Review of Doomsday Preppers on Nat Geo Channel Episode 1

by David Morris on February 7, 2012

In the first episode, Doomsday Preppers interviews 3 preppers.

First up, Paul and Gloria Range from Floresville, TX. They’re retired and are full-time preppers, spending up to 50 hours per week.

Some notables:

-They’ve got 50,000 pounds of food

-Their house is made out of 9 40 foot long steel shipping containers

-In the show, they’re notable for shooting at their house with a .22 to test it’s bullet resistance.

-NGC framed the Range’s preparations as being in anticipation of a polar shift. They didn’t mention that all of the Range’s preparations ALSO would help them in countless other disaster situations or that their lifestyle makes them mostly self-reliant and insulated from economic disasters.

-They cook 8 meals per day…3 to eat and 5 to preserve.

-They’re preparing for family AND friends.

-41% of Americans feel preparing for catastrophe is smarter than saving for retirement.

-The Range’s feel that their food storage has gone up in value 400%.

-With a system of multiple wind generators and solar panels, they are able to be completely independent of the electrical grid. This approach is much more doable from an economic perspective and more stable than relying on a single system for off-grid power.

-About 750,000 households in the US are off the grid.

-They generate methane from pig and human feces.

-Paul and Gloria have a team of 22 friends and family members.

-Their plan is to stay put, but if they need to, they have 2 converted school buses a livestock trailer and 2 pickups

-They have trained their animals to load up in their livestock trailer VERY quickly.

-They have caches along their bug-out route.

Christopher Nyerges is the next Prepper featured. His site is

Christopher is from LA and runs Farmers’ Markets.

I love his quote, “It would be the height of stupidity to be aware of earthquakes and watch the news and see what happens and not make some preparations.”

Chris’ plan is to stay mobile and doesn’t seem to have much respect for people who’s plan is to stay put in a set location. Chris also appears to be single and not to have any young children or relatives with mobility problems that he will have to take care of. Chris appears to be brilliant at what he does, but his way is not for everyone.

-Chris makes a good point of keeping cash in your bugout bag, as well as junk silver, arrowheads, extra knives, and other useful items that he could trade if necessary.

-Chris talks about a patch of “weeds” between the LA river and a highway being full of food and goes so far as to say that food is not in short supply, it’s brains that are in short supply. A couple of thoughts on this…First, there’s no telling what chemicals from the road and the river are in those plants. Second, the ONLY reason why food is not in short supply for Chris is because of the fact that nobody recognizes it. He’s critical of people who aren’t able to recognize the same food sources that he can, but if those same people would know how to identify the same food sources, Chris’ survival plan would go out the door. I’m not trying to be hard on Chris…I LOVE what he’s doing.

-Chris talks about always having a knife and a fire starter with him…I can’t agree more. Whether it’s a lighter, flint and steel, paracord for a bowdrill, or something completely different, it’s a great idea to have something to make fire with you.

I had to smile at the end of Chris’ segment when the reviewers suggested that he have firearms as part of his plan. I am not sure if they missed the fact that he lived in LA or not, but the laws in California make it difficult to legally carry a concealed weapon. Chris’ response to their suggestion was to say that he in no way wanted people to think that he had disclosed all of his preparations and that he wouldn’t say any more than he already had.

Megan Hurwitt, a web designer from Houston is the next prepper. Her segment is framed as being about oil shortages. NGC really did a hit piece on her, so don’t judge her too harshly based on how they edited the show.

Megan makes some great points about Houston only having 3 days of food and fuel, about people’s willingness to resort to violence to provide for their children, and about how difficult it is/will be after a disaster.

Megan and her boyfriend live in a 700 sf apartment that has an impressive amount of food and water in it, but most people would resist having that much of their living area taken up.

I loved the part when Megan said that her wardrobe selection has changed to where she picks clothes based on how well they carry/conceal weapons and tools.

One thing that was illustrated during this segment is the importance of wardrobe selection during a bugout scenario. Staying cool is smart, but wearing rugged clothing that can stand up to some abuse is important as well.

Her plan is to survive in place for a few weeks and then bug out to an escape vehicle and heading to Mexico. This may sound ridiculous to people who don’t live near the border, but for people who have spent time near the border, it is a valid option. It depends on whether you have an existing network in place in Mexico, whether the potential increase in safety is worth the risk of traveling that far, and what the particular disaster is.

Megan works out 4 hours a day, 6 days a week and the segment shows her getting survival and firearms training, which I commend her for doing.

Megan commented to her instructor that she wasn’t very efficient with her reloads and that it would be very difficult under stress. The instructor wisely said that was the reason why she needed to practice. Most people instinctively know this but few actually make the next step of following through and actually practicing.

I’ve got to commend Megan for actually loading up her bugout bag, or INCH (I’m not coming home) bag and doing a 6 mile dry run getting out of town. She wore tennis shoes and quickly figured out that they didn’t provide as much support as boots when carrying a backpack.

Megan made what I think is a smart move and decided to enlist in the military…not only for training, but also for supplies and training to put her in a position where she could help more people after a disaster.

National Geographic did a HUGE disservice at the end of the show by dismissing the probability of each of the disasters that each of these 3 preppers are preparing for.

To see my review on episode 2, go here:

What are your thoughts on this episode? Share them by commenting below:


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{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

+2 Vote -1 Vote +1MEGAN HURWITT
February 14, 2012 at 9:55 am

Thanks for the wonderful review!


+2 Vote -1 Vote +1C Newton
February 14, 2012 at 9:22 pm

While NatGeo desires to portray those preparing as nutcakes, they’ve failed to mention the various earthquakes in LA, and east coast last year, the hurricanes Obama ignored, Hurricane Katrina, Hurricane Agnes, wildfires in San Diego and LA, Reno, Texas — all which lead to mass evacuations, and tornados throughout the mid-west last year which demolished several towns, including one in the middle of the night.
Yep, we shouldn’t prepare because natural disasters are highly unlikely according to NatGeo.


Vote -1 Vote +1Bob Jones
April 17, 2012 at 1:19 pm

Hurricanes Obama ignored??? Are you daft? The only catastrophic hurricane during his tenure so far was Igor and Thomas, and neither of these caused any significant damage.
It was Hurricane Katrina and the BUSH ADMINISTRATION that ignored that storm leading to the most costly disaster in American history.

C Newton, get facts


+1 Vote -1 Vote +1kenneth smith
February 16, 2012 at 12:35 pm

National Geographic as a liberal news and information agency has to poo poo anything consertive, their attitude is the gov will protect you. Putting that aside I liked the piece. I shows that I am not nuts. I have lots of company thank God. hehehe


Vote -1 Vote +1sandra
February 17, 2012 at 12:31 pm

I like the show because it does help because it shows different things that you might not thought about so im going to keep watching and anyone who thinks that the gov will help when everything hits the fan better think they will think more about themselfs than the people


Vote -1 Vote +1John
February 17, 2012 at 3:06 pm

I would so love to prepare for the end, but I’m broke and unemployed. The only employment that I do have is the Army National Guard. I know what I need to do, but on a limited income its going to take for ever. I figure food to be the area that is going to be my down fall. I have enough weapons, and some camping gear. My main worry is food, because of the size of my family. I’m looking at freeze dryed food because of the shelf life. Does anybody have suggestions on what kinda of food preps I should be making?


Vote -1 Vote +1Janet
February 19, 2012 at 6:22 pm

John, Right now you are in an emergency so stay away from the freeze dried stuff-too expensive for immediate use per serving. For 10-25 year shelf life it is well worth it if you keep it a few years before needing it. Buy extra canned goods each time you go to store. Extra beans, spaghetti sauce and the noodles. Stock up with on sale items. Buy one extra meal at a time for your family. Spam chunks can go a long way. Use it now in sauces/gravies to stretch your dollars. Buy a can of tuna, a can of chicken or some other protein. Buy chicken stock when it’s on sale for 50 cents or less a can-it can replace some water while cooking. You don’t say the ages or how many chidren you have so it’s difficult to get more specific. Eat any junk food already in your house and don’t replace it. instead of buying a large bag of potato chips, get 2 cans of spahetti sauce and one pound of spaghett or 6 top romin noodles. Throw the monsodium glutamate filled flavor packets away and use the noodles for spaghetti and other dishes -the noodles cook faster if hot water is a problem. Put this “extra” food in a box in a closet and add to it every time you shop. You should be getting food stamps and be able to go to at least one food pantry. Set aside one box of powdered milk they give you every so often. Rotate all food. I buy reg. size cans of everything, they are usually cheaper even for a large family. Remember we may be without refrigeration so plan single meals to start. Stock up on rice-which is increasing in price every week. Powdered Potaotes aren’t too expensive yet, largest bag there. Throw on some jar or canned gravy and they edible and fill your belly. There are many other things, write me at jr9 at att dot net if they allow you to do so. You’re in my prayers


Vote -1 Vote +1Willy from Utah
February 26, 2012 at 5:28 am

Freeze-dried and canned foods are expensive. The cheapest and most nutritious food prepping involves staples. Buy 25-pound bags of rice and various kinds of beans. Great thing about this is you can buy them one bag at a time out of your normal food budget (or even food stamps). Then you can pack the food into 4- or 5-gallon plastic food buckets, often obtained free from bakeries or restaurants, just ask! By the way, you would do well to eat regularly from these staples as you start buying them. I don’t know where you live but here in Utah a great place to buy grains in bulk is Their website can give you an idea of how cheap it is to buy bulk grains. They also ship products.
I really am sold on the idea of “beans and rice” for basic food storage.. If you have that you can always jazz it up with whatever veggies or meat you can scrounge or raise. At least you won’t starve. And you can sprout beans for added nutritional value.


+1 Vote -1 Vote +1Floyd Lloyd
February 17, 2012 at 9:49 pm

Chris Nyerges is (or was) married to a woman named Dolores. He wrote a book called “Extreme Simplicity” that details his creating a small homestead of sorts where he lives in L.A. He’s also generated some urban survival documentation/course material that he sells through his website and I believe he runs some sort of survival program. His book runs along the lines of similar urban homestead books like “Farm City”, “My Empire Of Dirt”, “The Quarter Acre Farm” I too started off thinking that these people were opening themselves to ridicule (or worse) by exposing their ideology and preparedness levels on TV. They are now stuck being exposed to the rest of the world, but we can learn from their successes (methods and levels of preparedness) and mistakes (letting themselves be exposed) and build our own caches and larders accordingly.


+1 Vote -1 Vote +1Nan
February 18, 2012 at 5:33 pm

This is a reminder to John and the rest of us, but there are many plants growing around us which are edible and usually very healthy. I’m still learning, but one very nutritious “weed” is dandelion. Check out Chris Nygeres site and the library for more info on plant foods. Taking an afternoon walk with a book on edible plants would make a wonderful family outing. A packet of seeds will produce quite a bit of food for a minimal cost. Don’t forget that sprouted seeds are very healthy and a lot of food relative to the amount of seeds. Knowledge is one of the best preparations.


Vote -1 Vote +1doug
February 19, 2012 at 4:00 pm

The young lady was impressive in the amount of physical training she was doing. I wish someone would have told her she made it way tougher on herself by not stopping and securing her bottom bag. Would she have had a better chance if her truck were parked in a locked storage shed to insure it was there when she arrived?


Vote -1 Vote +1K.D.
February 20, 2012 at 8:58 pm

If Paul and Gloria Range expect earthquakes, they should very definitely securely anchor those shelves to the wall and the glass jars to the shelf with strapping tape and a shelf edge ledge or they will lose most all of it. I have been through a few large earthquakes.


Vote -1 Vote +1Lance
February 23, 2012 at 12:15 pm

I agree with K.D. If you are prepairing for earthquakes or devistation of property, perhaps glass containers would not be my first choice. Secondly some way to prevent all your shelves and there goods from falling over and breaking. Shelves must be anchored to the walls, and some kind of restrant (cloth, rope, etc.) across the openings on the shelves to keep objects from being shook out to break on the floor. (Have you ever seen pictures of grocery store shelves after and earthquake?)
The only thing worse than not being prepaired is to go through the time and expense and have it all ruined in the opening minutes of a disaster. The greatest survival tool is the one between your ears. Think, act, do. God Bless L


Vote -1 Vote +1Dug-In @ Bag-End
February 24, 2012 at 12:54 pm

Having lived most of my life in earthquake country and now in the heartland; I think about preparations in terms of different disaster scenarios, from a simple power outage or storm or tornado warning, to an all out breakdown in the infrastructure that may be caused by any number of things; global economic collapse, solar activity or catastrophic earth events, terrorist attacks, even scenarios none of us has even imagined.. Who would have guessed that getting car parts for your Japanese made vehicle would be delayed or even non-existent as a result of the most recent Japanese earthquake and tsunami? Or even that a friend half a world away would have to evacuate his coastal area in the North West coast because of that event?

My first impression upon seeing the Prepper episodes was why would they want to expose themselves and their location(though vague) and the extensive preparations to the world? It did cross my mind that these people could be actors and the names and places are “changed to protect the innocent” but based on true stories. Whatever the case may be, the information is invaluable and as a prepper, I learned things I hadn’t actually thought of.

My first introduction to preparedness came back in the 70’s from a book written by the sister of a friend called “Urban Alert” mainly for city dwellers with limited space, from which I began to prepare mainly for earthquakes as it was on the heels of experiencing the Sylmar quake, the strongest quake I had experienced up to that point. Just making sure I had x number of days of food, water, candles and meds was where it all began for us. Now, decades later, we have chosen a place in the country in America’s heartland, in an earth-bermed, wood-stoved, and well-stocked retreat. There is always more to learn and I am sure I could add my 2 cents.. but so many others have done quite well at it so I will defer to them. Learn and grow, help and share.. all of this is nothing unless we have a community to be a part of.


Vote -1 Vote +1Dug-In @ Bag-End
February 24, 2012 at 1:18 pm

@ John, I was exactly where you are many years ago.. our preparations began by simply buying a bag of rice or beans every time I shopped and I fleshed it out from there.. If you buy mainly unprocessed, make from scratch items from the store for your weekly groceries, or have one or 2 meatless meals a week( like mac and cheese(add veggies and more cheese for more nutrition), or an egg dish, or pea soup.. at about a dollar or 2 for the whole family of 4 or?) so you can buy some dry or canned goods for storage, you will be surprised at how much you can accumulate in a year.. think 52 more or less shopping trips a year.. If you only did the minimum of one extra can or bag of rice or beans a week.. you have a pantry of 50 items! multiply that by 2 or 3 or 4 items and it goes up exponentially.. to 100, 150, 200 items.. that is quite a bit and goes a long way.!.

I always bought canned items at 2 or 3 for a dollar sales.. mac and cheese.. even this week I see 2 Tuna Helpers and 2 cans of tuna coupons, each for a buck. Hey, that is 2 whole meals for 4 for a dollar.. add a can or 2 of veggies for another buck or less, and maybe a can of fruit for dessert.. think in terms of small steps.. buying otc drugs or vitamins? Always get generic and BOGO; use coupons, frozen ground turkey is cheap and can sub for a Hamburger helper.. again for under 2 or 3 bucks.. anyway you get the idea..Taking mall steps and in 3 months, 6 months, to a year.. it all adds up.. don’t forget to buy a gallon of water every week too. You will be amazed how empowered you will feel after even the first week! Long term food storage? Well yes, but you’d be amazed how long many dried beans and rice last! For many years, 2 metal garbage cans filled with 25 lb or 50lb bags of rice and beans served as our “poor man’s” long term storage, Don’t forget the salt and pepper!LOL


Vote -1 Vote +1christopher nyerges
February 25, 2012 at 10:59 pm

You folks need to remember that you are basing all your comments on what you saw on tv. Do not believe what you see on TV. i spent about 2 days with NatGeo, and had a great time. But do not think it is “reality.” I was on t heir chessboard, fulfilling their agenda. Yes, having to evacuate should be a part of your planning, and I also spoke about theneed to stay put, whic h you did not hear. It would notbe my first choice to wander the streets of LA after an emergency and have to deal with the crazies and gang members and paniced public.
I teach practical skills for daily life, and that’s what I write about. Check out my web site,, and continue to use critical thinking with all so-called “reality tv.


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