WSHTF - The Essentials

Part of preparation is finding that perfect combination – what you need to immediately escape and survive and that which can help you sustain.


Part of preparation is knowing exactly what kind of disasters you might face and knowing what to do in each situation. Living in Montana? You probably don’t need to worry about hurricanes. California? Better be ready for an earthquake, but don’t overlook your chances of severe weather or pandemic flu. If you think you live in a disaster-free zone, you’re probably wrong.


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Water storage and availability

Storage on the go

Sanitation and medicine



Personal defence

Fitness considerations

Water storage and availability

Water is the resource that you must think about at all times. Not having water for 24 hours will make it almost impossible to perform any survival-related task. Within 72 hours, your body will give up. On average, a human body will need 2L (0.5gallons) a day to keep all the processes going. Of course, this number does not take into account any environmental factors.


The best thing you can find is cold, clear and fast-flowing water, because bacteria will not stand a chance. Drinking from rivers could be okay, but the river can be polluted further upstream. That is why small streams, that are closer to the source, are best. Still, always try to filter the water and if you can, boil it!


The easiest way to find water in dry areas is to watch nature: plants grow where water is. Furthermore, animals are always going towards water sources (you can even follow flocks of birds).

Could be helpful to have a LifeStraw or Aquastiq just in case. You can find these in the Tools & Kits section.

Storage on the go

You may be able to carry a lot in your pockets, but it’s hard to keep everything you need to survive on your body at all times.  That’s why having a big capacity backpack is crucial.  It gives you the advantage of near-instantaneous mobility.


A general rule of thumb is you want to carry no more than half your bodyweight in supplies for long distance.  For instance, 170 lbs body weight means no more than 85 lbs maximum pack weight. Also check out our fitness considerations. Your feet, joints, and ligaments have to hold up for the long haul and you’ll find that the longer you’re on the road, the more you can do without.

Sanitation and Medicine

First aid, in a survival situation, is about two separate aspects – immediate treatment and sustained treatment.  If STHF, there is no way of knowing when these supplies will be replaced and when an actual injury occurs, you can’t operate sparingly.  Resupplying these materials should be close to a top priority at all times.


Baking soda cannot be understated.  It is a space efficient cleaner which can be used as toothpaste, deodorant, and cleaning wounds to the mucus membranes.


What’s the bare minimum you need to navigate across land?  For most people, that would be a compass and map.  A basic road map is sufficient to get a rough approximation of the lay of the land.  More detailed relief maps can help plan for elevation and estimate possible water sources but they also take up more room in your pack.  Waterproofed or laminated maps are also extremely helpful.  Lensatic compasses are the most reliable for little money.  If possible, a compass and protractor are also extremely helpful for route planning.  Obviously, not as essential but nonetheless useful.

Food and Shelter

It’s impossible to carry all the food you will need for a week unless you’re eating very high density proteins like nuts.  Nuts and dried meat are two of the easiest off-the-cuff meals.  Canned food has a lot of water that is wasted during the cooking process.  Stay away from heavily flavored or salted nuts.  The amount of salt present in the unsalted nut mixes is still sufficient enough to replace electrolytes.


Shelter can be as simple as two tarps with bungee cords or a 2 man tent.  Items like a sleeping bag can help you retain body heat.  A poncho is the cheapest, easiest way to make yourself and your equipment water resistant.

Personal Defence

Personal defense items – such as rifles and heavy firearms – are going to be increasinly hard to manage the farther you move from steady supplies.  Ironically, it’s firearms that help acquire more food, provide personal protection, and deter others from attacking.  In a SHTF scenario, heavy armament is only good within fortified areas.  If you want to stay highly mobile, switch down to a .22LR polymer rifle such as the Savage survival rifle or similar.  Lightweight, collapsible, and perfect for hunting game.  Loaded with subsonic rounds, it can also be a lot more efficient than heading off a target with a loud 30-06.


Fitness Considerations

Improving your survival fitness doesn’t mean perfecting your body to fitness model standards, it means conditioning your fitness level to enable your body to handle the various physical tasks that will be necessary in a disaster scenario – and it’s just as important as any other aspect of your prepping plan.


While you may have stockpiles of food and water, a bug-out-bag packed and ready to go, and a bug-out plan tweaked to perfection, none of that will matter if you get out into the wilderness and literally can’t hack it. Conditioning yourself to sustain the grueling physical requirements of surviving off the grid will substantially increase the chances of survival for even the most prepared prepper.


To maximize your survival fitness, take a look at your bug-out plan and consider all the activities involved in its execution. In this article, we will examine common scenarios likely to arise in a disaster situation and provide daily workouts to help you achieve your prepper fitness goals. However, before beginning any physical training, it is always best to check with your doctor to ensure you’re in good health and able to safely follow the fitness routine.

Several pointers:

  • Walk to gain endurance
  • Carrying weight (of the bug-out bag)
  • Run -> focus on sprint
  • Strength training
  • Be flexible
  • Swim
  • Hand-to-hand combat