How Much Does It Cost to be a Character from James Rawles’ Book, Patriots?

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By the author of The Faithful Prepper and  Zombie Choices

Give the man his due. Rawles not only started the blogosphere off with family prepper and survival talk, but he also published Patriots,  a book which rapidly proved to be a best seller and is still selling plenty of copies. I walked by a copy of it in my local Barnes and Noble just the other day. 

I’ve read through the entire series and have gone through Patriots 4-5x over the past several years, and many have noted that the series can often seem to read as a gigantic grocery list. Over and over again you’ll see reference to all the gear that the members of “the Group” have stowed away, and some of these lists can be quite extensive. 

Some people have enjoyed this, some have not. 

Either way, today I wanted to do something different. I wanted to take a look at what it costs to be a prepper in the Group of Patriots. Seeing that a complete cost analysis of every single member of the Group would be a mammoth undertaking, I wanted to focus on just one – which still proved to be a rather large undertaking. There’s a lot of lists, I’m telling you.

In particular, I wanted to focus on the Group’s gun nut, Dan Fong. 

I’ve combed through the pages of Patriots, and to the best of my ability, I believe the below list is accurate. Undoubtedly, there are going to be items that I missed. Many times a particular piece of gear that all the members of the Group purchased isn’t mentioned until halfway through a narrative very briefly (witness the blurb about canning supplies on page 183).

In many other cases, we’re told that the Group made “group” purchases for items yet we’re not told what the cost was, how much was bought, or the percentage each member paid for such. I think you’ll find that if we solely focus on what we do know however, we have plenty of data to pull from. 

Guns ($22,495)

We’re told on page 18 that Dan Fong has a collection of 29 guns. We’re not given the names of all of them, but from what we can gather, here is what Dan Fong owns in the gun department as well as the current price (or estimated current price) of each.

  • Model 97 trench gun – (?) As far as I know, these are unobtainable, so who can tell on a price. You can find mention of it on page 18.
  • Remington 870  – $450 – This was the group standard shotgun everybody was required to purchase.  
  • Belgian FN/FAL – $1153
  • 1960s Portuguese AR-10  – $900  – No data out there on accurate pricing here, but this is a reasonable estimate.
  • SSG Scharf Shuetzen Gewehr sniper rifle – $1500 – I’ve never even heard of this rifle and can’t find any info price-wise on it, so we’ll assume $1500 based on the prices of other similar sniper rifles.
  • Beretta Model 92SB 9mm – $950 – Another average price. 
  • Two Browning Hi-Power 9mm pistols $2600 each – Total cost of $6200
  • S&W .357 magnum in stainless steel – $778 – We’re not sure on the make/model, but we’ll use the Model 60 as reference. 
  • Winchester Model 1897 – $1600 
  • McMillan counter-sniper rifle in the .50 cal machinegun cartridge – $2000 – We have no data available on this that I can find, but I think $2000 is a conservative estimate here. 
  • Thompson-Center Contender in .223 – $642 – This is the used price. 
  • Walther P38 – $1300 
  • M1A1 – $2000 
  • M1 Garand -$1641 
  • Group standard gun mags – $336 – It’s never specified how many mags each member would have. If we assume 8 mags per battle rifle and 8 mags per pistol, and further assume each battle rifle mag cost $12 and each pistol mag cost $30, we’re looking at $96 in battle rifle magazines and $240 in pistol magazines. Page 46 seems to show that 8 magazines was standard for the pistols. This is probably a low estimate on the number of mags each would have per battle rifle, however. This doesn’t account for mags for other weapons either, and as such, this is a very low estimate.
  • Spare birdgun long barrel for the Remington 870 and screw-in choke tubes – $230 – $170 seems to be reasonable for the barrel from what I can find. Let’s assume there are three screw-in choke tubes which cost $20 each. 
  • Dozens of mags, cleaning kits, spare parts, holsters, and an Army LC-1 web gear harness with canteen and gun mag pouches – $500 – It’s hard to give an estimate on this one. The LC-1 costs $20

Holsters can easily cost $50 each, if not more. Cleaning kits are typically around $30. All this combined, $500 is a very conservative estimate here. 

A low estimate of the total cost of all the guns, magazines, spare parts, holsters, and other firearm paraphernalia Fong had would come in at around $22,495. Keep in mind this is a very conservative estimate and it doesn’t take ammunition into account. 

According to the book, it appears as if members of the Group had nine years to prepare from the time the Group was started till the time the hyperinflation and societal collapse commenced. This would mean Fong spent approximately $2499/year on gun-related purchases from the time he got into prepping until Day Zero.

Knives ($568)

If we follow what the book says, it appears as if Fong spent $568 in blades gearing up for the apocalypse. Once more, if we fall back on our 9-year timeline, this would mean Fong spent $63/year on knives.

Camp Gear ($440)

From what I can tell, there are only two camp craft purchases that are explicitly listed being made by Fong (though he undoubtedly made more). There are numerous other brief references to camp-style equipment throughout the book (e.g. backpacks), but we’ll stick with what we know. This would mean $48/year was spent on camp craft equipment if we solely rely on what we know. 

Not a perfect way of looking at things here, but we’ll stick with our pattern.

Radio ($360+)

  • Bearcat police/weather scanner – $110 – We’ll assume it was an analog model. 
  • Cobra 148GTL SSB CB – $250 – These don’t appear to still be in production, but this would be a standard cost when you include an antenna. 
  • TRC-500 walkie talkie with “bastard crystals” – (?) – No way of knowing on this one. The TRC-500 doesn’t appear to still be in production, and I’m not aware of how much crystals cost. Page 64 details the bastard crystals, and page 48 details the TRC-500
  • Helped with purchasing 4 TA-1 field telephones and over a mile of surplus WD-1 – Page 49 details this purchase. Again, there’s no way of knowing how much the cost of such would be. 

This is a very hard one to nail down. At the very least though, Fong spent $360, and I believe he likely had numerous TRC-500 radios, probably put $100+ into each, and likely spent $80+ on TA-1 equipment. We’ll stick with what we know though, meaning this is a very conservative figure here. 

Bug-Out Vehicle ($37,210+)

  • 3 jerry cans – $210 – Page 19 seems to show that Fong had 3 jerry cans full of gasoline on his truck. 
  • 2009 Toyota 4×4 pickup – $25,000 – This is easily the hardest figure to nail down. We know that you can get a used 2009 Toyota for around $17,000 at the moment. We don’t know what model of Toyota Fong had. I’m also not sure how much it would’ve cost new. The book was published in its current form in 2013, so $25,000 seems reasonable for a used pickup at the time. 
  • Truck Repairs – I’ve no idea where to even begin on this one. Fong had a friend that helped him do all this at cost, but the dollar amount here would be in the thousands of dollars. After buying their bug-out vehicles, each Group member was required to rebuild everything. 

For Fong, this meant rebuilding the transmission and carburetor before moving on to replace the radiator, alternator, fuel pump, water pump, battery, voltage regulator, starter, solenoid, hose, belt, and suspension. 

In addition, Fong put a flat paint job all over his new truck as well. My best guess here is that we’re looking at $12,000+.

Again, a very rough estimate is given here, but I believe $37,210 is a relatively stable number to look at here for Fong’s BOV purchases. If somebody knows more about vehicle repair than me, let me know your thoughts in the comments section. At the moment, I’m sticking with what I have here though. 

$4134/year on car costs was what Fong would have spent then. 

Clothes ($310)

There are a number of clothing items that it’s mentioned Fong owned, but we’re not going to spend time looking at the entire wardrobe of the man. Instead, let’s focus on his battle dress uniform. 

  • British DPM Uniform – $280 – This was the standardized DPM camo that the Group all wore, and I don’t believe it’s unreasonable to assume that Fong had at least two sets of such. A complete military surplus uniform typically costs $140 if we’re looking at pants and jacket. 
  • DPM camo smock – $30 – You can typically find these for roughly $30 at military surplus stores. 

Again, this is likely a low number as Fong most likely had even more than two sets of BDUs if he was following the “one is none, two is one” theorem. However, we’ll once more work with what we have. This means he averaged out $34/year on clothing from Group creation to Day Zero.

Armor ($740)

Though it’s not specified, many of the Group bought the following two pieces of gear, and considering that Dan Fong was the local gun nut, it’s likely that he had the following as well.

  • Second Chance Hardcorps 3 with extra ballistic inserts  – $500 – We’ll assume the 3 stands for Level 3. This purchase is on page 49. We’re likely looking at $500 here.
  • Kevlar helmet – $240 – Let’s assume he paid this for his helmet, and that he was indeed the owner of one. 

Armor has grown less expensive since this book was published, but $500 for a carrier with full plates is pretty economical. $82/year was spent over the course of 9 years on armor.

Group Purchases of Food and Other Sundries

We’re never given the specifics, but we do know that the Group invested heavily in food, ammo, bandages, ni-cad rechargeable batteries, and canning supplies. Dan Fong would’ve partaken in the cost of all this, though it is noted that he tended to spend his money on ammo and guns rather than food. He was also a heavy proponent of eating rice. 

Just to account for this area, let’s assume Fong spent $5000. That would cover the group purchases he had to make, his food (perhaps), and at least some ammunition. Another guestimate, but it’s the best we can do here. 

The Total Cost of Being Dan Fong  – $67,122

This would mean Fong spent an average of $7458/year on preps from the beginning of the Group until Day Zero. We’ll leave that up to you as to whether or not that’s a realistic number to shoot for if you’re the average American man. It probably is important to note here that Fong wasn’t married and didn’t have any children, he barely spent any money on food throughout his bachelorship, and that he thus had the ability to spend whatever he wanted on whatever he wanted. 

People out there with families, you’ll see what I mean.

Again, this isn’t a perfect number here – we aren’t exactly sure as to the pricing of everything – but this number will at least get us in the ballpark. 

And so there you have it! If you can spend $7458/year, you can be just like Dan Fong in Patriots!

What are your thoughts on my number here? Do you think it’s accurate? Does anybody have any thoughts on the vehicle costs? Do you enjoy this style of article? Let us know in the comments below!

About Aden

Aden Tate has a master’s in public health and is a regular contributor to,,, and Along with being a freelance writer, he also works part-time as a locksmith. Aden has an LLC for his micro-farm where he raises dairy goats, a pig, honeybees, meat chickens, laying chickens, tomatoes, mushrooms, and greens. Aden has two published books, The Faithful Prepper and Zombie Choices. You can find his podcast The Last American on Preppers’ Broadcasting Network.

Aden Tate

Aden Tate

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  • $2600? When did the Hi Power get so expensive. I bought one in 1994 for $349. Last I looked (2020) they were about $900.

    • I went to 3 gun store and 3 pawn shops the other day and couldn’t find a single gun for under $200. Single shot 410s, raven 25s, 22s nothing under $200.
      We set records every month for sale it seems

  • I actually mentioned this to him on his blog. It was met with a negative attitude from him and his readers.
    Disagreement, from this and several other things, resulted in my being banned from comments. No discussion is to be held. The king (and queen) have spoke.
    That being said he has done a lot to get folks motivated and in a direction. His site provided many a great discussion back when it was allowed.
    I did 2 meet n greets off of it which neither were compatible with our desires so we left it at that. One thought they wanted to but backed out after contacting me because I have specifics I don’t allow such as overthrow the government talk. I’m into preparedness not militia.
    It’s not all bad and yes it cost money but unless you can keep it realistic then there’s little point in most folks minds. A book should be relatable to what is possible for the average man.
    What I did find were little nuggets of good information within. Things to accomplish or plan for.
    I can say that about most books that I read. Most leave me scratching my head like the amount of cigarettes I’d have to smoke in one and the karate expert who’s obviously never been in a real fight. But each one has something to offer in a “what if” scenario. Imagination is a huge part of preparedness.
    I found myself questioning some of the cost in the “Driven” series from Infidel Body Armor too. But it takes a lot to be fruitful rather than just survive in SHTF based on my overseas experiences.

  • It’s been awhile since i read it, but from what i recall all the initial group members were college educated with better than average jobs, with no children. the no children factor is a MAJOR difference, allowing much more personal time and MONEY to dedicate to preps. and the personal time factor is every bit as important as the money factor.

    another take on the book was EVERYTHING just seemed to go right in favor of the group with the exception of the death of tom kennedy. Dan Fong could have chosen to live if he withdrew. about 3/4 of the way through the book it was an obvious look through rose colored glasses. Murphy never came around to spread the grief. But it was a great read to get you thinking and get a person motivated.

  • I tried to read one of his books. Skim was more like it.
    It was more like a unconscious free flow thought of “look at the lists of all my cool stuff!”
    And the “good guys” always took and made incredible shots, running, over their heads, behind their backs.
    Everyone knew how to field dress a bullet wound with a tampon.
    It was awful.
    I put it up there with the Stirling guy.
    Both books made good firestarters.

    One can own said item be it gun, knife, etc. but that item does not imbue that person with those skills. Owning a Corvette does not make one a NASCAR driver. Nor does owning a high end bolt rifle make one a sniper.
    When I initially saw the headline for this article, I thought this would be a look at how much in dollars would it take to get one of Rawles characters to that level.
    Or to put it another way, the Biden admin is threatening military service members they would have to repay the DoD for the training they received if they refuse to get the jab.
    How much in dollars does it take to train a Navy SEAL? To get to that level of expertise for all the things they can do?

    How much would it cost for a prepper to get to the most basic levels of prepperness? Not talking about the things that, “squeeze trigger, go BANG!” Medical, food (hunting, processing, even cooking), and everything in between.
    As I have said it before there are regulars here whom post that have a lifetime of skills and knowledge. ClergyLady has likely forgotten more than I will ever know about prepping.
    That could be an interesting article.

    • Great points! Stuff isn’t the same thing as skill. Selco points this out in a number of articles. Can you imagine the amount of time Fong spent at the range? On training classes? Yowza! But the simple fact is: if I can plant my hits on target, even the lowly HiPoint pistol will save my life. In fact, a local shooter placed in the top 10 at a local match with a HiPoint, just to see if he could. The highest grade equipment means nothing if you don’t have the skill to use it.

      I took a class on wound packing a few years ago. Never thought to use a tampon LOL. We used gauze and the “blood” flowed prodigiously. That’s a very new experience to a desk jockey, who’s used to clean hands.

      • tampons are designed to adsorb blood……..bandaging is designed to stop the flow of blood..

        so says my 20 year army medic guy and several medics that i have spoken to over the 30 years i have been researching

        • John Killen,
          Not my idea. I have no idea where it came from, but I have met more than a few . . . survivalists, that would scoff at me for not having them in my IFAK.

          Me, I took a six month night course, passed my finals and got certified as a EMT-B.
          Then, took the NOLS Wilderness EMT course.

    • They’ll resort to just about anything to coerce people into accepting the RNA modifying, spike protein injections.

    • I got to thinking on what would it cost for the average American, in reasonably good shape, to get training to the level of some of the characters in the book Patriots without joining the armed forces.

      I am using Gunsite Academy for their long history of training as reference.

      250 Pistol Class, 5 days, $1,795. Plus 1000 rounds of pistol ammo. Lets say 9mm, $495.99.

      The characters exhibit (from what I recall) a bit more then just the entry level pistol class,
      350 Intermediate Pistol Class, 5 days, $2,025. Plus 1,200 rounds of ball ammo, and 100 frangible. 9mm, $590 for 1,200 rounds of ball, and about $60 for the 100 rounds of frangible.

      223 Carbine Class, 5 days, $1,835. 1,200 rounds of 5.56, say $815 and $25 for 100 of 9mm.

      556 Advanced Carbine, 5 days, $2,025. 1,200 rounds of 5.56 at $815, 200 rounds of frangible at $116, 150 rounds of 9mm at $75 and 50 rounds of frangible 9mm at $30.

      Precision Rifle 7 class, 7 days, $2,325. 600 rounds of match grade .308WIN at $1,816.

      So, about 27 days (not including travel to and fro), $10,005 for class, $4,837 for ammo or a grand total of $14,842.

      Still does not account for hotel, food, car rental, gas etc.

      And, of course, the firearms themselves, kit etc.

      Note: There maybe cheaper ammo out there (or handloads) but I took common, cheap, but from known manufactures Winchester and Federal.

  • I read the book some years ago and remember thinking that these people all had to have very tasty incomes in order to afford these high-level preps. I think Todd & Mary paid cash for their land. I’m not sure who funded to solar apparatus but it was top of the line as well. Prepping is an expensive hobby. I make an OK income and it’s still an expensive hobby. On the up shot, I wasn’t out shopping during the Great TP Craze either.

    As Matt says, his book does give a bit of direction and that’s a good thing. It’s so overwhelming in the beginning: where do I start? What do I buy? And I have made my share of mistakes along the way, but who doesn’t. To think: this is how my grandparents survived the Depression. They called it living. Now we have a special name for it and practitioners are considered extremists. Crazy. LOL

  • Read Patriots and One Second After both the same week and got depressed for one/two long Winter days many years ago. I really enjoyed this article LOL!

    I also agree with Brother Matt from OK, as I also got kicked off from posting on King JWR’s ” Look how Cool I am” blog.

    Still go there for the articles, not his, …. but really, who cares if Rawls fed his horses, cut down a tree, or picked up some cow poop?

    Also the “Great Redoubt” is not the only place where Patriots /Christians live and stand for FREEDOM!

  • Aden, I don’t know where you found the prices of the firearms you mentioned, but you are way over on the cost, however gun prices for 2018 thru to the present you may be close. I can’t divulge a lot of gun info and experience,
    But during the time Rawls wrote the book Guns and ammo did not cost as much as it does today. Guns and ammo we’re plentiful, but we ALL knew it would not last so many people purchased as much as they could.
    My point of reference is a 38 year LEO in Los Angeles County.
    Aden you did a great entertaining article , I hope Rawls reads it and comments on your article . I read Patriots 2x and given away to friends numerous copies,

  • I’m not sure what you were trying to accomplish with this article. Do nothing? That’s ridiculous. Its not necessary to have all this and pay full price. Much could be purchased second hand, on sale or from other folks who have upgraded. It was a great book to inspire folks to think ahead and start preparing. Just being generally prepared makes natural disasters easier to go through. Adapt the ” how can I ” vs the “I can’t ” attitude and you’ll go far.

  • Remember the first time you saw “The Empire Strikes back”?

    Remember the first time you saw Yoda?

    Did he have $20,000 worth of firearms? Did he look like a “badass”? Did Luke Skywalker even know he was a Jedi master when he first met him?

    Good Lord…so many big mouths with big delusions and great big beer bellies.

    Me, give me the guy who owns a Kalash, a 12g and a 9, but also knows how to grow his own food, gather his own water and produce his own power.

    And oh yeah, doesn’t wear a Punisher t shirt over the belly that WASN’T “built by Budweiser”. AND has enough sense to NOT look a bandito, and is able to STFU when its necessary. Which is about 98% of the time

    • SonOfSam,

      Great pop-culture references!

      And right you are about the guy who can do more with less.

      I have a tee-shirt with the schematic of the Millennium Falcon, and another with the schematic of an AT-AT.
      Does that count?

      I wear USGI woodland camo Gor-text on a regular basis, only because it is functional and practical. The under-pit zips are great for maintaining personal temps.
      Same goes for a Becker KA-Bar knife. Nothing to do with tacti-cool. Just functional and practical.

  • I bought the pre Patriot book back in the early 90’s while in Special Forces. I believe it was called the Grey 90’s. When the Patriot book came out they were almost identical. The Grey 90’s I started reading Friday night and was done by Saturday afternoon. I started prepping right then wondering how the Feds got this passed me and the team as I shared the book Patriot.
    I build custom 4×4’s for off road rescue vehicles, became an FFL Dealer and started my weapons collection. I did the same with ammo as it was a little over $100.00 per thousand.
    Growing up I had the best of neighbors, on one side was a Mormon, who got my mind thinking food/prepping and the other side was a Bircher talking about the Marxist. In 1990 I was a Founding member of the Indiana Citizens Volunteer Militia. Troutman from MOM helped me get my County squared away. After 39 years 7 months I left DOD and moved to North Idaho. I started training militias, Patriot groups thru out the ReDoubt as a founding member of OATH KEEPERS.
    We are as ready as anyone in the Rawles book up here in North Idaho and yes, Rawles lives not to far from me. Our time has come, God Bless America and the Patriots. Ranger Rick

    • Born & raised in CA so, thanks to the earthquake situation there, I’ve always been a bit of a prepper. It wasn’t until I read Patriots that I took prepping more seriously & started to gear up. I now have a good library on prepping skills & doing the best I can to, hopefully, survive possible difficult times given what’s been going on these past 10 months. I moved to Far North Idaho mid-year 2020 onto a couple of acres & love it here. I hope to meet others who can teach the missing skills I need and share their ideas & experiences with a novice. Have been able to take a few classes & hope to take a lot more. So glad I was able to escape CA – a once wonderful and beautiful State that has been driven into the ground by the present power-holders. Blessings on all those who are preparing.

  • It was an entertaining fantasy read…a prep for a Mad Max scenario.
    If, and when, the current situation goes hot you will need more ammo, food and water and all guns in common calibers. The book was overkill, just make sure you too have a core group of prepped friends and family if shtf.

  • I think you underpriced the .50BMG rifle. HK91s go for $2500/$3000 if you can find one. (I did buy one back in the 80s for $500 new.) You can’t touch a true Belgian FAL for under $3500… again, if you can find someone to sell it to you. In such volatile pricing these days even the once dirt cheap Chinese SKS and Norinco AK-47 are bringing premium prices. Most of the increases are because Daddy Government no longer allows their importation.
    Not nagging on your pricing. Its just that prices have swung so fast. Fong likely couldn’t afford it now.

  • Interesting I guess, but I always considered less is better on a personal level and in a group, Specialization is better yet.
    I think those guys are prepping for a war, more than just SHTF. The title “Patriot”, gives it away.

    In a Major SHTF event you won’t have much usable gasoline available after 3 months and even less after 6 months, if any at all. So all that prepping of a vehicle is basically useless.
    Unless it is converted over to use an alternate fuel source.
    As long as a regular vehicle is in average or better, shape, it should be good to go.

    As for the Guns, well you can only accurately shoot one at a time, so that was a bit over kill also.
    Rifles and Shotguns are specialized weapons, so I can see one of each. Not every one is a good sniper and you only need one or two per group, not everyone.

    One pistol and maybe a back up piece is really all you need.
    Similar to knives, you need a good fixed blade and a folder.
    ( Plus a few that are food prep knives, but that falls into the cooking supplies category.)

    Having that much stuff and that much invested in it, makes a person tend to make poor decisions. Staying put in one location at any cost to “defend” your stuff, is a good way to Die.
    And this is the kind of prepping that promotes that kind of thinking.
    Mobility or being able to be mobile if required, is a lot better plan.
    Also mobility does not always mean loading up your vehicle and or a trailer to try to “save” all your preps and take them with you. It is great if you can, but that will not always be possible.
    Mobility can mean only taking what you can carry on your back or even in a small cart that you can pull.

    So now the question is, if you could only take that much: What would you take?
    How long would it take to seperate it out from all your other preps? Could you do it in 30 min? 15 ?, in 5 minutes or less?
    Now how will you survive with only those few preps?
    Are you really prepared to do that?
    Have you trained yourself to do that?

    This is where it is important to have that Plan B or Plan C, packed and ready to go, at a moments notice. It is also where you need to be trained in being a minimalist and a Survivalist.

    • Being a minimalist or Survivalist will only get you so far as being a minimalist or Survivalist.
      There is nothing more. Just day to day minimalist or Survivalist living. There is no short, mid, or long term plan.
      No hope.
      No anticipation of something better for you or your kids, if you have them.

      As a prepper, you have stockpiles of things to get you through the bottle neck. You have the knowledge and experience of how to garden, can, raise small, medium or even large livestock to get you through the tough times.
      Preppers who live the life style know how to do things, plan for things to make use not only they make it, but their community makes it.
      The Survivalist just survives. They do not thrive. They do not make it. They just die.

  • Being a writer myself, I almost never comment, at least negatively, about other authors and their stories. I will say, however, that I do agree with several of the comments about Rawles and Forstchen. Both were instrumental in getting many people involved in Prepping that probably would not have done so without having read each of their first novels.

    And I, too, read the early versions of Patriots online when it was The Grey 90s, then Triple Ought, then TEOTWAWKI, all available to read for free. When the story was published it was Patriots. The story got a large group of people with similar religious and political beliefs to start talking and discussing those beliefs and how to prepare for what they believed was coming.

    Forstchen put EMP on the prepping and general public awareness maps in a big way. That also included many in the government, making them aware of just how bad an EMP event could be.

    For those reasons I applaud both authors for helping the prepping movement. Other than that… well… I will leave it at that.

    As was brought out in the article and some of the comments, what I refer to as ‘big money’ stories and characters in my own stories, which I also get highly negative comments at times, seem to be counter-productive as useful information for preppers. Of course, there are some preppers (and others) that claim that nothing useful can be learned from fiction. That only bad information, fantastical finds, shooters that never miss, etc. are in fiction.

    Personally, I try to put useful information in my stories. Some say I succeed, others not so much. And I too often have lists of equipment, often very specific. Again, some people like that in stories, others do not and tell me they just skip over the lists and get back to the story.

    However, one thing that I hear often from my fans is that while the ‘big money’ characters are nothing like themselves or most of the preppers they know, what the ‘big money’ characters do and buy, using their money, the reader has liked the idea behind it and found a way to do the same thing or the equivalent within their budget and means. Often as a DIY project.

    Which, to be honest, is my goal anyway. To get people to think about possibilities, options, alternatives, and to think outside the box and push the envelope if I may be allowed to use a couple of cliches.

    To me, the ‘what’ tends to be more important than the ‘how’ at times. Buy a $100,000 commercial shelter or use old Civil Defense plans and build a small DIY shelter with salvaged and on-sale items from big-box home stores with the money you save from skipping an occasional Friday night guys/gals night out. (An actual true example a reader sent me.)

    This is not always true, of course. Sometimes the ‘how’ is very important. Just not always. And one of the things that the naysayers of learning anything in a fiction story is true. That there can be some bad information and a ‘real’ person cannot do (at least some) of the things characters do in a story, especially when it comes to really extravagant items costing thousands of dollars, even millions.

    Some of my characters do those things. I have been fortunate over the years to have met, and even become friends with some wealthy people. Some of them in the high-millionaire class and even one billionaire.

    Even people that I knew/know that were white-collar minor to major executives, and some blue-collar workers that had very highly-paid skills, could and did do many of the things I write about. They are, in a sense, the reason I write some characters like that. Because I know people like that who have actually done many of the things in the stories and purchased many of the items in the stories.

    Many of these people are hard workers that started with next to nothing and built farms and businesses from the ground up into multi-million dollar operations over 20, 30, 40-years of smart business sense, and again, hard work. Some simply hired people to run the business and did what they wanted with the resulting free time. A couple did what many people dream about. That is, build the business and then be bought out for millions by a major company.

    Several of these people are preppers. And I will say, a few of them I helped guide their early prepping, the knowledge which they then took and went far beyond what I can do. Even one that exceeds even most of my ‘big money’ characters.

    Anyway. Enough blowing my own horn. The main thing I want to say is that there are people that can buy their preps ready-made, pay for expert training, and hire people to do the hard work.

    However, there are people like most of us that cannot do that. I have stories about characters that grew up the way I did. I certainly had some advantages, one of which my father was one of the most intelligent men I have ever known, had experienced life in ways few others have, including during WW II, and the second was several years living on a rented mini-homestead, that was part of a large farm and ranch operation, with much forested land filled with game and all kinds of foods and other items to forage. So I got a prepper education from the time I was 5-years old.

    Still, though we ate very well, we were very poor for a very long time and learned lessons from that. So, some, even many, of my stories have characters that have to prep on a tight budget. Often over several years, suffering setbacks, dealing with normal, everyday life situations and emergencies. Pinching pennies, giving up things they would like to have, working hard, often with extra shifts, overtime, side jobs, and all the things that many of us have had to do to get where we are.

    Certainly not wealthy, but knowledgeable, with gear and supplies at hand that will allow us to not only survive many types of situations that others will not or will suffer through, and often be in a position and willing to help some of the people that simply cannot help themselves through circumstance, not a lack of willingness.

    Now, more about the actual article. I do like articles like this. Also, like some of the other commenters, I think many of the cost estimates are off. Some of them quite a bit. Usually too low, but some being a bit high. Much of it comes from the time shift of when the book was written and now.

    Also, going with a gun guy is not really typical now, if it ever was, of how preppers get ready. As Fong did, much of the budget money can go to weapons and ammunition. I certainly would not purchase (new or used) most of the weapons listed. I have had a good arsenal suitable for me for much less. (I did have to sell much of it to pay for medical expenses, but that is part of prepping and having prepping items. They do not always get used for what they were obtained to do. The weapons paid for care I would not have been able to afford otherwise. And I did replace most of them.)

    The food (which was also used up when I was jobless, almost homeless, and with major medical expenses, and then replaced) is a much larger expenditure for me and most of the preppers I know and work with.

    Clothing is mostly everyday clothing, because I live an everyday life just like most people. I do have field clothing that is slightly more expensive, but much better suited for what I do in the field. Or might have to do. Some is for specific urban uses, though most of that is used, obtained from thrift stores, Salvation Army stores, and the like.

    However, all of it is well suited for what I have its intended uses.

    I could go on and on, believe me. However, even well before I became ill, prepping had become a lifestyle. It started as a useful hobby for the most part when I was in my teens, but by the time I was 30 it was an integral part of my life. Nearly every decision was looked at with prepping in mind. Often in the back of my mind, and not the primary factor, but just about everything I purchased or did turned out to have some type of prepping application whether that was what I intended initially or not.

    Other than a part of my medical gear, necessary for specific ailments, everything else I own, with the exception of some gifts I have received and some keepsakes from years ago, is a prep item, even if it might never be used as such, and has many more uses than as that prep item.

    It boils down to, of my net worth (not very much anymore) 75% of it is preps, in one way or another. Probably more than that. When I was fairly healthy and working a good job, with over $50k take-home per year, it was the same (this was 2000-2003). 75% or more of everything I owned was prep-related. And there were 40-years of research, practice, training, and education about prepping subjects, disaster preparedness, Civil Defence, firefighting, CBRN & HAZMAT training, nuclear radiation officer training, hunting, fishing, trapping, bushcrafting, wilderness survival, urban survival, defensive driving, and everything else that I had done over the years. With most of it directly or indirectly applicable to prepping and living through difficult times.

    As for Fong, using current costs and the list of items provided, plus some memories of the story that have come back, I would estimate that duplicating his list would be closer to $50,000 to $65,000.

    I do think that a person can get fairly well prepared, for up to 3-months, if they have an acceptable place to live, a decent working vehicle, steady income, and are willing to get some free training, for less than $25,000. Probably less than $20,000. And do it in less than a year.

    Adding specialized gear and equipment, commercial LTS foods (other than those where there is no shelf-stable item suitable for 3+-months storage), a dedicated prepper vehicle, and so on, begins to run the costs up quickly.

    Just my rather long, convoluted, self-serving opinion.

    • Jerry D D,
      one of the rules of good writing is “know your audience”. I think what your wrote would have been more appropriate as an article vice a comment. I really wanted to read all of what you had to say but when I look at comments I need to the point thoughts, a synopsis of what the commenter is trying to convey.

    • I looked for your books on Amazon, most have gone to Kindle. I prefer ink on paper that I can hold. Are there other sources?

          • Wow, Daisy! Thank you!

            As you know, things are tight, and my sales are way down. Down enough that I have had to give up several things that I really hated to be without, but when you have to have some things, and the others are optional, you do what you have to do.

            You allowing my to post the link may very well help my sales. So, thank you, again.


            There are both ebooks and print books. Not everything is in print, and the green and black cover books are my early submissions before Creative Text picked me up as my print publisher.

            And Daisy, if there are any of the titles that interest you, simply email me and I will send you a .pdf copy of the story. You might particularly like Disaster in the Burbs. Both the protagonist and antagonist are women and many women have said they really like the story.

            For those that want basically everything, including many articles I have put up on forums, a shelter stay/radiation decay spreadsheet (developed by Tired Old Man, with my additions), many public domain Civil Defense pamphlets and films, my Prepper Manual, and some other things, I sell a thumb drive with everything for $30 (I had to go up from $25 due to shipping costs). Just email me. Payment upon receiving and checking the drive.

            Thank you again Daisy. I support you every way I can, and this is part of the reason why.

            Jerry D Young

  • That’s an awful lot of money spent on an awful lot of guns. Personally, I’d be more impressed by somebody who knows how to make an effective crossbow with plumbing supplies. If you are after a weapon to defend your home/shelter, there is plenty to be said for crossbows.

  • I first heard about prepping from a Rawls interview on c2c am. After seeing the prices on his recommended stuff I stopped looking at his info.

    Then I found James Dakin, bison prepper, the most frugal of the frugal preppers. (a disciple of Kurt Saxon.) Wheat berries and cheap gear…

    I’m more into medium priced good quality gear instead of the “dollar store knife” type cheap stuff. Buy once, cry once (over the spend, not the quality;)

    Unfortunately, Dakin took his wisdom offline. But fortunately, Daisy picked up his slack.

    “Don’t let perfect be the enemy of good enough.”
    “Last one in the stewpot wins!”

    • Steve,

      When I was in the fire service, there was a guy who had a really cheap, folder knife he swore by. Why pay more for a knife you might lose in a call, right?
      Then one day in training, it snapped in half.
      I think there is a line between paying for the cheap, something with a reasonably degree of quality that if you lost you will not be too terribly put out, and paying an exorbitant amount for a knife that if you lost, you are out a few hundred bucks.

    • Only if you have his income.

      For the rest of us, unwashed masses, we have to make do with what we have. Could I afford all those various firearms on my limited budget?
      Of course not.
      Nor could most of the average Americans.
      I have a budget. I buy what I can, that makes sense for what I can afford in my region, in a caliber that makes the most sense.
      I am not going to put meat on the table shooting a short barreled 5.56 AR15 at 300yrds dead right there shot on a 200lbs deer.
      Unless I want to eat coy, ground hogs, porcupine.
      Rather have the deer.

  • SSG Scharf Shuetzen Gewehr sniper rifle. ScharfShuetzenGewehr literally means sniper rifle. The SSG he is referring to is the Steyr SSG 69 or Scharfschützengewehr 69, one of the best sniper rifles ever built, used by military worldwide. For a fifty year old rifle, it was way ahead of its time, shooting 0.5-MOA and was also called the “green rifle,” as the stock was a military green, quite handsome. Reminds me of the traditional Rem 700. Originally built for the Austrian Army by Steyr Mannlicher.

  • The material cost is but one aspect of this venture. The cost to many will be their mental soundness, and the physical injuries incurred , which may last a lifetime.
    In truth no matter the cost, to live as free men, the price of freedom has always exacted a very costly toll, and let’s pray there will always be those willing to sacrifice whatever is required.

    • I would rather make the opponent do all the sacrificing. I’m reminded of George C. Scott in the movie Patton when he extolled the troops to make “the other poor SOB die for his country”.

  • Have several of his books. Have had Patriots for a long time and haven’t finished it, guess I’m going to have to start over and finish it.
    This was a neat article. it would be interesting to see others.
    Thanks for all of the great work.

  • Just show up to any fight with a Remington 887 Tactical Nitro shotgun* and everybody will run even if you are in a clown suit.

    Cost? $499 for the 887 Nitro Shotgun
    Clown Suit? Suit and tie $399 complete with Joe Biden mask. (Brown hole area in rear not

    Had Kyle shown up with this gun they would have run the other way. 😉

    *This shotgun is not made anymore but if you ever saw it you would run too. It looks like a shotgun a Space Marine would carry to fight aliens.

  • Seems like most of the cost is in guns and the vehicle. My opinion, excess guns that you can’t strap or carry are not of much use. My option is to pay cash for land, and bunker up in a hill fort. Here in Colombia, guns are somewhat controlled, you have to take a class, buy them from the Army. They are expensive, and not the best. Pressurized air weapons, on the other hand, are not regulated, and can be assembled from off the shelf components. You only need the projectile, no casing, primer or powder. I know I’m sacrificing mobility by forting up. I feel that in the event of a REAL epidemic, or collapse of the fiat currency system, where food, water and energy stop coming to the city, people are going to eat everything they can find in the city, and then head out to the countryside. Like locusts they will eat everything to the ground, rob, rape, murder and burn, then move on. Selco mentioned dealing with a group of 300 people that come to your house. I don’t think groups of survivors will be that large, because there won’t be enough to feed all of them at any particular target. It’s easy to shoot down, much harder to shoot up at a low target. Especially if the firing point is low and concealed, and there’s no flash or smoke. I’m not in any way thinking of going up against the police or military, or rebelling against the government. In a collapse of civil authority, those points become moot. The land I have purchased can be food, water and energy sustainable, and defendable. It’s high ground, bounded by two creeks and two more start on the property, so mini hydro generators can be used, as well as solar cells. There’s good rainfall almost every day, rooftop collection will be possible. We all have different ideas on how to survive, and they’re all viable. Only time will tell.

    I have a website, still having problems managing it, but there are photos and videos if you scroll down.

    [email protected]

  • thanks for the article. For a nine year period with a serious prepper in a group the price seems right because he is such a gun nut.
    It’s interesting but I approach the books a little differently. I”m currently rereading the series and am in book 3. I think of the gear details as a list of options. So, if you need a gun, read this list and start with one. Same with the gear. They mention freezer foods, freeze dried and MRE’s.
    I glaze over a little with the gun detail at times but I understand it.
    I particularly like the scenario of Anders trying to get home (options for covering long/international distances) including the little mini radio.
    And the lady who opens a store with nothing but garden seeds.
    He’s a great writer and its a great series. Yes, I”d read more of these articles.

  • Just a note: No matter the equipment, the part about gardening and gathering food will prove
    to be the most important. Simply because: if you can’t find and intake nourishment, then all
    the skills are non-existent! A starving one is unable to out-think, out-do or out-accomplish
    anyone who has access to life sustaining FOOD!
    An animal in a cage or situation, from which there is no escape, cannot survive without nourishment!.
    In any long lasting scenario, the ones who can eat will be the victor.
    Yours and the adversaries’ Easy plan, is to wait it out.
    If you are starving, you have lost.
    Your only hope then is, in the Highest Heavenly Father who feeds the ravens.

  • Only way I could afford that risk of investment is if I’d bought BTC @<$0.01/coin in 2009 and traded one BTC today for the lot of this list.

    Interesting, the article is framed show if one had to go out today what the cost would be. Ouch! I’m glad we’ve been doing this since the last depression as a family. Hate to play catch up now at these prices.

  • If you make your gear Hadji – simple, you make your life easier when things are hard. No fancy weapons, no expensive optics or lithium-dependent flashlights. Your super special secret squirrel hollowpoint will be impossible to replace.

    Look at the following- Remington 870. AK 47. XD or Glock. Winchester Model 70 Classic or CZ527/550. Iron sights. Bark river knives or a Buck 119. A simple machete and a good axe.

    Same goes with your first aid kit, your food, your spare clothes. Keep it simple and easy. Redundancy is easier when you’re doing it simple.

    If you want a matte finish on your automobile, it doesn’t cost you anything except a case of Krylon black paint. Start thinking like Hadji and you’ll prep and fight like hadji.

    Maybe most importantly, while you have the opportunity, get your ass in shape. Don’t carry a bunch of extra weight, make sure your meds are under control, hit the gym or the trail. Your good health will be your best asset and your poor health will be your worst problem.

    Seriously, I’m tired just reading that list.

  • You might want to up your price estimate on an HK 91… I’ve recently seen them at gun shows for $3200.- $5000. These were HKs, not CETMEs or PTR-91s. I have one that I bought in the early 80s for $450. Don’t think I’d sell it for that though.

  • The.SSG is a Steyr from Austria. Just search for it. Still made and You can find it.. Older ones are available but they are all very expensive

  • I first read ‘Patriots’ some years ago. I thought the best part was their escape from the city, personally. I just kept Rawl’s perspective in mind in reading the book, especially with regard to all the equipment since he may have been able to afford it himself. Me? Had I been the author there would have been a much different (and cheaper) perspective. All of us have to find our on level of comfort in our preps and for what we are preparing for as well as our ability to pay for it because cost is certain whether its bought off the shelf or handmade (labor).

    A Remington 870 Express 12 ga. pump shotgun with a 26″/28″ barrel and an assortment of screw-in chokes is a capable tool to keep a person feed from rabbits to large game most anywhere on the globe and even modest personal security from those who would do you harm within the limits of the gun. Cost? Less than $500, certainly, including shells. Mine will print 4″ groups at 100 yds with a rifled screw-in choke tube shooting sabotted slugs. That’s a lot of capability for little cash when it comes to firearms. If it were the only gun I owned I wouldn’t cry over it. But I have others that have other capabilities that I think meet my perceived needs, as do most of you.

  • Okay I’ve read the article and a lot of the comments. I have the first 3 but haven’t dug into them yet. Negative things about some of the situations, prices and authors inflated ideas of himself aside. Here are my questions…
    Are the books worth reading for 1) inspiration towards prepping and 2) are they good-ish fiction?

  • The tent link is a snugpak 3 season model.

    I have a British SAS 4 season tent. It fits tight in a military duffle bag, and weighs like a loaded pack (without a frame or straps). Real 4 season tent is freakishly strong for snow load and miserable in warm weather. Betcha it was over 1000 British Pounds new.

  • I too am more interested in the type of indignation you are talking about here. But, this was interesting to me.
    Who is clergylady though?

  • Colt Gold Cup (any 1911 is just fine) and the unheard of sniper rifle…fantasy
    writing imho. Must be a couple of Cylinder and Slide High Powers.


  • Daisy and others, I highly recommend the book which is currently only available in Kindle called “Locusts on the Horizon” by Plan B Writers Guild. It gives an excellent review of how people did better than others during the Great Depression by their actions and the tools they used. It also goes over the story of the Lykov Family that fled the Bolsheviks in Russia to live in the wilderness and how they survived with very little and what tools and knowledge would have made life easier if they possessed them.

    After these history lessons which also included democide by governments in the 20th century, the book goes into great detail of affordable preps that an average family can afford to prepare for another Great Depression or government tyranny. These preps do not depend on owning your own land as many lost their land in the Great Depression and others like the Lykov family had to flee persecution and likely death. These preps can be taken mobile easily with a vehicle that can pull a small enclosed trailer, but if not affordable then an average vehicle could work in a pinch. The book includes lists with price estimates and gear recommendations, a lot of which I already had. Also, discussed was knowledge and skills that would be useful.

    This book was much more realistic for what I could pull-off and afford to do. The fact that you may have to leave for economic, political, and natural disaster reasons also made the preparedness advice more sound for me. Take a look at this long book and maybe write an article on what you think about its view on practical preparedness based on history and affordability.

    • A great article, and fun to read so many comments! I enjoy prepper novels and am willing to read many different approaches. I wish I’d seen this earlier so I could share this while more people were reading & commenting. One thing about Rawles books is that some libraries have them in print/paper copies. If your library does not, they can be had through inter-library loan! This way you can sample-before-buying, and the library did buy them. I disagree with Rawles sometimes (blog too), but these books started me thinking about things I’d never considered. Every time I look at my seed collection I remember the brave lady with the seed store????. Thanks for the interesting article!

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