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  • 20 Expert Survival and Preparedness Tips

    Our greater Mountain House community makes one big, wonderful, and diverse family: outdoorspeople, survivalists, and all manner of other people for whom our products make quick and easy meals on busy work nights or handy emergency stashes. And one of the real joys of this Mountain House family is the ability to share knowledge and learn from one another. After all, there’s a lot of communal savvy on tap among Mountain House customers, and everybody has something to offer. Not long ago, we asked our Mountain House Facebook followers whether they considered themselves “survivalists” or “preparedness experts,” and, if so, what number-one survival/prepping tip they’d offer. Well, we received an amazing wealth of responses—including more than a few lighthearted ones, such as Lucas Smith’s tip for bear country: “Bring a friend that runs slower than you.” (Hopefully that didn't come out of personal experience, Lucas...) In a more serious vein, we thought we’d share just a sampling of some of the sound suggestions our respondents offered up. Read on and learn some valuable advice on the art of preparedness from your fellow Mountain House users!

    1. Not Just About the “Toys”

    Nick Amato urges us to remember that survival supplies are, after all, only objects. Preparation goes beyond such material resources. As he says, “intestinal fortitude, adaptability, and knowledge are the most important tools in your arsenal.”

    Number one survival and preparedness tip: Educate yourself, and be determined to survive. All the knives, filters, ammo and other toys in the world don't mean a thing if they are the only prep you've done. Intestinal fortitude, adaptability, and knowledge are the most important tools in your arsenal.

    2. Flaunt Those Firestarters

    Doug Morrison reminds paddlers to carry a waterproof safety kit that includes fire starting tools, just in case you take an unplanned dip and need to warm up fast .

    My survivalist tip is for the canoe adventurer. If you're going out for a camping trip or just a day trip. I carry a flint steel and a bundle of lint in my boat safety kit. If you capsize in cold weather and need to get a fire going quick, it's a great place to store stuff that you want to keep dry.

    3. Backups, Backups, Backups

    Survival tools have a way of breaking or disappearing. Robin Mack suggests having some spares on hand.

    If you have two, you have one. If you have one, you are done. Not an expert, but a good tip.

    4. Simple's Often Better

    Christopher Cooley fleshes out the above point by noting that excessively elaborate survival tools have more working parts to break when you need them most. He advises choosing the simple over the fancy.

    The highest rated most expensive piece of gear you have is always the first to break in an emergency situation. Simple and effective is better than elaborate and broken

    5. Clue Others In

    A vital rule-of-thumb for any outdoor recreationist, as Bianca Marie Salazar Holderman notes, is sharing your itinerary details with others: where you’re going and how long you plan to be out. If you run into trouble, searchers will have that much easier of a time tracking you down if somebody back home can point them in the right direction.

    Make sure someone knows where you're headed and your estimated route as well as when you're scheduled to be done

    6. Put in the Hours

    Michael Beck, Nolan James Vineyard, Louise Pillen Gainor, and (woodsman) Mike Kelly all nicely summarize a point more than a few other contributors made, too: All the knowledge and gadgetry in the world won’t do much for you if you haven’t practiced survival skills out in the field—and not just when it’s nice, warm, and sunny, either.

    Not going to claim expert status, but having great and functional fear is not nearly enough. Learn how to use it and in all conditions, practice often to be efficient with the gear you have. When conditions get really bad that's when knowing how to use your gear will be the most important

    Practice, practive, and more practice. Gear dont matter if you dont use your fear and practice your skills

    Survival skills are perishable, practice every weekend.

    I don't like the term survivalist, I prefer woodsman, which is what I am. My best tip would be to spend a lot of time in the environment that you intend to survive in before your life depends on it. Learn to build shelter, start fires and to find food and water ahead of time. I don't mean read about it or watch videos, I mean go out and do it. By actually living it, you will already naturally have the equipment that you need and the skill to use it. Then just stock up on supplies like ammo, batteries, fuels, MH foods, etc.

    7. Elixir of Life

    Jimmy Allen underscores the importance of having freshwater stockpiled (and also, to cover your bases, a means of treating/purifying water). Remember: You can get by without food for weeks, but water's a much more pressing issue. (Not least, as Mr. Allen explains, for cooking up some topnotch Mountain House meals.)

    Water always have lots of freshwater stored. It's the number one thing in a survival situation. heck, you can't even cook most Mountain House foods without water.

    8. Be a Lifelong Student

    That’s the sage advice from Mariano Cannone, who stresses the value of always learning from others—and of pushing your limits to build up hardiness and resourcefulness.

    My number one tip is this: You don't know what you don't know. That is to say regardless of how much experience you may have, you'll always be a lifelong student. There's much value in learning from others experiences. And a closing thought: Get out there and push yourself. Go further. Don't quit when it gets tough. The most important piece of survival or prepper gear is your mindset.

    9. Stay Humble, Learn to Improvise

    Josh Nieten echoes Mariano’s tip when he advises us to check our pride and always be open to learning opportunities in the realm of survival and preparedness. And he rightly underscores the value of improvisation when it comes to surviving: After all, you really never know what the universe is going to throw your way, and as conditions change your actions should, too.

    Remain humble, keep learning and never forget that there is nearly always more than one way to accomplish something. The ability to improvise and think outside the box is a survival skill equal to any other!

    10. The Pitfalls of Overconfidence

    On the subject of being humble, Todd Johnson turns our original Facebook question on its head: “Thinking you’re an expert is the first mistake.” A point worth remembering!

    Thinking your an expert is the first mistake. Know yourself, know your surroundings, learn and adapt. You will know what to carry.

    11. Get in Shape

    Matt LB has some cut-to-the-chase words of wisdom for those of us who maybe have been lately clocking more hours on the couch than the exercise bike or (better yet) the mountain trail. And it’s true: Prepping tools and provisions are vital, but so too is physical conditioning so you can effectively deal with the rigors of a survival scenario.

    Number one tip...don't waste your money. Get in shape. 99 percent of Americans can't move their ass. So move your ass, take their shit they bought with hard earned money

    12. Don’t Forget Foraging

    Among the survival items Marie Sites recommends packing in your tool kit are books on wild edible plants and other foraged foods. From cattail pith to berries, there’s a lot you can munch on out in the great outdoors—but given there’s also a lot out there that can sicken or even poison you, solid identification and cooking information is absolutely critical.

    I am by far an expert, but I do have a way to drink water, start a fire, keep my knife sharp, and a few other essentials in bag, not to mention a few books on wild edibles, if all else fails it's fire tender, and always wear the right foot gear cause you never know. Plus, a few packs of Mountain House.

    13. Cautionary Advice

    Justin Tolbert provides a snappy warning worth keeping in mind: “If you fail to prepare, then prepare to fail!”

    If you fail to prepare then prepare to fail! no really a tip but a good thing to remember

    14. Get Home Safe with a Get-Home Bag

    Tristan Mauger praises the value of the get-home bag, which you should keep in both your workplace and your vehicle in the event SHTF conditions arise and you need to navigate home to hunker down.

    I carry a get home bag, my tip is be ready and always be armed

    15. Don’t Panic

    Besides highlighting two ultra-important survival tools, Khalil Michal Menzies reminds us that warding off panic is the most important first step when responding to an unfolding emergency.

    Number one never leave home without a lighter and a knife

    16. Got Your Papers?

    Sometimes we forget to include copies of our birth certificate, Social Security card, and other vital documents among our emergency kit. Take heed of Eileen Oliver’s suggestions!

    Keeping survival backpacks in every car you have. And copies of your important documents in fireproof and water proof safe

    17. Remember That Boy Scout Motto

    Jay Sposato points out that emergencies can happen anywhere and anytime.

    Never drop your gaurd...always be prepared. Even a 5 minute trip from home in good weather.

    18. Layer Up

    The layering principle serves hikers, climbers, and other adventurers well, not to mention somebody caught up in a disaster out in the elements. Thanks for the reminder, Colleen Cleary!

    Where I am from: dress in loose layers! Getting warm and staying warm is key and remember not to sweat!

    19. It Ain’t Over Till It’s Over

    A positive attitude and self-belief can work wonders—really—in a survival scenario, as Grant Hudson points out.

    Never give up and lay down a quitter. If you're alive, you can survive.

    20. Keep Your Mountain House at Reach

    Andrew Esther, Bruce Townsend, and all the others of you who sang the praises of Mountain House as an emergency food source—well, we can’t say we argue with you!

    I keep three buckets of MH on hand at all times. Handy when I get a wild hair and decide on a last minute trip, and also good for keeping my family well fed in case of a natural disaster or another emergency. My son's favorite part of emergency drills is getting to pour the water in the Mountain House bag. He and I are particularly fond of the lasagna. I have all of the above. Geat a couple glow sticks. Boxes of MH. Great for back packing trips, light, easy. Taste great and nutritional.

    Thanks to everybody who provided survival/prepping suggestions, and keep 'em coming! And don't forget there's always some productive discussion going down on our Facebook page: You'll almost always learn something in the "Comments" section.

    Inspired for an Adventure? Check out Beef Stroganoff - Pouch and Beef Stew - Pouch