The 4 Essentials: Getting Back to the Basics of Living

The basics of living include food, water, clothing, and shelter. These are the physical essentials. They do not include intangibles like relationships or spirituality.

Let’s start with water. Where is the closest natural source of water to you? How far away is it? Do you have the right purification tools for cleaning the water and making it drinkable?

REI and other outdoor stores carry inexpensive water purifiers that are operated by hand. It would be good to have one available. Typically, one purifier is enough for two or three people. If you have a large family, get two.

Also, iodine tablets or droplets kill harmful bacteria in water. You may also want to have iodine on hand in case a purifier breaks. (I have three portable water filters, so I’d have two backups even if one broke.)

Next, food. Do you know how to fish or hunt? Do you know what berries and roots are edible? Do you know how to dress a deer or gut a fish? Do you know how to grow common garden vegetables?

These are all important skills to have, especially if you’ve not stocked up on food. Look for a survival handbook of some kind and have it available. There are many in print, and they are extremely helpful for anyone, regardless of whether you’ve had survival training in your past.

How about clothing? Do you have garments for every season? More importantly, do you have quality shoes for walking… and quality hiking boots for long hikes? These will be indispensable in a world without cars.

Lastly, shelter. If you have a house, you’re probably in an okay position. If you’re renting, you may be more vulnerable. Even if you have a house, your mortgage could compromise your security. A bank could tell you to leave if your payments aren’t being made.

Assuming you cannot stay in your apartment or house, you ought to have some decent tents available. Perhaps just some small two-man tents for easy carrying, or perhaps a larger tent to sleep 4-6 people.

Even if you never use the tents, it will be good to have them. At the very least, they could be a part of your bug-out kit.

Don’t be scared. Be prepared.
-Survival Joe