Do you want to be better prepared for emergencies but aren’t sure where to start or if you’re doing it right? This “prepping for beginners” emergency preparedness checklist walks you through the basic steps with sane, expert-verified advice for modern people. When you’re done, you’ll be ready to handle the majority of what may come your way.
Whether you’re worried about a sudden layoff, home invasions, car accidents, the power going out for a week, natural disasters, or long term economic and societal decline, it’s critical that you start getting prepared now. By definition, if you wait until you need it, it’s already too late.
You’re not alone: Millions of rational people from all walks of life are taking preparedness seriously — and the movement is growing as more people realize they can’t depend on others to save them in our changing world.
It’s simple: depending on what happens, you’ll either stay in your home, leave your home, or be away from home. Making it needlessly complicated makes you less prepared.
But prepping can seem overwhelming. And to make matters worse, there’s a lot of crazy “loud minority” junk out there that pollutes rational preparedness with extremism, dangerous info, or silly internet debates that don’t actually matter.
The whole point of prepping is to reduce the chances of major life disruptions and to better recover from disruptions when they do happen. That’s it!
Even something as simple and common as a fire extinguisher in your kitchen counts — the vast majority of prepping has nothing to do with bunkers and bullets!
Don’t just look for a single checklist and skip the reading. You will save yourself a lot of wasted money and time, and be better prepared, if you take a little bit of time to learn from others instead of making the same mistakes most beginners make when they try to “skip the vegetables” — the real trick to prepping well is knowledge and following the right path, not putting a bucket of gear in your closet.
The basic steps to prepping:
- Build a solid personal finance and health foundation
- Get your home ready for two weeks of self-reliance
- Be able to leave your home with only a moment’s notice (“bug out bags”)
- Prepare for emergencies that happen away from home (“get home bags” and everyday carry)
- Learn core skills and practice with your gear
- Share and recruit while continuing to learn and going beyond the basics
Why you can trust this plan
We started The Prepared because we used to be in your shoes — typical people who wanted to get prepared in a way that meshed well with normal life — and we were frustrated by how unhelpful, untrustworthy, and irrational most online resources were.
So everything you see on this site, including this guide, is crafted by survival and preparedness experts with advice that applies to a wide range of people, places, budgets, and scenarios.
Some contributors, for example, teach military pilots how to survive if they eject behind enemy lines, advise the White House and US DOD on related issues, run major nonprofits that help victims after a disaster, are field medics patching up soldiers kicking down doors in the most violent places, and shelter administrators who were on the ground for major events like Hurricane Katrina or the California wildfires.
Be prepared. Don’t be a victim.
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Why are you here? Regardless, you’re not alone!
Maybe you’re generally worried about politics, the economy, and natural disasters. Or maybe you or someone you love went through an emergency and you’ve decided not to be a victim anymore.
Whatever your reasons, you’re not alone: Millions of people are actively preparing, and their reasons are as diverse as they are.
More: The major reasons why rational people are prepping
Regardless of your politics, age, gender, location, and so on, you probably know people who are prepping. They just tend not to broadcast it. We’ve even had spouses each independently tell us they’re prepping, asking how they can bring it up to their partner “without it seeming weird,” only to find out they were both doing it already!
Tips and common beginner mistakes
Many of these are fleshed out in the sane prepper rules. To highlight the most common:
- Don’t buy off-the-shelf kits. 98% of them are not worth buying.
- You can’t predict when an emergency will happen, so a good prep is always ready.
- You cannot predict what’s going to happen, so be diligent about finding and avoiding assumptions in your preps.
- Stay realistic and practical. Avoid zombie and Rambo fantasies. Focus on the things that matter most and remember that simpler is better.
- Don’t let prepping overwhelm or defeat you. It’s important to enjoy the good life now and not go down a dark spiral of doomsday depression or blow your life savings on supplies. You can prepare without giving up, just like how buying health insurance doesn’t mean you’ve given up on your health.
- Ignore the noise and extremism that tries to take over prepping from the fringes. Unfortunately, many of the related blogs, forums, and Facebook groups are riddled with junk. Speak up or go somewhere else.
- Prepping is better when you connect with like-minded people. Try to connect with others through our website and through local groups (eg. scouts, CERT, amateur radio clubs, hiking clubs, etc.)
- Avoid “double dipping” your gear. It’s tempting to pick stuff out of your bug out bag for a camping trip, for example. But then life tends to get in the way, the gear stays scattered, and that creates windows where an emergency might strike and you’re unprepared.
- If you’re on a budget, it’s better to buy fewer high-quality things than cheap stuff that will fail when you need them most. You can prep without much money, but it looks more like DIY and second-hand type of purchases, less so the dollar store.
- 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.
- A bug out bag is not simply for bugging out to a predetermined location along a predetermined path. It’s the one bag you grab first when you need to leave your home.
- It’s wrong to think “my plan is to bug out” or “my plan is to shelter in place at home” — emergencies don’t care about your plans, and a good prep means being able to do both.
Planning based on your risks
It’s very common in social forums for people to respond to a beginner prepper’s plea for help by asking “well, what are you prepping for?” and then tailoring plans and supplies specifically to that event.
That isn’t horrible, and it has the benefit of keeping people grounded instead of being stuck in doomsday fantasies.
But, in practice, that mental model causes people to get tunnel vision — which then makes their preps less effective or efficient — or gives the false impression that there are huge differences in how to prepare.
The good news is that the prepping basics checklist is the same for 98% of people and scenarios.
It’s once you get past those essentials that things start to get customized or tricky — if you want to grow an indoor garden in your city studio, for example, or have unusual medical needs.
There are specifics you layer on top of the basics depending on your local risks. If you’re preparing for a hurricane, for example, you’d want to figure out your storm shutters plan sooner than later. But all the core stuff like two weeks of supplies and a go-bag are the same.
Maslow’s hierarchy and the Pareto 80-20 rule
We talk a lot about the 80-20 rule (the “Pareto principle”) on The Prepared and how it should guide emergency preparedness.
The initial 20% (what this guide covers) of all the possible work you could do in prepping gets you 80% of the way there. To go from 80% to 100% prepared requires a lot more work and money.
That principle applies throughout prepping. For example, you should prepare for the 80% of likely scenarios, not the unlikely ones like fascist zombies arriving on a radioactive alien asteroid.
Maslow’s hierarchy is a popular psychology principle that explains what humans need to survive and thrive in order of importance:
The foundation is, obviously, essentials like air, water, and shelter. Many preppers refer to The Rule of 3’s: You can survive 3 minutes without air, 3 hours without shelter in bad conditions, 3 days without water, and 3 weeks without food.
Once you’ve got those covered you can then think about the next layer, and so on. At the top of the pyramid is self-actualization, which means things like enjoying hobbies and “finding yourself.”
Use these two critical frameworks to keep your preparations grounded and prioritized. For example, it’s much better to have four boring meals than two of your favorite meals.
Believe it or not, we see people making these mistakes all the time. “I’d rather have chocolate and the Game of Thrones books in my bug out bag, because what’s the point of surviving if I can’t have candy and fun!” No! #badprepper
Step 1: Get your health and finances in order
Medical issues and financial difficulties are the most likely disruptions you’ll face in your lifetime, and since you’re a sane prepper, you prioritize the most likely emergencies first.
All of the statistics around personal financial health are shockingly bad — particularly in the US. For example, over 50% of Americans can’t handle an unexpected $500 emergency (eg. your expired-warranty home furnace suddenly fails) without using credit cards.
You should not spend any money on gear/supplies beyond the essentials (eg. two weeks of water in your home) without first having core financial preps such as a rainy day fund, debt-reduction plan, and retirement savings.
More: Tips for normal people to turn their finances from “problem” to “prepped”
Similar story with personal health: We’re getting sicker and less capable of handling the physical demands that are inherent in an emergency. It’ll be hard to survive at all if you struggle to walk up stairs, have addictions, or can’t keep your mind clear while your body goes through extreme stress.
More: Physical fitness gurus (who are also preppers) pick the best exercises for preparedness
Don’t forget other “adulting” basics like insurance and estate planning. Do you have a will? Does your family know what to do if you’re in a bad accident and can’t talk? Do you want doctors to keep you alive in a vegetative coma? Have you added beneficiaries to your financial accounts so your family isn’t locked out from money while waiting for the probate court system?
Tip: Going for random walks around your home is a great way to exercise and check off a core 101 checklist item (know your surroundings!) at the same time.
72 hours vs. 2 weeks
Until recently, emergency preparedness guides typically recommended having 72 hours worth of supplies. The Department of Homeland Security’s Ready.gov site currently says, “Being prepared means having your own food, water, and other supplies to last for at least 72 hours.”
They’re wrong. Surviving for 72 hours is better than nothing, but most modern experts believe you should be prepared for at least two weeks in order to handle the majority of likely events.
Some groups, like the Red Cross, have updated their suggestions; their site now says, “3-day supply for evacuation, 2-week supply for home.”
Our emergency systems, first responders, and community supplies can be quickly overwhelmed. The system just isn’t designed to handle sudden and widespread disasters.
“There is an urgent need for residents to prepare for two weeks.” — Robert Ezelle, director of Washington’s Emergency Management Division
Recent events like Hurricane Harvey, the Japanese Tsunami, Haiti Earthquake, and the California Wildfires are all examples of localized disasters where people were displaced or without basic services for weeks, not days.
In 2016 the US Navy, Coast Guard, and Washington state’s National Guard did a full-scale, nine-day drill to test how well they could respond to a massive earthquake in the Cascadia Subduction Zone. That area covers Vancouver, Seattle, and Portland through northern California.
The 83-page report comes to a lot of scary conclusions. The authors admit the systems are not ready, infrastructure would collapse, and they’d have a full-blown humanitarian crisis in ten days.
We recently interviewed the Portland Water Bureau, and they had a similar message about an earthquake in that region: a million people in that 225-square-mile area will be without water for months, not days.
Politics and budgeting are making things worse over time, not better. It would take at least a week to properly coordinate outside resources brought in to help. For example, the American military reports they need an average of eight days to mobilize a response inside the US border — and that’s just for a relatively-localized crisis, such as an earthquake.
Step 2: Get your home ready for two weeks of self-reliance
We start with the home because it’s where you spend most of your time and is usually the best place to make it through an emergency. Which is why governments give the standard “stay in your home!” advice during a crisis.
- You have an unexpected big expense or layoff that blows your tight budget
- School and work is cancelled due to a crippling heat wave
- The electrical or water grid goes down for a few days
- A nasty hurricane floods your city for a week
- An epidemic is spreading and you’re quarantined to your home
- Civil order breaks down with mass unrest in the streets
- A nearby city is attacked by an enemy
- Total collapse (“Shit Hits The Fan”)
Your goal is to be able to survive in your home for at least two weeks without any outside help — whether from people or the grid. That means you can’t assume you’ll have electricity, water, cooking or heating gas, communication, internet, 911, ambulances, and so on.
Home checklist summary:
- Water: store 15 gallons of potable water per person (roughly 1 gallon per day) and have ways to treat dirty water via either a portable water filter or Berkey / Brita
- Food: at least 23,000 calories per person (roughly 1,500 calories per day) of shelf-stable food that’s ready to eat or only needs boiling water to make
- Fire: lighters, matches, and backup fire starters
- Light: headlamps, flashlights, candles, lanterns
- Heating and cooling: indoor-safe heaters, extra blankets, USB-powered fan
- Shelter: a cheap tarp (anything you find at a local store) comes in handy for improvised shelter, plugging holes in the house, and clearing debris
- Medical: list of 145 prioritized home medical supplies
- Hygiene: wet wipes, hand sanitizer, camp soap
- Communication: either a one-way NOAA radio or a two-way ham radio (if you know how to use it)
- Power: spare batteries and rechargers (your bug out bag will have a solar charger, but you can also get a second one for home)
- Tools: axe, shovel, work gloves, wrench for your gas lines, zip ties, duct tape, etc.
- Self defense: depends on personal views, may include body armor, firearms, etc.
- Cash: as much as you can reasonably afford to stash
- Mental health: board games, favorite books, headphones, movies downloaded to a tablet, etc.
- Documents: copy of deeds/titles, insurance policies, birth certificates, maps, pictures of family members, etc. in both physical and USB thumb drive forms
- Local & emergency info: write down important contact numbers, know the location of the nearest hospitals, etc.
Water is just too important to leave to chance. So don’t assume you’ll have time to fill the bathtub or run to the store, and don’t use inappropriate vessels such as milk jugs. Buy proper water storage tanks and keep them in a closet instead.
Food is usually handled one of two ways, although you can do both: freeze-dried survival food buckets or a deep pantry of what you normally eat.
“Store what you eat and eat what you store” is a popular saying because it’s easy, doesn’t cost more in the long run, and works well for people who already eat at home a good chunk of the time.
For sake of example:
- Susan normally eats soup twice a week.
- Cans of soup have a shelf life of three years.
- Today, Susan keeps a few cans in the pantry and buys just enough every shopping trip to hold her over until the next trip.
- So, at any given time, Susan may only have a handful of cans at home.
- Instead, Susan starts buying a few extra cans each trip when her budget allows.
- Newly-purchased cans go to the back of the pantry line (with dates written on them in marker) and Susan always eats the oldest can first.
- After a while, Susan has built up a surplus with a pantry of up to 312 cans of soup (2 per week x 52 weeks x 3 year shelf life).
- Once she hits the right surplus level, she goes back to the habit of just buying enough each trip to replenish what was eaten since the last trip.
- Her daily-life routine doesn’t change, yet she never eats expired soup.
- If an emergency happens, there’s now over 300 cans of food that Susan already enjoys with up to 3 years of life left!
Tip: If your habits change (eg. Susan suddenly becomes allergic to soup) or you end up with some inventory that’s going to expire soon, then just donate them. Local firefighters/police tend to have donation drives, and that’s a good opportunity to meet some of your local heroes.
What is a bug out bag? Should I have one?
An emergency can strike at any time. You may only have seconds to leave your home. Or maybe you gain an advantage (eg. beating traffic) by evacuating while everyone else is still scrambling.
That’s why a core part of being prepared is having one bag that’s always packed and ready to use — no matter what happens, you’ll know you have the right core essentials to survive, comfortably handle the aftermath, and potentially help others around you.
So your bug out bag is essentially your emergency kit, since you’ll be okay if that’s the only thing you ever have/prepare.
Bonus: As a beginner prepper, building your go-bags is in many ways the same as building an emergency kit for your home. Since the bag is always kept at home, if something happens around the house or you shelter in place during a longer emergency, those go-bag supplies can be used if needed.
Since you can’t assume you’ll have vehicle transportation, these bags are designed to be foot portable. That means using a backpack and keeping things at a reasonable weight while considering your local environment.
Some folks think a bug out bag is exclusively for “bugging out” along a predetermined path to a pre-stocked “bug out location” (like a cabin in the woods). That might happen, but that’s an assumption that breaks the sane prepper rules.
Similarly, some people say “I can’t imagine a realistic scenario where I would need to bug out for more than a few days.” You can decide to skip building a packed-and-ready bag if you’d like, but that means you’re deciding to be less prepared. The whole point is that you don’t know what’s going to happen, so why not have a bag that’s always packed and can do double duty in your home? The only time we think it’s rational to skip this step is for elderly or disabled people who face steep challenges outside the home.
There are countless situations where having this one bag, ready to go, can make the difference between life or death — or at least the difference between smooth sailing or lots of pain and lost money. Some examples:
- Authorities order an evacuation and you want to beat the chaos and traffic jams by leaving quickly while others scramble to pack.
- You need to get somewhere fast (maybe a family member is suddenly on their deathbed) and you don’t have time to pack an overnight bag.
- You wake up in the middle of the night to a house fire or rapidly-approaching wildfire that burns down your home just after you escape.
- Someone is injured outside your home, so you grab your bag (which has medical supplies) and run towards them.
- The hurricane or tornado you thought was going to miss you suddenly changed course, and now you’re in a FEMA shelter for a month.
- An earthquake forces you outside and you can’t go back in for days while they turn off the utility gas to stop the fires.
- Civil unrest develops outside your home and you want to get some distance.
- An enemy has attacked your area, perhaps with a missile or bio weapon.
- A home intruder or other domestic violence situation means you need to leave quickly.
Your go-bag has what you need to survive, like water and shelter, while also including things to recover, like important documents for homeowner’s insurance or pictures of loved ones.
And that’s the tricky part: How do you put together the most well-rounded complement of stuff you need to survive and recover in one bag? How do you build that bag in a way that covers the widest range of practical scenarios as possible?
More: Why you should use a prioritized bag system instead of bags based on timelines
Step 3: Bug Out Bags for every adult
More accurately: a bug out bag for everyone around the house who can carry them. Many families build a separate bag for children once they hit 10-12 years old, modifying the contents as needed, for example.
See the complete bug out bag checklist — there’s too much to include on this page, including the reasons why experts prioritize the gear they do and how to prioritize gear across three levels.
For example, a basic 20-pound “go bag” should have:
- Individual First Aid Kit – Level 1
- 32 oz potable water stored in a hard canteen
- Collapsible canteen/vessel
- Water filter
- Water purification tablets x 20-40
- Food that’s ready to eat
- Lighter x 2
- Field knife
- Cordage x 50’
- Waterproof paper and pen
- Documents (physical and USB thumb drive)
- Condensed soap
- Toilet paper
- Nail clippers
- Top base layer
- Jacket / outer shell
- Shemagh / bandana / gaiter
- One- or two-way radio
- USB charging cable and wall plug
- Li-Ion battery pack
- Contractor trash bags x 2
- Storage bags (20L drybag and 5x gallon ziplocs)
More: Great bug out bag backpacks
Step 4: Get Home Bags, Everyday Carry, and vehicle supplies
What happens if an emergency strikes while you’re away from home?
You clearly can’t walk around with a heavy bag all of the time, so the key is to keep the right kinds of supplies where they naturally fit within your life pattern — most people’s daily patterns tend to be pretty consistent and predictable, so use that to your advantage.
- A badly bleeding and clearly drunk student is stumbling around an alley alone on a cold Friday night — a real scenario handled by a The Prepared reader who used the info learned in this guide!
- Your subway car loses power in between stations.
- You witness a serious car accident while driving home in rush-hour traffic. It might take emergency services 10 to 15 minutes to arrive.
- You’re cornered by two muggers while walking home from your friend’s apartment at night.
- A shooter attacks random people while you’re in the shopping mall.
- An earthquake strikes while you’re at work. Your car is in the parking garage and you work in the city about 30 minutes away from your suburban home.
- Kim Jong Un decides to interrupt your well-deserved spa day by sending an ICBM to the neighboring city.
For most people in modern societies, that means a combination of:
- A Get Home Bag (GHB) in your vehicle trunk, work locker, office, or wherever else it can be safely stored in a way that’s near you for as much of a typical day as possible.
- Everyday carry (EDC) items you keep on your person at all times, either on your body or in a daily-use pack, such as a school backpack or purse.
- Car supplies. Even if you keep a GHB in your trunk, it’s a good idea to keep additional gear specifically for vehicle problems.
A Get Home Bag gets its name from the concept of “Shit just hit the fan, so I need to get home because that’s my primary spot!”
But a GHB also serves as your only source of supplies if the nature of the emergency means you can’t (or shouldn’t) try to get home. For sake of an extreme example, imagine a bioweapon is released between your job and home, meaning you need to evac in the opposite direction. A more common example is spending a night in your car during a snowstorm.
So a GHB is similar to a BOB in many ways, just kept outside of the home. You should use and modify the bug out bag checklist.
Common loadout differences between a GHB and BOB:
- Car trunks can get very hot, so avoid foods and medicines that melt at 100-150 degrees.
- Only fill water containers ~85% of the way to allow for freeze expansion in cold climates.
- In areas with stricter weapons laws, what you can legally keep stored in your BOB at home might not be legal in a GHB/EDC outside the home.
Since most Americans drive everywhere, the car trunk is the most common storage spot. Some people go as far as to bury their GHB near their job or on the route between work and home.
If you don’t drive or just don’t have the ability to store a whole backpack somewhere, do your best to integrate the most important supplies (eg. a water filter) into your daily-use packs or purses.
Everyday Carry checklist
Since EDC items are physically carried everywhere you go, you’re much more limited by space and weight. Over 95% of EDC items you see in the wild are made from all or part of this list:
- In Case of Emergency details (eg. a laminated card of important info kept in a wallet)
- Phone (usually with downloaded maps and helpful apps)
- Li-Ion rechargeable battery pack
- Pocket knife
- Some or all of a Level 1 IFAK
- Boo-boo kit (less trauma oriented than an IFAK)
- Weatherproof notepad and pen
- Self defense weapons, pepper spray, etc.
- Hidden cash and/or credit cards
These items can be spread around in whatever way makes sense for you. For example, some people keep the phone and lighter in their pocket, the flashlight on their keychain, the multitool and CCW pistol on their belt, the paracord in the form of a wrist bracelet, and the medical supplies, respirator, USB battery, notepad, pen, and ICE info in their bag/purse.
We don’t recommend using bulletproof body armor, backpacks, or similar protective gear for EDC. The fear around active shooters is overblown — you’re more likely to die from winter ice — and the gear, although effective in a vacuum, just isn’t practical for everyday use (yet).
If you have a vehicle, you should keep basic gear on hand for road-related emergencies. These items don’t need to be kept in a backpack since it’s very unlikely you’ll need to carry them on foot over distance.
Popular gear kept in the car:
- In Case of Emergency info kept in a glove box or console
- Window breaker and seatbelt cutter tool
- Mylar emergency blanket 1-2x
- Proper blanket or extra coat
- Extra hat, sunglasses, sunscreen
- Jump start battery
- Jumper cables
- Tow straps
- Road flares or blaze signal
- Spare tire
- Tire wrench
- Tire repair kit (plug holes instead of replace the whole tire)
- Windshield scraper
- Deicing wiper fluid
- A small shovel (ie. “e-tool” or entrenching tool) or garden trowel for digging out tires
- Kitty litter, sand, or other spreadable traction
- Traction boards
- Boo-boo kit, IFAK, Rx meds, extra glasses, etc.
- Plug to turn a cigarette lighter into a USB charger
- Stored water and/or water filter
More: Check out the winterizing your car checklist if you live in an area with harsh winters.
Step 5: Learn, practice, and plan!
Having gear is one thing, but survival experts know that a great prep is a mix of gear, skills, planning, and practice.
Which means you are not actually prepared if you simply buy some gear, throw it in storage, then pat yourself on the back! Again, #badprepper!
You do not want to rely on a product in an emergency that you’ve never used before. Even if something seems simple now, your brain can turn into a bowl of mush when faced with chaos. For example: Think a car window breaker would be simple?
And there are too many crappy “survival” products that fall apart in the field when you need them most. Or maybe that lifeboat food you bought doesn’t sit well with your stomach, which you don’t realize until dealing with diarrhea at the worst time.
Once you’ve got some of the basic gear in place across your home and go-bags, it’s time to start learning critical skills.
Do this in parallel as you continue building your supplies past the basics and fine-tuning your disaster preparedness plan.
Although you can find hidden gems for free on YouTube, it’s hard to know which ones are legit and which ones are some random guy telling you debunked survival advice passed down from his granpappy. We’ve lost count of the number of random lessons around the web that teach debunked survival myths, such as using tampons to plug bullet holes.
The Prepared has a whole section on survival skills, with new free content crafted by bonafide experts coming all the time, and in 2020 we’re releasing video courses.
Some great places to start:
- How to use a compass and map
- Ham radio for beginners
- How to clean a wound
- How to use a tourniquet
- How to give stitches
- How to sharpen a blade with random stuff
More: List of preparedness instructors in the US and Canada
As you learn more about preparedness, don’t forget to practice your skills the same way you would practice with gear.
It’s also time to get into the habit of an annual or semi-annual prep review, where you check your supplies, update anything expired, swap out winter and summer clothes in your go-bags, check contact info, etc.
Your annual review is also a great time to do practice runs with your family.
Step 6: Share and recruit!
Prepping is more effective — and more fun! — when you share the responsibility with your friends, family, and neighbors.
It’s like a multi-level-marketing scheme, except everyone wins!
Some old-school preppers followed too much of a Lone Wolf mentality, where they kept everything secret and assumed they’ll traverse the wastelands alone with their shotgun and trusty dog while everything else collapses around them.
Things just don’t work that way. During the Great Depression, for example, studies show that areas with higher “community mindsets” fared much better than areas where people tended to go it alone.
More: Why and how to talk about prepping with your inner circles
You clearly don’t want to broadcast your prepping to people you don’t know, whether in the form of public social media posts or obvious “flags” around your home. Don’t paint targets on yourself or your stuff when an emergency hits.
But family, friends, neighbors, and coworkers are all potential recruits. Not only will you feel good about helping others see the light, you’ll be better prepared the more of a “buffer” you have around you.
Tip: Use our free kit builder to send links of pre-populated gear to your network. For example, you could send the URL to this first aid kit to your neighbors as a non-threatening or non-weird way to help someone ease their way into preparedness.
A great way to meet other like-minded folks in your community is through local training — which may even lead to creating or joining a “resilience circle” or prepper mutual-aid group.
Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) courses are a free and popular example. You can just go for the class or sign up to be a community volunteer that’s activated during a crisis.
You’re no longer a beginner at this point. Well done! Take a breather and stop thinking about bad scenarios for a while.
How you progress from here starts to greatly depend on your goals and circumstances. Roughly speaking, people tend to:
- Increase the amount of time they can survive in their home without the help or grid — which usually means increasing supplies (eg. having multiple months or years of food and water) and improving the home so it doesn’t need the grid.
- Get into more advanced gear, such as multiple types of firearms,
- Explore ways to create their own food through farming or livestock, even if it’s a small indoor garden or meat rabbits.
- Explore ways to capture their own water via rain collection systems, etc.
- Buy or build a bug out vehicle.
- Be more intentional about cooking at home, repairing or mending products, composting, and other general homesteading techniques.
- Build up a resource library of survival books or other info not dependent on the internet.
- Continue improving their physical fitness and personal finances.
- Hedge against economic risks with precious metals and/or cryptocurrency.
- Build or buy a bug out location, such as a cabin in the woods a reasonable drive away from home.
- Continue learning advanced skills, such as Wilderness First Responder or metalworking.
Be sure to participate in communities like The Prepared’s blog and forum (coming 2020). We also like the /preppers subreddit. Prepping is a never-ending lifestyle, so try to check in with the community from time to time.