Categories Of Prepping & Preparedness – Start With These

Lets talk about the categories of prepping. Especially useful for those beginning their own prepping & preparedness. I first wrote about this a decade ago. Wow, time flies… But you know what? The principles are still the same.

I came across this article originally written a few years ago (the one you’re reading). I’ve noticed it getting a fair amount of hits. Probably from newbies. So, I felt that I needed to update it with even more basic fundamental categories of prepping, before I get into the suggestions further down the page.

Also, there are a lot of great comments below from our readers.

So, What are the most important basic fundamental categories?

Categories of Prepping & Preparedness for Survival

FOOD. WATER. SHELTER. SECURITY.

There’s a lot written about these categories here on the blog. If you are new here, just search for it. Check out the categories in the menu too. With that said, these are the very basics to consider while beginning your preparedness.

The basic categories of survival. Do whatever you need to do in order to bolster your own self-reliance in those categories of prepping.

You’ve got to eat to survive, although the human body can stay alive surprisingly long without food. But who wants to go hungry, right?

More important, water. Liquid nourishment. Don’t take it for granted!

Shelter. Not only the ability to have a roof over your head, but protection from the elements in general.

While the category of security may not seem immediately important, it sure will be if and when engulfed in collapse.

[ Read: Level 1 Preparedness ]

Additional High Level Categories of Prepping & Preparedness

The following list of survival & preparedness category groups. They are intended to encompass additional categorical tiers from which we could drill down into more detail.

One effective method for deciding upon preparedness supplies is to think about each of the groups or topics first. Then, focus on sub-categories within each.

It’s often best to start by thinking broadly – and then narrow down to specifics.

From a higher level standpoint, one might sub-categorize prepping & preparedness as follows.

Survival Gear
Food & Kitchen
Security
Skills & How-to
Lifestyle

Gear

You might take ‘Survival Gear’ and break it down further into sub categories of water, fire, cutting, cordage, shelter. ( The 5 C’s of survival ) is a great place to start… You might then include topics such as First Aid, navigation, radios, packs & bags, and LOTS of other potential sub-categories of ‘gear’. Get the idea?

Food & Kitchen

This might be broken down further into canned foods, dehydrated, freeze-dried, storage & methods, preserving foods, cooking, canning, milling, and whatever else floats your boat in that category…

Security

Security sub-categorizes into personal security, home security, firearms, EDC, and others. Each of those will easily break down into other important subsets.

Skills & How-to

This can be vastly broad. But first focus on knowing how to deal with the basics of survival. How to make a fire. To acquire and purify water. How to apply security for yourself, your household. Just remember that it’s one thing to have ‘the stuff’ while it’s another to know how to apply it. This category is immensely important!

Lifestyle

Lifestyle gets into going beyond just having backups. Rather, it relates to the ability of renewing your supplies. Your ability to live in a more self sufficient manner. Living more of a self reliant lifestyle. This would include alternative energy, raising livestock, gardening, and anything else related to a lifestyle of preparedness.

The point is that it’s helpful to begin logically with high level categories that are most important, and then break it down from there. Prioritize it.

[ Read: Level 2 Preparedness ]

Categories of Prepping – Brainstorm

The following is a quick brainstorm of all sorts of topics, categories of prepping.

In no particular order (just for fun),

  • Water, Water Storage, Water Purifiers
  • Foods for long term storage
    Emergency cook stoves, fuels thereof
  • Cookware for E-kits
  • Seeds appropriate for SHTF gardening
  • Garden Tools and Supplies
  • First Aid & Medical Supplies
  • Hand Tools, Multi-tools, for general repairs without electricity
  • Hardware Supplies – General Purpose
  • Knives – Fixed, Folding, Machete, Axe, Saws
  • Sharpeners
  • Lighting, Flashlights, Headlamps, Lanterns (without electricity?)
  • Rechargeable Batteries, Battery Charger – Solar Charger
  • Generators
  • Fuel Storage, Fuel Treatment
  • Portable Radios, 2-way communications, Emergency radio, HAM, Weather, Antennas
  • Packs, Backpacks
  • Fishing & Hunting specific Gear
  • Hygiene
  • Optics – Binoculars, Scopes, Night Vision – NVD’s
  • Shelter, Tent, Sleeping Bags, Tarps
  • Alternative energy
  • Solar panels, Charger Controller, Inverter, Battery Bank, off-grid
  • Books – Resource-Informational, Novels for enjoyment
  • Fire Starters, Fire kit, Combustion
  • Bug Out Bag, E-Kits, 72-hour kits
  • Paracord, Cordage
  • Boots, Footwear – Heavy Duty
  • Outerwear, All Seasons Considered
  • Firearms and Ammunition
  • Security, personal, home, patrol & issues thereof
  • Tactical Gear and Clothing
  • Maps, Navigation, Compass, know-how
  • Monetary – Cash, Silver, Gold, Barter
  • Transportation (methods thereof) Vehicles (EMP factors?), Bikes, Carts
  • Pandemic associated medical supplies, prevention
  • Nuclear, associated protections

Skills and know-how!

Well, this was simply a brainstorm of a few categories of prepping & preparedness to get the wheels turning.

Of course there could be lots more. Though it begins with the basics to simply survive, and then it fans out from there. Ultimately it unfolds into lifestyle if you let it.

Food for thought…

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88 Comments

  1. I am a snowflake. So I don’t need any categories or subcategories because Uncle Sam will take care of me in a nice little FEMA place. It will be just like camping where we can sit around the fire singing kumbaya. Hehe

    Actually, awesome article. I have seen some ‘prepper lists’ over the years. I guess the main thing is to tailor it to your wants, desired level of preparedness, and needs. Categories and subcategories can also be expanded further. Such as: Gear, Medical Supplies, Bandaging, water resistant, small bandaids. I guess it can get a little convoluted but when organizing available items, having sub, sub, sub, subcategories you really know what you have and don’t have to a T.

    1. Hi Snowy

      Recent reads indicate that FEMA’s model may be changing for some scenarios. Folks will be expected to shelter in place/at home. FEMA, if it can and if there is National Guard/military support, will set up spots where basic supplies like food and water can be distributed.

      Will folks be better off in their own homes? Probably, barring a structural catastrophe. Will they be able to get the FEMA supplies back home safely? Depends. Everyone needs to be prepared. If we can traumatize school children over climate change, perhaps disaster preparedness should be part of the curriculum. Easier to get to them while they’re young.

      1. Well I like this idea better than FEMA camps that I have no intention of going to. Still not relying on them for nothin! But at least maybe they’ll leave me alone.

  2. One thing I would add to the list is the ability to read the weather, to know when a frost is coming etc. That would include weather related tools. If you lose your garden because of a frost, you will be hurting for a long time. We can’t count on the Weather Channel to always be there.

      1. 1). Cutting
        2). Cordage
        3). ???
        4). ???
        5). ???

        What are the other 3 “C’s”?

        1. CANDY
          ice CREAM
          CHOCOLATE
          CHEESE

          Actually I guess you don’t want MY list. Try this one:
          Cutting
          Combustion
          Cover
          Container
          Cordage
          Containers
          Compass

          can’t remember the rest

          1. Cutting Tool, Container, Cordage, Cover, Combustion Device-=5Cs
            These are the hardest things to practically reproduce in the wild that could directly aid your survivability.

            +Candling Device, Compass, Cotton Bandana, Canvas Sail Needle, Cargo Tape = 10Cs
            Added survivability and comfort.

            You need to train with these tools in order to be effective with your own aid.

    1. Boy oh boy Peanut, a person would have to psychic and clairvoyant to do that these days where I live!

      1. I agree Mrs. USMCBG, even with the proper instruments you may have little time to re-act.

      2. Mrs USMCBG
        You had plans to grow some new to you flowers this past year. How did they do for you? Work well?

  3. For me a “Lifestyle of Preparedness” is not just a list of posessions but a subject of:
    1. What traits will allow a new commer to become a group member!
    2. What traits (behaviors) will be cause for immediate removal (ejection) of a group member.
    Have you ever made a list of acceptable or unacceptable traits and posted them on the front door as a reminder to all group members of what is expected of them?
    Things do not make a lifestyle.

  4. very good article and you where right it did give me a lot to think about and what i need to practice working on

  5. The most important component of all: ‘The Will to Survive’.

    All the gear and knowledge in the world is pretty much useless without this.

    1. Indeed. Some people have survived astonishingly bad circumstances, because they refused to give up.

  6. Ken, I really enjoy it when you publish articles like this.

    For one it gets the troops thinking about the complexity of being truly prepared, and the simplicity of breaking down the ‘complexity’ to manageable pieces.

    I do feel that if one were “New” to preparing and/or the Lifestyle, it would be extremely overwhelming and complicated. Just thinking of “Why am I preparing and what I’m preparing for” is HUGE! Thinking on all of the things that “can go wrong” in of itself would drive me to drink….. Never mind I already drink hehehe

    If I were to offer one little piece of advice to anyone that is “Just Starting” I would tell them to “Relax” Take a deep, very deep, breath and just relax. Next decide seriously how serious you are about being prepared and the “W’s” (Why, When, Where, With-Whom, so-on). Also I would defiantly tell them to “Enjoy the Trip” to preparedness. Enjoy learning new skills, Have fun gathering information, and most of all, realize that the Lifestyle is all about the process, the trip, the journey, NOT the destination.

    Ok enough of that smoke blowing LOLOL, Let’s talk some serious words.

    Ken has a heck of a LOT of information here, and I do mean a LOT!!!!

    Finding it sometimes is a little tough, but I believe there are also a lot of good folks here that can help in a million ways.

    Ken has been doing this Site for around 10 years, and I’m sure there are a bunch of old-timers here that have done decades of preparing. So ask questions, ask what the heck one needs 600 rolls of TP for, and PLEASE feel free to give that NRP dude a hard time, he’s a big boy and can take the crapo as well as dish it out….. AGAIN have a little fun.

    Preparing, Survivalist, Lifestyle, whatever you want to call it, can and is so simple when you break it down as Ken has/is doing. Take Survival Gear, simple, all you need to do is simply realize what you need to survive a snow storm for instance; Warmth, Shelter, Water, some way to call or signal for help, so-on. How about to survive an economic collapse, again, NO DEBT, ways to feed and shelter yourself and family, medical and health care, food, water, so-on.

    Search this site, look for “Levels of Preparedness” a series that Ken has started (not finished yet, hint hint) they are a very good start. Educate yourself, learn skills, read, do, and again RELAX.

    Honestly my friends, this stuff is not that tough, just break it down into manageable pieces and as Nike says “Just Do It”, hel! If I can do it anyone can …. HAHAHA

    1. NRP
      Reading back issue comments on this site, make me realize that it has been ten years of prognostications about the apocalypse.

      What has really happened in this time span? Regional emergencies like tornados, hurricanes, floods, fires, mud slides, drought, … all serious for the people affected. So, perhaps prepping is less overwhelming if one looks to overcome shorter term emergencies to start with, rather that the end of civilization type catastrophe.

      1. hermit us;
        A very good/GREAT point.
        For if one prepares for the little things in life, say a hard winter of 10 feet of snow, is that not called being prepared? If one even simply has a spare tire and a few tools to fix a flat in the middle nowhere is that also not being prepared?
        Being prepared does not mean, to me anyways, having ten thousand MRE’s stored up and the skills to build a nuclear submarine. I dose mean knowing what you need to be prepared for, assessing the threats, and how to provide for your family if needed. Hence my little spell on those new to preparing.

        I guess if TEOTWAWKI happens, well it may all be for not anyways, hard to live through a full on asteroid strike. How about a worldwide CME or EMP attack? Tis going to be a hard line to tow for sure.
        So start with the most likely things to affect you and work on those first, then expand more and more as you see fit. I have been doing this “stuff” for a long time, as a lot here have, and I would bet I would be one of the 95%ers that are toast in/when that “apocalypse” event happens.

          1. NRP
            Only if you bring your container farm with you. Don’t be angry if Blue likes me better. :)

        1. I’ve read articles before that talk about preparing for events that are most likely to happen to you and your family. Scenarios: Which is more likely to happen? A financial crisis within the family due to medical or lost employment? Or a Ebola flu bubonic plague swine fever superbug? Which is more likely to happen in your area? A hurricane or tornado or earthquake? So prepare accordingly. Many items needed for surviving a hurricane are also needed for surviving a tornado. But an inflatable raft is of little help in surviving a tornado but may prove a lifesaver due to hurricane flooding (assuming a person did not properly evacuate). For me, I would make sure I first had preparations for a potential power outage due to bad weather versus preparing for nuclear war. Which is most likely to happen within your sphere and prepare for those things first. After you feel comfortable with preparations for the more likely then go ahead and work on preparing for things that might happen. It doesn’t make sense to have gas masks, rad suits, Geiger counters, and a decontamination shower if you can’t afford to pay for a simple car breakdown.

    2. Yeah, baby steps. A person doesn’t have to go out at once and buy two years of food, $3,000 in weapons, 20,000 rounds of ammo, a $50,000 BOV, or $2,000 in tacticool clothing and then be a prepper. All it takes is buying an extra can of corn, beans, or small box of ammo (just a few $) when shopping each time. Within a year or two, that $1.00 here and $4.00 there and before you know it you have 50 to 100 cans of corn/beans and hundreds of rounds of ammo. All the while not stressing it one bit since the expenditure each time is so seemingly low.
      Just having the realization that a person should have a little extra set aside is the first major step. Because, most people in this world do not even take this first major step as they are too busy keeping up with the Jones’s.

      1. INPrepper,

        Good advice. I agree wholeheartedly. Problem for most folks just starting to prep is that the impetus that thrust them into prepping causes them to believe that disaster is imminent, as in tomorrow. Panic drives their prepping. I can understand that feeling. Heck, I’ve done some of that “panic prepping” myself (and I’m subject to doing more in the future as most of us never reach the level of preparedness we want).

        While I’ve always been somewhat of a prepper and we have always kept about a month’s supply of food and condiments on hand, I confess that in the months leading up to Y2K, I panicked a little. I did an inventory of our cupboard and went to the store and bought two of each item to store separately as a reserve. Strained our budget at the time (still raising six kids), but looking back, was well worth the effort, even though the Y2K scare was a bust. My main concern now is keeping inventory to replace the stuff as we use it in our daily lives.

        Slow and steady wins the race is true, but I believe that getting your foundation in place as early as possible is wise. Even if it causes redirecting what monies you have available.

        Again, you made a good observation.

      2. INPrepper

        What excellent advice. Spot on.!!!!
        Just goes to show, how MSB Patriots, share excellent knowledge, that can be used to literally save your life and that life of your loved ones.!!
        God Bless you, INPrepper

    3. Yes, yes, yes!!!
      One of the biggest pointers all of you gave me a couple of years ago was to think about what you want to be prepared for:
      Economic collapse?
      Regional weather events?
      Natural disasters?
      Civil unrest?
      Attack or EMP?
      Or maybe something less widespread but terribly difficult on a personal level – loss of job, home fire, loss of loved one or medical emergency?

      And for anyone who hasn’t read it – Ken’s post on what happens if the trucks stop running. It will keep you up at night, and it certainly inspired more home storage for me!

      If anyone reading this is new(er) to preparedness, don’t let yourself get overwhelmed. Make a list of what you want to be prepared for, then decide which items will be of best help to you in the event one of those things happens. Every can of food, box of bandages or lead, every roll of TP is one more thing you will blessed to have if you ever really, REALLY need it.

      1. …So Cal gal… and AMen and AMEN. Strting where we are and within our means being the most important. The list of things that has been most helpful to me in that regard…is the subs. lists. .ie.. The cheap outs that enable more preparedness for less money…examples…. family wipes made from flannel sheets for replacement for TP with gallon bucket vinegar or bleach water/different colors for each person. Firestarters…cotton balls in vasilene, dryer lint in a tp tube w/ little candle wax..stored w/ strike anywhere matches and several bic lighters… Ideas on how to prepare food for LTS, dehydrating zucchini and okra are my two favorites…making leather britches, hardtack and pemmican.

    4. NRP,
      Thank you sir! That is what I, as a newbie am trying to do, but biy is it OVERWHELMING!!!
      Thanks for the reminder to relax. I am prepping for my family, even though they think I am nuts. Lol . Too bad. They will thank me one day. I can make myself a bit nutso trying to be 100 percent right off the bat.
      Again thank you for the reminder, an NO 600 rills isn’t enough for our house LoL.
      Peace to you and blue.
      MadFab

    1. extex
      I agree. I have several of his but I am missing this one.
      The best I have is “split rock light”.

  7. I would put more emphasis on location a person wishes to live or retreat during trouble times. Location, location, location!

  8. Good article! It’s good to keep reminding ourselves of the many parts of being prepared lest we concentrate too much on a few at the expense of others.

    We consider First-Aid/Healthcare to be an important category of it’s own. We figure that even if medical services are still available, having the supplies and knowledge to respond to an emergency could be the biggest influence on the outcome. Few people plan a trip to the emergency room or a call to 911.

  9. Great subject matter Ken, thanks.

    I’m a list/planning person; categories with category breakdown to some level of detail (some very detailed, some not so much), prioritized to goals/objectives. Finally add a rough cut of a timeline (usually multiple years with months, tracking what is accomplished, what is open to do). Also, revisions-toss out some stuff, add different stuff either from others knowledge/experience or hindsight clarity of why the heck did I write that down. And most folks least favorite activity, budget creation, management with regular reviews for performance to the plan.

    For me, the security topic/group includes financial items. Debt, emergency fund, hands on versus in the “friendly” financial institution, etc…. I leave investments separate since the definition might include housing, a vehicle, second-extra pair of work boots (pair of boots-“I’ll buy one boot please”-says no one), two slingshots, or money investment, or some sort of formal training needed.

    Having moved cross-state once and then moved to two eastern states, hauling more and more stuff each move being organized just to get it done was a requirement, not a choice. Considering moving gets the brain focused on why am I going, where will I live, how will I live and thinking about what’s important and what isn’t. At the time (prehistoric to some; no cell phones, color tv existed) being single added to the excitement since you were your own support system, either get it done or crash and burn. Determination, dreams, willpower, stress management and fear of failure (the great motivator), leaving known to the unknown all factor in. Training ground of life teaching you how to take care of yourself, be independent, figure out how to survive and thrive.

    Some 40+ years later, still doing plans, lists, timelines; different subjects/groups for different reasons. Completed a lifetime of work and where I am is where I got to, now to protect it and keep it from degrading from natural or “unnatural” events.

    This is what happens when I find a keyboard and not an electronic keyboard; sorry for the ramble. Must be in a “Get off my lawn!” mood today. Late February, cold with the wind howling like seven sons-a-b*tches outside.

    1. Grey;
      I tried to write stuff down…. Problem is I can’t read my own writing.. LOLOL and I typo even worserssss.

      1. NRP, good funny. 👍 My version of writing is printing, except when I sign something, no one would want to write like that!

      2. My handwriting was horrible in high school. I used to write cursive and when I couldn’t read my notes, I started using print. Then, I couldn’t read my lowercase print notes. So, I started writing in all CAPS. That worked and have been doing so since. Now, I can go back to notes I made in college back in the 90’s and have no problem reading. The problem is reviewing the notes and saying to myself ‘when did I learn that in differential equations?’.
        Of all the things I lost, my mind is the one thing I miss the most!

        1. INPrepper;
          “Of all the things I lost, my mind is the one thing I miss the most!”
          How friggen true…. AND of course Ken helps with articles like this one :-)

  10. I started prepping in 2009 when an ice storm knocked out our power for 2 weeks. I had enough stuff to get us thru with minimal discomfort thanks to what my Dad had left me. We had an old gas space heater and a kerosene heater with a burnt wick. It took 2 days to get everything set up where we could live comfortable without electricity. Today we can be set up in under an hour. Since then we have started gardening and canning and freezing veggies. Both of our boys hunt. I help them process the dead animals and they share the meat. We packed our first bug out bag when our twin granddaughters were born premature. We kept a bag ready to spend a few nights at the hospital. My Dad was the original car guy. He taught me to fix stuff instead of throwing it away and buying new. I never really tried to brake it down into different categories. I just call it being a responsible adult and taking care of my family. For any newcomers to the prepping world just buy an extra case of bottled water and ramen noodles and set them back for hard times. Now you have begun prepping. You can add to this as much as you like as you can get to it.

    1. car guy;
      Is it not interesting how when we look back we can almost pinpoint the date and time when we became “interested” in preparing?
      I’m probably like you in the fact my parents were, seemingly, always into being prepared, Both lived during the Great Depression, so they realized why one needed to save and never NEVER waste anything, as you said “He taught me to fix stuff instead of throwing it away and buying new”. That was my family.
      But back to point, I believe it was the winter of 1981 when I/we first arrived in the 4 corners, 3 feet of snow and a bag of potatoes to eat in a 24 foot motorhome….. HAHAHA I thought I was ready….. pufffff .
      Y2K really smacked me upside the head, and of course 9-11, than hurricanes, storms, power outages, long list. Now-a-days I just sit back and smile waiting for the next kick in the ‘never-minds’ to happen.

      But your suggestion of a Case of Water and a box of Top-Ramen…… Please people, just start somewhere. Do NOT become a victim of FEMA, remember it took FEMA 5 days to get water to the Super Dome, How many says will YOU last without water?

      1. My folks lived thru the depression also. We always had tuna, corn meal and pinto beans in the house. When I was a boy I hated beans and corn bread. Now that I’m old and gray I really like them. Strange how things can change.

        1. I still hate oatmeal and winter squash. Oatmeal nearly every morning for 18 years, and we’d open up one of those 4 foot long orange winter squash about once a month during the winter.

          1. Lauren
            Do not feel alone, I am not a fan of oatmeal. There is an oatmeal recipe which is a breakfast cookie. I have not tried it but it looks like something I could eat. What is odd I like oatmeal cookies but not oatmeal for breakfast. 🤔

          2. Lauren, Antique Collector,

            I had to laugh at your dislike of oatmeal, albeit for different reasons. As a child we had bacon or sausage, eggs, biscuits and gravy for breakfast every morning. When I started school, I would overhear other kids talking about the oatmeal they had for breakfast. Thinking I had been deprived of this delicacy, I asked my Mom if we could have oatmeal. Being a good Mom, she bought some Quaker Oats that week and made me some for breakfast. It was the most revolting thing I had ever eaten. I threw it up, and for a week, every time I thought about it, I would become ill. Eventually, much later, as an adult, I was talked into trying it again, mixed heavily with sugar, cream, and fruit. While palatable, it will never be on my list of good food.

            P.S.- I, too, love oatmeal cookies. Must be the difference in the consistency of the two. One is crunchy, the other is……well, slimy. :-)

          3. Oh man, just can’t imagine. Oatmeal is one of my go-to foods. Old fashioned oats cooked to al dente in hot, not boiling, milk. Buttter, brown sugar, pecans, maybe dried fruit, coconut, crumpled up bacon, or chocolate chips if wanting a richness. Drizzle of milk on top. Lovely texture, not slimy at all. Sort of like oatmeal cookie fresh from the oven or warm, soft granola. So lots of rolled oats, powdered milk, and chocolate in my LTS (gotta keep on topic) but sure wish there was an anti-rancidity product for the rest.

          4. Lauren,
            When I was younger I also hated oatmeal. Gloppy, grey and gross. I called it cream of crud. Also hated it because my job was dishes and trying to clean the dried up oatmeal from the pan was a nightmare. Grrrr.
            I do eat it now that I am older but it needs to be fixed up with butter raisins and cream.
            MadFab

          5. Oatmeal cookies vs. oatmeal for breakfast
            It could be the sugar and raisins in the cookies and the lack of an Elmers Glue consistency. However, I do like oatmeal for breakfast. What I like more for breakfast is Cream of Wheat, Coco Wheats, and Grits.

          6. Boiled to slime, the texture of gritty jello that’s been sitting out for a week (Elmers glue about covers it), with way too much sugar to cover the taste. Always brown sugar, which added to the gritty texture and did nothing for the taste.

            I do have to say though, that we were all ridiculously healthy.

          7. INprepper
            Will concur I like cream of wheat and will eat it over the crazy clue oatmeal…😊
            It must be the texture that I do not like.

          8. We use about 25 pounds of rolled oats a year. It’s our favorite breakfast (and favorite addition to bread dough). Extra thick rolled flakes, cover with water in a big mug, microwave 3 minutes, add a dash of milk, half a cup of fresh fruit, spoonful of nuts or seeds, cinnamon…the stuff of absolute contentment. Night and day difference to the “instant packet” flakes of my childhood.

      2. NRP, I actually can’t pinpoint the time when I became interested in being prepared. My oldest memory was when I was between the age of 5 and 7. I started hoarding matchbooks. I couldn’t even light a match. It started with a cigar box and matchbooks.

          1. Part of my DNA also. I remember having a stockpile of various lengths of rope and twine from back when in the Boy Scouts. One thing I don’t remember doing before I was in the Boy Scouts was carrying a knife. From the BS days to today, I always have a knife on me (except when flying). I don’t even think about whether I have a knife or not because I always do. Putting my multitool in my pocket every morning is done without even thinking about it. It is like a learned condition over the years.

        1. I started hoarding seeds at about the same age. :) Took a while for the obsession to settle in, though.

  11. Kinda doing a cascade of the rules of three. On hand, list, to do as have time/resources.

    3 minutes Air – just tubbed up face shields, N95 masks, and Tyvek suits yesterday. O2 generator is on the list. Will check to see if there are herbal bronchodilators. Plans to beef up general medical preparedness.

    3 hours Shelter – have for people and animals. Need stovepipe for wood stove in barn and manual felling saws. If somehow house and barn are damaged we have modified containers that could be used. Protection ok for basics. Need to augment of course. Bedding, laundry, sanitation basics in place. Short term power generation okay. Need long-term.

    3 days Water – pretty much okay on the basics here now. Expansion planned.

    3 weeks Food – a basic store is in place. Expansion planned, both LTS and on-site production.

    3 months Community – invitees know who they are. Some very close by, others not. Transportation and communication basics in place. More on the list.

    As others have said, planning for likely scenarios sets one up for most long-terms. Flood, volcano, earthquake most likely natural phenomena; tsunami this far inland or CME not so much. Civil unrest, economic decline or collapse, war, EMP all human generated and more or less likely/expected.

    Keeping Calm and Prepping On

  12. @Oldhomesteader, I have no idea. No one else has indicated an issue. More specific details might help – use the ‘Contact us’ form if you continue to have issues which you think are related to my site. Thanks!

    1. Ken,

      Don’t know if it is connected to the problem OH had, but I attempted a post on Saturday’s open forum, that when I tried to submit, there seemed to be no response. When I clicked on “post comment” a second time, a screen came up saying “seems you’ve already said that”. The post never showed up. I know of nothing in the post that would have sent it into moderation. No big deal, just FYI.

      1. Oh man… when people start saying this stuff, my conspiracy theories bubble back up…

        In any event, if anyone experiences repeated issues on our site, let me know. Some of this may be the occasional Gremlin. But if “it” (whatever it is) happens repeatedly, I would appreciate you letting me know. Thanks.

        1. Ken,

          If it helps, the post was a critique/review of a pistol I’ve been testing, that included the brand name and model. Nothing controversial, just my opinions of good and bad aspects of the weapon. Was fairly lengthy, but no longer than other posts in the past.

          1. Dennis, It did help. I found your comment in the Spam folder. It’s a 3rd party spam filter which is the #1 filter used by blogs and other sites with comments. I searched your alias name and found it buried in there. It has been released. I don’t know their criteria or flag thresholds, or whether or not they have joined forces with the political spectrum (I hope not!). Though in today’s world, it would not be terribly surprising… Let me know if it happens again. Thanks.

        2. I have no problems posting here on MSB. I do not see the messages going to moderation or anything. Cheerio.

    2. I had issues posting a while back, it was an ad blocker
      in firefox causing the problem..

  13. Is it really prepping or common sense?
    Our parents/grandparents prepped for years. Depression, wars, gas wars…etc.
    Food was/is a must have. And as our coming planet/.gov catastrophes and intentions grow, it’s the other things that we must strive for….the extra fuel, the tools, the forgotten knowledge to live life as our parents/grandparents, clean water, defense to protect/keep what is ours.
    It’s the same ball game, as it’s always been, but different rules are now continuously being applied.

    Y2K, first generator
    Slick Willy, hidey-holes
    The big O, all out preparedness in all aspects and going further.

    It’s a sick world out there and it ain’t gonna get any better

    1. So who had parents/grandparents/aunt’s/uncle’s, that would:

      Leave the oven door open after baking, to help heat the house?
      Save bread ties and maybe the bread sacks, too….in case those winter boots had a hole?
      Save morning bacon grease for supper cooking?
      Save soup cans for said grease?
      Save butter, sour cream, cottage cheese tubs for leftover storage containers?
      Save left over lumber, no matter how small, for ‘future’ projects?
      Save every pulled nail, no matter how bent and rusted?
      Save every bit of barbed wire, for those JIC fence repairs?

      Would we have back then called them or classified them as ‘Preppers’? No,
      a bit crazy in a child’s eye, yes.
      But it all makes sense now, don’t it?

      1. Joe C. You just described my childhood. I learned to swing a hammer straightening salvaged nails. Waited all year til butchering season so I could use my pocket knife to trim the fat off the pig skin so the women folk could render it down for lard. Then help make cracklins in the big black caste iron pot over an open fire. Not to mention the mountain oysters. Stored bacon in crocks covered in lard in the cellar. We used blown out socks for mittens. Saved bailing twine and and burlap feed sacks. Never threw away coffee cans. Learned the hard way to never pull both triggers on a double barrel shotgun.
        ( Black eyes and a very bloody nose). Was taught to never kill anything that wasn’t going to kill you or your livestock, unless you were going to eat it. Times have changed but I believe are going to go back to that era. Can you imagine nowadays telling the younger generation to clean the crap out of intestines so you can fill them back up with sausage that they will eat later. Eeeew!😭

        1. Don’t forget about saving all those baby food jars for storing nuts, bolts, nails, and practically everything else.

      2. Joe C,
        You said it . I know You did it. You were the one looking over my shoulder! The only thing i don’t save is rusty nails, usually by the time i get those they are too far gone to salvage.. still use the bacon grease for supper or breakfast , do not have bacon every day some days i have sausage and i save that to make next batch of gravy with…use jars for now for my oils… DH uses the soup cans, the 24 oz ones and coffee cans for separating nails. still leave oven door open and save bread sacks and re use them, bread ties… and i bundle them. leftovers are in my refrig now in a butter and sour cream container.. All lumber not used immediately is left over .some short pieces support the refrigerator tray i have out for the chickens.- water..so it is level.

      3. Joe C
        You just described how my grandmother/ mother was my whole childhood. It has now been passed on to me, no matter how hard I tried not to. Mirror Mirror in the wall. You are just like your mother after all. Lol
        MadFab

      4. Yep. Been cleaning up the detritus for two years now. Most of it is still here, but better organized.

        1. Forgot to add….
          We had a power outage for 10/14 days due to a freak ice storm in the mid seventies, when I was a kid.
          We didn’t run out of food, had water, dad had a fireplace installed two years prior. No runs to anywhere for forgotten necessities. A normal two weeks at home, just no power
          Grams stayed with us those two weeks because we had heat. No Genny, but played cards next to the fireplace by lantern light on the card table. It was like camping at home.

          So like ole NRP says, “a lifestyle.”
          Alot of our generation has gone through times with our family’s way of ‘preparedness’ and it has been ingrained in our up-bringing and we carry those traits. And then there are those that have forgotten. Put all those troubled times behind them. And alot of the younger generations, with a few exceptions, have no clue, no idea what could happen at any given moment.
          Therefore, we ‘prep’ and
          Prep on

  14. Ken,
    Have ever thought of producing a Scan Drive (Waterproof) of all the articles posted here? Similar to what JWR does on the “Survival Blog”…??? There is a lot of good information listed that would be nice to have a record of, for future reference.
    Thanks!

  15. Being a prepper is a double edged sword and cuts both ways. If you take it to heart that you will be ready to take care of yourself and your loved ones should something happen then you will not “fit in” with those who are fat, dumb and happy around you who will be lost when something comes along. It is part of the game and applies to family, friends and coworkers around you. You will spend your time and money acquiring food, water, and other supplies to keep the family safe, warm and protected. You will learn the skills to make do under poor or dangerous conditions and be ready to adopt as required to survive. You don’t always hang out with Dick, Jane and the gang watching television and drinking because you have more important things to do. You really can’t tell everyone what you are doing and why for you own protection and they don’t want to hear about it anyway. In time you will find others of like mind around you and on blogs like this one where you will learn from each other and become more secure and happy. In the future all this effort will be put to good use multiple times. There are few people who will not face minor emergencies to extreme danger during their life time. We all go through loss of job, power blackout, fires, weather extremes etc. and from the looks of things we will likely see a total social and financial collapse.

    Articles like this one provide a guide to achieving a balance in preparations so that we are ready for all sorts of future problems and greatly improve our chances of being able to come out alive. We are not all going to make it through but we are a lot more likely to make it than those who are not ready for anything. If Yellowstone does blow our chances of survival are not as good as if the grid goes down for a couple years or the solar minimum limits our food supplies but it’s better than no chance at all. You may never need an antibiotic but if you do! You may need a weapon but if you do! You may never need extra drinking water but if you do! An organized approach to broad based survival preparation will insure you have what you need or can get it.

    I would like to express a few thoughts on FEMA from a personal experience. We just went through hurricane Michael here in Florida. A lot of people express negative views of the delay before FEMA can get their people and supplies to a disaster area. They also express the fear that once FEMA arrives they are going to take the population and lock them away for re-education. All things are possible but what happened when our county was almost destroyed? FEMA rolled into the county in 4 or 5 days with emergency supplies, food, water & equipment with the National Guard to help hand out the items. As FEMA now says everyone should have a short term supply of food and water (anyone with half a brain cell should have some food and water stored after a week of weather warnings that a storm was going to hit our area; thank goodness they don’t sell PT by the sheet or some people would be getting 2 sheets at a time). FEMA set up points of distribution and handed out bottled water, food (MRE’s), ice & roof tarps. Trailers were set up to provide hot meals to those who needed them. For those who lost homes shelters were opened in the area. I understand FEMA later started processing people for trailers and motel space as needed but don’t know the details. This went on for a couple months as outside help arrived for rescue, power etc. FEMA is still here and they have a fleet of trucks and trailers clearing debris from the county. Michael was the only hurricane of this strength to ever hit the Florida Panhandle. We live in a pine tree forest area but our land is mostly hardwoods. According to the governor hurricane Erma hit most of the state and generated 25 million yards of waste. Michael had accounted for 52 million yards of waste debris as of last month and still counting. Every day the FEMA trucks and trailers roll by our property hauling waste out of our area. There is at least one truck every 5 minutes rolling by. I have been hauling out cut up trees to the road almost every day since the storm. We hired a contractor and they spent 4 days hauling out large debris from our property with heavy equipment which lined the road for about 800’. FEMA trucks have hauled all these tons of trees away as well as building material debris. FEMA plans to continue to mid-July hauling to dumping areas. The logistics are unbelievable.

    1. Thank You Valley for posting on your experience with FEMA. It’s good to see things from a different perspective.

  16. If you have seen the recent train being stuck on the tracks outside of Oakland Oregon. Those traveling on the train did what most NON prepared do. Did not plan for a delay where supplies for them or their children an family may be necessary.

    The ‘younger’ people on the train failed the understand the word ‘responsibility’, that it was SNOWING, and they were warned by the Union Pacific that there could be delays. Instead the complaint were ‘we are running out of diapers’, cell service was limited aka no internet service. Hopefully they will learn from this lesson but I have to say I doubt it.

  17. I never really looked at it as overwhelming and complicated. In fact I didn’t look at my prepping as prepping, it was just something I did. It was slow at first (read why below) but I made progress a bit at a time and never stopped.

    I had a motorcycle accident back in 1989 and could not hardly work for a few years. My wife walked out at the same time (no work means no money and she didn’t like this) I lost my job working at the local nuke plant (I couldn’t do the work) I lost a nice home and the autos.

    I had not done any real planning before this as life was good and I had no clue how it could change, and I was young and like most youth had no real worry for the future. I had to adjust my life (kinda forced upon me) to a much different way.

    I learned to live on almost no money, the life of pure consumerism was gone for me.

    I bought things used, I shopped at garage sales and thrift stores. My income was sporadic, at times I made a good amount of money but for the most part I had little money to spend. What this time period in my life taught me was to buy things when I had the money and put them up for the dry spells I was sure to have. And I had mostly dry spells.

    Even today when I can afford to buy lots of things new I still do the garage sale / thrift store thing. I use it as a hobby looking for electronic things to buy, repair and sell. I enjoy fixing things and have turned it into an extra income.

    I did this to survive without knowing I was becoming a prepper.

    It took years to get to the point where I did not have to plan for the bad times. Now I have so much work (Handyman / Home Repair) I can’t even come close to doing all the work I get calls for.

    But having went through a bad time so long it changed my outlook or lifestyle so now prep without thought to doing so, it’s simply who I am and how I live.

    I live a simpler life today by choice and have found I am happier then I ever was in the past. I no longer need a BMW and a Caddy (had 2 BMW’s and a caddy at the same time) to make myself happy.

    And while my income is pretty secure I will never forget how easily it was taken from me so I prep and plan for bad times.

    I don’t plan for any given bad event, I just prep and feel most bad events will be covered by the same needs so any prepping is good.

    My skill set I think has given me a good post-SHTF income ability and I don’t worry about my ability to make money after a bad event.

    I prep by buying supplies, learning new skills, buying tools to do those skills so I think I’m positioned to do OK.

    I would say the main point of my post is that your world can be turned upside down in a moment and that it’s better to have a Lauder of supplies and skills to cope with it.

    I think the most likely event is an ecnomic event like the 1930’s only a lot worst as debt (both personal and government) is unsustainable and morals (both personal and government) are not as good as it was back then.

    The public at large have no idea how bad it could get. They are too busy watching Dancing Stars and texting useless stuff to people they hardly even know in person.

  18. Thanks for the article Ken and many thanks to the people that posted a response. It serves to illustrate my point about preparing:

    On this site we have a large number of people fro a wide variety of backgrounds. We each bring different strengths and weaknesses to the table. The banter on this site is educational for those seeking to gain some knowledge in an area of interest.

    My own area of interest has been observing economic collapse take place around me in the areas that I lived in since childhood. I was in grammar school when California passed Prop 13 Jarvis-Gann tax cuts. All I remember is those cool field trips that my older brothers and sister went on were not happening for me.

    I was attending college at Humboldt State when the bill to protect the Spotted Owl was passed. ( at that point, I saw no future in Natural Resources Management and switched to Economics.). I was an eyewitness to thousands of people not working and kids going hungry.

    I was working in law enforcement for a number of years when I was engaged in a shooting while on probationary status so I had to change jobs and careers along with relocation and maintaining a very low profile for years afterwards. ( hiding from those who were out gunning for me as I shot a gang member.)

    Fortunately, I fell back into my career in the medical field after law enforcement so I was able to go back to school, get retrained into a stable career and I just completed my 20 years working within standing, locked facilities. Back when I was a cop, I did not think I would live this long.

    My parents grew up during the Great Depression and I had a chance to study it in school. When I was not hitting the text books I was hauling rice for my relatives and parents. As a young child and aspiring economist, I was tracking our use of rice on an annual basis. ( family of 6 will go thru 7-8 80 lb sacks of rice on an annual basis.). Being Japanese ancestry, we ate a lot of rice and I grew tired of it by the time I left home. ( much like the Oatmeal story mentioned above.)

    My parents told me stories of surviving the Great Depression, the Internment Camps in Gila Bend, Arizona. Scrubbing out horse stalls at Santa Anita so they could sleep there at night after Pearl Harbor got bombed.

    We were also told stories of the 442 army unit that many Japanese Americans joined and how many did not come back. The veterans we met in Gardena, CA had missing arms and legs or were blind. They all encouraged us to NOT join the military and go to college. ( one old proud guy yelled at us: “We did not fight for this country so you could die for your country. We fought so you kids could go to college!”).

    These days, “survivalist” has become a dirty word. Prepper has become a side-show where people point and laugh. Most of the regulars on this site just see it as common sense to get ready in the event that things go wrong or sideways.

    My last major life change was relocation out of California almost 10 years ago now. If the Government is going to pay you in IOU’s the banks and grocery stores will NOT honor them. I know this from watching others and having gone thru this myself years ago.

    If you read and follow this site, you know that bad things happen to good people. We all prepare and some of us help out others in their time of need.

    1. Cali
      A very good friend of mine, of Japanese decent spent a couple of his childhood years in an internment camp in Calif. The Government took his parents home, closed their business etc. When they were released they started over with basically nothing but the clothes on their back. I post this note in his honor as he loved this country so much even after all he had been thru that he named his two sons after two Japanese men who died fighting for this country in the 442 Unit. He has long since passed but I tell this tale to simply keep it alive.

    2. IOU’s, reminds me of a scene in Dumb and Dumber. The two guys spent all the ransom money on frivolous things. They showed a suitcase full of paper. They said that they were IOU’s for the money they spent. They also said “We’re good for it” when all the assets they had in the world were a small moped and a worm farm in their apartment. The same as things in the US today but how are they good for it if they don’t have a way to pay it back? It is like loaning a bunch of money to someone who never seems to have any money (always broke). A person has to know that their chances of ever getting paid back are slim to none.

    3. Cali,

      Living in Big Horn County, Wyoming (next to Park County) we have several books in out library about Heart Mountain Interment Camp. The one I read recently was “Heart Mountain: Life in Wyoming’s Concentration Camp,” by Mike Mackey. But in looking up the name of the author for this post, I see there are several others. Just here in Basin’s small library there are at least 6.

  19. Was in DC on 9/11, saw panic literally in the streets. The subway/metro which actually runs thru the Pentagon was shut down cold and all the folks that worked there and that used that service had to find another way home. So proud to say that I saw people driving from as far as 40 miles away coming into the beltway just do pick these folks up and to get them safely home. Fake news didn’t cover that either. However this was our first “light bulb on ” moment for us. The second was a week long conference that I attended on what the Gov. might/would should we have a Pandemic in the US. This conference was attended by Industry, DoD, CDC etc. There was a solid day of presentations regarding the Spanish flu of 1918. The restrictions that were applied by the government the hardships etc. Scared the begeebers out of myself and DW. We started prepping that next week and have never looked back. As we became more aware of what goes on around us the wider our preps became. We no where ready for “everything” but we’re way ahead of most folks and all you good people here have contributed greatly to our effort.

  20. Many have said things similar to my story. I won’t bore you with the particulars, as there is nothing unusual to this group.

    Categories, well here’s my small contribution;
    Mindset. Most of us have, at one time or another, had difficulties with providing for ourselves or our family. Pride is an important characteristic, often missing from the younger folks. Probably every generation thinks this is so, but there is truly a disconnect today. Young folks seem to think they are only a small part of a huge system. They are part of America and therefore they have little personal responsibility. They go to school and are given constant re-enforcement to be “part of the whole.”

    If something goes wrong, the government is responsible for coming to their aid, FEMA, law enforcement, paramedics, whatever they may need. They become comfortable in their little niche. In their minds, they are already doing their part, just by being a “part of the whole.”

    They feel no shame or embarassment when asking/expecting help. It is owed to them for being a “part of the whole.” They are secure in their expectations. Food, shelter, warmth, water, medical care, whatever they might need. They are, after all, a “part of the whole.”

    Preparations are not their job. It truly, never crosses their mind. It isn’t their responsibility. I have a DIL who exemplifies this mindset. It is not something easily changed. (socialism?)

    Pride can easily go too far. A healthy dose of it, is necessary to survive. Somehow, we have failed to instill pride in our youngsters. The public schools and the liberal slant of a majority of the teachers, is a problem. Our children/grandchildren spend a large part of each day, surrounded by liberal/socialist beliefs. That is hard to overcome.

    We must instill personal responsibility in our kids. Pride of accomplishment will naturally follow. Mindset, yea I think it might be the biggest category of all!

  21. To Plainsmedic:

    I am not sure if it is pride. I have observed the quality of grit: the ability and will to get back up and keep trying after you have been beaten down.

    There was an author who tried to write a book on instilling grit within her children. It is an intangible thing/character trait closely tied to mental toughness.

    I have seen young people develop it butt it takes time and some hard lessons along the way. Part of moving away from parents home for work/school or military service is it removes the option of going home.

    When you are learning from strangers, the lessons sometimes stick better. The old fellows that taught me to trap were strangers. I did not learn that from my father.

    1. Cali,
      Pride, grit, whatever term you choose, it is in short supply. The desire to do it yourself, rather than rely on others is a prideful thing. I was fortunate and had a good father. He gladly helped with projects, as I gladly help him.

      What I’m referring to is the innate ability, to just do it. Anyone can be taught anything, if they are willing to learn. Who exactly, starts a prepping project? No one will start a project for you. You must have the self-starting pride to diy. The pantry will never be filled by some instructor at a prepper site. You must do that.

      You must be the one to do all the things to prepare your family. Yes, there is pride in that. There is a definite lack of pride, in doing nothing. I have little sympathy for adults who bury their heads in the sand. Doing nothing is very easy.

      I don’t know how!!! We’ve all heard that phrase from youngsters. Unfortunately, we hear it more and more from adults, who genuinely expect others to do it for them.

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