Emergency supplies, survival kits, luxury bunkers

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This is the year that coronavirus fears turned American buyers into hoarders. There have been widespread shortages of products such as toilet paper, hand sanitizer and plain flour as people prepared for the long periods of isolation that became commonplace during the pandemic.

But for a segment of the population, preparing for the worst was a way of life even before the pandemic. “Preppers†or “survivalists,†as they’re called, have been around for years, purchasing elaborate survival kits, year-round non-perishable food supplies, and even elaborate underground bunkers.

“Preparedness is about preparing for emergencies, not creating a supply shortage as you now suddenly need three boxes of N95 masks for your personal use,†a moderator wrote in March on the R / Preppers Forum on Reddit, which currently has over 208,000 members. Discussions focus on everything from Covid and pharmaceutical drug shortages to the benefits of gas lamps over candles.

A January survey by personal finance site Finder.com found that 35% of the nearly 2,400 people polled said they had not needed to purchase supplies in the past year because they were already stocked.

And the new financial site Estimated 24/7 WallSt.com in 2013 that there were then 3.7 million preppers in the United States, which represents a potential market of several billion dollars.

Here’s a look at some of the products that preparers stock up on, as well as some big-ticket items that only the most extreme (or wealthy) preparers might be looking for:

Bulk food supplies with a 25 year shelf life

ReadyWise is a leading brand in the “emergency food†category, where truly engaged preparers can spend up to nearly $ 9,000 for a 4,320 servings packets of various freeze-dried foods that the company says can last a single person over 500 days, or a family of four (two adults, two children) up to 126 days. The food even has a 25-year shelf life, so there’s no need to dig right away.

“Every day we have people spending … tens of thousands of dollars on emergency food …” says Brandon Eriksson, vice president of sales at Wise Company, owner of ReadyWise.

A pallet of ReadyWise emergency food buckets, each containing 60 servings of food with a 25-year shelf life.

Source: ReadyWise

The company also sells smaller volume products, such as freeze-dried meats and vegetables and powdered eggs, or even a “two-day”.Adventure bag“which costs $ 49.99 and contains six freeze-dried meals and a few packets of snacks. Some of its products are also available from retailers like Amazon and Walmart.

Wise Company estimated in 2018 that Americans were buying between $ 400 and $ 450 million the equivalent in emergency food per year. And, while Wise declined to release specific revenue figures, Eriksson told CNBC Make It that the company saw its food sales increase “probably five or six times” in 2020 amid the pandemic. (In 2017, Bloomberg reported that Wise Company, which also sells generators and other emergency supplies, saw approximately $ 75 million in annual sales.)

He also notes that while the company’s sales were previously more concentrated in pockets across the country, such as the southeastern coastal states of the United States that are frequently the target of major hurricanes, food orders ReadyWise came from all over the country.

“In 2020, we saw that everyone was buying… we are shipping it everywhere,†he says.

ReadyWise is far from being the only brand in this market, however. There’s also Ready Hour, which sells an emergency food supply kit that he says will last for a year (at 2,000 calories per day). for nearly $ 2,300. And, wholesale retailer Costco sells Chef’s Banquet emergency food supplies (made by emergency food maker Ready Project) such as the $ 125 ARC, a 35-pound bucket containing a 30-day supply of foods like oatmeal, cheddar grits, and broccoli and cheddar rice. (Costco also sells a 28-pound bucket of Chef’s Banquet Mac and Cheese, with a 25-year shelf life, for $ 120.)

Chef’s Banquet Mac and Cheese has a 25-year shelf life.

Source: Costco

Celebrity-approved bug out bag survival kits

In January, celebrity marketing director Simon Huck co-founded Judy, an emergency preparedness kit company, after he said he saw data that the majority of Americans do not have contingency plans in place. Huck’s business received an immediate publicity boost when her friend, Kim Kardashian West, posted a March Instagram story to her nearly 200 million followers in which she posed with an N95 mask and shouted out her kit. Judy survival.

Judy’s “The Safe†is the company’s largest survival kit, at 18 pounds, and it has enough supplies to last up to 72 hours.

Source: Judy

Huck told CNBC Make It that Judy has already sold more than 30,000 kits since its launch and that the company has customers “in all states of the United States.” (The $ 250 of the company “Safe”- an 18 pound waterproof case filled with enough matches, glow sticks, medical supplies, water packets and meal replacement energy bars to last up to 72 hours for a family of four – even landed a spot on Oprah Winfrey’s 2020 list. “Favorite things” in November.)

Other companies offering pre-prepared survival kits and “bug out bags” include a $ 389, 72 hour survival kit backpack by Uncharted Supply. And a really high end option is the company Preppi costs almost $ 5,000 “Prepster Ultra Advanced” kit consisting of three days of food and water in a monogrammed, flame-retardant bag containing luxury survival items such as a Garmin satellite messenger, Biolite solar panel and night vision scope.

The Prepster Ultra Advanced Kit from survival kit maker Preppi comes in a fireproof bag and costs $ 4,995.

Source: Preppi

But one of the biggest players in the survival kit market is the nonprofit American Red Cross, which sells kits ranging from “Safety tube“($ 7.19) that caters to commuters and includes an emergency blanket, water bladder, glow stick, face mask and whistle packaged in a 3 inch plastic tube, at a” kit emergency preparedness for 4 people and 3 days “, a 23 -book backpack filled with supplies like flashlights, first aid tools and food bars) that sells for $ 286.18.

Of course, many trainers like to organize their own survival kits or bug out bags, and sites like ThePrepared.com and even the New York magazine The strategist offer guides to create your own.

Multi-million dollar bunkers

Really engaged and well-funded preppers are known to spend millions of dollars on bunker or other types of off-grid, even underground, shelters.

Clyde Scott’s Rising S company, for example, is making an $ 8.4 million bunker from its Luxury series, called “The AristocratThe bunker can accommodate over 50 people and includes a fitness center, game rooms, swimming pool, shooting range and greenhouse. The company is also making an eight-by-five-foot mini-bunker for $ 39,500.

The company made $ 9 million in 2017 by building custom air raid shelters and bunkers, he told CNBC Make It in 2018. (In 2017, Scott even said his company was building a luxury bunker for Kanye West and Kim Kardashian, although the couple never confirmed the bunker and a Kardashian rep made no comment.)

Another company, based in Del Mar, California Vivos, manufactures “underground survival shelters” which he calls “the back-up plan for mankind” in the event of disasters such as nuclear war or economic collapse.

Vivos sells private underground bunkers large enough for families (about 2,200 square feet of space) that start at $ 35,000 for a bathroom, kitchen, and sleeping cabins, but can cost an additional $ 110,000 to customize with creature comforts like a swimming pool or home theater setup. The company has complete bunker complexes in Indiana, Germany and South Dakota, the latter consisting of 575 concrete and steel bunkers which Vivos says are spread over 18 square miles and currently have more than two dozen families who live there full time.

A home cinema space in an underground bunker in Vivos.

Source: Vivos

Once the coronavirus pandemic hit the United States in early 2020, Vivos founder Robert Vicino told CNBC Make It that demand for his shelters increased by 500%.

The dining room in an underground Vivos bunker.

Source: Vivos


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