30 Survival Skills Modern People Have Forgotten

Every generation is skilled at using the technology of its era. For example, people today are very good at driving cars, using smartphones, setting up home entertainment systems, and so forth. The problem is, if the end of the world as we know it ever happens, all those skills will be useless. The skills of our forefathers, on the other hand, will never be useless.

Below, we’ll take a look at 30 survival skills from our past that have mostly been forgotten today. If you want to be able to survive in a world where relying on technology isn’t an option, these skills are certainly worth learning.

During a SHTF situation, pain could become an annoyance for some, but unbearable for others.

If doctors are scarce and medicine becomes even scarcer, this one little weed, found all over North America and similar to morphine, could be a saving grace.

Note: For each skill, I included links to resources where you can learn how to develop that skill.

1. Hand Washing Clothes

These days, almost everyone owns a washer and dryer, and those who don’t are able to rely on a visit to the laundromat. Washing clothes without these conveniences, though, is a forgotten skill.

2. Marksmanship

Being able to accurately fire a gun is a skill that takes dedication and practice. At one time, it was an essential skill for survival. Today, though, few people know their way around a firearm.

3. Navigating Without a GPS

GPS’s have made navigation incredibly easy. But now that almost everyone has a powerful GPS in their pocket at all times, not many people know how to navigate without one.

4. Building a Fire

Building a fire isn’t as easy as they make it look in the movies. Even with the right tools and ideal conditions, getting a fire started can sometimes be a challenge – and it’s a skill that few people today have acquired.

5. Hunting

Prey animals have spent their entire lives avoiding predators, and they are very talented at it – which makes hunting a real challenge. In an era where fresh meat is always a trip to the supermarket away, hunting has become a forgotten skill.

6. Fishing

Fishing may be a slightly easier skill to acquire than hunting, but it still requires a lot of learning and practice. Without the right gear and strategy, fish can be very difficult to catch.

7. Purifying Water

Constant access to clean, pure drinking water is a very modern convenience. In the past, though, knowing how to purify water was essential for survival.

8. Preserving Food

Thanks to our abundant supply of food as well as the invention of freezers and refrigerators, knowing how to preserve food is no longer a necessity. Without these modern-day conveniences, though, food preservation is essential for survival.

9. Tying Knots

Everyone knows how to tie a knot in a string, but few people these days are able to tie a wide range of more-complicated knots.

Experts predict that an EMP strike that wipes out electricity across the nation would ultimately lead to the demise of up to 90% of the population. However, this figure begs an important question: if we were able to live thousands of years without even the concept of electricity, why would we suddenly all die without it?

10. Raising Animals

Outside of farmers, few people raise their own animals these days. However, animal husbandry still remains a very useful skill to know.

11. Sewing

Sewing used to be a skill that almost all women and even many men were taught at an early age. Today, though, few people know even the simplest sewing methods.

12. Cooking from Scratch

Putting together meals is now easier than it has ever been in the past, but this also means that most people have forgotten the skills necessary to cook at a tasty, healthy meal from scratch.

13. Predicting the Weather

Today, figuring out what the weather is going to be like is as easy as turning on the television or pulling up an app on your phone. In the past, though, being able to predict the weather without these modern conveniences was essential for survival.

14. Self Defense

There was a time when it was common for fathers to teach their sons how to defend themselves. Today, self-defense is an important skill for men and women alike, but it is certainly less common for people to know.

15. Butchering An Animal

Even if you know how to raise your own animals for meat, you’ll also need to know how to butcher them. This is a more complicated process than many people realize and it’s a skill that must be acquired. (Here are 23 survival uses for honey that you didn’t know about.)

16. Using Cloth Diapers

Before the days of disposable diapers, cloth diapers were all that was available. If the day comes when you can no longer purchase disposable diapers, learning how to use cloth diapers is going to be a necessity.

17. Gardening

Our abundance of food and the ease in which we are able to acquire it has eliminated the need for many skills, including gardening. As far as survival skills go, though, gardening is one of the most important.

18. Keeping Yourself Entertained

We have so many sources of entertainment and distraction these days that not many people are comfortable entertaining themselves without outside stimulation. In a world without electronics, knowing how to keep yourself entertained is very useful.

19. Mechanic Work

Though we are very reliant on mechanical things, not many people know how to work on them without the help of a professional. At one time, though, most everyone knew how to repair their own cars, motorcycles, and other mechanical products.

20. Bartering

We aren’t used to having to barter for the things we buy today, but bartering used to be a way of life. It’s an important skill to know should we ever have to go back to purchasing things locally rather than buying them from a nationwide chain.

21. First Aid

Thanks to the convenience of modern medicine, few people have to worry about treating their own wounds. Nevertheless, first aid remains one of the most valuable forgotten skills that a person can learn.

22. Keeping Warm

Not many people today have to worry about dying of hypothermia. But in the past, knowing how to keep warm – both inside and outside the home – was essential for survival.

23. Making Do With What You Have

We live in an era of excess. If we ever return to a time when life isn’t so full of plenty and abundance, many people will struggle to adapt.

24. Making Cleaning Products

People didn’t used to purchase pre-made cleaning products from the store. Instead, they made their own cleaning products with the raw materials that were available at the time.

25. Home Maintenance

In the past, when something broke down in the home, people would fix it themselves. Today, however, the skills of home maintenance are only known by a select few.

26. Building a Shelter

Knowing how to build an effective shelter is key to wilderness survival. During the times where people would travel out into the woods without the convenience of a portable tent, knowing how to build a shelter was a vital skill.

27. Driving a Vehicle With a Manual Transmission

Automatic transmissions haven’t always been around, and there was a time when everyone drove a manual. Today, the ability to drive a vehicle with a manual transmission is becoming increasingly less common.

28. Locating a Campsite

Not every spot in the woods is suited for a campsite, and choosing the right spot to set up camp is a skill in and of itself.

29. Avoiding Panic

We live very comfortable lives compared to the lives of our ancestors, which means that most people today are a lot more likely to panic when things take a turn for the worse.

30. Repurposing Items

Throwing things away used to be unheard of. Instead, people would repurpose old items and find new ways to make use of them.

Preparedness Hacks: Once a nuke is heading your way, you might think that there isn’t much left to do, but you would be wrong!

Because we will show you America’s natural nuclear bunkers that are also EMP proof. When the sirens start wailing, all you need to do is pick the closest one to your home, where you can take cover before it hits.


Even mastering just a few of these skills will put you leagues ahead of the average person, thus giving you a much greater chance of survival after a disaster. Pick one that interests you the most and start practicing. Once you get a little burnt out on it, move on to a different skill. Just be sure to get back to the first one later. With this list of survival skills, you’ll never be bored again!

5 Delicious Recipes Made with Ingredients that Last 100 Years

Imagine some 2000 years ago a Pharaoh was buried in the great pyramids and adorned in gold and riches. Radical wealth disparity in that ancient Egypt, huh?

Not only did the great pharaohs spend eternity under a blanket of gold and jewels, they were also entombed with all kinds of trinkets and even foods! In fact, Archeologists have found honey in these tombs that is easily 2000 years old. The oldest sample has been dated at 3000 years old!

An ingredient like honey basically lasts forever! Of course, it’s not the only ingredient that will last for a very long time. As preppers we see the value in ingredients that have a long shelf life.

If food can sit on your shelves for a lifetime than that means you have food for any and all circumstances. For preppers and those seeking a lifetime of self-reliance and independence, FOOD is going to be the single most important commodity in your life in the 21st century.

During a SHTF situation, pain could become an annoyance for some, but unbearable for others.

If doctors are scarce and medicine becomes even scarcer, this one little weed, found all over North America and similar to morphine, could be a saving grace.

Best by Confusion

Most people believe that the date on the can of food or the package of food at the supermarket is religion. They believe that food past that date is trash.

These best by dates are part of a very interesting misunderstanding that few people clarify. The industry has used this confusion to sell more food!

If people knew the intent of the best by date, rather than the perceived notion, they would buy less food and hold onto what is in their pantry for much longer.

Best by is a quality date. When a food item is produced in a batch, the company is putting its name and reputation out on the market with that product. That food item will not taste the same way forever. There will come a time when a can of soup starts to taste different because of the time in the can. A packaged baked good will taste different after a length of time passes.

Once the taste is compromised, it is no longer representative of that brand and its reputation. It is no longer at its BEST.

Of course, it can be eaten for a long time past that date. Keep that in mind.

Here are 5 delicious recipes with ingredients that last 100 years:

#1. Rice and Bean Soup

5 Delicious Recipes Made with Ingredients that Last 100 Years

The ingredients you will need are:

  • 1 Cup of Red Beans
  • ¼ Cup of Rice
  • 6 Cups of water
  • 1 Tsp of Chili Powder, Garlic Powder and Turmeric, each
  • 1 Bouillon Cube.

The first thing to do is soak your beans in warm water overnight.

The next day, start by cooking your beans in 6 cups of water and simmer them for about 4 hours or until they are soft. Do not add salt until your beans are soft, or it could prevent them from ever getting tender.

Once the beans have gotten tender, you will add your bouillon cube and spices. Next add your rice and simmer the soup until your rice has cooked through. At this point you can adjust seasoning to your preference with salt and pepper.

Here are 23 survival uses for honey that you didn’t knowabout.

#2. Smoked Fish and Dried Potato Cakes

5 Delicious Recipes Made with Ingredients that Last 100 Years

For this second recipe you will need:

  • 1 Cup of Smoked White Fish
  • 2 Cups of Dried Potato Flakes, Dices or Powder
  • ¼ Cup of Flour
  • ¼ Cup of water
  • 1 Egg.

Mix all your ingredients together in a bowl. Form them into patties. Fry on both sides in a cast iron skill with oil. Once they are crispy on both sides, they are ready. Drain excess oil and eat.

#3. Red Wheat Berry Cereal

5 Delicious Recipes Made with Ingredients that Last 100 Years

The ingredients needed are:

  • 2 Cups Hard Red Wheat
  • 7 Cups Water
  • 1 Cup of Oats
  • ¼ Cup of Powdered Milk
  • 1 Cup Cooked Wheat Berries
  • Salt to taste
  • Cinnamon.

First, cook the wheat berries for one hour in your 7 cups of water, and add salt to make them tender.

Next cook your cup of oats ’till almost done and add your powdered milk and wheat berries. Stir in some cinnamon to taste and you are ready to serve this breakfast up.

New Survival Energy Product Makes Every Window A Powerful Solar Charger

#4. Ramen with Jerky and Egg

5 Delicious Recipes Made with Ingredients that Last 100 Years

The ingredients you’ll need are:

  • 4 Packs of Beef Ramen
  • 1 lb of Beef Jerky
  • Fresh or Frozen Soup Vegetables (corn, peas, potatoes)
  • Tbsp of Dashi Powder.

This is a super easy recipe. Make your Ramen by package directions. Add your soup vegetables, dashi and bring back to a simmer. Take it off the heat and stir in your jerky.

#5. Pemmican and Lentils

5 Delicious Recipes Made with Ingredients that Last 100 Years

This recipe calls for 6 ingredients only:

  • 1 Cup of Lentils
  • 1-2 lbs of Pemmican
  • 2 Cups of Water
  • 1 Beef Bouillon Cube
  • 1 Tbsp of Curry Powder
  • 1 Onion, Diced

Start your onion in a pan with a little bit of oil. Sauté the onion over low heat until it goes translucent. Add your lentils and cook them for a minute or so.

Add your water, curry powder and bouillon cube to the pan. Simmer your lentils until they are soft.

In a separate bowl add your pemmican. Drain your lentils and add them to the bowl. Toss the mix sparingly and serve.

These ingredients that last 100 years or more, should be found in every prepper’s pantry.  Which of these ingredients are in your pantry?

Preparedness Hacks: Once a nuke is heading your way, you might think that there isn’t much left to do, but you would be wrong!

Because we will show you America’s natural nuclear bunkers that are also EMP proof. When the sirens start wailing, all you need to do is pick the closest one to your home, where you can take cover before it hits.

24 Lost Survival Tips from 100 Years Ago – with Illustrations

When we’ll have no running water, no hyperactive emergency services, no electricity… we are going to turn back to what people did 100 years ago. Here you’ll find some “little” survival tricks popular in the early 1900’s and (some of them) useful even today.

100 years ago Gallaher Ltd printed a short “How-To” series, with clever hints for emergency situations. The cards were distributed with packs of cigarettes. All the pictures bellow are part of the George Arents Collection, The New York Public Library. Please enjoy the article.

During a SHTF situation, pain could become an annoyance for some, but unbearable for others.

If doctors are scarce and medicine becomes even scarcer, this one little weed, found all over North America and similar to morphine, could be a saving grace.

1. How to Extract a Splinter


Take a wide mouthed bottle and fill it with hot water nearly to the brim. Now press the affected hand or foot tightly against the mouth of the bottle.

This will then cause a suction and pull the flesh down. The suction plus the steam will help pull out the splinter.

2. How to Make an Emergency Water Filter

A handy and efficient water filter can be made out of an ordinary bucket.

First make a hole at the bottom of the bucket.

Instructions: “The water percolates through the layers of fine and coarse sand, and clean picked gravel and stones, with which the pail is filled, filtering through to the bottom in a clear state.”

One of the best layers you should add to this bucket is one made of charcoal.

3. How to Engrave on a Knife


This method was widely used during the Middle Ages and all the engravings in swords or armors. Here are some armors engraved using this traditional way.

Instructions: “The steel to be worked upon should be covered completely with a coating of beeswax. The lettering or design to be engraved can then be drawn with the point of a clean quill pen. This lays bare the metal. A strong solution of sulphate of iron should then be repeatedly poured over the exposed surface for about ten minutes. The more prolonged the action of the sulphate the deeper will the steel be engraved.”

4. How to Make a Fire Extinguisher

Although is good to know, probably none of us will make these old fashion extinguishers since is much easier to buy one. And because the new ones are more effective (I guess) and definitely safer.

Dissolve one pound of salt and half a pound of salt-ammoniac into two quarts of water. Then bottle the liquid in thin glass bottles holding about a quart each.

Should a fire break out, dash one or more bottles into the flames, and any serious outbreak will probably be averted.

5. How to Purify Water in a Cistern


Easy! Stir in a tablespoon of powdered alum.

After 30 minutes the alum cause the particles and the bacteria to bound together and cause them to drop to the bottom leaving a clear purified water.

A tablespoon or half an ounce of alum will purify from sixteen to twenty gallons of water.

6. How to Treat an Animal Bite

First tight a ligature round the limb above the wound. This will stop a little bit the bleeding and it will give you a better visibility to evaluate the wound.

The next advice given back then was: “Thoroughly cleanse the wound and if there is any suspicion of madness in the attacking animal the place should be well sucked and cauterized with luna caustic, or a white hot iron, after cutting away the surrounding flesh with a sharp clean knife.”

The advice was really good for that time, when there were no vaccines. And even today doctors recommend thoroughly washing the wound as soon as possible with soap and water for approximately five minutes (to reduce the number of rabies particles). Povidone iodine or alcohol is then recommended to reduce the virus further. When SHTF and we’ll no longer be able to access vaccines this is your only option available.

(Here are 23 survival uses for honey that you didn’t know about.)

7. How to Detect Escaping Gas

Gas leaks can be caused by faulty appliances, or by those that have been incorrectly installed or poorly maintained.

Some of us don’t even use gas anymore (like me) or some may have gas detectors, but either way, after an earthquake, or a hurricane or a tornado there will always be gas leaks.

This 100 years old method is risk free and quite reliable.

“Paint strong soap solution on the suspected length of pipe and the gas will then cause bubbles at the escaping point, which can be dealt with at once.”

8. How to Light a Match in the Wind


Instructions: “The familiar difficulty of lighting a match in the wind can be to a great extent overcome if thin shavings are first cut on the match towards its striking end, as shown in the picture.

On lighting the match, the curled strips catch fire at once; the flame is stronger and has a better chance.”

Preparedness Hacks: Once a nuke is heading your way, you might think that there isn’t much left to do, but you would be wrong!

Because we will show you America’s natural nuclear bunkers that are also EMP proof. When the sirens start wailing, all you need to do is pick the closest one to your home, where you can take cover before it hits.

9. How to Find a Lost Trail

If a trail is lost, there isn’t much to do but to search for it.

A very good way to do that is to mark the last foot-print or sign you notice as the center of the circle and go round it at a distance of anything from 30 to 100 yards.

The trail should be discovered somewhere crossing the circular track you are following.

10. How to Cure Chilblains

“A simple and homely remedy, which immediately relieves the irritation and pain caused by chilblains, is salt and fresh apple juice.

The affected parts are rubbed gently with a slice of apple dipped in common salt. A good juicy apple should be used.”

11. How to Secure Loose Hammers and Axe Heads


After wedging the handle of hammer as tight as possible, drill two holes at the end of wood and drive in two large screws.

An axe-head can be secured by boring a hole through the haft just bellow head and wiring through the hole and over top.

The wire should be twisted and staple driven into a hold position.

12. How to Tell the Points of the Compass with a Watch


Take the watch of your hand. Point the hour hand at the sun and then lay a piece of wire or a blade of grass crosswise between the hour hand and the figure twelve.

The end of the wire between the twelve and the hour hand points south.

13. A Simple Cure for Catarrh


Treatment for catarrh may not be necessary because it often disappears within a few days, after your body has fought off the infection. But in some cases it doesn’t go away and it can be a health problem, especially for the underfed. In food crisis when people are poorly fed, these low-risk diseases kill more people than starvation itself.

Instructions: “Take a pinch of ordinary table salt up the nostrils, just as you would a pinch of snuff.

Then gargle the mouth and throat with warm water, being careful not to swallow it.

Do this each morning before breakfast.”

14. Three Useful Knots


No. 1 is the Timber Hitch, which is especially useful in lifting all kinds of heavy work, such as huge beams.

No. 2, the Fisherman’s Knot, shows a good method of joining two ropes tightly together.

No. 3 is the famous Clove Hitch, which becomes tighter the harder it is pulled.

15. How to Bandage a Foot

A traditional method used to make the inflammation heal faster (especially for sprain ankles) was to place a leaf of cabbage between the bandage and the ankle.

In the picture: “Rest injured foot on operator’s knee on a clear towel.

Commence bandaging in manner shown by the lower diagram, the bandage being bound over and round the back of foot in spiral fashion, and eventually fixed by means of a safety pin, just beneath ankle, as shown in upper illustration.”

(Here are 21 wild edibles you can find in urban areas.)

16. How to Make Roller Bandages


Instructions: “A roller bandage must be rolled evenly and tightly, so in the absence of a machine a chair will serve this purpose.

The picture illustrates procedure. Whilst one person carefully rolls another pulls tight opposite end of the bandage, and at the same time sees that no folds or creases are allowed to form.”

17. How to Fell a Tree

Having decided which side you wish the tree to fall, cut alternatively a downward and inward cut as you can see in the picture – in this order.

When about half through, proceed to cut the other side a few inches higher, and finally pull tree down with the help of a rope.

In a survival situation (and not only) you can use trees for their nutritious sap.

18. How to Build a Simple Shelter


Instructions: “A simple shelter can be made by driving two forked sticks into the ground and connecting these by a pole resting on them.

Branches are then laid resting on the pole. The right angle should be around 45 degrees, and the screen fitted up with smaller branches, ferns, etc.”

19. How to Make a Water Fountain for Chickens

Instructions: “A simple water fountain, ensuring a supply of fresh water for the chickens, can be made from a pint wine bottle, supported by wire loops to a wooden upright as shown.

The bottle is inverted over an earthenware pan, with the mouth of the bottle about half an inch above the bottom of pan.”

I see that now there are even some “rodent resistant chicken feeders” which can be used together with the water fountain if you leave for 2-3 days.

20. How to Remove Foreign Particles from the Eye


Few things are more irritating than having something in the eye.

“Drop sweet or castor oil into the corner of the eye. Picture shows a ready method of allowing drop of oil to fall into eye from the poim of a paint brush.”

If the particle is of mortar or lime, bathe eye with weak vinegar and water.

21. How to Make a Chair to Cross a Stream

If your group has one or more people who cannot (maybe there are wounded) or don’t know how to swim, you might want to find a simple solution to help him cross a river. If there are nearby trees – and usually near rivers there are – all you need is a rope.

Fasten a strong rope to a tree and let somebody (who can swim) go across the stream and fasten the other end to a tree on an opposite bank.

Use another rope to improvise a chair fastening it into a running loop. “By means of a light rope fastened to the middle of (the) chair and held by someone at each end, those unable to swim are safely passed over.”

These Solar Backup Generators Deliver 4 Times More Power Than Other Models!

22. Keeping Plants Watered While Away on Holiday

There are many simple and cheap DIY tricks to keep your green friends properly hydrated so that you don’t return home to a house full of wilting and yellowing plants.

A traditional method is to fill a large bucket with water, and place it a little above the level of the plants.

You can group round or near as many plants as you want. Place one end of a strand of wool in the bucket and the other one to the plant.

You can place as many yarns as you want.

23. Rescue from Fire


If it is necessary to enter a burning house in a search of unconscious persons, or to save a family member, first place a wet bandage over your nose and mouth and crawl in on all fours. You do this because the only Oxigen you may find is on close to the floor. (and the visibility is better)

Place a rope around his ankles. The other end of the rope around your chest or shoulders.

Then turn your back on him and drag him out. (you’re going on all fours with rope underneath)

24. How to Preserve Eggs


Preserve only eggs that are newly laid. Bury them in a box of salt.

This traditional way of keeping eggs has been almost forgotten. The eggs last about an year when they are totally buried in the salt. No air whatever must be allowed to get at the shells.

This way you’ll have eggs and salt for survival.

25. How to Treat Sprains

Elevate the injured joint and wrap in cloths wrung out in cold water. The picture shows how to keep the cloths constantly wet without having to change them.

Place a jug of water higher than the injured limb and a strip of linen with one end in the jug and the other end resting upon the wrapping of sprained joint.

The water will pass from the jug to compress keeping it constantly wet and cold.

The SHTF we all prep for is what folks 150 years ago called daily life. A hundred years ago people knew how to do a lot of things – that we now take for granted. Learning how to do stuff on your own is one of the most important things that one can do to prepare… And in time of crisis you need to be able to support and sustain your family without much outside aid.

Experts predict that an EMP strike that wipes out electricity across the nation would ultimately lead to the demise of up to 90% of the population. However, this figure begs an important question: if we were able to live thousands of years without even the concept of electricity, why would we suddenly all die without it?

I Don’t Think Cities Will be Completely Devoid Of People In A SHTF Event. I Think Some Will Find A Way to Survive As Humans Have for A Long Time: Is Urban Survival Possible?

There is a mantra within the hallowed halls of prepper knowledge, lore and opinion that goes something like this. The only way to survive TEOTWAWKI is to find a hidden retreat far away from any city of significant size and live there as self-sustainably as possible year round. This idea of the survival retreat has been around for years and it is actually a lifestyle I aspire to for myself and my family. I dream of a fortified home in the woods, streams rolling through my mountain location, solar arrays, livestock in fences, wild game aplenty and wood burning stove goodness all around me. There is one major problem with this mantra though and that is the prospect of moving everything we have and living in a cabin in the woods is nearly impossible for the large majority of us.

If you accept the argument that the hinter boonies are your best chance of survival, then the flip-side of the mantra and conventional wisdom is that everyone living in or near the cities will die. It can give you the idea that you are doomed unless you are living in Northern Idaho, chopping wood for your stove and tending to your garden every day of your life. Is that the only choice we have? Does ultimate survival come down to either living in a small handful of states or you are screwed – no matter what? Is Urban Survival an oxymoron? If you aren’t one of the lucky ones who lives 2 hours away from the nearest Walmart are you doomed to die a horrible death? The real question for the majority of preppers is this; is Urban Survival possible?

The problem with surviving in urban environments

I will readily concede that you have problems living in urban environments that will make survival tougher. Larger cities have a higher population of people living in closer confines. This makes any available resources like food and fuel deplete much faster in times of crisis just because there is greater demand for these resources. Sheer numbers overwhelm the system more quickly and the panic associated with a larger mass of people spreads faster, it is more chaotic and violent. It would be like a swarm of locusts.

Urban environments are a larger risk for terrorist attacks because of the higher concentration of people and media attention. If you blow up a few buildings in New York you will cause a much bigger stir (and kill more people most likely) than blowing up the same number of buildings in Steamboat Springs CO. It is the same with virus or disease in that it spreads much faster in higher concentrations of people. Larger cities pose a larger risk to a numerically higher number of lives so risk to your life is higher.

Additionally, urban environments for the most part have limited natural resources unless you consider buildings, parking lots and concrete or asphalt natural resources. Sure, there are trees in cities, even New York has Central Park, but can you imagine how long it would take for Central Park to have every single one of its trees chopped down if some catastrophe happened and people needed wood fires to keep their families alive? Some major cities are built along rivers, but the water is usually so polluted you wouldn’t want to bathe in it much less try to eat anything that lived in there. Along with that lack of natural resources, there is not an abundance of good soil for growing food, at least not in quantities sufficient to support the populations of those cities.

I am not saying that you have a better chance for survival in cities, but I think we should be looking for options in every prepping scenario.

Are there any advantages to urban environments?

Yes, there are definite problems with urban survival chances, but do cities offer any advantages at all? I think you could find some benefits if you know what you are looking for. For starters, cities offer much more secure buildings than rural environments. Large concrete buildings are much better at stopping bullets than the walls of any suburban home. I think cities would offer you a greater supply of materials to use in a worst case scenario as well. If things got so bad you had to outfit your vehicle, Ala Mad Max, all of those spikes and metal would be much easier to find in cities.

Scrap metal, fencing, chains, wires and building materials as well as spare auto parts (batteries and tires) would be much easier scavenged in a city. Try building a fence out of trees or a coconut battery… Yes, this is a worst case scenario but I wanted to at least discuss some of the potential upsides as opposed to simply saying if you live in the cities you will die. Cities offer a lot of advantages in the form of security and observation simply because you have tall, semi-hardened structures. You can position look outs on 4 buildings a few blocks apart and using simple FRS radios, command a huge area.

What do you need for urban survival?

So now we have discussed some of the drawbacks and possible resources you could take advantage of, what is really needed for urban survival? The simple fact is that you need the same things for survival in the cities as you do in the suburbs. The difference is finding some opportunities you might be able to use to your advantage if you find yourself stuck in the city after a disaster.


Food is a constant survival need and I recommend stocking up as much food that you normally eat as possible and augment that with some amounts of long-term storable food like freeze-dried food or MRE’s. What will you do when your food supplies are gone? You will need to do what the people in the burbs are doing and that is bust up some ground and get your food growing as soon as possible. As a backup I recommend having a supply of Heirloom seeds with which to do this, but starting now will give you the best chance of long-term urban survival. That is assuming your city wasn’t nuked of course.


Food co-ops are a great idea, but you will have to rely on yourself for food in a survival situation. Roof gardens would be one way to grow vegetables. Could this feed a whole building? I don’t know but it is an option you have in the city that could allow for food production within the safety of your higher vantage point. Another option that the city affords is a high number of homes in a relatively small area. Each of these homes may have food or supplies after a collapse (assuming of course nobody is living in there) that could be available for scavenging. Scavenging is a polarizing subject I understand, but would be a possibility in a worst case scenario.


Rainwater collection might be a little harder in the city as most buildings have flat roofs that house equipment, but if you have a flat surface that collects water that can be diverted into tanks, it should work the same as anywhere else. Another aspect of city living is that almost every building has water sprinkler systems and these can hold many thousands of gallons of water that should be safe for drinking or can be filtered with a good gravity filter. The trick would be to find the main drain valve which is commonly found in a stairwell on the same floor as the fire sprinkler heads that it supplies. The water may be draining outside so don’t turn that knob unless you know where the water will be coming out. Optionally, some buildings have water tanks right on the roof.

Fire hydrants also are a good source for water and if you find a low hydrant (lower elevation) you may be able to get millions of gallons from that source alone.


This to me seems to be one of the benefits of urban environments that of course is weighed against the risks. There should be an abundance of shelter options for you but safety will be an issue here. In a TEOTWAWKI scenario, many people will leave, many could die. There should be available shelter that you can find. I would try to get up as high as possible and work on fortifying my entryway so that I could really make it difficult for anyone to get in. I would look for warehouses with heavy metal doors before shops with glass windows, but you may have to look at several places before you find a suitable location.

It aint pretty, but it could keep you alive.

Shelter in this regard is primarily going to be focused with keeping you out of the elements initially. For something more permanent, I would be looking to live with a larger group of people for common defense and shared work duties. Could these be the people currently living in your building? Could you control access to your building now or after some fairly simple fortifications?


Safety of the people in your group will be extremely important and this will rely on having observation at all times, a good communication system and a plan to deter threats. Solar panels situated on the roof of buildings could keep your power supply from being noticed (unless there is someone in a higher building) from the ground and reduce the risk of theft.

Solar panels mounted to the roof will reduce risk of detection or theft.

Access control to stairwells could prevent attackers from sneaking up unannounced. Barricades could be easily constructed from old furniture or equipment, even sections of fence. The height of the buildings will give you vantage points and could allow you to funnel any traffic into one location that could be manned by a couple of people with radio access to a spotter on the roof.

Would all of this be possible? It would depend on the disaster, where you are, what you have with you and a lot of other things. Would urban survival be more difficult? Maybe, but I don’t think it is hopeless. Unless there was some serious issue driving you out of the city, it may be safer to stay while everyone leaves and tries to survive on the road or in the woods.

I don’t think cities will be completely devoid of people in a SHTF event. I think some will find a way to survive as humans have for a long time.

Post SHTF Economics: How to Survive when Money Becomes Useless

In the event of a social collapse, it will become everyone for themselves. Those who have prepared for that moment may feel like they are sitting pretty, but that does not mean their initial preparations will be sufficient forever. All it takes is one unaccountable factor to throw your plans down the drain.

In this instance, you may not struggle to survive–depending on your knowledge of survival–but you will still be doing without. Moreover, the natural progression of time will ultimately cause your stores of rarer items to diminish as well. As such, you will want to be able to acquire various goods and items no matter the quality of your preparations. But once society collapses, so too does the economy–or does it.

Without a government to ensure the value of a currency, people will naturally return to a barter system. Of course, disaster will place certain goods and services above all others, but that is where a bit of thought and further preparation can lead to security and even profit.closeVolume 0% 

  1. Gold

It is a fairly well-known fact that valuable metals have a tendency to maintain their value even through the harshest of conditions. Even thousands of years ago who many people were still struggling to scrabble out a consistent means of living, the luster of gold still pulled strongly at the desires of people.

As such, when disaster strikes and the current paper fiat money is considered worthless except as kindling and toilet paper, it will be a good idea to have some non-functional item that can still be reliably bartered with value. If you have been prepping for any length of time, then you have likely already stumbled across numerous people and posts suggesting that you purchase gold.

This is a great investment in a survival economy as gold will retain a fairly high value while remaining durable and resistant to the elements. Just make sure that the gold is stored safely away in a secure location, preferably one that is not in or next to your bug out location.

Because of its durability, gold can be burrowed away pretty much anywhere and suffer little to no damage beyond some minor tarnishing that can be easily cleaned. Also, do not get bullion. It may be “efficient,” but people will not often be able to trade with it at value, and bullion can be difficult lugging around.

  1. Alcohol

Alcohol has existed since the Stone Age, and there is no reason to suggest that demand for the intoxicating elixir would do anything but rise should society and the economy collapse. It has been well-documented even in relatively modern times that when the world struggles or seems to be going mad, people often retire to the comforts of drunkenness to ease their worries.

Of course, alcohol can come in handy for other reasons as well. Isopropyl alcohol, or rubbing alcohol, will only last for so long. After that, people will have to once again return to ethanol alcohol to disinfect open wounds to prevent infection and tissue corruption. In this instance, alcohol will be able to provide value even to people who do not want to drink it.

One thing to keep in mind is that you will want to stockpile hard liquor over wine or beers. For beer the reasons are manifold in that once the beer can no longer be kept refrigerated, it will quickly sour. However, for both wine and beer, the relatively low alcohol content of both will decrease their overall trade value.

As such, any alcohol you stockpile for trading purposes should be at least 80 proof, or 40 percent alcohol by volume. For one, weaker alcohols will not work effectively as a disinfectant, but it also comes down to economics. Stronger alcohol will be worth more and can even be traded in smaller amounts.

  1. Cigarettes

Much like alcohol, tobacco is another item that is generally seen as a vice which can maintain a high degree of value once the economy collapses. Moreover, cigarettes have the additional advantage of creating a physiological addiction in smokers, making them far more likely to engage in barter or trade for them–potentially to your advantage.

Beyond serving as a simple product of vice, tobacco can also be used for a number of genuine survival applications as well–something we cover in my extended bug out guide. This makes cigarettes similar to alcohol in regards to providing value and appeal to non-smokers as well–though you may need to explain this to them.

One issue that tobacco presents that alcohol does not is a limited shelf life. In fact, compared to alcohol, cigarettes are downright fragile, though they will last for up to five years if properly stored. Beyond that, the tobacco will begin to break down, though, by that point, smokers will likely still be willing to trade just to take what they can get.

When selecting cigarettes for stockpiling purposes, do not get menthol varieties. For one, not everyone who smokes prefers menthols, but all smokers will smoke non-menthol cigarettes. Also, menthol cigarettes get their minty quality not from mentholated eucalyptus or some other plant but from fiberglass. This can reduce its survival effectiveness in other areas.

  1. Social Skills

As noted previously, one should not underestimate the value of strong social skills when disaster strikes. Aside from the fact that it will aid your own party in communicating, your interactions with other people will carry with them a much heavier weight than they do today. As such, ensuring that those interactions occur as much in your favor as possible is a vital resource.

For one, you may very well need to explain to people why your trade goods are worth the value you assign them. For alcohol, many people are likely to know that it can serve as a disinfectant. However, the therapeutic effects of tobacco may not be nearly as well represented. Being able to effectively and convincingly explain this and other qualities can go a long way in not only ensuring you receive a fair value for your goods but in brokering a deal in the first place.

One thing to keep in mind, you will not want to present yourself as the holder of the goods you are trading. This simply makes you a target for other people who might use the prospect of trading to find people to loot. Instead, position yourself as the “middle man” of your own goods. That way, even if the potential traders would otherwise intend to steal the goods, they may think twice before burning such a resourceful “contact.”

  1. Survival Skills

Following the principle of using social skills to explain the value of items to those who may not be as well versed in survival preparation, survival skills, in general, can be equally as valuable as a trade when it comes to a post-collapse economy. Remember, chances are the overwhelming majority of the population will not possess these skills.

Instead, people will simply revert to a scavenger system for as long as supplies last. Once those supplies are gone through, then people will be desperate. Being able to trade with survival skills can actually work to your benefit in two ways. First, you are able to provide a service that costs you little more than time and elbow grease. Second, you may help ensure that a scavenger does not feel the need to become a looter making you and your party safer.

Another great benefit of survival skills in a barter system is that you do not necessarily need to teach your trading partners the skill. Instead, you can simply perform the skill while retaining the knowledge. This will ensure a steady demand for your services and make you indispensable as a resource not to be abused. Conversely, you can teach some skills, like fire making, which will be necessary more when you are not present than when you are, at a higher trade value.

  1. Performance Skills

Rounding out our list of tradable services for a barter economy, performance skills can be deceptively valuable. Keep in mind, you will definitely only be able to play this kind of trade if you are above average in the performative skill, but if you are, it can serve as a lucrative service which will similarly be in short supply.

Keep in mind, when society collapses, people will likely be far too focused on survival to worry much about entertainment. However, this does not mean that their need for entertainment and a break from the struggles of survival will simply fade away. In this regard, performative skills can serve similarly to alcohol except their supply never exhausts.

Granted, you are unlikely to command a significant value for performance skills–even at a master level–in a disaster scenario, but being able to acquire some rare food or another type of supply for five to ten minutes of light labor is no small task. Of course, identifying the performative skill will be the trick.

Music is an excellent option here. If you know how to play an instrument that can easily be carried, make it a point to practice and maintain or improve your skills. Storytellers can also ply their trade, though this one will be a bit more difficult to barter with. Regardless, performances of any sort at a high enough skill level can serve well for low-value trade that costs you little to nothing.

  1. Entertainment

Following the performance skill premise, people will still want to be entertained even when you are not nearby–which will likely be most of the time. In this instance, they are liable to turn to items that can be easily carried and still provide an extended and enduring form of entertainment. Chances are, you have already prepped for such a need.

In this regard, entertainment items can provide a high value, especially if they are kept in good condition. Arguably the most easily tradable entertainment item will be a deck of cards. With hundreds of possible games all easily held in a compact and light form, cards can provide limitless entertainment and be easily carried for trading purposes. Remember, most people are liable to ignore this need at first, and by the time they get around to it, playing cards may be in short supply.

Another decent, though by no means as efficient, entertainment item is a book. Because they have a lengthy investment, they can serve adequately for this purpose. However, books have a fairly low repeat value–depending on the genre. Moreover, books are also much bulkier and heavier than playing cards. As such, this potential trading item is more suited for barter once you have already settled into your bug out shelter than when you are still bugging out.

  1. Hygiene

This is another category that is liable to get lost in the shuffle by unprepared people–in the beginning at least. With the constant need for food, water, shelter, and clothing, hygiene is liable to fall precipitously down the list of priorities. For as much of a priority as it is in modern, civilized life, hygiene takes a back seat in a survival scenario.

That being said, even those struggling to survive will welcome the opportunity to wash the grime of the world off of their bodies. Even more, the ability to maintain your hygiene can also improve your survival chances, something most preppers already know. As such, hygiene items can be billed as both a vanity and necessity item. Just remind your potential trade partners of the various issues poor hygiene can present, and they will likely beg to trade with you. After all, no one wants to die because they did not have soap to wash up after removing a splinter.

In this instance, bars of soap, tubes of toothpaste, and toothbrushes are liable to be your most valuable hygiene items. Bars of soap are long-lasting and compact, making them great for travel. Toothpaste and toothbrushes may have a shorter shelf life–the former at least–but a reminder of how poor oral health can quickly lay them low should be all it takes to broker an exchange.

  1. Food

This is where things can get a bit tricky. If you have already made all of the necessary preparations, food should not be much of an issue. Your stockpiles should be able to handle months to years worth of feeding your party. Moreover, you should likely have started some form of homesteading ahead of time and even some potential husbandry.

As such, this resource falls under the assumption that your own food needs are more than met with abundance. If this is the case, then food will likely be one of the highest value items that you can trade. Of course, as such a high-value item, food will also be coveted and one of the more likely to draw the attention of looters pretending to trade.

Regardless, it is important to balance your own needs with the potential value different foodstuffs offer. For instance, canned and other preserved food will fetch the highest value after a few months once all the stores have been scavenged. Of course, this holds true for you as well, so make sure you have a steady supply of fresh food while still ensuring you keep plenty of preserved food just in case.

Still, meat will easily be the most valuable food you can trade since most people will have difficulty obtaining it. Fishing, hunting, and traps can all serve as a reliable source of meat. If your bug out location has chickens or other egg-laying fowl, this too can fetch a high value for those who cannot otherwise get their hands on protein.

  1. Water

Similarly to food, water is another resource that is extremely valuable. In fact, water will arguably be the most valuable resource in the event of societal collapse. That said, your ability to procure clean, fresh water for you and your party first becomes even more of a priority when considering water as a bartering tool.

If you do not have a source of clean, fresh water nearby, this may not be a viable option. Of course, once you settle into your bug out shelter, you can set up water farms. Solar stills, beach wells, and transpiration bags may help you survive in moderation, but if you can set up twenty or more, you can likely collect more water than you need to drink.

If your bug out shelter and location is large enough, you may be able to set up dozens of these water collectors. Depending on the size of your party and the necessary tasks for maintaining your shelter, this can actually become a bit of a cash crop–especially if you are located in an arid region.

That said, this is another situation where simply trading the resource can be risky. However as food may be valuable to a hungry person, water is far more valuable to someone who is dehydrated. As such, be careful when trading water, and definitely, make sure to present yourself as a middleman in this situation.


Some people might suggest that you should use ammunition as a bartering tool if society collapses. This is a trap. Ammunition will become one of the most important items after a collapse, and even if you have a large stockpile, it is not worth it. In fact, you should be the one trading for ammunition, even if you have crates of ammo.

Still, many of the items on our list are either extra, effort, or in excess should you properly prepare ahead of time. As such, all of the entries on our list are excellent bartering tools and should place you in a prime position to master the emergent economy after SHTF.

What Happens When the Government Becomes Your Worst Enemy- Under martial law, police and military forces have beaten hundreds or perhaps even thousands of innocent people

Chile has struggled to become a thriving democracy. Once a dictatorship under Augusto Pinochet, the country has gone through considerable turmoil since his death. Capitalism has not treated everyone fairly in this country, even though Pinochet was once lauded for the dynamic free-market economy he created, once cited as the “model for the developing world.”

By no means has Chile been the only country which has struggled to become a free-market democracy. Russia is still struggling, decades after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Iraq really hasn’t accepted democracy as a political model, even after enormous amounts of investment by the US government. Other countries have struggled as well, but not with the same results.

Much of the problem that Chile has been experiencing has been due to the vast income inequality that exists in that country. While there are portions of the population which are thriving, many others are still suffering, especially those who are dependent on retirements that were established under the Pinochet regime. Many schoolteachers are still working into their 80’s, because they can’t survive on their $300 a month pension.

For those working in non-skilled jobs, public transit to take them to and from their work costs as much as 21% of their weekly wages. Thus, when the government announced a 30 peso rise in the cost of the metro, it was met with anger. A student-led protest, called evasión swarmed the metro, jumping the turnstiles to avoid paying the increased fare. Workers took advantage of the opportunity to save a little money and joined the protest.

While protests are nothing new in Chile, these seem to have gained traction. A demonstration which started in the capital has now spread to many of the major cities, with continued evasión of fares and widespread protests in the streets.

It appears that socialist organizers and anarchists have joined in the protests, working to turn it to their political ends. As in many such cases, word coming out of Chile is a bit confused, with each side accusing the other of what they themselves are doing. Much of the reporting is tainted by the political leanings of the reporters who are on the scene. But one thing is certain, the government’s response doesn’t stand up under scrutiny.

The Government’s Response

President Sebastián Piñera has declared that his country is “at war.” But if it is, it’s a war between the government and the citizens. While some government response is required to the violent acts of the protesters, that should be a police response, arresting the worst of the offenders and those who are inciting others to commit illegal acts. Protests, as our own government has learned, are not the reason to call out military forces armed and equipped to use deadly force.

What Happens When the Government Becomes Your Worst Enemy

We’ve seen that before in this country; at Kent State University in 1970. National Guard troops were called out in response to a protest. Although the National Guard does receive some training in how to respond to a riot, they are first and foremost soldiers, equipped and trained to kill, not to arrest people. In this case, the results were four dead college students and another nine who were injured.

The soldiers on the streets of Chile reminded many of the older citizens of the years of Chilean dictatorship, when such sights were common; a parallel that was lost on the students who started the protest. For the older citizens, that sight struck fear in their hearts.

The government has admitted to eight people being killed in the protests, but information leaking out of the country claims over 20 killed. There are also widespread reports of police and military brutality against the population, including against people who were not protesting, but merely in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Martial law was declared by the President, early on in the protests, allowing for the use of military forces and imposing ever more restrictive curfews on the people. Interestingly enough, whenever the protesters have gotten the upper hand, troops have retreated to wealthy areas of the cities, focusing on protecting the wealth centers. It seems clear from that action alone, that the leadership of the country is only interested in protecting their financial standing, not protecting the people.

Under martial law, police and military forces have beaten hundreds or perhaps even thousands of innocent people, often plucking them off the streets in civilian clothes, in an attempt to hide their identity. Civil rights are being trampled daily, as the government attempts to regain control.

Could that Happen Here?

Regardless of where you stand politically, Americans have grown afraid of politicians on the other side, especially as the political divide has grown. Each side assumes that the other is likely to declare martial law, on the thinnest of pretexts, imprisoning those who have declared themselves aligned with the other side. Yet that sort of thing has never happened in this country. For that matter, we haven’t seen people rounded up and put in any sort of detention camps since World War II.

Those on the left decry the “oligarchy” regularly, declaring that this country is actually run by them. But I’d like to propose a different viewpoint on that. That is, every government that has ever existed has been an oligarchy of one sort or another. Even monarchies are oligarchies, as the wealth is concentrated in the hands of the royalty.

Successful merchants could buy themselves titles under such a regime, gaining political respectability. But that’s not all they bought; they bought access to the throne, the seat of power. That’s what their titles and their money did for them, just like the oligarchy we have today.

Why is this important? Because in reality it has always been the oligarchy, the elite, who have been in control. I don’t care if you’re talking about the Rothchilds, the Bilderberg group, George Soros or our own political parties, they have kept the power to themselves. Much of the reason why they hate President Trump, is that he has defied their rule and has been working to do whatever he can to overthrow it.

What Happens When the Government Becomes Your Worst Enemy

As we’ve seen in the last few years, these power-brokers will do whatever they have to, in order to keep their power. Rumors have existed for years about how the Clintons have done away with anyone who could be a whistleblower on their nefarious actions. The same sort of rumors existed about Obama when he was in office. I’m sure if we searched around the world, we would find many more examples.

The accumulation of power and money is the central focus of these people’s lives. As such, they will do whatever it takes to retain that money and power. They don’t mind if we “little people” accumulate wealth or even some local power; but they aren’t sharing theirs with us. They will use whatever they have to, in order to keep control. Whatever they have to includes military forces.

These power brokers have control of large portions of our government, just like they do in other countries. As long as things go their way, they will allow us the illusion of our freedom. But if things don’t go their way, you can be sure they will take the necessary action to retain power.

What that Means for Us

One big difference between the United States and Chile is the Second Amendment. Even though there are those who are constantly chipping away, trying to take that right, the Second Amendment guarantees our right to keep and bear arms. There is no such equivalent in Chile.

That’s not to say that the Chilean people can’t own firearms. They can; but there are huge hurdles to overcome in order to get a permit to own one. Even bigger hurdles exist to having a permit to carry that gun outside your home. On top of that, private ownership of semi-automatic arms is prohibited.

Should martial law ever be declared in the United States, you can almost guarantee that it will be accompanied by widespread gun confiscation. This happened in New Orleans, in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. Probably the only thing that kept that from turning ugly and kept armed citizens from defending their right to keep and bear arms, was that there were so few of them still in the city; government forces had them outnumbered.

Many have declared that widespread gun confiscations would result in civil war. I tend to agree with that. While there are many gun owners who would give up their guns, albeit reluctantly, rather than fight government troops, there are enough of us who would stand up for our rights. How that war would end is anyone’s guess.

Recently, the new Democrat majority in Virginia’s state legislature passed a number of very restrictive gun control laws, without taking into account public opinion. They ended up being forced to retract those laws, when citizens got up in arms about it and law enforcement officers declared that they would not enforce those laws.

The same thing has happened in other parts of the country, as Democrat controlled state legislatures have tried over and over again to tamper with our Second Amendment rights. But in each and every case, while there have been some who have complied like good little sheeple, the majority refused.

This means that any protests against government overreach here in the United States have the potential of becoming much more violent than they do in other countries. While those of us on the right, who own most of the guns, are not the kind to take violent action, there are always a few who don’t see it that way. All it takes is one or two of them to start the ball rolling, and things could turn ugly, real quickly.

A second American Civil War would be even bloodier than the first. Not only are there more privately owned guns in the hands of citizens, than there are citizens, but the level of military technology has increased by several orders of magnitude. Hunters alone have our military grossly outnumbered. On the other side, the military has all the tanks, planes and artillery. As I said, it would be bloody.

This is probably why there are those in government service who are so bent on disarming the population. It also explains why the AR-15 is the main target of these people. You can’t win a war with pistols and even trying to win it without semi-automatic rifles would be difficult. Those who want to control us don’t want us to be able to fight back.

Throughout the last century, there have been numerous examples of what happens when the government disarms the civilian population. What we’re seeing in Chile today is nothing new; it has been done time and time again. Those who want to be despotic dictators (regardless of what political name they hide behind) know they must disarm the people first. It’s much easier to get sheep to submit, than it is to get sheep dogs too. The sheep dogs have teeth.

If anything, Chile serves as one more reminder as to why we need to defend our Second Amendment rights. Otherwise, it’s much too easy for those who would take away what remains of our liberty, the freedom to do so.

How the Early Pioneers Preserved Food and What They Ate

When we think of the Wild West we often think of the old films with John Wayne or Clint Eastwood. They’d sit out under the stars, eating beans from a can and chewing tobacco. I grew up watching those films and I still can’t picture a cowboy without thinking of him walking cross the badlands spitting tobacco onto the sand.

But of course the Wild West of the films wasn’t quite the same as the real Wild West. The real Wild West was a very different place indeed. One of harsh conditions, lack of food and battles over land, like the Indian Wars. The frontiers people who came to the western states looking for a new life, had to be hardy folk, who had the skills to take care of themselves with little resources and scarce food availability. Many of the early arrivals came on foot, with pack horses or driving heavy-laden cows. Some even trundled their few household goods in wheelbarrows along the forest traits. Roads, over which oxen could draw covered wagons, had yet to be cleared.

During a SHTF situation, pain could become an annoyance for some, but unbearable for others.

If doctors are scarce and medicine becomes even scarcer, this one little weed, found all over North America and similar to morphine, could be a saving grace.

In this article, we’ll look at how the frontiers folk coped with food scarcity. How they used skills like hunting, like growing and gathering vegetables and the techniques they used to preserve food during often very hard winters.

Food, Food Glorious Food

The types of food that the pioneering folk ate were dependent on two things:

  1. The indigenous food stuffs available
  2. Provisions they pick up at the point of origin (these were non-perishables like, coffee, nuts, sugar and flour)

Indigenous food: Meat

Local food was either hunted or found. Buffalo and squirrel were two of the meats that were part of the staple diet, certainly of the early settlers. In the early days of the Wild West, buffalo roamed widely and freely across the plains. There was an estimated 40 million in North America in 1830; by 1889 there were 541. The reason for the sharp decline in numbers wasn’t due to cowboys feasting on buffalo meat. No, that was down to commercial hunting. Still, buffalo was part of the diet of the early settlers because of its abundance. Buffalo hunting took two forms, ‘running’ and ‘approaching’. Running, involved great horsemanship and marksmanship. The rider would chase up against the animal on horseback and raise his gun to shot the beast as it ran alongside. Good huntsmen were known to kill 5 or 6 animals in one hunt. It was a dangerous practice, if the animal was only wounded it could potentially turn on the rider and horse. Approaching involved the type of hunting our earliest forebears would have practiced, which is stalking and using understanding and knowledge of the beast’s behavior. The hunter would use his skill and guile, using his Winchester to kill his prey. Buffalo being big beast, would provide a lot of meat for many people. The problem was the storage of the meat, we’ll explore the methods used, later on.

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Other meats came straight from the forest. This included, squirrel, pigeon, rabbits, wild ducks, deer and in the far west, antelopes and elk. The latter were more difficult to hunt, as they were extremely fast and very alert.

In the early days of the Wild West, meat was abundant, but as more settlers arrived it became less so. However, this was offset by the increase in the farming of domestic animals like pigs.

Indigenous food: Vegetables

Vegetable gardening was one of the priorities of the early settlers of the Old West. Planting of a variety of vegetables, including, squash, beans, peas, sweet potatoes and potatoes, as well as onions cucumbers and melons, was part of the pioneer skill set. The Old West ‘kitchen garden’ was usually planted twice a year, much like modern vegetable patches. The spring garden would provide produce such as peas and early cabbages, whereas the late summer garden would provide food through to the early winter. This planning out of the patch was important to provide year round supplies and help avoid spoilage.

There were also plenty of wild vegetables available, such as wild onions, dandelions and dock as well as a variety of salad type leaves such as plantain. Fruits like chokeberries and huckleberries were available in places like Montana.

Here are 23 survival uses for honey that you didn’t know about.

Corn, a staple of early West settlement, was important as a vegetable, but also for bread and biscuit making. Corn was grown from south North Dakota though to Kansas, Nebraska, south Colorado, New Mexico and Arizona and many other places.

Making the Food Last

Miss Beecher’s Domestic Receipt Book

Organized planting of kitchen gardens was one way of ensuring year round produce, but there was a real requirement to find ways of keeping food for long lengths of time, especially over winter.

Frontiers people used a variety of techniques to preserve food.

Preserving Vegetables: Pickling

Scurvy was a problem over wintertime when fresh vegetables were very scarce. Catharine Beecher was the ‘go to’ authority on methods of preserving vegetables and her book “Miss Beecher’s Domestic Receipt Book” published in 1846 offered advise and recipes for pickling vegetables (see below for an example).

Here are 21 wild edibles you can find in urban areas.

Preserving Vegetables: Drying

Fruit and vegetables could be kept for extended periods by drying them out. This had to be done on a sunny day. The fruit would be prepared, often being cut into slices, then set under some light cloth (cheesecloth for example) and left out in a sunny spot. It was important not to let the fruit get too hot as this would cook it; but instead to dry it over a few days.

Preserving Meat: Salting

As soon as the animal was killed, the preparation for preserving the meat had to be made. Any meat not eaten immediately would go off quickly, especially in the summer months. The main method of preservation in the early day of the Wild West was to salt the meat. Again Catharine Beecher gave the settlers advise on how to do this (see her recipe below).

Preserving Meat: Drying

Drying meat was a recommended method for preserving beef and buffalo. Drying involved salting slices of meat, then laying the meat slices out for 2 weeks before then placing in brine for a further 3 weeks. After which the slices were dried with a cloth and hung in a cool dry place away from flies.

Preserving Meat: Smoking

This was probably the most complicated of all of the preservation techniques and involved specially prepared smoke houses. Typically, the meat would be salt cured first, sometimes using a mix of herbs for flavor. Then the meat would be hung in smoke houses over a hickory or oak based fire. The meat would hang in these smoke houses for up to a month.

Recipes That the Pioneer Used:

Pickling (the Miss Beecher way)

This recipe is taken directly from the Miss Beecher’s Domestic Receipt Book of 1846

“PICKLES.      Do not keep pickles in common earthenware, as the glazing contains lead, and combines with the vinegar.    Vinegar for pickling should be sharp, but not the sharpest kind, as it injures the pickles. If you use copper, bell metal, or brass vessels for pickling, never allow the vinegar to cool in them, as it then is poisonous. Add a tablespoonful of alum and a teacup of salt to each three gallons of vinegar, and tie up a bag with pepper, gingerroot, and spices of all sorts in it, and you have vinegar prepared for any kind of common pickling.   Keep pickles only in wood, or stoneware.      PICKLES.  Anything that has held grease will spoil pickles.  Stir pickles occasionally, and if there are soft ones, take them out and scald the vinegar, and pour it hot over the pickles. Keep enough vinegar to cover them well. If it is weak, take fresh vinegar, and pour on hot.  Do not boil vinegar or spice over five minutes.    To Pickle Tomatoes.    As you gather them, throw them into cold vinegar.  When you have enough, take them out, and scald some spices tied in a bag, in good vinegar, and pour it hot  over them. “

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Beef Jerky


  • Beef or buffalo

Jerky brine:

Note a modern marinade would include soy sauce and molasses.

  • 2 quarts water
  • 1 cup salt
  • ½ cup sugar
  • Black pepper
  • Mashed onion

Make up the brine solution, mixing all of the ingredients together.

Add the thinly sliced meat and mix through the brine solution until completely covered.

Place a plate, or similar, on top of the meat and press it down firmly onto the meat.

Leave in a cold place (ideally a refrigerator or similar) for around 8 hours.

Next rinse the brine off the meat with water and dry the meat slices with a cloth.

Air-dry the meat for an hour.

You can now add other flavorings, such as herbs or pepper.

Air-drying over several days in a hot climate was the original way jerky was made. However, safer ways include drying in a low heat oven. The oven has to be very low heat and it takes many hours for the jerky to dry out (it’s important not to let it ‘cook’). If you have a smoke house, use that, it makes great jerky.

Preparedness Hacks: Once a nuke is heading your way, you might think that there isn’t much left to do, but you would be wrong!

Because we will show you America’s natural nuclear bunkers that are also EMP proof. When the sirens start wailing, all you need to do is pick the closest one to your home, where you can take cover before it hits.

Salting Meat

This recipe is again taken directly from the Miss Beecher’s Domestic Receipt Book of 1846

“Directions for salting down Pork.  

Cover the bottom of the barrel with salt an inch deep.  Put down one layer of Pork and cover that with salt, half an inch thick. Continue thus till the barrel is full.  Then pour in as much strong pickle as the barrel will receive. Always see that the Pork does not rise above the brine. When a white scum, or bloody-looking matter rises on the top, scald the brine and add more salt.   Leave out bloody and lean pieces for sausages.   The Pork ought to be packed as tight as possible, and always kept under the brine. Some use a stone for this purpose. In salting down a new supply, take the old brine, boil it down and remove all the scum, and then use it to pour over the Pork. “

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Sourdough Cornbread

Sourdough uses the natural yeast in the air, so is a good basic bread to know how to make. You need to make a ‘starter’ for the basic bread mix. The starter is made from potatoes:


Cut 2 potatoes up into about 8 pieces and boil until tender. Take about 2 cups of the potato water. Mix into the water, 2 cups of flour and 1 tablespoon of sugar. Put the mix to one side and wait until it doubles in size.


1 cup of starter


1 cup milk

2 tablespoons sugar

2 eggs

½ cup fat

¼ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon soda

Mix the starter, cornmeal, milk, sugar and beaten eggs together until well mixed. Add the fat, salt and soda. Pour the mix into a greased tin and bake for 30 minutes at about 400F.

7 Things Our Ancestors Stockpiled To Survive Winter

Life was hard for our ancestors — much harder than it is for us today. Most of them didn’t have running water and electricity to make their lives easier. These modern conveniences have changed our way of life, to the point where we often forget what people had to do throughout history in order to survive.

We look at survival today as something needed in a time of emergency, but to many of them, survival stared them in the face every day of their lives. That was especially true in the wintertime, when it wasn’t possible to glean what you needed from nature. Basically, if you weren’t ready for winter, you didn’t survive.

During a SHTF situation, pain could become an annoyance for some, but unbearable for others.

If doctors are scarce and medicine becomes even scarcer, this one little weed, found all over North America and similar to morphine, could be a saving grace.

So our ancestors all became experts in stockpiling. They’d spend the warmer months preparing, so that when the cold winter months came around, they’d be ready. You could tell a lot about a family’s wealth and industry by that, as there were those who struggled through the winter and those who didn’t.

I remember my grandmother, who lived though the Great Depression. She was a hoarder if you ever saw one. While her home wasn’t one you’d expect to find on one of those reality shows where they dig through a house filled with junk, she didn’t let things go to waste. If there was any utility she could get out of something, it didn’t go to the trash; it was saved for that proverbial rainy day.

Not everyone saved all the things that my grandmother did, but I imagine a fair percentage of those who lived through the Depression did. Even those who didn’t knew the importance of stockpiling for winter. The idea of “saving up for a rainy day” wasn’t just a figure of speech — it was a way of life.

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So, what did they stockpile? Let’s take a look.

1. Food

Of course, the most important thing to stockpile for winter was food. Everyone would “put up” food — canning, smoking and drying it. The modern grocery store is actually rather new, with the first real supermarkets opening exactly a century ago. Before that, you could buy foodstuffs from the general store, a local butcher or a local greengrocer (produce only). But there weren’t grocery stores as we know them.

The majority of the population at the time was involved in agriculture. It wasn’t until the industrial revolution that the vast majority of the population shifted to the cities. And while people who lived in the cities have always had to depend on store or market-bought food, before that time, they were in the minority.

2. Feed

Feeding yourself wasn’t enough in those days. You needed to be able to feed your livestock, as well. Even people living in the city had to take this into consideration, as many had horses and wagons. Here are 23 survival uses for honey that you didn’t know about.

Early garages weren’t attached to homes, because they were converted barns and stables. Before the automobile became common, that’s how people moved around. So, they’d have a stable behind the home and had to make sure the loft was filled with hay and grain to feed their horses. Granted, they always didn’t harvest that themselves, but they still had to buy it and stockpile it to take care of their horses.

If that hay and feed was the “fuel” for their transportation back then, and they stockpiled it to get through the winter, perhaps we should follow suit. While our modern cars won’t run well off of hay, few of us have enough fuel to keep them running for more than a day or two. In a blizzard or power outage, that could prove to be a costly mistake.

3. Firewood

7 Things Our Ancestors Stockpiled To Survive Winter

Cutting wood for the fire in the wintertime is much more difficult than it is in the summertime. So our ancestors needed to take advantage of the warmer weather to cut their wood and stack it for winter. Granted, living in the city made that hard for some, but cities were smaller back then. They could still take a wagon out to the country to cut wood, if they didn’t want to pay someone for it.

It would take several cords of wood to make it through the average winter, and – prior to electricity — there wasn’t any other option. That is, unless you happened to live in an area where you could heat with coal. Coal produced much more heat per ton than firewood did, making it a great improvement; but you couldn’t cut or mine it yourself.

In addition to the firewood, our ancestors always made sure they had a good stock of tinder. It’s all but impossible to find anything that can be used as tinder in the wintertime. So, most families filled up their home’s tinderbox to overflowing during the warmer months. That way, they could always start a fire if it went out. Here are 21 wild edibles you can find in urban areas.

4. Extra blankets

Keeping a home warm was difficult, especially a larger home with lots of rooms. Few actually could afford a fireplace in every room, even if they wanted one. So they’d heat the main living area of the home and leave the doors open to the bedrooms. Whatever heat managed to make its way in there was all that they’d get.

Since they didn’t have much heat in the bedrooms, they counted on body heat to keep them warm at night. That was part of the reason why kids would sleep together — so that they could keep each other warm.

But the other thing they did was pile blankets high upon the beds. It wasn’t uncommon to have a chest at the foot of the bed, which was used to store these extra blankets in warmer weather. Then, in the wintertime, they’d be brought out and piled on the bed. A good quilt was laid on top to make it all look good.

That’s part of why goose down quilts were so popular. Not only are they warm, but they don’t weigh a ton. It’s much nicer to bury yourself under a couple of goose down quilts than to have the weight of six wool blankets on you all night long. So save those goose feathers; it’s time to make another quilt.

5. Medicine

Most people kept a pretty good supply of medicines in the home — not the medicines that you can buy over the counter in the drug store, but home remedies. Doctors weren’t all that common. Some communities only had a visiting doctor come by a couple of times a year when he was making his circuit. So, they needed to be ready to take care of themselves. That’s why home remedies were so important. When that’s all you’ve got, you want to make sure you don’t run out.

6. Candles

Candle making was a summertime activity. You had to make them when the bees were active, collecting pollen and making honey. That meant you made them during the warmer months, when there were lots of flowers in the fields and on the trees. In the winter, bees stay in their hives, living off the honey they stored up in summer.

Harvesting honey, for those who had hives, also meant harvesting the beeswax. That meant it was time to make candles. While some were made by professional candle makers, it wasn’t uncommon for people to make their own, especially those in rural communities. Those candles would have to be enough to get them through the winter.

7. Reading material

Wintertime was a time to stay indoors as much as possible. The harvest was in and it was too early to think about plowing for spring. So, people would work inside the home, repairing harnesses, sewing clothes and reading. Few had time to read during warm weather, as the work on the farm kept them going from “can see” to “can’t see,” but in the wintertime, gathered around the warmth of the fire, reading was common.

People would literally save magazines and newspapers for months, waiting until wintertime to read them. While that would make the news a bit out of date, life didn’t move as fast back then. News was slow to get to rural communities anyway, especially out West. So, winter made a good time to catch up.

Preparedness Hacks: Once a nuke is heading your way, you might think that there isn’t much left to do, but you would be wrong!

Because we will show you America’s natural nuclear bunkers that are also EMP proof. When the sirens start wailing, all you need to do is pick the closest one to your home, where you can take cover before it hits.

50 Tips From The Great Depression: The Great Depression Was One Of The Most Traumatic Events In American History

The Great Depression was one of the most traumatic events in American history. Following the stock market crash of October 1929, industrial production crashed, construction shrank to a fraction of what it had been and millions of people found themselves on short hours or without work. Until the economy picked up again in 1935 life was a real struggle for the average American.

To get through the economic collapse and the grinding poverty that followed it, people had to adapt and learn new skills – or re-learn old ones. For that reason, many people who lived through it looked back with a sense of, maybe not exactly nostalgia, but pride in how they managed to cope.

A lot of the things people did during the Great Depression still make a lot of sense today. With our own economy looking vulnerable, and the risk of a new collapse always lurking just around the corner, would we cope as well as our grandparents and great-grandparents did? Here are some of the ways they took care of themselves and those around them through some of the hardest times the USA has ever seen.

During a SHTF situation, pain could become an annoyance for some, but unbearable for others.

If doctors are scarce and medicine becomes even scarcer, this one little weed, found all over North America and similar to morphine, could be a saving grace.


  1. Entire families moved in search of work. By staying together, they could support each other while not missing employment opportunities.
  2. Migrant farm work was a life-saver for many. Different crops needed harvesting at different times, so it was – and still is – possible to find several months’ work.
  3. People were willing to try any job. They didn’t ask “Do you have any work for a…?” But, “Do you have any work?” They were flexible because they had to be.
  4. Everyone in a family was prepared to earn money. Kids could make a valuable contribution too. Families worked for a common goal – earning enough to survive.
  5. Almost anything had some value. Driftwood collected from the beach could be split and sold as firewood. Most any kind of metal can be collected and sold as scrap.
  6. Government “New Deal” employment programs provided jobs and taught skills. They also created a lot of new infrastructure, including many roads – and the Hoover Dam.
  7. There was no such thing as retirement age. Anyone who could work did When money is tight, everyone needs to contribute whatever they can earn.
  8. A lot of jobs became part-time as employers tried to save money. Many people worked several part-time jobs, often putting in very long days.
  9. Many of the jobless spent all day going round employers, looking for any work they could find. Even an hour or two’s labor would make a difference.
  10. People created jobs for themselves. Some women would wake early to cook dozens of meals, then sell them outside factories and construction sites.
  11. Flexibility helped. Someone who knew a little about several trades had a better chance of finding work than someone who was an expert at one.
  12. Farmers would take on workers they didn’t have the money to hire, and pay them in produce instead.


  1. Many people lost their homes. Often, extended families – grandparents, aunts, uncles – ended up living in one house.
  2. Others were forced to live in their car or truck, buying cheap meals and washing at public gyms or swimming pools.
  3. The homeless often lived in tents – or shack or lean-tos they’d built themselves. Having a place to live, even a basic one, was better than sleeping rough.
  4. To save energy, walls were insulated with anything that would help keep heat in through the winter – mud, newspapers or tar paper. It all helped cut fuel costs.
  5. Homes were kept cooler than normal. Wearing more clothes indoors reduced the need to burn fuel, and that left more money for food.
  6. In summer people hung wet sheets over doorways and windows. As the water evaporated it drew in heat from the air, cooling the home slightly.
  7. Refinancing a home was one way to keep up the payments – and it could also free up cash for living expenses.


  1. Life insurance policies were a safety net for those who had them. If money ran out the policy could be cashed in, helping keep the family afloat for a few more months.
  2. Many people rarely saw cash; barter economies quickly grew up. Small jobs might be paid with milk, fresh vegetables or fruit, especially in rural areas.
  3. With millions out of work, begging was common – and seen as desperation, not antisocial behavior. Outside restaurant was a favorite spot; only the rich could afford to eat there.
  4. People respected banks back then, but when banks started closing the trust soon faded. Nobody knew when their own might shut, so the wise kept cash at home.
  5. Many stores gave credit and let regular payments slide. They just kept track of what was owed and hoped it would be paid someday. Many stores went bankrupt because of this.


  1. Having a vegetable plot made a huge difference. In 1929, 20% of Americans still lived on farms; most of the rest had big gardens, and the skills to grow their own food.
  2. Hunting and fishing were major sources of protein. Meat was expensive, but if you could harvest your own you had a better diet. Surplus was great for barter, too.
  3. Foraging was also popular. Nuts, berries, and wild greens helped put meals on the table, and kids and older people could forage as well as anyone.
  4. In the country, canning was an essential skill. A well-stocked pantry was both a source of pride and a life-saving reserve for the winter.
  5. People learned that you can eat almost anything if you’re hungry enough. Tumbleweed was used as fodder for cattle; then people found it could be eaten. Young plants are best.
  6. No part of an animal was wasted. Offal was fried, boiled or turned into ground meat. Even chicken feet could be boiled to add some taste to a broth.
  7. A little bit of bacon would add flavor to almost anything. The hard rinds or dry ends of a piece of bacon could be boiled – and butchers sold them for pennies.
  8. Communities divided vacant lots and parks into family vegetable plots. Housewives and kids spent much of their time growing extra food.
  9. To keep some variety in their diets, people traded the produce they grew with friends and neighbors.
  10. Meals were cooked from scratch – there were hardly any prepared foods in the shops. Recipes were usually simpler than today’s. That mean they were cheaper to make.
  11. Stores closed on Sundays, so fresh produce that would go bad by Monday would be sold off cheap late on Saturday. Shopping at that time was great for bargains.
  12. Livestock was a great asset. If you had a cow or even a few chickens, you were sitting on a wealth creator. Milk and eggs helped your own diet, and could be bartered.
  13. Meat and dairy products were expensive; bread, potatoes, and noodles were cheap and filling. People bulked out meals with carbohydrates. Lard or bacon fat added flavor.
  14. Soup was a popular meal. It filled you up, and the main ingredient was water. Almost anything could be made into soup – beans, potatoes, even stale bread.


  1. Shoes were mended over and over. Holes in the sole were patched with leather from scrap belts or purses. Complete soles were cut from old tires.
  2. People learned to make and repair clothes. Any fabric could be used. Rural families made clothes from feed sacks. One woman turned a casket’s fabric lining into kids’ dresses.
  3. Fashion was canceled. People preferred to get more use out their old clothes and spend their money on food.
  4. When kids outgrew their clothes they were handed down to younger siblings or given to people who could use them.
  5. Really old clothes were cut up for rags to get some more use out of them. Why spend money on dusters and cleaning cloths when rags worked just as well?

Preparedness Hacks: Once a nuke is heading your way, you might think that there isn’t much left to do, but you would be wrong!

Because we will show you America’s natural nuclear bunkers that are also EMP proof. When the sirens start wailing, all you need to do is pick the closest one to your home, where you can take cover before it hits.

Society and Attitudes

  1. Nobody felt entitled to be supported. People knew that they had to work as hard as they could to survive; if they didn’t, they could expect nothing.
  2. On the other hand, people were willing to help those who were trying but struggling. They knew they could be the ones needing help next, so most gave all they could spare.
  3. Communities became closer, giving mutual support and organizing donations of food or cash to those who needed them the most.
  4. Many towns set up welfare loan schemes. Money could be loaned to people who needed it, but it was expected to be paid back. Detailed records were kept of what was owed.
  5. Willingness to work hard, and to do what you could to support the community, was more highly valued than individualism and independence.
  6. People learned to keep a positive outlook on life. They learned that they could lose a surprising amount – almost everything – and keep going.
  7. Positivity was essential. There was no point complaining how bad things were – they were just as bad for almost everyone. What mattered was trying to make them better.

Pemmican Invented By The Native Americans It Stored For 50 Years

What Is Pemmican?

The word pemmican is derived from the word pimî, meaning “fat or grease.” Pemmican itself is a concentrated combination of meat and fat that was created by Native Americans as a nutritious food that was used to boost energy.

Traditional pemmican was made by cutting meat (typically whatever was available) into thin slices and then drying it. The dried meat was pulverized into small pieces and then mixed with fat. Occasionally, dried fruits were included in the mixture.

The ratio of dried meat to fat is 1:1, and it takes about 5 pounds of raw meat to make 1 pound of pemmican. Due to this, pemmican is incredibly filling and will supply the consumer with energy for several hours.

Additionally, due to its preparation process and storage method, pemmican can last for many years and in many cases, decades.

During a SHTF situation, pain could become an annoyance for some, but unbearable for others.

If doctors are scarce and medicine becomes even scarcer, this one little weed, found all over North America and similar to morphine, could be a saving grace.

Pemmican as a Survival Food

Its humble beginnings are a large part of the reason that pemmican is such a great survival food. It was used first by Native Americans and later by European fur traders, as well as explorers in the Arctic and Antarctic regions. When cold food storage was nonexistent and easy-to-carry, easy-to-store food was all the rage, pemmican was in its heyday.

Pemmican Nutrition

The meat that pemmican was and is made out of varies. Buffalo, moose, elk, or beef are the most common. The nutritional information will depend largely on who makes the pemmican and how it is made, including what meat and ratio of meat to fat is used. Additionally, adding dried fruit, nuts, honey, or other additives will alter the nutritional information.

The bottom line is that pemmican is incredibly rich in protein, and the rendered fat that is used in preparation will supply a great deal of calories in a small amount of food, which is excellent for survivalists, preppers, and those in emergency situations.

The average piece of pemmican (about 62 grams) has around 300 calories, including 11-15 grams of protein. It will give the consumer a great boost of energy without a sugar crash or unquenchable thirst that may come from other survival foods.

Why Is Pemmican a Great Survival Food?

Pemmican has been used for centuries as a survival food in both comfortable and extreme conditions, for both those who desperately require it and those who simply enjoy consuming it. It is an excellent survival food for many reasons:

  • Very Few Ingredients – At its simplest, pemmican is meat and fat.
  • Easy to Make – Pemmican was made back in the day with no electric appliances and with the most basic tools. Anyone with a little time and the right ingredients can make pemmican without a problem.
  • Full of Calories – Sustainability is key when you’re in a survival situation, and pemmican answers the call of high caloric foods. At around 300 calories per serving, pemmican can be used as snacks, meals, and complete sustenance in any and all situations.
  • Lightweight and Portable – Easily packed into pockets, pouches of bags, and the like, pemmican is lightweight enough for children to carry and portable enough to fit just about anywhere. You could make large batches of pemmican and store them in various places, or, if you’re seriously lacking in space, you could make smaller batches regularly since it is so simple to make.

Pemmican Shelf Life

One of the main reasons that pemmican is an excellent survival food is its shelf life. Pemmican doesn’t require any special equipment to make or store, and it can simply be stored in a plastic bag or other airtight container for several years. Off the Grid News names Pemmican as the number 2 food that can be stored for 100 years. They list its shelf life as “indefinite.”

Various sources note that the shelf life of pemmican is largely determined by how it is prepared and how it is stored.

If you add extras into your pemmican recipe (honey, peanut butter, dried fruit, etc.), the shelf life will be shortened. If the environment in which it is stored is very humid, the shelf life will also be reduced. If the fat is not rendered properly before making the pemmican, the shelf life will decrease. If you have the option of storing pemmican in the fridge or freezer, that will help extend the shelf life. In general, pemmican will last a solid ten years, if not fifty or more.

Commercial Versions of Pemmican

Even though Pemmican is very easy to make, you also have the option of buying commercial versions of pemmican to keep in food storage or to utilize on hikes or survival adventures. Several companies sell commercial versions of pemmican in various forms, including bars, sticks, and in pails.

History of Pemmican

The Métis Tribe of Canada is credited with inventing pemmican. They used mostly buffalo in preparing their pemmican, and their travelers and trappers used it as a regular source of food and nutrition. As more people discovered the genius behind pemmican, it became a valuable commodity. Tribes and individuals began trading pemmican, and a war was actually started over it!

It the late 1800s and early 1900s, pemmican also became a major food source for those exploring the Arctic and Antarctic. Scottish explorer Alexander Mackenzie traveled west across Canada to the Pacific Ocean in 1793 and relied heavily on pemmican throughout his entire journey.

Robert Peary, a North Pole explorer, went on three long journeys in the late 1800s and early 1900s on which he used pemmican as a source of food for himself, his men, and his dogs. He said of pemmican, “It is an absolute sine qua non,” meaning that it is indispensable and essential.

British troops who fought in the Second Boer War received pemmican as part of their rations and could supposedly go 36 hours without additional sustenance on just 4 ounces of pemmican.

Preparedness Hacks: Once a nuke is heading your way, you might think that there isn’t much left to do, but you would be wrong!

Because we will show you America’s natural nuclear bunkers that are also EMP proof. When the sirens start wailing, all you need to do is pick the closest one to your home, where you can take cover before it hits.

Native American’s Pemmican

The earliest instances of pemmican are found in the history of the Native North Americans. These groups generally used buffalo to create pemmican, cutting the meat into thin strips and drying it for days (or sometimes weeks) over a fire until it became incredibly hard and would crack when bent.

The Native Americans then would place the dried meat on a hide and pounded with stones or mallets until it became almost a powder-like consistency.

The fat from the buffalo was melted down over fire, added to the “beat meat,” and placed in a rawhide bag whose seams had been greased and sealed. This rawhide bag would be moved and turned regularly to encourage the fat to infiltrate all of the meat, and the newly made pemmican would last for years in this type of storage.

It is interesting to note that one 90 pound bag of pemmican was made from one or two entire buffalo!

Métis Tribe’s Pemmican Trading

The Métis people initially developed as a mixed race created by the indigenous people of North America and British or French colonial-era settlers. As they established themselves as a people group, they began also establishing themselves economically, primarily by beginning the pemmican trade throughout modern-day Canada.

Traders from the Métis tribe would kill buffalo, convert it into pemmican, and use it as tradeable goods all across the area at several important fur posts.

Pemmican Recipes

As previously stated, pemmican recipes are as simple as you want them to be. A 1:1 ratio of meat to fat will create a basic pemmican that will last for decades. But in case you’re looking for something more adventurous or want the break down on how to make pemmican, see below for our favorite pemmican recipes.

How to Make Pemmican

Standard Meat + Fat Recipe

Start with the best quality meat you can find. Beef, buffalo, elk, or deer will do. Grass-fed is preferable. Cut off the fat, and then cut the meat into thin pieces and dry it in a dehydrator, in the sun, or in the oven on the lowest temperature possible. When fully dried, the meat should be hard and brittle and should crack when you bend it.

Next, you need to pulverize the meat. A food processor, blender, or mallet should do. Make sure it is in tiny pieces and almost a powder-like consistency.

Next, you should render the fat. Cut the fat into small pieces and cook it in a crock pot, on the stovetop, or in the oven on low. Cook until you are left with mostly clear liquid with just small bits of fat remaining. Strain the chunks out.

Next, mix the liquid fat and ground meat together until it is saturated and can be formed together without falling apart. Remember you are going for about a 1:1 ratio.

Finally, you should form the mixture into balls, blocks, or any other shape you would like. Store in an airtight container in cool, dry place.


Additives Recipe

You can use the standard meat and fat recipe and make some simple replacements or additives to spice up the taste.

  • Consider substituting the fat for honey, peanut butter, or a combination of both.
  • Dry some fruit (blueberries, choke berries, pitless cherries, etc.) and grind them up and add them into the recipe.
  • Start with already made beef jerky to speed up the process. Try various flavors of jerky to change the taste of the final product.

Vegetarian Recipe

While traditional pemmican is obviously made with meat, there are a few vegetarian variations available. This particular recipe uses tofu-jerky in place of meat.

Grind together 2 cups of dates, 4 cups of powdered tofu-jerky, 2 cups of unsalted peanuts, and 2 cups of raisins. Then slowly mix honey in, a little bit at a time, making sure it is fully incorporated each time. Add only enough honey to make the mixture stick together without crumbling, and then form into balls, squares, or whatever shape you like.