SHTF Consideration List

When the world ends, what are you going to need to have to prepare?

Here is a list of items or considerations that would be useful for you to have or plan for, once you survive the initial onslaught of violence that may happen after the destruction of the nation or in times of persecution.

Food

  • Heritage seeds – These will go to seed, so as long as you don’t eat them all, you can grow more.
  • Gardening books – For your region, you’ll need to know what you can grow there.
  • Gardening tools – At minimum, a shovel and a hoe.
  • Chickens – If you are able to have livestock, chickens tend to be the easiest to maintain. Sheep or other rumiants tend to be more expensive for upkeep, but can reward you with dairy. Proverbs 14:4-6
  • 30 pounds each of dired beans and rice – you’ll need this until you are able to harvest your garden
  • As much other canned and dried food as you can save.
  • Flour, to use as an ingrediant, not as bread.
  • Spices – It’ll make your emergency supply taste better and keep you happier.
  • Firearm/Bow to catch wild game. A .22LR “little badger” is suitable for most small game, but don’t depend on game for your only food income, others will be after them as well.
  • Source of fuel to cook – Wood stove is the best way to go. Old ones are hard to find, but an insert stove or even a hunk of steel above a fire would work OK too.
  • A way to make flour. A grinding stone or a flour mill can let you grind many things into flour. Potatos for example.
  • Drying rack for food preservation.
  • A way to make your own salt. You can evaporate seawater, in most cases. If you don’t live near the ocean, you’ll have to stockpile this.

Water

  • If you don’t have running water avaliable, you’ll need to find a way to collect a large amount of rainwater. Gutters into barrels work well, but will need treatment to be safe to drink. You can make your own charcoal filters by cutting the bottom off a 2L soda jug, putting cloth at the bottom, fill it with crushed wood charcoal and running water through it. After, you’ll need to boil it.
  • Don’t depend on a well if you’re on one. If power goes out, you’ll be unable to get water from the pump. Check to see if you can hook a generator up to your pump, so you can buy yourself some time to build a means to collect water.
  • It’s also possible to distill seawater into freshwater by some pots and tubing, if you can manage that. This method uses a lot of wood fuel, and should be considered only if there is no other way.
  • How are you going to store your water? Large plastic totes can be found relatively cheap and have a large storage capacity.
  • Consider using apple cider vinegar to add health benifets to your water.

Housing

  • How are you going to keep your house warm without electricity? You should not start a fire indoors without a chimney. Until you can scavange or build that, I would recommend getting a full 100 pound propane tank and a “Little Buddy” radiant propane heater with the extension cable to keep you warm until you come up with a better solution.
  • How are you going to defend your home from intruders? A lock won’t work for very long. Guns only work if you’re there to use them. You also can’t stay inside forever, you’ll need to go out to garden and work your land. The answer will depend on your geography. Fencing, if you already have it, is a decent way to create a limited point of entry that can be easialy defended. I would use a tripwire on a bell to alert for incoming threats.

Health/Hygine

  • Stock up on a lot of soap. A lot. It can be difficult to make properly if you don’t have the materials.
  • At least a first aid kit. Have the ability to suture and remove bullets/ shrapnel.
  • Have a way to disinfect wounds.
  • Don’t forget to clean your body. If you can’t, then just going stark naked in the open air for a quarter hour helps a lot. At least a damp rag can get a lot of the grime off, and it prevents infection from cuts you’re due to get.
  • Have a way to stop bleeding.
  • Have a good supply of anti-inflammitory medication.

Transportation

  • Once the fuel trucks stop running, it’ll be very hard for you to get around.
  • Horses won’t work unless you have a lot of pasture.
  • Bicycles are a decent choice, but have limited ability to carry cargo.
  • You might consider an electric vehicle, since they can be charged by many off-the-grid setups such as wind or solar. Since you won’t need to go out often, there can be a lot of time between runs. An electric golf cart would work well for on-road expeditions and carry quite a lot of cargo. You can hook up a solar panel and a charge controller to always trickle charge the on-board batteries.
  • Backpacks.
  • A method to process old waste oil into something useful, such as black diesel, a fuel source for a kiln, foundry, or forge, or reprocessing into a lubricant to maintain what you already have.

Power/Energy

  • SOLAR POWER is cheap right now, and getting set up with a charge controller, battery, panel, and inverter can run below $500 for smaller systems. That’ll allow you to charge your useful tools like a laptop or mobile phone, or power a LAN to facilitate communications between your group.
  • Wind is a more power/less reliability solution. Depending on your geography, you might choose one over the other.
  • Ability to run 120VAC near 500W is suitable for most applications, and can allow you to run things like chest freezers, some corded power tools, and even charge batteries for your cordless tools. It may also be possible to charge an electric vehicle to allow yourself mobility.
  • Lighting will be very very important if you want to do anything at night. LED floodlights that can run efficently on DC or an inverter can let you make tools and work the garden when everyone else will be out of comission.
  • Buy rechargable AA/AAA/D batteries. LiFePO4 if you can, since they have a great energy density and can last for a long time being discharged completely.
  • Use a deep cycle lead-acid battery with your solar charger, usually RV or marine batteries are deep cycle.

Information/Knowledge

  • Make sure you have a King James Bible
  • Books are your best friend. If you can’t afford to drop several hundred on a library, there’s the option to store them digitally on a phone, tablet, or laptop. Many torrents avaliable for vast knoweldge. The problem of power comes up, but can be quickly solved by having a solar setup to charge your electronic devices. I use a small 25W solar panel charging a large battery array to keep everything charged and it works well.
  • Get information on making tools, growing food, building homes or shacks, survival books, physical fitness, tactical defense, mathematics, whatever knowledge you can get, you should get and archive. Proverbs 1:5
  • How to identify edible plants in your region in case you need to forage. Genesis 3:18

Communications

  • The most effective communications system you can have during lack of infrastructure is of the Ham Radio. Hand held transcievers are effective for communicating short to medium ranges, and getting a High Frequency transciever with a wire antenna is a good way to communicate with other people far away. Use the batteries from your solar charger to run and charge your equipment. In an emergency you can use your car battery. Get licensed and experience first before you just willy nilly buy equipment. Since you can change your frequency  every day, it can be easier for you to maintain stealth. The equipment is expensive though.
  • Second in effectiveness are FRS radio, which have a pathetic short range. Others on your channel can hear you, so it’s ineffective for tactical use. It is, however, cheaper. Most FRS radios are battery powered.
  • Third is the CB radio. Similar to FRS except they are usually base stations… not portable.

Defense

  • Pick a rifle with a common cartridge, such as .223/5.56. Optics are nice, but not required. What is, is a flashlight. A strobe can let you temporarily blind your attacker while you move in to capture or subdue. Stock up on at least 500 rounds.
  • Pick a handgun with a common cartridge, such as 9mm. Stock up on at least 250 rounds.
  • Pick a shotgun with a common cartridge, such as 12Ga 2 3/4″. Use for home defense and hunting small game. Stock up on at least 100 rounds.
  • Pick a small rifle in .22LR for small game and pest control. Stock up on at least 500 rounds. 
  • How are you going to deny entry to your area of control? A tractor or at least a logging chain attached to a truck can move logs to deny vehicle access. Personnel denial is more complicated, but what can work is tripwires hooked up to rattle cans or bells. A heads-up is the best way to be able to defend yourself and your belongings from an attack.
  • For personnel denial, unless you have rolls of fencing or barbed wire, there’s little you can do. Even with thick woods, people can still sneak up on you. You’ll need an audible alarm or enough distance so you can spot them within a reasonable time frame.

Tools

  • Have a reliable way to start a fire. I like the propane blow torch, they last a LONG time and the canisters are cheap. If you get a 100Lb canister with a refill adapter, you can have the ability to start small fires indefinitely. If anything, a mid sized battery and some wire can get you the heat you need to start one.
  • Have a way to heat and shape steel. Basic blacksmithing skills can be done with a campfire and a rock with a hammer if needed, but if you have a chunk of steel like a railroad track, you can do quite a bit more. Make tools you don’t have.
  • Battery powered tools like the DeWalt XR brand work VERY well, and you can charge them with your solar panels.
  • Stockpile screws and nails. 2000 nails goes fast. When you’re making something.
  • Have a chainsaw. Electric would allow you to operate without needing fresh fuel. You can use used motor oil for lubrication when you run out of bar oil.
  • Have the ability to cut metal. A hacksaw will work some times, but a battery powered angle grinder will allow you much more freedom, if you’ve stocked up on wheels.
  • Although expensive, a full set of oxy-fuel tools allows you do weld metals, allowing you to much greater increase your tool-building ability, and it doesn’t require electricity. If you can’t do that, then a propane torch can sometimes get steel hot enough to braze brass/bronze into it, allowing for an alternative strong joint. Electric welding is out of the question unless you have a very large propane or wood gas generator (propane can be stored indefinitely.)

Ultimate SHTF Manufacturing Technique

If you have the problems of food, water, power and fuel solved, you have the ability to make whatever you want in a small shop. You’ll need:

  • 3D printer with a stock of filament (PLA is most cost-friendly for casting)
  • Computer with 3D Modeling software and a Slicer (SLic3r)
  • A forge or foundry
  • Sand/clay deposits, or source of refractory mortar that doesn’t crack
  • Scrap to melt

With these items you can do “lost plastic casting” and manufacture whatever you wanted (or get 95% of the way there and do the rest with a drill and a file). The process is: 3D print what you want to cast. Put that mold into your casting medium (I use sand – portland cement – white wood ash at a 4-1-1 ratio) and light a fire to melt/burn out the plastic. Melt and pour your metal into the casting and boom: you have something close to a finished product: of whatever you want. Your motorcycle broke a sprocket? No problem. Cast one in bronze and it will last a while (not forever). You need guns? You need a new knife? You need a can opener? Whatever you want, as long as you can design it. If you run out of filament for your printer, you can try to extrude your own by recycling HDPE milk/water jugs. It’s not great, but it’s better than nothing.

Items you may not think about

  • Rope
  • Chain
  • Sewing kits/thread
  • Extra boots
  • Raw leather
  • SALT
  • SALT
  • SALT
  • Did I mention salt?

Your specific plan will need to be adapted to the resources avaliable to you. If you live in an urban area, you are screwed, prepare to die. The government won’t help you when infrastructure has fallen. They’re more likely to use their authority to take from you what you do have, for themselves.

Land is your primary resource. You can make your own food and have room to build what you need. If you have woods, being able to process logs lets you make your own houses. Having land lets you put out solar panels to allow use of your electric tools and devices. Own land, and you’ll have a much better chance at long term survival.

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