If we are talking text, (books and such), put it into Kindle format and save it on their e-reader Kindle. Turn off the WiFi and you can be reading those books around the campfire a month after the collapse of the power grid before you will need to hit up a power source to recharge.
If you got kids, bring the games and the music they love. Don’t underestimate morale. Isabelle and Irene taught me to remember the quiet moments in between (power). I loved Isabelle – I was single and had the time to sit in an empty house and just read every book I could find until the sun went down.
Now I got generators, a wife and kids. So when this recent storm threatened, I made sure the old notebooks and portable DVD players we going to work for the little ones.
I also piled up some books, just in case I got two minutes to myself. But I haven’t had that in years.
Or, you know, do both. The thumb drive/e-reader option is a whole heck of a lot more portable than a half-dozen (or more) paper books, so if bugging out becomes necessary you can still have all that knowledge with you. It’s also more convenient and easily searchable. But if your electronics are unusable, you still have the paper copies as a backup.
Even better is to actually practice the techniques ahead of time, so that you donít need a reference.
Not every technique is easily practiced often enough to remain reliably doable without a reference, and some TEOTWAWKI survival skills are esoteric enough even to the well-prepared person that reviewing your reference manual before attempting it is a good idea.
Yeah, doing both is good. If I could only do one, I’d go with the paper, though.
As for techniques, well, there aren’t a whole heck of a lot of skills that require regular practice. Once you know how to do something (and I’m talking pretty much all the basics here), unless you suffer some sort of brain trauma, you’ll know how to do it when the time comes.
The way I see it the problem really isn’t information storage. It’s having the intelligence to apply a technique when it’s not necessarily the textbook solution.
For example, I have a few survival books. Most of them contain a lot of information that isn’t likely to apply to me: Plants that are edible and/or poisonous on other continents, or Hell, even this one, but in areas where I don’t visit. Someone in Truth or Consequences New Mexico obviously doesn’t need to know how to make a snow cave. Much of the data is relatively worthless to me. Some of that data I already know how to do: I’ve carved a figure-four trigger before, for example, so know I can do it in the future without any reference back to written material.
I guess the ideal to me is that you have the skill and mind-set before hand. All else is nice to have, but not strictly necessary, and if you rely too much on reference material, you’re screwed if you can’t read it.