Bookshelf: Prepper’s Long-Term Survival Guide

Let’s put this out there right up front: I don’t think that civilisation as we know it is going to end anytime soon, the election of an NDP government in Alberta notwithstanding. I kid.

But just for a second, let’s imagine the end is here. The bombs are falling (elsewhere), society is crumbling, and you need to get yourself sorted.

Well—can you do it? Do you know enough, and do you have enough, to survive?

That’s basically the question Jim Cobb is asking in Prepper’s Long-Term Survival Guide ($14). So, I’m going to run down the list of things Cobb says I’ll need and figure out just how screwed I am when the big one hits.


I’m in downtown Toronto. If the municipal water system goes, I’m screwed. Game over. Already. There’s no backup well or anything. I keep a few bottles of water around in case they shut it off or something, but long term? I guess I’d have to start melting snow and build a tank. And not the fun kind of tank. Hopefully the world ends during winter.


Proximity to Honest Ed’s has blessed me with a preponderance of canned food, dried beans, and rice. And I’ve recently learned to can food, which has given me more pickled red onion than I have tacos. It’s pretty easy. I can’t imagine all that would last very long, though. And all my gardening attempts have been foiled by racoons.

Side note: who takes ONE BITE of every goddam tomato and then just leaves the rest of the fruit?

Anyway. There isn’t much in the way of hunting in downtown Toronto, and I assume that the grocery stores would be pillaged pretty quickly. I suppose that I’ll have to learn a few snare traps, which might bag some racoons and have the added bonus of solving the gardening problem.


I have first aid training, a pretty good first aid kit (and you should to), and no long-term illnesses. Balanced against my tendency to hurt myself doing silly things, this might be a draw. And there’s a box of condoms in the bedside table. If there’s one thing that could ruin a perfectly good apocalypse, it’s an unplanned baby.


If I don’t solve the water problem, this one might get a little tricky. Fortunately, as a writer at a men’s lifestyle magazine, I have a large box of deodorant, shampoo, cologne, and other grooming samples. At least I’ll smell great!


This old house gets extremely hot in the summer and freezes in the winter. However, it has a decent roof, and I have sweaters.


I have a passive-aggressive ‘no solicitors’ sign on my mailbox. That’s security, right?


Man oh man, do I win this round. I have plenty of screwdrivers, wrenches, hammers, screws, nails, measuring tapes, saws, rope, and all kinds of great things that barely get used. And WD-40. No squeaky doors in my apocalypse!


Two full bookshelves can kill a lot of boredom, I reckon. Assuming I survive long enough to meet boredom. I don’t have a generator or HAM radio, though, so my post-apocalyptic future will be a little Amish.

Barter and Trade

I have been storing all my bottle caps in preparation for the post-apocalyptic economy. Failing that, I guess I could trade whisky.

Community Survival Planning

Toronto can’t even plan a subway inside of forty years. I’d say I fail this round, but I’m going to do the Toronto thing and also blame the TTC.

Obviously, I’m not going to survive any real world-ending catastrophe, and neither is anyone else around here. However, this stuff is worth thinking about and Cobb’s advice could apply to you, too. Disasters hit—flood waters rise, ice takes out power lines, and Peter Pocklington once owned a hockey team. It’s better to be prepared than not, so maybe a little preparedness inventory is in order. After all, what’s the worst that can happen?

Dave Robson is the editor of DailyXY. He spends his time reading books, drinking Scotch, and smoking cigars.

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