Skip to content

How to Start Prepping

Prepping is a practice that involves preparing for emergencies, disasters, or any unexpected events that may occur in the future. When you’re trying to figure out how to start prepping it’s essential to be prepared for any situation that might happen. These scenarios range from a natural disaster to economic collapse, to a pandemic.

Prepping involves stockpiling necessary emergency supplies, learning survival skills, and creating emergency plans to make sure you and your family are safe and secure.

The world is constantly changing in several concerning ways, and prepping is going mainstream. The key to successful prepping is knowing what you’re prepping for, being proactive, and taking steps to prepare for the future. Waiting for something to happen is waiting too long.

Definition of prepping

Prepping is a practice that involves taking proactive steps to prepare for emergencies, disasters, or events that others don’t think will happen but may occur in the future. This includes stockpiling necessary supplies, learning survival skills, and creating emergency plans.

The goal of prepping is to be self-sufficient and prepared for any situation that may arise. Prepping involves everything from learning how to grow your own food to having a fully stocked emergency kit. It’s important to note that prepping isn’t just for extreme survivalists or doomsday preppers; it’s a sensible practice for anyone who wants to be prepared for the unexpected.

Prepping often starts by accumulating the basic supplies to get your family through a few days of emergency then moves to gardening and building an inventory of food that will last at least two weeks, and then to the serious prepper stage where you’re set for a full-blown SHTF situation.

Why it’s important to be prepared

Self-reliance is becoming more important every day and there’s a lot to absorb when you’re figuring out how to start prepping. Disasters, both natural and man-made seem to be increasing more and more each year and it is crucial to be prepared for them. By improving your emergency preparedness, you can make sure that you and your family have the necessary supplies and resources to survive any situation that may arise.

Prepping can reduce stress during times of crisis. It’s important to understand that prepping isn’t about living in fear but more about being proactive and having peace of mind because you’ve taken the steps to prepare for the future. Whether it’s a natural disaster or an economic collapse, being prepared is a big difference-maker when it comes to ensuring the safety and well-being of yourself and your loved ones.

Assessing Your Risks and Needs

Prepping is all about being prepared for emergencies and disasters that could strike at any moment. In order to be prepared, start by assessing the risks and needs of your specific situation. Ask yourself three questions:

  • What am I prepping for?
  • How long am I prepping for?
  • What are my personal needs and circumstances?

By identifying potential emergencies and disasters in your area, you can determine what to stockpile, and how much. Along with the events that you’re looking at, consider your personal needs and circumstances, including your personal health.

Identifying potential emergencies and disasters in your area is the first step in preparing for the unexpected. These events include natural disasters such as hurricanes, earthquakes, and wildfires, as well as man-made disasters like a power outage or civil unrest. Research the specific risks in your area and develop a plan to address them.

Considering your personal needs and circumstances is a big piece in prepping. For example, if you have a medical condition that requires medication or special equipment, it’s important to have a stockpile of these supplies on hand. You’ll need to know the shelf life of your medications.

If you have a family pet, make sure to include their needs in your prepping plans. By taking these factors into account, you can ensure that you’re fully prepared for any emergency that may come your way.

Identifying potential emergencies and disasters in your area

Identifying potential emergencies and disasters in your area is really your first step in prepping. You should be aware of the risks and hazards that could affect your community, as well as the likelihood and impact of these events.

Consider the natural disasters that are common in your area, such as floods, earthquakes, or wildfires, and assess how they could impact you. Are you aware of slower-moving weather events like the droughts occurring in the Mississippi River Valley and the Desert Southwest right now?

Don’t forget about man-made disasters like chemical spills, power outages, or terrorist attacks, which can also have devastating consequences. As with the weather, there are fast-moving and slow-moving man-made problems. A slow-moving man-made event would be the regulations that are moving us away from fossil fuels without reliable replacement energy plans that are truly ready to support life. A fast-moving man-made event could be an economic collapse. Some of these events may require you to build a bug-out bag and develop a bug-out plan.

To identify the risks in your area, consult with local emergency management agencies or check out online resources like FEMA’s hazard maps or the Red Cross website. You should also talk to your neighbors and community leaders to get a better understanding of what risks may be unique to your area. Preparation is key to reducing the impact of a disaster, so take the time to identify potential risks and plan accordingly.

Considering your personal needs and circumstances

Everyone’s situation is unique, and you should take your specific requirements into consideration. For instance, if you have a medical condition, you may need to plan for how you will manage your treatment during an emergency. You’ll want to consider how you’ll manage if emergency services aren’t available for an extended period of time. If you have a pet, you will need to make sure you have enough food and drinking water for them.

Think about your living situation. Do you live in an apartment or a house? Is there a basement or other safe area to go to in case of a tornado or hurricane? Do you have access to transportation if you need to evacuate? These are all factors to consider when planning for emergencies.

How big is your family? Do you know how much food you need to last at least two weeks? You should have enough emergency food stored so that each member of your family will have 2,200 calories per day in their diet. The size of your family will impact your calculations for all of your emergency supplies.

How and where will you set up your prepper pantry, store water, and cook food? Think about the daily chores that you accomplish with ease because modern conveniences make them easy; then assume you won’t have gas or electricity…

It won’t take much time to evaluate your needs and circumstances through the lens of the situations you could find yourself in and develop an SHTF list of supplies. This simple exercise will quickly help you develop a comprehensive plan that will help keep you and your entire family safe in an emergency.

Basic Prepping Supplies

As you begin prepping, having the right supplies on hand is of course your main focus. Your basic prepping supplies should include tools and equipment like flashlights, multi-tools, tarps, and duct tape. All of these are handy for dealing with unexpected situations.

Shelter and warmth are also important, so make sure to have blankets, tents, and sleeping bags. A well-stocked first aid kit is a basic item because it’s possible to get hurt at any time.

Next up is storing and rotating your food and water supply. You’ll want to learn to do this so that you and your family stay nourished and hydrated during an emergency. Finally, don’t forget about the importance of water storage and filtration, so you have access to clean drinking water even when your public utilities aren’t functioning.

Water storage and filtration

Regardless of which SHTF scenarios you’ve identified in your situation, you’re going to focus on a good supply of clean drinking water. You probably have a day or two worth of bottled water. Water storage containers can be used to store water for an extended period, and it’s important to rotate the water every six months.

Once you’ve your initial supply set up, you need a plan for replenishing. That will mean setting up a water filtration system to be used to purify water from natural sources like rain, rivers, lakes, and streams.

There are many different water filtration systems available, including portable water filters and gravity-fed filters. You should consider several factors when you select your water filtration system including the type of contaminants in the water, the number of family members in your household, and the amount of water you’ll need.

For an added layer of preparedness, we recommend having water purification tablets or drops as a backup in case the filtration system fails. Having a reliable water storage and filtration system will guarantee access to clean water when you need it.

Food storage and rotation

When preparing for an emergency or disaster, having enough food is crucial. One of the key components of food preparation is storage and rotation. It’s important to consider the number of people in your household and their dietary needs when storing food.

Your food storage location should be cool, dry, and away from sunlight. In terms of rotation, keep track of expiration dates and use the oldest food items first. Canned goods and non-perishable items can last for years, but it’s still important to regularly check for any signs of spoilage.

Your food supply should have some variety to it, including items that don’t require cooking or refrigeration in case of power outages. When you first begin prepping having enough space might not be an issue, but as you look to extend your preps out and expand your food supply, you’ll likely need to get a little creative with regard to space considerations.

We can’t stress enough that you pay attention to proper food storage and rotation, so you and your family have enough to eat during an emergency situation.

First aid kit and medical supplies

When preparing for emergencies or disasters, it’s essential to have well-stocked first aid supplies and medical supplies on hand. Injuries can happen at any time, and it’s crucial to be prepared to treat minor injuries or provide aid until professional help arrives.

Your first aid kit should include items such as adhesive bandages, gauze, antiseptic wipes, and medical tape. It doesn’t stop there though. You’ll need pain relievers, anti-diarrheal medication, and personal medications if you have a pre-existing medical condition. It’s a good idea to have a first aid manual or guide in your prepper library to help you treat injuries properly.

In addition to a first aid kit, you may want to consider having some low-level medical equipment on hand, like a thermometer, blood pressure cuff, or crutches. It’s also important to regularly check and replenish your supplies to ensure they aren’t out of date and they’re ready to use when you need them most.

Shelter and warmth

When preparing for an emergency or disaster, having a safe and comfortable place to stay is essential. Shelter and warmth are two critical elements for survival, especially during extreme weather conditions. It is crucial to assess your living situation and determine the best options for shelter in case of an emergency. You may need to consider a range of alternatives, from staying in your own home to seeking out temporary housing in a shelter or with friends or family.

Ensuring you have the right equipment for shelter and warmth is also important. A tent, sleeping bags, blankets, and extra clothing can all provide warmth and protection. In addition, consider investing in a portable heater or stove, as well as fuel and matches. It is essential to know how to safely operate these items to prevent accidents and injuries. Remember to regularly check and maintain your equipment to ensure it is in good condition and ready to use when needed.

Tools and equipment

Having the right tools and equipment will be a difference maker if/when SHTF happens. Depending on your level of preparedness, the types of tools and equipment you need will be different. Some basic essentials that everyone should have on hand include a first-aid kit, flashlight, and a multi-tool.

Once you’ve covered the prepping basics, the more advanced preppers will invest in items such as water filtration systems, generators, and portable stoves. They’ll build a bug-out vehicle and learn core skills.

Aside from the more obvious tools, there are also several unconventional items that can come in handy during an emergency situation. For example, duct tape can be used to repair a wide range of items, including broken windows, ripped clothing, and damaged equipment. Zip ties are another useful tool that can be used to secure items, bundle cords, and even restrain an attacker. Add in a tarp and you can build an improvised shelter.

When considering what tools and equipment to include in your prepping kit, it’s important to think about your specific needs and circumstances. A good rule of thumb is to always aim for versatility and durability, so you can be prepared for whatever comes your way.

Developing Essential Skills

Skills are a pivotal part of being prepared for different survival scenarios. Many preppers learn core skills to become more self-reliant and flexible. You can have all the survival necessities there are, but if you don’t know how to use them, they’re useless.

Knowing how to identify potential dangers, evaluate personal needs, and use tools and equipment are just some of the skills that will make a difference during a crisis. Other essential skills include CPR, shelter building, starting a fire, and water purification.

Learning these skills will help you respond effectively in emergencies and improve your chances of survival. Practice them and refine your skills regularly, so you can be confident in your abilities when disaster strikes. Stay up-to-date with local emergency plans and training programs so you can master the skills necessary to handle any crisis.

Basic survival skills (fire-making, shelter-building, etc.)

Basic survival skills are a fundamental part of your self-reliance. Some of the most important skills include starting a fire, building a shelter, and scavenging water and purifying it.

Your prepper kit should include the basic items needed to start a fire. You need a fire starter, steel wool, and kindling.

Improvised shelter can be built with materials like branches, leaves, and tarps. Build your knowledge of the natural environment and its resources to improve your odds.

Can you read a map and navigate with a compass? If the power grid goes down, electronic navigation systems will likely go down too. Getting where you need to go without the internet is a good everyday life skill you should cultivate.

Other important skills include self-defense. With proper training and practice, this skill can help you survive in a variety of challenging situations. It’s recommended to take courses and work out to learn these skills and gain practical experience. In addition, regularly practicing these skills will increase your confidence and ability to use them effectively if/when the need arises.

First aid and medical training

Basic medical training is an essential aspect of prepping. When a disaster strikes, you may not have access to medical professionals, so it’s crucial to know how to handle emergencies. Emergency kits are a good start, but having the knowledge to use them effectively is just as important.

Basic training in CPR, wound care, and how to treat common illnesses can make a significant difference in the outcome of an emergency situation. Knowing how to recognize symptoms of dehydration, hypothermia, and other conditions that may occur during a crisis is also critical.

There are various resources available to obtain first aid and medical training, including online courses, community colleges, and local emergency response organizations. Emergency preparedness isn’t just about stockpiling supplies, it’s also about being prepared with the knowledge and skills to handle any situation.

Navigation and communication

Navigation and communication are essential skills to have in a crisis situation. Being able to navigate and communicate can help you find your way to safety and keep in touch with other preppers.

A GPS device, maps, and a compass are essential tools for navigation, but it’s also important to know how to navigate without them. Learning basic orienteering and map-reading skills can go a long way in helping you find your way.

Communication tools like radios, phones, and signal flares are also crucial in emergency situations. Knowing how to use these devices and practicing with them is important. In order to keep your radios and phone operable, you’ll need backup power sources like a solar charger and batteries. Practice navigation and using communication tools regularly to build skill and ensure you’re prepared for any emergency.


Protecting yourself and your family is a key aspect of prepping for any potential crisis. In uncertain situations, it’s important to have the necessary skills and equipment to defend yourself and your loved ones. If things get bad enough you may be faced with roving bands of marauders or a roadblock. Knowing how to handle it will be a force equalizer.

Some basic self-defense skills include situational awareness, proper use of pepper spray or a stun gun, and hand-to-hand combat techniques. When choosing self-defense equipment, it’s important to invest in high-quality and reliable products, such as a sturdy knife or a firearm if you’re comfortable with their use. Having a weapon isn’t a guarantee of safety and you should have the training and confidence to use it effectively.

Common Beginner Prepper Mistakes to Avoid

When you’re first trying to figure out how to start prepping, it’s easy to make mistakes that can cost you time and money…

One common mistake is not having a clear plan in place. It’s important to identify what events you’re planning for and prioritize your needs before investing in supplies.

Another mistake is not rotating your food supply and water storage regularly, which can lead to spoiled or expired items. as a beginner prepper, don’t overlook the importance of developing core skills like CPR and navigation.

Lastly, don’t make the mistake of assuming you can rely solely on weapons for self-defense. Practicing situational awareness and getting proper training in self-defense tactics can help you avoid dangerous situations altogether.

By avoiding these common mistakes and focusing on building a well-rounded prepping plan, you can be better prepared for any situation.

Overbuying unnecessary supplies

Overbuying unnecessary supplies is a common mistake that many beginner preppers make. Prepping is about being prepared, not hoarding. While it’s tempting to stockpile everything, it’s important to assess your needs and purchase accordingly.

Don’t fall into the trap of buying unnecessary items that you may never use. Focus on acquiring the supplies that will be essential to your survival in an emergency situation. Take the time to research and prioritize your needs based on your location, weather, and personal circumstances. Quality is better than quantity when it comes to prepping. Don’t waste your money and resources on unnecessary supplies that may go to waste.

Focusing on gear rather than skills

When you first start prepping, it’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of buying the latest and greatest gear. But it’s important to remember that having the best equipment won’t do you any good if you don’t have the skills to use it effectively.

Focusing too much on gear and not enough on developing essential skills can be a common mistake among beginners. While having quality gear is important, it’s equally important to practice basic survival skills like building a fire, setting up a tent, and triaging serious injuries.

Investing time in developing these skills will prove invaluable in a survival situation, and may even be the difference between life and death. Don’t fall into the trap of believing that having the right gear is enough, remember to prioritize your skills.

Not practicing or testing plans

When it comes to prepping, creating a plan is only half the battle. One common mistake beginners make is failing to practice or test their plans. It’s important to run through scenarios to see if your plans hold up and make any necessary adjustments.

Practicing also helps build confidence in your ability to handle different situations. You don’t want to be caught off guard during an SHTF event. Take the time to practice and test your plans, whether it’s a bug-out plan or a shelter-in-place plan. Once you’ve done this a few times, practice your backup plan.

Make sure everyone involved knows their role and what to do in case of an emergency. Don’t let lack of practice be the downfall of your prepping efforts.

Building a Plan and Staying Motivated

Building a comprehensive prepping plan can be overwhelming, but it’s important to stay motivated and focused. Avoid common mistakes like overbuying supplies or focusing solely on gear rather than skills. Incorporate basic prepper skills like first aid and self-defense, as well as navigation and communication, into your everyday life.

Test and practice your plans regularly to ensure they’re effective. Building a strong community of like-minded individuals can also be a valuable source of support and motivation. Prepping is a marathon, not a sprint, so stay committed and take small steps toward your goals each day.

Developing an emergency plan and communication plan

Developing an emergency plan and communication plan is crucial for any prepper. It’s important to have a well-thought-out plan in place for various scenarios, such as natural disasters, power outages, or civil unrest. Your plan should include information about evacuation routes, emergency shelters, and meeting places.

In addition, communication is essential during emergencies. You should have a communication plan in place with your family or group members, including designated meeting locations and a way to communicate in case traditional methods are not available. It’s also a good idea to have a backup communication method, such as a radio or satellite phone.

Remember, your emergency plan and communication plan should be regularly reviewed and updated as needed to ensure everyone is on the same page and prepared for any situation.

Establishing a prepping budget

When it comes to prepping, establishing a budget can be crucial. While it can be tempting to splurge on gear and supplies, it’s important to be mindful of your finances and prioritize the most essential items. Take the time to evaluate your needs and make a list of items that align with your goals and budget.

Consider prioritizing non-perishable food, water, and first aid supplies. Don’t forget to account for ongoing expenses such as storage costs and regular maintenance of equipment. It’s also a good idea to periodically review and adjust your budget as needed. Remember, prepping doesn’t have to break the bank – it’s about being prepared and resilient in the face of adversity.

Staying motivated and consistent

Staying motivated and consistent is essential for successful prepping. It’s easy to get overwhelmed or discouraged, especially when progress feels slow or the future feels uncertain. One way to combat this is to break your prepping goals down into smaller, achievable steps. Celebrate your successes along the way, no matter how small they may seem.

Another strategy is to find a prepping community or support system. This can provide accountability and encouragement when you need it most. Remember to prioritize self-care and take breaks when needed. Taking care of your mental and physical health will help you stay motivated in the long run. Finally, remind yourself why you started prepping in the first place and keep that vision in mind as you work towards your goals.

Additional Tips and Resources

Here are some additional resources and suggestions to aid in your prepping journey. Seek out knowledgeable mentors, and although it might not be fun, stay up-to-date on relevant news, events, and regulations.

Online forums, local prepping groups, and emergency management organizations can be great sources of information and support. Acquire books, manuals, and training courses for your prepper library to further develop your skills and knowledge. Prepping is an ongoing process. Be adaptable to ensure you’re ready for whatever challenges may come your way.

Tips for beginners from seasoned preppers

It can be challenging when you start prepping, but advice from seasoned preppers can provide valuable guidance.

Firstly, start with the basics such as water, food, and shelter. Prioritize learning important skills such as first aid, fire-starting, and navigation. Have a realistic plan and practice it regularly. Consider joining a prepper community to share ideas and learn from others’ experiences. Focus on long-term sustainability and invest in important survival projects and high-quality gear. Finally, be adaptable and remain calm in emergency situations. Remember, prepping is a journey, and progress is more important than perfection.

Recommended books for learning more about prepping


In conclusion, being prepared for emergencies is crucial for anyone. Building a solid plan, practicing and testing it, establishing communication channels, budgeting for supplies, and staying motivated and consistent are all key factors in prepping. Learning from experienced preppers can also provide valuable tips and insights. Remember, it’s never too late to start preparing, and there are many resources available to help you along the way. Stay proactive and stay safe.

Recap of the importance of being prepared

Prepping for an emergency or a natural disaster has become a mainstream idea in the last few years. Protecting your family means developing a comprehensive emergency plan and communication plan, defining a prepping budget, staying motivated and consistent, and learning from experienced preppers.

Taking some basic steps to prepare, can increase your chances of survival and minimize the harsh impact of unexpected events. Regularly review and update your plans and supplies, practice your response strategies, and stay informed about potential threats in your area. Being prepared provides peace of mind knowing that you are ready for whatever may come your way.

Encouragement for readers to take action and start prepping

Once you’ve been on this journey for a while, someone is going to ask you how to start prepping. Welcome them to the community by giving them helpful advice. If you find that you made mistakes, don’t let them make the same mistakes.