Should I start prepping?
This is the question I have asked myself often over the last decade. In my case, it all started a long time ago innocently watching a TV show – Doomsday Preppers. I watched it because it was an amusing piece of reality TV, nothing more.
People on the show seemed totally strange and crazy with their underground bunkers, gigantic food banks, and extreme survivalist methods. Probably that’s why TV people chose to put them on the show. They were too eccentric, too antisocial, or too advanced.
Needless to say I mocked them constantly (from the comfort of my couch). At that time, I could not even phantom the idea of an apocalypse happening, of any kind.
After a few years had passed I was hit with a bad case of flu. I stayed in bed for a week, completely worn out, not being able to go to the shop or cook for myself. Then I remembered some of the prepping advice – If you’re not always prepared, you’re never prepared. It would have been nice that I had some extra food at home, or toilet paper, or some basic medicine… It dawned on me that I should really be better prepared for some basic emergencies that can happen to anybody. I do not have to prepare extensively for extreme situations that I don’t believe in like Zombie apocalypse or Alien invasion. Just start preparing like a sensible human being for future unexpected troubles that may come your way. Many people begin prepping on a low level and then progress to increasing levels of preparedness. After I got better from the flu I stocked up on some basic food items like ramen and canned goods. I also bought some extra toilet paper and medicine. And that was it! My first steps toward being an urban prepper. Nothing fancy, not going overboard, with a low budget, just a few extra items that made me feel prepared and safer. I was pretty glad I did it because when a couple of years ago I lost my job, I was living off those supplies. For a few months I didn’t go to the shops and I saved money until I got another job.
So, if you are still asking yourself if you should start prepping, the answer is – Yes. If I can do it, anybody can do it. Along the way, you may find that there is a community of like-minded individuals with information, support, and friendship to share.
Why start Urban Prepping?
After the Covid-19 global epidemic in 2020 I think that everybody started thinking more seriously about prepping. It has become a necessity if you want to lead a somewhat normal life. In such extreme life threatening situations like we are all facing today you want to have some preppers’ knowledge. People nowadays search for recommendations from US Federal Government, Fema (Federal Emergency Management Agency), Red Cross, US Army Survival Manual and even brush up on their old Boy Scout Fieldbook. In Sweden the Swedish Government started distributing pamphlets to all population with basic emergency information for survival. It is interesting how things have changed. In 2020 every household has extra toilet paper and extra ramen and canned food in the pantry. I won’t even mention hand sanitizers and face masks. Today we are all Preppers because we want to have a decent life in extreme circumstances.
Who are Preppers?
P–repare for any natural or manmade disaster.
R-espond without fear.
E-valuate every possible scenario.
P-ack like you won’t have suppliles for a year.
P–lan for the unexpected.
E-nvision a happy outcome.
R-emember to always have hope!
Preppers can be people who buy a few extra groceries every month to put away to someone who has food, supplies and maybe weapons to last a lifetime. Like all people, every prepper is unique. This category is so wide range where anybody can find his/her place and fit in. However, there are a few basic “levels” of prepping that most types of preppers fall into: Basic, Short-term, Long-term and Off-the-grid Preppers. That means that you can make a plan for an emergency with similar needs of a short camping trip, ranging to a complete self-reliance and isolation of an off-the-grid lifestyle. It is up to you whether you will have just the basic necessities at your disposal or prepare for a lifetime of living without the modern amenities so that a major disaster cause no change in your lifestyle whatsoever. We all seem to forget that people throughout history lived this kind of lifestyle. Until the advent of recent modern society people didn’t have access to shops, roads, electricity, running water, sewage system nor many other modern amenities that we take for granted.
How to become an Urban Prepper?
Like me, many are wondering – How to go from couch potato to Bear Grylls?
The good news is – you don’t have to. You don’t have to stockpile mountains of food or medicine to be prepared. Don’t go into a fishing gear shop and walk out looking like Howard Wolowitz from The Big Bang Theory. But you should take some small steps in that direction. TV shows like Doomsday Preppers is a great way to start to ease you into the right mindset. It is fun and entertaining while you also learn about different survival skills – how to provide basic human necessities we all take for granted – water, food and shelter. There are many other reality TV series on this subject – Man vs. Wild (also called Born Survivor: Bear Grylls), Man, Woman, Wild.
I was pleasantly surprised to find out about some celebrity preppers – Zooey Deschanel, Jamie Lee Curtis (worked with Red Cross) and many many others. Famous Ronda Rousey said: “It’s no secret I’ve been a proud preppier for years- but let’s all learn from this pandemic panic and be a little more self-sufficient and prepared in the future. Taking steps to live sustainably takes time but ultimately saves money, permanently eliminates water and power bills, reduces our carbon footprint, and is just plain healthier. We started Browsey Acres with just a compost bin and a few boxes of Soylent, which then became just a small herb garden, then a full garden (admittedly still under construction) then a few chickens, then a few more chickens (and ducks!), then a whole steer, then a solar roof, then a water catchment system. Start small! Just start! Let’s stop panicking and start preparing!”
What is in this Easy Prepping Guide?
1. Learn the Terminology
EDC: every day carry. This is the first word I learned. It is a small bag filled with basic survival necessities that you carry with you at all times because – If you’re not always prepared, you’re never prepared! In my EDC there is a small pocket knife, a pepper spray, a mirror, a lighter, bandages, aspirin, a hand sanitizer, a flashlight, a whistle, a compass and a small survival booklet by Bear Grylls. Everybody’s EDC is different because you we all have different needs and skills, but it is important to keep it light and with you at all times.
BOB: Bug out Bag – contains everything you need if you have to leave your home and never return. It can contain documents, passport, physical cash, water and food to last you 72 hours, first aid, extra clothes… It is your personal pre-packed kit that can help you survive for at least 72 hours when fleeing a disaster.
BOL: Bug out location – a safer location where you can wait out an emergency and regroup. It is good to have a predetermined location where you can go if you get separated from your family.
Bugging In: staying at home during a disaster.
Bugging Out: evacuating your home during a disaster, either by your own choice or because you are ordered to.
E.M.P: Electro Magnetic Pulse.
M.R.E: Meals Ready to Eat.
Paracord: special, strong rope with many uses (building shelter, starting fire).
SHTF: Shit hits the fan– a term used when a situation goes from bad to worse.
Zombie: Unprepared, incidental survivors who feed on the preparations of others.
Zombie apocalypse: a metaphor for any natural or man-made disaster.
Off the grid: not being connected to public utilities (power, water, sewer system). It can refer to a self-sufficient home or entire communities.
TEOTWAWKI: The End Of The World As We Know It. James Wesley Rawles
gets credit for this phrase, which has become extremely popular with Preppers, from his book “How to Survive the End of the World as We Know It: Tactics, Techniques, and Technologies for Uncertain Times”.
The Rule of 3: is a simple way to remember that you can go 3 minutes without air, 3 hours without shelter in dangerous conditions, 3 days without water, and 3 weeks without food. It’s a general rule to help you decide which of your basic needs should get your attention first.
Murphy’s Law: Anything that can go wrong will go wrong.
2. Buy Survival Gear
Remember to start small! First off, get your EDC in order. Make sure that you have a small pocket knife, a whistle and a small flashlight with you at all times. Everything else depends on your living situation and budget. If you get lost in the vastness of Internet searching for equipment, imagine you are going camping and try to prepare for a weekend trip in nature. Without going into much detail I will list some items in the categories that you should address:
gear: large durable backpack, tent, sleeping bag, tarp
tools: multi-tool, eating utensils, rope, flashlight, headlamp, compass, firestarter/ lighter, radio, water filter, portable propane heater, fishing gear
weapons: knife, pepper spray, wire saw, axe
medical: gas mask, potassium iodide tablets, first aid kit, toothbrush, toothpaste
clothes: boots, raincoat, fleece, extra socks
other: bottled water, bucket, trash bags, duct tape, toilet paper, soap, SAS Survival Handbook
Obviously, there are plenty of other things you can and should buy. Focus on these first because they are the most basic and important items. Once you have these basics, then you can move on to the extras that will make survival easier and more comfortable.
3. Stock Up on Food
My advice for successful Urban Prepping is to stock-up on what you normally eat and can spend when used in rotation. The choice of best-tasting emergency food largely depends on your taste. Focus on non-perishable food and avoid food that needs to be refrigerated. Buy extra bottled water, canned goods, granola bars, peanut butter, chocolate, crackers, tomato sauce, pasta, ramen, rice, sugar, oil, flour, coffee, tea, honey, pet food, etc. Other items that you should consider having extra are alcoholic beverages that can be used for sanitizing wounds and barter items.
It really all depends on your budget, physical space for storage at your disposal and the level of preparedness that you want to achieve.
4. Learn New Skills
Since you are reading this Easy Prepping Guide for Beginner Urban Preppers big chances are you are a city kid with no outdoor experience. You have, like me, never been camping, fishing, only very seldom – hiking. You are terrified by sounds of nature and prefer to fall asleep beside your iPad, not searching for real stars in the real sky. This will soon change and you will learn how to leave your comfort zone, become more resilient and enjoy the self-reliance and your newfound independence.
Prepping involves learning a whole skill set not being taught at school, but which are highly important for everyone’s survival. Prepping journey changes you, your habits and likes, you become more active, take up new activities and lead a healthier lifestyle overall.
I am currently learning a lot about foraging mushrooms. You will also start looking forward to your next fishing trip or even go hunting. You can start small – do some small-scale gardening in your apartment. This will lead you to learning how to cook better, preparing a food menu and tracking your food expenses better.
One of the first skills that I was eager to learn was how to defend myself and hunt for food by shooting a gun and a rifle. If you are against killing animals, join an air rifle club just to learn the shooting skill which you may need later for defense. I also bought a few fishing poles, so now I feel fully confident that I can survive without a store around. Next on my list is basic radio communication. Learning about radio signals is considered one of the essential skills.
There are many more skills that you can master even without having urban prepping in mind. They are fun and educating for all family members.
Useful Urban Prepping Tips
Plan. Make a plan for likely emergency scenarios. Plan a BOB, BOL, etc.
Practice. Don’t just buy some gear, throw it in a closet, pat yourself on the back, and move on. You are not prepared unless you practice with your supplies and plans. Also, you do not want to rely on a product in an emergency that you haven’t used before. In a chaotic situation it is easy to forget even the basic things.
Don’t buy off-the-shelf emergency kits. Make your own according to your particular needs and skill set.
Only buy goods that you really use. Don’t stockpile food that you don’t like and will never use in any scenario. If you don’t like peas, admit it and never stockpile cans of peas. If you are allergic to peanuts, there is no reason to have peanut butter in your pantry, just in case.
Only buy goods that you regularly use. Keep track of the expiry date of your stored goods. Once the date has expired, you won’t be able to use the food, nor even give it away. If you have a lot of stored goods, find a system to rotate them and use before the expiry date.
Label everything. After some time every kind of food in containers looks the same. Do yourself a favor and don’t try to memorize where everything is. Make a list, label containers and check-up often.
Don’t store food in containers that are not food grade containers or from inappropriate material. If you do, your food may taste like plastic after a while which you will have to throw away.
Year 2020 has proved to us that urban prepping skills and being prepared is extremely important. Things have not looked bleaker in a long time. People are worried about health epidemic, global warming and economic collapse and feel anxiety about the Trump administration. Who knows what the year 2021 will bring? It is the perfect time to be prepared for any kind of emergency situation because future is uncertain.
If you are a newbie urban prepper, read an easy beginner’s prepping guide, start small, make a plan, stick to your budget, write a checklist, practice, involve your family, build a network of supporting friends or become a part of the prepping community. Don’t change your lifestyle drastically and go off-grid or buy tons of stuff that you won’t ever use. It is better to acquire new skills than new equipment. Being self-reliant in categories like food, shelter, defense, finances, etc. makes you more confident in everyday life.
Remember that prepping is a continuous journey, as you continue to use and add to your prepping goods, you will develop your skills more and more. Get started today – now! It is easy to get paralyzed by overwhelming amount of knowledge to be learned or things to prepare. Once you get the momentum going, you will feel confident, successful and more accomplished as a person in general.
Related posts about prepping are: A Brief Guide To Prepping, Ultimate Prepping List – What Do You Really Need For SHTF Event