Prepping for Beginners an Emergency Preparedness Checklist

Looking to be better prepared for emergencies, but find the info online confusing? Check out our Prepping for Beginners - Emergency Preparedness Checklist where we made it simple and easy! Follow the basic prepping steps below to get your affairs in order and be ready for any major or minor disaster that could strike!

In today’s world, bad things can (and unfortunately do) happen. Hurricanes, earthquakes, fires, pandemics, riots are becoming all too common. Instead of getting overwhelmed, you have chosen to take the first steps towards being prepared! Bravo!

Rest assured, you are not alone in your journey. The prepper movement is filled with very rational people (not all the doomsday type) who are simply looking to prepare their family for things that could happen.

I started my Prepper journey after having kids and realizing how unprepared we were during a winter storm power outage. From that day on, I have been taking steps to be as prepared as possible for the inevitable events that will impact our lives (COVID-19 for example).

While we can’t cover everything that could happen, by preparing with a solid foundation you will be prepared for most anything that may come your way.

When you search for “Prepper” online, you can find some extreme advice. There are things you can do to be 100% prepared for anything, but some of the advice you find online is not worth the effort given the likelihood of the event.

You will find our advice to be simple, reliable, and effective!

Simple Tips to Start Your Prepping Journey

Prepping is a lifestyle change for many people. It takes years of practice to get into the mindset of a prepper, to advance your survival skills, and to find out what works for your family and what doesn’t.

There are some common mistakes that beginners make that can easily be avoided. Check out some tips and tricks that can help you jumpstart your prepping.

  • Food and Water are 90% of Prepping.  Whether you are thinking about bugging in, bugging out, bug out bag, etc. – food and water serve as the foundation for everything.
  • Prepping is an insurance policy. Like an insurance policy, your stockpiles and plans need to be in place well before a disaster happens. Also like an insurance policy, you can’t allow essential items (like food) to expire.
  • Be practical. The zombie apocalypse is a lot less likely than a prolonged blackout, flooding from a storm, or widespread damage from an earthquake. Focus your prepping on the disasters that are most likely to happen where you live.
  • Practice, practice, practice. If you don’t identify and fix gaping holes in your bug in and bug out plans ahead of time, all your prep work will be wasted.
  • Make sure your supplies and plans are redundant. Even if you plan for specific scenarios, something is likely to differ from what you expect to happen. It’s important that you understand the assumptions you make when choosing your gear.
  • Prepping is about survival, not luxury. You want to have everything you could need, but not much more. In general, lightweight gear and food is better in case you need to bug out.
  • If you’re prepping on a budget, you’ll get the most bang for your buck by buying a few pieces of trustworthy gear. Don’t put your money into shoddy kits or cheap gear that will break down when you need them most.
  • There are lots of prepper kits out there, some good and some bad. Carefully evaluate any kit before you buy it. Most of the time, you could make the same kit yourself with higher-quality items for less money.
  • Set realistic goals and a realistic budget. Prepping is a journey so don’t worry if you aren’t fully covered after a few months. You can add to your Prepper stash as you go!

Step 1: Understand Your Current Situation and Top Risks

The first step in your Prepper journey is taking account of your key risks and major pain points in the event of a major emergency.

Start by assessing your location and the top natural threats you may encounter.  Some of the big ones to consider include Hurricane, Fire, Tornado, Heat Wave, Flooding, Winter Storms, Ice, and Earthquake. Other things to consider for few individuals would be things like Landslides, Dams Breaking, Nuclear Accidents, and Volcanic Eruptions.

Here is a great resource to help identify your top risks (Natural Disaster Map).

Next consider your current family and community situation. Do you have kids, older relatives, or neighbors that you would need to care for? Do you have anyone with a medical condition or critical medications that would need additional attention? Take stock on your key vulnerabilities and use these to help guide your planning.

Finally consider your current home and community. Do you live in a congested city, suburb, or country location? Depending on your answers to these questions, you may make a different decision on bugging in vs bugging out.

Is there the possibility of riots, crime, or looting in your area? If so, is your home protected and defendable?

Step 2: Prepare to Bug In

Bugging in is the route that the vast majority of preppers will take when a disaster strikes. At the end of the day, it’s much simpler and safer than trying to bug out, especially for new preppers. In addition, most of the preparations you will make for bugging also serve as the foundation for bugging out successfully.

We’ll cover the basics of everything you need to bug in for up to two weeks, since this is the recommended minimum amount of time that you need to be able to survive in your home during a major storm or attack. The essentials are the same regardless of what level prepper you are, although more advanced preppers can check out our in-depth guide to bugging in.

Creating a Food Supply

Having a food supply is absolutely critical to prepping. You should have at least two weeks’ worth of food on hand in your house at all times, and more if you want to be really prepared.

Your food supply should be non-perishable, since you won’t have access to refrigeration if the power is knocked out. Most preppers use canned food as the base of their food stockpile, since it’s easy to store and has a long shelf life.

Freeze-dried foods are my preferred option. They can be very cost-effective when you consider that they last for up to 30 years!

It can be tempting to simply go out and buy two week’s worth of canned food from the store, but the best way to go about stockpiling food is to do it slowly over time. If you buy a few cans every time you go to the grocery store, you spread out the expense of prepping over time.

Plus, not all of your food expires on the same date, so you won’t run into the nightmare scenario of finding out that all of your cans have expired when you actually need to open them.

Ideally, you should try out the cans once in a while, too. This allows you to make sure the food isn’t spoiled – you can’t always trust expiration dates – and to replace some of the older cans in your stockpile (ie rotation).

It’s also essential to diversify the food in your stockpile. Although you hope never to have to eat your entire stockpile of food, morale is going to be very low if you’re eating the same meal for breakfast, lunch, and dinner for two weeks in a row.

Make sure you get items that you’re actually excited about eating. You can also do yourself a favor by including items like raw honey or pemmican, which are highly shelf stable and add some sweetness or protein to your diet.

Another thing to keep in mind is that your food stockpile requires some accessories. For example, you’re going to have a hard time accessing your food if you don’t keep a can opener with all of your cans.

Having a portable stove and plenty of fuel to run it is also critical to making the most of your food supply.

The last thing to think about when collecting food is how to store your stockpile securely. Your food should be in a dry and cool area, like a basement or storage closet. More important, it needs to be packaged so that it’s watertight, airtight, and pest-proof.

Your food should be able to stand up to flooding and needs to be completely protected from both bacteria and insects. Cans and jars satisfy all these requirements, but you can also use hardware buckets with watertight lids.

If you want to simplify your food stockpiling, there are some prepper-ready food kits that can help. For example, Augason Farms makes a 30-day food supply that has a shelf life of 25+ years and comes in a watertight, pest-proof canister.

Augason Farms 30-Day 1-Person Emergency Food Supply – QSS Certified , White
  • QSS-certified food supply
  • Averages 1,854 calories per day, 46G Protein Per Day, 307 Servings
  • 8.5-gallon watertight pail is easy to transport

Establishing a Reliable Water Supply

Having access to water is just as important, if not more so, than having food on hand. Without water, your body will succumb to dehydration within just three days.

How much water do you need? As a rule of thumb, you should have at least one gallon per person per day. You may need even more if you live in a hot or dry area.

Keep in mind that this estimate also doesn’t account for water you’ll use for rehydrating freeze-dried foods, so make sure to plan on having extra if your food stores require water.

The best way to ensure you have water when bugging in is to stockpile it, just like food. While you can buy jugs of water from the store, it’s much more cost-effective to simply fill your own jugs from the tap.

Make sure you buy food-grade, BPA-free containers, as non-food-grade containers can contaminate your water with harmful bacteria.

The key part of storing water over the long term is to replace it frequently. You should dump out your water, clean your jugs, and refill them once a year to make sure that no bacteria can grow inside your supply.

This maintenance is something of a pain in the butt, but it’s important to make sure that you’re not relying on potentially contaminated water when you do need to access your stores in an emergency.

In addition, every prepper should have a plan for getting more water in case the situation lasts longer than your water stores. Depending on the area around your home, you can either use a rain barrel to collect rainwater or find a creek to fill your jugs. In the worst case, you can even build a DIY solar still or evaporation trap to collect water in your yard.

For any of those water sources, purifying the water before you drink it is an absolute necessity. Creeks carry giardia and other disease-causing bacteria at the best of times. After a flood or earthquake, who knows what’s in that water?

The best way to purify your water is with a portable water filter. We like the Katadyn Hiker Pro, but any filtration system that eliminates bacteria and protozoa and that can be easily cleaned without tools will work. You can also use household chemicals like bleach or iodine in a pinch, although this can leave a pretty unpalatable taste in your water.

The last best option for purifying water is to boil it. Boiling is extremely effective at killing bacteria, but it won’t remove impurities from dirty water that you collect from a flooded creek. Boiling also requires a lot of fuel, and you’re better off saving that fuel for cooking your food supplies if you can.

The bottom line: keep a reliable water filter (or two!) with your stockpiled water.

Reliance Products Aqua-Tainer 7 Gallon Rigid Water Container, Blue, 11.3 Inch x 11.0 Inch x 15.3...
  • Rigid, 7-gallon rectangular water container with molded contour grip
  • Space-saving design for easy storing and stacking when empty
  • New and improved screw-on vent; hideaway spigot for on-demand water dispensing

Developing a Waste Management Plan

Unfortunately, the toilets in your house may stop working during an emergency, but your body doesn’t. While less critical than ensuring you have access to food and water, waste management is another important aspect of bugging in that you need to plan for ahead of time.

The problem isn’t just that human waste smells bad. It also causes disease. It’s important to keep waste completely separated from the rest of your shelter and, if you’re putting outside, to make sure it can’t contaminate any of your potential water sources.

The details of dealing with waste vary based on how your home’s plumbing is set up. If you’re connected to a septic tank in the yard, you’re in luck – your toilets will keep flushing. You just need to add water to the tank (make sure you stockpile extra for this). The same is true if your town’s sewer lines are also running, although this is a lot less likely.

If the toilet doesn’t work at all, you’ll have to either bury your waste outside or bag it. If you bury waste, make sure that you dig a hole that’s at least six inches deep and 200 feet from any water source. If you’re bagging waste, keep it in a garbage can or somewhere else it can’t runoff into your yard or a creek if it rains.

Planning for Extreme Heat and Cold

In an ideal world, emergencies would only strike during stretches of nice weather. But in the real world, terrorist attacks, earthquakes, and storms can happen at any time of year. So, depending on where you live, you need to be prepared for extreme heat in the summer or extreme cold in the winter.

In summertime, your only good option for keeping cool while remaining in your house is to power an air conditioner (or shelter down in the basement). You can use a small, quiet generator to run a window air conditioner.

If you have a standby generator, you might be able to power your normal whole-home AC system. Just keep in mind that generators can attract unwanted attention from looters if society starts to break down after a week or more without power.

In winter, you have a few more options. Stockpiling blankets with the rest of your emergency supplies is a good place to start. If you have a fireplace or wood-fired stove, make sure you have enough wood to get you through several weeks without power going into the winter months.

Alternatively, you can buy a portable propane or kerosene heater. Both propane and kerosene can be stored for decades without going bad, so these heaters are a good insurance policy against blackouts. As always, it’s important that you stock up on fuel far in advance of when you could need it.

Preparing for Medical Emergencies

In a survival situation, even small injuries can turn deadly. There won’t be an ambulance available to call if someone gets hurt, so you’re on your own to deal with a medical emergency.

So, it’s essential that your emergency cache includes a medical kit, and one that includes a lot more than simple band-aids. We like the Doom and Bloom Deluxe Gunshot Trauma Kit because it includes everything preppers need to assess and stabilize major wounds. If you opt for another kit, make sure it has advanced trauma tools like a tourniquet, artificial airways, and clamps.

Of course, truly preparing to deal with medical emergencies requires training as well. There are tons of resources available to help you develop skills as a first responder. Gaining medical training is beyond the scope of most preppers who are just starting out, but it’s critical as you progress.

Step 3: Prepare to Bug Out

In many disaster scenarios, there’s no way to safely remain in your home. When that happens, it’s time to bug out.

Bugging out shares a lot of essential elements in common with bugging in. For example, food and water are still your primary concerns. You’ll be able to use some of your food and water stockpiles when bugging out, and items like your stove and water filter will be equally handy on the road as they would be in your home.

The main difference to bugging out is that it requires much more detailed planning and flexibility. That’s because you need to get out in a hurry after a disaster strikes, so there’s much less time to evaluate the situation.

You also need to know where you’re going and how you’ll get there. For more advanced details on how to evacuate during an emergency, check out our complete guide to bugging out

Picking Your Destination

The key to bugging out is picking the right destination. After all, the whole point of bugging out is to end up somewhere safer than where you started.

The complexity of bugging out lies in that you need to plan multiple destinations for different scenarios. You might be able to go stay with your relatives in another state to escape a hurricane, for example, but that same plan probably wouldn’t be appropriate during a nationwide blackout.

It’s important to think of a variety of different events that could happen and to have a specific bug out destination for each of them.

When choosing a destination, the main considerations should be the same as those for bugging in. Your destination should have access to enough food and water to last for as long as you need. You’ll also need shelter, although depending on the season and location you may be able to manage this with a simple tent. For the worst-case scenarios, isolation and defensibility are also important considerations.

Distance also comes into play. The further you have to go to get to your chosen bug out location, the harder the journey is going to be. Chances are, there are going to be a ton of other people on the roads during a regional or national catastrophe, and key roads may be blocked or destroyed. There probably won’t be any food or gas along the way, either.

Given that, your bug out destination should ideally be as close as possible. Always have a backup location planned that you can reach on a single tank of gas or less.

Keeping Your Car Prepped

Almost every bug out plan relies on your car, so it’s absolutely critical to keep it in a state of readiness. That means first and foremost keeping the gas tank as full as possible. The more time you spend driving around with less than half a tank of gas, the more you expose yourself to the possibility of not having enough fuel to get to your bug out location when a disaster strikes.

Keeping a spare gas can in your car or garage is also a good idea, especially if you live far from most of your primary bug out locations. Just remember that gasoline only lasts six months, so you’ll need to cycle through your stockpiled gasoline relatively frequently.

Ensuring your car is ready to go during an emergency also means stocking it with everything you need for the roads between your home and your destination. If your route calls for crossing a mountain range in winter, for example, you need to keep winter essentials in your car even if it’s warm and sunny around your house.

Stocking a Bug Out Bag

Time is of the essence when you’re bugging out. You should have a bug out bag stocked and ready to go either already in your car or easily accessible at your home. That way, when a disaster hits, you don’t need to waste precious time packing supplies or searching through your outdoor gear for items you need.

So, what goes in your bug out bag? You can check out our full bug out bag list of essentials, but these are the basic items:

  • Survival shelter
  • Water filter
  • Stove
  • Seasonal clothing
  • Matches
  • Bowie knife
  • Boots
  • Cash

You’ll notice that some of these items, like your water filter and stove, are also part of your bug in cache. It’s a good idea to leave these supplies in your bug out bag so they’re ready to go. If you decide to bug in, you can grab them out of there.

Food is another major component of your bug out kit. Some preppers like to put food in a bag of its own, but this bag should always stay in the same place as your bug out bag. Ideally, keep the most lightweight components of your bug in food cache, like freeze-dried foods, in your bug out bag. Plan on having about three days of food ready to go, assuming you’re able to get more at your destination.

In addition, every member of your family should have their own bug out bag – including your kids and pets. That way, they can carry their own clothes, snacks, and individual survival supplies. In the event that you get separated, this also ensures that each person has enough stuff to survive for at least one night.

Bug out bags are so important that we highly recommend packing your own and customizing it to your need. But, if you want to simplify the process, there are a number of premade bug out bags that you can buy. You can even buy premade bags for your dog or cat, which are filled with all the supplies your pet needs to bug out with you.

RunningSnail Solar Crank NOAA Weather Radio for Emergency with AM/FM, Flashlight, Reading Lamp and...
  • A Must For Emergency: Keep your household prepared with this AM/FM & NOAA weather alert radio, broadcast emergency weather alerts for your area such as hurricanes, tornadoes and severe storms.
  • Table Lamp & 1W LED Flashlight: It can be used in emergency and survival situations to light up dark spaces and areas or to keep your room nice and bright after a storm cuts off your power.
  • Hand Crank Self-charge for Outage: 2000mAh rechargeable battery provides up to 12 hours of light or 4-6 hours of radio time.

Step 4: What About Everyday Carry

What should you do if an emergency strikes and you are away from home? This is the perfect scenario to consider what you carry with yourself everyday (everyday carry – EDC) and what you keep in your car.

Everyday Carry Items

A good way to think about how you might organize a list of EDC gear is to consider these two groups:

  • Items you carry on your person
  • Items you carry in in a backpack or bag

If you think about your EDC kit in these two categories, it can be a bit easier to understand what you should consider keeping handy.

Its also worth noting that local laws and regulations might also determine what you can and can’t carry with you. Some states and countries don’t allow certain types of firearms or have strict regulations on knife blades, sizes, and action mechanisms. There’s no point in buying EDC gear if it’s illegal and you’re not allowed to have it.

EDC Items to Carry With You

  • Cell phone
  • EDC wallet
  • EDC multitool
  • Tactical pen
  • EDC knife (if permitted)

EDC Items to Carry in a Bag

  • Tactical backpack
  • Tactical flashlight
  • Thermal blankets
  • Waterproof matches
  • Water treatment tablets
  • Small first aid kit
  • Paracord

Having these items handy can be a life saver if an emergency happens and you are away from home.  Its always best to be over prepared than under!

Car Supplies

If you find yourself driving frequently (vs taking public transportation) – keeping basic roadside or inclement weather gear handy is essential. These items can be kept in a handy bag in your trunk just in case.

  • Emergency contact information (in case you are found unconscious)
  • Ice scraper
  • Small shovel
  • Tire chains
  • Salt, sand, or kitty litter
  • Road flares or Hazard lights
  • Extra clothing and Blankets
  • Food and Water
  • Flashlight
  • Portable battery charger
  • Jumper cable
  • Tow cable
Potable Aqua Water Purification Treatment - Portable Drinking Water Treatment for Camping, Emergency...
  • One bottle of 50 Potable Aqua Germicidal Water Purification Tablets
  • Makes questionable water bacteriologically suitable to drink within 35 minutes
  • Emergency water purification tablets effective against Giardia lamblia when used as directed

Step 5: Build A Community

Prepping is not only more fun as a community. Working with your neighbors to prep for a disaster has a number of advantages.

To start, your neighborhood can form a cooperative island in the midst of an emergency. You can barter with each other for different types of food and tools, as well as offer collective security through a neighborhood watch.

Prepping with your community also allows different families to specialize in different survival skills – like medicine, hunting, or water filtration – so you can split up tasks. Instead of being completely on your own, a prepared community can offer a microcosm of society even as the rest of the world falls apart.

Ahead of an emergency, you can even cost-share resources with your neighbors. For example, generators, which are one of the more expensive pieces of prepping gear you can buy, can be split among several families.

It’s also a good idea to share knowledge. If another prepper in your network has found a stockpiling system that works for them or is learning a new skill set, you can learn from them and share your own tips and tricks in return.

That said, it’s a good idea not to overshare your prepping plans. If too many people, especially unprepared people, know that your home is filled with food and water, you can quickly become a target as the social fabric starts to break down.

Be careful telling anyone other than family your specific plans for bugging in or bugging out, or reveal exactly where your food and water are being stockpiled.

Step 6: Be Sure to Practice

Having plans in place to bug in or bug out and knowing how to seamlessly execute those plans are two different things. That’s why prepping requires practice.

One of the major benefits of practicing your plan execution is that it serves as a stress test. For example, if your plan simply calls for getting in the car, a dry run may illustrate that it’s not so easy when you or your partner are at work or your kids are at school. The best way to see which aspects of your plan work and which need tweaking is to put it through the wringer.

Practicing also has the advantage of getting your family on the same page. If everyone knows exactly what to do – what bags to grab, where to meet, and what the contingency plans are – you can save a significant amount of time when trying to get out the door after a disaster starts.

Those minutes can make the difference between escaping your city before everyone else gets on the road and getting stuck in endless traffic.

The need for practice doesn’t just apply to bugging in and bugging out, either. If you learn specific skills that can be useful in an emergency, like how to treat trauma, riflery or archery for hunting, or self-defense techniques, those need to be practiced as well.

If you don’t keep up your survival skills, they won’t be there to serve you when the time comes.

Remember, your plans are only as good as their execution. Practicing ensures that you and your family know exactly what the plan is when the time comes, so you can maximize the chances of everything going in your favor.

Taking Your Prepping to the Next Level

Prepping is more than just an insurance policy against catastrophe. It’s a lifestyle with a community of like-minded people who want to be self-sufficient no matter what happens. By starting to prepare yourself and your family, you’re taking the first step on a journey that can help you learn new skills and offer peace of mind in your everyday life.

From here, there are tons of resources that you can turn to in order to learn more about the ins and outs of prepping. The Level 1 Prepper Guide is a good place to start. Or, check out the detailed guides to bugging in or bugging out. You can also start to build your own prepper library at home to keep references that can come in handy while you’re bugging in.

Most of all, remember that your prepping should be flexible and that practice is essential. The more you address the assumptions in your gear, supplies, and plans, the better your chances of surviving whatever the world throws at you.

Building your survival skills over time and continuously reassessing your plans, stockpiles, and every other aspect of your prep will ensure that you’re fully ready will be ready when the time comes to put it to work.

Other Prepper Thoughts

Bugging in vs. Bugging Out

One of the most important decisions you’ll need to make in an emergency situation is whether to bug in or bug out. Bugging in means sheltering in place, usually in your home. Bugging out means evacuating, often to an unaffected area but also to a safehouse or an area that offers more options for survival.

The decision to bug in or bug out will typically be made as soon as a disaster strikes, or even beforehand in the case of an approaching storm. So, when should you remain at home and when should you flee?

Bugging in should generally be your first choice in an emergency. Your food and water stockpiles are probably at home and you may not be able to take all of them with you if you bug out. If you have a generator, that will do you the most good at home since that’s where all of your appliances are. Of course, your house is also a ready shelter with tons of supplies that you can use in a pinch to keep warm or filter water.

Another benefit is that you’re probably more familiar with the area around your home. There are neighbors who you can band together with to trade supplies and form a collective defense if needed. Plus, if the government does come in with aid at some point, rescuers will have a much easier time finding you than if you’re hiding out in the woods somewhere.

The main reason you would bug out rather than remain at home is an imminent danger. A coming storm could threaten your safety with high winds or flooding, or an earthquake could be followed by aftershocks that could bring down your house after it’s already been rocked once.

During prolonged emergencies, social breakdown could increase the risk of staying at home if you live in a crowded area. You may also need to bug out if you’re running low on food and water, and there’s no way to get more resources around your house.

Ideally, if you’re going to bug out, you should do it as soon as possible. It’s much more dangerous to bug out a week into a disaster than right at its outset. Every minute matters when bugging out, since roads can become clogged, violence can break out in urban areas, and someone else can beat you to your planned destination.

What is Prepping?

To understand what prepping is, it’s helpful to look at an example of how a disaster can unfold much more quickly than anyone anticipates.

Take power outages. In most cases, the power goes out for no more than a few hours or a day at most before being restored, and the outage is typically local.

But what if the power grid was deliberately brought down by a foreign cyberattack – a possibility that is frighteningly real and for which the US grid is, according to most experts, entirely unprepared? In that case, the power could be down for weeks.

Consider the situation you’re left in if you haven’t prepared at all for this scenario,. There’s no heat or air conditioning, no way to keep perishable food cold, and the pumps that deliver water and natural gas to your home are likely to be offline. Gas stations won’t be able to pump gas, grocery stores will be shut down or immediately bought out.

As these shortages pile up and the blackout continues without an end in sight, the likelihood that society breaks down increases. The situation will only get more dangerous for the unprepared.

Chances are, there’s no help coming anytime soon, either. To start, city, state, and federal governments be in disarray responding to a regional blackout – especially if electronic communications are severely disrupted along with the power grid.

Even then, governments approach large-scale catastrophes like a blackout, hurricane, or earthquake with the goal of saving the most possible lives or mitigating damage to infrastructure. Your and your family’s specific survival isn’t necessarily the government’s primary goal.

So, there’s no rescue mission, you don’t have a reliable way to get weeks’ worth of food or water, and you can’t evacuate because gasoline is impossible to find. Your chances of surviving something as seemingly innocuous as a loss of electricity for a few weeks have dropped dramatically.

Prepping allows you to achieve self-sufficiency during a disaster and maximize your chances of surviving unscathed. The most important element of prepping is captured by the term itself – preparing ahead of time.

Preparations for an emergency need to start long before one actually arrives. As the blackout example demonstrates, you’re going to be largely out of luck if you wait until the catastrophe is already in motion to get food, gas, and water. But, stockpiling resources is only one component of prepping. Having multiple contingency plans, practicing them, and having everything ready to go at the moment you need them is equally important.

With prepping, you make your and your family’s survival during a disaster a tangible goal and do everything necessary ahead of time to ensure you come out alright.

Zippo 3-in-1 Axesaw
  • 5" full tang 420 stainless steel axe head & durable polymer handle with saw blade storage
  • 15" hardened stainless steel saw blade
  • Heavy tent stake mallet

Are You Already Prepping?

Chances are, some of the habits you already have at home fall under the umbrella of prepping. For example, if you keep cans of food in the back of your pantry or have jugs of water stowed away in the basement, you’re well on your way to creating the stockpiles you need.

If you’re a hiker or hunter, there’s a good chance that you also have a fair amount of survival gear already in your kit. For example, you may have a water filter, a portable stove, a lightweight tent, and all the other items you need to shelter outside for a few nights.

Prepping can be financial, too. Having a stash of emergency cash around your house can come in handy when the power goes down, since ATMs and credit cards will immediately stop working.

These examples just go to show that prepping isn’t as difficult as it sounds at first. In many cases, you won’t have to go too far out of your current routine to start preparing your family for a disaster. It just requires a different, more proactive mindset – ensuring that the cans in your pantry aren’t nearing expiration or that your camping gear is always in a bag ready to go.

If you take this same proactive mindset to thinking about emergency scenarios – What will you do if someone gets injured? What will you do if a gas main breaks? What will you do if you have to abandon your house? – you’ll be well on your way to mastering the art of prepping.

The Prepping Basics

There are a lot of different aspects to prepping, and no two disaster scenarios will be exactly the same. But, the prepping basics can get you most of the way towards surviving just about anything that happens. Food and water are by far the most important aspects of prepping. If you have these covered, your options in a disaster expand greatly.

Another major thing to think about right from the get-go is how long you need to be prepping for. In general, you should have enough supplies to survive up to three days if you are going to evacuate and head to an unaffected area. If you plan to remain at your home and wait out the emergency, you should have enough supplies for at least two weeks.

For more information about how to maximize the time window that you can survive, check out our guides for different levels of preppers. You’ll be ready for Level 1 prepping after this guide, which means you should be able to manage up to one week in a disaster.

Level 2 preppers will dive into more advanced planning topics and should be self-sufficient for up to one month. Finally, Level 3 preppers will have extensive enough strategies, resource stockpiles, and survival skills to last more than three months on their own.

The Simple Prepper