I have been getting a lot of emails and hits from suburbanites just starting out. As prepping and the lesser applicable term “survivalism” becomes mainstream more people are realizing that prepping is not an optional activity, it is a duty they owe to their family. Prepping is an insurance policy. A policy we hope we never need to collect on, but if needed it is there.
Here is my advice on how to start your journey (yes, it is a journey) to a state of preparedness.
If you are checking my blog and becoming overwhelmed by the depth at which some preppers see to be, don’t worry. You aren’t supposed to be there yet. You need to start somewhere and the fact that your journey seems long is no reason not to start. The fastest way to walk around the world is to put one foot in front of the other. Start with commercially prepared disaster kits. These kits will get you from a state of no prep to well beyond 50% of your neighbors and friends. The SP started with something like this. The supplies come in a bucket so they are water proof and can withstand some falling debris. They have a minimum of what you need to stay alive for 3 days. I advise going with a kit that is designed for TWICE as many people that you have. This way, the kits will give you a little breathing room in the event you need it. A little extra food and water never hurt. Two buckets are easy to carry in the event you need to get out of the house. Keep them in an accessible area of your house or even out of the house in a shed or garage.
After you have this minimum start by adding the absolute necessities, food and water. I started with two five gallon containers from Nitro-Pak. Nitro-pak has high prices when it comes to water barrels. They can be found cheaper elsewhere. Be sure to add in some water treatment to extend the shelf life of your water and prevent bacteria and algae growth. I like Aerobic 07. I highly recommend buying new water containers that are designed for holding water as opposed to the cheap way of emptying 2 liter bottles. Why? I do not want to risk my water supply being tainted because I didn’t wash the bottles properly. Pay a little more and do it right. Continue adding water as you progress through your preps. Ultimately you want a few 55 gallon containers. They are big so get the hand pump that fits the barrel. I suggest 2 gallons per person per day for thirty days. Check your water every two years. You may wish to empty your containers and refill them to assure freshness.
Now food. It is no secret I am a fan of Mountain House #10 Cans. The food is very good and it has a shelf life of 35 years! Which means that you can buy it and forget it. No rotating or checking expiration dates. They don’t have a huge variety which is a bummer but they have enough to have a different meal everyday for a couple weeks. They also make great desserts and breakfasts. Although I don’t like the eggs! Check out Emergency Essentialsfor your Mountain House needs. I also recommend MRE type meals. The Mountain House meals will require additional water (they are freeze dried) and have preparation requirements. Keeping MREs around is good because they require nothing more to eat. Just open and enjoy (well, not really because they are not that tastey. But if you are starving I am sure they are REAL good!). Long Life Food Depotis a great place to get MREs. See my post on taste testing because nothing is worse than a pantry full of food you and your family hates. MRE deserts are fabulous. Keeping goodies around will help with morale during troubled times.
Finally you need to think about security. This is easily the most controversial subject of prepping. No one argues that you need food or water, but how you protect your family is debatable. The SP is down with the SECOND AMENDMENT!! In my opinion you need to get a gun and learn how to use it. Don’t go Dirty Harry right out of the gate. Get a 9mm automatic like a Ruger P95 and take a class at your local range on how to load, fire, clear misfires and clean your weapon. The P95 is inexpensive and accurate out of the box. I have one and I love it. 9mm ammo can be found everywhere and Big 5 usually has sales on bulk packs. Get a couple boxes of 100 rounds for about $20 each and another magazine (it comes with two so you will have 3) for about $15 and a holster. I don’t care about what other people say, a 9mm handgun will turn 99.99% of people looking for trouble around and if you need to fire, it will deliver a fatal shot (sans body armor or some unforeseen circumstance). From there I would rec commend a shotgun. Nothing says “Get the F&ck out of my house or you will assuredly die!” like a 12-gauge!. But you don’t need a shotgun, the 9mm will get you to a state where you can protect your family with deadly force if necessary. I am a firm believer that for most SHTF scenarios we are NOT going to see roving biker gangs and organized thugs. You are going to have a few opportunistic criminals looking for an easy score. When they come around any firearm will send them away to an easier target. If you are paranoid about armed thugs and crime in a SHTF scenario then I suggest two get a gun safe and fill it! If you have the money, an arsenal is a GREAT thing to have!
Finally pick up a few comprehensive first aid kits in addition to the ones supplied with your commercial disaster kits above. Costco has some for a reasonable price. You may wish to add a bottle of comfort medicines such as Advil or Tylenol as well as a cold & flu medicine. Don’t forget the kids when it comes to medical supplies. Get infants or children’s Tylenol as well.
Now you are prepared.
From here on out it is just about adding layers or items for specific SHTF scenarios. Masks for the bird flu. Radiation detectors for a nuke or dirty bomb. Body armor and night vision for additonal protection. More food. More water, etc.
You have to start somewhere. That is not a phrase, it is an order! Start your prepping now and get squared away for a minimum of 30 days of food and water. Look at the Chinese earthquake. It happened days ago and they are still in the rescue phase! Things move slow when catastrophe strikes, being self-sufficient for a month will get you further than 99% of the population.