Historically, preppers have been seen as people who are hyper aware of the environmental situation and the role that they play in being ready for natural disasters. Most of the time it’s important to have an extra storage of food essentials, medicine, and water in case of an emergency the limits access to these supplies. In spite of the media portraying some preppers as excessive, over the top, and having a negative outlook on the future, the current state of the world means that prepping could be ensuring you are one step ahead.
The term ‘prepper’ originally came into light during the social growth of survivalism in the 1980s. By comparison, a prepper is someone who is ready for any kind of severe disaster, limiting food or medicine supplies. These could be as immense as global diseases spreading or more local such as food shortages, drastic changes to weather patterns, or even political reasons why medicine, water and other essentials might become limited. By comparison, preppers stock a place like a bunker, remote cabin or even their current home with the essentials in order to avoid needing to venture out during times of disaster.
For the most part, the fundamentals used by preppers are less apocalyptic, and more about ensuring security for the future. Not to be confused with survivalists, who avoid staying in the same place if they can help it. Both types of people create their own stockpiles individual to their perceived needs, but the main difference is that survivalists focus on self-defense skill development. During a catastrophe, survivalists will have their own skills, including some medical training and knowledge of shelter building.
Originally, the rise in nuclear weapon development in the 1930s caused a lot of concern surrounding the welfare of a lot of people. This is one of the primary contributors to the modern prepper rise, because of the valid concerns from a lot of people. More were beginning to question how prepared they would be in a national supply shortage, or if they required to stay in the house for safety. More concern came into light following the 1960s inflation rise, where U.S. citizens were questioning the chances of another Cold War or even the use of nuclear weapons. People were urged to build their own bunkers or makeshift shelters and keep a small stockpile of basic supplies. This is why a lot of people still feel more comfortable when they have some essentials in store, as it is reassuring to know that you’re protected during any catastrophe.
In spite of the rationale behind the rise in preppers, the media has created a stigma using film portrayals of obsessive people who have hoarding tendencies. Dystopian movies commonly demonstrate characters who obsess over the classic end of the world scenarios, but it is often more of a way to feel reassured and can even be a fun way to make friends with others that have similar interests or beliefs. Although it is easy to see where preppers get their hermit-like portrayal from, they are often unlike this and will often come across as typical members of society who manage their anxieties for the future with emergency stores and plans.
In contrast to some common beliefs, prepping can be social. There are some great communities that you can find online or locally for preppers wanting to encourage others and even compare notes. You might even find that you have an excess supply of something and want to set up a trade system with other local preppers. Social support is an effective way to make prepping feel more ordinary and less like hoarding. It can be hard to ignore what the media says about some preppers, so it’s important to challenge your internalized beliefs about it and share your views with others.
Religious reasons have often been one of the biggest causes for prepping. From prophecies coming into light or the predicted end of all things, there is a large number of preppers who base their beliefs on religious texts and use those for predictions. Not only that, but religious preppers offer immense stockpiles when the community comes together. Weather, money, and political uproar are among some of the most common factors that people prep for. However, the reasons are often varied, and it depends on an individual’s beliefs as well as what their main concerns are. For example, many preppers focus on local issues, while others prophesize a catastrophe like a meteor landing. These are some tips to encourage you to be the most ready that you can be. Whether you want to begin prepping, or even if you want to see what you already have in your stockpile, these are some great ideas to ensure survival.
This is a basic checklist with some great pointers to show you how it doesn’t have to be perfect from the start when it comes to prepping for survival.
One of the most commonly stockpiled items that is often the easiest to get started with is creating a good food store. Some preppers go as far as to hit up their local bulk store, but you can easily add to your weekly grocery trip some items to get started. Salt is essential, from flavoring food to adding essential electrolytes to the body. It’s important to have enough in your store.
Dried foods such as grains like rice, oats, and pasta are great ways to bulk meals up, it’s definitely worth investing in some reliable food storage methods. To include a bigger range of items and increase the shelf life of some of your foods, you will need to invest in some bins to keep bulk items away from insects, and Mylar bags to preserve them. Oxygen removing pouches easily preserve foods for years to come. Don’t forget to include plenty of sugar, honey, and flour too.
Of course, canned food has the most stable shelf life because of the procedure used. Nowadays, there are so many options for foods stored in cans, fruits, cheese, butter, and even bacon! Coffee, peanut butter, tea, and energy bars are among some shelf stable essentials that you will definitely need in an apocalypse event. There is no reason why you should go without your favorites, which is why a varied stockpile of food types offers plenty of options. On that note, it’s important to add some dried jars of spices to your store to allow for versatility of cooking and attempting to change up common meals if you plan on having the same thing often.
Baking soda is an extremely versatile thing to add to any emergency storage, because it can be used in cleaning, as a toothpaste, heartburn medication, and of course a cooking agent. Pet food is just as important to keep a surplus of, as you do not want to be cutting into the human food if you can help it. Ensure that you have enough to feed your dog, cat, chickens or birds for at least 30 days.
Make sure that you know how to treat dirty water, through purification tablets or even filtration systems. It is recommended that you have roughly one gallon per person per day that you are preparing for. Invest in some food-safe grade plastic for storing your emergency water, and ensure that you have the space to keep it. Another option for making the most out of water, if you live in rainy areas, is to introduce a rain collection system using your home's guttering. Refine your filtration technique and work on purifying the water so that it is safe to consume.
Nowadays, there are many options for water storage that you can choose from. One of the most effective ways to save space is to invest in a good quality plastic bladder that can be stored in your home’s bathtub. Whether you want to use the rainy weather to your advantage or maximize space in your storage area, it’s definitely worth researching the many options available with water storage and filtration systems.
Knowing how to prevent wasting water is just as essential during a natural disaster as is storing it itself. One idea to practice saving as much as you can is to challenge yourself or even the household to a day when you each only use one gallon of water. Not only will this encourage children to appreciate the role of water, and how much we take it for granted, but it will help you learn some water-saving techniques. Some great ways to save water are to use paper plates that can be thrown away. This is especially useful in a disaster because you might not want to waste valuable water on washing dishes all the time.
It’s important to have a good quality supply of medicine and wound treatments in your emergency storage. Depending on who you are prepping for, there might be someone in your group needing regular medication or even with an allergy. Your home should already have some level of first aid kit for emergencies, including band-aids, dressings, and basic painkillers. Antiseptic and antibiotic ointments are also great additions, if you want to be ready for anything, you could pack some splints, clean gauze, and sharp scissors.
Benadryl and Pedialite have a great deal of benefits to adults and children alike. Whether you want to store Benadryl in case of hay fever or a rash from an irritation, or rehydrate someone suffering from diarrhea using pedialite, the two are definitely essential additions to your emergency medical kit. Make sure to invest in a good, reliable book with everything you might need to know about wound dressings, dealing with infections and other helpful tips. During a natural disaster or other eventuality, it might be worth having access to several comprehensive medical books to help see you through.
Some pieces of equipment that you will definitely benefit from having readily available are a thermometer, bite kit for insects or snakes, sutures, and needles. All of these would ensure you are ready for anything and can protect you and those around you from getting more ill as a result of minor injury or infection. It’s impossible to know what the future holds, which is why it’s better to prepare for any eventuality and cover all bases. Hospitals might be hard to get to during the event you have in mind, so checking that you know how to properly dress wounds and protect yourself as well as your family is essential.
You’ll be surprised how effective essential oils can be during a disaster. Most of them can be used for antiseptics, treating wounds, and helping with sleep. It’s worth looking into the many different effects of essential oils during an emergency, because a lot of them are shelf stable and have medicinal properties. Vitamins and any regular prescription medicine for you or your family are important as well, especially when eating a reduced diet from the emergency stores. Make sure that you pack plenty of menstruation products, as it can be highly embarrassing to be caught out when stores are no longer available. Sunscreen and Vaseline are also valuable items that can prevent infection from spreading and maintain skin protection.
Safety & Security
During a national disaster, you will need to access as many resources as possible, which is why a great move to prepare is to get to know your neighbors. If people begin to act violently, you might want to be able to defend yourself using a gun, knife, or taser. Preventative measures that can deter people include a dog that can alert you of intruders, and security lights. Of course, it’s usually better to rely on non-electrical methods if possible.
You can also prepare a level of financial security during any kind of government shutdown by keeping a stash of cash in your storage. Around $500 worth of tens, twenties, fives, and ones, along with some change allows you to get one step ahead during any kind of long-term disaster.
Power & Heat
Depending on how your home is fuelled, you can ensure power when needed with a backup generator, or spare stores of fuel like gas canisters. Whether you want to install solar panels or keep a store of rechargeable batteries, any preparations are good for ensuring power in the future. Lighting is another important thing to consider. Keep several torches nearby with spare batteries when needed. Oil lamps and candles also offer great light sources.
For keeping warm, a lot of prepper homes feature wood fire places. This can allow warmth and light at the same time, not to mention how food can be cooked on it easily. If this isn’t an option for you, you could try setting up a fire outside and keeping a small stash of dry wood. Matches and other firelighters are essential to any emergency storage set, and you should also include a reliable fire extinguisher with a long use by date. Invest in a good quality blanket, pillow and sleeping bag for each family member to keep them warm and prevent any fevers from developing.
Tools & Misc.
If you are choosing to use wood fires, you will need a good quality axe that can be used for chopping wood and as self-defense if needed. A shovel, wheelbarrow, and a bucket are all important tools you might need. If you want to go the extra mile ahead, you might want to set up a garden for vegetables and herbs. This is why you will need to ensure you have plenty of seeds and all the necessary equipment. In addition, other tools include a decent hammer, screwdriver, nails, screws, and zip ties. Wire can also be multi-functional and be used in a lot of areas.
Bleach, Epsom salts, and spare toothbrushes all have wide ranges of uses when in an emergency, so are worth keeping extras of. Not to mention, any baby items like diapers, spare clothes, and wipes. Paper and pens can also be beneficial to keep children entertained, but also for conveying messages if the power goes out.
It’s also important to keep a backpack with some supplies in for scoping out areas and assessing the situation. Keep some copies of maps handy and a small container of water, a torch, and self-defense weapon. You might even want a tent and bicycle to use when you really need it. If gas becomes unavailable, pedal bikes can be an effective way to cover more ground faster than walking.
During times of distress, you will need to be able to contact emergency services if they are still available. Investing in a good radio that is hand cranked or even battery powered can be perfect for enabling you to communicate with others. Whether you want to give your neighbors some radios to stay in contact with you, or if you want to use an emergency list of contact numbers, frequencies, or channels to use, a radio offers a perfect form of emergency communication.
Keeping some people’s favorite comfort items can do wonders for their mental health. Candy often has a long shelf life, especially hard candies, and can be great for kids or adults. Chewing gum can also offer a great stress reliever. Chocolate also has a long shelf life because of the sugar content in it. For entertainment, it’s important to think about kids and adults alike. Keep several sets of cards handy and a good stack of board games. Books are also useful additions that anyone can keep busy for a while.
Soap has many uses and is probably not considered a “comfort” item per se, but it is definitely worth including in your emergency stores. Toilet paper is a necessity that should be kept topped up often, and even if you make the move to compost based toilets outdoors, toilet roll is definitely a commodity. Other additional items include luxuries like small amounts of alcohol, and cigarettes. Make sure to avoid adding them if anyone in your group, including you, has a history of addiction.
Skills & Training
Another way in which you can focus your efforts is to teach yourself how to cook, build fires, use a gun, and dress wounds effectively. Taking local classes or doing your own research online are both good options to work on your abilities and take note of what you need to practice more. Other skills you can think about include how to find water, following maps, woodworking, and Morse code. Not to mention, caring for animals, self-defense, hunting, fishing, land navigation, and gardening.
One of the areas that is the most commonly overlooked is personal documents. It is essential to keep copies of important documents in your emergency storage. These include birth certificates, driver’s license, passport, and marriage certificate. Other documents needed to include bank account details, passwords, house deeds, medical records, and corporate or business documents. Additional items of sentimental value include family heirlooms such as photographs, recipes, or even letters.
Tips and Beginner Mistakes
Some common things that beginner preppers should avoid doing come from the mistakes made in the past. This is why some of the common tips have been listed below. While it’s often easier said than done, try to avoid believing the common stigma about preppers. They are simply trying to get ready and are often less extremist than you might think.
Don’t Buy Off-the-shelf kits
While it might seem tempting to grab a ready-made kit from the store, they tend to fill them with unnecessary items and don’t have nearly the right amount of supplies needed. It’s better to build your own kits for first-aid and more severe medical issues. There is no need to try to get everything done in one month, as your budget might not allow for that. Of course, there are a lot of things that need to be properly researched and invested in because of the desired quality and durability. Take your time and build up to a full kit or storage area.
Stay Realistic and Practical
It can be easy to believe that zombies are going to attack and that you need to prepare for the world ending as we know it, but that’s unrealistic and can instill a level of panic that is somewhat unnecessary. Take the time to do your research and see what disasters the area around you are likely to face. This can also be a good way to develop your stockpile as you are more aware of what risks your area has.
Don’t let Prepping Overwhelm You
You don’t need to be ready for absolutely everything. Prepping can add a lot of pressure to make sure that you’re covered during any eventuality. That is not always the best approach, as the panic can be overwhelming when you focus on it. Avoid getting overwhelmed by taking the time to focus on developing new skills such as building a fire or even hunting.
Ignore the Noise and Extremism that Tries to take Over Prepping
It is really easy to fall into the trap of stereotypical prepping behavior. Many people believe that prepping is for people who are obsessed with the end of the world, prophecies, and political downfall. Contrary to this, the majority of preppers are unsure about the future of the planet and want to cover their ground carefully. Making sure that you are ready for a few different eventualities is highly beneficial.
Prepping is Better when you Connect with Similar People
Not only will prepping allow you to meet like-minded people and compare notes with one another, but it will allow you to have an ally if the worst does eventually happen. You could set up regular meetings or even trades. Not to mention, it is beneficial to share skills and teach each other new ways of doing things in order to maximize energy and make life easier.
It’s Better to Buy Some High-quality Items
Instead of cheap stuff that can fail when needed, invest in more expensive items that will last a while and be much more reliable than some cheaper options. This is why the above point mentions how it takes time to work on an emergency supply storage, as some things such as equipment or even medical items cost more money. More durable and reliable items are highly desired within prepping because you never know how long something will need to last.
Practice with your Supplies and Plans
We briefly covered this when discussing water, but it can be a great idea to spend the time writing out your plan and any variables that you’re unsure of. This can include certain people within your household, pets, or even tools you don’t have yet. Additionally, one of the main ways to check that you have all of your supplies needed is to practice. Organize a “lockdown” with your household or even friends over a weekend, and see how you adapt and use your available supplies to stay alive, fed, and hydrated.
The role of prepping in the modern world isn’t a recent development, as it has been around since the development of nuclear weapons. Preppers are arguably the ones who responded appropriately to their environment, as there was posing to be a threat within their immediate surroundings. This is why a lot of people do not consider preppers to be extremist individuals, as they were rational and seemingly collected when it came to their early stockpiles and prepping efforts. Wartimes have always posed a threat to humanity, from immense levels of weaponry to political threats within governments. The influence of having access to high amounts of information thanks to modern technology is mostly one of fear among preppers, who tend to catastrophize the future.
Some of the basics for prepping have been covered, although it’s definitely worth remembering that there is no wrong way to enter the world of prepping because everyone has to start somewhere. Whether you want to reach out to someone locally and ask for some advice or even contribute to a community stockpile of resources, there are new ways to come together and work towards a more secure future. Remember that any progress takes time, because it is worth investing in good quality, reliable tools that will not break when you need them most.
Additionally, it can be a great opportunity to ask local groups for where to find hunting advice or even how to build a fire. Some survival skills are even taught in scouts groups, so it’s worth speaking to anyone within your local community about how to get into prepping. Of course, if your family are less supportive, then another way to begin a stockpile could be in your bedroom, or even at a friend’s house if they are willing, and have the space.
Benefits of prepping include improved security for the future, ability to feed people during stressful times, and keeping you covered in an emergency. Of course, some people still think that it is strange, as it might seem a little pessimistic to do so. But, thanks to climate change, there is no certainty about the quality of the planet and weather patterns of the future, so it is possible to see more likelihood of natural disasters.
An interesting way in which some people get into prepping is by using coupons. While couponing is considered a hobby of its own, a lot of people use excessive coupon schemes to generate free products for themselves. It can be a fascinating way to ensure additional items which will then be added to their food store or even donated to local food banks.
To summarize, there is no right or wrong way for preppers to get ready for survival, because the majority already have basic medical knowledge. One way is to work on outdoor skills such as building a fire, woodworking, and how to look after animals. Whatever you are trying to get ready for, it’s important to know how to look after yourself and protect your family or household during a disaster.