The Long Haul - How long will it last?

As you do research on your prepping needs, you will soon come to the conclusion that there may not be an end to a major disaster. Most books and websites focus on short to medium length disasters, usually weather related, volcano or earthquake. These will have a finite time before the disaster is over.

What will happen if the disaster would last many months or even years? Would anything be back to normal?

As stated in Volume 1, "if you prepare for the long haul, the short one will take care of itself".

Most books and websites talk about stocking your pantry and keeping enough matches and gas for your generator. What happens when after six months when all the gas is gone, all your foodstuffs depleted, and water filters are completely clogged and useless? What will happen after a year or more? Will you have an unlimited supply or be able to replenish your provisions?

If not, how long will your supplies last? What are you going to do when everything runs out?

My prepping instructions are for the long term or almost indefinite end. How can you have an unlimited amount of clean water? Do you have a garden big enough for you and your family to eat from, and what happens when the growing season is over? What about protein from meat? Do you have enough chickens, rabbits, goats, fish to keep you going? What about medicines, vitamins and supplements? Do you have a skill you can trade or barter for foodstuffs?

In Volume 1 I discuss these problems but because of the size of the book I could only cover certain points. The Prepper Library section in the back of the book covers a variety of these problems. What I want to show here is a little more in-depth detail.

Here's a list of your main priorities:

1) Water

2) Food

3) Shelter

4) Clothing

5) Communications and security

One by one let's go a little deeper.

1) Water is essential and required in large amounts. On every continent there are obstacles to getting clean water. We will take the continental U.S. for example. In the desert you will have a harder time obtaining water. In the central states and east coast and in mountainous terrain water is plentiful year round but you may have to filter it from parasites and contaminants. Rain is close to clean as long as there is no sign of radiation and bird droppings. Simple coffee type filters will usually remove any larger particles. Springs with known sources can be consumed without any filtering or purification. Those living close to the shorelines, salt water is more complicated and is usually removed by distillation which uses a lot of energy or time if using sunlight. Flood waters have many diseases and debris. Creeks and ponds will have many parasites. Deep well water is almost pure and directly drinkable as long as no flood water has entered the well head. Any questionable water needs to be filtered and boiled, chemically treated, or distilled. Of course chemical treatment requires careful measuring of chlorine as long as it is obtainable or extracted from salt water. There are a few devices to extract chlorine from salt water. There are even do-it-yourself instructions on this process.

2) Food is also a necessity of life. Comfort foods, foods that are tasty and desired may be scarce. Once your food stash is depleted, you will have to replenish or grow your own crops and animals. There are many websites showing the safe processes of canning, drying, smoking, and salting meats and vegetables for storage. If you live in areas with extreme seasons you will need to be more creative. Building a greenhouse will extend your growing season. A good greenhouse with a woodstove and ample supply of wood could allow you to grow all year long, even in the harshest winter. I would recommend you testing your ability to grow food, check for taste and consistency. Seasonings will make many foods more palatable. Raising chickens, rabbits, goats will give you a good variety of protein. Of course you will need to have a sufficient supply of feed if you don't free range. A large fenced-in pen to keep pests out will be a good idea.

3) Where you decide to dig in will be important too, especially for the long term. Those that live in rural or out in the country will have a head start in deciding and preparing to stay put and developing their property. If looking for a piece of land, look for woods for privacy and wood harvesting. A source of water from a stream from a known source is desired. A pond to retain water for reserve and growing fish is also desired. An area cleared for a good sized garden is a must. Your entire property should be off the beaten path and not seen from any roads. Living in the city or suburbs is not recommended for any type of survival. All you own will be like advertising your supplies. You are at the mercy of water availability and adequate sewage which will be non-existent. You will be ripe for the picking when those that have not will come barging into your home.

4) Adequate clothing for all seasons will be a life saving need. Especially for the long term. Save every stitch of clothing to repurpose garments. Keep stocking up on many needles, thread, scissors, etc. Every trip to Walmart will give you the opportunity to build your stash. Needles and thread are cheap and you can't have too much. Again, a good barter item if you have a surplus. Don't rely on walking or sports shoes. You will be lucky to have them for a year. The fabric will rip, the foam insoles will collapse in six months, and the soles will disintegrate. Your shoes should have a good rubber soul and be made of leather or strong fabric. Military combat shoes or high end hiking boots will last many years and protect you from the elements. Without good shoes you will be severely handicapped. Laces can be replaced with 550 paracord for other uses too. Keep the laces for tie strings. Plan on having ample clothing for hot summers and cold winters. Make every effort to "hoard" as much clothing not just for you and your family but they make good bartering material.

5) Communications and security are very important. I covered radios here (link). Staying in touch close in perimeter security, and long distance for news and information. Along side of communications is sufficient power in the form of rechargeable batteries and a means of charging them. Solar panels are covered extensively in Volume 1 Chapter 5 in The Thinking Prepper.