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7 Things America Has Learned From Survivalists This Year

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7 Things America Has Learn From Survivalists This YearIf we’ve learned anything from 2020, it’s that survivalists are one step ahead of the game when it comes to weathering the storm (sometimes quite literally). Pre-pandemic, many of us dismissed their tactics as paranoid or unnecessary, but we now know that they had the right idea all along.

From stocking their pantries with essentials that are likely to fly off the shelves in a disaster to having backup medications, survivalists are uniquely positioned to thrive in the face of a fast-spreading virus.

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Here are a few of the most important things we learned from survivalists, hoarders, preppers, and homesteaders so far this year:

1. A Backup Stash is Essential

The first thing we all learned during the COVID-19 outbreak was that people will buy and people will hoard. Of course, we’re talking about toilet paper. The data shows that, as people scrambled to prepare for a potential shortage, sales of T.P. rose by about 60 percent in March of 2020 compared to the same month last year.

We all know that, in practice, this looks like empty supermarket shelves and price hikes. Luckily, the most prepared survivalists already had extra rolls stacked in the basement. This also applies to shelf-stable foods, bread, baking supplies, soap, hand sanitizer, and other essentials.

Survival Kit Supplies

2. Medical Supplies Are Limited

Surgical masks and gloves are foundational in a basic emergency kit, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) even includes them on its list of items to include in your basic disaster supplies kit. FEMA also recommends including cloth face coverings, hand sanitizer, soap and disinfecting wipes in your emergency supply kit.

Many of the most diehard survivalists already had a pre-stocked stash of these potentially life-saving supplies on hand. And, as we know, it is still nearly impossible to acquire many of the supplies on this list in the midst of the pandemic. Not only are survivalists well-stocked, by already having a stockpile on hand, they also reduce the burden on the supply chain so that others are able to stock up, too.

3. Backup Prescriptions Are Essential

Another thing survivalists know is that prescription medications, including prescription eyeglasses and contacts, are crucial during emergency scenarios. As we watched many non-essential businesses shut down during the coronavirus pandemic, including doctor’s offices, we realized that in an emergency, these things could be challenging to get.

Not only are the actual backup medications and glasses crucial, so too are the actual prescriptions themselves. Should your eye doctor or pharmacy close down, you should have the prescriptions on record so you can order them from the doctor or online.

4. An Emergency Kit Could Come in Handy

All in all, the most important thing we’ve learned from the survival-minded preppers out there is that the emergency kit is not just for paranoid people and apocalypse-worriers on the fringes of society.

A basic emergency survival kit should cover everything from headlamps, flashlights, and emergency radios to food, water, and medical supplies. These kits are now a mainstream concept considered essential by many Americans.

On top of that, the pandemic has shown us how these essentials work in a shelter-in-place scenario. While many of us have packed emergency supplies in our heavy-duty backpacks as part of a go-bag for evacuations, we understand that a “stay-bag” may also be equally as useful in scenarios such as a pandemic. Puzzles and board games are now essentials on the survival kit list, too!

5. When in Crisis, People Bake

Baking is an important skill among survivalists, preppers, and homesteaders because it takes many shelf-stable, dry goods and turns them into calorie-rich, nutritionally dense food sources. Perhaps more importantly, knowing how to bake can help reduce reliance on mainstream consumerism.

If you can bake your own bread, you will thrive even when there’s a shortage of baked goods. Survivalists know how to make baked goods even without supermarket staples — acorn flour is a popular option — and we know now that resources such as flour and yeast can be limited during a crisis.

6. We Can’t Rely on Our Standard Food Supply System

We watched as people hoarded dry goods and perishables throughout the pandemic — butter, flour, yeast, pasta, bread, and meat have all been gobbled up by the masses. What does this tell us?

As survivalists have long known, we are over-dependent on the mass food production system, which is imperfect and often unreliable. Knowing how to bake, hunt, fish, forage, and garden are keys to survival when disaster looms outside.

Baked Survival Bread

Image via Shutterstock / Syda Productions

7. How to Socially Distance

Off-gridders and homesteaders are the original socially distant survivors, taking no issue with enjoying a life of solitude and isolation. These pros know how to stay happy, healthy, and entertained without a ton of interaction with the public — or even a large circle of family and friends surrounding them.

In their world, it’s simply second nature. As we strive to stay sane while staying home, we can learn a few lessons from the survivalist handbook.

It’s About Self-Reliance

At its core, wilderness survival and disaster preparation are about self-reliance. When the systems around us — systems in which we take for granted — collapse or are over-tapped, we’re left with a few crucial things: our own abilities and the supplies we have on hand.

These are basic principles that have long been understood in survival communities, and as the world faces an unprecedented disaster in 2020, hopefully the masses understand them, too.

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8 Comments

  1. Kitty on July 25, 2020 at 11:46 pm

    When it comes to medications, I have found that I can sometimes skip a dose! I’m sure there are somethings you wouldn’t want to such as a blood thinner, but you may get by with taking two aspirin every so often! After all of you were having surgery, your Dr would tell you know blood thinners for 5-7 days! I have found a friend that goes to Mexico a couple times a year, so I had her get me antibiotics, and a few other things! Pain relief can be growing in your backyard, so get a book to identify things. I just got mine last week! Orajel for toothache can numb a burn temporarily! Look at what it’s meds are used for and think what else you can use them for!

  2. Ty on July 22, 2020 at 8:50 pm

    I agree with what you said about medication backup essentials the only problem is the pharmacist want give you any extra meds,you’d be lucky to get the amount your doctor prescribed.

  3. Rick Palmer on July 16, 2020 at 8:03 pm

    These 7 items are what Americans should have learned . Unfortunately the majority l see around me , still do not have a clue . We still have political divisiveness between conservatives and liberals . The norm of the liberals is leaning more and more towards socialism. Those that want the “nanny” state to take care of them . Those of us that follow this site were already at least receptive to the idea of taking care of ourselves . I would venture to guess that main commonality is an interest in history , and no wish to repeat it . We are most likely not the sheepish followers of the media . We are willing to deal with what we may have to do , and not whine about what the government didn’t protect us from . We are learning , sadly the majority l see are not .

    • kathryn peetoom on July 17, 2020 at 1:57 pm

      No need for political statements. I am a liberal and I prep and take care of myself. I am older and do collect social security and medicare, is that what you call wanting a nanny state? IMO you are causing divisiveness with your statements

      • Rick Palmer on July 24, 2020 at 11:18 am

        Kathryn ,
        I have a feeling you may not have understood my point . You say that you are a prepper, which means you , as an individual are taking responsibility for yourself . The mindset of those l was referring to , do not want to be self responsible. l too am older , 75 , and collect social security , that l have been paying into for the past 60 years. Liberalism is not political it is an attitude .
        What l call the ” Nanny State ” refers to the cradle to grave care that some politicians propose . These ideas are simply pandering for votes . Our government is our employee .We pay them salaries , we pay for government programs , we pay for our military . You collect social security , this is not a free gift , you worked and contributed , that paid for previous recipients. My statements may have offended you because you vote for Democrats. However my statements are aimed at a particular attitude , not a political organization.

        • True American on July 28, 2020 at 10:42 pm

          You didn’t hurt anyone’s feelings? You told the truth! Liberals are destroying this country, plain and simple. If someone is old enough to get social security and vote for all the democrat crime bosses the are the problem, if calling them out hurts feeling so be it? Keep prepping, and pray!! We are in for trials this country has never saw? My God Bless all!!!

  4. Bemused Berserker on July 16, 2020 at 9:45 am

    Nearly every article about Prepping/Survival always includes “Backup Prescriptions” in their lists, but I have to wonder if the author(s) understand the difficulty of getting more than a 90 day supply of maintenance medications? When you try, you’re faced with not only a fight with the prescriber, but a fight with the pharmacist and your insurance company too. If you go to deep into your explanations with your doctor, you’ll risk being labeled a conspiracy theory nutcase at best, or accused of Drug Seeking Behavior at worst. Some medications, insulin, coumadin and others, require monitoring by the prescriber for therapeutic efficacy, and as such, practitioners are loathe to prescribe more than a 90 day supply, so they can insure patient compliance with the regimen. Other medications, specifically Opioids are prohibited by both Federal and State Laws to no more than a 30 day supply, yet without them, just moving becomes a sisyphean task.

    I’m not faulting the various author’s for including a medication stockpile, but we’re not talking about OTC medications, we’re talking about prescriptions which your Health Care Provider may or may not be on board with the “why” you need a stockpile.

    • Dean B on July 24, 2020 at 2:22 pm

      Bemused Berserker You are so on point…..
      Before this stuff went all crazy,(and the doctors all closed) I would have to go to to doctor every month or every other month just to get basics like blood pressure medication. They have a “revolving door” of primary care doctors. It doesn’t matter if you have years of charts, every time they decide to change doctors you must make another appointment for another doctor. They will not even issue a refill on one they wrote, until you see every new doctor. If you ask me, it’s a tad on the ridiculous side for such common meds.

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