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10 Packs For Survival

10 Packs for Survival

From: Joel Skousen

Joel is an author and expert in building secure homes. Please visit his web page for more information or to purchase his informative books.


This booklet was prepared to provide you with the essential minimums for survival preparations. While it is not exhaustive in coverage, it is complete as to the needs of most people. Before adding long lists of your personal extra needs, try calculating the cost of these bare essentials. You will be amazed at the high cost of contingency preparations. This is not intended to discourage you, but rather, to help you realistically determine your future financial priorities so as to ensure you have bought the essentials before adding the sophisticated extras. After you have acquired about half of the recommended items, you will become aware of a critical lack of storage space within your home–if it is designed like most American houses. To assist you in planning for a more self-sufficient residence we have also included a brief summary of the concepts outlined in the 500 page Survival Home Manual. If you desire to pursue the subject in more detail, we suggest you order the manual direct from our Architectural offices using the order form at the end to the booklet.

Philosophy And Design Criteria of The Survival Home

Survival architecture is the unique design combination (in the proper proportion) of facilities, materials, supplies, equipment, knowledge and skill exactly matching a correct analysis of what shortages and crises we will face in the future. In achieving this purpose I make reference to the fact that “survival means more than solar” to emphasize the need to avoid becoming too involved with only one aspect of self-sufficiency at the expense of the others. This error in proper perspective has become the most common mistake in the entire craze for self-sufficiency. With each new product devised, a corresponding marketing slogan usually appears describing “how you can become totally self-sufficient” with their product. The potential severity of future crises, however, seems to dictate that no one product brings total self-sufficiency. It seems most probable in the final analysis that no set of products or facilities, no matter how complete,brings anything but temporary self-sufficiency for a lone individual.

There are a variety of terms and definitions floating around in the “self-sufficiency” arena–one of the least understood pertains to “survival and “retreat” philosophy. “Self-sufficiency” as a term is well accepted and enjoys frequent use among the entire social strata, whereas “survival” intimates “gloom and doom”. However, under more careful scrutiny, it becomes obvious that “survival” and “self-sufficiency” are nearly synonymous. In actuality, the purpose of self-sufficiency is to SURVIVE various crises where one is in competition with others for scarce resources: ie, food and fuel shortages, dwindling finances, or social unrest, etc.

There is a significant difference between the general term “survival” and its child, the “retreat” philosophy, which is an ultimate reaction at the limits of the self-sufficiency concept.

Why Self – Sufficiency?

Many subscribe to the view that most of our future economic woes and commodity shortages will be government induced through bureaucratic mismanagement and excessive regulation. So, you say, the responsibility will simply fall back on ourselves, where it rightly belongs. However, this view overlooks our prime and ever-increasing social weakness; that our society has become so specialized in its occupational endeavors, we no longer have the will or skills to revert rapidly to a generalists society with each providing his own essential skills and services. Thus, we encounter the real reason for the craze for self-sufficiency: the inner need to become confident in our ability to provide for ourselves and our family should a minor or major crisis or shortage arise. The motive to save a few heating dollars is perhaps primary with many who may purchase a wood stove, but it soon becomes obvious to most woodburners that wood heat is only a small portion of their total self-sufficiency needs. In fact, when you tally all the other additional self-sufficiency needs such as water, waste disposal, electricity, storage space, tools, and security, you suddenly realize that you have come face to face with the word “survival”, which is the word that, in essence, reflects “ultimate self-sufficiency”.

Everything Involves a Priority Choice

While the survival retreat concept gets all the headlines in the hard money newsletters, its share of actual dollars invested is insignificant. From my experience as the architect most often involved in survival housing, the majority of client energy and funds are devoted to residential upgrade and preparation within the bounds of suburban or semi-rural living. Why? Frankly because very few people have the time, money or inclination to separate themselves completely from society even though they believe that difficult economic and social problems will be forthcoming.

100% rural self-sufficiency is almost impossible to achieve on anything more than a hermit level. Even then it is either all-time consuming or inordinately expensive and probably both.

In the final analysis then, everything in the survival and self-sufficiency field is a compromise or trade off of one lesser asset for another more important to you. If you want isolation to have security, then you usually sacrifice social ties, time and gasoline in commuting, and maybe electricity, telephone, and leadership opportunities.

There are ways of overcoming these compromises–if you have enough money, additional manpower and equipment; but you may become so sophisticated that you aren’t self-sufficient any more. No two individuals or families should utilize the same self-sufficiency plans.

Here are the Essential Steps

  1. Begin reading non-governmental analyses of the state of the nation. Specifically: political, economic, social, military, and moral trends. Reading recommendations include:PERSONAL FINANCE newsletter901 N. Washington St. suite 605

    Alexandria, Va 22314

    Gary North’s REMNANT REVIEW

    P. O. BOX 39800

    Phoenix, AZ 85069

  2. Analyze the condition of your local state and community as to long term survivability in a crisis:Most favorable criteria are:low population density (50 people per sq. mile or less)

    High level of religious, moral character.

    Lack of highly unionized heavy industry, or welfare populous.

    Strong local autonomy with little attachment to federal funds.

    Diversified economy with an agricultural base.

  3. Make a series of decisions based upon your national and local assessment as what problems you most likely will encounter. Note: You cannot come to a proper design of a self-sufficient or survival residence unless you have determined what shortages, crises, or threats you face. The better your research, the more accurate your predictions will be.
  4. Read the Survival Home Manual and study the essentials of survival residential design to determine what your present home lacks and what is available in new or remodeled survival construction.
  5. Determine, financially and security wise, whether you should remain in your present home and remodel, move and build or buy a more suitable home. Consider job, and/or commuting time. It is imperative that you do not destroy your income producing ability unless you have other means or opportunities to turn to which will survive most economic downturns. Don’t be tricked into thinking you can go “live off the land”. The capital required for machinery and non-growable necessities will require substantial monthly income.
  6. Start saving and begin a monthly procurement plan for acquiring the items listed in the 10 packs for survival. Do it each month–don’t wait for enough money to accumulate for a one time purchase of everything–it may not be readily available then.

The foregoing introductory material is essential in order to appreciate the following survival design criteria. The quantity of preparedness features I will describe may not be necessary in every case, depending on the relative security of the location you choose to live in. Remember, the more self-sufficient and secure the area in which you live, the less it costs you to prepare for personal survival,

Primary Faults of Conventional Housing

The following are the six essential liabilities of the conventional residential structure:

  1. Lack of security (fire, intrusion, vandalism)
  2. Poor resistance to heat, cold, wind, and sun.
  3. Lack of storage facilities (food, dry goods, machinery etc).
  4. Poor floor plan efficiency (costly wasted space, lack of emergencyaccommodations)
  5. Single source of heat for space heating, water heating, ,@Ind cooking.
  6. Single source of water and electrical power.

Design Criteria

In my actual design work, the most common concern expressed by the wife of a client is that the home not look like a fortress or a bunker. This is not only possible but preferable. There is no benefit in becoming a known target for resentment during hard times. The best survival residences are designed to look completely conventional both inside and out, so that you may stay within the bounds of society without appearing as an extremist and encouraging undue resentment.

The properly designed survival residence has within its walls and private recesses all the equipment and design technology that allows you to maintain a nearly normal lifestyle throughout a crisis. This is extremely important to the family man who must maintain his income during hard times. He cannot afford to take time off from work to heat hot water over a camp stove during an electrical outage or stand guard over his house day and night when major civil disturbances occur.

The following are some of the major design features of a survival residence:

  1. Independent well water and/or water storage facilities integral with the home
  2. Multi-fuel furnace (burns at least three different fuels)
  3. Reserve or standby electrical power
  4. Multi-fuel cooking facilities, and water heating equipment
  5. Secure walls, doors, and windows with intrusion monitoring equipment
  6. Superior energy-conserving structural design utilizing solar and underground design where possible
  7. Secret and semi-private storage facilities which include a fallout shelter
  8. Maintenance and repair facilities with appropriate tools
  9. Greenhouse and other food production facilities
  10. Internal communications equipment

If you are questioning the potential costliness of a full survival residence, consider this: it is not intended to discourage you from acting due to lack of sufficient funds, but rather to show you the importance of ordering your financial priorities In order to start preparing in the most critical areas first. In all cases, never place all of your available funds into one, or even two areas at the exclusion of all others.

If, in the final analysis, you find that not all of your self-sufficiency preparations were utilized, you will have at least spent many a restful night with the assurance that you have done everything within your ability to prepare you and your family for realistic potential difficulties.

Both those who wish to relocate permanently and those who may simply desire to construct a vacation retreat cabin elsewhere will need some guidance as to the best areas for security: We have made available to our clients the most comprehensive security map covering the entire United States, both as to the most dangerous areas and the most secure areas. It represents many years of research and analysis and may be ordered direct from the architectural and planning division using the order form at the end of this booklet.

Food Pack

Water Pack

Med Pack

Transportation Pack

Travel Pack

(These items should be packed in portable “duffle bags” ready to go)

Communications Pack

Defense Pack

Tool Pack


These items generally meet all of the following criteria for Barter

1. High consumer demand

2. Not easily home manufactured

3. Durable in storage

4. Divisible in small quantities

5. Authenticity easily recognizable