How to start prepping?
How to start prepping is key to handle any survival needs. More and more people are thinking of becoming preppers these days. Or, if not adopting the moniker entirely, at least taking some basic prepping steps in their life. And that’s hardly surprising.
So far, 2020 has included “wonderful” events such as:
- A WW3 near miss
- Massive Australian fires with the Amazon fire preceding them by just several months in 2019
- Insane floods, once again in Australia
- A still-raging global pandemic
- A potentially unparalleled financial and employment global crisis
- A locust plague of absurd proportions ravaging entire continents
- Mass protests and riots in the U.S., for good measure
And it’s still early July.
Of course, we’re not in the business of scaring people, nor are we interested in getting political about these events. But suffice it to say that 2020 has given us plenty of examples why prepping might be wise. At least in its basic forms – save some money, prep a bug out bag, plan a safe location for you and your family, etc.
But how do you even start prepping if you’re new to it? We’ve covered a lot of prepping and survival topics here but they can be somewhat daunting if you’re new to this.
So, let’s cover some of the basic first steps of prepping too. Here are the first things you’ll want to consider when you get a good idea of embracing prepping.
Figure out what you are prepping for?
All preppers are different, based on what they’re prepping for. We’ve covered the different types of prepping in detail in this article but lets briefly explain it here as well.
As prepping is a very broad term, it can refer to lots of different things. You can be prepping for a nuclear Armageddon by building a nuclear bunker. Or, you can be prepping for a global pandemic by stockpiling some medical & first aid supply, plus some food and water. Or, maybe you’re prepping for civic unrest by having an off-grid cabin for you and your family.
Or, you may simply be a “financial prepper” and be extra considerate with your finances and income. You can even simply be a “digital prepper” and simply be extra careful about your online security.
Neither of these types of prepping is strictly better or worse than the others. Each prepper decides what they’re concerned about and takes the necessary steps to alleviate those concerns. And since we all live in different environments, It’s normal to be scare of different things. If you live deep in the Midwest, you’re probably not scared of hurricanes. Likewise, you’re probably not concerned about earthquakes if you live in a seismically quiet area.
So, the first thing you’ll need to do is figure out exactly what you want to prep for. Define it carefully, fully, and in detail, as only then you can figure out what to do about it.
Embrace your inner researcher
Most people don’t like studying and researching extensive topics in the middle of the night. And that’s normal. A lot of the stuff preppers need to research can admittedly be a bit boring. Geographical and environmental stats, finances, water & air purification, food storage, hunting & fishing, and much more.
Love it or hate it, however, research is integral to prepping. Even experienced and knowledgeable preppers have to keep researching and updating their knowledge and skills. At the end of the day, that’s one of the things that makes them so experienced.
So, once you figure out exactly what you want or need to prep for, start researching. You want to virtually become an expert in any field related to your prepping efforts. Heck, diplomas don’t really help in SHTF (shit hits the fan) situations but you can even grab one along the way. Many preppers are or eventually become certified professionals in their fields. It’s very common for preppers to become so immersed in what they’re researching that they turn it into a business.
At the very least, however, you want to:
- Research the areas important to your prepping efforts in detail.
- Keep yourself constantly updated about all new scientific, governmental, environmental, and public changes in those areas.
Once you’ve got enough theoretical knowledge you can start putting it into practice.
Plan everything ahead of time – everything!
The key characteristic that unites all good preppers is that they are meticulous and detail-oriented. That’s because they need to be. Careful planning is integral to prepping, after all. If you don’t plan ahead what equipment you’re going to need and what resources you want, you won’t be efficient enough.
Keep in mind that prepping is rarely an inexpensive endeavor. That’s one of the main problems a lot of people have with it. Even just purchasing and arranging a bug out bag can cost a 3- or 4-digit sum of money.
There are budget-friendly ways to go about it, of course, and we’ll cover them in more detail soon. However, to prep effectively and efficiently, you’ll need to plan ahead.
What do you need? What are the best ways to get it? What multi-tools can you get to save space and funds? How can you use your gear in the meantime so it’s not “wasted”? And so on, and so forth.
Depending on what you’re prepping for, you’ll need to consider and plan for almost countless different little factors. Here are a few general tips that apply to most prepping-related gear and resources:
Secure the essentials first.
There’s no point investing in an air purification system if you don’t have a first aid kit and a bug out bag yet. There’s no reason for an off-grid cabin yet if you don’t have the skills or resources to get to it.
Focus on quality where it matters.
A lot of the gear in a prepper’s or a survivalist’s arsenal has to be of high quality. What’s the point of getting a survival shovel if it’s going to break on your first dig? Why waste money on a crappy survival tent if it’ll leave you without a shelter in the first storm? Essential survival items like these only work if they are of a high enough quality.
Save money and resources where you can.
While some survival gear has to be of good quality, with other things, that’s not so crucial. For example, maybe your bug out SHTF plan includes surviving in the wilderness for a while. This usually means that you’ll want to master fishing and hunting to help you survive. So, you may be tempted to invest a fair bit of money in expensive fishing gear. And, hey, if you have the resources – go for it. But if you’re on a budget, keep in mind that fishing can be done pretty effectively on the cheap. There are lots of budget-friendly survival fishing kits that won’t break your bank. Even something as simple as a hand fishing line reel can be enough to help you survive. DIY fishing kits are also an option.
Planning out ahead of time what you need, and when and how you should get it, makes the whole process smoother. Never panic-buy for your prepping or survival equipment and always think everything through first.
Start prepping the basic necessities
So, you’ve researched and planned everything you need. It’s time to get to work – what do you do?
Based on what kind of prepping you’re going for, even the base necessities can be quite different. For example, digital-only preppers don’t really care about secure off-grid safe locations or self-defense. Unless they do, in which case they are more than “just” digital preppers.
So, we won’t go into each type separately as we already did that here. Instead, let’s go over some general basic starter steps for prepping that apply almost universally.
Get into shape
Yeah, sorry, we know lots of people hate to hear it. However, getting your body in peak fitness condition is crucial for preppers too. Not only is it generally great for your health but it’s also life-saving in SHTF scenarios.
Almost all crisis situations require some physical involvement. It could be any of the following:
- You need to fight off an attacker.
- You need to run away from an attacker.
- You need to chase someone down.
- You have to survive for weeks or months in the wilderness, trekking through woods, deserts, and mountains.
- You’re going to live off-grid and have to care for your garden and homestead, as well as maintain your house.
- You need to lift a heavy object off of someone or you need to carry an injured person to safety.
And many other situations like these. Whether we’re talking about an environmental, military, civic, pandemic, or any other type of crisis, physical fitness is vital.
The good news? Improving your fitness is one of those “prepping investments” that pays itself off even there’s no crisis to prep for. With some other things, you run the risk of wasting money or resources on prepping. When you improve your fitness level, however, you’re always better off for it.
It’s all about the money
Well, no, it’s not all about the money. But money is unfortunately very important when prepping. Most of the gear and resources we need to secure cost money, some – a lot of money. Researching and planning can help you keep a tight budget but you’ll still need at least some finances.
That’s why money is always one of the first things you need to take care of as you start prepping. You can do that by working extra hours for a while or by some kind of investment. Either way, make sure you have the resources you’re going to need.
On the plus side, as with your physical fitness, improving your finances is always a good thing anyway.
Your special set of skills
Getting rid of your beer belly and building up some muscle mass is one thing. Having the necessary skills to survive an SHTF scenario – that’s a whole other thing. Depending on what your plans are, you’ll likely have at least some crucial survival skills to acquire.
Here are a few examples:
- Hunting, fishing, and/or foraging if you want to be able to survive in the wilderness. You can also add shelter-building, tracking, and navigation to that list. Don’t forget about first aid and self-administered first aid either.
- Gardening, homesteading, and structural maintenance if you want to live in an off the grid cabin. Things like power maintenance, water & air purification, and food storage are also important. First aid is also as important here as – by definition – you’ll likely be far from any medical help.
- Self-defense is a vital skill for preppers and survivalists too. Most crises usually involve at least some amount of civic unrest. And as unfortunate as that is, it means that we always have to be able to defend ourselves.
The bug out bag
The staple of any prepper or survivalist, the bug out bag (or BOB), is a must-have. It’s not to be mistaken with survival backpacks, of course – we’ve covered the difference between the two here.
In short, the bug out bag is a bag or backpack meant to help you survive for ~14 days alone. Usually, its purpose is to get you to a (hopefully – planned) shelter. Survival backpacks, on the other hand, are backpacks and gear that can help you survive in the wilderness for months or years.
Either way, having one or the other at hand is always a must.
When we think about prepping and surviving, we usually imagine surviving alone or with our families. But that’s not necessarily the case for many SHTF or TEOTWAWKI (The end of the world as we know it) situations. Very often it’s much smarter to plan for a whole group. Whether it’s your extended family, friends, or neighbors, many crises are easier to get by with help.
Your safe space
No, not that kind of safe space. We’re talking about preparing a safe off the grid location in case of an SHTF scenario. This is usually the most expensive part of prepping. Fortunately, it can usually be postponed for a bit.
As you’re just starting with your prepping efforts, your first “safe location” doesn’t need to be your private property. If you don’t have the resources for an off-grid cabin right now, you can look for safe public locations. These are places such as schools, community centers, museums, and the like, that you can retreat to if need be.
The safest locations in times of crisis are ones that meet certain requirements:
- Are or will be away from the biggest crowds, traffic, and social unrest in an SHTF situation.
- Are not totally “off-grid”. This means that they are still in-range of hospitals, fire departments, and the like.
- Are within your range as well. Any “safe location” you choose should be one you can get to quickly and safely.
Once you advance in your prepping efforts and financial circumstances, you can look for a private safe spot for you and your family.
Another one of our prepping articles to help you out.