How to get started with prepping? It’s a question many people have, especially in light of the recent hurricanes and other natural disasters.
Prepping can seem like a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be.
Prepping used to be a term that brought things like tin foil hats and conspiracy theorists to mind, but it’s been getting much more attention in the last few years.
Preppers are people who plan for all kinds of emergencies, from a power outage at home to a natural disaster in an area where they live to terrorist attacks.
Not only is prepping becoming more widely known, but there have also been advances in technology that have made things easier for preppers – even someone with limited means can put together a good plan and get started prepping on a budget (more on that later).
If you’re new to prepping or interested in getting started but don’t know where to start, this post will walk you through everything you need to know.
Step 1: The Prepper Mentality
The first thing you need to do before you get started preparing is to adjust your psyche.
If things go wrong, you need to think clearly and calmly, not get freaked out or panicky.
Making things worse will only lead to injury or death.
There’s a little bit of soldier in every prepper – be ready to take the appropriate actions when things go wrong no matter how scared you are.
Take some time to research things that could go wrong in your area and how to prepare for them.
Yes, some of these dangers are incredibly remote – but “extremely improbable” does not imply they will never happen.
You’ll be in a stronger mental position by recognizing a genuine threat.
This may be enough to save you since you’ll be ready to take action rather than panic in the face of danger.
Step 2: Water
Everyone needs water and food every day – so having an extra supply will ensure your survival if things go bad.
A good rule of thumb is to have one gallon of potable water per person per day for at least three days (three gallons per person would be better).
You can pick up inexpensive cases of bottled water or get two five-gallon jugs that attach to each other through the built-in spout.
It’s not enough to just have a lot of water on hand (though this is a good start).
You must also know how to purify water that has become tainted.
Here are some things to practice:
- 1-2 gallons of water per person every 30 days, for a 30 day supply – more about how much emergency water is required
- Learn how to keep water on hand and store it as well
- Learn about water container storage.
- Learn how to collect rainfall for drinking and irrigation.
Step 3: Food
Beginner preppers can start with a three-day food supply.
This is simply a stockpile of non-perishable, easy-to-prepare foods that you eat regularly.
Canned goods are ideal, but you can also include boxed cereal, trail mix, and granola bars.
You don’t have to stock up on everything at once.
Instead, purchase just a little more each time you go grocery shopping until you’ve amassed a considerable collection.
But that’s just the beginning. What would you do if your food supply was exhausted after an SHTF scenario?
The grocery shelves will have been barren for some time, and everyone in your community is suffering from hunger.
This is why food preparation is a significant component of prepping.
If you are a beginner at prepping, start with stockpiling (and make sure you know how to store your stockpile correctly!).
After a while, you’ll want to start learning and practicing these food preparation methods:
- Stock up on survival seeds.
- Learn to create and build a survival garden.
- Learn how to keep food from spoiling.
- Learn how to hunt and fish.
- Learn how to identify and forage for edible plants.
Step 4: Stockpile Non-Food Items
Food and water will only take you so far. Next, you need shelter, clothes, and things like firestarters or heaters.
An excellent place to start is with things you use every day.
Keep an inventory of things like soap, shampoo, deodorant, chapstick, etc., and replace them as needed.
This stockpile will give you the items necessary to keep yourself properly groomed
You might want to ask yourself some reality check questions if the power grid goes down.
“What if you don’t have access to a bathroom”?
“How will you keep clean without a running faucet and soap”?
“What options do you have if the power goes out”?
“How will you treat sickness if there are no pharmacists”?
These are just a few concerns to consider before preparing for an emergency.
Fortunately, all of these questions have answers – as long as you prepared ahead of time.
But, again, you don’t need to know all of these answers right now.
Instead, start thinking about how you’d function if the situation were to arise and acquire supplies so that you may be self-sufficient.
For example, you’ll need buckets and garbage bags (for an emergency toilet), flashlights, emergency candles, and other items.
Step 5: Disaster Plans and Drills
It’s one thing to stockpile supplies and learn how to prepare food.
But, it’s another thing altogether to put all of this knowledge into practice when things go wrong.
That’s why it’s important to have disaster plans and drills.
Disaster plans are just what they sound like – a plan for how you will handle different types of emergencies.
And that’s why it’s crucial for preppers with families.
But, first, you’ll need to devise a clear strategy for what to do in the event of a disaster or emergency.
Some of the essential elements of your strategy should include:
- Communication strategy
- Destination point
- Location B as a fallback point
- Emergency contacts
- Specific types of procedures for disasters (fire, flooding, earthquake, etc.)
Having a plan is a good start, but you’ll also need to practice these plans.
This is where drills come in. Practice evacuating your home, gathering supplies, and most importantly – staying calm.
The more you drill, the better prepared you’ll be when things go wrong.
These practice drills will also show where you might have to make improvements in your disaster plan.
To begin, consider going three days without using electricity in your home and seeing how you fare.
Did you have enough candles and flashlight batteries? Were you able to prepare your meals without the use of electricity?
Step 6: Make Survival Kits
It’s amazing to me how many individuals don’t have a basic first-aid kit in their houses or automobiles.
And don’t get me started on the number of individuals who don’t have other critical items like battery-operated radios and flashlights at home.
Building a survival kit is a really basic thing you can do to assist you in getting through a disaster.
Keep in mind that there are multiple kinds of survival kits to build for different situations.
Here are just a few:
- Vehicle/car emergency kit
- 72-Hour Bag (also known as a “Bug Out Bag”)
- Urban survival kit (aka Altoids tin survival kit)
- First-aid kit for the outdoors
- A small light bag
Step 7: Learn First Aid
Learning first aid is a no-brainer to me.
All you need to do is take a first-aid class, and you’ll be able to help yourself and others in the event of an emergency.
In addition, having supplies on hand like bandages, antibiotic ointment, pain relievers, and medical adhesive tape can help in an emergency.
One last thing – make sure you know how to perform CPR.
Step 8: Try to Go Low-Tech
We’ve gotten so spoiled by technology and electronics that many of us would be completely lost without them.
Do you know how to get around without using a GPS device?
Do you know how to cook without access to electricity? Do you know how to keep your home warm when the power goes out?
Low-tech doesn’t have to imply sacrificing comfort.
However, it does necessitate a lifestyle modification.
For example, chopping my own firewood and playing board games with my family is more pleasurable than watching TV.
Try this: Spend a day without electricity in your home to get used to a low-tech existence.
You’ll notice several problems, such as heat and illumination, once you don’t have access to power for one day.
Get whatever you’ll need to solve these problems (such as a camping stove and flashlights).
Try going without electricity again but for a longer period of time.
Did your equipment solve the problem, or do you require different gear or a different approach?
Step 9: Learn Outdoor Survival Techniques
In the event of a catastrophic disaster, many preppers advocate “Bugging Out” into the wilderness.
However, the fact is that for most people, staying at home (also known as Hunker Down) is probably preferable to Bugging Out.
The main reason why you are less likely to bug out when you are on turf that is familiar to you is that it feels safer.
But another reason is that most people would not be able to survive in the wilderness.
As you become more involved in prepping, take some time to study wilderness survival techniques if you ever have to survive outdoors.
Of course, the simplest method to learn outdoor survival is to go camping a few times.
Step 10: Make Escape Plans
There are several tiers to this process, as there are other ways to get started with prepping.
On a fundamental level, you should consider where you would go in the event of a small-scale disaster.
Where would you go if your house was flooded, for example?
Perhaps to a relative’s or friend’s residence in the next town over.
The next stage of disaster preparedness is for a large-scale event, such as a hurricane.
You must consider not just where you would travel, but also how you would get there.
Consider the possibility of obstacles, as well as extreme weather or traffic bottlenecks.
Finding a survival retreat for serious SHTF events is the highest level of escape planning.
I haven’t purchased a survival property yet, but I have my Bug Out Location routes planned out.
To sum it up
I hope this post will help you on how to get started with prepping.
The more prepared you are, the less anxiety you will feel before an emergency situation occurs.
If there’s anything else that we can help you with, don’t hesitate to reach out!
How far along are you in your preparations?
Please let me know in the comments section below.
Also, read these useful posts:
- Tips when building a safe room
- How to Prepare for a Natural Disaster (Dos and Don’ts)
- 6 Tips To Help You Combat Stress in a Survival Situation
- Top 3 Survival Tips For Single Moms
Great post Rob, thanks for all the detailed info on this topic. I am beginner and I can’t thank you enough…