Survival Guide for Beginner Prepper
There is never a time when we should not fear the unknown. Natural disasters, a collapse in the economy, war, or even losing a job may devastate our lives, as we know it. Being prepared for any of these situations might seem like a hard feat to conquer, but it is necessary in order to be able to survive and make it out on the other end successfully.
The First Steps to Begin Your Prepping
The most important skill you will need for your prepping, and prep well, is organization. This is a skill that ties into every single thing that you will do for your survival in case of any disaster or situation. From shopping to bugging out, this skill is of utmost importance. Keeping detailed lists, logs, and specific places for things will guide you a long way. As you continue reading, you will see how organization will make thigs run smoothly in any event.
The first and most important step to begin the process of prepping comes down to what “makes the world go ‘round.” That’s right, money. Your finances need to be in order before you can begin your prepping. If you are currently in debt, you need to make a plan in order to get out of debt. However, before you start tackling that debt, you will need to start a rainy day fund.
In case of any disaster, an economic collapse, or even the sudden loss of a job, you should have a fund of about three months’ salary stashed away somewhere safe and dry, in cash. Begin by saving up as much as you can, while still being able to pay bills, provide yourself with the most necessary and essential things, and crunching that debt.
While you are in the beginning stages of your prepping, another thing that you will need to do is learn survival tips, and the correct use of survival tools. While you are saving and getting your finances in order, a great thing to do is to look into community offered classes that will help your survival skills be sharp. CPR classes and first aid courses are a great way to learn some top survival skills. These are the most common skills needed in case of a major disaster or medical emergency. Along with this, you will learn the use of some survival tools.
Additionally, you should take some survival classes in which you will learn basic skills for survival in the outdoors. These classes will show you what survival tools are necessary in order to be prepared, and will come very handy if you suddenly need to bug out. They will teach you skills such as plant identification (necessary for edible, medicinal and harmful plants), how to hunt and handle game, fishing, starting fires, and shelter building.
Once you start taking classes, or even online courses, you will have a better idea of what you will need to begin working on your bug out kit.
Bug Out Kit, What Is Necessary?
Bug out kits are elementary for prepping. A bug out kit needs to contain all the things you will need in order to survive in the outdoors for a minimum of 72 hours. This kit needs to be ready and available in order for you to grab it and go in an instant. These will be necessary if you find yourself in the middle of a tornado, a flood, a fire, or civil unrest like war, riots or strikes near your home.
How do you know exactly what you will need in your bug out kit?
Once again, organization is key. You will need to plan a couple of locations where you will bug out if you need to. This will mean getting maps of your area in addition to research of your chosen locations. You will need to research your chosen bug out locations to find out the safest routes there, what resources will be available to you, and also safe routes to the other chosen locations, just in case location A is a no-go when the time comes. Doing this planning and getting yourself organized will give you a better sense of the things you should include in your bug out kit.
A common mistake made by first time preppers is to buy an off the shelf bug out kit. These bug out kits are sold uniformly and are not customized to your specific needs. Nevertheless, some items are obvious for every bug out kit. They include the following:
- First aid kit
- Water stored in a hard container
- Water filter and/or water purification tablets (enough for three days for each person you plan on being with)
- Lighter, matches and a magnesium fire starter (all three)
- Ready to eat/prepared foods (freeze dried meals, small ready to open cans, or dried fruit, nuts, and jerky)
- Dry source of tinder (if your area is damp, rainy, or snowy)
- Tarp or small tent
- Knife and multi-tool
- Solar powered lamp
- Two way radio
- USB and power line chargers
- Toilet paper
- Hygiene products (soap, small package of wipes)
- Bags (for storage and garbage)
- Copies of your important documents (physical and digital), safely stored in a dry place
- Cash and credit cards, safely stored in a dry place
The other things that need to be in your bug out kit that need to be customized for your specific needs include:
- Clothes that will be comfortable in the temperatures of your area (you might have to rotate according to seasons)
- Clothes that will keep you warm during the night temperatures of your area
- Detailed maps of your city and bug out areas
- Mosquito net and/or bug repellant that will take care of the critters you might expect in your specific areas
- Foot protection that suits your area (hiking boots, rubber boots for wet areas)
- Any specific medications you take (blood pressure, allergies, diabetes, etc.), try to have at least one month supply for these types of medications
Bugging In, What to Have in Your Home
In many scenarios, it is better to bug in rather than venture out. Instances where your home is not affected as much or is not in the way of a major flood, snowstorm, or natural disaster, yet it is still unsafe to go outside, or a case of civil unrest (war, riots, strikes) in which everyone will remain home, or even a pandemic that requires an unknown time of quarantine. In these cases, you need to be ready and prepped for some time.
Most preppers are told to have enough supplies to last two weeks. However, it is better to plan for three months (like the salary you should aim to have saved up). Prepping for bugging in can start in your first stages, and can be done gradually.
The best things to begin your prepping for staying home are small and useful purchases and planning. Other than having as much extra water as possible (at least one gallon per person per day), you will also need food.
Experiment with different canned foods, or freeze dried foods that need boiling, little water, or are ready to eat. Buy a few different things at a time, until you find something that you enjoyed, and would not mind eating for a few weeks. Once you find the items that you like, buy a few extra every time you grocery shop. Build up your stock little by little, and remember to keep the oldest foods for first consumption. You will need to check expiration dates every now and then, and rotate the oldest items to the front of your pantry.
You may also want to consider storing things like beans, rice, pastas, nuts, flours, powdered milk, and any other dry foods that do not require refrigeration.
Additionally, make sure you also stock up on medicines (first aid and prescription), cleaning and hygiene supplies, different fire sources, candles, flashlights, batteries, solar powered lamps and chargers, a two way radio, space heaters, blankets, duct tape, tarps, tools, fuel, books, board games, and any other things that are essential for your specific lifestyle.
What If You Are Not Home?
Because we can never be sure just when an emergency or natural disaster may happen, you will also need to prep a get home kit and an everyday carry kit. Get home kits are similar to bug out kits, but are kept in a location outside of the home where they will be easily accessible in case of such a situation.
A get home kit is designed so that in case something happens when you are away from home, you will be able to survive and make it home safely. An everyday carry kit is much smaller, as you will carry it with you at all times. Not all scenarios will include a natural disaster or extreme emergency, yet having a get home kit and an everyday kit is necessary for any prepper.
So, in which scenarios will these two kits come in handy? Imagine any of the following:
- A snow storm or major flood has left you trapped at your place of work
- Your car runs out of fuel on your commute
- Your car battery has died on your commute
- You are caught during social unrest, riot or protest and have to remain where you are
- You have a major accident or witness one during your commute
These are just a few of the many situations that will require prepping a get home kit and a carry kit.
A get home kit is very similar to a bug out kit, and most people store it in the trunk of their car. People that do not drive usually keep it in a safe place at their place of work, or any place they spend a lot of their time. Because the main idea is to get home, things like tents, tarps, extra clothes, more than one fire source, and mosquito netting are not essential. Instead, this is geared toward short-term emergencies. A get home kit should include the following items:
- Small first aid kit
- One container of water
- Necessary medicine (prescription medications), enough for two days
- One thick blanket (in case you have to sleep in your car or another area)
- One extra set of clothes
- Small flashlight
- Pocket knife or multi-tool
- A small supply of food or snacks (dried fruit, trail mix, jerky, pretzels)
- Cash and credit cards
For preppers that own cars, you must include the following:
- Jumper cables
- Jump start battery
- Extra tire
- Car jack
- Tire wrench
- Tow straps
- Window breaker
- Traction sand
- Extra water
- Extra wiper fluid
- Extra fuel
A carry kit is very minimal in comparison to a bug out kit and a get home kit. Because this will be on your person at all times, you will again need to be organized and plan well what and how you will carry these items. The most essential things need to be with you, always. Most people will carry a copy of their documents, along with cash and credit cards in their purse or bag.
Along with it needs to be a phone, chargers (USB and plug-in) any medication you will need (enough for a day or two), non-prescription medicines (such as ibuprofen, acetaminophen, stomach medicine), a small supply of snacks (dried fruit, trail mix, jerky, pretzels), a container of water, an extra sweater or rain jacket and a small pocket knife. Other items can be combined with your keychains, such as a small flashlight, or a non-lethal multi-tool that might become useful.
Last-Minute Survival Tips And Survival Tools
- Remember the rule of three: you can survive three minutes without air, three days without water, and three weeks without food.
- Learn as much as you can about gardening, hunting, fishing, first aid, fire and shelter building and cooking
- Learn as much as you can about survival tools and how to use them
- Practice these skills as often as possible
- Do practice runs for bugging out every few months
- Do not forget to rotate clothes, medicines, water and food every few months from your bug out kit, get home kit, and carry kit
- Keep yourself organized at all times
- Plan everything that you do in order to prep
Once you have completed these, you will have done the greater part of prepping. Do not overwhelm yourself as you try to complete these tasks, enjoy the process! It will be as gratifying as it is necessary and useful.