20 Things You Need

Iowa Peak Oil

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1)  One year supply of food (please see our entry on stockpiling food) - rotate as necessary.  Start out gradually and keeping adding to this.

2)  Get completely out of debt - consumer debt in particular should be paid off and never incurred (credit cards, new car, financed car, etc...).  Stop reading right now.  Take out your credit cards - all of them - and cut them into small pieces.

3)  Plant a garden - even a small one will provide you with fresh vegetables and experience.  If you own a home, plant fruit trees instead of ornamental or shade trees.

4)  Keep a supply of wood or coal that can be used for heating if a wood or coal burning stove is practical in your situation.  You might also consider a kerosene heater, which will allow you to store a single fuel for heating and lighting.

At the very least, have a propane or Coleman camping stove and spare fuel on hand, along with an extreme cold sleeping back for each member of the family (these can be acquired for a reasonable price from a military surplus store).  You can also find small camping ovens which can be used on a burner.

5)  Have candles, kerosene lamps and lanterns, and kerosene on hand.  Kerosene is relatively safe to store provided you are using the correct container.

6)  Make sure you have a source of water.  At the very minimum, store at least 1 gallon per person per day (1 tsp of unscented bleach per gallon).  Rotate this regularly. 

You can buy 6 or 7 gallon jugs in places that sell camping supplies, but be creative - heavy plastic or glass juice containers, two liter pop bottles, glass wine jugs can all be used. 

7)  Learn how to prepare food for storage by canning and dehydrating.  Practice this skill, and keep supplies on hand.  A small electric dehydrator is fairly inexpensive, but you can also do this easily in a gas oven with a pilot light.  Don't think in terms of stockpiling a huge amount of food, rather, make your own dehydrated fruit, vegetables, and even jerky - this will give you practice, save a little money, and help you start developing a taste for the kind of things you can preserve yourself.  The same is true of home canned food.

8)  Have at least one firearm and plenty of ammunition for each adult and older child in the household.  Practice regularly.

9)  Have a .22 caliber rifle, bow and arrows, hunting slingshot, or some combination of these for hunting small game.  Also, keep fishing gear and tackle on hand.

11)  Be prepared to take in friends or relatives if this becomes necessary - have extra supplies on hand for this.

11)  Have an assortment of hand tools - shovels, spading forks, hoes, rakes, hammers, axes, hatchets, and any other tools that you think you might need.  Do not depend on anything which requires electricity.

12)  Have a good sheath knife for each adult and older child in the household.

13)  Have a one year supply of clothing, extra blankets, shoes, and so on. 

14)  Be ready to care for the sick and injured - have both modern and alternative medical supplies on hand.  If anyone requires medication for the maintenance of their health, make sure that you have a supply of this as well.

15)  Plan in advance how to provide for sanitation (washing, cleaning, waste disposal) in the event that you are without water or electricity.  Rain barrels are a good source of water for flushing.  Don't forget things like toilet paper and tampons - finding a pattern to make cloth pads is not a bad idea.  You might also consider a portable camping shower for cleaning up.

16)  Have money (either cash or precious metal) where it will be easily accessible.  This is obviously going to be limited by finances, but a month is the minimum that we would recommend.

18)  Have an emergency kit/go bag ready in case you need to move quickly.

19)  Have at least one traditional telephone which does not require electricity in order to operate.

20)  Replace electric tools and gadgets with non-electric alternatives.  This need not be done all at once - do it as they wear out).