of them. Start now , don’t wait, the time to need this stuff is getting closer every dat. Do not waste time. God bless

  • American Patriot 777

    With all this talk of eating DOGS. PETA is going to love you. LOL “PETA” People Eating Tasty Animals.

    • granny mae

      LOL. OH you are so bad ! LOL !

  • Sunny Van Zyl

    Heat any liquid in a paper cup, directly in fire coals. Fry bacon and eggs in paper. Bake in cardboard box, over coals, or with charcoal. Makeshift refrigeration. Year round fresh greens. Use roting wood to light trails at night. The perfect portable home for year round living, for under $1000. The blessing of having lived a primitive lifestyle for years awakened inventive ways and means for daily living. If anyone is interested in how to do any of these things, it would give me pleasure to share them with you.

  • Sabu

    Those of you preparing for a Mad Max scenario, take a look at all the instances of hyperinflation and governmental collapse all over the world in the past 100 years and show me where this has happened? Yes there will be shortages and black-outs etc. and it’s good to be prepared for an emergency and armed against petty criminals. But you guys living out in the boonies who think masses of urban thugs are going to be coming out for your canned green beans and your daughters, gimme a break. And if you think you can fight off the US military, come on. Y’all have watched way too many Hollywood movies in your time.

    • http://?? Joe H.

      Maybe I can’t fight the whole army, but I can sure knock my can of green beans out of your hand out to more than a hundred yards with my 30.06!!!! Guaranteed!

  • the survivor

    Like Sabu tried to say, some of you need to wake up and get in the real world, you have an econimic collapse all wrong like it will be some romantic trip for a couple weeks, we’re already in the first stages of it, look at the price of gas, put another buck a gallon on it and you can forget about travel, look at the real unemployment figures, about 20%, take away the social programs(welfare,foodstamps, extended unemployment,HEAP,SSI,SS,ect.) and half the population will starve within one mile of where they are at.
    when the trucks stop rolling, the food shelves will be empty in 2 days, the people who did run to the stores and get the last few cans of spaghetti-Os and bags of chips may live a few days longer, but in the end, they’re screwed.
    the 10% who have stocked plenty of dry goods and have the knowledge to reproduce,harvest,store their crops will stand the best chance and their odds will improve if there are like minded people within a couple miles of them who will barter with them.The big problem will most likely be the few rambo types who will form little gangs, probably single exmilitary,LEOs and people trying to use their authority to bully others and take what is not theirs.
    A collapse in America will not be like a collapse in any other country, we’re the land with the most prisons, the most people who want a free ride, the most drug freaks, the most thieves, the most politicians who have put us in a corner by making bad decissions and bankrupting us.

  • coal miner

    A strong body makes the mind strong. As to the species of exercises, I advise the gun. While this gives moderate exercise to the body, it gives boldness, enterprise and independence to the mind. Games played with the ball, and others of that nature, are too violent for the body and stamp no character on the mind. Let your gun therefore be your constant companion of your walks.
    Thomas Jefferson


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