Home Survival Handbook - Tips & Information

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Camping might be thought of in a couple of ways. Traditional camping with tents, campfires and hiking out in the open, and 'home' camping when your home is without power. In the latter case, you'll likely end up having to use a generator for cooking, refrigeration, lights, etc., or some of the traditional outdoor camping methods to survive. These methods might be cooking over an open fire or grill, or maybe having to sleep outside due to summer temperatures. While there are similarities, there are also distinct differences.

Outdoor Camping

Planning for a camping trip, recreational or necessity, consider your destination and ask yourself the following questions:

  • Is there existing shelter? - Do you have access to a cabin, if not you will need a tent or camper. If the shelter or location is not stocked with basic home supplies including linens, you will need to take a supply of those items as well.

  • Is there potable water? - If not, plan on how much water you will need to take for the time you plan to be there. Lifestraw makes it possible to have drinking water available all the time.

  • What about food and refrigeration? - If you do not have the means to keep food cold, you can either use a generator to run a refrigerator or take foods that do not require refrigeration. Freeze dried and canned foods are excellent. And, if you do plan on using a generator for power, you'll need to figure out how much gasoline you will need for the stay.

  • Is communication available? - Will your cell phone work there? Once you arrive, advise any neighbors that you are there in case of an emergency. It helps to have a battery operated radio, and either a CB or short wave radio for communication if your cell phone doesn't work, and also for keeping track of emergency advisories or situations.

  • What about emergency medical needs? - Always let someone know where you are and how long you plan on staying. Then plan on the emergency medical supplies you may need to have on hand - including any medicines (prescription or otherwise). Also take first aid items that can be used to treat common outdoors ailments such as poison ivy, insect bites, cuts and scrapes, sprained ankles, etc.

  • Are you prepared to make emergency repairs to the shelter? Car? Electrical? - This means having tarps, electrical tapes, assorted tools on hand for any unexpected repair you may need to make. The type of tools and supplies will depend on your structure and location.

  • Do you have additional clothing available for any type of weather? - Have an assortment of basic clothes available for both hot and cold weather. Don't forget those socks and underwear. Also have wet weather gear including ponchos, rubber boots, work gloves, head gear (eye protection) and more socks.

If your camp site has a traditional structure, you probably have a stove (propane or wood) available. If not, you will need to set up a grill or some other means of cooking. Provision should also be made for disposing of trash . . . burying, burning or placing in sealed trash can. Leaving any food trash out will only encourage animals to come too close to your campsite. If placed in a plastic trash bag, these will need to be secured since animals have no problem tearing through them.

Home Camping

While home camping can be an inconvenience, it is much better than having to pack-up and go somewhere. When camping at home, most likely you will have access to a generator. If not, this might be something to consider purchasing especially if you are not in a larger city. A generator will allow you keep your refrigerator and freezers running - if not all the time, certainly enough that you don't lose all your food. Having a generator also means that you can cook more easily using electric skillets, coffee pots, and microwave ovens.

Being at home also means you have convenient access to all necessary medicines, clothes, and supplies for repairs.

Surviving an emergency may include camping, however, being prepared beforehand can make the experience easier and help eliminate any unexpected problems.


When camping outdoors where the water source in unknown, or if you are camping indoors where there is the possibility the water may be contaminated, you should know how to provide safe drinking water for your family. There are several ways water can be purified and made safe. For more information, read 5 Ways to Purify Water.

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