If you haven’t noticed, prepping seems to get more and more complicated as time goes on. That’s actually a bit of an illusion, as our survival needs haven’t changed any. But there are two things that have changed.
The first and most obvious are the number of products which are made specifically for the prepping and survival community. When I started in survival, nobody had even thought of many of them.
The second is our understanding of being self-sufficient. There again, when I started in survival, few people thought of truly becoming self-sufficient.
Unfortunately, these changes can make becoming a prepper a bit daunting. I just talked to someone yesterday who is new to prepping; their complaint was that every time they try and get started, they are instantly overwhelmed by everything they need to do. They haven’t started, because of all the “noise” that’s confusing what they really need to do.
But let’s face it, owning a solar power system or a customized 4×4 bug out vehicle is not going to meet any of our basic survival needs. While those are good things to own, they’re add-ons; chances are that you can survive just fine without them.
The most basic part of being a prepper is having a stockpile of food. Pretty much all of us start here, even if we have no idea of what prepping is. We universally recognize our need for food, even without any survival training. As we progress, our food stockpile becomes larger and more sophisticated, increasing our chances of survival.
Unless you have a successful homestead in operation, which provides all the food you need, you’re not going to survive very long without a stockpile of food. Everyone will be looking for food in the wake of a major disaster, so you can’t count on scavenging it or harvesting it from nature. Therefore, a food stockpile is an essential ingredient in any prepper’s plans.
Related: If I Could Only Stockpile 10 Foods
Water Purification System
It’s all but impossible to stockpile enough water to survive more than a few days. The problem isn’t so much that water is hard to store, as that we need so much of it. So unless you can fill half your basement with water barrels, chances are you aren’t going to have enough water to see you through.
That’s why we need a good water purification system, something that will take whatever water we can harvest from nature and ensure that it is safe to drink, eliminating the microscopic pathogens.
I should probably add a known supply of water that you can count on in an emergency to this, as the water filter isn’t going to do you much good, if you don’t have any water to purify. Hopefully you’ve already got that, either through rainwater harvesting or some local surface water that you can harvest.
Related: How to Build a Water Purification System in 10 Minutes
Bug Out Bag
While most preppers plan on bugging in, in the event of a disaster, you’ve got to be ready to bug out. Building a bug out bag is often the first real prepping project most of us undertake, recognizing the need to have some basic gear ready, in case our homes become untenable and we need to escape.
Of course, building a bug out bag is a project that never seems to end, much like building a food stockpile. You’re always finding something new to add to it. Nevertheless, you’ve got to have at least some sort of basic bug out bag, just in case something happens.
Related: My 3 Bug Out Bags (with Pictures)
Bug Out Plan
Speaking of something happening, a true prepper will know where they are going to go and how they’re going to get there, if they have to leave their home. There are just too many situations which preclude the idea of bugging in, as we saw in the fire that consumed Paradise, California and the flooding that Hurricane Harvey did to Southeast Houston.
To be fair, I know a lot of preppers who haven’t finalized their bug out plans. That’s not to say they don’t have any plan whatsoever, just that it’s not complete. They haven’t finished thinking it through, so that they really know what they are going to do, including all the contingencies. Need to give those people a little nudge.
Related: 5 Maps You Should Have At Home
While I’m sure there are people out there who consider themselves preppers, but don’t have guns, I’m also sure that they are in the minority. Let’s face it; people are the most dangerous predators on the face of the planet. When they’re hungry… or even worse, when their kids are hungry, there’s no telling what they will do.
Guns are essential to a prepper because in a true life-or-death situation, we’ve got what everyone else needs. While our core desire may not be to kill anyone, we must be ready to protect our homes and families. Without guns, that’s going to be almost impossible to do.
Related: 15 Best Guns for Preppers
At Least One Good Knife
The most basic piece of survival gear is the knife. While you don’t have to have a high quality knife to survive, you’re much better off if you have one.
A low quality knife might work for now, but it isn’t going to last; nor is it going to hold an edge. Considering how many survival tasks require the use of a knife, most preppers don’t waste any time buying the best one they can afford. Many go on to collecting them.
Related: How To Correctly Choose Your Survival Knife
At Least One Good Flashlight
While a flashlight is not an essential piece of survival gear, it has almost become a hallmark of the prepper.
There are many times when a good tactical light can make a huge amount of difference, so they have become probably the number two piece of survival gear that most of us buy.
Related: 11 Things You Need to Have Ready for when the Power Grid Fails
These items are some basic things you have to have, if you’re going to be a prepper. Most of us start out with these things, even without someone giving us a detailed road map to follow. Why is that? Because we universally recognize each and every one of them as essentials to our survival. They are the things which truly make us preppers.
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All good stuff. I am glad that I found this site a while back. It has helped out with articles like this one just stating the basics. We all go on to more and more but it is always nice to read one and say “I have all that”. Thanks for taking the time to write it out.
#8 Bear Spray – Instead of or before using your bazooka. Will stop or slow two or three people instead of one with a misplaced bullet. Keep a can near the front door, near your bed, etc. for quick use. Available to spouse or youngster who doesn’t know which way to point the gun. Cheap and buy online.
Based on first hand experience, I would strongly advise against using any kind of debilitating spray inside of a building. While the bad guy may get the full benefit of the spray because it was sprayed directly on him, everyone else in the home, even a large home will experience differing levels of incapacitation from the spray.
If your plan is to hit the intruder with the bear spray can, may I suggest a large can of Bush’s Baked Beans as a striking weapon?
It is fairly heavy for its girth and will certainly add impetus to your strike. On the other hand, I prefer to just shoot the sucker rather than get involved in some kind of hand-to-hand struggle. At my age a four-year old is about the limit of my hand-to-hand effectiveness. As of yet, we don’t have too many four year old home invaders YET!
The problem with stock piling food stuffs isi not the spoilage but when the bad really get baaad if people know you have a stock pile they will resort to unimaginable acts even to hurting your family to take it from you. Additionally, very soon, possibly before the end of this year, we will be in a cashless society. This will be when people will realize the end of the world is very close and their normal behavior will no longer control them.
Perhaps the solution to people knowing you have survival food is to not let people know you have survival food? Perhaps close your garage door before you being your food. Perhaps don’t broadcast to the rest of the world that you’re a prepper/survivalist.
I like my chances better prepping…instead of saying “The world is coming to an end very soon,” (as though anybody really knows that) and insisting that storing food won’t help.
1. Portable solar powered generator
2..Small portable refrigerator (see 1.)
3. Bottled Beer (see 2.)
5. Salsa (Hot)
6. Plastic Plates (see 4.)
7. Toilet paper (see 3.4.& 5.)
The world could be ending but if I was in the desert in the shade with cold beer, chips, and homemade salsa I would have perfect happiness.
I already live out in the country. Where should I go from here. West of San Antonio, TX.
Many “Preppers” live in countries where access and ownership of firearms is impossible, we do not all live in America where you have more freedom.
Well, if Ole Two-Shot, Four-Hands Joe is elected, he promised us he will take away the firearms that Americans own, so I guess we will join some of the less fortunate followers of this list.
Hint to preppers everywhere: Tramontina 18″ machetes together with sheath are only $26 and change on Amazon.
If you are a little older (or a lot older) an 18″ machete is a good length. You can wield it a little handier than longer lengths. Tramontina has a good rep as far as machetes go.
They are made in a country where machetes are every day working tools, so if they didn’t work, they wouldn’t sell.
Besides, with a sharpening stone, you will not run out of blade in your lifetime as you may run out of bullets.
We might get disarmed in America, but that will be AFTER the FIGHT.
Like this list a lot! Would add some good franks or a few bratwursts! All told, would be a real good picnic to me!
If you are going to have franks and brats you’ve just must have beer too. See TruthBtold above.
Good basic starter points. Good reminders. Enjoy comments on the articles. Often the comments get some good conversations going.
Regarding item #3 Bug Out Plan. The 3 most important words in real estate are location, location, location. Just where are you on that new FEMA map? What are the natural hazards that routinely occur in your area? Are you prepared for these events? How will you know when you need to go? A lot depends on where you are and what you put in place as part of your preparedness plan.
Knowledge: Knowledge; KNOWLEDGE!!!!!! One can literally starve to death in abundance for not knowing what is safe to eat. One will die in short order if one cannot make shelter,fire,drinkable water, or replacement parts for the things you depend on to work. Learn everything you can, while you can-and never decide “it’s enough”
If people are daunted by everything they need to do to prep, which is very understandable, why don’t you put a 30 days to prepping or 60 days to prepping guide? And give prep levels to achieve.
Each guide comes with a dollar amount to fulfill that level.
’30 Days to Prep Level I’
’60 Days to Prep Level II’
This will calendarize the process which allows people’s minds to wrap around it. Give them goals, allow them to budget and at the end of each level, they have a complete readiness.
30 Day may be to be ready at anytime which is a go pack with essentials. Great, now they feel accomplished in a prep task. They are now ready for emergencies at home and away.
60 Day may be for starting your build food storage. What are the essentials that you can then build from over time.
30 Days to self gardening. (Prep Level III – now you’re growing your own food).
Would love to see Richard’s idea come to fruition!
My problem is your headline. This is 472 things. Not 7. don’t make misleading headlines and email them to me.
What seems to be really missing is a moderate size First Aid kit. After a few years in the Army Medical Corps, I can tell you first hand that a simple scratch in the woods can get infected and lead to major problems if not attended to.. I always carry a ‘squad’ size first aid kit and have had to use numerous times.
SSG Derringerf – Pray tell, What’s in your Moderate size first aid kit and is it the same as your Squad size? Be good to know from someone in the know. Enlighten us please.
I like the looks of the water filter system in this article that was on the side of the building. Any plans for that? Thanks