THE APEX PREPPER'S WEBSITE
Bunker Days is the place for prepping info, expertise and tools.
It’s easier to be self-reliant if you have a little help. That may sound like a contradiction, but it’s not. We all like to think of ourselves as being able to take care of our loved ones and ourselves during times of crisis. But in preparing for the worst, we must acquire the necessary knowledge and skills, formulate plans for numerous specific scenarios and assemble the gear that will enable us to survive. All those things are easier to attain when we have access to the experiences of like-minded people who have traveled down that same road. Beyond that, it helps to have some organizational tools that enable us to track and evaluate our readiness on a continual basis. Yes, there are many online forums via which people exchange ideas on preparedness topics; and there are countless sites on which gear is sold. Now, there is one online destination where the community, the equipment and the tools to pull your survival strategies together are available all in one place: Bunker Days (www. Bunkerdays.com). And there is no cost to become a member.
YOU’RE NOT ALONE
Bunker Days was created because brothers and co-founders Mike and Chris Lambrix saw a
need for such a site while they were assessing their own self-reliance needs. They wanted to be able to protect their families during emergency situations without relying on a response from government agencies. They were frustrated: They couldn’t find one site that offered everything the average person might need to attain a more self-reliant lifestyle and state of readiness. Until they created Bunker Days, there wasn’t a place that consolidated information with active learning and access to gear. “I was based out of South Florida, and a big concern of mine was hurricane preparedness and whether or not my house and my family were ready for a natural disaster,” Mike said. “As we went about the process of educating ourselves, we found there wasn’t a great solution that combined all of the components that are required to be prepared for a situation. So, that’s why we launched Bunker Days. What we did was create a platform that has the three main components.” The first component was a community aspect—important because they didn’t want to simply post information. Rather, they sought to provide a platform for an active conversation between folks with the same concerns who are striving to become more self-reliant. “The second component is to have some tools to help you to actively prepare. So, on top of the community, we created some online proprietary tools: the Inventory Management Tool and SIPS (Situation and Inventory Plans),” Mike explained. “And then, the third piece is the gear. When we were doing our research, we found lots of blogs out there, and there were places to buy gear, but there wasn’t any place that put those two together with some active tools to help you to manage them and actively stay prepared.” They had the site up and running about a year and a half ago. Now, it’s about getting the word out on the tools the site offers. Exactly what does Bunker Days offer? You really need to delve into this site to get a full appreciation of its capabilities. Nevertheless, I’ll highlight some key areas.
“Bunkers” are areas on the site that deal with specific self-reliance topics. Everyday Carry (EDC), Prepping, Survival, Homesteading and Tactical are examples of some of the various bunkers. Once you become a member and you log in, you choose the bunkers you want to join. In each one, you’ll find members' articles and photos on those specific subjects. You can read them, comment on them or post your own articles and photos to get the discussion going. While you’re expected be on your best behavior, the content isn’t censored or discriminated against the way it is on some sites that try to be politically correct. You might post an article about some new gear you’ve tested or try to get some feedback from other members on a piece of kit you’re considering. If you have some insights on the best way to pack a bug-out bag, tips on food preservation, how to trick-out an AR-15 or are simply looking for tips for sustaining a vegetable garden, the bunkers are the places to do that. If you don’t see a specific bunker for your area of interest, it’s easy to create one. For instance, you could start one called Under Cover, dedicated to primitive shelter-building; Fanning the Flame, concentrating on fire-starting; or Snowbound, for winter survival. You’re limited only by your imagination. Another component to the community aspects of Bunker Days is that you can buddy-up by assembling a group of “mates” (similar to “friends” on other social sites). You can follow their posts or send private messages back and forth. There’s a live-chat feature as well.
Bunker Days also has a feature that allows you to store and post interesting or inspirational images to photo boards. You can follow boards of other users or create your own to share with others on the site. If you’re highlighting a product, you can add a link to it so that others can add it to their inventories or find it easily in the site’s Depot area, where gear is for sale.
According to Mike, “The Inventory Management Tool is a virtual representation of your physical inventory." It’s one thing that sets this site apart from others. Here, you can catalog and track your equipment so you always know what you have, where it’s located and what needs to be replaced. You start by entering items of your existing gear into your inventory and noting the quantities. As you purchase gear, either through the site’s Depot or other places, you add it to your inventory as well. It gives you a convenient listing of what you have and helps you determine what you might still need. No one else can see what’s in your inventory. It’s a tool for your own reference. Within the Inventory tool, you can designate certain items as containers: your survival gear backpack, your bug-out bag or your emergency bin, for example. You can then move items from your inventory into those containers, which provides a way of keeping your gear organized.
... YOU CAN CATALOG AND TRACK YOUR EQUIPMENT SO YOU ALWAYS KNOW WHAT YOU HAVE, WHERE IT’S LOCATED AND WHAT NEEDS TO BE REPLACED.
YOU REALLY NEED TO DELVE INTO THIS SITE TO GET A FULL APPRECIATION OF ITS CAPABILITIES.
Another valuable tool on the Bunker Days site allows you to create any number of situation and inventory plans—“sips,” for short. They allow you to plan for specific threats or emergencies and to organize the things needed to handle them, such as skills, gear, routes and fitness levels. Some basic SIPS have been loaded onto the website to get you started. These highlight some common situations, such as preparing for a hurricane, an active shooter, being lost in the woods or putting together a bug-out pack. The SIPS list some suggested skills and gear you might need for those circumstances. However, it’s understood that you are the one who knows what’s best for your individual situations and your specific area. “There’s no off-the-shelf solution that’s going to be perfect for every single person or that will work in every single scenario,” Mike pointed out. So, the site aims to simplify things by providing great pieces—knowledge and tools—but have them sufficiently adjustable so members can tailor these emergency plans for themselves and for their own situations. You can also create your own SIPS just as easily by setting up a listing of gear and skills you’ll need. Depending on where you live, you might set up one for flood evacuation or hunkering down to survive a tornado. While the SIPS focus on skills and gear at the moment, such things as escape routes and fitness will be added. “If your 72-hour bug-out SIP requires you to travel on foot 10 miles to your bug-out location, you might want to have a weekly reminder to ‘walk 10 to 20 miles a week,’” Mike said. “We think
that’s something that’s important to make this an active preparation tool and not a static one.” A progress bar on each SIP tracks your preparedness progress as you gain skills and acquire gear. An SIP can serve to remind you not only of what gear you have for different types of emergencies, but also that self-reliance is a continual, active process. “It’s very easy to just buy gear, throw it on the shelf and say, ‘I’m prepared,’” Mike said, “but you do need to practice the skills, and you do need to trial your gear. And if you need to walk out of the city, you do need to be physically fit. So, all of those things tie into that continuing self-reliance lifestyle and not just buy, check the list and forget about it.”
On the Bunker Days website, you can discuss gear with other members; and you can also purchase a wide variety of readiness products through the Depot. However, while Bunker Days might highlight gear and offer some suggestions, the company isn’t pushing any gear or specific brands on anyone. “We didn’t want to be a company that said, ‘This is the best. Go buy this,’” Mike said. “We wanted a site where there could be that open dialog and the user base could determine what’s the best backpack or the best knife and have an open debate about it.” Gear suggestions are listed in the bunkers and SIPS; alternatively, you can browse the Depot, looking for gear by specific categories. Products you purchase there are automatically added to your inventory.
Having all this information conveniently available at your fingertips is great, but I was concerned about the chances that this very private information could be compromised by hackers. Chris shared some details about Bunker Days’ impressive arrangements for keeping information confidential and secure. He started by reminding us that, “in order to access the Bunker Days platform, a user must first create a secure account by providing a name, e-mail and password. We recommend that users choose a secure password when they sign up and don't share it with anyone. “We store passwords in an encrypted format, and we have no way to decrypt it. Sensitive information around a user’s Inventory, e-mail address and other personal information is only accessible by that user and only while logged in (once the appropriate log-in credentials have been supplied). In addition, he said, "The community aspects of the site are viewable by other
GEAR SUGGESTIONS ARE LISTED IN THE BUNKERS AND SIPS; ALTERNATIVELY, YOU CAN BROWSE THE DEPOT, LOOKING FOR GEAR BY SPECIFIC CATEGORIES. PRODUCTS YOU PURCHASE THERE ARE AUTOMATICALLY ADDED TO YOUR INVENTORY.
Bunker Days members—for example, 'liking' or commenting on posts. All data on the platform is stored in our secure servers located in Chicago. Access to our servers is limited to authorized personnel, and the data center, which physically hosts the hardware, follows tight security procedures.
The Lambrix brothers have plans to make Bunker Days even better. In 2019, for instance, they hope to roll out a mobile application. They want to integrate the uploading of self-reliance videos soon and are planning on introducing an “Escape From X” feature that will provide survival plans and escape routes for specific cities. Also under consideration is a retail store location in Florida. As far as documenting that you have acquired the skills you need for different survival scenarios, it’s the honor system for now ... but that could change. “We’re looking at partnering with accredited providers of these skills, whether it’s first aid or concealed carry or wilderness survival, to provide certification.” Mike said.
BRINGING IT ALL TOGETHER
As I see it, the greatest benefit to this site is how it integrates so many survival elements in one place. You can learn from the posted articles; discuss strategies, techniques and gear with other members; have the tools to consolidate your emergency plans and track your progress; and find the gear you need. Members also have access to a free, 30-page e-book on urban survival. Bunker Days also sends out a monthly newsletter to its members. As Mike Lambrix says, “Self-reliance isn’t lone wolf.” Because it costs nothing to become a member, I see no downside to it at all. Even though I’ve been at this for a long time, I know there’s still much I can learn from those who live the self-reliant lifestyle. The more people who participate, the better this site will be. I’ve become a Bunker Days member, and I look forward to “talking survival” with you on the site very soon.
Some of the articles on Bunker Days' website naturally deal with wilderness survival, but the site also has valuable information on urban survival and tactics.
The Bunker Days home page gives visitors to the site a quick introduction, but you really need to explore the site to see its many benefits.
i Above: This image is from an article on setting up survival caches—an example of the informative articles found on the Bunker Days website. As you use your gear (the Mountain House dehydrated meals you ate, the compass you lost, the flashlight batteries that died), you can change the quantities of those items in your inventory. When the quantities reach zero, those items will appear in your Depleted Gear section so you can track items that need to be replaced.
h Far left: A large selection of gear is offered in the website’s Depot section. Purchases are automatically added to your personal inventory list. h Middle: An overview of the Bunker Days website provides newcomers with a rundown of some of the site’s features. h Near left: This page explains how to make use of some of the website’s self-reliance management tools.
i Far right: In the “Lost in the Woods” SIP, a list of suggested gear is provided to enable you to prepare for such a situation. i Near right: The Headquarters page on the Bunker Days website gives you a quick update about what’s new and trending on the site.
Not at all “old school”! Bunker Days provides useful, up-to-date information—for instance, how to use your phone as a survival tool.
h This image of one member’s survival gear accompanied an article on that topic that was posted on Bunker Days' site.