Are You Prepared for an Economic Collapse?
There is a dark side to economic collapse that no one ever talks about. In such a collapse, the darkness is real and not metaphorical. However, a little bit of planning can protect you and your family, but you have to plan ahead.
Where Were You During “Snowzilla” 2016?
If you were safe and cozy at home with light, power, water, and access to stocked grocery shelves, then props to you. Unfortunately, almost 100 million Americans cannot make the same claim. “Snowzilla” was merely bad weather and it passed, but it highlighted what can happen—indeed, what will happen—if society as we know it takes a turn for the worst.
It could be a health issue (remember SARS?); it could be a natural disaster; or, even more likely, it could be an “economic storm” that sweeps through your area (a bank holiday, a labor strike, etc.) and takes days or even weeks to pass.
What’s the solution? Well, there is no perfect solution. Of course, we know how much the media likes to make fun of “preppers” and their underground bunkers full of shelves of canned food, so we won’t go there. But there is still a fairly inexpensive precaution that you can—and indeed should—take in order to help you in a natural disaster or survive economic collapse.
Getting Ready to Bug Out
It is called a “bug-out bag” (which could be a duffel bag or a large valise), and its purpose is exactly as stated. It is there in case you need to leave in a hurry, or, in the alternative, in case you are staying put but you need fast access to the essentials.
The 4 Basic Rules for a Bug-Out Bag
- It should be the biggest bag available that is still portable.
- It should always be in the same place, and every family member should know where that place is.
- Smaller items should be purchased in twos.
- The second item should be a backup that can be used to barter if needed.
Essentials to Pack
Here are the essentials of your bug-out bag (not all are mandatory; use common sense):
Power, Electrical, and Lighting
- Flashlights (regular and squeeze- or generator-type), batteries, rechargeable batteries, and a charger
- Battery-operated lanterns (LED only because they’ll run for hours)
- Candles, cigarette lighters, and matches (Tip: a candle with an inverted clay flower pot over it can heat a small room even in the winter!)
- A collapsible solar panel, which fits in the bag, with an assortment of cable connectors for it to attach to virtually everything that requires power
Navigation and Communication
- Regular compass, electronic (battery) compass, GPS, a book of maps
- Portable CB radio with a magnetic stick-em antenna
- “Battery type” cellphone extender power packs
Food and Water
- Liquid iodine for water purification
- Iodine crystals for water purification
- “Lifestraw” brand water purification units (developed for military use, these can even purify swamp water—search online!)
- Dried fruit in sealed plastic bags
- Freeze-dried meals (Costco in the U.S. and Canada carries these)
- Alcohol (rubbing alcohol or brandy—the former for external use only)
Health and Personal
- Iodine (see “Food and Water” above; this can also be used as a general antiseptic)
- Colloidal silver ( this was the all-purpose fungicide, bactericide, and virucide long before antibiotics)
- Castor oil (can be used as a general-purpose salve)
- Assorted fish antibiotics (these can be found at your local pet store)
- Assorted over-the-counter remedies (pain fillers, cold remedies, eye drops, etc.)
- Band-Aids, toothpaste, menstrual products, and diapers
- Disposable razors and razor blades
- Baby wipes and toilet paper
- Drugstore-strength cortisone cream
- Glass eye wash cup (this may be hard to find; check eBay)
- Eyedroppers, scissors, tweezers, and nail clippers
- Liquid soap
Cash Substitutes (for Bartering)
- Never forget that any single item in your bug-out bag can be used to barter!
- Gold and silver coins are optimal for trading. Avoid “numismatic” (rare) coins. Look for either “junk” silver coins (older coins with known silver content) or “name brand” trading coins, such as U.S. Gold Eagles, U.S. Buffalos, Canadian Maple Leafs, or South African Krugerrands. Word on the street is that, because of shortages, even recently minted “brand name” coins are now commanding numismatic premiums, so do your research carefully!
- An older, used laptop that is capable of being powered and/or recharged by the solar panel; fill the hard drive with information on first-aid, electronics, plants and herbs, survival books, etc. Much of this is free online. Even an older 80 GB hard drive can hold 60 million pages of information!
- Basic ID, driver’s license, credit cards, passport, etc. (these can be scanned in advance and stored digitally on the computer above)
- Small tools and screwdrivers
- Magnifying glasses, reading glasses
- Duct tape and plastic ties
- Pens and a small notebook
- Sewing kit
- Old (expired) prescription drugs your family has used
- Pen knife and box cutters
- Nitrile gloves
This article is really a beginner’s guide to help you survive economic collapse. If the topic interests you, feel free to do your own research and put together your own plan. Sometimes the ability to quickly move just 100 miles in any given direction can literally be life-saving. During the infamous ice storm that hit the U.S. northeast in 2013, there were stories of families who simply got on the highway and drove until they found a town with electricity, then grabbed a motel room. Had they stayed put, they would have been without power in the dead of winter for up to 10 days. Ouch!
Another survival technique is to drive a hybrid SUV with a fully electric (rechargeable) small motorcycle (moped) stored in the back. On the back of the motorcycle is a bag containing a collapsible bicycle. There’s no engine or battery needed as it runs on just foot power, but it is there if needed. Now that’s thinking ahead!
The Bottom Line on Bug-Out Bags
Bug-out bags are the critical “first step” in any survival plan. They provide much of the insurance and protection of “prepping” without requiring a major lifestyle change.
Of course, the timeline is important in order to survive economic collapse or another kind of disaster. Preppers are anticipating weeks or months of turmoil. A bug-out kit, on the other hand, can help you manage for days or—in the extreme case—a week or two.