Here’s How to Become a Prepper

(Psst: The FTC wants me to remind you that this website contains affiliate links. That means if you make a purchase from a link you click on, I might receive a small commission. This does not increase the price you'll pay for that item nor does it decrease the awesomeness of the item. ~ Daisy)

Author of The Blackout Book and the online course Bloom Where You’re Planted

If the coronavirus has inspired you to become a prepper, you’re not alone. At long last, prepping has become mainstream due to runs on supplies, shortages, and stay-at-home orders throughout the country. More folks than ever before are seeing the wisdom of having extra food and household goods on hand. It can help you through not only disasters and pandemics, but also through personal financial problems.

But delve into most preparedness websites (including this one) and it can start to get overwhelming when you read articles about civil unrest, EMPs, and existential catastrophes. You’ll see articles about guns and outdoor survival and all sorts of things in which you have absolutely no interest.

And more than that, it’s kind of overwhelming. It can make you feel like, “Wow, I will never be able to have a bunker in Montana with 150,000 rounds of ammo. I don’t even know how to build a fire. Why even bother?”

Before we get started with the “how to’s” here are a few things you should know.

All of us started at the beginning.

It’s important to know that all of us started somewhere. We all had some event that awakened us to the need to be better prepared. (To learn how some readers were inspired to get started, go here.) We all had to learn the ins and outs, read the books, and acquire the stuff.

Most of us don’t have thousands of dollars to drop on buckets of food and secondary locations. We began by just getting a few extra things when we could.

It takes some time.

Getting well-prepared doesn’t happen overnight. Even if you have a budget that is relatively unlimited, you will find that it still takes time to figure out what you need, where to get it, and where to store it.

So if you can only afford a few extra things each week, that’s a fantastic place to start. Within a month, you may have an extra week’s food supply doing things that way. Within a year, you’ve got a 3-month supply.

Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither was a prepper’s stockpile.

You don’t have to be of a particular political or religious belief to be a prepper.

A lot of folks think that most preppers are well-to-do white, right-wing Christians. While a lot of preppers do have that in common, there are a lot who do not. We don’t all live on an acreage in the boondocks and raise everything we eat.

If you feel like you don’t fit into the mold, don’t worry because let me tell you a secret: there really is no mold. We have readers of this website from all different kinds of political and religious backgrounds. We have city dwellers and suburbanites. We have folks who live off the land and folks who buy most of their food from the grocery store. We have rich readers and poor readers. We have people coming here from many different countries with many different belief systems. The thing that unites us is that we want to be prepared.

We have people who are involved in prepping for a huge variety of reasons and we, the writers and editors of this site, sincerely welcome anyone who wants to become better prepared for emergencies.

You don’t have to be a tinfoil hat conspiracy theorist to be a prepper.

A lot of folks have this mental image of some wild-eyed guy peering out of the bunker wearing a tinfoil helmet. I’ll grant you that a lot of preppers are mistrustful of the things we hear in the mainstream media. We don’t take things at face value.

But for every prepper who is certain that the New World Order is trying to take over and every event is a false flag, there are preppers who are extremely logical and scientific. There are preppers who are pro-vaccination and anti-vaccination and everything in between.

I guess what I’m trying to say here is that we run the gamut. Don’t let the stereotypes scare you away.

Don’t stay someplace you’re treated badly.

In most of the preparedness world, you’ll be welcomed with open arms. But there are a few websites and forums where you find long-time preppers who are incredibly discouraging. If you run into this issue repeatedly, don’t continue hanging out there. Getting started on a big endeavor is overwhelming enough without people like that making you feel like crap.

Around here we like to help each other with advice and suggestions. Feel free to ask any questions you might have in the comments section and you’ll probably get more than one answer from those who wish to share their knowledge.

We welcome you and we’re glad you’re here. Go here to sign up for our newsletter so you don’t miss a thing.

Now, how do you get started prepping?

Pretty much all of us have recently had a crash course in preparedness with the COVID-19 pandemic. Many people have been sheltering in place in their homes for over a month now and have seen holes in their purchases. Some folks had the unfortunate experience of going out to stock up a little too late, only to find that the shelves were bare of essentials.

An enormous factor that makes just about every disaster worse is panic. When you wait until the last minute, you’re out there with all the other folks who waited until the last minute. Tensions are high and supplies are low. This can create an unsafe situation and can leave people without the things they need to face the event that has them rushing to the store in the first place.

The goal of prepping is to avoid all that.

When you’re prepped, sure, you really want to make one last run to the grocery store or Target, but if it came right down to it and you couldn’t, you’d still be okay. You still have the things on hand that your family needs to survive an event that lasts for a few hours all the way to a few months or even a few years. (And remember what I said above? It takes a while to get to that point.) The information below contains lots of links to articles, PDF guides, and books for topics you may wish to learn more about.

What are you prepping for?

There are all sorts of events people prep for, one of which, obviously, is a massive pandemic and quarantine. Outside of your general supplies, consider prepping for power outages next. Here’s a PDF guide that will help you get ready for blackouts. and here’s an article with some guidelines.

But there are many more things and some will be unique to your area. The Prepper’s Workbook may be helpful in figuring out exactly what’s the most likely for you. Here are some more regional things to prepare for these events are common in your area:

Focus on the things most pertinent to your area. Think about those most likely events and what generally occurs with them: power outages, property damage, a requirement for special shelter, a secondary disaster (like a flood that follows a hurricane, for example).

Who are you prepping for?

Think about all of the members of your family or any loved ones you might be providing shelter for during an emergency. Everyone will have unique needs and wishes. This is why checklists are a great guideline but they don’t encompass everything.

Think about these needs and stock up accordingly:

  • Medications (try to get a month ahead on necessary meds if you can, even if it means paying out of pocket)
  • Special diets
  • Entertainment (what your 2-year-old finds fun and what your 14-year-old finds fun are very different)
  • Picky eaters (I recommend indulging picky eaters if you can – the middle of an emergency is not the time for stress-inducing arguments and familiar foods can help picky folks feel more in control)
  • Baby and toddler needs like diapers and wipes, as well as formula, and baby food if you use it
  • Pet supplies like food, kitty litter, carriers and leashes in case of evacuation, and any medication your pet takes

These are just a few examples of special needs. Spend a couple of days with a notebook and pen close at hand and write down every single thing anyone in your household uses, pets included.

Stock up on water.

Water is near and dear to my heart, so much so that I wrote a book on the topic. (You can find The Prepper’s Water Survival Guide HERE.) I always put water at the top of the list, because without it, you’ll be dead in 3 short days. The need for an emergency water supply isn’t always the result of a down grid disaster. Recently, we tapped into our emergency water when the well pump broke. Some places have had water emergencies when the municipal supply was contaminated by stuff like industrial spills or agricultural run-off. Floods and bad storms can also sometimes cause the water supply to be tainted.

  • Use containers you have RIGHT NOW and fill them with water from the tap. Put the lid on and stash them away. Don’t use milk jugs or juice jugs for drinking water, but you can use them for sanitation water in a pinch. If you can get your hands on some empty, clean 2-liter soda bottles, that will be perfect. We don’t drink soda, so we have some of the 1-gallon water bottles from the store.
  • Buy some filled 5-gallon jugs of purified water.  How much you need should be based on the number of family members. The rule of thumb is 1 gallon per person, per day, but you may find you need a lot more than that when you add in pets and sanitation needs. You may be able to find these less expensively, already filled at the store. When I lived in Canada you could pick up a filled jug for less than $10, but California has all sorts of environmental rules that make these containers more expensive here. Another option is the 7-gallon Aquatainer that is designed for easy stacking. (Be sure to put this in a place where the floor can support the weight of a bunch of heavy water containers.)
  • Have a way to dispense the water from the jugs.  We have a top-loading water dispenser for use in emergencies. These MUST be top loading because the bottom-loading ones require electricity to run the pump.)
  • Get a gravity-fed water filter.  I use a Big Berkey, but it’s a hefty investment when you’re trying to get everything at once. If you can’t swing that, buy Jim Cobb’s Prepper’s Survival Hacks book. It has numerous DIY water filters that you can make without spending a fortune.

Food

Emergency food comes in many different forms. The first thing you have to look at is cooking methods, which we discussed above. The food you choose needs to be able to be prepared using the method you have available now, not the one you plan to get in the future.

Another important note is that your emergency food supply should be nutritious. You won’t want to fill up on empty calories when you may be making greater demands of your body. Keep in mind food restrictions, too, because an emergency situation is bad enough without an allergic reaction or intolerance illness.

There are several different ways to create a food supply.

  • See what you have.  Go through your kitchen cupboards and see what you already have that could be used in an emergency. Things like nut butters, crackers, and other no-cook snacks are great options. Canned foods that only require heating are good as well. Instant rice or noodles can be added to your emergency supply. Group these items together on a special shelf or in a Rubbermaid container so that they are available when you need them. Figure out how long your supply would last your family before you go and purchase more. Figure out what shelf-stable items you need to add to balance out your supply. (Perhaps dried or canned fruit and vegetables, canned meat, jerky, etc., would provide more nutrients and variety.)
  • Build a pantry. This is the best and least expensive way to build a pantry of familiar foods your family already enjoys. Make a list of what you need to feed your family for a month without a trip to the store, and without reliance on long cooking times. (This rules out beans and rice for most people.) Learn more about building a pantry that will see you through a variety of emergencies (including personal financial crises) in my book, Prepper’s Pantry. Also, check out The Prepper’s Book of Lists, a PDF guide you can print off and write on.
  • Emergency buckets. The very fastest way to create an instant food supply is emergency buckets of freeze-dried food, which require only the ability to boil water to prepare. One caveat: do not go with the cheapest thing you can find. Some of those taste absolutely terrible. As well, they’re loaded with unhealthy chemicals and sodium. If you normally eat very healthfully, then move to MSG-laden freeze-dried meals, you’re not going to feel well at all in an emergency. My very favorite brand of emergency food is Legacy Foods. Legacy has standard buckets of survival food, fruits and vegetables, dairy products, and protein. The quality is very good and the meals are tasty when prepared. Keep in mind that these have to be purchased well before the emergency occurs because currently, almost every company is sold out and back-ordered for weeks.

A way to cook your food during a power outage

If the power goes out, how will you cook? You need the ability to boil water, at the very least. If you can boil water, then you can heat up canned food or prepare freeze-dried food in an emergency. Here are some secondary cooking methods, some of which you may already have.

  • Woodstove or fireplace.  If you heat with wood, you’re a step ahead already, at least in the midst of a winter power outage. However, you won’t want to fire up the woodstove to cook in the summer, particularly since you may already be battling the heat without a fan or air conditioner.
  • Gas kitchen stove.  Some kitchen stoves that use gas or propane can be used without electricity while others can’t. (If you’re replacing your stove, this is definitely a quality you’ll want to look for.)
  • Outdoor barbecue. If the weather allows, you can fire up your propane or charcoal barbecue during a power outage and cook your feast outdoors.
  • Rocket stove. There are all sorts of little emergency stoves out there which are designed to boil water quickly and without the use of a great deal of fuel. My favorites are the Volcano 3-way stove and the Kelly Kettle. You can also make an efficient stove. We made one that brought water to boil in less than 4 minutes.

Do not risk using emergency stoves designed for camping, indoors, unless the manufacturer specifically says that it can be used indoors. To do so is to risk fire, smoke damage, or carbon monoxide poisoning.

Sanitation

Another thing that can quickly become dire is personal sanitation. Depending on your situation, you may not have running water or flushing toilets. You need to stock up on supplies to make the best of these situations and keep family members healthy.

  • Baby wipes. You can never have enough baby wipes. Stock up on these for hand-washing after using the bathroom, before and after food prep, and before eating. They can also be used to wipe down surfaces. You can learn more about hand and surface hygiene when there is no running water HERE.
  • Cleaning supplies. You still have to keep your home reasonably clean when there is no running water to help prevent illness and disease. You can find some cleaning hacks HERE.
  • Personal waste plan. You have to have a plan to deal with personal waste when the toilet won’t flush. This article tells you how to make a human kitty litter toilet, a very inexpensive solution to the personal waste issue. Waste must be handled very carefully to avoid the spread of disease and illness.

Here are the items I recommend that you keep on hand for water emergencies:

  • Disposable disinfecting wipes
  • Super absorbent paper towels
  • Basins
  • Baby wipes (These can be used for handwashing and personal hygiene.
  • Your regular spray cleaner (Ours is vinegar and orange essential oil)
  • Kitty litter. This soaks up messes and helps to absorb odor. (If your toilet won’t flush because you’re on a city sewer system, it can also be used as a makeshift toilet. This serious concern  and how to make this toilet is discussed here.)

Heat

If a power outage takes place in the winter, you may need a secondary source of heat.

  • Woodstove or fireplace
  • Propane heater (I recommend the Mr. Buddy brand – it’s safe to use indoors)
  • Kerosene heater (Check out TheDrive.com to choose the powerful and portable kerosene heater.)
  • Natural gas fireplaces – the fan won’t work but you may be able to thoroughly heat one room with these as long as the gas works.

There are many more options. For a detailed discussion on staying warm during a power outage, check out this article.

Light

Lighting is absolutely vital, especially if there are children in the house. Nothing is more frightening than being completely in the dark during a stressful situation. Fortunately, it’s one of the easiest things to plan for, as well as one of the least expensive.

Some lighting solutions are:

  • Garden stake solar lights
  • Long-burning candles
  • Kerosene lamp and fuel (Check out TheDrive.com to choose the powerful and portable kerosene heater.)
  • Flashlights (don’t forget batteries)
  • Hand crank or solar lantern
  • Don’t forget matches or lighters

For more information on lighting, check out this article.

Tools and supplies

Some basic items will make your life much easier during an emergency. Here are some things that are essential in the event of a power outage:

  • Lighter/waterproof matches
  • Batteries in various sizes
  • Manual can opener
  • Basic tools: Pliers, screwdriver, wrench, hammer
  • Duct tape
  • Superglue
  • Sewing kit
  • Bungee cords
  • Zip ties

If you’d like to expand on the basic supplies, a more detailed list of tools and hardware can be found HERE.

First Aid kit

It’s important to have a basic first aid kit on hand at all times, but particularly in the event of an emergency. Your kit should include basic wound care items like bandages, antibiotic ointments, and sprays. As well, if you use them, keep on hand a supply of basic over-the-counter medications, like pain relief capsules, cold medicine, cough syrup, anti-nausea pills, heartburn pills, and allergy medication.

Be sure to have a couple of good medical guides on hand. I like this first aid book, this medical book, and this book of natural remedies.

If you want to put together a more advanced medical kit, you can find a list HERE.

Other Stuff

As you continue along your preparedness journey, you’ll find that there are other items that are very important to you. For example, you’ll want to build a bug-out bag for possible evacuations.

Another book you might like is Be Ready for Anything. It’s a comprehensive guide that covers 12 different disasters and prepping basics in a thorough manner.

And don’t be surprised when this mindset creates within you the itch to be more self-reliant, which means you’ll be adding gardening tools, sewing supplies, woodworking tools,  and other supplies to your stockpile.

You’ve got this!

I know this sounds like a LOT. But remember, you don’t have to do everything today. Break it down into manageable pieces. This gives you a broad overview.

You’re going to do some list-writing, so grab a notebook and pen.

  • Write a master list. Now, based on this article, go through and write a list of the things that you feel are important for your family’s preparedness plan. Include the things that you already have. Organize your list by checking off the things you have.
  • Organize the supplies that you have into “kits”. I have Rubbermaid tubs labeled with the contents for emergency purposes, sorted into kits for things like pandemic supplies, off-grid lighting, batteries and power supplies, etc.
  • Now write a minimalist list of the first things that you must have for survival. Don’t worry if you can’t get everything at once. Start off by covering all of the bases with a skeleton kit that will get you by. This list might include some food that doesn’t require cooking (thus eliminating the immediate need for a secondary cooking method), a way to keep warm, water, a kitty litter toilet, and some baby wipes.
  • Finally, write the big list. This is a list of the things mentioned in the article that you want to own. Make a copy of the list and keep it in your wallet so that if you happen by a thrift store or yard sale, you know what you need. As your budget allows, pick up one or two of these items per week. These may be higher ticket items so don’t worry if it takes you a while to get them. You’ve gotten the bare necessities, so these items will just add to your already sturdy foundation of preparedness.

Don’t panic. Start with your basics in each category and add to it as your time and budget allow.

I mentioned this earlier, but if you want more guidance to get started, here’s a PDF book to help you get prepped no matter where you live: The Prepper’s Workbook. It’s based on a course I used to offer but I think the workbook is a great way to do the exercises with a smaller time commitment and a lower price tag.

If you’d like a place to ask questions and talk with new preppers, you can join our new Facebook group here or visit our forum.

Most of all, welcome. We’re glad that you’ve joined us. You’re going to be ready the next time something like this rolls around without fighting the crowds for those last few rolls of toilet paper.

Calling All Preppers

What would you add to this list for those who are just getting started out? What words of encouragement do you have for those who are just beginning? Please share your best beginner prepper advice in the comments below.

About Daisy

Daisy Luther writes about current events, preparedness, frugality, voluntaryism, and the pursuit of liberty on her website, The Organic Prepper. She is widely republished across alternative media and she curates all the most important news links on her aggregate site, PreppersDailyNews.com. Daisy is the best-selling author of 4 books and runs a small digital publishing company. You can find her on FacebookPinterest, and Twitter.

Here\'s How to Become a Prepper
Daisy Luther

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) PreppersDailyNews.com, 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.

Leave a Reply

  • Good basic stuff here for a Newbie and even an old prepper as well. I really understood your advice on how the world of prepping mirrors life itself, where everyone holds different points of view. However, too many sites allow ” Crazies” to take over and insult people who might see things on a more normal plain. Today our world is crazy enough, without ranting kooks and trolls clogging up great wed sites like yours.

    Stay safe, God Bless, prep on !

  • Great article.

    I am really impressed how you, Daisy, was in the middle of Daisy’s Nomadic European Tour 2020 (you should of made a T-shirt), then suddenly had to come back (for personal reasons), saw this thing coming and went into prepper survival mode and in short order, stocked up. Improvise! Adapt! Overcome! Good for you!

    In the Marines, we always looked at it (when concerning refugees) like this:
    Food
    Water
    Shelter (to include heat source, climate appropriate clothing)
    Security (to include physical health, mental health and not just the things that go BANG!)

    One of the things I see many people tend to ignore is the mental health aspect. Not just having the preparedness mentality (I believe Selco has mentioned that more than a few times), but in a prolonged crisis, like a pandemic, it is important to also to be mentally engaged. Could be anything from reading a good, or even trashy book, to singing badly with the family. Card or board games (but not Axis and Allies, that one always seems to bring out the worst in people, close second is Monopoly). Old style, dice and pencil and paper role playing games. Lawn games. Darts.
    In the Marines, combat is described as long periods of boredom, with brief, intense moments of terror, chaos, and death may be around every corner.
    It is during those long periods of boredom that can be just as dangerous, how Marines do some awesomely stupid things, like how to make a bomb out of a MRE heater.
    Good times! 🙂

  • Thank you for a great information post!
    Also for the new Facebook page.
    I so enjoy your down to earth, practical, no nonsense approach to this new reality.
    I know many want to “just get back to normal ” but I think that is not going to happen, life as we have known it is not going back to the way it was before this pandemic, we will all be learning a new normal.
    I hope to be realistically ready for this, or as ready as one can be for what can’t yet be recognized as possibility in some cases.
    Bless you for all you share here and for being such a wonderful voice of reason and encouragement.

  • I’ll never forget the article written by some small town newspaper guy about how crazy preppers and how we’re all toothless, gun nut, uneducated, mouth breathers. It was so insulting and ignorant. But on the other hand, I’ll also never forget the response in the comments from preppers from different backgrounds that contradicted all of those assumptions. Preppers come in all forms and from all backgrounds.

    One thing I wish I’d done when I started was use smaller containers for some items I bought to rotate in and out of my pantry. Stuff like rice, flour, sugar and pasta bought in bulk. I did divide this stuff up into smaller mylar bags stored in 5 gallon buckets but I just don’t like the bucket system much, personally, now that I’ve used it. Still have a lot of stuff in those buckets, but I started buying food safe plastic containers from the dollar store that have a screw on lid. They are about the size of a canister you might keep on your counter with flour, etc. I won’t store everything in there, but the things I know I use and use often…the mylar bags are just too much work.

    I did a good amount of prepping back about 5 years ago and then didn’t for a few years. It has still paid off and i was pretty easily able to replace what I’d used prior to this pandemic. Even though I wasn’t actively prepping, I always continued to keep plenty of shelf stable foods, foods in the freezer and staples like TP. And even outside of pandemic times, man is it handy to just run downstairs when I realize I’m out of something like ketchup instead of having to go to the store in the middle of cooking!

    Hopefully a silver lining in this situation is more people prepared in the future to care for themselves and their family when the need arises. That makes us all better off.

  • There is an entire class of possible disasters almost unmentioned in Daisy’s excellent article which focuses on nature-caused disasters but leaves most kinds of people-caused calamities undiscussed. Some examples:

    Many cities over the country have in recent years adopted something called the International Property Maintenance Code. That overly glorified label disguises the barbaric penalties that many city Code Enforcement agents now have to threaten homeowners with fines well above their ability to pay — such as a $2,100 dollar fine per cited offense (like too tall grass) PER DAY. As a result some cities have found that confiscating homes and auctioning them off to feed city coffers has become so profitable that such business has been turned over to private law firms to handle the production volume of that theft machine. There is a US Supreme Court decision that outlaws excessive fines and punishments even down to the city level, but if you don’t know your rights (or can’t afford a court fight, or don’t know of the nonprofit that takes on such cases pro bono) … you don’t have any.

    Another kind of disaster is the healthcare billing system. There is almost nothing that government can’t make worse or unaffordable, and since Medicare was created in the 1960s the costs have skyrocketed — which often forces patients to 1) avoid treatment altogether, 2) file for bankruptcy when they have no way in their lifetime to pay off skyrocketed bills, 3) use “medical tourism” — traveling to foreign countries where the costs of effective medical care are vastly more affordable, or 4) learn how to fight and negotiate downward the frequently fraudulent over-billing that so many hospitals are guilty of. (There is a small industry of experts who will either fight that battle for you, OR teach you how to DIY that fight.) There is also a growing number of people choosing to leave this country permanently because of healthcare unaffordability.

    A third kind of disaster is the petty tyranny that many HOAs (Home Owner Associations) have become. It’s so bad that many real estate investors avoid home deals where an HOA is merely present but presents a possible threat to any long term transaction. In some states the HOA management system has a lobbying arm to make sure the legislature keeps hands off from regulating HOA abuses — even those that cause you to lose your home.

    A fourth kind of disaster is when much wealthier people than you move into your community and bid up the price of local houses. The city tax assessor happily uses that to jack up your property tax assessment. In cities both in the US and in Canada where this has happened, it has forced people to sell out and flee to some place else. The legislative battle to prevent the property tax system from running you out of town was lost several decades ago, so I don’t see any painless solution to this.

    So is there any real difference in trying to head off losing your financials or losing your home between a nature-caused disaster versus a manmade bureaucrat / tyrant / etc caused disaster? Only in methodology — not in consequence.

    –Lewis

  • How I started: one can at a time,buy two cans of something at the store,use one,store the other. That’s how I started

  • It seems those that complain about and insult the intelligence of preppers are those who don’t want to plan ahead, and when the incident happens, expect to be taken care of. Do these same people belittle someone for stocking up firewood in the summer to prepare for the winter? Yet when the panic buying happens they are whining and pointing fingers and insults at those who stocked up a long time ago.

    Because of prepping, there is no stress when shortages happen because of supplies already on hand. It requires thinking ahead and sacrificing some of the spending pleasures of today to use those funds to prepare for the future.

  • Being prepared is always better than to be left standing with your mouth gaping open in surprise. I started preparing over 10 years ago due to the daily headlines … how could I not think first of my family.

    While having “stuff” set aside, I was not expecting a pandemic and wished I had done just a little more before this hit. We have been blessed that we did not lack anything for the past two months and thankful for caring children who look in on us.

    We are both in our 70’s and have been using bottled water for drinking and cooking due to our tap water, which is supplied from a rural township on our mountain, causing stomach problems. No longer able to purchase cases as before due to quarantine, we broke our Big Berky out of storage and it has worked great! So thankful I had purchased it years ago not dreaming of our need.

    My husband who use to just roll his eyes at my “prepping” has been relieved and I think comforted by the items I thought to stash away. We may not know “what event” may transpire, but we can be ready as possible.

    Thanks to Daisy for her many years of getting us ready. Best wishes to all of you, Grammy.

  • My first attempt at prepping was many, many years ago and it consisted of an old suitcase with enough emergency items to get through about three days. That was all I had for a family of 4, which 2 of them were small children. We all begin somewhere and continue at different paces. Each day we learn and grow. We progress in our prepping journey by continually learning everything that we can. We gather, we learn, we educate loved ones, we become very observant to our surroundings and what is going on in our environment and the world. We become aware and cautious, but not paranoid. We keep our sanity when things go wrong by visualizing scenarios beforehand. We plan, we list, we read, we rotate goods, we watch videos, we learn new skills, we practice these skills. My advice for a beginner is to just take one day at a time and don’t get overwhelmed by all the stuff that you haven’t done, just focus on the fact that you have begun. You will get there step by step. Start small and continue. Thrift stores, flea markets, yard sales are great places to begin your gathering for many things. Buying extra food items each week helps build a pantry quicker than you can imagine. Catch sales whenever possible and buy extra. Let loved ones know that you want prepping items for special occasions such as birthdays, Christmas or anytime a gift is given. Anyone can be more prepared when they put their mind to it. JUST BEGIN!

  • A way of providing light in your home is to use a car battery and brake lights. You can buy the entire brake light housing at one of those U pull it type wrecking yards and new bulbs at a parts store for a couple of bucks each . The lights are INTENSELY bright–you can easily read, sew, repair broken equipment under that light, YouTube videos will teach you how to wire a cigarette lighter to a car battery to connect your brake light fixture. You can keep the battery charged with a solar trickle charger–from Amazon for about $60.00.

  • You can get a “Water Bob” water storage container on Amazon for $35. It lays in your bathtub and allows you to fill it with 100 gallons of water – as long as the water is still working. You won’t be able to use your bathtub to bathe but, if the S has HTF, you’d better get used to not bathing daily anyway.

    Also, I recently found some mylar bags/rolls on Amazon that work with your everyday vacuum sealer! I always said that someone should make these, but I gave up looking for them long ago and just stumbled across them a couple weeks ago. They work great! It sure beats the old method of using an iron to seal them after you’ve sucked as much air as possible out of the bag. I can now make a bag of food that will last 20+ years in a few minutes with zero hassle. It really is a game changer.

  • Have utensils and a sharp knife. For cutting / cleaning stuff, and of course forks etc to eat with. If you bug out from home, these few simple items can be a lifesaver.

    The toilet was mentioned. THIS is important. WHERE are you on the sewer main? If you are at the bottom of a hill, as an example, and the pumping station goes out, sooner or later it’s pit will fill up, and now everyone elses poop is going to be backing up in YOUR home through your drains. If you re in an apartment complex, and your apt is on the lower floor, when the pipes back up, YOU are going to be backup central. Same with a house… just saying. Have some way to plug the line going out if you can, because this also plugs it coming back in. The best way is if you have a sewer clean out opening, get some thick walled bags, drop one down the pipe and fill with water, the bag expands to plug the diameter of the pipe. Worse case fill the pipe with some dirt / sand from that clean out point and jet it out with a water hose later if need be. The key here is STOPPING that sewage from coming up in your home. Dealing with your own turds is bad enough, the neighbor you know nothing about? no thanks. When the power goes out, people keep flushing etc without a seconds thought about it. It WILL come back to bite you in the butt later Literally!!

    Common medicines, ie the first aid kit stuff. Make sure you have the asprins, stomach aids, antacids, diarrhea pills, etc.

    Keep all your stuff FRESH! Putting medicines into a bug out bag and then using them 5 years later, not so good. Always rotate out your bugout stash with fresh meds, Id recommend at bare minimum once a year, more if you can.

    Make sure you train others in the household as well on where the stuff is, how to use it, ie radio’s etc, so if you become incapacitated, (and even just to split the responsibilities) someone else can hold down the fort.

    Plan ahead and plan on your plan not working, but at least you have an idea what you need to do. the key here is having some sort of plan that of course will be modified along the way, over just going in clueless.
    Take care
    A A Ron

  • I am a short to mid term prepper, that is I am configured to stand a situation for perhaps 2 months. I have water reserves food reserves, ammunition, guns, electric power, even paper products. But I never thought alcohol of the isopropyl variety would be a problem, have kids in braces. May stock on on some EverClear, for next situation as it has multiple uses :-).

  • In just a few weeks it will be hurricane season here in Florida. Combined with the lack of product on grocery shelves, meat shortages, etc we took a long look at what we needed to substitute for commonly purchased items. For instance – hubby likes cream in his coffee – stocked up on evaporated milk which he finds suitable. Purchased pouches, like them better than canned, of tuna and salmon. Also a case of chopped clams for spaghetti, chowder and patties. We use beans, both dry and canned, so stocked up in early March and the same for canned tomatoes, peanut butter, oats, black & green tea, decaf coffee.Calculated how much of all paper goods we use by the week/month and have purchased sufficient quantity to last 6 months – working on 12 as product becomes available.
    As garden seeds have become scarce I’ve saved seeds from mini peppers and vine ripened tomatoes and now have seedlings. Also have used some of my sprouting seeds for garden plants – daikon radish, chinese cabbage and microgreen seeds of lettuce and swiss chard.
    For many years I’ve purchased many common items quarterly using Amazon’s subscribe and save, Sam’s in store and on-line. Once you get used to buying this way, it’s easy to up the amounts.
    We are in our 70s, small pension and SS and do just fine. It should come as no surprise that this current stay-at-home situation has not bothered us at all. Just wish some of same age/slightly older neighbors would stop eating out for all lunches and 3-4 dinners and do some stocking up. Unfortunately they think that while we are nice, we are quite weird. I just tell them we’re products of the 60s and leave it at that.

  • Good reasonable advice for folks starting out and even for some established ones…………..no two people are the same and so theres all kinds of different paths to the goal………..Im a lifelong old hippy farmer who was taught this way by my folks and forebears………dont know any other way myself but I have seen the results of people being totally unprepared so as you say..START!……….or as Im fond of saying to folks…Do what you can with what you have where you are!…then go from there…..have a good one!

  • Thanks Daisy.

    When I studied all the criteria that make something money, I was struck by how many were possessed by over-the-counter painkillers like paracetamol and ibuprofen.

    They last decades, are recognizable, portable, durable in their little foil packets, you can make change with them. Oh, and they will grant you a good night’s sleep.

    Today, they are common and therefore dirt cheap.

    One day, they might be rare, as good as money, and have enormous utility.

    Start stocking up.

  • Hi Daisy, been prepping for about 10 yrs…Food, Water,Med kits (I”m a retired EMT and Police Officer], Ham radio,solar lights and and of course weapons. Built it up over time ,etc. Also bought medical gloves and N95 masks,of which I’ve since donated to Kaiser ( Docs and Staff were surprised that I had such items) . Used to be riducule for prepping,but not anymore. Americans are so entitled and now this a huge wake up call….

  • Good information, thank you.

    I bought a stack of food already in february before pandemic arrived in our neighbourhood and stored them in the cool basement.

    Now after couple of months we needed some pineapple slices and I went down to fetch the can. But guess what.. We have mice there.

    All the paper and plastic bags of crackers, chocolate, peanuts, alamonds, raisins etc are torn open and goodies are spoiled. Canned foods are ok but everything else which were packaged in softer material is gone.

    So this is just to warn you all from my mistake. Use buckets or plastic boxes to store the food items. We have still plenty of canned goods and stores have more food so we are all right. Just hunting the mice now.. eh.

  • Saw this on ZeroHedge. Very well done best prepper start up article. Going to send to every non prepper friend. Who thanked me for the mask and supplies I mailed them during the Corona virus.

    • Thank you and welcome! I didn’t realize ZH had reposted this.

      PS: I’m NOT reading the comments there on this article for beginners. Hahaha!!!

  • “without reliance on long cooking times. (This rules out beans and rice for most people.)” With rice, I personally prefer the short-grain, sticky brown rice, cooking time over a stove is only as long as needed to get it to a boil. I take a half cup rice, 1 7/8 cups of water, put it in a pan, bring it to a full boil, then quickly pour it into a pint wide-mouth thermos. In a few hours (I haven’t tried a shorter time) the rice is fully cooked, soft and delicious. I count rice as one of the easier foods to cook because of the short cooking time (for me over the stove).

    Beans is another story. I haven’t succeeded in getting a short cooking time yet. The answer may be to substitute lentils for beans because of their shorter cooking time.

    For cooking, I now have four stoves—two wood-burning, two white gas. The simplest one is merely a 40 oz can, emptied which I peppered with holes in the bottom. I then set it on a base that allows air to come up from below, put a wind-screen around it (there’s usually some wind around here), put the biggest pieces of wood at the bottom, twigs and tiny pieces at the top, then light it and have it burn from the top down. It produces very little smoke. The flames rise up usually about a foot above the stove. The main thing for which I’ve used it is to hold hamburgers over it in grills, though one time after finishing the hamburger, I put a pan of rice over it and brought it to a boil, then poured into the thermos for the next day’s meal.

    I also have one of those commercial wood-burning stoves that’s about the same size. Quite frankly, I don’t see much difference in cooking efficiency between the commercial and tin can stoves.

    There’s a surprising amount of wood to burn, even in the desert. I’ve collected a couple of good sized boxes of wood cut to size for the most efficient burning in the wood stoves, all from less than an acre of desert land.

    Both of these can be set up in a fireplace for indoor cooking and put out a fraction of the heat that an open fire in the fireplace puts out, or even the amount of heat put out by a cast-iron stove.

    My two white-gas stoves are both one-man hiking stoves.

    One note about cooking indoors: any cooking device that cooks over an open flame has carbon-monoxide poisoning danger. No exceptions. It doesn’t matter if it’s rated for indoors or not, the danger is the same. Whenever cooking over an open flame, make sure that the room in which you are cooking is “leaky”—that there’s enough air exchange from outdoors to prevent a build-up of exhaust inside where the flame is being used. There are too many cases of people dying from carbon-monoxide poisoning while using “indoor rated” gas appliances, while I have used my gas stoves indoors plenty of times safely. Now I don’t recommend anyone following my example of using a camping stove indoors, I just give this as an example of the dangers of any gas appliance used indoors.

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