by Jon in Colorado Springs
All you ever read about is bugging out, and bugging-out if the ‘’Stuff Hits The Fan’’ or ‘’It’s The End Of The World As We Know It. Whether your plan is to bug-out to your second home in the country, your cousin’s farm that you visited once when you were eleven, or some random spot in a national forest somewhere I hope you can get there. I will admit I wish I had a second home to go to, but that is not an option for most household incomes! Yes I do have some rural places to go to in a few states and even private land that I could park my camper on if I bug-out. I live in Colorado so I could go to the National Forrest and set up camp somewhere, hopefully. All three are great ideas if you know for sure that you can get out of town. The county I live in has a population of 620,000, so imagine just one third of these people trying to get out of town at once. It could be impossible to leave the city for days. There will be horrific traffic jams with very angry people that want to get their families out of dodge no matter the cost. Massive road rage will most likely take over the normally peaceful driver who is in such a panic that he will push you off the road, shoot you, or whatever it may take to get in front of you. The ditches will be full of broken down vehicles, wrecks and people begging you to let them ride with you or to take their children with you.
Nope, that is not something anyone would want to put their family through, especially me. Don’t get me wrong, I do have a bug-out plan, but my bug-in plan may be more important and you should have one as well. In the event of a worldly, domestic, or catastrophic event, grocery stores could run out food in 3-4 days and the same with fuel at gas stations. NO Diesel NO Food! Remember that! Do you have these basics items; 1-3 year supply of food, guns, ammo, garden, first aid, water, a secure home, wood burning stove, friends, you get the idea. These are just a few basic items that everyone should have at their home, but you should make a list of everything that you would want at your home in the event of a collapse. Unless there is a poisoned gas cloud coming my way I will most likely be bugging in for a few days, or years. Well this may seem a little over whelming, but let’s take a look at some basic prepping items that are affordable and easy to obtain.
Unless you are new to prepping, then you know that food and water is the first thing you should have on your bug-in list. If you are on a tight budget like we are, you cannot afford to go spend 2-3k on a garage full of freeze dried food and grains. What we have done is started tracking how long it takes us to consume our normal grocery store items on our calendar. By tracking these items and buying extras at bulk prices at Sams and Costco you will have a 1 year supply of food for a family of 4 within a few months! One thing you can do to get a month’s worth of food for under a $100 is to go to your big bulk store and buy one large bag of dried beans, one large bag of dried rice, a couple of cases of canned vegetables, and some noodles or Ramen noodles. Most noodles, beans, rice, and canned food have a good shelf life and if stored in a very cool, dry place will last even longer than expiration dates. Canned tuna in oil is cheap with a long shelf life and the oils can be drained to cook other foods. Now you have an emergency food stash that has a good shelf life, not too bad to eat, and very affordable. Start watching for sales at the grocery store for canned food, clip coupons, go on double coupon days and you will have a hundred cans of food before you know it. Now that you get the idea on starting your food bank also you will want to have cooking oil, sugar, salt and other spices in stock to help keep your recipes from being the same every meal. Don’t forget to rotate and start eating the food that is about to expire or donate it to local food banks. A 2-3 year supply of the food you use every day could be stocked very quickly, but do start buying grains and freeze dried food if you can afford it.
Learn how to grow a garden and start learning how to can your food. When I was a kid we seldom bought a vegetable from the store for we always had a can of something from the garden. Dig a cellar to preserve carrots and other long shelf life vegetables. Protect your garden from animals, both 4 and 2 legged. I think razor wire is nice for garden protection. Also think about a hail storm coming down in June when the garden is about ready to produce and ruining everything. A full ½ x ½ wire net for a roof will protect from hail and animals as well. Make sure your garden net will hold the weight of a large hail storm or snow. In addition, stock up on seeds, they are cheap and could feed you for life.
For a family of 4 you will consume somewhere around 700-800 gallons of drinking water a year, that’s a lot of bottled water! Now if you know the water supply is going to stop any minute start filling up every container, glass, coffee cup, bowl, cooler, and bucket right away. Stock what you can, but you will need to have rain barrels and filters to make sure you have enough to keep you alive. Read up on water storage, well digging, cisterns, solar stills, and rain water collecting to be ultimately prepared. Without water we are dead! You will also need water for cleaning dishes, if you can build a stock of paper plates, bowls, and plastic silverware that will help keep your water use down. Baths will have to be minimal with shared water from a tub using a wash cloth with very little soap. Save baths for when it rains or try to bathe in a nearby creek or lake.
First aid and medical preparedness is just as important as water storage. Stock up on basic medicines, bandages, first aid cream, antibiotic ointment, feminine hygiene products, and prescription drugs. The way to stock up on prescription drugs is to refill them a few days before you run out of them and that way you can save a few a month’s supply or talk to your doctor about a having an emergency supply. I hope I never have to eat a cat, but if I do I want to have plenty of antacids on hand. If you are using your food bank and scrounging for food, you might need some antacids and other digestive medicines to help you with your new diet of rice and rats. Multi vitamins are a must have, even if you do not take them now. Since fresh food could be hard to come by, a vitamin deficiency could be possible. Ask your doctor what he thinks will be best for you and your family based on your medical history before taking any medications or vitamins. We got some vitamins from a health food store for our kids with the directions saying take 2 a day. I took the bottle to our doctor, and he said 1 a day would be better for our kids. So learn what you will need to do when your body starts going though changes from a new diet. Immediate diet changes can be bad for your health, especially if you are not healthy now. Talking to your now doctor could be vital to your survival.
Something that I have never heard of anyone preparing for in their home is a sewage back up. If the water supply has stopped, I seriously doubt that the city sewer workers are going to be around to make sure everything else will be flowing. Without the normal waste water from washing dishes and taking baths the sewage pipes will quickly clog with human waste and debris. After a clog is formed the sewage pressure that can build up and it can come into your home through your sinks and toilets, filling your entire home with raw sewage. Talk about stuff hitting the fan! This could ruin all that you have including food and water storage. You would have to move out of your home for it would be ruined! Unless the insurance companies still exist and you have the proper flood and drain coverage on your homeowner’s policy you could be out of luck. Have a plumber come to your home and prepare you for an emergency sewage blocker. He may not be able to install one do to local codes, but he could provide you with an idea that prepares you to stop a sewage back flow. In addition, you should know how to turn your water and gas off inside your home from the main lines. If you do still have running water but do not have enough heat for your home then you may have to worry about a busted water pipe flooding your home. However, knowing how to shut the water off from the main line can help prevent this disaster!
Guns, if you do not have one then you need to get one and start learning how to shoot now! They will save you and your family’s life and property. Stock up on plenty of ammo, 5-6000 rounds is a good amount to have. Used 22 Rifles are cheap and the rounds are even cheaper. If I had to pick one gun for life, I would pick a single shot, bolt action 22. There are few parts on a bolt action 22 and if you are a good shot you can drop any animal 2 or 4 legged with a good head shot. A good 12 gauge shotgun and larger rifle like a 30-06 should be added to your arsenal with a few handguns like a 44mag or 45acp as well. A good AR style rifle in a 223 or a 7.63 x 39 round is a great defense gun to have for your home. You do not need 100 guns to survive, just a few, plenty of ammo, replacement parts and, how-to-repair them books. If you want multiple guns, buy the same exact models so if breaks you can use it for parts to fix the other one. Learn how to shoot the guns you have, if you are not a good shot now, chances are you will not be a good shot when you need to kill the cat in your yard for food or to defend yourself from an intruder. Learn to hunt, trap, fish for food and tan hides to trade. Learn to use every part of the animal, for that cat you killed in your front yard might be the start of a good fur coat.
For your home, have security bars ready to be installed on all windows and doors. Wood pallets can be picked up for free at many places if you look for them and there are many uses for them if you take them apart. I will have window barricades from used wood pallets with a steel backing to install from the inside of my home. It would be nice to have these window barricades so they are bullet proof and easy to shoot from, steel can get a little pricey though. Old car doors and hoods could be used to cover windows and doors as well. The barricades will be set in tracks or hinged so they can be moved to still get the use of a window or door. A 6’ privacy fence would be good to have now because you can add to it later if you need to. I plan to have used wood pallets to build my existing fence higher and harder to climb over from outside the fence. Try to secure your home the best you can without making your home look like a target for would be criminals. If your house looks like it is really worth breaking into someone will drive a truck through it so his 20 buddies outside can come in and over take you. Have one or two friends or family members that will move in with you for help with all of this work and to have another sharp shooter in the house. And any one that will move into your home should have the same amount of food and water as you have.
How are you going to heat your home if the gas and electricity quit flowing? I have a wood burning fire place now, but I also have a used wood burning stove in my shed ready to install to help heat both floors and to cook on if needed. You will need to know how much firewood it would take to keep your home warm for an entire winter, so practice heating your home during the winter without other means and track how much fire wood you are using. Once again, used wood pallets make great fire wood when broken down. We are building an outdoor fire place, grill, and smoker to use for outdoor cooking out of river rocks that we have been collecting the last few years. An outdoor cooking area will keep your home cooler in the summer. Make sure your attic is well insulated. That will keep you warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer. Want air conditioning? Forget about it, you have better chance of dying from hypothermia than from heat stroke. Air conditioners are not even 200 years old; heat has been used since the beginning of mankind. Look into geo-thermal cooling if you really want to cool the home down a bit in the summer. There are solar heaters and furnaces that you could fabricate yourself from junk windows and glass. Learn how to make one or go buy modern ones now if you can.
Where are you going to store all of this stuff that you are collecting? Building a shed from used wood pallets will only cost you some nails and screws. Start by leveling the ground and placing pallets in a square or triangle. Fasten the pallets together using boards from pallets you have already torn apart and nails or screws. Use the same method to build the walls using torn apart pallets to secure everything together, but leave room for a door. Make a simple roof that slants to one side only by making one wall one foot higher than the other so it will be easier to build and collect rain water. You can make a door out of used pallets as well. Now to cover the walls you can take apart longer pallets to use as over lapping siding panels, or buy siding to match your house and install. If you can find a local roofing contractor or roofing supplier you can get used or damaged roofing materials to use or just buy new materials to match your house. I was able to get the used materials from a metal roof that was being replaced to cover my walls and roof for free. There are some plans available on the internet that will give you better details and ideas on how to build a pallet shed. The uses of wood pallets are almost unlimited; you could build a chicken coup, outhouse, dog house, and spare room or create more roof space for collecting rain water.
What you have just read is a good basic “starter kit” for bugging in. Get a note pad and start writing down the things you would like to have in your possession in bulk and not just the items I talked about. Make your own list of items for you and your family! You will still need to have a good bug-out plan and how to get you and all your possessions to where you are going. Start reading blog and web sites, books, and magazines to help you prepare for bugging –in or out. Buy used materials to help make your home more secure and keep an eye open for free materials on Craigslist and in the newspaper. Go to Goodwill and buy extra clothes and keep the ones you have. Extra cloth may be hard to come by someday. Learn how to grow a garden in your region by taking a gardening class. Learn how to shoot by taking a gun safety class and take self defense classes. I am only offering a small but practical bit of advice to help you start a bug-in plan, so be prepared and start prepping now. Be ready to live life not as you know it now, but like they did in the old days where you worked all day just to eat the next. Have the tools you will need to survive and know how to use them. Practice and preparation could save time, money, and maybe even your life in the event of bug-in scenario. We never know if The End of The World AS We Know It will happen or when, but I want you to be ready.
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