The Best Prep For Survival Preparedness


The question, “What is the best prep item to have for survival preparedness?” may seem bold, but here’s my answer and opinion…

No, it’s not bucket loads of rice and beans, it is YOU, your body, your noggin. A healthy body and clear-thinking knowledgeable brain.

I would not discard this answer as obvious, or a no-brainer…
It is more important than you may think, so think about it.

While survival does hinge on basics like water, food, shelter, and security, these things will mean little, or provide only temporary survival, without a healthy body and able brain.

For the best odds of survival, you must have the knowledge, know-how, and ability to adapt and survive, given any number of circumstances or resources.


I don’t care what you have.

What do you know?

What can you do?

Preppers to a large extent are focused on “stacking”. Procuring preps and stashing them as insurance against emergency, disaster or collapse. To survive longer after TSHTF.

This is all well and good. But…

What if someone takes some or all of your stuff?
What if your place burns down and your primary storage is ruined?
What if your secondary cache is ransacked or spoiled?
What if your stuff runs out?
What if you forgot to get some stuff that you discovered that you need?
What if you never were able to get all the supplies that you need?
What if something changes in your perceived outlook of what will happen after TSHTF?
What if you are caught off-guard somewhere, far from your stuff?

You see, the number one prep item is not any of your stuff,
it is your ability to PROCURE THE STUFF.

Do you have what it takes to survive if you must utilize the resources that are around you?

This requires two things…

1. The knowledge of knowing what to do with what you have. The ability to adapt.

2. The physical ability to do it.

How do you get there?

With your brain and your body.

You research and learn. You practice. You get in physical shape.

You can research and learn nearly anything online. You can also buy books on subjects that matter (very important to have hard copies for reference).

Then you must practice. You can do this yourself and you can even take classes or courses on subjects that matter.

You must look at yourself and be honest with yourself… are you in physical shape? This comes fairly easy for young people, but the middle aged and older are challenged… Start eating better. Most people are overweight. Do what you must to be better fit. Exercise. Walk. Skip the junk food. Focus on health.

In summary, it’s all about YOU. Not the stuff. Learn. Practice. Be healthy. Be ready.


  1. YUP, good sensible post.

    and, frankly, even those not in “good” (or any) shape, must consider and stockpile their “reserves”…I have seen some elderly (apparently) feeble folks do incredibly well in tough situations…Some of that is a canny knowledge/ability, some of that is “acceptance” of using what you have, not yearning for what you want.

    I keep running across sites on “edible weeds”…Have not tried this myself (bit of a suck/chicken this way). However, if one truly was knowledgeable on this, surely it would help survival.

  2. When away from our homes we should all carry on us at least the very bare minimum and then be able to improvise the rest:
    Pocket knife,lighter,tiny am/fm radio,G.I. can opener,a needle and nylon line/dental floss,a week or more supply of any medications we need daily. Those should be on us all the time.
    Of course the smart survivalist carries a small case/pack with him of additional items like:Water bottle, metal cup,spoon, para-chord, firearm with reloads where allowed, small first aid kit,backup knife, lighters,radio,G.I. can opener,hooded windbreaker,extra prescription glassesif required, soft hat, a larger supply of medication if required, etc. etc…
    The smart survivalist wears decent walking shoes, and durable clothes in muted colors.
    Of course Knowledge and the will to survival are the most important thing to always have with us!!

  3. I read a book called “Deep Survival” in which the author goes on to explain how some people survive against all odds and others who were well equiped died when lost. It is all in your mind set. It is your most important survival asset.

      1. Based on this post, I just went shopping on eBay and bought a copy of this book for $4.75, shipping included. Don’t overlook resources like eBay or for books, as they’ll almost always have very good, used examples for a fraction of new–as well as some rare, out of print titles as well…

  4. I think knowledge trumps alot of things. determination to survive w/ personal knowledge and good attitude will help even those whose endurance physically can be limiting. adrenaline is a amazing motivational source, even if you do pay for it later as long as you don’t panic like most will. experience can make you strong also.

    1. I agree, as I get older I know my physical abilities will slowly deteriorate and I will have to rely on my mind and mind set more and more. I excercise my mind more than my body to keep sharp. I read constantly, do puzzles, play games, anything that will keep me sharp.

  5. My dad was fresh out of WWII and I was next in line for Viet Nam. Growing up I was taught things most children wasn’t. I could swim, fish and hunt before I learned my times tables. I have no problem with hitting the wood for a few days or weeks at a time with nothing more than what I carried on my back. I have eaten most critters in the wood and have forged up remarkable fresh salads from what was around me. I couldn’t see a multi millionaire that has never ventured in the wood eat a opossum, coon, rabbit etc.. The problem would be his mindset. If you have never gone to bed hungry, then the first time you feel like your going to die, but after time you train your mind not to think about it. I agree with you Ken and I have said it before ” your brain is your most valuable weapon”. Learn what you can now in books, videos etc.. PRACTISE what you have learned. Get your brain around what you must do, draw up a plan and follow that plan. Our brain is the only thing that keeps us on top of the food chain so use it. Good article Ken.

  6. Wife and I went hungry many nights to feed our 4 kids. They never went hungry. They did not always know what they were eating, but they never went hungry. ;)

    Knowledge is power. SHTF we will have 11 adults and 9 children under the age of 9 to take care of. We have enough grains stored to feed the lot for about a year give or take a month. I raise rabbits and we have built up a large dove population among other birds. Also backdoor dumps out into about 500 acres of woods 100 feet from the door. 5k gallons water storage and rain catching system and a large lake about 1/4 mile walk away.

    Failure is not an option in my home. To much is at stake and my kids think we are crazy for prepping so they lack the knowledge or the interest to gain the knowledge. Luckily the adult males like to compete in these obstacle course races that have been popping up in recent years so they at least come in physically fit. Crash course in survival when the time comes and we will hopefully make it without any losses.

    Good article Ken. Knowing the mental and physical abilities of those you will end up caring for is ranked up there IMO as high as knowing your own capabilities.

    (And before someone wants to beat me up for taking in people who refuse to prepare, I did not work my entire life roofing to raise my kids to lose them and my grandkids because they have the “It won’t happen to me” mentality.)

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