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How many times have you heard me write about surviving in comfort? In spite of what the doomers might think, this is not an oxymoron. Instead, surviving in comfort is the cornerstone of what this website is all about. Couple that with optimism, hope, and a keen interest in self-reliance, and you have a recipe for life.
A number of months back I featured a book by Dan Chiras and as a part of that process, I got to know him a bit. He generously shared an advance manuscript for his new book, Survive in Style: The Prepper’s Guide to Living Comfortably through Disasters. In three words, I was hooked. Survive in Style is a handbook for accomplishing self-sufficiency in the areas of water, energy, food, transportation, economics and just about everything else you can think of.
The chapters are laid out in a month by month fashion and you know how I love that! There are a total of sixteen months, which means sixteen jam-packed chapters full of information you can put to practical use. It is a big fat book with solid information on doing the stuff and doing it right!
With that introduction, I am thrilled to introduce Survive in Style: The Prepper’s Guide to Living Comfortably through Disasters and an all-new interview with Dan. Plus, as always, I have three copies of his book up for grabs in a giveaway. Enjoy the interview then be sure to check in below to learn about the giveaway.
An Interview with Dan Chiras, Author of Survive In Style
Given your background, knowledge, and experience, what do you feel are the three most important survival or prepping skills?
I’m all about surviving through total self-sufficiency. I live in the country, which makes it easier to meet all my needs. But individuals in suburban neighborhoods can achieve a great deal of autonomy as well – you’d be amazed at how independently you can live in the midst of modern culture.
Living self-sufficiently means that you need shelter – a home that you can keep warm in the winter, and cool in the summer, even if there’s no source of external power.
You also need a reliable supply of clean, drinkable water – not just stockpiled water, but a sustainable supply of water such as a nearby river or lake or a well with a hand pump or a rooftop rainwater catchment system.
And, of course, you need a reliable supply food for a year or two that come from a garden and home preserving program.
What would you purchase to start on the path of self-sufficiency if you only had $500 to spend?
I’d start with a couple rain barrels, maybe one rain barrel for each downspout on my home. I’d also purchase a reliable, long-lasting water filter, and I’d purchase a device like the SteriPen to purify my water.
Secondly, I’d buy the supplies I need to start a backyard garden, including PVC or metal pipe to make a hoop house to extend the growing season.
I’d also buy the materials I need to can and preserve my food.
If there’s any money left, I’d invest it in caulk, weather stripping, and insulation to seal up the leaks in my home and make my home more comfortable should hard times descend upon us. After that I’d see what I could sell to raise some more money to live self-sufficiently.
And, if there’s still some money left, I’d fix up my bike or buy a used mountain bike for transportation.
Are you totally self-sufficient and hence prepared and, if not, what area concerns you the most?
I think we are pretty well prepared.
What concerns me the most is that we have large flock of ducks and chickens that we couldn’t possibly feed in case of a catastrophic failure. We also have a large herd of cattle. We’re in the process of trimming our poultry and livestock down to a manageable number that we could feed off the land and from our gardens if we are no longer able to buy food from the local feed supply outlet.
We have also not completed our earth-sheltered Chinese greenhouse that will allow us to grow year round, so that concerns me. We do grow in the spring, summer, and fall and have ways to extend the growing season and put food up. And we have a pretty good supply of food in storage, but I’d feel more comfortable if the Chinese greenhouse were completed. It would allow us to grow warm-weather vegetables year-round, if we wanted.
We’re also pretty concerned that others might try to usurp all that we’ve built and developed all these years to live self-sufficiently.
To what extent does your family participate in your personal preparedness efforts?
My partner in crime of 20 years (Linda) shares my concerns 100%. She’s probably more worried about the state of the world than I am, and that’s saying something.
She shares my desire for total preparedness and has been a big help in achieving total self-sufficiency, especially when it comes to growing and raising food and preserving food. That includes chickens, ducks, cattle, and a garden.
I pretty much handle preparations for energy, transportation, water, and economic self-sufficiency, but she’s 100% behind them, and offers helpful suggestions, no matter how wacky all this may appear to outsiders.
If there was a disruptive event and you had to evacuate, what non-fiction books or reference manuals would you take with you?
I don’t think we’ll ever have to evacuate. I can’t think of a scenario that would lead us to vacate our 60-acre farm. We’re in a remote location that’s pretty easily defensible. We have lots of options for food, shelter, water, energy, and transportation. So, I’m counting on the couple dozen books I have on hand for reference and a life time of experience in self-sufficiency.
Do you have anything else, such as an announcement, message, personal experience, that you would like to share with the readers on Backdoor Survival?
Achieving self-sufficiency takes a lot of effort, but don’t be dismayed by the length of the path and its many steep inclines. Start small, do a little something every week, and enlist the help of family members. Just never give up.
I’d also suggest that you do what you can to regain your health and fitness, if it has slipped away from you. In hard times, you’re going to need both – and very badly. Start small by eating a healthy diet and getting a little exercise every day. You don’t have to do pushups, just start walking more, lifting more, doing more things with muscle power rather than power tools.
Dan has reserved three copies of his book in this newest Book Festival Giveaway.
A special word about the giveaway question/comment: Please read the question and respond accordingly, even it the answer is “I don’t know”. This week’s question is:
What is the next self-sufficiency project on your bucket list?
The deadline is 6:00 PM MST Tuesday with the winners notified by email and announced on the Rafflecopter in the article. Please note that the winners must claim their book within 48 hours or an alternate will be selected.
Note: Due to customs requirements, this giveaway is only open to individuals with a mailing address in the United States.
The Final Word
In many ways, Survive in Comfort makes an ideal companion to Carla Emery’s Encyclopedia of Country Living. The difference is Dan’s book is far more detailed in terms of the how-tos in building sustainable systems, with plenty of step by step photos and diagrams to guide you along the way.
Please note that Dan is selling his book directly from his website. In addition, ifIf you like Dan’s message, you might also want to check out his book Power from the Sun: A Practical Guide to Solar Electricity and his first interview that was featured in Prepper Book Festival #13.
For more information about the books in this latest book festival, visit Prepper Book Festival 14: Books to Learn, Prepare, and Be Ready for Anything.
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Survive in Style is a much-needed book that offers sound advice on achieving total self sufficiency for preppers and homesteaders. Unlike all other guides on self-sufficiency, this book goes into great detail on a variety of essential topics, describing the most important actions you need to take to become totally self-sufficient, things to watch out for, and ways to put these ideas into effect.
You’ll find practical advice on growing and preserving your own food, composting organic materials, recycling humanure and urine, securing a reliable supply of clean water, heating and cooling your home, providing fuel for cooking and heating water, supplying electricity, achieving health self-sufficiency, staying physically fit, providing transportation, and becoming economically self sufficient.
In clear, understandable language, world-renown author Dan Chiras introduces you to the smartest and most cost-effective ways to survive in comfort. The book represents a practical course of action in the form of a sixteen step plan, and is the book that you need to set yourself on a path of total preparedness.