How Do I Get Started With Prepping?

Posted on: May 12, 2014

Along with how do I find local preppers, one of the most common questions I’m asked is some variation of how do I get started with prepping.  For someone brand new to prepping, it can be very difficult to decide where to start.  There is so much to learn and to do, it can be mind boggling, not to mention stressful.  Many preppers and survivalists have been at this for years, even decades, so sometimes we might forget just how confusing it can be when you’re starting out on the disaster readiness journey.

As with any journey, you’ll never get to where you’re going unless you take those beginning few steps. 

The focus of our discussion today is on those key things you should do first.

Assemble bug out bags for each family member.  I suggest this not because I believe bugging out should be your primary emergency plan but rather because it is something you can do in an afternoon and it will give you a tremendous sense of accomplishment.  Putting together a bug out bag is a rite of passage for a prepper.  You should know going in that you will likely change the bug out bag contents repeatedly over the coming months, constantly tweaking the supply list as you learn more skills.  The point here is to focus on doing rather than just thinking about it.

Stockpile food and water sufficient for at least one full week.  Few people have the financial resources to go out and buy enough supplies to last them several months, not in one fell swoop.  Instead, start small and focus on having enough food, water, and other supplies to last you and your family a full seven days.  Create menus for each of those days, concentrating on foods that won’t require anything more involved than perhaps heating prior to consumption.  In other words, you aren’t going for gourmet cooking here but just filling bellies.  For water, a minimum of 1-2 gallons per person for each day (for a family of four, that would be 28-56 gallons total for one week).  Bottled water is just fine, as is water you store yourself in ready-made containers or in recycled soda or juice bottles.

Once you hit your initial goal of one week, extend it to two weeks, then a month, then three months.  Slow and steady, adding a little bit each week, and you’ll get there without having to endure a huge hit on the wallet.

Invest time and effort into learning new skills.  Anything you can learn that will result in a higher degree of self-confidence as well as self-sufficiency is worth your time.  These skill sets include things like wilderness survival skills, open fire cooking, home canning, amateur (ham) radio, firearms, and first aid.  While books, blogs, and Youtube are all great resources, you’ll learn best by doing these things.  You need to get off your butt and actually practice these skills, even if it is only in your backyard.  Give some thought as to which skill sets you are already somewhat familiar with and start there, branching out when you can.

Do something every single day.  It doesn’t always have to be a big thing, like reorganizing and inventorying the pantry or living out of a debris hut for the weekend.  Those things are important, yes, but so is spending thirty minutes scanning the grocery ads to determine the best buys for that week.  At the beginning of the week or month, make a list of what you want to accomplish, whether it be purchasing a set amount of supplies or learning a new skill.  Spend just a little bit of time each and every day towards accomplishing those goals.  Every little bit helps, right?

The takeaway here is this–you’re not going to get there overnight but you’ll never get there unless you take the first few steps.

[Of course, I would be remiss if I failed to mention an excellent resource for beginning preppers called Countdown to Preparedness.  That book, written by yours truly, will be coming out in about a month from Ulysses Press.  You can preorder it here on Amazon.  The cover currently shown is incorrect, though. Rather than the six weeks indicated by the cover copy, it is a full 52 week course in disaster readiness.]

2 thoughts on “How Do I Get Started With Prepping?

  1. +1 Getting into prepping can be very overwhelming with so much advise and guides from different sources but I agree that learning skills should be one of the core starting points- skills will always be with you regardless of environment or financial standing.

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