Water Storage Tanks and Methods

Storing water is one of the corner stones of survival. Ensuring you and your family will have drinking water after a catastrophic event is vitally important. Protecting that water from contaminants, thieves (four-legged or two-legged), and other surprises is equally important.

Water storage tanks come in all sizes

Water can be stored in almost anything that’s clean and wasn’t used for something hazardous before. Although it’s easy to store water in most common household items, most things around the house won’t provide enough water store for you and your family for an extended period of time. If you’re not close to an everlasting water source like a river, stream or large lake, you’ll want to consider some extended water storage options.

A great option to consider are the common water storage tanks, shown above, which are available for sale at most farm/tack stores, and even some hardware stores. They’ll normally run between 300-750$ for tanks between 500 and 1500 gallons.

There are a few important things to note when using these or other similar products to store water, they are:

  • You’ll want to make sure the tanks are completely sealed, as much as possible. Leaving open air to circulate in and out of the tank will increase algae growth.
  • You’ll want to have some water purification tablets on hand to keep the water in the tank purified .
  • You’ll want to keep the tank hidden from the sunshine to prevent algae growth.
  • You may want to consider burying or hiding the tank to prevent theft and algae growth.
  • Place the tank in a place that makes sense for use. If it’s a 5 minute walk from where you use water you’ll find it hard to defend and enjoy.

Underground water storage tank

Water should save for a long period of time, but will deteriorate faster based on the chemical or technique you’re using to purify it, amount of sunlight, quality of the tank etc. You should always boil water stored for an extended period of time to kill any unwanted germs or bacteria that might have gotten into your tank.

If the real world situation has deteriorated to the point that you’re using a water storage tank you should be rationing the water, and using marks on the side of the tank to adequately predict the amount of water you and your family are using in a given time period. You should also have extra around in case of emergency or the chance that your supply line could be interrupted, and you should time your tank refills before the tank is completely empty.

Remember, in a survival situation water should not go to waste. You can use old bath water, or dish water in the garden, and take water used to boil food and reuse it as a broth, stew, or even a drink for family pets.

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Food Additives That Store Forever

Obviously important to food storage are canned/jarred foods, powdered foods, dried foods, and so on. There are also important food additives that can be bartered with and used to enhance the meals you make. Many of these can save forever and will be worth their weight in gold.

Here’s a list of some of the best items you can store, and why they’re ideal food additives:

  • Sugar & Salt: White and Brown sugar is an excellent food to store. Sugar will save for years if kept dry, and can be used in all kinds of dishes. It can also be used as a trade-able commodity. (See Survival Economics: What to Hoard) Salt will also save for ages and can be used to enhance any dish.
  • Honey: Honey can be used in food or drinks and enhance the taste of anything you cook. Although it may harden and stick together more over time, it’s still edible.
  • Vinegar & “Pure” Vanilla Extract: Vinegar can be used for pickling foods, cleaning, and even as a slug killer on your fruit trees. Pure Vanilla Extra (emphasis on pure) lasts for years and can enhance all kinds of foods.
  • Syrups and Condiments: Most condiments will last for years. High quality ketchup, tobasco, mustard, and olive oil brands can store for several years. Corn Syrup saves for long periods of time and is an excellent sweetener to be used in cooking.

These are some basic items you can store in your cupboards in addition to the very obvious types of canned and jarred foods. Please post any additional items you can think of to add to this article!

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Long Term Survival Preparedness Introduction

Long term survival preparedness isn’t just planning, it’s a mindset. It requires you to think about the things you’ll need after the world grinds to a halt. The things to keep you fed, in good health, and entertained.

Putting together a comprehensive list of all the many things you might need for years of survival isn’t feasible or possible. You’ll need to rely on hoarding some of the most valuable and important items to keep you alive, then trade with family and friends for extra vanity items. For a list of some of my favorite items to hoard visit: Survival Economics: What to Hoard.

Fortunately for anyone reading this there is still time to get prepared, the world doesn’t run out of oil for another 25 years, and barring any immediate catastrophe or terrorist attack, you can still be better prepared than most for what’s coming.

How to Prepare

If each of us had infinite funding we could build an underground geo-thermal powered bunker, stock it full of food and goodies, and have few worries. That isn’t the case for most of us, so it often requires lifestyle changes to be able to adequately prepare.

Changing your lifestyle, even subtly, is the first step in preparing yourself for long term survival. Picking up an extra 12 can pack of beans or soup each time you go to the store, packing away a little extra ammo every time you go shooting, or starting to garden and learning more outdoor skills.

You could also start a flock of chickens, or keep some smaller meat animals. These also provide opportunities for sustenance, enjoyability, and a little profit.

Preparing for survival doesn’t have to just be a cost-based endeavorer, with a garden you can start saving money, and the same applies to growing your own meat/eggs.

Doing it in a Modern Society

As a survivalist you can often get sideways looks from family, neighbors, and friends when you expose your plans and world views. It’s great to meet people of like-mind, but they are rare.

By making survival a part of your everyday lifestyle, you can incorporate the non-believers. Having chickens can bring family and friends together, increases the quality of life of their caretakers, and fills a survival need. Gardening gets you delicious free vegetables that are chemical and poison free, and lets you start your own seed line and gain necessary skills for feeding yourself. Honing your outdoor survival skills can be done while camping with family and friends.

Combining day to day activities in a way that lets you prepare yourself as a survivalist, keep bonds with family and friends(while also assisting in their own training!), and potentially save you money is the key to a successful long term survival plan.

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Chickens For Eggs and Meat In A Survival Situation

I was reading an article today on www.survivalblog.com by guru Jim Rawles and poster B.R. when I decided there was some additional insight I could offer on the article that seemed to make more sense to me. You can find the original article here if you choose to read it: http://www.survivalblog.com/2011/01/realistically_raising_chickens.html

Eggs Or Meat

Notably, from the beginning the focus of that article is birds for meat, when I really feel it should be a combination of both, I understand the scope of that article was to discuss meat production. Personally, I think raising birds simply for meat is foolish, and an incredible waste of time and resources. In a survival situation, most of your flock should be raised for their egg production. A good hen from a good breed can pump out an egg every day or 2 which could provide a few meals a week, for years, as opposed to a one time meal once. That said the focus and intent of that article was obviously probably referring to what to do with the cockerels and aging layers who are past their production.

Things To Consider

Owning your own flock under normal circumstances isn’t completely worry-free. Magnify those worries by a huge number in a survival situation. It’s important, when planning to have a flock of birds as a source of food, to take some necessary precautions in advance to allow you to better care for them when TEOTWAWKI comes. Here’s some things to consider about having your own flock in a survival situation:

  • Everything wants to eat them. This means you’ll need plenty of supplies on hand to repair any damage done to the hen-house. Make sure to keep lots of extra wood scraps and chicken wire around to do quick repairs to the hen-house when needed. You’ll also need to be vigilante about putting them away before dark.
  • Ensuring genetic diversity. As pointed out in JR’s original article it’s important to diversify the bloodline in your flock. I would add that if it’s possible, and you have enough space, try and run a few different flocks, and swap males our regularly to limit incest or in-breeding. This isn’t really a short-term problem, but should be considered in long-term situations.
  • Northern residents and feeding in winter. It’s often a good idea to limit the size of your flock during the winter, if it’s cold enough you’ll also find that you can store some meat outdoors in ice-filled chests to keep it edible longer. You’ll still need to be able to feed some birds every winter. A few options I’ve used in the past is to feed the chickens whatever scraps are left over from the dinner table, and as JR posts, they are omnivorous and will do well with most types of food. Another option is to save a portion of your corn every year, dry it out, and bag it up for the winter, a few handfuls of dried corn will go a long way for your chickens. Not only will it stimulate them as they hunt, peck, and scratch around to find it, but it provides a good amount of energy the birds will need to stay warm during the cold months. I’ve been able to feed around 5 chickens off a single 10 lb bag of dried corn for around 3 months.  Visit our sister blog and learn more about growing corn. Update: Visit our article about growing and making your own Chicken Feed!

My Suggested Breed

I’ve long been a fan of a breed known as the New Hampshire or New Hampshire Red.

New Hampshire Red

The New Hampshire Red has rapidly become my favorite breed of chicken due to the fact that it’s easy to breed, disease resistant (My chickens don’t spend very much time locked up and are generally outside 12 hours a day, which helps!), provide a good number of eggs(200+ per year), and can get to around 7 lbs, a reasonable poundage for a meat bird. The eggs are normally light brown in color, and the mothers are tending their eggs and are easy to brood. The New Hampshire Red also handles the weather well, and performs admireably in both hot and cold climates. These birds also mature quickly and are normally docile.

A quick bullet list on the benefits of the New Hampshire Red:

  • Easy to Breed
  • Disease Resistant
  • Good Egg Layers (Around 200+ per year)
  • Reasonable Size For Meat Production
  • Good Mothers and Brooders
  • Durable in Harsh Weather
  • Quick to Mature
  • Docile and Easy to Handle

Helpful Links and Outside Resources

  1. Growing your OWN Chicken Feed
  2. Storey’s Guide to Raising Chickens, 3rd Edition
  3. The Backyard Homestead: Produce all the food you need on just a quarter acre!
  4. Chicken Coops: 45 Building Plans for Housing Your Flock
  5. Growing Corn – SimplySetup’s Guide To Economical Crops
  6. Ordering your birds: www.mcmurrayhatchery.com

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Survival Economics: What to Hoard

Every person you talk to seems to have a different opinion on the value they think some things will hold after a global crisis or crash. I like to approach the subject in a no nonsense way the makes the most sense for real life situations and constraints we all have.

In a perfect world I’d say stockpile oil and gasoline, but realistically how much of that can most of us actually store in and around our homes. It’s important to focus on important items, why they’ll be valuable, how they can help save your life, and their various uses.

Think About What You’re Hoarding And Why

I recently had an interesting conversation with a local survival shop owner. It’s an Army/Navy type store and I often go there to discuss news and survival topics with him. He told me the “in” thing right now is to store coin, and he himself had started a large collection of nickels and dimes that he is confident would be a valuable trading source if TEOTWAWKI hits home. After he pulled out a sack full of dimes and nickels I started asking myself a few basic questions, one of which was “if the end of the world as we know it happens, who the hell’s going to want dimes?”

He explained that people would still require some form of currency and trading. He has his belief, I have mine. I tend to think that the most valueable assets are going to be those assets that have real-world survival applications: nails, hammers, bullets, dried food, even mason jars with lids and plastic bags will have more value than coins in my opinion – but it’s important to form your own opinion based upon what you know about your area. Where I live it makes more sense for me to stockpile ammunition, food, and building materials than it does dimes or currency.

I think a good plan is to make a list of some of the essential products you and your family use the MOST, and try to store as much of that as you can considering the expiration date and the amount you use per week. For example if ketchup has a 2 year shelf life, and your family uses one bottle of ketchup per month, it should be feasible to store 24 bottles of ketchup, and then buy 1 per month. Keeping the ketchup stored properly in a linear, dated fashion will allow you to use the oldest ketchup while adding your newly purchased ketchup to the back of the line. (There’s a terminology called FiFo, which stands for First-in First-out, this is what we’re trying to achieve with a setup like this)

Keep in mind this doesn’t have to all be purchased at once, you can start slow by just buying two bottles every month, and before you know it you’ll be on your way to a two year storage plan.

Good Items To Hoard For Survival Situations

There’s an infinite amount of items and objects you can save or hold on to to keep you and your family ahead of the pack in a survival situation. I’m going to list out some of the things I find myself storing more and more of, and a brief reasoning as to why.

  • Foods – Dried, Canned: Food is really a no-brainer, it’s the most universal of commodities. In or out of a survival situation you can use food year round. Canned foods can last for years, and you can incorporate your daily buying routines into  your long term food storage routines easily with canned products. Get a  Soup Can Rack or a similar canned good storage device, use the oldest cans, they come out on the bottom with this type of system, and put new cans you just purchased on top. 3-4 racks like this and a few boxes of stored canned goods can provide 6-8 months worth of food for your family with ease. You can also store high-calorie solutions in an extremely small space with products like the Emergency Survival Food 100 Meal Kit which as long as you have a source of water can provide lots of meals, or meal additives and has an unbelievably long shelf life. I have written other articles on drying, see Fruit Drying, and Drying Apples.
  • Seeds: If you live in an area where you can have a garden you should be growing and cultivating your own seeds and plants. It’s also important to keep an emergency stash of good value garden crops that will perform will for you in a single season should you need more food, or want to balance your survivability chances. (Visit our sister blog for an article on good value garden crops). I find keeping a set of seeds for 1-2 years is more than fine to keep germination rates high, after that time period you’ll want to swap them out with fresh seeds. This should only cost 10-20$ every few years for a large stash of a variety of seeds.
  • Tools: Tools are one of the things most of us take for granted, imagine trying to drive a nail with a stone – doable but not pleasant. Fortunately most tools are reasonably priced and easy to obtain. You don’t need a massive set of tools to be adequately prepared, just storing a few extra hammers, shovels, pick axes, nails, knives, saws, wheelbarrows, sharpening stone or equipment, and axes will give you an excellent bartering chip if you ever need to trade tools, and make you a valuable commodity in your survival community.
  • General Supplies: General supplies can include everything from extra fishing equipment to toilet paper, but in terms of some of the highest value items (and believe me toilet paper is high on the Mrs.’s list), I find that things like plastic bags, Ziploc bags, canning jars, tape, pens/pencils, matches, extra can-openers, and condiments can all be worth their weight in gold for trading in survival situations.
  • Medical Supplies: While I don’t have much experience in the medical profession, it’s very obviously a good idea to keep a stash of the most basic medical supplies on hand for when the local ER closes it’s doors. There are several First Aid Kits available that have a variety of  day-to-day medicines. This is an area where really the best-laid plans can always fall short, and it’s impossible to prepare for every injury you might sustain or illness you might contract. It’s a good idea to make friends with neighbors who have some degree in medicine be it veterinary, pharmacy, etc. These people will become valuable resources and have superior knowledge in regards to the best things to stockpile. For your own purposes make sure to have plenty of alcohol, several first-aid kits, lots of gauze, and an assortment of vitamins and over-the-counter medications like Aspirin.
  • Ammunition: I can’t say enough about the importance of storing ammo. It lasts forever, has broad appeal to anyone in a survival situation, and is a usable, tangible product. Ammunition, probably only second to food, will be, in my opinion, one of the most sought-after high value barter items at TEOTWAWKI.

Additional Reading:

1. Preserving Summer’s Bounty: A Quick and Easy Guide to Freezing, Canning, and Preserving, and Drying What You Grow
2.
Good value garden crops
3.
Fruit Drying, and Drying Apples

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TEOTWAWKI – The End Of The World As We Know It

What does TEOTWAWKI Mean?

Literally, TEOTWAWKI means the “End Of The World As We Know It”. To survivalists it can mean a number of things. A global pandemic, an oil crisis, wars, financial meltdowns, and Marshall law all fall into the realm of TEOTWAWKI.

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Survival Weapons AK-47

The AK-47, to most people, is the ultimate survival weapon, it functions well at close range and medium range, takes an incredible amount of wear and tear, requires very little maintenance, and is simple to operate. The ammunition for the AK-47 (7.62×39) is also among one of the cheapest rounds available for assault rifles.

AK-47 with synthetic grip and folding stock

The AK-47 (The Automatic Kalashnikov Rifle, 1947 model) was officially accepted as the standard issue rifle for all Soviet troops in 1949.  As one of the first assault rifles in production, the AK-47 enjoyed tremendous success and was adopted by almost all Warsaw Pact countries. The Ak-47’s low cost of production, durability, high rate of fire, and ease of use make it the most commonly used weapon in the world. Popular with both regular armies and guerilla forces for its legendary reliability and low maintenance, the AK even graces the flag of Mozambique, a country “liberated” by AK armed guerillas.

The 7.62×39 round fired by the AK-47 is a good compromise between size and stopping power.  At short and medium distances it will punch through almost anything: car doors, walls, trees, etc.  Although not as compact as some modern military rounds, the 7.62×39 is small and light enough to allow for loadouts of hundreds of rounds without a significant weight penalty.

From a survival standpoint having an AK-47 is a safe bet. If you’re on the move for long periods of time without the ability to break down and clean your weapon, that’s OK the AK-47 can handle the abuse. If you’re carrying a ration worth of ammunition on your person you’ll also benefit from the slightly smaller rounds used in the AK-47, and have an advantage in movement and reserved energy than if you were carrying a ration of larger rounds. The weapon is also extremely durable and can withstand dirt, moisture, and residue better than other weapons.

The AK-47 also allows for cheap customizations and additions. For example, adding a UTG 5th Gen Quick Detachable Double Rail AK Side Mount, will cost you around 30$, whereas adding it for an AR-15 or FN-FAL can cost upwards of 80$ or 90$.

Videos:

The AK-47 is ranked as the #1 combat rifle by the Discovery Channel, see:

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Short Term Survival Preparedness Introduction

Short term survival situations normally come after a disaster such as an earthquake, civil unrest, and even too much snow. The likely-hood of being caught in one of these situations in your life time is not only plausible, it’s high. Spending a little time learning some basic skills and putting together a disaster readiness kit will not only put your mind at ease, lower stress during these events, and give you a better sense of security, it could also save the lives of you and your family if you’re not able to get help or resources from the outside for a prolonged period of time.

Important things to have on hand for these type of disasters include: Continue reading

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Short Term Survival and Disaster Preparedness

Catastrophic situations can happen to anyone, anywhere, and at anytime. The most important thing to have is a strong mental attitude, knowledge on general survival principles, and stockpiles of supplies to increase your and your families chance of surviving.

There are two types of preparedness that survivalists think about: short term disasters like earthquakes, floods, even too much snow, and then the long term types of disasters like global epidemics, destruction of oil/gas supply lines and so on.

We’ve got articles to address both, check out our:

Short Term Survival Preparedness Introduction

and our

Long Term Survival Preparedness Introduction

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Survival Preparedness Tools, Gear, and Supplies

There’s nothing as important to a Survival Preparedness connoisseur than making sure they’ve got the best equipment available to protect themselves and their families, and ensure their survival. Fortunately for us and you the majority of these people are highly intelligent, technical, and forward-thinking individuals. Through our own research and user comments we will continue to update this section with important tools, gear, and supplies that are an absolute necessity in the struggle for life in death in a catastrophic situation.

These are store bought supplies that are good to have around when things go bad:

1. Water purification: Travelers Supply Water Purification Tablets and the Katadyn Micropur Water Purification Tablets 8013692 (30-pack) are good portable water purification solutions. If you’re fortunate enough to have a natural water source nearby having a large pot to boil water in and ample wood to burn can provide you with a sustainable water solution.

2. Source of food: Canned goods andproducts like the Emergency Survival Food 100 Meal Kit or Emergency Survival Food Supply 275 Meal Pack are great for peace of mind and survival for a set period of time. If your goal is to plan for longer term you’ll need a supply of seeds, and possible some meat animals like chickens, rabbits, ducks, goats, etc to provide you with milk, meats, and eggs that you and your family will need to survive. Visit our sister site at: www.simplysetup.com for more information on growing your own food.

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