Prepping 101

Brand new to prepping? Welcome! We all started from scratch so if you’re confused or overwhelmed, don’t worry about it. In fact, the confusion is natural and a good motivator to keep learning!

So what is “prepping”?

It’s a noun. It’s a verb. It’s anything you want it to be. At its essence, prepping is simply the act of becoming prepared for emergencies. You can prep for anything, from a flat tire to a lost job to a society altering disaster.

A “prep” is anything (physical or not) that’s useful in an emergency situation. The spare tire in your trunk, that’s a prep. Taking a CPR class, that’s a prep. With sufficient knowledge, skills and gear (i.e. preps), you’ll be ready for emergency situations. You’ll be able to depend on yourself and protect those you love.

Who are preppers?

To be honest…everyone. Every person prepares to a certain degree, such as having candles and a flashlight for when the power goes out. But people who identify as preppers…they’re just people who think it’s wise to kick their personal level of preparedness up a couple (or a 100) degrees. When you make even the smallest effort to prepare for an emergency situation, you’ve become a prepper.

Welcome to the club! You’re in the exact same club as people who spend every spare cent on preps, every waking hour thinking about survival and who have made a decommissioned missile silo their home. It’s all a matter of degrees. And it’s completely up to you how far you want to take it.

The movement has also developed its own little list of acronyms and buzz words.

One word of advice as you begin this journey.

Prepping is not entirely about buying preps. A lot of people have all the gear in the world, but have no clue how to use it. It’s fine to be a gear junkie…but we have to know how to use it. The time to read the instruction book for your super cool hand-crank flashlight is before, not after, the lights have gone out. And even beyond knowing how to use our preps, we need to practice with them. Applying your knowledge results in development in a skill set. Hours spent researching and purchasing preps for the perfect Bug Out Bag is worthless if you find, when a disaster strikes, that you can’t even lift the thing (let along haul it 25 miles).

Now what should you prep for? And how should you do it?

If you ask ten people you’ll surely get ten different answers. There are general guidelines but they are just that, guidelines. You’re the star of the movie that is your life, and only you know what’s right for your situation. Someone living along the Florida coast has completely different concerns and needs than a person in the heart of New York City. Just as someone who is wealthy has a completely different ability to purchase things than a person on a small fixed income.

Prepping is not one-size-fits-all. It’s a set of knowledge, skills, gear and concerns unique to you. It’s a hobby to some, a lifestyle to others.

Think about where you are right now.

Imagine for a moment all the electricity has gone out. You have no idea why or how long it will be like this.

How long could you take care of yourself and your family before it gets restored? What if it’s not just a minor inconvenience like other times…what if it’s out for a month…what if it never got restored? We as a society have become so dependent on easy access to food, electricity, gas, water, phones, sanitation services, the internet and an orderly societal structure that we take these things for granted. Turn on the faucet, water comes out. Easy. Take away one or more of these resources and we’re in a completely different world.

Consider your kitchen. How many days of food do you have? Keep in mind all that good stuff in the fridge gets closer to spoiling every time you open the door. How many days of water do you have? The recommendation is 1 gallon per day per person. How long could you and your family make it? 3 days? 5? 14? Now you’re probably imagining heading straight to the store to stock up, since you have no idea how long things will be like this. You’re having that thought…alongside every single other person in your community.

By the time an emergency begins the time to prepare is over. You’re now in the emergency with everyone else. Even if you are in a position to get to the store while it still has product on the shelves, and even if they’re willing to sell despite their sale systems being down, how much cash do you have on hand? Heading to the ATM isn’t an option. Even if the bank were open it’s unlikely they’d give you a single dollar of your own money. Dependence.

Thinking about these types of situations, and making sure you’re in a good position to deal with them, that’s prepping.