As I read articles to link to on Prepper Website and then see what is popular in the stats, I like to identify patterns and trends. For example, I know now that any article that discusses “BUGGING OUT” is usually going to do pretty well. I don’t know why that is since bugging out is one of the low possibility scenarios. You are more likely to “BUG IN” and “SHELTER IN PLACE.” Yes, if the zombies come and your city is run over, you will want to “BUG OUT” and live the WALKING DEAD in real life! But, you are more likely to experience economic troubles or a natural disaster event like a hurricane or tornado than having to go all Grizzly Adams. A reasonable scenario when you might have to “BUG OUT” with little or no notice might be for a fire.
Another type of article that does really well is when someone writes about “The END” or “What will the end look like” or “What to expect when the SHTF.” People want to have a head start. I don’t blame them, the world is crazy and many of us FEEL SOMETHING. But no one living in America today can really tell you what WILL happen. When we write those articles, we are basing our ideas and themes on what we have heard or read about in fiction. Even if we apply what has happened in other collapses around the world, it still might not look like that here in America. There are a lot of factors that go into what it would REALLY look like.
But in this article, I would like to focus on three trends that I think are practical and valuable for Preppers today! They are trends that I have noticed in new articles, websites and what people seem to be buying in the preparedness community, other than the typical food, water, guns and first aid. After you read about these three trends, I would like to hear your feedback if you agree or if you see other trends that I might have missed.
Homesteading – I’ve seen a WHOLE bunch of Homesteading sites pop up in the last two years. Homesteading sites range from those living on a homestead, off-grid and living as self-sufficiently as possible to Suburban Homesteaders and homesteaders who want to really homestead someday but are stuck in a job in the city or financially can’t make the jump yet. They all have a lot to offer and provide insight for those who are starting to feel feed-up with the world around them.
For those who don’t like the term PREPPER or SURVIVALIST, the term HOMESTEADER softens up any KOOK perceptions that the UNPREPARED might have. The term Homesteader tends to remind people of a”FARMER” and living out in the country. But the reality is, a homesteader just wants to live a self-reliant, self-sufficient life and is not usually caught up in the “WORLD IS GOING TO END TOMORROW” scene.
As a result of seeing this trend, I started Totally Homesteading. It is a website that shows the latest articles from many homesteading websites. It is a one stop shop for homesteading ideas, projects, recipes and more. It updates daily and is a great resource. It has become a popular visit for many internet surfers and homesteaders daily! I do appreciate those homestead websites that have linked back to Totally Homestead: Homestead Dreamer, Timber Creek Farm, A Prepping Homestead, Living Life in Rural Iowa, Home Ready Home and Common Sense Homesteading. If you haven’t already, please visit Totally Homestead. There is something for everyone!
Frugal Living – The next trend I see is people wanting to live a frugal or simple lifestyle. I see this more as the economy keeps tanking. The fact is that the US has lived “high on the hog” for a while and we have become used to just spending and living it up. A scene from the movie, “The Book of Eli,” always sticks with me when I think about living frugally. In the scene, Denzel’s character is talking to Solara and says, ” People had more than they needed. We had no idea what was precious and what wasn’t. We threw away things people kill each other for now. ” I hope that life doesn’t imitate art in this respect because I love life right now. But the idea of being frugal, spending money on what is truly valuable is always in the back of my mind.
There is a lot that goes into living frugally. Living frugally doesn’t mean cheap! You can find many different definitions online, but I look at it as not wasting resources, making smart purchases, not necessarily inexpensive, but items of value and quality. It is more frugal to buy a pot that will outlast you and can be passed down (think cast iron) than to purchase a cheap Chinese pot that will last one year and then need to be replaced.
As we continue to see our money buy less and less, I think more people will become FRUGAL. Many of us in the Preparedness Community live like this, but I think it will become more popular as people look for ways to make their money do more. Things to look for might be Great Depression Era recipes, saving money on household cleaners, gardening and ways to cut costs on EVERYTHING. As I said, you can find many articles in the Preparedness Community already covering many of these topics. But I think websites and blogs that focus on these topics will see more traffic as people start to actively search ways to save.
As a result, I started a new page on Prepper Website. It is very similar to Page 2 News that covers a wide variety of news: collapse, pandemic, war, precious metals, 2 Amendment, Liberty Movement, conspiracy and more. But this page focuses on FRUGAL websites and even has three Google News feeds at the bottom of the page that cover: DIY, Spend Less and Frugal Eating. If you haven’t visited Page 2 – Frugal Living, you might want to check it out. It updates daily, sometimes hourly!
Solar – One of the last trends that I see is an increase and renewed interest in solar. As the Preparedness Community hears about how fragile our electrical grid is, we tend to want to mitigate not having power as much as possible. But I’m not talking about huge systems that will power your house. I’m talking more about small portable solar devices that will charge your cellphone, tablet or batteries to run a radio or even something like a BaoFeng Ham Radio.
Again, if the grid collapses permanently, we are screwed. But if we get to the point where we start experiencing more brown outs and black outs, like many other countries experience, or we go through a short term disaster like a hurricane or tornado, having something to power your small devices will be a great investment.
I personally carry around the Waka Waka Power Lamp. The Waka Waka Power Lamp is a charger and light rolled into one. It can be recharged through your computer or AC outlet through a USB connection or it can recharge out in the sun. You can read my review on Prepper Website here. I’ll have to say that the light is really awesome. It makes a darkened room look like day. And, if you want to use it as a charger, it will fully recharge your cellphone with a full charge. And although it takes a whole day to recharge the battery using the sun, it is well worth it. I wonder how they would have sold on the streets during Hurricane Sandy or Katrina? I think everyone should have one, especially women. It is the size of a cellphone and about $50. If you do purchase one, be sure you get the Power Lamp and not the less expensive version. It doesn’t have as strong of a battery.
Another popular portable solar charger is anything from Goal Zero. I own one that is similar, but I don’t own a Goal Zero yet. But because of their popularity and reviews, it is gear that might come in very handy. Amazon has some good reviews on the small portable panels. They fold up to the size of a medium text book. Goal Zero’s Nomad panels come in a variety of watts. Check out the reviews on the 10 watt, 13 watt and 20 watt Nomad.
The thing I like about both of these companies is that they are active in helping others out. Here is a video of Goal Zero helping out during the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.
If you want to build your own system for your home, a battery bank with an inverter and charger is the way to go. This system is a fraction of some of the “solar generators” you see advertised for over $1,000. Having two marine batteries will provide a lot of power to charge your small devices, provide light and maybe even run some small fans. If you add a solar panel, you can have a way to recharge your batteries during a grid down scenario.
If you do want to build your own system, I recommend purchasing Steven Harris’ Home and Battery Bank Video for $35. It is an instant download and includes 4 1/2 hours of video with very detailed explanations on how to do it correctly.
In closing, there is always going to be a segment of the preparedness community that focuses on bushcraft, wilderness survival, bugging out, guns and all the other sexy stuff. There is nothing wrong with these aspects of preparedness, I thoroughly enjoy all of them myself. But the positive thing about homesteading and frugal living is that they both can easily involve the WHOLE family.
So, what do you think about these trends? Are there any other trends that you see out there? I can suspect that different parts of the country will deal with different sub-trends too. Feel free to leave your comments below.
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