Michigan preppers face many of the same threats as anyone else in America: civil collapse, EMP, natural disasters, etc. However, Georgians have unique challenges than preppers in other states. What makes sense for a prepper in Alaska may not make sense for a prepper in Colorado. This applies to Michigan as well.
This article will focus on Michigan from a prepper’s perspective. What specific challenges does the state face from a historical perspective? What are the threats given the state’s geography? Where should Michiganders prioritize their preps?
NOTE: Do you live in Michigan? You know your state, so let us know in the comments section how this article can be improved. What did we miss? What did we get right?
Trouble on 11,000 Lakes
If Michigan is known for anything, they are known for their lakes. The state’s nickname is reflective of it as it is known as the “Great Lake State”. Rightly so, as over 40% of the state’s surface area is water and has a freshwater shoreline of 3,177 miles. This makes Michigan’s freshwater shoreline the longest in the nation. With over 11,000 inland lakes, it is no wonder the state is one of the top 5 for boating with over 900,000 registered pleasure boats.
However, it’s not only lakes. Michigan has a thriving population. Being the 10th most populous state, Michigan lies in the Great Lakes and Midwestern regions of the US. Most of its people lie within urban centers, leaving much of the state sparsely populated. Being exceptionally large, it shares borders with five other states. Ohio, Wisconsin, Indiana, Illinois, and Minnesota, happily call Michigan their neighbor.
It is a productive population as well. For many years, Michigan was the epicenter of the global car trade. To this day, the state’s economy relies heavily on advanced manufacturing. This accounts for 19% of Michigan’s economic output and employs 13% of the workforce. The “Big Three” automakers, General Motors (GM), Chrysler, and Ford call are proud to call Michigan home.
Michigan’s economic success is not only in the past. It also has a growing biotechnology and startup sector. Michigan has seen the viability and value in this sector brings to the state and has invested heavily in it. Over 1 billion dollars has gone to the Michigan Life Sciences Corridor to help spur further growth, jobs, and revenue for the state.
Michigan Specific Concerns
Your virtue is typically your vice unfortunately. While the extreme availability of surface water in Michigan is largely to its benefit. It also can be a liability when considering the weather. The state has a significant history of extreme weather that presents a challenge to the residents. Between the blizzards and tornados, Michigan can be a challenging place to live. Preppers in this state should harden their home and prepare for long periods of times without power or water. The more self sufficient and storm resistant you can make your residence the better.
- Gasper, Jason (Author)
- English (Publication Language)
While Michigan has a thriving economic scene, there are many in its population that don’t partake in it. Basic manufacturing jobs left for cheap labor overseas a while ago and now only advanced manufacturing remains. Without the proper education and connections, these jobs may be more difficult to obtain. While this does not guarantee societal collapse, it sets the conditions for a meltdown in society.
If we look to the George Floyd Riots of 2020, a list of hot spots can be identified as potential threats in the future. Detroit, Flint, Grand Rapids, and Lansing are a few examples where thousands took to the streets in protest that erupted into violence to varying degrees. These are all areas of Michigan that have a higher than average poverty rate. Without gainful employment, it can be very easy for one to imagine that society has left them behind and believe that belligerence is the only option they have left.
In terms of finding food, Michigan is plentiful but presents some challenges. Given its exceptional rainfall and northern latitudes, gathering food in the winter can be challenging. Therefore, it is important that winter foraging not be a strategy for a prepper. When SHTF, you will need to have an ample supply of food of no less than 90 days stored up to make it through this season.
There are some ways to still gain food during a difficult winter. Ice fishing, trapping, and hunting are all extremely popular methods of gathering food in the state of Michigan. Learning to be proficient in these skills is vital to surviving a challenging winter. However, these activities should be supplemental as it is unlikely that during a SHTF scenario that you will be able to sustain life for an extended period of time given Michigan’s population that you will be in competition with.
Michigan is unique in that there is water readily available anywhere in the state. This puts Michiganders in a much better situation than Arizona preppers, as an example. The only concern that a prepper would have is the quality of the water they are drawing from.
The Flint Water Crisis, which will be covered below, is just one example of the questionable quality of water in the state of Michigan. Though it was largely a function of government corruption, there is always the possibility that the same maladies that befell Flint could be lurking elsewhere.
The only real option is to ensure you are cleaning your water yourself. Those that bug in should invest in a water purification system that will ensure their water source is clean for years to come. This will be vital during a SHTF scenario as medical care will be at a premium if it is even available at all. Home water purification is an expense that, if paid now, could save you and your families life.
In the event you find yourself bugging out, ensure you have a water purification system in your bug out bag that is reliable, simple, and lightweight. Having a bias for natural water that is found uphill from population centers is also a vital practice that should be religiously adhered to. This will prevent run off and contaminants from ill maintained city water systems from getting into your water supply. Today, several of these packable systems are available and are highly effective at purification.
Michigan’s Historic Natural Disasters
Michigan is known for its snowy weather and tornadoes. However, Michigan still experiences a variety of other natural disasters, including wildfires, power outages, and earthquakes. However, none are as devastating as the weather and floods. Two of the worst floods in Michigan’s recent history are the Grand River Flood of 2013, and the Detroit Floods of 2014.
1) The Great Lakes Storms of 1913 – The most iconic Michigan natural disaster was the Great Lakes Storms of 1913. This was a blizzard that hit with hurricane-force winds. When the storm subsided, over 200 people across the Great Lakes were dead. Several ships were sunk or destroyed by the storm resulting in a major economic disruption.
2) The 1953 Flint Tornado – While many people have a mental image of rolling plains as home to large tornados, Michigan actually has some of the biggest and most deadly. As recently as 1953 an F5 tornado blew through Flint, killing 116. Another 884 were significantly injured. The final bill on property damage was staggering. In the currency of the day it totaled $19 million in damages.
3) The 1956 Hudsonville Tornado – Just a few years after the disaster in Flint, F5 tornado leveled Hudsonville. In the end it killed 17, injured 340, and caused $13 million in damages. This level of destruction is largely unheard of outside of Tornado alley. This tornado and the one in Flint should garner the attention of anyone thinking through likely SHTF scenarios that could be coming their way.
4) The 1978 Blizzard – In another example of extreme Michigan weather, the 1978 blizzard dropped 3’ of snow on Michigan. This sudden increase in snowfall lead to the deaths of 20 people. In a state with a high population and severe winter weather, the loss of electricity to 400,000 homes and businesses is nothing to take lightly.
5) The Flint Water Crisis (2014) –In Flint, government agents elected to quit adding anti-corrosive agents to the water supply so that they could save money. After residents began complaining about the taste, smell, and look of their water they began to complain to the city. However, it wasn’t till after 100,000 people developed hair loss and rashes it was found (by researchers at Virginia Tech) that there were dangerously high levels of lead in the water.
Michigan Prepping Strategies
This topic can’t be said enough. Even if you take the government out of the equation, the large amount of still water throughout the state leaves it prone to contamination and microbial growth. Whatever your water source happens to be, you can place a solid bet that it has something in it that you don’t want inside of you. Therefore, invest the time, money, and education in getting a solid purification system for your home. This will ensure that you don’t have to worry about getting sick from your own tap water.
- High-efficiency water purifier: Portable Hand Pump Water Filter's maximum filtration capacity can reach 100,000 gallons, the ultra-fast flow rate of 1400ml/min, and the food-grade plastic transparent cup is included, which is very suitable for family/multiple people to drink or cook when they are outdoors.
- Effective water filter: The camping water filter survival uses a 3-stage filtration system (high-quality activated carbon fiber-coconut shell activated carbon rod-high-performance medical grade hollow fiber ultrafiltration membrane), with a filtration accuracy of 0.01μm, which can effectively remove 99.9999% of harmful substances and sediments.
Build High and Hard
Floods and storms are best beat by building high and hard. Michigan is largely flat so it will be a challenge to build high. However, with a little care and contemplation, you will likely be able to avoid zones that are easily flooded. Consider building a storm shelter or reinforcing your home against the extreme winds and tornados that will surely come. It it important to note that most of the damage done during these storms comes from items that the wind has picked up and thrown. Therefore, have shutters on your windows and consider a metal roof.
Conceal Your Castle
If you are unfortunate to live next to a population of people that could easily mobilize into a mob and are vulnerable to societal collapse, make sure you are hard to see from the road. During these types of SHTF situations, mobs will try to harass and looters will attempt to steal anything of value. The first step to surviving these threats is to simply go unnoticed. Know how to landscape for home security. Fences, large bushes, or, ideally, being far back off the road with a lot of natural concealment will keep you from falling prey to their antics.
One of the most important pieces of equipment for any prepper planning to bug out is to have decent maps of their state. Having an identified bug out location is crucial. All preppers in any state should begin their bug out plans with a paper map of their state. Nothing is better for all-purpose use than the DeLorme Atlas and Gazetteer.
- Delorme Publishing (Author)
- English (Publication Language)
Your .22 Is A Friend
The one thing that you will absolutely need in a bug out scenario in Michigan is a good, reliable .22. Not only is there ample game in the vast forests of Michigan, but a .22 has been shown to be effective, though not ideal, in self defense scenarios. Given its lightweight reliability, it is the perfect choice for a prepper that needs to get out of town. With a .22 rifle you can feed your family or defend them if needed. My advice? Get a Ruger 10/22 takedown and modify it.
Michigan can be very hot or very cold, but no matter what it is always extremely wet. Therefore, it is vital that you pack a good layering system in your bug out bag. Start with a merino wool base layer. Then progress to insulation layers such as fleece, wool, or other polyester blends that will insulate as needed.
- MIDWEIGHT — Mens Merino Wool Base Layer set Available in: Lightweight = 165 g/m², Midweight = 250 g/m², Heavyweight = 320 g/m². FREE MERINO WOOL HIKING SOCKS ($21 VALUE!) – Package includes Merino wool Midweight base layer mens top and wool men long johns 250 g/m² + Merino Wool Hiking Socks. MAKES A GREAT GIFT!
- SUPER SOFT & COMFORTABLE – 100% Superfine 17.5 Micron merino wool base layer set mens provides all day comfort and no itch! Designed for daily wear without rubbing, overheating, or bunching of regular cotton.
Finally, have a hardened shell outer layer that can repeal the wind, rain, and inevitable cold. This is the first and most important thing you should do. If you ignore having the right clothes, all other preparations will suffer if not completely rendered irrelevant.
Collapsible Fishing Pole
Michigan is known for its water, but it is also very well known for the fish that inhabit them. Yellow perch, trout, and Atlantic salmon are just a few examples of the fish that the people of Michigan enjoy catching. During a SHTF scenario, fishing can be an easily accessed, highly reliable food source to get you through the journey.
- 【2PCS Fishing Pole Full Kit】included：2PCS Carbon Fiber Fishing Pole + 2PCS Spinning Fishing Reels + Carrier Bag + Various Fishing Lures Baits + Fishing Hooks.
- 【2 x Carbon Fiber Fishing Rods】 High density carbon fiber material makes the fishing rod hard and durable, telescopic design for conveniently carrying around. Rod case size High density carbon fiber material makes the fishing rod hard and durable, telescopic design for conveniently carrying around. Rod Case size:16.9 x 8 x 3 inches; 2 Pounds. You can take it on cars and planes
Collapsible fishing poles are effective enough to reliably catch many different types of fish and will fit easily into a backpack for transportation. Combine that pole with a very basic tackle box and you won’t go hungry.
Further Reading for Michigan Preppers
This article just scratches the surface of what Michigan preppers need to know. The following links could held educate you more on prepping in the state.
West Michigan Preppers – A prepping networking group based out of Kent County, Michigan.
Michigan Bushcraft and Survival – Facebook group of preppers in Michigan that share tips, tricks, and information.
Michigan Prepares – Government website that provides updates, training, and awareness of different disasters.
Outdoor Skills Academy – Government sponsored survival classes that include backpacking and trapping.
Michigan Folk School – Bushcraft School located in Michigan with a wide array of classes to educate the prepper.
Living Afield – Michigan based survival and wilderness skills school.