A Few Tips Where To Get Started For The Newbie Preppers Out There


There is no doubt in my mind that every day there are more and more new preparedness-minded (preppers) out there who have made the decision to get started.

There are PLENTY of plain-to-see reasons why a newbie might want to start taking charge of their own preparedness, and with today’s current-events coupled with the many systemic risks that we face as a modern civilization and population, to NOT prepare seems quite dumb, if not foolish. Preparedness is insurance. Preparedness for life.

While I have written my share of articles about beginning preparedness basics, I feel compelled to briefly approach the subject once again…

Here goes…

If you have recently come across this post while searching for preparedness ideas, let me offer a few suggestions for getting started without overwhelming yourself with too much too soon.

For some of you, it may seem like there’s not much time left and you want to do all that you can to get ready (for whatever it is that inspired you to start prepping). I have one word for you (for now)… RELAX. Let this process be FUN (because it will be). The process might even become a life long endeavor as you shift your own way-of-life to one which is slanted towards your own benefit and well being (rather than that of the mainstream).

While I do not know what inspired you, chances are that you want to be more self-reliant and secure in your life. Just bear in mind that no one can be entirely self-reliant, but you sure as heck can become more self-reliant, more independent, more assured, more resolute, and more capable than most others by taking a few simple steps.

Mindset. Don’t look to others to save you… only YOU can save you. What I mean by that is to change your mindset (if required) to that of setting responsibility square on your own shoulders. When confronted with a challenge (even seemingly impossible), say to yourself, “there’s always a way”, and then go about figuring it out… Instead of delegating it, do it. Of course there are exceptions, but I’m trying to get the point across to lift your head high, put your shoulders back, and get ‘er done. You can do it. Take charge! ;)

Now that I gave you that little ‘pep talk’, lets look at a few very practical areas to get started with preparedness in today’s modern world.

Emergency Kit. What I’m talking about is a kit to keep in your car. The practical reason? No, not for a bug-out to the wilderness, but for a more ‘typical’ and likely circumstance – an emergency or disaster which unexpectedly sets you off ‘on the road’ for a time. Or perhaps you might find yourself stranded at your place of employment for a time while an event restricts or prohibits you from immediately returning home. Stuff like that…

There are lots of articles here on MSB about Survival Kits

Without repeating everything mentioned in previously written articles, a good basic emergency survival kit will provide enough food calories to eat (for several days), a means of containing and filtering water to drink (and/or storing some), and other potentially useful supplies.

I suggest working on a car-kit because most people spend so much time in their vehicle, and it’s our primary means of transportation. It’s only logical to keep a kit in there…

3 Weeks Food At Home. You may or may not already have this. But for ‘most’ typical disaster scenarios where life returns to normal after awhile, having 3 weeks of food will get you through most all of them. While it may seem ridiculous that I mention this, it has been shown that the majority of Americans do not have this much food in their homes. What IS ridiculous, is that there’s no excuse not to have 3 weeks food, because it is ridiculously easy to acquire.

When deciding what to get, you should consider the ability to eat these foods in an environment where there might not be any power. So I would not recommend buying freezer food for this purpose ;) Instead consider ordinary canned foods (all of which technically do not require cooking for safety – just for the pallet) (don’t forget the manual can opener). Consider the calorie requirement for all members of the household (2000 calories per day per person).

Think about cooking without electricity. Do you have a portable means of boiling water or heating up food if there is no electricity?

Drinking Water. Either store some yourself in clean jugs, or go out and buy some drinking water and store it aside. It’s cheaper to buy it by the gallon than by the individual bottles. Even though your tap water is plentiful and seemingly endless, there could be scenarios which contaminate your water supply for a time (this is not terribly uncommon and we see this in the news once in awhile). Guess what happens when there is a water emergency? EVERYONE runs to the grocery stores and cleans out the bottled water shelves… Then they have to drive farther and farther away to find some. Don’t let that be you.

The next level up from simply buying/storing extra water is to get yourself a drinking water filter (of which there are many to choose from). This is a budget issue, and you could pay hundreds for a high-end Berkey (for example), or you could settle for a quality portable water filter like the Sawyer for much less… Here’s an article where I asked the readers “which water filter to buy”.

Situational Awareness. Look around. Situational awareness is knowing what’s going on around you. Not only does this tie in with security, but your ability to avoid pitfalls by recognizing trouble ahead, so to speak. This is a broad category varying from being more aware of one’s own immediate tangible surroundings to that of recognizing risks related to current events which may seem further away from affecting you (but still could), to world events, news (find many sources – not just the mainstream), and the many systemic risks due to massive systems that we rely on for survival in today’s modern world. Open your eyes…

So… start with those few things, and then come back for more ;)

Your pod has just popped open, and you’re about to see the world for what it really is…


For those of you who are further along with your preparedness, here’s a question for you for the sake of discussion…

If you were to give advice to a newbie (a few things to get starters), what might you say?

Note: This advice would not be for TEOTWAWKI prepping (which comes later), but for practical ‘modern day’ preparedness to get them motivated and started.

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  1. Look for recipes that your entire family will eat now that you can cook by some other means than your current kitchen stove (the internet is full of them). Then try them out on your family while things are still good and see if all members of the family can and/or will eat them. There is nothing worse than storing several weeks worth of food only to find out when the stuff hits the fan little Billy would rather go hungry than eat what you have prepared.
    Once you have a different means of cooking other that the kitchen stove try cooking one of you “emergency” meals each month on your SHTF stove and include the kids when you do it so it will be common place to you and them when the time comes you have to do it for real.
    The most important thing is to use your imagination to visualize what can happen if an 3-4 week emergency hits in your area and plan for ways to over come the problems that you see coming up during that time frame. The type of emergencies will vary depending on where you live (very few blizzards in the deep south but they do have hurricanes and tornadoes). This is not rocket science it is the application of common sense to a potential emergency situation.
    Most important of all, remember you are not alone in this, many of us have chosen to take the red pill and stand ready to help you in your endeavor to be prepared for what lies ahead for all of us…

    Good luck and good fortune

  2. The “Mindset” tip is crucial. I don’t believe I’ve seen that stated so well in this context. Most preparedness articles are geared to the home, but I think it is important to make an effort to be prepared wherever you are and for anything. Don’t focus on one threat, be globally prepared. And don’t do it out of fear but out of a love for life.

  3. My one thought kind of goes along with Ken’s statement of mindset. Move away from people! I have said this several times and will say it again. The more people you live by, the more likely you will be harmed by them. This is true on any given day, but it is especially true in an emergency or chaotic time. Just look at Katrina or any other hurricane, the anti-police riots, the wall street protests, etc. People were killed, robbed, raped, and had property destroyed. No matter what you are preparing for, the more people you live near, the more trouble you will have. Now, Ken is correct in his statement that you can’t do this alone.

    1. ChameleOn You are spot on, remind me of the adage, “live by the side of the road and be a friend to man” a better one for today, live by the side of the road and be a target to the Golden Horde

  4. Most people in my area are prepared for a short term emergency because they live far from town and are stocked up. That was tested in the 2012 blow-down. Insurance took care of most losses. It’s longer term they scoff at and file my advice under “crazy” because they trust their government and believe they will be taken care of by them when their supplies run out in a few weeks. The mindset to be independent if necessary only goes a short distance with all I met up here.

      1. :-) :-) :-)
        It is an honorary title when the neighbor said upon seeing me one day, “Look, there’s that Crazy Woman!” I kid you not.

  5. My one thought is simply this. Don’t wait to start until you have “enough” money to buy everything the “experts” say you need. You can buy a 25 pound bag of flour right now for under $15. That’s enough calories by itself to last you the recommended 3 weeks. Flat bread cooked over rock might not sound too appetizing but it’s better than starving to death while you wait for the funds to buy 5 years worth of MRE’s. A case of bottled water is under $4. If you take $20 to the grocery store today you can sleep a little easier tonight knowing you’ve started on your way to preparedness.

    1. @ Novice
      You, my friend, have the “Mindset”. That puts you in the 3% that will do well.

      1. @NPR

        Where are the elk steaks for turkey day??? Post pics I know you had some and I didn’t! I will have them next year for Christmas though☺. Glad to see the Animas running cleare and that crap setteled down. To all Happy Gobble Dity Gobble Dity!

  6. LOL I do that all time, having to go get something out of my prep stuff cause we forgot to get it at the store. That’s ok though I set my stores up to be rotated.

  7. The last time you were making dinner (or whatever) and ran out of something, did you have to run to the store, or just walk to your preps and grab that extra box of XYZ?


    Except small marshallows for my sweet potaotes!

  8. There is a sale on today, perhaps through Dec2 at Audible for 2 books of the “299 Days” series by Glen Tate for $4.95 each, regularly $19.95 each. I am listening to them now and they most definitely would inspire the necessary mindset to prepare, especially if you need a little fear to motivate you.

      1. I’m listening to book #2 “The Collapse” and am impressed with how well written it is and how easy it is to follow. But also the sequence of events is very realistic and engaging.

    1. A prepper item that is SOOOOO overlooked, are the ‘extra anythings’ what is that it is those extra items you want to use as barter items. Maybe, you broke your knife but you have an extra flashlight, or you need fuel for the generator and have lots of extra ammo. As preppers we all may overlook the criteria of three is two, two is one, and one is none so get extras of anything you identify for you and your family of group. I try to look outside the box by putting myself in a situation and then identify what would be needed. As mu budget allows I look for those items, online, through, goodwill, st vinnie’s, yard sales, dollar store etc.

  9. Good article Ken. After getting caught on the road for 24 hours in what should have been a 4 hour trip I started by building an emergency kit to keep in the car. In that kit I have enough food for 4 people for 3 days. Food consists of freeze dried food, MRE’s, and emergency ration bars. I keep 2 liters of bottled water per person, a quality water filter, lighters, matches, magnesium fire starters, 2 LED flashlights, 2 headlamps, basic first aid kit, a whistle, 2-2 way radios w/weather/emergency alerts, 2 candles, Chem glow sticks, 2 emergency blankets, and a pistol. My kit started with just the food and water and a pot to cook in with all the other items added over time. This was done about 8-10 years ago. Since then my preps include food for 18 months for 4 persons, cases and cases of water, T.P. generators, solar panals, large capacity water filters, hand crank radios, battery operated T.V. , battlefield medic kits and too much other stuff to list and things I don’t want to list for OPSEC reasons. I feel I’m pretty well set for 18 months, possibly 2 years, but there always seems to be that next needed item. It has been/is a fun and rewarding journey.

    1. that car kit sounds excellent.

      can you tell us, please, roughly how much space you have packed it all in to?

      my problem with car preps, especially winter, is , I take scads of space. I do it, as well, not good to risk caught in blizzard on the road unprepared. But, I keep thinking I should be able to get the space demands down some.

      1. It all fits in a medium size backpack (daypack) although only 2 liters are in that pack. The other 6 liters are in a seperate small backpack. The water backpack is seperate because it is usually just my wife and I traveling now and we would probably not carry it if we had to set out on foot since we also have the filter. That second pack of water is for if we have others traveling with us. Just an extra little insurance for the possibility of higher hydration needs. One thing i failed to list was 100 feet of paracord also in the primary pack. Another note, if it was just my wife and I our food would last at least 6 days since it is set up for 4 persons for 3 days. Also, the pistol in the pack is just a .22 and could be used to take small game. I ALWAYS carry a larger caliber on me for security.
        One item I’ve been meaning to add is a 2 person tube tent, ideally one in the main go bag and one in the water pack.

    2. Texasprepper Have a similar setup, what I use for the auto to hold everything, is a large zippered black bag, with carry handles and backstrap. it hold my loaded daypack, meds, sleeping bag, etc. The bag keeps things from rolling around in the vehicle, and is always ready for removal in a second. If I need to remove for any reason, everything is “right there”. The black bag does not draw attention, nor does it give away what I am carrying for good Opsec. Over the years I have been stranded once in a Colorado blizzard, and it saved the day,(actually two) Don’t leave home without it….

      1. Forgot to mention the bag is about 3′ by 2′ by 1′ when filled, have another bag for the auto needs, like pressure gauge, compressor, jumper cables, tools, folding shovel, flares, bailing wire, (yes old school).

  10. 1 knapsack
    + 1bottle of water
    + 1 box of energy bars
    + 1 flashlight
    + 1 knife
    + 1 pair of walking shoes
    + 1 lighter
    + 1 light jacket
    You, alive for a other day.


  11. Do this as you can. Don’t give in to the impulse to do everything now, or have everything now, or start panic-buying. And whatever you do, don’t start playing “beat the Jones’s” with people like those on this site! You’ll go crazy(er).

    You do one thing, then another, and soon enough you’ll be satisfied that you can survive, while looking ahead to where you want to be.

    1. Lauren,
      Good advice. I started out with that go pack several years ago. It has taken several years to accumulate what I have today.

  12. Begin a fitness routine. The ultimate survival act. A “fitter you” will be better able to survive whatever you’ve begun prepping for. I don’t mean becoming a power lifter, marathoner, etc. Just improving fitness in general like core body strength and aerobic ability.

    1. That is very good advice! Not only does a fitness routine (even just plain old walking) make you stronger with better endurance, but it helps emotionally – gets the blood flowing to the brain – enables clearer thinking – relieves stress…

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