The Informative Guide On How To Start Prepping Properly

Updated: 4.26.2017

“A man without a plan for the day is lost before he starts.” – Lewis K Bendele

Since you are reading these words, chances are that you already have an idea about what prepping is and its life-saving benefits. Our friend Google defines prepping as “the action or process of preparing something, or preparing for something.” In our case, both interpretations of the word are correct – we are going to prepare something and prepare for something, at the same time.

After you take the tinfoil and conspiracy theories away, people are prepping for the following scenarios: Are You Ready

  • natural disasters – earthquakes, fires, extreme weather such as storms, tornadoes, heavy snowfalls, flooding, etc
  • man-made disasters – arson, sabotage, violent attacks such as criminal attacks, gang attacks, etc
  • infrastructure issues –  supply chain issues, dwindling resources, economic breakdown, power grid failures, meltdowns
  • biological threats – infectious diseases, tainted water or fouled food supplies
  • attacks – explosives, nuclear, radiological, biological, chemical or cyber attacks
  • animal attacks, getting stranded or getting lost – this can happen if you are hiking, boating, exploring or if you live in a remote area. Oh, yeah, and if your neighbor’s Rottweiler decides you look delicious
  • accidents – vehicle failure, vehicle crashes, house fires, etc
  • negligence or human error – failure of essential essential services – police, fire department, hospitals; failure to detect threats before it becomes too late.

As you can see, not only are these prepping scenarios plausible, but they actually happen on a regular basis. Open any newspaper and you’ll be able to read about wild fires, gangs, cyber attacks and pandemic diseases, just to name a few. Luckily, these life-threatening events are usually contained fast. This happens thanks to preparedness exercises, increased awareness and the work of good people such as Policemen, Firefighters, the National Guard and agencies such as FEMA.

However, sometimes it takes a while to contain some of the potentially dangerous situations. Also, a few of these threats never really go away. Bad weather, natural disasters and violent crimes are huge issue that keep coming back.

That is why you cannot rely 100% on receiving help from others. You need, no, you have a duty to plan ahead of time how you can protect yourself and your family from potential threats. Most prepping guides focus heavily on survival outdoors and they usually do a wonderful job at that. However, most prepping guides could be enhanced by analyzing the most probable scenarios in depth and adding a long term focus to the immediate survival plans.

Prepping Basics For The Rookie Survivalist

First step of emergency management is to prevent that emergency, of course. Prepping is not only a set of tools and plans that you use to deal with a potentially dangerous situation, but also a form of prevention. Let’s suppose the power grid goes out in your area in the middle of an unforgiving winter. The phones are down, emergency responders overwhelmed and hard to reach. You are prepared, of course, so:

  • you fire up the backup generatorEmergency Prepping
  • you take out the heavy-duty, insulated clothing and spare blankets
  • if you live in the rural area, you make sure the shed is well stocked with firewood (do not burn inside unless you are sure ALL the smoke and carbon monoxide has a way of getting out)

Congratulations, you just prevented a hazardous situation(freezing) from taking place.  Hey, I’m sure you’ll even invite your neighbor over (the one who used to make fun of your prepping supplies).

Emergency Prevention Is The Survivalist’s Best Friend

It’s the stuff that you do to reduce the chances of something bad happening, to stop it completely or to minimize the danger it poses to you.

It takes many forms, but they all have this common requirement – the need for you to identify the hazards in your area that have the highest probability of happening.

For example, these are some preventive actions (yeah, I know, they’re also called common sense) that you might take without thinking about them as prepping:

  • buying car insurance. Because you know you’re at risk of getting into one all the time.
  • buying medical insurance
  • using sturdy doors and heavy locks on all the entrances if you live in a remote or gang-ridden area
  • not flashing valuables when you are in public
  • exercising and staying in shape. Prepping is a good way how to motivate yourself to exercise and be physically fit to  deal with anything.
  • putting away a little something for rainy days. Money or food and water because you can’t eat money if you are not able to make it to the store. This takes us to the next phase of emergency management:

Prepping Is Proven To Be Powerful

And it saves lives. Ideally it takes place before the emergency occurs. Yeah, I know, what a revelation.

Prepping vs Prevention
  • prevention is meant to reduce the chances of an emergency taking place (or to stop it completely)
  • prepping is planning what you do after the emergency happens and stocking tools and supplies that help you accomplish that plan

The planning part of prepping is meant to help you with the following actions after an disaster happens:

  • what to do. Step by step.
  • where to go if you need to leave.
  • who’s help to enlist. Phone numbers, addresses, etc
  • make sure that your family has access to this information

A prepping list – how to stock up on tools and supplies is the most sought out part of getting ready. People, just like you, love the peace of mind and the extra layer of safety that prepping brings into their lives. But it requires careful consideration, planning and a perishable rotation schedule. So it doesn’t turn into a big waste of money that doesn’t help anyone or, worse, fails you when you need it most.

There is a comprehensive prepping list at the bottom of the article. However, we recommend that you keep on reading so you know how to use that list.

Prepper’s Emergency Response Is Far Superior

Emergency Response InfographicResponse, simply put, it is putting all your plans into action. This is when all the careful work, planning and investments in survival tools and supplies comes to fruition.

First step is to analyze immediate threats to you or your family. Use the analysis to decide which is the best course of action to take that will keep you and your loved one safe. You might have only seconds to make these decisions. The better prepared you are and the better your analysis, the more chances you have of keeping yourself and your family from harm.

Keep A Positive Expectation

You have prepared for so long and invested a lot of planning to help you with just this particular moment. Do not panic and keep your wits about you. You can do it!


What is the the best immediate course of action? The one that will have the best impact on your immediate and future survival?


Get in touch with people that can help you, such as police, emergency responders, neighbors. Get in touch with people that you can help – friends, family, neighbors, etc

Take Cover Or Bug Out

Depending on the crisis that you are facing, you’ll need to take cover inside your house, shelter (e.g. tornado) or bug out – leave the house and take your chances somewhere else (e.g. fire, flood). Make sure you have gathered everyone you can help – family, friends, neighbors, pets. Grab your supplies, tools and BOB – Bug Out Bag.

Keep Informed

Keep tabs on the weather, rescue efforts, how far the emergency responders are, etc. Use this new, emerging information to make informed decisions that will continue to keep you safe.

Preppers Recover Like No Other

Recovery is what you do after the emergency has passed. It’s the effort you put in to return to a normal or even safer life. You might have to ask for financial help, medical assistance or contact the insurance companies. A very important part of the recovery process is analyzing what just happened and using that information to prevent or prepare for future emergencies.

The Timely Prepping List

Thanks to your feedback, this prepping kit will be revisited and improved regularly.

Some people make prepping a game. With new challenges and many, many different scenarios added on a daily basis. Before you start snickering, consider the following:

  • is there any difference between a prepping game and a disaster drill?
  • does it make preparing more fun, less tedious. Will the game improve the likelihood of you putting together a prepping kit?
  • what kind of people do you want to have around you during an emergency

But if you forget about the game for a second and take a look at everything that could go wrong, you’ll be overwhelmed by the sheer number of hazards that stalk you continuously. How can you possibly prepare for all of them?

Prepping And Statistics

This is when statistics become very useful. No, no, no, I’m not talking about equations, complex math, keeping huge spreadsheets and running statistical functions on them. It is the simple process of identifying the hazards that are most likely to happen in your area.

Your geographical location, where you live, has a tremendous impact on which emergencies are more likely to happen. And it also has a huge influence on your prepping kit, bug out bag, how you will respond to the hazard and how you will recover. Let me give you a few examples:

  • you live in an ill-famed urban area. Your biggest threats are gangs, crime (violent crime, drug use, prostitution, blackmail, etc), drunk driving to name just a few.
  • you live in a remote area (your closest neighbor is 40 miles away). The most probable hazards are crime (being isolated makes you an easy target), natural disasters and bad weather. I will also list grid failure, even if a lot of the people living remotely in the US are somewhat self-sufficient.
  • you live close to a tectonic fault line. Earthquakes are a reality that you should be prepared for.
  • you live in tornado country or hurricanes are unwelcome, but regular guests.
  • the list goes on – you live close to the border; you live in a heavily populated urban area and are heavily dependent on the supply chain.

Your prepping supplies are going to vary wildly based on where you live and the type of hazards that threaten your safety. So will your plans, escape route, shelter options, etc.

How To Make A Complete Emergency Preparedness Kit

Take a good look at your basic needs such as water, food and medicine:

  • prepare supplies for at least 2 weeks
  • decide if you can take shelter inside your home or if you will have to leave it.
  • make the supplies more suitable for the type of emergency your most likely to encounter
  • take into consideration how much you can grab if you are in a hurry and how much you can carry if you go on foot
  • store the supplies somewhere you can reach fast
  • store the personal protection and self defense equipment handy, away from kids’ reach and as the local/federal law requires it
  • keep track of the expiration dates and use the perishable items before they expire. Replace them as needed. It is a lot easier to use and then replace different types of perishables at the same time. That is because it reduces the number of shopping trips, makes it easier to keep track and helps you plan the expense ahead of time.
  • use the following calculation to plan the actual food and water quantities needed: (3meals)x(number of days; minimum 14 days)x(number of family members). For water (1 gallon)x(number of days; minimum 14)x(number of family members). Adjust for: special needs, extreme weather (heat requires more water, cold more calories), infants, elderly & pets. For example, for a family of five you will need (3meals)x(14)x(5)=210 meals 0r 70 breakfast meals, 70 lunches and 70 dinners.
  • memorize the following numbers: a person can survive 3-5 days with no water and up to 21 days with no food. However, these numbers vary wildly based on weather, temperature, health and age. For example, an athlete working hard in hot weather can dehydrate and die in a matter of hours.

The Incomplete Emergency Kit

The list below represent items that you will be able to use both for taking shelter in your own home or for leaving your home in a hurry. The bug out bag – BOB – items are listed at the bottom of the list. They are more sizable and you should pack them in a separate bag. If you have to burrow in your home, it is less likely that you will need them.

When you start to buy items from the list, start with the ones that are the most important to your survival. Some examples are water, water purification tablets, self defense equipment, medicine, etc. This will make things easier on your pocket.

The list is color coded in the order of the items’ importance. You should make 3-4 different bags/stashes/hideaways:

  • Keep the self defense equipment always handy, away from children and as the law requires it.
  • Have an emergency bag with documents, valuables and crucial items that you can grab in a matter of seconds; include food and water purification supplies.
  • Print your emergency plans and put them in sight in several places.
  • Store the food and the heavier/more voluminous items close to or even inside your storm cellar/shelter.
  • Do not forget to stock your car with emergency supplies.

Download the prepping list in PDF format. Do not forget to subscribe to our mailing list for more amazing survival articles.

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<a href="" target="blank">Prepping List</a>

Item NameItem categoryQuantityRemarksRotation
WaterHydration1 gallon/person dailyMake sure you have enough supplies or a controlled water sourceReplace every 6 months. Use for household purposes.
Water FilterHydration 1Purifies water. A Lifestraw Family Filter will purify 4755 gallons – enough for 3 years (family of 5)Indefinite shelf life; do not keep in the sun
Water Purification TabletsHydration200Treats 200 quarts of water (50 gallons)5 years – ask seller how far into this date the tablets are before buying
ChlorineHydration 1 gallonDisinfect water. Use 2-4 drops per quart of water. Should last for at least 20,000 quarts or 5,000 gallons. May also be used for other purposes.After 6 months it starts breaking down into salt and water, use it for household purposes.
Charcoal TabletsMedical - Over The Counter 200 tabletsHelps with toxins, poisoning, stomach issues & even water purificationIndefinite shelf life. Keep away from humidity and rodents.
AspirinMedical - Over The Counter 500-1000 tabletsPain, fever, arthritis, some cardiological and circulatory issues. Read prospect & ask doctor about side effects for any kind of medicine.2-3 years. Cheap enough to be rotated without a big expense.
Ibuprofen/AcetaminophenMedical - Over The Counter200-400 tabletsPain, fever, anti-inflammatory.2-3 years
AntihistamineMedical - Over The Counter400-600 tabletsAllergies. Very useful outdoors or if you don’t know how safe is your food/water.2 years
LoperamideMedical - Over The Counter400 tabletsControls diarrhea, dehydration due to diarrhea2 Years
Antibiotic creamMedical - Over The Counter2-4 tubesVery useful for cuts, scrapes, insect and animal bites, burns, open wounds.3 Years
Bandages & band-aidsMedical - Over The Counter1 box eachProtects and covers cuts & scrapes. Use with antibiotic creamIndefinite. Keep dry and sterile. Glue on band aids may become ineffective.
Omeprazole / Acid ReducerMedical - Over The Counter1-2 boxesTreats heartburn3 years
Potassium IodideMedical - Over The Counter40+ 65mg dosesAvailable as tablets or drops. Read medical precautions & dosage for adults, children, infants & pregnant women before taking. Consult doctor.6-7 years
VaselineMedical - Over The Counter3 jarsProtect skin & lips from wind and chapping. Protect minor cuts, scrapes, and burnsStarts degrading after 4-6 years
Rubbing AlcoholMedical - Over The Counter2-3 PintsDisinfects, sanitizes. Antiseptic that treats minor cuts and abrasions.2-3 years, might last longer in glass containers. Label it correctly.
MultivitaminsMedical - Over The Counter400-600 servingsSupplements your food intake and nutrients you might lack.2-3 years
Prescription medicineMedical Prescription30 daysYou might not be able to procure so much. Try to find OTC replacements if possible. Order your prescriptions a few days early and build reserves.Rotate just before the expiration date. Replace with freshest batch. Most medicine is good past expiration date, but do not use unless you do not have any other option.
Dehydrated Powdered MilkFood3-5 packagesCalculated at 2 gallons of liquid milk per package/jar.3 years, unopened
SpicesFood1 rackSpice up your limited food choices for more variety2-4 years, may lose flavor after
SaltFood3+ poundsUse it for food, bartering, cleaning & moreIndefinite, keep dry. Iodized salt has a 5 year shelf life.
VinegarFood2-3 gallonsUse for food. Also has many other uses for disinfecting, cleaning, washing and deodorizing.Indefinite if stored properly.
PepperFood1-2 grindersFood condimentIndefinite, may lose some of its strength after 3-4 years
FlourFood 22 pound bagMake bread & more. You’ll need yeast if the flour is not self-rising1-2 years if you keep it cool and dry
Dry YeastFood1 poundMake dough rise.2 years
Baking PowderFood 14 ozLeavening agent. May replace yeast.1-2 years, use within 6 months after opening
CornmealFood3-5 poundsUsed for a variety of recipes or for polenta (cornmeal mush). Cheap and and easy to store.2-3 years
White RiceFood3-5 poundsUsed for various recipiesIndefinite
Dry PastaFood3-5 poundsVarious recipies2+ Years
CerealFood2-3 big boxesBreakfast. May be mixed with water or milk1 year
JerkyFood2 poundsVarious uses. High protein source.2 years
Dehydrated PotatoesFood10 4 oz bagsMake mashed potatoes.2 years
ProteinFood2 PoundEasier to store and cheaper than protein bars. Helps you stay strong, provides essential nutrients and keeps you full for longer.1-2 years if stored properly
Canned TunaFood36 cansVarious uses.3+ years
BeansFood3-5 poundsVarious uses. Good source of protein.3+ years. Can be used long after, but will lose vitamin content. Will still have nutritional value
SpamFood15-20 cansVarious uses. Good source of protein.3+ years. Do not use if can is bloated
OatsFood2 poundsVarious uses.2-3 years
HoneyFood2 poundsVarious uses. Replaces sugar. Has many health benefitsIndefinite
Spaghetti SauceFood5 JarsUse for your pasta1 year unopened
Canned vegetablesFood20 cansVarious uses.2-4 years.
Canned fruitFood10-15 cansVarious uses.2-4 years.
Coffee Or Instant CoffeeFood2 poundsCoffee grounds can be used for a lot of purposes, including fertilizing but instant coffee has an indefinite shelf life and it is easier to prepare on the go.2 Years – Indefinite (instant coffee)
Pet foodFoodAs neededGet a 2 week supply.
Multi-toolTools & Supplies2-3Good for repairing/securing things in the house, fixing/escaping cars, camping, fishing, huntingProtect from rust
Knife & Knife SharpnerTools & Supplies1-2May opt for buying multiple blades instead of 1-2 knivesProtect from rust, keep sharp
HammerTools & Supplies1-2Various uses. Crude self-defense weapon.
AxeTools & Supplies1-2Various uses. Crude self-defense weapon.
Rope/ParacordTools & Supplies200-300 feetVarious uses.
Sewing KitTools & Supplies 1For mending clothes & more.
RadioTools & Supplies1Stay informed. Very important.
Gas Power GeneratorTools & Supplies1Stay warm. Various uses. Needs 1.5-4 gallons of gas for each 8 hours of running time based on output.
Electrical HeaterTools & SuppliesAs neededInvest in an energy efficient one. Oil or ceramic heaters are generally safe and energy efficient.
Solar Cellphone & Battery ChargerTools & Supplies1Stay informed. Power small electronics.Consider investing more in a solar generator ($300-$400)
Printed MapsTools & SuppliesAs NeededLocal maps. Include road maps and terrain maps. Draw escape routes carefully.
CompassTools & Supplies1Some multitools/flashlights have one incorporated. May also use smartphone if you have enough battery and you can recharge it.Test it and make sure it points correctly.
FlashlightTools & Supplies2Crank flashlight with window breaker, seatbelt cutter, USB charger & more
BatteriesTools & Supplies10-15Rechargeable
Matches, Firestarters & Windproof LighterTools & Supplies1-2 sets eachVarious usesKeep dry and away from heat sources.
HygieneTools & SuppliesAs neededSoap, hand sanitizer, toothbrush, toilet paper, feminine hygiene, toothpaste, dish detergent & scrubbers
Duct TapeTools & Supplies1-2 rollsWe are still looking for a situation where duct tape can’t be used.
Whistle/Signaling DeviceTools & Supplies1 Help rescuers, family and friends find you.
BinocularsTools & Supplies1Stay informed & save yourself time when planning your route. Good night-vision binoculars are more expensive (start at $200-300). Monoculars are cheaper.
Pot/Pan Combo, Can Opener & DishesTools & Supplies1 camping setFor cooking food & boiling water
Portable Stove & FuelTools & Supplies1 setStove + 12 butane fuel cartridges. Each cartridge lasts 2-4 hours. Should be enough for cooking and heating food for 2 weeks.
Defense & Hunting WeaponsTools & SuppliesVariesWeapons for defending yourself or for hunting. Keep handy. Keep away from children!!!
Bedding/WarmthTools & Supplies1 eachWaterproof sleeping bags
ClothingTools & Supplies1 eachLight, water resistant & sweat absorbing clothing. Adjust accordingly for winter or very hot climates. Because you do not want to run through the forest in your pyjamas.
SunscreenTools & Supplies1-2 bottlesProtect from the sun. Very useful outdoors.3 Years
Insect RepellantTools & Supplies1-2 bottlesRepel insects.3-4 Years
Dust Masks or RespiratorsTools & Supplies1 per personVarious uses. Necessary for dealing with dust storms, searching or surviving collapsed buildings.
Child & Elderly CareTools & SuppliesAs neededWashable diaper cloths,etc
Money/DocumentsPersonalAs neededAt least $500-$1000 emergency funds(hidden away). Identification documents, passports, insurance proof, medical records. Keep in Ziploc or waterproof bags. Have a second set of copies hidden somewhere else.
Disaster PlanPersonalRequiredPlan for the most likely emergencies in your area. How to deal with extreme weather, natural disasters, accidents, criminals. Contact numbers for emergency responders, authorities, friends, family & neighbors. Make sure every member of the family knows where they are and what they contain.
ValuablesPersonalAs neededJewelry, cash, watches. Hide away. May be used for bartering.
Cellphone / Ham RadioPersonal1 eachMost people have cellphones. However, if the infrastructure fails, a Ham Radio is your best friend.
ElectronicsPersonalAs neededTablets, laptops & other easy to carry electronics.
Books & GuidesPersonalAs neededSurvival books and guides. Knowledge is power.
Fishing EquipmentBOBAs neededHooks, bait, fishing line
Camping EquipmentBOBAs neededTent, tarp, pads, folding shovel, cooking tripod
Other EquipmentBOBAs neededHeadlamps, rain ponchos, animal repellent, camping lantern with motion detector and tripwire
AmunitionBOBAs neededFor hunting & self defense. Keep dry, away from kids and as the local/federal laws requires it.

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