New to Prepping?
I receive emails quite often from people who are new to prepping. A few says they have thought about it for a while, but haven’t really got started. I’m sure it can feel like a daunting and overwhelming process to the beginner. But it does not have to be.
Being prepared is really not hard if you approach it the right way. If you are brand new to prepping, or just aren’t sure where to begin, here are 5 easy steps to help get you started.
There are plenty of links throughout this article dealing with many various prepper topics. These are a great source of information, so please be sure to check them out.
#1 Begin with a Plan
Start off by sitting down and figuring out your plans would be if you have an emergency or disaster. Making plans now will help you to not feel lost or overwhelmed should a catastrophe strike. Failing to plan is planning to fail. And hope is not a plan!
In the beginning, I would not plan for worst case scenario. Instead, start off with the more realistic and probable scenarios. (The more extreme the event, the less likely it is to occur.) These scenarios should be based upon your location, situation, and the conditions you are in or could realistically be in.
For example, if you live along the Gulf Coast, hurricanes are a realistic possibility. So having hurricane plans makes sense. I know states like Montana and Idaho are subject to winter storms. I live in “tornado alley”, and have planned accordingly. Many large metropolitan cities are seeing an increase of violence, and riots are now something (click the link for more details) that urban city dwellers might consider planning for.
Most emergencies don’t have to be regional or even local. Job loss, medical emergencies, house fire, car wrecks, etc are all things you should be prepared for that are specific to you and your family.
Previously, I discussed how to protect your ammo storage long-term. If you missed it, be sure to check it out by clicking here.
Now, I want to discuss building your stockpile of ammo. Maybe I should have written this first, but regardless, here it is. 🙂
I’ll look at the reasons why you should stockpile, I’ll dispel some myths about stockpiling ammo, and I’ll give you some hints and tips on how to do it. So let’s jump right in!
Why should I stockpile ammo?
Let me say this right off the bat. If you stockpile thousands of rounds of ammunition because you anticipate a WROL (Without Rule Of Law) event where you will be engaging in dozens of gun battles, you might want to reconsider your plans.
First, the chances of a TEOTWAWKI (The End Of The World As We Know It) event are slim. I’m not saying that it can’t or won’t happen someday. But keep in mind that the more extreme an event, the less likely it is to occur. The complete collapse of society as we know it is at the FAR end of the “possibility spectrum”.
Second, even if there is a WROL event, you must remember that the more often you engage in armed conflict, the greater your chances of being hit/killed by return fire. As I have stated before:
“an over eagerness to engage in conflict runs the risks of unintended collateral damage, injury and/or death to you and loved ones. It also leads to the potential destruction of vital gear and equipment.
Your primary goal is to avoid conflict. Guns are the back-up plan!”
Rambo is Hollywood fiction, and bullets do not discriminate. The more often you get into gun battles, the greater your risk of being injured or killed. And the greater the risk you put those close to you.
Over the past few years, I have noticed a few changes in myself since I began prepping. I would like to think that most of them are positive, and have contributed to making me a better person. At least I hope so.
I noticed that I do not buy items based solely upon price anymore. In the past I would typically try to find the cheapest item and go with that. (Toilet paper being an exception. NEVER go cheap on toilet paper!) To me, saving a buck was the most important aspect when it came to shopping.
But not now. Sure, some items I still buy the generic, like over the counter medicines. (FDA requires the store brand have same types and amounts of ingredients as name brands.) But now I have started looking at the quality of the items I buy. And more importantly, I look at the item’s durability.
Our society has become a “Dollar Store disposable” one. We buy the cheap items that only last a few uses, knowing we can get more later on. But what happens if we lose the grid tomorrow? What happens if we have a financial crash? Suddenly those items may no longer be available. Or we might find their cost prohibitive.
Editor’s note: I want to welcome Cheryl L (my mom) to the site with her first article! Enjoy!
No matter what you are prepping for, at some point in time food preparation must enter into your preps. I am always trying to find ways to cook using a minimum amount of time, energy, effort, and fuel. So I plan my preps accordingly.
I prefer to keep my life simple and that includes getting everything done in the morning and taking it easy after all the work is done. This is one of the reasons that I decided to purchase a thermal cooker.
Another reason I thought a thermal cooker would be a wonderful idea is for the ease of cooking a meal whether on a regular stove, a rocket stove, an open campfire, or in any emergency situation. We live in tornado territory and I can take a thermal cooker down into the shelter along with the already stored dehydrated meals and water, etc. so that I can prepare them for my family if the need arises. Be it a rabbit dinner or emergency food storage, I feel secure in having the means to take care of them.
I looked and researched on the internet, reading about several different thermal cookers. After some study I finally settled on the Saratoga Jack 7L thermal cooker.
I went with the Saratoga because it received a lot of positive feedback on Amazon, and because it comes with two heavy-duty pans that nestle together for cooking, (cook two separate pots at once) a lid, a cook book and of course the vacuüm cooker.
The Saratoga Jack thermal cooker is simple to use. You follow your regular recipes, bring the temperature to a rolling boil for a few minutes, and then seal the pot in the cooker. And depending on the recipe your food is ready and waiting for you in the evening when you are ready to sit down to dinner.
I see A LOT of prepper videos and articles out there talking about bartering in a post TEOTWAWKI scenario. They encourage you to get gold, silver, cigarettes, ammo, etc. so that you can trade it after everything goes to hell. But I wonder if that is really a good idea? Is it a good use of your current resources to buy items solely for barter after SHTF?
I tend to think the belief and use of barter gets over-played in people’s’ SHTF scenarios in their minds. That’s not to say that barter might not happen on occasion. Barter has been around since the dawn of man. The zombie apocalypse won’t stop that. But I think in a true grid down situation, folks will be more worried about security and survival than they are trading things like gold and silver coins.
God forbid that if the grid goes down for good, there will be a time when the focus will be on merely surviving. Food, water, shelter, etc will be what is important. Having the tools and abilities to survive will be king. Those times will be the most taxing, the most trying.
Not until society has had time to “reset itself” and stabilize will barter actually come into play. Without a decent social environment and a somewhat stable economy, barter is not going to be likely. And in the rare chance it happens, it will not be without tremendous risks and peril.
Even when things may eventually begin to normalize, barter will not be as frequent or as common as many people want to believe. I think there are way too many variables that would make barter a rather rare occurrence.
With no more “Grid” there is no more Craigslist or Ebay. So finding other groups of people in your area that might actually want to trade with you may not be all that easy. I mean, I guess you could go wandering the country side looking for those groups, but that obviously comes with risks. And even if you find another group, chances are very high that they may not trust you or even want to trade with you.
For many preppers on a budget, the ability to stockpile goods and supplies might be limited. They may have to stock just a little at a time. And in that case, I hope that they are not stockpiling items which maybe they shouldn’t.
I wanted to take a look at some items that you may NOT want to stock pile long-term and the reasons why. I also try to have some alternatives available as well.
Many of the items listed below are items you SHOULD have in a disaster, so do NOT think I’m saying not to have these items. Instead, I’m saying that in your long-term planning (i.e. the grid goes down for an extended time) these are items you should think about having alternative plans and options for.
Now hear me out. NO ONE out there understands the importance of good, quality toilet paper more than I do. I always have several weeks’ supply on hand. But there is a big draw back to trying to hoard toilet paper long-term.
The problem is that large amounts of toilet paper are bulky and take up a lot of room. For me, in an urban setting, I have trouble storing more than a month’s supply for my family. So if a true long-term disaster struck, beyond 3 to 4 weeks I’ll be in a crappy situation.
The average person uses over 100 rolls of TP per year. Now multiple that times the number of your family members/group. That’s a lot of room for a hoard of TP! And yes, my family goes through AT LEAST that much TP.