LIFESTYLE

When And Why Did You Become A Prepper And Start Prepping?

danger-ahead

For those who consider themselves to be a ‘prepper’, or ‘preparedness-minded’, or whatever title you would like to assign, was there a time in your life when you had that ‘ah-ha’ moment or when your mindset changed to start preparing for uncertain times?

Was there a particular event or series of events that set you off in the direction of preparedness?

Even those of you who consider yourselves to always have been preparedness-minded, was there something that kicked it into a higher gear?

It should be interesting to discover each-others reasoning as to why we are now preppers…

When and Why did you take the ‘red pill’?


 
So, for me, I would say that my awareness towards preparedness occurred in several stages.

I recall many years ago during the time leading up to the ‘dot com’ bubble, I recognized the ridiculous frenzy of the stock market when investments kept on skyrocketing with the latest new ‘start up’ high-tech company. Seemingly every day there were new IPO’s on Wall Street whereby everyone was apparently getting rich off of the investment mania – regardless of the foundation of the new company itself. You just couldn’t lose (it seemed). While I too had a hefty portion of my 401K monies in that area, I specifically recall ‘knowing’ that this could not last. The bubble was going to burst. I then redirected all of my 401K into ‘safe’ funds and then watched as it all came crashing down. Got out in time…

This was the first time that I really realized that such systemic risks existed – and that to recognize them ahead of time was a very important thing! My risk awareness went up…

 
Y2K. While it was hyped up to be a world-altering event (I suppose no-one really knew for sure), I did start actively prepping for this. I didn’t go ‘over-board’, but I did purchase food storage and other supplies for ‘just in case’. I suppose that this threat is what actually got the wheels in motion for me.

 
When 9/11 happened, it really hit home (obviously). I’m sure that event affected you as well. It felt like the nations ‘security blanket’ had been removed. We had been living under a somewhat false sense of security, and were now vulnerable. Time to prepare some more…

 
Then there was ‘the housing bubble’. Again, the over-inflated frenzy of making a quick buck. It seemed everyone was flipping houses and making the big bucks (I never did). Everyone around me at work kept ‘trading up’ to the bigger house. Refinancing. The McMansion. I stayed in the same house (glad that I did!). Before the peak, I just absolutely knew that it was going to crash. When it did, I was exceedingly glad that I resisted participating and that I still had my same manageable mortgage which I eventually was able to pay off.

By this time I truly recognized many of the systemic risks out there and realized how the vast majority of people follow the herd into the next bubble-bust syndrome. Like Lemmings over a cliff… I knew that I was different, and would not be walking over that cliff with them.

 
During 2010 a life-threatening health event (not my own) really hit home. It really affected me and how things can drastically change in a very short period of time. ‘Normalcy bias’ became very real, as this event and subsequent period of time shook the concept to its core. It led to a decisive and complete uprooting from where we lived, and the beginning of an entirely new life, which has been the best thing we’ve ever done… That’s when I started this blog. And I’m glad I stuck with it.

 
In summary, I suppose that I could go on and on with countless examples of the things that I began to see as the curtains were pulled back further (or as I peeled back layers of the onion). It was not a single event for me – although Y2K was the first motivator to begin prepping for real. It was a series of events and eye-opening realizations that kept reinforcing my strive towards independence. This led to a goal of breaking away from ‘the system’ to the extent that I could, in order to become more self-reliant and more insulated from some of the major risks that we face today in our uncertain world (putting it mildly ;) ).

 
What about you?

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151 Comments

  1. I started a week before Hurricane Katrina hit by buying a generator, gas cans and some ext. cords. Placing some containers of water in the freezer. Also an extra propane fuel for the outdoor grill. This was before anyone knew for certain where Katrina would make land fall. For some reason I couldn’t let go of the thought of doing the above actions.

    That same urge to take action in preparing is motivated me into an advanced stages today in so many ways!! Thank YOU GOD!!!!

  2. For me, I moved south from New England 50 years ago, to escape the winter weather, right after I got out of the Military. 39 years ago, I moved about as far south as you can get and still not leave the country.

    At that time, I started what you now call ‘prepping’, to make myself more self sufficient, and have been improving on it ever since.

    Without having to deal with Winter, and all that goes with it, it makes this lifestyle a LOT easier!

  3. Been Prepping on and off for years. I Prepped, then hit hard times and used most of my preps. The Ebola thing did it for me. I realized that could be it, a pandemic could start and it’s all over. So I restarted my prepping with a fury. I have children, I realized how screwed I would’ve been if the Ebola thing really took off. Now I think it’s much worse. Economy could go at any time and WW3 is upon us.

  4. I think I answered this question on this site before. But here goes again:

    In the early 70’s I was a Day Care Provider caring for 6 children in my home. All but two of the children were paid for by Social Services and that check came on the 15th (which I used to pay my mortgage and utility bills); the other two (brother and sister) were self pay and I used their weekly payments to buy food and other necessities for all of us. When their mother quit her job, I went to my waiting list and took the next two children on the list.

    Later, I realized to my dismay that those two were also Social Service pay. I struggled to buy food until the 15th when the once/per/month check from Social Services was due. Since my house payment was due on the 15th I had already mailed it, expecting to make the deposit when the check came on the 15th.

    The check didn’t come. I called and was told there would be a two week delay. I borrowed $200 from a neighbor to cover my mortgage and food for 2 weeks. Then I resolved to never have that happen again.

    After that, I applied for a credit card, started a savings account, and, for the next 35 years, always made sure I had a month’s worth of food and supplies on hand.

    Then I read “One Second After” by William R. Forstchen and started prepping in earnest. I have since learned a lot from this site and have added many things other than food and tp to my preps.

  5. In the early 80’s the SoCal city I was working for needed a “volunteer” to represent the city and present an earthquake preparedness class to residents in small community meetings. So, I “volunteered” and attended a Red Cross train-the-trainer kind of class.

    It was during this time that I “heard the message” and began to gather and set aside the most basic preps. Like others I was moved along by an earthquake here and there, Y2K and I really got busy after 9/11. Now retired, I’m never fully satisfied with my preps but much better off today than in years past.

  6. 2008 we had a major flood in our area, pretty bad, we didn’t have any damage but there was lots around us and it was an aha spark.
    Were out of power for 3 days and water for a week. Then we had a tsunami warning and low lying area evacuation order a few months later. It sort of snowballed from there and with world events and reading way too much garbage on the internet sorta created the monster I have become.

  7. I never thought of it as prepping–it’s just the way I was raised. But I’d go to my siblings houses and they had nothing stored, no gardens, no trees, and I wondered how they survived… :)

    My own realization was gradual. I’ve always been aware of the problems, and aware that most people seemed oblivious. Events followed prophecy but people refused to see it, saying it was just coincidence or the (ever infamous) “It could never happen here.” I knew better, but we had a year’s supply of food and that was enough.

    Then I lost my job and realized there was more to preparedness than just food. So I slowly collected a year’s supply of clothes. I started feeling an urgency to do more, suddenly realized that although we had a year’s supply we still went shopping every week because our “year’s supply” wasn’t what we normally ate. Started getting the yard prepared so we could eat what we grow and realized the lack of water, so I’m now working on that problem.

    I still feel that urgency growing, and the spirit tells me that time is running short. Really short. Right now I wish I had that old salary because I’ve learned how to use it. I’ve learned to save and to live on very little, although sometimes my siblings think I’m nuts for going to the lengths I do.

    I was talking to my sister when she came over this summer, and I told her I was extending the garden. She got this weird look on her face and said “Why? You don’t use the space you have.” Which is true, in a sense, because I miscalculated how much space some things would take. But she sees no reason for the things I’m doing. Few of them do, but I see hints that it’s taking hold.

    I was talking to another sister and out of the blue I said “Are you feeling it?” and she knew what I was talking about without further explanation. She’s feeling that same urgency. They’ve paid off their mortgage and even her husband (who was previously disinterested) is talking about where they should put the garden. Another brother finally bought a house with a good sized yard, and the first thing he did was ask me for seeds so they can plant a garden. I’m starting fruit trees and grape vines for them. So it’s coming together. Slowly.

    I just hope we have the time.

    1. Mine is similar to Lauren. My parents were born during the Depression & grandparents in 1900.

      Grandparents always had a huge garden & chickens. Grandfather raised hogs for meat & would go deer hunting in the fall.
      I always bought the BOGO free items. Now have a small garden(have had one for 5 years.)

      I live alone(with 1 dog) in city. It seems easy to build the food/water/tp supplies. But my sister & her family is struggling with finances so when she comes over I give her canned food & meat & the toilet paper. She never would pay attention when buying food & other supplies. Now she does the BOGO free. And shops at thrift stores & the less expensive food stores. Think she haw swallowed her pride.

      I now only give her canned food–no meat or tp. Can’t afford to take care of 2 families now. I guess I have always been independent and a survivor. Never had anybody else to help me. Have just gotten used to it after awhile.

  8. I began by stockpiling food in 2008 [..my first event was a case of green beans] due to an email contact in California relating to me what she stores and why–she lived in a rough part of town.
    Stockpiling food led me to other areas and on and on..still getting there.

  9. My prepping started over 50 yrs. ago when I got married. We lived 3 hrs. from a town in a logging camp with no power.

    We went to town once a month & had to buy everything for that month, propane for the stove & frig. power saw chain by the roll, files by the box, groceries by the case etc. If we forgot something we had to make due. Long lists made before every trip. Then we moved to another prov. to take up beekeeping.

    Money became very scarce & so a garden became essential. Finally the Chinese allowed beekeeping to become private enterprise & they started dumping cheap honey into Canada at the same time we had a drought for 2 years & interest rates soared to 20% & the credit union thought they could run our business better than we could.

    DH & I went back to school & then into the job market. For 20 years we worked & saved & paid off all our debt except to the credit union who had taken our land, bee equip. farming equip. so we felt they were paid. Some of that time we had to live apart for our jobs. During some of that time we made good money but saved a lot. Coming through what we had, I couldn’t bare to buy $150 jackets for work to bought almost all my clothes at the second hand stores. Some of the time we lived in isolated places so again we had to buy once a month.

    This has been good training for what is to come. I retired at 64 but took some short contracts & DH at 72. We moved back to the 1/4 section we had saved. The 08 crisis shifted us into high gear again. We planted fruit trees, bought grain to grind & meat from local farmers & began trying to prepare in a lot of ways like a wood burning stove, small & large generators.

    We have tried to inform people to prepare & that only get people upset. We have one neighbor who has retired to a farm from the city who holds our view on the economy & we have good conversations & have agreed to cover each other.

    Our next awakening was reading the crisis in the banking industry, US warmongering in a number of countries & we have now prepped to an even higher level.

    I am preparing in case our kids & grand kids have to come home as they are all city folks. If they all came home that would make 20 of us. That is a lot to feed & especially since some have food allergies & some are just fuss budgets. So for us it has been a long process with some moments that have quicken the process.

  10. I think it began in 1979. I bought a book by Howard Ruff, How to Prosper in the Coming Bad Years. But it kicked into high gear at 9-11.

  11. Short-term preparedness started for me with the crazy hurricane season of 2004. Hurricanes Francis and Jean ripped our county apart and blue roofs became the Florida State Flag. Luckily, we had a generator but NOT much else.

    Long-term preparedness started for me after our stupid country was dumb enough to RE-elect Obozo. I started reading alternative news sources which opened my eyes. My little hobby farm became more than a hobby…it is my retirement plan, my insurance policy, and my investment portfolio all in one!

  12. Not sure of the date but working in construction for years caused me to stockpile basic food to etc. during the summer months when I had lots of work to cover the winter months when I didn’t. It just progressed from there to now.

  13. Since I was a little kid, I guess. We didn’t have much money so we had to make do and be as self sufficient as possible. Growing up we always had a garden, canned and dehydrated, my dad made additions to the house from lumber that we milled out of trees from our land. We lived in the woods where winter power outages were expected so we were always ready for that.

    My parents were/are avid back-country campers so spending a week out in the boonies with just what you carried in with you was not a big deal. Then I went in the army and got a slot in a Long Range Surveillance unit where you don’t really get resupply and have to plan for all you might need. Then Y2k and 9/11, learning to read between the lines of the media, and watching the world slowly decay. It’s been a long slow journey to where I am now and that’s the two minute story of me.

  14. No one seems to remember the Jimmy Carter era. Oil embargoes, Iran hostage crisis, runaway inflation, interest rates so high that many states “usury” laws kept banks from lending for unsecured loans (law forbade charging over 25% interest.)

    And, yes toilet paper shortages, NRP, because President Carter installed price controls in the typical socialist attempt to curb inflationary prices. Odd/even license plate numbers designating days of week you could purchase gasoline, 5 gallon maximum.

    I could go on and on about the failures of this earlier “progressive” administration that folks seem to have forgotten, but, for me, that was when (around 1978), I began prepping.

    1. The first few years of our marriage, were the Carter Depression! I remember waiting in line for several hours, just to put 10 gallons in the car on red or green days, the odd or even signs in gas stations, etc.

      As a new husband and father, that scared me that my family, was at the mercy of bureaucrats. Never again!

      I also remember reading “Alas Babylon”, as a young twelve year old, and was more fascinated with it than frightened by the implications.

      We still use our preps MORE for personal emergency peace-of-mind insurance, than for anything else, and yes, it has come in handy on two different times, both beyond our control.

      We just keep on preparing, because the end IS in sight, either through age, or through the Storms of Life, or by the Soros-hitting-the-Fan.

  15. For me its a back-to-roots thing. As a young girl I was raised on a farm where we were largely self sufficient. Had our own pigs, chickens, garden, stored gasoline, etc. Trips to town were once a week.

    Then I moved to the city.

    But after Obama was elected, the 2008 crash, and honestly, watching a lot of Dual Survival my mind took the angle of prepping. I don’t trust the government to provide anything so I better take care of myself.

  16. A little of everything now days opened my eyes. Corrupt government, marshal law after hurricane Katrina, an old vulnerable power grid, North Korea, Russia, and I stopped watching and using main stream media.

    Words I live by…
    “Better to have it and not need it, than to need it and not have it!”
    Wish the best for all of you that are aware!

    1. Hi Phantom,

      “Better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it”… I use that phrase all the time… for me these are words to live by.

    2. I listen to Michael Savage and Mark Levin. I get a lot of news from this site and a couple of others like it. MSM is like Provda they only tell you what the regime wants you to hear.

  17. My situation was similar to Ken’s as in stages, but it occurred over a lifetime for me.

    When I was little, I was taught over the years many survival tips from my grandparents and mom, mostly gathering, crafting from nature, gardens, hunting and fishing. I spent 60 years of summers at my grandparents cabin in the wilderness, years of weekends in a Tepee, made a business out of primitive lifestyles, and learned new skills. I didn’t know I was prepping for survival, it was just a fun and interesting lifestyle.

    Pre-Y2K got me into more food storage and financial safe guards but I was forced to leave my ex, and glad I saved the food and money from pre-Y2K, for I had my own need for them moving back to Minnesota.

    It was in 2008 I started a larger food storage, cleaning up my debts when my businesses failed due to the recession, and started investing skills and knowledge against foreseen bad times coming. I used them with strict discipline in order to save money and pay off my debts where I cut my spending on things that were not necessary when many resources were right out my door.

    Since then, I realized my grandparents and mom were preparing me for an unsure future; 2 generations that spanned 118 years of uncertainties during their lifetimes who never accepted normalcy and were always prepared.

  18. Good to read each person’s story…very interesting

    I would say I concur with Ken quoting him:

    “It was a series of events and eye-opening realizations that kept reinforcing my strive towards independence. This led to a goal of breaking away from ‘the system’ to the extent that I could, in order to become more self-reliant and more insulated from some of the major risks that we face today in our uncertain world (putting it mildly ? ).”

    DH and I though we were raised in different geographic locations, socio-econ status, cultures…both of our families were modest preppers, and that planted seeds in us…

    And like Ken said, those events especially since 2000, really caused us to re-think how we were living and in 2004 we made the move from town to rural location and began our homesteading…

    One word that comes to mind re: the societal/economic systems in place now it is this: fragile.

    Making the effort to learn how to live wisely, sustain-ably: durable.

    The days of Noah, and Noah himself often come to mind now….
    Being made aware of the coming storm and He and his family acted
    and did things they never did before focused and working together.
    By no means easy, they persevered, and when the rains and floods came they were safe in the Ark….

    You are awesome here folks, keep up the good work!

    Good Shepherd bless you all~

    1. Speaking of Noah,
      This world has a modern day Noah. His name is Gil Broussard. Gil has been interviewed by many radio personnalities because of his research that he is sharing with humanity. In his research he brings modern technology together with major events that have been recorded in The Bible. I urge you to listen to the interviews. The two latest were blogtalkradio.com with Scott Hensler and The Hagmann and Hagmann Radio Show thats on YouTube.

  19. Started with the Foxfire books.

    My grandma living through depression. She taught me lots.

    A fireman hubby. What would happen to me and the girls if something happened to him?

    Chernobyl.

    Y2K

    911

    Been prepping. Keepin’ on prepping. Now a lifestyle.

  20. For me, this started in late 2011 after a pretty big wind storm knocked out power to a good chunk of Southern California. It was pitch black, no street lights or anything. Luckily we had some candles and flash lights tucked away so we were not completely in the dark.

    Fortunately, my work was not effected and I was able to recharge phones and laptops on a daily basis. But once it hit 5pm, it was back home to a pitch black area. This power outage lasted almost a full week for us. Thank God that the water was still running, I imagine that if it stopped, then a lot of people would be crapping their pants.

    Now I have prep for that occasion and earthquakes. Bought a few water bobs, tons of flash lights & batteries, glow sticks and just recently got a goal zero solar generator. I also out fitted the house with several solar motion lights so we will still have some form of light if there is ever a black out again.

  21. Grew up rural, 80 acre dairy farm next door, worked there to help. The farmers only purchase electricity, everything else they gardened, butchered, cut to burn or farmed (wheat, corn and clover primary crops). Three generations lived on the farm. Learned a lot.

    One grand parent built boats, market hunted, trapped and fished (open water or ice) to feed the family, learned from that too. I lived in three different states with three career changes to get to a more rural-less people location. Long winters with power outages started the serious work.

    Self-defense was a given growing up in a hunting culture, learning young in a gun/conservation club. Being laid off early in my career really sharpens the focus on what matters and what doesn’t, moving three states away from my home state by myself before 30 also adds to the focus of what am I doing and why?

    I guess I grew up living off the land, got away from it for a couple of years and chased getting back to it, still have a ways to go but will keep cranking away. The whole shebang is going nowhere positive, so keep adding more capabilities, never certain it will be enough.

  22. Well, I have to first say I thought I took the “Blue Pill” DANG IT ANYWAYS!!!!
    HAHAHAHA

    My Story in stages;

    1. I was raised by Depression Era parents, so there was always “extra” stuff in the house, I still remember my Mom and Dad always doing Gardens and Canning, buying a full beef each Fall to have in the freezer, and just loading up when they could everything from ammo to water, not necessarily “hording” but having enough to get-by. My entire childhood was based around living the “life-style” I would have to say.

    2. The next major reality check was moving to-living in San Diego CA. when I moved there in 1971, from a rural area, there were 1 million people there, in 1981 there was 3 million and a full on population explosion was happening.

    Honestly it would take me over an hour to drive 15 miles to work at times. What made me decide to leave was one day heading to work there was a wreck on the I-405 and I-8 interchange, 3 cars and one semi. It took me over 3 hours to get out of that mess. It scared the crapo out of me sitting on a bridge 300 feet in the air.

    3. Y2K was not a problem for me; I had worked as a computer nerd for Mesa Airlines for 4 years and know it was 99.99% hype. BUT I did happen to do a full “backup” before I felt work. BUT I saw what the rest of the country/world was thinking, and that’s what worried me, Wacko People that were scared to death and there was absolutely nothing they could do about it.

    4. 911, of course changed the country, for the better at first, than it became obvious that in all reality we are truly on our own. Just remember, when help is needed in seconds, others are only minutes away. FYI, insert any time frame you want. Something to remember, the terrorists have won, look at what has happened to our country, the bastards won.

    5. The next event that kicked me in the azz was Debbie coming home from a doctor’s office visit because of a slight pain on her chest just below her shoulder. Long story short, after a 3 year battle with Breast Cancer she passed away. Having your wife of 28 years die in your arms will change you.

    Nothing more frightening than being at home alone in a 4500 SQFT house and realizing the past 28 years suddenly ended in a flash of an eye. That was 11 years ago, and I very quickly learned what it really takes to run a household by one’s self. And how to protect one’s self in all aspects of life.

    6. Elections of 2008 and 2012, seeing what this “Hope and Change” has done to this country: the intentional racial division, economic disaster ($19.4 Trillion in debt), the hatred/mistrust of the .gov., and the loss of true American Values. The list is to long after 2008. The country is broken and no one in sight that knows how to reunite “We The People”.

    My “in summary” is I don’t trust anyone to come in and save the day; I/we are totally on our own if/when TSHTF or even in everyday life. Nobody will be there to make sure you and your family is “OK” or safe from what’s coming down the pike.

    The only one anyone/you can truly depend on is yourself. Y-all might make sure you have what’s necessary to prepare, survive, “Lifestyle”, or whatever you want to call it apart form from the outside.

    Winter is coming.

    Just my 2¢ worth
    NRP

    PS; Ohhhh yeah, one more, the Cuban Missile Crises. AND the fact we are giving Nukes to Iran and the sandbox. Just Friggen Wonderful.

    1. NRP,

      I knew you lost your wife to cancer from your previous posts, but I still teared up reading your story(I know that was not your intent), especially because your late wife and I share the same name. I know, bad OpSec, but there you go.

      Hugs from California.

      1. @ So Cal Gal

        What??? Your name is “Honey” also??? :-) :-)

        NRP

        PS; Thanks for the Hug, always welcome.

    2. @NRP

      “Something to remember, the terrorists have won, look at what has happened to our country, the bastards won.”

      I don’t believe that for a minute. We give up then the terrorists win for sure.

      Just my opinion.

    3. NRP, losing someone makes us sit up and take notice.

      I’m sitting here in the hospital cafe reading this. The decision made today is that my sweet son in law is going to have his life support pulled in the next day or when everyone that wants to can come and say good bye. Life is forever changed in the blink of an eye. I am devastated he was almost like my own child.

      1. Miss I Made It Myself
        Oh my, I am so sorry to hear this news about your loved one.

      2. Dear Miss,

        I’m so sorry to read this news… very heartbreaking. Saying a prayer for you and your family tonight.

      3. Dear Miss, so sorry to hear about your son.

        When they marry our kids they too become our kids. Some of us have been through it so we feel your pain. Sometimes there is no rhyme or reason to these days. They just get mixed in with the rest. The only advice I could give is to be strong for your daughter. Easier said than done. Just part of being a Mom or a Dad. Will pray for your family…

      4. I am so sorry to hear about your son in law. What we can’t prepare for is losing someone we love. My mom said she was prepared to meet her maker a few days before she passed, but I wasn’t prepared for my loss of a wonder friend and mother. May God help you and your family through those tough times.

      5. @ Miss I Made It Myself

        Having been through the death realization (more than once), and having witnessed many others that have had the same loss, I have come to notice something unwritten about these people that have survived the unfortunate experience and you may see this coming all too soon. Those that have lost wives, husbands, parents, sons, daughters, or other very close loved ones will seem to be quiet. They have a way of communicating with the survivor a feeling that words can never express. Yes there will be hundreds of people saying all sorts of thing such as “He is in a better place now”, “He is out of pain now and moved on” or “He has moved on to be with God”. I know these people are doing their best to comfort and console you, and I, as many do, appreciate this effort. But those that have seen death close to their soul will be the ones that just give a hug and nod their head slightly with a slight comforting smile. Please don’t take their quietness and actions as anything but kindness and the knowing what you are feeling. For very often words get in the way of communications.

        Hug’s :-)

        NRP

      6. I am so sorry you are losing your dear son, and so young. We will continue to pray for you and your family.

      7. Sending hugs and the Spirit of Comfort and Peace to you and your family
        Miss I Made it Myself

        (((Love and Hugs for you and yours)))

        Shepherdess

  23. I also started “young”. Since I live near the coast, I started preparing for hurricanes in the 80’s. There have been lots of reasons to continue being preparedness minded, and I truly appreciate all the ideas and advice from MSB!!! Never Quit!

    Luv ya’ll, Beach’n

    1. Also need to mention. How many of us remember “diving” under our desks at school for bomb drills?

      1. @ Beach’n

        Or having the parents turning the basement into a bomb shelter??
        Ahhhh the good old days hehehehe

        NRP

        1. @ Beach’n & NRP

          I can remember the bomb drills in school. As far as the shelter, had a good friend whose parents built a bomb shelter in their back yard during the Cuban missile crises.

          Later, as we were teenagers, that became the “music room”. Friends dad didn’t like hearing ELO, Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin etc cranked up in the house so we turned the bomb shelter into an underground music room. We could crank it up anytime of the day or night and not bother a soul. Oh, the good old days.

          1. @ Texasprepper

            Floyd would drive my dad absolutely NUTS….. it was so fun… HAHAHA

            NRP

          2. Old enough to have been driving to the 8 track and reverberation unit blasting Beach Boys, homemade mini bikes and flowers, made our own skateboards(no wonder I limp now, too many tumbles- helmets and pads didn’t exist). Oh yeah, and banana bikes, wheelies(until you flipped over backwards). Put some dirt on it and get back in the game ?

          3. Go karts no flowers (FLOWERS!?, Time to disable the spell guess, FLOWERS!?, Whoa)

          4. Yep, skateboards were just that. Flat pieces of board with old roller skates screwed to the bottom. :D

          5. Hey, I did that…First time a boy beat me up was when I retrieved my skate board that he stole from me in the 50’s. I put plywood wings, a box, and a whirligig on the front to think I would fly going down a steep road if the wind was just right. I never thought of bringing a parachute, but I should have brought Band-Aids when I crashed into the curb. I wasn’t prepared.

          6. shucks NRP… The Beatles, Magical Mystical Mystery Tour, drove my parents crazy! I remember having to get up, move the needle and play it over and over and over again. And Darkside of the Moon, loving it! I still have the albums. Old and scratched, just like me.

          7. @ Beach’n

            HAHAHA, I have some of the old vinyl’s myself…
            And that skate board, like yours was a skate duct taped to a 2X6 board.

            NRP

      2. Hi Beach’n,

        Oh yeah… we had “drop” drill all through school – being in CA they were also part of earthquake preparations.

      3. By the way…my husband grew up in Oklahoma near Tinker Airforce Base. His memories are of the “entire US Airforce” flying over his home every few minutes.

        1962 – whew!

      4. Or the boys having to go to the hall because the girls wore skirts? Good times! – Papa S.

  24. I was born in 1980, so I missed the Carter years. Prepping is foreign to many young people because of growing up in prosperity. From 1980-2001 American life had no major interruptions. Young generations are only just now beginning to see gas shortages and widespread urban riots.

  25. Always have been a bit of a tinfoil hat guy, but 9-11 did it for me, that and all the lies used to justify it…and Snowden confirmed it for me.

    Moved to a rural area, began trying to become as self sufficient as possible. Small livestock, orchard, wild berries and fruits, boiling maple, wood heat…not there yet, but getting there.

  26. In 2010, I took two particular merit badges that kind of spurred me on. Coin Collecting brought an interest in silver(and gold, but I still can’t afford much of that). As well as conversations about the economy, especially that of during and following the recession. It started to open my eyes to the scariness of our economic and political situations.

    The other significant merit badge I took that year was Wilderness Survival, which I simply had fun with learning basic (not quite primitive) camping techniques. Coupled with my unease regarding our nation, I started wondering what might happen if things went south. That overall is when I decided I wanted to live in a cabin in a woods somewhere. While that has not yet happened, I nonetheless got into prepping and have been slowly building that up since.

    They say that merit badges may inspire hobbies and lifestyles, but my choice in it is no doubt very different than most. It also may help that many of the scoutmasters in my troop go hunting, etc., and quite a few joke about how if a zombie apocalypse happens, they will just meet up to take it on.

    1. It was a real eye-opener for me when I was talking to a (liberal) friend and we agreed on a lot of things, but when I mentioned the economy she got all confused and insisted that the economy wasn’t going to be a problem–it was the conservatives policies that were going to destroy the environment and kill us all.

      All I could do at that point was hope something I said got through to her.

  27. I can’t really recall a single ”aha” moment. I guess for me it has been a very gradual drift into that particular mindset, although honestly at times I feel like I theorize more than practice what I preach. It can be difficult staying ‘on’ all the time especially when those around you are not on board 100%, or not at all.

    Y2K was on the heels of a spectacular ice storm which saw widespread power outages and brought out the negative side of some people pretty quickly. Barbecuing with winter clothes on, the kids reading books by candlelight instead of playing video games, having one days supply of firewood left when the power was restored etc. was a relatively gentle reminder of how quickly things can change.

    When Y2K approached many people clung dearly to their normalcy bias despite the lessons of a winter blackout just a couple of years prior. My response was that everything stockpiled would get used anyway, so why not prepare? Now more than ever I feel we are living in very ”interesting” times.

    Unfortunately most people are unwilling to acknowledge or incapable of comprehending any potential major shift of the status quo. I recall some years ago as I was attempting a purge of older winter clothing that my mother, who lived through shortages and rationing during WW2, commented that I may want to hang on to anything usable, even if out of fashion, ”because you can’t predict what you might experience in the future”.

  28. As an aside, when I am feeling old and creaky, I can just read some biographies of the folks on here and feel young again! [ Briefly ].

  29. My family joined the Mormon church when I was in elementary school in the ’70’s so we had food and water storage and a small garden as I grew up. But, what we had did not make sense.

    There were 2 adults, one child and one infant in our family, yet we had #10 cans of food like tomatoes and peaches. What were we going to do to keep that much food edible once the can was opened if the power was out? How would we have cooked? We also had metal cans of wheat, rice and beans… and it was sheer comedy the first time we tried to grind wheat with our table-mounted small hand crank wheat grinder.

    Although I did not stay with the church once I grew up and left home, those memories always stuck, and I had always tried to keep some extra regular-sized canned goods and water on hand over the years, along with portable radios and flashlights. But, I never had serious gear or considered myself a “prepper”, I just had some extra things on hand “just in case”.

    I started getting serious late last year (that’s why I have called myself a newbie a few times on this site) as world events and the direction of our country have been going the wrong way. I found this site while researching food storage lists, water storage, etc… and have learned an amazing amount in a relatively short time. Ken, NRP and many of you here have encouraged and counseled me on a variety of subjects and I have made a lot of progress thanks to all of you.

    For me, being prepared comes from a combo of upbringing, a “bad feeling” in my gut, and heightened awareness of the world we live in.

  30. In the early 1990’s I sensed we were living in a “plastic society,” one that was unstable, and could collapse if the wind blew the wrong way. I enrolled in a survival school and started learning to be self-sufficient. From 1999 to 2001 I lived in a tepee with no electricity or running water. Never before, however, has societal collapse seemed so probable as it now does.

  31. I’ve always been somewhat preparedness minded.

    I carried a multi-tool in Jr. High. In High School I remember asking some retirees what would happen if the company they retired from went under. All I got back was blank stares. I’ve always looked at things through the “what’s the worst case scenario” lens.

    It really ramped up for me in the late 90’s when I came across Captain Dave’s survival site. My “plan” had always been to head for the hills and live off the land if things went south but he systematically shattered my expectations. The thing that really got me was when he did the math on how much wildlife was around me and how many people would be fighting for that small resource.

    Shortly after that was Y2K so I had all the motivation I needed to get started. My initial efforts were laughable as I look back now. Ramen noodles in 5 gallon pails wasn’t going to keep my family alive for as long as I envisioned but, it was a first step. After Y2K I had already been bitten by the bug and I knew I should be doing more to be prepared for bad times.

    I came across the Bison Blog which helped me immensely. That led me to this fine site and others like it. I’ve been slowly improving my position ever since.

    1. @ Novice

      I have to comment on your “I carried a multi-tool in Jr. High.” I was born and raised in Ohio, and I very well remember Jr. High School Shooting Class, yes a real to life shooting class in Jr. High(with “real” guns HAHAHA)…. We, many of us, would ride the bus to school with the rifle hung over our shoulder and think nothing of it, there were quite a few “girls” in the class also, and boy-o-boy did they get the looks when walking into an English or Math class with a rifle… HAHAHA
      OMG if someone did that now days…..

      FYI, the “girls” could always and I do mean ALWAYS out shoot the boys…. AND we never messed with them, they could kick our butts… LOL

      NRP

      1. @Novice and NRP,

        I used to go to summer camp where one of the activities was shooting and archery. I have badges to prove it! :D

      2. I’m a little too young to have been able to carry a gun to school but pocket knives were everywhere. Now you’d get suspended if you made a cutting motion with your finger.

  32. I guess it started with Y2k and I was 22 and DH was 24 and we were pregnant with number 2. Just started slowly adding extra. Then picked it up a bit for 9\11.

    Then we hit 2 financial crisis 2 yrs apart or just never regained from the first one. We used up our stores the 2nd time to get out of the crisis. I read One Second After and the story Lights Out yrs ago and that did it for me. Been trying real hard to hit all aspects lately. Not enough time or money. Just plugging along.

    1. Our system is designed to strain household resources. When a family must have 2-3 incomes just to pay the bills, it becomes nearly impossible to change anything. People these days are exhausted and overwhelmed. Try to talk to them about the news, and they often say they don’t have the energy to care. This is being deliberately caused to keep them that way.

      1. Proletariat, I would agree that people are overwhelmed with their bills and TPTB like it that way. What has happened for many is they have confused wants with needs. We can thank the media for this along with corporate America.
        When someone tells me their young kids”NEED” a $500 cell phone and they “NEED” $150 shoes you know they are in trouble. They go into debt for supposed needs when they are really wants..People lack discipline and patience. Why wait to save up for something when you can get it now and pay later? This is a trap set to ensnare and overwhelm families so they don’t have the time or energy to pay attention to what TPTB are doing.
        You are right. It is by design…

  33. It is only when I look back in time that that it was little occurrences that brought me I to prepping.

    It has been about six or seven years since I purchased a solar powered flashlight. Not much, really. Then I bought some freeze dried food. That is so expensive (especially now), that I bought Hormel canned meat. That moved me to rice, beans, flour, and pasta stored in mylar bags. A dehydrator followed. Now I have a root cellar for storing it.

    Pretty soon I added Microsolar lights and a solar battery charger. Now I have moved up to a greenhouse and freeze dryer. Also, medical supplies and a short wave radio were added. Several outside occurrences happened. With an iPad I was able to research and order easily. A power outage of several days and I said “never again”.

    Alternative news websites presented information that society was destabilizing. For a while I worked with unemployed people and felt my life was tainted. Did you know that people will eat at McDonald’s and then steal toilet paper and feel completely justified? When I speak to my decades long friends I realize they are progressives and have a strong normalcy bias. I even offered a two week food supply to an old friend and was turned down.

    Prepping came about for me through all these minor happenings- no major hurricane or flood.

  34. Very interesting post and comments.

    I was born back in the first half of the last century. My mom lived through the depression, so I was exposed to the events of that era somewhat. We always had a garden and canned food. She always shopped sales and taught me frugality. We were taught to save for a rainy day event, whatever it may be. We wore our clothes until they were rags.

    We have been what is commonly called preppers for about 8 years.

    As I have gone through life there have been events that have turned wife and I into “self-reliant” people. I have always had an interest in the conspiracy stuff and I see obvious things today that have happened that have firmed my belief in that direction. The united nations, world court, international monetary fund, federal reserve, controlled media and so on. We are well on our way to a one world government, as forecast in the Holy Bible.

    There will have to be a huge reset in this country to perhaps get back to what we once knew. Most of the population is apathetic to what is really going on, I do not see that changing at all. Our one party, two faced political system is beyond repair. How do you rehab liars and thieves?

    Two books I enjoyed were ” One minute after ” by Fortchen and How to survive TEOTWAWKI, by Rawles.

    Our focus is to build a group of like minded friends in our area and to try and educate our children to what we see coming at us. Both are difficult, frustrating tasks.

    Interesting times we are living in. Blessings to all.

  35. I became a prepper many years ago when I took a job designing flight control(navigation) systems for ICBMs.

    All of us received in-depth safety training about nuclear weapons and the effects of a blast. It only took seeing 2 or 3 USAF films and I knew I had to get ready for this type of SHTF event. Later I discovered that I needed to prepare for additional types of SHTF events. Today, I do not think most people really understand the end result of a true nuclear war, fallout and all that goes with radiation. So I prep and prep some more but not out of fear. I just have a family and friends I want to protect.

    Today, I finished fertilizing a new major size garden here on the island.

    Best wishes to all.

  36. I am in the same camp as Dennis, the Carter years.

    I really started to pay attention to events then. Mel Tappan, Joel Skousen, Howard Ruff, were all putting out info on preparedness, locations for “retreats” (which we now call BOL), the coming socio-ecomonic collapse, social unrest, looters and crime.

    There was a magazine named American Survival Guide, that was all about, canning, food storage, weapons, water, caches, small farms and livestock.

    The place to be was the Pacific Northwest, specifically the Rogue River area of Oregon.

    We were called survivalists then and somewhere the prepper name came into use. I have been a prepper since, with some periods of slacking off, of course. The discussions we had then are very much like the ones we have now.

    1. Tango, your post brought back memories. I read Mel Tappan regularly and took a trip to the Rogue River to check it out. I loved the area but the job opportunities were limiting. If you aren’t familiar with it Backwoods Home magazine is in Gold Beach Oregon where the Rogue River empties into the Pacific. The magazine used to a mother earth news type but has evolved into a mother earth type with definite leanings towards preparing for SHTF. Worth checking them out and Gold Beach is still a great little town. I did manage to retire fairly close to it.

  37. Dislike the term “prepper”, reminds me of people dressed in camo sneaking through the woods with their guns. I prefer to think of myself as old-fashioned. Back in the days of our forefathers, people took care of themselves and stored up food after harvest times to provide food for their families. Grew up in a family (in a big city) that preserved food for us to eat during the winter and gardened. I continued that tradition when I got my first house.

    Chernobyl happened and I watched the news to keep track of shifting wind currents. Bought as much milk, cheese and meat as I could and froze it all. The radiation was heading to the prairie provinces. I saw the craziness in people prior to Y2K, pushing and shoving each other to get that pack of batteries. Experienced lots of power outages in the city due to ice on the lines.

    Once we moved to the country in 2003, that power outage that hit the east coast knocked out our power. We had just moved into the house and didn’t have anything extra. Had trouble getting water for the dogs. After that, I decided to be more pro-active and start storing water and no cook foods. Put in the wood stove.

    It’s expanded since that day in August 2003. We’ve had sickness, unemployment, power outages and snow plow drivers on strike during bad winters. We’re threatened with rumors of war and societal collapse.

    I garden, stock food and water just in case it’s needed for whatever the reason may be. I’m not a prepper, I’m a just-in-case-er.

    kk

  38. I always liked reading science fiction and fantasy. One day I was browsing the sci-fi section and found Dies the Fire by S.M. Stirling. “The Change” in this book was a magnified EMP-type event.

    I began to imagine how I would be able to survive in a similar situation. Since then, DH and I often tell each other, “We could really use this in The Change,” when shopping. In addition, the homesteading lifestyle appeals to us. However, I do not look forward to ever doing without air conditioning!

  39. My first prep was on 9/11.

    I have always hunted and had guns but I didn’t have anything high capacity, rapid fire. This began our collection of firearms. We had an ice storm in 2009 that left us without power for 2 weeks. We were also unable to buy food or any other supplies locally. This began our stock pile of food, gas and kerosene.

    I got the urge to plant a small garden for fresh tomatoes and peppers a few years ago. This has grown into my best attempt to homestead on a city lot. The more I watch the news the less I like what is going on in the world, we are trying to become as self-sufficient as we can. I have a bad back and my wife is diabetic. This limits what us in many ways but does not get us down.

    When I had back surgery and was out of work for several weeks we lived on many of our preps. Preps are not just for the end of the world, they are for everyday use as well.

    1. We started during the Carter years.

      The democrats passed the land transportation act deregulating the trucking industry, thus killing the old line companies and the jobs they provided. I was laid off, but used the off time to go elk hunting and was successful. We survived and learned.

      Later we moved on mountain top which would have 10 inches of snow but by walking to the mail box a block away and down hill, it was raining. The problem was the convergence of the pineapple express from Hawaii and the polar express from the gulf of Alaska, called an ice storm. These storms took the power out for many miles around.

      We lived in a house heated by the wood I split and we ate what we had. We were able to buy food from Safeway as they had a generator to keep the cold stuff cold and run 1 till. They would except CASH only, lesson learned!

      The last year there we had 5 power outages, the longest a week, more lessons learned. Hope everyone learns enough from the trials of others to skip the hard knocks part.

  40. It started for me in 1983 when hurricane Alicia made a direct hit on my area. I went without power for more than 2 weeks. Lost all my frozen and refrigerated food.

    At that time I was basically living paycheck to paycheck. I tried to get a generator just after the storm but none were to be had. I was raised in the scouting program where our motto was “Be Prepared” and served in the Coast Guard and our motto was “Semper Paratus”, (“Always Ready”).

    Well, I was caught as they say, with my pants down. I swore to myself and family that would never happen again. Since then, I have slowly but steadily added to my preps. I now have multiple generators, solar and battery backups, a couple years worth of food for 4 as well as extra for others that have been invited to hunker down with us if needed, multiple water filters and sources for water, a large supply of first aid supplies and the means to defend it all if needed.

    I must say I am VERY fortunate to have a wife that understands the need to prep. While others around us were taking exotic vacations, we’d go camping or stay in country so we’d have the funds to prep. Today my biggest reason for prepping in no particular order are hurricanes, financial collapse, EMP, large scale rioting, terrorism and war.

  41. I’ve been a preparedness minded person all of my life.

    It’s the way I was raised. It was ingrained into me at an early age. Grandparents lived through WWI and the depression and WWII. Parents lived through the depression and WWII. They came from farm families more or less. One set of grandparents immigrated from Europe in the late 19th century (circa 1895). All of my family lived a hard but frugal life style and had a deep appreciation for the benefits of being prepared and they knew first hand what happens to people who are not prepared.

    To them, being prepared was as normal as putting on your pants in the morning. It was simply something everyone was supposed to do. No one got a gold star for being prepared and those that didn’t prepare simply suffered. That was it.

    My ancestors would laugh at people today who throw the term prepper around as though it is supposed to elevate them above everyone else or separate them from the main stream. They would likewise be very surprised at the disparity between those that are not prepared and those that are.

    Being prepared back in the day was simply a way of life. Everybody in their families and all the families around them did it as a matter of course. The one’s who didn’t, ultimately became beggars and hoboes and usually died off early or lived a very barren life. Being not prepared, or becoming a ward of someone else was simply not something normal people did.

    When I left home in the 1960’s and went on a couple all expense paid trips to S.E. Asia on uncle’s nut, I came face to face with what it means to be prepared. That reinforced everything my ancestors had instilled in me from an early age. The rest is history. My, how times have changed.

    1. @ CrabbeNebulae

      “My, how times have changed.”

      You have just won the “understatement of the year” award….

      NRP

  42. June 2001 Me and the future wifee were visiting my folks in upstate NY and we decided to take the train down to NYC. We arrived in the station under the World Trade Center Plaza and spent a beautiful day in the city visiting all of the sites and local attractions. Me and the wifee had a great time.

    3 short months later those buildings were no longer standing. I assembled my first bug out bag that week out of my old army gear without any prompting from a third party… I just built the BOB on instinct.

    Pretty screwed up if you think about it. The attacks could have been launched in June or at any other time. This country is a sitting duck still to this day. Keep aware and stay safe…

  43. Like many here had parents who lived thru the Depression.

    My earliest memories included food stored in the basement and helping feed the chickens. I was fortunate to learn skills from Green Beret in many areas. It changed my mindset and my life. I guess it really hit home when I traveled to other less fortunate countries. When you go by the trash dumps outside of the towns and cities and see kids and families picking thru trash to find discarded food to eat.

    What we consider SHTF is just everyday life for a whole bunch of people around the world..We are spoiled plain and simple. Most have it so good and take it all for granted. It can change in a heart beat. Knowing that potential reality is why we prep. So many have no idea how fragile their bubble they created really is.

    What’s sad is our Government is/has caused a bunch of the misery that is happening around the world. No wonder so many hate us.
    A bad situation that is only going to get worse. I feel for all here who can’t get away from the violence and decay so prevalent around our cities and large towns. My hope is that you can improve your situation sooner than later.

    I’m going to hang out with my dog now til I feel better…

      1. Mr.USMCBG has told me many of the same stories about the dumps in Vietnam, pigs in crates in the house, and pooping in the rice paddies. While the USA is not what we wish the to be now. Still much better than 80% of the world. Change is always around us. I appreciate this site for vast info stored here.
        Prep On!

    1. @ Bill Jenkins Horese

      “I’m going to hang out with my dog now til I feel better…”

      YA know, I knew there was a reason I like you… HAHAHAH

      NRP

  44. Like several on here, I was born on a farm in the Midwest.

    The life of a small farmer was a tough life, up at 4 am to tend animals before the bus picked us up for school. Then chores when I got home, we grew most of what we consumed. Which meant large gardens, fruit orchards, and processing animals in the fall.

    Harvest that lasted 24/7, I learned to drive the tractors, grain truck at 10, and the combines when I was finally 12. So living in tough times was pretty much a way of life.

    And after losing my father at 15. We lost the farm to the medical institutions for all the debt my parents had for his medical care.
    At 15 the only thing my father ask of me was to finish school, which I did on my own. Meaning I was on my own at 15.

    Now this could go on for hours, but the moment was being on my own.
    And life as been good and bad. The economy has always had its problems since the mid 60’s.

    But having been raised on that farm, taught me important lessons.
    Tools in skilled hands create money. Never count on tomorrow.
    But be prepared if tomorrow comes.

    1. Being on your own at 15 must have been tough. I had a friend whose father came from a large family during the great depression in Ohio. His parents couldn’t feed all the kids, so his parents sent him out during warmer months to fend for himself at 14 to 17 years old and he came back in time for school. What he learned in the woods and on the river was a Huck Finn story on survival. I heard a lot of survival stories from his experiences in Borneo, Bangladesh, India and Pakistan.

  45. Leading up to the day I began prepping, I always had an uneasy feeling about the state of our country. Then the protests sprang up on April 15, 2009. That was my wake up call, today any where I go and anything I do, prepping is first on my mind.

    I do not have deep pockets…in fact I can barely get my fingers into said pockets, but that does not stop me from prepping.

  46. I read Lucifer’s Hammer when I was about 18. Talked to my parents about coming out of the Depression. I remember people used to use the term ” survivalist”. My Dad snorted and said,” As opposed to what ? “

  47. I guess I’ve always had a tendency to have a stash of some sort. Folks divorced when I was 9 and I was pretty much left to fend for myself and have been on my own all my life.

    So I grew up always looking/planning for ‘whatever’. It wasn’t until about 7 years or so that I really got into prepping per sa. Not sure what exactly galvanized me at that time- prepper show coming on?

    We actually had a rifle range under the school and shot 22’s – it was really an old bomb shelter. Boys brought guns/knives to shop class.

  48. I grew up in the country in a large family.

    We had huge gardens and canned everything. I was doing the canning for the family by the time I was 12. I guess I grew up as a prepper.

    I continued to have gardens when my children were born. Y2K really started me on a wider base of preparing. Since 911 I have an inner sense that things are going to go terribly wrong. I lived almost 3 weeks without electricity during Katrina. That really shook me up.

    I read “One Second After” and realized I needed to do even more. My grown children sort of think I am nuts. But when things happen in their lives they end up coming to mom to go shopping in my storage. The Bible says there will be famine in the last days. I think we are headed that way and I plan for myself and my children. I try to warn others but few listen.

  49. First there was 9/11 and then Katrina hit. I saw that there was nobody that could take of me better than me. So I started buying food in bulk and stocking up. Then I got a computer and that’s when I starting reading a lot about prepping. I saw that there so much to learn and jumped in with both feet. The rest is history as the old line goes.

  50. My conversion occurred back in 1979 when I read a fellow martial arts students book that he wrote and titled “Life After Dooms Day”. I was an Eagle Scout and it blended together quite easily.

    Life in Montana at that time was a preppers life to begin with so it wasn’t any kind of life altering change, just a slight modification of thinking. Prepping is about all aspects of ones life and has served me well throughout my life.

  51. Pretty much my whole life has been about gaining and/or keeping control of my circumstances:

    Birth to 10 – … bad times.
    10-12 – Series of foster homes.
    13-16 – Juvenile lockup.
    17 – Homeless in the Midwest.
    18 – Homeless in SoCal. (warmer though)
    19 – My first apartment, ghetto, but still mine.
    22 – Met my future wife.
    25 – Northridge Earthquake – Trapped in Castaic, freeway collapsed behind me.
    26 – Hospital ICU, then wheelchair.
    27 – Re-learn how to stand and walk.
    35 – Bought a nice house in a beautiful town.

    35-45 Rebuilt entire house, inside and out – while at the same time making damn sure that I was as prepared for anything and everything that could ever possibly go wrong.

    Now? I’m prepared for just about anything life can throw at me. Because Murphy’s Law has yet to be repealed.

    1. Hi McGyver,

      That’s a long list of some really tough times. I’m glad you came out the other side of all that. That Murphy can really be a pain in the butt, especially when you are not prepared.

  52. Two words (what if). At that point if my answer is something like ??????. That’s when I knew we needed to take some action. We have never had a lot of money so getting by comes natural. I think BAM BAM pretty much described me. The big thing that motivates the wife is, you guessed it (what if) something happens, are we ready. We have looked at several scenarios and the simple answer is we are at the bug out location for the kids and family.

  53. Some magazine had an article on preppers. The idea of preparedness was really appealing. About the same time, my DH was reading a lot about the Fed, how interest rates are set, excess capital reserves, etc.

    Not too long after was the government bail out of 2008. That’s when we decided to become preppers/homesteaders. We’ve since witnessed several family members experience financial crises. We will be financially supporting his one sister and her kids to a degree.

  54. I guess for me I have always been a survivalist/prepper. I actually prefer the term self reliant. I can remember as a kid, hoarding matches. Even though I couldn’t light one, I knew they were important. So I hoarded them in an old cigar box. This was before the disposable Bic lighters. Everyone actually had Zippo lighters. Over time I added to it. Band-aids, string (for fishing), a compass, and a few other things I don’t recall right now.

    Like Ken, each crisis would draw me into preparing a little more. The Cuban missal crisis was the first. Deaths in the family, sickness in the family, unexpected lay-off, the housing bubble of the 80’s, Y2K, 9-11, Venezuala, North Korea, the economy.

    My preparedness is more sophisticated today than it was some 50+ years ago, but I never truly lost the fever. I just refined my skills and techniques over the years, and will continue to do so until the day I die.

  55. I started prepping in the early 70s being a Christian I believed that God helps those that help (work) themselves. Not having stable work I knew that I had to prepare for the down times.

    In 1990 we moved out of the city and into the country. A series of books came out called Left Behind they opened my eyes even more to God and what is happening in our world. After 2000 a book named Patriots inspired me to buy a peace of land farther out and start preparing to protect my family. So with God at my side I will proceed.

  56. Katrina…The first time I felt ashamed what my country had become.

    I remember Anderson Cooper on CNN being on site saying how they got there but our Military was still frozen in place awaiting orders while all hell was breaking loose. Cops looting, Bush proclaiming “good job brownie”, gangs running wild, desperate people, and this was America??? Knew then if .gov couldn’t even mobilize the army for days on end that just expanding this disaster on a bigger scale and we’re all toast.

    We’re seeing this today just how ugly it gets as soon as rioters get out of hand on a small scale, expand that to most major cities all at once and everything will go to hell fast!

  57. Back in 1995. I just realized how funny things were getting. With the Clinton gun ban and some other previous issues, Murrah building, WTC in 93, Ruby Ridge, Waco, I finally put the plan in place.

    And even though nothing great has taken place where I live, these preps DID get me through a time of unemployment, and has assisted others.

    But with the current state of affairs in the US and abroad I am way ahead of the game. Living on my retreat, off grid, away from population centers and being prepared has given me a “peace of mind”.

    In essence ” everybody is on their own ” !

    1. P.S. I read the book Alas Babylon in high school in the 70s, so it was always in the back of my mind.

  58. I grew up in the third major target for nukes during the Cold War and my dad built a house with a bomb shelter. Then there were the Carter years, some personal setbacks when I had little food, and a strong desire to be self-sufficient.

    I always prepared for the future like my peasant stock family but only more lately when I realized how clueless immediate family is. I began small but with DH on board and both of us reading alternative new sites, we acquired more preps than ever
    this last Shemitah year.

  59. First off, everyone is a prepper, just different levels. Everyone has some type of first aid kit, Band-Aids. That means they are prepping for a wound. Aspirin is prepping for a headache. That said.

    I have been a prepper since I was 9 years old and hunting in the woods. That would be survival.

    When I was 20 living paycheck to paycheck, my paycheck wasn’t deposited, the rent check bounced only time in my life. I didn’t know it didn’t go in because it was direct deposit until I tried to get money out of an ATM. It said negative digits. I had 2 cans of green beans at home and I was hungry. Best green beans I ever ate. I was then a serious prepper for food at that point.

    Then an ice storm and knocked out the power. Hello generator!!!
    Preppers are evolving it just takes time and events, just so its not too late.

  60. I am 60, I started backing he mid 1980’s, back when there was the threat of nuclear warfare with the Soviet Union. Have been prepping ever since. Nowadays we have different threats to worry about though.

    I even still have some of my reloads from when I first started in the mid 1990’s, I bring some out every now and then to try them out, still work like a charm. Have tried to keep up with where the movement is going and what I need to do to keep up. Be prepared and ready. Keep your powder dry.

  61. I started putting back groceries when working in a grocery store about 6 years ago, prices were going up every shipment. Money was tight and there were 5 months of every year that our expenses exceeded the income..

    I managed it by stocking up extras of the things we used continually. This was when I learned how to pack dry foods for long term. I had learned to make jelly and chow chow(as a teen,) and how to harness and plow a mule. My family were farmers for generations..Putting food up for winter was a way of life..

    Gardening, raising hogs, rabbits, and chickens were part of everyday events, as were making keels for turnips and potatoes after they were dug and properly seasoned… Plants, we got those from the hot bed that Dad planted each Feb…he both sold and gave plants to the neighbors, depending on needs and ability. It was much easier when Dad did it and over-saw the details.

  62. There are so many accidents and coincidences that turned me into the person I am. Here are a few of them:

    Growing up in the shadow of the threat of nuclear war between NATO and the Soviet Union, the 1973 oil crisis, Chernobyl, reading Stephen King’s “The Stand”, hearing my grandfather talk about what life was like during World War II, seeing the BBC’s “Survivors” in 1975 and reading the book by Terry Nation.

    However, the thing that really changed me was when I became a dad.

  63. I lived in suburban Maryland as a young adult and the feeling of being overcrowded and in a ‘dependency system’ grew too important to ignore.

    In 1987, we bought a home with acreage in rural Virginia and never returned to suburbia. We were both raised in families that knew life from The Depression years and so our lives were molded around frugality, do-it-yourself ways, and some self-sufficiency. Our families gardened extensively and lived in rural areas while also holding full-time jobs. The lifestyles we grew up with were what we were most comfortable with — we returned to what we knew.

    Over the years, we established gardens for food, perennials, fruit trees, and we created a little ‘ecosystem’ around the house to provide shade during the hot summer season. We began raising small livestock, preserving our garden harvests, and I continued to forage the property for foods that I could identify from my foraging trips with my mother and grandfather (I am a 4th generation forager!).

    I read several books on self-reliance back in those days, among them, the books by the Nearings. The Nearings were some of the first 20th century back-to-the-landers who saw how “the system” was totally flawed and they wanted no part of it. Although I do not share the communist views that the Nearings believed in, the Nearings’ predictions about future economic and dependency problems were very accurate. I still reflect on their writings to this day.

    On 9-11, I was working at FEMA, a potential ‘hit’ location. Being in lock-down and then being quickly ‘evacuated’ so VIPs could get to the facility changed my viewpoint on “normal life.” All family members were elsewhere and ALL were in lock-down mode. My oldest son was at his job in a ‘target location’ not far from DC and in lock-down. My daughter-in-law was IN DC~! My parents were in NYC at the time — they were stuck in the middle of that disaster!

    On the trip home after being evacuated, I stopped at a store and purchased enough water to fill a shopping cart. It was that day that I bought my first 25-pound bag of white rice and 10-pounds of flour. After 9-11, our lives changed for the first time.

    In 2006, with the threat of “amnesty” going on while we watched the invasion of illegal aliens and the increase in crimes, we became very politically active. We learned of the NAU, the SPP, Agenda 21, and the NWO. The Curtain had been pulled back… Our outlook changed. We had been hoodwinked and lied to beyond what we thought possible. We no longer trusted government at all.

    During 2007, all investments were liquidated. We stopped contributing to retirement programs that we could not ‘cash out.’ I got out of The Market. I tried to warn some friends to no avail. I saw a collapse scenario…

    In 2008, The Obamanation began and the White House went dark. We really began to prepare for America’s downfall.

    In 2009, our gardens suffered a devastating loss of vegetables due to an extreme drought. Our food pantry that would provide foods year-round showed a smaller year-end ‘inventory’. We decided to buy some extra canned foods. That year, we also set up our rain catchment system to hold 1,350 gallons of water. It was during 2009 that we also realized our gardens needed to be increased — we needed to add in extra foods “just in case.” Foods from the stores were getting more expensive so we grew more of our own to offset commercial prices.

    It was in 2009 that we began to buy food in bulk packaging, hoping to offset the increase in unit-pricing in smaller quantities. I viewed these large purchases as a hedge-fund against grocery prices. LOL These stored foods were more than our pantry could handle so we began shelving extra foods (long-term foods) in our basement. It wasn’t long before that area became a room.

    And 2009 was the year we began raising dairy goats and pigs.

    Looking back, I see that 2009 was the year we were all-in. By 2010, we were purchasing FD foods and mylar-bagging long-term foods. Preparedness is our lifestyle now. We are fully committed to our endeavors, are debt-free, are the ‘safety spot’ for family, and don’t regret any of our decisions.

    May God continue to bless those here who are on this same journey.

  64. 2008 when my dad died, my husband was out of work, housing market crashed, and I started really paying attention.

    And at the time Glenn Beck was on Fox every night with his chalkboard exposing all kinds of garbage going on behind the scenes of our the government puppet show. Was eye opening for sure.
    All the puzzle pieces starting coming together for me, and there was no more “sleeping” at the wheel.

  65. As a teenager I was always interested in Survival and my favorite books where My Side of the Mountain and Hatchet. That was the beginning.

    In the late 90s I worked in IT and spent a lot of time traveling around West Virginia, Kentucky and then Texas upgrading Companies computers for Y2k. Most of us in IT knew that there would not be a major crash, as we had been working and making a Lot of money getting ready for it. In Texas I met several groups of people that really thought the end was nigh and were preparing and buying bulk supplies, and I laughed at them…

    I finished upgrading a series of servers at a hospital way ahead of time, and September of 1999… I was laid off early because the job was done. While everyone else survived Y2K, I could not find a job, all of the work I was doing became irrelevant. I spent 2 years scraping by, doing whatever work I could find in IT, not making money before I changed careers.

    That led me to a much better understanding of the Crises that can surprise you financially.

    Move forward several more years and I learned why security was important and my mind was changed fundamentally about firearms. I was living and working in Northern Virginia. One Friday evening I went out with my roommate for a few drinks at a local pub. We didn’t care for the band so left early about 10pm.

    For some reason we went out the front instead of taking the side route home which was a shorter walk. As we walked I saw what I thought was a drunk driver hit a small tree and come to a stop. My roommate and I started walking towards it to make sure everyone was OK. A large man stepped out of the SUV with a baseball bat and I suddenly heard the screaming begin.

    A violent offender had run down two young teens because they wouldn’t get in his car and started hitting one in the head with that bat. Fortunately, our yelling at him and running towards them frightened him, he jumped in the SUV and took off, trying to hit me. The girls lived but I will never forget the blood on my shirt. And that’s when I bought my first firearm.

    My final big event was a multi-state power outage and a 2 hour weight in line for gas while people fought with each other. This led me to making sure I always have the basic necessities in my truck and I keep a close eye on my gas levels and where I am traveling.

    These all came together to give me a real desire to be ready for any situation and able to help not only myself, but those around me.

    1. Oh gee, must of read “My Side of The Mountain” a dozen times when I was i grade school.

  66. I had a lot of influences growing that ultimately led down the path of the prepper mindset. My father was a career military man. As a result, we move around frequently and we had many experiences. Being a military dependent, we were aware to many world events while growing up. The Cuban Missle crisis, Kennedy’s asasination, & Vietnam to name a few. We have always prepped to some extent. Living in Louisiana, Mississippi, & Alabama for the last 30+ years, we prepared for hurricanes. It wasn’t until Hurricane Katrina that I started down the path to serious prepping. At the time, my father had retired from the military and had been living in Gulfport Ms (he was 78 in 2005). With all communications down, I could not contact him. Four days after the storm, I loaded up the truth with supplies and drove over from Louisiana to check on him. When I got to the house, all I could see was 20+ oak trees down in the front yard. I climbed through the downed trees and found him on the porch sitting in a folding chair making cowboy coffee. The house had two trees on it but he & the house survived. At that moment he was silently wishing that I would show up to help him. It was an emotional moment when I called out to him. He was dehydrated because he did not store enough water and was trading his gasoline for water to the neighbors because he could not get the generator started. There are many more chapters in the story. Too many to list here.

    This is when I took prepping seriously. I got my Ham radio license for communications. I became a Medical Emergency Responder to help out with medical emergencies in our area. I started volunteering in our community during local emergencies (most recently during the floods in the Baton Rouge area). In the last month we relocated to Alabama and are in the process of remodeling a house (we are 120ft above sea level so if it floods here, God is coming). I have all of my preps in storage and we hope to move in by the end of Oct. We are incorporating rain catchment systems and storage capabilities into our design. We have enough property for a garden for my heirloom seed collection that I hope to start using in the spring.

    I have read 100+ books on apocalyptic fiction and blogs like this one and I have tried to, within reason, learn the lessons from the scenarios presented. I do believe that if one of the scenarios actually occurs (e.g, EMP) we will likely not survive. But, we won’t go without trying.

    Keep on prepping.

  67. What is completely surprising to me is…. I have read every one of these 10,000 comments and not a single one has stated the reasoning for prepping as….

    “I watched the TV series ‘Doomsday Preppers’”

    Go figure…. HAHAHAHAHA

    NRP

    1. There were a few things that came out of that show that were valuable. I myself did not realize there was a real community out there until i watched the show.

    2. NRP

      Watching “Doomsday Preppers” is the reason I refuse to label myself a prepper. That show made those people look like a bunch of crazies. People think I’m crazy enough without them knowing I prep, I mean live an old fashioned lifestyle. :-)

      kk

  68. There is a magazine which will help those who need information. We started with their first issue many years ago. The magazine is BACKWOODS HOME. They are out of southern Oregon. The company sells anthologys in paper format and on DVDs. I prefer paper as they work without power. They also sell a lot of how to do paper back books on most subjects.

  69. My own journey began a long time ago, as my father was an engineer with a chemical company. I grew up knowing we were living less than fifteen miles from what was the number ten nuclear target during the Cold War. I remember my father being anxious for me to join the Boy Scouts, so much so he even became an assistant Scoutmaster. When the Cuban missile crisis came, I remember going with my father to purchase a small .22 pistol because we had no firearms, only an old Benjamin air gun, prior to that. My Dad was a former Marine, and the idea that we had nothing worried him. The next spring Mom bought him a 12 gauge for his birthday, and for Christmas I was given a .22 rifle.
    What actually started my own prepping was a lot later, when I had a driver’s license, and a less than a year-old deer rifle. I had taken my .22 out to a nearby lake where we could hunt, and had been just looking around the area. (If you want the full story, go to Rawles’ site and search for “Indexer”. It’s right at the top)
    Years later, when I was newly married and a private soldier in the Army, we got transferred, but my paycheck didn’t. When my First Sergeant found out my wife and I had been living on the garden vegetables my wife had canned the previous summer for about 3 weeks, after he climbed down from the ceiling, he told the company clerk to give me a meal card, but not to put in the paperwork to change my pay, because I wasn’t getting it anyway. I was told to wear my field jacket and load the pockets with whatever I could for my wife until we could get paid, and the paperwork for directing my pay to our checking account was started. I also got a bit of food and money from the Chaplain, along with a slightly different blessing. In all, we were broke and without for about two months. After that, we always had at least a couple of months of canned goods in the pantry. We also had a good reason for charity.
    Still more years later, when stationed in Germany, my 8 months pregnant with our third child wife asked me to help her stock up a bit because I would be gone to the field for a while. I carried several cases of UHT milk, as well as several cases of canned goods into our apartment to stock up my family while I was gone. My family ended up living on that stuff when Chernobyl dumped fallout on all of us. (I wasn’t there; I was a bit closer to Chernobyl)
    Now, my wife has lung cancer, I have some funny stuff going on in my blood, that youngest daughter has my Mini-14 I won’t get back, and we are still as charitable as we can manage. But we still prep. – Papa S.

    1. I did not mention several other events, but coming home and learning of rioting less than a mile from your home, and your wife and kids planning to get into a difficult-to-access attic with a list of supplies and that Ruger and a couple of loaded magazines if the rioting came their way… – Papa S.

  70. I was raised by parents that grew up in the Great Depression and the internment camps during WW 2. I was a boy scout as a child. My high school years were during the Carter Presidency. (had my drivers license and rode my bicycle everywhere ) The community I grew up in was dependent on tourism so we grew up watching the boom/bust cycle of small businesses in a resort town. (make hay while the sun shines then set aside for the time when the doldrums come in.)

    My friends drove hot rods -cars so fast they could pass everything on the road except the gas station. My first car was a used Honda Civic. I went to college/worked my way through actually fighting fires/ driving ambulance and black and whites (Reagan was President by then- he was hiring cops) I ended up graduating with a degree in Economics. (no student loans to pay back but it took almost 10 years to work through college.

    I have been working in health care steadily for over 20 years now. Have been observing and prepping during most of my life. I still have money in stocks and bonds (“The difference between an observer and participant is when you write a check to your broker” – Warren Buffet) butt I also have pyramids of food and Charmin Brand TP in my stores.

    1. @ CaliRefugee

      “butt I also have pyramids of food and Charmin Brand TP in my stores.”

      Good feeling knowing ya have both ends covered… HAHAHA

      Butt Charmin? Really, I thought the only TP manufactured was Quilted Northern.

      NRP

  71. Looking back, it was just how we grew up back then…saving during the good times for use during the lean times. I’ve always lived in KY, and my parents were always “ready” for snow and ice storms, for tornadoes, and for power outages…and of course we had a basement bomb shelter. My Grandma taught me to sew (alterations, tailoring, upholstering), garden, store food & cook – she said I’d need those skills one day.

    My marriage ended at age 26 in 1979, so the frugal lifestyle became my norm. I could no longer afford to snow ski (of all things!), so I joined NSPS – my ex-husband thought I was crazy. This was a game-changer. Through the ski patrol I learned advanced first aid (this was a few years before EMT became a profession), search & rescue, backpacking, mountaineering medicine, avalanche control, and winter outdoor survival skills! Those few years awakened in me the need to be self-reliant and prepared, not just for the lean times, but also for natural and manmade disasters and emergencies.

    Later, living through the economic fallout from 9/11 (including being laid off from work in 2002 and having it take 3 years and 390 resumes to find another permanent full-time job) drove it home further – and I was thankful for my stashed supplies.

    2 years ago, I moved away from the city to a small house at one of the state’s fishing lakes (my street literally dead-ends in the water) – one I could actually pay for and not have a mortgage in these trying times. It’s not the perfect location: there’s very little room for storage, my liberal head-in-the-sand “friends” refuse to drive out, and it’s still too close to that city (even though it’s an 80-mile round trip to work), but it’s the best I can do alone for now…and I’m making the most of it!

  72. when I was kid living on the farm back in the late 60’s. been that way ever since.
    nsf

  73. To NRP:

    Yeah, I buy Charmin on my wife’s grocery list. She tells me that girls have more delicate heinies… I don’t find out this stuff until after I got married. Life is like that.

  74. At age 10-11 I started to learn about cattle, raising a garden, harvesting fruit and nut trees. Loved it, my first full time job was in a garden shop, I would drag home the neglected plants-trees and my dad would help me dig the holes so they could be given a chance to thrive. It looked like a jungle, but a happy jungle.

    Never had to worry about grocery shopping, majority of it was in the cupboards. The next step coupons, dh was better at it then I was. Only he dropped them the folder and said they are in there. Yah :-(, not sorted.
    We shop once a month to fill in what has been used, and it has to fit into the budget. That is how it started, and even with all that has happened that life style is still a part of us. The cupboard feels naked without a minimum of a months supplies or more.

  75. I think my parents fed me a red pill at a young age along with the garden goodies, berries, rabbits, deer, etc.
    Since I have lived for many years outside a city and away from major roads, it is just a fact of life that the snow plows and utility repair crews do not give us a high priority. We have had long power outages, and been snowed in for days upon days. Even had friends that were unprepared come and stay with us and enjoy the buffet on the kitchen table. (NO worries about sharing supplies, the snow would eventually melt.) So it is life experiences that have shaped by prepping
    What has really kicked prepping into high gear was the election of Barack Obama. Twice! Lost faith in the values of the majority of Americans, and fear we will not regain the country we lost.

  76. I was in my late teens when chernobyl happened , but it was a number of years later i realised how lucky we had been as local farms had been affected.
    Over the years ive made myself more aware of whats going on, but after a very cold winter in 2010 we started to plan in a more serious way.

  77. I would say Anticipating Life is a good term. We call ourselves homesteaders because we are seeking a healthier lifestyle. It was a slower process for us but I do remember putting away beans and rice and feeling better about having a larger larder available. I have always kept on hand more than a month of food in the house, but felt the need to greatly expand it. Finding out there were others that “felt the urgency” as we did helped solidify our resolve.

    It has been that urgent need to get back to basics and store what we eat that has been so strong these last few years but hit hardest around early 2012. I believe God using many of his good people has managed to thwart a lot of evil that would have come our way, and I am grateful for each extra day given.

    I believe we have been helped tremendously by many of you here today and some that no longer come on the boards to discuss what is going on. It helped open our eyes further and it is nice to know we are not alone. We have more recently found more people of a like mind closer to us, which we truly appreciate – strength in numbers. We each have our own areas of expertise and can share our knowledge with the others. The sad part is, adults our age don’t want to be bothered with the inconvenience of the lifestyle we have chosen. But we find 50 percent of their children are in agreement and feel something is wrong with the world and it is about to ignite. I have no problem if you want to scoff at me for what we have chosen to do, but I get vocal and protective when the adults tease the young adults about how they feel. We have made Safety Bags (Get Home Bags) for those young adults that are worried.

    The world is a crazy place, and our family thinks we are the crazy ones! But I sleep good at night after a long day working in the garden, or with the animals, or on one of the myriad of chores needed to be self sufficient….and I love it! And I thank God every day for my wonderful spouse who thinks as I do because it is exhausting struggling with family who oppose what you are doing.
    Thanks to each of you for being a part of this satisfying lifestyle that we have chosen and please stay safe! Farming is dangerous business!

  78. My parents were raised during the great depression.
    They knew what it was like to do without at a young impressionable age.
    They were always prepared.

    I learned the basics from them, and carry on that tradition, which is a lifestyle of sorts.
    Self Sustainability is the key.

    If you don’t have it, you make it, save for it, or do without it.

  79. Was required to read Alas Babylon in 9th grade in 1968. I put together a cigar box of stuff shortly thereafter and haven’t stopped since.

  80. After the collapse of the USSR, I remember watching the US & NATO just go on posturing and ignoring the unique opportunities of the time. Combined with the obvious hollow pyramid that our economic system had become

  81. I have always been taught to have things on hand in case of an emergency due to having Depression babies for parents. But over the last few years I have seen too much to ignore what’s going on out there. Food prices sky rocketing, Basic things I used to buy disappearing off the shelves not being replaced because the farms can’t produce enough, more and more violence. A Government that has been co opted to further the wants of an elite few. 7-8 generations of welfare rats with their sense of entitlement hands out wanting more and more.

  82. I have lived in Cali most of my life, and have been prepared for a disaster since I was ten, but I didn’t really start thinking about it until a couple years ago when the drought became really bad here in the central valley and water wasn’t as much of a sure thing. Even little things like food price hike would be enough to devistate those of us at or right around the poverty level, and so we started slowly doing what we can to prepare, and then.. the election happened and we sort of all felt like something was coming and have been slowly and inexpensively trying to get our plans in place for that thing that we all feel and can’t explain.

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