Special Report

Industries Making the Most Money on Doomsday Preppers

1. Food

TheReadyStore.com started out selling 72-hour emergency kits, but quickly realized customers were looking for much more. Now, the company sells its READYprep-2000 Food Storage Supply Kit, a 12-month supply of balanced nutrition from freeze-dried foods that are reconstituted with water. The average shelf life: 27 years. The cost: $3,683.25. Even Costco Wholesale Inc. (NASDAQ: COST) sells the Chef’s Banquet All-Purpose Readiness Kits for $149.99, with more than 600 servings of premium “just add water” meal options. Its shelf life is 20 years. WiseFoodStorage advertises on the Doomsday Preppers TV show a $2,595 kit of one-year’s worth of supplies for two adults. It boasts a 25-year shelf life.

Other options besides freeze-dried foods are canned and packaged goods. You can even can your own foods, but this may require some extra knowledge. Canned and soft-packaged foods can last for years, too, but they require more space and create more waste than freeze-dried meals. And, at $1 to $3 a can, their cost can add up quickly.

Another option is the Meal Ready-to-Eat, or MRE, that is used by the armed forces. TheReadyStore sells a three-month supply of MREs for more than $1,900, and the shelf life is listed as being up to five years.

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2. Water

Preppers may have lots of water stored, but it is likely the bulk of their expenses will come from filtration and cleaning supplies. For preppers, a few of the iodine tablets commonly used by hikers will not be enough. They have stockpiled huge quantities of tablets or concentrated forms of additives to make water potable. Most preppers expect to rely more on water filtration and purification systems than on hoarding endless supplies of bottled water, according to the Mountain Valley Water’s press department. Gallons of bottled water soon become difficult to store and transport.

Water purification systems vary widely in price. The Berkey Light System can be bought for around $200 or $300, while other water filtration and purification systems can cost much more than that. Some preppers just opt for low-tech filtration and purification systems, like ones from Brita or similar manufacturers, which cost less than $50, with replacement filters about $7 a pair.

Buying large water collection vats is fairly cheap, sometimes less than $100, depending on the size. Larger rainwater collection systems can cost hundreds of dollars or more. Rooftop rainwater collection systems are even more expensive.

3. Clothing

While this section is about clothes, it is not for the fashion minded — or the price-conscious. End-of-days survival wear can cost as much as an Armani suit. A hazardous materials (hazmat) suit can cost anywhere from under $1,000 to $3,000 or more. Gas masks and other protective equipment are considered essential by many preppers, and a lot of them have been sold over the years.

For basic clothing and footwear, many put aside gear similar to that used by hunters. While simple shirts and pants can be bought on the cheap, they can get into the hundreds of dollars if they are specialized or have certain designs. Survivalists often include several of these clothing items, as well as undergarments, socks and the like. Each pair of pants and shirt combined is likely more than $75 and can go much higher.

Shoes and boots can be purchased in a wide range of prices. Rocky sells lightweight military-grade boots for $135 per pair. Rocky’s hunting boots run from $100 to $200 on average, and its hiking boots run from $90 to $150. Outdoor Life gave a review of the best hunting boots in 2012, and most of these range from $150 to $200, although the price can easily be double that.