Dorm Room Preppers: The Next Generation of Survivalism

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It’s an exciting time, preparing for your child to leave the nest.  Your young adult is enthusiastically anticipating the independence that is so near, but you, as a parent, are most likely running scenarios in your head of all of the mishaps that could befall your son or daughter.

As a prepper, you want your child to also be prepared for any crisis that might occur when they are out on their own.  My lovely eldest daughter has just graduated from high school, and we put together a dorm-room preparedness kit for her college apartment. Following, you can see the list of supplies that we have assembled.  Different climates will, of course, require different types of preparedness items.

Food and water

If there is a long term power outage, you want to be sure that your student stays fed and hydrated until you can get them home.  Depending on the situation, they may have to shelter in place for a time.  Base the length of your supply on the distance from home.

  • 2 cases of water bottles
  • 2-3 five gallon jugs of water
  • 1 portable water filter (My daughter has a Go Berkey)
  • A 2-4 week supply of long-term storage food that doesn’t require power for preparation (Get some ideas HERE)

Personal defense items

Be sure to check the rules of the dormitory and weigh the pros and cons of your solutions for this matter.  This will depend upon your student and his or her level of competence and responsibility, and only you can make the correct assessment of the situation.  The following recommendations will not be appropriate in all situations:

  • Mace
  • Pepper spray/dog spray/bear spray
  • Knives
  • A self defense course (these are often offered on-campus

First aid supplies

Your child should have a well-stocked first aid kit, including supplies for an illness like the flu.

  • Bandages
  • Antibiotic ointment
  • Alcohol pads
  • Steri-strips
  • Betadine
  • Diarrhea remedies
  • Tums or Pepto Bismol
  • Anti-nausea medication or ginger tablets
  • Cold medicine (daytime and nighttime)
  • Pain relief (Ibuprofen, Naproxen, and/or acetaminophen)
  • Hot water bottle
  • Reusable cold packs
  • Tensor bandages
  • Herbal teas like ginger, peppermint, and chamomile


During a power outage, particularly in a multi-story building, sanitation could become an issue. (Remember the high-rises in NYC during Hurricane Sandy?)  The following supplies can help to keep your student healthy:

  • Extreme heavy duty garbage bags, a bucket, and some kitty litter for a makeshift toilet
  • Antibacterial hand sanitizer
  • Antibacterial wipes
  • Additional stored water for cleaning
  • Lysol or other antiseptic spray
  • Extra towels to stuff under the door to keep out unpleasant smells
  • Baby wipes for personal hygiene
  • Paper plates, cups, and cutlery
  • Paper towels

Miscellaneous supplies

Be sure that your student has the following supplies on hand to deal with an emergency such as a power outage or other crisis:

  • Candles
  • Matches/Lighter
  • Bug-out bag
  • Compass
  • Maps with multiple routes home, including walking and driving routes
  • Cold-rated sleeping bag


It is vital to stress the importance of OPSEC (Operational Security), especially in a shared living environment.  Your young adult should be very careful about letting others know that he or she possesses self defense items or preparedness supplies.  In a small space it can be difficult to keep things hidden, but a great deal of food and water can be shoved under a bed.  Self defense items can be stashed in a backpack.  Other supplies can be stored in the closet in luggage.

Prepper mentality

Of course, we all know that the most important prep is your mind. If your son or daughter understands the preparedness mindset, they will be head and shoulders above the rest in a crisis situation. Because my daughter has been raised in a household that values preparedness, she is well-aware of the things that can happen.  She understands the mob mentality that can arise during a disaster and she is well-versed in being adaptable, of thinking things through and making a plan.  As well, she has learned many things that aren’t common for your average teenage girl today, like starting fires, cooking from scratch, and outdoor skills.

Some great courses for a teenager are:

  • First aid
  • CPR
  • Wilderness survival
  • Orienteering
  • Self defense
  • Water safety

As a family, you should have a plan for different types of emergencies.  Will your young adult try to make their way home to you in the event of a crisis or should they shelter in place and wait for you to get to them?  Are there special concerns in their particular area that should be planned for, like a nuclear power facility, an earthquake or tornado prone locale, or extreme climate conditions?  By having a plan in place before disaster strikes, everyone will be on the same page and the response to the crisis will be automatic, saving valuable time and energy, as well as providing some peace of mind.

Time to fly

As parents, it is our job to prepare our children for life outside the nest.  We have to let go so they can fly.  By providing them with a solid base of knowledge, supplies, and advice we can rest assured that they will thrive as the begin their lives as independent adults.

Has your junior prepper left the nest?  What other suggestions do you have for dorm-room preppers?

dorm room

This article is dedicated to my beautiful daughter.  Congratulations on your graduation, your numerous academic awards, and your full scholarship…may you feel prepared and confident as you take on the future with the same enthusiasm as you have used to conquer the past….I love you and I’m so proud of you! ~  Mom

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Daisy Luther

Daisy Luther is a coffee-swigging, globe-trotting blogger. She is the founder and publisher of three websites.  1) The Organic Prepper, which is about current events, preparedness, self-reliance, and the pursuit of liberty on her website, 2)  The Frugalite, a website with thrifty tips and solutions to help people get a handle on their personal finances without feeling deprived, and 3), an aggregate site where you can find links to all the most important news for those who wish to be prepared. She is widely republished across alternative media and  Daisy is the best-selling author of 5 traditionally published books and runs a small digital publishing company with PDF guides, printables, and courses. You can find her on FacebookPinterest, Gab, MeWe, Parler, Instagram, and Twitter.

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    • On many college campuses, handguns and ammo are not allowed. Stupid.

      My son graduated from a college in the UP of MI where he could keep weapons at the campus security building. He was allowed to have them with him to and from a class where the weapon would be needed, if he was going off-campus or even in his room for a certain period of time for cleaning and maintenance. Not the best situation, but the security people were pretty liberal with him.

  • Have at least 2 means of communicating with the family during an emergency. Say skype, email, cellphone, pager, ham radio..

  • A lot of places of higher learning have a storage rental place near by for maybe your bigger preps just make sure u have a key to get in if not open. (lock pick, bolt cuter, crow bar)

  • Read an interesting article from a convicted felon who consulted his lawyer about self defense and his lawyer suggested wasp and hornet spray. Shoots 20 to 30 feet and will stop an intruder if sprayed in his face. Easy to obtain and non-descript sitting on a shelf or countertop.

  • You may be overestimating available storage space in the room. You might want to look into a deep “plastic” truck bed box. Lots of storage inside, can be used for a coffee table, pick up some lawn chair pads and use as bench setting. Think of as a large footlocker, many uses and easily transported with multiple sizes available to match space. The bucket is good also but might think about painting it and adding a padded hunting or gardening seat top so it can be “extra” seating or a foot stool. The sleeping bag will take area, consider using it as the bedspread all the time or replacing with layers like a fleece bag or wool blanket-space blanket-poly tarp, burrito style . Another option is a cheap movers blanket, good layering-padding options, rolls up and fits in a bag chairs bag and can be used as ground cloth for events-outings.

  • Congratulations to your daughter on her graduation, many awards and scholarship!
    May she feel the Lord’s hand guide and strengthen her as she begins this new chapter in her life.

    KY Mom

  • Excellent article! Especially the discussion of Operational Security in a communal living space. Will be sharing on our website with full credit to Daisy at The Organic Prepper, of course.



  • My kids say there is not enough room in dorm to hold minimal prepper stuff. Am I going to have to rent a storage unit?

    • Hi, Momact:

      I’d say no to the storage unit. You definitely don’t want them leaving their room if there is a true disaster – they’ll generally be much safer if they stay put.

      For my daughter, we prepped her with enough supplies for a month if they are carefully rationed. We went with items that took up less space in order to get the most bang for the buck (or the space). So things like pasta, raisins, jerky, that type of thing. She uses the space under her bed to stash her preps. If the space is too limited for this then pare down to a 2 week supply.

      Best wishes ~


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