Review of Episode 3 of Doomsday Preppers on Nat Geo

by David Morris on February 14, 2012

Episode 3 of Doomsday Preppers had an interesting twist to it…NGC said that they’d examined cultures from around the globe and that Doomsday Preppers was a part of their “ongoing look at American outliers.”

Outliers? Really? I guess it’s crazy, in hurricane country to prepare for hurricanes, in blizzard country to prepare for blizzards, in a country with $16 TRILLION of debt and leaders bent on the death of the dollar to prepare for economic trouble, and for people who get power from an over-extended and over-regulated electrical grid to prepare for power outages. Geese Louise.

On a positive note, evidently episodes 1 and 2 went well enough that they’re doing a season 2…I got contacted today again about being on it. This means that preparedness is going to get MORE exposure and that hopefully more people will get prepared as a result.

In this episode, they interview 4 preppers. The first is Tim Ralston from a suburb outside of Phoenix. He’s got a wife and 3 kids, which is somewhat unusual for the families so far. His main concern is an electromagnetic pulse.

Tim has done a great job of identifying needs that preppers have and creating products to satisfy them.

One of their latest tools is a crovel…combination shovel, machete, saw, pry bar, stool, bottle opener, and more.

Tim and his team decided to buy 3 shipping containers to bury underground to use as a shelter. When shopping for the containers, Tim asked about having 6-8 feet of dirt on top of it. There’s a serious problem with that. Shipping containers are designed to be stacked multiple containers high, weighing several tons apiece, but they’re designed to handle weight at the corners and on the edges…not distributed across the roof like it would be with dirt.

Tim’s family “goes on vacation” and practices bugging out every couple of weeks.

Interestingly enough, National Geographic Channel pointed out that 20% of Americans have planned an escape route to leave their neighborhoods or towns.

Once Tim and his boys get to their location, they practice survival skills, including tactical training. Tim had a severe negligent discharge when his thumb was in front of the barrel, which caused him to go into shock and required medical intervention.

Fortunately, there was an EMT there to take care of him and Tim simply “cowboyed up” recovered, and kept his forward progress on preparing.

I reached out to Tim tonight, as I have with a couple of other participants from the show, and look forward to hearing back about his thoughts on the series and preparedness in general.

The second prepper is Jason Charles, a married NYC firefighter. Jason’s disaster of choice is the Yellowstone super volcano. What many people don’t realize is that Yellowstone National Park sits on a volcano who’s mouth is roughly (from memory) 50 miles in diameter.

I’ve had the pleasure of getting to interact with Jason a couple of times over the years and I’ve been impressed with him each time. As impressed as I’ve been in the past, I thought he did a great job of representing preppers on the show.

Jason has an issue that many in the US don’t have with not being able to have firearms in NYC. As a result, he has several knives of various sources and trains with a local Krav Maga instructor on knife fighting.

Another National Geographic statistic is that 25% of Americans have done nothing to prepare for disasters.

Jason’s plan is to survive in place in the event of a super volcano, he has crushed glass to put outside of his door, he has tape and plastic ready to seal off doors windows, and other openings, a water BOB to store water in his bathtub, and MREs for food storage in their compact apartment.

Jason has a storage unit 4 blocks from home that has an additional year of food. He has an air tank that gives him 45 minutes to get to the storage unit and back, and radios to communicate back to his family while he’s making the trip.

Jason’s love for his family is incredibly evident. He’s in a VERY rough situation in his apartment and has decided to relocate, if possible. Jason is also meeting more preppers and forming a team…a truly tough process.

Jules Dervaes lives in Pasadena California and lives with his 3 adult children on an urban homestead…much like children lived on the same homestead as their parents in Europe and early America.

Jules is concerned that genetically modified crops are forcing insects to evolve/mutate in an attempt to survive. This evolution/mutation is creating super-insects that are developing resistance to the defense mechanisms of genetically modified corn, putting the US at risk of severe food shortages.

Jules has been around for awhile…most notably to me from the 2008 “Homegrown Revolution” movie about their urban family farm.

Their farm is a full time job for them, but it also provides hundreds of pounds of produce to sell and feeds them for roughly $2 per person, per day with high quality fresh, organic produce.

Jules has decided that the best way to prepare to live without electricity, fuel, and other grid resources after a disaster is to live without them as much as possible now. The difference between Jules and many people is that he doesn’t consider living without these resources as a sacrifice in lifestyle.

Jules drives an older diesel Mercedes and swaps veggies for used fry oil at restaurants. Once they get home, they are able to turn this fry oil into bio-diesel that they run their car on at an 80% savings over filling up at the pump.

The Dervaes also have goats, ducks, and chickens for milk, eggs, and protein.

Pat and Lynette Brabble is the next prepper from North Carolina who’s preparing for hyper-inflation. He’s been prepping for 2 years and spends $700-$800 per month on his preparations.

They estimate that they’ve spent roughly $10,000 on food over the last 2 years to prepare for his family, extended family, and friends.

They make an unfortunate mistake of showing their “secret” supply room to the National Geographic film crew. The more they showed this room, the more sad I got that they let the film crew show the country their room. It WAS a beautiful setup that, unfortunately, thousands of people know about now.

I shot Pat an email tonight, but I would put money on the fact that Pat didn’t intend for the NGC crew to film as much as they did.

In any case, what did you think of episode 3? It’s easy to pick apart mistakes on TV when you’re watching from your couch, but what did you see that inspired you? What did you see that is causing you to take immediate action?

Speaking of immediate action, if you want to take immediate action on your preparations, I want to encourage you to check out the Fastest Way To Prepare Survival Course. 30,000 like minded people have gone through the course over the last 3 years with rave reviews. To check it out now, go to

God Bless & stay safe,

David Morris

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{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

+2 Vote -1 Vote +1Jack Jobe
February 15, 2012 at 2:30 pm

I’ll be ‘grain for your mills’ when our episode airs ‘around the end of March’ 2012. Please understand what we – D. Preppers – were up against IF we wanted to ‘teach others.’

When NatGeo showed up, I was Told what disaster I was most concerned about – solar flares. It is NOT my focus but as a Journalist, I was willing to represent that position. My actual thrust is Walk About Prepared™ every day. We live on a dangerous planet, filled with crazy people in the middle of a cosmic shooting gallery.

IF we were ‘focused’ on CMEs (Coronal Mass Ejections), I would have done many things differently, like Faraday Cages for example.

The biggest lesson out of these shows and this movement should be “Adapt or Die”. Nobody’s plan is going to work flawlessly. Our best hope is to learn from one another. IF The Event happens, the more options we have the better. “The more you know, the less you have to carry.”

PS: IF Yellowstone goes, some estimates blanket ‘my Denver’ with 6 – 10 feet of ash. Would you want to be here for the two or three year global winter?

Let’s get Real. We only have One Chance. A Cartoon called Pogo said, “We have met the enemy and it is us.” “We are the ones we’ve been waiting for.” The Hopi Elders

Firemen, EMTs, Rescue Workers, Military, Sports – the most massive effort comes from teams. We can hide in our ‘individual rabbit holes’ filled with food and pray They won’t come, or we can educate them, train them and build community.

No One – no group – no organization has the solution. IF IT happens, Murphy’s Law will kick in. You’re traveling. You’re ill, or your family is. You planned for “in place” and you must flee. You planned to flee but you only got part way out of town. You have guests over that day. People you were expecting to assist you never come.

Of course, we must plan but only because it forces us to examine a variety of options. What would you do, or carry, IF …..? What are your possibilities? Shows like “Doomsday Preppers” stimulates thinking: good and bad. My wife, a skeptic, cried out when she saw the glass jars stored on upper shelves in an Earthquake zone. Learn from others mistakes, and steal ideas from the best.

Be Honest, Be Excellent & Walk About Prepared™


Vote -1 Vote +1Dr. Prepper
February 15, 2012 at 4:59 pm

Natgeo is portraying the “Preppers” in an unfavorable light, although I do not know what possible agenda they have[ Ratings maybe?]. The first guy blows his thumb off, really? So when the shtf where’s he gonna go? I told the wife before he did that that he did not have a very good way of handling weapons, nor did his kids…and whatta ya know..BOOM-NO THUMB. A+ though for not letting it deter him, at least the right attitude.

As some of you know I am fairly new to prepping, and the firefighter guy had a device I had not yet heard of..waterBOB. Neat idea! Only cost $20.00. Cheap on the survival scale.

I have come to a conclusion. Prepping for water is the least fun for me. GUNS are FUN!!
Solar stuff, batteries, wiring designs…FUN. Bugout bags, bugout vehicles, bugout homes..all a lot of fun to plan and do. Water planning……not so much. You need so much of it and it takes up so much space…unless you have a nearby constant supply. And once you do get some it’s not even cool to look at. Even canned food looks great on a shelf. And I know that all other stuff takes a backseat to water, and I live in the desert southwest. So with that being said I am setting my sights on getting water literate. Any and all ideas will be appreciated!!!

David as usual……Great Job!


Vote -1 Vote +1Judith Cowan
February 17, 2012 at 11:26 am

I agree, storing enough water is the most difficult and possibly expensive item to acquire. It would be easy not to have enough and of course a very serious mistake. We have tried several methods for storing water. We have a 550-gallon water tank in the backyard, along with two 50-gallon rain barrels attached to our gutters. We also have five 55-gallon water barrels we’ve purchased, along with several cases of bottled water stored. We also have filled as many 2-liter soda bottles as we can get our hands on, and it all still does not seem like it will be enough, especially in the drought prone Texas area. My husband and I both liked the idea of the water BOB and will purchase one. I’m wondering if purchasing several old bathtubs (if we can find them cheap enough) and storing them with filled BOBs would be feasible. It might be worth looking into. We have considered purchasing an above-the-ground pool in which to store nonpottable water that could be purified upon use and covering it with a black tarp to keep the algae from growing. We do have access to a well at our daughter’s and son-in-law’s home about 5 miles away, and they also have a local river that runs through their property if worse comes to worse.

I, too, still believe that NATGO does these fellow preppers an injustice in portraying their reasons for preparing and only allowing them to voice only 1 reason for their preparations. Makes you wonder just what their motive is in putting them purposefully in that position, besides covering up the full truth, possibly not to cause a massive panic within the general public. Regardless, I do believe that the program is openning some eyes. As an example I was in Walmart last week buying canning jars and within the space of 5 minutes I had 1 person ask me where the canning jars were located and another, when he saw my canning jars in the cart, wanted to know where to find a pressure cooker in the store. Those are not your usual, everyday items people purchase, not even in Walmart. These were both middle-age men by the way.


Vote -1 Vote +1Dr. Prepper
February 17, 2012 at 4:40 pm

I like your thought process and your determination! I agree that the show is causing a lot of “around the watercooler” conversations.Hopefully, at the least, it will get the people who were on the fence to react positively.
Maybe you can answer a question? You obviously can stuff. The people on the show say the canned food will last indefinately, but the websites I have been on say can no more than you can eat in 1 year…..who’s right?
Thanks for sharing and good luck in our common goal…..Happy Prepping!


+1 Vote -1 Vote +1JJM
February 17, 2012 at 11:31 pm

How do you keep your 1000 gallons of water potable? Treat or drain and refill? I forget the safe storage time for non-treated water. After last years Texas drought I am considering a large capacity tank for my gutter water if not for us then for our garden. Otherwise, nearby ponds and streams along with a Berkey filter will help after the water heater is emptied (good reason to always get the large capacity).


Vote -1 Vote +1Janet
February 17, 2012 at 11:49 pm

Best water storage I’ve heard of yet (for those that can stay in place) is extra water heaters. If you can afford new ones great but otherwise get junk ones that still have their glass linings in place. No leaks, buy used ones of those that go out needing new elements. There are products on the market that will help clean out the old deposits, Last fill up should be with a mixture of clorox (no prfume) and water to sanitize it. It sure is compact and easier to store 60-80 gallons this way, fill at top, take out through a hose at the bottom. Plumbers sometimes get old water heaters for putting in new ones. Especially great if you have a basement or shed to store them.


+1 Vote -1 Vote +1CAS
February 18, 2012 at 11:59 am

We purchased a Berkey water filter 2 years ago. It is one of my most prized food storage possessions. We also purchased some Sports Berkeys (hand held). We use the Berkey daily, the filters are self cleaning, and the water is good tasting and pure. Also, if needs be, I can pick it up and take it with us. I didn’t have anyone recommend it to me, I just did my own research and have never been disappointed!


+1 Vote -1 Vote +1Nancy from Missouri
February 18, 2012 at 7:42 pm

Several years ago there was an article in Back Woods Home Magazine showing how to hook up several used, non-leaking water heaters in sequence. Run the fresh incoming water into the top of the first one, then a pipe from the bottom of that one into the top of the next one, etc., using as many tanks as you have room for. The last “extra” tank would then be hooked to your actual water heater. As the water flows through all the tanks it is automatically renewed. If the water supply is cut off, you can drain water out of each of the tanks from the bottom. Once the tanks are filled, you don’t use any more water than you would have without them and it is always fresh with no need to drain and replace. I just wish I had someplace to put a bunch of them!!!


Vote -1 Vote +1doug
February 19, 2012 at 3:47 pm

If you are a friend to the young man who had the accident, please. toward the end they had him back in the desert and although he manned up to his accident; IT did not look as if anyone grasped the idea of a firing line that non shooters should remain well in back of. I find it great that so many people are shooting especially with their families. I surely could not want to watch a second “accident”.
Your fireman friend may wish to take a care full check on the NY regs. I’m sure that I read where there is an exemption for black powder arms. A percussion black powder revolver has a better reach than any knife. Good luck to all! D


Vote -1 Vote +1JL
February 24, 2012 at 8:55 am

We appreciate the reviews and enjoy the shows. We pick up a few pointers. The really hard part of being a prepper is trying to be as ready as possible for any event, or a combination. Can’t do everything, of course, but we do what we can, including to be prepared for an eventuality where nothing really bad happens.
I agree, though, that the folks being shown are really giving away their best advantages (staying under the radar). So on that note, anyone who wants can look me up, and we’ll compare notes. I live in North America. maybe.


Vote -1 Vote +1Dug-In @ Bag-End
February 24, 2012 at 1:50 pm

Just watched the movie, Take Shelter, and thought it was interesting that all of his preps were not much help in the end.. without giving it away.. it was something to consider!


Vote -1 Vote +1joseph walsh
February 25, 2012 at 8:05 pm

I like the Nat geo shows. and I agree that showing too much is not such a good idea. I do want to build a wood -gas unit to run a generator and I do help others with food storage /reserves. Some people do not even get the idea of a grab and go kit with long term food and a flash drive with photos and personal info . I have reached out to religious groups to have their “Flock” to think ahead. As a “Sheepdog” I do not want to protect too many and lose sight of my own family and circle


Vote -1 Vote +1Roger T
March 4, 2012 at 8:14 pm

Has anyone considered using a waterbed to store water? They still make em. Used one back in the 70’s. Hate sleeping on them though. Any pros or cons on this subject.


Vote -1 Vote +1wtfsw
March 17, 2012 at 1:17 am

The water in waterbeds are treated to keep the algea out , so it would not be ready for safe drinking.


Vote -1 Vote +1Dan
April 13, 2012 at 9:29 am

My “prepper” plans have several elements..
What I was trained in survival training is the best tool (and least used) is my head. What tools do I have, what might I need, etc etc.
If they are low cost, I can prepare much more with much lower cost.
If I use some of them while camping, I am familiar with what works and what “gotcha’s” can happen.
So think of it this way – 30 days food: use coupons or buy it on sale or bulk pricing. Use extreme couponing to reduce the price way down.
rotate the food on racks in your basement, so you don’t have a ton to throw away every 5 years. And you are used to preparing with it.
a mixture of small cans and large cans (up to 1 gallon)
8-$1 cans of chili 4 lunches for 2
1 gallon can of baked beans $3.50 – lunch for 10
25 lb bag of rice – extends most meals and most meat, stays good for years
top ramen plastic packages 48 for $10 – that is $.20 a meal
Pasta 5 lb bag $3, 3packs of sauce $6 – 20 or more meals for $10
large sacks of flour and sugar – very cheap store in food quality 5 gallon buckets
tomato sauce, paste, black beans, etc etc low cost can food, good for years, extends meals
gallon of salad oil
Meats – everything will be hunted out, but I like the idea of rabbit cages in the garage producing fertilizer, earthworm food, and noise to attract others, but remember human manure is used as fertilizer in many parts of the world. Composting just by making a pile is a great way to create fertilizer..or use some pallets or old barrels for the composter.


Vote -1 Vote +1John Fitzpatrick
April 23, 2012 at 12:00 pm

Interesting NatGeo show. Jules should not be too worried about insects evolving resistance to GE crops. I saw a lecture at Oregon State University the other week about the ecological impacts of genetically engineered crops. Professor Yves Carrière said that planting “refuges” of non-Bt crops can slow resistance in insects, as pests from these fields will mate with resistant ones. Since the resistance gene is recessive, this strategy will reduce the heritability of this trait.


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