By Brian Meyer
It usually takes a massive world event to bring the idea of prepping into the minds of new people, and with the world today, those seem to come on a fairly regular basis. Whether it’s the massive tornadoes that wipe out towns in the Midwest, to the Ebola scare or even threat of terrorist attack, the need for prepping is being seen by more and more people than ever before.
If you’re a new prepper reading this, or someone thinking about becoming a prepper, then know that you’re making a solid decision and any steps you take towards being more prepared for what the world can throw at you is a very good thing.
If you’ve been prepping already, you know how much there is out there on the subject of prepping. So much so that it can be a little imposing. Sometimes it’s best to get back to your roots and see the basics all over again to make sure you’re on the right path.
For both these reasons, we’ve laid out seven tips below for the first-time prepper. It’s worthwhile for an experienced prepper to work through these tips, too, so everyone has the same base of knowledge and is as prepared as possible.
1. What Scenarios are You Prepping For?
Easily the biggest piece of advice on prepping you can follow is to ask yourself what it is that you’re prepping for. This doesn’t mean you should put all your prepping eggs in one basket, but instead it means you need to have a focus for your prep.
In other words, are you prepping for a tornado in Kansas, a flood in Louisiana, or a wildfire in California? Each disaster has a majorly different approach to prepping. The basics tend to stay the same but important steps like storing your prep, staying mobile, and what type of first-aid you keep in abundance will change.
You need to know what it is you’re prepping for before getting started. It’s fine to keep a few scenarios in mind, but even those few will guide what you store and how long you want to stretch your prep out for.
2. Focus on Food and Water
Once you get into prepping you’ll find a vast array of tools and toys available to you. On top of this, there are more than enough prepper gimmicks and scams out there to eat up your money pretty quickly, too.
Before buying that 10-in-1 axe or the pop-up camo tent, focus on food and water. The ideal place to start with is a goal of 30 days worth of food and water for you and your family, pets included. Once you get to this milestone, you can add in other supplies but the best turbo stove won’t do you much good if you don’t have food or water to cook on it.
3. Use Lists
In the world of prepping, lists are your friend. Make a list for every aspect of your prep. From tools needed, to first aid supplies, to the food you have and need – make a lot of lists.
Your best method of list taking is to get a notebook to keep track of your prep with. Writing things down is a good idea versus typing them into a computer, because if your computer goes down, you still have the list.
Once you complete all the items on the list, you can keep it as a reference for what you have. Think of it as a type of reverse inventory.
4. Learn a New Skill
Once you move past food and water prepping, the best thing for your prep is to learn a new skill. Remember, in an emergency situation there won’t be a repair shop to take your tools to or a grocery store to buy more food from. When the SHTF (Stuff Hits The Fan) you’ll be left to rely on the skills you have, and with no Internet available to look up information on, you might be stuck.
This is why learning a new skill like welding, gardening, knitting, or even basic first aid can be a huge help. Taking a class on canning is a great way to prepare for future issues and to get your prepper pantry in order now.
5. Understand How Long You’re Prepping For
This goes back to knowing what it is exactly that you’re prepping for. By understanding what it is you’re trying to stave off the ill effects from, you can help to determine how long your prep should last. For a typical natural disaster you probably want to start off with one week of food, water, and supplies for the family. After this, you should extend out a little at a time until you get to the timeframe you’re looking for.
The bare minimum for a solid prep is typically 30 days, but many people stretch theirs out to 6 or even 12 months. Remember, the time you set your prep for will determine what and when you buy, so know this first and go from there.
You can always extend the time you are planning for, so start small and work from there. This will also help to give you some focus in what and how you prep, too.
6. Prep For Your Environment
While this is a useful tip for anyone starting out, it’s most important for those of us that live in parts of the country where there is a big change in weather with the seasons. Remember that if you start prepping in the summer that you need to have supplies for the winter as well. If you’re prepping during a dry season make sure to remember that floods can come, too.
On top of prepping for the weather, make sure you look at the environment around you before starting your prep, too. If it’s hilly and full of heavy woods, you should make sure to get a few machetes and good hiking boots to get around with. In short, make sure you think about the weather and environment you’ll be prepping for, as this can greatly impact food, water, and supplies that you might use.
7. Stay Focused and Don’t Get Overwhelmed
The last tip in this list is the most important for a first-time prepper. It’s easy to get overwhelmed and scared when prepping for what basically amounts to the end of the world, or at least the end of the current world you’re living in. It’s not easy to truly think about getting ready to up and completely change your life over the course of a few hours.
The best way to approach prepping is to stay focused and think about the task at hand. Don’t think of the ramifications of your prepping while you’re doing everyday tasks; instead think about completing that specific task. There are times when you need to sit and think about the reality of the situation, but that’s not a 24/7 job.
Make lists, plan out what you’re prepping for, and get some extra skills under your belt to start with and don’t get overwhelmed with planning for everything. Do your best and understand that you’re still ahead of 95% of the people around you. You won’t ever be able to prepare for everything, so do what you can.