From a Survivor of the war in Sarajevo

Thanks to Thomas T. Tinker for sending this in…

“..Experiencing horrible things that can happen in a war.. death of parents.. friends.. hunger and malnutrition.. endless  freezing cold.. sniper attacks.. fear”

  1. Stockpiling helps, but you never know how long trouble will last, so locate near  renewable food source.
  2. living near a well with a manual pump is like being in Eden.
  3. After a while, even gold can lose its luster, but there is no luxury in war quite like toilet paper.  Its surplus value is greater than gold’s.
  4. If you have to do without on utility, lose electricity.  It’s the easiest to do without (unless you’re in a very nice climate with no need for heat.)
  5. Canned foods are awesome, especially if their contents are tasty without heating.  One of the best things to stockpile is canned gravy.  It makes a lot of dry things you find to eat in war somewhat edible.  Only needs enough eat to warm, not to cook.  It’s cheap too, especially if you buy it in bulk.
  6. Bring some books.  Escapist ones like romance or mysteries become more valuable as the war continues.  Sure, it’s great to have a lot of survival guides, but you’ll figure most of that out on your own anyway.  Trust me, you’ll have a lot of time on your hands.
  7. The feeling that your human can fade pretty fast.  I can’t tell you how many people I knew who would have traded a much-needed meal for just a little bit of toothpaste, rouge, soap or cologne.  Not much point in fighting if you have to lose your humanity.  These things are morale builders like nothing else.
  8. Slow burning candles and matches, matches, matches.

Reprinted from “Road to Roota” by Bix Weir.

About M.D. Creekmore

M.D. Creekmore is the owner and editor of He is the author of four prepper related books and is regarded as one of the nations top survival and emergency preparedness experts. Read more about him here.


  1. Thanks for this, T3 (hope you don’t mind my nickname for you). These are all good things to consider, and I’m always re-thinking my prep room.

    My step-son has mentioned my large stock of canned gravy many times, and it made me pass over buying some on sale at the market yesterday. I’m heading back for that sale gravy!

    Another item I’ve be buying a bit of lately is, Hormel Compleats. I’m not sure what the actual shelf-life would be, but the expiration dates run about 2 years. They seem to be sealed fairly well, considering they have a plastic peel-off cover, and can be eaten cold. There’s not many calories to them, and likely a lot of crap ingredients, but throwing a couple in your car or BOB could mean life or death. They run about $2.25 at Dollar General.

  2. #6 is especially great advice. As a college professor, I always encourage my students to have a few entertaining paperback reads in reserve. Most of them have Kindles or IPads and wouldn’t think of actually buying a book unless they can download it on their devices…not much good when the electricity is out…

    • Hi Pete and everyone…..Professor you are right about what happens to your kindle when the electricity fails…but also I just had a malfunction with my kindle …amazon had another for me in 2 days flat…but it can happen….and then all my 246 books and manuals will be unavailable. I”m going to start biting the bullet and buy paperback so I have something for backup. Thanks for the observation…Rusty

      • Rusty:

        I am working on a cheap backup for my Kindle books (which I read on a tablet). I believe I have one. Just not ready to report it.

      • Rusty – When I first read your last line, I thought it said, “Thanks for the obsession.” When I re-read, I realized you used the word “observation.” Well, hard copy books can also become an obsession, hence my eyes playing tricks on me. One of the things I want in my dream home/BOL would be a room that is floor-to-ceiling, wall-to-wall book shelves. I already have more books that I have shelves and have actually had to give away some books a while back. My daughters are also somewhat obsessive about their books – one has them two deep on a set of shelves and the other two devote drawers in their rooms to them. I have everything from fiction to older encyclopedias to text books to technical manuals. Plus two or three full shelves of cookbooks. (My ex-MIL has two floor-to-ceiling book shelves full of cookbooks.) I’ve been slow to go to e-reader books because I want to be able to reference them in the future, with or without electricity. I have downloaded more than 400 free books though and have found that I can copy and print what I need, just in case.

  3. As part of our preps I have tried to include things that are “not absolute necessities” but really are. Cards, books, games, tooth paste, foot powder, a portable shower, a working toilet (after a sort).

    I was watching “The World at War” series again, and in the latter episodes there are German women talking about what a sliver of soap, or a bit of cologne meant to them. I try to keep that in mind.

    “What good does it do to keep the body, but loose the mind?”

  4. good reminder “t3”. during desert storm, the army forgot about tp, soldiers would pay 20 bucks for a roll, more than a pack of cigs, which is another high value item post shtf. number 8, matches x a million. lighters too. like t3 said, worth more than gold. i need to work on the recreational books myself…..thanks.

  5. PGCPrepper says:

    You wrote: “The feeling that your human can fade pretty fast. I can’t tell you how many people I knew who would have traded a much-needed meal for just a little bit of toothpaste, rouge, soap or cologne. Not much point in fighting if you have to lose your humanity. These things are morale builders like nothing else”

    Note to self: I’m ’bout to do a search for the best way to store vodka.

    Nice post.

    • PGCPrepper:


      • PGCPrepper says:

        I think it cures rashes and various other ailments when taken internally. I’ll look it up and maybe do an article. It certainly helps with my tinnitus.

        DISCLAIMER: I do not promote abuse of vodka, the grain alcohols, grapefruit seed extract, oregano oil, clove oil, or flax oil. PrepOn!

        • PGCPrepper:

          When reading you reply, I pictured the Librarian looking over her glasses at me.

          Having had issues in the past with alcohol, I too don’t promote abuse, of anything by anyone. However, “magic fingers” were at work before the brain. Sorry,if I offended.

          • Tactical G-Ma says:

            We are kindred souls! I engage my mouth and fingers before the brain all the time and I don’t have alcohol as an excuse! Maybe I should start samplin the recipe!

    • Thomas T. Tinker says:

      MD did some research on Vodka….. Potato Vodka seems to ‘store’ better.

  6. There is a funny saying, “You can’t hunt toilet paper.” I’ve been watching Amazon for sales with free shipping and they go straight to the garage rafters because they can withstand heat/cold influx.

    Nann – have you tried the Compleats? I thought they were a great idea until I tasted them. Blech.

    Keep your eyes out for tea lights. They provide 2-6 hours of light, based on the size/quality. In a car kit, they provide a little heat too. Usually, you can find them in the Dollar Store or sometimes on clearance in the craft section. I’ve recently found 2-packs of 500 matches in the Dollar Tree! Store them in plastic or #10 cans for waterproof!

    • Sarah – that toilet paper may help keep the garage a more constant temp as it will act much like insulation.

    • Thomas T. Tinker says:

      Sarah… I got a forest of strike anywheres and give or take about1500 tea candles.. found em on sale at Ikea. Use em in the right stove and they ‘warm’ a cup of coffee or tea… or soup quite well…. and light the space too.

    • Hi Sarah. Yes, I bought some Compleats last week after reading info about them, and had one for dinner that night. I had the chicken and noodles. I didn’t eat it cold, but heated it in the microwave for 1 minute, which warmed it pretty good. The meal itself wasn’t the greatest, but it wasn’t bad either. I didn’t use salt or any other seasoning. And considering it’s not a huge amount of food, I had one slice of bread with it, and it was a somewhat filling meal.
      I bought several ‘flavors’, including a couple Dinty Moore beef stew versions. I imagine these would taste a little better.

      • NANN! I like the chicken and dumplings flavored one. I have had a few others that were OK – kinda like eating anything pre-made, they are heavy on the sodium. Unfortunately, I don’t eat them anymore as all the flavors of interest also contain gluten and/or MSG, which we avoid in our household.

    • Sarah, you better check your TP occasionally as mice love to tear it up and make nests with it…just sayin’. We had some stored in a camper and in the spring it was everywhere, and I mean everywhere. All tiny shredded and packed in drawers, corners, even under the plastic covered foam mattresses. What a mess to clean up.

      • Speaking from recent experience – puppies also like toilet paper. Come to think of it, they also like paper towels (he got one roll from an 8-pack yesterday), books, remotes, shoes, blow pops – pretty much anything he can get his teeth on. 🙂

  7. Great list and very to the point.

  8. Thomas T. Tinker says:

    I still…. like the spam and cheese.

    • My mom used to serve us fried spam with potatoes and veggies for dinner. I’m not sure if it was just because it was cheap or just easy – she didn’t particularly like to cook. I still enjoy a piece of fried spam but my family thinks its gross. Then again, I eat Vienna Sausages, sardines and smoked oysters too. When we traveled, we would eat those on crackers for a meal or a snack. My mom made it fun too.

  9. Thomas T. Tinker says:


  10. georgeislearning says:

    2things i have heard over and over from people who wrote about their experiences in a war torn area. toilet paper and gravy. amongst other thing ofc but those two are mentioned every time. I will add more of both.

  11. Tactical G-Ma says:

    Thanks for the article. This should be a standard that is published every 6 weeks or so for newbies and as a reminder of what we need to prepare for.

  12. Petticoat Prepper says:

    On the gravy note: Campbell’s has a new product ‘skillet sauces’. It’s in easy open packets, shelf stable for a couple years, doesn’t require water and tastes good! Just pour over cooked meat and heat up. My family agrees…this fights food fatigue.

    • I love those little packets of concentrated sauces! I bought organic ones at Meijer’s – their brand. They are very salty so do not salt anything until you taste it after adding the concentrate. I used the chicken just the other night as I was cooking a Asian type dish. It perked it right up!

      The packages would slip nicely into a BOB and can even be used to make a quick cup of soup.

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