If you are looking for a cookie-cutter prepper supply list, then you’ve come to the wrong place.
We’ll approach the answer as if we’re speaking to someone who needs a more well-rounded solution rather than a simple prepper checklist.
There are a lot of sites out there trying to sell you the ultimate preppers list of 50, 100, 78, 97 things you need, and the other 10 things preppers forget.
But they never go over why you need these prepping supplies.
Being prepared is good, but unconscious prepping can be dangerous.
Our resources are finite. We have to make the most of what we decide to prep.
The best way to do this is to pose some questions you should ask yourself.
We want you to learn how to prep for your specific needs and do more with less.
Why Prep A Prepper Supply List?
Before I became a prepper, I was volunteering in a remote village near the foothills of the Himalayan mountains of Nepal. (Picturesque right?)
I was there with an NGO, helping rebuild a school that had fallen in an earthquake.
In the village there wasn’t much to do, other than work and drink Raksi, a local moonshine made from rice.
We found our local workers preferred to drink and leave the work until “tomorrow.”
One afternoon, our supply truck driver’s indiscriminate drinking interrupted our workday.
I was painting an exterior wall when I heard what I can only describe as a concussive “boom.”
It wasn’t quite an explosion. But more of a banging of a metal drum.
If the drum were the size of a truck.
Following the sound came screams of terror from the local women.
At that moment, every able-bodied man, woman, and child in the village raced down the rice paddies.
Some stopped at the site where the supply truck fell off the face of the mountain.
Others continued further to where the truck wedged itself between a tree and a boulder.
I arrived to find men from the village struggling to pry three bodies out of the cab of the truck.
Blood seeped from gashes in their heads and abdomens.
The villagers laid them out in the grass. They were unconscious but breathing.
The villagers tried to speak with the men, but they didn’t respond.
I had the silly thought, “Has someone called an ambulance?”
The women sat beside their men, crying and rocking back and forth.
The men shouted and argued in their language I didn’t understand. Pointing in various directions.
All the while the injured lied there in the tall grass.
Their complexions becoming grayer.
Only then did I realize, help wasn’t coming.
Our NGO team had a basic first aid kit, but no knowledge or skills to help these three men in critical condition.
I felt helpless and angry that there was nothing I could do.
From that day forward I knew I wasn’t going to allow myself to feel that way again.
What is your why?
Are you preparing for The Apocalypse?
Or the possibility that you may get stranded somewhere and need to get home to your family?
Whatever the reason, being conscious of what your goal is of the utmost importance.
The Truth About Prepping
The truth of the matter is that TEOTWAWKI (or the end of the world as we know it) is a low probability scenario.
And if it were the end, then why prep? It’s over. Enjoy the show.
At AppliedSurvival, we want to start with the most probable cases that find us unprepared.
Think of an extended period of time where you can no longer take your water, food, and shelter for granted. — The Great Depression
What happens if the lights go out, and don’t come back for 2 weeks? — Katrina, Sandy, Irene, etc.
Think about a societal collapse where law and order are no more. — Too many countries today to list.
What goes up, must come down.
Every advanced civilization in history has fallen at some point, and they never saw it coming.
How well you learn to adapt will determine whether you survive.
Prepping is about having the foresight.
Can you see the likelihood of a particular situation, and have a backup for when that system fails.
Some call it having a plan.
The proper order for planning is water, food, shelter, then security.
Survival skills will always trump how much gear you have.
Getting your health and finances together today is the best prep you can do before buying any gear.
Thinking you will be able to prepare at the last minute will leave you left holding the bag.
Almost every natural disaster is predictable and thus avoidable.
Avoiding danger in every situation is greater than having the ability to overcome it.
But sometimes you find yourself in a situation you couldn’t avoid.
With that said, let’s get into what you came here for — a prepper supply list to end all others.
What Do You Put On Your Prepper Supply List?
The amount of things you need to prep for every situation is near infinite.
Reaching that level of perfection is not only impossible but impractical.
Here at AppliedSuvival we want to start with the essential 20% of what will give you 80% of the results.
Before you buy a single flashlight, we must stress the importance of having both your physical and financial health in order.
For example, if something in your home breaks. Or you have a medical problem that’s not covered by insurance.
If your answer is no, then you’re not prepared.
Having a closet full of water and MREs isn’t going to keep the bill collectors from knocking down your door.
Having a bug out bag with every gadget you can think of isn’t going to help you get to higher ground in a flood.
There are many free resources available online to help you start getting your finances and health together. It will be the foundation on which you build everything.
Make sure it is a strong foundation – debt free, good physical and nutritional health.
You don’t want to be the weakest link in the chain that your friends or family have to take care of.
Once that’s built you can move on to the next steps.
But before you start buying, it’s important to understand your timeline. How long are you preparing for?
Having only three days worth of supplies is no longer considered prepared.
Institutions like the Red Cross changed their opinions to at least two weeks of supplies.
And after seeing how long the quarantine for Covid-19 lasted we think a month is more appropriate.
Recent reports show millions in the Pacific Northwest could be without water for months in the event of an earthquake.
The problem with prepping for more than a month’s time is the cost and space restrictions.
It is possible to get to that level, but we’re going to start with the basics.
When it comes to prioritizing where to start, the order of operations should begin with water.
When collecting and storing water, there are a few key things you should keep in mind.
First, know how much water you’re going to need, and that will depend on how long you expect you will be without access.
It is common to underestimate the quantity of water you will need.
Most of us do not drink enough water as it is.
We also take for granted how much water we use to wash our hands, bathe, or even flush the toilet.
Thus, a one month supply of drinking water for one person would be 30 gallons.
Not including water for cleaning purposes or your pets.
Once you’ve determined how much water you and your team needs, you’ll have to decide where you’re going to keep it.
Make sure to keep your water in cool dry place to avoid bacterial growth.
Most people will buy the cheapest water they can find in bulk, which is fair, it’s all water.
But keep in mind all plastic is not created equal.
Check the number on your water bottles to see the type of plastic used.
Also, check the numbers for any storage container you intend to use and make sure they are all BPA free.
Most plastics bottles release BPAs and phthalates (carcinogens) into your water.
They cause hormonal imbalances and other diseases that will affect your health.
Here’s a short guide to plastics that you can use to better understand what we’re talking about.
We won’t get too deep into that here, but we recommend getting durable BPA free water containers for long term storage.
The point is to not prep things to help you survive in the short term that are going to make you sick in the long term.
We have to say it, please do not store water in old milk containers!
If you read the article on plastics, you’ll understand cleaning it is difficult.
The milk stays in the pores of plastic it came in and will contaminate your water with unhealthy bacteria.
Collecting rainwater if you have the property that allows for it is another option.
A collection system easy to install, and provides you with a cheap and renewable way to store water.
One thing to keep in mind is that once the container is full it will be very heavy to move.
Better to install it where it will stay if you can.
But do not install the system in plain sight.
When SHTF, the first thing to become scarce will be water.
Everyone will have enough toilet paper to wipe their asses until the end of time.
But when they learn they can only survive three days without water they’ll be ready to do whatever it takes to get it.
Plan ahead and install the system in a concealed area, i.e. behind a fenced area behind your home.
If you think you will buy a water filter or a water straw, you will be rudely awakened in the event of a long term shortage.
Foraging for water in a crisis exposes you to unnecessary danger.
It will also be near impossible to move great amounts of water from a stream (if any) back to your home.
Often the best solution is the simplest. Plan ahead, and store as much clean water as you can.
We want to avoid having to waste time and energy finding, and cleaning water.
A Berky water filter and water purification tablets will help you clean the water you collect.
If you’re in a pinch a few drops of unscented bleach can also treat water for consumption.
Drinking bleach is not something we want to overdo.
The rule of thumb is 2-4 drops per quart (or liter) depending on how contaminated is the water.
If you can find it, Calcium Hypochlorite is better for long term storage as it will not expire.
The best thing to do now is to analyze your situation.
What are your physical limitations?
How much water you can store at any given time?
Plan to store as much as possible, out of sight, and in a way that will allow you to cycle it so it stays fresh.
The next most important thing after water is food.
How much food is as important as what type of food you store.
Food provides calories, which are units of measure for energy.
We use an average of 1500-1800 calories a day (without exercise). This is your metabolic rate.
You can calculate your metabolic rate here, or most digital scales you have at home will tell you.
Now you may balk at 1500-1800 calories of food per person per day.
That may seem like way too little, especially considering there are 800 calories in a Big Mac and fries.
But don’t worry, you will get used to it after the first couple of days.
Even if it’s below your current metabolic rate, your body will adapt.
You should already be getting your calorie intake in order as we discussed about the importance of being physically fit.
What types of calories you consume will also help with hunger.
It’s important not to overeat during times of scarcity.
You may feel hungry at the beginning.
But most of us have plenty of fat stores to keep us healthy.
You may even enjoy your new look after burning through some of that fat.
It’s also important to keep in mind that sometimes we may feel hungry when we’re actually dehydrated.
Try drinking more water before you go into your food rations.
Think of food as fuel, and not as entertainment.
You only want to consume what you burn and save the rest for as long as you can.
The key to maintaining any new diet regimen is buying and storing food you and your family like to eat.
Note: we’re not talking about candy bars and popsicles.
It’s also important to have everyday food items for up to 30 days per person.
Most of us in the US have freezers to keep enough frozen meat and vegetables for at least a month for a family of 2-4.
Eggs also store well, and are a great source of healthy protein and fat to keep up your strength.
Having enough fresh food to eat before you have to dip into your long term stores like canned goods, and freeze-dried/powdered foods will make the transition easier.
There’s no need to go full astronaut on day one.
Like water, it’s important to cycle your stores.
You’re storing what you eat every day, so you should be taking from the back.
Meaning start with the older food items and replace what you take with newer items.
Practice storing the newer items in the back so the older items are easier to reach.
Now you may think it would be expensive to have to eat and replace your stores each month.
But if done right, you will only have to invest once and always have the same amount of food.
How you do that is to buy an extra item each week and add it to your reserves.
Then when you hit the amount you need to survive for the amount of time in which you’re prepping, you can go back to buying the normal amount each week.
Then begin the food rotation so you always have the same amount of food on hand in case of an emergency.
Another way you can economize is by canning your own foods.
Investing in a pressure canner, jars, and a water bath canning pot can help you be more self-sufficient when there are no more canned goods to buy.
Where and how you store your food is of utmost importance.
Find a cool, dry place that’s accessible. Then wrap your items in mylar bags to keep them from oxidizing. Then store them in plastic containers to keep the critters out.
What’s the point of investing in and storing food that spoils or rodents eat before you can use it?
Don’t forget to use sturdy shelves.
The weight of your reserves will be quite heavy. This is especially important to remember if you’re in an apartment.
Don’t wake your neighbors with your pantry falling into their apartment.
Calories in and of themselves are not the end to our dietary needs.
We also need nutrients.
We get plenty of the macronutrients we need, such as protein, fats, and carbohydrates.
But we are deficient in micronutrients, potassium, magnesium, B vitamins, calcium.
Micronutrients keep our mind and immune systems healthy, and our bowel movements regular.
Unfortunately, mono-crop farming practices depleted our soil and we must supplement with multivitamins.
Make sure you have enough in case of an emergency.
Rotate them like your food and water to make sure they stay fresh.
We’ve spoken a bit about what you should be eating, now let’s talk about what you should have to prepare it.
You’re going to need a fuel source if the gas is shut off or the electricity is out.
Yes, MREs will keep you alive, but after eating cold MREs every day three times a day for 30 days, you may want to kill yourself.
The goal of prepping is being prepared to maintain a certain quality of life in a grid-down situation.
Having a way to eat a hot meal at least once a day is something you’re going to want to plan.
Most of us don’t have wood stoves in our home, so using a grill or building a campfire are easy alternatives.
If you use any charcoal or gas grills be sure you use them outdoors.
Rule number one to surviving is don’t burn your shelter down, or poison your family with toxic fumes.
If you have a grill you’ll need to have extra propane. If you’re going to build a fire, then you’ll need firewood and a place to set it.
Gather your fuel before you will need it. Calculate how much you will use per meal, per day, and multiply by the number of days you want to stock.
You don’t want to be wandering in the woods or into town to buy these things at the last minute and expose yourself to unnecessary risks.
Camping stoves, Rocket Stoves, lanterns, or solar-powered ovens are useful alternatives in a pinch.
You’ll also want to make sure you have the appropriate utensils and cookware on hand for whichever way you intend to prepare your food.
Let’s get into the nitty-gritty of self-care.
You may be thinking if there’s a zombie chasing after you, then who cares what you smell like?
As we discussed, the likelihood of a zombie apocalypse is quite slim.
Whereas a 3-4 week quarantine with your family is now likely.
I don’t imagine your loved ones will want to keep you around very long if you smell like Sasquatch.
Jokes aside, maintaining good hygiene is a sign of self-respect.
When people see you respect yourself, you will inspire them to respect you too.
Respect in survival situations is the key to trust. If people don’t trust you they won’t follow you to safety.
Staying clean is also key to fending off infections.
Make sure you stay on top of your personal grooming needs.
Don’t forget to have enough amounts of:
- razor blades,
- female hygiene products,
- hand sanitizer,
- toilet paper (optional),
- wet wipes,
- hair brushes,
- nail clippers,
- camping shower
You should already be using most of this anyway.
So again, calculate how much you and your family use on a monthly basis and add a few more packs to your store.
Apply the same rotation sequence to make sure nothing expires.
Now you should be feeling fresh in both mind and body and prepared for whatever scenario you may face.
We’d also like to add this is a good time to be thinking about how to keep your home free of waste and infection.
A simple 5-gallon bucket with a toilet lid, trash bags, and quicklime can save your sanity if the water stops.
Prepping First Aid
There are times you will find you are on your own.
At the time of this article, we’re surviving through the Covid-19 pandemic.
The local governments have restricted access to hospitals.
So how do you get physical help?
A simple Google or YouTube search can find answers to common health problems.
We don’t want to say that you should self-diagnose.
But without access to medical professionals, the online community could save a life with simple solutions.
Your prep should include downloading video tutorials to a local hard drive.
Print instructions to paper and keep them in an organized binder with your first aid kit.
Call up your older relatives and ask them for help or insight into what is bothering you.
You may be hesitant to want to share personal information with them, but they’ve been through a lot.
They know traditions most younger generations have yet to learn, or may never learn.
We have here a basic emergency supplies list to treat anything from simple boo-boos to more advanced trauma:
- insect repellent
- fever reducers
- face masks
Having these will help keep you from getting infections, smoke/dust in your lungs, or burned.
We don’t recommend over-using anything.
For example, the overuse of chapstick is prevalent today.
Applying chapstick is treating a symptom of dehydration instead of drinking more water.
Make sure you stock up on your prescription if you’re diabetic or suffer from another known sickness.
Everyone has gone a little crazy with hand sanitizer. But it is important to have something to clean your hands before touching a wound.
Don’t overuse it.
Removing 99.9% of germs from your hands is not a good thing.
Our body needs exposure to bacteria to maintain a healthy immune system.
Disinfecting yourself on the regular will do you more harm than good in the long run.
Another thing to have on hand, but refrain from using on the regular are antibiotics.
Using them too often will put you at greater risk of the inability to overcome illness in the future
Overuse of antibiotics makes the virus-resistant and renders the antibiotic useless.
For more serious injuries, you’re going to want to dip into your trauma kit.
Wound dressing items like:
- gauze rolls
- surgical tape
- moleskin pads
- blood clotting sponges
- antibacterial salves
- sterile alcohol prep pad
- hydrogen peroxide
- cotton swabs
- latex/nitrile gloves
- pain killers
Will all help treat the most common injuries.
But whenever possible, get anyone with a serious wound or trauma to a hospital first.
But if you can’t get out, and nobody is coming, then having knowledge of basic survival medicine can save a life.
Skills trump gear.
Get certified with medical emergency training. It will give you an incomparable peace of mind.
More on that later.
Don’t forget to have something to ignite your fuel.
We take for granted how easy it is to light a stove or push start on a microwave.
When it comes time to ignite your fuel source, be sure you have the right equipment to do so.
Simple things like Stormproof Matches, a Ferro Rod Striker, or an Electric Lighter, are all great ways to start a fire.
You will also want to keep tinder and a small magnifying glass or Fresnel lens as a backup.
If you live in Florida this may not be as applicable to you.
But as we’ve seen over the past few years that even near the tropics it can get chilly when you’re wet, the wind is blowing, and there’s no sun to keep you warm.
So, having the proper attire for a grid down situation is as important for staying alive as it is to stay well-fed and hydrated no matter where you live.
If you live in areas prone to snow, then some of this will sound obvious, but we’re going to list it here anyway to be sure we’re all on the same page.
We know what assuming does, right?
Always be sure to keep a spare set of clean clothes in a Ziploc to stay dry and bug-free.
This includes heavy-duty socks, gloves, head protection i.e. stocking cap and face shield, and protective footwear.
Be sure the footwear is not brand new. You’ll want to break them in before having to wear them for extended periods of time.
You’ll want to keep a sewing kit and extra textiles on hand to mend anything that gets torn or deteriorates.
Your clothes won’t do you much good if they’re damaged.
In extra cold climates, stash a set of hand and toe warmers in your boots so you know where to find them.
A rain poncho with a hood will keep you dry and warm. But if you don’t have one an extra-large trash bag with some holes in the neck and sides can protect you.
Kerosene or propane heaters can keep your shelter warm.
But you’re limited to the amount of fuel you stored to go with it.
I prefer a wood fire, but don’t overwhelm yourself if you don’t have the time to maintain it.
Have a TACT bivvy for each person on your team to get through cold nights when maintaining a fire isn’t possible.
Temperatures are coldest at night. Combined with inactivity, you’re at the highest risk of freezing.
Unless your Wim Hof…
When there’s no power from the grid you will need a way to run your shelter.
Some suggest hydro-electric water wheels, wind turbines, or biogas generators as options.
But, we find that may be impractical if you’re not already living off-grid or have a large enough property.
We are fans of living off-grid, but for most of us still on the grid, we’d like to have some options that we can apply.
My cousin did get a bicycle generator installed in his house. It worked. But definitely not practical.
For most short term solutions a backup generator can keep the lights on and a few essential appliances running.
You can also charge up a pair of deep cycle batteries to have power without having to run the generator all night.
If you can’t do any of the above to keep your lights on, then you’ll at least need something to allow you to see in the dark.
You don’t want to be tripping and bumping into things that can lead to stupid injuries.
Light also serves as protection from intruders.
An LED headlamp, flashlight, and lanterns are common solutions.
We like to have an equal amount of directional and omnidirectional light sources.
Headlamps are great because they free up your hands to manage tools or weapons.
Lanterns work better for lighting entire rooms.
If you like rigging a torch, then more power to you.
Rechargeable batteries fulfill the need to do more with less. But then you’ll need battery chargers, and generators to power the chargers…
If you don’t have a Tesla you’ll want to have some gas cans of extra fuel on hand to make sure you can move your vehicle if necessary.
How you store fuel is important so make sure you have the proper fuel treatments for long-term storage.
Don’t discount having some good old fashioned 15-hour emergency candles for interiors.
Oil lamps or propane lanterns for outdoor use or in well-ventilated areas.
Use with caution. Don’t start fires you don’t intend.
To learn how to generate your own power and transition to an off-grid lifestyle check out our full article on how to live off grid.
Your home is your castle. If you’re not taking care of your home, then you’re not taking care of yourself.
Since your survival is the point of this long-ass article we’re going to talk about how to maintain your shelter.
If it’s an apartment, a residential property, or a tent in the woods you’re going to need some tools to keep it standing.
We’re not talking about anything complicated,
But it would surprise you how many people don’t have a basic toolbox under the sink for simple repairs.
Things like a hammer, a screw gun, nails, screws, pliers, saws, hatchets/axes, a heavy-duty knife, pry bars, clamps, wrenches.
Having extra lumber if you have a place to store to board up windows or patch a hole in the roof or a wall.
The amount of tools you can have on hand is endless.
We want to focus on the essentials you will need in the event of an emergency.
If you want to get into everything you may need to be self-sufficient off-grid, then you can go deeper into that here.
So in the meantime, if you have simple items as we mentioned above you should set for most scenarios.
We put together an organized prepper supplies checklist pdf for you with every item you should have.
Download it here.
How to use these tools and maintain your home are skills that we can go over in later articles.
Once you can stay hydrated, fed, and sheltered you’ll want to stay in touch with the outside world.
You may find you enjoy the quiet.
But if you do want to get a hold of someone, or if someone needs to get a hold of you, you’ll want to have some equipment ready.
Cell phones are not enough in a grid-down situation. Cell phone towers are not well protected and a disaster can take them down.
Going old-school will ensure you have the means of getting messages to those who need it.
Consider investing in reliable devices like:
- hand-crank digital radios
- two-way radio walkie talkies
- HAM radios
- world band radios
- base station short radio
- and all the batteries you need to go along with them
Knowing how to use them is as important as having them.
Don’t forget to ensure the recipients of your messages have the gear to receive the messages you send.
You’ve got food. You’ve got water. You’ve got a way to stay clean.
You’ve got a place to protect you from the elements.
And you can stay in touch with the outside world.
Now let’s talk about everyone’s favorite pastime — self-defense.
Self-defense from humans or any other animal is a real and present danger most of us don’t want to believe.
Then there are others who take it to the other extreme.
But in times of crisis, animals will do the darndest things to survive.
You have to keep in mind you are now among the 1%.
Maybe not 1% of the wealthiest in the world.
Though they are some of the most elite preppers.
But you are in the 1% of those who take the precautions necessary to stay safe before disaster strikes.
So what about the other 99%?
What do you think they’re going to do when they realize they don’t have enough water? Or food? Or medical supplies for their injured child?
What are they going to do when a storm damages their shelter and they don’t have the tools or supplies to repair it?
Or the clothes or bivy sacks to keep warm?
That’s right, they’re going to come looking for yours.
Now despite the nature of this discussion, we do not condone violence.
But, extraordinary circumstances may call for extraordinary measures.
And we do mean extra-ordinary.
Most of us are not in a war against our neighbors.
The more we help one another, the farther we will go.
There’s an old proverb that says, “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”
I love that saying because “go fast” can have two meanings.
You can move faster alone, but you can also die faster without the help of your companions.
Keep that in mind before doing something you may regret later.
With that said, there are those out there who may want to harm you or your family.
And they are not amateurs when it comes to using violence, nor are they discretionary.
Sometimes they are those who you thought were there to protect you.
Defending yourself against those using advanced weapons and tactics is an unfortunate reality.
As the saying goes, “Don’t bring a knife to a gunfight.” (Who would do that anyway?)
We find the best all-around home defense weapon is your standard pump-action shotgun.
Be sure to have enough ammunition on hand to get the job done, especially if you’re not an ace shot.
I’m sure there are many out there who will have their own opinions on which gun is best for home defense.
We are not going to argue with you.
We do like our ARs as well, but for the everyman, having a fully-automatic assault rifle may do more harm than good.
The point of this article is only to highlight that having something is better than nothing.
Rifles and pistols are useful, but they take skills that most civilian preppers are not ready for yet.
Most scenarios will not call for the need to go out and bring down a deer in a full ghillie suit.
It will be more of a matter of surviving off of what you have in the freezer until it’s safe to get back to a grocery store.
Or keeping any looters at bay until law enforcement can come and do their thing.
If you are going to invest in a firearm, be sure to know how to use it, clean it, and store it.
Keep them out of sight and reach from those who should not be handling it.
Consider extra precautions to garrison your home.
Motion detectors and security alarms will alert you to dangers.
But they may not be enough to defend against an attack.
Door and window fortifications can keep anyone trying to break in at bay.
Don’t worry about turning your homes into prisons with black iron bars, gates, and screens.
More discreet solutions are available.
Before going all out on security systems, don’t forget the basics.
Keep your home safe from common dangers with sandbags, fire extinguishers, and smoke detectors.
You’ve done a good job to hunker into your shelter, lock stock and barrel.
Now you wait.
Most of the prepping world believes when SHTF it’s going to be an event.
When in reality, it’s going to be quite anti-climactic.
For most of us, the worst-case scenario will be us stuck inside, with no work, no water, no power (nor Internet), and no gas.
You’ve got the supplies you need to survive, but what the hell do you do all day?
Keeping busy will be as important to you staying alive as any of the previous preparation you’ve done.
Have a plan for what you will do when there’s nothing to do.
Yes, you’ll have your board games, books, and DVDs… if anyone still owns a DVD player.
But you can only play so many games of Chutes & Ladders before you want to toss little Billy out to the zombies.
Create a schedule of jobs to do and assign them to different members of your team.
- checking for news updates
- preparing meals
- cleaning your shelter
- taking inventory of your food store
- checking your hardware supplies
- making any repairs you’ve been “meaning to get to” for the past six months before when work was getting in the way.
For both kids and adults, you should have time blocked off for learning.
Whether it’s book learning or practical skills around the house.
Education is now your responsibility.
Teach your team how to repair a fence. Fix leaky faucets. Repair the freezer.
Survival skills like how to start a fire, how to skin a rabbit and cook it!
If you don’t know how to do any of these you won’t be able to teach it.
Schedule time now to learn and practice.
We talked about not waiting until the last minute to get your gear, the same goes for learning skills.
Not only in times of catastrophe, but every day, and it will do you good to start thinking about that now.
Don’t forget to schedule time to exercise. Staying in shape will be important now more than ever.
Having a healthy body is key to maintaining a healthy mind, and you’ll need your wits about you to survive on your own.
Prepper Supply List For Bugging Out
Let’s talk a little bit about the idea of “bugging out.”
Bugging out means to leave a place of danger to a safer place, like “the woods,” for some reason.
If you’re a single prepper, with no family or friends, then running off with your bug out bag to the woods to eat berries and squirrels may be an option for you.
But for the rest of us, abandoning those who need us most is not an option.
Now, let’s clarify a few things. There are times when “bugging out” is necessary for ALL members of your team.
For example, if there’s a natural disaster or a social uprising in your local area.
Then, yes, everyone, including Fido, should have a bug out bag handy and ready to bail on a moment’s notice.
If you live in a high-rise building and it’s incurred damage, then, yes, you need to get out fast.
If there is a localized clear and present danger, then “getting out of dodge” to “higher ground” may be a good idea.
But in the event of a complete meltdown, then to where exactly do you think you’re going to bug out?
Even if you make it to the woods, you’re going to come across people eventually, and where there are people there’s a risk.
That’s why people built castles… just saying.
In your home, you’re going to have the water, food, and protection both from the elements, and other humans, that you could never replicate in the field.
So, before you scratch out your passport photos and burn the archives, think about the bigger picture.
But if the time comes where leaving is the right option, you should have a bug out bag ready for each team member.
Each person will want to carry their own individual items, so you should prepare a personalized bug out a checklist for each member of the team.
The larger person of the pack will need to carry gear the group may need to share, like medical items and camp cook sets.
You can also diversify the bags and divide the weight.
Don’t forget the order of operations when it comes to packing:
Water, Food, Sanitation, Shelter, Communication, Self-Defense, Sanity.
The reality is a single bug out bag may not be enough to live extended periods of time away from your shelter.
Its purpose is to get you from one place to another.
So if you were to go to the woods, where you have no provisions, you can now see the logistical problem you would have.
Bugging out in that sense would call for much more than a bag.
But I digress. Let’s assume you’re not going to the woods, but the correct option such as a safe house.
And let’s say you prepared it with all the provisions you will need for an extended period of time as we outlined above.
When you do bug out, you’re going to need a good bag if you’re going to prep a bug out bag. Duh… Right?
But you’re not going to want just any bag. You’re going to want one that’s big enough to organize and carry all your gear for a certain task.
But it shouldn’t be so big you can’t carry the damn thing, and you end up having to leave things behind.
A sturdy duffel with back straps and organization compartments will do the trick.
We find 40-45L will be enough to get all your stuff in, but not be too heavy.
As we said, your destination should have more stores that we need to survive for longer periods of time.
To make the journey, you’re going to want to make sure to have things to stay hydrated:
- water purification tabs
- water filters
- water straws
- a bottle to store the cleaned water
You’re going to want some freeze-dried food for the journey and the day of your arrival.
Being stranded and not having food can lead to impulsive decisions.
There are many out there who recommend carrying toilet paper, but… I mean… c’mon.
The reality is you’re going to shit yourself when catastrophe hits.
Or you’re going to be too nervous to go until you are in a safe place again that should already have toilet paper.
If you do have to go, well then use your finger.
It’s easier to wash your hands and clean up with some hand sanitizer than waste critical space.
Suck it up.
I’m a little annoyed with the toilet paper fanaticism.
Comment down below if you disagree or have some insight into what the deal with that is.
What you should keep in your first aid kit is anti-diarrhea medicine.
When you get to wherever you need to go, and your diet changes, your digestive system is going to take time to adjust.
A 48-hour bout of diarrhea can cause severe dehydration and can lead to other problems.
If you’re going to do the work to stay hydrated, don’t lose your hydration through diarrhea.
(I’m trying to win a bet on how many times I can say diarrhea in one blog post.)
Okay, so water, food, check, check.
We already went over what should be in a basic first aid kit.
I’m not going to list it all again here.
But all the details will be in the downloadable checklist so you don’t forget anything.
Cordage. For… everything.
A GPS to get where you need to go if the cell phones are down.
And a compass as a backup for when the satellites fall from space.
Both a flashlight and a headlamp for hands-free directional illumination.
A fire-starter if you need to make camp before getting to your bug out location.
You’re going to want to have a tent or a tarp with you.
Something to protect you from the elements if you have to abandon your vehicle and don’t have a place to shelter.
If you have space you can bring a hammock to avoid sleeping on the ground. Or a bivvy sack if you’re going to be dealing with the cold.
A HAM radio to stay connect and coordinate if your team is bugging out from different locations.
A solar or crank-powered radio to get news updates if the cell phone towers are down or you’re out of range. Or your batteries die.
Remember, more stuff equals more weight. You should have batteries for other things, but keep it to a minimum.
You’ll want to have something to defend yourself with.
A good fixed blade survival knife can double as protection if needed.
If you feel you’re going to need your AR and a few magazines, okay.
Do you also need a pistol?
If you can get away with a can of pepper spray, then do that.
Don’t put yourself in a situation you may come to regret later.
When you’re wrong and use a non-lethal force it may get you a few days in jail.
Avoid ending up in jail for life, or worse.
Again the point of all our actions is to survive. Not getting killed in the process.
Before finalizing what you’re going to keep in your bag, you should go out on a field test.
Pick a place one Saturday morning. Get the family together and go out for a hike with everything that you prepped and see how well you can carry it.
Make sure you’re not carrying too much stuff.
In the field, you’ll realize that all these little things add up.
Run through some drills on how to use what’s in the bag.
You don’t have to go full Spartan and leave your kids to fight the wolves, although, that would be awesome.
Once you get your bag together and you know how to use everything that’s in it, you have to know where you’re going to bug out.
Have a plan, and know the location is not compromised before you leave your shelter.
Another thing to discuss when bugging out is the common mistakes we find in the community.
When SHTF and you need to get out, you want to be discrete.
You don’t need to announce that you’re the person with all the supplies people need and paint a target on your back.
Think about it before you lead your family out into a crowd of people with your full fatigues, war belt, and a machete.
When you’re in urban environments, stick with non-descript urban attire and bags.
But, if you are going to be in a rural area, then urban wear would not be appropriate.
Don’t pack dumb crap like books and board games.
Yes, they are important to “staying sane,” but they should be at your bug out location. Not carried.
Cover the essentials and carry as little as possible to get you where you need to go.
Prepper Supply List For Getting Home
There are situations when you are outside of your shelter, say at work for example, and a disaster strikes.
Instead of bugging out, you’re going to want to get home, and hence the term “Get Home Bag” was born.
Now yes, technically you’re “bugging out” of that location. But we preppers like to have different names for things, and labels.
Lots of labels.
A get home bag will have everything a bug out bag should have.
In the event, you’re far from home and you have to ditch your vehicle you’re going to want to have what you need to get there.
You’re going to want to have the same here that meets all your survival needs, water, food, shelter, etc.
One strategy is to have different bags with different supplies stored in different locations.
This can help you keep things light and tailored to specific needs.
But not being able to get to a certain bag that you need in a certain event may leave you exposed.
No matter the situation they will all must the basics to keep you hydrated, fed, sheltered, etc.
Plan ahead and make sure you have everything you need in the order of operations to stay alive and you’ll be good to go.
Prepping For Black Out
Most are ready to go when it comes to Armageddon, which by definition will only happen once in a lifetime.
However, when it comes to recurring disasters like a black out, they’re left standing with their ARs in their hand…
So what are some basic items you should have ready when the lights go out?
The gas and water will still be on, unless you get your water from a well pump.
In that case you’ll want to refer to our water storage guidelines.
For the rest of us, there are a few things to have prepared for quick access.
Flashlights. One for every person. There are various types depending on how long you expect the power to be out for.
A battery powered light will do fine for short term outages. But you may want a solar or crank power flashlight for longer term scenarios.
We recommend having a lantern for omnidirectional light that you don’t have to carry around with you.
Candles. Even if they’re your wife’s scented yoga tea candles. Some of those last up to 48 hours.
Standard emergency candles last anywhere from 8 to 15 hours.
Not only do they add light, but they can warm your hands if you need to work on fixing something in cold weather.
Be sure you have some candlesticks or holders so you don’t burn something down.
You may also want to keep some hand and feet warmers.
Power outages don’t always go out during the winter.
You may want to invest in some battery-powered fans or misters to keep you cool.
I find the best thing to do in the heat is to not move.
Unless you’re stranded in the desert.
But we can go more into that in our survival skills section.
If you need to eat your fresh food make sure you an alternative way to cook if you have an electric stove.
An outdoor grill with propane tanks or a campfire in the backyard.
If you’re in an apartment, then a camp stove with a propane burner can work in a pinch.
Make sure to cook on the balcony or in a well-ventilated area.
Radio. Again battery powered for a short term, crank or solar powered for a longer-term.
The crank and solar also work in the short term. It depends on your preference if you want to wait for it to charge or crank it.
The problem with batteries is the extra cost, extra weight, and they expire.
Of course, you should have some, but I don’t like to be 100% dependent on them.
Having a radio, even if you never use one in your everyday life is essential.
Don’t let that happen to you.
Even if you prepare to survive on your own, you don’t want to miss out on critical resources when they’re available.
FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) Disaster Prepper Supply List
Our fearless leaders put together a basic emergency prepper checklist PDF you can check out. It highlights most of the things we already talked about, but it’s worth going over.
Though they recommend only having three days worth of supplies per person.
We discussed the danger of that, and why at least two weeks to a month is a better strategy.
Some things they list that we haven’t talked about are whistles, dust masks, and local maps.
Whistles. They seem trivial. But if you’re trapped under rubble after an earthquake.
Or in your attic and can’t get out because of high flood waters.
Then a good whistle could save your life by getting someone’s attention who can help you get out.
Masks. Not all masks are equal!
Some may work to keep large debris and dust from entering your lungs. But they may not be right for biological agents or contagions (viruses).
There’s a lot of this happening now where people feel they are “safe” because they are wearing a mask.
But they don’t realize the mask only reduces the risk of you spreading the disease. It does little to protect you from contracting it.
Even if you’re masked, be sure to keep your distance.
Avoid all unnecessary human contact until you’re sure the situation has subsided.
No cell phone or GPS?
If you’re among Millennials or Generation Z who can’t find their way out of a paper bag you’re screwed.
Have and learn to read an old-fashioned paper map.
Keep one with a compass in all your prep bags.
Pre-mark routes off main roads to get to your bug out location, hospitals, police stations, or speciality stores.
In a disaster situation the roads can close and you will have to find alternative routes.
How Do You Use What You Put On Your Prepper Supply List?
Applied Prepping Skills
Having all this gear doesn’t do you much good if you don’t know how or when to use it, or not use it.
Planning will help you know when to use your gear.
Research and study previous experiences and see how they survived in those times.
If someone asks you what you will do when the grid goes down and the only thing you can say is “I’ll survive” – this is not a plan.
Study the actions you will need to take in specific situations.
Write them down, and go over them like a coach reviewing the playbook before a game.
Learn how to get organized. Knowing what the plan is doesn’t help you if you can’t find your stuff.
Being organized is not a skill, but a lifestyle.
It will take the help of your entire team to maintain order and safety.
You don’t have to become OCD, but think about sailing a ship.
If a storm comes, it’s wet, it’s windy, the sea is churning, and tossing you around.
It’s not easy to think let alone stop and figure out where the life vests are.
They should always be in the same place, so you can jump ship at a moment’s notice.
There are too many skills you have to learn in the event of total collapse.
We’re going to mention a few that you should focus on first.
Collecting and purifying water.
Doesn’t do you much good to build a rainwater collection system if you do not know how to purify it before drinking.
Learning how to plant, grow and conserve food for when your stores run out.
Practice now because of the time involved with producing results.
Learning how to cook will be critical in your longer term survival.
It’s not easy getting people to eat food they don’t like, even if they are starving.
How to start a fire to stay warm and cook your food, and how to do it various ways.
When the lighters run out of gas, or there’s no more propane. Then what?
Having food and water doesn’t help if you can’t cook it or boil it.
Exercise. If you don’t know how the body works or what exercises to do to stay in shape, then you should start studying now.
Don’t wait until you get your cancer certificate to start taking care of your health.
Not only will you need your health to outrun the zombies. But will you be able to walk unusual distances?
We mentioned learning how to use a map and a compass to get home or to your bug out location without the use of a GPS.
This and more is in the ultimate survival book. The SAS Survival Handbook: The Ultimate Guide to Surviving Anywhere by John “Lofty” Wiseman.
Learn the basics of how to use a radio stay connected with your team and the outside world.
The most important skill you could learn is knowing what to do to help someone injured. In some cases, you will not be able to get them to a hospital, and help may not be able to get to you. Then what?
You can learn basic first aid in The Survival Medicine Handbook by Joe Alton, M.D. and Amy Alton, A.R.N.P., the premiere Medical Preparedness Professionals.
We also recommend enrolling in a CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) course.
Having an arsenal of weapons in your garage isn’t going to help if you and your team don’t know how to use and maintain them.
Especially studying when, and when not, to use them. Understand the consequences of what will happen if you do use them.
In the end, avoiding a gunfight is a lot safer than engaging. Again, we’re all about surviving here. Not taking as many out as you can before you go down.
Your guns won’t stop others who also have guns from shooting you first.
Study basic self-defense and military tactics. It may sound extreme, but there are many out there who are studying.
To keep your edge, your going to have to know what they know to keep them from taking what you have.
The key to mastering anything is practice.
Reactions to different situations should become second nature.
This will not only allow you to save precious time when it matters most.
But also to avoid panic, a biological response that your conscious mind can’t always control.
Once you know what to prepare and how to use it, make sure you know how to hide it.
Under the Stafford Act, FEMA can use eminent domain to seize (with compensation) both real and personal property on an emergency basis.
So if for some reason your local government finds out you have things they need, they can take it.
This is also why we are discrete about our prepping.
You don’t have to ward off integration with a cyanide pill in your back molar, but discretion is a virtue when it comes to survival.
A good rule of thumb is to mind your own business and let others mind theirs.
But let’s talk about the importance of having a community of local preppers to support you and your team.
Prepping Your Team
Recruiting (not converting) your family and local community will determine if you live or die in an emergency.
We gave you our thoughts before about why bugging “in” is better than bugging “out.”
Not only do we not want to leave our friends and family behind, but we will rely on them as much as they will rely on us.
The human-animal itself is about as effective as an ant in the wild.
We did not take down mammoths and saber-toothed tigers because we were the stronger animal.
It was because we were clever.
We augmented our strength by learning to work in groups.
The same goes for today.
It’s great that you have more guns and ammo than a small country, but who’s going to fire them all?
Who’s going to stay on guard when you have to sleep?
When everyone prepares no one will need to come knocking on your door to take what you got.
Sometimes the best defense is a good offense.
Get out there and make friends.
Talk about the situations that endanger your community.
Come up with plans to deal with those situations together.
Share ideas on how they can prepare.
You don’t have to give away all that you have and are doing.
But sharing ideas they can do to protect themselves will increase your odds of avoiding conflict in the future.
Finally, make sure your family or team is all on the same page.
It doesn’t do anyone much good if you’re the only one with the knowledge of how to survive.
If a disaster takes you out, and the whole operation fails, then you were ill-prepared.
The system should work even if you are no longer steering the ship.
Diversify your responsibilities, skills, and resources.
This will prepare you more than you ever could be on your own.
Is This The End?
Is life as we know it over? No.
But we have reached the end of this article!
You now know more about prepping for an emergency than 99% of the population.
You are now among the 1%.
We know there was a lot of information, so let’s recap by going over some questions you should be able to answer now.
Are your health and finances in order?
Do you have a plan?
Are you thinking about how to avoid dangers as much as surviving them?
You can predict almost every natural disaster and thus avoid it.
If there’s a hurricane or a brush fire coming there’s no need to stick around and see how good you are at surviving it.
Get your bags and bug out.
Avoidance is your best strategy whether it be a disaster or a conflict with your neighbors.
If you are “bugging in,” how much water will you need for a certain period of time?
How much food?
Are you rotating your stores (water, food, medicine, etc.) to make sure they don’t expire?
Have you field-tested your gear?
Do you know how to use it?
Do you know where to find it?
Don’t make the mistake of using your emergency tools, and then not returning them to their place.
Or wearing them out and then they don’t work in an emergency.
When you start to gear up, buy one item first and try it out before you hoard seven of them because some “expert” likes it.
Can you do more than one thing with the piece of gear you are considering adding to your kit?
More is not always better.
Can you stay clean?
Can you help someone who’s injured when medical help is not coming?
Do you have enough medicine for those with special recurring needs?
Do you have pets? Have you accounted for their needs in your provisions?
Can you make a fire?
Do you have power?
How many batteries will you need for all your equipment?
Do you have back up solutions that don’t depend on batteries, like generators or solar power?
Can you find or build shelter?
Do you have the supplies to repair your shelter?
Can you maintain a minimum comfort of living for extended periods of time?
Can you stay connected with the outside world when the power goes down?
Can you protect yourself if there’s a conflict you cannot avoid?
Can you get home to your family if disaster strikes when you’re outside of your shelter?
Are you prepared for various scenarios, and have you revised your strategies on how to react in each?
Do you have a community of prepared citizens who you can rely on to work together?
If the answer is “no” to any of the questions, then go back and read anything that didn’t click the first time.
Revise the sections where you still have doubts.
Check out the articles that go into more depth on each subject.
One last tip is don’t blow all your money in the first month trying to prep for every possible situation.
If you are beginning your journey, take it slow, and educate yourself.
What is the 20% you should focus on now that will give you 80% of the results you need to survive in the most likely situations?
We know this article is longer than church in your Sunday best on a hot summer day in Georgia.
So we’ve put together everything you need to get started on your prepper journey in this handy checklist.
You can download it here for ease of use and refer to it as you prep.
Please leave any questions or contributions down in the comments section below.
We appreciate you adding value to our community.
The bigger our network, the stronger we all will be.