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How to Start Prepping: Begin Your Prepper Journey Today!

Becoming a prepper is a big undertaking that will involve a lot of time and energy. Because of this, starting out as a new prepper can be overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be.

As a new prepper, you should start by ensuring that you can keep yourself and your loved ones safe from the disasters you are most likely to face. Some emergencies, like job loss, are common to everyone, while regional threats depend on where you live.

This article will be a no-nonsense and bravado-free look at how new preppers can get started without burning out. It will cover some basic rules for new preppers as well as information on what you need to store as well as information about defense and everyday carry (EDC).

The Most Important Rule for New Preppers

My biggest word of advice for a new prepper is to not try to do everything all at once. If you do, I promise that you will become overwhelmed, especially if you have limited funds.

I think many new preppers don’t get very far because they feel like they will never get everything done. They feel like prepping isn’t worth the effort because they may never be able to afford big preps like bunkers.

While having an expensive survival retreat complete with a bunker would be nice, very few preppers can actually afford these types of things, especially at the beginning.

Rather than stressing over what you can’t have, you will be far better off buying a little extra non-perishable food and cleaning supplies each time you go grocery shopping. Doing things like this consistently over time will help you build your stockpile without shocking your bank account.

After you get done reading this article, take a look at Mistakes Preppers Make and How to Avoid Them. It will help you avoid many of the traps that new and experienced preppers fall into.

How Long Should New Preppers Prepare For?

One common question that new preppers ask is “How long should my preps be able to last?”. There are numerous answers, ranging from three days to a year or more.

My answer is that you should have enough preps to last as long as you possibly can. My advice to someone who is extremely wealthy would be to go all out. Buy three year’s worth of survival food, install a huge water cistern, and do a lot of other stuff, sparing no expense as you do so.

But most of us don’t live in that world. Many preppers have other financial priorities, that if they ignore, will drive them into a personal emergency which could be far worse than what they were preparing for.

For most people, prepping should be done in small and easy to attain increments. A good starting point for food, water, and basic essentials is 72-hours. Many people should be able to take care of that today. If not today, then after a weekend garage sale or selling something on Craigslist.

From there, move on to a week. Then two weeks. Then a month and keep on going. Don’t stop. Do what you can when you can and don’t get complacent. Keep moving forward and you will be prepared for a wide range of possible situations.

New Prepper Step 1: Get Your House In Order

Prepper home security

Most people think of prepping as just storing a bunch of food, water, and guns. There is much more to it than that though. Being on the same page with your family and laying a foundation of good habits will help you be a better prepper and lower stress in other areas of your life.

Get Your Family On Board

If you have a family, they are probably the main reason why you are becoming a prepper. While most preppers enjoy things like food storage, gear, and guns, at the end of the day, keeping their family safe is their driving force.

Unfortunately, many preppers don’t realize that it is essential for their family members to be involved in prepping as well. If your spouse doesn’t understand why you are a prepper, then they probably won’t approve of all the money and time that you are spending on it. This could ruin your marriage and split your family.

Keep Track of What You Have

Prepping will be almost impossible if you don’t have your finances in order. Know what you have to work with and start making responsible financial decisions.

Many people have no idea how much they spend on things such as eating out. Having too little savings and too much debt is a common problem among most people, especially Americans.

Take Care of What You Already Own

If an emergency happens, you will have to lean heavily on things that you already own, especially your home and vehicles Vehicles could be cars, RV’s, or even something as simple as a bicycle.

Keeping up with maintenance and repairs on your home and vehicles will ensure that you have shelter and transportation during an emergency. It may also prevent the need for more expensive repairs later on.

Doing things such as trimming tree limbs and ensuring that your property drains water properly could prevent damage to your home. Keeping your tires rotated and oil changed will ensure that your car is ready to roll when you need it.

Get Organized

One of the biggest parts of prepping is storing food, water, and other items. However, before this can happen new preppers need to make sure they have a place to store those preps.

Having a garage sale to get rid of unused possessions is a great way to clear out space and earn a few extra dollars for preps. Having spring cleaning, even if it isn’t spring, can help you get rid of clutter.

To increase your storage abilities, consider purchasing a shelving unit or adding shelves to your walls. Hanging hooks are great for storing items that aren’t temperature-sensitive in garages or outbuildings.

New Prepper Step 2: Water and Food

New Prepper Food and Water

The first priority for a new prepper should be able to feed yourself and your loved ones. Here are some reasons why.

The human body is made up of up to 60% water. If you don’t consume water regularly, your body will start to shut down vital organs one at a time, which will eventually lead to death. The general rule is that you can last three days without water, but the truth is that you could die much sooner if you were in a hot environment.

Food is your body’s fuel that gives it the energy to function. However, not all food is created equal. It is important to store food that will nourish your body while keeping your morale high.

Water Storage

When it comes to water a new prepper should have two concerns: storing water and being able to procure and purify more.

Water is heavy, which makes it difficult to move, but that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t store some in your home. Packages of bottled water are a good place to start and can serve as an excellent front-line backup water source. Just be sure to rotate it and buy more as you use it. I like to keep a two-week supply of bottled water in my home.

Portable water containers are good options for storing water as well. My preference is the Reliance Aquatainer. Each one holds 7 gallons of water, which will, generally speaking, provide a person with a week’s supply of water. They are also relatively easy to load into a car, which will be good if you need to bug out.

For storing large quantities of water long-term, storage barrels and cisterns are good options if you have enough space to accommodate them. A rainwater harvesting system would be valuable as well.

For more information about how preppers can store water, take a look at How Do Preppers Store Water? Storage Ideas and Solutions.

Water Filtration

While preppers should store as much water as possible, being able to purify water is essential as well. Your stored water may run out or become compromised. In addition, you may be forced to leave some (or all) of your stored water behind if you have to make a hasty exit.

Water filters and purifiers come in many different types, but I think that preppers should focus on those that require no electricity to operate. Filters such as this are usually gravity-fed or pump-operated.

Berkey water filters are my recommendation for a home-based purification system. In my opinion, it should be the first big purchase a new prepper makes. You can use it daily to provide your family with clean tasty water as well as to purify from natural sources during an emergency.

Berkeys can remove a ton of biological and chemical contaminants, are easy to maintain, and look good in your kitchen. You can find my full review of Berkey filters by clicking here.

While large Berkey systems are a good choice for your home, filters made by Sawyer, such as the Sawyer Mini, are good choices for bug out bags and car kits. This is due to how small and light they are.

Click here to see my list of recommended water filters.

Food Storage

Having food storage is one of the most important parts of being a prepper. Unfortunately, many preppers make mistakes in this area.

When storing food, it needs to meet several criteria. First, it must be non-perishable and have a long shelf-life. Having a long shelf-life will allow you to store large quantities that you can rotate.

The second criteria that food storage must meet is that it must be nutritious. Storing food that lacks nutritional value won’t meet your body’s needs. Health problems will likely result if it is eaten over a long period of time.

Your food storage should also be comprised of things that you and your loved ones already enjoy eating. There is no sense in storing 400 cans of green beans if no one in your family wants to eat them.

If you have family members with special dietary needs, such as diabetics, be sure to plan your food storage around them. Small children, especially infants, require their own special food to stay healthy. For more information about prepping with babies, click here.

Types of Foods to Store

Canned goods are an excellent place for a new prepper to start. They have a longer shelf life than most other commercially-prepared foods. Soups, canned meats, fruits, and vegetables are all good choices.

The next time you go to the grocery store buy a variety of canned goods (that you and your family like). Get enough to last a week. This is the beginning of your food storage. Buy one or two extra cans each time you go grocery shopping and be sure to rotate your stock without using too much at once.

If you can afford to do so, I highly recommend buying a few pouches of Mountain House meals to test out. Find out which ones that you like and then buy a few #10 cans of each. Buy one or two cans each month. You can store them up to 30 years, meaning you can set them aside specifically for prepping.

Storing rice and beans is an excellent idea as well. To do so, get some mylar bags, desiccant packets, food-grade buckets, and lids. When selecting mylar bags, avoid the larger bags so that you don’t have to expose all of your food at once when you only need to use a little. The video below explains how to store food in this manner.

Don’t forget to store comfort foods that you enjoy. For me, sodas make everything better. For others, failure to have coffee in the morning could turn them into serial killers by noon. Be sure to have comfort food items for the rest of the family as well.

Food Replenishment

Just like with water, every prepper needs to have a plan to replenish their food supply. This can be done through methods such as hunting, gardening, fishing, and raising animals.

Starting a garden would probably be the easiest thing for a new prepper to do. If you don’t have any experience start small. Get a planter pot and put a tomato plant or other type plant in it. This is feasible even for most apartment dwellers. As your skills grow, increase the size of your garden and invest in a good seed bank.

Hunting, trapping, and fishing can be excellent options as well, however they are dependent on where you live. Raising livestock will require you to have at least some space, although raising chickens and rabbits can be doable with a smaller piece of property.

For more information about how preppers can develop a food supply plan, take a look at How Do Preppers Store Food? Storage and Replenishment Ideas.

New Prepper Step 3: Household Essentials and Hygiene

New Prepper Household Essentials

If COVID-19 taught us anything, it was that household essentials, such as toilet paper and cleaning supplies are greatly underappreciated. However, if we run out of them and are unable to get more, our quality of life will change drastically.

Household essentials are items that we use every day. While not having them won’t cause us to starve, it will make it much easier to contract a disease. The healthy lives that we enjoy are possible in large part due to products that promote good hygiene.

Below are household essentials and hygiene items that new preppers should store.

  • Toilet Paper
  • Paper Towels
  • Sanitizing Wipes
  • Hand Sanitizer
  • Hand Soap
  • Body Soap/Gel
  • Shampoo
  • Deodorant
  • Toothbrush
  • Toothpaste
  • Mouthwash
  • Pads/Tampons
  • Dish Soap
  • Laundry Detergent
  • Bleach

In addition to being essential items for good health and hygiene, everything listed is an excellent barter item. You can use them to trade for items that you missed or haven’t had a chance to procure yet.

New Prepper Step 4: Medicine

New Prepper Medicine

The next thing that a new prepper needs to think about is medicine. If you have health problems and require daily medications, this may need to be Step 2 instead of household essentials.

If you need prescription medications, explain to your doctor that you would like to have some to set aside in case of an emergency. They may write you a prescription. If not, then get your refills a little early, while you still have a few doses left.

The Survival Medicine Handbook is an excellent resource for preppers to use as a medical reference.

Here are medications and other items that new preppers need to store:

  • Isopropyl Alcohol
  • Povidone Iodine
  • Hydrogen Peroxide (This has a ton of uses)
  • Dayquil/Nyquil
  • Oscillococcinum
  • Acetaminophen (Tylenol)
  • Ibuprofen (Advil)
  • Aspirin
  • Diphenhydramine HCl (Benadryl)
  • Bismuth Subsalicylate (Pepto Bismol)
  • Triple Antibiotic Ointment (Neosporin)
  • Bandaids
  • Gauze

Other than the medications and items listed above, be sure to stock any non-prescription personal medications that you need. I require a steady stream of Claritin and Tums to keep me going. While other people may not need them, I would become useless very quickly without them.

New Prepper Step 5: Make a Lights Out Kit

New Prepper Lights Out Kit

The next thing a new prepper should do is build a lights out kit. This will contain items that will help you get through power outages and short-term emergencies.

Lighting

Preppers have many options when it comes to emergency lighting. The first one that comes to most people’s minds is a flashlight. I recommend getting a good-quality flashlight that you can carry with you daily. Having a headlamp in addition to a flashlight will allow you to illuminate an area hands-free so you can do other tasks.

LED lanterns are another good option, especially when it comes to lighting larger areas inside of your home. You can find ones that run off of traditional batteries, such as this one by Energizer.

Tool manufacturers also produce LED job site lighting that runs off of their cordless tool batteries. I have one by Milwaukee that will also charge my cell phone. You find my review of it by clicking here.

Candles and oil lamps are other options that a new prepper can use, but they do have some drawbacks. The main one is that they are fire hazards. They are also more suitable for winter power outages since they generate heat. Although it isn’t necessarily a drawback, oil lamps do require you to store additional oil.

If you do intend to use candles and oil lamps, be sure to do so safely. For candles, choose those that are wide and place them on a large base. This will reduce the chances that they will tip over.

Both candles and lamps should be set up away from flammable items like paper and fabric. In addition, any time that you buy candles or oil lamps, be sure to buy extra batteries for your smoke alarms.

Communication

Knowing what is going on around you is essential during an emergency. This can be a challenge if you don’t have power. However, having a battery-operated or hand-crank radio can help you with this.

In addition, keeping a few battery banks for your cell phone is an excellent idea. Be sure to keep them charged so they are ready when you need them.

Power

If you are going to depend on any sort of electronics during a power outage, then you need to have a way to keep them running. Having a good supply of fresh batteries is the best way to do this for smaller electronics, such as flashlights. I prefer rechargeable batteries made by Eneloop.

If you want to power larger items, such as freezers or laptops, then you will need a generator. There are tons of generators on the market. Some run off of regular gasoline while others are solar-powered or even tied into your home’s natural gas utilities.

For long-term emergencies, my personal preference is to have a solar-powered generator. While they aren’t the best choice for powering high-wattage items, they are silent and don’t rely on stored fuel.

Gas generators can power larger items but are loud and only run as long as they have fuel. A backup generator tied into your home’s utilities can power your entire home but must be professional-installed and rely on natural gas utilities. However, some models can run off of other fuels as a backup.

Heating and Cooling

If you live in an area that gets extremely hot in the summer or very cold in the winter, staying cool or warm is very important. Either extreme could result in death.

For short-term emergencies, a battery-powered fan works well to cool small areas. I have a fan made by Milwaukee that runs off the same batteries as my other tools, including the lantern that I mentioned previously. You can learn more about it by clicking here.

Also, for more information about how to stay cool during a power outage, click here.

If you are worried about staying warm, then you have a few options. If your home has a wood stove or fire place, then be sure to stock plenty of wood. If your home doesn’t have either of those, then a propane heater is a good option. They are available in several sizes and the larger ones can easily heat an entire room.

Cooking

Many homes, mine included, have an electric stove. Even those that run on gas still rely on an outside fuel supply. A propane camp stove (with plenty of fuel bottles) will allow you to cook meals and heat water until the power comes back on.

If you have a charcoal grill, storing additional charcoal will allow you to use that. If you are concerned that the power may not come back on for a while, that is a perfect opportunity to grill the meat in your freezer before it spoils. Fire pits and home-made rocket stoves are good options as well since they burn natural materials.

New Prepper Step 6: Defense

Okay, now we are getting to the fun stuff: being able to defend yourself, your loved ones, and your preps. Many people think that a prepper’s defense plan is a gun and nothing else. That is a misconception.

Most of a prepper’s defensive energy will be devoted to staying alert and avoiding bad situations. Fighting and using weapons are an absolute last resort.

Situational Awareness

The most important defensive principle that a new prepper needs to learn is situational awareness. Situational awareness is avoiding distractions so that you can detect different types of potential threats before they can harm you.

Many people get injured in confrontations because they were wrapped up in something that they shouldn’t be, such as drugs. Most of the others were victimized because they were caught off-guard by someone who wanted to harm them. Sadly, many of those were avoidable, but using that knowledge could prevent you from facing something similar.

Situational Awareness Level 1: Your Home, Neighborhood, and Job

There are different levels of being situationally aware. The first is knowing what is going on in your home, neighborhood, and other places that you spend a lot of time. You should be familiar enough with these places that you know what is normal and what isn’t. Keeping an eye out for unfamiliar cars or people you don’t recognize is one way to keep yourself safe in these environments.

Situational Awareness Level 2: Transitional Spaces

The next level to situational awareness is paying attention while in transitional spaces. These are places such as parking lots, your garage, sidewalks, and gas stations. They are places where opportunistic criminals like to catch people off guard while they are busy doing other things, like loading groceries or texting. Keeping your eyes up and looking like you have a clue will keep you much safer in these areas.

You can learn more about how to stay safe in transitional spaces by clicking here.

Situational Awareness Level 3: City, State, National

The next level of situational awareness is knowing what is going on in your town, state, country, and even globally. While you shouldn’t obsess over the news, it is a good idea to check on current events regularly.

For me, I like to check my local news stations’ websites to see what is going on in my neighborhood. Neighborhood forums, such as Nextdoor.com are good tools as well.

To keep up with national and world news, sites such as DrudgeReport.com are good since they aggregate news from several different sources. This saves time by giving you one place to go for pretty much all the information you will need.

Grey Man Concept

A prepper’s primary defensive tool is their anonymity. Learning how to blend in is an essential skill for a new prepper. This is especially true when it comes to protecting your preps.

Keeping your mouth shut and not looking like a prepper are the best ways to avoid being targeted for your supplies. It will also reduce the chances of ending up on a law enforcement agency’s radar when you aren’t doing anything wrong.

A big mouth is only one thing that will give somebody away. Things such as clothing and vehicle decorations can give others a good indication that you are either a prepper or have something worth stealing.

A new prepper’s goal should be to blend in with those around them. This is true whether they are at work, in a restaurant, or in their neighborhood.

Secure Your Home

Every new prepper needs to take a look at their home and address any weak spots. Places such as doors, windows, and fence gates are good places to start. Make sure that locks are installed on all of them and practice good habits to ensure they stay locked when not in use.

When checking your doors, make sure that they shut tight. Wobbly doors are extremely easy to get into, especially if they are only secured by a locking doorknob. An easy fix would be to install weatherstripping . It will make it harder to shim the lock and save some money on your electrical bill.

Since doorknob locks are easy to defeat, every exterior door and door that leads to a connected garage should have a deadbolt. In addition, check the screws that secure the strike plates to make sure they are at least 3 inches long.

After your doors and windows are secured, take a look at your yard. Your goal here is to reduce, and if possible, eliminate hiding places for people trying to gain entry to your home. Removing bushes near windows and adding motion-activated lighting are both excellent ideas.

For more information about securing your home, take a look at Prepper Home Security: Stay Safe Now & During a Disaster by clicking here.

Firearms and Other Weapons

Having the tools to protect yourself and your loved ones is important for any new prepper. No tool is more effective than a firearm in the hands of someone who knows how to use it. Every new prepper should own at least one firearm for defensive purposes.

What Type of Gun Should a New Prepper Get First?

If you don’t have a firearm of any sort, I would recommend that you get a pistol that you can conceal carry, such as a Glock 19. However, do not get a subcompact as your first gun. The Glock 19 and similar-size guns are small enough to be carried concealed but not so small that they are hard to control.

Although I recommend a Glock 19 for most new shooters, you can find my review of the CZ-75 P01, which is my concealed-carry firearm, by clicking here.

Many would argue that a rifle or shotgun would be a better choice for someone that has no experience with firearms. My reason for recommending a pistol as a new prepper’s first gun is that they can use it to defend themselves in the widest number of scenarios.

A pistol can be used to defend oneself at home, in a vehicle, and in public. As much as I love guns, I’m not going to be the guy waddling around Wal-mart with an AR strapped to my shoulder. Doing so would take the “grey man” philosophy out back and beat it with a wet pool noodle.

In addition, with proper training, handguns are not that much more difficult to learn than other types of firearms. I know many shooters (usually females) that started on a handgun and became proficient very quickly.

*Note: Be sure to familiarize yourself with local, state, and federal gun laws. Getting thrown in jail or facing a big fine are surefire ways to derail your preparedness plan.

To learn more about firearms for preppers and home defense, take a look at these articles:

Less-Lethal Weapons

Firearms are excellent defensive tools that every prepper should own, however, they aren’t the best option in some situations. There are times where someone is acting unruly or threatening but doesn’t deserve to get shot. Because of situations like these, every new prepper should consider owning less-lethal weapons.

Less-lethal weapons are not intended to kill whoever they are being used on. However, that does not mean that they can’t. This is especially true if weapons such as tasers are used on someone with a heart condition. Because of this, less-lethal weapons should be treated with the same level of respect as lethal weapons like firearms.

Pepper Spray

Pepper spray is a very common self-defense tool, being used by a large number of civilians and law enforcement personnel. It is available in a wide variety of sizes and potency levels.

The most common type of pepper spray is the small pocket-size bottle that people carry on keychains or in purses. These generally shoot a small stream at a range of around 10 feet. Pepper spray such as this is a good option if you can’t carry anything else.

Kimber, who is known for its 1911 handguns, produces a pocket-sized pepper spray weapon as well. It is different than other types of pepper spray in that it is shaped like a small pistol. The Kimber Pepperblaster II has two shots with a range of up to 13 feet.

Pepper spray is also available in much larger bottles. These are used by police when they are controlling crowds or riots. If you ever saw the tv show Dog the Bounty Hunter, that is what they used. Larger bottles can have a range of around 30 feet and can shoot a high volume in a short amount of time. This would be a better option for home defense than the keychain-sized bottles, however, discharging it in a house will likely affect everyone in the home.

You can also purchase bear spray in large bottles as well. It is used by hikers to fend off bears and other large animals. Bear spray is usually more potent than the varieties intended for humans. If it can scare off a bear, it will probably make most home invaders start crying for the momma, grandma, auntie, and every other matriarch in their family.

Tasers and Stun Guns

Tasers and stun guns are other common less-lethal weapons. They use electricity to incapacitate threats. Let’s go over the difference between the two.

Stun guns are hand-held defensive tools that require the user to make contact with their assailant. The user pushes the prongs against an attacker and delivers a shock with the press of a button.

Some stun guns feature a wrist strap connected to a pin, that if removed, will prevent the weapon from being used against its user. Although they have a limited range, they pack a wallop. Their sound is also pretty intimidating.

Tasers, on the other hand, are slightly longer range. A taser shoots probes at a target that stick in their flesh. From there, electrical energy is sent from the main part of the taser through wires until it reaches the probes. That electrical energy shocks the target.

Tasers only get one shot, however, they can be used to shock the target several times if the probes hit their mark. Additional cartridges can be loaded onto the front of the taser so it can be reused. You can find one by clicking here.

Weapons Training

Once you have a weapon, especially a firearm, learning how to use it effectively should be your next concern. Getting help from an experienced and qualified instructor is the best way to learn safe weapons handling and use.

After you learn the basics, taking an advanced defensive course would be the next step that you can take. They can get expensive but having the experience that they provide could save your life.

Whether you are able to get expert instruction or not, it is important to regularly practice with your weapons so that their use becomes second nature.

Self-Defense

New preppers should also consider learning a form of martial arts so they can protect themselves and loved ones without a weapon. No matter how strongly you feel about your right to bear arms, it is important to realize there will be times where you will be without your weapon.

There are many martial arts, but preppers should focus on the ones that are the most effective in the real world. Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and Krav Maga are the first ones that come to mind.

Have a Plan

You can have all the guns, ammo, tasers, and pepper spray in the world, but it will be completely useless if you don’t have a defensive plan for your home. While you may have some members who won’t be able to fight, such as children, they should understand their role within the plan.

New Prepper Step 7: Develop Bug Out and Bug In Plans

New Prepper Bug Out

The next thing that a new prepper needs to do is develop plans for bugging in and bugging out. Bugging in is when you choose to ride out an emergency in your home. Bugging out is when you leave your home for somewhere that you believe will be safer.

In most circumstances, bugging in is your best option. Staying at home will allow you to remain in an area that you know with all of your gear and supplies. It will also allow you to collaborate with neighbors and maybe even family and friends who live nearby.

Bugging out is best done when your home is no longer safe. This could be because of an approaching hurricane, civil unrest, or other circumstances. When you bug out, knowing where you are going and having multiple ways to get there is essential.

When developing plans for bugging in and bugging out, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Under what situations will you bug in?
  • What situations would require you to bug out?
  • Where will you go if you need to bug out? Do you have a backup plan?
  • How will you get there? Do you have alternative routes?
  • What supplies will you be able to bring if you need to leave your home?
  • Do you or any loved ones have any health conditions that would make a bug out more difficult? How will you handle those?
  • Do I have a bug out bag packed and ready to go?

To learn more about bugging out and bugging in, take a look at When to Bug Out: Know When to Go and How to Get There. It is a much more in-depth look at how to create your plan and includes checklists for your bug out bag and a list of other supplies you would probably want to take with you.

Things New Preppers Need to Think About

The steps above will provide you with a roadmap for becoming more prepared. Below are some other areas that a new prepper will want to devote some thought to.

EDC Considerations

Prepping largely revolves around getting ready for major disasters that can cause major disruptions at a local or even global level. However, your preps should also be designed to make your everyday life easier and safer. This is where your EDC (everyday carry) comes into play.

Your EDC is your front-line gear, made up of items that you can use anywhere you go. It should be appropriate for everything from a trip to the grocery store to hiking in the woods.

Your EDC should consist of the following things:

  • Communication
  • Tools
  • Weapons
  • Personal Essentials

Communication

Nearly everyone has a cell phone with them everywhere they go. They are valuable tools for communicating with loved ones that can serve other functions as well thanks to the numerous apps available for them. You can find the best apps for preppers and survival by clicking here.

Since your cell phone is so important it makes sense to protect it with a good case. I prefer cases made by either Lifeproof or Otterbox. I am really hard on technology and cases from those companies have proven to be effective and reliable.

It is also a good idea to keep a charging cable, wall adapter, and battery bank with you as well. While you may not be able to carry them in your pocket, they can be easily stored in a vehicle, briefcase, or backpack.

Tools

The next thing that you should include in your EDC is tools. The exact tools that you carry will depend on your individual circumstances. However, I recommend that everyone have at least one knife and a flashlight.

Related: Knives Preppers Need: Ultimate Prepper Knife Loadout

I think that most people would find a Swiss Army Knife useful. Most models contain basic tools that can be used to open packages and cans, turn screws, light prying. That being said, a sturdy, locking folder, has merit as well.

You can find my list of the Top 5 Swiss Army Knives by clicking here.

When it comes to flashlights, I recommend getting one that is USB rechargeable. This will allow you to charge your flashlight in a variety of ways, including AC power and your computer.

My ideal EDC flashlight would be small enough to fit in my pocket but large enough to use as a hammering weapon if necessary. Try to get one that is at least 1,000 lumens with multiple brightness settings.

This gives you a light bright enough to disorient an attacker while having options to produce less light if needed. Lights such as the Olight Baton Pro 2000 meet most of these requirements.

Weapons

Our world is an unpredictable and increasingly dangerous place. Because of this, every prepper needs to consider carrying a weapon.

My preference, which is also what I recommend other preppers carry, is a defensive handgun. Firearms such as Glocks, CZ’s, and Smith and Wesson M&P’s are reliable, accurate, and affordable for most.

If you carry a pistol, be sure to carry it in a good holster. Choose one that doesn’t collapse and holds the weapon securely. For more information about carrying a handgun, take a look at 14 Concealed Carry Tips by clicking here.

If you are unable to carry a firearm, knives, pepper spray, and tasers/stun guns, are other options as well.

Personal Essentials

In addition to communication devices, tools, and weapons, adding some small personal essentials to your EDC is a good idea. For example, I have seasonal allergies, so I try to keep blister packs of Claritin or Benadryl in my wallet.

If you live in an area where paid parking is common, having a couple of dollars worth of quarters tucked away in your purse or wallet could make your life easier. The bottom line is your own unique circumstances will determine the personal essentials that you need to carry with you.

You can learn more about the EDC gear that I highly recommend by clicking here.

Expanded EDC

If there are items that you want to keep with you daily but can’t fit in your pockets, you can always expand your EDC with a backpack or messenger bag. If you are a fashionable lady a nice purse could serve this purpose as well.

My expanded EDC includes things like my laptop, a multitool, compass, some tools, and other items. It is housed in a 5.11 Covrt 18 backpack. While there are some items that I keep in it at all times, I usually adapt my expanded EDC to whatever I am doing that day. The Covrt 18 has plenty of room and does a good job carrying everything from electronics to shooting gear.

Don’t Neglect Skills

While a lot of emphasis is placed on gear, new preppers should spend a lot of their energy learning and practicing new skills. You may have your gear and preps stolen but nobody can take your knowledge from you.

Another good thing about learning skills is that they can help make you more valuable during an emergency, especially one that is long-term. Some people already possess valuable skills because of their jobs. Doctors, dentists, and others will be in high demand both before and during a disaster.

Even if you have a job whose essential skills aren’t necessary during an emergency, that doesn’t mean that you can’t learn one. Many hobbies would be extremely valuable during a long-term disaster. Activities such as blacksmithing, gardening, and gunsmithing are all fund hobbies that involve specialized skill sets.

Some things, like knot-tying and basic wilderness survival, are just good to know.

Practice Self-Sufficiency

Another important part of being a prepper is being able to handle problems on your own and provide for you and your family. Practicing self-sufficiency today will help you be more adaptive during emergencies and boost your confidence.

Become a Handyman (or Woman)

If you have a leaky faucet or some other small problem with your home or car, learn how to take care of it yourself. There are a ton of online resources that you can use to learn how to do almost anything.

Provide Your Own Food

As far as food goes, hunting, fishing, and gardening are great ways to be more self-sufficient. While they may not provide your entire food supply now, learning how to do these things today will enable to use them if you truly need them later on.

Learning what fish and animals live in your area and how they behave will help you become a decent hunter and angler. Learning how to process wild game and is essential as well.

For gardening, educate yourself on which plants grow in your area, when to plant them, and how to take care of them. Don’t forget to include medicinal plants as well.

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