Since we’ve been writing about “UrbanSurvival” long before any of the “Johnny-come-lately’s” on the web (starting in ’98), our views on what’s “adequate prepping” have moderated a bit, over time.

Here are the simplest, cheapest, and best ways we can think of to increase your personal preparedness in 2020.

  1. Spend $10-bucks a person on bottled water.

If there is  one vulterability we all have, it’s that water is the essence of life.  Go without it for 48-96 hours and you’re in medical emergency territory, depending on your general health and the climate.

Elaine and I keep a couple of hundred gallons in the ibiquitous blue barrels (which don’t hold up to UV very well, so we plan to replace them this year).  Even so, we ran into a deal this week where the bottled water in the house really paid off.

We live on a single-lane (and calling it a lane is a stretch) dead-end road.  No one comes up here without running our “camera gauntlet.”

One of the features of this “country lane” is a big culvert.  And the earth around it isn’t particularly stable.  Since the pipes in the ground have been in 30-years, or so, when a leak developed by the creek, the water company was Johnny-on-the-spot.

Except, when that leak was fixed, another sprung a block up the street…so overall, the water was off for about 6-hours while the backhoe came in and fixed both.  New sections of pipe, and so on.

Thing is, they forgot to drain the line.  As a result, the water pipe had air in it, so all of our water coming in, even though fresh, was being “charged” with a little effrervescence by the line air.

Sure, you could pour a glass of this milky looking water and in a minute it would bubble out the air, but in the meantime, until we were back in “clean water” we didn’t want to drink what was coming out.

Bottom Line to the story:  We pick up several gallons (when we remember) of 4-liter water bottles.  They store well, and it’s probably better than what comes out of the tap.  Just depends if you want to drink water-down parting compound *(a risk of plastic bottles) or the chlorinated hydrocarbons that somehow end up in water samples.

If there’s ever a plumbing problem where you live, or an earthquake (I’ve scheduled several in 2020) you can thank me later.  We go to the dollar-stores for ours.  Price differential for “designer waters?”  How stupid are ‘Mericans?  *(You know the answer, so I won’t says it out loud.)

2. Code Your Passwords

dead certainty in 2020 is that some large corporation or healthcare group is going to be hacked.

Problem with hacks is that when the ransom notes come in, “I record you watching a porn channel…” is how they begin, you have  no clue as to where you have been breached.

Doesn’t matter whether the coding goes at the beginning, middle, or end of your password, and it doesn’t matter if you use two letters or three or four, point is that if we get a  passwordAMA that would nail down the source of the data breach as being Amazon.  We HAVEN’T had a breach there and we DON’T EXPECT ONEi.

But computer security is important to us all, and IF a data breach were to cause a substantial personal loss, having each of your accounts encoded in such a manner than you could assign breach responsibility would put you light-years ahead of people to lazy to think and act to protect their digital assets.

3. Map And Escape Plan

Do you have stored detail maps, including hike-out maps with terrain to get the hell out of a big city?  We have kept up on railroad rights of way that are closed down, since these are generally pretty level ground for cross-country travel.

Look around online, there are lots of them to be found and many can be stored.

Also, do you have a small charger for your cell phone?  I mean, what good will walk-out maps (and a couple of LifeStraw’s (Personal Water Filter for Hiking, Camping, Travel, and Emergency preps) do if you don’t know where you are and where the nearest water is?

For this, something like the $46-buck AMZGO Solar Charger 26800mAh,Portable Solar Power Bank 18W PD Fast Charger with Type-C in/Output?18W USB Output, Waterproof, Ultra-Bright LED Light & Flashlight is a good start, though it would bust our $40 budget by a country mile.

So far, we have a $12 Lifestram and $10-bucks worth of water.

4. A  Serious Pocketknife

Gift from a dear friend is what my firefighter son carries, a  Spyderco Rescue.  Fine knife ($75) and hard to misplace with the bright orange handle.  Being a simpler fellow, my pocket has a Spyderco Byrd Cara Cara 2 Folding Knife – Black Steel Handle, CombinationEdge, Full-Flat Grind, 8Cr13MoV Steel Black Blade and Back Lock (~$36) in it at all times.

While you can pick up a cheapy knife for $8-bucks at a dollar store, we’d sure encourage you to get a “real knife.”  Elaine has her own Cara Car 2, also, though the “flip open with thumb” hole action is a bit stiff for here.

That said, I’ve got a whole list of pocket knife criteria:

  • Whatever I carry has a 3″ blade of simply, “what’s the point?”
  • It has to be one-handed opening  and closing.  I’ve been sailing, flying, and all sorts of “adventuring” with my Spyderco’s over the years.
  • The other selling point to me is the “lock-back” feature.  Thing with the lock-back is it eliminates (or nearly-so) the chances of the blade collapsing on your fingers.  In a survival situation, you don’t want injuries.

Can’t tell you how many times over the years, I’ve been in a situation either sailing, flying, or just at the lumber yard, and someone will remark on how I can smoothly draw and open my knife in a flash.

People look at it and say “Dude…cool knife…”  A good knife, understand, is like a good frriend.

At there other things to carry?  Sure are!  In an urban setting where one-handed knife opening is not so handly as it is out “on the range” (on a Kubota?  who’s he kidding?)… I’d look at a (~$52) Gerber MP600 Multi-Plier, Needle Nose, Black.  Or, if a big bonus was burning a hole in my pocket, hows about a $100 class LEATHERMAN – Wave Plus Multitool with Premium Replaceable Wire Cutters and Spring-Action Scissors, Stainless Steel?

To be sure, you will see a lot of tradesmen (electricians seem drawn to the Leatherman) using the latter…but it all depends on your purpose.  A lower end product that would still be better than nothing would be the less brandced “Multitool Knife. 15 in 1 Portable Pocket Multifunctional Multi Tool. Folding Saw, Wire Cutter, Pliers, Sheath” from Amazon for $14-bucks, or thereabouts.

All depends on what kind of person you plan to be.  If you’re a base jumper turned aerial ladderman who does everything, then more money is warranted.  But, if you’re an accountant waiting for the ateries to harden, then spend your money on more salads for lunch…

I made notes on Monday on my knife us:  Came out of my pocket for:

  • Digging a stuck staple out of a staple gun.  Elaine’s working on a project, lol.
  • Came out to cut up a couple of boxes and get ’em into the burn barrel.
  • Also to slice open a handful of parts than  came in those “impossible to open” plastic  Zon padded envelopes.
  • And to cut back a piece of work a tiny bit so a woodworking project would be perfect.
  • End of the day?  Came out for three passes on the sharpener.  A dull knife is like a dull person…what’s the pointy of having  them around?

OK, of “resolutionating”…Write when you get rich,