Prepper vs. COVID-19 panic buyer—never has an “I told you so” situation presented itself so clearly. Preppers purchase equipment, create bug-out sites, and prepare themselves for unforeseen disasters that may be regional, national or global in scope. For years, many viewed preppers as weird. They weren’t in touch with America’s ability to defend itself from disasters that may threaten our shores. But being a prepper is comparable to owning an insurance policy. Insurance appears to be a waste of money, until you need it.
COVID-19: Revenge of the Prepper
Yes, the world has seen the impact of global diseases such as SARS, H1N1, and Ebola since 2000. However, America never has experienced a disease as widespread or quick-moving as COVID-19. With that rapid spread, millions of Americans now wish they had been more concerned about physical, biological, and financial disasters.
The people with bug-out plans, stored up supplies, and who taught their families what will happen and where they’ll go when disaster hits will be the least likely to be affected of any of us. All their preparations, investigations, and financial investments are now paying off. Meanwhile, skeptical Americans scurry around chasing toilet paper and other goods now in short supply.
“If you leave your home, I’ll take your car keys and cut off both of your legs at the knees,” my son-in-law, who’s a doctor, promised me this week. “Stay in, and have your groceries and prescriptions delivered.”
While he’s in a local hospital’s emergency room, fighting COVID-19, he has his family of four teenagers and our daughter sequestered at their lake house. They built the house and used it for recreation for 15 years, miles from town. Today, it’s their bug-out shelter.
How Some Preppers Prepared
When I first wrote about using a Rokon motorcycle for bug-out transportation, many of my friends and readers laughed. However, this well-built, all-wheel drive, wide-tired, floatable, self-contained vehicle can float across rivers and streams. It can also can run through any type of terrain. Most importantly, it can beat the lines of traffic waiting to fill up with gas and trying to get out of metropolitan and suburban areas, while only using a quarter-gallon of gas per hour.
My brother Archie is another prepper. He built a bug-out shelter for his family before Y2K. He stocked it with a year’s worth of staples, bottled water, and ready-to-eat meals to last for 10 years or more. After Y2K, he was the laughing stock of his town. Although a worldwide panic didn’t happen as expected, today his family still has a place to dodge the pandemic that has millions of American sheltering at home and in hospitals on respirators and ventilators.
When two prepper friends built their retirement home last year and moved from suburbia, many of their acquaintances and family said, “You’ll be out in the country, away from doctors and hospitals, grocery stores, gas stations, pharmacies and everything that will make your life easier. Do you think this is wise?”
My friend told them, “You’re absolutely right. But I know the following: How to grow my own food, harvest it and prepare it; hunt and fish for meat; make survival medicine and purchase a quality first aid kit; cook over an open fire; and cut wood to use for our fireplace and wood stove for heating and cooking. I have lanterns, extra batteries, several months of prescriptions, books to read on-hand and weapons and ammunition to protect us, if needed. We’ll be fine and be self-sufficient.”
What You Can Do Now
President Trump said that never before other than in wartime has our country been called upon to take care of our citizens, work around the clock to produce protective gear for first responders and hospital personnel, and supply money to millions of people who find themselves out of work or possibly losing their jobs. Something that’s certain in life is that there will always be disease, wars, plagues and shortages of products. The people who can look into the future will be prepared to deal with these unexpected happenings. Here are a couple of ideas you can start with now:
- Identify the wild places in our country where you can go to within a half-day or less. You want to be completely isolated from society, yet enjoy an adventure at the same time. You can camp, use your boat or kayak, hike and run trails in the outdoors.
- Plan to be prepared. Have a retreat well stocked with food, water, board games, cooking implements, crafts and everything your family needs to survive comfortably for an extended time.
- Think about how you’ll have fresh food to eat. Find nearby land where you can garden, if your yard space isn’t large enough. Generally 200 square feet of space per person is recommended for a year-round harvest. An average family of four needs a 20×40-foot plot.
During the recession in the South in the early 1970s, my wife and I leased a right-of-way from an industry close to our home to which we could bicycle or drive. We cleared the half-mile long right-of-way, paid to have it plowed and disced, and used baling twine to mark off garden spots 50×50 yards for friends, family and neighbors to raise vegetables, fruits, berries and herbs. Each gardener gave one-third of what they raised in payment, and we never lacked for gardeners. For 10 years, we had more food than we could eat for nine months each year, can (about 500 quart jars per year), and give away. We also taught our children the skills they needed to be food independent.
Prepper Food and Filters
Investigate different food sources and water filtration devices. The Internet has plenty of information about various companies that offer MREs, even organic ones. It also has lists of staple foods and their shelf lives, including pasta, dried beans, spices and canned goods (two-plus years), as well as instant and freeze-dried coffee, powdered milk and eggs, dehydrated fruits and vegetables, sugar and honey (10 years). Survivor Filters offers family-size, as well as individual water filters. Meanwhile, LifeStraw is a favorite individual water filter. Both companies’ products remove 99.9 percent of bacteria and parasites.
Some scientists are predicting that the world will see another round of COVID-19 next winter. Take the time to evaluate what preppers do versus what everyone else doesn’t. If you do, you’ll realize that instead of preppers being a running punchline, they’re actually more on-target than the rest of us when thinking about disaster preparedness. What will you have learned about disaster preparedness once the COVID-19 threat ends? Hopefully something. Remember: we told you so.