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


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
Skills & How-to


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 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 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…