The Next Level Prepping series of three books provides in depth information covering four important topics and written for those who prepare for self-sufficiency in times of disaster. The first volume details the design and construction of customized back-up solar electric power systems. The second book is dedicated to water disinfection using a variety of raw water sources. The third and final volume addresses two subjects: managing water resources and recognizing changing weather patterns and what they mean. These topics are addressed in detail and based on accurate, current information. Despite the specialized nature of the topics, they are presented for those with no previous knowledge of the subjects.
      Balanced prepping consists of combining multiple elements into a single overall plan. Each element represents a broad category that includes food, water, power etc. These categories may be subdivided further. The food prep may consist of retort meals (MREs), canned, freeze-dried and dehydrated foods, and staples. Imagine pieces of a pie, each piece is a prep that is proportional to its anticipated need and the resources of time and money. The proportions are also influenced by local conditions or areas of special concern like flooding or EMP. As we become more advanced, additional segments are incorporated to round out our preps. These may include security, commo, health and sanitation etc. Individual elements are not necessarily things; some are gaining additional knowledge on a subject such as advanced first aid, or learning a skill. Now visualize the pie with concentric circles like a dart board. These circles represent levels of preparedness, once one prep reaches a circle it is paused to allow weaker preps to catch up. A two-week supply of food, a case of bottled water, and a handgun with a couple hundred rounds of ammunition is unbalanced and should be corrected. In this instance, water is the weak prep and needs to be addressed before further advancing security.
      We have been conditioned to think in terms of static prepping for a period of time. A one-month supply of MREs or a one-year supply of freeze dried and dehydrated foods are examples. Short term emergencies are more likely than long term disasters. To prepare for a year at the same standard as you would for a month might be overwhelmingly expensive. Give yourself permission to alter the complexion of your preps as you move beyond one circle to the next. For example, you may store enough freeze-dried meals for two weeks; for the next two weeks beans and corn bread might be incorporated and served every other day. As the circles expand, wheat, chickens, and heirloom seeds could be introduced. As you can see, balanced prepping is a continuum and not achieved in a single weekend.
      One element not to be overlooked is maintenance. Rotation of supplies is universally recommended, but expect a degree of waste and plan for it at the outset. By not recognizing this as a cost of doing business, you will feel disheartened when supplies must be discarded unused. This is especially important if you expect additional family members to arrive unprepared. Let’s use rice and beans as examples. Suppose you prepare to feed a dozen people for a year; to afford to feed this many people for this period of time, the diet may have to be heavily dependent on rice and beans. To effectively rotate these staples without any waste, one would have to constantly consume the staples at disaster consumption levels. If you feel disappointed that you have to throw out
some Crisco every now and then, don’t be.
      As with all pies, at some point we reach the outer crust. The crust signifies that one is completely satisfied with the level of their preps. We each must decide when we reach that crust, for some this may be the first ring. For others, prepping is a lifestyle and has no end.
      Elder recognizes the personal nature of prepping and appreciates that all people and groups have individual needs. His teaching style goes beyond the “hows” and includes the “whys”. This enables the reader to fully understand the topic and adapt systems to meet his needs, abilities, resources, and level of preparation. The four important preps he covers are valuable whether incorporating them to an existing plan, advancing from one ring to the next, helping you reach the crust, or as a resource for your reference library.
      The first and second volumes (Solar Power and Water Disinfection) will be released early 2018.  Water Management and Weather is planned to be released in the spring of 2018.
      Elder’s books were written to introduce or enhance the elements of solar power, water disinfection, water management, and weather to your preps. Additional elements one may consider are:

  • Food and water 
  • Security 
  • Commo 
  • Power 
  • Sanitation 
  • Weather forecasting 
  • Medications 
  • Barterable items 
  • Hunting, fishing, trapping 
  • Gardening, livestock 
  • Water disinfection and management 
  • Food preparation, preservation 
  • Transportation 
  • Infant supplies 
  • Pest control 
  • First aid 
  • Reference books 
PEARLS: While shucking oysters for meat, occasionally a lucky extra pearl is found. Scattered throughout the texts are a number of short topics labeled as pearls. Some provide closely related material, others are added for interest or simply to provide a mental break from the content. Pearls are also used to introduce topics that the reader may be unaware or to address myths. Finally, a few were added simply for layout purposes to occupy blank spaces between tables that would otherwise be wasted – I hope you find them as valuable as they are informative.