The Basics of Prepping For Beginners
Prepping for beginners usually begins with a lot of questions and indecision. This is because it’s such a large subject that ranges from buying a few extra items of household products or tinned food to spending thousands on all manner of prepping paraphernalia. If you are just getting started in the world of prepping, it’s important to start small and work your way up from there.
The average person will have a lot of questions when they first start. Questions like “What do I need?” “Where should I store this?” and so on.
This article will explore what you need to know before starting a new prepping routine and offer some basic tips on where to get started without wasting your money on products that will be of no use to you.
And no, you don’t need to invest in a bunker but if that floats your boat, go right ahead!
Prepping can be an extension of camping and is something you can enjoy with your family members. You don’t need to worry about possible future disasters. Instead, prepping can be part of a positive mindset. Think of it as a way to learn survival skills and enjoy the acquisition of knowledge of how to help the emergency services.
Prepping isn’t about panic buying and hoarding. It’s about making sensible choices, putting measures in place, buying at little extra here and there, and storing away tools and supplies. It’s similar in several ways to having a savings account. You put in what you can afford each month for the day that you might need it.
Prepping is simply emergency preparedness and as such it would be helpful if more people would start prepping and learned at least the basics.
Those who do learn core skills are more likely to be able to stay calm in the event of an infrastructure failure. A sense of self reliance cultivates confidence that will rub off on the entire family.
What is prepping?
Prepping is the process of preparing for emergencies both big and small. Natural disasters, economic downturns, and civil unrest can all have a major impact on our lives, and prepping can help mitigate some of the risks associated with these situations.
Prepping isn’t just about being prepared for the worst-case scenario, though. It’s also about having the skills and supplies you need to survive any type of emergency. This could include anything from a power outage to a major storm.
Many people think prepping is only about preparing for the apocalypse and while some people have gone to such extremes the majority of preppers are just ordinary people who have taken some precautions against more common interruptions to power supplies and access to food and water.
Some see it as just having an ‘everyday carry’ – a small bag containing the smallest of essentials; flashlight, pen, knife, mulitool etc.
The bottom line is that prepping can help you be better prepared for any type of emergency, both big and small. And that’s why everyone needs to be a prepper from one degree to another.
Think about this list of scenarios and count how many have already occurred during your lifetime, wherever you were living or working at the time. Any one of these could cause the interruption of light, heat, and warmth for days or even weeks in extreme circumstances.
- Civil unrest
Other, more disturbing situations that are rarer but a reality for many people include wars, volcanic eruptions, and economic collapse.
Then there are the more extreme types of situation like conventional, nuclear, chemical, or biological war, or a zombie apocalypse. Just kidding about the last one. Just slipped that in there to see if you’re paying attention.
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The different levels of prepping
There are different levels of prepping, from basic prepping to more extreme cases
Basic prepping is all about preparing for common emergencies that most people face, like power outages or food shortages. This usually involves having a few extra supplies on hand in case deliveries to shops are suspended or delayed.
Temporary setbacks are less serious emergencies, like a blizzard that knocks out power for a few days. In this case, you may need to rely on your backup supplies to get through the emergency. This is when you might be using up some of that canned food you have at the back of the cupboard.
Natural disasters are more serious than temporary setbacks, but they typically aren’t as bad as an SHTF situation. A natural disaster could be anything from a tornado to a hurricane. In most cases, you will be able to evacuate to somewhere safer, so you’ll only need to rely on your prepping supplies as a last resort i.e. if access to shelter and support is blocked for some reason.
However, say for example that you may are not able to return to your home for at least two weeks. All you would have with you would be whatever you were standing in and carrying at the time of evacuation.
One of the most serious types of emergencies is an SHTF situation. In this case, you will be cut off from basic services and face a high-risk environment that could have disastrous consequences. You won’t have access to hospitals or other services, so your survival will depend completely on the supplies you have on hand.
Prepping and the Covid-19 pandemic
Prepping has been incredibly important during the Covid-19 pandemic. Many people who had stored additional supplies and prepared for emergencies were able to cope with quarantines much better than those who had not.
In addition to practical preparations, prepping can also help you emotionally deal with a crisis. Knowing that you have taken some steps to protect yourself and your loved ones can give you a greater sense of confidence and reassurance.
Prepping For Beginners – Getting Started
You don’t need a lot of money or extra space to become a prepper and start building up your supply of essentials and other supplies.
You can begin by putting away a supply of tinned and dried food that has a long shelf life, keeping it separate from your everyday food supply. This might be in a cupboard under the stairs, in the garage, or the loft.
You may already be doing this because you have that kind of mindset. You save for that ‘rainy day’ or just in case. Congratulations, you’re a prepper!
Water purifying tablets and water filtration devices
Water purifying tablets and water filtration devices are two of the most important items to have in an emergency. Water is essential for survival, and if you don’t have a way to purify it, you will quickly become dehydrated. Water purifying tablets are a great way to disinfect water, and water filtration devices are a great way to filter out contaminants from water.
Both of these items are essential for any prepper’s kit, and you should make sure to have at least one of each of them. Bottled water is another option but you may not have the room for a lot of it, taking into account all your other storage needs.
As well as being required for drinking and cooking, water is needed for washing and staying clean, which helps to uplift the morale of you and your household when stress levels may be high.
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Aside from shelter and water, food is the next most important item. How much food you might need is impossible to determine but aim for at least three days supply.
Food and the storage of it is a large subject that could easily be the subject for a long post on its own. For the purpose of this summary, start by looking into the various type of dry goods, freeze dried food, and other forms of dehydrated foods.
Some of these will already be familiar to you but some prepping companies provide dried foods created specifically for this purpose. They may very similar to those supplied to members of the armed forces when out in the field.
MREs (Meal, Ready-to-Eat) are a type of dried food that is supplied by prepping suppliers. They are vacuum-sealed and can be stored for a long time without spoiling. MREs are usually used by the military, but they can also be used by civilians in an emergency situation.
MREs typically contain a main course, side dish, dessert, and drink. They are nutritionally balanced and provide about 1,200 calories per meal. Some of the available flavors include beef stew, chicken with rice, and black bean burrito.They typically need to be mixed with water and then heated to make them edible.
MREs can also come in a 4-pack tray that contains breakfast, lunch, and dinner options. These MREs will not require any additional water for preparation. Some examples of these types of meals include scrambled eggs with ham, chicken fajita, and pasta with meat sauce.
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Toilet paper and plastic bags
When the first lockdowns were announced during the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020, it triggered the panic buying of toilet paper in some places. For some people, the thought of using their toilets each day without an adequate supply of paper was of greater concern than anything else.
While we may ponder this reaction now, the fact remains that if the water supply is interrupted then toilets won’t flush and you are left with the problem with what to do with the effluent generated by a household that could contain several adults and children.
If you still have access to stored water then it might be possible to manually flush toilets using buckets but if water is a scarce resource then it will have to be kept for drinking and cooking only.
The answer to this problem might be a camping toilet but if that’s not feasible for any reason they the fallback solution might be a bucket set aside for the purpose. The resulting effluent will need to be bagged in sealable plastic bags.
For hygiene purposes add some hand sanitizer to your prepping shopping list.
Assuming your local climate produces enough sunshine, then solar ovens are a valuable addition to any prepper’s kit as they are a great way to cook food without using any fuel. Solar ovens are also a great way to conserve resources, as they use no fuel and generate no emissions.
Solar ovens are a type of oven that uses the power of the sun to heat food and cook it. They are a great alternative to traditional ovens, as they don’t require any electricity or gas to operate.
Solar ovens work by using reflectors to direct the sun’s rays onto a black box that contains the food. The heat from the sun then cooks the food inside the box. Some solar ovens also have the option to use a fan to circulate the air and speed up the cooking process.
Portable Camping Stoves
If a solar oven isn’t practical in your climate then portable camping stoves are a great tool to have for preppers as they can be used for a variety of purposes. Camping stoves can be used to cook food, boil water, or heat up supplies.
They also use a minimal amount of fuel, which is important in a crisis situation when resources may be scarce. In event of bugging out they should be lightweight and easy to transport. T
Camping stoves come in a variety of different sizes and styles, so there is sure to be one that suits your needs and budget. It’s important to have a camping stove that is well-made and reliable.
Buckets are an essential item for preppers as they can be used for a variety of purposes. Buckets can be used to store water, food, or other goods, or they can be used to collect rainwater or snow. For example, standard 5-gallon buckets are an ideal way to store water.
Buckets can also be used as a way to carry water or waste from one place to another. Buckets are a versatile item, and every prepper should have at least one or two of them.
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Hand-Cranked Radios & Flashlights
A hand-cranked flashlight is a great tool to have as they are a reliable source of light in an emergency.
Hand-cranked radios are a reliable source of information when there is a loss of mains power. This will be essential as you’ll not be able to check online for any updates if there’s a civil emergency that has knocked out the power.
Being able to hear the news, play music, and listen to discussions will also lift the spirits of your household should all the lights go out.
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First Aid Kits
Any household, no matter how small, should have a first aid kit, even if you live alone, and a kit is an essential item for any prepper. It’s important to have a kit that is well stocked and up to date.
Ideally, your first aid kit should include supplies for both minor and major injuries but not everyone can afford to spend that much so pick a kit that suits your budget. You can get a basic kit for under $25 and they go up to over $500 for a fully packed and equipped kit.
Minor injuries can be treated with supplies like bandages, gauze, tape, alcohol pads, and antibiotic ointment. Major injuries can be treated with supplies like pressure dressings, hemostatic agents, splints, and CPR masks.
You can buy pre-made kits or you can put together your own. A household first aid kit should include the following: adhesive bandages in several sizes, antibiotic ointment, over-the-counter pain reliever, gauze pads in several sizes, a cold pack, tape, scissors and a thermometer.
It’s also important to have a first aid guide in your kit. This will help you to know how to treat minor and major injuries.
Better still, go on a basic first aid course. You’ll then be prepared for all kinds of situations and it may even be an additional bonus point in the eyes of your employer. Your employer may even sponsor your training.
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Growing your own food
Growing your own food at home can be a great way to ensure that you have some dried, pickled, or otherwise preserved food in the event of an emergency. It can also be a great way to save money on groceries in the meantime.
There are a number of ways that you can start prepping by growing food at home. You can grow food in a garden, on a balcony or patio, or even in a window box. You can also grow a little indoors.
As with all new skills, start small and try something that is easy to grow. Once you taste that first home-grown tomato or potatoe you’ll be hooked on the idea.
The easiest vegetables to grow are probably lettuce, spinach, and other leafy greens. They’re very easy to take care of, don’t require a lot of space, and tend to be pretty forgiving if you forget to water them or something else goes wrong. Root vegetables like carrots or potatoes are also pretty easy to grow, as are some fruits like strawberries or raspberries.
However, for prepping purposes, at least some of the produce you grow needs to be easily dried or preserved for storage if it’s to have any use. You’ll also need to consider the amount of space that the dried, pickled, or preserved goods will take up and contrast that with the benefit they’ll give you in an emergency situation.
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Preserving food without using a freezer
One of the best ways to preserve food is by dehydration. This involves removing all the water from the food through a variety of methods such as sun drying, using a dehydrator, or even an oven.
There are a few things to keep in mind when dehydrating food. First, make sure that all the water has been removed before packaging it up. If there is any moisture left in the food, it can lead to bacteria growth and spoilage. Additionally, try to package the food inairtight containers to prevent any moisture from getting in.
Another key element of food prepping is learning how to can your food. Canning is a process where you heat food up to a certain temperature and then seal it in a jar or container, which effectively kills any harmful bacteria.
Canning is a great way to preserve fruits, vegetables, and meats, and it can also be a great way to stock up on food in case of an emergency.
Finally, it’s important to have a good stockpile of food storage containers. Plastic containers are lightweight and less expensive, but they are not as durable as metal containers. Metal containers are more expensive, but they are durable and can be used for both long-term and short-term storage.
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- If you or any member of your family is on any medication then you’ll need to think about storing an adequate stock of medical supplies.
- Cleaning supplies such as bleach, disinfectant or anti-bacterial sprays, and wet wipes are another good thing to have stored.
- Important documents such birth certificates, marriage certificates, and passports. These will probably need to be stored close to your bug out bag if not within it.
- Self defense training. There is a small risk that if diaster strikes then your emergency supplies may attract the attention of envious eyes.
- An emergency fund of cash.
- Duct tape and zip ties. They have all kinds of uses.
Turning Camping Skills into Survival Skills
In worse case scenarios you may have to abandon your home. Some preppers practice their survival skills for just such a situation. It’s a very remote possibility but again, learning these skills is, for some, an enjoyable experience that develops self-confidence and self-reliance.
The popularity of TV programs that cover this subject is an indication of how the interest has developed. Think of the impact that Ray Mears and Bear Grylls have had on viewers and readers.
- How to build a fire: This is an essential skill for any prepper. It can be used to cook food, keep warm, and signal for help.
- How to find food and water: You need to be able to find potable water and food no matter what the circumstances.
- How to build a shelter: A good shelter can protect you from the elements and wild animals.
- How to navigate without a compass: If you’re lost, you need to be able to find your way back using natural landmarks.
- How to treat injuries: Sometimes accidents happen, and you need to be able to treat basic injuries until help arrives.
- How to find and use resources: There may come a time when you need to use natural resources for survival purposes e.g. vines for rope.
Bushcraft Survival Tin
It’s a short step from camping skills and gear to bushcraft and survival skills. A bushcraft survival tin usually includes the essentials for wilderness survival. The basics include things like a knife, fire starter, and shelter, but you can also add other items like a compass, first-aid kit, and water filter.
Bugging out with your bug out bag
There may come at which you have to abandon your home at only a moment’s notice, even if it means leaving behind all those carefully prepared supplies and your emergency food stockpile.
Bugging out is a term used for when you evacuate your home in anticipation of an emergency or when remaining there is no longer an option. A bug out bag is the bag that you prepare for such an event and it will contain a minimal amount of survival gear and supplies. It will be light enough for carry to wherever you can find alternative shelter, which may be several miles away.
In these days of greater awareness several companies now offer preloaded bug out bags that you can buy and store. This saves all the stress of deiciding what should be in the bag and what should be left out.
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21st Century Storms in the UK
The worst storms that have hit the UK in the 21st century are the winter storms of 2009-2010, 2013-2014, 2015-2016, and the winter storms of 2021-2022.
The 2009-2010 season included a series of storms that affected the UK between December and February. The worst storm of the series was on 26 December 2009. The wind speeds reached up to 100 mph in parts of England, and around 200,000 homes were left without power.
The 2013-2014 season included a series of storms that affected the UK between November and January. The worst storm of the series was on 11 January 2014. The wind speeds reached up to 142 mph in parts of Scotland, and around 300,000 homeswere left without power.
The 2015-2016 season included a series of storms that affected the UK between December and February. The worst storm of the series was on 28 February 2016. The wind speeds reached up to 108 mph in parts of England, and around 900,000 homes were left without power.
The 2021-20226 season is still ongoing at the time of writing. It has already included storms such as Storm Eunice which produced speeds of 122mph recorded at The Needles on the Isle of Wight. Several people were killed and tens of thousands of homes were left without power for days on end.
21st Century Natural Disasters (Global)
The 21st Century has alreaddy seen its share of devastating natural disasters. From hurricanes to wildfires, these disasters have caused billions of dollars in damage and claimed thousands of lives. Here are some of the worst natural disasters of the 21st century:
1. Hurricane Katrina
In 2005, Hurricane Katrina struck the Gulf Coast of the United States, causing widespread damage and claiming the lives of over 1,800 people. The hurricane was the deadliest and costliest natural disaster in US history at the time.
2. The Indian Ocean Tsunami
In 2004, a tsunami triggered by an earthquake struck the coast of Indonesia, resulting in over 230,000 deaths. This was one of the deadliest natural disasters in history.
3.The Tōhoku Earthquake and Tsunami
In 2011, a massive earthquake struck Japan, triggering a tsunami that claimed the lives of over 15,000 people. This was the deadliest natural disaster in Japan’s history.
4. Hurricane Sandy
In 2012, Hurricane Sandy made landfall in the US states of New Jersey and NewYork, resulting in over 180 deaths and causing $65 billion in damage. This was the second-costliest hurricane in US history.
5. Hurricane Irma
In 2017, Hurricane Irma became the strongest hurricane ever recorded in the Atlantic Ocean, making landfall in several Caribbean islands before striking Florida. The hurricane caused over $50 billion in damage andclaimed the lives of at least 134 people.
6. The California Wildfires
In 2018, a series of wildfires swept through the state of California, becoming the deadliest and most destructive wildfire in the state’s history. The fires caused over $30 billion in damage and claimed the lives of at least 86 people.
In 2013, Typhoon Haiyan made landfall in the Philippines, becoming one of the deadliest typhoons in history. The typhoon caused over 7,000 deaths and left millions of people homeless.
8. Earthquake in Haiti
In 2010, an earthquake struck Haiti, causing over 220,000 deaths and leaving millions of people homeless. This was the deadliest earthquake in the history of the Caribbean.
Prepping For Beginners – FAQ
- What do I need to start prepping?
- What should I buy for prepping?
- Is prepping pointless?
- What does SHTF mean?
- Should I prepare for a SHTF situation?
- The most important things are food, water, and shelter. You should also have a first-aid kit, some supplies for self-defense, and a way to communicating with others in case of an emergency.
- The best items to buy for prepping depend on your specific needs and situation. However, some basic supplies that every prepper should have include food, water, and emergency supplies like blankets and first-aid kits. It’s also important to have a plan in place for what you’ll do in case of an emergency.
- No, far from it. Prepping can benefit you and your family in a few ways. First, it can help you become more self-reliant, which is always a good thing. Second, prepping can help you develop useful skills and knowledge that could come in handy in a crisis situation. Finally, prepping can also help you build relationships with like-minded people who can offer support in difficult times.
- SHTF stands for “shit hits the fan.” It’s a term used by preppers to describe a situation in which normal everyday services and systems break down. This could be anything from a natural disaster like an earthquake or tornado, to a man-made disaster like a terrorist attack.
- There is no one definitive answer to this question. Some people believe that prepping is essential for ensuring your safety and survival during a SHTF event, while others feel that it’s unnecessary or even counterproductive, given the odds of such an event happening. Ultimately, the decision comes down to each individual prepper. There are pros and cons to prepping, and only you can decide whether or not it’s right for you.
As world events have shown us, although rare there occasions when disaster strikes, even if it only lasts for a short time before a resumption of normal life.
If you can afford it and you have the storage space then ideally your disaster preparedness plan should include the storage of enough food and survival gear to last a few days, better still for at least two weeks.
Some take this to extremes and have enough supplies to last a year, but the vast majority of people don’t have the space for that volume of emergency food and it would be prohibitively expensive for most to buy it anyway.
As part of your family preparedness you should also know how to process human waste in such a way that it doesn’t become a risk to personal health.
Whether it’s a global pandemic, severe weather, or changing weather patterns, an emergency supply of food items will alleviate the stress and do wonders for your mental health while you listen to events unfold on the news.
I hope this beginners guide has given you inspiration. Don’t lose sleep worrying about worse case scenarios and instead treat emergency preparedness as a means to build confidence. Start prepping by assembling some basic gear and if nothing bad ever does happen then your prepping efforts won’t be wasted – you’ll just end up with some extra food and you’ll be part way to becoming self sufficent.
Last update on 2023-03-23 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API