A Brief Guide To Prepping

A Brief Guide To Prepping

While you might assume prepping is the same thing as mildly planning ahead for emergencies, prepping is actually a practice that makes use of insight and skill to ensure one stays safe during emergencies.

This means that preppers will engage in tasks such as stockpiling food and gathering essential tools, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg!

How can we define a successful prepper?

A successful prepper knows how to handle his/her own needs without making use of existing infrastructures, so that if these fail they’ll be able to survive and thrive.

Prepping takes hard work and effort because you need to ensure that you provide for yourself in the hypothetical future and if that future does happen, you don’t want to be left wishing you’d done things differently.

It’s clear that expertise is required, so with that in mind, let’s take a look at how you can start as a prepper .

The History Of Prepping

Great Depression

The practice of prepping has taken form over many decades, usually when disaster struck as people learned that they had to take measures to protect themselves against various dangers, whether economic, social, or natural in nature.

An early example, if not the first, of prepping is how people responded to the Great Depression in the 1920s and 1930s.

When the stock market collapsed, this left millions of people in poverty. It was a wakeup call for how unprepared they were.

Then, during the Cold War (1947 to 1991), it was terrifying for people to think that the United States and USSR had nuclear weapons that could destroy the world.

To help people prepare for nuclear explosions, they were taught to “duck and cover” during nuclear bomb drills, as Bunker Basics reports.

During the 1970s, the ideas of survival and famine started to really take off, with experts such as survivalist Howard Ruff publishing books about how people could look after themselves.

One of his tips was to stockpile food. In 1976, Kurt Saxon coined the term “survivalist” and he’s renowned as the founder of survivalism. 

In 1999, we saw doomsday hoarding occur as Y2K approached, even though there was no disaster that unfolded.

Then, in September 2011, terrorist attacks in the U.S. shook the world. Preppers feared future attacks and this motivated them to take action and look out for themselves and their loved ones.

The rise of social media in the early 2000s further enabled preppers to spread the word, share resources, and keep each other safe.

The coronavirus pandemic of 2020 is a good example of an emergency that can strike when we least expect it.

With governments enforcing lockdown rules for their citizens, and people’s fears of a food supply shortage, the pandemic has forced us all to think of how we need a detailed plan in place should we be confronted with an emergency.  

Why It’s Important To Be Prepared

End Is Near Cardboard

You might think that there are so many different kinds of disasters that it’s impossible to plan ahead for all of them.

“So why plan?”you might ask.

Well, it’s good to bear in mind that many preppers aren’t just planning ahead for one possible threat – they are taking a general view of ensuring that they’ll be okay if any kind of disaster strikes.

They’re increasing their chances of survival, which is what we should all be doing.

Although prepping for emergency situations won’t be able to stop the disaster, it will enable you to ensure that you can minimize the horrific effect it can have on your life as well as your loved ones’ lives.

Prepping can also help you deal with smaller emergencies that can occur when you least expect them.

By stockpiling food and water for a disaster, should a smaller event occur – such as a power failure that lasts three days – your doomsday prepping will have ensured that you can sail through it without worrying about running out of food.

Another good reason to be prepared for disaster is that it puts you in a much more empowered position.

Instead of feeling like a victim, you’ll be able to take charge and do something to help yourself and those around you. This can make a huge difference in how you deal with the crisis that unfolds.

Five Types Of Preppers

There are lots of different types of preppers.

How they differ is in the way they prepare for emergencies. Let’s take a look at five types of preppers.

Urban Preppers

Man Standing On The Roof

Urban preppers are people who live in urban areas and focus on how to take care of themselves in these busy parts of the world, such as when it comes to dangerous situations like terrorist attacks or riots.

Situational awareness is important to urban preppers, as well as stockpiling on emergency food and securing the home.

Off-The-Grid Preppers

As its name suggests, off-the-grid preppers live off grid successfully. Off-grid living means that you’ll be able to supply yourself with water and energy so that you’re completely self-sustainable.

It also means that you can manage your own food and waste.

Some preppers will want to disconnect from the power grid by supplying their own electricity, while others will want to go completely off the grid by disconnecting all utilities so that they can be completely independent.

Homestead Prepper

Homestead preppers are focused on being self-sufficient, which is why they will grow their own food and become involved in animal husbandry.

They focus on learning skills to ensure that they can take complete care of themselves and their loved ones in an emergency. They’re basically a type of off-grid prepper.

Bug-Out Prepper

“Bug out” is a military term that refers to when you need to leave your home because of an emergency.

A bug-out prepper will therefore evacuate in an emergency situation.

However, it’s a misconception to think that this means these preppers will live outdoors – rather, they’ll plan a destination to go to that’s equipped with food and supplies.

Bug-In Prepper

A bug-in prepper is someone who will stay put in their home during an emergency.

This means that they have to ensure their home will be fully protected against outside threats and stocked with water, food, and other supplies.

How To Start Prepping

Supplies In Shopping Cart

You need to have food, water, essential items, and knowledge related to transport and security to be a successful prepper.

Here’s everything you need to know.

How To Stock Up On Food And Water

The idea that you should purchase non-perishable food and bottled water can seem a bit overwhelming.

How much do you need?

Start small.

A good idea is to try to stock up on two weeks’ worth of food and water. Focus on foods that have long expiry dates – there are some that you can keep indefinitely, such as dried beans and white rice.

The important thing is to avoid stocking up on food that will go rancid in a few years and waste your money.

When stocking up on food from the grocery store, it’s a wise decision to also stock up on emergency food.

You can purchase packs of these freeze-dried foods that will last for 20 years or more, and to use them you just need to add water to them.

They’re usually packed with calories to keep you sustained through a crisis.

As for water, aim to stockpile one gallon of water per person per day. So, if you want to stockpile water for two weeks and you live alone, you’ll need 14 gallons.

How To Stock Up On Survival Tools

Set of Survival Tools

What tools will you need during a crisis?

While you might not think about tools, you never know when you’ll need them, such as if you’re stuck in the outdoors and have to fend for yourself.

Here’s a rundown of some of the most important survival tools to have in your home.

  • Fire starter
  • Flashlight (and extra batteries)
  • Tarp – this is a valuable item because you can use it for so many things, such as building a raft
  • Pliers
  • Scissors
  • Knife
  • Saw blades
  • Wire cutters
  • Water filter – even if you have stocked up on water, you need to have a way to filter water in case you run out of it or find yourself in a situation where you don’t have access to it
  • First-aid kit
  • Multi-tool (that will probably contain some of the above items, such as scissors and pliers but it makes it much easier to carry them around)
  • Solar power bank
  • Solar kettle
  • Flares
  • Compass
  • Paracord – this has many uses, such as helping you build a shelter

How To Stock Up On Other Essentials

Hygiene Items

Once you have food and tools prepped, you should think about other items you’ll need.

Hygiene Items

  • Shampoo
  • Soap
  • Toothpaste
  • Toilet paper
  • Brush
  • Razors
  • Vaseline
  • Lip balm

Clothes For The Outdoors

Make sure you stockpile some extra clothes you could wear if you find yourself in the outdoors to keep you warm. These include thick socks, long-sleeved tops, hoodie, gloves, and sturdy boots.


Always make sure you have OTC medications handy as well as any prescription medicine. It’s always a good idea to have extra prescription medication in storage if possible.

Cooking Items

You have your food, but how will you cook and eat it? Make sure you have the following items:

  • Kitchen utensils
  • Can opener
  • Multi-purpose knife
  • Cooking pan or pot
  • Camp stove

How To Stock Up Your Shelter

Man Showing Prepping Shelter

It’s always a good idea to have a one-person tent in storage because you never know when you’ll need it.

If you’re sheltering in place, some important items to keep handy are plastic sheeting and duct tape.

These could be used to construct a quick and easy barrier between yourself and the air outside, such as if the air is contaminated.

In your shelter, you will need the following items:

  • Communication devices, such as smartphones, that will ensure you stay informed about the local news
  • Power banks for your devices
  • Portable generators that have vented exhaust systems.
  • Blankets
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Flashlights
  • Portable heater

Tips For Security

When you have your shelter set up and filled with your emergency supplies, you will need to ensure that it is as secure as possible.

During an emergency situation, your home could be targeted by looters or criminals, so you want to be sure it’s safe.

Install alarms, fix any broken windows or doors, install security lights, and make sure there are locks on all the gates and doors. It’s also a good idea to install security doors.

It’s important to have one room in the house that will act as your safe room should criminals find a way into your home.

The room you choose for this purpose should have its door reinforced, bars should be on the windows, and you can jack up its security by putting a security door in front of the main door.

The room inside should stock your supplies but also have a way for you to get help, such as a panic button.

Transport During Emergencies

DIY Prepping Vehicle

In the event of an emergency, how will you get around? What if you need to evacuate your home and go somewhere safer?

If you own a car, always make sure you have it filled with gas and emergency supplies, such as blankets, tools, and a first-aid kit. But you might not always be able to use your car.

It’s wiser to own a bicycle so that you will be able to get around easier, especially if there are fuel shortages or the roads are blocked.

Related Questions

Is it better to bug-out or bug-in?

It really depends on the situation, but there are good reasons why you should stay at home.

You don’t know what threats are outside and, depending on the type of emergency, if you’ll be safe out there, unless of course you have a predetermined, safe destination where you can go.

What are important skills preppers should learn?

How to make a fire and purify water are important, as is self-defense and learning to be as self-sufficient as possible. This could include learning how to grow your own food.


Prepping involves insight and thinking ahead so that you can look after yourself no matter what crisis occurs when you least expect it.

In this guide to prepping, we’ve looked at what prepping is, what types of preppers there are, and how you can start preparing for disasters to stay one step ahead of them.

Greg - Prepping Insider

Hey, I'm a prepping enthusiast. Prepping for me is simply something of a passion. I have personally lived in many different rural properties that have given me a wealth of knoweldge and experience in practically living out survival and preparation situations. It’s not about getting the latest survival gadgets or buckets of food as its more of a lifestyle.

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