Everything you're about to read will be especially relevant if the world as we know it ends on December 21, as the Mayan calendar (supposedly) predicts. But even if the apocalypse doesn't rain down just before Christmas, it can't hurt to be prepared for what some believe to be an inevitable coming collapse.
We all know some Doomsday Preppers; even if they're not constructing underground bunkers, they're stockpiling canned food in the back of the closet or gasoline reserves in the garage. And, truthfully, in the aftermath of natural disasters like Superstorm Sandy, such preparedness no longer seems demented.
Should our lives be inexorably altered by an electromagnetic pulse, a worldwide pandemic, or economic meltdown that leads to the creation of an oppressive military state (can you tell I live with someone who thinks about this stuff?), we'll need to be exponentially more self-sufficient than we (most of us, at least) are today. Providing clean water, nutritious food, heat, and shelter — it could all be up to us. It's not fear-mongering to suggest that many of us would fare poorly if our regular systems were even minorly disrupted.
With that in mind, and with help from comprehensive (if a bit hysterical) survival websites including survivalblog.com and thesurvivalistblog.net, we've compiled this list of preparedness essentials. According to National Geographic's "Prepper Score" survey, I would survive for one to two weeks after a global cataclysm. (I scored a 13 out of 100.) Perhaps I should consider gifting some of these items to myself . . .
FILL THE BATH The WaterBOB turns your tub into a clean water tank.
The average human being can survive for just three days without water. And simply filling up the bathtub before an emergency won't cut it; dirt, soap, and other debris are bound to contaminate such a supply standing water after a couple of days.
Instead, you'll need a WATERBOB, the water containment system that holds "up to 100 gallons of fresh drinking water in any standard bathtub in the event of an emergency or survival situation," according to the WaterBOB website. Constructed of heavy duty food-grade plastic, the WaterBOB keeps water fresh and clean for drinking, cooking, washing, and flushing. ($29.95; waterbob.com)
Mini water-filtration systems, such as the KATADYN MICROPUR MP1 emergency water purifying tablets ($10.36; backcountry.com), make perfect stocking stuffers. The FRONTIER EMERGENCY WATER FILTER SYSTEM STRAW ($8.95; camping survival.com) is another inexpensive option.
DRINK IT NEAT Water-filter straws eliminate harmful toxins, organisms, and minerals.
Of course, such small tools are just for back-up or on-the-go scenarios. For long-term water purification, a larger system is necessary, such as the PROPUR stainless steel version (from $259; propurusa.com), which is gravity-powered and portable.