Most of the time, the conversation around prepping for survival situations centers around “bugging out,” which is just a tacticool term for “evacuating your home.” But as many of us learned to our dismay this year, sometimes the best—or only—option is to shelter in place. As many of us learned to our further dismay this year, it takes much less to disrupt the supply chain from the farms and factories to our homes than we had thought.
It’s awful to think about, but in many ways, America’s collective COVID-19 quarantine nightmare could have been much worse. There were no disruptions to power or clean water, for example, as you might expect from a hurricane. With the traditional “cold and flu season” heading our way and a potential second coronavirus outbreak, now is as good a time as any to take a good, long look at your “shelter in place” supplies. Here’s the NRA Woman’s ultimate bug-in resource checklist:
With nearly 20 million firearms sold in 2020, it’s pretty obvious that America is already alert to the fact that gun ownership is the cornerstone of home defense. That’s a good thing, but it does mean that you may experience some trouble finding a particular pistol, shotgun or rifle in stock in your state. We can’t tell you which gun is the best one for you, but we can give you some guidelines to help you make that decision.
Our first recommendation is be open to the idea of a long gun. One of the trends that we have noticed in this record-setting year of gun sales is that handguns seem to sell out first. When it comes to concealed carry, handguns are the way to go, but if you’re staying home … well, a rifle or shotgun may be a better solution, not just a “settle.”
Our second recommendation would be to read up as much as you can about what guns might work for you before you head to the gun store. (You can’t always rely on gun-store employees to give you the best advice.) Here’s a good place to start; then here and here.
Although America’s truckers—some of them NRA Women, we’re just sayin’—did and still do an amazing job of keeping us all fed during the crisis, there were shortages. In particular, there was about a two-month period when it was all but impossible to find fresh beef. Those of us who had successfully harvested a game animal the previous fall were sitting pretty with our venison and turkey … and if you weren’t, you can be next time.
Getting started in hunting is easier than you may think! The first thing you’ll want to do is take a hunter safety course, since most states won’t let you hunt without having done so. Here’s an idea of what to expect in your course; here’s a place to search for online hunter education courses; and here’s how to find a hunting mentor to show you the ropes.
Power and Cooking
America has been “fortunate” with the COVID-19 outbreak in that our power grid and supply has been unaffected. However, you don’t need a pandemic to cause you to shelter in place; the most common scenario is an unforeseen natural disaster like a hurricane. Power disruptions are commonplace in those scenarios—and at the time of this writing, we’re still a month away from the end of hurricane season. As anyone who’s gone through one can tell you, having a generator makes you Queen of the Neighborhood. We’re partial to DR Power’s new line, which includes alternate-fuel gennies, portable gennies and inverter generators at very competitive prices.
Another pain point of power loss is that cooking either goes old-school or happens not at all. The good news is that she who owns an outdoor cooking system may not be Queen of the Neighborhood, but she can certainly claim a duchy somewhere. We’re fans of the Camp Chef cooking systems, which come in a wide variety of prices and cooking capabilities, including grills, griddles and individual burners.
We’re not going to tell you to stockpile toilet paper and hand sanitizer, because chances are pretty good you’ve already done that. Nor do we need to tell you that attention to hygiene is particularly important during a crisis. What we do wish to remind you is that if there’s a loss of power, you may also lose access to the water you need to operate your toilet. Why not invest in a camp potty, which can serve you just as well on your next outdoor adventure as it would in a hurricane? We like this PETT Portable Environmental Toilet, which offers a terrific and environmentally safe germ- and odor-control system.
Of course, if there’s a problem with the water supply, you’re going to need to sterilize the water before drinking it or using it to cook. (Trust us on this one.) One of the easiest ways to do that is to boil it—yet another reason to invest in a camp stove. However, there are lots of other ways to render your water safe. We recommend checking out this page from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).
Did you know that, in the year 2020, February had 29 days, March had 31, and April had 3,257? This year’s COVID-19 quarantine taught us all that we should never underestimate the value of comfort—and amusing diversions—to keep our spirits up. We can’t always count on a television series starring tigers (and terrible gun handling) to keep us entertained.
First—and we know this is ironic, coming from a Web-based publication—consider the value of printed books. As long as you have a light source, you’ll be entertained. Second, even if you have a generator, don’t forget about batteries and portable equipment chargers to keep your cell phone and tablets charged. You really can’t waste money on battery banks, which you can pre-charge and keep at the ready. Speaking of the light source, if you live in an area where power disruptions are common, we love these rechargeable light bulbs.
Of course, there’s a checklist. The essential checklist will be different for every NRA Woman, because our needs are different. However, here are a few things that will ensure that sheltering in place stays as easy as it can be—no comment on whether there were any hard lessons that we had to learn here:
Spare eyeglasses in your current prescription
Three months’ supply of medications
Extra pet food
Way more batteries than you think you will need
Bidet (so you won’t care if you run out of toilet paper)
Outdoor/emergency cooking supplies
Outdoor/emergency water purification supplies
Battery or solar-powered lanterns
Cell phone/laptop/tablet chargers