An Expert Doomsday 'Prepper' Tells Us How He Is Planning For The Apocalypse

New York City firefighter Jason Charles is a “prepper,” someone who spends large amounts of time preparing and planning to survive an eventual apocalypse.

When Charles isn’t on camping trips to test his gear or conducting meetings with other NYC Preppers to work on survival skills, he’s building out his “bug-out bag,” a portable kit filled with everything one might need to survive in the event of an evacuation.

The Department of Homeland Security currently recommends that all Americans keep a bug-out bag with everything they need to survive for three days. While few citizens heed this advice, these bags are every preppers’ first line of defence. Charles goes a few steps further, though.

He’s developed a complete kit so that he, his wife, two kids, and dog could survive for an entire week with nothing else but its contents. In addition, the bags have supplies to get them started on a new life, in the event that it becomes too dangerous to return home.

We asked Charles to show us what’s inside his bug-out bag.

Charles’ “bug-out bag” weighs approximately 50 pounds and includes a four-person tent, an emergency blanket, water bottle, and number of other necessities.

Prepper (18 of 30)

Harrison Jacobs/Business Insider

While his kit includes multiple water bottles, it also holds emergency drinking water packages (left, top), meant to be used as a last resort. On the right is a handmade first-aid kid. Below is a waterproof emergency candle kit, which can burn for 50 hours continuously. On the bottom left is a 10-gallon folding bucket, perfect for carrying and purifying water.


Harrison Jacobs/Business Insider

Aside from water, food is the most important thing Charles carries. He says each bug-out bag should carry at least a week’s worth of food per person, most of which comes in the form of Mountain House freeze-dried meals. All you do is add hot water.

Prepper (7 of 30)

Harrison Jacobs/Business Insider

Charles also has numerous First Strike Ration MREs (meals, ready-to-eat), developed by the United States Army Soldier Systems Center. The meals are designed to be eaten during the first 72 hours of conflict and are said to enhance physical and mental performance. They require almost no preparation.

Prepper (22 of 30)

Harrison Jacobs/Business Insider

Though some preppers opt to carry around “firestarter” logs for fires, Charles prefers to use simple sawdust and lint. By practicing with the bare minimum, he believes he is preparing himself for when he doesn’t have all his supplies. Charles frequently goes on “bug-out” weekends to test his survival skills, by building a campsite with other preppers and practicing starting fires, setting up lookout points, and foraging edible plants and insects.

It used to take Charles more than five minutes to get a fire going. Now, he can do it in under a minute.


Harrison Jacobs/Business Insider

Charles considers this Firebox folding stove a luxury. It’s useful for cooking, but is extremely heavy.


Harrison Jacobs/Business Insider

Charles always carries particle masks for everyone in his family. While they don’t protect against radiation, his hope is that they would help the family breathe through heavy ash or dust in the air after an explosion, as well as help protect against contagious diseases.

Prepper (25 of 30)

Harrison Jacobs/Business Insider

Charles says its important to think about how one would survive for an extended period after the initial catastrophic event. He keeps a portable saw in his bag, which would be invaluable when cutting wood for fires or for building materials.

Prepper (20 of 30)

Harrison Jacobs/Business Insider

He brings a hatchet for similar reasons. In addition, the hatchet can serve as a weapon if need be. Because of New York’s strict gun laws, Charles does not own a firearm. Instead, he carries the hatchet and a machete.

Prepper (15 of 30)

Harrison Jacobs/Business Insider

This Scorpion Radio by Aton is a solar-powered outdoor radio and flashlight that can also charge your smartphone. If there is no sun, you can also charge it by cranking its attached arm.

Prepper (14 of 30)

Harrison Jacobs/Business Insider

Charles says the Nomad 13 solar panel by Goal Zero is one of the most useful things he carries that most people might forget. “We’re all so dependent on our devices and our phones now,” says Charles.

Prepper (6 of 30)

Harrison Jacobs/Business Insider

Charlie the dog gets his own bug-out bag. It’s filled with his food, treats, and medications.


Harrison Jacobs/Business Insider

Charles keeps all his extra supplies in a closet filled with food, water, medications, and extra tools. If he is able to take his truck during an evacuation situation, he plans to load the majority of the closet’s contents in the truck with him.


Harrison Jacobs/Business Insider

Business Insider Emails & Alerts

Site highlights each day to your inbox.

Follow Business Insider Australia on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.